Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Idaho Leg

From Utah we drove straight up the family cabin, but not before stopping for "gas," which is to say, we stopped at a 7-11 and I finally got my hands on a Slurpee. There are no Slurpees in all of Tennessee, so this one was a long time coming and it did not disappoint.

But then, yes, we arrived at the cabin. Matt and Esther also came up for the week, so on Monday we naturally had to take the girls to the little park that's at the end of the road.

(This is Faye trying to get Rosie to spit out the dirt she was eating, but I'm pretending it's the other way around and Faye is purposefully feeding Rosie dirt.)

G.I.R.L. spent a fair amount of time being pushed around by her cousins, but I think they both enjoyed it, so, eh.

On Tuesday D.A.R.E. and his dad took their annual fishing trip...

...which left this little girl crying through the screen door.

Tuesday night brother Carp brought his brood up to visit and we had all five grandkids in the same room. I got exactly one picture where they're all in frame.

This of course necessitated another trip to the park, where I got enough pictures of everyone on the swings to make a flip book.

I also got one picture of these two playing nice on the cabin stairs.

On Wednesday night us younger folks headed into West Yellowstone to see Singin' In the Rain at the Playmill, but not before spending a hefty chunk of change at the fudge shop. (I may or may not have set aside a fudge budget for this trip.) The production was great, but I spent a good portion of it out in the lobby feeling woozy because pregnancy is dumb and something about those seats cut off my circulation. Bummer.

Thursday we took the girls and a sack of bread to Big Springs and fed the birds.

Then later that night we made s'mores around the grill.

Friday we high-tailed it out of town and capped off our trip by eating at the deliciously sacred Trail's Inn. Those fries. I dream about them sometimes.

We spent the night in SLC at D.A.R.E.'s aunt's house, and G.I.R.L. got to meet her first dog, Bruiser. Sadly there is no video of their encounter, but trust me, it was priceless. She kept creeping up to him, closer and closer each time, until she finally reached out some wiggly fingers and touched his back like she was playing the piano. Then she'd scream and run away, only to repeat the process approximately 10,000 times. Saturday morning we headed for the airport, where D.A.R.E. caught a plane home and I got on a flight with the in-laws (same row, coincidentally enough) headed to Oregon for the last leg of my trip.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Summer vacation recaps happening here. Three states, three posts I guess. Here's Utah.

In June we went to Utah for a few days for D.A.R.E.'s grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. We played games, had pictures taken, and just had a good time hanging out with extended family. It was good to see everyone.
Everyone everyone

Just D.A.R.E.'s family

Our family

G.I.R.L. pretending as a hat

We took G.I.R.L. swimming for the first time, and I can't say whether or not she enjoyed it. She insisted on being held by one of us the entire time she was in the pool, but fussed when we eventually took her out. Probably the best we could have hoped for. At least it got her used to wearing sandals, which she now enjoys pointing out whenever she sees them (san-mos!).

We stayed at the Homestead Inn in Midway, but were only there from Friday night to Sunday morning, so I hadn't planned on trying to fit in any visits with my side of the family. Except as we're leaving the resort someone says we're all going to meet up at the McDonald's in Heber for breakfast, and I was like, what?! I know nothing about Utah geography other than that Salt Lake is north of Provo, so I had no idea I was five minutes away from where my oldest sister (First Draft) lives. I called her up real quick, hoping she had late church. I got her at the tail end of Sacrament meeting and she was about to teach Sharing Time in Primary, but she came and met us for four and a half minutes in the Heber McDonald's to say hi and see G.I.R.L. in the flesh. 

And that was the Utah leg of the trip. The best part was probably hanging out with D.A.R.E.'s cousins  in our hotel room playing Fibbage and Drawful. Both are extremely fun games to play with a group. The worst part was dealing with G.I.R.L. on a new schedule. At home she climbs into bed at 8pm and has her meals and milk like clockwork, but on this trip she wouldn't eat or drink or sleep, and it was just stressful. Bleargh.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It sure beats blowing up the kiddie pool

Lately I've been considering building G.I.R.L. a sand box, mostly because she enjoys climbing into our fire pit, and a sand box seems cleaner somehow. Here she is with her new elephant watering can, just chilling in the fire pit, as one does:

