Sunday, December 19, 2010

Modern week before Christmas...

The office is clean...

The snowman is up...

The stockings are hung by the chimney (pipe)...

Santa (who rocks) and the Grinch are hanging out...

The movies are prepped...

The corner has a tree...

Decorated even!

And the train runs around the bottom...

Ah, happy moments!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Music...

I love holiday music - blame Mom & Dad. They always had this amazing mix running through the house this time of year. I can't find some of my favorites, like Barbra Streisand's version of Jingle Bells, but here are some oldies and new ones - I've decided to go upbeat this year, but you can't go wrong with Josh Groban and Johnny Mathis. Enjoy!


Yes, it's that most festive time of year...the numerous birthdays, 25 lbs lost, and then Christamas. Oops! did I write that? I think I heard a little kid say that once when they were trying to enunciate clearly, and it stuck. So, celebrations abound (except around here...we're on the dl). I'm thinking that with a couple of tests today it will be a low-key night at the White house. He's got quite a few more before the 17th when this semester will finally be over.
Did I say "25 lbs lost"? Why, yes, I did. I really never thought I'd have it in me to be so...disciplined??? But, it is fun to watch the numbers drop and to have to cinch up the belt another notch. I'm thinking that by birthday time for me, I may invest in a new pair of pants.
Also, another moment no one ever thought would come...after 13 years, 3 districts, 5 schools, I have hit the ultimate point in my career. A group of 7th grade boys have come back to say that I am cool. I know, I don't know how it will ever get better. I despaired (literally) over getting through to these guys last year, but they have been hanging around the last couple of weeks and today they decided that they are going to come see me when they graduate high school (I'm not holding my breath). I have to say that when they left, I did a little jig. Of course, I'm not entirely sure if it's me or if it's the red goop that Uncle Jim bought one year as a stocking stuffer at the Mesa flea market. I'm soooo not kidding. I have had SERIOUS offers on that thing - it FASCINATES kids! I think it's just corn syrup, red food coloring, and some cheap plastic in a cylindrical "hour glass" configuration, but there are kids who don't take their eyes off of it. I have used "the goop" as a reward, motivator, and even hidden it when they can't focus. It's amazing. If you have kids, I highly recommend it.
Of course, does anyone else remember Grandma & Grandpa V's blue and white sand thingy? I could stare at that for hours, come to think about it...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter wonderland...

As I sit here typing, my house is clean (relatively), there is a good fire going, the Christmas lights are up (and on), and there is about 3 inches of snow on the ground. We woke up this morning to about 1 1/2 inches, and MB and Mary were in a hurry to get home. We drove them down as far as Hurricane, then they hit traffic outside of Las Vegas - all the way home. Andy and I got a lot of school stuff done today.
I'm so excited to have Christmas at my house. Thanksgiving went well...a little over-indulgence, but nothing I'm feeling horrible about. We had a "leftover" party on Friday with Dee & Steve, and Kathy & Joe! It was great to see them all.
I promise to take pictures of the house with Christmas lights and post them. Needless to say, Sarah's in heaven...she hardly came inside today. She just runs and dives into the snow and rolls around - yep, wet dog smell! Happy December!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Over the River and Through the Mud...

Hello! I have been so bad about posting this fall... I haven't even been near my camera to take any new pictures. Things have been so busy with school for both of us. I had two quick trips up to Salt Lake for school, one for content and another for gifted observation. We did do the Butch Cassidy 5K (walk, of course) again this year...MB and Mary joined me!
With the family all over the place, we will actually be spending our first holidays at our house in a few years. MB and Mary are coming for Thanksgiving this week, then I really have to decide how to Christmas shop on a budget. We are going to have MB (maybe Mary?) for Christmas, and she wants to go "borrow" the girls from Colorado. I'm just excited to cook...and have my tree in the living room (we haven't even put one up since we built the house).
I promise to take some photos...I want to get a couple of me to see if I look any different. I'm down about 23 pounds. I'm just nervous, because I never liked pictures of myself and I'd hate to not look any different now that I've been working so hard. Most of my clothes are loose...that's exciting! I've re-established a relationship with my belts, although I don't like looking like a paper bag.
Sorry for the blather... we had our first taste of winter weather today. Fortunately, we had warning, so Friday night we had stacked the woodpile by the fence and tarped it. This sounds easier than it was, since Andy had to split a bunch and I had never stacked that much wood before, so Andy had to help me start over... Anyway, so we got wind, and rain, and snow, and cold, and sunshine today. It was great! Of course, wet weather means mud... and muddy puppy feet. I did get the house cleaned and "decorated" for winter... I refuse to "Christmas" until after Thanksgiving. I HATE seeing lights and decorations up the end of October...
Sarah's holding down Grammie's bed (yes, there's a blanket and no nice quilt Mom) until she gets here tomorrow. Sadie's dreaming about chasing something here on the rug in front of the fireplace. I'm closing the computer and heading for the bath...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Do you ever get nostalgic?

