Monday, September 19, 2011

Sam's Birthday Surprise

This year for his birthday, Bonnie and Kim had a special surprise for their Dad: The Great Penguin Encounter at the Salt Lake Aquarium! Since Sam had had so much fun feeding and petting baby bears a few years ago, they figured that little penguins would be just as fun. Since Penguins like cold, we were first equipped with some warm coats, and since penguins also are not potty-trained, we added some rubber shoes. We got some lengthy lecture about "don't touch, keep your hands to yourself". But we could do everything else.... but we needed to stay sitting down, and we couldn't walk around..... but we could still do everything else. What they really meant with everything else was, we were allowed to look, hear and smell, speak, take pictures (but only above bench-level), breathe and think. Wow! so many options! (Esspecially when we had primarily come to rub those cute penguin bellies and scratch them behind their ears and tickle them under their chins... so much for that. But it was still fun to watch them waddle around and bow to each other (a courtship ritual, a little odd, when they started bowing to the trainer) and yell at each other.

As soon as the door was opened, a whole bunch came in to check us out. During the 30 minutes we were in there, they freely waddeled in and out, taking a swim now and then and playing in the ice cubes the trainer had supplied.

This little guy proved why it was wise to wear those rubber shoes... he missed Sam by only a few inches.

There is Sam, very obediently keeping his hands to himself, but you can see how much we would just love to tousel their little feathers.

this one found an ice cube that he is offering to my bench neighbor

So, as we exited thru the gift shop, Sam found one he could love and hug and rub, and he had to come home with us. He named him Samson, after the biggest and fattest of the little bunch, the one who sometimes gets taken out and put in a room to himself at feeding time, because he is such a pig, that he won't let the other penguins have any of the fish, he wants them all!

After the Penguins, it was Party time at our house, here are some of our remarkable party guests:

Dacia and Baby Anna, Marti and Gwenny with an amazing, adorable new haircut, Andrew, Aaron and Jen,

Ellie and Anna, and of course Joe and Anya, but those two were busy elsewhere. Of course we served Ham, which was a joint effort, Sam picked it out, I stuck it in the oven, Marti perfected it with an amazing glaze and Andrew expertly carved it, then everybody pronounced it excellent.

Sam's next favorite occupation: cuddeling grandbabies. There were several cute ones available (we only have cute ones, by the way) so he was quite content. This little Andersen is gettin cuter by the minute. He is always so content. (Anna arrived screaming bloody murder, whereas Andersen was snoozing and then woke up smiling)

Time to unwrap some presents.

Then Marti presented her Dad with the most fabulous chocolate birthday cake ever! Yummmm

To round out the evening, Sam decided to get a start on taking our yard from looking like this:

to looking like this:

It took 60+ bags of bark mulch and took us most of the next day, but we think it was well worth the effort.

So come visit soon and see for yourself!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A thief in my backyard

These pictures were taken out of my kitchen window and the zoom is a little strong, but this happened yesterday evening while we were chatting after dinner, when we saw the "cute" squirrel on the fence and wondered what he was up to. What is a little hard to see, is the white string he is pulling on, similar to the one holding up a pear tree branch. He pulled on it as hard as he could, and then he bit it off!!!

He did all sorts of aerobics to get at it, holding on just by his hind legs and tail, so he could get the maximum length of the string. Once he had it bitten off, he stuffed it into his cheecks and took off!! The little stinker, I tie up my fruit tree branches, so they don't break off, when they are so laden with fruit, and I was wondering where the one string had gone, because I was sure I had tied up that one branch. So now I know that I don't suffer from a faulty memory, but rather a thieving squirrel!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to me...

Look what I got for my birthday! A new Lawn ornament!!!! I am not so sure I like it, but Sam is quite determined, one more winter up here might do him in! We have been looking for something a bit further south for quite some time, and in April, it seems we found it. Of course I got the pictures in the wrong order again, so you get to see the inside first and then the outside, but here it is, the new Clark Residence a bit further south. And indeed the weather is much nicer there, we have been trying it out for over a month now and we definitely like it.

It is up on a hill above the Timpanogos Temple and the view is unsurpassed. Even from our bedroom. At night, with the lake and Saratoga Springs in the back ground, you could almost imagine you are in Italy at the Lago Maggiore, Sam prefers San Francisco.

Here is the kitchen, again, with an amazing view. The sweet Lady in the picture is Sam's sister Bev, who came to stay with us for a couple of days.

This is the living room. The double doors go to the deck and the breath taking view.

This is the back of the house, a bit earlier in the year, no leaves yet. There is grass and a few deer chewed bushes, no landscaping yet. Not even topsoil. So I get to start from square one.... again....

