Sunday, May 31, 2009

For Jeannetta

I'm not very loud about my political views..lol..well sometimes I'm loud (much to my democratic brother's delight). But Jeannetta over at My Book of Common Days makes me laugh. Her posts are so enlightening and intelligent... I just LOVE them! (plus she has a Christmas counter on her page...whats not to love!) So, when I saw this over on facebook today, I thought of Jeannetta!









On a side note....little Marky Mark ROLLED OVER today! AHH! I'm hoping its a fluke cause I'm SO not ready for him to be mobile. Go Mark go!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The big 3! Yeah Ben!



My Ben turned 3 last week. He is such a cutie!!! We had a water party with a few friend, barbecued some burgers and then that night had some cake and ice cream. Very simple, but just what a 3 year old wants. Now that he is 3 ...maybe he'll potty train!

Of all the days for his birthday, it had to be the ONE day that it wasn't sunny in the mid 90's. It was a nice, overcast day in the 70's that any other day we would have LOVED! But it makes it for a chilly water day. Yes..those lips look a little blue!!!


On a side note...Marky Mark is four months old. He is arching his back like he wants to roll over..thankfully he isn't yet! Isn't he CUTE!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HAPPPY BIRTHDAY KATY!










Happy birthday to my OLDER and wiser sister Katy. Katy has been such a great friend to me. I count her amonst my best friends. When we were younger we fought a little..ok maybe a little more than a litttle....and I always thought that once we grew up we would finally never have to put up with each other. But now, I don't know what I'd do without Katy and she has become such a rock for me.

So happy belated birthday Katy!!
I love you tons!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today I spent $102.04



And yet another massive grocery trip. Here is some of what we purchased
12 packaged of hot dogs (they were free!!--my freezer is stocked for the summer!)
20 bottles of ketchup --believe it or not we were low, now we are stocked for the year! .75 each
6 boxes of electrosol tabs .50 each
12 boxes of bisquick 1.60 per box
6 packages of cream cheese .40 each
6 bags of frozen veggies 1.00 each
8 bottles of kraft salad dressing .18 each
8 bottles of kraft barbecue sauce . 11 each
14 boxes of cereal
6 cans of grands biscuits
3 jars of pickles
3 boxes of wheat thins
3 boxes of tricuits
potatoes
oranges
etc. etc. etc

Would have spent 306.54 but I only spent 102.04 and I saved 204.50

happy day



In my adventure in saving money, Cory put up a clothes line for me. I've wanted one for a while so I'm very excited. :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arches




On our last dayof vacation, on our way home, we drove through Arches National Park . I have always wanted to SEE Delicate Arch. I know my license plate has a picture of it on it but I wanted to see it. I did not know what I was in for!

There are three levels of hikes easy, moderate, and long/strenuous. Delicate Arch is in the last category.
Luke and James at the top of the mountain side.

Once again I was relieved to go Ben's speed--who hiked the entire 3 miles! I am not a hiker. My husband loves it. He was carrying the baby in the carrier and was still doing circles around me. Not only that but JAMES RAN THE ENTIRE HIKE! He ran to each rock marker and would sit down and wait for us..."Hurry up Mom!" He did great! After he ran up the mountain he still ran back down afterwards. I could not believe his energy! Luke could have kept up with James no doubt, but he can be Ben's security blanket at times, so Ben would not let him go very far away. Also, no joke, about 20 minutes into our hike we watched an entire group of 30 or so senior citizens arrive at the park, catch up to us and then pass us. They all cheered for us when we arrived at the arch. I cheered too! The hike is straight up. But I did it! And now my boys have SEEN the arch.

Our vacation was the best thing for our family. My boys were SO GOOD! We had minimal arguments and they were so obedient. I am so blessed to have such a great family to make such awesome memories with.


Cory, Luke and James trying not to get blown away! It was so windy!



We made it!



At the top, that arrow is pointing to the parking lot!


video

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day three of our trip

On Wednesday we traveled to Mesa Verde. It was about an hour from where we were staying. It was a beautiful drive. The view was very impressive. Mesa Verde was SPECTACULAR! It was amazing to learn about these dwellings and how they were built in the middle of nowhere! I thought that the top of the mesa was great and would have been a fabulous to live on, but they insisted on building them on the cliffs below the mesa. INSANE! I'm sure they had their reasons...but who knows what they are! I was only aware of Cliff Palace at Mesa verde but there were many many dwellings built into the sides of the cliffs. We were able to hike two of them; Cliff palace and Spruce Tree House. We were able to drive around and look at the different places also. We didn't get to most of the park because it was so huge, but what we did see was amazing!


The hike down to the cliff palace at Mesa Verde was I believe about 1/4 of a mile. It was mostly stairs but not to difficult. Of course, I made sure I had Ben so that I could walk the pace of a two year old...which can either be at running speed or really slow...depending on the moment. We also visited the musuem which was FULL of exibits about the Anasazi native americans and




Down in Cliff Palace








At the kiva in Spruce Tree.



video

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More pictures

Here are some more pictures from the train ride...I'll post tomorrow about Mesa Verde and Arches National park.





The trainride on the way up the mountain looking down to the Animas River.




Refueling the train with water. The train used 1300 gallons of water on the trip.


Its a long way down!!
video

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day TWO of the big vacation

video

Day two of our vacation was the Durango Train ride to Silverton.

I cannot say how much fun this was! It really was one of the best things we've done as a family.

