Sunday, June 29, 2008

Attacked by Pirates!

After a three hour drive across the desert yesterday, I was attacked by pirates!

There we were, Riley, Emilee and I, just trying to see my brother David's new house, and wish the boys a happy birthday....

When the door to the house flew open, it all broke loose: Pirates, swords, treasure, and trying to decide the difference between booty, bootie, and bootay.

There are better pictures of the party, which was for Sam, Josh and Henry, but this is the one I got. Emilee's face is being blocked here. I called her, "The Good Sport Pirate." It was nice that she wasn't the oldest pirate the whole time. You can see that my big/little brother Jon was an awesome pirate too.





Pictured here is the Dread Pirate Lizzie, who eventually took the ship down:




The pirates had to wear double eye patches at pinata time. After Emilee had both eyes covered, the kids handed her the inflatable sword, rather than the bat. They all thought they were pretty funny, and I thought they were adorable. Emilee looked like some kind of Stevie Wonder pirate. Don't miss Mason and Ava there in the background. Oh, you don't see them? Maybe you can if I tell you that since they couldn't be there yet, their parts were being played by Jon and Lisa:




I don't know if you can have a good pirate party, without a battle on the open sea. This isn't a battle scene here, because the battle scene and the camera didn't go so well together. There were many squirting toys...and I was taken down by that Dread Pirate Lizzie many times. She has a great aim! The boys seemed to want to do more of a Klingon thing, involving Steve. Fun times....:)



When I was totally out gunned, there was a safe place. This was the (mostly) splash free zone. I sat over here, when I knew I had enough water in my ears:



Here is a better picture of Emilee as a pirate. I had that sword held to my neck more than once. She said that for some reason, she really enjoyed doing that. I wonder if I should be worried:



Both girls enjoyed getting into character:




Emilee had a little time to get acquainted with her brand new cousin. She is not even three weeks old yet. Emilee marveled over each little part of her.



Our long drive was so worth it. It is amazing that David and Cari (who made the best cake I ever had in my life) could put on such a fun party, when they have a new baby, and a new house. It was the most fun I ever had being attacked by pirates.

And now, for some random phrases from my road trip.

The strange:

"Just by the way, I don't like it when people call Oreos, cookies."

The stranger - and not all together pc:

"I hate it when white people say WORD."

And the real head scratcher:

"I hope those sea horses were married."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Night

My feet hurt. Riley says it is because I didn't sit down today. She's close to right.

I did sit while my oil was changed. My car is now long gone to Las Vegas retrieving Kaitie....it went without me. I will be happy to have her back.

I tried to get a lot of work done today, and my laundry mountain is now a mere hill.

Tonight I was a room mom for Riley's class, for the last night of the recital. It went well, but my feet do hurt. Most of the moms I worked with tonight were great, and made the evening go better than I thought it might. (In that word "most," read in: and some people just need to get over themselves.)

Last night, Jeff and I got to watch the show. The kids did a fantastic job, and we enjoyed it. Now, I enjoy that it is over. Good night.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Shouldn't Complain.....



It's time for the dance recital. This is Emilee in her hip hop costume. Awesome, isn't it? When you are me, and signing up for a class like that at the beginning of the year, there is a small piece of dread inside as to what the dance and costume for the recital might be. So why sign up? Well, she really wanted to get back into dance after not dancing much for some years. There are only a few things available for a relative beginner, at her age. I crossed my fingers, and held my breath. It worked. The dance she does is cute too....:)

The first couple of days of dance rehearsal weren't bad for me. I only have two kids in town right now, and they are both in the show. I didn't have to worry about the other places I needed to be. There weren't any. Strange. Also, I enjoyed watching my girls dance. I haven't watched the practices much, so I loved seeing what they have been working on. This is particularly true about Emilee. I can see that her heart is going to stay in this for awhile, and it should.

The show they are in has a double cast, and so there are four shows....Thursday through Sunday. Amazingly enough, all four dances that my girls do, are in Cast A, so we only have to do Thursday and Friday. So, I like the costumes, dances, and lucked out to be only in Cast A. I shouldn't have complaints....

The dress rehearsal last night was such madness. I don't know if that much estrogen should be allowed to be concentrated in one area at a time! Frantic women and girls scrambled for bobby pins, like hungry children to a broken pinata. Gas masks should have been available, for the hairspray intolerant. In an incident too complicated to explain, Riley's whole class was misplaced for awhile. I'm having a hard time looking forward to doing it two more times. But, some people still have to do it four more times, so I know I should just smile....and bring an extra suitcase of bobby pins tonight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Wonder.......



"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June."

(Said by L. M. Montgomery's Anne, with an e, Shirley)

The wild-eyed, happy girl in the picture, who gets to go to swimming lessons instead of school, would like June to last for a long time. The mom who is baked alive while watching, couldn't take June forever....but she really does get a kick out of the wild-eyed, happy girl.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!



Today my mom and dad celebrate their 47th anniversary. Amazing, isn't it?

