Sunday, November 6, 2011

Scary surgery (and tomatoes).

 To help get in the mood for Halloween, we took the kids to the local "Pumpkin Plunge".  They throw a million pumpkins in the pool, and the kids play with them, then get to pick one to decorate.  I saw water dodge-pumpkin, pumpkin catch, and kids using the pumpkins like water wings. 

 We had a bumper tomato harvest this year, but the difference is this year I have a new toy to play with to save them: the (drumroll please) EXCALIBER 9 TRAY.  I know --sorry to shout, but I've wanted this dehydrator for so long! 

 The tomatoes came out so beautiful with their different colors, and they taste GOOD just by themselves.
 Ari went to the hospital on the 28th to get the surgery done for her cochlear implant on the other side. 
 She started getting a little nervous before the anesthetic, so Jeff pulled up backgammon on his phone to calm her down.
 They just finished the surgery and were bandaging her up, and she woke up.  They quickly finished and wheeled her into the waiting room where major pain meds were administered.  We were told originally that this would be a far less invasive surgery than the first time, but it turned out the same.  They still had to make a huge incision, and hollow out a place in her skull for the processor to sit in.  She still has recovered very well, although as of today still needs some ibuprofin or tylenol a couple times a day.
 It didn't stop her from dressing up and going trick or treating though.  I made her pirate costume and Tia's and my black and white swan costumes. Kai had his heart set on this alien costume he'd seen online.  Fine with me.  One less thing to sew.

We had a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've been busy.

Remember me mentioning heading up the school carnival?  That kind of took over my brain the last month of summer.  It turned out fine.  I shamelessly stole pictures off the PTA blog to show you.  I was too busy to shoot pictures myself.  Although at times I wanted to shoot myself.
 The Blowups.  We get sponsors to help cover these.
 Concessions.  we had snow cones, cotton candy, and popcorn.
 Basket auction.  We also had a raffle of a BYU basketball signed by the team.  Yes Jimmer too.
We served dinner.

And had plenty of carnival games.  It looked like rain but it didn't.  Perfect weather. I was pretty happy with the results, but last week I went to a PTA meeting where they raised twice as much money doing a Walk-a-thon.  Huh.  Oh Well.
 jeff and I went to Park City for an anniversary trip right after the carnival was over.  We were able to stay right in a big resort for a week.  The condo was beautiful.  I felt like I was staying in Pinocchio's house.
It looked like a little alpine chalet with all of this carved wood and European fixtures.

We hiked to the top of Timpanogos Peak our first day (only 4 hours to the top! Most people take around 6.  I felt very speedy). 

We also did a hot air balloon ride. I loved it.  We've been going to look at the balloons on the 4th of July for years, but this was the first time we went up in one.
We spent one day riding the lifts up to the top of the slopes and then riding down on mountain bikes, but I'm not going to tell you about that because a thunder storm started and it didn't end well :) The rest of the time we were running, shopping, and eating at some fabulous restaurants.  Try the Mustang  if you're ever up there.  We also bought some olive oils and balsamic vinegars at the Mountain Town Olive Oil Company
So fun in there.  We tried just about every kind, then bought the Tuscan herb olive oil and the lemon (delicious); and then bought the wild blueberry balsamic, and the blackbery ginger.  Oh.My.Gosh.  I can't describe how yummy.
Anyway you know how I said the acupuncture cured my graves?  It didn't last.  I might be getting radio-iodine after all.  I'm not too happy about it.  I'll come back and write about that, Ari's new cochlear implant (on the other side!), some canning and dehydrating projects, and of course, our Faaaaaaabulous Halloween costumes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Running up City Creek.

Jeff and I won a free hotel weekend. It was Jeff's birthday in June and he asked for free babysitting from my parents for his present.  I don't know if my mom is snowballing me, but she said they just read the whole time so it was easy.  One of the big attractions of staying with Gramma and Grampa is going to their library.  Can I just say in passing that it doesn't speak well for Mapleton that we've GOT no library?  I know we've got the Utah county bookmobile housed here but pickin's are SLIM there.  Scores of multi-million dollar houses but we can't spring for a decent library?  Rant over.
When Jeff plans the weekend in Salt Lake it goes a little differently than mine does.  His big goal is to veg in front of TV and movie screens.  Mine is to see and eat as much cool stuff as possible.  We hit up Starbucks for breakfast oatmeal and that was the extent of our eating out.  Oh well.  We saw a couple of cool movies, more on that in a sec.    One thing we always agree on is the workouts.  We had a 9 mile run scheduled on our training plan for Saturday, and jeff suggested running up the City Creek trail.  It was honestly hard to believe there WAS a trail right near downtown, but what as cool run!  We started out running up west temple past the salt palace and art center.

