Wednesday, December 18, 2013

October 2013

The Tuttles came for a surprise visit! Amy and the kids came, and Robby joined up on Friday. It is always so much fun when they make the trip from Colorado. I didn’t get to see them as much as I would have liked since it was the same week as my training at Pinnacle Quality Insight, but I did get to participate in a few things. While I was training, Jason was able to take Charlie to meet up with the gang as they visited Karl’s classroom. Karl always does an awesome job decorating his classroom and making it fun for the students. They also took a visit to BYU campus, always a treat. One of the days, I was able to meet up with the gang and go to Gardner Village. I had always wanted to go during Witch Fest! It was really fun to see all of the creative and unique witches all around. It was kind of rainy and windy, so it was a little cold to really stay too long and walk around. To warm up, we had a yummy lunch at the restaurant, Archibalds. It was toasty in there, just what we needed. Beyond that, there were a couple other get togethers, including fun dinners, fun pizza parties, and General Conference.

Karl's classroom

Gardner Village

For General Conference, we spent the morning with the Grubers and Tuttles. We had a delicious cinnamon roll breakfast (thanks, Karl!) and watched the first session. It turned out to be such a beautiful day that during the break we couldn’t resist taking a visit to the park. Everyone in Alpine had the same idea. The place was packed with families. It was really fun. We played a quick, friendly game of soccer on the grass. Ah, good times. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the Arbons for the afternoon session. We said goodbye to the Tuttles and wished them a safe drive home.

Outside between Conference sessions

Once at the Arbons, we relaxed in the basement on the comfy recliners and watched the afternoon session on the projector. After Conference, we had a celebration feast for Dad’s birthday. Mom always outdoes herself for birthdays! I’m glad our family is so big that we get to enjoy so many each year.

Writing letters to Kim after Dad's birthday dinner

October brought the end of our garden harvest. It was sad to see the tomato plants go. It still had tons of green tomatoes on them, but the temperature just wouldn’t allow them to develop anymore. We gave them plenty of time, but it came to the point that we finally realized it just wasn’t going to happen and it was time to let them go. We had a great harvest season! Our total tomato count came to about 70 super fantastic tomatoes and 210 roma tomatoes. That’s a lot of salsa, people! So, out with the old and in with the new. I really wanted to plant some tulips this year to enjoy in the spring. So although it was sad to pull out the garden, I was excited to plant a few tulip bulbs. We will see how they grow next year.

Last looks at the garden:


Those tomato plants sure take over everything!

As I mentioned before, my brother Bryan joined the mountain biking team at Corner Canyon High School. We went to his Corner Canyon race and also made it to his Midway race at Soldier Hollow. My parents, Bryan, and a couple of his friends spent the night at the WorldMark in Midway before the race. We met up with them that morning at the race track. It was a gorgeous day with a beautiful track. I was jealous, wishing I could ride a nice bike along the track. After the race, we got to partake from the team’s lunch of yummy soups, chilis, and other things (thanks to my mom being a team mom). Next, we headed back to the WorldMark room, in hopes of putting Charlie down for a nap. That didn’t quite work as planned, but we spent the afternoon talking with Camry and Felicia, playing 007 on the Nintendo 64, taking a walk around the Zermatt and Homestead, and swimming at the WorldMark pool. Oh, and who can forget about a good Arbon dinner and freshly baked cookies? We had a great day, and got home really late.



 

Bryan coming around on the left

Finally catching his breath

The scarecrow display at Zermatt:





Friday, December 13, 2013

Working From Home

On October 1st, I started a new job. I wasn’t looking for a job, but it kind of fell in my lap and it made sense. A sister in my ward sent out a note in Relief Society letting them know of a job opportunity for people wanting to work from home on their own schedule. The job is at Pinnacle Quality Insight as a Home Interviewer. I figured I might as well look into it a bit more. The sister who recommended it had been doing it for a couple years and loved the flexibility: being able to work while the kids were napping.

So in September, I was interviewed and hired, and began my training the first of October. It was kind of exciting to enter the workforce again (in a strange way). I call residents and loved ones of residents who live (or recently lived) at a nursing home/assisted living facility. I complete a survey with them over the phone, and I am paid per survey. I can make calls anytime during the day between the hours of 9 AM and 8 PM. It is great! As soon as I put Charlie down for his nap, I rush downstairs to complete as many surveys as I can before he wakes up. Shortly after I started this job, Charlie moved to one nap a day (which kind of stinks since I was counting on two different working times during the day), but I made things work. It is nice because they give me a workload based on what works for me. They have a minimum requirement of surveys they ask for, but that hasn’t been a problem. So at the end of the day, I end up working two hours a day (for about 15-20 days of the month) and make an extra $300 or so dollars. I imagine after the holidays, I may be able to increase my workload. Since Charlie is napping during this time, it is time that I would be at home anyways. Yes, the house doesn’t get as clean and some of my other projects are getting less attention (like this blog), but the extra cash goes a long way with Christmas presents and saving up for a future house.

