Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Busy Busy!

So somehow this summer has FLOWN by! Allow me to catch up from the last couple of months....

Soon after moving into our new house, we found out about a lady selling her piano for a great price. (It's RARE to find pianos for sale here...) We borrowed a trailer/truck from some friends and brought it home! The keys are pretty stained and it was in DESPERATE need of a good tuning, but I'm just excited to have it! A gave it a good scrub-down (came from a home with tobacco and pets...yuck!) and we had it tuned. It worked great...until the pedal broke a few weeks later. :S I'm sure it'll be an easy fix. I just love being able to play!
Next item to discuss--we made the 8-hour drive to see my parents in Mesquite, NV/St. George, UT! (They were in the process of moving). What was going to be a very short visit turned into a longer one. We were so grateful to spend some quality time with Opa, Oma, Daniel, and Matt!

 Opa took us on some fun four-wheeler rides that Thomas LOVED. We made sure he was snug between Opa and me. :) It was neat that we could literally ride out of the garage and to the trails across the street! The river trails were very close too.

 Thomas loves Opa and he loves "driving" and pushing buttons in the car!

 Thomas absolutely LOVED the splash park in Mesquite! It was a welcome break from the already-scorching heat! He got completely drenched. Luckily the 4-wheeler drive back dried him off a bit!

Getting sleepy...

We got to see their new house, go four-wheeling, go to the recreation center (swimming), eat at a seafood buffet, go to the sand dunes and state park a couple miles from their house, etc. While there, Thomas figured out how to climb out of his playpen/bed, open doors (including the front and garage doors), UNLOCK said doors...yeah, it was an eventful week-and-a-half. :) It was a blast! Definitely worth the drive!

Thomas gets a haircut! So he's had haircuts before, but this is the first time we really buzzed it. All those blonde baby locks gone! He went nuts while we tried to cut his hair with the clippers, so we missed some spots, but still--he makes it look pretty darn good! :)

Also, we planted a baby garden plot in the backyard. It took a while just to weed a little square patch! We planted 2 tomatoes and 1 cherry tomato (doing good), 1 squash, 2 bell peppers (not gonna produce), zucchini seeds (we had 2 plants come up), asparagus (perennial, should produce in about 3 years), 3 beans (2 survived, probably won't produce), cucumber seeds (dead), carrot and radish seeds (nada), pea seeds (zip), and 2 raspberry plants (still hanging on). Well hey, it was an experiment. :) I'll be glad to have my squash and tomatoes!

John had a presentation to give in SLC for a project he worked on last summer (during his internship with a different company), so we all made a visit home to Utah. It was fun to see most of John's family at the monthly Sunday FHE at the in-laws! 
 Nephew Riley.

 These guys are only 6 months apart and lately have been really cute interacting with each other!

We also got to go to the Heber C. Kimball family reunion at This is the Place state park. It was fun eating, checking out the historic buildings, petting the animals in the petting zoo, etc. Towards the end, Thomas was just tuckered out!
Afterwards, John and his brothers Dallin and Trevor were able to go mountain biking down the mountain and had a great time.

The NEXT weekend (see how busy we've been?!) we had some friends from Elko, Edgar & Laura and son Markus, come to visit. We went shooting at the free, built-in shooting range in town (it's awesome!) and to the top of Winnemucca mountain. We went out to eat afterwards. It was a fun day.
Markus and Thomas playing the piano
The next weekend, we planned everything to get started on our retaining wall (if you remember, our backyard is completely unfinished and has a fairly steep slope all the way down). Friday morning, we started making preparations when....Thomas fell off our back deck while trying to get down. The deck doesn't have steps (it's just under 2 ft. high) and he usually does well getting down on his own, but he lost his balance and must have hit is forehead on the way down. The way he screamed when it happened, I knew it wasn't good...
(WARNING: Gorey pictures ahead!!)

 Poor guy caught his head just right somehow on the edge and got a deep gash above his left eye. It was too early for the clinic, so we went to the emergency room.
 He really was such a trooper! By the time we'd rushed him out to the car, he'd stopped crying and we sang Old McDonald. Then he just wanted to explore the E.R. room we were in! They tried to numb his head with medicine (without shots), but ended up having to give him shots anyway (though he likely didn't feel much).

The hard part was that they strapped him down. Literally--they had a plastic board with cloth pieces that wrapped around him and tied his arms and legs in place. SO sad, he was screaming. (Nothing wrong with his lungs!) Unfortunately, I started to get woozy (I wasn't even watching!) and had to sit down...but daddy held his hand! I have to admit...his crying broke my heart and I cried too.

