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I have been meaning to put this up for almost a month now and I just keep procrastinating it.  Today the procrastination ends because I have about 3 other posts I need to add!

I seriously consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world.  I’ve got some amazing people that I call friends.  People that are closer to me than family.  People that have supported me endlessly and continue to.  Here are some stories!

Almost a month ago my best friend Emily came out from Oklahoma!  Emily and I met in high school, officially, in a French class that we both loathed.  I’d seen her my freshman year a few times because we had the same lunch, but never really got to know her till sophomore year.  Our friendship started off on a mutual hatred toward this class and its teacher, and grew from there!  We passed numerous notes back and forth that had nothing to do with French and found a friendship that was pretty out of the ordinary.  Soon we were skipping class together to go get lunch or just hang out.  We had quite a few conversations about life and got along great.  Our shenanigans continued until she graduated, the year before me.  That summer, after my parents had kicked me out, she came to rescue me a couple times.  Every time we hung out, without fail, she’d get pulled over.  Once it was on the UCO campus, another was around town when we were out past curfew where the officer pulled her over for fog lights she didn’t even know she had.  Always, whenever we hang out, something ridiculous happens.  Its made for some great stories, and even better memories that now I can reminisce about when I can’t see her for long spans of time.

We’ve been talking about one of us visiting the other for years now, and it just never happens.  Earlier this year she wrote me an email and said it was going to happen.  Much to my shock, less than a week later I received a Travelocity forward stating her trip itinerary!  I almost peed my pants in glee!!!!  She was coming out for about 3 days JUST to see me!!!  (ok, so maybe Dave and her nieces had a *little* to do with it)  Due to schedules, she was never able to meet Dave, and we were not able to see her before we left Oklahoma after we got married.  So!  This was the first time she met Dave, and also the girls! 

I picked her up from the airport and showed her a little of Salt Lake at night.  We got to her hotel and talked for about 2 hours before going in.  She checked in around 2:30.  She mentioned about how there were only 3 cars in the parking lot, but I just blew it off, cause really, Utah is not exactly a happenin’ place.  Wellllll, well, well, well… we checked in and went up the flight of stairs to her room, since there was no elevator.  Getting to her room, we passed one room that had the lock hacked off and was slightly ajar.  I just kept trying to think positive, certainly this was because they needed an extra storage room and not because some pimp needed into the room…

UH YEAH.  We unlocked her room and found a few surprising things.  The room was insanely hot, and had these little bugs flying around.  We only saw a couple and figured with some air flow, they’d be gone.  She set her stuff on the floor next to the TV stand, that had a massive chunk torn out of it.  Hesitating, she sat down on the bed, surely waiting for it to bottom out as well.  I took a seat on a dilapidated chair that was haphazardly added to a desk that was in about the same condition.  We talked for a little while longer, and then I told her I should probably go so we both could get some sleep.  I asked her if she was ok staying here, and then mentioned maybe we should check the sheets.  Sure enough- hair in the sheets- and not the long straight kind that comes from brushing one’s head.  We pulled back the mattress pad to reveal a bug carcass and a nicely stained mattress.   Emily screamed at the sight of all this and said, “I gotta get the hell out of here, is that ok?!”  I was dying laughing and still am.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, the nicely mannered, generous and thoughtful person, she asks me if its ok that she not stay in this whore house.  I didn’t know what was funnier- that she was asking me if it was ok, or all the stuff that had transpired in the last 20 minutes.  We went downstairs and informed the front desk attendant, who spoke very little English, that this was not acceptable and we’d be staying elsewhere.  After about 45 minutes of fighting with the no-English-front-desk-guy, and the no-English-Travelocity-rep, surely half way across the world, Emily was told she’d still have to pay for this night. 

We left and couldn’t decide what to do besides laugh our butts off at the entire ordeal and remember that this shouldn’t really be shocking us considering the past.  So, by this time its about 3:45am.  She asks me for a hotel recommendation.  I’ve never really stayed anywhere in UT, besides Park City.  When my mom came out earlier this year, we stayed at a Hilton Garden Inn with her, so we headed that way.  After being informed that the ENTIRE hotel was booked, we drove over to the Holiday Inn Express.  This is where Dave and I usually stay when we travel.  They have nice rooms, normally clean, and the staff is always friendly and accommodating.  I went in and asked what kind of a rate they could give my sweet friend, who had travelled all this way, and had a disgusting room down the road… the girl was SO sweet!  She gave her a SMOKIN deal, that’s about half of the cheapest rate Dave and I have ever paid!  It was AWESOME!  I went up to the room, just in case, and when everything had checked out nicely, I finally left to go home- at 4:15am.

I slept for a few hours, and that morning we went up the canyon and took pictures.  Emily is an EXCELLENT photographer and that was one thing I told her she had to do while she was here.  The girls were really restless and it was pretty warm out, so we got a few good ones.  I just can’t wait till they’re older and can follow directions a bit better- and it would be nice if they cared about bribery!   IMG_4160IMG_4165

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I should also mention during our little photo shoot, I was attacked by some sort of worm.  I HATE bugs as everyone knows and no kidding, these things were in my hair, on my neck, down my shirt- everywhere.  They were so disgusting and I’m sure it made for some hilarious viewing for everyone else watching me do a jig to try and get all these damned worms off me.  They came from a tree we stood by.  I still get the willies thinking about it!

