Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jason's mission

Last Wednesday my younger brother entered the MTC. My parents drove him down Tuesday, so I hung out with them while they were here. Then Morgan and I tagged along with them the next day.

After a stop at the drivers license bureau for a driving record, we drove up the hill toward the MTC. However, we still had at least an hour to kill before Jason was supposed to be dropped off. So we hung out at the Provo temple grounds. Took some pictures.

Jason with Morgan.

Jason and I, photographically documenting our stomach sizes so we can compare to what they will be when he comes back. :)

Morgan had lots of fun with the many fountains. I didn't stop him from playing in the water like maybe I should have. It was hot!

Soon it was time to drive across the street. So, before piling into the car, we said our goodbyes. You don't really get much of a chance to do so at the MTC curbside dropoff these days.

We pulled into the MTC parking area and were directed by many missionaries. We pulled up to the curb, I got out of the car to do some filming, as instructed, while Dad, Mom and Jason got all his luggage out and arranged. There were young Elders there to help with that, (I swear one of them was no older than 14) and then Jason was escorted into the building. We were not.
By the time we got back in the car and realized that Jason forgot his underwear, (tee hee!) he was long gone. So one of the many missionaries milling about had the honor of delivering Jason's brand new unders to him.
Mom didn't even cry until we were eating lunch later. Does that mean she loves Chris more, the older brother over whom many tears were shed as goodbyes were said? :)

I've set up a blog for him. When he writes letters home, I will post them on the blog. Same with pictures. Most of you readers don't know him, so won't care, but for the very few who know him, and the even fewer that will care, here is the link to the blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Lagoon Trip

A week ago our stake had a stake Lagoon day. We were issued discounted tickets and a parking pass. We took this opportunity to go.

I am very pregnant, so we knew that I would be restricted from riding many of the rides. But we bought me a ride pass anyway, thinking I could ride some, and we would do the Lagoon-a-beach thing.
Oh, and this was a surprise for Morgan. He did not know we were going to Lagoon. We drove past it though and he jabbered all excitedly about fun rides, the circus and just fun fun fun. Then we pulled into the parking lot and he said, "We're not going to Lagoon." He does this frequently to help himself not get his hopes up. Like, he knows we have a family campout planned soon, so he's excited for it. But he also knows we have to wait a long time for things sometimes. So he says, "We're not going camping." It's a reminder to himself to not get too excited. Anyway, he said, "We're not going to Lagoon." all dejected like. I said, "We're not? You don't want to go to Lagoon?" He persisted, just a little bit. "But we're not." But daddy kept driving toward the parking ticket booths. Then Morgan said, "We are?!" Then he was thrilled.
When we first got there we did a few rides for Morgan. He was much braver than last year.
I was expecting to be able to ride the little kid rides with Morgan. I mean, really, how dangerous is a ride going to be to a pregnant woman if it is perfectly acceptable and safe for a 2 year old? But I was dismayed. Little ride after little ride had the "no pregnant woman" sign. So Aaron had the honor of riding them with Morgan.

But...then I got disgusted with it. Really? I'm not allowed to ride the stupid fish? Is the squirting water going to cause a miscarriage? I think not. So I got in line with Morgan. It was our turn and the little teenager operating the ride said nothing at all about me being pregnant, and I rode a ride. And I didn't go into pre-term labor or anything.

The day we were there was quite warm. Hot even. It wasn't long before we decided to go to the water park. I hadn't been there for years and years, so I had no recollection about how lame it was, especially if you didn't want to spend $5 to rent an intertube.
They had a decent kid area though, and Morgan just took off going down all the slides and not caring that his parents could barely keep up with him. But let me tell you about the finish that they put in all the pools. It's like gravel. Gravel that they glued to the cement so that walking in your bare feet is very painful. Soon your feet will be raw. It's about the worst idea ever.
While we were there, Aaron stepped on a dragonfly. It was squishy. While we were there, Morgan stepped on a bee. It stung him. Or bit him. Then it died, and Morgan cried. Not because the bee died, but because his foot hurt! And Morgan had to walk around on the gravelly pool bottoms with his newly stung foot.

