Thursday, August 17, 2017

March 2017 - Pre-Cambodia

In the beginning of March, I had a one-track mind: getting ready for Cambodia. I was shopping, packing, planning, getting gifts for the boys and my parents while we would be away. It was non-stop and very exciting. One night we went and had dinner at Thackerays. We got to see their new place and enjoy a delicious dinner they made for us. Then we went to La Caille for dessert and appetizers, thanks to a work gift card that Johnny had. While at La Caille we went over the upcoming Cambodia itinerary. We had a really fun time!

Gifts for the boys and my parents

In case I have not mentioned this yet, here is how the whole Cambodia trip came to be: Amy loves travelling! She has been to many countries with different organizations, sometimes not knowing anyone beforehand. A few years ago she went to Cambodia because she was friends with a girl named Neht (pronounced like night). Neht is from Cambodia and was in Utah for school. Neht moved back home and Amy had been wanting to go back. It is not uncommon for Amy to invite me on trips or ask me to travel places with her, but because of kids and things, it is usually too difficult. Because she recently got married this trip could be a couples trip. Our family situation was also in a perfect place since I am not pregnant and Colson is old enough to not require too much. The biggest deciding factor, however, was the fact that Amy found plane tickets for $400 round trip!! Cambodia is also known for being really cheap, cheap food, transportation, and accommodations. At $400 round trip we felt like we couldn’t pass up this opportunity. When would we get another chance like this where it is cheap, with friends, and have a connection within the country? We took the plunge and bought the tickets. The next big moment would be asking someone to tend our kids. We decided to ask my parents since the Grubers have had two opportunities for extended stays with our kids while we were gone on Arbon cruises. My parents (and Bryan) were very generous and welcomed the boys to stay with them. I was so grateful and knew the boys would have fun and be in good hands. It is definitely hard asking anyone to watch your kids for so long; at the same it is such a great chance for them to build greater bonds and relationships. I’m so lucky to have two sets of parents willing and able to tend the boys for trips like this. So lucky!

The month of March means St. Patrick’s Charlie likes to remind me. Just as we did last year, Charlie requested sugar cookies with green frosting and sprinkles. So that is what we did. Although Charlie is very persistent and demanding with his holiday cookie making, it is fun to have an excuse to make these treats that I would otherwise not take the time to do.

For the Bachelor finale, Kim, Camry, and even Kyle came over. The icing on the cake was that it was Pi Day! So I made a pie for the occasion. It was a very fun night. Nick chose Vanessa, which we saw a mile away, but we all agreed that Raven was actually the choice he should have gone with. She seemed much more real and the type that would have made him happier. Oh well, that seems to be the trend with this show.

That week was the week of our departure. I was very busy spending a ridiculous amount of time getting all of my beauty preparations taken care of: eyelashes, tan, wax, shellac manicure, new clothes. For some reason, all of these things seemed “essential” for a trip like this. It’s a little embarrassing. Luckily, Amy and I got our eyelashes done for free because she did a photography trade with a girl who does them in her home. I had never gotten them done before, but they were definitely worth the three hour application time. It was so nice not having to spend any time doing makeup while on the trip (plus it was so hot any makeup would have been sweating off anyways). Getting all of these “essentials” done a few days before departure, in the right order (because of waxing needing to be before tanning, and tanning before manicure, etc etc) was quite the miracle, especially considering needing to find times that would work for the other person and figuring out what to do with the boys.

Another important preparation was getting our media devices in order. Thanks to credit card points, we were able to splurge and get a DJI Mavic Pro drone and a GoPro gimbal, the Karma Grip. Lucky for us, this could be a business expense/investment as well as a huge personal reward. We were very excited to get these things to use for our trip. We got them just in time to be able to test them out a little bit before hand (around our house, Alpine, and even shooting a little mountain biking footage with Bryan). They are both SO great! They definitely made a HUGE difference in the video footage we were able to get. It also doesn't hurt traveling with a professional photographer! Amy brought her nice DSLR camera, so we had quite the well-rounded video stock.

Thursday, March 16th finally arrived: The day before Cambodia. That evening we loaded everything up and went to Draper. We picked up a pizza and ate it with my parents and Bryan. We ate it on a blanket in the front yard to take advantage of the nice weather. The next day was the holiday so we had a Leprechaun hunt that night before finally putting the boys to bed. We stayed the night in Draper and Bryan took us to the airport at 4:00 am, picked up Amy and Johnny in Sandy on our way.

