Sunday, August 30, 2009

Let's talk fabric

We heard more Mrs. Piggle Wiggle today during breakfast and lunch. Then after church we had a game marathon. Each person picked their favorite game and then we played each of the 4 games. Audrey picked Yahtzee (which she won), Tessa picked Slap Jack, I picked Master Detective Clue and Ryan picked Uno. During Slapjack Ryan was winning too much so he was really surprised when instead of slapping the pile of cards I slapped him (in the chest) when a jack came up. I guess he learned his lesson that he doesn't always need to win. We ended up not eating dinner until 8pm because our games went so long!

Afterward the girls reminded me we still had several projects we needed to get ready for so we went into my craft/sewing/scrapbook room to pick a few things out. 2 hours later Ryan reminded me it was way past my bedtime and their bedtime. It was so fun to talk fabric with the girls and I think they like talking fabric as well. Either that or I was so delusional from just being able to talk fabric that I was hallucinating their joy. Then after fabric we looked at patterns and I taught them the secrets to never pay more than $.99 for a pattern. We are going to try and squeeze in a trip to the fabric store to look at patterns for them. They are so excited I'm not sure if they'll ever be able to sleep tonight.

I'm realizing there is no way the girls and I are going to get all of our projects done by the time they leave on Saturday. I'm thinking of ways to keep them here longer :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Change of Plans

Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate with our carefully and meticulously planned schedule. We had planned to go to the greatest water park in the world today - Water World, but mother nature had other plans in mind. Instead we went to Boondocks (like Fun Dome in UT or Golf 'n Stuff in CA). We had never been there before but passed it a million times on the freeway.

I thought we would only stay 4-5 hours so I only packed a lunch for us. I figured we would be home long before dinner. At one point, Ryan looked at a clock and it was 7pm. But nobody had mentioned they were hungry so I didn't think it was too late. We finally left about 8:30pm. We did so many fun things. We all loved laser tag and we managed to be on the winning team each time (except the last time which we will not mention). Audrey became an excellent shot and Tessa was a great defender of the home base.

It was my first time on Go-carts and I'll go back anytime for that. Audrey tried to negotiate a slow ride on the Go-carts, I'm not sure if her definition of slow is the same as Ryan's definition.

They also had bumper boats with a squirt gun on front that shot a constant stream of water. Tessa loved engaging others in water fights while I gave everyone the look that said - don't you dare squirt me....Audrey preferred to ride with me on this. She appreciated the look I gave all the little boys who were dying to squirt us.

Thanks to Audrey's endurance for pain, we scored some extra tokens. How? Audrey managed to get a really deep sliver from a rope on the miniature golf course so we spent some time in the first aid station attempting to remove it. She was so tough that the manager thought she deserved some extra tokens for being so brave. Thanks Audrey! We also decided to spice up miniature golf in other ways. We played several holes in race mode. We all teed off at the same time and first one to get it in the hole won.

Ryan and I noticed a difference in the customer demographic throughout the day. In the morning and early afternoon it was lots of young kids at birthday parties. The afternoon brought more teenagers and about 7pm all the weirdos starting showing up. Laser tag was a totally different game at 1pm than at 8pm. Same with the Go-carts. We had a pretty rough ride the last one. Ask Tessa about #19 for more details.
We're all looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Top Secret Project

Today was a switch off day. I got up early and went into work while Ryan made eggs, cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast. It was a riveting breakfast as they all took turns reading from my Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book. At lunch they continued reading together. Ryan is now a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle fan. All 3 were excited for a trip to the batting cages today only to find out they don't open until 3pm (the same time Ryan starts work). The settled for a bike ride around the neighborhood. Tessa rode one of the bikes and Ryan hooked up the bike trailer for Audrey and she squeezed into that. Ryan brought the girls to my work for an afternoon ice cream cone and he took off to work.

On the short drive home from my work, Audrey started reading me a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle story as well. When we arrived home we got right to work on craft night. I would tell you more, but it's TOP SECRET. We did take a short break to experiment with the lovesac and jumping down the stairs...oh wait...Braden might not want to know about that...

The girls and I spent the rest of the night crafting while watching movies - Alice in Wonderland and Wallace and Grommit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

16 layers and ear muffs needed

We started our day at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. While we just missed watching the men's gymnastic team practice, we did see some awesome weight lifting going on and some guy thrashing around a weighted ball on rope. We did see two members of the women's rifle team. The girls thought the wrestling gym was not only really hot, but pretty stinky as well.

