Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2 Children in a bathroom sink!

So I was in the bathroom getting ready yesterday and the kids thought it would be fun to fill up Ben's bathroom sink with water and just dip their feet in. Harmless right?
Colben started putting his whole self in and I stopped him and told him that the water level would rise if he got in (I also don't know why he thought he would fit in a bathroom sink, the kids is 6 years old!!) and water would spill everywhere so he stopped..... for a minute.
Next thing I know water is spilling over the counter onto the floor and Colben and Danika are hurrying as fast as they can to get out of the sink--- both of them were in the sink!! I have no idea how they both fit but they managed to basically empty out the whole sink of water onto the floor.
I told Colben that he and Danika had to clean up their mess so I got out the towels and they went to work. Colben had to keep reminding Danika to clean up because she got a little sidetracked once we opened under the sink because that's where their tub toys are so she immediately wanted to play with the toys.
Water went everywhere- I had to take everything out from under the sink and dry each toy off and then dry the floor and then dry off the doors, walls, everything on his counter top, the mirror and then I realized that the kids were still wet!
Needless to say it's amazing how 2 children can fit themselves into a bathroom sink and how many places water can go!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy 24th of July.

I want to take this time to acknowledge my pioneer ancestors, one in particular stands out in my mind today. Her name is Mary Lawson Kirkman

Here is the journal entry from one of her sons, John Kirkman
November 11, 1856
"Before we left Iowa my dear Mother had given birth to a son, Peter. She was naturally weak with the care of a nursing baby and five other children. Father was weak from want of food, having denied himself for us. The terrible strain of the journey was too much for him and one night, near the Sweetwater, he passed quietly away at the age of 35. Our little brother, Peter, died the same night. They built a fire to thaw the ground so that a grave could be dug, then with my baby brother clasped in his arms, they wrapped him in a blanket and laid him tenderly away. My darling Mother had to take up the journey alone with us five children. Provisions were almost gone, desolation reigned.
"The company passed off the main road to 'Martin's Ravine' to escape the terrible blizzards and storms for we had little clothing and had given up all hope. Death had taken a heavy toll and the Ravine was like an overcrowded tomb. No mortal tongue could describe the suffering. Such was the condition when word was received that help was on the way."
(Virginia Kirkman Nielson, A Pioneer Woman of Faith and Fortitude, Mary Lawson Kirkman [Ephraim, Utah: October, 1994], 4.)

She was only 33 when she made the trek to Utah and when her husband died, he was only 35. I realized just now that that is how old my husband is! I don't know how she did it.
She made it to the valley on Nov. 30th 1856 and settled in what is now Springville. She remarried 2 more times- outliving both husbands. She is buried in the Springville Cemetery.
When I lived in Utah our ward had the amazing opportunity to go to Martin's Cove and experience a little bit of what they went through. We got to pull handcarts and walk through the actual Cove. I won't go into details of what I felt during those 2 1/2 days but it was life changing.
I was in charge of assigning pioneer names to everyone that went and for those couple of days they were that person. I even made booklets where in the front was a short bio of the person and the last page of the booklet was taped shut and on the last day they got to unseal it to see if they survived or not. I had the honor of walking in Mary Lawson's name and it was such a spiritual experience, one that I will never forget.
I owe so much to my pioneer ancestors and I should like to think that some of Mary's strength, courage and faithfullness somehow got passed down to me.
Thank you Mormon Pioneers for making the sacrifice to join the saints in Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Storm Damage

I really don't know why i'm posting this but we had a really bad storm come through with very high winds and the next day I had to go run errands and we drove by this tree that had fallen over in a cemetery and I couldn't help but pull over and take a picture because it totally reminded me of the microburst that happened when I was about 17. My mom had sent me out to go run an errand for her just as the storm came through (not knowing it was going to be a microburst) I was driving back home when it got so bad all the power went out in the city so all the signal lights were flashing and people were going crazy trying to get home.
I got home safe but the storm was pretty intense and did a lot of damage to the trees in the Provo Cemetery and knocked over the oldest tree on Grandview Hill and it came within inches of hitting the house on the property.
Anyway here is the one tree that fell over!!

Gotta love the weather here in good ol' Texas!!


