2014
12.04

I have been quite a slacker over here on this lonely blog.

I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. Just feeling a little bit down. A little bit sorry for myself. Not sure why and I’m not sure how to get out of it. It’s weird because I’ve been exercising and trying to eat right, too. Maybe that’s it. I miss my sugary treats. But I feel cheated when I do what I’m supposed to do all day, I go to bed hungry at night, even hearing my tummy rumble. But when that happens, I think to myself, ‘It’s ok. I’ll see a difference on the scale in the morning,’ only to wake up and weigh and see that I’ve gained half a pound. That’s not fair at all.

My daughter has a blog and she writes about the sad in her life. It’s depressing to read. I cry for her hurting, then I call her and she tells me she’s FINE, that it helps her to write, to get things out of her head. But still I worry. I want her to meet new friends. I want her to have a fun college experience. I want her to be happy. She’s so different from me, yet I understand her (well, sometimes). I was an insecure teen, too. I wrote many a depressing journal entry, trying to make sense of the world and my roll in it. Trying to find my way, wondering why I kept auditioning for things and not getting the role. I always kind of figured if I weren’t so fat, I would maybe get those roles. Or if I wasn’t so fat, maybe that boy I liked would pay some attention to me. I seemed to blame all the bad things that happened–all the disappointments, all the failures–on the fact that I was overweight. Poor fat cells, having to shoulder all the blame. What do thin, beautiful people blame for their failures? They must have something they don’t like about themselves that they blame for the things that don’t go perfectly in their lives.

The other day I got the sweetest comment on facebook. I had written that if I taught Kindergarten full time I would probably be a lot skinnier. No time to eat and constantly on the move. My friend and neighbor wrote, No one cares abt skinny. You are beautiful and talented and funny and sweet and giving. If you were also skinny, we would have to hate you. I don’t know, it might be nice to be hated, just a little bit. It made me laugh. And almost cry.

I really have the most awesome people in my life.

Instead of dwelling on the blues, I’ll tell you about the GREAT things in my life, my reasons to smile.
*Thanksgiving was GREAT. I love getting together with cousins and aunts and uncles that I don’t see often and catching up. My brother and his family also stayed with us Thursday night and Friday night. It was wonderful having them here from Arizona.
*Our Bells concerts went SO WELL. We had two concerts on Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving. The hall was full, the music was great, the spirit was there. It was SO fulfilling to play all those songs that we had been working on for so long. My friend Janeen and I even stayed overnight in a hotel in Salt Lake Saturday night so that we wouldn’t have to do the whole drive home and then turn around and drive back thing on Sunday morning for Music and the Spoken word.
*Christmas preparations are in full swing. I’m picking out presents, got the tree up, and am on to decorating the house.
*My little chimes choir is doing quite well. They will play for our ward party on Saturday, then have the school concerts on Monday, and then they are done for the season. We’ll get a few weeks off for Christmas break (hooray for not having to be at the school by 7 am!) and then we’ll start up in January and get right into things with two basketball games to perform the National Anthem. One of them, when I was explaining things said, “Why do we have so many performances?” That made me laugh.

So, I’m going to get working on decorating my house for my favorite thing ever….Christmas. And I’m going to be thankful for everything I can think of. And I’m going to tell people thank you, and write some thank you notes and maybe do some service. Because I don’t want a blue Christmas.

(edited)…..Doing much better. Ward party great success. And PMS. Hmm. Who knew?

San Diego

2014
10.21

Back in the summer, I won a radio contest. The prize was “a trip to San Diego”. Really the prize is 2 nights in a nice hotel, 4 passes to SeaWorld, and 4 passes to the Wild Animal Safari park or the Zoo. So, no, it’s not a Free vacation, (since we had to pay for gas, 3 nights hotel, passes for the other two of us, and all our food) but it is a reason to go on vacation. So, for our fall break, we headed South. We picked up Megan from Snow College and made our way to Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Somehow we lucked out and got the BEST two room suite in the whole hotel. It was HUGE! The kids were So happy that everyone got a bed (or a sofa bed) and no one had to sleep on the floor. Free dinner at the hotel that night and they all frolicked in the pool. Not good to have the first hotel be the best, and I didn’t plan it that way. I’ve been burned by hotels before, and I always worry that the “good deal” I booked will be another crap hotel, but I did pretty well on this trip.

