Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Fruits of Our Labors

Rich and I put in a 15-hour day (30 man hours!) on Saturday to get our yard tilled, raked, and start the landscaping. We are about 2/3 done--we plan on filling in the rock bed, then making rock islands around the trees, too, with prairie grasses and some bulbs for spring. (we are getting the rocks from the ranch at the river bank).

The grass seed goes down this weekend and should take 5 weeks to look nice. You can see all of neighbors are doing sod, but we just couldn't see paying $1500 vs. the $60 for grass seed and fertilizer. We are so lucky to have such nice topsoil here. Everything seems to be thriving...we'll see.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall

Our sunny, 80 degrees has taken a turn for the autumnal...winds from the west at 25 mph, rainy, 37 degrees. It feels funny to have a sunburn from taking the girls swimming yesterday when it's this cold outside!

However, you won't hear a murmur from me because I am safe and comfortable in my house when the south east is without power, air conditioning, clean water, and for some of them, shelter. I felt terrible watching the news today, especially since there was still no way to get help to people in places like New Orleans. Our thoughts and prayers and offerings are with the people there.

Yesterday on Limbaugh, a caller asked why don't these people move--these disasters hit every year and they cost in insurance and gas and construction materials. Limbaugh argued there was nowhere safe to go, that there are disasters everywhere. I would beg to differ, as I have spent my whole life in the mountain west and never experienced even one disaster that compares to hurricane season in the SE. Oh, sure, Tucson had it "Floods of '83" and they are having them again, and Montana gets iced and snowed in and maybe we loose power for a few hours, but there is never the scale or the mortality of these floods, mudslides, tornadoes, fires, or hurricanes you see in the SE, midwest, and California.

I am not suggesting anyone move--there is agriculture and oil and history and family in the southeast--people need to live there to make life happen. I am just saying that the rocky mountains are the safest place BY FAR in the United States--we are lucky. And again, we wish the best for those suffering from the hurricane's impact.

Friday, August 26, 2005

No Pictures, Just Text

I wrote this on Thursday night, but I changed the date when I reorganized the vacation photos. I posted the rest of them and made it so it goes chrono-logically, top to bottom, so have another look if you want. I am feeling better today (Friday), mostly by neccesity since we are planting our trees and grass today and tomorrow. Yay that...

I am not feeling very well, so it's taking a while to get the vacation pix up and I am not writing much. But I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my stepdad, Mark, and respond to the TAG from Brooks. I am supposed to list my 5 favorite songs TODAY. Well, I haven't listened to ANY music since I got home from the trip, but on the road I was SO digging:

Elvis Costello: Next Time Around
I just got this re-issued CD a few weeks ago; it'sone of my all-time favorites and it's even better on the new minivan CD player! This song is so catchy and clever and so very Elvis. The lyrics are awesome--Best line? "You used to take the breath out of me, now I think you'll be the death of me."

Cyndi Lauper: True Colors
I was the biggest CL fan in jr. high school. This song came later, but it's still a favorite. I heard it on a very cool PBS ad and then I went and downloaded it. "If this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear, you call me up because you now I'll be there and I'll see your true colors shining through/ I see your true colors and that's why I love you." I want to teach it to my kids.

TLC: No Scrubs
I got no shame about my love for TLC. A couple of people even called me when Left-Eye died to console me. It's kind of a secret that I like to perform old hip-hop songs on karaoke night and this is probably my best (it's rated PG, though, because it says "Dead beat arse"). It's great house cleaning music, yall. Once I was out on a movie date with my homeboy, Jeff, and this song came on in the theatre and I was singing it and he was totally freaked out. "I can't believe you know this song. I can't believe you've ever even HEARD it..." He just laughed and laughed. I said, "J-dawg--I am trapped in the body of a white girl."

Cars: Magic
This song IS summer to me. I put it on a summer mix CD last year, which I listened to on the way to Cali. Love it. The whole Cars Greatest Hits CD rocks my world. (Mollie-"American Girl" is on that mix, too--love it!)

XTC: Grass
Another SO-SUMMER song for me because the first time I heard it was at Mission Beach in the summer of 1987 and it became somewhat of an anthem for me and my A1 (just like Echo & the Bunnymen's "Lips Like Sugar" the next summer with Robert). The whole Skylarking album is a work of art in my book and my girls LOVE to listen to "Ballet for a Rainy Day" and "Sacrificial Bonfire." They will be well-versed in the New Classics.

There you go...
I am tagging:

You guys post your own list of your 5 favorite songs TODAY on your own blogs, then tag three or more people.

Congratulations, Brent & Amanda!

Cousin Brent and Lovely Amanda were married in the Redlands California Temple on Saturday, August 20th. It was very hot, but don't they look great? It was a very nice wedding and reception--we thank both of their families for hosting such a fun weekend.

First Stop: Las Vegas

Our first stop was in North Las Vegas to visit my former roommate/good friend, Erin, who is moving to England this week. Here, mommy and Heidi cool off in the Caspers' Pool

Addie and Eliza walking to the pool (sorry it's fuzzy--I had to super-zoom)

Heidi excited to jump in the pool--she is my water baby!

