Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

Enjoy all of the little ghosts and goblins, and a little bit of chocolate!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Your Sassy On

OK girls - I'm going to tell you about this cute thing I learned to do with my hair on days when I don't want to do anything with my hair, but I want it to look like I really thought about it.  As I already told you, this can be done with short hair, medium hair, or long hair.  Makes very little difference.
To back up, when I went to get my hairs did on Saturday, my stylist came bouncing up to fetch me (she is adorable) and I almost didn't recognize her.  Usually she has the cutest short hair - amazing short hair - but that day she had a pretty cotton scarf covering her head and tied in the back in a sort of knotty bow.  Then she had put a newsboy cap over it all.  Don't worry - this doesn't involve a cap.  I loved the look, but I'd never wear a hat even if I had one.  Well, maybe I'd wear it once and then I'd get self conscious and never wear it again.  
I asked her how she did the scarf and she showed me, and then said that I could just use a scarf as a sort of headband, rather than a full head scarf, but tie it the same way in back.  Since her hair is short, she just knotted and tied it in the back.  For me, since my hair is long, I bring my hair over to one side behind my ears and twist and pin it into a little bun.  If little hairs stick out, so much the better.  It shouldn't look perfect.  The scarf that's shown in the picture is kind of long and not too wide and has fringe on the ends.  I usually use it as a belt.  So I folded it to the width I wanted and then brought the ends to the one side under the bun and tied them into a bow.  The ends are still long, so I pulled the bow parts as long as possible without pulling the ends through and tied them again into a bow.  (Like double tying your shoelaces.)  Whatever short ends are hanging down you just tuck into the scarf.  The bun is above the bow and the scarf keeps all the little short ends (my hair is layered) nice and tidy.  It's a little bohemian, and a little bit sassy.  My coworker called it edgy.  I was just happy that it was quick, easy, and I was out the door in a hurry while still looking like I'd done more than pull it back in a rubber band.

Back View: I know this is hard to see - in person the scarf doesn't look this bulky, but it was hard to photograph  well. You could even tuck the bow ends in if it looks too wonky out. You kind of have to play with it.

When I did this over the weekend L thought it was so cute, and I did too.  I wore it this way to work today, and I have to say it's a little bit edgy for the office.  Our office is more casual than some so it was OK but for knocking around town or on the weekends, this is the best little trick to do.  I let my bangs hang out, but you can experiment with how much or how little you want your hair to show in the front.  Everyone will be a little different.  I think it might depend on the scarf too.  The one I used in the picture is kind of natural and bohemian, but I tried it with a more preppy wool scarf I have (that is also not such a long length) and it was a little more polished looking.
So have fun and experiment a bit with it!  I'm sorry the pictures aren't more clear.  It was hard to get it right so you could see what was done.  But it's cute - it is!  (Although I know some of you are shaking your heads in doubt because of my pictures.)  Just try it, ok?

One more thing I must announce: my daughter Katie has purchased a new computer and is now ready to be able to begin again with her photography and retouching.  If you live in the Phoenix/Mesa area and would like your family photographed for the holidays - or for any reason at all - she is taking appointments.  She does beautiful work, her prices are reasonable (lots of bang for your buck!) and I don't think you'd be sorry.  For prices, information, and a peek at some of her other work, go to her photography blog here  And don't pre-judge her photography skills by mine.  I taught her nothing in this arena because I know nothing.  Amen.

I hope you'll try this little trick with your hair.  If you do, tell me how it works out for you.  I'm one of those people who buy scarves, thinking I'm going to tie them around my neck, and I never never do.  Now I can use some of the pretty ones I have in a way that's comfortable.  And it'll be a lifesaver on a bad hair day.  And you Arizona folk - contact Katie and let her work her camera magic on your beautiful families.  You'll get some memories that will be quite special.  And you'll rise up and call me blessed for suggesting it.

The latest photo Katie took of Mia - isn't this gorgeous?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A New and Improved Me (for now, anyway...)

