Friday, July 30, 2010

Hoover Dam

Once again, we made our yearly trek to Hoover Dam. Why, oh why do I always do this in July? It is beyond flippin' hot and there is no shade and the solar rays bounce off of the lava rock. It is brutal. But you know, a tradition is a tradition.

It only took about 45 minutes to drive 3 miles to get there. Then we paid $7 to park, almost evaporated in the sun, spent 10 minutes getting pictures and got the heck out of that dam place. Ha knew I would have to put a stupid dam joke in there somewhere.

I mean, look at this dam traffic.

I could have jogged there faster.

If you notice to the right of the picture is an empty road. That is the soon-to-be-opened highway and bridge over the dam, so that it doesn't take 2 hours to get through like it does now.

It looks like the bridge is done. Isn't that a sweet shot. I just started taking pictures...aiming my camera in the general direction as I drove by. My eyes were on the road the whole time. I just snapped, snapped, snapped and luckily got one. I love digital cameras.

Ta da! You can make a comparison with my post from last year.

Raef and Zach are really into the cartoon "Avatar" right now. I think they are trying to bend something in this shot. Raef was director and director of photography.

Isn't that an amazing shot of the bridge. I am so excited for it to finally open. Arizona will actually be accessible now. I won't have to grace Laughlin with my presence anymore.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cake Bosserina

I have been obsessed with shows like "Ace of Cakes" and "Cake Boss". I have always wanted to try to decorate a cake with fondant and see what I can do. My friend Ann started decorating cakes a little while ago and she is really good at it. So, she kindly came over and gave me a lesson in making fondant and other basics. Wasn't that nice of her?

This is my first attempt with fondant. I had absolutely no cake tools, so it is rudimentary stuff I used. But I think it turned out pretty cute. It is a chocolate cake with a dark chocolate raspberry filling. This is a pretty big cake. I am going to have to share with a lot of people.

Come on over and have some cake with us. It won't look like this for long.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crazy Summer Luau

Summers in Las Vegas are like winters anywhere else. If you live north of here, you have snow in the winter, power outages, ice storms and such that drive you indoors. We have this little ole thing called the sun. And it goes into overtime from about June to October. The best thing to do is stay home because it is so flippin' hot, and especially in July. It can be brutal. In other words, I haven't left my house for weeks, except for things of absolute necessity. We especially do not go to the park.

Now, there are a lot of water parks here in town, but it is not practical with infants, so I just stay home and the kids can go swimming in our backyard. On Tuesday, I went with a friend to the free movie they show at the cinema. Wouldn't you know it? There were about 10 other ladies there with their kids, that I know really well. We were talking after the movie as it became apparent that no one was in a big hurry to go back home or go outside and evaporate in the sun.

Then I blurted out that we should have a party. An I-am-stuck-with-my-kids-all-day-and-I-am-going-crazy!!!! kind of party. I suggested a luau theme and everyone loved the idea. The party was set for Friday at my house. What better way to give me a reason to clean my house than to invite about 50 people over for some fun?

The kids and I made decorations from construction paper I have had lying around my house for the last 7 years. I bought some balloons and made Kahlua pig and rice for lunch. This was accompanied with a salad and watermelon. It was delicious and the party was a big hit. They did a lot of swimming while us women hung out. I blasted some Pilioha Hawaiian music and we had lots of fun and ate very well.

It is funny how everything seems to happen at once. In preparation for the party on Thursday, I was able to get a lot done. But I also got a visit from my brother, who is now living in the Provo area. He came with his best friend Dane and a gal friend Jess. They did some stuff Thursday know...silly Vegas stuff. And since they stayed out so late, they ended up sleeping over and leaving at lunchtime. Yeah, Jamie stuck around for the pig. Shocking, huh?

It was fun to see him.

When all of party guests started clearing out, I had another friend, Ann, come over and teach me how to make fondant and some general cake decorating techniques. It was awesome and I can't wait to try out what I have learned and make a real cake. When I do, I am sure I will be putting it on my blog. Thanks, Ann!

Eli is Soooo Funny!

