Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ben's Eagle Project

After our fun fall activities,  it was time to get to work on Ben's Eagle project.  Ben set a goal to have the project finished by his 15th birthday, and so it began....

Ben had very definite ideas of what he wanted to do; he wanted something that would be a lasting improvement in the community.  At first, he was going to clean up a trail in a city park and build new signage for it.  We thought it was a great project and he went through all of the paperwork and got it approved and then found out that the county didn't really want it done....He was disappointed at all of his initial hard work, but he got back to thinking of a new project.  He knew some of his buddies had done some great projects at This is The Place State Park and so he contacted them and they had a great project for him to do...but it had to be finished and in place by the end of October.  He had to get busy quickly if he wanted to make his goal by November 10.  

This was the bridge in front of the Relief Society Building that was in desperate need of replacement.  The ground is uneven, the boards were lose and it was really dangerous to walk on.

Once again, the paperwork was done and presented to the scout committee. was approved; now Ben had to figure out a way to construct it.  Brian and I committed to help him do whatever he needed, but we are not real builder types; we knew we needed some expert help.  My dear friend Amy's dad is a builder expert, and he just happened to be in town prior to his move to St. George.  A quick phone call and a dinner at Cafe Rio and we had plans a ready!  Rick was so kind to help Ben sketch out a plan, decide on materials, and organize the project.  We appreciated his help so much!  Ben organized a building night, got all the materials and recruited his buddies and scout troop to pitch in!

Ben getting the necessary materials.  Burton Lumber was great!  They gave Ben a great price, super cheap delivery and were so helpful.
Ben and Rick measuring and cutting the boards.  
 The boys begin the build
 Rick and Ben

 The walkway ended up being about 11 feet long and about 5 1/2 feet wide.  Thomas and Ben marking the spots for the nails.
 Rick and Ben getting the measurements just right.  

Ben drilling the last nail into the walkway!  Project finished.
 The guys making sure the walkway could be lifted.  It was so heavy around 500 pounds!  Thanks to Rick, Brian, his YM leader Jake and his buds and troop for all the help!

 After all that work, the guys enjoyed pizza, breadsticks and pop.  There was not one crumb left over!  They were hungry!

 A few days after the build, Ben had to  coat it with linseed oil to protect the wood for years to come.  His buds Brandon Clark and Ben Williams were great friends and came over after school to help.  Brandon and Ben are the best friends and helped Ben with every step of the project!  Thanks guys!

Now that the walkway was completed, Ben had to figure out a way to get it to the park.  We had a few trailer ideas, but it was so big that the trailers were  just not going to work.  So the night before we were supposed to place the walkway, Ben had to try and find another way to get it up there.  Jon Anderson, a great guy in our ward, came to the rescue.  He brought his big truck and helped a ton that morning!  

 Jon, Brandon, Ben W., Taylor, Bri, Mike, and Ethan ready on 1, 2 3...lift!
 Getting the walkway into the truck.  It was a perfect fit!  Thanks Jon!!!
Once at the park, the old walkway had to be removed. It was much lighter than the new one!
 The ground was uneven, rocky and so picks and shovels were a must in prepping the ground for the new walkway.
Ben and YM leader Clint working on the ground.

 It was a team effort to get the ground level and ready.
Jack, Mike and Ethan working away.  Ethan isn't even old enough for scouts yet, but he came with his dad to help.  What a great ward we have!

 It had rained a few days before, so the ground was quite soft.  It took about 45 minutes to get the ground evened out.  They made a few attempts at placing the walkway, but it had to be perfect, so more shoveling and picking.

Getting the walkway out of truck for the placement.

 Almost finished!

 Let's try it!
 Not quite ready; more shoveling.

 Success!  Walkway in place and perfect!

 Great guys to help Ben!  Taylor, Ben, Bri, Clint and Jon.  You are the best!
 Thanks Dad for buying the lumber and helping me so much, and thanks Mom for the many trips to the park measuring and pushing me to get this done!

 Thanks guys for all your time in helping me with the project!  You are great friends!

 The gang and the finished walkway.