Here's my cute hubby wrangling all the kids: from left to right, that's Tarah, Brandon, Brittany, Rich, Eliza, Heidi & Addie.

Thursday in Newport Beach

We drove straight from Las Vegas (at 6am) to Orange County (10:30am). To tour the new temple, you had to park and ride a shuttle bus to the temple grounds because there were thousands of people there! Here are Rich and Heidi riding to the temple...
...and here is Addie listening intently to the tour guide.

Here is the Newport Beach Temple.

Our first stop was actually in Costa Mesa at IKEA. We had a little lunch and chose the furniture we would pick up Sunday and take home in our trailer. The Asian people behind Addie were taking pictures, too--all over the store, inside and out.

At the Beach

The girls ran straight in to the water when we arrived at Newport Beach (just north--or is it west?- of the pier). They LOVED the beach! In hindsight, if we'd realized how MUCH they'd love it, we would have skipped Disneyland this trip and jsut played in the water all day for TWO days.

Heidi making a silly face as she chases the waves.

Addie says, "Surf's up!"

More Beach Fun

She was squealing with glee...

I was trying to keep Heidi from running in and washing away!

Heidi loved when the tide came in and washed the sand from her hands!

seashells for grandma

The Best Hotel Pool Ever

After the beach, we went straight to the hotel pool, which had this cool little beachy kids' pool and a little fountain with dancing waters and a turtle...

...we were in mermaid HEAVEN!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Friday: Disney Day!

There's Mickey welcoming us to Disneyland-- it's 50 years old, you know!
Jamie, Heidi, Addie, and Rich at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Princess Adeline found her castle!
First stop: Teacups! Here are the girls spinning like mad...
Heidi didn't want to get off the ride!
Heidi also did not want to wait in line AT ALL! She had to sit on daddy's shoulders and when he got tired, we stopped going on rides with lines and reminded ourselves to come in January or Februray next time.
In Toon Town there were lots of rides for little kids and we saw Chip & Dale there (don't ask me which one this is); this was the only character that Heidi wasn't afraid of.
Pluto gave Addie a big hug!
We got really hot and sweaty so we took a noon break and watched the new Snow White show. It was soooooo good! We loved it! Here we are watching intently.
We saw lots of Princesses! Sleeping Beauty and Belle were really crowded when we found them, so we just snapped this picture of Belle as she passed by.
Mulan was out front when we went to lunch.
The best princess was Cinderella--Addie's favorite! She took time to visit with Addie and her stepmother was there, too! Addie asks every day when she can have the Cinderella DVD and I have to tell her, "Not til October." I am excited for that DVD, too--it's my favorite because it's the only one without a really scary, evil part. It's just the mean step sisters and mother, not all the powers of hell, you know? Otherwise, Sleeping Beauty would be my favorite for the Prince and the music. But I digress...

All Disney-ed Out

Once we got loaded up from Disneyland and headed toward Crestline, I caught Addie just chillin' in her carseat.
While we were buying souvenirs in Downtown Disney on our way out, Heidi crashed on Addie. This might be my new favorite picture.
Heidi kept sleeping while we were stuck on the 91 West--50 minutes in Yorba Linda--now that's what I call a vacation! Even though it took us from 4:20 until 6:40 to get to Crestline, it was still a great day and we had so much fun that night meeting up with my Mayberry cousins, Brent's fiancee's family, and my Elrey grandparents.

Wedding Day

The bright sun made some harsh light and shadows on the wedding pictures, but everyone looked so great. Here are my Mayberry Cousins (you remember them from Dave's wedding in June) with their latest acquisition-- Amanda.
[l-r: Scott, Matt &Maren Allred, Uncle Ralph, Amanda, Brent, Auntie Marti, Steven, Kevin with Ben, Katie with Ryley, Lacy, and Dave.

Ryley with her Aunt Amanda.

Amanda & Brent with Grandma and Grandpa Elrey

It was hotter than blazes outside the Temple in Redlands. Grandma and I tried to keep the girls cool in the shade while we waited fro the bride and groom in the noon sun.
Here are all of the Mayberrys trying to get Ryley to smile for the camera.
The reception at Amanda's Parents' Home in Crestline was beautiful. Their backyard was on a hill and at the top of the hill is this fun swing, which the girls and I enjoyed.
A view from the hill: The food was fabulous, like eating at Macaroni Grill, and the weather couldn't have been better...a very lovely evening.

Saying Goodbye

Sunday Morning we loaded up and walked down the hill from our cabin to the one where the Grandparents, Uncle Matt, and the Mayberrys were staying. Here's Grandpa, Heidi, Jamie, Addie, & Grandma.
Heidi, Jamie, Addie, and Grandma
Being silly with Papa Bill...I love that my girls know and love thier great-grandparents.

The Road Home

Poor Baker, hot (119F) and so ghetto.
I udes to laugh at those "I love alpacas" commercials, but THIS takes the cake.
Adios, desert. I am sorry to say our love affair is over. I am officially a spoiled rotten Montana girl and I wilt when it's over 80F. When it's Dry & Lush vs. Dry & Barren, Lush wins. Fare thee well...


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...