Saturday, October 31, 2009

To Trick or To Treat . . . that is the question.

Our week started out with Halloween school parties on Wednesday. Children are not allowed to wear masks to school, so Ian had to come up with a quick alternative. He ended up going as Russell from the movie, "Up." No one knew who he was. Ian came home from school and said, "Of course no one knew who I was. I wasn't chubby enough!" He almost refused to carry the chocolate bar (which Russell does in the movie) because even touching chocolate is disgusting to Ian!

Nyah dressed up as an Arabian princess and Carson was a Ninja for the 2nd year in a row. He's really stuck on any sort of sword fighting. Unfortunately, he couldn't wear his mask to school or carry a sword! Outfit -- revised!

We had various Halloween parties to dress up again for on Thursday and Friday. By the time Saturday rolled around for trick-or-treating, everyone was a little bit tuckered out. We decided to do it for the candy, and put the outfits on one more time. Ian chose to opt out of trick-or-treating this year. He sat on the stairs with the bowl of candy and scared all of the children with his mask and high pitched scream. Children were frightened, adults were slightly annoyed, but Ian had a blast! I think it was his favorite Halloween so far -- no candy and lots of scares!

Best costume of the night goes to our neighbor who dressed up as the house in "Up." Absolute genius!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

No More Sweaty Dinners!

We have lived for 7 years now with a hot kitchen. The heat does not come from our oven. It comes from the sun that beats on the back of our house from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Most of the family has sweat dripping down their faces during dinnertime. Well, that's an exaggeration -- but it is NOT comfortable!

Our FABULOUS friend and neighbor just finished framing and contracting out some work for a patio cover for the back of our home. He got all of the work completed in around a week! We are so happy with his work.

We LOVE it and are enjoying sweatfree dinners! Now, all we need is the patio!

The Bounty

My mom told me about a new way to plant potatoes -- inside old tires. We planted our spuds in May, and then worked hard all summer long, watering, weeding, and babying those potatoes.

We were so excited when Grandma Joannie told us that it was time to harvest our taters! The boys dug through the dirt, excited to root out 5 or 10 pounds of potatoes for dinner. This is what we found!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cowboys in the Chapel!

Sunday was our last day in Arizona. We went to church with Kristin and Brian. They live in a ward that has 100 children under the age of 2. I've known for a while that I am done having children, but after attending the sacrament meeting in their ward, I am DEFINITELY done -- in fact, I think I will go have my tubes tied even though Aaron's already been snipped -- just as an extra precaution!!

We sat down on some hard folding chairs near the back of the cultural hall -- we weren't late, it's just a BIG ward. A member of the Bishopric got up and started talking into the microphone: "Welcome to Mum . . .mmmm . . . bbbb. We are sssss . . . but ttttt . . . . Bro. C . . . .was . . . . . to . . . . ." I looked at Kristin for a translation. It turns out that the sound system was down. A nice brother from the ward had brought a home microphone system to hook up, which didn't help at all. All I heard was mumbling from the pulpit.

Unfortunately, it was a young missionary's homecoming that day. The poor guy might as well not have prepared a talk. I could hear him sobbing a couple of times and saw him wipe his eyes a lot, so I tried to guess whether his mission had been super spiritual or a catastrophe. I couldn't hear any of his stories, so I started looking around me for some entertainment.

In the row in front of us, a young couple with 3 small children were the most entertaining to watch. The mom had brought some of those cardboard shapes with holes punched out around the edges and pieces of yarn for the children to try to sew with. Instead of sewing, the 4 year old son had turned a long piece of the yarn into a lasso which he had tightened around his father's neck. The 2 year old daughter ate 3 packs of fruit snacks, left the room for a couple of drinking fountain breaks, and then conned her dad into 2 pieces of gum, which she promptly chewed up and then stuck on the ground under the chair in front of me. What a zoo!

My attention next turned to a teenager 2 rows in front of me with a red cast on his right hand/arm. I watched him pick lint out of his cast for about 10 minutes before I lost interest.

I looked over to my right. I saw Brian and Kristin taking a nap. What a good idea! Then, I noticed a boy to the right of them rubbing a glue stick all over his cheeks while his mom watched. And what do you know? She was smiling at him -- giving him a thumbs up! It must've been washable glue or else she had completely lost it!

I came away from that Sacrament Meeting with a newfound love for my own children who occassionally look bored out of their minds or color on their hands during the talks. I think I need to thank them next Sunday for being so good. At least I don't have a lasso around MY neck!

HIghlights of Arizona

Picked up at airport by Krissy! What a happy reunion!

