Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Leaves are Changing......

Another Sunday worth taking a drive. Today we decided to head up the Alpine Loop to see the fall colors. If you are from Utah then you are familiar with the Alpine Loop and its fall splendor. It is a beautiful drive to take and enjoy the mountains especially during this time of year. We even got lucky and didnt have to pay to get into the canyon.....they had a sign on the window that said "Free Day".....

We did find that the leaves arent all changing just yet. Another 2 weeks and it will be spectacular! We stopped for a few photo ops and then made a quick stop at Sundance. I wish I could live there.... it is such a cool place! Funny thing too.....we ran into some familiar faces (see Soren in the pictures) I guess great minds think alike huh? It was fun to see Nate and Alisa up there. We did attempt a picture of all the you can see, it was difficult! Along the drive we pulled over and made a little hike. The boys decided to bring ziplock bags and collect some fall leaves. They made quite the collection....not sure what they will do with them now?

It was a nice drive though and I am looking forward to doing it again in a couple of weeks for even prettier pictures.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Birthdays and Broken Bones.....

Well, I havent given an update on Alec lately so I will do it now. It seems like we see less and less of him each year as he grows up. He didnt come and stay with us this summer and the boys were a little hurt by that but Im sure one day they will understand when they are 'teenagers' and sports, friends, activities become so important to them. We did see him briefly for the week we were in Kentucky in May and were grateful to have had that time with him. His cousins from France have been staying with him this summer. It was probably good for him to spend some time with them. Here is a picture with them (taken on his bday) and his little sister.

He has started High School this year.....yikes. Denver talked to him on the phone after his first day and Alec told him that someone tried to shove him in a garbage can....some kind of freshman initiation, but they couldnt catch him! He goes to early morning seminary and I hear he doesnt care much for it. I dont know many teens that would be excited to get up that early for church everyday of the week. Its hard enough to get them motivated to go once a week on Sunday! Good job Alec for grinning and bearing it, one day you will be glad you did. I was spoiled I guess and got to have Seminary as part of my regular school day.....thats Utah for you! He is taking choir and we hear that he has been working out with the Basketball team in hopes of trying out. However, the latest news is that during a practice for a play that the choir is putting on, Alec broke his hand.......guess that rules out basketball for now. Here is a picture of Alec and his broken hand.
He also celebrated his 14th birthday last month. We sent him a target gift card which he used to purchase a new Ipod Nano. His mother sent us pictures of his birthday party which was held at Chuck-E-Cheese.....I guess you never grow out of that place. Here he is with his little sister Kiana. Good times.

We wont have Alec for Christmas this year although we are going to try and bring him here for Thanksgiving. We are in the process of trying to get Denver's parents here for a few weeks over the holiday and thought it would be nice to have Alec here as well. If it happens, we will have more pictures of Alec to share with you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Health and Well Being.....

In an effort to get the kids more active, and Denver too (ha ha) we bought a basketball standard. This is something we have been wanting for a long time and have just kept putting it off. Denver loves basketball and would like to instill that in the boys. I told the kids that basketball needs an equal amount of time to the Wii.....apparently I wont have to force that on them because this morning they were up before me and outside playing ball. Yay! It really is a good thing too considering the amount of work that went into putting it together. Geesh. I figured I could do it myself....right.....I mean , its not like I havent put the kids stuff together before. I can build a bmx bike from scratch so why not a basketball standard. I started one evening and realized very quickly that it would take at least 2 people and more tools than we actually owned. My brother Nate gave me his electric drill the next day and again I set out to try and build it...... Nathan, who was just as anxious to play basketball as the boys, generously called and offered to come over yesterday and help me get it up. Im not joking when I tell you that it took us a good 4 hours to complete it and we had to re-do almost all of the parts at least once because the instructions were lacking in actual instruction if you can believe it. Pictures only ....a few tips....thats it. In the end, it took Myself, Nathan, and Denver to finish it, but I am happy to say that she is up and running and is already getting our moneys worth as we speak. Thank you Nate for all of your help!! The boys played this morning for about 30 minutes then came in and turned on the Wii for 10 it seems they have gone back outside for some more basketball. Thats what I like to see......

In other news, I had another choir rehearsal last night. I look forward to Thursdays so much because it is such a nice release for me to go and sing for a couple of hours. It is amazing to think that singing could actually tire you out but this is no church choir. We are singing some very difficult songs and I am pretty tired after each rehearsal. The concert is on November 1st and there are 2 performances that evening. One at 5:30 and one at 7:30. It is part of the Temple Square concert series and tickets are free. Im not sure where you can get tickets....probably at the box office inside the Joseph Smith Building.....anyway, it would be worth going to if you enjoy music!