I feel like I've been out of the loop for weeks.  As you may remember from my last post, I came down with the flu last Tuesday night.  Miserable stuff.  The sorest throat I've had in years.  We finally did break down and call Dr. Rick, who very kindly called in a prescription for me on Friday morning.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get to it until Friday evening, but better late than never.  Thank you, Dr. Rick.  I love you.
I ended up going to work on Friday, feeling I couldn't milk it anymore at home (having gone to Work Ethic School of Dad) so off I trudged on Friday morning in the fog and mist, tired beyond belief.  By noon I felt a little bit better though so I was encouraged.  The work day finished successfully enough, but there was still the Primary Program rehearsal to get through.
I don't know when I've been more miserable.  If you know me at all, you know how much I hate extra meetings of any kind.  And this one was particularly heinous, coming after work when I felt more exhausted than usual, due to not being completely well.  I've been involved in more of these programs than I'd care to admit - usually as the pianist - and the rehearsals are always awful.  The kids mess around, they don't cooperate, they don't sing.  I couldn't play this one particular song (He Sent His Son) to save my life.  There's a part right in the middle where nobody is singing and the piano builds and has this little solo riff - and I bungled it badly every single time.  In my defense, I don't have a piano to practice on.  I mean, I OWN a piano, but it has about 6 or 7 broken strings and is in need of major repair.  It's a baby grand though, and so I hold onto it, thinking we'll get it fixed one of these days.  It actually held up well for many years, but during my single mom years there was no money to maintain it properly and it had one move too many, and it sunk into disrepair.  So I'm a Primary pianist who wings it every week.  My practice comes at church every Sunday during Primary, and luckily I'm a good sight reader.  But after this last practice I came home in a foul mood.  I hated Primary and was irritated by everyone in it.  I complained nonstop, I think.  (Did I mention I have a saint for a husband?)  I also practiced that passage from hell until I had it memorized.
On Saturday morning I woke up not feeling well again.  My throat was better but I had a massive headache.  (Can antibiotics cause headaches??)  I cancelled by pedicure appointment, but was determined to make the hair appointment.  Fortunately I was feeling human by then and I went.  My husband drove me as he was concerned about me still not feeling well.  I forgot my wallet, and when it came time to pay I had to call L (who was then on his way) to see if he had some money or a credit card with him.  Now I know you are all going to stop being my friend and hop on over to his side.  And you'd be quite right to do so.  Because not only did he pick me up, he also paid.  Without complaint.  Even paid for the Aveda shampoo and conditioner I picked up.  *sigh*  He is a saint, and I really don't deserve such riches.
As the afternoon wore on, I noticed that my right shoulder and arm were hurting a little bit.  Huh.  Must have slept on them wrong.  By about 7:00 it was abundantly clear that I was having a flareup.  In my right shoulder.  I couldn't move it or do anything without the most excruciating pain.  I am not good with uncontrollable pain.  I get a little panicky.  And I was supposed to play the piano in the morning.  My husband assessed the situation and calmly said that I would maybe want a blessing.  Yes, please.
He changed into his white shirt and tie  (Oh how I love this man!  He never cuts corners...) and gave me the blessing.  I was in so much pain, but I almost had to laugh at part of it.  HF actually yelled at me a little bit.  In the nicest way, of course, but I was definitely being corrected.  I was told that I would be relieved of the pain and that I would rest well that night.  But then I was told that I needed to get back to working on getting closer to my HF and my Savior, and that I should refocus and work harder in the coming week to that effect.  OK... so no more complaining and moaning about Primary, I assume?  Straighten out the attitude and stop criticizing?  It reminded me of places in the D&C where Christ is rebuking Oliver Cowdery and others because they would get off track and muck around.  And truthfully, I HAD been mucking around, and hadn't been positive or helpful or productive.  Mostly just sulky and entitled.
Within a few minutes the pain was relieved (and if you've even had a flareup you know what a miracle that is - and how welcome!) I knew for a certainty that I have a Heavenly Father who wanted to comfort His child in pain - as well as correct her course just a bit.  I did sleep well that night, and Sunday dawned on a new and improved me.  The program was beautiful.  I played that passage without any error.  The kids were awesome, and did the greatest job.  All of the ones who'd made me crazy on Friday night were like little angels today.  Were they really that much better, or was I looking at them in a new way?  Probably a bit of both.  I made an effort to interact with them more today, and found myself enjoying it more.  I'm still tired of mainly being asked to play piano, but maybe what I need to do is do it CHEERFULLY.  That would be new.  That would be growth.  And that is my little testimony for today.

