Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dallas at Sunset

As we were driving back to our hotel in Plano after visiting Eric's grandma, we drove through Dallas about sunset.  I was just going to get one or two pictures of the city skyline, but the way that the light was hitting the buildings and coming through the clouds was beautiful, so I kept taking pictures.  These were all taken while we were driving on the interstate, so you can see the black corner of the car window in some of them like the one below.


This giraffe was just outside the Dallas zoo

These last two pictures I changed to a solarized setting for color just for fun:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Visiting Great Grandma Bass

Since we were already in Texas, we decided to take Sunday and drive 3 hours farther South to visit Eric's Grandma Bass.  She recently had a stroke and her health has been deteriorating.  Eric's family has never been as close to her, and I don't think we have seen her in 10 years.  Although it meant 6 more hours in the car, we decided that it was worth it, and it was. 

It was great to see her, and she was SO excited to see Eric!  She didn't know we were coming.  She remembered me and Alex too (although he wasn't with us).  I think Jesikah was just a baby last time we saw her.  Grandma is in a nursing home in a rehabilitation program after the stroke.  She is doing quite well and her memory is good most of the time, but every now and then she would start talking about something funny. 

She is a sweet lady, and Eric was so kind and gentle with her.  He just sat there and held her hand and talked to her about all the memories he has of her.  He made her so happy and she enjoyed the kids too.  Eric felt really bad when she told him that she thought she'd never see him again.  She was excited to get pictures taken with us.  She kept asking if we had taken the pictures yet.  We also got to see Eric's Uncle Vance who we also haven't seen for a very long time. 

As soon as we got there, Grandma wanted to go outside to the gazebo.  It was about 2pm and 101 degrees outside, but she said she wanted to get warm. We got warm alright :), but while we were out there, we also learned that the gazebo was the smoking spot.  Anytime anyone wanted to smoke, that was the place they came.  We got to smell pretty much constant smoke while we were out there and of course the heat was stifling.  We eventually convinced her to go back inside.  I know she just wanted a place to take us away from her little shared room.


After her recent stroke, I told the kids that we should write a card to her.  They didn't even know who she was and they wanted to know what they should say to someone they didn't know.  This made me feel really bad, so I was so glad we got to see her.  Now they will know who they are writing to, and we hope to keep in better touch.



My Sister's Wedding

We left Friday around noon and headed to Dallas, Texas for my sister Melanie's wedding.  We got there around 11:30pm.  The next morning after a good breakfast at the hotel, we headed over to Kohl's with my sister, Candace, to buy Jarem a belt and ended up doing some school shopping too since we had a little time before we had to be to the wedding AND we had a coupon for 30% off our entire purchase. (Didn't want to waste that on just a belt)! 

The wedding was on Saturday evening.  It turned out very nice.  It was a little different for us to see how a wedding is performed in a different church, but it was pleasant.  The readings from the bible were very different for me since we use the King James version and they read from the New World version.  Although I know that the new world version was created to give the bible a fresh translation that was more updated and easier to understand, I feel like some of the meaning in some words and phrases were lost.  For example:  the word "charity" was replaced with the word "love".  While they have a similar meaning, charity is the pure love of Christ.  Love doesn't mean that to me.  But, regardless of that, it was still a nice ceremony.

The decorations were simple but elegant and the food was good.  The kids each had a part.  Jarem was the ring bearer, Tessa was a flower girl, Jesikah was a junior bridesmaid, and Alex was an usher. They each did a really cute job.


Jarem was such a cute little ring bearer.


Tessa and Kadie were flower girls and Jesikah was a junior bridesmaid.  Jesikah got to help Melanie put on her shoes and necklace AND she got her own bouquet.  She loved her part.


Alex was an usher. He ushered the parents and grandparents in at the beginning.  He also got to light the candles and dismiss everyone when the ceremony for over with a nod.  I liked the nod.  I think he liked his part.  He got to do it with his cousin, Colton.  Above is Alex with my mom.  He's been letting his hair grow for the Nauvoo pageant.  He has all kinds of little curls now.
 
Alex and Colton with their grandpa (my dad)
The 3 girls after the ceremony. Kadie with her eyes closed. Her eyes were closed in both pictures that I took.  Her mom's eyes are always closed in pictures too.


My 3 brothers and sister along with Eric and Jarem all waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Below: All 4 of us sisters together in the brides dressing room and my mom too in the second one
Eric talking to the kids after the ceremony


Ben taking off Mel's garter.  She was all smiles.

Cutting the cake

The happy couple!  We are very happy for them.  Ben is such a nice guy.  We are glad to have him join our family. 

I thought the blue bow with the embroidery down the back of the dress was so pretty so I got a picture.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pedicures

Since the girls were going to be part of my sister, Melanie's wedding, and they would be wearing open toed shoes, I decided to get them pedicures.  It was a special occasion for them and even their friends joined in the fun.  Poor Jarem had to come with us too but just had to watch...he wanted one too.  I was sad for him.