We finally convinced Morgan that it was time to get out of the pool. We rode more rides.
Aaron went on re-entry by himself. That one seems like maybe there was more reason for a pregnant woman not to participate.
Morgan and I got very warm while waiting for Aaron on this one, and the Hydroluge was right there tempting us, so we rode that next. I had been watching people get off that ride. They often had wet bottoms and splashes here and there. I thought we would get a little wet, but not much. I didn't expect the thorough soaking that I got. Morgan only got a little wet, but I was soaked head to foot. And since we were already wet, we went over and rode Rattle Snake Rapids. Morgan and I were drenched, Aaron got wet too, but not nearly as much.
Soon we realized that it was much too late in the day to go on that ride. The sun started sinking and the temperature cooling. Morgan and I started shivering in our still wet clothes. But we didn't leave, not yet.
Some other rides I went on: the train, the sky ride, the ferris wheel, the dragon roller coaster, tidal wave, and the carosel, even though I technically wasn't allowed to. Not one person said a thing about it though.
Morgan LOVED the sky ride.

Morgan is such a socialite. He would stand in line for a little kid ride and make friends with the kid standing next to him. Then he and that other boy would often ride together. Best friends. :)
See this rocket ride? Morgan is in rocket #5. Facing backwards. My parents have a home video of me on that same ride, in that same rocket, (I choose number 5 because that's how old I was) and facing backwards. The difference being that I was the only one on the ride in the video. Morgan is facing his good friend from the picture above so they can shoot each other.

We left around 10:00, thoroughly exhausted. The next day my pregnant body punished me for all my activity of the day before. I hate round ligament pain!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Library Party

The Dugway library has a summer reading program, like many libraries do. I signed Morgan up for it. We pledged to read at least 15 minutes a day. Each week we will take our little reading chart into the library, where they will record our progress and give out prizes.
Last week they had a kick-off party. We took Morgan over there for the games and fun. I was surprised at how many people were there, since I hardly ever see anyone in the library besides the workers.
First off, Morgan played this parachute game with the balls. You were supposed to try to keep the balls from going down the middle hole, but most of the little kids had no idea that that was their aim. They just tugged the parachute up and down and had fun watching the balls fly.

They also did a water balloon toss. Morgan wasn't too great at catching or throwing the balloons, and many a water balloon didn't get past the first throw.

There was also a little bowling game that Morgan did. He was awarded a sucker for his efforts.

The library provided ice cream sundaes for all the kids. There were all kinds of toppings and syrups and whipped cream, but Morgan just wanted plain vanilla ice cream. What ever floats your boat!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Swimming pool

The community swimming pool is right across the street from our house. It's only a $1.50 for me to swim, and all kids under 5 are free. But they have a nice little kiddie pool. So what I think Morgan and I will be doing a lot of this summer is heading to the pool. I'll bring a book and and sit back as Morgan plays in the kiddie pool. Free fun.
We went a few days ago to do this. It had been hot all week, and I didn't think to even check the weather before promising him we'd go swim. After getting him all covered in sunscreen and excited, we went outside. And it was cold. Not freezing, but too cold to swim. However, you can't exactly get away  with telling your three year old "never mind" like that, so we went anyway. It was very breezy and cloudy. But he had fun.

Unfortunately, the weather worsened in a very short amount of time. It was actually really lame, our timing. We got there, he got wet for about a minute, then the whistles blew signifying that it was the lifeguard break time and that everyone under the age of 16 had to get out of the pools. So, now soaking Morgan, has to get out and sit in the cold wind for at least five minutes. I'm not sure how long the break is, but it seems longer than five minutes. 
He finally was allowed back in, but it kept getting colder. Then it started raining. Marvelous. He really didn't get much time to play and was NOT happy about leaving. But if I was wishing for a jacket, Morgan must have been freezing. So we left with a promise that we would be back. Then it was barely over 60 degrees for the rest of the week and there was lots of rain. Morgan is still waiting for the fulfillment of that promise.