Another note: Ive opted to go back to the gym instead of buying a treadmill. This was really a monetary decision more than anything. I just couldnt stomach throwing down $1000 on one. There are too many other things that my family wants/needs and so I couldnt justify it. I will probably get one later....but for now, Im going to the gym. Ive been twice now and did actually run on the treadmill in front of other people....Gasp!..... it wasnt so bad I guess. I just cranked my ipod up and tried not to think about it. It is much easier to run on a treadmill than it is to run on the street. I can feel a difference in my shins already.....:)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Wii" Caved In.....

Ok so, Ive always said I wouldnt buy a video game system until the kids were older. It has always been a struggle because Alec owns every video game system known to man and he has a big influence on my young boys. So I have fought valiantly to keep our house free from the video game craze. Of course they did finally get their little Gameboy Advance games a little while back....I guess I was starting to soften at that point. But, the breaking point came when I bought the Nintendo Wii for Alec last remember my story of standing in line for 4 hours in freezing cold temperatures just so I could get one of those silly things for him for Christmas? Yeah, well, after we played it and I realized just how cool they actually were, I was sold and decided that we would get one the next Christmas. Turns out it is no easier to get a hold of one now than it was at Christmas time. Too much demand, not enough supply.

Imagine my joy a couple of days ago when I just happened to ask the clerk at Walmart if they had any Wii's? I was expecting the usual smirk as if to say "lady, are you out of your mind?".....but instead I got a smirk and "youre in luck, we have one more left!" So, I bought it. Yes I did. It was supposed to be for Christmas.....but its already opened and being played with, Im horrible at waiting. I watched the boys playing tennis last night and was enjoying the fact that they were swinging and jumping and moving. That is the brilliant thing about a Wii. Nintendo has taken a favorite pasttime of kids and added movement and interaction to it. This makes it tough to argue that playing video games is useless and lazy. Another plus is that now I have leverage for things like homework and chores.....It was amazing how much more focused Ian was on getting his math done yesterday. It normally takes him an hour because he just putz's around with it. He was done in 15 minutes last night......... Plus now I can buy Dance Dance Revolution....I hear its a great workout!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Friends.....

Can I just tell you how much fun I had yesterday? I have reconnected with 2 of my very best friends from childhood. We went all through elementary school together and a year of Jr. High... then I moved to another part of town. We met for lunch yesterday at Chilis and it was so much fun! I have not laughed like that in so long. I mean the kind of laughing where you snort and cant catch a breath. I thought I might pee my pants at one point when Jessi broke out with her bat in the wind impression. Im sure the people driving by thought we had lost our minds. What a sight! To tell you a little about them, although I think I may have mentioned them in a prior post, Shannon lived on my street and I practically lived at her house. Her brother and my brother were also best friends so we were a fixture in each others lives. I have many many good memories playing barbies and all sorts of stuff with Shan. Jessi and I became friends in the 3rd grade. We had the same teacher and although she lived in the neighborhood over from mine, we became fast friends and shared a love....or possibly obsession with....Olivia Newton John. I even got to go to her concert with Jess and her parents. Both Shannon and Jessi are the most hilarious people to be around and I was happy to see that it hasnt changed. Between the weird faces and funny was like I was 8 years old all over again!

Shannon was unbelievably generous and brought Jessi and I a beautiful gift and then paid for lunch! It was just a great afternoon and I didnt want it to end. We have vowed to do it more often and soon......I cant wait to see them both again.
I had to find some old pictures of us and this was all I could dig up for now. Thats me and Shannon at my 6th birthday party (or maybe 5th).....and the other is Jessi from our 3rd grade class picture.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In My Arms.....

I found this beautiful song on my cousin Marcy's blog...... It is called "In My Arms" by Plumb. It is the first song on my playlist so have a listen. I dont know who this group is but I really like their sound and the words to this song just kill me! If you are a mom, then you will love it I am sure. I would love to sing this to my babies.....

In My Arms

Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your Curly Que’s
Your contagious smile
And as I watch
You start to grow up
All I can do is hold you tight

Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Story books
Are full of fairy-tales
Of kings and queens
And the bluest skies
My heart is torn just in knowing
You’ll someday see
The truth for lies

Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Castles they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all alone
Cause I will always
Always love you

Clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash all around
But you will be safe in my arms

Soren Doolittle.....