The next morning we drove and drove and drove to San Diego. When we finally got there and checked into our hotel (which was ok, but nothing like the first one. And the GPS took us through a sketchy area of town to get there, so I was worried!) and then we went to a lighthouse/museum and visitor’s center right on the coast. 036

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It was beautiful. WE had fun looking at the waves before the tide came in.
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At the visitor’s center, there was an armor display, so we “put on the armour of God”.

The next day we got up early, had breakfast at the hotel, and then went to Sea World. We had hoped that since it was Friday, instead of Saturday, it wouldn’t be as crowded. The temperature was perfect, around 75-78. Not TOO crowded, but of course we saw a family we know from Highland and kept running into them all day.
232 We went on the rides (Atlantis and the Rapids ride and the skyride and Mantis) and saw the shows243 (the pet show, the sea lion show, and the Shamu show) and had a fun day.
390 I noticed a skyride I didn’t think I had seen before, and really wanted to go on that. It was so beautiful to go up and over the bay!

The Seamore and Clyde sea lion show was Halloween themed, and I don’t think they had gotten it quite down. The Sea Lions didn’t really want to do all the stuff they were supposed to do. Oh, well.
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The Killer Whale show was great, as usual, even with their conservation plug.
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We were not sitting in the splash zone.

Of course, by the end of the day, we were pretty dang tired. We wanted to see the penguins and I got us sidetracked into the turtle place AND the shark place.
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We wanted to see EVERYTHING, and since they closed at 5 for fall/winter hours, we had to really hurry.

Then we made our way to the Catamaran Resort and Spa, the hotel I had won. It’s one of those fancy places right on the beach that we normally couldn’t afford.
Wow. Beautiful! I had to pay extra to get a larger room with two double beds and a pull out couch, and I’m SO glad I did. We would have been tripping over each other and miserable in the standard room.
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Out in mission bay with the ocean on one side of the street and the bay on the other, and the hotel opened right up to the beach. There was even a wedding there on Friday night. As we were playing on the beach, the wedding was happening right there on the grass.
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Saturday we went to the San Diego Wild animal Safari park. We’ve never been there, so we chose to go there instead of the zoo. It was really a great place, but SO spread out, so there was a ton of walking.
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One of our favorite things was seeing the lion cubs playing with their parents. SO adorable. And SO close. The Lion came RIGHT up to the glass where we were standing. Amazing.

The tram ride was great, too, as we saw so many animals! We took SO many pictures.

By the time we got to the tiger trail, everyone was just worn out. And those maps are not easy to figure out and we ended up walking up to the Condors when we didn’t want to, backtracking, etc. We had all just reached our grumpy points. We just had to find the nursery and see the baby cheetahs before we could call it a day. Adorable!
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Back to the hotel so we could go to the beach, then out for dinner at a yummy mexican place right by the hotel.

Sunday we went to the Church historical Mormon Battalion site. I love how interactive it is now.
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John got to put on the gun, canteen and hat.
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WE even found an ancestor who marched. George Coleman from England. I’m pretty sure he’s one of our Coleman ancestors.

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Panning for gold was cool, too.

We were sad to leave. Even sadder that we still had 13 hours in the car before we would get home. We stopped in St. George this time, and didn’t deliver Megan to Snow college until the afternoon on Monday, so she did miss one day of classes, but she’ll recover.

GREAT trip with the family.

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Play for the old home ward

2014
10.13

Late this summer I went to the funeral of a dear friend’s mom. Afterwards, I stopped by my parent’s house, and I said, “Mom, don’t expect me to sing at your funeral”. My mom is nowhere near needing to have a funeral, by the way. She and Dad are still doing well and are very healthy, but when they are still healthy is the time to discuss this stuff.

“What?” she said, “but I was planning on having you girls sing something, maybe have Lori-Kay play the flute.”
“It’s just rude to ask someone to sing when they have just lost their mom. Or their grandma.”

She just looked at me like I was weird (I get that look a lot).

“I have an idea, Mom. If you want a musical number, how about we do something while you are ALIVE to be able to hear it.” And then I had an idea. “How about I get a group together and we play something on the bells?”