So, as I was petting Sarah the other day, I started to think...
1) It's going to be so sad when she gets old... (sniffles ensued)
2) Poor Otis (MB's black lab) - but he had a GREAT life with MB...she's the best dog mom I know.
3) Is this what gets people to think of themselves as "older", when they watch the little ones in their lives growing up?
4) Speaking of which, my FLOWER GIRL (Devine, best flower girl ever) will be graduating high school this year! (we will be there, by the way, cross my heart)
5) Which means, since she was 5 at the wedding, that I have been married a long time (12 years, to be exact...but we've known each other for like 23 years, so sometimes it seems longer.)
6) And did you know that my 20th high school reunion is coming up? I mean, not that I'll go, but's been 20 years??????

So, I went through some pictures last night and grabbed some that made me happy and some that made me teary-eyed...

Here's my favorite roomies - Meller and Suser (better known as Melissa and Suzanne now that they're all grown up)...we had a blast that summer!

My engagement in Vancouver...okay, so I REALLY was the last to know AND he'd been hiding the ring right in our dresser. Mom HATES this hair, but all my kids in school are fascinated that it was that long, and why don't I grow it out again? (because it was almost always in a pony-tail, and what's the point?)

Our wedding day...see the flower girl hiding in the back? And Kate and Justin are both married with 2 kids a piece....(sniff)

Our Sarah...she's 3 today. Right now she's a little upset...she'd rather be camping and have bacon on her birthday, neither of which she got.

Wasn't it October when I tried to start that great Birthdays and Anniversaries of the Month list? I think I made it for about 3 months, huh? Well, to ALL of my friends and family who were lucky enough to be joined in marriage this month or to have joined the world this month - we love you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This is life...

It just seems to fly by, collecting dust and dog hair as it goes. I had JUST swept on Sunday, Mom, I promise! And yet, this was the result of my Wednesday sweep...

The dogs were really happy though, because after 3 days of thunderstorms, the rain stopped. So they all went out to play.
This is why we live here, though.
And if you squint really hard, you can see the start of a rainbow, just left of center, just above the ridge. We've had some amazing rainbows lately, with all the clouds and rain. I saw a COMPLETE rainbow the other day, as I drove through Hurricane on my way home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grape Stomping

Yes, I am - again - running a bit behind. The grape stomp was fun, and Dee and Steve make yummy wine! We did our best Lucy impression, peasant skirts, hoop earrings, and bandanas. Mary wears her bandana much better than I do...

We were drinking last year's as we stomped.

Then when we finished, the guys had to pick out the stems. I keep trying to talk them into growing a reisling, but Steve says it's more complicated than the white. They have a Black Spanish and a Syrah, my favorite being the Black Spanish. Then, of course, Dee made a delicious Mexican feast...mmmmmm. This week seemed to fly by with our normal breakneck pace. Yesterday, I went up to SUU for a Gifted Conference with 2 of my school colleagues and Andy studied (until 4 am)! I will be grading papers today since the speaker was so interesting that I didn't get anything graded there.

Hopefully this week will go slowly enough that I can enjoy it...but I'm not holding my breath. Hope your week is a good one!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Middle of September???

I can't believe that it's been a month since I last posted. Time is flying past me again... Andy's deep into his school schedule, busy with Bio II, Chem I, and Trigonometry. He's officially past me in the math department. He's got regular study groups for everything, so I've got a lot of evenings with the dogs. Good news is, with the need to feed someone else kind of not necessary, I have been really cutting the calories. Not to jinx anything, but since summer started, I've lost about 15 pounds. Not that big a deal, since I need to lose a bit more, but it's a start. With the weather starting to cool, I should be out walking or biking with the dogs again in no time.
Coming up next:
Grape stomp @ the Maranhao's
SUGC conference @ SUU
Apple Valley Founder's Day - 10/9
Fall Break (from classes, not studying)

We got Skype working, so once Katie and Mike and the kids get settled in the Philippines, we'll be able to chat with them. So much better than climbing a ladder to an attic to talk to Grandpa over the ham radio... ah, progress.
Have a great week!

Friday, August 13, 2010

One Week In...