Next post: CAMBODIA!!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

February 2017 - Valentine’s Day, RootsTech, and Jason to California

One Friday afternoon, Jason got home early from work. We took full advantage of this and took the boys to their first dollar movie: Trolls! Charlie had been to a theater one time before a long time ago when he was two, but this was Colson’s first ever movie theater experience. They loved it! We took lots of snacks and goodies and we had a great time. For some reason that just brought me so much joy to be able to go as a whole family. I am incredibly sad that the Provo Dollar Movie has since closed down! Just when we started entering that phase. Darn!

He had a date night with the Tadjes (plural). Nate, Sarah, Rich, Kamilla, Jason and I went for a night at Top Golf. We ended up eating at Culvers first because they said it was a two hour wait! Luckily it only ended up being an hour. It was a lot of fun! I was completely horrible at it, but I had a good time. I was skeptical about it being outdoors, but they had these amazing heaters by the couches and it was perfect. So much fun with great friends.

We enjoyed the Super Bowl with the Grubers.

February means Valentine’s Day, and for Charlie that means cookies. Charlie has such a good memory. He can remember the kind of cookies we made last year, the color of the frosting and sprinkles, etc. So there is no way he would let the holiday go by without making cookies. I’m definitely not complaining, but it was almost a daily question as to when we were going to make cookies. So we made cookies and it was a blast.

Jason and I had an early Valentine’s Day celebration. We tried out Shoots at the Riverwoods. We rarely get Chinese, unless it is Panda Express, and we thought it was very good. We picked up a Redbox (Deep Water Horizon) and then headed home to a house of kids already down to bed; my kind of night!

We took advantage of the free Discovery Day at RootsTech. Jason and I had never been. We wanted to scope out the expo to see what it was all about and to see if it would be fitting to promote PicSkip there in a future expo. We loved it! It was very inspiring and exciting. There was a lot to learn about and it was fun to see the new companies up and coming. President Nelson and his wife spoke; that was a special treat. I love that man. It was a great program. While we spent the day at RootsTech, the boys were in Alpine playing with Grandma, Grandpa, and the Riverton Gruber cousins.

Speaking of RootsTech, a Christmas gift from George and Nancy was getting DNA testing. We finally got the results! Here are the results:

The next day we had a yummy Valentine’s Day dinner with the Grubers.

Charlie and I made his school Valentine’s Day cards for school. Thanks to ideas and printables from Pinterest, we did Star Wars cards with PixyStix as light sabers. It was hilarious. Charlie’s best friend at school, Roman, loves Star Wars, so of course Charlie loves Star Wars. He has never seen it, but he can recognize it when he sees people with Star Wars shirts on. He has a couple of hand-me-down Star Wars shirts that he loves to wear. It is not uncommon for three out of the four days of school he is wearing a Star Wars shirt….the same three over and over again.

We celebrated Kyle’s birthday with an Arbon dinner. It was very exciting because we got to see my parents newly remodeled kitchen and fireplace. The remodel was complete with new carpet and paint throughout the main floor. It looks gorgeous! I’m so happy for them. It took a lot of time and work, but it definitely paid off. I LOVE it!

When the actual day of Valentine’s arrived, we had red heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. That night we dipped pretzels and other things in chocolate fondue. They really liked that. Bryan was nice and spontaneously offered to come up and be with the boys after they were put down to bed so we could get away. We took him up on that. We went and got Banana Nutella ice cream from a newer spot in Provo called Roll With It. It was so good! Then we went and saw Passengers. We loved it! It was such a pleasant surprise, and we took complete advantage of it! We will take any date night we can get! Especially when family is offering.

Jason spent a weekend traveling to California with Max to pick up Grandpa Bank’s old table. Max had asked Jason to come with him for the company and because Jason has a truck that could pull the trailer. They had a really good time. They hung out with Alli and the Banks clan. They ate dinner at a Greek restaurant that was way good. On Saturday, they got breakfast at Bob's Big Boy, went to the old zoo, and saw the planetarium with the amazing view. They had dinner at Katsu-ya (a Gruber favorite). They stayed with Alli then drove home on Sunday. The trailer ended up being so big and heavy that they only got six miles per gallon! It was a lot more expensive than they anticipated! On the way home they made a stop at the Seven Magic Mountains, or colorful rocks in Vegas. It was a short, quick trip, but they made the most of it and enjoyed their time with family.

Couldn't resist a stop for fireworks at the Valley of Fire.