ps: I also learned the cutest little hair styling thing on Saturday that involves a few bobby pins and a cute scarf.  Great for those days when nothing else works, and it's so cute you'll want to do it every day.  You can do it with long or short hair - my stylist has short hair, and mine is long.  I will share next time.  L thinks it is very cute and sassy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Taking A Sick Day

I almost feel like crying foul today.  Per Jenny at Denton's Sanatorium, we were supposed to post honestly about a typical day in the life - uncensored and unretouched.  Even if I wanted to appear glorious and shining I would not, because, my friends, I am so, soooooo sick.  I started feeling it yesterday: a little bit of ache, the beginnings of a sore throat.  For me, it's sometimes hard to differentiate between my RA aches and flu aches.  However, I'll let you in on my personal flu determining factor: when my hiney aches, it is definitely the flu.  I ache everywhere, (hiney included) and am only slightly relieved by Excedrin and Advil.

Sorry.  I had to go lay down.

I got up at the normal time (5:30am), groaned three times and collapsed back in bed.  There was no work in my future today.  I'd been tossing and turning all night.  To L's credit he did not complain about it.  He's nice like that.  I thought about all of the things I could do after I rested a bit: paint my sleighs, make the clay wreath for one of them (wait till you see how cute it is!!), document my day, write my blog.  I did none of that.  Well, except for the blog part.  Not much keeps me from that.

When L left for work I stayed in bed and tried to go back to sleep.  I decided I needed to go to the bathroom so it wouldn't wake me up later.  (Sorry - this is my reality.)  Five pounds lighter (I was convinced) I faced my nemesis: the bathroom scale.  Not even flu deters me from the daily weigh in.  I know you're not supposed to be obsessed with it but I am.  Another unhappy reality.  I'd lost 2 pounds.  That daily two pounds I keep gaining back.  But still, it cheers my morning up just a little bit.  A very little bit.  I put my leggings on with the zippers on the legs and my Halloween socks.  I love my Halloween socks.  I can't get warm.

I went downstairs and made myself a glass of Emergen-C and some cinnamon toast.  Two pieces.  (My first clue as to why I keep gaining that 2 pounds back.)  Got my vitamins and supplements to boost my body's powers of healing.  Got my shot out of the fridge. (It's Enbrel day)  Watched the Today Show until 9:00 or so.  Couldn't bear the thought of Kathy Lee and Hoda at 10.  (Well, not so much Hoda, but Kathy Lee.)  Napped a restless little bit.

At noon I went down and foraged for some food.  I thought maybe it would give me some energy.  L had made meatballs the night before and I ate 3 of them.  Before you scoff, I'm supposed to eat pretty much protein, protein, protein.  It gets so that meatballs for brunch is just normal.  At least I heated them up today.

Napped again.  Let me rephrase: TRIED to nap.  First L texted me 3 times and then Katie called.  We talked for awhile and THEN I napped for a couple of hours.  Took more Excedrin and Advil.  My throat is really sore.  Now I am waiting for L to get home while I divide my time between writing this post and laying down in front of the TV watching The World According to Jim.  I'm desperate.

I just heard a text message in my room - probably L.  So, you get the picture of how my day was.  Most days are approximately the same (cold meatballs and vitamins) but I throw work in there and I look slightly nicer.  Because I actually have to leave the house, I need to wear something besides zippered leggings and Halloween socks.

I'm going back to my room to wash my face.  That will make me feel better.  And I'll read the text message.  Maybe L will call Dr. Rick (brother in law) and get me some medicine.  Or maybe Dr. Rick will tell me to suck it up and let it run it's course.  Hard to tell.  But he'll be SO nice about it that I won't feel bad.  I love you guys.  I wish I was more entertaining today.  Or funny.  Or something.  Next time, OK?  Because my regular days are just a laugh riot.  (NOT.)

ps - I tried to upload pictures into this post, but I was having problems.  I don't know if they are my computer's problems or the blog's.  Sorry - you just missed a few of pictures of things like my cinnamon toast, my Emergen=C and my Halloween socks.  Nothing much.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Good Day Of The Ordinary Kind

