Here's our cray cray 2017 Christmas Card Letter:
What a year we’ve had. We’re naming this year “Two Weddings, Two Surgeries and A Move”. Don’t worry, we’re all still alive. Well, except for Tinkerbell. They say all dogs go to heaven, but Pam’s pretty sure she’s in a place that rhymes with her name. Just sayin’! How do we begin to tell you everything that went on this past year? We’re gonna give it a shot.
Let’s start with the happy news. Two weddings!!! Jake found a girl who had the nerve to take him away from his mumsy. Thankfully Pam loves Sydney as much as she loves her Pookie. After about a year long friendship things heated up and Jake decided Sydney was the one for him. He planned out a very romantic proposal. With the ring in hand he decided to take Sydney to a frozen waterfall in Idaho where he would do the deed. Here’s where things get tricky. Getting to the frozen waterfall required taking his 4x4 Jeep Liberty out onto a road that said “no trespassing during winter months.” We’re pretty sure January is a winter month, but evidently, even though Jake is in college, he obviously can’t read. Picture this, it’s about 9:00 pm, Jake is more nervous than a ceiling fan owner with a comb over, and he gets stuck. Not a little bit stuck, a serious amount of stuck. Enough stuck that AAA says they can’t help him out because he’s trespassed onto an illegal road. What to do? What to do? He calls Dave who is 900 miles away and Dave says he probably needs to call the police. Things weren’t going exactly as Jake planned. So he called the po-po and out they came on their snowmobiles to rescue poor Jake and Sydney. Sydney had no idea what Jake had planned, and as always was as calm as a frozen waterfall. The heroic police pulled the Jeep out of the snow and Jake and Sydney headed back to civilization, but only after Jake was given a misdemeanor for trespassing. Someday Jake will laugh about it, but he’s still in the “too soon” mode. He was able to later successfully propose and we’re all so thrilled that Sydney said yes. They tied the knot in April and are happier than should be legal. Even though Sydney is normal, she fits into our cray cray family pretty perfectly. We love her for loving Jake and spoiling him even more rotten than his mumsy always has.
Wedding #2 took place in October when Jonathan officially joined the Anderson Family Circus. Jonathan has unofficially been a member for quite a while and we’re all super duper happy he jumped in with both feet, and that they didn’t get cold at the last minute. We’d love to share some bridezilla stories with y’all but we’d have to make ‘em up because Shelby was the most adorable bride-to-be. Not a single melt down or tantrum. Well, at least not regarding the wedding. Shelby has realized her patience isn’t at the level it should be yet when it comes to parenting - a dog. Pam warned them that dog ownership isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, but they didn’t listen. Jonathan is as patient as Job and is so good with Zoey the hyper Queensland Heeler. Shelby, on the other hand, has a shorter fuse. Getting a puppy made her realize that she has some work to do before she can mother a real baby. It would be inappropriate in a Christmas letter to mention that Zoey has gone into heat and is now wearing doggie diapers so that’s why we’re not going to share that with you. Picture it, a dog in diapers, that’s funny stuff! Back to the wedding...it was everything our lovebirds dreamed of and more. You might say it was perfect, except for one ugly moment. During family pictures Jake was leaning against Pam and trying to push her over. Pam never gets mad, she just gets even. So she elbowed Jake in the stomach as hard as she could. Except that she missed Jake and elbowed poor Sydney right in the guts. Thankfully Sydney is a stud and took it like a woman. Our second set of newlyweds are happier than a Kardashian at a Spanx sale.
