Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to Iraq

Flash back to two years ago - a week after we arrived back from our big Family Reunion out west Daniel was called up by the Army Reserves with only 6 weeks notice. We survived being apart and I survived giving childbirth without him and dealing with a newborn on my own.
DEJA VU!! This time it has been a month since we returned from our big Reunion vacation. Daniel was called Monday evening. He is being deployed October 1st, back to Iraq where he will join the 345th Combat Support Hospital for a 3 month tour. We expect his return somewhere around the 10th of January.
It is certainly NOT ideal but I KNOW this time will be better than the last. For one, I'm not pregnant and I won't have a newborn. Two, my parents will be living with us from October 3rd until they leave on their mission on Nov. 10th. That should make the first month fly by although it will make it that much harder to say goodbye to them. Third, I have Emily and Jeremy nearby and they are super helpful.
I'm sad that we'll miss so many holidays - Halloween, Piper's birthday (that's 2 out of 3 now)Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years but I'm glad that I don't have kids in sports this season. I'm glad the kids will be in school and we'll be on a schedule. Holidays do make the time pass quicker - don't they?... I hope.
The thing I think will be the hardest will be Sunday mornings. We have church at 8:30 am. Right now I usually get my shower and do my hair and make-up while Dan wakes the kids up and makes them fried eggs. Then when I'm ready we get the girls dressed and run out the door (the boys can do themselves luckily). I'm not sure the kids will be getting fried eggs any longer and with my new calling as Primary President - I think Sundays will be really hard!!!
The thing I am happiest about is that Dan will do all his studying for the upcoming board examination in Iraq. It was awful last year when he studied ALL the time. It was hard because he was in the house (basement) or at the hospital library and yet we NEVER saw him and I couldn't count on his help with anything. I hope he comes home so well studied that he doesn't have much left to look over before the mid-Febuary test. The bad thing is that he won't be able to take any more review courses, which he had planned for Nov, so he's studying all on his own.
If any of you want to update your family photos for his "Family" album or send him a new note to take along - he would welcome that. Please keep him and his safety in your prayers until his safe arrival home. You could keep the rest of us in your prayers as well :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Double Irish Chain

This quilt was a long time in the making. I started it in January 2006. Brielle was due with Aspen in March 2006 and I figured 2 months was plenty of time to make a quilt. (hahaha). I searched the internet for a new pattern. I am always looking for a chance to make something new but I get intimidated by complex things. This one was relatively simple so I printed off the pattern and cut it down to size for a kid blanket.

I went shopping for the fabric and came home and cut everything out - I was on my way. Then I started putting the squares together. Then it came to a halt. In March when my sister was due - I found out I was pregnant with Piper -then came the early pregnancy sickness, the summer with all the kids home, Dan in Iraq and then a new baby. So this project really took a back seat.

Late April (this year) I finally finished the top and I sent it to a long arm quilter to have it quilted. (I had to save time where I could and if I had to quilt the whole thing it would have been 3 more years before it was done.) I got it back the last day of June so all I had to do was the binding. Do you think that got done before I left on vacation in mid-July? No! And I couldn't find all the fabric I had set aside for the binding - the night before I left. So once again - I finished the project at the recipients house. I used two different fabrics from the quilt to do the binding since I couldn't find enough of the black (which was my original plan).

The blocks were put together by strip piecing. Not a hard concept but plenty time consuming. Here's the chain. A single Irish chain would just be the green, but this is a double so it has green and black. They also have patterns for a triple.

Close up of the fabric. Black has little frogs. Green has little star bursts. And the pale pink is a light floral print.

The back was this very soft heavy fabric. I don't the name but it's kinda fuzzy in the softest fuzz ever. The top was bound with pink and the sides with black.

The long arm quilting was done in a floral and loopy pattern in a bright green thread. I love how this looks and wish that all my quilts could be done this way. This is only the second one I've had done.
The binding:

The recipient:
Even though she's nearly 2 and half now - I think she likes it. She probably likes more now than she would have as a new born. And I'm so glad it's done so I can move on to something else! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photo Shoot

On our first day we arrived in Utah we drove straight from the airport to my oldest friend in the world's house. Amy was leaving the very next morning for a two week vacation on the east coast and this was our only chance to visit. It was MacGregor's birthday so we ate pizza and salad and Aunt Brinn had made a beautiful birthday cake.

The boys can't wait to see Alex on every visit to Utah. Once Amy's kids asked her if we were their cousins. She told them it was pretty close. We agree - we are nearer to cousins than any non-related people could be. The boys don't even need any warm up time - they see each other after two years and they are off and running and always sad to say goodbye.

Amy is an outstanding photographer. She is slowing building up her business and portfolio. We had been traveling all day and didn't exactly look our best (my hair) but she squeezed in a short impromptu photo shoot in her back yard. You can see some of that shoot here.

Thanks Amy. We wouldn't have missed those 2 hours for the world. And I think the pictures came out great!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

13 Years Ago

Still going Strong!

Feel the same.....look different!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fish, Fish, Fish

I know no two fish look alike and that's why we must take pictures of EVERY fish that we catch. Of course fishing was a big part of our trip in Idaho and thus I must post a few pictures.

