Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Seek YM/YW

Tonight we had a really fun youth activity. This was our bi-monthly combined activity with 1st ward. All of the kids go to school together, so I like it when we can get together for activities. Lucy and Lori (our mighty YW presidents) came up with a great scavenger hunt. After a random selection process, everyone divided up into cars with adult drivers. Each team was given a list of 5 photos they needed to take. We had to take pictures 1)at a drive thru window 2)with an out of state tourist 3)at the library with a book by various authors, depending on your team...we had Suzanne Collins 4) on a piece of playground equipment 5)riding a bronze horse by the train station and 6)with all team members in a grocery cart-no feet on the ground. No particular order. Every team member had to be in at least 2 pictures. Once all pics were taken, we were to return to Lucy's home.

And the race was on! Our team was a really great bunch of kids (although I think any combination of kids would have been fun, as we have lots of cool youth)! John, being in the Bishopric, was in attendance tonight and he was our Designated Driver. I took on the job of Photographer. The kids were cracking me up. Nick encouraged us to turn at a different cross street with less stop signs, and reminded us all to keep our eyes on the prize. Too funny. We ran into other teams at the library and the train station, but I think we were quite a team as we smoked everyone! ;) heehee

When we all go back to Lucy's, she downloaded all of our photos. It was a lot of fun to see what the other teams did. After a short talk about seeking after good things, we enjoyed some refreshments and called it a night! I know everyone had fun! :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Destination Pagosa

This week I got a call from our friends the Allreds. We had just crashed their pad over Spring Break and they called to see if we could return the favor. They were on their way to AZ for their Spring Break and wondered if they could spend the night here, as it is about half way. We were excited to have them come through even if we only got to see them for a night. Then they got a wild hair. After us talking it up so much, the Allreds decided it might be fun to spend the night at the Pagosa Hot Springs. It was Darin's birthday and they thought it might be a fun way to spend it, cuz who wants to be driving for hours on their birthday. We told Lori we would decorate their hotel room as we planned to arrive hours before them. We thought that sounded like a really fun idea, and I went to pencil it onto the calendar.

As is so often the case lately, we realized we had a conflict. This Saturday was Elise's Destination Imagination competition. Her team at Sunnyside, the Determinators, had been meeting and working diligently for several months. (Disclaimer: Some of you might remember that I have had children participate in DI in the past. And I have never particularly liked it. I find it too free form for my tastes, so I generally steer pretty clear of it. I did happen to substitute one day after school with the group. A kid sliced his thumbnail open using an xacto knife and I secretly swore to myself I would do a better job of avoiding it as I walked him to the nurse's office.) Still, Elise had put in a lot of time and effort, and I was a little bummed I would miss it. I didn't fret over it too much because having gone for the last 2 years to see both Seth and Elise give their presentations at the competition, I had been the only parent that came to watch.

Friday was fast approaching, and I told John we had better make a reservation at the Springs, cuz it could get pretty busy on the weekends. He agreed and I jumped online to book a room. There were the standard rooms available, and I noticed that the amazing suite we stayed in only 10 days ago was FAR more expensive than the price we paid by showing up that evening at the hotel. I hesitated.

I talked to John about the idea that if we just showed up on Friday afternoon, we might get a great deal on that sweet suite. I noticed there were still a few more rooms available, so we decided to take a chance and drive there without a reservation. We dropped Elise off with a DI teammate, and headed to Pagosa. I was a little frustrated that we had gotten a later start than I had wanted, and it was past dinnertime when we finally pulled into the Springs. John walked into the hotel and was pleased when the front desk guy recognized him from last week. John smiled and asked if they had any rooms. The front desk guy's face fell as he told us that he had just given away the last room. Since no one had rented the sweet suite, they had given it to a friend of the owner for FREE!! So there we were, in Pagosa, with all the kids and a bag of swimsuits...without a room! YIKES!

Well, the front desk guy felt pretty bad for us, but there wasn't much he could do except direct us acrossed the street to the only other hotel in town with rooms. He even broke the rules a little and let us go up to the Allred's room to decorate it. We had some balloons and some noise makers. I thought the room looked pretty good, but I was pretty bummed to leave it knowing where we would be staying.