My parents spent most of those years with kids in the house, nine of us in all. I think that is pretty amazing too. There I was, an eye witness, and yet it is still hard to imagine.

When we were last at their house, two weeks ago, I took this picture of their gardening hats by the back door. I love how the hats represent them right now. They are still working hard, but not the same work they did most of their lives. They are living a life they enjoy. Most of all, they are more together than ever.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! (Imagine the party we have to throw in three years.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why June 20 Was an Extra Long Day....

If you had two lost hours in Las Vegas that you were ashamed of, you would probably have a pretty interesting story to tell, wouldn't you? Maybe you would just adopt the trite "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" theory....

Friday morning, Kaitie and I set off for the airport in Las Vegas. There are many closer airports, but this one is the one we set off for. In the last three or so years our family has had so many problems with airlines and connecting flights. I decided I would rather drive across the blistering desert than put Kaitie in one of those situations by herself.

A friend loaned me a book on CD that she said Kaitie and I would enjoy, but I knew I would not put it in on the drive to LV. Kaitie can be really good company. We seem to get along pretty well these days, even when we don't agree.

I could write a huge post just about shopping with her the other day, but I will just add a couple of brief thoughts here. We had just shopped for a new swimming suit for her trip. Thankfully, that wasn't a traumatic event. (I only sent her one annoying text message while she was in the dressing room.)

As we left the store she reminded me that she still needed ziploc bags and a tank top. I suggested that we just get both from Walmart really quickly and go home. She didn't even try to mask her horror at the thought of actually walking through the clothing section of Walmart. She said if we only had time to go there, she would skip the tank.

I understand that she doesn't want her wardrobe coming from Walmart, but a tank top is just an accessory the way she wears it. I thought I would be able to get her to see that once we were in the store. We picked up ziplocs and snacks for the trip easily. On our way to the check out I told her I thought we could pick up the tank top as quickly and easily as we had the water bottles and mint Oreos. Her answer was negative. I said, "Just walk slowly BY the clothing, moving only your eyes to the side...." Kaitie just wanted to go. I couldn't let it go.

I pushed my cart through the section, instead of slowly next to it. I saw tanks of all colors, shapes and sizes. I knew I could get one into the cart and out the door with no trouble. I was wrong. She stood her ground. Then she stood on my ground by taking my cart, and rushing to the check out. I could not stop her, or my laughter. Since we were each amused in our own way, we left there more bonded than divided by our disagreement. We seem to be able to mostly roll like that.

So we had a great visit in the car, with no book on CD involved. I let her play anything she wanted to on the radio. XM provides just the variety we need. Kaitie was even considerate enough to remember what I am burned out on (mostly John Mayer) and change it accordingly. It was nice, but the airport exit couldn't come soon enough for her.

I had never driven to the airport in LV, but I had a general idea. I forgot to run a map quest, but I was confident. I usually have a pretty good sense of direction, and figure things out quickly. We only had a little trouble with a couple of wrong turns while we figured out the entrance and parking in the airport.

I was grateful that they issued me a gate pass, so I could go through security with her. I was told on the phone that there was no guarantee that I would be able to go to the plane with her. They said that it would depend upon what was going on at the airport that day. My thought was, "If something bad is going on, then all the more reason I need to be with her!" Once in the airport we continued our nice visit, with a picnic on the airport floor....eating sandwiches that cost almost as much as the gas to get there.

It was nice to hug her, watch her walk away, and then watch the plane fly away. That is a rare thing anymore. It used to be an airport ritual to really watch the plane leave. I'll see her in a week, so it wasn't this huge goodbye, but I still liked being a little dramatic in my mind and watching the plane until I couldn't see it anymore.

The next two hours are those which would be hard to write about....those lost two hours. Let us just say that my sense of direction failed me, time and time again. My lost hours were just that....LOST. I have never been so turned around, and misunderstanding my place in space as I was at that time. Anyone familiar with LV would be puzzled with my predicament, and thought pattern. Well, so am I! And that's all I've got to say about that.

Saturday, June 21, 2008



Saturday morning, two weeks ago today, found us back in Utah with all my girls together again. We didn't get to have all the kids together at any time on the trip. It's strange that we are to the point where that is a hard goal to achieve.

I was so happy to see Kaitie! We had talked, and sent text messages daily, but it was nice to have her with us. She was full of stories from her week at EFY. She was also exhausted...I don't think they slept much the whole week.

We took Ally to the grocery store, and made her fill a cart. That would have been my fantasy come true when I was a student! She was so cute as she stated that she couldn't remember how long it had been since she spent more than $20 at time on herself. At the store her exclamations like, "You mean I can have bagels?" reminded me of being a college student.

After the grocery store, we went to the mall. If you know me, then you know I am not a shopper. It was fun however, to help Ally find some needed (and cute) things.

The day flew, and too soon we were hugging Ally goodbye. All that was left of our trip, was driving home.

