Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cleanup Continues

You know what's great? Facebook is great. Sunday night I put a status update on Facebook, asking for help in cleaning up our tree Monday night. I promised goodies as an added incentive.

The turnout was incredible! At one point I looked over our yard and couldn't believe the amount of men, women, and children helping us clean up this mess! It's times like this I am reminded of how great my friends and neighbors are. Seriously, no amount of baked goods can do justice to the gratitude I feel for everybody who came and gave of their time. THANK YOU!!!

Shocking, I know, but I didn't bring the camera out until after all the smaller limbs were cleaned up. Once the beastly trunk was all that was left, I grabbed the camera because it was quite a chore to saw it down to manageable pieces.

Random shots from the night:

The following pictures were taken by our friend, Ryan Patterson. He is more aware of angles and light than I am, hence the reason I handed the camera over. Basically, Mike Brough showed up with a heavy duty chainsaw (previously 2 chainsaws of our neighbors were messed up by our green tree) and got to work. The rest of us stood back in awe of his manly tools. The best quote of the night was when a bunch of guys were manually sawing the trunk of the tree, right when Brough showed up. I heard somebody say "Uh oh, Brough is going to make fun of us!" It made me gut laugh.

At the end of the night we had everything cleaned up except the huge ol' mangled and twisted stump. Tonight, some more neighbors showed up and with a truck and a winch, the stump was pulled out of the ground. All that is left to do is a dump run (that statement made me giggle like an immature 4th grade boy) and finish digging up some roots. I guess we also need to fill the hole with dirt and sod. Not bad for a huge tree falling down 2 days ago! Again, I have the best friends evah!

After cleaning up the mess, we discovered the core of the tree and a lot of the roots were rotten. Also, the roots didn't go deep at all, most were right at the surface. It just goes to show you: If you aren't firmly rooted in what you stand for, with clean/strong intent, you will fall. You will fall hard!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mother Nature, I Apologize For Whatever I Did

Last year I was getting frustrated because my kids were bringing home unfinished work from school on a daily basis. I tried every tactic with them: kindly reminding them on a daily basis, punishing them, nagging them, threatening them....it was exhausting. Finally my dad came up with an idea: The warm fuzzy jar.

I took 100 cotton balls (AKA fuzzies) and placed them in a "Fuzzy's to earn" jar. I then had a second jar titled "Warm Fuzzy Jar". Each day when the kids came home from school, if they finished their work, they got to take a warm fuzzy and put it in the "Warm Fuzzy Jar". As soon as they filled up the jar we could do something fun. They decided they wanted to go to Hollywood Connection, which is a local miniature golf, arcade, bumper cars.... place. Some days the jar is a great incentive and works really well. Other days my kids just didn't care and we'd go days at a time without putting a fuzzy in the jar. Finally with the start of this new school year, my kids have been recommitted. We put the 100th warm fuzzy in the jar this past week. It was a happy time!

Looks like we get to head to Hollywood Connection sometime this week. I've already started the warm fuzzy system over. Let's hope it doesn't take another 8 months to complete it this time! ha ha!! Who am I kidding....

Yesterday we went to "This is the Place Heritage Park" for the Jackson family reunion. Sam's mom's maiden name is Jackson. It was fun, but oh-so-hot. When we got in our car to come home the thermostat read 100 degrees.

We rode the train around the pond:

We panned for gold:

And we rode a trolley around the village. It was a good time had by all. But seriously though, it took a good couple hours after leaving before I felt my body temperature cool down enough to where I didn't feel like freaking out all over the place. :)

However, today wasn't hot. Nooooooo, today was Mother Nature's way of playing a practical joke on us. It started out like a normal Sunday....Sam had meetings, I got kids ready for church....went to church, it was great....After church I could tell we had a storm brewing because the wind was CRAZY!

We got home and saw several neighbors in our yard. I thought "hmmmmm, this can't be good" and then I noticed that our HUMUNGO Cottonwood Tree was not towering above the crowd of people. OH, and then I noticed a big mound of grass mixed with roots laying on the ground. Houston, we have a problem. And then the rains came down (how many are singing a Primary song right now???!!!)!

Let me tell you about the way this tree fell. We are so extremely lucky and I knew it the minute I saw the fallen tree. This huge tree could have fallen directly East. If so, it would have smashed right into my bedroom. Or, this tree could have fallen slightly northeast, if so, it would have smashed into Cameron's room. As luck would have it, it barely hit the roof on the corner of the house, smashed our ghetto chain link fence, and into a tree in the backyard (which is still standing). Seriously, as my neighbor said "It could have been a lot worse, this is the best case scenario for a tree to fall" and he was absolutely right. I'm really going to miss the shade this huge tree provided, but I'm so thankful nobody was hurt. I'm also so thankful to wonderful neighbors and family who put their dinner plans aside to help us cut the tree up so the pressure was off the house, fence, and backyard tree. We have our work cut out for us tomorrow night to clear everything away, but it won't be as bad as it could have been due to the help we received today.

Good thing we had a lesson in Sunday School today about only saying kind things to others and keeping a positive attitude because that was on my mind as we discovered the tree today. I'm pretty sure that's why I could be so calm about everything. As I've said before, Sam's quotable quote comes to mind "It just shakes up the day"!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shooting Stars? Meteor Shower?

Friday night we went up the canyon and hung out with our friends, the Strong's. It was fun to just enjoy nature and let kids be kids. I'm really surprised nobody ended up in the ER. Seriously, don't tell me miracles don't happen these days because I beg to differ! You should have seen the steep hill next to our picnic area, lots of loose rocks and sharp sticks!

Cameron was really good all night, relatively speaking!

When did these boys get so grown up? I swear I'm still retaining the water weight from being prego with Carson. How can he be almost-ten?

