A Week with My Sister: Picture Overload

Sunday: Father's Day Dinner and Birthday Celebrations in North Ogden. I had to include the pictures of Steve playing "Ring Around the Rosies" because he said he felt like a different person with eight hours of sleep and a three hour nap (best Father's Day present ever). I'm just saying he acted like a different person too. In a good way.

Monday: Craft Day at the Hall's in Plain City. Jake showed us some of his cowboy skills, like riding backwards and standing up on the saddle. Of course, I had to try too. Jake is a lot better than me, and Steve later told me that wasn't a very nice thing for me to do to the pony. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner. We are now looking for more friends with horses.

Tuesday: Picnic with Grandma at Beus Pond Park. The kids had fun feeding the ducks all of the bread that Sydney didn't eat. We found a very lucky clover patch on the south side of the pond and collected over 50 four-leaf clovers.

Wednesday: Swimming in North Ogden. Sydney and Lucy had such a great time going down the slide together. Things at the pool worked out a lot better once we convinced all of the kids to play in the same area. Up to that point, my eyes hurt from the constant scanning/counting of kids that made me think there might be a need for matching neon swimming suits.

Thursday: Photo shoot at the Pingree Mansion. Thanks for all of the great pictures, Rebecca. You make me want to get a nicer camera. But then when my pictures still weren't as good as yours, I would be even more frustrated, so nevermind.

Friday: Laundry. Lots of it. Add three meals at Sonora Grill, one trip to the gym, lots of chalk-drawing on the driveway, two stressful nights working on the new menu, ice cream cones from Farr's, one late-night nail appointment interrupted by fireworks, and feeding the kids six hundred times, and that was the week.

Sure hope you didn't feel like you needed a vacation from us after our whirlwind week together.


Lucy and Her Skirt

This is Lucy. And the fabulous skirt she got for her birthday last month.

It was made by Andrea (Martinsen) Neves with over 35 yards of chiffon.

It really was her dream come true. (Thanks, Gloria.)

Want one? Click here and order your custom-made pettiskirt for only $58.

And thanks for the great pictures, Rebecca. Remember how you didn't think you got any good ones?

You were wrong.


I Love Summerfest

I have been to Summerfest in Logan every summer for the past ten years. I guess you could say I love it.

I love that my kids know that we are going to get cotton candy.
And that they are going to get their own because I am not willing to share mine.
I love that it has been back at the tabernacle for the last few years.
I love that there are horse carriage rides and sometimes the guy thinks your kids are so cute that he offers them a free ride.
I love that they added the giant parade puppets this year, even though Adam was terrified of them.
I love that there is live music; in the evenings you can see young children, college students, and sunbirds all dancing together.
I love that I got free food from the Cafe Sabor tent every year for the last seven years. . . but sadly, that perk has ended.
I love the children's art yard.
I love that my girls are old enough to drop them off at the children's art yard for two hours.
I love that they added portable drinking fountains every 30 yards so I didn't have to spend ten bucks on water this year.
I love picking out art that I am going to buy. (Someday.)
Like this piece from Joseph Alleman or this piece from Owen Mortensen.


Park City Ski-Town Shootout

Ten days ago I was at church, setting up for a Relief Society dinner, when I got a text message from Molly: Check your email ASAP. I expected some sort of an emergency. Instead I found an email telling me it was time to dust of my lacrosse stick and play in the Ski-Town Shootout in Park City June 20-21. She said there would only be one game on Friday and she would find me eye protection. I responded and told her I was in.

The last time I had played lacrosse was eight years ago at Utah State, where I spent two seasons on the team after Jodi convinced me to play. The thought of playing lacrosse again was so exciting, I couldn't stop grinning. A few days later she sent out another email with the schedule for the tournament. There was only one game on Friday. And THREE on Saturday. That was a little intimidating for one such as I, who is incredibly out of shape.

Well, I survived. In fact, I had a great time. Here we are, the Face Off Lax team:

We won our first three games and lost the fourth game to BYU in overtime. Here's how the games went:

Game 1
I intended to arrive in Park City at least an hour early, since I hadn't used a lacrosse stick for quite some time. But then I got a call from our pediatrician reminding me of Lucy's doctor appointment. In Logan. (Kindergarten check-up, and I'd already rescheduled twice, so changing it was not a possiblity.) Quick trip to Logan, dropped off Adam at Grandma's house, and we barely made it to Park City and found the field before the game started. Not the best start for a lady who could have really benefited from some warming up.

