Friday, July 31, 2009

Cadence's First Friend Birthday Party

On Monday, July 20, Cadence had her first birthday party. It was going to be a week earlier, but due to my Aunt Delpha's funeral and the flood, I had to delay it one week. This was Cadence's first "friend" birthday party. Like usual, I had an internal debate if I should do one at all, who should I invite, should I keep it small or make it big, am I going to offend and make kids sad by not inviting them, how over the top or just normal should I do it...etc. This is what I decided (and please do not be offended if you child was not invited). Cadence and I chose the friends she plays with most often throughout the whole year who were between the ages of 2 1/2 and 4. There were 8 kids that fit into that criteria and it was still a few more than I hoped or planned. Cadence has SO MANY friends!!!! I wanted to keep it small, but it turned out perfect. These are 6 of the kids that came. Bridget, Parx, Zander, Cooper, Cadence, Jack, Piper and Ryan. Charles and Sadie joined us a little later!

Aren't they a cute bunch? Jack is so funny in pictures. As you can tell, it was a water party and they were in their swimsuits. I think this is cute enough to make the cover of the swimsuit edition of a magazine.We started off playing some games. The first game was Duck, Duck, Goose. The kids knew they were the goose when water was dumped on their back. I thought this would be so fun. When I was teaching SPED, we would play this with popping a water balloon over the head and it was the most loved game every. At this party, some of the kids didn't love this game:(
The next game was London Bridges Falling Down. The kids were supposed to run through the little pool and under the squirting hose. This was NOT a success either. A few of the kids participated and others didn't. I found if the kids were afraid of water or didn't like getting their face wet, they didn't want to play this game.
All the kids liked getting a few water balloons to play with and be mommies and daddies to. The favorite part was just throwing the balloons down and watching them pop!!!
After those games, the kids could either jump on the tramp with a sprinkle tied to one of the post
or get in the bigger pool we just set up in the backyard (this was generously given to us by Chris' brother in Texas). The kids loved both of these water activities!!!While they played, Chris cooked lunch. I chose a very extensive, expensive, healthy menu:) Hot dogs, cheesy curls, and pop! What a party planner!
Following the consumption of food, we opened presents. I wrote on the invitations to please bring INEXPENSIVE presents because, like most kids, Cadence plays with many toys a few times and then either forgets about them or is bored with them. Her favorite thing to play with is people!!! Cadence received amazing presents!!! Art supplies, books, a doctor kit, a 4ft princess statue to color, princess jewelry and hair supplies and others! What great friends!!!
After the presents, came the cupcakes. I was going to make a layered rainbow cake, but based on the ages of the kids and the time involved, I just made cupcakes which I think turned out much better. No spoons, plates, etc. Cadence was so excited to blow out the #3 candle!!!
The last activity the kids participated in was where Cadence gave them all a gift for coming to her party. I can't decide if it was a flop or if it was fun. I think it went a little long. I had 8 little presents that were wrapped from 2 to 7 times. We played musical presents. One present at a time was passed around. When the music stop, the kid holding it unwrapped one layer. When the last layer was unwrapped, the child got to keep that present.
All the kids got party blowers, stickers, their little present and hopefully had fun! I have a lot to learn about throwing kids' parties. Thanks for coming y'all. Cadence loved her party!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cooper's First Birthday

July 8th was Cooper's first birthday. What a big birthday boy!!! The day was just a normal day with some dollar store presents to open and a cake. Some days I feel like a pathetic mom because most things are just plain and simple. No big party for this cute little guy. After I finished painting Cadence's closet (notice paint on my face and clothes), I wrapped Cooper's presents. He unwrapped them in a most unusual way - with his teeth, biting them. Yes, everything is still going in his mouth!!!!
Cadence wanted to assist in unwrapping presents too! He was nice to share that opportunity! He also thought all of us should enjoy putting wrapping paper in our mouths. Silly guy!
He got a beach ball, cars, a floatie in which to sit, and a mylar balloon with a dog on it. He kept giving it kisses!!!! Next came the adventure of the cake. We decided to get a big cake and let him have a piece instead of the whole thing. We shared the cake with the whole family and Tangi and her family (they happened to stop by during presents.) Cooper was excited to dig in. Dad assisted him in blowing the candle out. He just wanted to grab it!
I cut a piece of cake. Put it in front of him! He looked at it! Dipped one finger in and tasted! YUMMY!!!!
Liking it, Cooper went for a big handful. Even tastier!!!
Next bite, he attempted to shove half of the cake in his mouth!!! "Oh, I just love getting frosting EVERYWHERE!!! I think it looks especially nice as a beard."
"I've also heard it is good for the hair. I'll smear it in there just for fun!"
"Now it is your turn! May I give you a beard and some frosting conditioner for your hair?"Happy Birthday Cooper! I've loved having you in my life for the past year. We hope you have many more amazing learning years with us!!!! We love you!

