Thursday, August 30, 2012

Girls Road Trip, not quite Thelma and Louise, but almost.

After Graduation and our trip to Arizona for the funeral, 
Diana had two weeks of summer school.  
Finally we were free to fulfill our dream of getting out of Vegas and the heat.

Each summer we love to go up to Spanish Fork and hang with cousins and
pretty much avoid responsibility for as long as possible.

We have kind of developed a system for our drives to Utah.
We know where the best bathrooms are, and
where all the Cafe Rio's are located.
If we stop to eat in St George, we like to go to In-N-Out.
If it is Cedar City, then we usually go with Cafe Rio, although 
Panda Express is right across the street.
If we need to eat in Beaver, Jack in the Box has great fry sauce.
Filmore has a Subway next to the gas station.
And we have been know to do some shopping at the Wal Mart in Cedar
if the need arises. (ie the CD player or DVD player needs replacing)

And of course we can't forget to mention the Cheese Factory in Beaver.
If we are not on a time constraint, we simply MUST stop there.
They have the best ice cream, cheese curds, and jewelry.
Who'd have thunk it, that you could find great priced jewelry at
the Beaver Cheese Factory.  
But I wouldn't lie to you about a thing like that.

My most favoritest flavor of ice cream is Lemon Custard.
I had some there a couple of years ago, and it
took me right back to my youth at Baskin Robbins.
Oh how I love that Lemony creamy goodness in the form of a frozen confection.
The bad news to this addiction is that the Cheese Factory changes its flavors
as often as its underwear, and Lemon Custard is not always on the menu.
I know the horror and injustice, I tell you.

I have taken to calling the factory from the freeway to 
inquire if they are selling my form of crack that day or not.
No Lemon Custard, not worth the 30 minute detour. 
However, their phone number was tragically deleted from my phone a while back.
I was feeling in a hurry to get to Spanish Fork this day.  The last few times I stopped without calling,
they didn't have the Lemon Custard, much to my despair.

I said to Diana, 'I bet they won't have it today.  Let's not stop."
To which she replied, "Well don't you think we ought to just check it out".
I would like to think that her motives were to help satisfy my cravings, but I am 
pretty sure she was just in it for the jewelry.

And so we stopped, and it was my LUCKY DAY because on this 
glorious occasion they did have the Lemon Custard.
But they were out of waffle cones.  Oh the misery.
It is just not the same without the waffle cone.
I contemplated stopping at the grocery store and purchasing my own,
 but decided that was a little bit ridiculous.  
So no waffle cone, but a double scoop of Lemon Custard - yes, please.
So after the squeaky cheese and the jewelry, it is kind of expensive ice cream.
But delicious none the less.

Finally we were on the road again.
And just after we passed Filmore there was a fire on the left side of the road.
Now of course being me, I just whipped out my phone and started clicking
pictures.  Because surely there are no safety hazards to taking pictures
while driving, right?
It looked pretty intense over there.
Check out some of the shots I took:
Look how it was pretty black on the one side of the road and then just blue sky.

I don't think anyone was hurt, but it was not something I drive by everyday.

Finally we made it.  We always receive quite the reception from my nieces and nephews.
It makes one feel rather special and loved.

One of the things we did while we were there was take a horse riding lesson from my sister's neighbor.
It was great and very thorough.  

We also had a photo shot with one of my sisters friends.
Here is a shot of Diana and my nephew.
It was really hot that day and as incentive for smiling and cooperation
shaved ice was offered.
It was super yummy!

The girls hung out a ton and did things like dress up and make overs.
My nieces love to hang with Diana in the bathroom and watch her get ready.
My niece Megan.
We were pretty busy, but every now and then there was time for cuddling on the couch.
Or even a quick nap.
My nieces love to take pictures on my phone.  
You  never quite know what kind of picture will show up.
Lots of lovely pictures of home decor like this one:
Some of their brother:
Some self portraits:
Or cute ones of the sister:
Or the other sister:
Here's a great one of Diana.  Don't tell her I posted this, 
she is in that lovely 13 year old stage where she doesn't 
want me to post about her.
But seriously, how gorgeous is this girl?  
I am contemplating locking her in her room until she is 18, just so you know.
And look how instagram can take a messy toy room floor and make it look special.
I like this one a lot.
You may have already seen this one on facebook ,but it is to great to leave off of this post.
Lizzie is trying to shade  Diana.  Nice benefit to small children.
Of course there were trips to Macey's for ice cream and the bins of candy.
Here is a nice assortment of air heads.  Sugar anyone?
Diana took this one of my nephew.  Such a cute little kid.
And I love this shot as well.
We also went to Seven Peaks twice.  
And planned the food for our upcoming family reunion.
 I got my hair done, which is when I went blonde. I kind of love it.  
Perhaps blondes do have more fun.
And we just generally hung out and had a great time.
The Forth of July happened in there somewhere, but it was kind of a non even for us.
I have to admit to having small panic attacks when I would think of all the things
needing to be done back in Vegas.  This was only 3 weeks before Trent was due to come home.
It seemed a bit ridiculous to be sitting relaxing at a water park 
when I needed to paint his room and clean out the junk
 that had accumulated for the past two years.