This is the front. The lawns look so much better now, because Sam has already worked his magic. I had asked for a truck load of topsoil for my birthday.... but that didn't happen.... they said, they didn't know how to wrap that properly. So I got trees and flowers, a shopvac and a wheel barrow instead. (and a few other very useful items) .

It still feels like we are on vacation when we are down there. I really feel sad about leaving IF, it is such a wonderful place..... for about 4 months of the year. Hopefully we will still be able to enjoy this summer, but I agree with Sam, one more winter up here and I am going to scream.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy new years.... here are a few firsts

The first First: shockingly, NO pictures!
The next First: a sort of New Years resolution, but not really, because I am opposed to New Years's resolutions. They should be called January guilt trips, because they never really last much longer than one month.
So instead I thought I'd post in a spot readily accessible for me a few things I figured out in the last while, that would be good to implement. Here goes:

1. You cannot please all people all the time-- and you really shouldn't anyways.
If you can manage to please Heavenly Father, yourself and your hubby, you are way ahead.
2. Have an opinion, and make it a good one.
You don't have to necessarily share it, it is just nice to have one in case you need one.
3. Do not expect more from people than they are capable of, and then get mad at them, when they don't fulfill your expectations.
That goes esspecially for kids.
4. Be aware of the Ego.
Or you could call it the Natural Man. It is amazing what happens, when you become aware of him/her.
5. Be aware of the Moment.
The past is gone, the future is not here yet, the moment is all we have to live in. This is where we can create change, this is where the action is.
6. You can't get it ALL done NOW. Esspecially the laundry and the dishes.
So draw an imaginary line and then do some relaxing and enjoying.
7. Differentiate between the URGENT and the IMPORTANT. Prayer, Study and Meditation are important, rarely urgent, so they often get put at the end of the list. But remember, in the end, what you will take with you is what really matters.
8. There are certain colors that do nothing for you. So don't wear them, just because the outfit is cute or new.
9. You don't need everything that is pretty. So don't try to buy it all. And maybe some of the prettys of your stach ought to be tossed.
10.It is okay to throw things away. Really. Just because it is pretty (see #9) or special, or not used up yet doesn't mean you have to keep it.
I think I still suffer from a Mum who went thru the depression and who taught me well.
11. Your husband can't read your mind..... and all things considered, that is probably a really good thing. So tell him what you want.
12. Be genuinely interested in other people, it makes you a nicer person, but you are not required to fix their problems... they are quite capable.
13. Some things in life just "ARE" for no reason at all. Deal with it.
It makes no sense to waste energy on stuff that can't be changed, if you like it or not.
14.To love others as yourself, you have to first love yourself.
No, really, despising yourself does not count.
15. Love is not what we think it is. It is NOT indulging, spoiling or doing for them what they can do for themselves. But rather it is respect, kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
16. Be happy-- it's a choice.
17. Be grateful for EVERYTHING. And I mean everything. It is all part of the gift of life, and it all is there to help and teach.
18.There is a lesson in everything-- a lot of those lessons are about patience.
19.You can't only do what you enjoy, so find something enjoyable in all you do. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!
20.Doing your BEST usually is not perfection, but it is good enough for now.
21 Learning new things is great- then doing them is progress.
22.This too shall pass-- and that applies to both bad and good things.
23. Holding on to everything because it could come in handy some day is pointless:later, when you need it, you either forget you have it, or you can't find it.
24.Don't keep stuff you don't like. If you really don't like it, no matter how useful or practical it is, it will annoy you everytime you see it.
25.The currency of life is time- don't waste it, don't save it, but spend it wisely on things of worth: love more, learn more, and make wonderful memories.

There you have it. Now if I could just implement #21 first, I'd be way ahead of the game. Have a great new year with lots of memorable, joyful adventures.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A couple of rather boring months...(j/k)

This blog definitely has a mind of it's own. It thinks I am done adding pictures.... actually, I had a few more I wanted to include. Oh well, better than yesterday, when it would only let me put one in. So, here we are on my birthday... or actually a couple of days before, when the Topherbugs came up to celebrate with me. That was really nice of them, and we had lots of fun. On my actual birthday, my hubby decided that a trip to Yellowstone was in order, seeing we had the very nicest weather so far this year (it wasn't snowing or raining and it was actually warm). Every time we stopped, he pulled another gift bag out of the trunk, and I got to open another amazing birthday present.... talk about getting spoiled. We came down to Salt Lake and got to babysit Gwenny. We went to dinner at Ikea, where Marti assured us that Gwenny really likes the Mac and Cheese.... yea, maybe she does, but this time she much rather had Grandpa Sam's Swedish meatballs.... as many as would fit in at a time.