Later that day, I took Emily up to my favorite place in Utah!  PARK CITY!!!!!!   The whole way up I told her how gorgeous it was and how much cleaner the air is, and bragged all about how awesome it is…when we got up there it started raining.  I figured it would just be a little rain, no big deal.  We did some outlet shopping and then went to the Olympic Park.  I’d seen this being built in 1999 when we lived up in PC, but had never been up there.  It was really interesting and we got to watch some bobsledding-during a rain/sleet/snow storm!!!!!!!

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The park is located pretty high up on one of the mountains, and so it was not just rain up there- 50 mph winds and hard rain, mixed with sleet and a little bit of snow.  It was FREEZING!  While it was interesting, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of driving in a short bus, with a senile old man behind the wheel who wreaked of smoke and marijuana, up the side of a mountain, on a one lane “road”, that is wet.  When all was said and done we made a beeline for the car.   Correction- I made a beeline for the car with Emily holding onto me so she wouldn’t have to take the brunt of the wind and rain, and since she’s about 6 inches shorter than me and weighs nearly nothing.  We got to the car and were both soaked through AND to top it off- it took me 2 minutes to be able to pull my door shut, it was that windy.  I think I’ll plan to tour this in the heat of July next time!  It was still fun, and again, pretty comical.

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That night we went to Rodizio Grill.  I LOVE that place!  They’ve changed it around since Dave and I went last, but it was still SO good!  We left stuffed and went back to her hotel.  We talked in the parking lot for another couple of hours and just caught up on all the years that had gone by. 

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Her last full day here, we did a few more things.  In the morning we went to the zoo- she got some AWESOME pictures again, and it was fun to watch her with Tori.  She’s so good with kids, and she joked that its because little kids don’t see her as an adult cause she’s “their size”.  Emily is short- I’m guessing 5 feet?  and she weighs like 90 pounds.  I was dying laughing when she told gave me her version of why she gets along so well with kids.  She’s hilarious. 

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For lunch, we met Dave up at the Hunstman Cancer Institute where they have a nice little bistro that overlooks the whole valley.  We met some friends of his from work, and enjoyed the last day with Emily.  Charli was so tired, she conked out before we even ordered food!

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After lunch, we headed up to the Great Salt Lake.  On a side note, I’ve never been here as an adult.  I know my parents took us when we were little kids, but I don’t really remember anything about it.  We pulled up to the place, paid around $10 for our car and drove into the park.  Its not really a park, but its considered a State park in UT.  You drive along a causeway with the lake on either side of you.  It was kind of neat at first.  I say at first because as we were driving we kept seeing these little plumes of what we thought were smoke.  Looking closer, we saw they were actually swarms of some little bug!!!  It was SO gross!  Every 20 or so feet, there would be another column of swarming bugs.  So, we drive further into the park, up this little mountain where the gift shop is.  Its gorgeous up there with a little overlook down to a sandy beach and just very picturesque.  HAHA!  Not for long!  We get out of the car with both girls.  I’m holding Charli and all the sudden these bugs are everywhere.  Just these little tiny gnat looking things.  Tori is hanging out behind me when she all the sudden starts freaking out.  “THEY’RE ITCHING ME MOM!!!!! GET IT OFF ME!”  I tell her to calm down and quit being so dramatic.  We continue walking, thinking these things will leave us alone.  Literally, withing two minutes of being out of the car, these little bugs are EVERYWHERE.  All over Emily, all over me, and worst of all:  all over the girls and in their fine hair.  So we make a mad dash to the car, but when we open the car, the damned things fly inside.  So I tell Em to just get in her side and shut the door as fast as she can.  I throw Tori in her seat, Charli in hers, and then run to my side and get in.  I turn around and take a closer look at the girls- these little gnats have bit them ALL over.  They both have bugs(alive still) in their hair and both girls are itching their heads like crazy!  Oh my gosh, I almost flipped a lid.  So, I figure we can just drive half way down the mountain and there wont be anymore- we can brush the girls hair out, get all the bugs off as well as change Charli’s diaper.  So, we drive down some.  I get out of the car to check for bugs.  Again, a swarm surrounds me.  I jumped back in the car, we drove another 100 feet or so.  Emily gets out to help me cause Tori is freaking out.  All the sudden a HUGE gust of wind picks up and blows my skirt up- poor Emily got a full frontal flash!  I was about to die!  So after the shock, she grabs Tori, the brush, and brings both over to the passenger side to get the bugs out.  I grab Charli and the stuff to change her, and we do the mad dash again, to jump in the car.  It was insane.  We finally left the park without really “seeing” anything except thoe bloody gnats.  We both had bites all over as well!  When we left the park I asked the attendant what kind of bug flies around everywhere, because we were attacked every time we got out of the car!  He non-chalantly says that its a “biting gnat” as if we should have expected this.  I was disgusted that this guy would not say anything about it as we drove into the park, clearly seeing we had two little kids.  This is the first and last time I’ll ever do that again!  A week later, Emily wrote me and said she still had the bites on her face.   Amazingly enough, she was still able to catch some shots!  I’d say they’re gorgeous, but they come along with the memories of profusely itching myself and picking live gnats out of my childrens’ hair!! 