Then I thought, maybe she'd just get really dirty and track sand into my already filthy house and I'd have to actually bathe her. I should start small, maybe with a sand table. Then I remembered we live in an oppressively hot state, and jumped from sand table to water table. Yes! A water table would be perfect for the summer. So before I could change my mind I went out and bought a kitchen sink from the ReStore store. I next purchased a bunch of pipes and pipe fittings to build a frame for the sink to rest on at just the right height for an almost-three-year-old. There was much cutting, and measuring, and re-cutting, and a follow-up trip to the hardware store, but it's largely done. Here it is being tested out this morning:

I'm very pleased with how it turned out, but I have to admit to over-engineering it a bit. I got it into my head that it would be neat for the water to drain out the back, which meant fully plumbing the sink. So I installed two sink drains, which connect underneath,

and feed into a drain pipe,
 which runs off the porch and into the yard.

(What I probably should have done was just install the two drains and put buckets underneath to catch the water when I pulled the plugs.)

I actually took a video of this draining, in case, you know, someone out there has never seen water come out of a pipe before, but I'll spare you from having to watch such a fascinating clip. Instead, here's G.I.R.L. with a sponge:

Fishing around in the deep:

And here she is with a puppet she found on the porch (abandoned by one of my day campers), which she greatly enjoyed dunking in the water until it fell apart:

Three things of note: 

1. The frame is made out of pvc pipe, which I cemented together, except for the very bottom portion of the legs. This way I can pull them off and replace them with slightly longer legs as G.I.R.L. gets taller, which, the doctors assure me, will probably happen.

2. Because this water table is on a porch/deck as opposed to a patio, G.I.R.L. slipped and fell down a lot. I'll be purchasing a rubber doormat in the near future.

3. There are four holes at the top of the sink, where a faucet would normally be installed. I have some vague plans to put some pipes there so that fun doo-dads, like water wheels and funnels, can be attached to them.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ode to an 18-month-old

Things on my kitchen floor that don't belong there:

1. wagon wheel apple slicer
2. pair of slipper shoes
3. pink plastic necklace
4. Roomba spinner brush that keeps detaching itself
5. bike helmet
6. orange kazoo
7. one red Elmo shoe, size 5.5
8. one sandal, size 9
9. 1/2 of an Ikea train track bridge. Possibly the going up side. Possibly the going down side.
10. messenger bag
11. combination pen/stylus that was behind a closed door and yet ended up behind the fridge
13. dish brush
14. booster seat tray
15. silver Sharpie
16. two wooden spoons
17. three plastic cups
18. the lid to the trash can
19. an apron
20. pink plastic dreidel
21. a rubber ear
22. outdated Home Teaching assignment slip
23. list of plants we plan on planting in our potential garden
24. lid to a cottage cheese container with something decidedly not cottage cheese on it
25. lid to a baby food container
26. Food bits. So many food bits.

Bonus items that Edie got out and placed on the floor in the minute it took me to write down this list:

27. bottle drying rack
28. one dish towel (she grabbed for more and was restrained)

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The swing of things

I want to get back into blogging, but I feel obligated to catch up on everything that's happened in the last year and a half. So here goes:

1. Optimistic. graduated from UO.
2. We had a baby.
3. We moved to Tennessee.
4. I made an accidental lemon cake.
5. I got a haircut.

There. All caught up.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Come on down!

I serve on my ward's RS meeting committee, and our most recent activity was all about becoming more self-reliant and spending our money wisely. We had people make presentations about couponing, smart shopping, and organization, and then I got to host the last segment. I say host because my part of the presentation consisted of playing games from The Price Is Right!

To make things fun I had the theme music play as I called contestants up, and I even made a skinny black microphone, just like Bob Barker always used:

The first game was Pick A Pair, which doesn't entail much. You have 6 items, made up of three pairs that cost the same amount. All the contestant has to do to win is correctly pick a pair, but I went a step further and had them try and pair up all three. Contestant # 1 knocked it out of the park.

For all the items I used little boxes as display stands, which looked something like this:

I taped up the box flaps with the prices behind them, so all I had to do was cut the tape for a dramatic reveal.