I love Spanish Fork.  If I can't move there, visiting often is the next best thing.  

Overall we were very glad we went, and 
sometimes mandatory relaxing is a good thing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trip to Seattle

Back in May I went to Seattle for Memorial weekend, but more importantly I went to help my sister move into a new house.  She was busy crazy working at a full time job and she really just didn't have the time to pack up a house she had lived in for 17 years.  I had a plane ticket coupon that needed to be used and some time to spare, so it all worked out pretty well.  And hey what are sisters for if not for free labor?

First of all let me just say that the word "move" is a four letter word in my vocabulary.  I don't like to hear it, I don't want to say it, and I certainly don't like to do it.  And I suppose a big part of that is because it is closely related to other four letter words like "work" and "hard" and "pain".  And seriously I don't care who you are or how organized or how much time you have, have you EVER heard anyone say the words "I just moved and it was the best thing that ever happened to me."  No, something, somehow does not go as planned.  There are always the small things that go wrong and were unexpected. I once moved from one apartment to the apartment next door and I had  a month to make the move.  It was probably one of the best moves I have gone through, but still not as easy as not moving.  But sometimes it is a necessary evil. Every time I have moved I have been helped by friends and family, and I could not have done it without them.  So this time it was my turn to pay back a little packing Karma.

It was a little bit crazy for me, because Diana had her orchestra concert at 6:00 pm and my flight left at 9:00 pm that night.  Of course I had been crazy busy working all week, and so I was sitting listening to the orchestra and freaking out a tiny bit on the inside that I hadn't packed yet, and I was leaving for the airport in just an hour.  Luckily, we had brought two cars and so once the 7th grade orchestra was finished playing, I went home to pack, while Marion stayed and brought Diana home.  It was also ridiculously hot, close to 100 and the AC wasn't working in the middle school gym.  My sister told me that it was 50 degrees and raining all day in Seattle, but it was certainly hard to wrap my brain around the fact that it was going to be cold.  In fact the last thing I did before getting in the car for the airport was to change out of my shorts into long pants.

Surprisingly there was no line at security and I whizzed through in just a few minutes.  I don't think that has ever happened before.  My flight was very uneventful.  I was bitter about the fact that I had downloaded a book to my phone and I had to turn it off during take off.  I watched the girl on the other side of the aisle enviously as she read her "old" fashioned paperback book.  Score one for real books.   If we are keeping score, I do really like reading on my phone.  Score 1 for how light weight it is and score another point for the fact that it is lit and so you can turn off the light in your room and read in bed and when you want to fall asleep you don't have to turn off the light.  I am not sure how to score the convenience of being able to get just about any book you want with the downside of paying for that connivance.  The best thing to do would be to be patient enough to wait for the book you want to become available from the library, but we all know that I don't have much patience.  I guess the question becomes, which do I have more of patience or money, and so far it has been money.  Ok serious tangent about books.   Meanwhile back at the ranch, lets just say I was annoyed I couldn't read for the short time they made me turn off my phone. 

The first day I was there (Thursday), my parents were working at the temple and my sister had to go to work, so I went over to her house and packed up her pantry which had some of the magical qualities of the closet in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  It was a big project to get finished and by the end of the day it was done.  My other sister arrived that evening to help as well.

Friday, my mom, sister and I spent the day packing and made a lot of progress.  That night we went out to eat at our favorite sea food place Anthony's.  It overlooks the sound and the view is amazing.  There was a beautiful sunset while we were eating.

We stopped and got out of the car so we could get a shot of this.

I don't get back to Seattle very often, and I always forget just how green it is there.  You don't see this in Vegas.

If it is clear you can see Mt Rainier from my parents balcony.  It is a bit hazy but you can barely make it out.  In the winter when it is always cloudy, you can be here for a week and never see the mountain.