The big news in the Labrum house is that Hudson started kindergarten. He is the most social kid on the planet. He’s like a mini Mr. Rogers, running around the playground saying, “Won’t you be my neighbor!” He’s just starting Junior Jazz and Dave and Pam are convinced he’s the most talented five-year-old basketball player that ever lived. Huddy is a really sweet and thoughtful kid. He worries about hurting people’s feelings and he goes out of his way to be helpful. And then there’s Brooks! He’s - ummm - how can we say this? He’s different than Huddy. Bottom line, Brooksy is cray cray! He is completely fearless when it comes to anything physical as well as hurting someone’s feelings. The kid is hilarious, but we suggest you avoid being around him if you’re at all sensitive. He lacks a verbal filter. Just one example is, “Papa D, you have a fat belly!” Papa D also lacks a verbal filter, so he wasn’t offended by Brooks’ brutal honesty. Brooksy spends every Tuesday with Pam while Jess volunteers in Hudson’s class. As you can imagine, Tuesdays are Pam’s happy happy day!
Miraculously Jess and Todd have maintained almost all of their sanity while raising these two busy boys. Todd still manages to do legal stuff and Jess escapes from the house whenever she can to attend a barre class. It appears she’s channeling her inner ballerina, which we never knew existed. They’re generous enough to let Dave and Pam babysit quite often, and even left the punks with them for 10 days while they floated around the Greek Isles. They had the best time, and so did Dave and Pam, at least for the first seven or eight days. By day nine Hudson was heard saying, “Grandma P, I don’t like your angry voice.” Even Grandma P has a limited amount of patience when it comes to being punked.
On to the surgeries! Surgery #1 took place in January after Dave had a gigantic chunk taken out of his wrist to remove a malignant melanoma. We’d include a picture to show you how grisly it was but we don’t want you to toss your fruitcake. His surgery included a lymph node biopsy and skin graft. He now has a gnarly scar which he refers to as his zombie bite. We are beyond thankful that the cancer didn’t spread and that he is now cancer free! Surgery #2 involved Pam and a word that’s not appropriate in a Christmas letter. (Starts with hiss and ends with rectomy.) No one will be surprised to hear that Pam was a total stud through the entire process. The only time she cried was when she realized Tim McGraw wouldn’t be visiting her in the hospital. But she’s recovered from that trauma, for the most part. (Timmy, call me!)
And as if two weddings and two surgeries weren't enough, Dave and Pam decided to sell the home they’d lived in for 19 years, a home mere miles from the beach, in a county named to have the best weather in the USA, near dear family and friends, to move to snowy Utah. (Don’t feel too sorry for them, it’s the beginning of December and it’s only snowed once.) Truth be told, Dave and Pam are loving life in the valley of South Jordan. They bought a home in Daybreak where they can just cross the street and be at the lake catching crawdads with the punks. They love hiking in the beautiful mountains (only on wheelchair accessible trails, of course) and everything else Utah has to offer. Dave pretty much dragged Pam across the state lines kicking and screaming, but now she’s absolutely in love with Utah life. Dave is also happy and has developed a pretty serious man crush. Ex BYU and NFL star and one of Dave’s all time favorite players, Austin Collie, lives just around the corner. Dave nearly got a case of the vapors when he realized that Austin is in his ward at church. Austin must have seen the stars in Dave’s eyes and taken pity on an old man, because most weeks he sits next to him. One day after church Dave said to Pam, “Austin Collie sat by me and fist bumped my leg.” While going on a walk with Pam and passing the Collie household Dave said with a giddy voice, “Look, he’s in the kitchen!” You may think Pam is a stalker, but at least she sticks with the opposite sex. We wonder if this bromance with a much younger man is what prompted Dave to give himself a rubber band face lift while having his picture taken for his new government ID. No, we’re not kidding. He stretched a rubber band over his head and under his chins to create a more svelte look. Pam is still in the fetal position laughing her non rubber banded head off over this incident.
Now we’re going to share the best news of all! Are you ready? Pam is living a dog free life. Like we said in the beginning of the letter, Tinkerbell has crossed over, if you know what we mean. A couple of months ago Jane went to live with her original owner, Jake, and of course Sydney who also happens to be a dog lover. Pam believes that dog free is the way to be! And Dave isn’t overly sad because Jane is getting more love and good care than a bulldog could ever dream of. Dave and Pam made an agreement when moving to Utah - the dog days are done! They bought a home without a fenced yard so their only option for a pet is something slimy and scaly that would live in an aquarium and the chances of that happening are the same as a white Christmas in San Diego. Not gonna happen! Not ever!