So we will see how it goes. It is something that I could easily stop if things get too difficult, but things seem pretty smooth sailing right now and worthwhile. If any of you are interested in this opportunity, feel free to let me know.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lake Powell 2013

Last year was the first year Jason and I did not go to Lake Powell since we started dating, and that was because Charlie had just been born. This year, we really didn’t want to miss out. Jason’s friend, Richard, was spending another summer working at Lake Powell and was putting on another family and friend houseboating event. Since he works there he gets great connections for renting boats and houseboats...it’s basically just paying the insurance on them each day. Last year, Kamilla also worked down there and didn’t use her houseboat rental, so they let her cash in on it this year. That meant we had two houseboats!

My parents were nice enough to watch Charlie for us, so Jason and I hit the road for Lake Powell on Tuesday night (September 24th). We should have arrived there at 11 PM, but thanks to a disconnection to our phone’s GPS, we missed a turn and didn’t realize it until an hour and a half later. What tipped us off was the fact that we were driving towards the big dipper...which indicated we were driving north for awhile. By the time we were able to pull off the freeway into civilization and buy a physical map (what?), we were twenty minutes out of Richfield. We pulled out the map and I instantly thought, “How do you read this thing? Where is the search button?” So pathetic! Finally, we found our road on the map, but we also found some free wi-fi from a motel nearby and pulled it up on our GPS again. However, it did feel nice to have the physical map in case something happened to the GPS again. So we drove another hour and a half back to the point where we should have turned. That meant a total delay of three hours! Rather than pulling in at 11 PM, we pulled in at 2 AM! Yeah, frustrations were high. When we pulled in, we found Rich and Kamilla’s camper and fell quickly to sleep.

The next morning, Richard and Dan picked us up from the docks and took us to the houseboat camp (another perfect spot, thanks Rich!). The family had already been there since Saturday, so we were some of the late-comers. We brought stuff for camping on the beach, but thanks to Dan (he was leaving that day), he offered us his room. I think that was the first time we have gotten to sleep in one of the rooms on the houseboat. It has always been sleeping on the top or sleeping in a tent on the beach. It was super nice!

Arrived just in time for the famous Tadje rice pudding breakfast!

This year, Richard surprised us with some fun new toys. The most popular and unique was the Aquaskipper! Basically you hold on to the device, push off from the houseboat, and glide on the water using pumping motions from your arms and legs. A seemingly simple task proved to be quite difficult as you had to keep a constant momentum and balance. It took dozens of tries before being able to go further than a few yards. Richard was a pro at it, of course. And Jason was very impressive as well. I gave it a few tries, but wasn’t quite dedicated enough to it because of the exhausting effort required once you sink into the water. You have to catch a rope that is thrown to you and be dragged back in. It is either that, or try to swim with the thing yourself. That would be my only complaint about the Aquaskipper. It doesn’t seem like they got it quite right as far as getting back up again.

Richard's brother on the Aquaskipper


Jason

Me

video
A look at how it works


The weather this year was a lot colder than it ever has been. The water never really felt warm enough to want to jump in. It was more of a pain...only done when necessary. That is really too bad, since normally it feels like bath water. Alli and Parker Reading also joined the trip, arriving the day after us. Alli had never been to Powell, so it was kind of too bad that she came at a time that was so cold and uncharacteristic of our beloved Powell. The air was just chill and there were times that there was a cold wind. Not ideal! But even with the cold weather, we still had a blast. We enjoyed wakeboarding, Aquaskipping, and jetskiing. It was my first time ever jetskiing, and it was super fun. I just wish I hadn’t been so cold or else I could have ridden for longer. After about 15 minutes, my lips were blue and my body was shivering to the point of exhaustion. Another time, perhaps.


Jason on the jetski



We also had fun going on a hike to some old ruins, kayaking, and fishing (mostly Jason and Parker). The girls had more down time reading and laying out. We also had fun cooking meals when it was our turn, having long talks around the nightly campfire, and eating lots of goodies and s’mores.





Parker & Alli

Me & Jason



The dog, Bullet - a fisherman's worst enemy!




Cute little Dakota (Rich and Kamilla's son) - he did great on the trip and on the boat

The girls - Alli, Kamilla, and me

The Lake Powell trips always come and go too soon. By Saturday morning, we were packing up and heading home.


Jason, me, Kamilla, Rich, Parker, and Alli

One for the road...

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Paintballing

We did it! We made it happen! An idea that was conceived during our annual campout was accomplished, even with my high doubts. The Phillips boys talked about doing a family paintballing/camping trip. It sounded fun and all, but usually that kind of stuff is all talk. But we actually made it happen, and I am shocked! It was a blast! It definitely took some effort and planning, but so worth it!

The weekends leading up to the paintballing event were spent desperately searching for locations. Jason was assigned the task of finding the field. We looked up Provo Canyon, Hobble Creek Canyon, and Five Mile Pass. It was kind of stressful, not knowing how the weather would be, and not being able to reserve a playing field or camp site. We kind of just had to make a choice and hope for the best. We ended up choosing Dead Dog Field up Hobble Creek Canyon and Cherry Campground (just a minute drive away).