Bubbles

Jarem is my dishes helper this week.  Last night as we were doing dishes, we made some soapy water to wash a few things.  Jarem has been excited about taking pictures, so he wanted to take a picture of the bubbles.  As he was taking a picture, he accidentally dropped the camera into the soapy water... 


Normally, that would be the end of the camera, but fortunately Eric bought this camera before the 50-mile hike and is supposed to be water-resistant, drop-resistant, and a hundred other things.  I gave him a hard time about it when he bought it.  This was the camera Jarem dropped, so it got the true test.  And amazingly, I dried it off with a towel and it was back to taking pictures like nothing happened!!  I just uploaded the pictures and that works fine too...amazing!

Here's the picture he took of me after the camera incident.  Lucky boy for choosing the right camera to drop! 

Tie-dye cupcakes

Jesikah was looking through our cupcakes cookbook, and came across a recipe she thought she would like for her birthday cake.  Since Tessa's birthday cake didn't turn out so well, we thought we would do a trial run.  Jesikah had her last girls achievement day activity for church before she turns 12 last night and she wanted to take a treat.  This is what we came up with:

The cupcakes had mini M&M's in them.  Jesikah loves to be in the kitchen and help cook, and she is very capable now too.  It is fun to cook with her.  Her favorite things to make are desserts, so she was a lot of help.  In the end, she was happy with the results and I thought they turned out good too, but they took way too long to frost for me and her! :) In the end, it didn't look tie-dye either, so I'm going to look around for something else that looks more tie-dye for her birthday cake.

Jesikah has expressed to me that she has mixed feelings about all the changes coming up in her life...turning 12, middle school, starting the young woman program at church, puberty, etc.  She not ready to give up toys, but she's noticing that kids her age don't play with toys much anymore.  She, Tessa, and Jarem still have a good time playing toys together.  I told her she doesn't have to give up toys, she can just say she's playing with her younger siblings.  What I didn't tell her is that I have mixed feelings about her growing up too. :) (By the way, if you see her, don't mention the mixed feelings thing, cause she is a little sensitive about it)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Alex's Adventures

Well I stole these pictures from my sister Candace's blog because I haven't seen this boy in awhile.  Alex flew out to Salt Lake City, Utah on June 28th.  Words cannot contain his excitement.

He was very excited to spend time with his grandparents, uncles, and cousins.  The first few days, he spent with my brother, Joel, and his wife Cindy. This is Alex at BYU campus where Candace and Aaron took this picture of him striking a pose. 

This is my brother Joel and his wife Cindy.  During the time Alex was at their house, they were able to be sealed in the Oquirrh Mountain temple in Utah.  We wished we all could have been there to celebrate but time and distance didn't allow.  Regardless, we want to extend our congratulations to them.

Above is the Oquirrh Mountain Temple where they were sealed.


This is my sister, Candace, and her husband Aaron on BYU campus.  They are the ones that took Alex to BYU.  We lived in the same apartment complex as them for awhile while we lived in Utah and were all going to BYU at some point.  Those were good times.

After the sealing, Alex went back with my parents to their house in Burley, Idaho.  He has been there ever since.  The first weekend he was able to spend time with his cousins and aunts and uncles.  Candace said he told her that he wanted his cousins to remember him as their super cool cousin when he goes on his mission so he tried to spend extra time playing with his cousins. 

Since then, he has been working at grandma and grandpas.  He helped my parents put in a drip system and several others things.  Today, they left for Texas with his two cousins, Kadie and Colton.  We will finally get to see him in Texas at my sister Melanie's wedding.  I've missed him a lot.  Even though he is ornery at times, there is a definite hole in our family without him here.  I'm looking forward to seeing him for a few days before he's off on the next adventure.

After the wedding, he will continue with my parents and his two cousins to Nauvoo, Illinois to be part of the Nauvoo pageant for two weeks.  Our family will join them the second week and also participate in the Nauvoo pageant as well as meet several other family members there.  It will be a good time and an uplifting experience to end our summer with only a week left when we come back before school starts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Fun Fourth

After a hectic week for Eric at work, he was anxious for a 4-day weekend.  We had a lot of fun.  Friday we spent cleaning and shopping.  Then, the fun began when Kyle and Jessica (Eric's brother and his wife) arrived Friday evening.  Shortly after they arrived, the four of us went out to a mexican dinner and went to the movie, "Eclipse".  We all enjoyed the movie.  Kyle kept making jokes which kept things interesting, and Eric was interested in everyone's powers after the movie.  He likes the movies where people have superpowers.  Jessica and I both thought it was the best of the three.  Although, I've never cared for Robert Pattinson as Edward.  I like him as an actor.  He's good in other movies, but he just doesn't fit the part of Edward to me.  I do wish they would have let him keep his accent though, I feel like his speech wasn't as fluid and natural because he was fighting the accent.  Of course, the boys were annoyed when Bella kissed Jacob, but I was too when I read it.

