Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Background info:
In our church we have this thing called "Family Home Evening".  We get together every Monday as a family and either have a lesson of some kind, or an activity, or any number of other things a family might do together.
So,  at the condo where my parents live, since there are no kids, the adults all get together for Family Home Evening.  One couple chooses to be in charge.


This Monday my parents signed up to be in charge and then my Dad asked all of us local kids to help him out.

So, we put on a family show (for lack of a better word).

We sang some songs.  A couple of the more talented of us (my son Ryan and my sister Diane) played some piano pieces.  My adorable little niece sang a song. And we told some fun family stories. And my sister read a poem that my dad wrote for my mom...oh my gosh, it was so sweet.

We had kids, grandkids and even great-grandkids there.

This is it.

This is exactly the kind of thing I looked forward to doing when I imagined living here.

These are the kind of things I missed out on.

We did not sound fantastic when we sang.
But as we sang I started to tear up.  I just felt all kinds of squishy feelings about my family.
I am so happy to be near them all. I really love this kind of thing.

Afterwards we had a family dinner and celebrated all of the family birthdays for February.

There weren't enough plates and I forgot the cheese for the Hawaiian Haystacks.

It was perfect.

Here is a bit of the last song we sang.  Amber was taking the video while holding a baby so you get to hear Kaylee in the background and it ends a little early...but that just makes it more awesome to me.

Perfectly imperfect.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Yesterday I sat with a couple of my kids as they looked through the scrapbooks. 
We laughed at old hairstyles and clothes. 
We remembered fun times. 
We noticed how much Branden's baby pictures look like Isabelle. 

(and just for is a picture of me at a similar age)

It was fun.

Also, anytime the boys came across a page where I attempted to wax even remotely poetic in my scrapbooking...
My kids mocked me.

So, it was also...what? 

Humbling, embarrassing, annoying, and mildly hurtful.

A typical day with kids in that way I suppose.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's weekend

Hubby and I aren't really the types to get too crazy over a holiday like Valentine's Day.
We usually go out to dinner or something,
but not always.
He buys me chocolate.
I might get him a card.

I did shop for cards this year, but they were all SO DUMB that I couldn't bring myself to buy one.
I ended up finding some chocolate covered strawberries that I gave him.
He's eaten one.
I failed.

This year I decided to make dinner and invite some friends over for games.
So we invited our old friends from PA, the Lauts.

I made stew for dinner.
side note:
I really love stew.
It's my go-to dinner thing.

Frank made biscuits.

I couldn't decide between sugar cookies with hearts on them or lemon bars for dessert...
so I made both.

No pictures of the lemon bars.
Not as cute or Valentiney.

Our wonderful downstairs neighbors brought us a cute homemade card.
(which you can see in the picture with the cookies)

We had a fun time hanging out with the Lauts!
And Albert and Frank even talked about getting together for fishing or something sometime.
Now to get him to go 4-wheeling...

Albert won the card game.
On Sunday morning, Frank and I decided to go for a "hike" in the canyon.
Nature walk is probably more accurate.

It was a gorgeous day.
My crocus are blooming. In February.

My daffodils are coming up. In February.

I was glad to see some snow and ice on the ground when we got to higher elevations.
I have been enjoying the crazy warm weather but it does freak me out a bit.
I know that snow levels are too low, which isn't a good thing. 
Anyway, we walked and talked and just enjoyed the gorgeousness.

We were enjoying ourselves so much that we kind of lost track of time!
We completely forgot that we usually drive Ryan to his church meeting at noon.
Luckily, he got a ride.
And we arrived home at about not a lot of time for getting ready for church, 
which starts at 1:00.

As I rushed into the house towards the shower
I said, over my shoulder to Frank, "You want to scramble me some eggs so I can eat them on a biscuit?"
He laughed at me.

But then, as I was blowdrying my hair, he walked in with this:

He loves me.

Grandbaby Bucketlist

We have learned recently that our son, his wife and the two grandbabies
will very likely be moving away this summer.

It's good for them.
They will be moving forward with their lives.

But it means that our time living super close will be coming to an end.

So hubby and I were talking and we decided that we needed a sort of
Grandbaby Bucketlist.

All the things we need to do with them before they leave.

One of the things on my list was to take them to the 
Museum of Natural Curiosity.
taken from Internet

I have heard mixed things about it...but also lots of complaints about huge crowds.
But I figured if we went in the winter on a school day it shouldn't be too bad.

So one day last week we went.

I think it is probably the perfect place for kids from about 1-5 or so.
Older kids could definitely entertain themselves
but this place was just made for toddlers and preschoolers.

and it had enough kids for Isabelle to see that it was fun...
but not so many that it was overwhelming.

Isabelle loved it so much.
We just let her wander and pick out where she wanted to go.

There were several great places but her favorites were:
1-the play area for toddlers
the area is soft, so no one gets hurt when they fall down
It has a small slide and a few interactive games.
taken from internet

2-The water room
Oh my gosh, this is a fun room.
But I can imagine that it would be packed in the summer.
There is all kinds of water running and you can build things with pvc pip
and make fountains and stuff
Isabelle enjoyed filling a watering can and just splashing like crazy.

There was also a cool table with about an inch or two of water and a little fountain in it
and it is inset with seats for babies.

Kaylee loved it so much.

Later Isabelle wanted to try it so we put her in the seat as well...
She loved it too!

At first we just had them with bibs on but then we found that there were plastic aprons and boots available so we switched to that...
they were already pretty wet by that point though.
Luckily, Mom is smart and brought them both a change of clothes!