Cadence's 3rd Birthday

Cadence's 3rd birthday was spent at East Canyon with Grammy, Cole, Syd, Jeff, Tammie and us. She was so excited her cousins could be there. She LOVES them!!! In the morning, we attended the Fourth of July breakfast put on by the restaurant at East Canyon. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes, and OJ! yum!!!! Afterwards, we went back to the condo to let the birthday princess open presents. Cadence received a coloring book, bubbles, float toys for the pool, ABC stacking blocks, a felt learning book and other dollar store gifts. She had fun stacking the blocks and Cooper enjoyed trying to knock them over - much to Cadence's dismay! Because we were on vacation, we bought just one piece of cake that was destroyed by the time it came to blowing out the candles. Gratefully, Cadence still enjoyed blowing out all three candles and eating part of it. Activities for the day included a small hike, swimming, playing with presents, attempting to go fishing only to be attacked by mosquitoes, playing on bunk beds, and playing at the playground.
In the evening, we drove to Henefer to watch fireworks. Because Cadence was three, she wasn't afraid. (When we watched fireworks two days earlier in Hyrum, she screamed and cried.) She said three made her brave.
As we were going to bed, Cadence told us she had such a fun day and asked if she could turn three again!!!! It was so cute!!!
When we got home a couple days later, we surprised her with a big gift - a new bike (kindly given to us by some friends after their daughter grew too big for it.) Cadence obviously loved it!!!The bike has gone up and down the sidewalk many times since she laid eyes on it! She wrecked on it the first night she got it, but after a few minutes got back on and rode some more. It's because she is brave she says.
What a grand birthday this was! Cadence is one sweet little three-year-old!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Redneck BBQ

My next few posts are all out of order chronologically. Bare with me as I attempt to just get all our important activites down even if they aren't in order!!!

Yesterday, we had our REDNECK BBQ. During the event, I decided to make it an annual event! After passing out fliers to our neighbors, friends and some people from our ward, we had about 70 people show up from ages 12 months to 84-yrs-old!!!They were told to BYOM (meat to BBQ), a side to share, and something on which to sit! We supplied the utensils, paper products, condiments, water and yard full of mowed weeds! There were two large BBQ full of meat, 3 card tables full of food and various items in which to sit - camp chairs, buckets, blankets, tarps, couches with mismatched cushions, garage sale chairs that need to be refinished, etc. The drinks were poured from a gaslike container! Truly chaotic and redneck!
A few dressed as rednecks. Our next-door-neighbors, the Sanfords, were amazing and stole the show! I think they should be rednecks all the time. Cameron w/ his bubba teeth looking at me with cross-eyes!
Sweet Sadie with her sweet smile!
Angie and Josh are romantic rednecks! What a... stunning couple! Angie is holding the sign she won from me that says, "If your smokin' in here, you better be on fire!"
And, a partial family picture with Tristan in it! The background is our redneck porch! What a backdrop for these pictures! Oh, the joy!!!!
As is often the case, I forgot to get a picture of the 4 of us together. Luckily, Tangi grabbed the camera while I was holding Cooper and Cadence. I wore my plus size tattered paint shorts (held up by a belt) a paint t-shirt, greasy hair and blacked out a tooth using....a Reese's PB cup wrapper. Cadence had crazy hair and a blacked out tooth and Cooper just ran around in his diaper! Chris wore a do-rag and blacked out a tooth! I need to make better outfits for next year.
Katie and Crystal got their redneck on! Love the mullet!!!!
I gave away prizes for those who dressed up - sunflower seeds, roach spray, signs with redneck sayings ("hot and beer on tap here, "my other car is a piece of junk," etc.), bubba teeth, toothbrushes, mouthwash, deodorant, fried pork rinds, and a dog statue. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Cadence and Cooper since this was their neighborhood party and I make 2 dozen cupcakes to eat. Next year, I want to have people tell redneck jokes and "You know you're a redneck if..." statements. As I was preparing for the evening, I kept making up "You know your a redneck statements that applied to our family. Here are some of them: You know you're a redneck if...
-your house has 6 different colors of paint on it.
-your TV costs more than your car.
-you hang your clothes to dry on a clothes line in your laundry room.
-your driveway is gravel and woodchips
-you have lived in a barn (for two years!!!)
-you live in a basement apartment while you rent out the top.
-you still wear the clothes you wore in high school 15 years later
-your lawn is just mowed weeds
-your TV is larger than your dining room table
The list could go on and on. We truly are rednecks!!!

