Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Black Hills

We have been planning for several years to take a vacation to the Black Hills and see Mount Rushmore and a few of the sights out there. But as is typical in my life, it has been put on hold each year for a remodeling project, or a family reunion, or taking summer classes...whatever the case may be. So this year, we decided to make it happen, and loaded up the camper to head to South Dakota. (Yes, for all those who may be geographically challenged like myself, Mount Rushmore is in South Dakota ;-)
There is sooo much to do & see there! We didn't even make a dent in it - but that just means we'll have to go back with all the kids next year :-)
We did see the Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, the Cosmos, Old MacDonald's Farm, Bear Country, and Storybook Island, and probably a few more attractions that I forgot to mention. My personal favorite was the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore - I'm a sucker for patriotic & historical stuff, so that was right up my alley. Reghan LOVED Bear Country and Old MacDonald's Farm; and I think Ralph's favorite was either Bear Country or Mount Rushmore (he's not here to tell me - he'll have to write his own update if I'm wrong :-)

The goats at Old MacDonald's Farm loved our clothes. They tried to eat Reghan's shirt & she was not a fan of that at all!

She wanted to pet the cows from a distance...

Regs loved her pony ride - I wasn't sure if she would go, but she smiled the whole time!

This is me in the Cosmos - they say the magnetic force is different here, so it allows you to lean so far forward off the walls and not fall...I think you can lean so far forward because the walls are build on a pretty good slant...not that I'm a scientist or anything ;-). But anyway, it was fun!

Reghan rode the buffalo like a true cowgirl at Storybook Island. She was so good the entire trip!!
A picture of the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore. I forgot our camera (what the heck was I thinking??), so Ralph had to take it with his phone...not the best quality, but a great memory!
Reghan rode the train at Storybook Island. She is getting so big. She LOVED it! The train was one of the first things we did, and she was totally not interested in the rest of the park after that; she just wanted "moe tain." I love trying to decipher her new words!!

Here we are at the Crazy Horse Memorial. All that is sculpted so far in the mountain (you can barely see it in the background) is his head, and they have started on his horse's head, but it will be a long time before this is done! I loved wandering through the museum and seeing all the quotes from the Indian chiefs. Especially because I feel so familiar with them, as all my favorite ski runs at Grand Targhee are named after them :-D...Chief Joseph Bowl, Crazy Horse, Little Big Horn...
We had a great time, and are looking forward to going again when we can take all the kids. There are so many great things for kids in that area - it's a fun family vacation spot!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So...I have been thinking I should update our blog, but there isn't really anything new going on in our lives. Well, there are a few fun things that we've been up to lately, but nothing really noteworthy. If I can find some pictures, I'll post them later. But since I have been home with Reghan this past year, I have had the time to work on two sides of my life that have been sorely neglected the past few years: my spiritual side, and my "workout" side. Unfortunately, having a super-active toddler in the house, I don't get to do both of these in the same day. It seems like my whole life, I have focused on my physical self, but I have had a few wake-up calls to what is really important this past year, and have made a determination to focus on my spiritual side first (which has been an adventure, to say the least! ;-D). That means that I have been reading the Ensign cover to cover each month, and actually highlighting parts that have significant meaning to me, etc. Good times! I loved this little excerpt from an article by President Monson...if you have two minutes, it is worth the read!

"Before we can successfully undertake a personal search for Jesus, we must first prepare time for him in our lives and room for him in our hearts. In these busy days there are many who have time for golf, time for shopping, time for work, time for play - but no time for Christ.
"Lovely homes dot the land and provide rooms for eating, rooms for sleeping, playrooms, sewing rooms, television rooms, but no room for Christ.
"Do we get a pang of conscience as we recall his own words: 'The foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.' (Matthew 8:20) Or do we flush with embarrassment when we remember, 'And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.' (Luke 2:7) No room. No room. No room. Ever has it been.
As we undertake our personal search for Jesus, aided and guided by the principle of prayer, it is fundamental that we have a clear concept of him whom we seek. The shepherds of old sought Jesus the child. But we seek Jesus the Christ, our Older Brother, our Mediator with the Father, our Redeemer, the Author of our salvation; he who was in the beginning with the Father; he who took upon himself the sins of the world and so willingly died that we might forever live. This is the Jesus whom we seek."

And with that, I can safely say that I feel justified in spending even less time updating this blog than I have in the past :-D!

