Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Our Side of the Story

This time while Jason was away on his fishing trip, I didn’t want to focus so much on his absence, but wanted to focus on the quality time I could have with Charlie. The first evening he was away, after a quick dinner, we took a nice leisurely walk down to Smiths for some groceries and to treat ourselves to a tasty donut. One of the bakers was out stocking the shelves and saw Charlie sitting in his stroller. After a quick walk to the back, she came back with a sugar cookie for Charlie (and Mommy) to munch on. What a nice treat!

The next day, Nancy and April invited us to head to Alpine for an afternoon at the splash pad. I was really excited to finally be able to take Charlie there. Each of us brought a contribution to the group lunch, which included sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, chips & guacamole, and wafer cookies. It was pretty dang windy that day...we were being sprayed while sitting at the tables that were a good distance away...but I would much rather deal with that wind than be baking in the scorching heat. Charlie surprised me by really enjoying the splash pad. We only walked along the outer edge because I didn’t think to wear clothes that I could get wet in (next time I’ll bring a swimsuit and venture in further). He loved holding onto my hands and walking in the puddles of water. He also loved walking in the grass while pushing Elsa’s small stroller. If he can walk and push something, he is a happy camper!

Since George was also out of town that weekend for a young men’s activity...Nancy invited us to make a night of it. We had Little Caesar's pizza, and after putting Charlie to bed, we watched a recorded episode of So You Think You Can Dance. We both love that show. I was especially excited since we no longer have any TV. We opted to just get internet and use Netflix for our TV watching pleasure.

Charlie loves emptying and filling this drawer of kid cups and bowls

The next day I made plans to stay with my family in Draper. That evening, my parents had a reception and I invited my friend, Amy, over for a sleepover. That’s right...twenty-six years old and still having sleepovers. It was really fun! I wish I could remember the last time I had one of those. We stayed up late playing Kings Quest, eating chocolate Dunford Donuts, painting each others’ nails, and experimenting with spray-on tanner. It was a blast!

Bryan has collected a huge box of big cars for Charlie to play with when he comes....in heaven!

A quick walk before putting him down to bed

On Saturday, Kimberly, Charlie, and I took advantage of Old Navy’s $1 flip-flop sale....we definitely stocked up. Later that night we went to my high school friend’s wedding reception: Sarah Rasmussen. It was a beautiful reception in her parents back yard, complete with big blow-up toys for the kids. Before heading home to see Jason, who had just returned, my family watched Oz on the projector. It was such a fun weekend...filled with things that successfully distracted me from even realizing Jason was gone. I want it to be that way every time he is gone!

Kimberly and Charlie at the reception

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Boulder Mountain

(Written by Jason Gruber)

The glorious Boulder Mountain fish trip had arrived.  The plan was to head out Wednesday afternoon after work.  There were four of us going: Trevor Cook, Parker Redding, and Chris McGinnis.  A couple weeks before the trip we had a "meeting" to determine which lakes/region to hit up in the Boulder Mountains as well as food and so forth.  The night before we left, we hit up Walmart and grabbed the food for the trip.  Well, the next day Parker called and he was SICK!!! I couldn't believe it.  He had been throwing up all night, still felt sick, and was super sick.  After many calls and as much peer pressure as I felt comfortable dealing out, Parker still decided not to come out with us that night.  He decided he would come out the next morning if he was feeling better.

So, T, Chris and I headed out.  Chris's father in law let him use two four wheelers as well as his truck, which was really generous.  So we had a four wheeler for each person, and left the fourth behind since Parker wasn't coming out that night.  

Along the way we stopped and had some awesome burgers at a little burger joint in Salina.  Since none of us had been to the Boulders before, as we went through the town of Torrey we stopped and grabbed a map.  Well, after searching for quite some time for a "trail head" we think we had found it and since it was late, we just decided to camp at the trail head.  Early in the morning, we decided to take the four wheelers and explore the trail to see if it was good enough for the truck to go on it.  Well, long story short it was the wrong trail, so we went back to another trail and luckily it was the right one.  We quickly packed up the four wheelers with our fishing gear and float tubes, and set off to get our fishing on! 