We turned up north temple where you first see the creek as part of the landscaping in front of the "meganacle"
Soon the creek enters "City Creek Park" which is beautiful by the way,
and through a really neat historical district.  Sorry for the blurry pics, I didn't really stop to take them with my phone, just slowed down.
Then the real trail started, and the creek got big and scary.
Up through a canyon, and onto the Bonneville Bench trail.
Here's Jeff up ahead of me (he's much faster usually, but especially when I'm taking pictures).  Then my camera shut down on my phone because it was supporting my audiobook at the same time and freaked out.  oh well.

 The first movie was Potter.  Fabulous.  Just fabulous.  I'm a major Potter nerd, and have read all of the books multiple times, AND listened to the audiobooks --all of them -- multiple times.  I was so excited for this movie.  Usually when this happens, the movie can't live up to your expectations, but they pulled out all the stops on effects.  The best part by far though was watching Snape's memories.  This is probably my favorite part in the whole series, but watching it on the screen, I was sobbing.  I felt so stupid while I was doing it, knowing these are fictional characters, and telling myself that over and over didn't help one bit.  I was completely drawn in.  Jeff kept patting my arm (probably hoping I'd stop embarrassing him).

The next movie we saw was Captain America.  Can I just say, the photoshop/CGI stuff was amazing!  Never again will I watch a movie and lament that an actress is so skinny --impossibly thin.  It IS impossible!  Look what they did to Cris Evans!  Plumps when you cook 'em.  :)

Good show, classic superhero movie.  It was done by the guy that did the Rocketeer, and it felt like that.  Corny, old-fashioned fun.  Stick around after the credits, there's an Easter egg you'll be excited to see after.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Checking out at Ream's, the teenage bagger asked me if I was going to go watch fireworks tonight. 

"I don't know," I said.  "Are there fireworks tonight?" 
"Oh yeah -- over at Ira Allen Park," he answered as he put my cherries in a plastic bag, not on top of the bananas (I watched).  "It's huge! Bigger than Stadium of Fire, and it's all set to music.  You just park your car there, and sit right under them". 
He lost me at "park your car".  I've been in more than one traffic jam on the 4th of July or 24th of July (we celebrate a fireworky pioneer day in Utah) that's lasted hours, and has left me with visions of myself in a tank running over cars in my path with a maniacal laugh.  Bad traffic's not a good situation for someone like me with little patience.  Dutiful mother that I am, I came home and told Jeff anyway, and we thought about it while slogging through the usual Saturday chores (sometimes I hate my yard).  9:00 hits and it's decision time.  "Why don't we go up Whiting canyon to that path we sled on in winter, and head south instead of north?" he asks.  "I'll bet we get a great view of them from there". 
I'm a little dubious when I look on the map and notice how far south the park is, but then, I'm often dubious with new suggestions so I keep my mouth shut instead of being a jerk.  Kai lays on the couch pouting. "I thought we were going to get close to the fireworks.  I don't want to go far away to see" he whines.
"It'll be great" I answer --the cheerleader now.  "Get in the car". 
The kids grab saltines, cream cheese, soynuts, raisins, and honeydew chunks.  I'm not exaggerating. "Do I need my water bottle?" Tia asks? "Jeez." Jeff says under his breath. "It's not going to be that long".  She grabs it anyway, making us wait for her again.  Lately, every time we go somewhere this seems to happen. Ominous foreshadowing for the rest of her teenage years. 
When we get to the horse trailer parking lot, Kai doesn't want to get out of the car. "What about wolves?" he says in a small voice. "Aren't there wolves up here?" 
"Yeah" Jeff says ("shut-up Jeff" I think), "but not right here". 
"We'll walk with Daddy in front and you kids go in the middle and I'll be in the back" I say.  "If wolves come they'll eat us up and you'll be fine. Seriously, Dad and I run and walk up here all the time.  There aren't any wolves".  Are there? I wonder.  They're endangered and stuff, so I'm pretty sure there aren't... 
We walk in the dark, and every other minute, we see a firework explode in a different part of the city spread out below us.  I'm pretty sure none of them are from Ira Allen park.  There's not a real path, just little mini clearings we thread our way through, trying to get near the edge of the mountain to get the best view. 
Ari asks if she can wear my headlamp once we stop to wait, sure now that we're just too early, and the "real" fireworks will start any minute. 
"No I say, we're going to leave it off now until it's time to walk back."  I'm always shutting her down, and feel slightly guilty until she asks if she can wear it on her head anyway and I hand it over.  I doubt I'm the best mother for her.  I turn on my phone and surf food blogs (mother of the year I know) while waiting for the start of the show.  Jeff walks off to see if he can find a better spot, and a few minutes later we see his headlamp bobbing back through the dark towards us.  No luck.  It's after 10:00 now and I'm pretty sure they've started and we're missing them, but I don't say anything.  Jeff says he's going to try the other direction, and Kai goes with him, which I can tell cheers Jeff up a little.  We all eventually migrate over to where they stand, but don't see much, and Ari's started shivering in the breeze. 
"Well, should we go?" Jeff asks.  "Yeah" I say, "maybe we can still find them if we go over by Brandie's neighborhood".  I lead the way without any real idea of where I'm going, just a general direction, but get lucky, and we stumble back to our car.
"Are we going home or are we still trying?" Jeff asks as our headlights sweep a circle around the edge of the parking lot and turn down the mountain. 
"Let's still try" I say, typing a new blog address into my phone.  It doesn't take even a quarter mile before we start seeing big flashes off to the left.
"There they are! Kids! Look!" Jeff says, passing an open field.  Huge sea anemones of pink and purple, and jets of white light fill the sky.  The bagger was right.  These are some serious fireworks.
"I'm tempted to just stop right here to watch" Jeff says, and slides the car over to the side of the road.  We watch for a while. 
"That kind" Ari says. "That's the kind I mean that's my favorite". 
"This must be the grand finale" I say as flower upon flower explode right on top of each other in the sky.  A few minute later I say it again.  Then later I think it finally must really be the grand finale.  I can't believe the money they put into this show. 
"I'm ready to go home" Kai says. "Aren't you liking it?" Jeff asks. "yeah, but I'm getting sick of it now" he answers.  Jeff laughs. "Man I love you bud" he says.  Kai's a crackup sometimes.  The sky goes dark, and through the open car windows we hear clapping from the dark front yard of the house next to our car.  I had no idea anyone was there. "woooo!" I yell --just so they know we're there too. "woo hoo!"  they yell back, still clapping.  "Wooo hoo hoo!" I say, and Jeff laughs as he pulls the car away from the curb.  "I'm so glad I'm married to you" he says.  "You're so fun". 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Fruit and Veggies" (or "How much suffering can a fruit tree take?").

