Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Logan, To Logan

For the first time in three and a half months, Jane and I drove up to Logan. In six years, that's the longest I've ever been away from that city. It was good to go back.

And what inspired us to drive 90 miles? Why, a four year old's birthday party, of course!

We started with a game of "Pin the Bellybutton on the Monster".

Jane really didn't get the point. She refused to be blindfolded, and then still stuck the bellybutton a good foot away from its target. Ah, well, she was quite proud of herself nonetheless.

The cake was adorable.

So was the birthday girl.

I'm not sure what her problem was, but Jane seemed rather despondent while eating her cake and ice cream. Didn't hurt me, though. I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

Claire's most exciting birthday present was a new bicycle. I think Jane was just as excited as Claire!

While Claire tried out the bike, Jane took a spin on Claire's birthday gift from last year.

The party finished off with the seemingly annual pinata--I've only been to two of Claire's birthday parties, but she's had a pinata at both. That makes it a tradition, right?

Good job, Tannie!

After the party, Richard graciously agreed to watch Jane while I went to the Relief Society broadcast with Tannie. That was wonderful. We started out with dinner at the married student stake center, where I got to say hello and visit with several sisters from our old ward. Yay! Then we stopped back at Tannie's house to visit with her mom, who I met for the first time, then we went to Tannie's building to watch the broadcast. Wonderful once again.

Thank you, Tannie, for a fun party and a lovely evening out sans kids. It was great.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma...twice!

I don't think I ever clued in before to the fact that both of my parents' mothers have their birthdays in September. It only took me 25 years to figure that out.

Grandma Nielsen, my dad's mom, turned 70 on Sept. 9. She and Scott live in Everett, Washington, so we don't see them all that often. Lucky for us, though, they were down in Utah over her birthday. Yay! We had a party at Mom and Dad's house the night before.

My mom orchestrated a grand effort to create this quilt for Grandma. It includes pictures of just about every one of Grandma's descendants--5 kids, 14 grandkids, and something like 11 great-grandkids. Is that right, Mom? Grandma's two siblings, Marilyn and Buddy (Steve), were also included.

The gift was well received. Keep an eye out on Lisa's blog for more details on the creation of the quilt.

Grandma Petty, my mom's mom, turned 73 on Sept. 21, my anniversary. I didn't know when we picked that date that it was her birthday, but I've never forgotten since! A few of the Petty clan had the chance to go out to lunch with Grandma and Grandpa in Draper.

Katie is the one with her tongue out at the end of the table (thanks for that, Katie!). Of all the cousins, she is the closest to me in age. I met her baby, Emilie, for the first time that day. Yay!

Jane is great friends with Grandpa. She was excited to be there.

Megan was only there for the food (name that movie).

Happy Birthday, Grandmas!


Lisa and I weren't quite done with our little outing when we finished with Grandma's birthday lunch, so we took a detour to the VF Outlet Mall next door to the restaurant before going home. We wandered a few stores (mostly because there are only a few left nowadays) and then let Jane and Dalton try out the quarter carousel.

Jane thought it was great.

Dalton hated it and quit halfway through.

And funny side story: On this particular day, I was already showered and dressed before the girls woke up (amazing, I know). When I walked into their bedroom, Jane got all excited and decided she wanted to match me and proceeded to choose her own clothes for the day.

I think she did pretty darn good, don't you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Uninvited Guest

Last week, Chris and I were watching Monk after the girls had gone to bed. We first noticed something odd when the dogs next door wouldn't stop barking. It went on for quite a while before we started hearing footsteps. On the roof. We listened carefully for a few minutes, then Chris got out the ladder to investigate.

Um, yeah. That would be a raccoon in our chimney. Lovely. Where it's sitting puts it right behind our living room wall, basically sitting level with the mantle.

I'm not a fan.

Chris said he saw another raccoon running away before he caught this picture. We didn't take any action that night and luckily we haven't seen or heard from them since. Let's hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

21 Sept 2006

We went from this...

to this...

to this...

Happy 4th Anniversary

Need I say more?

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Utah Date

I lived in Utah until I was 11, then we moved to Washington State. We moved back to Salt Lake the summer before my senior year of high school, when I was 17.

One of the biggest culture shocks I remember when moving back was how Utahns dated in high school. Everything was HUGE. There had to be some big, elaborate way to ask someone to a dance, usually involving food and invading their house or vehicle. The response had to be equally large, equally complex, and equally Punny.

I remember Amy's date to the Winter Formal that year had the best story for being asked out by her, the story that topped all the asking stories in their circle of friends. Get this: she called him, on the phone, and asked him to the dance. He said yes. And that was the best story of them all--so unique!

Once the proper asking ritual has been completed, the date must also fulfill certain requirements. One, it must last all day. Two, you must eat more than once. Three, you must plan things that your date does not know about.

Chris and I had a Utah date on Friday. Our anniversary is tomorrow and we thankfully had all of Friday and Saturday to celebrate.

It began with a visit from Grandma Karrie, who graciously took our children and disappeared for the next 28 hours. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

We went out to breakfast at Village Inn. Throughout our date, we were reminiscing about different things we have done in the eight years we have known each other and the four years we've been married. We went to Village Inn a lot in Logan.

Then we did some Christmas shopping...not really part of the plan, but we were right next to Shopko. They were having a sale on all baby stuff and I wanted to get some pajamas that were much cheaper than normal.

We stopped home again and Chris gave me my anniversary gift.

The standard missionary copy is on the left. My gift is on the right. I like small things. Just to prove it, here is the gift Chris gave me for Mother's Day four months ago.

On the left is the journal Annamarie gave me for my birthday when we were roommates. On the right is the journal that Chris gave me for the sole reason that it matched and was smaller.

And now my gift to Chris: trail mix and beef jerky.

Actually, just the jerky. We had bought trail mix for a hike we had planned, but we nixed that because Chris had been sick the day before and we didn't want to press our luck. Instead, we went downtown. But we can still eat trail mix!

Chris had never been on a tour of the Conference Center, so we went there first.

It wasn't quite as amazing as he wanted it to be. Our tour guide, unfortunately, did not speak English very well. We couldn't understand much of what she said because of her thick accent and extremely soft voice. She also repeated herself over and over if anyone asked a question and usually it had nothing to do with what was asked...less informative. We're planning on going back next week to have a tour with a couple in our ward who are service missionaries at the Conference Center. That should be better.

The views were still good, though!

There were only four people in our group--the guide, Chris and I, and Leo, the man in the orange shirt. He was visiting from Pennsylvania, passing through Salt Lake on his way home from a hunting trip. He decided to spend a day sightseeing before flying out.

Once we figured out that he wasn't a member, Chris and I tried to fill in some of the holes that the tour guide left open. After leaving the conference center, Leo told us that he had really been hoping she would have explained more about the religion and what the Mormons believe. Chris was able to describe the First Vision, explain what the Book of Mormon is, and point him in the direction of the sister missionaries on Temple Square. Yay for unexpected missionary opportunities!

We wandered Temple Square a bit more ourselves.

The best discovery was a new exhibit in the south Visitors' Center. They have a scale model of the Salt Lake temple that shows, with great accuracy, the inside of the temple. So cool!

I had gone to the 6:00 endowment session that morning. It was cool to see the miniature rooms when I had been there in person just hours before.

You can also see the Assembly Hall on the fourth floor--the room that hardly anyone sees now. Chris was very excited about that.

The model is about five feet tall and sits in the same direction as the real temple. Can you tell which is which?

Of course, you can always go outside and look at the real thing, too.

After our jaunt around Temple Square, we took a drastic change of pace and headed over to Gateway Mall to see a movie.

We saw Inception. I had seen lots of comments on Facebook saying that this was the absolute best movie ever made. Yes, it was very good. Absolute best? I think I missed that part. If you are one who thought it was so amazingly amazing, you'll have to fill me in on exactly why that is. My theory is that no one who saw it really knew what was going on, but knew that it must be amazing because the effects were cool and the story was complex. That means amazing, right?

But don't get me wrong. It was a cool movie.

We took a pitstop after the show to say hi to Deborah at Discovery Gateway. She let Chris try out the "galaxy" bouncy balls. They can bounce three stories up.

And for the second eating out adventure, my all time favorite.

A yearly tradition. I believe we have come to Old Spaghetti Factory three out of our four anniversaries, and the one time we didn't was because I was in Washington and Chris was in Utah. Harder to go out to eat that way. Ironically, I also went there the day after Chris dumped me...

Anyway. After a slightly embarrassing moment when we apparently offended a waiter by asking for a different table (he never came back...someone else served us), we had a delightful meal. While waiting for our food, Chris put together my other gift that Deborah bought for me...a charm bracelet with a pendant for each person in our family and one that says "lucky" for whoever else may come our way in the future.

After dinner, we stopped at Walmart. Remember back in May when Chris said I could buy a movie if I finished packing the house in one day? Well, I didn't quite finish because Jane got sick and we had the all-night vomit episode. I never did get my movie. Until Friday.

Chris said that I had earned it and he still wanted me to have it. Yay!

We went home and Chris got his real anniversary present. Beef jerky doesn't really count, you know.

We weren't quite ready to be home and done for the evening, and we were both hungry, so we stopped at Panda Express at 9:00 that night. Another common haunt of our married lives. We thought about taking our food and eating in the park, but sadly, the park is not really a great place to be after dark. Instead, we drove out to the Draper Temple and walked around the grounds.


It was well after ten when we finally got home. We popped in our new dvd, settled in to watch the show, and promptly fell asleep on the couch. It was a long day--can you blame us for being tired?

Don't forget, though, that we were on a Utah date! Do you really think we could stop there?

Chris had one last thing he wanted to do with me and for me. Ever since we took my car out to the desert, I have been wanting to get it washed. Chris did one step better and the two of us cleaned out the inside, too. Yay!

There was a lot of stuff shoved into the nooks and crannies of my car. Even I was a little surprised at how much we pulled out.

All clean!

Well, the inside. Still keeping in with anniversary tradition, we took my car to the same car wash where we washed Amy's car after she let us borrow it for our honeymoon. Thanks, Amy.

I know I said I wanted to clean off the desert dust, but here is the real reason I wanted my car washed.

Yuck. And to further gross you out, here are some more, only inches below.

Yuck again. But Chris is a very thorough car washer.

And it's all clean! Hooray hooray hooray!

Ironically, I don't actually have any after pictures. I trust that you all know what a clean car looks like. You can imagine it in your minds and I will enjoy the real thing in person. Deal?

I guess dating in Utah isn't so bad.