Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Memories with Dad

My daddy dearest visited us in State College, PA on Tuesday, Oct 29th.
He dressed up and trick-or-treated. What a trooper! A storm trooper that is. :D The kids had a blast and he actually enjoyed wearing the costume. So cute. :)
We drove to the Johnson home, Hiram, OH, Nov 4, 2013. Actually I drove. I drove the whole time. I don't drive. It was a different experience and I thank the heavens I didn't fall asleep and kill us both!
 This is the School of the Prophets, second story of the Johnson home. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon in that room. There was an awesome spirit there on that hallowed ground.
Touching where Joseph Smith had preached each Sunday during the year he'd lived there. Front porch of the John Johnson home, Hiram, OH.
 Joseph Smith went to Hiram and walked straight into this store and said something like, "You prayed me here, Brother Whitney. What do you need of me?"
 Above the store, Emma and Joseph's dining table.
 Sidney Rigdon's marking in the Bible while making corrections. Pretty cool.
Kirtland, OH temple. Nov 4, 2013. It was closed, but was still cool to see, even in the dark...
 I was sad to see it cracking in parts. I laid my hands on the surface, wanting to touch where so many early saints had worked and sacrificed so much to build a temple to their God. It was bigger than I'd thought. What a sacrifice!
 That evening we drove to Columbus, OH and ate at Texas Roadhouse. We shared a rack of ribs--my favorite! My dad is about to blow his straw in my face...'cause that's how we roll.
My dad writing in his journal. Such a good example. :)
 A huge rose garden in Columbus, OH. Nov 5, 2013. Yes I positioned my dad and made him pose for pictures. :)
 The rose garden wasn't in season, but the area was still pretty.
 Afterward we did a session in the Columbus, OH temple. It was so small, yet still the house of the Lord. :)
 Taking a walk with Grandpa on such a beautiful Fall day, Nov 6.
 I <3 elijah.="" p="">
 My dad had as much fun playing in the leaves as Elijah did.
I rest my case. :) 
Elijah insisted on helping Grandpa take the garbage out.
 Walking down to the boats to explore Penns Cave, Nov 8, 2013.
Entering the cave.  do-do-do-do! do-do-do-do!
The caves were beautiful. I could've stayed down there for hours.
 Pennsylvania Military Museum. Nov 8. They had cool cannons and tanks scattered around outside...
 And inside. Cannons from WW I, WW II, and Civil War eras.
 They had cool footage of the Navy guys doing their thing in the early 1900's.
 The stickers say, "Please don't touch torpedo". Elijah bonked his head on it. I think he broke the rules.
National Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA. Nov 10. It was sobering to see so many names on so many graves.
 On top of a lookout tower. Gettysburg, PA. It was freezing cold!
The Pennsylvania Monument. There are monuments for each state that had soldiers fighting in Gettysburg. This one is the biggest.
Nov 11. Intercourse, PA, "Amish country"
 We took a buggy ride on these bad boys.
 Beautiful countryside. There were farmers harvesting cornstalks using horses, it was hard to get pictures!
Our driver was none other than "Big Steve" from Amish Mafia. I've never seen the show, but he was pretty darn cool. He bought me chocolate chip cookies and offered to dress me as an Amish woman so I could be on the show. (He was filming the next day.) He said he'd never had to use his fists to protect anyone, but would if he had to, even for a "public woman" like me. He cracked jokes, was bad-A and all around cool and down to earth. A lot more liberal than I thought Amish were supposed to be (his arm is tight around me here). ha! :) A highlight of the trip, for sure.
I am so grateful my dad came to visit us! He originally came to help me with the kids because Alan was going to be gone. Alan didn't end up leaving, however, and had a work schedule with random days off so we could enjoy these awesome trips together. To building memories! :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pee Stain on Mattress Magic

So over the years we've acquired two twin size memory foam mattress pads. They're usually about $100 each but we got both for free. They transform the boys' okay mattresses into slices of cloud heaven to sleep on.
Tonight I discovered that one of them had a pee stain. A PEE STAIN! Well I was not happy about that so I went online to see what I could do about it and what do I discover? The mad scientist cure for pee stains on mattresses. I'm sure it could work on white cloth couches, too.
Put away your mad scientist gloves and safety goggles b/c the solution is easy and non-toxic.

1/2 c hydrogen peroxide
1 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
drop of liquid dish soap

Place ingredients in spray bottle but DON'T MIX. Spray onto mattress. Stain will lift within 15 minutes. Seriously, like magic. Just vacuum away any leftover powder and wa-la!
Now buy one of those vinyl mattress cover that cost $5 at Wal-Mart so you don't have to feel the need to pull out the mad scientist gear again. :)

Yeeeeeer welcome.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Unidentified Fuzzy Wuzzy

I was admiring my neighbor's garden, after watering my own, and a cute fuzzy wuzzy crawled out. It looks darling and huggable and tickles our hand when it crawls on it, but I know it was destroying my neighbor's food crops. So when Miles squealed with delight and asked to take it home I acquiesced. I emptied their sidewalk chalk bucket and we put it in.
I have no idea what it is. I surfed the web and the closest thing I found was a tiger moth caterpillar. I'm not sure, though, and am wondering what to feed it. Anyone have a clue?
I threw in a romaine lettuce leaf, a broccoli leaf and a parsley leaf. I guess we'll see which one is the winner!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Longest Road Trip Eva!

