Monday, June 29, 2009

Dolls, mice and the lake

What a busy weekend! Summer is finally here, after the two very cold and rainy BBQs we had a blast of summer on Saturday, and it has stuck around. On Saturday I woke up early and drove down to Provo to attend a doll party. Members of the American Girl message boards I belong to sometimes plan parties so people living in the same state can meet face to face and get to know each other. We've done this before, and it is always a ton of fun. This year's party was no different, I've come to know most of the Utah members of the message boards, and some of them a really great friends. After lots of talking we took our dolls out into the gardens of our venue, it was stunning. I'm such a sucker for gardens, I swear, I could live in a beautiful garden and never leave. This garden had a river running right through the center. Large trees arched over the water and moss and flowers covered the ground. In the more formal gardens roses and paths weaved their way through, it was perfect.

(To see Violet's other photos in the garden, check her blog later today).
As soon as I got home from the doll party E and I loaded up the car and headed up the canyon to my cabin. It was a stunning drive! The air was crystal clear and just beautiful. Due to all the rain, everything was so green and fresh. Upon arriving we chatted with my mom, Chuck and my Grandma for a little while.

After about an hour of catching up (and talking about Baby November!) I convinced E to head upstairs to the loft with me to take a little nap. He hates the loft at our cabin because that is where we keep the bedding. Because of this, there are often mice or mouse droppings up there. I twisted his arm long enough to convince him to go up there with me. Finally he agreed to join me upstairs. As I moved the sleeping pads around so we could have a comfy place to nap, E noticed something: mice, and lots of them! One pad had a hole near the bottom, and when I moved the pad that was next to it, mice started spilling out of their home. I screamed, E acted somewhat calm. My Grandma hurried upstairs to try to help us. We grabbed a saucepan thinking we could capture the mice in there, and take them outside. E grabbed the mouse nest mat and took it outside.

When we lifted it we saw our targets: six mice in all, four small babies and two adults. One went running and took a flying leap off towards the stairs, and somehow made it outside (we still have no idea how). The other five scattered. All of us were looking, sweeping and trying to figure out where they went. At one point another jumped to the main floor of the cabin and went directly behind the cupboards, never to be seen again. All in all it was a very exciting alternative to napping. The little mouse that made it outside we were able to watch for awhile and even caught a couple of photos of the cute little guy. We were so sad that we separated him from his parents we put a corn chip near him and covered him with some batting, trying to make him warm for the night. Wow, what excitement. (And see the photo? That is one my mom took of the one and only mouse that made it outside.)

This photo was taken about a month ago (June 5th) of "our meadow".
Look how much it changed in under a month! Lots less water and lots more green trees. Also, there is finally a blue sky!
Later in the afternoon my Aunt Laura and Uncle Mike arrived. E and Chuck started cooking, we wanted to have an entire dutch oven cook-off. My Grandma got out some fantastic appetizers and cocktail hour officially began. E spent time cooking his famous tri-tip roast and Chuck was his apprentice and cooked a really yummy zucchini baked with cheese dish. We even cooked dessert with the dutch ovens, so all in all it was a great night.

Here we all are, sitting down to cocktail hour.
The dutch oven masters at work.
After a very comfy night (surprisingly I only needed to get up to pee once at the cabin!) we woke up to another absolutely perfect day. The sky was clear clear blue and the sun arching off the white aspen bark was dazzling. Laura and Mike were in charge of breakfast at the cabin, and they didn't disappoint. Keep in mind, there is no running water at the cabin for dishes, no electricity, and only a two burner camp stove. They made hash browns, tons of bacon, eggs with mushrooms and onions, pancakes, rhubarb topping, milk, OJ, a fruit plate and salsa. Yes, this was all done in the cabin's very modest kitchen.

Later we decided to take a hike up to the lake. The lake hike has always been a favorite since I was little, and since the day was so beautiful and clear I was really looking forward to it. Hiking, however, when pregnant, is hard work! I was totally out of breath by the top of the first hill. By the time we got to the lake I was beat. Luckily the fabulous view was enough of a spirit boost to help me propel my largeness back down the mountain. When we arrived back in the cabin my Grandma had prepared a beautiful huge lunch for us. We devoured chicken salad, rolls and cherries before packing up and leaving. What a perfect weekend.

Breakfast is served! (And yes, we even have fresh flowers, this is a high class cabin!)
The lake on a beautiful day. E and I want to bring an inflatable raft up when we have children, because going out on the lake is tons of fun.