Our next stop was at Manitou Springs where we sampled some of the local mineral water. Tessa took one sip and immediatly spit it out. Audrey took a sip, thought about it and decided she didn't really like it. However, Audrey did like the water at Navajo Springs and she is dying to tell her sisters that the water at Iron Springs is the best. They discussed which of the different springs Jennette would like best and which one Rebekah would like best (their sisters).

We had lunch at Soda Springs park before we headed up to the Cog Railway that would take us to the top of Pike's Peak at 14,110 feet.

As we got closer to the top, the girls huddled deeper and deeper into their jackets and seats. At the top, Tessa wanted to hide in the ditches to keep warm. Their advice to anyone going up is to where 16 layers of clothing and bring ear muffs. It was a balmy 35 degrees while we were there.

We snapped a few pictures, ate a high altitude doughnut and debated which side would be the best to fall off of. Audrey spotted a marmot on the train ride down. Good eye!

We had some dinner at the park and played around some more. We even fit all 4 of us on this cool saucer swing. More parks should have these.

I can say that these two girls are able to entertain themselves with anything...some rocks, a leaf, a stick...anything. During the drives to various locations today Ryan and I listened to some interesting play between the two. Audrey had her monkey Coconut and was trying to keep it safe from "Evil Auntie".

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Gorge-ous day

So this morning we woke up early and drove down to the Royal Gorge. I slept through part of the drive while Audrey took in the scenery and Tessa read one of my Trixie Belden books. She said that she liked them more than Nancy Drew. We got to the Royal Gorge at about 11:30. We started out by taking the incline railway down to the bottom. Tessa and Audrey we’re a little scared about how steep the drop was but had a fun time. Audrey kept her eyes closed until about 1/2 way down. We looked at the river while we were at the bottom and the girls tried to find rocks to throw into it. When we were about to go back up we say some rafters coming down the river and one of them got stuck on the rocks.

When we got back to the top we had lunch while we looked out at the bridge. (for the next segment of this story the names have been removed to protect the identities of those involved)After lunch we were unable to convince one young girl to go on the aerial tramway so one older girl and one younger girl went on the tram while one older boy and one younger girl stayed and took pictures and made a video. When the younger girl who rode the tram got to the other side she could not resist climbing around in one of the trees before the tram returned.

When everyone was reunited, Audrey really wanted to ride the cog railway again. She said she might even keep her eyes open if we go again. Just as we came back up, it was starting to rain. We ran from covering to covering for a few minutes until the rain stopped. After it let up we took a few pictures and the rode the carousel twice. The girls said that their favorite animal to ride is the tiger but there wasn’t one so they had to settle for a zebra, cat, goat and rabbit. We then went back out to the car and drove across the bridge. On the other side of the bridge we went to the petting zoo, mountain man encampment and the girls even climbed in a wood casket. They also had a white buffalo that we were lucky enough to see.

After a trip on the mini-train and a couple more whirls on the Carousel we left the Royal Gorge headed for the Garden of the Gods. There, the girls older and younger got out and made sure that a huge boulder didn’t fall onto the road. Tessa and Audrey started making designs on how they would convert the rocks into their house. We decided to go on a short hike to the “Siamese twins” so that they could further set up house. When we got there the girls took us for a tour of their house complete with 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, office, exercise room, pantry, and plenty of places to put your rocks…I mean food.

We finally arrived at the hotel. Tessa commeted that this was the warmest pool she had ever been in. We swam and swam and jumped and played until Ryan told us it was time for dinner. Then we convinced him to come in with us and we played some more. The pizza was still warm when we got in our room and we watched the last 2 innings of the Dodger game where they beat the Rockies 6-1, too bad we couldn’t have gone tonight.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Self esteem for Manny

I picked up our two nieces from the airport today. Tessa and Audrey are 10 and 11 and will be with us for the next 10 days. It has only been 12 hours and we've already had way too much fun. Ryan really wanted to take them to a baseball game and the Dodgers just happened to be playing the Rockies tonight. Ryan is a die hard Dodger fan. Has been since birth and maybe even before that. Months ago, he bought them Dodger hats as a suprise for when they arrived.