So I asked my friend Liz, who also group up in the Butler 8the ward, and her parents are still in that ward, if she would like to play a small group number in the home ward. We found a song, found a date, and found a couple other people from our bell group who could do it, and made a plan. Of course, two of the 5 ended up dropping out because they had other things going on on that date, but we were able to find others to fill in. A few practices before our regular rehearsal and we were ready. So, on Wednesday night, I borrowed our director’s bells (just two of the boxes), and hauled them to the car after rehearsal. Hauling the bells in the worst part of one of these things.

This morning, we all met at my parent’s ward, rehearsed a bit before the meeting, and then were ready to go.

My parent’s ward has not changed much in the 22 years since I got married. People get older. Some people have died and a few people have moved away, a few younger families have moved in, but not a lot. During sacrament meeting, it was SO QUIET. Wow. Compared to my ward, it was like silence. And sparse. The whole middle section was almost empty when the meeting started. I’m not sure why their ward is dwindling. If I were to come back to my current ward (where we’ve lived for 13 years now and in that time it’s split twice) in twenty years, I doubt I would recognize as many people. But people in my parent’s generation tend to move less, I guess. They raise their family and stay in the same house.

It was fun to see so many people I know and recognize from my youth. Some I am friends with on facebook (yes, my home ward has a facebook page), and some I see when I visit my parents. Some I had to really think about to remember who they were, since they have aged 20 years from my memories, and one lady I didn’t remember at all (she seemed to remember me), but it was nice to be back.

The comments were all so nice and they really appreciated that we could come and play for them. It was a special experience for me (and for Liz). I’m grateful for my musical friends that they would give of their time and talents to help us perform something like this.

Some days are like that

2014
10.08

Argh!!! Whiner alert. Look away.

No alarm. Woke up at 6:55. Grabbed clothes and brushed my hair and teeth. Ran downstairs and grabbed John. The two kids I normally pick up in the morning before my early morning chimes class were not there, they had given up after 10 minutes of waiting, I’m sure. CRAP, CRAP, CRAP.

When the kids have a drink break after 20 minutes of playing, I put on some makeup. It didn’t help all that much, but at least I knew I had tried.

In addition to throwing myself together in about a minute to get to school to teach, I ran out to the car and the steering wheel was adjusted WAY high because hubby was working on the car last night. I didn’t have time to fix it, and I hit the windshield wipers on. Finally figured out how to get the steering wheel the right height, but the windshield wipers WILL. NOT. TURN. OFF. No problem. It’s dark. Got to school in my frazzled state. Taught from 7 to noon, and then went back to the car. Since I hadn’t eaten breakfast, I was looking forward to a hamburger or something that I didn’t have to make myself from a local fast food establishment, but couldn’t do that with the windshield wipers furiously swishing back and forth IN THE SUN! People looking at me like I’m an idiot because I don’t turn off my wipers.

ARRRRGH!

I really wish I had a cookie.

That is all.

Murder party

2014
10.04

For Natalie’s birthday party, she wanted to do a How to Host a Murder party, but one that was clean. Luckily, I had purchased a printable story a while back, and so I could just print that out and they could use that. Most of her friends are girls, so some of them had to play boys, but they didn’t mind. My pictures are so dark, since they were in the basement and my camera had decided it didn’t need much flash. Megan took a bunch of pictures with the fancy camera she had checked out from school, so I’m sure she got some good ones.

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If the amount of laughter is any gauge of how much fun they were having, they had a BLAST.

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I love how some of the girls dressed up for their characters!

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No cake for this girl. I had told her that she’d have to make her own cake if she wanted one, and we just all ran out of time. Cupcakes from the freezer did just fine.

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They even sang happy Birthday to her. They sang a LOT, these girls.

Fun, but LOUD, evening. So glad she had fun.

Karate kids

2014
09.28

It’s been a busy month so we just had John’s birthday party on Saturday. Only 25 days late, no biggie. Plus, isn’t it great to celebrate all month? We had arranged to go to the local karate studio for a party. As his friend arrived, the volume level of the house really went up. Lucky me, I got to drive six 10/11 year old boys to American Fork. But if you can stand the noise, you can learn a little something about them. “Remember in first grade when that one kid smelled so bad and the teacher had to remind everyone to change their underwear every day?”
“Oh YEAH!”
“And that one kid said, ‘I’m haven’t changed my underwear all week!’”
“GROSS!”
“I’m wearing clean underwear.”
“Who was that kid?”
“I don’t remember.”

