Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last Day of Summer at Noah's Ark

Brian and I had our annual date to the Sundance Summer Theater production, which was Fiddler on the Roof, last Thursday night. I bought the tickets a few months ago and we had a hard time finding a babysitter, but everything worked out. It started sprinkling just before intermission and Brian offered me his hoodie. Chivalry. A few seconds later the rain started coming down in buckets. Brian was completely soaked, my pants and socks got so wet I could have wrung them out, and we couldn't even hear the actors on stage. They paused the show (which was so so so good) to let the rain blow over, but Brian and I were so cold and wet by then that we decided to hike back to our car. Driving home was the most uncomfortable I've been in a long time. I'm hot and cold! It's dark and light! I'm wet and dry! The worst. Oh well. There's always next year.

The next morning I still felt like something fun needed to happen. I decided to be brave and take the kids to the splash pad at Thanksgiving Point. I didn't know it's now part of the Museum of Natural Curiosity (which is like a giant human snow globe that is constantly being shaken), so we had to wait for the museum to open before we could walk out to the splash pad. The good news is no one else (of the millions of families who were lining up before they opened the doors) seemed to even know about the splash pad outside. I won! I never win anything! This is so sudden. (Actually, I win stuff.)
Noah and Bridget. The splash pad at Thanksgiving Point features Noah's Ark and bronze animal statues. Classy stuff.
Two out of three kids love splashing in the water and having Noah's Ark to themselves.
"I need go home."
"I want treats!"
"Go play at park?"
I'm so glad this was fun enough for Bridget. :)
And Colin.
Why would Emil like this? Climbing on rocks - meh. Splashing your siblings -  meh. Running around a boat full of animals - yawn. (He's in my lap right now as I type. "That boat so fun!" Whatever, kid.)
Has anyone else noticed that these three are cute all the time? 
There are lots of different animal footprints in the sidewalks around the ark. What a cute idea someone had.
I love this. It reminds me of something...
 Yep. Always cute.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rocket Science Quilt

Baby quilts are so much fun! Good thing I know so many wonderful people having babies in the next few months. I finished this one pretty quickly... only because I kind of had to. I thought my friend was due in October like the rest of the pregnant people I know. Woops. I decided her baby boy is going to be a red-headed rocket scientist. They can feel free to pin all their hopes and dreams on him.
The fabric line is called Rocket Age by October Afternoon, a designer for Riley Blake. I fussy-cut the circles to include the best parts of the picture. Like you're looking through a telescope in a window.
Denim piping! And, in keeping with tradition, a thread in the top left corner that I didn't notice until just now. For crying out loud.
Hmmm. That minky looks totally different in this photo - the one above is more true to the color. I just wanted you to get a load of the quilting design. I thought it was the coolest.
As my Mom said when she saw this quilt, "I love fabric." Ha! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beating August

Nine days ago we came home from our church meetings, changed clothes, and started dinner. I came downstairs to get potatoes - I'd left them in the basement guest room because our cold storage room isn't properly sealed and it was too hot in there. When I opened the guest room door, I could hear water splashing. Then I could see water splashing behind my Grandma Carol's sewing machine near the window. I rushed back upstairs, passed Brian and Bridget, ran out the back door to turn off the hose that Emil had set on top of the window well cover and turned on about an hour before we left for church. Four hours of water pouring into the window well. From the inside of the window it looked like an aquarium. Full of leaves and dirt and grass. There went our perfect day.