Saturday morning, the boys went golfing while we hung out at home.  When they got back, we all went to the Last Airbender movie.  The kids, especially Alex, have been into the Avatar cartoon series lately.  Unfortunately, Alex didn't get to come though because he is spending a couple of weeks with my parents in Idaho.  The kids and I enjoyed the movie.  Jarem kept telling me the names of all the characters.  I think Kyle and Jessica enjoyed it as well though Eric thought there should have been more action.  I liked how they played classical music while they were using their powers.  It was very smooth and fluid and not scary.
After we got back we broke out the grill for the first time since we've moved here (that's right, it's been sitting out on the deck for nearly 2 years now without use) and made hamburgers and hot dogs.  I was surprised that it still worked, but it worked beautifully and the hamburgers was delicious!

Eric and I decided against a fireworks show this year after all the waiting and the smoke we breathed in last year.  So, we bought our own and Kyle and Eric set them off in our neighborhood after the BBQ.  It was an awesome show!  I think this will be our new tradition.

Sunday morning we went to church, napped, and hung out for a few hours.  Then we enjoyed a delicious meal at the Young' s house with the Howes' and Martinez's.  Tina is one of the best southern cooks around.  Her barbequed chicken and pork ribs are the best.  After great food and socializing, we ended another fantastic day.

Monday, we got up and headed over to the school for a little tennis.  Jessica and I just volleyed a bit and chased a lot of balls, but the boys played for real.  The girls played on the playground and Jarem ran around picking up balls.  Afterwards, we got cleaned up and stopped by Goodwill because Kyle wanted to find some fat polyester ties.  We finally found Goodwill (after my poor directions...it's not like I haven't been there 3-4 times before), but they didn't have any of the ties he was looking for.  As long as we were there though, we took a look around and found a few beauties.

Kyle LOVED these red polyester pants with the light yellow polo.  Eric found the shoes to coordinate.

Unfortunately, the shoes didn't quite fit though!  The pants were definitely one of a kind...the only ones of that color in the whole store.  He wanted them, but they were a bit big and...

Jessica was a definite no on the pants!  :)  Kyle did find another beauty of a shirt that he DID buy though (missed the pic).  And Eric tried on some shirts too which I failed to get pictures of.

Jarem found this cute hat.  In the above picture he was embarrassed because he thought I might be taking a picture to make fun of the hat.  He is very sensitive about being laughed at.  But then I assured him that he looked cute and that was why I wanted the picture and I got the smile below!

I'm not a big fan of sharing hats though, so we didn't buy it.  Jesikah did find a Harry Potter shirt which she bought and I found an old children's storybook that I bought.

Then we headed over to Kyle's favorite buffet for a late lunch: The China Buffet (over near the Sango Wal-Mart).  This place has become a must when they visit.  We all enjoyed a tasty meal after which we watched a few episodes of "The Office" on Netflix before they headed back home to Huntsville, AL.  It was a very fun weekend.  I only wish I would have gotten more pictures!

Baby Birds

The kids found these two baby birds out on our basement patio a week ago.  They were the cutest little things.  They were running around and peeping the cutest little peeps that really made you feel sorry for them.  Above you can see one of them in Eric's hand.  Jesikah, Tessa, and Jarem wanted to rescue them along with their friends Divya and Pramika.  They picked them up and played with them and made them a house and tried to find food for them.  Neither our kids nor their friends have any pets, and they all would like a pet, so it was like heaven for them.


Divya and Pramika were spending the night, and the kids were worried as was I, that the birds would not make it through the night, so I started reading online what you could feed them.  There was some sort of mixture you could make with raw hamburger and cottage cheese, but I decided against that.  Instead we went with little pieces of soaked raisins.  They did eat some along with some water from a little teaspoon.  I also read about what to do with them if you find them.  I learned several things, one thing was that birds (unlike other animals) have a very poor sense of smell, so if you touch them and then put them back in the nest, the mother birds will take them back.  The website said to make a nest and put it in a nearby tree if you can't find the nest and the mother will find them.  Above, you can see we made a nest and put it in a tree and the girls went to bed.  The next morning they were up at 6am to see if the birds were still alive.  The birds were out of the nest and running around again on the patio.  So they caught them again.  We tried to feed them again and put them in a bigger tree with a more secure location.  Then we went to the library for storytime.  When we got back, they were gone.  I told them their mother must have taken them back.

Later I was trying to figure out what type of bird they were, and I think I figured out they were baby killdeers.  Funny thing is, killdeers usually have their nests on the ground and the babies have feathers and can walk right after their feathers dry.  They learn to feed themselves by walking around behind their mother and picking up bugs and other things to eat like she does.  After learning this, I felt silly for making them a nest in a tree.  Oh well, I'm pretty sure they escaped and made it back on the ground because I saw one later. 

Words can't describe the excitement these birds brought to our home, but just watch the videos below to see a glimpse of it.

video

video
The birds would start following one of the kids around, like it was their mother.  It was pretty funny.  That night even though it was late, we had to read the book, "Are you My Mother?".  It was Alex's favorite book when he was little about a baby bird who got lost and he thought everything he saw was his mother.  It fit so well.  Sadly, it was Jarem's first time hearing the story.  But, he enjoyed it even though it was late.