I have been at school for 1 week, with kids for 3 days. How could I forget how exhausting it can be? I love this bunch...they are all very sweet. I still only have 5 classes (am pushing hard for a 2nd period - who wants a 2nd period prep?)...but our enrollment jumped quite a bit, so we'll see. I don't know if I'm getting older or if my "cup" has finally brimmed, but it's taking me longer to learn 145 names. I did take individual pictures of 2 of my classes, but no group shots, so I'll wait to give you those later. The individual shots will go into their time capsules with their information from this fall, and we'll have a good time checking them out in the spring. (It also helps me match faces to names.) I have gotten to the point where most of my kids remind me of a former student, so I have to be careful not to call them the wrong cracks me up, but as a kid, I know that bugs some...parents are totally used to it, calling out whatever name comes to mind until they go through the whole list - I'm there!
Here are some pics from our 7 dog, 6 human camping trip, thanks to Cam and Deb! We keep talking about how much fun that trip was...definitely have to do it again.
Going to bed you all :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

We made it! It was a fabulous, if always on the go, trip... we got home Thursday evening (Google directions are sometimes right about distance) after a 680 mile, 10 1/2 hour drive from Casper. We unloaded the car, cooked the Freschetta pizza, and started watching our DVR.

Friday we vegged...literally. Slept, ate a little, and watched MORE dvr.

So today, we awoke with resolve in our hearts - to thunder, lightning, and dogs on our bed. No weeding getting done today folks! I've been cleaning and laundering, and for those of you that received the AAADD email from me, that's my day.

Since I last checked in, we went to Apple Valley, MN, and had a great time (as always) with Neil and Amy. They have an awesome house! Then we stopped back by Grandma V's on our way to Fargo/Moorhead. We had supper at Jim & Rhoda's, then off to Karen and Eric's for sleep! Our time in the F/M area was a blast, including the terrifying (for me) Ferris Wheel ride in Scheel's - Connor was a trooper! Then we drove south and west to the Black Hills...with a stop at Wall Drug, of course. Andy LOVES the Black Hills, we kept GPSing spots to come back and camp or hike. He was not prepared to love Mt. Rushmore, but typical to our style, it was raining, so there weren't as many people as there might have been - but we were all in the gift shop at once!After Mt. Rushmore, we headed west to Casper (short, navigator error detour involved). Grandpa and Mary were great sports about the dogs - they did, of course, come to love the girls. Then, back home... The funniest part was that we hardly took any pictures...the main point of this trip being "time is short", you would think I would have taken some for posterity, but NO! So, if any of my lovely relatives have pictures from our travels, could you email me?

Also, thanks to all those who are voting DAILY for the Apple Valley Water Harvesting project on Pepsi Refresh... here's a direct link

Friday, July 30, 2010

On the Road

Traveling with two dogs in a Corolla is not that bad... they have done really well. Andy and I are feeling the on-the-go tiredness, but having lots of fun with all the rellies. We spent a couple of days in Colorado, a night in Sioux City - thanx Skip and Cathy! - , two nights in Sioux Falls - thanx Motel 6! and trips to the Spencer Dog Park - and now up to Hector & Hutch - thanx Patti & Jerry! We had a great Vandervoort BBQ last night. The cousin's kids are all getting so big, and we met Ahnika Moon finally. So cute... as I was typing this, we stuck her in Andy's arms - talk about fear! We'll head over to Apple Valley, MN, to see Neil & Amy after we see Grandma, then we'll head north. Check in later!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Travel Itinerary

Here's the up-to-the-minute itinerary:
Jul 24 - UT to Greeley, CO
Jul 25 - Justin (White) b'day in CO
Jul 26 - CO to Sioux City, IA
Jul 27 - IA to Yankton, SD and Sioux Falls, SD
Jul 28 - SD to Hector, MN
Jul 29 - Family BBQ @ PJ's
Jul 30 - visit to Kociemba's?
Jul 31 - Hector to Comstock/Moorhead
Aug 1 - hanging in Moorhead area
Aug 2 - MN to Mt. Rushmore/Hot Springs?
Aug 3 - Hot Springs to Casper, WY
Aug 4 - hanging in Casper
Aug 5 - leave Casper for UT
Aug 6 - be home in UT

We are traveling in the Corolla, with 2 dogs and our trunk full of stuff...

On a more community service note.... WE ARE UP FOR A PEPSI REFRESH GRANT!!!! My friend Dee (aforementioned amazing gardener and camping buddy) put together a proposal that was accepted. We are trying to get our Firestation/Town building to be more gathering-friendly. We need EVERYONE to vote (most votes gets funded)!!! It doesn't matter if you don't live in the area, and you can vote 3 times a day (from one computer, which means I'll be voting about 12 times a day once school starts). Voting opens for the Apple Valley, UT project on August 1 and runs all month. Anyone who's ever lived in a small town understands the tribulations of getting things up and running...we've only been incorporated for about 5 years! Please go to and click on the right side (VOTE). We have "gone big", so at the top, please select the $250,000 category, or search under Neighborhoods at the top. I will inlcude the link in the side menu as well. Thanks in advance... I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I wonder...