Yesterday though, I was talking to some ladies here that all seem to have their young children in swimming lessons. I asked them last year about swimming lessons and they said the youngest they take were six year olds. So I lamented that he wouldn't be getting any swimming lessons again this year without checking again. Apparently they changed their policy. Now they have a 3-5 year old class. The first session started yesterday, but we got him signed up for a session in July. The weather should be nicer in July anyway, especially since it's an outdoor pool and lessons are in the morning. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grandparents visit

It's been awhile since they were here, but Morgan's Nelson grandparents came to visit. He loves seeing them and playing with them. 
I thought we should get some pictures of him with them. 

When they left, he was very sad and sullen. He didn't want to do anything, talk to anybody or be anything but grumpy. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Cruise: The End

Sunday morning we had to be out of our staterooms by 8:30, I believe. Our luggage all had to be out of the rooms for pickup the night before. We ordered a wake up call the night before to make sure we got out in time.
That morning though, was noisy. The ship docked early that morning at the port in Miami and made for some loud engine sounds, extra wobbling that caused drawers to clang open. Plus, people were out in the halls all night long and into the morning.
In the room that we had, it was pitch black when the lights were off. We had no window or outside light coming in. No alarm clock. Nothing. So it was impossible to guess what time it was based on light. I kept waking up all morning, waiting for the wake up call. Finally I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom so I could turn on a light without disturbing Aaron. It was still a half hour before we expected the call, but I decided since I wasn't sleeping anyway, I would dress and prepare for the day. Then I read. Then the time for the call came and went. Strange. So I woke up Aaron, we packed our remaining items, then headed off to breakfast.
Halfway through breakfast I looked at my watch again. This is when I learned that I had been reading it wrong all morning. It was an hour earlier than I thought it was. When I woke up at 7:30, it was actually 6:30. However, if you want to look at it differently, it was actually 4:30 AM MST. How lame.
After breakfast we found some comfortable-ish seats on the fifth deck and read until we were allowed to debark. We got in line to get off the boat, then got in line at customs. There were probably ten lines for this. We choose the one that looked shortest. Soon we realized our line wasn't moving AT ALL. The customs guy that was supposed to be doing stuff for our line must have taken a smoking break or something.
He finally came back and our line finally started moving again. Slowly. Very very slowly. Even though we were definitely not the last ones to reach the customs lines, it was becoming evident that we might be the last ones in those lines. It was so ridiculous. Our guy moved so so slow! He was trying to make small talk with everyone, which was making everyone else very upset. I do not joke when I say that every other line emptied out completely while ours was still mostly full. Of course the people in our line didn't stick around when the other lines were emptying. We finally made it up to the guy. I wasn't very polite with him when he made the comment of "You guys are almost my last in line." He was too jolly. I responded with, "Yeah, but we sure weren't the last ones to get in line!" I was grumpy. We stood in line for probably an hour.
Anyway, we hailed a taxi, which took us to our hotel. We were still far too early to be able to check in, so we stowed our luggage, found a city bus, and rode it to Miami beach.
Oh, this was my birthday. Happy 26th.
We certainly enjoyed playing in the ocean. Before this trip, I had only experienced the Oregon and California coasts. Both were always cold and windy with freezing water. Boy oh boy was it different in Florida. The water was warm and turquoise and somewhat clear. The weather was definitely hot enough to swim. It was fun. I don't think the breakers and swells were as big and fun, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
We got out just in time to get caught in a sudden rain storm. It made our dry clothes wet.
We headed back to the hotel and showered and changed and stuff. Then, since we were starving, we headed across the street to a fun outdoor mall for some grub.
But we were pretty wiped out, so instead of walking around much, we went back to the hotel to veg. It was far too hot.
Here is the view from our little strange corner window.
The next morning we shelled out more cash to catch a ride to the airport. When we went to check in we learned that the flight that we had paid for and had seats booked on didn't exist. But, no worries, they just put us on a different one that left about 45 minutes earlier. And because of the trouble, we didn't have to pay the $20 for each of our suitcases.
The flights were long. I finished my book.
We stopped in Dallas. That is a huge airport that you have to take a monorail thing around to get from terminal to terminal.
Back in Salt Lake we met up with my cousin and his family and Morgan. They kindly met us at the airport, even though they live in Logan. We greatly appreciated that.
The first thing Morgan said to me was, "what's your name?" I guess I'm not one to make much of an impression on people. Easily forgettable!
We finally got home around 9:30.
Before sending him off to bed, we unpacked some souveniers that we got for Morgan. The captains hat and the cruise boat. It mades a honking noise and has wheels. He likes them. The pictures aren't great though.