I lined up with the other girls to get my stick checked before the game and the umpire took a look at my wood stick and said, "I haven't seen one of these around for a long time." It had been hiding. In the toy bin in the garage. And has been most recently used to break pinatas, chase wasps, and paddle pretend boats. Thanks, Molly, for letting me borrow your stick, so as to avoid any further ridicule.

Rachel got to be the scorekeeper, but she was a little distracted by her ipod, so I kept having to yell from the field for her to add points. The girl I was guarding asked if she was my little sister. I told her she was my daughter, and she asked, "How old are you?!?" Too bad my granddaughter wasn't there too. That might have been funny.

Game 2
Overall, my body is actually a lot less sore than I expected it to be. However, at the end of the first half, I did take a violent knee to my quad muscle from Number 13 as she scored on me. Now I get to hobble up and down the stairs and scream every time Lucy comes and jumps on my lap. Number 13 wasn't too nice to me in the second half either. In fact, she yelled some obscene words at me a few times and, ultimately, subbed herself out of the game.

I wish I looked graceful in my action shot like so many of my other team members did. But I'm a defender, and defenders are supposed to look like scary giants, right? (Don't worry, after the game, we went to the store and I bought women's compression shorts. Ones that actually fit.)

Game 3
Before Game 3 I threw around with one of my teammates who played lacrosse for Notre Dame last season. She identified a critical mistake I was making, and if I get some more opportunities to play lacrosse, I might soon surpass my ball skills as a player at Utah State. By noon, it was past the drizzling stage and officially raining in Park City. I was soaked and cold, but still having fun. Steve was an incredibly good sport and didn't even complain about spending three hours in a parked car with the three kids.

Game 4
Playing against BYU was humbling. Their players were well conditioned and deceivingly fast. They were nice too... except for the one who clotheslined Molly's neck with her stick and didn't even get called on it. I got outrun down the field more than once. Unlike the other three games, the ball spent more time on our side of the field, which meant the defenders actually had to play most of the game. By Game 4, muscle exhaustion was kicking in, and I happily spent some time on the sidelines. Sadly, we lost a close one.

I have been involved with a number of organized sports: tennis, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, softball, and track. Lacrosse is not my strongest sport, but there are two things about it that I really love. First of all, it is a true team sport. It hasn't ever felt like someone on the team is trying to be the hero, and it hasn't ever felt like the team blames anyone for making a mistake. It always feels like the girls on the team are sincerely working together for the win. And second, there are a lot of really neat people who play lacrosse. The Claflin Family has been instrumental in expanding women's lacrosse in Utah, and I think Jen, Number 19, is credited with bringing the sport to Utah. What a neat group of women to associate with. Thanks again, Molly!


Free Trip to Las Vegas

Steve and I went to a WorldMark presentation last night. We happen to like Las Vegas, and free trips to Vegas are even better.

I decided that they are marketing geniuses and maybe we could use some of their sales tactics in the restaurant business. Because what are the two biggest things that stop people from going out to eat? #1 They don't have a plan. #2 They think it's too expensive.

So maybe we should partner up with other Utah restaurants and start selling ownership packages. We can charge an absurd amount of money up front, and tell customers they are going to save all sorts of money because the cost of eating out is sure to rise over the next decade (or four). Then they will have a plan. And by committing them to spend all of their money up front, it will later feel like they are eating for free. Customers will enjoy eating there so much more because they will be able to look around and say, Hey, I own this place!

We can sell 600o points for $12,000 and the points can be used at various restaurants for varying amounts of points, depending on what restaurant you go to, what you eat, and whether you are eating at red (high demand), white (medium demand), or blue (low demand) times. We'll offer Bonus Meals, Fun Meals, and all sorts of other promotions to make them think this deal is too good to pass up.

Better yet, we should market this to people who have never even eaten at our restaurants, so we can make them out to be better than they really are. And we should come up with lots of sappy stories to convince people who never go out to eat that they are missing out on life and all of the memories created at restaurants. Because what's the one regret everyone has on their deathbed: not going out to eat at more restaurants.