Whew! Good. I don’t really want to know which kid prompted that lecture from the teacher, but having been in many classrooms of stinky kids, I can understand why she brought it up. It’s sad when kids come to school with dirty clothes or not combed hair and you wish you could make things better for them at home.

Then they talked about kids at school who were ignoring the rules and getting tickets; who is getting the most tickets, etc. They are a good group of kids.

It was POURING rain, but the kids didn’t mind getting a little wet as we climbed out of the suburban to go into the Karate studio. The door was locked, but there was a guy in the back. He came and opened the door. “Hi, guys,” he said, “What’s up?”

“We’re here for a birthday party,” said, smiling.

“Oh, our birthday guy is not here right now, but come on in and I’ll call him.” he said.

“Great,” I said, not smiling quite as much.

He called Jason, the guy who was supposed to do our party, but he didn’t answer. We were indeed on the schedule, though, so I hadn’t screwed up. The kids were excited, and didn’t seem to mind that there was a possibility that I would be scrambling with no party plans.

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The guy (who was just leaving) said he was so sorry that Jason wasn’t there, and if we would give him a minute to change, he could do about an hour party/class with us. That sounded great to me. The boys all took off their huge shoes and socks and proceeded to roughhouse on the wood floor.

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When the teacher (whose name was Dallas) came out, they scrambled to sitting, as if they had been sitting there waiting the whole time. Right.
051 He explained about respect being the number one rule in martial arts, and taught them a few punches, and did a few drills with them.

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Then he brought out the bags and let them do some kicking. The boys were in heaven.
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John even got to break a board with a kick. It took him a couple of tries, and the instructor talked to them about how that is just like life. If we can’t do something the first time we try, we don’t need to feel like a failure, we just try it again, and again, until we can do it.

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Instead of a cake, I had a “donut cake” which was just two dozen donuts with Happy Birthday John written on them in icing. Easier than a cake and they could eat it with their hands. The boys loved that idea. John even got to use a samurai sword to cut a donut in half.

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I am SO grateful that Dallis was willing to stay and do a party for us. Even if it was a shorter party, it was great for these boys. And great for me! What would I have done with them? I promised them a karate party! He apologized over and over that his employee wasn’t there and that it wasn’t the real party, but I think it was really fun anyway. And he gave each of the boys a vip pas so they can come to the studio for a month of Karate lessons for free. They thought that was GREAT! I’m so thankful he was willing to stay and do that for us, not just say there was a mix-up and leave us to do our own party (we would have ended up home watching Karate kid for sure). When we got back home, the boys all ran off to play nerf gun wars and didn’t even mind that the karate portion of the party was less than it should have been. They were just happy to be together at ANY kind of party.

Crisis averted.

Now this Friday I get to play host to Natalie’s 16 birthday, a murder mystery party. Hooray!

Zip

2014
09.18

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120Last weekend our Relief Society group went up to the Heber Valley Girl’s camp for a ladies’ retreat. We met at 5:00 in the church parking lot, and after a full day of Kindergarten subbing (my first sub job of the year), I was ready for some adult interaction with my friends. The drive up was fun, talking to friends. When we got up there, it was time for dinner, and they had it all ready for us. We unloaded our stuff into the cabins and enjoyed a yummy dinner of chili, salads, and cornbread.

Once we were stuffed with yummy food, we got our jackets (because it was starting to get cold) and sat down for a class taught by a new couple in the ward who do motivational speaking. One of the activities they had us do was to get into groups and we were supposed to look into one sister’s eyes and think “Who are you?”. Then write down 5 or 6 words that we think describe her. Then the 3 of us would come up with the top 5 words we thought were perfect for them. As we were discussing each sister, it was interesting how we would think of their best or most interesting qualities. I ended up writing down things like “Creative, problem solver, and industrious” for one sister. Another sweet sister who seems to do everything perfectly, I said “calm”. She always seems calm to me. As she read her list, she said, “Thank you for saying you thought I was calm. Do you really think I’m calm?” I really do. When it got to be my turn I realized how uncomfortable this was, to just sit and have people look into your eyes and write things about you. My list was words like “Energetic, motivate, friendly, fun, talented, service.” Some of the words I understood, but the Motivator and Energetic? I tried not to cry. I don’t feel like I’m motivating to anyone, and it seems I can barely get through my day, let alone my to-do list. It was nice to see myself how other people might see me. And if they can see the good qualities in me, it should be easier to see myself as my Heavenly Father sees me.