We came across Beaver Dam first, and it was CRAZY windy.  There was one other guy out on the lake, and we figured if he could do it, then we could.  The lake looked amazing and we were all stoked.  It started out pretty slow, but then after trying some different patterns, we finally caught on to what the fishies wanted.  We caught some great brookies and splake - two fish species which I hadn't caught before.  We stayed up there for a while, but T discovered he had a decent sized leak in his waders...so he got pretty cold.  

That night for dinner we had some awesome tin foils with steak, and instant mashed potatoes.  The plan for the next day was to hit up a lake next to Beaver Dam, called Fish Creek.  

We didn't get up too early, since we wanted to have a nice breakfast.  We had some delicious pancakes, bacon, eggs, and orange juice.  I forgot to mention that the trail we took on the four wheelers was amazing.  It was quite rugged and steep through areas and we crossed through streams a couple of times.  The scenery and landscape in the Boulders is beautiful.

Fish Creek ended up being a really fun lake to fish, and there was hardly any wind all day.  In the middle of it there is a sort of island that is very small, but big enough to get off of the float tube and stand ( probably about the size of a large room in a home).  I went straight for the island and ended up having pretty good luck.  I caught some more splake and also some cutthroats.  Trevor and Chris fished along the edge of the lake for the first bit, but didn't have much luck, so they came over by the island.  We fished until about 2 PM until we stopped for lunch.  We had packed some bratwurst in a small cooler and left it on shore.  We made a small fire, found some sticks and roasted the brats.  Even though we only brought mustard and buns, they tasted amazing!!! 

The island

The rest of the afternoon we stayed at Fish creek and continued to do quite well.  Around 6 PM, Chris noticed some other fishermen had started using dry flys and appeared to be catching even more fish than we were.  Chris and Trevor started dry flying and quickly began to catch fish!  Being relatively new to fly fishing, I hadn't fished much yet with dry flies so I was a little hesitant since my streamers and scuds seemed to be quite effective.  Well, after Chris and Trevor started catching more fish, I quickly switched it up, and all three of us started catching even more fish.  Fishing with dry flies is amazing.  Towards the end, I caught an awesome tiger trout about a foot off the shore.  We kept it, along with two other fish for our fish fry that night.  Trevor filleted all three fish in about a minute, and we were off back down the mountain to our camp site.  He also did his special seasoning and breading of the fish. We had fish and chips - it was delicious.


T and a tiger trout

We debated a lot about where to fish the next day, since we had had good luck with the previous two spots.  We wanted to try out a lake called Blind lake, but we knew we had to hike to it, and had no idea how good the fishing would be.  After much deliberation, we decided to get up early the next morning and fish Blind lake.  

The hike to Blind Lake was about 25 or 30 minutes.  To make a long story short ( and a kind of a windy one) Blind lake ended up being a bust.  We stayed for about an hour and a half, and then decided to make our way back down to Fish Creek.  Blind lake was pretty, much bigger than the previous two lakes, but for whatever reason, we only caught three fish.  

Fish Creek ended up being great again.  It was a little windy, but we decided to start off with dry flying again because it was so much fun, and very effective.  Sure enough, the fish were still interested.  The island ended up being amazing.  Trevor and I fished the island while Chris stayed near the far shoreline.  Chris ended up catching a monster Tiger...approaching 20+ inches (Biggest fish of the trip).  We met some cool guys at the island, who apparently had an even more effective dry fly, because for every fish we caught they would catch 5!  I couldn't resist, so I kicked my way over and asked what the heck they were using.  The guy was nice and pulled out the most simple looking dry fly ever and gave it to me.  While this was happening the wind was strong and it was apparent that a storm was coming in.  The two guys we met decided to scram.  We weren't too far behind, but before we knew it, there was rain....then snow! Yes, SNOW!  We couldn't believe it was snowing on us in June, not to mention there was a lot of thunder and lightning.  We booked it to the shore, and of course by the time we got to shore, it had pretty much ended.  But, it was early afternoon, and we figured we should probably call it quits so we could get home at a decent hour.  I was resisting leaving so soon, but it made sense. (I just wanted to try out the new fly that I was given)