My sister's kids had a dance festival the day we were moving in, because why wouldn't they?  Actually it was a nice break from the unpacking to go and sit and watch them perform.

Here is a better shot of the mountain, although I snapped it in the car while we were driving.
And one more.

Saturday morning, the move went really well.  There must have been 20 people show up to help.  My sister was Relief Society president for quite awhile.  She has helped many people in the ward and they were all anxious to help her when she needed it.

Here is a shot of my dad climbing up in the truck to get things secured.  Someone else from his ward was there and he said that this is normal for my Dad.  

We got a lot into the van and trucks, but it is always amazing just how much stuff you can accumulate in seventeen years.  It required several trips.

This is a shot of her neighborhood.  She moved to a lovely neighborhood close to some really good schools.
And here is a shot of her front door.  Her house is really nice and she should be very happy there.  Her new ward came and really helped out with the unloading.  The RS came and helped get her kitchen unpacked.  Thank goodness for the help of the church at times like these.
Finally it was time for me to head home.  Here is a shot at the airport.
And I couldn't leave without some famous fish and chips from Ivar's.  So yummy!

And then who doesn't want their picture taken with a giant stuffed killer whale?

A shot of me on the plane.  As a side note, while packing I helped myself to one of my sister's books "The Summons"  by John Grisham.  So now I could read during take off.  :)  Too bad I was so exhausted that I fell asleep almost immediately upon sitting down.

I had several bumps and bruises from the whole moving experience, but this was probably the most impressive one.  I was putting a second coat of paint on my niece's room and didn't have any painting shoes.  Of course I was barefoot and managed to stub my toe on something.  For how quickly it discoloured and swelled up, I think I may have broken it.   But it wasn't sore for long.
We all joked that we needed some t-shirts that said "I survived Kris's move 2012."  In a way it was a lot like Girls camp.  Not a lot of showering or sleeping, lots of work and totally worth it in the end.  All in all, it was a pretty good trip.  I won't say it wasn't exhausting, but it did inspire me to come home and do some cleaning out of junk.  So that was a really good thing that came out of it, without me having to pack up my whole  house.  Oh and it did inspire me to say the words "I am never moving again." 
We will see how long Murphy lets those words hang around.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Too good for this world

As soon as graduation was over, we rushed home and loaded up the car 
so we could go to Arizona to attend my nephew's funeral.

It was strange to have such a happy event be so close to such a sad one.  
Funny how that happens so often in life.

My nephew was 5 years old when he drowned in a pool in Mesa Arizona on June 9, 2012.   It was a tragic accident that can not really be explained.  The general feeling at the funeral was that Clayden's work here on this side of the veil was finished.  He was called home to work on the other side of the veil as a missionary.  He told his mom that he was going on a mission just days before he drowned.  We will all miss his sweet face and personality but the knowledge that we will see him again is very comforting.  The funeral was beautiful and the peace we all felt as a family was indescribable and unimaginable.  Losing a child is so painful and yet we have to remember that they are not really ours.  Heavenly Father just lends them to us for a little while. 

 The flowers at the funeral were just beautiful.

My brother in law is works for the New Mexico Police Department, and several of the officers came down to Mesa to support and help with the funeral.  They actually had a police escort to the cemetery.

The Mesa police department also helped out and to see all of the officers standing at attention at the cemetery was quite a sight indeed.

Jared has always been close with his Uncle Aaron and Aunt Helen, we were so
glad when Jared was able to attend both the funeral and his Graduation.

Most of the family were able to be there.  And many of their friends
traveled down from New Mexico.

The pall bearers waiting for the procession.

If you look very closely, you can see the cowboy hate of
Clayden's older brother Greg.  He wanted to be
one of the pall bearers.  Losing his little brother has been
especially hard for him.

The parents were presented with a special flag.

Jared and his cousin Brooke, waiting to release balloons.

All of the small children were able to release these balloons that were in
Clayden's favorite colors.   This really seemed to be healing
for the little kids who took this loss really hard.
I would recommend it for anyone else looking for ways to help
young children coping with a loss.

When it was time, everyone released their balloons up to Clayden.
This shot of the balloons in the sky is one of my favorites.
Clayden is buried not very far from his Grandpa Hammond.
Some of us went over and visited Grandpa while we were there.
This is a picture of two of my brother in laws with another friend who is also in the
 police force and one of their favorite scout leaders.

Jared had to try on his Uncle's hat.

It was a long emotional day, and some of us needed a nap.
Others spent the afternoon playing games with Uncle Marion.
Here is a picture I found of Jared with Clayden from a couple of years ago.