Monday, June 11, 2012

LA Zoo and More with Mom & Pop

This weekend my parents came to visit and watch the grand babies while my brother and his wife had a weekend get away, but I pretended it was really to see me, I mean after all I'm in the top 2 favorite children out of 4 and I'm much closer in LA than #1 is in Idaho. LOL.
Being the fun grandparents they are Mom and Dad decided we should take the boys to the LA zoo. Here are Adden and Benny in the stroller ready for a day at the zoo. Such cuties. 
Dad and Mom with Adden and Benny at the start of the day.
We saw the much cuter than ground squirrels.  
Adden thought the flamingos were pretty cool.
Benny and Adden checking out the snake at the zoo...neither were too impressed. 
The koala's were so cute!
This chimp chill'n next to the glass nearly killed me it was so cute.
Benny just about had a melt down he was so thrilled. I wish I got a video of how cute he was jabbering and pointing at the chimp. He kept putting his hand on the glass and "Touching it". He cried when we had to leave.
It didn't take long for Granddad to get him smiling again, these 2 are 2 peas in a pod.
The Giraffes were impressive..I think these beauties may be among my favorite animals and for those of you who know my evasion to animals you know that's saying something. 
The chimps were fun to watch chill'n as a family.
Benny is notorious for taking off peoples glasses. He took off my Dads sunglasses about 200 times while we were at the zoo. My day being the sweet man that he is took it all in stride.  I love this photo cause it kinda looks like Benny just punched my Dad and is now saving his glasses as he falls. 
Me, Dad, and Benny enjoying the zoo. 
Adden enjoying himself outside the chimp enclosure.
Mom and I while the boys played in the play area. 
The elephants have  a really cool waterfall in their enclosure.
After 3 hours at the zoo it was time to head home, both boys fell asleep on the way out. It was a great day. We had a wonderful weekend including book sale shopping, facials, and lots of play time. I love my parents, they are among the greatest people I know, it was wonderful to spend the weekend with them.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hillary's Cupcake extravaganza!

Last weekend was my bestest friend Hillary's 30th birthday. She decided she wanted a cupcake party. Being a cupcake connoisseur of sorts I went right to work gathering ingredients. On Saturday morning I gathered them up and drove down to Hills house to get started. Don't worry we ate some power food at cafe Rio first. Here's all the ingredients we started with.  
We mixed up the batter and started baking. I did something I've never done before, I put the different flavors of batter in different colored cup cake rappers. It was brilliance! It made it so much easier to tell the difference between the yellow and lemon cupcakes. I realize you would think it would be easy to tell via smell, but it's not....unless you have a super sniffer...which I unfortunately do not.
When all was said and done we made 93 cupcakes. Here's Hill with the goods. 
All that baking and we still came out looking hott. :)
That night we met up with some of Hills good friends for dinner and some good girl talk. Great night, Hill even got free dessert. Lucky girl.
The next morning after sleeping in we frosted the cupcakes. I used melted chocolate in a plastic bag with the corner cut for the lettering so it's not very pretty but oh so tasty. 
Here's all the cupcakes frosted and in their glory. The Bottom L was smores cupcakes with graham cracker crust. Top  L was Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter cup in the middle and nutter butter crust. Middle was my famous Raspberry Lemon aid cupcakes. Top Right was the peanut butter cup ones with yellow cake. Bottom R was yellow cake with Oreo cookie in the bottom and crushed in the frosting. Each was oh so Delicious. 
Here's Hill blowing out her candles.
People always ask us if we are sisters...I'm not sure why...I don't see the resemblance but if anyone outside of my immediate family is like a sister to me, it's this girl. Bestest friends for 28 years.
The party was packed, Hill being oh so pop-u-lar and all. Here I am with a group of Hill's peps at her party
More of the party peps
Girls at the party. It was such a fun weekend and I loved every minute of celebrating one of my favorite and most admired people. Can't wait to see what this year holds. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The trek, that's right I'm a trek-ie.