Going acrossed the street to the other hotel was like walking back in time to an older, and smelly-er time. When we checked into our room, our kids were totally complaining. John and I looked at each other and chuckled a little. We told them they were just spoiled and this is how most hotels are, but I have to admit, I kept my flip flops on as I walked around the room. ;) It was pretty 'rustic.' I tried to be enthusiastic about going down to the indoor hotel pool-maybe the night wouldn't be a total bust and we could get some use out of our swim suits. But as soon as we saw it, we decided to go ahead and just get to bed and get a good jump on the next day!

The Allreds called our phone that next morning and we felt pretty sheepish telling them that we were staying somewhere else, when we met them in the hot springs! :) It was kind of a bummer we didn't get to swim under the full moon, but it was fun to swim in the early morning too.

We had fun going from pot to pot. The kids were feeling pretty adventurous and tried hopping into the frigid river. The dads went in too! This is the best place to hop in. There is hot water that bubbles right up into the river and people have stacked rocks forming a hot tub. But step out of that ring of rocks, and it is COLD!

I had my waterproof camera and while it does not take the best pictures, it can take pictures underwater! Jebb insisted I get an underwater shot of him, that is the blue floating kid in the collage. :)

I was so much fun for our family to soak all morning with the Allreds. We decided to dry off and head towards Durango around lunch time. We voted on lunch at Serious Texas and we hopped in the car and headed that way. We drove through Bayfield which is where Elise was doing her DI stuff. I was sad that Elise missed our family stuff, and I wondered how she was doing.

Lori had ordered a fantastic cake for Darin and it complimented the BBQ perfectly! :) After devouring the yumminess, we bid farewell to the passing travelers and they continued on their Spring Break journey. We headed home to do some work around the house. Of course we were all trying to finish before the BYU March Madness began.

And I was missing Elise.

As the only daughter in our family, there is a void of girlness when she is gone. I wondered how her DI stuff was going. She had a really solid team and I hoped they would perform well for the judges.

Then she finally returned! I asked her how it went and could tell from her experession that she was disappointed. I guess they had run out of time on their presentation and their score reflected that. They finished almost last! Yikes! I felt bad I hadn't been there console her. Then she told me that she had been the only kid on the team whose parents weren't there... Uh... What? Yes, the only parents from her team not attending the presentation and awards were...US! Man, I went from feeling bad to worse. I sputtered, I stammered, I apologized profusely. Trying to make myself feel better, I reminded her that last year I had been the only parent there and didn't think it was really a parent-type thing, so much, er, uh, ya.

But of course she could still smell a hint of the Sulfur Hot Springs wafting from our damp swimsuits in the laundry room. And see the glow that relaxation in hot pots and hanging with friends can give to ones cheeks. But with typical Elise grace and coolness, she gave me a big hug and said it didn't matter that I wasn't there. That almost made my guilt worse, but I hugged her back, apologized some more, then asked her for all the details of her day. She wasn't in the mood to elaborate (they didn't do too well, remember?), but she gave me the basics.

Through the magic of blogging, I was actually able to get some pictures of Elise at the DI day! Luckily, there was an involved parent that took some pictures of her child that is also on the team (thanks, Lucy! Picture descriptions are hers). So here is a glimpse into Elise's day as well.

Overall, a busy day for the BigGTribe. I am so glad though that everyone had a full and friendly day! I am glad there are great families in the world that are raising good kids that mine get to associate with! :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Pinch

Yesterday was St Patrick's Day. In the morning as the little guys got ready for school, I asked them if they were planning to wear green so they wouldn't get pinched. Jebb looked at me funny but didn't really answer. Jackson showed me the clover he had painted on his cheek in green and let me know that the grey he was wearing was just fine as long as he didn't wash his face. Fair enough.

Jebb came back a few minutes later with a Lego Batman shirt that also had a small Lego Robin with green plastic legs. He told me that he was wearing green so he should be OK. He then asked me if kids would be pinching or pinching with their fingernails. I hadn't really thought about it, but obviously he had and he was a little worried. Realizing that he was in kindergarten, I assured him that he should be fine with Robin, but that kids probably would just pinch for fun--fingernails were not likely. That seemed to be what he needed to hear and they were off to the bus.

