Thursday, July 24, 2008

O Pioneer!

Well, it's the 24th of July in Hurricane.

You know what means...Pioneer Day.

The kids got to ride in the parade on the float from Aunt Kelli's ward.

Katie had fun watching the parade. Every time something interesting passed by she would point at it and turn to make sure I was looking at it. Too cute.

They ran in the races, got their faces painted, had snow cones, and generally made a mess of themselves. It was fun for all.

Happy Pioneer Day.

Where the Girls Are...

So, I have been praciticing my Free Range Parenting.

California was really great for giving the kids opportunities to do some stuff on their own.

Mikayla and her cousin Lita were able to spend some time on their own at Knott's.

The older kids were able to ride their bikes to the park and spend some time exploring.

Mikayla, Emma, and Joe all have a little new found freedom. Fun for them, scary for me.

And now, Mikayla and Emma have gone to spend a week with their friends in Spanish Fork.

They haven't really done something like this before and I wanted to give them some I didn't call them right away.

Finally, yesterday I called them to see how they were doing.

Needless to say, they are having a blast.

There was so much going on they barely had time to was a hi, bye conversation.

When I asked Mikayla what they were running off to do, she said, "DDR".

"DDR? What is that?"

"Oh, mom," (insert a big "you're so out of it" sigh here, and what I am sure was the rolling of eyes), "DDR. Dance, dance revoltion."

I have officially crossed over into lame parent territory.

Oh well, at least I have little ones that still think I rock!

Cowboy Up!

We went out to Grandpa's ranch, and the kids could not have had more fun. Holy cow.

We went four-wheeling, we shot the air gun, ran through the sprinklers, and even went frog hunting. It was boy heaven!

And of course, we found a little time to take some photos.

Grandpa was giving rides on the 4 wheeler. He even gave Joe a lesson so he could ride by himself...he was thrilled. And Josh and Becky were just happy to be there. They both just kept yelling, faster, go, faster!!! Speed demons. (They get that from their dad.)

And, my favorite part was watching Grandma and Grandpa go for a ride.

Joe is a pretty good shot. He hit the target right on a couple of times.

Josh is so small, he can't reach the trigger when he's got the stock on his shoulder, but with a little help, he hit the target too.

And of course, so did I!

I am looking forward to challenge Troy to a little shooting match when he gets here

And then there were the frogs and sprinklers.

It looked a little like Moses had sent a plague of frogs, but the kids were in frog heaven. Becky even wanted to hold some until they started to jump on her, and then she FREAKED out. She sent the frogs flying every which way.

And the kids were good sport and posed for some photos for me.

And, I finally got one of Katie standing up. She has been standing on her own for a couple of weeks, but every time I try to get a picture she sits down. So, I am thinking that it won't be long until she takes off...heaven help us then!

We love the ranch!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...

So, it isn't all work when you are on vacation...

My friends Robin, Amy, and I all got together and went to Las Vegas for an extended Girl's Night Out (that's GNO to you Amy).

Robin flew in from Oregon, and Amy drove down from Spanish Fork. They picked me up in Hurricane...and nothings been the same since! haha

We stayed at the Mirage. This is the view out our window.

And this is Robin at the top of the Straosphere. It was a little un-nerving to look out at the city through those tilted windows. BTW, that little sign right next to her says don't lean on the glass...isn't she a rebel?

This is Amy...a favorite photo of mine...and aren't I glad that I was the only one with a camera? hehe

It was a weekend of non-stop fun.

We went to an impersonator show and got to meet Elivs!

The other performers were Rod Stewart, Christina Aguilara, Reba McEntire, and Tim McGraw.

And you know how I feel about Tim was almost as good as the real thing (almost). In fact, we were being a little rowdy during "Tim's" performance and he came into the audience by our table and...well, if you're over 18 and want details, e-mail me.

It was really great.

We also got to see Wayne Brady, and it was so seriously good, I was disappointed when it was over. He is SO funny, and the fact that almost everything he did was improv is a testament to what a great performer he is.

In between the shopping, and the eating, the pool, and the shows, we even managed a side trip to visit the temple. We had a little photo was hysterical trying to get a good shot and not kill myself as I tried to get back into the photo before the timer went off.

All in all, a fabulous weekend, and the best part?

Well, you know what happens in Vegas...

Left My Heart in California

Well, California was really great.

It was non-stop action for us...Knott's or the Water Park almost every day, with a couple of trips to the beach for good measure.

I am not sure who was more exhausted when we were done...the kids or my parents. Okay, really it was my parents, but they were such good sports and the kids really enjoyed spending time with them.

I also got to see my good friend Amy and she was even brave enough to go to the beach with us. Sure fire birth control, that's what we are! But I really enjoyed visiting with her...hard to believe that we have been friends 25 years! Holy crap.

The kids really enjoyed the beach...a lot...

It was really great to see my parents. I know they enjoyed us, and I know they enjoyed it when we left! haha. There's always next may just be enough time for them to rest up.

Here's one of my folks with all their grandkids...not bad for a couple who only had two kids!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bad Blogger

Boy, am I a bad vacation blogger.

It has been a whirlwind of activity since arriving in California.

We celebrate my mom's birthday, the fourth of July, my birthday, and my parents wedding anniversary, all within one week.

Additionally, my parents were nice enough to treat us all to Knott's Berry Farm tickets, and we have spent almost every day either at Knott's, or across the street at their huge water park.

It has been so fun.