While Jason was gone, I tried to keep the boys busy. We had a good time making homemade granola and we went to the Puppy Barn in American Fork. I had never been before, but I had heard a lot about it. We got there at four in the afternoon and it was so crowded! There were a ton of people there. It is such a cool and cute place, but obviously a lot of people like to go there. At this particular time about half of the puppies were “on break” so there were only a dozen puppies to hold for the 40 or so people there. We held two puppies before 4:15 when all of the puppies became off limits for their dinnertime. They couldn’t be touched until 5:00. So basically, it came down to bad timing. It’s an awesome place, but you have to time it right to make it worthwhile. Charlie didn’t actually like it all that much. He kept saying that he liked cats, not dogs. Colson on the other hand loved it! Maybe I will go back with just Colson while Charlie is in school. After the Puppy Barn, we went to dinner at McDonalds to eat and to play. I updated my blog while they played at the PlayPlace. That night, after putting them to bed, I watched Nashville and worked on our Cambodia itinerary. On Saturday, we went to Alpine to play. George and Nancy got the kids to help them pick up garbage since the snow had melted by putting them in teams and letting them earn pennies. It was really cute, and thanks to their ages, it worked well. After that we played toys and had pizza for lunch. We brought Pie Face and had a good time playing that. We also enjoyed Rice Krispie treats. While Jason was gone, Colson was waking up way too early! Not helpful. He woke up at 5:45 the first morning, then 4:45 the next morning. I have decided I need to take away the morning TV time to keep him from thinking he can wake up whenever he wants and expect to watch TV.

My pansies are starting to bloom nicely and the tulips are starting to emerge, thanks to the warm spot that is south facing and right next to the house.

We had our first play date with Roman Markle. As mentioned, Roman is Charlie’s best friend from preschool. We are constantly hearing about Roman and seeing his name on Charlie’s drawings. For our playdate we met up at the University Mall and played at their indoor playground. They had a blast. It was fun to get them together outside of a school setting. It was also really nice meeting his mom, Erin. She is very nice and fun.

Some of the ladies from the old 6th ward put together a neighborhood ladies night, with the idea that it would be a regular thing. For this activity we all went and saw Hidden Figures together. It was a fun time and a great movie. As with a lot of good ideas, however, we haven’t really gotten together since.

Kim and Camry came over one week night for a fun Bachelor Party Night. It was great to just hang out eating treats and judging everything going on in the show.

Jaleah and Mark came over for a dessert and game night. We love any chance we get to see these friends of ours, eat good food, and play a good game. We are always down!

I went to the temple. Sometimes that needs documenting.

We had a game night with our PG friends (Bairds, Gibbs, Paces). We had dinner at Five Guys, dessert at Roll With It, and then came back to our place to play games. We played Psych (the phone app) and Celebrity. We also had a spontaneous dance party and Candice showed us some of her secret moves! It was such a hoot!

In preparation for Cambodia I decided I wanted to try out a spray tan. I got a reference from Janae Amos in our ward for a girl who does it at her house for $10. Since it was so cheap I figured I would try it out before the real deal. I think I did a level 4. I was not prepared for how dark it would appear at first. The kind of tanner she uses comes on extremely dark, you sleep on it, then wash it off in the morning. I straight up looked Native American. I was in total shock. When I got home I double checked in the mirror and just started laughing uncontrollably. Tears were coming down my eye, I was laughing so hard. I ran up the stairs because I knew Jason was downstairs and I wasn’t ready for him to see it. He heard me rushing upstairs and thought I was sobbing (though I was actually laughing). As he ran up the stairs he kept saying, “What did you do?”. He knew I was getting the tan done, but had been nervous for me and how it might turn out. Pretty much his worst fears came true, but I reassured him that a good part of it was supposed to wash off the next morning. Thanks to my cry-laughing I already had a streak down my cheek where the tear went down my face. When I took my shower the next morning I could see the water was brown from washing off. That was a good sign. By the time I was done, it definitely was better, but it was definitely darker than I could ever be naturally. By day three or four, it was at its best (still tan, but looking more natural). By day seven, it was pretty much gone. It is amazing how being tan, at least for myself, can make me feel so much better about my appearance. Everything seems to look so much better on me with a tan. Because of that, and the dirt cheapness of it, I decided I would do it again for Cambodia in a couple weeks.

The night of the spray (notice tear streak on the left)

The next morning

Here are more pictures from the month:

Making homemade tortillas:

Beginning Colson's transition to a big boy bed

We got rid of the colorful plates above the kitchen table and put in some family pictures: