Saturday, June 22, 2019

Fairy Tale Festival

Andrew loves princesses. And the word 'love' is an understatement. He spends hours with his dolls role playing. So this year I decided to take him and Stella to the Fairy Tale Festival at Thanksgiving Point. My friend Ashley Funk joined us with two of her kids also.

It is always delightful to see the expression of excitement in a child's face when they get to meet a character they adored.

We began our excursion at the pirate ship. Andrew was not interested in even getting close to it. I eventually coax him to get in line with us. It was a slow line. By the time we got to the front he was willing to get into it.

Our schedule was limited, and there were a lot of things to do, so we rushed from place to place to see as many princesses as we could. We were able to see Elsa and Ana, Jasmine and Ariel and Aurora. Red Riding Hood was also roaming looking for her grandmother's house. She stopped to ask for directions, but none of us knew where she should go. I hope she made it there eventually.

By far my most favorite experience was meeting the mermaids that swim in the pool inside the Secret Garden. The line was slow and long, but once we got up to them, I loved the amount of time they spent with the kids. One of them allowed the kids to tickle her fin.

  She also showed them how to make a wish on a seashell.They both took pictures with the kids and were adorable in the way they interacted.

I am glad I took the time on Saturday to take the kids to meet some of their favorite people!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Arthur Passed Away

Our beloved dog of 14 years, Arthur passed away today due to acute pancreatitis. He will be dearly missed by all in our family.

To be honest, I didn't think I was going to miss him as much as I have. Our shadow, our doorbell, our guard dog, Arthur has been with us for almost as long as Todd and I have been married.

Our kids haven't known a day without him. And although I know I complained many times about his 'pee' accidents on the floor over the past few years and his incessant barking, he was also a fierce companion always crawling on our laps for family prayers or whenever we sat down on the family room rug.

He was especially close to Todd, who developed a close bond with Arthur during the six years he worked from home in Texas. Arthur would spend countless hours in his office keeping him company through the day.

It is strange not to feel his presence in our home. The house is surely more quite now that he is gone. I have never witness someone's passing, so it has been especially difficult for me as I was the one that was with him during those last few moments, watching his labored breathing just suddenly cease.

Arthur's passing could not have happen at a more perfect time. Our family has been studying the Atonement of Jesus Christ this past week. In our conversations with the kids, we were able to remind them to turn to God. Jesus's atoned not only for our sins but also felt all of the pain we experience, including our grief at the loss of Arthur.

Fortunately for us, Arthur died at home. That gave all of us the opportunity to say our goodbyes on our own terms. Some of us had to say our goodbyes multiple times before Todd took him to the veterinarian's office to be cremated. His ashes will be dispersed at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab. We loved the place when we visited last year and couldn't imagine a more dignified way to handle his remains.

I have also been so touched by those who have reached out to us with tender words and thoughtful gifts. Our home teacher, who had tended Arthur a few months back, had a feeling Arthur was getting close to the end so he purchased a dog stuffed animal and had it ready for us for when it happened. My kids have loved hugging the toy dog when they feel sad.

Another friend gave us a memory frame where to place a picture of Arthur so that we may not forget him.

Two other people stopped by with their favorite treats to cheer us up on Friday.

Arthur, you were loved and will be greatly missed!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Holi Festival of Colors

In India, Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The Hare Krishna, a faith that originated in India, celebrate Holi every spring with a festival open to all. The admission ticket sales fund a lot the maintenance and construction of their building and their staff. It is also an opportunity for the community to learn about the Hare Krishna's beliefs, culture and tradition.

There are several locations where the event is held. I wanted to participate in their annual run, but we were in the Grand Canyon at that time. So our family, plus Sally and Claire joined us in Milcreek for the festival.

We arrived prepared, with our handkerchiefs and clean clothes, and left full of color and great memories.

The festival was set up with a stage on a large grassy area. Several different performers were lined up for an hour each. There were also booths of people selling products - mostly Indian apparel, henna tattoos, etc. On the opposite side of the stage were bounce houses and a playground for the kids. There were also yoga classes and a tour of their greenhouses where they grow the produce they eat.

The youngest kids were most interested in the play equipment, whereas Emilia and Claire had more fun by the stage. Carson couldn't care for either. He just stood as still as a rod while everyone else was dancing and jumping all around him.

Each of the kids got several packets of chalk dust to throw in the air (and at each other). The chalk smelled like incense. Every 30 minutes or so, they would have a coordinated 'chalk throw' by the stage. Those got really dusty. People literally could not see anything in the haze for a few seconds until it cleared.