The rest of our Sunday was a frantic attempt to clean up, children weeping in their Sunday clothes, borrowing wet/dry vacs and fans from neighbors, moving furniture, and Brian vacuuming and pulling up carpet. That whole situation ruled the rest of the week for me. We had Servepro come in and finish what we started, as well as cut holes in our drywall and take baseboards off. Sad. They put in a de-humidifier and more fans and came to check on the room every day. While that was happening, we did some other stuff.
The boys played Itty Bitty Soccer at the Rec Center! The huddle was the best part.
"Gooooo GERMANY!" That's right, they played for the Germans. Winners.
The gym was set up in six stations for the six teams of 3-4 year old kids. Emil loved this part.
You won't see what happened next because taking pictures was really hard.
Hahahahaha! Mo.
Colin loved every single thing about soccer. He could do the little drills for days and he was always in the pack of boys chasing the ball all over the gym during the "games."
While Colin was running and having fun during the games, Emil was at my side. Always so different. Emil didn't like the chaos of the games, but he did like the structure of the drills.
Doesn't this photo make you wish you had twin boys?! Sometimes they are so cute it makes me cry with happiness.
They did it!
Twin boys also come with this action. The carpet was too heavy for us, so we put chairs under it to try to get it dry. All the stuff from the room is in the hallway in this photo. (I've since moved it into the family room and the storage room so we could accommodate Grandma and Grandpa. We use that room every three months and it was flooded the weekend we needed it. Of course.)
Bridget finished up her sewing camp last week, too. (She does have a make-up lesson today.) It was raining hard, but I still took her picture.
Her class was near a splash pad, so I took the boys there during one of her classes. Not the day I brought the camera. Don't make me laugh. A camera with me while I'm keeping track of two 3 year-olds at a crowded place with water?! What is wrong with you?!
Bridget made everything she's wearing. Colin is making that face because he is tough.
This makes me laugh.
We passed this yard four times a week taking Bridget to and from her sewing class. I love that someone made that awesome scarecrow and put it next to a sunflower patch. We watched the sunflowers get taller every week and I knew it would be awesome when they were blooming.
And it was awesome.
I also finished this little quilt last week. I haven't done a Grandmother's Flower Garden in YEARS.
I found that back fabric and could not resist.

So, August is trying to break me. Our insurance is covering the rebuilding of our guest room. Everything could always be worse. That's what August didn't count on - I'm an optimist.

Friday, August 1, 2014

July 2014 Book Report

July was a ca-razy month for Dad. We're in the middle of a great book, but you'll have to wait until August for the report. Since July was full of vacations and cleaning, I have two audiobooks to report on. What a great thing to be able to listen to a story when there is no light to read by or when I need to move around. 
1. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

A stuffy, precise Englishmen, Phileas Fogg (dibs), is at his club one evening when he is drawn into a conversation about world travel. Specifically, how long it would take to travel around the world if nothing went wrong during the whole trip. After some calculations, the men decide on a number and Fogg contradicts them with a smaller number - 80 days. The men argue and Fogg puts his money (of which he has a lot) where his mouth is. He bets his acquaintances 20,000 pounds that he can travel around the world in 80 days. Fogg will meet these guys back here at the club at 8:00 pm on December the 21st. (It's the late 1800s.) What?! Doesn't he want to go home and pack and then start the clock? Nope. He just needs his servant and one bag.

From London Phileas Fogg and his man go east (important) to start their adventure. Nothing ever ruffles Fogg. Missed a boat? No big deal, we'll just pay this ship captain a bunch of money to get us to the port in time. A beautiful Indian maiden is about to be sacrificed to the gods? We have plenty of time to save her and catch an elephant to the next port. Verne includes descriptions of several cities in different countries, which made the story drag for me. The fun was definitely in catching the different modes of transportation in time and finding an alternative if they missed THE ONLY boat or train. On the train from Salt Lake to Omaha they meet a Mormon missionary who yells fire and damnation at them for a few hours. They get to ride a sled from Omaha to somewhere to meet the train they missed. Fogg becomes a pirate ship captain on their last leg, which is great fun. 

The character of Phileas Fogg is pretty one-dimensional - he's maddeningly self-composed in every situation. While they're riding on this crazy sled in freezing cold weather, he yells out that the tune of the squealing sled is in fifths and octaves. That made me laugh. This guy would be THE WORST travel companion. His poor servant is the one who tries to explore the cities and ends up joining a circus and getting drugged and left behind a couple of times. 

