Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Company Party

Tuesday morning we woke up to this. All week the forecast for the weather has been rain in the valleys and snow in the mountains. We received about 8 inches of snow and had to get a picture before the rain melts it all. Steve was thrilled it snowed so he could get the four-wheeler out and do some plowing. Taylor has also been hit with this storm and riding a bike has kept him soaked. It's hard to complain about moisture when we live in a desert.
When Steve went to work on his own and Christmas rolled around we missed having a party to attend so we decided we would have our own company party. We go out to eat and then do an activity. This year we went up to Salt Lake and ate at the Red Iguania which is one of Taryn's favorite resturants.

It's decorated in the bright Mexican colors and looks like a dive but it is always packed and when we left there were people waiting out front in the cold. The food was great and the company even better.

We try to hit Temple Square every year to see the lights so this year after dinner we went to see the lights. It helps that Taryn knows Salt Lake because she took us to this parking garage that nobody knows about and we parked without a problem.
I had to have my picture taken by this tree because the orange and white lights were so pretty. We all got a bit dizzy walking through the trees with all the red lights.

After the Grand Canyon I'm really into the jumping shots so we wanted to get a jumping shot. Steve held the button down and was ready to take the picture but with the flash we just couldn't get the timing down so here are the two pictures of us looking pretty stupid. We gave up after two shots but will have to figure out how to do it with the flash.

We had a fun night, but I can't help missing my other two children. This will be my third Christmas with a missionary and I'm excited for the phone call but can't wait for the Christmas when I have all my children home again.

We ended the night visiting Taryn's favorite nativity. I think it might be my favorite also. I really do enjoy these company parties.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

3,364 miles!

Earlier this year we had a bright idea that we would drive to Kentucky to spend Thanksgiving with Kevin, Heather and the girls. Yes I did say drive. When I told somebody we were driving to Kentucky they said to me "Don't you guys have frequent flyer miles you can use". Yes we do, but we have wanted to take our car on a road trip. The car was very comfortable and we enjoyed seeing the country but 14 hours a day driving is too much for me. Was it worth it? For these two little girls we would do anything. But next time we will fly.

We left Saturday morning and decided to stay Sunday night an hour away so that we could arrive at their house rested and ready to play. We got there early Monday morning and Berkley answered the door. At first she just looked at us but then jumped into my arms and I got the biggest hug. Braelyn then saw us and came running down the hall to give us hugs. That first day I would be holding Berkley and she would turn and look at me and say "I love you Munga".

That afternoon Heather took us to a park by their house. We played at the playground and climbed trees.

I can't believe their faces are so calm because there was some complaining from them as we put them up in the tree.

My cub scouts had built bird houses this month and I had some extra bird seed so I brought it along and we made some bird feeders from the pine cones we found at the park. After we hung them in the tree in the front yard the girls would keep looking out the window to see if the birds had discovered them.

Taryn was supposed to fly in on Wednesday but when she heard there was a blizzard coming to Utah Wednesday she had Steve switch her flight and arrived Tuesday night. She had just got over being sick and was exhausted so she spent alot of time in the chair with one of the girls on her lap.

Braelyn loves to dress-up. It's probably her favorite activity so I told her that I would be her fashion designer and make-up some costumes for her to model for her papa and mom. Here are two of her favorite ones. The first one she is a Japanese Indian Princess and the second one she is a Red-Neck Princess. Yes, we came up with some great outfits.

Steve has missed seeing the girls in the morning with their messy hair, so one morning I heard Berkley get up and hurried and grabbed her and brought her into our room so Heather could sleep a little longer. Soon we were joined by Braelyn. It was fun to snuggle and play with them in the morning. We miss that.

Thanksgiving day the girls wanted to wear their princess dresses and while we waited for the pies to cook they let me curl their hair. Then after they filled the nut cups with yummy chocolate mints. I have never seen Berkley so happy then sitting at Thanksgiving dinner eating those mints. The bad part is that is all she ate for dinner, but she was happy.

I guess the mints weren't enough chocolate because after dinner we made chocolate santa suckers. The girls helped paint the red chocolate into the forms and we had some very interesting suckers.