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That night, I took Emily on her first Costco adventure.  True to Oklahoma- they only have Sam’s out there and so she’d never been to Costco, but heard how fabulous it was.  We got a couple things for dinner and then then went back to the house to put it all together.  She met Dave’s parents and we ate dinner and had cupcakes afterwards. 

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After Tori’s pleading, Aunt Emily tucked her in and put her to bed, and we went down to watch the American Idol Finale.  For those of you that watched- I really like Kris Allen, but Emily LOVED Adam Lambert.  The moment finally came and I sarcastically, in my best Ryan Seacrest said, “And the winner, of this year’s American Idol issssss KRIS ALLLLLEN!!!!!”.  I seriously did it in sarcasm, as I was sure that Adam was going to win.  Three seconds later I’m hearing a repeat, only this time, it really is Ryan Seacrest.  I was FLOORED.  Emily was freaking out and I couldn’t decide what was more funny- her reaction or the actual results. 

The next morning, we drove to the first hotel to take a picture of the dump.

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Afterwards we grabbed some breakfast at the Original Pancake House(which they don’t have in OK, but is amazing!) and then went to the park to feed the ducks. 

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We stayed for about a half hour, then had to go cause she needed to be at the airport.  When we dropped her off, I started getting really choked up.  The time with Emily had gone by way too fast, we’d had so much fun and now it was all over and I had no idea when I’d be seeing her next.  We said a quick goodbye, as we were both tearing up, and I got back in the car and started sobbing as we pulled away.  We didn’t leave the airport for about an hour.  I pulled off and sat and cried, while Tori watched the planes take off and Charli slept.

Dave called while we were sitting on the side of the road.  He’s always very good about being sensitive when my friends or family leave, and its pretty much a habit now when anyone leaves for him to call or talk to me.  The first thing he says is, “Are you ok?”  and I give a sorry excuse for “yes”.  And then he says, “Same thing?” and I say yes, and then proceed to start sobbing again.  I think that’s been the hardest thing for me about living here.  When Dave sees his family, he knows it will be a mere few days before we see them again.  In the last 8 months, its more like, minutes before we see them again, since we’re living with his parents.  But, when my friends or my family come, each time they leave, I don’t really ever know when I’m going to see them again.  Its very difficult and has been a huge sacrifice for me.  I’m just glad because Dave has come around and really warmed up to moving out of Utah.  I can’t wait!  Then maybe the tables will turn and I’ll be asking him, “Same thing?”.

Our little family had such a spectacular time with Emily and we miss her tons already.  She brought the girls and I little gift bags, and Tori carries around her “lipstick” that Auntie Ems gave her.  We have some great pictures and even better memories of Emily’s first trip to Utah!!!!  I miss her everyday and am so grateful for the amazing friend she is.  She’s been through some tough stuff the last couple of years, but always manages to ask me how I’m doing and give much needed encouragement.  I couldn’t ask for a better friend and I love her tons.

 

I’m feeling guilty, because I have another amazing friend that comes out just to visit us, who I also have not been back to see.  She’s another one of my best friends from high school.  Cynthia is equally amazing in her own way.  She’s come out twice in the last couple years and every time we have so much fun too.  She came out about a year and a half ago for the first time with her boyfriend David(great minds think alike!) to go snowboarding, and then again by herself last September.  While we didn’t get out and do as much because I was still recovering from surgery, we still had tons of fun.  We went out for hibachi and then went to a movie downtown.  I somehow managed to get us turned around and so we spent about an hour looking for my father in law’s jeep.  It was hilarious and something we still laugh about.

I have so many fun memories with Cynthia.  We’ve been friends for almost 10 years(HOLY CRAP! We’re getting old!) and every minute has been awesome.  She was a bridesmaid at my wedding.  And she’s been there for me so many times.  When we were 18, her parents took her on a cruise for graduation and she chose me to come with.  It was a blast and a memory I’ll treasure for forever!!!!  Junior year, we had lockers next to each other and would spend the mornings before school hanging out together.  She spent tons of time at my house spending the night, or hanging out.  Once, my mom and sister were fighting downstairs and I went to close my door so as not to listen to it.  She goes, “Don’t close it!  This is funny!  I wanna hear it!  There’s never any fighting at my house!”  She’s an only child and so the dynamics of our families were just so different!  That still makes me laugh.  There was a time we paid off my little brother to not tell my parents we had some boys over while they were gone… he still told, and we still laugh about it.  She’s been there for me for so many things, and is like another Auntie to my girls.  I love her tons and miss her all the time.  We always talk about when we’re rich, how we’ll just fly to wherever and meet up whenever we feel like it.  It’ll happen, one day!

I could go on and on and on.  Emily and Cynthia are my two best friends, but there are many others who I just feel so dang lucky to know.  My friend Stacey has been there for perspective on parenting and kids that I can’t get with most of the people my age.  She’s like a big sister to me and I know I can call her whenever.  I recently reconnected with Sheila, after 18 months of no contact!  We had dinner and went for ice cream, and she’s like a mom to me.  She’s so much fun and we have a ball every time we hang out. 

I can’t even name all the people that mean so much to me.  I consider myself one of the luckiest people to have lived in so many places and met some pretty awesome people.  Thank you is not enough to all my friends for all they do for me.  I love you all!