Why would 2 people take 4 dogs camping?
Why would 6 people take 7 dogs camping?
or, as Judy would say, why camp?

Because it's priceless...
1) getting out of the heat up to Navajo Lake (natural and clean!)

2) campfires, friends, beer, and good food
3) that many dogs is just hysterical!

Diane is out of town until tomorrow (Mon), so we took the whole pack with us on the camping trip. Mojo was the only male, boy did he love that! Most of the girls were the same age/size...Sadie was the old gal, but she kept up with those whipper-snappers! The funniest thing was going back and forth with that contingent...professional dogwalkers are severely underrated! We went down to the lake and let them swim/catch sticks and balls/tire themselves out - it worked like a charm... notice I said catch sticks and balls. Sarah still refuses to believe that she is a retriever...she does it for herself, not for us (note to those of you who think all dogs will play fetch).

Andy's got finals this week, then we should be on our way. More adventures will be posted later!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's Too Quiet

MB left yesterday with Megan and Maddie, Mary and Savannah and Holly. It's too quiet.... there's 4 dogs, but they are all lying around. There's only me at home, running the washing machine...

The girls played with Jocelyn almost every day last week, coming back and forth in Jocie's Cadillac Escalade (too cute). MB and I took the girls to see Shrek on Monday before they left. It was tons of fun for 3 1/2 weeks, but I'm worn out. It doesn't look like Kate needs me next week, so I'll have to turn my attention to some classroom business. After some serious napping!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Catching Up on Activities

This post will be working backward in time, to save me from having to spend hours rearranging all these photos. We've been having a great time...the guest list has grown and shrunk...we said goodbye to Justin this morning. It was great having him here! MB and I went to see Eclipse last night - I'm still on the fence. Twilight took me a while to deal with the music, New Moon was pretty good, Eclipse I think has me wishing more for the emotion than the action - but the guys will like it... MB took the girls over to Angie's yesterday for more swimming. We've been to Zion a couple of times, Megan got her Junior Ranger activities done and will get her badge tomorrow when we go. This photo is from Monday, when we took the girls to do the Temple of Sinawava trail. Lots of squirrels and fun in the water... and I have a fellow rock hound! I introduced Megan to my favorite rock shop in Springdale.
This photo was from Saturday morning when Logan and Ivy were leaving. We got everyone together for the first ever cousin picture! Guess who just woke up?

We had a fire and s'mores on Friday night ... there was marshmallow-y goodness everywhere!
We went to the river with everybody - including the neighbor, Jocelyn - on Friday. Tubing, floating, sandcastle building, tadpole catching ... who says fun is expensive?

This was from the Great Basin Ranger station... Ivy and Logan completed their activities and had to take the Junior Ranger oath!
We had a great time in Lehman Caves - our Ranger had lots of good stories about the cave, and Logan had to be the caboose (official title - flashlight holder) and Ivy had to make sure no one touched anything. They both did great... after Ivy got used to the tunnel!

"Helping" Uncle Andy get the lantern ready... Logan was not all that keen on helping with the cooking and cleaning parts (girl's work), even though Uncle Andy laughed and told him it was camping, so it wasn't that bad. The kids did great with the dogs, walking them a bunch and helping keep the tent clean.

Whew! I think we might take Megan and Madison to Shrek today, if I can find a theater still showing it... Mari comes tomorrow and we'll have the big 4th of July at the fire station on Saturday night. Fireworks! Can't wait...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Look Mommy!

(This MAY make showering easier...) Ivy's NOT actually dead, she's showing off her new face-in-the-water skills. Of course, she did call for a towel to wipe her face the first time - that didn't happen, so then it passed. We went to the Moore's for a swim and barbecue...thanks for sharing the awesome pool and tramp! Glad we could help you pop some springs.

So far this week...
1) Park with Uncle Andy and McDonald's!
2) Making yummy chocolate chip cookies
3) Seeing Shrek 4 -Rumplestiltskin is scary :(
4) Playing with Jocelyn - who had her tonsils out on Tuesday morning, but is up and around already
5) Library, picnic, and Hurricane pool - they really want to try the diving board, but the lifeguards won't let them with the lifevests on (long story, but funny!)
6) Dog park, Jimmy John's, and water park
7) Rice Crispy treats (another Ivy specialty) and hangin' at the Moore's...

and I'm leaving out the reading, hide and seek, fine art sessions, Chutes and Ladders (Chinese checkers wasn't so hot), card games, and ....

We're headed off for Great Basin and Lehman Cave. We'll check back in with more photos next week!