Friday, July 31, 2015

The boy who lived

Today is the day we honor the boy who lived.

When I got home from work Mariah and I decided that we needed to do something fun to celebrate the day. So we went to the store to get stuff to make cake balls and butterbeer, then watched Harry Potter 6. (We watched the first 5 this summer but never felt like watching 6, and we couldn't just skip it and watch the 7s so we just stopped watching them altogether. But today we muscled through it. For Harry.)

I may not be the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world, but I did enjoy all the books. They were a part of my childhood and I recall anticipating each new book and the adventures that awaited Harry, Ron and Hermione. I discussed and debated with cousins about who's side Snape was really on, and hypothesized about what everything all meant as we waited for the series to end and our questions to be answered.  The 7th and final book came out my senior (?) year and I went to the book release at midnight then came home and read the entire book that day. I felt real sadness when they were all over.

So I mean, how could we not celebrate him on this, his day of birth? (That and the fact that celebrating fun little things like this and donut day and sibling day and what not just give life a little more spice and enjoyment! Can I get an amen?)

It was kind of like our duty, after all.

We tried 2 different recipes for butterbeer - and they were both delish!

The butterscotch cream was delicious!

And how do you try butterbeer for the first time without taking a selfie? It just can't be done. 

We also made cake pops. And they are supposed to be snitches and Harry Potter. Although 2 of them look like Voldemort... I told Mariah that and she got offended. So don't bring it up, mmmkay?

That was all fun and stuff. But here's the part that gets embarrassing. I'll let the photos do the talking.


Happy birthday Harry!

And just for kicks:

This was the last time we honored this blessed day.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Summer 2015 - the "after" reunion

The reunion ended Wednesday morning, but the fun and adventuring sure didn't! My family, Tara, Tricia and the Steve Gunderson's all went to Grandma and Grandpa's from the reunion.

We watched all the lip sync videos again and Zaiden and Caitlan gave us an encore with some Katy Perry and Kenny Rogers songs.

Then we made cookies!

Caity and Zyler stuck around for the whole thing, spooning the dough onto the cookie sheets every 8 minutes

And eating it

Zaiden helped mix it all up then came back to eat!

Smart kid!

Tara and I went on a walk. I think I would rather go on a walk through Centerfield more than pretty much anything else in the world. Maybe because we go on at least one walk every time we go to Grandma's, (sometimes more than once a day), and those are always filled with pretty great conversation and catching up in the most beautiful country scenery, with farmland reaching to the mountains, with tractors, horses and farm sprinklers just off the long, dusty roads. And it sure helped that it was only in the 70's! Oh man I love that place!

That evening Tara and I went up to Provo to stay at her apartment. We exchanged old family photos and came across some real gems.

Then Jana came over and we talked the night away about life, missions, jobs, growing up, real life, and just society in general. And that was pretty much the best. I love those kinds of conversations; but I love those girls even more!

The next morning Tara and I made a huge breakfast and went on another walk. I'm always amazed and how beautiful the city parks are in Utah. They are far, far superior to AZ parks.

Then we met up with Rachel at a Thai place, Bangkok Grill, with the most amazing pineapple curry, and talked more about real life and jobs and politics and it was just as enjoyable as the night before. I sure love all these cousins of mine!
Rachel and Blake just bought a new house in Orem that they were busy painting and carpeting and all that other fun jazz that comes with buying a new house. So we went to get the tour! As we were about to leave Uncle Ken and Malerie showed up to help paint... so we went back to Provo to Tara's apartment to change our clothes then came back to paint the afternoon away.

We stopped when we thought we were done and convinced Rachel to meet us at the Provo food truck roundup for some grub! So again we went back to Tara's apartment, changed our clothes and headed to get some food! We all got food from different trucks so we could try a few things.

Then all too soon it was time to part ways; that's always the worst part. Tara took me to the Springville Seagull Book so I could meet my family as we headed back down to Centerfield for the night.
The skirt Tara didn't buy

Even though I only see these guys for a few days twice a year, they are still my favorite people! It doesn't matter how long it's been since we've seen each other, we can catch up as if we saw each other the day before. I really like that. And it just reminds me how blessed I am that they are my family.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Disney 2015

Spring break deserved to be celebrated this year. So, like the rest of America, Disneyland seemed like the best option.