 

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg, even though he knows that you are slightly cracked”  -Bernar Meltzer

Memorial Day

So, I really wanted to get this up in time for it to say “Monday May 25th” but obviously that didnt happen- in my defense its only about an hour past the end of the 25th right now… Just too many things to do in a day!

I am a HUGE fan of Memorial Day- same with Veterans Day.  Here’s why. 

*Approaches soapbox, and stands up*

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This country is amazing.  I’m originally from Canada, but in a heartbeat would claim these great States as my home.  I’ve been to quite a few of them, and each one, even the forsaken Wyoming, has something to offer, and some beautiful people and scenery. 

Today, as I logged into my facebook account I noticed how many people had their statuses updated to reflect their day’s activities.  Pool parties, barbecues, family outings- you name it, people were out and about on the day off.  But what bothers me immensely is how much people forget and take for granted all the freedoms we enjoy. 

I was like everyone else today- spent most of the day with family, getting things done around the house, running some errands, nothing overly patriotic.  While leaving Albertson’s today, I noticed some delinquent juveniles loitering in the parking lot.  There are a lot of refugees in Utah, and these teenage boys looked the part.  When I first saw them the thoughts that ran through my head at first were the typical, “stupid teenagers, doing stupid things”.  Then I recounted not so long ago all the stupid things I did.  And how awesome it was.  These rowdy teenage boys were hanging out the car’s windows, sitting on the hood, blaring the loudest, most obnoxious rap music, simply because they could.  I sat there for a minute and was grateful.  Grateful for these kids, who no doubtedly came from a war torn country where they were not able to listen to the music they wanted to, and most likely did not have a nice SUV to hang from or sit on top of.  And this is why I’m grateful for my country- because obnoxious teenagers can have the right to freedom of expression and speech however they choose- even if its hanging out of their car window with their butt cracks exposed for all to see, while listening to ridiculous music.  It may not be my cup of tea, and chances are in ten years, it won’t be theirs, but the fact they can choose to do that and not have repercussions from their government or mobs or anyone else, is great to me.

I think people in this country have a serious problem.  They’re entirely too introverted and not clued into what’s going on in the world, or even in their own neighborhood. Granted, thats quite the steretype, but I’d say its largely true.  It makes me sad that people can be so opposed to a war where their own neighbors are giving up their lives.  I understand AND agree, that we went in on some of the wrong pretenses.  However, I think its a more noble thing to go in because you sincerely believe there is a problem and human lives are at risk, than to stand by and wait to see how many people die.  I don’t disagree with the fact that we’ve done some things terribly wrong in the war in Iraq- what I do recognize though is that my friends, and my neighbors are losing their lives to make sure that my standard of living is not compromised.  And for that I’ll be forever thankful for.

I’m so grateful that these people risk their lives and make huge sacrifices for the rest of us, even the ungrateful people who ridicule the military and government.  I’m even more grateful to personally know people that have dedicated their lives, or part of their lives to the service of our country. 

Dave’s paternal grandpa, who is still living, served in WWII.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and love hearing about his time in Japan.  While the A-bomb was very controversial, he will swear up and down that he’s sure it saved his life, as well as hundreds of thousands of others.  I’m grateful to him for serving his country and for his example to the generations that have come after him.  He’s an amazing man and I love him a lot.

To my Father in Law, Dale, who served in the Army Reserves.  While he served in a time of peace, I’m still so grateful.

My cousins’ dad Gary, was also in the military, and was over in Iraq, I believe twice.  He sacrificed time away from his family and kids to make sure their quality of life(and ours) was secure. 

One of my dear friends Meghan, who is in the Navy and stationed out of Virginia Beach.  She has been there for me countless times, and I am so grateful to her, for her service.  I can’t ever get a hold of her via phone cause she’s always out to sea.

My friend Megan and her husband Daniel, who are both stationed out of Mississippi.  Just a couple weeks after they were married Daniel left for 3 months to Germany on duty.  Its a tough thing to be a military wife, and something I’ll never know, but to have both parents/spouses serving, I can only imagine is more difficult.  I’m so happy they’ve chosen to serve our country as well. 

The girls’ dental hygienist, Sarah, whose husband is in the Air Force.  She has 4 kids, and though we don’t know her well, I’m so grateful for her sacrifice.  I cannot imagine being a single parent and having to transition yourself and the kids back and forth between a two-parent and a single-parent home.  AND having to comfort FOUR children?!  I admire her tons.

My ex-boyfriend, David, who died in a helicopter training accident while stationed out of Texas.  He was an awesome guy, with a big heart, and we had some great conversations about life, and he was there for some very tumultuous times in my life.  I still have his Notre Dame hat and often think about the sacrifice he made for me and my family. It also reminds me that while men and women are injured and die abroad in the well known places, many of the military’s training is dangerous and things can happen and go wrong on our own soil.  I believe firmly that it doesnt have to be in Iraq to be considered a hero’s death. 

My two friends Cliff and Josh, from high school, who both serve in the Army.  I’m so grateful to them as well.

I could go on and on and on.  I could also name about a half dozen people who I went to high school with who have died fighting.  I’m so happy that I can enjoy life, and do the things I want to, and choose to express myself(or not) as I please, and that these men and women fight for the values this country was founded on. 