This was D's first time with pigtails- doesn't she just look so cute?
She'll ask for them now and she'll even go get the pony tail holders and stand sideways so I can put them in.
They stay in for just about 10 min. and then she'll come up to me with the holders in her hand telling me they fell out- yeah, they fell out cuz you pulled them out!!

Seriously folks, could she be any cuter?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ben- what a playa!

Ben's work has a co-ed softball team and they also have a men's team that Ben is on. He's on the "I'll play if you are absolutely desperate for players" list.
He finally got the call so we went to the field to cheer our MVP on!!

Ben says that this ended up being a foul ball- but for all you know it was a home run!!!
Ben plays 2nd base- what a hottie!!!

Ben's B-day

Ben turned the big 35 on June 18th and the kids wanted to make him big cards so I pulled out a bunch of my old scrapbooking supplies. I like to put all my stuff that I don't use anymore into a big pile and whenever the kids want to make cards for friends or just do some crafts it's always nice to have that pile of stuff handy!!!
Right when Ben got home the kids surprised him with their cards- he loved them and we had fun making them!
I took him out to Texas Land & Cattle to eat.
Can you believe it's been 9 1/2 years?
I wanted to go see a movie but Ben really wanted to go get his b-day present so we headed to Lowe's and he got to pick out a sweet BBQ Grill (i'll take pics of him cookin' us up some yummy steaks soon!)
Happy Birthday Ben- I love ya!!


We extended our patio in the backyard and Ben really wanted the kids to be able to put their hands in the concrete so they could have their handprints there forever.

It didn't really work that well because right after Danika got her hands done it was Colben's turn. She wanted to watch so she walked across the wet concrete so we had to hurry and take her inside to wash off the mud and grass, then we had to go next door and tell the guys who were working on some concrete over there what happened so one of the workers came over and smoothed it all down- including the kids' handprints!!
Then later that day the wind was blowing really hard and it blew both of our garbage can lids onto the cement. When I got home I totally freaked out thinking they were going to be stuck but they weren't but it did leave permanent circle marks on our brand new cement!!
Oh well, at least I got pictures of what would have been really cool!


Normally we don't think "Gee, it would be so fun to pack up the kids and head on down to the local Chuck-E-Cheese and torture ourselves for an hour and try and choke down their plastic pizza and spend wayyy too much money on skee ball" but Colben had a ton of extra coins that he was just dying to use so we thought "Hey why not" so we all hopped in the car and told him that as soon as his coins were gone- that was it, we weren't going to buy anymore. He was good with that which also meant that we didn't have to spend any extra money there.
Ben followed Colben around and played games with him while I hung out with Danika as she went from machine to machine not knowing that in order to make it work you had to put coins in so luckily she is still in that "it's the little, cheap things that entertain" phase!

She freakin' loved this horse- she wouldn't get off it for about 20 min.
She's not kiddin' around people- this is some serious horse ridin'
Giddy' Up!!
She loved Chuck E Cheese!!
She was trying to snuggle up with his arm.
With all of Colben's tickets that he won from the games he got these funny dress up glasses!
Danika wanted to try them on!!!
Daddy and his little girl!!
Mommy got talked into wearing them too!!
Daddy and the kids- after going to Chuck's place we decided to stop at a new Sushi & Steak place called Shogun- it was soooo yummy, i'm sure we'll be going there again soon!
I told them all to make a funny face and I thought it was so hilarious that they all have their tongues stuck out!
Colben took this picture and the one underneath it- not too shabby, if only he could make us about 10lbs skinnier!

Danika- My future Astronaut

I've had this box of old stuff sitting in the garage and I finally went through it and found out it was all my old dolls and their doll clothes and some of my ribbons and medals from when I used to run cross country.
Danika really wanted to try on the outfit that came with my Astronaut Cabbage Patch Kid doll so this is her attempt at being an Astronaut

The "gloves" on her hands are actually the boots- the gloves weren't even close to fitting.
The jacket is on backwards but this was the only way it would fit but she even has the back pack on so she can survive on the moon! The reason she has no bottoms on is because she tried soooo hard to get the overalls to fit but it just wasn't happenin'!
I just thought this was the cutest thing ever so I had to take pictures of it!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Added pictures to my Washington trip posts

I just wanted everyone to know that I added pictures to my trip blog. Instead of creating a new post I just went into each day's blog and added the pictures that pertained to that day.
Please go back and look at the pictures!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

LaShon and Ralph- please read!!

