Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Utah in June: Week One

We just finished up a fun week at my parents' house. It is a great time to get out of the desert (we missed some major triple digit heat), and it is always wonderful to be with family.

We traveled all Thursday and got there at night. The next day my mom took me to the Provo Mayor's Breakfast. She had requested two tickets because the keynote speaker was Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad. It was a free event, so we drove to BYU a little early to snag good seats. We were perhaps a little underdressed, but it was an amazing program. I haven't felt particularly patriotic in years, but this "prayer breakfast" modeled after the presidential breakfast stirred up my inner proud American. The food was yummy, and the speaker was excellent. (He is doing some amazing work, and his stories were just heart-breaking. Look him up.) Just being there made me feel like an important person, when in fact I am just a mom from Arizona. I felt like we snuck in or something-- It is amazing that they open that sort of thing up to the public.

I snuck one little picture before they served the breakfast. Hello yummy yogurt. 

We stayed on the BYU campus and went to the book store afterward. I hadn't been there in a while. It was strange to see how many featured authors I had met before.

Dan and Asher enjoyed my dad's golf cart. Asher is an amazingly confident driver. At night Chad and Clara came over to hang out and play games. They of course brought their kids and Clara's brother Thomas. We played a game called Pandemic that I liked. They spent the night and left the next morning.

Saturday the weather was fantastic. I love when it is cloudy and rainy- I should probably move to Oregon or something. I walked around outside while it was cloudy and talked with my Aunt Joanne in the garden. (She lives in the back house on my parent's property.) Dan took me out driving in the golf cart after he took the kids. It started to rain while we were out, and I just smiled. I didn't care that I was wet and cold. It was great. My dad took us out to the Art City Trolley for dinner (YUM) and we watched Zootopia at their house at night.

Sunday we went to church, but we didn't stay all three hours since the kids were crazy and it was their Stake Conference. My parents hosted their regular Sunday night dinner, and Chad and his family came back with more games. Tracy was there as well, but the Bourgeouses were on vacation so we missed them. I talked a bit with Tracy and some of us played another cooperative game called Forbidden Island. It was another late night. Dan left to go spend the night at Ron's house in Paradise. (They replaced the brakes on our car the next day, and I didn't see him until late Monday night.)

The library had this display that put you, as art, into "book pages" on screen.  Cool.

On Monday my mom took the kids and me to the Springville library. It is a beautiful building, and pretty cool as far as libraries go. The kids picked three books each- and then we took a quick trip to Walmart. We visited my dad's warehouse on the way back home, and we ate lunch late. Asher and Gwen quietly read until my mom drove us to Thanksgiving Point where we met up with Chad and Clara and their kids. Chad got a pass from his employers that covered all of our entry costs to the museums there, so we visited the Museum of Ancient Life and then moved on to the Museum of Natural Curiosity. Both museums were phenomenal. My favorite room in the dino museum was dark and lit up all around with lights like little stars- you could hardly see where you were going. The room had amazing acoustics, I sang a little bit in there because my mom said I should. There were so many cool things in the other museum that I can't pick a favorite. If I had enough money I would build a curiosity museum in Gilbert. The kids had a great time. Ezra was a champ in the stroller almost the whole time.

"Digging" bones and putting them together. 

Tuesday afternoon Dan and I went to the new Provo City Temple. The parking was crazy, but we found a space eventually. I guess it is a smaller temple- it was beautiful but didn't seem very new. I guess they wanted that old building feeling, so they kept the scarred wood and old spiral staircases. After the temple we wanted to continue our date, so we changed our clothes and went to Wingers. Dan got wings, and I got a salad. My salad was so-so, but the wings were great. After we came home we went on a walk with my mom. We walked through a huge house that is being built. After we got back we watched a really cheesy church movie called 16 Stones. Tracy left right before it was over, which made me laugh. She just couldn't make herself care about it.

Wednesday we had our niece Amanda over with her husband and two kids. It was great to talk with them, but they couldn't stay long. After lunch Dan took Asher and Gwen to the Williams' house to swim. I stayed with Ezra while he was napping, so I missed that event. I guess Lisa wasn't there either, so the wives missed out. Hopefully we will get both of our families together next time we are in town.

In the evening I went with Tracy to hike Stewart Falls. It is four miles total, but it isn't hard. It was nice to be alone with Tracy. I feel like that never happens. We talked a lot and took some pictures. Sadly the falls were pretty crowded, but we still stayed a while. The mist made it cold there, and the clouds were moving fast in the sky. We got back to the car just before dark. Oh- and I found a shard of glass in her car that had apparently been there a year. Crazy.

The Shard.

Thursday Kristy came over with her kids because they had gotten home from their trip the night before. Clara also came with her kids, and eventually we all got over to the Springville Art Museum. Clara had never been. I feel like I go every time I visit my parents, but I like that place. It is a manageable size and they are always changing out their art. It is amazing how many local artists there are. The kids room was closed, but they opened up a new sculpture garden where the kids played for a while. Also, the kids did an art hunt and got to pick little treasures from a box.