(Sadly, no pictures the third day because our camera fell in the water, and my GoPro ran out of battery the first day)

The trip ended up being really really fun and the fishing was great.  Parker ended up not making it up, as his sickness lasted through the weekend.  He was mad to say the least.  We all hope to make it back up possibly this fall time.  We will see!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On To June

June was busy, busy, busy....go, go, go! I’m sure that is how summer is for everyone. Let’s begin the list of June activities, shall we?

Every chance we got, we took advantage of the warm evenings and headed up the canyon for a BBQ. It is nice being so close to American Fork Canyon. We went twice in June. First at a random spot up the canyon, and then again at Mutual Dell. Both were fun and delicious, and Charlie was a gem. This time at Mutual Dell, I knew this was where I wanted to have Charlie’s First Birthday party. I had been anxious and nervous about it up until I knew this would be the spot. It would be perfect: spacious, beautiful, fun, great food, and a place that Charlie loves! (More on his party to come.)

A stroll at Tibble Fork after dinner...pushin' it way passed his bedtime

At Mutual Dell making dutch oven peach and blueberry cobler

June is a crazy month for birthdays! There are two birthdays on my side, four on Jason’s side, and then add Charlie to that mix. It is nuts, but very fun! My mom and Kimberly have birthdays two days apart, so the girls got together for a fun afternoon outing. Mom, Camry, Charlie, and I met up in Draper, picked up Kimberly for an extended lunch break, and headed to City Creek. We looked in a few of the shops, but the main item on our agenda was lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. Yum! It was a fun outing....something that all of us don’t get to do very often.

Love Cheesecake Factory! They brought out a plate just for Charlie with bread and banana slices...without being asked! So impressed!

That evening, Jason, Charlie, and I met up with my cousin Brooke (Arbon side), and her husband and baby girl, Olivia. They only had a week or so left before they were going to move to Nevada for school. We definitely wanted to take advantage of that time to see them before they left. We met up at Chili’s for a fun dinner. Their little baby is the cutest thing I have ever seen! She is only four months younger than Charlie. She has the sweetest eyes and the longest eyelashes! Good luck with school! We miss you guys!

For most of May, my friend Amy was in Cambodia for a humanitarian effort/vacation. She was gone for three weeks! That is a long time to be without one of your best friends! I was especially anxious for her return because for my birthday in May, my brother Tyson surprised me with a working version of Kings Quest VII (which was a favorite game of mine and Amy’s when we were young). I didn’t want to start the game without her, so I had to wait for her return from Cambodia. When she finally got back, it was an awesome reunion...as we played King’s Quest to our hearts delight! It is a terribly embarrassing thing to do as adults, but it really gave us a high as we took a walk down memory lane. Such a fun gift, Tyson! Thank you! We are still enjoying your gift to this day...as we still have a couple more levels to beat.

Charlie and I have continued our nearly weekly visit to my mom. When Camry doesn’t have work, she joins in. For one of our weekly visits, my mom and I made homemade laundry soap. We got the idea from my cousin, Bri, loved it, and were anxious to make our own. You can save a bunch of money on laundry detergent this way. The soap-making was a success, and afterward, we headed to the Larsen’s to swim in their pool. Their pool is awesome (I have talked about it before...several times)! It was great for Charlie because they have a very shallow ledge that he can crawl around on, but still be in the water. It is also next to the side, so he can hold onto the wall and walk along it. The Larsen’s also had a giant floaty that he could sit in. We have been to their pool once or twice since then, and every time....Charlie cries when we put him in it, but he always comes around within a few minutes. Such a sensitive little guy!