In this video, Eli is throwing corn chex on their heads and they think it is the funniest thing ever!

Then the silliness continues as Eli continues to make Julia laugh.

It is obvious that Harry and Julia watch everything that kid does. It doesn't hurt that he is a show-off. Unfortunately, I caught this at the end. But believe me, they had watched him run back and forth at least 10 times before this.

Cry, Cry, Cry

Some times they are happy and sometimes...well...

Here is Harry at the top of the stairs. I only put the gate up so that he doesn't go clunk-clunk-clunk down the stairs. It is because I love him. I keep trying to tell him that, but he doesn't believe me.

You would think that he would, because a few weeks ago, Raef was in charge of him upstairs while I was taking care of Julia downstairs. About ten minutes later I heard, "THUNK, waaaaa, THUNK, waaaaa, THUNK, WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!" etc., etc. I caught him on the tenth step, as I raced past Zach, who watched the whole thing unfold.

Raef was at the top of the stairs and he started to cry. I was really upset as I held my crying baby in my arms. I was shaking. Then Raef came down to me and told me, through his tears, that the Holy Ghost told him to go and check on Harry, and he didn't do it. Then he proceeded to cry even louder. It just broke my heart and I was also in awe that my 8 year-old son recognized the Holy Ghost giving him guidance. Grant it, he didn't follow the counsel, but Harry is okay and Raef learned an invaluable lesson.

I took Julia swimming and I have to show you her cute swimming suit. She wasn't very happy when I took these pictures. It may have to do somewhat, just a little bit, with the fact that I left her on the couch while I went to get the camera, and when I came back I was a fraction too slow at catching her as she smacked her head on the cement.

I am a good mom. I mean, look at those pictures. And it was only a tiny bump.

Friday, July 16, 2010

8 and Back

In 2003 we attended a family reunion in Aspen Grove, Utah for my husband's side of the family and there are a lot of relations on that side of the family. We decided to rent out one of the large cabins to accommodate everyone. His family LOVES to play games and there was a large table that was perfect for the occassion. Uncle Mark introduced a new game to everyone.

That is where it all started.

8 and Back.

Rinar's family developed a love affair with this silly little card game. You could even go so far as to say it was a blissful marriage. This marriage seems to be eternal. That's right, I can honestly say for the past 7+ years, this is the game we play. Every. Single. Time.

Yes, yes, there is a smattering of other games, like Catch Phrase, Scrabble, even Ticket to Ride. But the ole ball-and-chain is still at the forefront of all family recreational activities.

You just need a handy deck of cards, one pencil, and a scratch piece of paper. We even played this game a few weeks ago and there wasn't a piece of paper to be found. Don't worry. Luckily Angie had the margin of her Spectrum crossword puzzle to save the day. We were good to go.

The game starts with every person recieving one card. Then you bid on how many tricks you think you will take. In each round, there is a new trump card established, and you base your bid on how high your card is and what suit it is. If it is a high trump card, you probably should bid on getting a trick. If you guess right, you get a ten point bonus, plus the number of tricks you won. So, in round one, you can only win one trick. Therefore, the most points you could possibly get is 11. When a card is led, you must follow the suit. If you don't have the suit that is led, you can play whatever card you want, trump or no trump. Round two, every gets two cards. Round three? You guessed it. 3 cards. This continues on to 8 rounds, 8 cards...whatever. Then you go back! Get it. 8 and Back. Haha!

This is really bad hand. You would want to bid zero on this one for sure.

We have taught copious amounts of people this game. It is easy and lots of people can play. I play it with my side of the family when we get together. People seem to pick it up quickly. But occassionally there are some that just do not get it. That is rather hilarious, if you ask me. I won't mention any names, but there have been a few people that were just plain dingy.

But now I am sad to say that I think I am ready for divorce court. My love affair with 8 and Back is dwindling, the bloom is off the flower. I just don't feel the pitter-patter that was once there.