I absolutely recommend listening to Jim Dale read this book. He is brilliant. BRILLIANT. Around the World in 80 Days is a fun adventure. Great ending, too. (I read a review on Goodreads in which the reader was SHOCKED by all the racism/prejudices. I didn't think it was bad at all - and I'm Mormon. I mention that because the Mormons in Around the World in 80 Days were very coo coo for Cocoa Puffs. So, put away your 21st Century political correctness if you decide to read this book.)

2. The Martian by Andy Weir
Mark Watney is a botanist and astronaut who is left for dead on Mars when a mission has to be aborted during a dust storm. But he's not dead! When Watney realizes he isn't dead, he starts the process of surviving for four years on Mars. Because that's when the next mission will get there. Awesome, huh? Watney has to do all kinds of story problems to figure out how much food and water he has to survive and then how much food he'll need to create. He's left with a supply tent and food and water for six people (the crew that made it out) meant to last six months. They had real potatoes for a Thanksgiving dinner on Mars, so Watney becomes a potato farmer. On Mars.

For several months, everyone on Earth and the other members of the crew think Mark Watney is dead. One woman tracking photos from satellites back on earth notices that there are changes to the look of the wreckage from the mission's exit from Mars and figures out that Watney is alive.  My favorite section of the book was when Watney thought he was alone and that no one knew what he was doing juxtaposed with chapters about the NASA analysts watching him from satellite photos, trying to figure out what he was doing and how to communicate with him.

This book was addicting. There was a lot (A LOT) of technical talk, which I've never been a big fan of, but somehow it was interesting and compelling. Watney is faced with the grimmest picture, and yet he always tries. He always wants to survive. I really liked that. There is always a way through a problem. At the same time, I found myself waiting for something. Like maybe Mark Watney wasn't an astronaut and he was living in a parallel universe. Or his crew left him on purpose because of something that happened to him. Something. But, no. Belated spoiler alert - the story is what it is. This is not about characters, for sure. No way does a human being get stuck on a different planet and live every day wondering if he will survive and never see or talk to another human for almost two years and still be a sarcastic jerk. I get the idea that Andy Weir is not so observant of the human race, but very in tune with technology. The Martian is a tense ride and for me it was a great departure from what I normally read (it's a summer book!), but I was left wishing it had been more... There is a fair amount of swearing, but I would swear a lot if I found myself alone on a planet other than Earth. Free pass!

3. Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
I distinctly remember reading Ramona books as a kid and thinking that Beezus was a huge killjoy and Ramona was the awesome one. As an adult, I am totally Team Beezus because Ramona is not just a pest, she is The Death of any sane mother and older sister. She rides a tricycle inside the house. She invites 14 preschoolers over for a party without telling her mother. She licks a sucker that someone else has been sucking on. Ramona Quimby is a sociopath.

The funny thing is that I was Beezus as a kid. I always wanted my teachers to like me and to do everything correctly. Maybe I envied Ramona the way Beezus envies Ramona's imagination. Bridget is also a rule-keeper, so Ramona's antics made her shake her head in disapproval.

The mini book club watched the Beezus and Ramona movie that came out in 2010 after we discussed the book. The movie includes stories from many of the Ramona books not just Beezus and Ramona, which disappointed Bridget. She liked the book better. "In the movie Ramona doesn't even ride her tricycle in the house." I guess that was something Bridget had to see to believe, so it's still in doubt. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bear Lake 2014

We're home from another extended family trip to Bear Lake. The boys are getting to the point where they can have fun with less danger, so that makes it easier on Mama and Daddy. We had a condo upstairs this year at Ideal Beach - our little family had the room at the very top. We had a great view and bunk beds (Bridget's dream come true). Also heat and mosquitoes. But the view! :)
For some reason we left the packing until the last minute, which was bad because Aunt Dena called a family meeting the night before we left. We were on pins and needles leading up to this mysterious meeting, especially when we walked into Grandma and Grandpa's house and there were friends of Dena's there crying. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?!! It was all Jake's fault - he got his mission call! He wanted to surprise everyone and open it in front of us. Jake is going to the Chile Rancagua Mission later this year. What a great surprise. But no thanks for the heart attack you gave Uncle Brian. Where was I? Oh, Bridget suggested we pack our scooters at the last minute. She is a genius at Bear Lake.
After our family breakfast at Denny's and cheese run to Gossner's in Logan and getting everything from the van to the condo and a quick trip around the lawn on the scooters, it was time to check out the playground.
Emil and Colin and I played a marathon game of "DUDE! WHERE ARE MY SHOES" for four days straight. I won, but did I?
I pushed Colin on the swing and did under-dog a hundred times in a row. And that's why we always go to the park without swings.