 I'm done!

We had to get rid of the old walkway and so we took it to Bri's office and the boys had a fun time hitting it and breaking it apart.  Ben taking the final swing at it!

And the project is done!  Ben received a nice letter from the park and they said it was "fabulous and would be around for many years."  It was a ton of work, but worth it and Ben learned many leadership skills!  So one more merit badge to finish and paperwork to submit to scouting office and we should be having his Court of Honor after the first of the year!  Yahoo!  Great job Ben!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Election Day 2012

As long as Brian and I have been married, we have always voted together and today was no exception. Most of the time we agree; sometimes we cancel each other out, but always we vote!  Both of us were raised by families where political debate and conversation were always part of our lives and we have tried to do the same with our children.  So yesterday, there was a lively 25 plus text message discussion on candidates, ideas and while it gets spirited, our children know the value of this most basic right-We Vote. We may not always like the end result; but always we vote!  

 All smiles after being voter 23 and 24 in our district.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

NYC-Girls' Trip. What a blast!

About a year ago, the girls and I decided we needed to take a girls only trip to NYC.  After lots of planning and arranging, we were off!  I love New York; I love the crowds, the noise, the shopping, walking, just everything.  I was so excited to spend a few days with these cute girls and we had lots of fun things planned.  We decided to take a red-eye flight so that we would have an extra day in the city. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed and instead of leaving at 11:45 p.m., we left at 1:20 a.m..  We had all been up all day and so we were a tired group when we finally arrived.  

The girls all smiles at the SL airport

We arrived in the city around 7 or so and had to wait about an hour for a cab to take up to the hotel.  The cab ride was long and bumpy, and we were very excited to check in to our hotel.  Well, we couldn't get an early check in, so we grabbed a quick breakfast and headed off to explore the city. We headed to the subway and went to SoHo and looked around.  I don't know why I didn't take any pictures of SoHo, but it was a fun place to just walk around and look at cute little shops.  
Our first of many subway rides.  I think we look pretty good for being up about 26 hours.

Our next stop was the 9-11 Memorial.    This was a must do our our list.  Brian and I were there in 2010 and it was still under construction, but in two years a lot of progress had been made.  It was a very sobering experience to stand where so many people lost their lives.

The Freedom Tower still under construction.  It won't replace the Twin Towers, but it is very beautiful.

Lindsi and Kristi before we went to the Memorial.

  Each memorial is placed exactly where a tower was and all the names of the people in that building or on the plane that hit are written around it. There is a 30 foot waterfall cascading into a large void at the center of the memorial.   These pictures do not do it justice.  It was incredibly beautiful and sad at the same time.

I loved this picture of my girls; it just seems to fit the reflective nature of the memorial.

The girls are in front of the tree that survived the devastation of 9-11. 

The three of us in front of one of the memorials.

After we toured the memorial, we were beat and headed back to the hotel for a little rest before our dinner.  Kristi loves the movie Serendipity, and so for our first night in the city, we had a fabulous dinner.  It was actually quite a tiny restaurant; it looks bigger in the movie!  We sat a a cute little table by the window and enjoyed everything!
Thanks cutie for hooking us up at Serendipity!
Here we are after a yummy dinner!
We decided we were going to enjoy ourselves and have dessert every night!  Our first night splurge was frozen hot chocolate, chocolate ice cream and peanut butter pie.  FABULOUS!!!
Looking like a real city girl hailing us a taxi!

The next day was Saturday and we headed downtown to catch a boat for a harbor cruise.  It was a nice day, but a little windy on the boat.  We had some great views of the city, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Ellis Island.
Just a small part of Manhattan
Ellis Island where over 2 million immigrants landed on their way to living the American Dream.
My cuties on the harbor cruise with Lady Liberty behind them.  
Love this picture of us!

I am still in awe every time I see the Statue of Liberty.
The Brooklyn Bridge; we had hoped to walk across it and grab some pizza, but we didn't have time.  Maybe next trip. But we did get a great view and pic as we sailed under it!
You have to have a hot dog in NYC; Kristi and I splitting a yummy dog!