It felt so good to sleep in a bit this morning!  Last week for me was one of those weeks where you just can't do anything right.  I mean not a thing.  If I read an email, I read it wrong.  Entered things on wrong dates.  I forgot things.  Someone told me they didn't like the tone of one of my emails.  (I didn't know that an email could have a TONE?!?)  That one made me cry.  I was so underwater with tasks that there were times I let the phone go to voicemail.  That made my sales reps complain to my boss that they were sure I was screening their calls.  Sweet.  I found myself sitting in his office explaining how overwhelmed I am at times - how overwhelmed we ALL are, as I'm not the only one in the office.  That I don't screen calls - I really am that busy.  Luckily he likes me a lot and he also sees firsthand what a crazy job I have.  Then he told me he really needs me to be at work no later than 9.  *crickets chirping*  I had no defense.  I've never been an on-time person, and when I'm overtired and achey in the morning it tends to be even worse.  So I've been stepping it up, making sure I'm up earlier.  It really goes against my grain, but what am I gonna do?  I kind of need the job right now.  It was a tough week.
L and I took ourselves to Target.  He was ready to spend money.  Part with some dinero.  I love it when he's in one of those moods.  First on the list was razor blades for both of us and toothpaste for me.  $30 of merchandise right there.  Next we headed for the Halloween section for candy.  We made our selections and then I saw the witch hat that my daughter Katie had gotten at Target.  Black, of course, but it was swathed in black net, and had tiny black pompoms on the net (like on old time ladies' hats) and black feathers on the brim.  So much detail!  So much black magic!  The net hangs down over your face and there are little black spiders fastened to the net.

We put it in the cart.  I got some Halloween socks in the dollar section.  We grocery shopped while we were there. (Does anyone else love their brand Archer Farms as much as I do?)  It was a good time with my husband.
We headed across the street to Trader Joe's next.  Picked a pumpkin to carve.  Went inside and went crazy. The sample they were giving out today was pumpkin bread spread with honey goat cheese and sprinkled with rosemary chopped pecans and dried cranberries.  I can't even describe how good it was.  I grabbed the goat cheese, pumpkin bread mix and TWO bags of those rosemary pecan/cranberries.  I have a love affair with that store every time I go in there.
An ordinary Saturday - nothing extraordinary, and yet the best kind of nice afternoon!  It was cool here - rainy in the morning.  We bundled up a little against the chill.  There's nothing I love more than a Saturday when I can kick around with the old man.  We are simpatico.  We are on the same wavelength.  We laugh at the same random, ridiculous things.  And he kind of likes me in my witch hat.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fundraiser for Tyler

I want to tell you all about something near and dear to me.  I have a good friend - Nancy - who has been my friend since our kids were itty bitty.  It was in her pool (when she lived in California) that my kids first learned to swim (along with sliding into her pool from a slide on top of her patio roof - but that's a story for another day).  We've had lots of fun over the years.  She has twin sons, Andy and Tyler, who are in their mid twenties somewhere (although I still picture them as little towheaded boys...), and who are the light of her life.
Tyler has had a heart condition from the time he was tiny.  He had one surgery when he was a toddler.  I remember I bought him a Glow Worm to keep him company in the hospital.  (Remember those toys?)  Long story short, Tyler needs another surgery to repair a bad mitral valve.  He has no insurance because the company he was working for folded in this bad economy.  He is too old to be on mom and dad's insurance - you all know how that goes.  There is no choice about getting this surgery - he needs it, and he needs it urgently.  Nancy is worried, yet full of faith and hope.  Tyler just wants to get on with it and feel better.
His friends in his singles ward in Utah (where they've lived for several years now) are throwing a Halloween fundraiser for him.  These kids are awesome - Tyler is so lucky to be surrounded by such great, supportive friends, along with his brother Andy and the rest of his amazing family.  Here are the details:

In order to raise as much money as possible, there needs to be a lot of participation in this event.  Obviously, I live in California and am not able to go, so I will just be donating to the cause.  If some of you are feeling generous, or have an extra $5 or $10 laying around, it would be awesome if you did what I'm going to do, and send a check to:
Tyler Curtis Fund
915 N. 1100 W.
Farmington, UT  84025

For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the area, gather up your friends and family and go support this wonderful, completely worthy event.  It'll be a lot of fun and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you've helped a great young man get a start on paying for this surgery and his aftercare.  Like NieNie, I'm sure it will take many many fundraisers to make a dent in the total amount, but at least this is a start.  And (and this is a big and) - it will give you, the giver, that wonderful floaty feeling in your soul.  You know the feeling - the one that let's you know you've just been a willing participant in something quite wonderful, and you've given love and service to total strangers.  Which actually makes them friends, now, doesn't it?