I had Kaitie back until yesterday. She is off on another summer adventure now, which started yesterday. One of her best friends moved to Washington last year, and yesterday I put Kaitie on a plane to Washington, so she can have another sleepless week!

The trip to put her on that plane made yesterday really qualify as the longest day of the year...June 20 is that, you know.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June 6, 2008

The girls nourished themselves for their last day at Yellowstone with leftover pizza:



The first day we were in the park, I wouldn't have let Emilee out of the car near any animal. By this, the third day I let her stand by the car to take some pictures:



This picture is of an eagle's nest. We only saw the eagle itself once, and I didn't get the picture:



We walked around the Midway Geyser Basin, and here is Emilee next to the Grand Prismatic Spring. The day was colder than the others we experienced:



I think this one was called the Excelsior Geyser....you can't even see how huge it is, because of all the steam:




This, the Turquoise Pool, was one of the most beautiful I saw on the trip:






Here is Riley, while she and I waited for Jeff and Emilee to return from their hike to Mystic Falls:



And here they are back...cold, and happy. That hike was a real highlight for them:



You can see in this picture, that Riley was getting tired and cold herself...at this time I wondered if she was past the point of having fun:



And then, another highlight! It started to snow. Here are the girls feeling the snow fall on them, for the first time in their lives. They have been in snow just a little, but not when it was actually snowing. I told them they better catch a few flakes while they could, because I didn't imagine it would stick at all in June:



But soon, the view out my window looked like this:







This was an odd sight to us. Two bison were crossing the river in the snow:





Back in town, we pulled over and let the girls play for awhile again. I'm sure the locals thought we were out of our minds, being excited about snow on June 6. They had to be very tired of it.




You can see that Riley was not at all past the point of having fun:



After this snowball fight, we went to McDonald's for hot chocolate. It felt so nice to get warm. The guy working there said he had seen snow on July 4 there before....and while he talked to us, he made ice cream cones for the other customers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yellowstone, Day 2 (Vacation, Day 7)

We were excited that Ryan could join us on our second day in Yellowstone.






On our drive that day, we pulled over and tried to get a good picture of this moose. It is not a great picture, but you can tell it is a moose anyway....










We stopped to walk around this area called Norris. The smell there is strong, as you can tell by looking at Riley.




I love this picture of Ryan and Emilee, because they were on the same wavelength. I really want my kids to be close, even when their ages are not....







Ryan gave Riley a good review on what it is like to have a brother around....teasing and all.









After Norris, we drove to the Mammoth Hot Springs area.





Ryan said that the look of the area reminded him a bit of Mongolia.







Riley didn't want to walk to the look out, so she and I stayed behind while Jeff, Emilee and Ryan walked up. Here is the picture I took of them way up there. Of course as soon as we saw them up there, Riley wanted to go up after all. I told her we could meet them half way, so we walked up while they walked down.



We had to take Ryan back into town about 3:00 p.m. so he could go back to school and work. It was fun while it lasted!

Rather than go back into the park, we decided to explore the town. We did some shopping and went to the IMAX movie. It seemed good for the girls to shift gears a little.




We ate at a little pizza place right here by the edge of town. I was glad for pizza, because I wasn't in the mood for elk burger! You can see that we were close to the edge of town. That sign in the background is for the entrance of the park...


Monday, June 16, 2008

Yellowstone

We have been home a week now, and here I am still trying to finish writing about our vacation.

We woke up that Wednesday morning in Idaho, ate breakfast with Ryan, and continued on our trip north. Our destination was Yellowstone. It was my first time to go there. Jeff has been wanting to go back, since his boyhood visit.

We stayed in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana, where the west entrance of the park is. Here are a few pictures of our day....



Sure, we saw a lot of bison in the park, but this happened near the beginning of our visit, so it was amazing to us. Cars had to pull over so this herd could pass through. They walked on both sides of the car.







We headed right for Old Faithful because that's what tourists do. Young girl tourists from the desert are almost as excited about their umbrellas, as they are about geysers.





It rained a lot while we waited for Old Faithful to blow. The people next to us were from Minnesota. They took the weather differently than we did. One little girl ate ice cream, while we huddled together shivering. The crowd chanted pretend count downs, that were pretty funny. There were way too many jokes about Old Faithful not being very Faithful....

When the spray and steam finally shot up, I thought it was awesome. My picture doesn't do it justice.







The girls are sitting on a big porch here at the Old Faithful Lodge, where we ate. Of course the weather had cleared up nicely now, since we were no longer standing outside.





Our next stop was the West Thumb of the lake. It was so beautiful. Riley was worried during this walk, because there were signs about watching out for bison.





The boiling pools were so beautiful and blue. It seemed strange to have hot water and cold water right next to each other.







This picture of Emilee is one of my favorite of the trip. It looks like a fake background to me....can you see the elk having a little snack back there?






The day had turned bright, but was still pretty cold. We found warmth, by standing in the steam coming off the boiling pools.