We arrived at the train station in the morning and get all settled in. We hit it on a day that the train was half empty. So we ended up being able to spread out a little. The train pulled out and you could honestly hear the chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-choo-choo! The train jostled all the way. It was all we could do to walk up and down the isle when we needed to. We were throughly shook up when the train finally stopped. We purchased a mug for each of the boys. The mugs were insulated and had a picture of the train. It also had a map printed on it. There was also unlimited refills of hot chocolate and sodas for the mugs. Considering James filled it up 4 times on the way up and 3 times on the way home, it was a good investment of $6.50 for each mug. They carried it everywhere for the next few days and even now they love those mugs.

The drive up was BEAUTIFUL! The Colorado Rockies are something sacred to behold. They were so majestic. The Animas river was beautiful as well. I love Utah's mountains, but Colorado seemed so grand.

On the trainride--with my four boys--it was very hard to contain my Ben and James. James made a friend on the train. An elderly lady talked and talked with him. I tried to pull him away but he really wanted to point everything out to her. Then Ben got in on it. And they all looked out the window together. Sadly, part of me was embarrassed. James has no shame about talking to people and telling everyone everything. However, recently I have become more ok with it. He is comfortable with himself to talk with whomever he wants and doesn't let the fear of talking to other stop him. Should we all be so lucky!

When we arrived in Silverton we had about an hour and a half to have lunch. Here is where we splurged and went all out for the tourist traps. We had lunch at Grumpy's (i think that was the name) It was a western theme place. There was a piano player playing saloon music. Very neat. --Just don't look at the nudes on the wall....thats another story.

We also walked around and looked at all of the fun old buildings and quirky shops. It was so much fun! When the train arrived back in Durango we walked through the train museum. The boys swam that night and we all went to be exahsted!!! Seven hours in a train could wear anyone out!





Day three on its way!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Me, a minivan, and five boys!

This past week we went on a well deserved/earned family vacation. We traveled to Four Corners, Durango, Mesa Verde, and Arches National Park.

Me, a minivan, and 5 boys! CRAZY! But it was a BLAST!

Prep work...
Money is tight..there is NO doubt that money is super tight for us. We have been saving for a while to be able to go on a small vacation without going into debt. This included new tires for the van at the last minute as well. To save money we decided to not eat out very much. I think this saved us the most amount of money. So I packed the cooler full of sandwich meat, cheese and other fixings that I had bought on sale recently. I also packed apples, string cheese, crackers, chips, granola bars etc. that I also had bought in the past 6 weeks- on sale as well. Then from the freezer I packed some frozen ribs and frozen, cooked ground beef. I used these for meals in my slow cooker. I also made sure that we stayed in a place that had a decent continental breakfast. In the end, we only ate out twice with a grand total of about $60.

Day one:
Everything was SET! We packed up the van on Sunday evening except for what needed to go into the cooler. We had tires put on the van on Friday and filled the tank on Saturday. I thought for sure the kids were going to be waking us up at 3am Monday morning, but they slept until 5:15. Cory and I were up at 5 and we were out the door by 6. The boys made muffins the night before and we ate those happily until we reached Page at about 8am. There we stopped and looked at Glen Canyon and Lake Powell. It was fun to show the boys the boats that we rode in last year for our anniversary.
After Page, we set off for Four Corners We traveled through the Navajo Nation. For me this was a very sad awakening for me. So many of the houses did not have electricity and it was very common to see outhouses. We are so blessed to live where we do. The drive through the Monument Valley was BEAUTIFUL. Another time I want to drive through the park instead of just around it. But what we saw was just breathtaking. There was a lot of “Oh look over there! And over there!!” Cory took a geology class a couple years ago and he was able to re-educate me with how the different formed mountains. It was all very interesting.We arrived at Four Corners National Monument at about 1pm. Talk about a monument in the middle of nowhere..lol..there literally isn’t anything around for miles. James ran over to the monument and immediately laid in the middle like he had practiced daily for the last few weeks. We take his picture and he exclaims “I’ve been waiting so long to do that!”We take some more pictures, meet people from and then we have some sandwiches. We mosey around the shops were I find some turtle earrings that I LOVED (and I hope I’m getting them for mother’s day….).


We take off again and we start passing through states. STOP! And we hop out of the car and over to take pictures of the state signs.


























Lots of getting out of the car produces some funky hair!


We stayed at the Iron Horse Inn. It was…decent. The first room that we were in had a few…well..quirks. It was a two story room. There was 3 queen beds and a fold out couch. You could fit a lot of people there for sure! (Not to bad for $100 a night) Plus a fridge, microwave and two bathrooms. –(I wish I would have taken a picture of the bathroom floor..lol..cause it was the SAME linoleum that my Grandma Brown had in her kitchen when I was younger…brown squares..lol..I use to stare at it determined to find the pattern in it..loll.. )The room looked like it was built in the 50’s. Yellow linoleum counters ect..you know the type. It wasn’t bad at all and I would have been happy to stay there. Well, the shower was leaking…into the floor below…so we requested a different room. Not only did they put us into a new room but they upgraded us to a family suite. It had a kitchenette in it and had been recently remodeled. (It looked like they were remodeling a lot of different areas). It was a perfect room for us. It had two queen beds and a rollaway. Plus a jetted tub. Oh so nice! The view was BEAUTIFUL also. Although they didn’t charge us extra for upgrading us, I would have paid the difference if needed.The rest of the evening we chilled. We took the boys to the pool to swim and we had Wendy’s for dinner while the boys ooggled over all of the tv stations.
Stay tuned for day 2!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

YEAH CORY!





Yesterday Cory finally marched to recieve his associate degree. He recieved it in the mail a few months ago, but since they only "march" once a year, he had to wait until May. What's really sad is that last spring he was only ONE credit short of recieving his associates. Oh well. He only has 30 or so more credits to go until he recieves his bachelors. He will probably march for that in 2011.
Jim Matheson was the speaker for commencement and received his honorary degree in humanities.

Way to go Cory! You're doing so good!