I know my own life has often fallen in the classification of "no room." I hope and pray that I can rectify that situation and always make room for my Savior and Redeemer in my life! And I hope for those of you reading this, that it was worth your time as it was mine!! :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Recipe Exchange

Tiffany had a great idea to start a blog recipe exchange. I'm not really sure how it is supposed to work, but I am always in the market for new recipes. (So all you millions of followers should also post your favorite recipes on your own blogs!) I love to cook, but detest going to the grocery store and trying to come up with menus, and I also love food, especially good, healthy food! Tiff's only rule was that it has to be something anyone can make, and this definitely fits the bill - it's super easy. Anyway, this is my latest new trial food, and I am pretty sure it is my favorite salad ever!! mmmm...

Artichoke Tomato Salad

5 large tomatoes, cut in wedges
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 jar (7 1/2 oz.) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 can (2 1/4 oz.) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced

Arrange tomato wedges on a large serving platter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over tomatoes. Refrigerate leftovers.

Growing UP!

I cannot believe how big my baby is getting! She amazes me with the things she is able to do! I have to call my mom and announce her every discovery and milestone; I'm sure Mom is thinking "yes, that's what kids her age do," but instead of saying that she laughs and oohs and ahhs over everything I tell her.
I also am freshly amazed each day by how hard it is to be a mom. There are days I really miss working, both because I loved my teaching job and because I loved the people I worked with! On one of those days when I was really struggling with just being a mom and I was playing with Reghan in her room, I came across a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley. It hit me very forcefully that this is what I need to be doing right now - childhood is so very short, and I can't imagine ever looking back on this time I get to spend with my little Reghan and thinking "I sure wish I would have worked through her childhood." On the other hand, I've talked to so many mothers who did work when their children were young, and they invariably said the same thing: "I wish I would've stayed home with my kids. It goes by so fast." Anyway, here's the quote (which, by the way, is now hanging on my wall as a constant reminder):
"Love your children. Cherish them. They are so precious. They are so very, very important. They are the future. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them. You need the help of the Lord. Pray for that help, and follow the inspiration which you receive." -President Gordon B. Hinckley

Here are some photos of the fun things we get to do at home all day ;0). Reghan is into everything! She is super active and seems to be very much a tom-boy, but at the same time already changes clothes several times a day, makes anything with a strap into a purse, and anything with buttons a cell phone, so she may be pure girly-girl.
Every day she pulls her shirt drawer completely out of her dresser, then empties all the shirts out of it. She then proceeds to put several around her neck, and at least one on each leg, then find a pair of my shoes and wander around the house in this get-up. She also loves beanie hats, and has three or four that she pulls on and off all day, every day. Needless to say, her hair never looks combed for more than a few minutes.
Once the drawer is empty, she usually puts her dolls or stuffed animals to sleep in it and tucks them in with her blankets. So sweet!!

What a nut!!

This is my favorite picture because it just sums Reghan up - she's such a multi-tasker and always doing several different things at once! The shirt she's wearing was her Christmas present from Devri - which she made me promise to let Reghan wear before we opened it. Reghan wears it around the house a lot, because she's not allowed outside in it!

This is her "come ON spring!!" outfit. It was about 55 degrees a few weeks ago for two or three days straight, so we had to dress up in springy outfits to welcome spring, and encourage it to stick around. Needless to say, it snowed the next day.

She loves to draw, but refuses to use crayons. She will draw with pens and pencils or not at all! Usually she does great, and only draws on paper...or so I thought. The other day I found a large "picture" on the wall in the hallway. Thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Erasers - no trace of her masterpiece today!
While we were on vacation at Targhee, Reghan and I spent a lot of time in and around the motel, since she is not a skier yet. I was getting ready to make sandwiches for lunch and turned around to find her up at the table with the jar of peanut butter open, her hand inside. Just having a little snack!

I waited all winter to get some snow and go sledding, but we haven't had more than a few inches since mid-September. So the other day I finally gave in and we went sledding on the grass. By the look on Reghan's face, I guess she liked it. She never stopped smiling, and even decided to try riding backward.
This is another comical picture to me! I am not a big fan (or maybe just not a fan, period) of gameboys and stuff like that, but Nate has one and it is always on the floor somewhere. Reghan has adopted it as her own, and it doubles as a cell phone, computer, and game boy, without ever being turned on! Gotta love these multi-functional toys!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ski Vacation at Grand Targhee