PS: Prayers are a wonderfully appreciated gift as well.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Halloween Prep

Saturday, October 9th.  Time to decorate for Halloween.  I love this time of year.  It's the gateway to the holiday season.  Nights are (supposed to be) crisp and cool, days are a bright blue haze with just a little nip in the air.  I actually got to wear sweaters last week.  And boots.  

Our neighbors beat us getting the Halloween decor out.  By the first of the week they had a ghost hanging from their tree, a RIP grave marker on the lawn, and a Jack O'Lantern sign on the way up to their door.  They have a couple of little boys who are probably getting really excited for Halloween.  So today we opened up the garage and started getting our Halloween gear out: the haunted archway with the orange and purple lights, the old ghost pirate, and our white pumpkins that spell out "BOO."  We assembled the spooky skull fence that runs along the walkway, and hung up the Haunted House sign.  

Inside, I put the Halloween runner on the table: orange and black segments embroidered with spider webs. Each end has a fluff of black feathers.  The glittery black haunted tree hung with bats is the centerpiece, flanked by two amber glass pumpkins.  We have a bowl of eyeballs and a black wire basket filled with skulls.  Halloween candles, a glass skull candle holder, an apothecary jar (topped with a silver skull) filled with gummy worms and chocolate body parts, and a large glowing Jack O' Lantern that lights up help to complete the Halloween mood in the house.

L doesn't get excited about Christmas.  He doesn't get excited about his birthday.  Or my birthday either (darn it).  But he does get excited about Halloween.  One of the tragedies of his life is that our neighborhood doesn't have a lot of children who come trick or treating.  Truly, we could buy 10 huge candy bars and we'd have enough for all of the kids who come.  It's a little sad.

This year Halloween falls on Sunday.  Which means a Saturday night Trunk or Treat in the church parking lot.  L is so excited he can hardly stand it.  He's going to decorate his car, hang the ghost pirate from the open hatch, and who knows what else.  The only thing that would make it better would be if Lexi, Mia, Matthew, and Hayden were here to enjoy Halloween with him.  (How about it guys?  One of these years, maybe??)  In the weeks ahead I'm going to try to make some special Halloween treats to give out (and send to the grandkids!)  There are so many blogs out there with some great ideas.  Check my sidebar list.  Just off the top of my head, I can list Craftily Ever After, Bakow Babble (which also has links to other ones), Creative Insanity, and for sure click on the button for Poca Cosas.  You won't be able to sleep because your head will be full of cute ideas.  I apologize for not linking to them here, but it would mean a lot of clicking in and out of this post, and copying and pasting, and I'm just too lazy right now.  Just go to my list.  It's easier that way.
What are your Halloween traditions?  I hope a lot of you will post about them.  I'm always anxious to add more to our repertoire.  One of ours is Halloween Soup.  L always makes it on Halloween night.  It's basically a heavy cream sauce to which you add slightly mashed steamed baby carrots, and slighty mashed cubed potatoes, and seasonings to taste.  Very simple.  But our grown children request it if they're around on Halloween, and L is sort of famous in our family for it.  It's become something fun to do, and is a quick hearty dinner before an evening of trick or treating.
I'm fully involved in the season, and am looking forward to all of the fun - scary and otherwise.