Oh, for crying out has been over 7 years!! There are a myriad of games out there. Can't we fall in love with something else for a while?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Blitzkrieg (German, "lightning war"); is an anglicized word describing all-mechanized force concentration of tanks, infantry, artillery and air power, concentrating overwhelming force and rapid speed to break through enemy lines, and once the latter is broken, proceeding without regard to its flank. Through constant motion, the blitzkrieg attempts to keep its enemy off-balance, making it difficult to respond effectively at any given point before the front has already moved on

Tanks = Raef and Zach
Infantry = Eli
Artillery = Harry
Air Power = Julia

What did the British do to defeat the Germans? Let me see. Well, there were a couple of things. Great Britain is an island, so they had geography on their side. Then they just hunkered down a bit when London would get bombed and of course, after a couple of years there was Pearl Harbor and the Germans then declared war on the Americans. So, the British had strong allies.

It just comes at me all at once..."Mommy, look at me. Mom, mom, mommy, MOM!!!!" Then the two year-old chimes in with a convenient temper tantrum because he doesn't want to put any clothes on, followed by an exuberant 8 year-old throwing objects throughout the house. And of course two adorable 9 month-olds need food right now. All while I am trying to find the stupid viola book so that the exuberant one can practice his stuff.

Brain. On. Overload.

Malfunction, malfunction, malfunction.

It is a blitzkrieg, I tell you, and my defenses are cracking rapidly. They really don't need to worry about the flank. My only defense is slamming stuff on the ground and screaming really loud. Surprisingly enough, it is a poor strategy with nasty ramifications.

I need an ally.

No...I need an island.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eating, Crawling, Bathing, and Playing

Okay, let me confess ahead of time. My babies are REALLY HAPPY to finally get a bath. I really have no comment on when they had a bath previously. That is all I am going to say.

Clean at last!!!

Raef is waiting for his turn at violin lessons.

Don't you love Zach's hair? Crazy-fabulous.

Zach is really into fiddle music these days.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sunset Book Club Road Trip

Rinar and I drove home from St. George on Sunday night and then I left again on Monday afternoon for a little road trip with my super-awesome book club. Guess where we went? Come on. You can do it.

Yep, St. George. We went to St. George to see a play at Tuacahn and have a little sleepover at the condo. I have been in a book club for over three years now. It might even be 4. I can't remember. We meet the first Tuesday of every month, without fail. It has been incredibly consistent and our membership has stayed practically the same from the beginning. We were only missing two people for the trip. Everyone else came.

We left Vegas at 1pm and drove in two cars. I put the trip together since we were staying in my condo and I was left to make all of the decisions. The trip was not my idea, but because every member is so agreeable and easy-going, no one wanted to make any decisions. Okay, I guess I will step up and decide.

First, where should we eat dinner?

"I don't know."

"I'm easy."

"I will do whatever you decide."

So, I first decided to go to the Golden Corral for dinner. There is a big selection of food. It is easy and affordable. However, I made an executive decision to not go there at the last minute. Do you want to know why? Remember, I was there for the weekend a few days before. Guess where I ate dinner on Friday? Guess where I ate dinner on Saturday?

Hence, I decided we needed to find a new place to eat. We settled on Bajio. It was on the way to Tuacahn. Then we drove the long way through Snow Canyon, which was stunningly beautiful.

At Tuacahn, they do a pre-show in this mini-amphitheater. It was cute but we just couldn't help but sing along to all of the different animal-themed music. Can you believe they actually have a high school version of, "Welcome to the Jungle". I think that Axl Rose would have been horrified.

"Tarzan" was the play we watched and it was good. When Tarzan enters the stage as an adult, it is amazing. That is all I am going to say. Totally amazing. When the show was over, they did a little fireworks display set to "God Bless the USA". It gave me chills.

We got back from the play around 10:30pm and so naturally it was a perfect time to discuss the book. Naturally. The discussion was not too heated because I think we are all of one political mind. However, I did get a little more than annoyed when Jonna decided to bag on my man, Rush Limbaugh. You don't mess with Rush. He is totally awesome and if you are a Republican and don't think so, then it is because you don't listen to him. I asked her if she listens to him and she said a little bit, but that she thinks he is conceited. Oh...No...she...di-n't. Cat fight! Cat fight!
No, it was a lot of fun, but I was wiped out. I went to bed at 1am, but some ladies (Keri and Tanya) were up until 4am. What...are they crazy?!?