I wish so much for people to understand how lucky we are to live in this country.  Its flawed, and we have our ups and downs- just like a human being would, but the resilience and dedication of the American people will hopefully always bring us out on top.

I love this country.  I love living here and knowing I do not have to worry about my safety or my children’s safety.  Its nice to know that our government is comparatively incorrupt.  I’m so happy to be part of the U.S.A. I can’t wait till we can actually afford to prove that I’m a citizen!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day and that while you were enjoying your day off, that you thought of those who do not have a day off.  Who are a half a world away, fighting for your freedom, for this nation’s freedom.  I hope that when the next election comes around, that people realize what an honor it is to vote.  Even if you’re not for the candidates, that its imperative that you practice your right to vote and let your voice and opinion be heard. 

We are so lucky to live here.  To enjoy the freedoms we do and to enjoy the peace we have.  Thanks is just not enough for those who fight for our rights and this sovereign nation.  I’m proud to be an American, and I hope you are too.

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A week ago today(kinda funny I haven’t been able to get to this until Friday…) we left on a little Mother’s Day getaway!

Dave has long been wanting to figure out something special to do, as in our family, this day is for me.  He knows I love Park City and knows I’d rather be spending this day in private, with just our family.  Since this is not really possible when you’re co-habitating with in laws, he searched the internet for some good deals. 

Dave is hilarious.  His family didn’t travel much and when they did, did not stay much in hotels.  My family- polar opposite.  We were professional movers and in limbo from one place to the next we stayed everywhere from Timeshares, to DoubleTree resorts, to Motel 8’s.  Early on I learned to appreciate a good hotel.  So, Dave enlisted my help.  We found a place online in Park City for pretty cheap, that looked really nice.  Its part of Marriott’s Vacation Club, which is pretty much a timeshare thing. 

We left Friday right after Dave got off work.  We got our room and were impressed!  Take a gander….

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The room was a “Villa” and was about 1000 square feet.  It had a bedroom with a king in it, a living room with a hide-a-bed, and a MASSIVE bathroom- there is a two person whirlpool tub(that was gross, so we bought bleach and cleaned it ourselves), a shower, and two different vanities.  It had a full kithen with a dining area that sat 6.  It was quite the place!  I’d stay there again, but make sure to add in my reservation notes, “Please make sure to clean out the black sediment out of the whirlpool tub prior to our arrival, THANKS!” 

The first night we went to dinner at MainStreet.  I’d been there years ago when we lived in Park City for the summer before we moved to Oklahoma.  I remember it being a lot different.  People came and took your order, they actually waited on you.  Its a lot more laid back now- you place your order at the counter, get your own drinks and then someone brings your food out later.  It was still good though!  We ordered this yummy 5 cheese pizza.  It was a TON of cheese, but soooo good!  Their hotwings were also made to order and though they looked like wings off of a fetal chicken, they were still good!  Here are some pictures of Tori devouring the pizza!  Charli had quite the time too!

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After dinner we took a short stroll around Main Street.  If you’ve never been to Park City, Main Street is ADORABLE!  Its a hot spot for celebrities during Sundance and really a cool place to just walk around. There are lots of little “landmarks”.  The bear the girls are pictured with is just one of the many little things around!

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Tori and the moose!  She really wanted to ride this!

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Later on that night we went swimming and came back and had a shower with WARM TOWELS!  Warm towels are one of my favorite things in the world!  Being that we had a washer and dryer in our villa, I was able to lap up the warm towels the entire stay!  Dave and I have decided when we’re rich we’re going to have a dryer in each of our bathrooms, just so we can have warm towels all the time!

The next morning we woke up to this!

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It doesnt look like much right now, but its the “off season” in Park City(probably why we got our room so cheap!) Its the time when the snow is still melting and not everything is green yet.  Still gorgeous though!

Saturday we went to the activity center and the girls played with sidewalk chalk, we played some basketball as a family, and then went inside and did puzzles, games, coloring, played the Wii they had, and all sorts of fun things!  Here is the activity center, its not a great picture, but you get the idea…

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We came back to the room to put Charli down for a nap and have some lunch.  We ended up switching rooms down the hall to one that was not right next to the elevator.  That morning we had been woken up by the elevator’s dings as well as people coming off the elevator pushing luggage across the noisy tile floor.  No good… note to self, remember to ask for a room farther down the hall thats been cleaned… We ended up cleaning that room’s tub too.

That evening we went to the “Last Samurai“.  Its a Hibachi type restaurant and it was so good!  Our chef was really fun with the girls, and thankfully they were really good.  We sat at a table with two ladies and they loved watching the girls!  Tori even used chopsticks!

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One of the funniest parts of our stay were the elevator rides.  Their elevator was probably the slowest I’ve ever ridden-not that I’m a professional elevator passenger, but you get the point- REALLY SLOW.  Well everytime, as soon as we’d get in Tori and Charli would run and grab onto the rails.  It was hilarious!

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A lot of our time was spent swimming.  Every night we’d come back from the day’s activities and go swim with the girls.  The both LOVED it!  Half of the pool is inside, and the whole thing is heated.  It was neat to watch the steam rise off every night when it got chilly! 

Here’s the pool…

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They also had this life size chess set outside- it was so cool!

