Monday, July 22, 2013

Christmas in July

I am a HUGE Christmas fan. I love everything to do with it! Christmas music, food, traditions, family, magical lights, cold weather, hot chocolate, etc. If it were up to me, we would begin the next Christmas celebration on December 26th...well I guess the 27th since Trisha's birthday is on the 26th, we'll let her have her day in the sun;) 

However, such devotion would probably cause Christmastime to lose some its magic. During High School I devised a solution that would allow us to keep Christmas in our hearts just a little bit more each year: Christmas in July! I vowed from that day forward that when I got married, my wife and our family would observe this wonderful holiday each year. Luckily, Trisha is an amazing wife and was the muscle behind the planning/organization of the event (especially when I found out that a Real Salt Lake game would be televised in the middle of our celebration. This made me want to reschedule the event for another day.) So the event planning continued. We planned the event for July 20th at 7:30 pm. We spent the morning/afternoon shopping for and setting up decorations and food while listening to various Christmas albums. Our friend, Kate came and helped us, which was greatly appreciated! We set up the tree, strung up lights and put out a candle to infuse the air with Christmas! We even set the thermostat down a few degrees so that during the movie so that people could cuddle under the blankets we set out. It was perfect!! Our neighbors have a 2 year old that loves Christmas as well, so we brought him over to help us decorate the tree. He loved it and was so cute. Every time he put an ornament on the tree he would immediately start scouring the room saying "One more!" After that, everyone started to show up. We had sugar cookies to decorate, hot chocolate to drink, paper and scissors to make snowflakes, and a good soccer game to watch. We decided to opt out of watching Elf due to time constraints for those traveling home to St. George that night. The spirit of Christmas left the room for a few minutes in the 96th minute of the soccer game due to poor form from the ref resulting in the winning goal for the opposing team. I will probably get coal this year for the negative thoughts I had about the whole situation. However, after another mug of Cocoa in my Grinch mug, I felt much better.

 I would say that the first annual Christmas in July was a marvelous success! We had a great time with great company and the start of a great tradition.

I want to mention Trisha again, she put in a lot of effort to make sure that Christmas in July was all I imagined it could be and more. I am very excited to have her as my Merry Christmas Darling each and every Christmas:)

Card Mansion

Last week, we were able to host two of Trisha's siblings on Wednesday and Thursday. Her brother, Tyler is transferring to SUU and attended orientation. We were able to go to Roberto's Mexican Restaurant and Wednesday Tennis. Tyler was probably the best one at tennis. He was doing really great! He was putting some good spin on the ball which impressed everyone there that I talked to. After tennis, we came home and watched some White Collar. We all love that show, it is so good! While Trisha was at work and Tyler was at orientation on Wednesday, Kamri and I got to hang out! Kamri and I are not very familiar with what there is to do in Cedar, so we decided to spend the afternoon playing cards and Jenga. After a few rounds of Jenga, we started building structures with the blocks. This was a blast! All of this engineering sparked my imagination. I remember building card houses with Dan and Becky when we were younger. How cool would it be to bring blocks and cards together? So Kamri and I started Phase I of our construction. The base of the building was to be made solely of cards. Our goal was to make the foundation strong enough to support a tall tower of Jenga blocks. While this seemed impossible, we pressed on. During phase one, Kamri found the strongest way to form the cards; each formation she tested was put to a weight test. After this testing, we found that a triangular grid would be the best base to hold the additional weight of the blocks.

During Phase II we finished construction of the lobby area and began to work on the pool area of the card mansion. To add monetary value to this mansion, we had to make this aesthetically pleasing. Our pool area was to be in the middle of the home and be surrounded by bedrooms. A second story veranda wrapped around a portion of the pool area.

Phase III consisted of building the tower over the main lobby. Our biggest concern was that the weight of the tower would be too great for the card rooftop. Our construction was delayed by a cave-in while we were trying to install more roofing to spread the weight of the tower. After this delay, we began construction of the tower. This was a very risky job; one wrong move and the entire home could be demolished. We had previously designed a mockup of the proposed tower, so construction went quickly. Here is the finished product:

Although the wise man probably shouldn't build his house upon some cards, our mansion goes to show what some good imagination and a lot of free time can accomplish.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

David vs. Goliath

As the monotonous cycle of work --> schoolwork --> sleep threatened our night again, Trisha and I made a run for it and went to play some friendly tennis. There are some great people that play every Wednesday through the Summer, and this was our first night joining their game. Tennis wound down and the group of us went to get snow cones at the wonderful Tiki Shack. We had a nice, relaxing break from our studies - but the real fun started during the short drive home...
After turning onto our street, I felt a foreign object on the edge of my shorts. Unsure of what it was, I investigated the scene with my hand, making sure to keep my eyes on the road. The object was poky, so I assumed it was just a big piece of old brush or something. Since we were so close to home, I decided I would wait and throw it away once we returned home. Bad idea. Suddenly, the object wrapped around my finger! This surprise accompanied by the need to open the garage door and shift into a lower gear really made my manly instincts kick in. As any self-respecting adult male would do, flailed my arm in panic and flung the creature into an unknown part of the front seat. Fortunately, I was able to mask my terrified scream with a sound that somewhat resembled a lethargic ghost. In a state of panic, I frantically pressed the garage door opener repeatedly. Just as the door began to open I would accidentally press it again and it would begin to close again. This only prolonged our time sitting in the driveway in a dark car with a big unidentified bug on the loose. Finally after three or four attempts, the door made its seemingly eternal ascent until we were able to pass under it. I immediately sprung from the car swatting at my clothes and making absurd noises. Trisha spotted the beast sitting in the middle console of the car. This is what she found:

So now we were faced with the task of getting this behemoth out of our car. Trisha went inside while I battled with my wits and tried to find a way to get it out of the car without touching it. We have a sprinkler key that is about four feet long with a scooped handle, but to avoid scooping it out of the gearbox and onto the car floor, I needed some help. Trisha willingly came out to help me. She held a box as I stood behind her with the four foot long pole and scooped him in (All the while, I kept freaking out as Trisha kept a composed demeanor.) The mission was a success and we returned the beetle into the wild (I would have killed it if it weren't capable of eating my shoe.) In light of this encounter, we've decided that being outgoing is overrated. If you need us, we'll be doing our homework.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Our celebration of Independence

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It was such a treat when I was told I got two days off of work!! I have been hoarding my vacation hours since I started working full time...first for Christmas time so I could stay in Northern Utah for a friends wedding, then for the honeymoon, and now for a family vacation. Any time off is very nice.

This great event called for a trip to Elk Ridge, Utah, to visit my family. It was such a fun weekend!! On Thursday, we were still livin' in a heat wave. Ugh. We made a trip to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy and had a really great time. We touched sting rays and took me a few minutes to work up the courage. During the few hours we were there we saw the sharks, anaconda, and penguins all get fed. Good stuff. There were otters (who like to show off, and sleep), glow in the dark scorpions, an octopus (those things are creepy looking!), and lots of fish, of course.

After the aquarium we had a BBQ at my sisters house and drove to Orem to watch the Stadium of Fire firework show. We saw a few other shows from the houses around the neighborhood. Lots of people and lots of fun =)

On Friday, the main event was a four wheeler ride up Hobble Creek Canyon. The loading of the wheelers and drive to the trail was long and hot, but so worth it. David had TONS of fun driving the four wheeler, singing operatic versions of Home on the Range and She'll be Coming Round the Mountain. He also made his own video game style background music when we started going fast. He's such a goof, and I sure love it. We had a awesome view from the top of the mountain, where we had a picnic and suffered an attack of killer flies. Only about 10 minutes after loading up the rain hit, and it hit hard. That was great to curb the heat, and also because David gets almost giddy when it rains. It was about dinner time when we got back, so we wiped the dust off our faces and legs and got going to Senor Moose. Weird name, huge burritos, and friendly people.

Saturdays events seem to slip my mind and David's. Shopping, mostly? Which David only partially participated in. Good thing I've got a good brother to keep him company. Also, softball practice. I went to help my mom and David thought he could sit at the house and study economics...nope! Wonderful brother to the rescue! So they played video games, yay!

The rest of the weekend was filled with games with the little sister, and odd shows about wedding dresses or bizarre foods. We took left overs and strawberry jam home =) and look forward to a weekend with the family again!