There! Now I am completely done with the cruise! Whew!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Cruise: Fun Day at Sea 2

Saturday was our last full day aboard the ship. We slept in, ate when we wanted, hung out on the peaceful third deck with our books, and tried to fit in as many trivia type games as we could. After dinner we headed to the Ivanhoe theater for Gender Showdown and then the Ultimate Gameshow or something.
Gender Showdown was basically Battle of the Sexes. The first part of the game was the intellectual part. The host announced that the first ten men and ten women on the stage would be able to participate. Since Aaron and I are both far too proud and consider our selves beyond your average intelligence, we went up on stage.
This is how the game would go. A girl would be asked a guy question. She had to answer it by herself, and if she couldn't, the question would go to the guy team to answer together. If they got it wrong, the point would go to the girl team. Then the guys got a shot. Also, if it was your turn to answer a question by yourself and you got it right, you got a little cruise ship medal.
Like you see us wearing below....

This is one of the knights all around the theater.

Anyway, Aaron and I both got our questions right. Mine was ridiculously easy, but Aaron's was quite difficult.
Girls won.
That was fun to participate.
Aaron tried to get on for the gameshow bit, but the competition to get on stage was much more fierce.
We watched part of Julie and Julia on deck that night as well.
And that pretty much was our last day.

Cake balls!

I will get back to our vacation, but I had to celebrate here about winning a giveaway. 
My cousin is a very talented cake decorator and teaches classes and stuff. She hosted a cake ball giveaway on her blog, so of course I entered. I'd heard about how delicious these cake balls are and have wanted to try them. Now I can! Because I won! And no, I really don't think it had anything to do with being related. The stars just aligned in my favor or something. :)
Go check out her blog and gallery.
Did you see the adorable cake balls? I'm going to eat them. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Cruise: Cozumel

What day are we on, Friday? The last day at a destination. Cozumel Mexico. We had breakfast delivered to our room that morning since we had an early excursion to catch. We lined up at the door to debark and waited for the doors to open. We were pulled into a dock here so we just walked onto shore. It was raining when we got of the ship, but it wasn't unpleasant.
We immediately got on a large boat that held tons of people and had a 45 minute ride to Playa de Carmen. There we boarded a bus and listened to our very proud Mayan descendant tour guide tell us about anything that popped into his head. He talked a lot. It was very clear that he was extremely proud of his heritage, (which is great) and that he had no love for the Spaniards.
Halfway to the ruins we stopped at a reststop/huge gift shop. We got some souveniers there.

Then we got to Tulum. We walked a ways, then we came to the outer wall of the ancient city. Actually, it's not nearly as ancient as I thought it would be. It was buit in the 15th century. I think. We entered the city in a small entrance in the stone wall. There only room for people to enter single file. The wall was pretty deep too.

In the city the tour guide took us off in the grass to talk some more. He got a little old. But then we were set free to explore the ruins at our leisure.

The main temple was built on a seaside cliff. Quite the view. We climbed down to enjoy the beach a little.
Here's one of the five tunnel entrances to the city.
I can never remember what this building is called, but it's the one where they had the art. Do you see the face sculpted in the corner?
See, here is an entrance. The Mayans were not large people.