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Sunday we got up and did the outlet mall.  I LOVE shopping and love Park City shopping even more!  We found a shirt for Dave at Tommy Hilfiger for $15!!! As usual, I found the girls tons of stuff.  I tried to scale back, as in the last couple months I’ve already been shopping up in Park City TWICE for them.  I went once before my mom came, and then when she was here for my birthday we went up too.  Its just so difficult cause their clothes are too dang cute and when each article is five bucks or less, how do you resist?!  I’m happy to say I showed some self control! 

After the outlets we went to Whole Foods to pick up a couple things for dinner.  The resort had some really nice gas grills so Dave grilled me and the girls some ginger chicken and himself a bleu cheese burger.  We had fresh fruit, pasta salad, a green salad, and the meat.  It was so good!

Monday morning we got up to head home and took a short walk around the grounds before leaving.  Its just gorgeous up there.  This stream runs down one side of the entire resort.

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Walking down along the stream towards “Shoe Tree Park”

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Here’s the tree!

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Overall it was an awesome weekend.  I had so much fun just being with Dave and the girls.  It was nice to have that much space and left us REALLY wanting our own place again.  Its been nice to be here with Dale and Rose, but this isn’t us or our home. 

Thanks to my great husband for planning a weekend a way, which is just what I needed.  Dave always tries so hard to please me.  I know I’m ornery and pretty much the most stubborn person ever.  I’m so grateful to have a patient husband who not only supports me, but stands up for his family.  He’s a great guy and we are so good for each other.  I’m so glad and think about often, how he never listened to anyone but himself when it came to our relationship.  He’s the reason we still exist as a couple.  Not only did I break it off with him multiple times, but pretty much did everything I possibly could to drive the guy away and he never left!  Its nice to know that we’re with each other because we want to be.  This may sound terrible, but some of my greatest memories with Dave have been when we’re fighting.  Dave most of the time fights fair.  He doesn’t call names or degrade me.  And often times its him that apologizes first and waits for me to come around.  I remember once, I was not giving in and he just lost it and said, “Damnit woman!  You’re so stubborn!  Can you just look at me!?  I’m trying to tell you I’m sorry!”  We both started laughing and realized that whatever it was, was not that big of a deal to fight about.  I’m so glad that we have been able to work things out.  We seldom fight or argue anymore, and its been nice to have such a calm relationship.

To my Davie, thanks for always trying.  Thanks for always supporting me.  Your hilarity is what keeps me going somedays and I love how we can laugh all the time together.   I’m so proud of the man that you are.  Your changes amaze me daily, and I’m sorry for the times I don’t give you the credit you deserve.  I wouldn’t trade this ridiculous ride we’ve had thus far, for anything.  I wouldn’t trade you for anyone.  I love you always.

bedtime!

Bedtime around here is always comical.  Normally we say prayers(GASP!  PRAYERS?!?  yes, we pray.) with Dave’s parents and then Tori chooses someone to put her in bed.  For whatever reason thats been me the past few days.  I’ve forgotten how much I love just spending alone time with Tori.  Tonight reminded me of the less chaotic days when it was only the three of us.  Tori ALWAYS chose me to put her to bed back then too. 

Tonight we read Clifford the Big Red Dog.  The book is from my Granny and it has these little letter blocks that are attached to the book that spin to make different words depending on the side.  She loves it and is beginning to really recognize letters and their sounds!(which is SO exciting for me!)  At the very last page she said, “Mom, can’t you see? Clifford is sleeping.  We need to whisper!”  *sighs* Now if only she’d learn that when her sister is sleeping! 

We finished the book and she wanted to stay up later.  I explained that it was late, and time for bed and that she was really tired cause it had been a long day.  She looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m not tired.  I haven’t yawned yet!”  I started laughing and asked her if she was only tired when she yawned; an adament “yes” was her reply, as if everyone in the world is tired only when they yawn.  She’s so funny.

I’m so glad I was reminded again of what a sweet child Tori is.  She has always been a very witty, high spirited, and energetic little girl.  I’m so lucky I’m her mama and if I don’t say so myself, she reminds me a lot of me.  I suppose that’s why we occassionally have a little bit of a power struggle.  But, I’m glad that she has her own opinion and mind, even if it results in the odd tift between us.  I’m so glad that she can think on her own, and Dave and I will continue to foster the independant thinking and push her to be the best she can be.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

*Edit… I suppose I should write a warning label…WARNING- this blog post may take you an hour or more to read, side effects may include laughing hysterically at our antics, being envious of our complete cool-ness, and maybe a few serious things to ponder… proceed with caution, and don’t forget to leave a comment with your accolades for the author… she’s a pretty stellar chick.

I can’t believe I’m writing this!
For all you dweebs that voted and didn’t leave comments– you’re lucky you’re getting an update! The votes are in and it looks as if I’ll be updating the blog that Dave started. And how you can tell Dave started this and not me? Because “majorpaynes” would not have been my name or address of choice. But since I’m too lazy to start my own cooler-named blog, we’ll stick with “majorpaynes”.