The second game was Punch-A-Bunch. I picked this one because I already have a small reusable punch board I made for a Primary lesson. All I had to do was switch out the tissue paper and add some dollar signs:

For this game Contestant #2 had to look at 4 items and tell me whether they were priced too high or too low. For every correct answer she got to punch a hole in the punch board, behind which cash prizes awaited. This was a very low-budget affair and the cash prizes were coming out of my spare change collection, so I priced them between 5 cents and 5 dollars. Luckily for me Contestant #2 got greedy, passed on getting $2, and ended up with 5 cents.

The best game I saved for last. Perhaps you remember a certain TPIR game called Cliffhangers, which debuted in 1976? Well, here's my miniature version, complete with a tiny yodeler who moves up and down the mountain:

Contestant #3 had to price three items, and for every ten cents she was off  the yodeler climbed higher and higher up the mountain to the yodeling song from the show. Luckily she didn't go over, because my yodeler is on a string loop, meaning I couldn't make him fall off the mountain if I tried. Even so, I'm very proud I was able to build a miniature version of the game.

Here's the yodeler up close:

And here you can see the backside of the game, and how I had to weigh the yodeler down with pennies to keep him from flipping over to the front:

He moves on a string that runs through three metal loops, so all I have to do is pull and up he goes. 

Perhaps the best part of the night was after the activity when I was putting everything away, and a few sisters came up and said how much fun they'd had. One of the sisters in particular is newer in the ward, so we don't know much about each other, and our conversation went like this:

her: That's so neat that you made the game from the show.

me: Well, I had a lot of fun building it. It isn't good for much outside of playing Cliffhangers, but I promised Optimistic. he could play with it when I got home, so he's excited about that.

her: And how old is he?

me: Ummm...thirty.

her: Oh, I thought he was your little boy!

me: No, he's just a fan of game shows. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How I Spend My Wednesday Afternoons

As you may or may not know, Optimistic. and I are Cub Scout den leaders, which means we spend an hour every Wednesday trying to teach things to squirrely eight-year-olds. We've done a lot of fun things recently (learning how to hammer nails, building a birdhouse, making our own Chia heads), and the boys are most of the way done earning their Wolf, but they still have a handful of incredibly boring things to pass off. To help the medicine go down a little easier, we try to turn everything into a game.

Yesterday our meeting centered around how to interact with strangers and what to do in different emergency situations. What do you do when a stranger comes to the door, what do you do when a stranger calls on the phone, who do you call in case of an emergency? Stuff like that. To make a game out of it, we played "Stump the Boy Left Home Alone." Basically we had the boys take turns pretending the door to the primary room was their front door, and the rest of us would knock on the door and try to convince the boy to let us in for some reason or another. I was worried that the boys might not be able to come up with compelling reasons to be let in, so I gave them a few ideas of people to pretend to be, like a policeman, or a new neighbor, or a meter reader. I needn't have worried. On the first go-around Boy #1 answered the door, and Boy #2, without so much as a preliminary hello, hit him in the face and then said "Oh, let me come in and give you an ice pack." I have to admit, I thought that was pretty creative. Another boy simply refused to answer the door, which I thought was a wise tactic, until he made the mistake of coming up to the window in the door where we could see him and yelling "I'm not home!"

After that we practiced answering the phone, making sure to impress upon the boys the importance of  etiquette and personal safety. The phrases "They can't come to the phone right now, can I take a message?" and "May I ask who's calling?" were the two biggies, as we wanted to stress that a) it isn't safe to reveal that you're home alone, and b) you should always find out who's on the other end of the line. Optimistic. managed to trip up the first boy, who never asked who was calling and managed to reveal that his parents weren't home. The second boy failed on etiquette and paused when asked if his parents were home, but managed to demand "who's this?" and take down a pretend message.

Things only got better when we practiced emergency phone calls (the idea being that the boys should be able to calmly answer a 911 operator's questions during an emergency). As a fake 911 operator I received a call from one of the boys calling about a fire. He said he was a man inside a burning house. When I told him to get outside and wait for the fire department, he told me he had no legs. I asked if there was anyone else in the house with him, and was told that there was no one but his pet horse. When asked why he didn't ride his pet horse to safety, he responded that without his legs he wasn't tall enough to mount the horse. At that point I gave in and asked why he kept a pet horse if he couldn't ride it. In the end I needlessly advised him to stay low to the ground (no legs, remember?) and assured him that the fire department would be there soon.

It's a frustrating calling to have at times, but mostly it's just really really amusing.