A couple months ago Alan had a BRILLIANT idea. He suggested we go to the west coast to visit family while he studies for his second set of (med school) board exams. Not fly, but drive.
I hate driving. I fall asleep at the wheel. I get car sick. I HATE being strapped into a car for long periods of time.
So of course I said, "Sure, let's do it!"
The kids were great, it was just...well...four days of tired, antsy, bored, unadulterated torture. But it was well worth it.
We made it to my dad's in Modesto, CA just in time for my birthday (Jul 7, in case you wanted to send presents). My dad even wrapped a package of lotion he didn't want. So thoughtful.
 We had cake (I made myself) and Its-Its (yummy ice cream-cookie sandwiches).
My little family drove to Reno visit my oldest sister, Francine, for a few days. We went jet skiing and to her community pool and hung out and had a ball. :D
I spent almost every day with my sister Jennifer. I loooooooooved it! :)
We went backpacking overnight with our friend Lindsey.
It was awesome girl time, to say the least. ha!
And we swam at lots of friends' houses.
I was able to meet up with lots of great friends like Amy...
And my dear friends from United Rentals (Athena, Paige, Sarah and Jessica). I love them!
I visited my awesome friend Liz.
And my dear, dear friend, Katie. I'm so blessed to still have so many wonderful friends in my hometown!!
After 3 weeks in CA we drove up to WA. I got to see my BFF's older sister (hence my sister by proxy), Trina! She made us carne asada which was ridiculously delicious. I love her so mucho, more so that she's Mexican now. :)
We caught up with friends in Renton, WA where we used to live. Sexy ladies!
And stayed the night at Alan's Aunt Donna and Uncle Stu's. Luckily Cousin James was in town.
I love Donna! :D And Stu. :D :D :D They are my faves.
We met Alan's family (parents and two sisters and their kids) and his friend (and wife) at a Mariner's game. They lost terribly. We're convinced us being there somehow broke their winning streak.
At least we had fun!
Then we headed to Ocean Shores, WA. 
 The beaches were huge and they had cool tide pools.
 We stayed the night and had a blast at the beach. Alan rented a scooter and took some of the kids for a ride.
Mom with a big starfish!
Alan, Miles, Elijah and I hit a trail on our way to Wenatchee, where his parents live.
It was fun and gorgeous. Yeah us! :)
We stayed at his beautiful sister's house. I fell in love with their pitbull, Remi. :)
We celebrated a birthday (kids in line to hit piñata)...
 Went to a splash pad (free and so fun!)...
Visited Levenworth and hiked some more...
And hit the super slide and horseback riding at Ensign Ranch on our way out. It's such a FUN and INEXPENSIVE place to play!
After 2 weeks with Alan's family we drove back to the Vancouver area to stay 2 1/2 weeks with my older brother and his family.
They've got a full on mini farm going on with 3 cows, over 30 chickens and 4 or 5 turkeys. And can't forget their 5 children. ;)
Needless to say, my outside-loving boys were in heaven.
They also played lots of video games, of course...namely Mine Craft.
One day we hit up Cannon Beach, OR.
And I fell in love...
(Not with my sister-in-law, I already loved her.) :)
 I was surprised to find awesome tide pools and the giant rock was so majestic and mysterious.
Alan studied while we played and it was such a fun time!
We enjoyed our time in Vancouver area immensely and look forward to the day we can move back to the west coast, nearer to our awesome family! 
On our way back to good ole' PA, Alan took us to see Multnomah Falls. They were beautiful! He and the two boys hiked to the top of the falls while me and my flip flops stayed with baby down below.
The next day we drove by Mount Rushmore. It. Was. Awesome. That's what my 6-yr old kept saying, anyway. :) And it was amazing!
You can take a little mile long hike to get different views of the carvings.
And you can walk through a really cool museum. Ive always wanted to see Mt Rushmore but never thought I would. Hooray!
The next day we stopped to see my old friend, Annie. We know each other from college days and it was so good to reconnect over pizza!
The next day (we're at August 23rd now) we saw our friend Michelle! We were friends and neighbors in Hershey, PA for 2 yrs and now she lives with her family in Ohio. It was good to see her again!
We reached State College around 4:30 p.m. that same day.
The next day was Saturday and we drove 1 1/2 hrs to Harrisburg to hit Bass Pro Shop and Costco. There we were able to meet up with more Hershey friends: ate lunch with the Mikesell's (no picture) and said HI to Kara (above) and Jeffrey Chen (booty...er...I mean below).
We love them a whole stinkin' lot. :)
Christian started first grade today. Miles starts preschool next week. 
Time to unwind...while getting into a school routine. Are we insane?

Don't answer that. ;)

It was a fun summer. And while we say we'll never do a cross-country road trip again...
I'm glad we did this one. :)
(Elijah saying, "Noooooooo!" to another long road trip!)