I convinced my mom, Adam, Amanda and Stanley to come too, because I like to party. We were there 3 days, and 3 days was plenty for us. It was seriously so hot that weekend - like in the 90's - which happened to be hotter than it was in Mesa at the time. And I just thought that was wrong. But whatevs, we still had a good time! 

We used our early admission on Thursday, our first day, and went straight to Space Mountain. We ended up riding that one 4 times that day. And one of those times it stopped working and all the lights came on. We were stuck there for a few minutes, and then they fixed it and we finished the ride, with the lights still on. That was kinda cool yet kinda unmagical. But they let us stay on the ride and do it again... and all the magic was restored! Man, I love that ride.

I also love Star Tours. And we also rode that one 3 or 4 times that first day! I just love how it is different every time you go.. it's just so fun! 
Another fun memory was on the Teacups. Stanley was loving it at first, but Adam was spinning it as much as he could and after a while Stanley's smile completely disappeared and he laid his head down on Adam's lap... Apparently motion sickness is a thing!

Pretty much all the lines were close to nonexistent that first day and we got to do everything at Disneyland we could have ever dreamed of. We did miss a few in Fantasyland, but we got to those later.

We had to wait about 45 minutes, our longest wait time, for both Finding Nemo and Autopia, which strangely I think are 2 of the worst rides in the park. (You win some, you lose some)

Friday morning we got to California Adventure early so we could be first in line for Radiator Springs Racers. But it seemed we got there too early, because they were still only admitting people with magic morning passes, and we used ours the day before. So we just waited like fools for a few minutes. Then a magical disney cast member saw us and asked why we were standing there like goons instead of going into the park. She took our tickets and told us that we were supposed to get a magic morning at Disneyland, but oh well! Since we were there anyway, she gave us a ticket with a California Adventure magic morning and on we went! (So pretty much we got 1 1/2 magic mornings!) And we were off to RADIATIOR SPRINGS. Guys, that place was just so cool! Like wow! I was in awe that they put so much into making that look like the real deal, for just one ride. It was incredible! 

We rode that one 4 times too and even had a leftover pass we didn't use. Mostly because we really took advantage of Fast Passes and stroller passes for that one! We rode it first thing in the morning, then got 4 fast passes for later in the day.  Mom and I went and got a stroller pass. Then Adam and Amanda went and got another stroller pass. Then Adam, Mom and I used one of the stroller passes and later on Mom and I used the other stroller pass. So basically Stanley was the biggest asset to Radiator Springs Racers March 2015!

Stanley the founder!

Also A Bugs Life Land was pretty cool, too! You are surrounded by extremely tall plants on all sides, so not only is it immensely cooler in that land, but it makes you feel like a little bug in a big world.

Mom and I stopped in the shade one afternoon while Stan the man was napping and Adam and Amanda went on Star Tours. He had just woken up when out of a very discrete corner of the park Mickey and Minnie came out. Their chaperons asked if Stanley would like to take a picture with them. I went over to take their picture... literally 15 seconds after they walked out, and as I turned around there was already a line of over 20 people! HOW DID THEY EVEN KNOW THEY WERE THERE!? We were in the far corner of Tomorrowland... It seriously amazed me.

I had only been to Disnleyland 3 times before this and every time I was just so focused on the rides! I wanted to ride as many as I could as fast as I could. However, since we had 3 days, and the first was pretty much as great as a day at Disneyland could ever be - we could slow down a little the next few days. On Thursday we stumbled on a show - Mickey and the Magical Map. It was the first show I had ever seen and it changed my Disneyland thinking ways. The shows are so well done and a nice break from the scorching heat, so I started looking for more of the shows and the overall Disneyland experience instead of just the amusement park experience, and that was a pretty great change!

New Orelans Square

Mickey and the Magical Map (we saw it twice)

Trolley News Boys!

Aladdin - a highlight of the trip, i'd say.

Aladdin and Jasmine on a flying carpet!


I know a lot of people who say they love Disneyland for the food. And as I mentioned before, I was too ride-minded (and my wallet has never been too gigantic) so I never experienced that realm either. I still don't have a pretty penny for food, and I will probably never be someone who goes to Disneyland to wait in food lines instead of ride lines, but I did expand my horizons and tried a few new things this time around. And I have to say... they do good work.
Even Stanley approved!

My first Dole Whip!

Mickey Beignets

A much needed snack while waiting for Indiana Jones.


Oh and did I mention it was really hot this weekend? We played in this fountain for about an hour.

It was surely a magical spring break!

I'll be back again!