I wanted to post this so you all know what's going on with my best friend and her husband.
LaShon has been my best friend since we were Sophmores in high school and she is like part of my family- she is basically my 4th sister. Her husband, Ralph is like a brother to me- I knew I was going to love him when I found out he was a die hard Raider fan like myself!
While I was on vacation I got some really bad news from LaShon- Ralph is really sick and he needs a kidney transplant. It made me so sad knowing I can't physically be there for her but I knew I can't just sit back and do nothing so all i'm asking is that you go to their blog and find out about this disease and what you can do to help them!!!
The blog is http://www.ralphsamyloidosis.blogspot.com/
There is information to the right if you are interested in donating to help Ralph fight this disease and to get his kidney transplant.
They have been trying to get pregnant for a long time and a miracle happened! She is due with their first child, a boy, in November!
Please look at their blog and see what you can do to help them.
Please include them all in your thoughts and prayers.
Thank you.

Washington/Virginia- Last Day- updated with pictures

Yorktown- this is what life would have been like living on a ship.
Quoting what is on the sign next to this "The broken stock of this Brown Bess expressess the emotion of the British soldier who flung it upon the pile of arms at surrender field." If you look closely at the bottom you can see where it's been broken.
Washington's Tent. It's a miracle it survived with how much use it got. It was passed through the generations but luckily everyone took really good care of it.
Part of the battlefield. Some of the artillery.
Some more artillery- some of it was authentic and some of it was replicated.
After the park ranger told us what this was and how it was made we came to the conclusion that this is the first rebar ever made.

It's hard to imagine what went on on this field- it's kinda hard to wrap your mind around the history of this grassy area.

Ben standing in one of the dugouts- I would hate to have to dig this out.
Redoubts # 9 & 10
The Moore house- this is where Cornwallis signed the Surrender.

This room could have been where the surrender was signed.
This is what we got to drive through during the car tour. It was so pretty and quiet.
Surrender Field.
Our Trophies of War.
Washington's Headquarters.

French Artillery Park.
Me standing under my handy dandy umbrella!
The old church.

This was cool to watch them digging and sifting- except for when it started raining really hard. they had hurry and cover what they were working on, pile all their tools and run into the church to wait it out. All the crosses in the front are where they've found skeletal remains.
Pretty self- explanatory.
Me in front of some of the original foundations of something.
Captain John Smith.
Fredericksburg, VA.
If you read further down into the blog you'll read the story about this amazing soldier who risked his life to bring water to his enemies.

The Original Wall- more info below in the blog.
Original bullet holes still in the side of the Ennis House
The last 3 pictures are my feeble attempt at capturing as much of the cemetery as I can while hanging half out of the car as we drove by.

