Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back to Utah to Get Started On the Wedding Preparations

Nathan and Matthew were excited to get back home after their week long stay with Grandpa and Grandma. They had missed their family! I was anxious to get started on the preparations for Sariah's May wedding. We made the drive back to Utah.

The week passed in a flurry of activity, mostly related to preparing for Sariah's wedding. We went shopping for a wedding dress and in three hours had one bought! At the second shop, Sariah fell in love with a diamond white concoction that looked gorgeous on her. I also found and purchased a champagne colored brocade wrap dress for myself. I've never spent so much for one dress in my life! Even my own wedding dress was cheaper.:)

We reviewed wedding reception ideas in preparation for the meeting with the wedding planner. Elly printed off a stack of pictures. She and Tori had put in lots of hours collecting ideas and, boy, did I appreciate all their work! Unfortunately, the wedding planner got mixed up about the meeting time and didn't show up. She promised a free wedding bouquet and use of a bridal room to make up for it. Thankfully, Elly and Sariah were able to meet with her later in the week. I got to see the room where the reception will be held--the roof of Noah's in South Jordan. It's grand! We made decisions regarding the bridesmaid and flower girl attire. Elly and I purchased some shoes. We made a dent but there is still much to do!

I watched the grandkids while Elly was at work a couple of afternoons. Maggie and I played games one afternoon until I could not longer keep my eyes open. The boys turned on their music and Becca demonstrated her dancing skills.

Becca found some children's scissors and set to work chopping off the flowers in Elly's dying flower arrangement. That kept her intently busy for an amazing amount of time.

Becca played in her room for two hours when I thought she was taking a nap. You can imagine how cranky she was by the end of the day! I tried playing a game of Mario Bros. but got completely flustered after a very short time and thankfully passed the controls to the boys.

I'm glad I got a chance to have dinner with Cami, Boone, Brett and Sariah at our favorite Italian restaurant before coming home. The food was delicious as usual. Love those kids!

Listening to audio books on CD made the trip home pass quickly. It felt good to get home! The peace and quiet after all the activity of the past three weeks was heavenly.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Off Track with Grandma and Grandpa

Presidents' Day marked the beginning of a vacation for our grandsons, Nathan and Matthew. They attend school year round and were to be "off-track" for three weeks. Their mom and dad thought they might enjoy a change of scenery for a few days. Consequently, we brought them back home with us and had the pleasure of their company for one whole week!

The first night, for Family Home Evening, Jim taught the boys how to make cinnamon rolls and build a fire in the fireplace. Matthew won the privilege of lighting the fire after a rousing game of "rock, paper, scissors". Jim shared his childhood scrapbook and told stories from his youth in front of that toasty fire.

The boys built a giant tent in the family room and that's where they spent the night for the rest of the week. I don't think they got much sleep, though. They seemed to have a "sleep over" every night. The tent morphed into two tents later on in the week.

Exploring the backyard, checking on the chickens, collecting the eggs and night skiing in the fog seemed to be the highlights of the first day. The boys designed and then built their pinewood derby cars with Grandpa throughout the week.

"We are so going to win!" commented Matthew in the middle of the project.

The boys were so proud of their sleek, shiny cars.

Check out those painting frames!

Nathan found some time during the week to make some amazing Lego creations.

There was never a dull moment with video games to play.

We spent two fascinating hours exploring the Discovery Center (unfortunately without the camera). The tin can robot for sale in the gift shop inspired the boys to take seriously my offer to pay them a dollar for each hour that they read. Between the two of them, they read 17 hours over the next couple of days!

Nathan and Matthew joined the young men and women from church in an ice skating activity. Matthew thought it would be fun to try to figure skate. Both boys came home bruised and a little sore after all the falls. They agreed that skiing was much more fun because when you fall you have ski pants and the snow to soften the fall.

Our trip to the library to find books and movies, resulted in the discovery of the Video Game Challenge which was to take place the following afternoon. My video game maniacs couldn't wait to participate! We had our eyes on the clock all afternoon the next day to make sure we wouldn't miss it. It didn't fail to please.