Mom played Ruth's grand piano and got tips! I really wish I would've kept taking lessons!

Went to Kristin and Brian's gorgeous apartment for baked ziti. Yummy!!

Posed by random license plate for pictures. Got some strange looks from onlookers.

My favorite part of the trip was eating and lounging. Here we are lounging on a white coach at "Blanco" restaurant before stuffing our faces with some fabulous Mexican fare.

Mom's meal was the most interesting: literally, a MOUNTAIN of salad!

Biehly cooked the best dinner: chicken cakes, bleu cheese potatoes, and glazed pear salad. If I invite you over for dinner and serve this, you'll know I really love you!

Hanging out on campus with Brian and Kristin. I've really got to get back into school. In some sick, twisted way, I miss cramming for tests!

After all that rest and relaxation, I returned to Spanish Fork to find the whole house SICK! At least I was well rested from all the shopping, eating, and lounging. Vacation is fabulous -- but boy, it's nice to come home!! (If you noted any sarcasm in that statement . . . well . . .)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Heading off to Arizona

Mom and I decided to get the heck out of Dodge and head to sunny Arizona for a long weekend of R&R to visit Biehly and Kristin.

When Mom and I got on the airplane for our flight to Phoenix, we found that our seats were located by the noisiest part of the plane; the engine! There was also an emergency exit door right across from me which had a suspicious looking brace holding it together. The stewardess kept checking it with a worried look on her face. Who says airplanes are safer than cars?

When the stewardess walked by later with snacks, she looked at me and said, "Peanuts or cookies?"

I quickly replied, "YES!"

"Which one?" she asked, grouchy that someone would dare assume that both would be given.

"Cookies?" I said, hoping my choice would be the right one. I figured the stewardess must be feeling especially stressed, wondering if that duct tape was going to hold throughout the trip.

My mom, who switched seats before the snacks to avoid the noise of the engine said she asked her stewardess for both peanuts and cookies and was given both. Mom has always known how to get her way! I've really gotta watch and learn!

Needless to say, we were happy to land with the door securely strapped shut and Mom's tummy full of peanuts and cookies.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Larsen Elementary celebrated its 30th Birthday yesterday! Who knew that schools have birthday parties?! As a tribute to the school, there was an assembly with musical performances from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and present day. It was American Idol style, with judges. Luckily, there was no Simon in attendance.

I was blessed to receive an invitation to dance with the PTA for the 80s number, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," originally sung by Cyndi Lauper. Believe it or not, it was tough to get an outfit together and to do my hair for the performance. In the 80s, my bangs were a foot tall and my peg leg pants were always tightly folded, but I think I lost my groove.

My neighbor and I went shopping at a local thrift store to try to get our 80s groove back. She found a super short skirt for me and I unearthed a ghastly orangy vest(my Massillon Tiger pals from high school would've been proud!). Unfortunately, I couldn't find any stretchy pants to wear under the skirt. Cali finally drug out an old pair of hers that she was getting rid of. They weren't quite stretchy enough for me though. The waistband only came up mid-butt, so I decided I'd just have to be really careful not to bend over when we danced.

We ended up having a blast on stage. The students loved it. They definitely made us all feel like super stars! Unfortunately, the judges awarded the Student Council, who performed the Macarena, the coveted 1st place prize. Our PTA 80s group held our heads high throughout the awards assembly, and pretended that we weren't devastated. Maybe next year will be our year to be the champions! My stretchy pants won't be making it back next year though. I can't figure it out, but for some reason, the stitching seems to be wearing awfully thin in the buttocks area!!

Grandparent Day

The kindergartners celebrated "Grandparent Day" at school, put on a singing performance for all the grannies and grandpas, and then got to eat a sack lunch with their loving relatives.

The funniest part was when Carson's teacher revealed how old the kindergartners had guessed their grandparents to be. Most of those in attendance were in their 50s and 60s. Some of the children guessed that their grandpa or grandma was 100 years old. Nothing like a little boost for the self-esteem when you've taken time off of work to see your grandkid perform! Luckily Carson guessed that Grandma Joannie is 60. She would've preferred 30, but we'll take it!

When we went into the cafeteria to hear the children sing, I kept smelling a horrible fishy smell in the near vicinity. "Boy, cafeterias stink!" I thought to myself. It turns out, the smell was the popcorn chicken I had brought for Grandma Joannie and Carson's lunch. I need to apologize to everyone sitting at our table. I guess popcorn chicken is better eaten RIGHT away before its true odor reveals itself.