So as we were walking in the stadium Tessa said "Oh this is too much excitement. My first ever baseball game". And by the end, she was saying the same thing. She loved it! Audrey loved the binoculars and using them to people watch. The game went into extra innings and these tired girls had been up since 5am eastern time and it was now 10pm mountain time.

The first time Manny Ramirez got up to bat, the entire stadium was boo-ing him like their life depended on it. Tessa said "They must be boo-ing him because he is so good. And that has got to be hard on his self esteem to listen to that".

Ryan and I laughed and decided we were not going to be the ones to spill the beans about steriods. This is going to be a fantastic 10 days!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bring on the frozen pizzas!

We finally have a working oven. It's been a long 5 months without it. We've eaten so many meals of rice, noodles, soup and hamburger helper. We got it yesterday afternoon and had Totinos frozen pizzas for dinner last night and again for breakfast today! We both woke up early on Saturday and decided to go garage sale-ing. We saw the stove and asked how much it was. That garage sale was about 1.5 miles from our house and I was prepared to get the dolly and push it back to our house. Luckily the guy had a truck and said he would deliver it. It is black and a flat surface range, but at this point, we didn't really care. It looks great in the kitchen and it works. We put our old range out on the front lawn and somebody picked it up today.

*it has a bottom drawer, it's still sitting on the deck waiting to dry from it's washing*

To celebrate the arrival of our new stove, Southwest is offering flights from SLC to Denver for only $39 each way. It goes until the end of December so starting planning your trip out to see us :)

We got great things at the garage sales. I got a free car seat (like Abby's), 1 unopened box of canning jars and 1 box of pint jars (for $.1o a jar). I also got a better sewing machine table for only $15. And Ryan found an old retro chess set for $2.

My new sewing machine table.

After a great stretch, we broke down and finally had to water our lawn this week. It was starting to look a little dry. But the first watering of the year on August 20 - pretty amazing.

Ryan started his fall softball league with the same group of guys. They are all controllers.

We've been busy getting ready for our next set of house guests arriving (T & A).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Not well"

Last week, on Tuesday morning, I was leaving for work and I heard the garage door open. I would have been freaked out thinking it was an intruder or something, but I heard the distinct rattle of the Geo a block away so I knew it was Ryan. I couldn’t figure out why he was coming home only 2 hours after he left for work. Apparently he was “not well”. He spent the next 3 days on the couch horribly “not well”. Any food I suggested made him want to vomit. He lost 3 pounds in those 3 days. He’s feeling much better now, although he still insists he never gets sick.

It has been so nice to retreat to the basement as it has been hot this week. It is about 10 degrees cooler in the basement. It’s just so refreshing to go down there. You can feel the change in temp with each stair. I moved my sewing machine down there and have been working on the top panel of a levi quilt. I was finally able to use the serger. On the 2nd row of levi squares a needle broke and I couldn’t get it threaded right again and after 3 hours of rethreading and rethreading, I wanted to pitch it out the window. I resisted and started using my regular machine. I only had 12 rows to finish without the serger. I finally got it all done. Now we just need to put it on the quilt frames and tie it.

Laying it all out

Finished top panel

Ryan is training on the hardest sector in his area right now. Sometimes he comes home with a fried brain. It’s a low altitude sector where they work with small planes and pilots that definitely aren’t professionals as well as the major airlines departing from DIA. He says they can go from sitting around talking about football to being unable to field all the calls in a minute.

Our garden is doing okay. Our cherry tomato plants are thriving. Our pumpkins are already orange and the plant is now dying. The watermelon plant died this week, kind of. The cucumbers are also thriving. I cut up cherry tomatoes to put on tacos and Frito Tila. We had tacos twice this week because it was so good with the fresh tomatoes. I was ready to can some pickles and then realized I didn’t grow any dill. Oops. We finally picked out (on accident) the perfect cucumber to pickle. No more chunky one pickle in a jar canning for me!

We should have some green peppers ready this week. Still haven’t watered the lawn, although we probably should. It’s been raining less. Maybe we’ll actually get 2 weeks of summer weather before September.

We went to the library to get several books on tape to listen to on the drive to and from Utah. It was interesting trying to pick out something we both might enjoy. We got the book “Wicked” since we both loved the musical so much. Hopefully we’ll enjoy the book. Ryan has been reading Attack of the Fiend. He finished the Night of the Soul Stealer in the Last Apprentice series (Attack of the Fiend is also in the series). Kade - have you read these?

