Saturday, August 31, 2013

After The War...

So did I mention it was really hot today?  I had one water bottle at the Civil War reenactment which didn't cut the mustard.  We left the park and drove over to get frozen yogurt.  It was heavenly coolness in a cup! The store was air conditioned which is always a bonus.  We drove from yogurt to the movie theater where we sat in another air conditioned room and watched Despicable Me 2.  It was very funny, and cool (did I mention the air?).

At home that evening, I sat in the pool in my clothes and then sat on the patio watching Jenna swim.  It had cooled off outside, but our house was still so warm.  We love these inflatible pools we've had over the years.  Not the same as in-ground, but cool nonetheless.  Along with the cool factor, I was really savoring the time with my girls.  Jenna hasn't started school yet, and Heather has not had a full homework load yet.  Kelly was gone on his outing with the guys, and it was just a great time to do whatever we wanted to on our own schedule.  I absolutely loved it.

Civil War Reenactment

We took Heather to see the Civil War Reenactment a few years ago just before she started fifth grade, and it was so spectacular that I've been looking for the opportunity to take Jenna.  We didn't make it before Jenna's 5th grade year, so we made sure to block out time for it this summer.  Jenna was not super thrilled to go especially in the heat, but Heather was excited to go back as she just finished more Civil War studies in 8th grade.  It was SO hot that we literally became dehydrated watching the battle.  Heather told us a few interesting things about the battle field and even answered an Asian-American woman's question about who was in which uniform (the Union could afford the Blue uniforms while the Confederates were less organized and had less money which is why they kind of wore whatever they could).  I was especially impressed when Heather noted both the Union and Confederate medical personnel who administered to anyone on the battle field regardless of which side they were fighting for because of the compassion they had for all men.

We didn't stay for the whole battle because of the heat, and on the way out we bumped into President Lincoln who was getting ready to deliver the Gettysburg address.  I don't know how much of an impression the experience made on Jenna (I think she was too hot to really care which is understandable), but I am still very happy we went.

Friday, August 30, 2013

It has been so hot!  We've been spoiled by unseasonably cool weather such that when the real summer weather hit, we were not ready for it.  I took some photos off my weather app today which showed the weather at 9:00AM, noon and 2:00PM.  It's like we moved to Hades.  The dog even knows when to go lay prone in front of the oscillating fan!  The only plus is that the heavens present a fabulous show every night around sunset.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Middle School Orientation

After we dropped Heather off at high school, Jenna had her middle school orientation.  She was introduced to her homeroom teacher, and the kids had a lot of activities they did to help orient them to life as a sixth grader on a middle school campus.  Jenna likes her homeroom teacher who will be her Advanced Math teacher, and she is excited to be back with friends after a year of being separated from so many of them.


I'm not ready! I'm not ready!  Somebody slow down time already!  Ready or not, here it comes...from her first day in Kindergarten to her first day of High School...

Those first pictures, I swear, were just taken a couple of years ago.  But here we are, the first day of High School and a new adventure.  Heather is a strong and confident young woman, and although school is not her favorite, she is ready for the challenge.  We are excited for her and can't wait to watch what she accomplishes these next few years (which I hear will go by way too fast also).

We met Heather's good friend, Penelope, and her parents at the street adjacent to the school so the girls could walk over together (and the parents didn't have to deal with the parking).  Penelope's dad had a nice camera and actually followed them all the way down the street documenting their walk to school.  I love that because I was too chicken to do it.

These girls are off to conquer the world!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saying Hello and Good-bye to Our College Friends

Where does the time go?  We have two dear friends who are all grown up and going off into the world.  We celebrated on Monday evening with a taco dinner at our house.  Jordan, who just returned home from an LDS mission, is off to BYU-Provo.  This was a bit of a hello-after-two-years and a good-bye.  He is an outstanding young man, and we are so proud to know him.  He is an accomplished musician with a stellar voice, and he treated us to a mini concert of a few of the pieces he's written.  
Jordan with his sister, Rachel, and wee Heather
The backyard concert

Our dear friends, the Holbrooks, also joined us for taco dinner and visiting with Jordan.  Their daughter, Hannah, is off to BYU-Idaho.  Hannah is simply an awesome human being, and she has been a both a fun playmate over the years and a great role model.  We're going to miss these grown up kids around here!
 Hannah, Sarah and Heather in 2004
Saying so-long with the gift of Cocoa Puffs, Hannah's favorite cereal

More Summer Activities

We had some fun during the last weeks before school started doing some local things that we don't do on a regular basis, so I wanted to document them...