Maybe they weren't allowed to climb on the statue, so shhhh.

Thursday night I went to the girl who always does Tracy's hair; Nicole at Stewart Palmer Salon. She made me look AWESOME. I hadn't gotten my hair done in probably more than a year, and now I look so much better. Haha.

Best picture of me in more than a year. Because... look at my hair.

Friday morning Dan and I went to Hruska's Kolaches in Provo. Weird name, yummy breakfast. They serve kolaches, a Czech/Texas pastry with sweet or savory filling. They open at 6:30am and serve until they run out. Unfortunately, when we got there at 9:00ish they had run out. They were still making them though, so we waited around and got the only flavor they had: bacon cheese and egg. It was good.

We tried Hruska's again on Saturday before we drove up to Aspen Grove. They were still very busy, but they had more flavors so we bought two sweet and two savory flavors to take home so that everyone could try what they wanted. I liked them all. I would want to open one of these in Gilbert if I were rich and skinny.

Now we are at Aspen Grove, and I will do a different blog post when we are done here. We've been having a blast! Thank you Utah!

PS I did an epic amount of laundry at my parents' house and I didn't think it was important enough to note every time I washed something or made lunch for someone. Also, I read one of my mom's books in the first part of the week: "Lady Helen Finds her Song" by Jennifer Moore. She was one of the authors I took a class from last month.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I have a lot of catching up to do.

Hey blog. It's been awhile. How are you? Feeling neglected? Well, I'm sorry. I'm not going to make any excuses- we both know who is at fault here. I mean, your formatting is terrible and the trends are turning away from personal blogs, but I know if I had just made you a priority we wouldn't be in this situation. I am a monster, please forgive me.

FYI I'm planning on going back in time (cause I can do that on this blog) and LaterBlogging on a bunch of stuff that happened that I didn't post about. All those posts will have an asterisk in the title. This is all strictly for my own benefit- this is my online journal and I can do what I want to. Right now I want to give a recap of some stuff from the past month or so.

Easter happened (fairly recently by this blog's standards- exactly two weeks ago, so no asterisk). We dyed eggs the night before, but we mostly painted them with water colors and drew on the hot eggs with melting crayons. Ezra still can't really participate in anything egg related. He would have broken the hard boiled ones, and he didn't care about finding the plastic ones. Someday.

The kids got a lot of candy: taffy, chocolate, jelly beans, Cadbury eggs. They each got a book in their basket as well as a small toy. I bought new outfits for Ezra and Gwen, but not Asher. I didn't make a big deal out of it, and he didn't care, but I still feel a little guilty about excluding him. I only had so much money on that H&M gift card.

We had Easter dinner at the Stecks house because they are nice people who think about others. We never have dinners at our house anymore- we haven't done a Talk 'n' Tacos for quite a while. Maybe we should bring those back. Anyway, the Steck's house looked like a Pinterest dream come true and the food was amazing. The rolls I made were great, but the deviled eggs we brought were weird because we didn't have any mayonnaise.

I've been trying to garden, but things are stunted. I tried to fertilize some plants and ended up killing all but one of my tomato seedlings. So, I still stink at gardening despite checking up on the plants every day and reading all about them. Oh well, I guess I will continue to try.

I teach 10-12 voice and piano students every week, mostly in the afternoon after school. I just went to see one of my students in an original musical (The Pied Piper) and the show was weird but she was awesome. I love seeing my students perform. Another one will be playing Alice (of Wonderland fame) next month.

I'm still doing Pilates twice a week, but I'm going to have to go down to once because it is expensive. I get on the elliptical sometimes, but I need to do better at that. I tried a boot camp class two weeks ago and I almost died. I would totally go back if it wasn't such high impact stuff on such an unforgiving surface. I'm getting too old to bounce around on a basketball court for 45 minutes. My bones were more sore than my muscles.

I've read 8 books so far this year, for book club and for fun. I've been slowing down with my writing, but I shouldn't be. Right now I'm trying to write articles- the size of an article is a little more manageable than the scope of a musical, screenplay, or book. Of course I'm still chipping away at those big projects too, but I hope it will feel good just to finish something. I STINK at finishing things. I never finish anyth

The kids are still great kids. They are hilarious and entertaining and fun. Asher is having some organizational problems in school that have turned into grade problems... but he still loves his friends and he is at a 6th grade reading level so whatever. Gwen is a perfect student and a good helper, and a new neighbor moved in and she made a friend- they are always playing together at the park. Ezra is constantly impressing his Physical Therapist. He is getting close to walking and can now climb all of our steps as of two days ago.

Ok. That's all for now. See you in the past. Or the future. I'm unpredictable. Or maybe just unreliable. Again, sorry about that.