I finished reading the Secret Garden at work. I’ve seen the wonderworks movie version several times and I was surprised at the different ending. I also listened to Brooklyn Rose and I enjoyed it. It's about a young girl from the South that marries a yankee and moves to Brooklyn during the early 1900's.

Another book I listened to was Vacation and it was narrated by none other than Kirby Heyborne...

We’ve been working hard to get our 3 month supply of food and toilet paper. It’s interesting because right now without an oven, our 3 month supply looks very different than if we had an oven, lots of cereal, noodles and soups. We found 2 brand new really nice life jackets at a garage sale on Saturday, $6 for both of them. I love garage sale bargains :)

I’m really excited to see everyone on Saturday. It makes living further away a little easier when I get to come home and see everyone more often.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I don’t know what it is about hand-me-downs, but I am thrilled to receive a big bag of whatever. When I was younger, we received hand-me-downs from aunts, cousins, neighbors, etc. As I became a teenager, I had several aunts that were the same size as me and they passed their clothes down to us as well. Once in a while Aunt Tamara would collect clothes from her sisters and bring them to the family dinner in big garbage bags. She would bring 5 or 6 bags of clothes. Chaos ensued. 10 teenage girls tearing into the bags of clothes hoping to find something good that fit.

Now it’s me passing on my own clothes. I have several nieces and years ago I started saving my clothes that I didn’t really wear anymore to pass on to them. One time, my sister sent a bag of clothes down with me. That Sunday, my jaw dropped open as my niece walked in wearing my jumper that I hadn’t been able to find for a while. Apparently, someone had not remembered that they borrowed that jumper from me and decided she didn’t want it anymore.

My niece wearing a hand-me-down from my sister. This was one of my favorite shirts that I even wore a few times a long time ago.

Two years ago, Ryan and I took a trip back east to see some sights and visit his brother and family. Madre and my sister Erin came along as well. Madre was helping one of the little girls get dressed one day and she saw a purple dress in the closet. It was an Easter dress she made for my youngest sister about 10 years ago. She was surprised to see it in the closet and hear how it went from Utah to California and then to Connecticut. And that’s what’s so great about hand-me-downs. They can keep getting passed down to someone else who might want it and wear it.

So today I cleaned out my closet in anticipation of seeing my nieces next week. I hope they enjoy it. There nothing like getting new clothes for free!

Ryan wore these boots for several years and then passed them on my brother Trent. Trent then passed them on to Kade. Kade has definitely put them to good use.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Garden report

We still have not watered our lawn once this year. It's still pretty green. And it's not the worst looking lawn on the block. Now it's not emerald green either. But a nice good lawn color.

GARDEN REPORT - We enjoyed our first week of meals with our own garden produce. We had Frito Tila this week with cherry tomatoes from our garden and then we had tacos with more tomatoes and we used our green peppers for Mitzi's Soup. I forgot how good homegrown tomatoes taste! It's heavenly. Mom - Our early girl tomatoes are not like other early girls we've had either. We have cucumbers up the ying yang. I went to get ready to do pickles and remembered we had no dill. So no canning until I buy dill. We have so much zucchini we are just throwing it away. I want to get a freezer so I can shred it and make zucchini bread when we get an oven. Oh all the things I oven, a freezer, a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. And we have on medium sized pumpkin already orange just sitting there.

I got up this weekend and was craving german pancakes. I got out the milk and eggs and got ready to mix up the batter. And then I remembered the oven is broken...i was so sad, so I made french toast instead.

We were just leaving the foyer of the temple last week and I was waiting for Ryan to pick up the male family names at the desk and there was a woman who looked slightly familiar. But then I always think I see familiar people here. But this one looked really really familiar and I had my glasses on so I knew I wasn't making it up. Then it clicked! It was Amy Tolman's mother....I went up and hugged her and asked in disbelief "what are YOU doing here"? They just got back from their mission in Hawaii at the employment center there. Her brother lives out here so they were visiting him and decided to go to the temple on their stake temple day. Side note - the temple was so busy for a Tuesday afternoon, it was the Golden stake temple day. It was so nice to see a familiar face. I miss seeing familiar faces everywhere (like the grocery store, the library, etc)