PS: To get the fun Halloween effects for your own photos, go to picnik.com and check it out.  I don't have the photoshop program (maybe for Christmas??) but picnik allows me to have all kinds of fun.  These Halloween effects are especially fun.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Final Vacation Recap

I'm having such a hard time getting back in the groove - both at work and at home!  I went to yoga last night after a week away and every stretch made me feel like a crispy old rubber band.  (It can only get better, right?)  I wanted to post a few pictures from our trip and then I won't bore you any more with it.  It was just so much fun that I'm kind of hanging onto the memories in a desperate attempt to avoid thinking about work pressure.
We arrived in Sedona on Sunday evening.  Like I said - it smelled AMAZING.  Like the best sort of forest.  The next morning we had to be up at the crack of dawn to meet up with our kayaking guide.  Off we went about an hour away to the Verde River.  When we got down to the river all you could hear were the cicadas.  Do you know what those are?  Let me tell you: they're like little white-ish grasshoppers with red eyes.  And they make the biggest noise you could ever imagine.  Crickets on steroids.  Once in awhile on the river you'd see a drowned one floating, but they were everywhere along the water chirping/screaming away.  Our kayaking trip was 5 miles.  Let that sink in a moment.  FIVE MILES.  We had fun but by the time it was over my arms were about to fall off from paddling, I'd gotten blisters on both hands (and an RA flareup ensued over the next 2 days because of the unaccustomed exertion) AND I managed to get stuck on some rocks and whack a lady in the mouth with my paddle.  Ta da!!  Yes, they were ALL glad I came, I'm sure.  The lady ran into me while I was stuck on the rocks.  I almost tipped over and when I reached out to catch myself, I forgot I had a paddle in my hand and clocked her with it.  Totally on accident.  I think she was mad but she got over it.  Here we are on our Big River Adventure:

When we got back to Sedona we ate at a place called the Barking Frog.  I highly recommend it if you go to Sedona.  Great southwestern food.  My mouth is watering.
On Tuesday we were headed for the Grand Canyon and Marvelous Marv's tour.  Marvelous Marv is an old hippie who hates that so many people come to the Grand Canyon and spoil it's natural beauty.  He kind of forgot, I think, that he was making a boatload of cash with his own little tour group that HE brought to the canyon.  I didn't like to remind him of that, but I was tempted.  He was very knowledgeable however, and it was an interesting tour.  He knew a lot about the history and native plants, and so on.  He also recommended a place for lunch that "had the best chicken pot pies ever."  Not so much.  I wouldn't recommend Marv - he wasn't really marvelous.  He was just OK.  But the Grand Canyon WAS marvelous.  Here it is:

I couldn't believe that L would just sit on the edge of the rim like that.  Made me dizzy to think about it.  But isn't it gorgeous?
That night we were going to eat at Elote Cafe but the wait was too long.  We decided instead to go up to a lookout point and watch the sunset.  You know, take some breathtaking pictures.  And we did...along with about 200 of our closest friends.  We had to muscle our way to the front and snap a couple of pictures really quick before anyone got mad.  Then we hightailed it back to town and ate at the Oaxaca restaurant.  Killer Mexican food.  Here's looking over Sedona from that point:

Sedona is so beautiful.  I wouldn't mind at all waking up to that scenery every day.
Wednesday we packed up and left Sedona, bound for Mesa.  But first: the Indian ruins.  The ones we went to are about 30 minutes out of town.  They're ruins of cliff dwellers who disappeared before the 1500s.  No one knows what happened to them.  Sparks the imagination, doesn't it?  Here's what we saw:

They had a system of ladders at one time to climb up there - can you imagine?  It was really high up.  Back in the 1930's they even let tourists go up there, but it started falling apart so they had to stop.  Incredible.  On the way back to the highway, there were two Indians selling fry bread and really bad jewelry.  I love me some fry bread so we stopped and they made it while we waited.  With cinnamon sugar.  Delectable.
On to Mesa - it took about 2 hours.  It was roasting hot - much hotter than in Sedona.  Katie and the girls came over to the hotel and swam a little bit the first night.  The next day was our big lunch with Jen (you already saw pictures of that in the last post.)  After lunch Katie and I just worked getting her settled in the house.  There was still unpacking to do, cupboards to organize, and I also had granddaughters to play with!  The afternoon was spent going back and forth between organizing and playing Princesses with Mia.  She is tireless when it comes to Princesses.  We seemed to do a lot of getting ready for parties at the castle, and making purple cupcakes with purple sprinkles, and changing the Princesses clothes.  I was exhausted by the time L picked me up.  Oh - didn't I mention that L ditched our girl day and went solo?  Probably wise on his part.
Friday - hot like every other day.  The girls came to swim and we spent a couple of hours playing in the pool.  Mia loved to hop on Papa's back and have him swim her all over the pool.  She is quite the little mermaid and she tired us both out.