The only thing missing was not being able to put food on the tailgate of Chris' truck. It was in the shop:( The trampoline was a main attraction. The 20+ kids in attendance went crazy in there!!!! Luckily, no one got hurt! After everyone left and we got cleaned up, Chris jumped in the Big Little pool with the kids! Cooper went skinny dipping!!! Naked is what rednecks do! Totally appropriate. They loved laying back with their life jackets on!
I can't wait to make next year's BBQ bigger and better!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The End Result

The end result of the mudslide/canal break was this: 3 people lives lost, one house completely destroyed, three other houses damaged (and full of mud and rocks), an irrigation system that keeps filling up with silt and mud, and more awareness of the dangers that exist on that hill and the canal systems in Utah.
No one is claiming responsibility and many people want to blame someone or something other than "an act of nature" or "an act of God." Did God cause this? I can't really answer that for sure, but I think He allows natural consequences to happen. In this case, it sounds like there were many contributing factors to this tragedy. Our church building no longer has the victims' families living in it, or is the camp out for the media. It is a place of worship and today I get the blessing of organizing the compassionate service lunch for the victims' families after their funeral (even though they are Catholic). Religion doesn't matter because we are all God's children. We wanted them to feel more love and know that many of us care about them and their situation.
The landslide! There used to be a house there. There used to be a cement canal, a walking/jogging trail and a steep incline. Now there is just a reminder to this incident and a canal that no longer delivers water to farmers.
The house to the right of landslide. It is full of mud and rocks as high as two or three feet. ARS says it will cost $30,000 to $40,000 to repair it. The city hasn't determined if it was structurally damaged or if it is safe for it to be lived in again.
The duplex to the left of the landslide. Chris was called in to remove mud and dirt from the basement apartment. He said it was about 9"-12" deep. The basement has been gutted and has not been determined if it is inhabitable again.
Let this be a reminder of the need to have an emergency 72 hour kit. When they uncovered the victims' car, it was full of clothes and different personal items. It was believed that after the landlord told them to leave, they kept going in the home to recover their stuff. They were obviously in it when the fast mudslide/canal broke. They had no chance to get out! No chance to live!
Rest In peace.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tragedy Makes Way For Service

After a meeting our church leaders had on Saturday night, Chris and all the "Presidents" of the organizations called the ward members and told them that all three wards would meet at 9:30am for a one hour sacrament meeting. The church was packed - with even a few members who don't come very often. The stake president and area authority seventy (Chris' former bishop, Bishop Cherrington) spoke about service. They basically said "go home and get your work clothes on." After the meeting, we divided into wards and were told what service was needed.
Upon going home, one of the young women, Millie, agreed to watch Cadence and Cooper so I could participate. We took the kids there and then started at Eris' house. I dug out a recently planted flower bed, and replanted the bulbs and perenials that were in it.

Our ward group moved from house to house doing whatever we could to the outside and inside (if they had something for us). These are some of the projects we did. Scraping the mud off the sidewalks, parking strip and street and into piles for the street cleaner or dump truck. Notice all the volunteers.
Pressure washing driveways.
Digging out the irrigation ditch. There was so much mud in it. After it was "dug out," it filled back up with mud quickly and had to be redug again. Notice the pile of mud on the side. When I was digging, I almost got my feet permanently stuck in it. Luckily, I came out the ditch with both shoes!!!Our ward was assigned a time to assist at the worst yard (the one on the corner of Crockett and Canyon). Here we are receiving instruction from the CERT team.
After we got our instructions, we got a hard hat and orange vest! Totally hot (and sweaty from the prior group!) My neighbor Angie and her mom, Lisa, are so fun!Some people gave service by making cookies and treats for the volunteers. Others manned the 'fill-up and stay dehydrated station.' I volunteered to eat quite a few cookies and popsicles!!!This is the yard that was hardest hit. They will have to replant grass because there is no way to get all the mud out of there. It was 3-6" thick through most of it and did not come out easily.

This is just some of the mud that was shoveled out of the yard. It was so hard to get the mud out. Not your normal mud!!!
There were hundreds of people from wards and members of other faiths who just showed up to serve. It is awesome to see neighborhoods, wards, and a city come together for a common purpose. In disasters, the best of a person comes out!!!