And here's an even better idea: we can tell them that they have to agree to the $12,000 ownership package that night, before they leave the presentation, or they can never get that offer again. For the rest of their life. Because if they were to go home and think about it, outside of our high-pressure sales office where we all pretend to be their friends, they would surely see the logic and decide against it. Or look on ebay and see they can purchase the same packages from previous customers. For half price.

Sound like a good deal? Hmmmm. Probably not.

Our favorite parts of the night were when we told the guy we only travelled when we found good deals. He grilled us for a minute on how much we paid for hotels in specific areas and finally got all agitated and said, Well, if you're such a great bargain hunter, maybe you should just open up your own travel agency!

And then there was the part when he informed us the Premier package was only available right then, one shot only. He had just previously reported to us that WorldMark spends about $600 per couple for each sales pitch, by the time you factor in the vacation, his pay, and the overhead. So I asked if I went home and thought about it if they would really deny me the opportunity to buy the ownership the next day. He said yes. I must have had a good look on my face because he went on with, You don't believe me, do you? Are you questioning my honesty?

That was when my husband, the peacemaker, stepped in. Steve asked for a business card, and after a little hesitation, the salesman gave it to him. Steve wrote that it was good for one free appetizer and entree at the restaurant. Maybe I can pitch my new marketing plan to him when he comes to Sonora Grill.

P.S. A few of you out there (fifteen to be exact) can thank me for your upcoming calls from WorldMark representatives. You know I'm a pushover for free things, and I just really wanted the Home Depot gift card.


Wishing We Could Be the New Neighbors

Two years ago, Sam and Kacie moved back to Logan. I'd like to give myself credit for their relocation since I actually complied a list of 50 Reasons to Live in Logan. There are some days I can't believe we ended up moving away. But back to the story. . .

A nice house starting being built right next door to them in Southgate Court, and we decided to be their new neighbors (against the advice of some). Apologies to the rest of you, but Sam and Kacie were the best neighbors in the world. There really is no comparison. I've never felt comfortable enough to call anyone else and tell them I am too tired to cook dinner and am bringing my family of six over to eat at their house.

We miss Sam and Kacie.

And now, more than ever, we are wishing that we could be their next door neighbors again. Just look at the bathroom I would be using:

Go to this blog to see more pictures. Make a comment and you might win one of their sweet giveaways. But even if you don't win the mattress protector, you probably ought to look into getting one. I might just make you a list of 50 Reasons why You Need a Mattress Protector.


Hoedown Throwdown at the Ward Talent Show


They took a little bit to get going, but they did it. Most surprised by Rachel. At times, you can actually hear her singing. Gracie and Lucy remembered some of the dance moves they had practiced a couple hours before the show. Rachel told them she was only interested in dancing "freestyle".

Sorry the camera is a bit shaky at the end. Adam wanted to hold it. Thanks to Amanda, who was fully prepared to get up and sing with Lucy, until Gracie came over and Rachel finally agreed to participate. Seriously, I'm not sure how many friends I have that would do that. And thanks to Angie for the great last-minute wardrobe arrangements.

I know I don't have a fancy camera and, therefore, don't take fabulous pictures, but since I happened to have three cute girls in cowgirl hats, I thought I would go scope out a place for my sister, who is coming to visit next week. Can anyone in Ogden identify the location?


Making a Comeback

I went to the gym last night and tried to read the numbers on my key tag to the guy at the front desk, but they were worn off. Not from overuse. From sitting in the bottom of my purse for too long. (Three months to be exact.)

I only had about twenty minutes at the gym before it closed. I clocked two miles on the treadmill. Running and walking. More walking than I care to admit. But to put things in perspective, two miles is more than I have done on a treadmill since I was trying to put myself into labor with Lucy. (It worked.)

The recumbent bicycles are much more conducive to reading magazines.

I will be going to the gym every day between now and Friday. No longer as a recreational escape from my children. No longer as a token visit once a month. To work out. More specifically, to get in shape for my first lacrosse game in eight years.

Nothing like fear of embarrassment to get you motivated. And I have good reason to be worried. These girls are tough. I'm just glad Number 5 is on my team. Look at her calves.