Things are still chugging along here. We’re still at Dave’s parents house and I’m still bordering on losing my mind daily. I’m tired of not having all our stuff. I’m tired of living out of one bedroom. Its really getting old. Why are we still here you ask?  Well, being that the U sent us that lovely letter a couple weeks back, we’re basically stuck until they make a decision. It sucks, but we’re grateful to have a roof over our heads… granted it sucks when we have little to no privacy and are at the mercy of Dave’s parents and their guests, but I guess its a good thing we have a car…

Speaking of our car!  We’ve had some pretty good times in that thing recently!  It’s been too long since I’ve updated this blog and since Dave claims that NOTHING happens when he’s with us, here are the long and eventful things we’ve done recently.  Apparently, Dave’s been asleep through all of the adventures!  (either that or he’s hired a stand in… ask him)

At the beginning of April we went up to Rexburg ID for a friend’s graduation.  Christine and I have been friends since I was 16 and I lived with her family for the summer before my senior year.  Her parents and all six of her siblings came out from Oklahoma and Kansas to watch her graduate!  It was very nice to see all of them again, as its been since 2003 since I’ve seen some of them.  It was also nice to just get away from life for a few days.  We had a hotel in Idaho Falls fo two days and were able to relax and spend some quality family time.  The girls LOVED having a king size bed for all of us to fit in.  They were both excellant on the way there and back!  Here are a couple pictures from our adventures!

Christine with her diploma!!!!

 

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YAY!  Christine and me.

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Our family with Christine

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We found this AWESOME place to eat at… its called, “Da Pineapple Grill”  it was SO good!  Dave had sushi that I’m assuming was good, but I hate fish so I have no idea… I had a mix of pineapple chicken, sweet ‘n’ sour pork and teriyaki beef- it was ALL amazing!!!

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We also found this place… it was alright… not great by any means.  They had this candy shop attached to it though.  I got a few things for Easter, but when you make your own stuff, very few things can compare… the candy was just “alright” too…

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And of course we went to see the LDS temples there.  Both are beautiful buildings.  From our hotel room we could actually see the Idaho Falls one!

Rexburg at night…

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Idaho Falls… we saw a LOT of brides that day!

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The girls on our last night there- they were pooped!

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And lastly… Dave is a closet mass murderer of butterflies… this is just one of the many.  Tori was very concerned as to why Daddy was killing all the butterflies.   Pssh- Killer!!!!

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A couple weeks ago we also had a fun filled Sunday! 

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 It was a beautiful day and so we spent the majority of the day outside! 

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We went to Hogle Zoo with the girls

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then to White City Park(Charli slept in the car for this stop…)

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Then finished for dinner at The Mayan. Tori and Charli were both captivated by the Mayan and the divers there.  A few years ago we went and it was pretty stupid.  Apparently they’ve changed it around a bunch, and this last time was world’s better than our previous visits!  One of the divers even came up to where we were eating and did a special dive for Tori.  They both loved it!   Here are a bunch of pictures…

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We also went and saw “Monsters Vs. Aliens”.  The movie proved difficult as both girls were pretty worn out from the day’s activities.  Movies are also hard for Tori to follow, as they move pretty quickly.  Her birthday was the first movie she saw in the theatre and since we got there late, we ended up sitting way to close.  This time we were in a bigger theatre, and she was able to see a lot better, but about 45 minutes through it, she was done.  Overall, it was a nice Sunday spent together. 

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Speaking of Sundays, this is a topic I’ve long wanted to discuss and we’ve had a few inquiries about where we stand.  Sundays in the LDS church are considered the Sabbath where you go to church, and only do church-y things(obviously polar opposite from our eventful day the other week).  No shopping, no recreational activities- strictly spiritual.  Before we moved in Dave and I had some reservations concerning the fact that we do not attend church at all.  Dave’s parents and siblings, and my parents, are all devout LDS.  We were both raised that way, but have chosen to not practice it, as well as not raise our girls this way.  This is not to say that spirituality does not exist in any form in our lives.  It does.  But to both Dave and I, it is a very personal matter, and personal choice.  Very seldom will you hear anything on this blog about the beliefs that Dave and I hold.  Why?  Because we don’t feel the need to preach to anyone, and again, its a personal matter.  We also don’t feel the need to justify our actions or decisions, regarding what we do personally and with our family, with or to anyone.  Since we’ve lived with Dave’s parents, there has been some flack that we’ve taken for not going to church and not living the “only true gospel”- but thankfully, its not from anyone that matters.   We are so grateful to Dave’s parents and have a greater respect for them based on the fact that they know their boundaries.  Never once have either of them said anything regarding our inactivity, and I’m so thankful that our relationship can be stable, even though we have our differences.  There was a time with Dave’s side that we had very little contact based on the way that Dave and I were treated.  I’m so happy that his parents can respect us enough to respect the decisions we make.  Its made living here a lot more pleasant than I expected.  Its just one of the many things we’ve been extremely grateful for in recent months.

Soooo, now that we’ve discussed that, we can move onto something a little lighter!  While my cooking escapades have been fewer, I still manage to get at least a few things in a week.  Sunday April 19th was Rose’s birthday!  Dave and I put a little shindig together on the Friday night before her birthday.  I invited Rose’s mom and Dale’s parents and sister Darla, all over for a surprise dinner for Rose… only it wasn’t a great surprise because I had to get some things together the night before… but, in all, it was great!  We had chicken cordon bleu, green gunk salad, broccoli salad, home made rolls, and garlic and chive mashed potatoes. And of course the cake pictured below…

the supplies and fillings(milk,dark, and white chocolate ganaches) and the cake!

