Monday, August 20, 2007

Vacation- Day Twelve- Salt Lake

I am so sorry to leave the vacation hanging. I started this post awhile back and then life exploded with school starting and all.

We started out the day with a family breakfast in a park by the Jordan River Temple. The kids stayed at the park, while a lot of us went to the Jordan River Temple.

After the temple, we went over to a nephew's house to help his wife decorate the cake for the 50th Anniversary picnic the next day. We rushed from there to Big Cottonwood Canyon (stopping to see the house where Perry grew up on the way) for the family campfire. The kids had a blast being outside. Gathering firewood was a huge hit. We enjoyed hot dogs and sang songs around the campfire.

What started out as a hug, ended up as fodder for Joshua's dating years.

Ed, Mischa, John and Anneliese. John quickly became Liesie's boyfriend and had her attached to him almost the whole time.

My man getting ready to cook.

Mischa loved the s'mores. She went around taking people's orders and making them.

One of my favourite pictures of the weekend.

A furry little friend came to snack off of what we dropped.

Making the fire. A VERY popular activity with the kids.
Before John, there was the ranch dip in Liesie's life. I think she probably ate 90% of it.

Caleb and a cousin. Thank goodness for batteries!

Yummy s'mores. Did you know that they make chocolate-flavoured marshmallows? They are really good. The strawberry ones are good, too, not too sweet.

More fun cousins.

Vacation- Day Eleven: Salt Lake

I don't have any pictures from today : ( We had a family get together at my brother-in-law's clubhouse and pool. We had a nephew come home from his mission and Anneliese absolutely fell in love with him. The kids had a blast and it was a great start to the reunion!


Thirteen years ago a little family was started.

A lot has happened in 13 years. A lot we didn't expect to ever go through, but, holding on to each other, we hung in there. I'm not one for deep thoughts, or eloquent words, so I'll just say that I love my husband even more now than I did when we first got married. The love caused by young hormones has given way to the love caused by more mature, though just as crazy hormones. As much as our lives have changed since that day 13 years ago, I was thinking about how huge the changes will be in the next 13 (in my perfect world)- our oldest back from a mission and in college, perhaps engaged himself, our oldest daughter learning to like online college courses from the safe confines of her room (lol), our next son getting ready for his mission, and a little girl getting ready to join her sister in her room until she's 30. The years have flown (time really does fly when you're having fun) and I can't have enough of them. Thank you, my love, for being the perfect husband, father, friend, and lover. Thank you for all you've given me- even though most of them involved sleepless nights and toxic waste diapers. Thank you for putting up with all of my idiosyncrasies (hey, spellcheck says I spelled that right!). I LOVE YOU!!!!!

I was going to post pictures, but the scanner doesn't want to seem to work for me, so I'll have to have my handsome husband figure it out when he comes home tonight : )

Menu Plan Monday

I received my Simple and Delicious magazine this weekend, so it's let's experiment week.

Saturday- Leftover chicken enchilada casserole and spaghetti and meatballs

Sunday- Italian sausage with bowtie pasta, French bread

Monday- Happy 13th Anniversary to us!! Pork Kiev, roasted potatoes

Wednesday- Kids' favourite chili, crackers

Thursday- Potato flake chicken, corn

Friday- Homemade pizza
Come play over at Laura's with us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vacation- Day Ten: Off to Salt Lake

After all the craziness of the day before, we were all ready for a nice, air-conditioned car ride. We drove through St. George, and the kids and I got to see the St. George Temple.
Photo courtesy of the St. George Temple page on

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of the landscape in this area. We were in constant smoke or dust for probably 3 hours. The smoke was from the Milford Flat fire. I had heard how big the fire was, but to actually see the aftermath was heartbreaking. The highway we were on had been closed a few days before we came through, and it was still smoking in some areas. We could see the orange repellent on the road and got to see two helicopters, one filling up at a pond, and another flying to the pond.

We pulled into Coleen's in Salt Lake right about dinner. The kids were thrilled to meet more cousins. Caleb was thrilled to have more boys to play with. We continued our practice of happily staying up too late.