You may or may not remember that for the first time in many years we didn’t write a Christmas letter last year. 2016 wasn’t a super funny year for our family. It was a toughie! But from that year we were able to create one of the best years of our lives. 2017 has been blessed beyond measure. We thank our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ for helping us learn, grow and love each other better than ever before. Merry Christmas, dear family and friends! You mean the world to us, and we love you all so much! May 2018 be the best year yet!
My name is Pam Anderson, and I love to cook. I also love to write. This blog gives me a way to combine two things I love, and share some really good recipes with y'all. Over the years I have collected so many yum-e recipes from so many great people. I thought it would be fun to share the recipes and tell you a little bit about the people who shared them with me.
About Pam Update:
The information below is a bit outdated so I thought I'd provide an update for y'all. In 2017 The Spy and I moved to Utah, which was a HUGE decision in the life of me. We had lived in Southern California our whole lives and leaving there was a really big deal for me. Many people have asked why we chose to live in the shadow of the mountains rather than near the shores of the ocean and here's my answer: "The Spy really really really wanted to live in Utah and I really really really wanted to live with The Spy." There's more truth in that statement than you might imagine.
The Spy had been begging me to move to Utah for quite a few years and I always immediately said no! I am a girl who doesn't embrace change. In fact, I do almost anything to avoid it. I have always loved Utah and have even felt that it would be wonderful to live here. But most of our family was and still is in Southern California so I didn't want to leave. I really really really didn't want to leave. Leaving was hard!
I'm gonna get kind of real now. I'm gonna place my heart on my sleeve for just a minute. In the fall of 2016 The Spy and I had a really serious talk. A really hard talk. A talk that changed our lives. There are details about that talk that are too personal to share, but what I will tell you is that it was one of the hardest times of my life. And I don't say that lightly.
I did some serious soul searching. I got on my knees and plead with the Lord like never before. I begged the Lord to know his will for me. "What would thou have me do?" Have you ever asked the Lord that question? Really asked? In my experience you have to be ready for an answer, possibly an answer you don't want to hear. It may not come instantly, but he will answer. If we submit our will to his, he will reveal his will to us. I know it! I've experienced it.
I'd felt for quite a while that if I prayed about whether or not we should move to Utah the Lord would say yes. And so I didn't pray about it, because I didn't want to move. I was comfortable. I like comfortable. I dislike uncomfortable. A lot. But after our really serious talk I told The Spy I'd pray about it, and as soon as I did, instantly I knew what I'd suspected, we needed to move to Utah.
So, we fixed up our little house with some cute updates and prepared to sell what had been our home for 19 years. The place we'd raised our three kiddos. The place that was home for most of our married life. The place that was close to most of our family. The place where we'd made amazing friends. And you know what's weird, it all felt so right from that point forward.
Things fell into place like you wouldn't believe, which for me was a huge confirmation from the Lord that we were on the right track. The Lord was so generous in reassuring me that we were in alignment with his will. I'll forever be grateful for that and for so many tender mercies we received along the way during this journey.
We sold our home in Oceanside by owner, in a week, for more money than we were asking. We found a home in Utah that was far beyond what we had ever imagined we'd find. It checked off more items on our "Utah home bucket list" than were on the list. Everything went perfectly smoothly and totally fell into place. It was amazing and a tremendous blessing.
The truth is that I did this for The Spy, but the real truth is that I did it for us. We did it for us. And it has changed us in the best ways imaginable. Besides moving to Utah we also made other changes in our relationship that have blessed us beyond measure. After 35 years of marriage we were in need of a tune up. A serious tune up. I'm okay saying that because we did it. We tuned us up, and we've never been happier.