FIVE somewhat-crooked stitches later, Thomas was all sewn up. It was a little traumatizing for all of us...
 Nothing an otter pop can't fix!
 My sweet, happy boy!! We joked that he looks like Scar from Lion King.
 Back to his old self!
 This is at the doctor's office several days later when we went to get the stitches out. Of course he's climbing all the chairs in the waiting room, turning lights on and off when he can get to them, and spinning the doctor's swivel chair. 

Getting the stitches out was even worse than getting them put in. As bad as that board was that tied him down, not having it (and being expected to hold his body, arms, and legs down and his head completely still) was near impossible. Though the doctor was nice, he didn't have steady hands or very good methods of distracting Thomas. After he finally got the stitches out, he put steri-strips on the wound...like 22 of them. Every which-way. And since Thomas was putting up such a fight, he was sweaty and they weren't sticking well. He put a few band-aids over it and sent us on our way, telling us to leave them on for 5-ish days. Of course Thomas rips off the bandaids (which in turn pulled off ALL the steri-strips) in the car ON THE WAY HOME. We turned right around and went back. 

Another doctor, one that seemed to be a lot better with young kids, helped fix it up. This time, he had a little toy for Thomas. He put on 3 short steri-strips directly on the cut. He even put on some iodine to help them stick better! Brilliant. They stayed on until I pulled them off 5 days later.
 Mommy and Tommy: Bad to the Bone!
 Close-up of the steri-strip fix.

We decided to head to Idaho to visit the Skousens over the 4th of July. We arrived late the night before and headed out pretty early to head to the Snake River with their boat (leaving the babies home with a sitter of course). We had tons of fun floating down the river and fishing! We caught some good-sized fish and got through some sketchy stretches on the river.
 Cute Sammy.
 Good times! (We even lost a pole that was yanked out of the boat by a monster fish!)

 They're beauts! 
 I kid you not, I caught a monster! The pictures seriously do not do this bad boy justice! He was 4-5 lbs!
 The big one in the middle's mine!

After the fishin', we had a yummy BBQ dinner with DELICIOUS patriotic cake (made by my amazing sis, Christine). Then we went to the prized spot for the Idaho Falls fireworks--an AWESOME firework show!
 Funny story--when the fireworks started, Thomas was yelling, "LIGHT! LIGHT!" While frantically pointing at the sky and laughing and squealing. Then he noticed the deafening gut-punching noise coming from the lights...and he started bawling. We finally got him calmed down and he got used to the noise. Then I took this video:
The next day we took it easy. I went shopping with Christine in I.F. for a bit while John picked up a few things at Home Depot. We went out for burgers and fries at a local world-renowned burger shop that I've forgotten the name of...it was GOOD. It was a fun trip!

On our way home from Rigby, we decided to stop and visit Shoshone Falls. I was completely surprised and enthralled by the awe-inspiring view! It was like a smaller version of Niagara Falls! If you ever get going that way, you should stop by. Thomas couldn't get enough of the view either! Funny enough--he would cry if you took him away from the lookout point!
 Just gorgeous!

 We had a picnic and went for a short walk.

The next weekend, we decided to drive to Hinkey Summit. Not only did we want to see the beautiful scenery we'd heard about, but we hoped to transplant some wildflowers, grasses, and bushes that we want to have in our backyard. The transplanting didn't work at all--the ground was too hard, the roots of the plants too hard to get out, and they all died when planted in our backyard for whatever reason. But it WAS beautiful and worth the drive! My camera only had enough juice left to take one picture.
 One thing about living Nevada--it sure makes you appreciate ANY kind of green!

The next weekend, we made our way down to Layton, UT area to be with my family! (Sorry, no pics) My sister Candace went through the temple to get her endowments. It was amazing to be able to be there with her! 

Most everyone got together Friday night to eat out at Chili's and enjoy each other's company. Sat. morning, we all did some Utah shopping (Deseret Book and RC Willey's). Saturday night, we went to the temple with Candace. What a beautiful woman in such a beautiful place. I'm so proud to be her sister! 

Afterwards, we went to Brick Oven for some delicious food. Sunday we went to church, spent some time with the Burches (my sis), and then ate a nice dinner with John's parents and two of his brothers before heading home.