I guess the sugar high finally left Berkley. It was a nice day with wonderful food and the only way it could have been better was if Greg, Lauren and Taylor would have been with us.

The next day we went to a horse farm. You can't go to Kentucky without seeing the horses. They kept alot of the old race horses and it was interesting to hear about them. We saw the horse that was in Sea Biscuit. Braelyn's favorite was the miniture horse.

We thought this horse had an interesting name and had to take Heather's picture by it.
We left early Saturday morning. We said our goodbyes Friday night and my heart couldn't take another good bye in the morning. Plus neither of us sleep well and we were up and out of the house around 5:30. I think I stopped crying about the time we left Kentucky. I enjoyed the visit and was grateful we were able to see them again. It's just hard thinking that the next time we get to hold them could be months away. We are thankful that we made the trip safe and sound.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Closing it up.

I always hate the weekend when we have to shut the cabin up for the winter. It was really hard this time because the weather was so nice. We only needed the fireplace at night and in the morning. Jackets were perfect outside. I didn't even get cold on our four-wheeler rides. But we know that living in Utah the weather can change like that and it has. I've been wearing a jacket inside our house here to stay warm. We got out there Thursday afternoon and Steve wanted to go for a ride. I have not wanted to go on many rides lately so I said I would go. We loaded up on the green four wheeler and thought we would drive the loop. It had snowed the week before but most of the snow was gone and we thought that the road would be dry. Big mistake it was really muddy and the tires would kick mud every where. We decided to go the whole way and when we were almost to the bottom by the beaver ponds we saw this.
Two bull elks with their heads cut off. We were pretty mad that someone would do this and leave the meat behind. I'm fine with hunting as long as the meat isn't wasted. We got home and Steve called the poaching hot line. After describing to her where we saw them she hooked us up with the fish and game lady that patrols up there. She knew exactly where we had saw the elk. She then explained that these two elk got in a fight and their horns hooked and they ended up drowning in the beaver pond. So fish and game came up and cut off their heads. We were happy that it wasn't poachers.

Friday we went on some more four-wheeler rides and that night Steve went for a ride by himself. We have a theory that if we leave the camera at home then that is when we see moose, elk, bear and all other interesting animals. Steve had left the camera at home so of course he would see not one but three bull moose. He saw the first one across the valley so he took off in a hurry to see if he could get a closer look. He rounded a corner and right in front of him was this big old bull moose. The moose looked at him, but didn't seem to mind Steve that close to him. About ten minutes later another bull moose came through the thicket. They started playing around and were pushing each other with their antlers. Steve did have the state of mind to turn the four-wheeler around in case he needed to get away. He watched these two for awhile and then a third bull moose came into the picture. He was so excited when he got home and couldn't The next morning we got up and went to the spot where he saw the moose. I did bring the camera with me so therefore we didn't see any moose. I had never been on the pipeline trail and the view was awesome.

I couldn't resist doing another jumping shot. Maybe that will be the new thing I have everyone do in all our pictures. These crack me up, probably because we look so stupid.
Well now for the count down to when we open the cabin back up. Today we were trying to figure out the cost of running electric heaters all winter so we wouldn't have to drain the pipes and we could also spend winters up there. I guess it is pretty obvious where we like to spend our time. But we do have a trip planned to Kentucky to see Kevin and Heather and the girls in two weeks so life is still good. We will just try to stay busy until April and we open it back up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The girls of 1982

When we had our 25Th high school reunion I was talking with Jerilyn and we decided that before we turned 50 we would hike the Grand Canyon. So this year I got a date set with everyone and we tried to book the Phantom Ranch. We knew that we would not be able to hike all our sleeping stuff down the canyon so we wanted to stay there. Unfortunately we could not get a room and I thought the trip would never happen. Jerilyn lives in Phoenix and suggested that we come out and she will take us on some hikes around the Grand Canyon. We meet in Flagstaff and stayed in a nice hotel. Just our kind of vacation.