I finally got some flowers for our outside windowsill. Last year, I had three planters full of flowers that I had to keep replacing since they kept dying. This year I limited it to just one planter. But I have been in love with them! We planted a Dahlinova Carolina, royal purple Lanais, and two apricot trailing petunias. I also planted a Regatta Blue Splash in a separate pot (not pictured here). Every day it brings me genuine pleasure to look out the window and see them there. I love seeing new flowers bloom. I love watering them. I love picking the weeds out of the bed. I love dead heading the old flowers. I love everything in the process of making my flowers flourish!

The beginning of my growing flowers

A fun-packed June so far...and more to come...

Finishing Up May

As we work our way towards summer, life starts getting crazy busy. Here are a few more things to add to our May activities:

Even though Kim doesn’t leave for her mission in Georgia until mid-August...she was ready to go through the temple and receive her endowments. With basically every single friend leaving or having already left on their missions, she was anxious to be endowed so she could visit the temple often with her friends who were awaiting their departure dates. I admire her for wanting to do it so soon. She just wanted family there, so my mom, my dad, Jason, and I got to go through with her at the Draper Temple. It was really special for me, not only because she is my little sister, but also because it was the first time I have had the opportunity to go with someone who was going for the first time. Very cool.

After the session, we met up with Bryan and had dinner at Mimi’s Cafe. Even though Camry couldn’t go with us to the temple, she still participated by watching Charlie for us. Thanks again, Camry!

This Memorial Day was more significant for me than it has been in the past. This was the first Memorial Day since both of my mom’s parents passed away. It is very typical for my family to go up to Idaho for the holiday and to visit the cemetery in Parker...but they have always been grave sites of ancestors I did not now. This year, I wanted to make certain we made it up there and could visit my grandparent’s graves. It was a very touching and tender moment to be there at their graves, bringing back all of the emotions from their funerals. My poor mother and her siblings...what a hard thing to have to go through in one year!

Hanging out with Grandpa and Grandma

The holiday weekend was quite a busy one! The Rich siblings decided it was time to sell the house, due to the cost and upkeep. There was a family that was possibly interested and wanted to move in the first week of July...so we were busy sorting through, cleaning, and moving things out (they didn’t end up buying the house, but we didn’t know that at the time). The whole family was asked to tackle the storage sheds in the yard and to move out the big items in the house. We also went through a lot of things in the basement. We worked long and hard, and couldn’t believe how much stuff Grandma and Grandpa had tucked away. The cousins didn’t really get any game playing time like we usually do in the evening, but we did manage to play some ultimate frisbee on Sunday and Monday afternoon, as well as some Steal the Flag on Sunday night. I usually hate Ultimate Frisbee, but I had such a blast with my cousins. Probably because there was no stress or pressure to be good...they just take me as I am. I played so hard that I got blood blisters on my feet!

Yes, that is a cat corpse found in the shed! Poor kitty!

Pizza break from the famous Mr. Pizza

Sorting through the things

Taking a break during Steal the Flag to celebrate Kimberly's 19th birthday

Monday night, most of my family left...but my mom, Charlie, and I stayed behind. The cousins that are my age also left to go back to their homes and apartments. My mom was staying to continue helping her sisters get the house ready and sorted. She would be the only one sleeping at the house (since her sisters live nearby), and so she asked if Charlie and I wanted to stay the rest of the week with her. I knew I wouldn’t be much help with Charlie around, but I also knew this was an important time to be there for my mom. Charlie loved roaming around in the big house. It was pretty rainy the rest of the week, so we didn’t get a lot of outdoor time that Charlie would have loved. Oh well, we got plenty of little cousin time, as Lynze, Jayden, Jack, Kaylee, and AJ were there to play. It was a hard week, but I’m so glad I was able to be there for my mom and to be able to spend some precious, fading time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

One of Charlie's favorite spots

And to finish up the month of May, we had a date night with Jaleah and Mark. We did what we love to do best! We got some Papa Murphy’s pizza and played some games. The game of choice this time was Ellen Degeneres’ game, Heads Up. It was a hoot! So glad we got to play such a fun game with such fun friends!

And a quick look at our garden at the end of May: