Saturday, July 31, 2010


We celebrated Thing 2's 7th birthday. It's killing me how fast my babies are growing up. I see them walking around and am floored at their long lankiness... They're almost as tall as I am. When I'm on my knees.

In Utah Thing 2's birthday falls on a state holiday. There is a parade, and fireworks. Since my brother's office window overlooks the parade route, instead of camping out the night before, or even racing down early to squat a place from which to see the parade, we just pull into his parking lot in a leisurely fashion 20 minutes after the parade starts, call him to buzz us up, and then go join him and his family (and my folks) to sit in air conditioned comfort on the large window ledge of his 2nd floor office. We look out over the heads of the people who have been camped there since last night, and watch the parade turn right in front of us. There are Banbury Cross donuts (thank you, Hubby!) cold milk, bathrooms, and a coke machine right down the hall. What more could you want? So we started Thing 2's birthday by going to the parade.

Thing 2 said she wanted Tortellini for her birthday meal. So after the parade we met back at our house for an italian inspired lunch. It was very nice.

There was more stress than normal for me leading up to her birthday because I had spent the two previous days swapping two rooms in our house. There are a couple of reasons for doing this, one is that I want to put a murphy bed in the larger of the two rooms, and can't do it the way it is now. By swapping the rooms I will gain a guest room of sorts and give the girls more room to play with their toys. The larger room that used to be the TV room has now become the toy room, and that's where the murphy bed will go. The smaller room used to be the kids' toy room, where the most of their toys were kept and where they had to play with them. The problem was that once the walls were lined with a couple shelves of toys, the play kitchen, a couple of doll strollers (because you can't get rid of the single stroller just because you get a double!), and an easel, there was no where to play. They often overflowed into what WAS the TV room. I finally figured this out, and swapped the rooms. My motivation for doing it THE DAYS before the birthday party was that as part of the room swap we will be trading out our old 347 pound tube television, and the huge wardrobe-like shelf that it sits in, for a sleek new flat screen TV, and a low profile slim TV cabinet for it to sit on. The previous weekend it worked out that we went to Costco and bought the new TV. In order to get the TV box out of my kitchen for the birthday party I had to give it somewhere to go, which meant I had to buy the cabinet (found a solid wood one I liked on the cheap that wasn't from IKEA but I did have to assemble it myself) and get everything put together before I had the party. Did I also mention that instead of hiring the fabulous independent baker lady that I usually have make our birthday cakes, I'd decided to do it myself?

By 10:30 pm the night before the party I had baked the cake, and pretty much moved the two rooms (except for the behemoth old TV and cabinet, which are much too heavy for one person to move and are still sitting in what is now the toy room where the murphy bed will go someday), but the new TV was still sitting in its box in my breakfast nook and I hadn't assembled the TV cabinet. I opened the box, pulled out the instructions, looked over the dozens of pieces of wood in the box... and immediately gave up on that. Which is not like me, I like assembling that sort of thing. But No Way was I going to get that put together... I still had to create a dolphin out of cake before I could go to bed. And not just a picture of a dolphin painted on the cake with frosting, she had requested the dolphin be MADE out of the cake. I was tired, frustrated, and quite overwhelmed.

About an hour later, pushing midnight, as I was putting the finishing touches on the cake, Hubby came home from a week in ... Oh, who knows where. And in true White Knight fashion, he set to assembling the TV cabinet while I cleaned up the kitchen and pulled the TV out of the box. By about 3:00 a.m. I was exhausted, the cabinet was assembled, the TV was up, and the new Blue Ray player was connected. I went to bed. Hubby stayed up and connected the Wii.
Here is the finished cake. Remember I started with a plain ol' 9x13 cake. It wasn't quite how I envisioned it, but I was running out of room on the back of the cookie sheet that I had put it on, so the water part is one piece of cake kind of angled up on the other, so the one end is higher than the rest. I thought it worked pretty well.

So the fact that we made it to the parade only 20 minutes late, and Thing 2's birthday was a great success, was kind of surprising given how little sleep Hubby and I had had the night before. But everything came together. Thing 2 LOVED the cake, and was more thrilled than words can say that she got the thing she most wanted, a Pillow Pet... even if it was the horse, which last week she had crossed off the list of desirable Pillow Pets she'd given me two weeks before.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We had a fabulous time in Jackson. I've had a few days to get my ducks back in a row, but that hasn't helped. I still have piles of laundry, and just put away the suitcases yesterday.

My family has taken an annual trip to Jackson for a number of years now, but this year was bigger and better because we were also celebrating my folks' 50th wedding anniversary. Wahoo! And we couldn't have asked for a better trip. Everything just worked out swimmingly. I'll let the pictures do the talking, mostly.

We went for a hike and the kids did really well. We took a wrong turn and got lost, which ended up being a significant shortcut, saw an adolescent bear (no mother in sight).
Hubby and Thing 2 at Phelp's Lake

At these family outings my daughters are inseparable from their favorite cousin, who is right in between them in age. She's the tallest one on the right.
My folks, whose 50th is next month

We also had a cannon ball contest in the pool (I was a judge, not a participant). This is the line of judges, I'm in the middle. Thing 2 is an excellent cannonballer, by the way, and won her division, but didn't have the mass to take the overall prize.

Hubby and Thing 2

We ALL (including my folks) took a whitewater river raft ride, had a pictures taken by an old-time photographer place, and rented canoes for a day on String lake.

My dad used to be a river guide, he spent several summers in the 50s and 60s guiding inflatable boats down the rivers of southern Utah, and is very handy with a canoe. He took my mom on a little ride.

My sister-in-law and I took the 3 musketeers out for a ride.

We stumbled on a family of ducks. Mohawk ducks. A mom and seven babies. It was fascinating, we floated along with them for a while. The girls were thrilled.

The three girls just like to hang out together, no canoes required. They just played in the water.

Ain't she cute?

Hubby and I took Thing 1 for a ride. You may ask why I'm always in the back of the canoe. When there's cold water and my camera involved, my inner control freak emerges.

Thing 2 wanted to go swimming. You can almost hear her say through her chattering teeth, "Can I stop smiling for the camera and get back in the boat already?"

We also rented two kayaks, but I didn't find them as easy to maneuver.

Hubby and I took a kayak out once, though, and there was a sort of canoe rendezvous, with the two canoes with my brother and sister and spouses and some of the kids all out on the lake

We had a great trip. My niece said "Can we do all this again next year?" We'll come to Jackson again, but some of the extra activities were special for the 50th anniversary. "When is the next 50th?" You've got about 28 years to go.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Somewhere between Soda Springs and Tin Cup

Each year my folks rent a big ol' four bedroom condo in Teton Village and take their three kids, of which I am one, and our families up there for five days. It is more fabulous than I can describe. They've been doing it for years. We've even had the same condo every year, until this year, when we got the one next door. It's even more fashionably furnished. But I digress.

This year on his way up to Jackson in their suburban, my brother hit a cow. The first we heard about it was an hour ago when my oldest niece texted a rather brief announcement. Something like "... we just hit a cow." Hearing this freaked out my mother, who is a professional worrier anyway. Despite it being past her bedtime, she can't make herself go to bed. She is knitting furiously, occasionally asking those of us with phones if we've heard anything. My niece finally responded that everything was okay and they were back on the road.

- I came back to finish the story - They got in sometime after midnight, but gave the full story the next morning. Everyone is okay, the suburban is okay, and they actually hit two cows, who both ran away. My SIL, who knows cows, assured us one will probably die, if not both. She says they hit them pretty hard, probably broke one's hip, and gave the other one a really nasty headache. There were lots of jokes, of course, about "Are we having steak tonight?"

The story that emerged the next morning was that the cows were laying in an alternating pattern on the road, creating a slalom course of sorts. My SIL saw the cow first, yelled "DEER!" about the time my brother saw it.(She's used to driving in the canyon.) The black hide of the cows blended in perfectly with the dark night. My brother swerved to avoid the first cow, and would have just bounced into the ditch except for the 2nd cow that loomed up in their headlight. (They had just found out at the previous stop that they only had one.) No one painted me a picture, but from my understanding they ended up going between the cows, sort of bumping both of them, instead of T-Boning (ha ha) one or the other. The braking, swerving, bumping, and the cascade of luggage from the back of the suburban woke up their four daughters and added the element of wildly screaming girls to the excitement.

Those black cows are mean, how they lay in wait on the road for you like that... Just look at her... She's challenging you to a duel with her eyes.

Hubby suggested they get a couple of little vinyl cow silhouettes to put on the side of the suburban. My sister tells me that one more and they qualify as cow aces.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More good things

Kelly Darling posted a wonderful list of some of her favorite things. A couple got me teary. She's fabulous at looking for the wonderful. Sometimes I don't do that so well. But she inspired me to give it a shot today. So here are some of the things that grease the wheels as my world goes 'round.

* My daughters' tousled hair, soft cheeks, and stillness when they're sleeping.

* The bell on the front doorknob janging late at night when Hubby lets himself in after a long trip.

* How the dog comes to the top of the cellar steps to wait for me whenever I go down to the cellar. He doesn't do stairs, but he does wait at the top.

* How Thing 1 gets so excited to write a note (and hopefully get a response) from any magical person such as Santa, a Leprechaun, and at this moment (as she prepares to put the tooth that came out this morning under her pillow) the Tooth Fairy.

* The notes that Hubby leaves on my pillow sometimes on his way out of town.

* Sitting on the front step in the evening and watching my neighborhood get ready for the night.

* The fact that when we're both sitting down on the front step I can look the dog right in the eye.

* Watching my daughters during their swim lesson - Thing 1's freestyle no longer resembles swimming underwater with the periodic heads-up-dog-paddle to breathe, her arms actually break the surface. Thing 2's is very splashy with her little arms slapping the water at each stroke.

* When Hubby cooks. Anything he cooks.