Two rainy BBQs

E and I had big big plans for our yard. Most included family and friends coming over, enjoying the long warm evenings and sitting on our patio. Well that was the plan anyway. The weather in Utah has been crazy this year! So much rain!

On Thursday we had a late Father's Day BBQ with my dad and sibs. The wind blew, the clouds were dark and black, but luckily we didn't need to relocate inside. The rain held out. The evening was great, and E made a fantastic new recipe: Cabernet Burgers with Rosemary Focaccia. Other than the somewhat nasty weather, we had a great night, and the burgers were excellent!

Here is the fam: Dad, Chandler, Melissa, Kathleen, and Brandon
Then on Friday we hosted another BBQ with our friends. E wanted to try another new recipe: Carne Asada with the most amazing rub! Again, the sky threatened rain so we decided to start the party outside. By the time appetizers were through the rain clouds opened and a torrential downpour started. E moved his BBQ into the garage and the rest of us moved inside. The dinner was a huge hit and Logan, our vegetarian friend, decided to take a bite of the steak because we were all making such a fuss about how good it was. I guess you know you've got a hit when the vegetarian friend breaks his rules. It was really a fantastic meal. Just wish the weather had been better.

Logan, Brooke, Justin, Mike, myself and E enjoy the patio before the weather turns...
And then we moved inside and watched the sheets of rain pouring from the sky.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today is the big ultrasound day!

E and I went into the doc's office right on time and a little nervous. The ultrasound tech called us right back and asked us if we wanted to know the sex. "Yes!" E and I held hands as the image of a perfect little baby came onto the screen. They checked all organs and said everything was developing healthy and normal: the best news ever. Heart, bones, brain, umbilical cord all look good. Then we checked between the legs - boy! Yea! How exciting! E and I are so so so thrilled and so happy we have a healthy baby boy on the way! Can't wait to start shopping for all those boy things. Love this little guy already.

Here are a few photos:

Original post-
By day end I will post if Baby November is a boy or girl. All I'm hoping for is a perfect bill of health. This ultrasound is crazy, they check all the vital organs and make sure everything is growing correctly. If you hear bad news the sex of the baby really comes into perspective. In reality, E and I would be thrilled with a healthy baby, boy or girl.

If you haven't done so, please vote now on the boy/girl poll. Remember, please only vote once, I'd love to have it as accurate as possible! I will close the poll before I head to the doc's today at 3:15.

Till later, ta ta!

Edited to add the final poll voting results. Thank you for all of you who voted! I wonder if 65% will be right and we'll be having a baby girl. We'll know soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fairy garden

I snapped this photo in my Grandma's garden last week during the dance party. Doesn't just look like a fairy should be sitting beneath this toadstool?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend in photos

On Friday night the weather was fantastic so E and I planned a Father's Day BBQ with his family. We are so happy we planned it for Friday, because Saturday and Sunday were both rainy.

Here is a little shot of our garden and a photo of our bar cart! Remember Ben and Jo got us this amazing gift for Christmas? Well it's been in the house for ages but finally the weather was nice enough of Friday to use it outside.
Here are some of the appetizers set out before the party started. The patio table is new along with the chairs. Finally something big enough so that we can all sit down!
Connie, Chelsea and Joe. And the remains of our very yummy salmon dinner.
The brothers. David and father-to-be E. (Steve and I were also there, but the photo was horrible, sorry, can't be posted).
I don't have many photos of Saturday. E and I hung around the house while it rained and then later in the afternoon we went to see Hangover with the guys and then made dinner at Logan and Brooke's new house. The evening was awesome, but I didn't take my camera.

However, I did snap a photo of my afternoon snack on Saturday! Waffles with Nutella and fresh peaches. This honestly is heaven. E thinks it is totally gross, but it isn't. I've been eating this every day for days. Must be a pregnancy thing.
Then on Sunday we decided to go to the farmhouse for the day. The weather was actually beautiful, warm but not hot and the sky was so interesting. One moment it looked like rain, the next moment the entire sky was clear again. So pretty! I took Rebecca with me for some dollie photos.
And inside E and Bo (Chelsea's and Joe's kitty) snuggled on the swing. Here E is reading his new grilling cookbook I got him for Father's Day. He says he wants to make everything, it all looks so good!
This week we are going to celebrate Father's Day with my dad, since he was out of town over the weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It is Saturday, of course it is raining

This June has been the wettest on record, and the state of Utah has been keeping records for over 100 years. Most days it has rained and rained here, and it has been so cold! Today I'm in a long sleeved shirt, and pants, shoes and socks. No t-shirts and flip flops here.

I really really wish we could have one beautiful day. Yesterday was perfect, but because it was a work day E and I didn't do much. Today, of course, it is pouring. It seems like a Saturday tradition.

Here are two photos I took of our rain chain. I was playing with the manual settings on my camera, trying to get a nice blurred effect of the falling water.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dance party at my Grandma's

Since my aunt and uncle (Penny and Dave) are in town my Grandma has been hosting a lot of parties. Most of them have had to be indoor parties due to the rain, but last night the skies threatened, but were mostly clear!

Penny and Dave have been wanting to learn to dance for awhile, and Penny's dad knows quite a few steps. So Penny decided to organize a little dance party on my Grandma's patio where we could all learn a few basic moves from her father Richard. I was a little unsure about the idea at first, but the idea was fantastic! Richard was a great teacher, we all learned a little something, and we had a fantastic dinner to accompany the night.

Richard taught us the Rumba, which is a great basic Latin dance, and works well with lots of songs. The steps were quick quick slow, and E and I caught on fairly well. Remembering what we learned will be the key.

And a little side note - thank you for everyone that has been leaving me such wonderful comments lately! I love reading them. If you don't comment, that is okay, don't feel like you need to, but thank you for those of you who do. I love 'um!

Here is some of the party, E, my Mom (who couldn't stay), my Grandma, Maurice, my Aunt Laura, Maryella, and Penny's Dad Richard.
Richard teaches everyone the steps. Here E and Laura are dancing.
Dave and Penny practice the steps.
Maurice spins my Grandma. (No, these two are not dating, just friends)
Beautiful roses as the sun dips low into the sky.

First tummy pictures

Even though I'm thrilled to be pregnant, getting a tummy for the first time in my life is a little disconcerting. In the last two weeks I've really started to show. Everyone thinks it looks so cute, I tend to just think I look fat. And why oh why has my butt grown at the same rate as my tummy? Do Mommies need big comfy butts?

I know I will be thrilled with my tummy once I feel Baby November moving, but no movement so far. I should feel the little one in the next couple of weeks. AND, our big ultrasound is scheduled! We'll find out if Baby November is a he or she on June 26th, that's only a week away!

So, here are two photos E took of me last night at 18 weeks, 1 day.

And although I don't consider myself a modest person, I've had trouble with the idea of posting this photo, don't ask me why. I took this on Tuesday, so two days before the ones above. And don't expect me to post bare belly photos all the way through pregnancy, we'll see how it goes. ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


No, this photo was no posed. We were not asked to look at each other and smile. Caroline, one of my friends who always has her camera, decided to snap a shot of E and I together last week while we were just talking. I didn't even know the camera was pointed at us. But I think what she captured is great.

I hope E and I still look at each other like this forty, fifty, sixty years from now. True love.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rainy weekend garden party

As I've mentioned again and again, it has rained non stop here for about two weeks. My Grandma was hoping and hoping the rain would clear so the party she had planned could be out in her spectacular garden. Sunday came and the skies looked dark. My aunt and uncle were in town from London, we were celebrating my cousin's 18th birthday and graduation from high school, and bidding farewell to my other cousin who is spending the entire summer in Mexico volunteering.

The idea for the garden party was a light summer salad party, so everyone was instructed to bring salads. At 5:30 I arrived to a very rainy garden with my salad in hand. Everyone was thrilled to see me because for the first time ever I have a little baby bump. It was awesome seeing Dave and Penny again, saying congrats to Taylor and hearing about Kendra's boyfriend that got swine flu (yes, he got it!). E arrived a little late from a very exciting weekend in Vegas with the guys.

The party was a huge hit, everyone had a great time, the salads were awesome, and even though we weren't in the garden, we still celebrated as if we were.

The garden was beautiful, but much to rainy to enjoy.
Instead we ate inside.
Everyone enjoyed talking in the living room.
Me and my sis Melissa (yes, same dress as tea, it is the only one that still fits!).
This is blurry, but cute. This is Kathleen, Brandon and Chandler.

Tea at Grand America

My friend Rebecca was in from Colorado for the weekend and Caroline and I decided that it would be fun to go to high tea at Grand America. Rebecca and I have a shared love for tea so we've introduced Caroline to the fun. As we were planning our ladies weekend, we knew that we wanted to have tea at Grand America. So, on Friday afternoon we all dressed up in our best and headed downtown. We entered the main lounge and were served a beautiful assortment of finger sandwiches, scones and clotted cream, desserts and of course as much tea as we could drink. Everything from the live harp music to the apricot tea was perfect. We sipped and talked, and sipped some more. Perfect.

At each table they had a tea flower, which is tea that is pressed into a tight ball. As it brews, it opens. So pretty.
Here are the yummy finger sandwiches, the scones and the toppings. We had clotted cream, lemon curd and jam.
These were my sandwiches. Look delish, don't they?
And then after we are done with the scones, we get dessert. The chocolate moose in its own chocolate cup was my favorite!
Here are the three of us, Rebecca, Caroline and me.
If you are from Utah and have never walked around the Grand America, you must! It is so worth it. Plus, tea isn't bad either!

Dolls and ladies weekend

What a week! First of all, it has been almost solid rain! After the post on Monday that E and I spent some time in the garden, it rained and rained and rained. When the big thunderstorms moved in, it was fun, but for the most part, feeling cooped up in the house in June is not a fun feeling.

Last week I added a tenth and final doll to my American Girl collection. For years I've been wanting American Girl to make a Jewish girl and they produced Rebecca. Rebecca is a second generation Russian Immigrant that lives in the Lower East Side of NYC in 1914.

I have been saving for Rebecca for four months. I've been setting aside my "fun money" and I also set aside birthday money and money I earned helping house-sit for my Grandma. Rebecca arrived and she is everything I hoped she'd be. I also ordered her six book set, read all the books within a couple of days, and loved every page.
In addition to my new doll, I've met some of the most wonderful people on the American Girl message boards, and two of these friends wanted to plan a ladies weekend in Utah. I was looking forward to meeting an online friend from Colorado named Rebecca . Caroline, a friend from Utah, and I thought it would be so fun if Rebecca (the woman, not the doll) could fly out for the weekend and we could spend our time getting to know each other better and enjoying all that Utah has to offer.

Finally the ladies weekend arrived, and it was perfect. We scheduled it on a weekend E was going to be out of town due to Ben's bachelor party in Vegas. So, on Thursday I headed downtown to meet Caroline, Rebecca, and Rebecca's four year old daughter. We explored Discovery Children's Museum where we also met Caroline's sister in law and two nieces. That afternoon all the ladies and girls came to my house where we played in the doll room, had some time to open presents, and relaxed and got to know each other. That night E and I hosted a BBQ, and of course, it was raining! E grilled hamburgers in the rain, but we had a pleasant time inside.

This is my friend Rebecca and her daughter getting their own Rebecca doll. Look at those smiles! Too cute!

That night Caroline, Rebecca and her daughter stayed at our house as guests. The next morning we woke up to some sunny skies (yea!) and headed to This is the Place Park where we looked around all the pioneer homes. Rebecca's daughter was thrilled to pretend to do pioneer laundry, card wool and even dip a candle. Rebecca's daughter kept saying the cutest things the entire day like "this is a fabulous day" and "when can we come back and do laundry again?"

Hazel joined me at This is the Place Park, here she is doing some gardening.
Afterwards we dropped of Rebecca's daughter at Caroline's sister-in-laws so the adults could go to high tea at Grand America (read about it here). The day was wonderful, relaxed and so tasty.

That night we headed up to Heber to spend the rest of the weekend at Caroline's sister-in-law's cabin. The cabin in in the mountains east of Heber in a beautiful wooded spot. On the way we stopped at Dairy Keen and got dinner. I ordered a hot turkey sandwich with fries and a slush, it was perfect.

When we arrived at the cabin we were surprised to find all sorts of little doll scenes set up all around. Caroline had come earlier in the week and set up a school scene, a modern scene, a pioneer scene, etc. for the little girls to find when they arrived. Caroline's two nieces and Rebecca's daughter were thrilled to see all the little scenes and outfits each girl was wearing. After staying up way too late playing dolls, we decided to call in a night.

The next day was rainy (again) so for most of the day we stayed in doors playing with the little girls, watching the rain, and talking. I learned so much about Rebecca and Caroline, we had some really interesting discussions. Later in the afternoon we decided to make the trek back to Salt Lake to visit Gardner Village for shopping and dinner. The rain and cleared a little, and when we arrived it was mostly gone. We shopped at the candy store, the doll shop, and a few others before stopping at Archibald's for dinner.

That night, again, we stayed up way too late talking about life, marriage, children, and our favorite members and albums on our American Girl Boards. The next morning I packed up, had a little breakfast and gave my new friends a hug. Thanks for the wonderful weekend!

The cabin was huge and so cozy on a rainy day. As you can see, the girls are thrilled to have so many dolls to play with.
On the last day the sky cleared long enough for Caroline and I to get a few photos of Violet and Mari.
This is where I slept, isn't it awesome? The room was huge, and each bed had its own reading light.
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