After our downtown adventures, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for some dinner and shopping.  At random stops, guys get on, sing a song, get a few bucks from the riders, get off at next stop and ride another subway train.  They actually sounded pretty good. 

We decided to go to a fun Mexican place for dinner and we met up with Josh's cute girlfriend Brinley who is a nanny on Long Island.  We had a yummy dinner with her and her nanny friend Violet.  
Brinley and the girls after dinner!  It was fun to hear all about her adventures.  After dinner, we shopped a bit and walked around Rockefeller Center.  We went to Saks Fifth Avenue, but didn't stay long as they were not too friendly to us.  Kristi did buy an I phone cover and the sales guy in that department was nice, but overall we were not impressed.  

In keeping with our desire for nightly dessert, we headed to Union Square for a visit to the famous Max Brenners.  It had to be good as it was almost a two hour wait.  It was delicious and worth the wait.

Yummy fondue!  
Fun night at Max Brenners!

On Sunday, we decided to see a play.  We didn't have tickets and so we decided to just get whatever was available at the same day ticket booth.  I got up early and stood in line for about an hour, Lindsi relaxed a bit and Kuri hit the Upper West Side for a little shopping.  I was able to get some great seats to.....
It was the best musical; we had a great time listening to the ABBA tunes!  Loved, loved it!

It was a pretty chilly day and so after the play, we headed back to the hotel.  
I think the dancing in the play inspired Kristi to rock out a bit to Jay z's "New York"!  Which inspired me to join her....
Not sure if I am dancing or signaling a touch down!  
And cute little momma watching us!

We then were ready for our final dinner in the city.  My sweet  girls surprised me with a fun dinner at Ruth Chris' Steakhouse.  I had never been, but heard it was the best.  It was a fun way to spend our last night.  Thank you sweet girls for the yummy and thoughtful dinner! 

After dinner we headed over to a nail salon for a pedicure!  
The finished pedis!

It was a cold night, be we bundled up and headed out in Times Square for some shopping and walking around.
Enjoying the night in Times Square.

We ended up having dessert at a place called the Stardust that has singing waiters.  Okay, the singing was great, but the desserts were horrible!  Never go to  the Stardust for dessert in Times Square, instead head to.......
for the best cheesecake ever!!!

On our last day, Monday, we got up early and took the subway to the temple.  We had a wonderful time doing some temple work and running into a friend of mine who is on a mission at the temple with her husband.  
The temple is beautiful and quiet and the ladies were so sweet to us.  

After the temple we headed to Central Park to walk around.
Yes, there is my city!
My girls in the park.

After the temple, park and lunch at a lovely Italian place in the Upper West side, we headed over to Levain's-home of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in the USA.  It was great!  We did a little shopping on 5th Avenue and I bought the girls their birthday gifts- a cute bracelet for Kristi and a new watch for Lindsi.
And even though we were sad to leave fun NYC, it was time to head home to the babies and our boys.  

I can't even tell you how much fun I had just spending four days with my girls; I love them so much and we had a blast.  We decided that we are doing girls' trips every other year and NYC every four  if not sooner....

Here are 10 things I learned about NYC:

1.  Hailing a cab is  NOT as easy as it is in the movies!
2.  New Yorkers are actually friendly people who are willing to give direction or advice.
3.  New Yorkers who work at Saks are NOT nice however.
4.  There are tons of restaurants in the city; try something new and eat dessert every day!
5.  Stay at the Hampton Inn on 51st and 8th-the best staff and location. Close to everything! Thanks Amy for the suggestion and for all the great places to eat.
6.  It's okay to get on the wrong subway; just get off at the next stop and change trains.
7.  Kristi is the best map reader and she directed us all over the city.
8.  Lindsi , even though she is 6 months pregnant, never stopped and kept going and going
9.  Don't take a cab from the airport; spend a few extra bucks and take a car.  A much more pleasant ride!
And #10 and the best thing I learned in NYC is....

10.  I have the best girls and I loved traveling with them and can't wait until 2014!!!

And that ends the NYC Girls' Trip 2012.