Tuesday, 8/20:  Taco Truck
We took Kelly over to the taco truck that my sister had introduced us to.  The tacos are spicy, and he really liked them.  While we waited for another round of tacos, Heather had fun with my phone.  I just love her.

Wednesday, 8/21:  Group Swim
Jenna and her girlfriends were invited to Kenzie's house for a swim day.  They had a blast as did the moms who sat around talking.

Friday, 8/23:  Skate and Swim

Jenna and Sarah got a skate day together at the local rollerskating rink.  They have too much fun together.  That night, Kelly gathered the men he was going to go hiking with the next week for a planning meeting.  Wives and kids came, and the kids got some great pool and hot tub time.

 On a side note, my vocal teacher and current director of the Arizona Millennial Choir was interviewed on Glenn Beck.  It's great to see the organization getting this much recognition.  Glenn went to the Dallas, Texas concert last year and hasn't stopped talking about it.

Friday, 8/26: Breakfast and Skating

 Although we've done a lot this summer, I hadn't taken the girls out to breakfast at Mimi's.  With high school starting in just a few days, there was no time like the present!  We went from breakfast to a big skate with friends over at the rink.  Heather invited a friend too, and all the kids had a blast together.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Art Class - Watercolor

Shea provided a watercolor project for the girls' last art class together.  They did a beautiful job.  We are  so proud of Jenna and excited to see what is next for her.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anniversary Celebration #26

We finally got our anniversary good and celebrated!  We had dinner at The Melting Pot in Irvine.  This is a very pricey place, however, we were blessed to have received a gift card from our wonderful stake friends who participated in our last show, and the card covered all of our four-course dinner.  We opted for the four-course experience, and it was heavenly.  Course 1 was cheese dip with fruit, bread and veggies; course 2 was salad; course 3 our main dinner with steak, chicken and shrimp; and course 4 (pictured) was our Turtle chocolate (carmel and candied pecans).  We were WAY too full, but it was a very nice experience.  The ambience was lovely and because they knew we were celebrating, we had a cozy, romantic table tucked away from the rest of the bustle.  We sealed the evening with a present which I bought for Kelly, but is really for us both.  This Willow Tree statue spoke to my heart and exemplifies the love we share and hope to continue to develop over the next 26 years.  Happy Anniversary Babe!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Art Class - Pencil

Today's creations were kittens with pencil.  These girls are so talented!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Zion National Park - Angel's Landing

After Kelly returned home from his scout trip to Zion and showed us his pictures, the girls and I wanted to go and climb Angel's Landing.  I assumed that since we had survived Half Dome there couldn't be anything that intimidating again.  We booked a hotel for a quick two night, weekend stay and packed our bags.  We have never done Zion as a family, and it was really beautiful.  We had planned to hike to Angel's Landing Saturday morning and then walk about four miles up The Narrows.  The Narrows didn't happen, but we sure had an adventure.  

The pictures above show the "easy" part of the hike.  Ha! Fifteen hundred feet, pretty much straight up, some of it was rock climbing-like.   The photos below show the last half mile of the 2.5 mile trail also known as the treacherous part.  No one has died for a few years.  No sweat.

 Can you find Heather in the photo above?

We made it to the top with a lot of stops to catch breath (me), tired feet (all) and much bravery and perseverance (all).  I worried that my difficulty with the hike was due to being out of shape, and it was.  But the girls were a bit tuckered out also.  We decided later that a lot of that had to do with the 100 degree heat we hiked in.  Well that and the climb.  I really should have prepped with some Stairmaster workouts.

This hike was not as tough psychologically as the Half Dome hike, but I knew better than to look down.  It felt better because there was always something to hold on to whether it be a tree, rock or chain, and sandstone is not slippery like granite.  It was definitely more physically strenuous due to the rapid climb.  It is actually a hike I would do again.  Better get started on those Stairmaster workouts.

As we all returned to the bottom of the canyon, we had sore feet and were really wiped out.  The Narrows will have to wait until next time.  The decision was unanimous to head back to the hotel where we spent some time in the pool, had a great dinner at a pizza/noodle house, and did some souvenier shopping.  A small lizard climbed on Kelly near the gift shop at the visitor's center and it was hard to get him off.  A random event, but a fun part of our trip.

We asked the girls what their favorite part of the trip was, and both the pool and the restaurants we ate at were at the top of their lists.  For me, making the climb with my family was the best.  It's what we went to Zion for, and we achieved our goal.  It took twice as long as my husband would have wanted, but we did it.  I joked with a man on the trail about wishing I had my 20-year-old legs back, and he pointed out that I was out there on the trail when a lot of other people aren't.  Had to agree with him there.

p.s.  HUGE thanks to Grandpa for coming to stay with Winston while we were away.