So after school we were at the table doing homework and we were discussing the day. Jackson told me that St Patrick got rid of a bunch of snakes in a town with a magic stick and that is why we have this Holiday. I am not sure that is the correct story, but I don't know the accurate version either, so we went with his. I asked the boys if they had gotten pinched. That is when Jebb told me that there is NO pinching at his school. He said the Principal told everyone over the speaker that this was the case. Sunnyside is apparently Kind, Safe, and Responsible. Or Kind, Safe, and Respectful. Or maybe it was Quiet, Friendly, and Boring. I can't remember. While I am glad to hear that the school is trying to teach good behavior, I wonder if sometimes they go just a pinch over the top.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Powder Room

In my mind I think I should be a Do-It-Yourself-er. Mostly because I get tired of my old stuff, and I am a cheapskate. Unfortunately, I am more of a Start-It-But-Never-Finish-It kind of fixer-upper. So I am pretty excited because I actually redid a whole room in our house. Never mind that it is the smallest room in the house.

Our Powder Room used to have white walls, a pine colored vanity, and green and red towels. It now has A blue wall and 3 'oatmeal' colored walls, a walnut colored vanity, and blue and brown towels.

So here is my "Before" picture:Obviously changing the light bulbs was not a part of the whole 'improvement' thing.

I started by removing the vanity so it could be sanded in preparation for stain.
There was lots of sanding. And staining. Over many days. John helped me finish staining one night.

Then I got to painting the bathroom. I loved the new blue wall:
But the 'oatmeal' color was not as fun. I ran out of paint before I finished and had to go buy one more quart. Lame. As I was painting, my kids said "Mom, why are you painting white walls white again?" Of course they obviously aren't refined enough to know that 'white' and 'oatmeal' are worlds apart. Although now that it is done, I am wondering the same darn thing. I should have gone a shade darker. Oh well. Too late now. My sister encouraged me to repaint, but I of coursed scoffed at that idea. It was a huge effort for me to get that oatmeal on the walls and that is the shade it will stay. So here is a shot of the NEW white walls along with the blue:

Then we put the vanity back in and added new hand towels. So this is our New and Improved Powder Room. I know, I know, it is SOOO different! The 'oatmeal' changes everything!
I actually did enjoy doing this project, but I need to set aside bigger blocks of time in the future. My next project is to paint the Music Room with a dark oatmeal. (I busted John calling a painter we know...) After that I might do a little something, something in the office. I'm going to let the powder room mellow for a few weeks before I jump into anything else. :) Maybe I will grow into being a real Do-It-Yourself-er one of these projects!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Little More Spring Break 2011

John took G&S to Moab. They went to meet up with some friends for dirtbiking. John sent a couple of pics. John took Seth on Kane Creek trail while Gabe went with the other men on Pritchet Canyon (a much harder trail). They all enjoyed it.

Apparently it was "Epic" and they can't wait to do it again!

Spring Break 2011

These are the faces of a family that had a FANTASTIC Spring Break.

We didn't go too far from home this year, and although I wasn't sure how I'd like staying in the winter weather, it turned out to be a great week!

We went to the cabin of my childhood friend, Lori. It was delightful. They have a place in Silverthorne, Colorado which is next to some great skiing. We booked up there after school on Friday so we could cram in all the fun possible over our Spring Break Week. We met up with another great family, the Jensons, that also have a cabin there. They had some teen boys our kiddos could ski with too. Saturday morning we got up early and cruised to Beaver Creek Resort. Very pish-posh and a terrific hill. They have ladies in chef hats walking around giving out warm chocolate chip cookies. Of course my kids LOVED it (I admit I liked the cookie for breakfast too!)

It was one of those perfect weather kind of ski days for me. I loved hanging with Jackson, Jebb, and Elise. John hung with us too as he had knee surgery at Thanksgiving and he is still taking it easy. It was actually the first time me and the little guys have skied this year. I was a little nervous I would forget how, but it all came back to me! :)

The bigger boys went with the other kids. They had an outstanding day as well apparently. I love that! It is so nice to hang with really cool families. The kids in both of the other families were top notch, and darn good skiers too. Perfect start to the Vacay.

That evening, our cousins, the other Gillelands arrived at the cabin. Yes, they know my friend Lori too because I introduced them when Kip's family moved to Denver. I love stuff like that. I think all of the people I know should get to know one another. :)

Sunday we all attended the local ward and it was similar to ours-small. :) The people were really nice and we enjoyed it. For lunch we had a special treat-Navajo Tacos! Yummaroo! Lori apparently hasn't forgotten her Arizona roots cuz she made them and they were good!

In the afternoon we took a hike. It was again a beautiful day-perfect to hike the snowy trail.