Ive had a crazy week and I just realized that I forgot to put a Happy Birthday on here to my sweet little nephew Soren. This is kid is so much fun! Ive never seen such a personality in a little 1 year old.... He is sooooo full of life and curiosity and giggles and I just adore having him in my home. I cant believe he is one already! Happy Birthday Soren....we just love you so much!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ok, Now its REALLY Official.....

I know I posted back on August 24 that Addie was officially potty trained. Well, she had some set-backs. We ended up buying some more diapers and I got lazy about reminding her....yadda yadda yadda. So, now I can really say she is potty trained. For 2 days in a row now she has reminded me that she has to go. Even when we are out running errands. The best part is that also for the past 2 days she has gone #2 in the toilet! She tells me first then we go together and voila! "bye bye poo poo" which is what she says as the gunk is flushed down the toilet. It is a great milestone that we are crossing. I thought I might be a little sad since we arent going to have any more babies, but then I have to change my nephews diaper and I am reminded of just how much joy I have right now with my kids and that I really dont want to have anymore. Its all good! Good job Addie....we are proud of you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wow....This is fun!

This is a great little personality quiz. It seems really random but the outcome is pretty accurate and was just about spot on with my personality. Try it for yourself! Just click on the pictures that most appeal to you and keep going to the end. It will then summarize what your choices mean about you and how your DNA determines what visually appeals to you. Too cool.

Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test

Monday, September 15, 2008

A "mile"stone.....

I ran one mile today without stopping! Im very excited about this. Although it may not seem like much, it was huge for me and makes running a 5k not feel so impossible.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Fun....

We have always enjoyed a Sunday drive. Especially when the weather is getting cooler and the windows can be rolled down. I'm not sure about other cities but in Salt Lake, Sunday's are really mellow. Less traffic, more quiet. It is very nice. Perfect for driving around. It was Stake conference today so we opted out. We ended up on the south end of the valley. Looked at a lot of houses. It is amazing how much more house you can get for your money out there. Probably because the commute would be horrendous if you worked downtown. The gas is even cheaper out there. (its really not that far away actually, only about a 10 minute drive....) While we were out there, we decided to drive up the Bingham Copper Mine. If my memory serves me right, it is the largest producing copper mine in the world. It is actually 4000 feet deep and can be seen from space ....and, it is in the family, sortof. Thats right, my Great-Great-Great Grandfather Erastus Bingham settled the area that is known as Bingham Canyon and actually was the first to discover the metal while grazing his cattle in the hills. At the time however, he was instructed to concentrate on cattle instead and so another man ended up starting the mining process....unfortunately that didnt get us out of paying the fee they charge to drive to the top of it for a look. We didnt bring any cash though and couldnt drive to the top. We promised our disappointed children that we will come back again....the view is incredible from up there. We felt we owed them some sort of entertainment at that point and found a nice park to play in for a bit......of course I took pictures. It was a nice day and we are winding down now and gearing up for another busy week.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Move Over Tiffany's.......

My son Evan has created a masterpiece for me. He has been talking about this necklace all day long and asking me for paper clips. I was doing the typical....."sure honey, gimme a minute" which turned into hours of course. I wasnt paying attention to him or what he wanted to be honest and had no idea what he needed paper clips for. He says he told me thirty times! wow.....guess I need to snap out of it! Here is the finished product.....a necklace just for mom! Who needs Tiffany diamonds? I've got my own precious gems right here in my own home!

A New Vacation Destination.....

So, we got the news recently that my Mom and Dad are moving from sunny Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada. It was a bit of a shock at first but now that it is settling in, the prospective things to do in and around Reno are sounding like lots of fun.

1. Lake Tahoe. Ive never been and think it would be a cool place to check out.
2. Its only 3 hours from San Francisco, which incidentally is just an hour away from beloved Monterey, California.....heaven on earth.
3. It has all 4 seasons...although it was always nice to travel to the year round warmth of Las Vegas I am glad that my mom will get her 4 seasons again.
4. Ive never been that far north so everything about it will be an adventure for me!

Mom is excited to leave Las Vegas because she never intended on staying for the 18 years that they have. Dad is accepting a position with his bank up there so it will be a new and exciting challenge for him. Hopefully the housing market is better up there than it is in Vegas! Ian was just a little distressed when I first told him because he thought it meant that we would "never go to Grandpas again!"..... Oh we'll go but it will be an entirely different experience! Exciting stuff~

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Handsome 2nd Grader.....

Ian got his school pics back today. Isnt he handsome....big awkward teeth and all! I had to promise Ian I would keep these pictures this year. Last year I had to send them back for re-takes because I couldnt stand it. This year the photographer didnt use the bright blue background I had asked for but, since he captured Ian's natural smile, Im gonna keep it.

September 11, 2001.......Always Remember

Never Forget........

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


So, I was thinking today about my current exercise situation and how it is going to change in a few months when the winter weather hits. Yes, I know there are plenty of people out there that bundle up and run come hell or high water....which includes snow storms, but that's just not going to happen here. I am definitely a fair weathered jogger...although I do love the chilly mornings, just not the icy ones. Anyhoo, Im faced with either renewing my gym membership or buying a treadmill. It may not seem like such an important 'dilemma' considering other world crisis' that are going on including the upcoming election...blah....however, for me at this time in my life it is an extremely important decision. My health and future depend on it. I cannot afford to go into another exercise slump again or I may never recover. Im on a roll people. I get up everyday at 5:00 am even when I have worked until 1:00 am the night before. Im feeling great, losing weight, and Im nervous about ruining it. So, here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each....any opinions would be happily listened to.

1. Treadmill is great option because it is convenient, I can run indoors without anyone actually seeing me run, and I dont have to worry about Denver being home or getting done before he goes to work because I wont be leaving the house to run. It is a bad option is a little too convenient which could mean easier to make excuses like "i'll do it later" cause its right there in my house. Also, it takes away accomplishment factor of getting up and leaving the house to exercise. I will end up sleeping in which may sound like a good thing but getting up early proves to be great for my day in getting things done.2. The gym is a great option because it has all the weights and circuit machines with which I desperately need to be building some muscle on. It also provides a place for me to get away and concentrate on my exercise without distraction. It has a daycare so if I have to I can drag the kids with me. It has other fun options that I enjoy such a kickboxing classes and hip hop classes (I will try one once I get thinner!) The bad part about the gym is that it requires me to leave the house and so it isnt very convenient (although it isnt far away). I am mortified about running on a treadmill in front of anyone and running is what I want to continue doing but will I do it if there are a lot of people at the gym or will I chicken out? I will have limited time to go to the gym in the morning because I have to get back in time for Denver to go to work and because it is farther away than the street around my house, it would mean I would probably have to get out of bed even earlier.

So, there you go. Now you see the dilemma. If I could afford an entire personal gym then maybe it would solve my problem but I cant and so I must decide.....and soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me.....

Yes folks, it is my 37th birthday today. I hesitated mentioning it out of fear that people would think I was seeking overtures and adulation.....however, it turned out to be such a good day that I couldnt help myself from sharing.

I started out my birthday this morning at about 2:30 am, on my way home from an unusually long night at work. Personally, I would have been happy just skipping this day altogether due to the semi-crappy week I have had. Really, nothing has gone in my favor at all and financially we werent in a position to really do much I figured, "Lets just forget about it". To further justify this decision, at 2:30 am while driving home, I completely obliterated a poor helpless skunk on the freeway. Yes, my van now reeks of skunk. The animal had NO chance whatsoever of escaping my van unless I decided to swerve and kill myself, which wasnt going to happen. Not even for a sweet little kitty. And this was NO kitty. Im sure it didnt feel a thing.....being hit by a van going 70 mph is no match for a 20 pound skunk. So, I thought "well here you go. Happy birthday Vanessa". Then, I got home and startled Denver in his sleep who then proceeded to snap my head off (for which he quickly apologized once he woke up)..... there again, a reason to skip the day.

My aunt Debbie called me this morning to see if I still wanted her to come over for our weekly weigh in/accountability session. We missed last weeks session due to Me being in Vegas. I said "of course" and quickly jumped out of bed and onto the scale. I hadnt weighed all week because of said trip to Vegas, not that I went crazy or anything but it was 4 days of no running and definitely no slim fast! Happily, I had still lost 2 pounds! Ok, maybe this wont be such a bad day after all.

Then, Denver says "I won $20 in a sports pool at work, Im going to run and at least get you a card or something"...... Ok then, whatever. He comes back with these Wonderful gifts! Eh-hm I think you won more than $20. Love it! Especially the wallet. I needed one sooooo bad and isnt this cute! The best part about it is that he spent his very own money to buy it. I dont think he has ever done that before (sorry hon).....that made the gifts mean even more to me. Awwwww....

To top the day off, the mail came and we received notice that some money we have been very unpatiently waiting for is here! You have no idea what good news this is for us.....unbelievable news. So, on that note we decided to go out to lunch to the Blue Iguana....Mexican food, my favorite! After lunch we walked around downtown through Temple square. The weather was beautiful. 75 degrees, small breeze. Gorgeous fall day. I am in love with Fall. We topped off my day with a trip to Cold Stone Creamery (so much for my 2 pounds!)......

So, thanks to Denver and my kids for making me so happy. Thanks for sharing my birthday with me today! And thanks to all those who sent wishes my way as well. I have a great life with great people in it! Love you all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Alisa Dawn Ries

Happy Birthday to a Fabulous Sister-in-law....a Wonderful mommy.....and a Great woman!!! I hope you have a fantastic 21st birthday.........wink wink. ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day in Vegas.....

It's always nice to come home, but we did have a great weekend in Vegas. We left early Saturday 2:30 am early....right after I got home from work. Why did we leave at such a time you ask? Well, Denver wanted to stop at Sand Hollow reservoir on our way for a little fishing. We have done this before in spite of how crazy people think we are. We arrived right as the sun was coming up and it was sooooo beautiful. Sand Hollow is right outside of Hurricane and it looks like a miniature Lake Powell...not quite as Grand, but really pretty. One thing that I just love about Southern Utah is the contrast in color. It really is a beautiful desert. Blue sky, Red rocks, green foliage....and of course the blue water. It was very peaceful and Denver was even able to catch a few Bass...he was very happy. The kids really enjoyed playing on the rocks and on the red sand beach... it was worth it to stop there and relax a little. I'd live there if it were possible.

So, then we were off for the rest of the trip to Las Vegas...only about 2 more hours away. We got there early enough to have the entire day to spend...another reason why we like to leave so early in the morning. My mom was ready and waiting to take me to see the movie "Mama Mia". She had me all prepared the week before by sending me the Abba CD by which the story is created around. It really is crazy to think that someone took this CD of music and literally created a story from the songs. I had heard very little about the movie itself and was so pleasantly THRILLED with it. It was a lot of much that that we went back to see the "sing along" version the next day! Yes, it was the movie with the words to the songs on the bottom of the screen to encourage the audience to "sing along"....Unfortunately we had a timid audience so it wasnt what I had hoped for but it was still fun to see it again, and I sang along anyway! If you havent seen the movie and you like funny musicals, then I suggest seeing it, if its still playing in your area! Meryl Streep was incredible. I was very impressed.

The rest of the weekend was spent eating and lounging in the pool. The kids practically lived in the swimming pool. Denver and my dad were supposed to golf on Monday and when they showed up bright and early for their tee time, the golf course told them they didnt have a tee time reserved! Somehow their reservation was lost and in Las Vegas, if you dont have a tee time, you dont golf. It ended being OK though because not too long after they got there, the wind kicked up so strong that it would have been miserable golfing in it anyway....

Denver cooked fabulous meals all weekend....we have an ongoing deal with my parents which is 'they buy the food, Denver cooks it'..... My mom and I sat down and went through all her old pictures so I could take some home to scan. We had a ball laughing at ourselves and others! I enjoyed finding pictures of my parents when they were the age that I am now....kinda weird too. I really enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

So, we are home now and back to the grind. In fact Denver is already at school and Ian is getting ready to start his homework for tomorrow. Its always nice to get home but as reality sets back in, I find myself wishing I was still gone.....:) Thanks to Mom and Dad for a great weekend. Cant wait to see you again!

An update on Don....

I am sitting here trying to upload pictures of our Vegas trip and I received a comment from someone regarding Denver's dad. First of all, we want to thank you all for your concern and prayers on his behalf. Unfortunately there isnt a lot to update. He has good days and bad...he is receiving chemotherapy every 2 weeks I think and it has him pretty sick when he gets the treatment. He did have a better day today though and had enough energy to go shopping at Walmart so that was good to hear. They did a scan recently to see what the chemo has done to the tumors. We hear that the lung tumors are hardly there which was GREAT news. I think they are still going to do a biopsy or something like it on the liver soon to see what is happening there. He was recently hospitalized for a "significant" blood clot in his lung. That was scary...they gave him heparin to get rid of it and now he will remain on Heparin permanently. I guess that is common in cancer patients. Other than that, we really dont have much more news. He is going to continue the chemo I guess indefinitely... It is a day by day thing. No change in the prognosis for now. Thanks again for asking....oh and just a side note, if you leave a comment on the blog anonymously, please type your name at the end of the message so I will know who to contact or thank! Im not sure who left the last one....but thank you for your thoughts.

almost home.....

We are driving somewhere in the middle of the desert. Listening to a little Alan Jackson.... We should be home in about 4 hours and I will post an upadate on our weekend in Vegas!