So today was the last day of our vacation and I was having mixed emotions- on one hand I was ready to come home, I had walked about 40 miles and I was tired and wanted to sleep in my own bed but on the other hand I was really enjoying not having to change diapers, trying to stop little fights between the kids and not having to watch cartoons! Ben was very anxious to get home though!!
We drove to Yorktown and did the battlefield tour- we first walked through the visitors center where they had artifacts from the siege, like Washington's tent and the Lafayette Cannon. We then followed a park Ranger to 3 different spots outside where she went through her very well memorized speech on each thing- it was kinda hard to understand her at times because she would just talk so fast- i'm sure she says the same things over and over again and it gets to be very monotonous but it was just cool to look around at all the history that happened there.
There were cannons and redoubts and a big open grass field with white flags off in the distance- if you didn't know any better, you'd think you were on a PGA golf course. I personally don't know a lot about this part of history so i'm going off the pamphlets I got in the visitors' center.
The American victory at Yorktown, the last major battle of the American Revolution, secured indedpendence for the US and significantly changed the course of world history. After taking some pictures we jumped in the car and did the 7 mile drive tour that took us to Moore House where the terms of surrender were signed to end the siege at Yorktown. By the afternoon of Oct. 19th 1781, both commanders had signed the Articles of Capitulation. We moved from there to Surrender Field and along the way were signs that talked about things that happened in that area. The drive was so pretty- dense, green foilage and it was overcast and at times rainy and it smelled so good!! At Surrender Field Cornwallis's army marched onto this field and laid down its arms. This ended the last major battle of the Revolutionary War and virtually assured American independence. There were a bunch of different types of cannons that we took as trophies of war and on all of them were stamped "Surrendered by the Capitualtion of Yorktown Oct. 19 1781" on all of them. We then drove to Washington's Headquarters and it was situated in almost a cul-de-sac. There wasn't anything there except a plaque that had a picture of what it probably looked like and writing on it that said Washington set up 2 tents, a large one for meeting with his staff and for dining, and a smaller one as his private office and sleeping quarters. We then made the drive over to Jamestown and walked through the old fort- it was sooo cool, there was a huge archealogical dig going on with people shoveling dirt, marking different things, and working with the automatic sifter. There was a statue of Pocahontas that looked like it had seen better days, the coloring was wearing off so it looked like she was bleeding green. There was an old church there that they had reconstructed the inside and parts of the outside. It started raining pretty hard so we went into a really cool musuem that had things that they had found during their digging- including 3 skeletons!! You weren't allowed to take pictures so unfortunately i'm just going to have to remember everything!! There were certain spots on the floor that were glass and if you looked down you could see the original foundation of the old fort. Very cool! We went to the edge of the water where there was a plaque that said "The Site of the First Landing" It went on to say that the first landing was right in front of us in the river and that during the years since 1607 the river had erroded about 25 acres so they had to build a concrete looking dam so that it can't errode anymore. Kinda cool knowing you were standing on the site of the first landing of the English settlers! We had seen basically everything there was to see in Jamestown so we headed back to DC to hopefully be able to see the Jefferson Memorial but Ben remembered there being a sign in Fredericksburg for battlegrounds so we stopped off there for some food and went to the visitors center and they were so helpful- I told them we were in a hurry and just wanted to take some pictures and they told me right where to go and what to see- gotta give a shout out to all the park rangers and give them some props!!
We drove down the street and walked about 20 feet and there was a big statue called "Angel of Marye's Heights" The story is really cool- During the battle, wounded Union soldiers, caught between the lines, cried out for water. Though exposure to enemy fire even for a moment meant almost certain death, Sergeant Richard R, Kirkland of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers tried to help. Filling several canteens with water, the young Confederate stepped over the stone wall to care for the wounded enemies. When union soldiers understood Kirklands purpose, they ceased firing at him and cheered. For nearly 2 hours he contined his ministrations. Kirkland has since been known as The Angel of Marye's Heights" He died in battle at Chickamauga, Georgia in Sept. 1863. Then around the corner is the original wall, or more commonly called "The Sunken Road" cut into the base of Marye's Heights, the roadbed sits several feet bleow the grade of the surrounding hill slope. Stone retaining walls on either side of the road hold the banks in place. When the Confederate army arrived here in Nov. 1862, it found a ready-made breastwork behind which to fight. At the time of the battle, the stone wall stretched for more than 500 yards along the eastern side of the road After the Civil War, however, large sections were removed. Today just this 1 block remnant of the original wall remains. Down a little ways was a small building called the "Innis House" Located along the Confederate line of battle, the small structure was marred by soldier graffiti and perforated by bullets and shell fragments. You can still see bullet marks on one of the vertical timbers on the side of the house and on the inside walls and on one of the doors. We were running out of time so we drove by the cemetery and I took what pictures I could from the car. Then it was off to the airport- we weren't able to get to the Jefferson Memorial so I guess I'll just have to look at the postcard I have of it and just imagine I was there!
Our flight was delayed for about an hour so I called my dad and let him know we were at the airport. Our flight landed at DFW at around 10:30 and we quickly drove to the Alva's to get the kids- they were asleep together on a bed and I almost hated waking them up but we missed them so much- we finally came home and our house was soo hot. Ben had turned down the air to save money so it took a while for me to go to bed- I was waiting for the temp. to go down to a comfortable level!!
I'm really happy to be home but I can't stop thinking about all the wonderful, amazing, spectacular things I got to do and see- I would highly recommend everyone taking a trip to DC/Virgina and get a glimpse of how this country started and what our Founding Father's went through so we could live in this Free Country!!!
I hope you all enjoyed reading my vacation blog!