Isabelle was so cute in her huge apron and boots!

3-the miniature town called Kidopolis
taken from internet

Oh I loved this is every kids dream to have "adult" spaces that you can play in.
Isabelle's favorites were the laundry mat, the dance studio, the vet and the bank.
She loves animals so the vet building was perfect for her.
Lots of stuffed animals that you could give x-rays to or listen to their heart etc.
She mainly just picked them up one by one and loved them.
I didn't get any pictures!  
I was too into it myself.
I felt like a kid again.

It was a fun time for all!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hiking, 4-wheeling, and a breakdown (or two)

Since the weather has been so gorgeous,
and Frank's been traveling a lot for work,
we decided to go somewhere fun on Saturday.

So, it was off to Moab!

Frank had picked out a 4-wheeling trail to go on so we headed straight there on Saturday morning.

It was a "difficult" trail.
Rated as 4+ out of 5.
Frank always likes a challenge.

It's not possible to tell from the picture but as we sat next to this sign about our trail
we are right next to a big drop off...
which we have to drive over.

This was on the ground next to the sign.
Frank wishes I would shut up.

We didn't make it very far before we had a breakdown.
Yes, the jeep.
But more importantly, me.

I completely lost it.
I have never felt as much stress and anxiety as I was feeling at that moment.

I was completely and totally against what we were doing.
It seemed completely crazy to me.
We are hurling ourselves over rocks in a car.
So, when the car made an awful crunching noise, I was 
If you know anything about cars, maybe this picture will mean something to you.
But basically, we hit a rock (surprise) and something got squished under there.

So we had to turn around and go back.
That was, again, completely stressful...especially now that there was something wrong with the jeep.
I got out and walked.
I seriously could not take it.
I thought I might have a stroke or a heart attack or something.
So I watched 
(and grimaced and worried and made "I'm scared" noises)
as Frank maneuvered the car back to the top.
He wishes I had taken pictures or videos
of the awesome rocks, cliffs and driving
but I was not capable
I was very scared.
At times he only had 3 wheels on the ground
and the tires were slipping
oh my gosh
it sucked.

Frank wasn't worried.

I did a little ranting and raving and venting
and saying that I never ever ever again want to see a difficult trail
and he really needs a guy friend to do this crap!

As I said, I was stressed.

So after I relaxed a bit we decided to go on a short hike
and then go on a different, easier trail.

It was a very beautiful day.

And I always enjoy the scenery in Moab.

We played around with taking panoramic photos with our phones.
I was in some of them and it made me have a cone head and weird teeth coming out of my nose.
So...I guess there is some distortion that happens!

It was important to stay on the trail...

  We ate our picnic lunch under a big rock in the shade.

It was nice.

 Then we went on a moderate/easy four wheeling trail.
I found it actually fun.
Frank prefers more danger.

But he wanted me sane, so it was all good.

We stopped at the top of the trail and did some more hiking around.
Frank did some rock hounding, which he really enjoys.

It was really beautiful.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What a faker

A story about a certain teenage boy.

the school here has a two-day track.
A day classes
B day classes
and they alternate.

It just so happens that one of the days has all of my son's hard classes
and the other day has all of his easy classes.

So we have taken to calling them
Real day
Fake day

"Do you have real classes tomorrow?" I might ask.
"Can I skip school's fake day anyway?" He often asks.

So yesterday he was suffering with a cold.
(Oh my gosh we've had so many sicknesses go through this house!)

His nose was running like a faucet and he was just laying around feeling icky.

I reminded him that he had a doctor appointment the next day and I would need to get him out of school a little early
to which he replied
"Can't you just call me out for the whole day? I'm sick anyway"

I replied,
"Is it real or fake?"

He was completely disgusted and replied
"How could it be fake?  How could I fake this runny nose??"

"No, I mean real or fake school"

"Oh!  Real.  But I'm sick!"

Poor kid.
He stayed home.  Slept till 11:00.

Not fake.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It is done

The chair is done.
I'm sitting across from it right now.
I know, I should be sitting on it...
but at the moment I'd rather look at it.

I actually felt less frustration while doing this chair
even though it was more difficult than the last one.
just like the last one,
it isn't perfect...not by a long shot.
But I don't think any of my errors will scream out for people to notice them.
So I'm good.

The whole experience made me want to take another upholstery class though.
So I can learn how to have more finesse with the whole process
and feel a bit more like I know what I'm doing.

I also gained even more appreciation for my sewing machine.
That puppy sewed through four layers of heavy duty fabric without any problems.



I took a lot of pictures as I took it all apart, in the hopes that it would help me remember how to put it back together.
And I actually referred to those pictures a number of times, so I was glad I did it.

I chose not to use the metal fasteners that were originally used to close up the sides of the back panel and the outside edges of the two sides of the chair.

First of all, they are so freaking dangerous.
I'm just clumsy enough that I can imagine impaling myself on these things while I tried to install them.

Second of all, I really wanted to use the skills taught to me by my teacher in Boston.
And she felt pretty strongly about all the newfangled short cuts used in upholstery today.

So I sewed all those places by hand.
It took quite awhile and my fingers definitely weren't used to it
but I did it!
My fingers were so sore but I figured they'd be sore the next day too so I might as well keep going until I finished.

This last picture was taken after midnight last night when I finally finished sewing.

The only thing left to do is the dust cover underneath.
I was afraid my staple gun was a bit loud to use after midnight.
I'm so thoughtful!

But now that my living room is all vacuumed
I am thinking the dust cover can wait a little longer.