Oh. There were iguanas ALL OVER the place. Seriously. They were everywhere. It was fun to see them all just lounging about.

The temple.

The art-type building again.

There is the profile of the face on the corner of that building.
There were a lot of these stony foundations. These were likely the houses that they lived in. They didn't have stone homes because it would be too hot, so they were likely made of wood or thatch or something.

This was really fun to see. Very hot, but neat nonetheless.

Here is how we rate our excursions on the fun scale.
1. Stingray and snorkle
2. Cave and jeep
3. Tulum
4. Monkeys and parrots

Before hand I thought the rating would be much different. Like this:
1. Tulum
2. Stingray and snorkle
3. Monkeys and Parrots
4. Cave and jeep

Silly me. All were fun, but some were especially fun.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Cruise: Belize

Thursday was Belize. Instead of meeting on shore somewhere, we met in the Ivanhoe theater on the ship and debarked with all the others in our excursion. Here we also were anchored way out from land and had to take a boat ride in. The ride was kind of long too.

Once there our large group was broken into two groups. Half of us were put on another boat and the rest of us were taken to a "truck-bus". Which is exactly what it was. I felt very jungle safari-ish.

See the big open front flap thing? That was our AC. It worked wonderfully.
So, we drove through Belize city while getting a bit of history and info about it from the tour guide. What I didn't realize was that so the English spoken in these countries would have that Caribbean accent. We were in the Caribbean, so it makes sense, but I just thought that everyone's English would have the Spanish accent. It was fun to hear them all speak. I was also surprised at the diversity of nationalities. Once again, in my naivete, I expected pretty much all the natives to be Latin American. But no, there were tons of black people, some Asians and white people as well.
Anyway. Our bus guide taught us a Creole phrase to remember. When we were asked where we went on our cruise, we were instructed to respond with, "Ah me been a Belize." I don't know if that's how they'd spell it, but that's how it sounded.
When we were out of the city we drove on some countryish highways, which was interesting. Such different vegetation. Then we turned off the highway onto a dirt road that took us into the jungle.

It had been raining a lot lately, so there was lots of big puddles and ruts that we plowed through.
Then we got to our destination. A manicured park area.

From there they broke us up into even smaller groups and handed out these attractive headlamps.

Then we walked through the steamy jungle.

We crossed another rope bridge, saw some cool plants. Saw a small pineapple patch.

Then we got to the cave.

There were bats. See that darkish spot? It's a bat.

There were cave spiders. This beauty was very young and only about the size of my hand without my fingers. They get 5 times that big, I think he said.

There were lots of stalactites and mites.

I'm used to caves that are nice and cool, maybe even cold, even on hot summer days. This one was hot and stuffy. In some places we had to basically crawl, or crouch really low, or climb over big boulders.
The route we took was a loop, so we ended up back where we started, then hiked back to the park area.

After that the other half of the group all showed up in some beat up 4 runners. The unloaded and we loaded up. Aaron and I had a vehicle to ourselves. Aaron drove.

We went through the mud puddles and ruts and sloshed through the mud. It was fun. I'm glad I didn't have to drive it. Some people were getting stuck and having to be pulled out with chains and such.

We drove back to the highway and stopped at another park area where they fed us authentic food. Rice and beans made in coconut milk with some delicious chicken and some coleslaw. It was all really good.

Then we were loaded into a boat and sped down a crocodile infested river out into the ocean. This was about a thirty minute ride and quite fun.

We got back to the dock just in time to get in line for the tender boats taking us back to the ship.

I think we watched a movie out on the lido deck that night. They had a big movie screen outside and played movies every night. We watched, Love Happens. They even edited out all the swear words.

And in case you were wondering, yes. We were still suffering with the sunburn pain. It lasted for a long time. In fact, we've only just recently stopped peeling from it.

Wow. Long post.