Sunday, September 13, 2009

OHHHH August!

We began the month of August with a Leslie FaMiLy ReUnion in Island Park. Many of Derek's siblings and Aunt's & Uncles stayed at the cabin. To maintain our sanity, I opted to bring the camper along. Besides... DUH ! The campground has a pool and a hot tub - the cabin does not. Anyway. It ended up being kind of a convenience thing as it was close to the pavillion and we had easy access to everything in my little kitchen while we prepared many of our meals at the pavillion.
Had a great time visiting with the FamiLy. It of course is always a JOY to be around Brandt and his Family. He for sure keeps things lively.

The next week, our Little babysitter Chelsie had Girls Camp. So that means we didn't get a whole lot done. Ok. Maybe we did. In preparation for our trip to Arizona coming up, I have been on a mission to gather furniture and other things to take with us in order to furnish the "Winter HOME" we purchased with Derek's parents. This week, I finally got around to refinishing the chairs to the dining set and completely tore apart 2 wing back chairs that I inherited from my Grandmother. (I am sure I unpicked 4 trillion staples and so did Steph.)

This week we went to the Temple with Tara as she took out her endowments and then enjoyed an amazing meal at the Olive Garden. Serious YUM. We also suffered the wrath of Montazuma's revenge. All of us had the stomach flu - some worse than others.

On the 8th, we rode to Firth and helped with the final Yard work Preparatory to Tara's wedding. Todd & Wendy's kids and our kids were there. That is an army of helpers. We seriously kicked that yard into shape in about 5 hours. Mowing, weeding, bark down, window washing, etc. POW. It looked great.

Late in the project, I took off for IF to run some errands. The usual. Fabric store, Old Navy and Big Lots were on the agenda. In one hour, I returned an old Navy purchase, selected fabric for the 2 wingback chairs and found an amazing bargain on a sofa for the Arizona house. WOW! $220.00 for a sofa!

The next week of course was spend recovering the wingback chairs. I completely dig the fabric. If only I did NOT need to eat or sleep. I could be the most productive individual on the planet. Unfortunately, the older I get, sleep is SOOOOOO necessary.