Afterwards we went to see Dacia and Ellie, and Gwenny decided that Dacia was enough like her mommy, that she was considered "safe". So she insisted on being held and Ellie didn't mind sharing.

Back at our house, we had a whole bunch for a weekend visit. Alan installed a zip-line for Max, who can now roam the entire lawn without vanishing over the fence (we had to put a few "stops" in and shorten the leash) And Joe installed a swing for the little ones. Thank you again, you two, you are the best!

Professional swing-installer at work.
We had a surprise visit by a pajama clad construction elf named Gracie

Max, Grace and Anya exploring just how long that zip-line leash will go
Father's day surprises for the Sammy, with Alan and Co looking on.
Here is my personal make-up artist... please note her perch... is that the new way of getting closer to your customers?
Jen and kids came along to Las Vegas to visit Emily for a while.... it was hot, but still bearable, and we had lots of fun hanging out at the pool and just being together.
Thanks to Lowes we had a very fun Saturday morning with all the munchkins building very impressive Monster trucks.
Pure joy there at the finished product.
Emily came up to Utah to celebrate Alan's birthday, and the first thing she does, is run a 10k!!! Look at that totally amazing buff momma!

...while Dacia and I were very busy producing a cup cake version of mini sliders. It took a lot of imagination to come up with a cookie or candy version of all the different "Hamburger" ingredients. But we did a very good job and actually managed to fool somebody into thinking it was a real hamburger... he made a funny face when he discovered his error.

Here we are in the middle of the process: 1 yellow cup cake, cut in half, green-tinted coconut, a round piece of brownie, a yellow tinted square of fondant...frosting for mustard and a piece of taffy for the tomato.

real sesame seeds on top.... and the chips are the real thing.... could have fooled anyone.

Are you impressed?
Perfect temperatures in the shade of Dacia's backyard.
A quick stop at Marti's for a fun 4th of July dinner with the Enkes.

So, maybe not an all together boring couple of months..... and July is not over yet. Summers here are totally heavenly.... if they ever come. My yard is so green and lush, everything is in bloom and the fruit trees are loaded. Just sitting out there is a joy. If it would just last for another 6-8 months, there would be no complaints.....actually, there for a moment I thought that was it, because the next pics were so far down, but no, stop! there is yet more to come, so bear with me for a bit longer. Dacia and Joe and Ellie spent a couple of days with us on their way to a Brewer family reunion at the Tetons, so we drove up with them and hiked at Jenny Lake. Here we are at the Hidden Falls on the Snake River, admiring the pretty scenery in person, that thanks to Alan, graces my wall at home.
And here is my project from 2 weeks ago:

First, I got it all taped, then the fun began, I actually got it all done in one day.

I tried out a couple of different colors, and decided on the off white. Lucky for me, I had some paint in the basement, that with some other color additions, turned out just right.

And here is the finished project. The room looks so light, and so much bigger. I love it. I also thinned out the furnishings a bit, it looks a lot less cluttered now.
I also added some finishing touches by making new couch cushions and re-upholstering the rocking chair and a foot stool in matching fabrics.
Here is one of the newly upholstered chairs,

...and here are the others. Dacia, Joe and Ellie stopped by again on their way home from the Tetons. It seems Ellie can't grin without both of her parents snapping pictures of it. Here she is enjoying some watermelon.
And here she is trying out the slide.
Max got himself a favorite place in the flowers, from where he watches all goings on.

We are really getting our money's worth from our yearly national park entry ticket: Look who we met last Friday going thru Yellowstone!
This was only our third encounter with this bear. We had taken a different route, and were at fishing bridge on the big Yellowstone lake, when we saw a bunch of people looking and pointing at the ridgeline of the hills right behind the parking lot. We walked over to see what was going on, when a ranger very authoritively directed us the other way. That's when we saw HIM! but before I could get my camera out and a picture taken, he had disappeared over the edge. We walked around a bit, took a picture or two of the lake and got into the car to continue onwards, when we encountered a big traffic jam... because HE had resurfaced, and was crossing the street. I thought: great, now I can get a picture! but before I had the camera out and was ready to go, the ranger turned the siren on and the bear scurried away into the woods! foiled again! We made our turn and I kept checking the woods next to the road, and there he was again! this time I was ready! and now you can admire him in all his greatness.
This guy here was holding traffic up aswell. By the time we got close enough, he had had enough, and was heading back into the woods, but we still got a good picture of him.
It looks like this is definitely now the end. hope you enjoyed it, we sure did.