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In my defense here, any errors can be blamed that I had TWO little helpers throughout the entire process… and one of them decided to rake her 3 year old little fingers through out different sections of the finished product… it was a long day! 

And for a last few updates…Tori has gone nearly a whole month with NO ACCIDENTS overnight! (well, there was one… but only one!)  For some reason, the overnight thing has been a real challenge for her.  We’ve been most impressed with Tori because the condition she has with her eye affects so many things, one being potty trained.  Kids are often potty trained really late, but Tori was within a normal range- if not a little early.  She’s been potty trained for over a year, except for overnight.  She’s just always had an issue when we put her in panties- she’ll do fine in a pullup and have no accidents, but the first night she’s in panties, she pees everywhere!  Its incredibly frustrating, especially when we have to get up in the middle of the night!  Well this past month we told her if she went a whole week in panties at night with no accidents, we could go to Chuck E. Cheese’s!  SHE MADE IT!!!! And no only did she make it, but we’ve been going strong for three weeks! (Save the one little accident when she was sick…)  Here are a couple pictures from her reward night out!

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Oh yeah! AND… Grandpa and Grandma took Charli to Build-A-Bear for a belated birthday! 

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So thats the LONG update guys… see why Dave should do some of these?  Because every time I write, its catching up from at least a month ago and they turn into 4 hours of work, which results in a short novel!  Too bad for you suckers that voted for me to update!!!  Until I write again… go find yourself another good read!

Hasta La Vista BABY!

That’s right…I think Sarah officially killed this thing. It was all going along nicely. Then she had to go ahead and suggest that I write a post for this thing. I don’t really know what people want to know about. Honestly. Sarah is with the girls all day long so she gets all the funny stories and fun times. I sit at work all day behind a computer trying to think of ways to waste 8 hours of daylight each and every day. So, I think this thing might be dead if something is not done about this. Therefore, I have created a fun little way for everyone to voice their opinions on the matter. Please take a brief moment to answer the poll question located in this post (possibly the last if something is not done) and then leave a comment about your favorite post from our blog. Sarah has written some amazing stuff and I am interested to see what your favorites are. Thanks!

As far as updates go…not much. Charli has been sick for about a week but seems to be getting better. She hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe the last few nights, so that’s been a major improvement. Unfortunately, Tori and Sarah are now getting sick. That’s the cycle in our family: one of them gets sick and just when she is about to get better, the other two get sick (sometimes getting the initial culprit sick again in the process). They all seem to be okay for now…but what do I know? I’m at work all day. Seriously, you can’t take my word on this. You really should ask Sarah.

Tori has been wearing her glasses again. For those of you who don’t know, she can’t see out of one eye so she has “safety glasses” that she needs to wear to protect her good eye. They look just like regular prescription eye glasses, but they are just glass to hopefully protect her “big girl eye.” She has had quite a few close calls so we are trying to get her to wear them a lot more, especially when she is running around or playing with other kids. The last thing we would ever want to have happen is for her to lose vision in both eyes. It’s going to be hard enough on her as it is. I was thinking about it the other day: will she ever even be able to drive a car? Sad and scary to think about.

I found her glasses while I was helping Sarah prepare our Easter dinner. Sarah was making tamales and needed our crock-pot from out in the garage, so I started looking. I had no idea which box it was in, so I just started opening boxes and checking. I found Tori’s glasses, Sarah’s food scale,  and a bunch of other things that turned out to be quite handy in the past few weeks. Anyway, I looked…and looked…and looked but could not find that blasted crock-pot. With the prospect of delicious tamales hanging the balance, I persevered and looked through every single box in the garage. Sure enough, I found it in the very last box buried in the middle of our mass of belongings, right under our box full of chemicals. Good thing I kept looking, the bleach in our chemicals box had been leaking, so we got that taken care of before havoc could be wreaked. And yes…Sarah did make tamales and yes…they were delicious. I love her tamales!!!

Yesterday I discovered something about Sarah I never, ever knew. Apparently she is the missing member of the Backstreet Boys. That discovery is so disturbing on so many levels. She and the girls had what was called a “dance party” yesterday that I missed out on. Obviously I am unable to give you full details as to what this dance party entailed because…well, I was at work. Anywho, later (when I was home) Sarah was listening to music and decided to start lip syncing to some of the songs that came on. Then, “Don’t Want You Back” by the Backstreet Boys came on and she transformed. She synced and danced and put on this whole production, it was amazing. During one of Sarah’s performances of “Don’t Want You Back” (yes, there were multiple performances), Tori got up and sang and danced with her, even held a pretend microphone up to her mouth for effect. It was so funny. That is definitely a side of Sarah that I have not seen before. We laughed and laughed and had such a great time. So, with that in mind, I would like to pay homage to some of our favorite syncers:

And who could ever forget:

** Remember to leave your comment regarding your favorite blog post.

all in favor?

Dave keeps asking me if I’ve posted something new yet.  To be honest, I’m more enthralled with the 5 new books(and 2 on the way) I have then posting…. alas, all in favor of a new post and some new pics- say AYE!

All in favor of DAVE posting, say double AYE… this isnt just my blog you know!