Hayden played it cool in the shade of a cabana like chair:

After naps (for everyone) we all went to Phoenix to the Children's Museum.  For anyone who hasn't been there, it's one of the nicest ones I've ever been to.  And the bonus was that every 1st Friday of the month ( and this was Friday, October 1st) Target sponsors free admission (normally $9)!  So we got lucky.  There was quite a line, but it moved quickly.  And Mia had the time of her life.  It was a treat just to watch her go.  The last room we ended up in was the Baby Room.  You had to be 3 and under to go in.  Mia is 4, but she's small for her age and we wanted to let Hayden play a bit.  So when the lady asked if she was 3 or under I just smiled and waved.  It would have been a perfect crime except that Mia kept going up to everyone saying "I'm 4. "  The mother or whoever would flash me a look and I'd shake my head and say "No, no... her birthday is a few weeks off."  Finally it got so ridiculous that Katie thought we'd better leave before she announced her age to the docent guarding the door.  Never try to get away with anything in the presence of a 4year old.  They tell the truth like no other.  Which is good, I guess.
Saturday morning came and we went by Katie's house to say goodbye.  We got to see Zach for a bit - he was home from med school rotations for the weekend.  Mia cried when we had to go, which made me want to cry.  But I think it's good to leave 'em wanting more.
So now we're back home, slipping back into our boring old routine.  But I'm already daydreaming about the next trip to Mesa.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good To Be Home

I'm back from Arizona, and we had a great time!  From the change of scenery (which forced me to reach for the Clariton) to different activities to family time, a good time was had by all.  It's late and most of the day was taken up with conference - a nice end to the vacation week - so I'll just post a quick couple of pictures and get myself organized later.
L and I had a really nice drive to Sedona.  Here is our first glimpse of Arizona landscape:

The blue skies and fluffy clouds just blew me away.  We reached Sedona around 6:30 in the evening and this is what we saw as we got out of the car to check in:

The sun was just setting behind the rock canyon walls.  The place we stayed (Junipine Resort - highly recommend it - ) was about 8 miles up the canyon from Sedona proper.  Our unit had a fireplace in the living room and also in the bedroom.  It had a nice little kitchen so we could cook breakfast every morning.  Along the back was a deck that ran the length of our unit and overlooked the creek below.  We left our sliding glass door open every night and fell asleep to the sound of the creek running over the rocks.  I don't normally take pictures of where we stay but I loved this place.  Here's the living room:

and... the bedroom:

Everything was so clean and cosy, and it smelled soooo good.  Not just of pine trees.  There was something else we had a hard time identifying.  When we went to the Grand Canyon a couple of days later there was a plant there that had that same scent: it was lemon sage.  The mountains in So Cal just smell dusty to me.  I've never been a big fan of mountains.  But this place smelled so fresh and clean and green - but even better.  It must have been the lemony scent thrown in.
I'll go into what we did in another post.  We had lots of fun, we got blisters on our hands from one activity, I got my view of the Grand Canyon, and we got a little fix of grandkiddie sweetness.  As an added bonus, my daughter and I got to have lunch with Jen of the Denton Sanatorium blog.    We had to deal with active kids, two babies (ours was teething and cranky), and the awkwardness that always comes (at least for me) from meeting someone for the first time.  But you guys - she is lovely.  She is cool and collected, and she came fresh from teaching a class at Institute, and still managed to be gracious and welcoming.  We ate at a wonderful little Mexican place - Tia Rosas - and had a good time.  She is even nicer in person that I imagined her to be, and I hope my shyness (because in person I am a little bit shy) wasn't too apparent.  Too soon it was over - we had a cranky baby, and she needed to get Hyrum and Evie home for naps.  Katie and I made her pose with us for a little group picture - if I'm looking a little wilted, I WAS - I wasn't used to the heat :

And we snapped a cute one of Mia and Hyrum, once they started having fun:

More adventures later.  Work tomorrow...  I'm a little bit sad about that.  It's good to be home - especially now that the weather has cooled.  Arizona was HOT!  It feels more like fall now that we're home.  Back to routine.  *sigh*

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