For spring break it is a Pope family tradition that we ski at Targhee at least a few days of the week. It is a tradition I loved growing up, so it is one that I have kept with my own family. All four of the kids got to come, and everyone had a good time. Ryann and Carlie haven't skied much, but they did great! Ryann can parallel now, and Carlie is starting to make lots of turns instead of just heading down the mountain kamikaze style! She also got to use "the poles" this year, and was very excited for that. We didn't get very good snow because the weather was so warm the first few days it all melted, then turned icy overnight, but that didn't curtail the fun!
Reghan didn't ski, but she spent a lot of time in the pool and hot tub. She LOVED it! Any time she could escape the motel room, she ran straight out the front doors, across the entire ski area to the pool. Swimming after a fun day skiing served two purposes for me - a good way to entertain kids, and it put Reghan right to sleep (yeah!). And the hot tub felt amazing, so I guess it has three purposes. Reghan cracks me up. She would get in the pool, then see the snow out on the pool deck, so she would say "out! out!" She had to get out of the pool and get a few fistfuls of snow to eat or play with, then jump back in. What a girl!

There is also a fun little tubing hill that the older kids and Ralph took advantage of one night. They loaded up and strung tubes together to get enough weight so they could hit the fence at the top of the hill. Everyone touched the fence, and no one crashed through it, so I guess you could say it was a successful venture!
Friday and Saturday my family all came up to ski with us. It was good to all ski and spend some time together - thanks guys!

The low point of the trip for me (and apparently the high point for everyone else) was a massive crash down Chief Joseph Bowl. I ejected out of both skis and left one about 70 yards above me on the hill, and chased the other several hundred yards downhill. I remember cartwheeling over and landing on my feet just long enough to see my ski sliding away, as I thought "Noooo..come back...", then rolling head over heels again. It must have looked pretty comical, because as I hiked up to retrieve my ski, I overheard another skier say "I really want to laugh, but I'm not sure she's okay!" I wanted to laugh too, but I wasn't sure how many broken body parts I might have, so I held back. As it turns out, none. Just some minor bruising and very sore muscles; not even any pictures or video - pretty lame for a crash of that magnitude ;-).
On a more serious note, I am very grateful that I wore my helmet that morning. I wasn't going to because it was super cold, and I wanted a hat for the extra warmth, but as I was walking out the door, I just had a feeling it was a good helmet day, so I swapped out my warm hat - and am very thankful that I did!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Year's Happenings

Wow! I have not been on here in forever. So I will attempt to catch you up on 2010 for the Obrays in the next few days...
For New Year's Ralph & I and my Mom and Dad flew to Las Vegas to see Garth Brooks' coming out of retirement concert! It was amazing, of course! I had told Ralph just before he went into retirement that there were only a handful of people I'd really like to see in concert...Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Garth Brooks. Then Garth went into retirement, and I thought all my concert dreams were over :-(. So when he decided to do these concerts in Vegas, we spent about 4 hours online trying to book tickets...fun times! But so worth it!
The concert was at the Wynn, which seems to be a pretty upscale place, and they requested everyone to dress up (I wore my country girl shirt just for the occasion :-), then out comes Garth in his jeans and a hoodie - nice. He was so personable and easy to love - besides just his music. Definitely one artist I would go see again and again.They didn't allow any cameras in the actual concert, so the only souvenir I got was a pic by the sign in the hallway. Lame-O!

Since Mom & I had never been to Vegas before, we spent the rest of our time just becoming acquainted with "sin city,"...in the "look around and be totally shocked" kind of way!
My Mom claims she'd never seen a palm tree in real life before this trip, so we had to get some mementos with the palm trees in them!
Here we are on New Year's Eve on the strip. Holy smokes - I'm not really sure I want to be in that big a crowd again! I guess I'm just a small town girl after all. Everyone in this picture was in my bubble, and I thought about punching a few of them! As bad as that sounds, the whole New Year's Eve experience was better than I expected. I didn't get any alcohol spilled on me, and no one opened fire on the strip with a machine gun, so my two biggest worries were all for naught! jk, it was pretty crazy to see all the people and their outfits though!

Devri, Chelsie, Kyle, and Grandma Pope watched Reghan for us while we took off. I don't have any pictures to post of that - I'm pretty sure they destroyed all the evidence of what they did to her. I am pretty sure they fed her all their Christmas candy, though, because when we got back, her new word was "tandy," and she would cry if we didn't let her have it! Thanks, guys!
Actually, it was nice to know I could leave Reghan with them and not worry (at least not much) about her while we were gone. They did a great job, and Devri says thanks to that experience, Reghan might never have any cousins. At least not for a long time! She's a busy body and wore them totally out. But seriously, thanks guys! I love you and appreciate you being willing to take care of her while I took a much needed vacation!