Sam said to the boys: Make your face do whatever you're feeling right now. Judging from this reaction, I'd say Carson is feeling like he wants to either climb a mountain OR be an astronaut when he grows up. Parker just remembered he wasn't wearing underwear.

Now Carson is about to test gravity and Parker is realizing the unfortunately effects of chafing.

Sorry Parker, it's tough being the younger brother!

This is Ady. I was watching Cameron throw rocks into the creek when Ady came up to me with marshmallow dirty hands, just like this. Ady grabbed a handful of pebbles and threw them with all her might towards the creek. I didn't hear a splash so I looked at her to see what happened. All the rocks were stuck to her hands! Oh man I laughed pretty hard. She was so ticked! She kept prying them from her hands and trying to throw them but they just kept getting more and more gooey. She's a fun kid to have around!

After the kids wore off some of their energy, we went higher into the canyon to watch the meteor showers that have been going on. We went to Silver Lake right around 9pm. It was getting pretty dark and was super awesome/eerie to be walking around the lake in the dark. If you remember, Silver Lake is where Cameron fell into the black marshy water a few weeks ago. This time I was prepared with a stroller! The kids were a little nervous about walking around at night. So, being the compassionate and loving person that I am.....I told Carson and his friend Tanner that there was nothing to worry about because the Boogey Man doesn't show himself that often, but he does love hanging out in the bushes right by the boardwalk we were on. A little while later Parker softly says "Mom, tell me more of this Boogey Man...?" He was pretty nervous. Whoops, didn't know he was listening! Had to do a little repair work there....

Once it was really dark, we set up our camping chairs by our vehicles and watches the stars, or meteor showers. I have no idea if they were shooting stars or meteors. Are they the same thing? Anyway, it was so awesome! We left around 10:30 or so because it was getting dang cold and the kids were exhausted. Very fun evening!

Today for dinner I decided to make meatballs. If you know me at all, you know my aversion to raw meat. Amazingly, I solved my 35-year battle with having to touch raw meat! This is all very exciting for me. I said "hey Carson, wanna help make dinner?" He was more than happy to help. We measured out the ingredients and then I told him to use his hands and mix up the meatball mixture. I swear, I almost had a tear in my eye watching him do the dirty work. If having kids ever gets to be too much to handle, I will look at this picture and happily remember the benefits!

Meanwhile, Cameron crawled under the kitchen rug and took a rest. I don't question why, I just try to go with the flow around here!

Completely off subject here, but I'm going to go into mourning when watermelon season is over. I just need you to know that. However, I'm the world's worst watermelon chooser. My dad is the best watermelon chooser. I plead with him all the time to pick me out a watermelon for me when he's at the store and he does because he's nice like that. Tonight Carson told me that "Grandpa should start charging you an extra quarter for the watermelon that he delivers because he has to do all the hard work like picking it out AND bringing it over!" He's right you know. Sorry dad, I believe I am taking advantage of your skills!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Us! #12!

12 years ago today I married Sam.
12 years ago today I became Sweet.
12 years ago today people quit asking me "So are you dating anybody?" and started asking me "So, when are you going to have your first baby?"

12 years later...3 baby boys later...lots more gray hair...more wrinkles...and a lot of shared memories...

What a great 12 years it's been!

Sam surprised me yesterday and told me he had planned a date for us and had already made all the arrangements. At that point I didn't care at all what we did, I was just so excited to have a night out with my husband! Yay!!!

We went and saw a movie (The Other Guys, it was really funny but pretty crude....grrrrr, crudeness is a pet peeve of mine) and had dinner at Ruby River. Eating at Ruby River for our anniversary has become a tradition for us. As we walked into the restaurant, they asked us if we were celebrating anything. We told them it was our anniversary. From that point on we received the golden treatment! Our waiter asked us about the big day, the restaurant manager came to our table and asked us about our anniversary, and then at the end of the night, when we were sooooo full, they brought us a HUGE ice cream mud pie free of charge. Oh my goodness, I felt bad because I knew we couldn't even put a dent in that ice cream pie.....but lo and behold, the plate was practically licked clean by the time we left! Ice cream, it just settles into the empty spaces in your stomach!

After dinner Sam announced the next stop on our anniversary date: We were heading up Little Cottonwood canyon to Snowbird and riding the Tram up to the top of the mountain! Originally we were going for an astronomy class and look at the stars through huge telescopes, but it was a cloudy day so that part was cancelled. It's all good, the tram was still tons of fun!

Here we are, about to get on the tram:

Pictures taken from inside the Tram on the way up the mountain:

Pictures taken from 11,000 feet. It was COLD! Windy and 45 degrees, but soooo beautiful!

A few minutes before the Tram was scheduled to go back down the mountain I was freezing so I told Sam I'd meet him back inside the Tram. He was still taking pictures at the time. As I was waiting I was looking at the beautiful mountains, Salt Lake City to my left and Heber and the High Uintas to my right, and was totally zoning out. Suddenly some loud noises brought me back to the present. I turned around, and the Tram driver was shutting the doors and getting ready to go back down to Snowbird. I had to say "WAIT, my husband is still out there!" Then I had to go find him while everybody was waiting on us. I couldn't stop laughing because what if I was zoning so much I didn't realize we were leaving? Can you imagine poor Sam back on top of the mountain? Oh man, that would have been a long hike back down! ha ha ha!

Once we were back at the bottom, we found a trail and went exploring. It was so nice and unrushed because Sam had taken care of arrangements with the babysitter. It honestly was just a perfect evening!

Sam informed me that I'm in charge of planning next year's anniversary date. I better start thinking now because he did a tremendous job of making me feel loved and appreciated! Thank you Sam! Here's to many more adventures and memories for years to come! I love you!