Caleb started karate right after we got back from our vacation. Our dojo really likes to award based on obeying, so to earn his white belt, we had to "catch" him doing things he should without being told. After five of these "Zero Rules", he was able to earn his belt and to break a board with his hand. His instructor was a little nervous at first, and during some kicking drills, he called him over to work on some self defense (but was really testing how hard he could hit). After hitting his instructor a couple of times, the instructor discovered that Caleb is very strong for his size and would have no problem. At the end of class he got to break his board.
And on July 31, 2007, another white belt was born. No sweat, according to Caleb. Now he's off to earn his blue star for 40 days of "Black Belt Mornings"- totally getting ready for school on time and with a smile on his face. If I remember right, they get red stars for every straight A report card.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I had to do a little shuffling around of the plan this week, since I forgot to plug in the crockpot yesterday. We're also all about quick meals this week, with lots of stuff going on in the evenings.

Saturday- Turkey sloppy joes and tater tots
Sunday- Creamy marinara tortellini
Monday-Moe's Southwest Grill
Tuesday- Ranch Chicken, corn, rice
Wednesday- Stirfry
Thursday- Soup (yay Campbells!)
Friday- Homemade pizza and popcorn

Laura's got lots of yummy stuff going on- go check her out!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Vacation- Day Nine: Nonstop Action

This was by far the hardest day of our vacation. I still have no idea how the kids survived- much less the near absence of complaining from them.

We started out the day in Flagstaff. We then started our drive to the Grand Canyon. The drive was nice and uneventful. The weather was absolutely fabulous for Arizona in July. The day before, the high at the Grand Canyon was 97 degrees. This day it was 87 degrees.

We parked near the front of the park, at Mather Point. The view was fantastic. The kids and Perry humoured me and my fear of heights by staying one big step away from the fence, lol. I tried to get close to the fence a few times, but it just made me dizzy and nauseous.

Don't ask me about the face Mischa is making- don't have a clue there...

After seeing Mather's Point, we jumped on the shuttle to the Bright Angel trail, made famous in the book, Brighty of the Grand Canyon.

To the right was the El Tovar Hotel.

After we took this family picture, a guy came and let us borrow his binoculars so we could see the two mule trains on the trail. Liesie wasn't liking me taking pictures for some reason

One thing I learned was that most of the buildings on the South Rim were designed by Mary E.J. Colter. I loved the Geologic Fireplace that she created, which mimics the strata of the Canyon.

We walked out of the lodge to catch the shuttle and saw the train from the Grand Canyon to Williams. Liesie and Josh really liked the "choo choo".

We then went back into Grand Canyon Village and caught the IMAX movie at the National Geographic visitor's center. I was really amazed at John Wesley Powell, who went down the Colorado River with only one arm.

Our original plan from here was to get to Las Vegas via the Hoover Dam. In Kingman, though, we had to change our plans. The highway was due to be closed over the Hoover Dam at 7:00, and we were an hour away at 6:00. We didn't feel comfortable cutting it so close, since if we missed getting through, the only way to Las Vegas would be to go back to Kingman, so we went west to Bullhead City. We made it to Las Vegas maybe about 10 minutes later than we would've if we made it to the Hoover Dam. We checked into the hotel and were out on the strip at 9:00. We parked at Caesar's Palace (wow) and took off to Treasure Island to see the pirate show.

F.A.O. Schwarz

It was so hot and crowded in front of Treasure Island. If we had really thought about it, a show called the Sirens of T.I. didn't sound very family friendly, and I am very glad that the kids could only see the fireworks and pyrotechnics from the show. I know that this family trip was part educational, but I didn't count on giving them the lesson the sirens were going to give them. We went to the Mirage to catch the volcano eruption, but, after waiting in front of the hotel for 15 minutes, we realized that we would have to wait another 15 for the eruption. The kids were melting onto the sidewalk by now, so we decided to run back to Caesar's Palace and catch their show, which was indoors. I loved the curved escalators in the Shopping Forum. The Harry Winston store wasn't a bad place to window shop, either. We made the show just as it was starting and the kids really liked it. There was even a big saltwater aquarium that the boys really liked.

We decided to call it a night and to just do a quick driveby of all the casinos on the strip. We caught a glimpse of the Bellagio fountains, and I'm sad we didn't get to see them. The kids really liked all of the different casinos. We got back to the hotel (which reallly liked me- we were on the 11th floor and the elevator was glass) around midnight. The kids just dropped, and it was the first time in the trip that Anneliese didn't wake up during the night.