Daniel hired a guide and paid the guy lots of money to take him to an elevated lake for a guided fishing trip. So for his money he got to see beautiful scenery like this:

And this:

And this:
And here's the fish he caught:

Then he and Brock took the boys on their annual fishing camp out. This fishing trip had no charge. And yet they caught fish that look like this:

And this:

And this:

HOLY MACAROLE!! or I guess we need say HOLY TROUT!! Big guys!! (Now why do we pay fishing guides?)

They also took the boys to a reservoir at Stibnight which is an old ghost town. It used to be a mining town of about 1500 people but when the mine shut down they moved all of the old houses out on modified logging trucks and now very little remains of the old town. ( I did ask the boys to look for gold nuggets but unfortunately they had no luck. We did have fun pulling out rocks from the river bottom and looking to which had the most gold specks in them and we were hopeful that we'd find a nugget but that did not occur. Maybe next trip)

They got to try the fly poles and it was exciting for them to get some catches of their own.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New York Visit

Back in June we spent a weekend in NY with our dear friends David and Laura. They have since moved to Spain (where we are dying to visit them again). We were so excited for this visit because it was the first time we got to meet their new baby freshly adopted from China. She arrived in early April.
Her name is Caitlin and isn't she the cutest chubby cheeked baby you ever saw?
Here's Pau looking all handsome. He and Piper are only one week apart. He and his new baby sister are only 6 months apart so Laura has her hands full!
Ainsley is about a year and half older than Amelie but they play super well together.

Piper enjoying her hotdog.

MacGregor floated back and forth between playing with the little kids and playing with the Wii, which is ALL that Chase did from morn til night. Infact the boys had an offer to go with my mom to the family cabin for the weekend instead of NY but they choose NY because David has cool toys!

And I finished it. I had posted the top of this quilt back in April (before the border) and I had hoped to have it done by Caitlin's first birthday in May but it did not get done in time. Infact I sewed the binding on in the car on the way up and I hand quilted around each flower during our visit. But here's the final result with border and binding.

Machine quilting - not very good, I still get bunches.
Hand quilting around the flower:
And here's the whole crew before we gave our last hugs goodbye. We know they'll be back in the states in 2 years but it's still hard to say goodbye. We really hope we see them even sooner in Spain but we'll have to see what our budget and schedules will allow.
OK - this is a total side note and I hope David doesn't kill me but we took two group pictures and the first one wasn't so great. People weren't ready or weren't looking at the camera. This is David's face in the first picture and it cracks me up because it's a face he made ALL the time in high school. It was his "Duh" face or his "What are you doing?" face. Anyway I find it very funny. I have always thought that Amelie favors her mother but after seeing this expression - I think she has an AWFUL LOT of her dad in her. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

On the River

Our most favorite place in Idaho this year was the river. Brielle moved into her new house about 6 weeks after we visited there two years ago. So this was our family's first time staying in this house and it was literally about a block and half from the Payette river. The river had a current but in the shallow flat areas it was very mild. Brielle said each year it looks different depending on how the winter melt carved up the river in the spring. This year there were several islands - one almost entirely sand. We would wade over to the island and set up camp. It was like we had our own private beach. We built castles out of the river rocks and sand. I love all the smooth river rocks that cover the bottom of the river.

This is the first night we got there (shortly after dinner) we walked down to the river. Daniel threw his pole in and the kids just enjoyed exploring. While Daniel was fishing we took the rest of the kids for a long walk along the river.

All these pictures were taken on the walk that first night. The other blissful days we were swimming at the river I didn't have my camera. I love the pictures of Piper sitting along the edge throwing rocks in. She was in HEAVEN. She still wasn't walking because of her leg but she was thrilled to be able to be wet and throw rocks (one of her favorite past times).

Now isn't this the cutest, orneriest girl you ever saw!! She's got some TUDE!! But she also is so complimentary. She was always telling us things that she liked about us. " I like your shirt - it's got flowersonit" "I like your blanket, it's got flowersonit".

Doesn't this look like the most perfect place to hang out? And can you hear it? Can you hear that heavenly sound of the water flowing over the rocks? The only thing not heavenly were the mosquitoes. As soon as dusk hits - you have to run for cover because the mosquitoes come out in swarms. Poor Aspen, who has horrible reactions to mosquito bites was getting chewed alive. As you can see in the above picture - she got a huge goose egg from two little bites on her forehead. For the next few days she was completely swollen. Dan said she looked like a "Cling-On" from Star Trek. He said she could just skip make-up and go right to the set to film the next episode. So SAD! The mosquitoes weren't bad during the day though. Who knew Idaho would have a mosquito problem - I thought that was a Louisiana swamp thing.

There was a section between two islands that narrowed and the current was very swift. It wasn't very deep but it did pull you quite forcefully. It was easy to walk a wide path around this area to avoid it but the boys really liked it. They called it the water slide and would let it wash them away. It would have been even more fun to have a raft or something to ride thru it because it was a bit rough on the bottom. Speaking of rough - I pulled out the broken off neck of a beer bottle. And I thought I saw a CD at the bottom of river in an area that was thigh deep. I reach down to pick it up and discover that it was not a CD but a saw blade. The silver ring was the center of a table saw blade. It's best to keep your shoes on in the water - you never know what you may find.