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We had fun staying up to talk and eat snacks, although I was still so full from dinner I didn’t really eat many of the snacks. My friend, Serena joked with me that it was past my bedtime (because it totally was), but I stayed up until about 12:30, when we all mosied into our cabins to go to sleep. I don’t have much of a pad to go under my sleeping bag, and those bunks in the cabins are just bunks, so it was quite hard. Luckily, even though it was cold and windy outside, it was a nice temperature inside, so I slept on top of the sleeping back with the blanket I had brought. Darn if I didn’t forget my earplugs, though. But I slept some. Enough to have a few strange dreams.

Breakfast in the morning was french toast with rasberries and buttermilk syrup and bacon. So great! We were very spoiled.

The theme of the retreat was “One drop at a time” from Elder Ballard’s book by the same title, and we read from that book about how each bee only makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey from all his work. Our good works may only be a drop, but at least they are good works, and we can add to them one drop at a time.

When we had signed up for this camp, we could sign up for a hike and/or a ropes course. I haven’t been in Relief Society for a few weeks, so I didn’t remember which I had signed up for. But we all decided to go on a short hike, and then we all went to the ropes course together. We knew there was a zip line but we didn’t know much else. WE got there and there was indeed a zipline, but in order to get to it, you had to first climb a 26 food pole, then tightrope walk across a cable up 26 feet, holding on to ropes to get across. I looked up and didn’t know if I could do it. I mean, I am overweight and severely out of shape and not keen on climbing. But then I saw Sister Hansen. She’s about 70 years old and she was the second in line to suit up in the harness. If SHE can do it, I could certainly give it a try.

And there she was climbing up that pole. She didn’t make it all the way to the top, but those missionaries just held on to her and slowly lowered her down to the ground. She was safe, but she had tried. I had to do it. I got suited up with the rest of the ladies and waited my turn. “I can’t go last,” I said, “If I wait until last I may not have the guts to do it.”

I had to try. Up the pole I went. Climbing, pulling myself up, listening to the missionaries who were telling me where to place my feet and where to reach my hands. Even though I was breathing hard (practically panting), I made it to the top of the pole. Once I was there, I didn’t really know how to get onto the tightrope, but the missionaries were there to coach me along. I got to the tightrope and I did not look down. I just kept scooting sideways (always be sure to keep your foot farther out than your shoulder, they said), grabbing each rope until I got to the end. There were no more ropes, only a sister missionary there to reach out her hand. I had to scoot a couple more feet before she could help me onto the platform. I made it. I can’t believe I made it. I was feeling joy, fear, amazement, pride, and terror all at the same time. So weird. She unhooked me from one rope and hooked me onto the zipline rope. “you’re going to have to let go of this pole,” she said, “The pole does not go with you.” I chuckled and let go and scooted a little closer to the edge. She told me I was good to go. I had to finally just step off. Once I was did it, it was fun and exhilerating. But I had to take that step. I had to step with faith. Wow! So incredible. I wished I could try it again (not the climbing and tightroping part, just the zipline part). And my fellow sisters were there cheering me on. It was awesome. There were 15 or 16 of us who did that ropes course. For so many of them it was easy and fun. For me, it was terrifying and life changing.

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But I DID it. I did it!

A look at the back patio

2014
09.10

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That’s Buckbeak, my sweet little rooster.

Buckbeak thinks he needs to get up on the patio table and crow and crow and crow. He crows when he feels like it all day. I thought roosters were just supposed to crow in the early morning. But I’d rather he crow during the day than in the early morning, I guess.

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His girls are all scattered around. They like the patio, too. Not sure why. Is it warmer than grass, or do they just like to be close to the house? Whatever the reason, they end up pooping all over the patio, which is gross and a huge pain to wash off.

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This little one is Sasha. She’s the same age as Buckbeak, but is still just a tiny little thing. Maybe she’s not going to be very big. She’s a sikly. Can she even see through that mess of feathers on her face?