Eventually Carson warmed up to the event, and even though he never danced, he wanted to be as colorful as possible so he walked around the crowd with me trying to catch color throwers.Todd remained the most intact of all of us. I think it was by choice that he stayed by the playground with Andrew so he wouldn't get color allover.

It was a lot of fun to experience, perhaps next year I'll consider doing the run.

Gelato Tasting Class

Today we went to CrEATe Donuts for a gelato tasting class. We purchased a couple's class for Sally's birthday and then invited ourselves to join her and Kevin. I cannot say enough good things about the experience.

Upon arriving we were taken to an area at the back of the restaurant set up with bench seats and a table in the center.

For the next hour the host told us all about the history of sherbet, gelato and ice-cream. He taught us about the source of the high quality ingredients they use and allowed us to taste over two dozen flavors.

We got to make our own stracciatella (by mixing chocolate into strawberry ice cream) and sample their hot chocolate rimmed with vanilla cream. (Decadent!)

We even got to do some taste testing and guess the flavors in some of their ice creams. The peanut butter had vanilla and dulce-de-leche mixed into it. Yum!

The strawberry had a slight cherry aftertaste. Only noticeable after someone mentioned it.

At the very end the owner informed us that she is in very poor health and that she was looking for someone to buy the business because she needed to travel to the east coast for medical treatment. It was sad to know that such a hidden gem may be closing soon. I hope they find a buyer for their business.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

SJ Summer Fest - Alex Boye'

It all began like a regular spring evening... We were excited to watch Alex Boye' live at the South Jordan Summerfest. My kids love his music - especially his song Lemonade.

We arrived early and staked out a spot on the grass toward the front of the stage. Sat on the grass and had to listen to some 'weird' music performers who preceded Alex.

Then, just about the time he was supposed to come on a South Jordan City employee got on the stage to inform us that there was a storm moving towards us and that they were going to wait until the rain was through before beginning. She added that they had talked to the National Weather Center and it was a 'fast-moving' storm so we should just hold tight.

And then the rain came, and came, and came some more. We used our blankets and rain jackets to stay warm and dry.

After sitting for 20 minutes in the pouring rain, the storm finally died down some and the show began. Alex is a great entertainer and singer. Even though the kids didn't know the majority of the songs he sang, he still managed to keep them and the entire audience engaged.

Finally, for his very last song Alex sang Lemonade, and the crowd went wild. The kids and adults all stood right by the stage, dance and sang along with him. It was worth the rain!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

SJ Summerfest - Rollercoasters

My kids love to attend the South Jordan Summerfest each year. They love to ride the roller coaster on Thursday $1 ticket day.

Since Stella has tumbling at 6pm, Todd took the other kids to it right as it opened. They got to ride on several things during that one hour.

Andrew got on them with trepidation. Some he liked, some he didn't.

The older kids went straight for their favorite ones.

Finally Cambria and Stella arrived and the entire group was able to ride the some all together. Unfortunately Andrew was starving and the lines were getting incredibly long, so I agreed to stay with Cambria and Stella for a little while longer, while the rest of the group headed home.

It wasn't much longer after they left that a lightning storm began and the rides had to shut down. We made it to the car just in time before the rain began pouring as well. The thunder was so loud that evening that the windows in our home rattled. I can't believe no one was hurt or damaged reported on the news from all of that lighting. It was a bit frightening to hear and watch.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

 This has been the rainiest year on record for the state of Utah. It not only has been raining daily, but the temperatures are much cooler than average for the time of year. So, we've had to hold off hosting our traditional s'mores neighbors get-togethers because of it.

One good thing that has come of it is how lush and green the mountains are. The waterfalls are full of water and some of the hikes are still pleasant to do later in the morning. Such is the case with the Bear Canyon Suspension Bridge Hike in Draper.

We met our friends the Whitney's and the Funks at 9 am in the parking lot and began our 2 mile loop with a whole bunch of kids. This was my first hike of the season and I absolutely loved being outdoors! How I wish I could do it more often. Unfortunately Andrew is too young for strenuous hikes and too heavy to be carried, but the day will come when I'll be able to venture out on some more challenging treks.

The suspension bridge hangs from several heavy-duty steel cables. It is fun to jump or sway and see the entire bridge move. Fun for me, I should say. As you can see from the photo, Andrew didn't care to be on it. He was OK being held, but even happier getting off of it.

Afterward we group split up for a few hours and reunited in the evening for pizza, games, s'mores and fruit cups - our specialty.

Last Christmas I won some throwing knives at our company party. At the time I wonder what I would do with them. Todd decided to paint a target from plywood and rest it against a tree. It was the hit of the party and people are inviting themselves over to our house to try it out. Who knew?!