The past few weeks, Grandma Fern has been really ill. She of course has been getting worse the last 2 years until just a few weeks ago, Dad had her transferred from her home to Ashley Manor on Hawthorne Road. She continued to deteriorate there. The last few days, we have been worried about her so mom asked Derek to give her a blessing. We went over just before we had to leave to drive to Firth. She of course was not doing well at all and was hardly responding. She did open her eyes and look at me when I said "Grandma, It's Holli" Bless her heart. When I think of the Sacrifices this woman has made in her lifetime, I can't help but feel like this last portion of craziness that she has had to endure is slightly unfair. Derek gave her a nice blessing and then we had to leave for Firth.
We of course were in a hurry to get to Tara's Meet the Family dinner. It turned out delightful and we all approve of Nick and his Parents. Delightful.
Tara's wedding was the next day. Instead of us staying there, we came home in order to keep plugging away on some of the projects necessary for our trip. Early Friday we went to Idaho Falls for the wedding. On the way to the temple, I got a phone call from Steph saying that Grandma had passed away. So sad for us but so great for her that she is free from her suffering. More than anything, I felt bad that I wasn't able to be there to be a support for my dad.
The wedding ceremony was really nice. We were all very happy for her. The reception was seriously Chaotic. The wind was blowing outside until right before we had to set up the tables. We had very little help in the kitchen until Tara's friend's mom showed up to bail me out. Shirleys nieces's arrived just in the Nick of time too. I would have been to feet under in chicken salad and Frape!
As you might imagine... all of the back and Forth and this and that did not allow much time for us to pack and prepare for our trip to Arizona. On Saturday the 15th, we had originally planned to be on the road by about 1:00 pm. By the time we went to see Grandma at the mortuary, went to visit dad, made arrangements for a flight home & a rental car, mowed lawns, and packed, it was 8pm. We hit the wendy's drive thru for din-din and then the road. WOW! Perpetual Motion lately.
We wanted to drive as far as we could the first night. As we continued on, we decided to pull an all nighter and go the entire way. We pulled into Queen Creek Arizona at 11:30 am and another adventure began.
The home is really cute. I had never seen it before. Derek and his parents picked it out in April. We finally closed on it in August. The floor plan is completely workable but the best part is the swimming pool. We completely LOVED it!
This trip was spent cleaning, painting and moving in. I am hoping the next trip will be a little more fun for me (what isn't fun about buying stuff at Wal-mart?) Next time we will have a few things to do, but not to the extent we did this time. Still, it was fun. HOT! One after noon, Derek said it was 117 on his truck thermometer. Sweet nibblets.
Ok. we arrived Sunday at 11:30 am. we worked and moved all day Sunday. Monday was more of the same. At 2:30 Derek drove me to the Phoenix airport so I could make it home for Grandma's funeral. By 8:00 pm I was finally on a plane heading for Salt Lake. My flight had been delayed 3 times. I caught the last flight out of Arizona that night. I arrived in Salt Lake at 11:00 ish and then had to catch a rental car and still drive home. By the time I got to SLC, most of the rental cars were gone. I had a choice between a diesel Excursion, a yellow YUGO or a Bright blue mustang. NO Brainer. I took the mustang.
I arrived in Pocatello at 2:30 am, went to sleep, woke up at 8:00 was at the Funeral home by 9:45 for a 10:00 funeral. We had a nice time visiting with all of the cousins and relatives that I haven't seen in a very long time. We had our luncheon at the Golden Corral and then at 4:00 pm I was on the road back to SLC. I caught an 8:00 pm flight (once again, it was delayed ) and after a layover in Denver, Derek picked me up at the airport in Phoenix and we drove back to the house. We dropped into bed at 2:00 am AZ time. exhausted!!!
The next few days were spent finishing projects, throwing rooms together, swimming hour after hour (kids only) and of course cleaning.
On Friday, we cleaned and packed and shampooed carpet, hung drapes and then finally got on the road at 6:00 ish. (My kids were seriously sick of McDonalds after this week.) Dinner at McD's again and then on the road. We drove as far as Flagstaff and then bunked down for the night.
By 10:00 am we were on the road - well at least out of the hotel and looking for breakfast. After a visit to Walmart for drinks and crochet hooks for mady, we were on our way. Little did we know this would turn out to be the longest day in history. We didn't pull into the driveway until 2:30 am. Just for the record. It is much easier to pull that ride in one solid trip. It goes by much quicker in the dark while watching a movie. Kids are much more pleasant while trying to sleep. Many lessons were learned. We are excited to visit again over Christmas break. Two weeks of Fabulito weather. Bring it.
Monday morning our kids started school. Brennan's weeks of anxiety were in vain as he was introduced to Hawthorne Middle School. He really likes it and is completely impressed with all of the options he has for lunch. Mady likes her teacher and is making new friends. Gage is totally cooperative if he can go to SUBWAY before school. (AS if) He likes to ride the bus and his buddy MAX is in his class. What could be better?
Tuesday the 25th, Derek and I celeBrated our 14th anniversary. Ok celebrated? That was an exaggeration. I didn't get him anything, he gave me a card and a hedge trimmer and we went to the Road House for dinner on a gift certificate from our T-Ball team. Celebrated? We have been so busy lately this event took a back seat.

Wednesday, I cancelled Pack Meeting.. Mostly because... WHO cares about Pack meeting right now? NOT me.

Thursday and Friday , Noelle and I made crafties for our up and coming Super Saturday. Be looking for those on my porch. 'Can't wait to have them.

On Saturday, we went to Bren's game at 1:30, Rushed home and then went to Kate's baptism in Firth where I gave probably the crappiest talk of my career, we had sundays and drove home.

What is it all for? I do not remember my parents sitting down with at calendar and trying to fit everything in to their lives. In contrast, Derek and I live by the calendar. We have to plan time to sit and discuss things. SIck and wrong. SOmething has to give. I pray it isn't my sanity - oh... oooopps. That was gone a long time ago.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Seriously. I am nearly two months behind in my blogger journal and I am having to look back to my planner to remember what in sam heck happened in July... because right now It is a BLURRRRR. oh yeah. I remember now.

Right out of the starting gate, we began the month with an outing to the cabin in Island Park to Whoop it up over the Independence Day weekend... and did we ever! Below please find the top 10 reasons cabin outings are bittersweet for me.

1. By the time I wash and pack clothing for 6 people, I am completely exhausted and want to stay home.

2. We eat like kings nearly every meal... why? I don't know. We don't eat this way at home. Maybe there is just more time to cook yummy food and nothing to do but eat it? We have learned not to forget many grocery items when going to the Park simply because Robins Roost charges $8.00 for a bottle of worcestechire sauce. Sweet Nibblets. That store is owned by a family of Millionaires. (They totally have it figured out :) By the time we shop for and pack the food for the weekend, we are exhausted and want to stay home and have cheerios or better yet... NOthing - to save ourselves the 2 week crash diet once we get home.

3. We usually never get out of town at the time we planned. This results in grabbing dinner on the Fly - which is seriously my favorite. Everyone is quiet until at least Blackfoot because they are busy stuffing their KISSERS with a chicken nugget. I am all about playing the quiet game in the car. Unfortunately, nobody else really likes that game. Brennan loses everytime. He still just doesn't get that the way to win is to just "shut up". Oh yes, one day he will get what is coming to him. I have formally issued the mother's curse exclusively for him and his lovely future companion.

4. The ride to Island Park is a tad long. We have to "Pit" in St. Anthony in order to prevent any unwanted accidents in the back seat. This usually sets us back a $20 spot in order to get out of the store without a hissy fit from Gage. He won't just choose the quick and easy cheap treat. He heads straight for the suckers with the battery powered helicopter and blinkie blinkie lights that costs $6.99. Seriously - he has the ability to stir it up when he doesnt' get his way. Derek and I feel it is cheaper to just let him have what he wants than to have to post BAIL for one another as we are being hauled off to Jail for child abuse. It's safer than a Jail Break too.

5. The scenery is of course beautiful on the way. Derek always has to comment on what a STUD his truck is on the Ashton Hill..."Yeah. She's still doing 70" as we fly by all of the SLOW truckers and all the FOrds in the right lane. "Good thing we have a Diesel... SO IT CAN HAUL ALL OF THE CRAP THAT I HAD TO PACK!

6. The first breath of amazing, crisp, fresh, mountain air is completely invigorating. I will never tire of the smell the mountains and pine trees.

7. Derek is always the first one out of the Truck to open the cabin door. He has an inspection ritual where can't wait to see if our efforts from the last trip, made in vain - to see if we could keep the rodents (most especially the squirrels) out of the cabin - worked. There is almost always evidence that the squirrels have visited... shredded insulation, shredded pillow cases, etc. That is until Derek bought the Squirrel Deaf-i-nator 6000. Of course something this real can only be purchased on the internet. I am sure the headquarters / manufacturer is in some Hollar in Kentucky or something (joking- Dena!) So far this is the only thing that has proven effective. It is so loud, you can hear it on the steps. Once inside, you have 2.3 seconds to run in and unplug it (because finding the power switch takes too much time)or we all lose our hearing until morning. One of these times we might see squirrels jumping from tree to tree sporting the latest in rodent hearing aids... yeah. It could happen.:)

8. The first few hours of unpacking are reDONKuLUS! My kids want to immediately change into PJ's, play with the friends that have come with us, and always act like they haven't seen food in weeks. What is it about that mountain air that makes you ravenous? (and crave Pepsi & chocolate?)

9. As mentioned before, we generally take friends with us. Many of these friends have accompanied us for as long as we have been going. They are dear friends and we love to spend time together. Our children are similar in age and for the most part they get along amazingly. Good Friends *Good Times is an understatement. The memories we have made will remain - at least until we all have Alzheimers from the snowmachine exhaust. oh and it is somewhat similar to Vegas... What happens at the cabin--STAYS at the cabin. (Especially the part about me falling down the stairs while everyone was watching! Wow.)

10. The day we pack up to come home is for sure the most bitter sweet of all. Yes, we are relaxed and ready to take on the world again, but HOLY COW it takes an army of Merry Maids to get that cabin cleaned up after 20 people have been there. We have all agreed that there are times when plural marriage would be handy - and this is one of those times. We whip that place into shape in no time with all of the happy helping hands (that is an exaggeration:) Dad's are packing, moms are scrubbing, kids are dusting and vacuuming. It is team work to the MAX*I*MUS baby!
The ride home is fabulous. The kids are completely wiped out from the 72+ hours of
FUll-ON insanity, and I finally get my few hours of peace and quiet. Mission accomplished :).

This cabin trip was no different from any other. We did however visit Hebgen Lake for the first time. Good thing we brought the boat. It was the perfect outing. Across the Lake to the far shore, we found a little cove with some private docks that we "borrowed" (I do not know what happened to that sign). The water was amazing most of the day. We all enjoyed it to the MaX! Skiing, wakeboarding and tubing - even Mady couldn't resist (She hates boating) Brennan is mastering the wakeboard- for a Merit badge and went outside the wake for the first time.

WaHoo Brennan!

The Dyes were with us the first part of the trip. Troy took Karami, Geoff and Brennan Fishing at Henry's Lake for most of a day. They brought home several Trout and of course lots of stories. We grilled it up for dinner and it was some serious YUM!

Crocketts arrived later due to overlapping schedules. Friday we all rode to John Sacks Cabin on the Motorcycles . That is a lot of MOtorcycles. 16 Bikes single file on the roads is a big deal. People would just stare at us like we were nuts or something. Well, guess what! We are nuts.

On Sunday morning, we decided to have Sacrament Mtg at the cabin. Really, when you hang out with the Stake President, you can do about whatever... (joking) We skipped church because of the crowds and we had received word from home that they had a monster Hail storm and there were lots of people with water in their basements from the rain and flooding. - so in the spirit of needing to get home, we had a song,the sacrament and listened to a brief Patriotic talk and then finished the cleaning and got on the road. (My kind of sacrament meeting)

Once home, we could see evidence of the Hail and Pounding Rain storm that hit Chubbuck. It had pelted anything alive. There were leaves and branches everywhere. The intense amount of water delivered in such a short time filled window wells and flooded the basements of many homes out here. CRAZY. The worst part of it all is that the HAIL was so large it also beat the heck out of peoples roofs and lots of the homes will also need a new roof. Our house was in great shape (most likely due to the outstanding Master Builder - who built it) and so our energies were focused on helping those who are continually suffering the effects of inferior building techniques :) I just had to get that jab in... didn't I? Any who.

Most of that next week was again fast and furious as we unpacked, relaundered and repacked for a trip to Lagoon. In all honesty - I hate Lagoon. I admit it. I am a complete premenopausal pansie. I get totally motion sick, it is smoking hot outside, and I don't appreciate the costly overcrowded environment. Sorry. My Family on the other hand completely LOVES it. So, I suck it up and endure it only because Derek drags our trailer along. This way I can take Chloee back for a nap and we can save money on meals, etc. It was ok. (I am sure i WILL get my revenge the next time I go to TaiPan Trading !! I will make them all push a cart full of raging Greenery around for an hour as I revisit every aisle making sure that I have seen everything. oh! They hate that store :) It is great!

This was just one of the many times they rode the colosus.

(Check out these reactions. Adrenaline junkies...all of them.)

The following week, Dena and Her girls were in town for a visit. This is truly a highlight for my kids. It is unfortunate that they don't live closer so that could be together more often.

Pioneer Day had a whole new twist this year as Gage participated in the Motorcycle Barrel race. He took 2nd in his age group. Hilarious. He had a blast and is the proud recipient of a shiny new trophy. He thinks he is some kind of STUD or something!

The following week was spent partially at Scout Camp for Brennan and Derek and then we frantically prepared the camper for an outing to Lake WalCott near Rupert.
We all got our fill of skiing and wake boarding and of course playing on the docks.

Saturday the 25th was Tara's bridal shower. We packed up early and busted it home so Mady and I could make it to Firth by 7:00. WOW! Crazy!

The last week of the month is usually Hopping for us. Thankfully this month we had a closing and we were jumping to get the last minute projects finished. I did 14 million square feet of faux finish in this house and my tennis elbow is reminding me. It is a drag to get old. I fear it will only get worse.

Along with a closing, we were busily preparing food for Derek's Family reunion at the Cabin to be held on the 31st - the 1st. That is a big job. Generally I am up for a challenge, but after the month I have had... it was a bit much. We always have a great time at this reunion because we don't ever get to see Derek's cousins, except for at this reunion or a funeral. I enjoy visiting with his aunt's tremendously and he has some seriously fun cousins. Unfortunately, many of them were unable to come. We counted out that if all of the families had attended, there would have been upward of 120 people present. WOW! Way to Go Guy and LaRue(That's Derek's grandparents... How about that for Posterity?)

As you may well imagine, the end of this month leaves me feeling Thrashed mentally, out of energy and in serious need of a mani/pedi. (And that is only after reviewing the calendar) No wonder I had a bit of a slow start in August. Summer is more than half over. We have no regrets as we Grab each moment by the horns and hang on with all of our might. We will continue to drink it in... For in just 3 short weeks we will be back in school dreading the boring nightly ritural of homework and bathtime.