Now we live in Utah near our two grandpunks. We are coo-coo crazy grandparents who love our grandboys fiercely. They are the light of our lives and seeing them all the time is joy on steroids. Punk 1 is five and is in kindergarten. He is such a thoughtful guy and just a sweetheart. Punk 2 is three and a total wild child! He is fearless and feisty. Basically, they're both perfect, at least in the eyes of Grandma P, which is what they call me. I have bruises from pinching myself at the reality of living so close to these adorable boys.
It turns out I love Utah - even more than I loved California. I'm so grateful that I grew up in Cali. And trust me, I was still growing up there at the age of 56 when we left. And now my growing up process continues in Salt Lake County, in the valley between the Oquirrh and Wasatch mountains.
I've grown the most through the hard things. For me, that's life. I grow very little when things are easy. I grow the most when things are challenging. And for that I'm very grateful. Trails are trying, growing pains hurt, but the pay off makes them totally worth it.
Since I started this blog in March of 2010 our family has grown. Our oldest girl and our sonny-in-law are now chasing and trying to keep up with Punk 1 and Punk 2. Our middle girl child is now a bride and we've added a terrific son to the family. Our baby boy married the best girl so now we have another daughter. All three of our kiddos are happily married. And we are so grateful!
Our family motto continues to be "we may not have it all together but together we have it all". We're far from having it all together, but as long as we're together we've got everything we need!
This is where I was at when I started this little blog: (March 2010)
I live in a little house that I love with a not too fancy kitchen that I love to spend time in. There's a country song that has great lyrics that fit our home and family well:
Love grows best in little houses,
with fewer walls to separate.
Where we eat and sleep so close together,
you can't help but communicate.
And if we had more room between us,
think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best in houses just like this.
Way back in 1982 I married my very best friend who I have known since we were nine years old. If you give him the chance, he will lie to you and tell you that I stalked him all through elementary, middle and high school, but the exact opposite is true. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle but all these years later, it hardly matters. The hubby has been a private investigator for over 25 years and recently went to work for Uncle Sam as a Federal Agent, which is why in this blog I refer to him as The Spy Who Loves Me. And I’m glad he does!
We’re blessed with three slash four children. The slash four was added last July when our dessert eating daughter from San Diego married a meat eating boy from Chicago. At least that’s how they describe it. They are living the newlywed college life in Provo, Utah and they are about as cute a newlywed couple as you’d ever be able to find. We are also madly in love with our two teenagers, one girl and one boy. The girl dances, sings, performs and hangs out with friends more than should be legal. The teen boy camps, golfs, is learning to drive (pray for me people) and drives the teen girl crazy! Totally and absolutely crazy!
The kitchen is most definitely the heart of our home. My husband often sits on a stool on the other side of the counter and talks with me while I try a new recipe or whip out an old favorite. My kids help out, too, sometimes more willingly than others. I believe that cooking and meals bring families together, or at least they should. Most nights we sit at the dining room table and talk about our day and make fun of each other. We Andersons are a silly bunch. We love to make fun of each other! It's what we do best!
So now you know more about me than you probably ever cared to. What’s my hope and dream for this little blog, you ask? Well, here’s how I see this play out. This little blog becomes enormously famous and is stalked by gazillions of people all over the globe. Paula Deen hears about it and invites me on her show so we can cook together. As we begin to cook, Paula tells me, her newest BFF, that she has a surprise for me. At that very moment, out walks Tim McGraw. Yes he does. He comes into the kitchen with us and together, we start stirring it up. You might as well know right here and now, I love Tim McGraw! I am convinced that I am his biggest fan! And someday he and I will stir it up…yes we will!
I’m just a girl who loves baking and sharing goodies with others. Food makes people happy, and making people happy makes me happy! I hope this blog helps bring your family together in the kitchen. Food, friends and family, it just doesn't get better than that!