On our first night, we had Bear Lake Pizza (yum). Brian and I thought we'd get the kids to sleep early and go play cards, but they didn't fall asleep ever. Sunday morning we went to church in Garden City, then had a delicious breakfast provided by Dena. The rest of the day is a blur. We played at the park again - this time with cousins. What else did we do? I remember a nice dinner made by Debbie and Hal... Always food with me, I guess.
Emil, Nate, Brian, and Kalvin heading back to the park.
The merry-go-round. A grandpa was standing there pushing it and next thing he knew, none of his grandkids were even on the merry-go-round. 
 Abby and Colin racing Mo down the slide. Dude, where are their shoes?

On Sunday night Brian grated cheese until I told him to stop (a long time) and we put together some breakfast casseroles for Monday morning. It's a good thing we had a big breakfast because Monday was Lake Day! That's when I take the bulk of the pictures at Bear Lake. (Really, the rest of the time I'm looking for shoes and little boys.)
Aiden and Brighton got busy right away. (Brighton loves "Mimmie Mouse.")
Grandma and Grandpa rented a trampoline for us this year. I thought I'd walk out to it with Colin, but then I saw Hal up to his chin in water with Nate screaming bloody murder clinging to his back. That's not for me. I waited for Brian to give me a ride out to the trampoline. The boys and I sat on the edge for about an hour. They jumped a few times, but we mostly watched. Bridget came in from her ride with Brian on a wave runner and she slid down the slide into the water. The boys were impressed. :) Uncle Hal and Uncle Kyle had a little dance party/wrestling match on the trampoline. Then this happened:
I understand Nate has sworn vengeance on everyone in this photo who is not Hal.
Daddy and Bridget coming in from a ride. (I had my big lens on.)
Emil and Colin took rides with Daddy too, but none of my photos of that worked. Nate and Emil mostly played in the water together for a long time.
Colin did his best to empty the lake.
Brighton throwing sand. Don't mess, Abby.
I love this photo! Bridget is a Bear Lake Girl. :)
Brighton was not cool with her Auntie Janessa holding another baby. Colin will scratch her eyes out if she tries to do anything about it. Ha! He will, though.
Colin hard at work at the job site. I had to back up to take this because I didn't want to change my lens. Lazy.

We came back to the condo at about 2:00 hoping the kids would want to rest. I know Brian and I needed to take a nap. Instead, we changed swimsuits and went to the pool! It was full of people and the sun was in our eyes. We were probably only there for a half hour, but it seemed a lot longer than that (I'd forgotten my sunglasses). Bridget was swimming like a pro and the boys were putting their faces in the water on purpose and blowing bubbles. Fun! Monday night we had Sloppy Joes provided by Diana and Kyle. Nate declared it "delightful." :)
Colin and Bridget on the last morning. Emil was up at the crack of dawn, as usual. "Mommy! I awake!"
Somehow I didn't get any pictures of Grandma with the kids, so I made them look up at the camera while they were hanging out on the couch.

Just before we left town this morning, we had to get an official photo. This time I rigged up my camera on the deck of the house and lined everyone up. 
 Then I figured out how to use the timer and ran in to take my spot.
You can see all the faces! My work here is done. Everyone gave hugs goodbye and sang "Happy Birthday" to Debbie, then we all went to LeBeau's for a raspberry shake not knowing that we were all going to be there. AHAHAHAHAHA! Great minds think alike.