The rest of the evening we all hung out and played games and made stuff with play-doh. I thought it was great for our kids to just hang out with a bunch of great kids. They would all just stand in a circle and talk or sit at the table and crack themselves up. I loved just hanging out and visiting with everyone as well. :)

The other Gillelands and the Allreds packed up and headed back that night to life in Denver. Their Spring Break isn't until next week. The Allreds are so cool (or crazy) that they let us stay at their cabin for a couple of more days! YEAH! The Mann Clan (from Durango) was going skiing at Copper Mountain on Monday, so it was great to be able to stay over. John, Gabe, Seth, and Elise all went skiing Monday morning while I took J&J outlet shopping with me for the day. John tells me there are some pictures and even video of their day taken by the other skiiers they met up with. I hope one day to see them. The skiing family members report having an epic day! I think it's a good thing I didn't go skiing again because I was ridiculously sore! So for FHE we all soaked in the hot tub while a few snow flurries fell on us.
Tuesday morning we packed up and headed toward home, but we didn't make it all the way. We stopped in Pagosa to stay at the hot springs. We ended up getting a smoking deal on an amazing room that we all fit into! You get to wear these cool robes to walk over to the springs. Everyone was so happy to be there they even agreed to let me take a timer picture! ;) We soaked until we couldn't stay awake anymore, then we awoke and soaked again.
We made it back home Wednesday afternoon and the weather was very Springy! I even cleaned out my front flower bed and admired the daffodils that are close to blooming! Between loads of laundry, I was able to finish up my 'Powder Room Home Improvement Project' (see post). John managed to avoid work except for a few hours here and there which was so nice!

What a great week! It had all of the elements that make me happy-food, fun, and friends! What more could you want? It is going to be a rude awakening Monday morning when we are all back to school and real life, but for now we are going to enjoy the sunshine and our fun memories!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scratch That

The last 2 weeks or so I have gone to my computer and gone to my blog in the hopes of seeing a new post. But alas, I have not done one so therefore it is unchanged! Funny how that works. I have a chunk to write, but just haven't gotten to it. Of course, I plan to predate a bunch of stuff to fill in the blank, but not tonight. I have a few good excuses. My computer is not charging. I took it in to the 'shop' and they cleaned the connecting points then called to tell me it was fixed. Er. Not so much. And I don't want to do all of my catch up posts on my iPad...

I have been really busy. I know everyone is busy and everyone has lots to do, but for me, I feel really busy. For the last 3 or 4 weeks I have had something to attend, or meet at, or cheer at, or speak at, or plan an activity for, or listen at, or something--almost every stinking night. I have forgotten what bedtime with the little guys is like. And while I mostly enjoy what I am doing, I am feeling the need for some moderation in my life. I am feeling out of balance.

OK, so I am just going to post something that happened to me today because I need to post something other than "I am busy!" or I will never get back to posting at all. I have been trying to do a home improvement project and worked on it for a couple of hours after I got the kids off to school. I tidied up the house for a bit, the decided I'd get in a quick workout before I took a shower. I made it quick because it was already lunch time. When I finished, I walked past my bed and yanked up a quilt on the foot of my bed so I could fold it up since I was walking by. The corner of the blanket flipped up and scratched my eyeball! OUCH! I covered my good eye to make sure I hadn't gone blind (I was fine) but it stinkin' hurt! My eye was watering profusely, so I laid down on my bed. I closed my sore eye (and the good one too), covered myself up with the scratchy blanket, and pretty much cried myself to sleep. I woke up 2 hours later when the phone rang!!!

AH!! I am too busy to nap! The kids were getting home soon and I was still unshowered, stinky (still in my workout stuff), hair askew, and my mascara cried off!! I don't really have a point to this story, but I was literally laughing outloud when I thought about how pathetic I was! :) I laughed even more when I talked to my little sister about it and she hardily agreed I was ridiculous! :) I jumped in the shower ready to start my 3:00! Kids came home, Elise was taken to dance, homework was done, big boys got home, more homework done, snacks consumed, vanity in powder room removed and sanded in garage (remember I'm home improving...), sawdust washed out of ears, clothes changed (again), YW activity @ food bank completed, big boys brought home, husband missed (he is out of town for the night), and post completed. I'm calling it a night.
Gabe took a pic of me sanding-I did not know I needed coveralls until it was too late!
Working with women I heart at the local food bank