 I've many fruit and veggie plants throughout the yard alongside the flowers.  We're getting quite a few raspberries right now --including some black and golden varieties.
 Here are the onions and beans.  Anyone know why my onions are going to seed the first year?  A couple did this last year too.  I don't get it.
 Carrots, beets and sweet corn...or is that Indian corn?  I can't remember where I put the two kinds.  I guess we'll open it up and look at it when the tassels turn brown.
 Here's my poor poor mulberry tree.  This is also a big mystery to me: every year this tree loses a big section -- I guess to wind.  Why would this be?  I think I'm going to trim it down to a bush next year and then we can sing and dance around it. 
 Look at my callouses jeez!  No, this is one of my mulberries.  They got huge this year and so sweet.  I wish I had the other two thirds of the tree that broke off.  Those branches were full of berries. :(
 I've got this other stupid mulberry tree that I bought from Cook's, but the berries aren't as big, sweet, or as easy to pick.  Annoying that this isn't the tree that breaks!
 Aren't these pretty flowers?  Not worth a cherry tree though.  They grow right underneath my cherry tree, and last year I noticed it wasn't doing so well. I thought it had a bug and tried to get it diagnosed, but nobody knew what was wrong.  I suspected these guys but thought ..naaah.
 Here's the tree this year.  Notice it's only dead on the side with the flowers?  Sigh.
 We should get plenty of white peaches this year though.
 ...and Italian plums.
 ...and tomatoes.
 we'll have plenty of tomatoes!
 My squash may not produce though (I'm starting to realize at this point how boring this post must be to a non-gardener --sorry!).  I could tell it looked like they weren't getting enough water, but the box said they were getting three hours.  I finally figured out my schedules were overlapping and cutting off these guys before they got all of their water.  I hope I get a few kabochas at least before frost. They don't take as long to mature.
 My grapes quickly overwhelmed the support we made for them last year and are seriously out of control again.
As is my herb garden.  Time to cut down the tarragon, lemon balm, and mint.  Maybe I can make some new pestos!  Has anyone tried that before?