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And then there’s Fox, our sweet little three legged cat. She likes to curl up on the back porch, too, even though I bought her a nice soft cat bed that sits on the FRONT porch. If I moved it to the back porch, I fear chickens would just walk on it and poop on it. I don’t know why she prefers to sleep on wood, but there she is, trying to nap. Ignoring (or attempting to ignore) those feathered creatures that must surely be a bother to her, but she never chases them.

A reason to be brave

2014
09.07

That’s me. 25 feet up in the air, walking across that tiny cable. I did it.

Not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. Wonderful weekend!

2014
09.01

I’ve read through the past few posts and they have been kind of downer posts. Got to do something about that, don’t I.

Well, we had a GREAT Labor Day weekend. I’ll skip over the details of the week, but lets just say I had a few more chime kids the second day, I got very familiar with the steam canner (I canned over 60 quarts of peaches, pears, and tomato juice) and we got ourselves a new little birdie.

On Friday, Megan came home and it was wonderful to hug my girl again. It’s been hard for me to have her gone, and missing her makes me miss Cole even more. Weird. So even though it’s only been two weeks since she left, I was SO happy to have her come home for the weekend. Friday we also welcomed our friends Robin and Ron, so we had a full house again. Hooray! Friday night we went out to dinner at the Spaghetti factory. Yum.

Saturday morning Robin and I got up and hit the garage sales shortly after 7:00. We found some GREAT stuff, I tell you. I may go into more detail on that later. Even though there were more sales, we had to stop about 9:30 because I was a-out of money, b-needing to use the bathroom, and c-was supposed to meet someone at 10:00.

By now you have probably seen this Talk Nerdy to me Video, right? If you haven’t, then just take a minute and watch. Pretty cool, right? I know the guy in the yellow shirt. He was the Cat in the Hat in Seussical all those years ago. He messaged me on Wed night and asked if I knew of someone with a horse in the Alpine area that he could use for a video shoot on Saturday. Of course I do. So, on Saturday, I met him over at Megan’s friend’s house to see about her horse. They looked at her pretty horse, and looked behind her to another horse, and said, “Can we use that one instead? That one is perfect!”
He took a picture and instagrammed it, saying, “Ya. We got an Epona. So stoked!”
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Ipona is the name of the horse in the video game, The Legend of Zelda. Yeah, I wouldn’t know that, but my kids do.

Anyway, we spent the next hour mostly watching, sometimes helping these three guys film shots for their video. It’s not been released yet, so I can’t post a bunch of pictures just yet. I don’t even HAVE too many pictures, as I left my camera and phone in the car (duh). It was fun to watch the process, and when we left Keith thanked me profusely for my help (what help? I didn’t do much, but I’m glad it worked out.

Later that day we examined out yard sale loot and were pleased with our haul. Even Ryan, the skeptic of all skeptics, said I had done well and gotten some good deals. A BOSCH bowl for $2?! Crazy, right? A Whisper mill wheat grinder for $3? Insane.

That evening we went to my parents’ house for dinner. Mom had said we would eat from the garden…Corn, Tomatoes, Beans and Peaches. Yum. We also had sloppy joes and potato salad that we had made. It was all so yummy, and we all laughed a lot and had such a nice time.

It was a GREAT day.

Sunday was another great day as we got to go to Ryan’s niece Marissa’s homecoming and gathering at the house afterward. More great food. We were so stuffed.

Monday morning we tried to find more garage sales. It was pretty bleak, but we did at least find one, and it was a good one. Megan had mentioned that she wanted a typewriter, so I bought her one for $2.

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Everyone had fun typing and playing with it, once Ryan adjusted it for them.

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Then I took all three girls over to Great Clips for hair cuts. Megan wanted a trim, but Natalie and Jenna went for it.
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Natalie before.

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And after.

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My girls. ARen’t they beautiful?

Then I took Megan to Walmart to stock up. I think she’ll have enough food now. Plus, I gave her peaches, pears I just bottled, ham from the freezer, butter….anything I could think she might need. Her car was packed and it was mostly food. She took a cooler in the car with her to keep everything cool for the 90 minute drive.

Whew!

What a GREAT weekend. And tomorrow…..is John’s birthday.