Another "Bad to the Bone" Pic

The NEXT weekend, we made our way to the Opal Mines in Virgin Valley we had been hearing about. Not only could you pay a fee and go through the mine's tailings and keep your findings, but there was a nice free campground and (luke)warm spring to enjoy. We showed up, explored, set up camp, went swimming, made/ate dinner and s'mores, and went to sleep the first day. 
 Oh and by "nice" campground, I mean plat dirt with fire pits and picnic tables, but only about 3 sites actually have a couple trees nearby for shade...and they were all taken by the time we got there. Oh well!
 I forgot how tasty tin foil dinners are! (Or "hobo dinners" as my hubby calls them!) Don't worry, there's meat in there. ;)
 S'mores and smiles!
 Sharing a freshly roasted marshmallow!
 We tried having Thomas sleep in the back of the car (hey, it worked once!), but he just climbed over the seats and played with his favorite thing--the light!
 ...So he slept in the tent with us! What a cutie!! He actually went right to sleep and did really well!
 This is the warm pond I was telling you about! The water is lukewarm when you get in, so it was really pleasant even though it was hot out!
 The pond is filled with THOUSANDS of these tiny fishies that are there to eat the moss...but when you get in, they "nibble" on your arms and legs! (Eating dead skin maybe?) It tickles SO much!!

We went opal hounding the next day before heading home mid-afternoon. You can either pay $500 to go through a load straight from the mine (yeah right!) or $50-75 each to go through mine "tailings" that have already been gone through. We did the latter, but got to go through a $500 pile that someone had gotten the day before and not finished. 

We had fun digging through all the dirt clods trying to find buried treasure. No really--it can be addicting! Finding the opal pieces was very rewarding. Thing about these mines is that it is one of the few places in the world to find "fire" opal, or precious opal. It's opal that has shines and flecks of color to it (blue, green, red, purple!). We found a few great pieces of fire opal that we had put into these water domes. (Opal is fragile and is best preserved in water) We also found some neat petrified wood pieces, some with opalalized streaks in them!

It's hard to see the "fire" in these pictures. The light has to hit it just right! So I took a cheesy video to see if you could see it better...
 The bigger piece is likely worth over $100!

Afterwards, we headed home (a little over 2 hours). That night was Isaiah's 2nd birthday party. He is one of Thomas' best friends from the playgroup. Lots of his friends were there and John got to meet everyone! It was a delicious and fun BBQ.

This picture has Hannah (16 months), Thomas (22 months), Isaiah (2), Delaney (someone I'd never met), and Calvin (almost 3). 

As far as the backyard goes...we have one half of the retaining wall done. It's 5 large blocks high, though one is underground almost completely. 

This last weekend, we weeded half the yard by hand and dug the trench for the next half of the wall. Digging trenches reminds me how much I hate digging trenches. We also got all the road base and blocks we'll need to do the other half of the wall. It's sitting in our driveway. :) So we've made some progress! We hope to get grass in on the top level ASAP next spring (and sprinklers), then do a bigger garden and plant native drought-resistant plants on the middle level. Plus fix up the back deck. One bit at a time, right??
That was Friday, then John headed to Reno for drill with the national guard. Thomas and I had a GREAT day together! We went to the park with some friends (little Hannah's family) to where a local church was putting on a hot dog roast and some fun. Thomas and I had hot dogs and played in the bounce house which he LOVED once he got going! We'd play ring-around-the-rosie and he love the falling down part! 

Afterwards, we both took nice naps. Then we giggled ourselves silly as we gave each other tummy raspberries! We had leftovers for dinner and watched A Turtle's Tale--he loved the fishies! Then we turned up the tunes and danced together, giggling! He loved standing on my feet as I danced around and even asked for more. It was a good day. One of those days that reminds me how much I love being a mommy!

So that's a wrap! *PHEW* I made it! :) Not sure how many of you made it through all that with me, but this blog is just as much for me as a family journal as it is to share with friends and family, so that's okay! Hopefully that'll "learn me" to stay caught up! Love y'all!

PS-Not sure how many of you heard, but towards the end of September, we'll be moving out to Ft. Lee, Virginia for John's BOLC training (military). We'll be there until mid-February and move back home to our house and our stuff. As of right now, we're not exactly sure where we'll be staying, etc. but we'll work it out. We'll only be about 2 hours away from my Grandpa Smith (Falls Church) and our good friends, the Barnetts (Virginia Beach)! Wahoo!!


  1. Wow you have been busy! Sounds like a lot of fun though! :) Workin hard and playin hard it sounds like!

  2. Awwwe I love the updates Apey!! Beautiful bloggie post and thank you for being there for me. I love you!! xo - Your sis