We got the boys up early on Saturday to go skiing. The day got off to a rocky start when we stopped to pick up the equipment we had rented for the boys the day before and discovered it had been put away. It was hard to be patient as the order was refilled. It was a perfect day for skiing, though. We started out skiing together on cat tracks and blue runs until Nathan and Matthew got bored. They took off to ski some steep runs and through the trees on their own leaving Grandpa to deal with fearful Grandma. The boys could not figure out what Grandma was so scared about. After about two hours of skiing, exhausted Matthew (remember the nightly "sleep overs") took a nap on three chairs pushed together in the lodge while Nathan and Grandpa had the skiing time of their lives.

The boys were excited to see old friends at church on Sunday. They were not pleased with the no video game rule and let us know they were bored by wrestling each other for the rest of the day. They drove us crazy! We got some peace when Grandpa helped them assemble the robot (bought earlier in the week with the money they earned reading) Sunday afternoon. It was way cool.

Jim left for Japan early Monday morning. I spent the day preparing to make the return trip to Utah. As I was contemplating during my morning walk on how to get the boys involved in the preparations, off the video games and outside, the Scavenger Hunt idea came to mind. When they came to me an hour later looking for something to do, I was prepared with the Scavenger Hunt. I had a list of tasks that they were to perform--an indoor work task alternating with an outdoor quest. I had hidden a quarter in each "inside" job which they were to look for as they completed the task. I promised to pay them a quarter when they had accomplished the outdoor quest. Each time they finished an assignment, they were to come to me for the next one. They seemed to have a great time playing the game. By the time they were finished, they had all the messes cleaned up (including the tents), the packing done, some new treasures (collected outside), about three dollars in quarters, and bright eyes and rosy cheeks from all the exercise. Success! To celebrate our accomplishments, we went to dinner that evening at McDonald's, then to the movie "Planet 51" and back to McDonald's afterwards for ice cream.

The boys were happy to get back home with their family. Hopefully they'll have a few good memories of "off-track with Grandma and Grandpa". Grandma and Grandpa certainly do!:)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Unforgetable Valentine

Valentine weekend found us in Utah for a mini reunion with Jim's side of the family. Jim did lots of skiing. His favorite experience of the weekend (the whole year!) was with Jacob skiing in deep powder at Alta. Not only did he enjoy Jacob's companionship, "flying" through that snow down the steepest slopes they could find was exhilarating! I settled for more "mundane" activities (but a whole lot more interesting to me) like having a much appreciated lunch with my parents and sister, Margy. I got to bake Valentine cookies with granddaughter Maggie shaped like Christmas trees, stars, gingerbread men and even some hearts (Maggie's choice). Even with the thin icing made from Elly's sparse powdered sugar supply (and the Christmas sprinkles), they turned out yummilicious! We stuck on a few candy hearts to remind us that it wasn't Christmas.:) A meeting with Elly and Sariah got things rolling for Sariah's wedding and reception.

We met with family members from Jim's side of the family at a BBQ restaurant one evening. That experience was one of the highlights of the trip not necessarily because of the food but because of the love felt. We were happy that we got to meet Cami's friend, Boone--a really nice guy. He's the tall one in the pictures.:)

After dinner, our immediate family members had a party at Elly's house. We laughed 'til our sides hurt playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" and "Fruit Basket" with the kids. I discovered that Boone's birthday is in October and have been teased non-stop ever since when I commented that we have lots of birthdays in October. Is it because both sons-in-law, at this point, have October birthdays?

Bright and early Sunday morning, Jacob, Sariah and Brett, Cami and Boone, Jim and I attended the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. What a fabulous experience! The choir's rendition of "The Prayer" was particularly moving for me. Thanks for that great idea, Jacob!

Jim and I attended church with Elly and visited with Grandma Wilson in the care center. Grandma didn't say much but we got a few smiles, even a giggle. She loved holding our hands and responded to our squeezes. We drove to Provo to share wedding advice with Sariah and Brett. They fed us a delicious chili dinner. Cami and Boone joined us. What a delightful evening!

The whole trip was an unforgettable Valentine treat.