It took us 8 hours to get to Flagstaff so the first night we just went out to eat and then hit the hot-tub. The weather was chilly and the warm water felt great. The next morning we got up and headed for the Grand Canyon. My daughter Taryn always does these jumping shots in her pictures so Gini said she would do it with me. Annette couldn't get the shot with her camera so we kept jumping. It was really freaky because as we would jump I would see tons of flashes. I guess everyone around us wanted a picture of some old ladies jumping. Luckily we got a shot with my camera.
Here we are all happy before our hike. It was perfect weather for me to hike. I hate the heat and with the cloud cover it made for a nice day. We decided we would hike down 2 1/2 miles and then come back up.
The hike down was harder for me because my knees ache with the down-hill walk. It's a pretty steep drop and with the rain they had received that morning it was pretty muddy. Luckily it wasn't the slick mud they have in Hawaii and we made it down safe with nobody falling. Gini did trip on the way up but she was trying to text at the same time.
This is truly how we felt at times on this hike.

It is so pretty down there and we would have to remind ourselves to look up once in awhile to see how beautiful it was. Luckily there were many people willing to take a picture. We would ask them and then hand them three cameras, but nobody complained.
We thought we were pretty cool doing this hike at our age until we meet Tom. He is 90 years old and two days ago hiked down the North Rim, stayed at the Phantom Ranch for two days and was on his way up the South Rim home. He was truly inspiring and I hope to be in that good of shape when I'm his age. We made it up to the top and the lightening started so we ran to the lodge to have some lunch. Okay we didn't really run because we were sore but we hobbled as fast as we could. Once we got inside the skies opened up and it hailed for about 20 minutes. We had beat Tom up the trail and were so worried that he was still on the trail when the hail hit. We had talked to his son up at the top so hopefully they got him up and safe. I really would like to hike all the way down and stay for a couple of days. Hopefully I can fulfill that dream some day.

The next day Jerilyn took us to Sedona. We took the scenic route there and drove through a canyon that was so pretty. I wish I could remember names, but I can't recall what it was named. I've heard about Sedona but didn't know anything about it. It is amazing and if you have the chance to visit I would encourage it.
We had all pulled various muscles in our legs yesterday on the hike in the Grand Canyon and after sitting in the car for an hour the sight of us getting out and trying to walk was hilarious. We looked even older then we are. Luckily we found a great 5 mile hike that was pretty level and not hard at all so after awhile we were able to walk normally. But every time we sat for awhile we would cramp up and had the hardest time walking. Going down stairs was the best and we would have to stop in the middle because we were laughing so hard at how funny we looked trying to walk down them.
We found a great spot to rest. Down below these rocks was a little waterfall and stream.
The hike ended on a big rock so you could overlook part of the valley. We tried a couple of jump shots off this rock but they didn't work. When I landed on my other foot I thought it was time to stop. I don't know if my friends could carry me out.

After the hike we went into town and had lunch at a wonderful Mexican resturant and then took a short 1/2 hour trolley ride to learn some history of Sedona.

She took us to the opposite side of town from our hike and we saw some more beautiful country. She told us about a box canyon up there that I would love to explore some day.

My camera batteries were low at the Grand Canyon so I wasn't able to take alot of pictures. Luckily I had charged the camera and could take alot of pictures of Sedona. I love this bottom one the colors are so pretty and to think I took it with a scuba camera. Not too bad.
The last day we went out to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. I'm surprised at how pretty it was with the broken lava rock. It also amazes me when I see trees growing up in the middle of it. After the lava fields we went to the Wupatki National Monument and were able to see some Indain ruins. They were really well preserved and the two we saw were big.
They had this blow hole that blew air. I've never seen a blow hole that wasn't close to an ocean but you would lean over and your hair would blow up. I thought I had downloaded the big picture of the house but I guess I didn't. If I could figure out how I would put it in. It was fun to try and figure out how they lived and what rooms were used for what. That afternoon we did what women do best and shopped in old town Flagstaff. They had alot of cute shops and everyone found a treasure. That night we wanted to hear Jerilyn sing again so we went to a karoke bar and went back 30 years when she belted out Pat Benatars "Hit me with your Best Shot". She still has a beautiful voice and it was great to hear her sing. It was a awesome week filled with yummy food, fun talk and lots of laughter. It's pretty amazing that we have known each other since kindergarten and are still friends. We already have our next reunion planned.