I got up early and actually went running. I was so proud of myself.

We made visit to the Temple visitors center and watched the Joseph Smith video and we ate breakfast at my new favorite St. George eatery, 25 Main.

The food was awesome and so cheap. The ambiance was fantastic and it was the perfect place for a book club. I got an omelet and pancakes and it was all delicious. They even make cupcakes. I didn't get one this time, but my name is on one of those things the next time I am there. Do you see that omelet. It had pesto sauce on it. So yummy!

After breakfast, we had to make one absolutely necessary shopping stop to store of course. It was a used bookstore in an old pioneer house on Main Street. Awesome. I think almost all of us bought something. We love books. We can't help it.

To all my ladies of the Sunset Book Club, namely, Joyce, Mary Alice, Daneen, Marie, Jonna, Keri, Tanya, Melanie, Elizabeth, and Missy, thanks for a wonderful little getaway. I had so much fun and am grateful that I can count all of you as my good friends.

Happy Birthday America

We had a lot of fun for the 4th. Unfortunately, I do not know where my camera is at the moment, so I have no pictures of the weekend. Anyways, since the 4th of July fell on a Sunday this year, I thought it would be a good idea to go to St. George. In St. George, they never celebrate the Fourth on a Sunday, so we were able to watch the fireworks on the 3rd. It was awesome!

In the morning there was a small parade right outside our back door. The kids were still in their pajamas. We thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a lot of candy and Raef and Zach were not interested in picking it up off the street. I thought aliens had invaded their bodies or something. They must have still been asleep, I guess. But Eli was awake. As soon as a fresh batch was strewn across the pavement he was out there picking up as many pieces as his little hands could hold. Good for him.

After the parade, there were games and booths and such at the park. I coaxed the kids into playing some fiddle music there in some non-descript, shady corner of the park. Once we got going, we played about 10 different fiddling songs several times. Raef just improvised his viola harmony and it was really cool. In the end, the kids made $13.50 in the guitar case we left conspicuously open in front of us. They were wowed at how much money they raked in. My fingers were killing me, because I haven't played my guitar in so long and don't have good callouses. But it was worth it, because when we were done, they divvied up the money and used it for the rides and treats at the fair. It was great! Now I know how I can start paying for their violin lessons in the future.

In the afternoon we went to Rinar's grandmother's care facility and played our stuff again. The residents loved it. Rinar and his mom played their piano duet and while they were playing Grandma got up and started dancing all over the place with her walker. She really is the life of the party at that place. Rinar's mom then announced that I would be singing a song. Huh? I wondered what song I would be singing. Then she showed me the music and I didn't have a clue what the song was. I had never seen it. But luckily, it was simple and it sounded great. It was a song from the 1930's and you could tell that everyone there knew it. They all kind of sang along and their eyes sparkled. When I am old and someone is singing to me at a care facility, will my eyes sparkle when some kid sings a rousing rendition of, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Hmmm....

The director asked us if we would go play some songs for the Alzheimer's patients in the back who don't get visitors. We thought it was a great idea and so the kids got to play their songs some more. My fingers were really killing me by then. Ouch. But some how, I managed to make it happen. I sang again and the reaction was the same. It was really cool.

We had some friends from our ward in Henderson come up to see the fireworks. It was fun to share the evening with Sean, Cyntha, and their two little boys. Rinar's brother Lyf and his family also came over. So the six of us played Eight and Back (I really should write a blog about that game...) for a few hours while we waited for the fireworks. The kids ran around and played and it was really quite perfect. Babies fell asleep before the fireworks, so Sean and Cyntha stayed at the condo because their kids were asleep as well. They watched from the balcony and we walked over to my Grandma N.'s grassy viewing location. It was a lot of fun and Eli cheered on each BOOM!

Our Independence Day celebration was a big success. I love America! Happy Birthday!

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