We met up at Cherry Campground on Friday a little before 6 PM and set up camp (luckily there was a group site available). Being the end of September, that meant the days were getting shorter and the nights getting colder. We would have liked to have more daylight hours Friday evening...but we were able to get in about an hour of play time. There were 21 of us in total: Me, Jason, Kendra, my dad, Bryan, Tyson, Camry, Paul, Dan, Sammie, Marc, Andy, John, Rob (Paul’s friend), my Aunt Erin, Aryana, Darnel, Dylan, and three of their friends. Kendra drove all the way from Idaho for this event! I’m so glad she came. It was fun to have her there. Sadly, none of the Scott Arbon kids could come. Kayden and Felicia, we will have to catch you next time.

Blurry shots of the campsite:





After an hour of evening playtime (which proved to be hard to see...as the light was fading and the goggles were fogging up due to the chilling air and heavy breathing), we headed back to the campsite to start dinner. Paul was in charge of food, and so he brought his BBQ and grilled up some hamburgers and hot dogs. He did a great job to keep the food budget cheap and tasty. To be honest, the whole event was pretty cheap. We got a great deal on the rentals and on the campsite. Before heading to bed, we played some good old Mafia around the campfire (Werewolf style). We even added an abominable snowman (freezes someone who can’t speak for the next round), a giant (when they die, they fall and kill the person to their left), and a mayor (they get to veto a kill from the town). It was really fun, and got quite heated.

We celebrated Aryana's birthday


Photo bombing!



Mafia Time:






During the middle of the night, I was abruptly awakened by some noise outside of the tent. I laid still and listened. I heard slow, heavy, thudding footsteps and then some heavy breathing. My body immediately froze and tensed up. The footsteps were too slow and heavy for a human or deer, and they didn’t sound like the steps from hooves. I was sure it was a bear! There were signs all over the campground saying be cautious of bears and to be sure to clean up your food at night. I wanted to wake up Jason so he could hear the bear outside, but I was afraid to make any noise. I didn’t want to draw any attention to myself and lead the bear over to our tent. I wanted to look outside of the tent to verify it was a bear, but again I feared the noise of the zipper would draw attention. Shortly after waking up to the noise, I heard one of the other tent’s zippers close. I hoped that meant either someone saw what was outside, or at least someone was awake and heard what I was hearing. I was turned away from Jason, so I just kept pinching and shaking his arms. He wouldn’t wake up. I was scared out of my mind! I was shaking uncontrollably! Thoughts kept coming to my mind as if this was my last night on Earth and that we shouldn’t have come. All I could do was pray for protection and pray for comfort that I might be able to calm down. Finally, Jason woke up from my pinching, but this was just moments after the noises stopped (of course). He did hear a low grunt or growl moments later, and then a few minutes later from further away. He wasn’t quite as convinced that it was a bear, as we whispered at a barely audible volume. He tried to comfort me as my body continued shaking for a solid five minutes. I didn’t know if I would ever fall back asleep, but eventually I did. In the morning, Paul and John said they heard and felt something big graze their tent. They had been sleeping with the tent open, so they closed it quickly when they felt something walk by. That was the closing zipper I heard in the night. No one else from our group heard anything that night. They pretty much dismissed the possibility of a bear and figured it was probably a moose or a cow. And it could have been. I am just pretty sure the steps I heard were not made by a hoof and was too slow for four legs. But, in the end, it doesn’t really matter what it was….it might as well have been a dinosaur for how scared I was! I seriously have never been so scared in my life! Never! I know I was receiving comfort from the Holy Ghost to calm my fears and keep me protected.


After breakfast, we hurried over to Dead Dog Field. We wanted to make sure we were the first ones there. We didn’t want to be fighting anyone for the field. We spent the morning and early afternoon playing capture the flag, assassin, civil war, VIP, and defender of the hill (can’t remember exactly what it was called). Within the first 30 minutes, we were surprised by a visit of wandering cows. There was a train of them and they just walked on through the field and then were gone. That would explain the huge cow pies in some parts of the field! I had never been paintballing, and it was super fun and less painful than I thought it would be. That is probably thanks to all of the layers I had on. It is probably a good thing that it was kind of cold out so we could layer up without getting too hot. By the time afternoon hit, it was getting pretty warm. A few people got some pretty bad hits and welts, but for the most part, it was a nice, friendly, safe, and intense game of paintball. It was definitely more thrilling and exciting than air soft wars. You are a lot more careful and strategic in your movements.

The cows....notice how beautiful the field was:






That color looks great on you, Camry

We definitely want to make an annual thing out of this paintballing event! Next time, we want to start earlier in the day on Friday so we can get two solid days of playing. It came and went way too quickly! We also want to branch out to Idaho to do a separate event with our Idaho cousins. It is a very fun and bonding activity. Can’t wait for more!