We even managed to squeeze in a side trip to see the La Brea Tar Pits and the LA Temple.

Troy has returned home, and although we continue to have a good time, it isn't the same without him.

We are going to return to Utah later this week and are really looking forward to seeing our friends and family there.

Robbie, if you are reading this, we would love to see you!

Here's a few pictures.

These are at Knott's.

This is at the La Brea Tar Pits.

And these are at the LA Temple.

Miss you all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Arriving back from Paris, the kids were all happy to see us, although I think they all had a lot of fun with their friends.

We really appreciate Alex and Jeff, Tamee and Keith, Anne and Ben, and Andrea and Rob. What would we do without our friends?

You guys are so good to us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

And what did we find when we got home? Only a wonderful double rainbow after the storm.

We'll take it as a good sign.

Monday, July 7, 2008

We'll Always Have Paris

Our last day in Paris.

It went by so quickly.

We went out to Versailles. I had heard mixed reviews, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

But I LOVED it!!

It was really beautiful, and I loved the gardens and the fountains.

We even went out on the lake in a little row boat. I love being able to take pictures of Troy without his being able to hold his hands up in protest.

That night we took a boat cruise down the Seine.

It was a great way to end our trip.

We'll always have Paris.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Paris, Day 4

This was the first day that Troy and I got to spend together.

I have to say, I do enjoy the man, but he does slow me down! I saw half as much stuff when I was with him than I did when I was by myself.

And we have a long history of him making me do things that I am not too sure about...I know I have free will, but he does have a way of talking me into know, his "charm" and all.

So today we went to the Arc du Triomphe. I had already been there, but I didn't climb the stairs to the top, so of course, we just HAD to do that.

And 300 stairs later...still Paris, just higher up.

Then we went to the Rodin Museum. Another FAVORITE! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Rodin. His skill is AMAZING! And after seeing lot of sculpture while in Paris, you can just tell that he was a MASTER! It was so awesome.

The Dome Church is across the street, so, since Troy had never been there, I went again.

And then a train ride out to Monmarte, home of the Sacre Coeur. Monmarte is on the outskirts of Paris and higher up. There is also a tower...and 300 more steps. So, of course, if there are steps, we MUST climb them.

About halfway up I began to wish that Troy weren't quite so "charming". And, as we got to the top, wouldn't you know that my camera battery would die, so I didn't even get to take any pictures! Grr.

But, it was a great view...and I think it was worth the climb.

We ended the day with the Eiffel Tower. Now, I don't know how many stairs it takes to get to the top...because Troy took one look at my face after suggesting we climb it, and he bought me an elevator ticket. Lucky man.

Troy has been to Paris many times, but promised that he would not go to the top until I got to go with him. So, it was very cool that we both got to go for the first time together. And, we got there in time to see the sunset. AWESOME!!!

In the end, there aren't very many things that I can talk Troy into doing if he doesn't want to...I guess I don't have his "charm." But, I did enjoy taking his photo all over Paris...and he was pretty tired of me by the end of it. So, I have about a hundred of photos of Troy hiding his face in one way or another.

I love it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Paris, Day 3

This was my last day to sight see on my own in Paris, and I really wanted to make the most of it.

So I started early and walked my buns off!

I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty here in France, a smaller version of ours in New York. It is kind of out of the way and I wasn't sure what to expect.

It is exactly the same as ours, only smaller. I was the only one there except for the occasional homeless person. I guess it's just a commentary on how the French feel about us.

Then I made my way halfway across Paris to the Dome Church. This was one of my favorite sights. The Church is actually two churchs separated by a large glass wall. One side was for the soliders to attend church and the other side was for royalty. They were playing the organ when I got there and it was pretty cool.

This is also where Napoleon was buried and although his tomb is just a big cherry box, it was fun to see his infamous hat and coat. He really was a little guy!

Next was the Picasso Museum and then the Pompidu Centre (Modern Art). Although I am not a huge fan of either, it was still interesting.

Then to the L'Ongerie...and I have to say my favorite museum in Paris. I had seen Monet's Water Lilies in photos, but I was unprepared for two rooms covered in giant murals...the Water Lilies are not these little framed portraits, like I was expecting, but rather, large, wall size paintings. They were AMAZING!!!!

The collection at this museum was just awesome!

Then, on to the Madeline, a church, and the Gallery Lafayette (the mall).

When I met up with Troy we topped off the day with a walk down the Seine.

It's easy to see why they call Paris the city of love! hehe

Anyway, I really enjoyed it all!

On an unrelated note, one thing that I found really interesting were all of the Americans who had brought their families with them.

Neither Troy nor I had done very much travelling abroad when we were young.

I have been all over the United States and even to Canada and Mexico, but it wasn't until I was grown that I went to Europe or Asia, but here were all these kids who were in Paris and having the opportunity of a lifetime.

So, were they enjoying themselves?

Well, some of the things that I was privileged to listen to:

Two teens and a younger sibiling talking to their parents over lunch were heard to say, "I'm tired of walking." "Do we have to go to another museum?" "This is SO boring."

Two children climbing up a light post next to a busy road, whose mom had told them to get down, "No, I won't unless you give me something that I want."

And one child whose parents were leaving to go somewhere else, "No, I don't want to go and you can't make me."

I, for one, was grateful for EVERY SINGLE moment I got to be in Paris. I hope that if my children ever get to go (when they are OLD like me), that they will appreciate the opportunity!
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