This past weekend I went on a single adult pioneer trek. Yep you read that right. I went a trekking. For those of you who know me well, you're exactly right in thinking that this wasn't something I could ever see myself doing. When our stake president came to RS and introduced the idea, I had no desire to go, but as he encouraged us to take advantage of this experience I felt that I need to go. I tried many times to get out of it, let the Lord know "if ____ doesn't/does happen I'm not going..." Well it turns out the Lord really wanted me there.  I really felt like the instant I said something like that whatever condition I set the Lord made it happen. So on Thursday morning bright and early I met up with some peps from my ward and headed out to the hills of Yucaipa, Ca. Here I am ready to head out into the wilderness with a girl from my ward Claudia. 
When I arrived I found out that this activity had been opened not just to midsingles (age 30-45) but to all singles and there was only maybe 15 of us that were in the midsingles age range. Oh man I was a little freaked out about the idea, mostly hoping none of the me would be creepy. At that point there wasn't much  could I do, I packed up my bucket and headed over to meet my company. I was part of the frost company. We were a rag-tag bunch. Fortunately we had a few of the young peps in our family and I was happy and grateful I had been placed with this group.
Before we left we had an inspirational talk from Brother Brigham. Next we got a visit from brother Joseph who was "chocolate syruped & marshmallowed" by an angry mob.  I couldn't handle it...I giggled. I couldn't help it. I think it was the marshmallows.
Then we got on the trail. The view was beautiful.
Within the first 10 minutes of walking I made friends with these 2 poly girls from my company, D and Mona. I was so grateful to have made friends so soon and we had oh so much fun together right away. 
On the trail we ran into some of them was white and was missing teeth. Our company leader was talking to them in an Indian language....several of the single adult women offered themselves as Indian wives in exchange for for safe passages for the company. It was hilarious. 
Later that afternoon we had to float our cart across the pond on a plank, the men really stepped up to the plate and made this happen. Us women helped to load and unload the carts. It was a group effort but we were able to get them across in one peace and dry. My branch president jumped in the pond and swam the rope across so we could ferry the carts across...he's pretty much the shizz.  
Because we had so many older peps with us we made quite a few rest stops. This was by far my favorite. It was right next to a stream and it was beautiful and peaceful.
The river was beautiful.
When we got to camp that evening after hiking 8 miles through the dust and stickers. I was pooped. I took a little rest on the grass before Mona, D and I got our camp bed set up. 
As I lay in the grass I looked up to see the evening sun shining through the cart, it was a beautiful thing. That evening we ate food, chatted, had a devo, and I learned a thing or two about astronomy around the camp fire. Mona, D and I settled into our make shift shelter early. Our shelter consisted of a tarp on bottom, our sleeping bags side by side, and a tarp on top. We spent a bit of time talking out the men on the trek, my "white girl" flirting skill level, and other related topics before falling into an exhausted sleep. 
That night it rained... pretty much all night.  I woke up quite a few times but always fell back to sleep. When I woke up at around 6 I couldn't take it jacket which I was using as a pillow was soaked as was the bottom of my sleeping bag. It was not pleasant.
I went to the bathroom to change into dry clothes and put on my poncho. When I came out I realized the view of the mist on the hills however was gorgeous.
While I was in the bathroom Mona took our sleeping bags to the Mess hall to dry them out under the heater. We spent the morning drying out our sleeping bag, jackets, and socks & were ready when it was time to hit the trail.
We were all smiles when we got back on the road and the cool weather was nice to hike and push the carts. Here I am with some of the women from my family.
Pushing with my trek sister.
The views were amazing!
Late that morning we were attacked.  A battle friend Tamar was one of the brave soles who was willing to lay down in the grass and pretend to be dead...I decided who doesn't love a good pic with a corpse on the side of the trail. Peace. 
After the battle "Gandalf the white" made an appearance, he was actually our mountain man scout who looked quite authentic. 
The men carried the women across the pond on the trek in memory of the sweet water crossing. Well at least 2 men carried 2 women across, on the 3rd attempt a larger woman volunteered to be carried across. Our poor branch president fell back on to shore when he tried to lift her. He played it off like a true gentleman. More proof that Pres. Jackson is indeed, the Shizz.
I nearly died laughing when D decided she would carry this little guy across being the strong pioneer woman she is.
After the crossing we toured a pioneer village. We even found a tavern, perfect timing.
After our tour and lunch we had the opportunity to learn some pioneer skills, including shooting a black powder rifle. Can you tell I was pretty proud of myself when I hit the balloon I was shooting at on the first try? I've got some serious skills. 
After expanding our pioneer skill set we headed down the trail where we came to a ditch where we had unload our carts, take off the top, and lower them down with a rope. We all worked together and got it done in no time. 
That night when we arrived at camp our Company Leader and host announced that 2 of the midsingles were engaged...they are long time friend and not at all romantically involved but it was oh so entertaining.
That night we bonded around the fire. It was so cold. I went to bed and, along with many others, didn't sleep in-spite of my down sleeping bag, it was FREEZING! I've never been more grateful to see a fire in the morning in my life. When I got up I sat in the port-a-potty wondering how the pioneers survived & praying for strength. I was pretty pathetic and miserable but honestly after that I felt so much energy for the rest of the day I was amazed and grateful!
Again the mist was beautiful in the trees. One of the men in my company gave me his gloves and a hat to wear. Tender mercies.
Mona used her braiding skills to make me look a bit more presentable. They were so tight they didn't even frizz when I took off my hat.
Here's my trek buddies and I, ready to head out on the trail for the final day. Betsy, Paul, Me, Tamar, Mona, Jason, Mike, Garret, D
Last day of pulling the cart! Everyone looks super hardcore: Claudia, Pres Jackson, Holly and Garret.
    I was sporting this type of outfit pretty much the whole time...I told the older women with us on the trek that they need to rock the look they were sporting...I told them we were "pioneer sexy". They loved it and used the term  for the rest of the trip. Hilarious. I'm still not sure why I needed to go except that I learned so much from the Christlike example and the endless kindness of the wonderful friends I met on this trek. I will never forget it.