Thursday, December 04, 2008


So Todd and I went to St. George for Thanksgiving. We were thrilled to be spending the week with Kent and Chris (Todd's dad and mom), see their new house, ride the bike paths, feed the fish, play with Tyler and Brittany, see movies, play games, and hike Zion's. We did it all!

It was fun to fix Thanksgiving dinner together. Brittany had a family reunion on Thursday, so it was just the four of us. But I didn't mind, that just meant more turkey for me!



Kent and Chris provided the turkey, homemade rolls, homemade cranberry sauce and gravy, green beans with almonds, fruit salad, and creamed peas with little pearl onions. Todd helped smoke the turkey with Kent, and I made cream biscuit stuffing with roasted pecans, bacon, AND sausage (I like to do a new recipe each year for the stuffing but we couldn't decide which one to do, so I combined the two!), and garlic & herb mashed potatoes. It was a FEAST!


I could barely keep my eyes open during the meal. I was in taster's heaven. It sounds like a lot of food, but we didn't go crazy. We had plenty of left overs for the rest of the week end (I was determined to have stuffing for breakfast every day we were there!).

Afterwards, the men cleaned up the carnage. Chris and I put the food away.


We went and saw "Australia" that night and managed to put away a lot of popcorn, but it was a fun day and a fun night.

We spent the rest of the week doing fun things. Chris took Brittany and I to her favorite shops and boutiques (bad idea if you are trying to save money), and the boys got to go fishing where Todd caught himself a pretty little rainbow... trout that is.

Miraculously, an old box of Todd's Capsela toys made it through several moves and he was able to relive his days of playing with wires, fans, and simple motors. It was definitely a BOY thing.


We really enjoyed the bike path that runs by their home. They live along the Santa Clara river and there are cool parks and ponds and tennis courts and gardens right along the path. Fall was just arriving in St. George, so we enjoyed the amazing colors.


We took bread and fed the fish at the fish pond. We wanted them to have a nice Thanksgiving, too. What do you suppose fish are thankful for?


On Saturday we took the yummy turkey anb cranberry sandwiches Chris made and headed to Zions National Park. It is only 45 minutes or so away, and now that Kent had his "geezer" pass, we all went in the same car. I volunteered to sit in the way back and I will show you why... it was pure selfishness.

Here is the view out the front:


But here was my view out the back:


Our back window rolls down, so I got amazing view (all receding) and fresh air instead of being couped up with other adults.




The weather was perfect: 60 degrees or so. You didn't even have to think about whether you were hot or cold. The park was PACKED so we chose just a couple of short hikes to see some sites. First we went to weeping rock.



This is a spot in the park where water just seeps out of an overhang. It is very lush and green (and muddy) with maiden hair ferns hanging off the rocks like a hanging garden.



The colors are so amazing (red, white, gold, and black) that they inspire a lot of picture taking, so bare with me...


I liked that one above because you can see Brittany's cute baby bump! We are so excited for "Marvolo" to arrive (Tyler prenames all Rhodes in utero with very silly names... he's probably going to be named Owen once he gets here...).

I am noticing that even in this picnic picture it looks like we are alone, but there are people all around us, and from every country. It's amazing that people make trips to Zions from all over the world!


Oh, cute, outdoorsy Todd...


We hiked around a little more to work off all the feasting we had done earlier in the week.




People I love: Brittany and Tyler.


More people I love: Kent and Chris.


The man I love...


On the way back I got the hankerin' to do some handstands (we do them in yoga as energy building poses, and by jings it works. Whenever I find myself getting a little spent I feel like doing handstands and it kind of restores my energy... hmmm...)



Looking at this it's amazing that I can hoist all of that up in the air, but I can!


Until I fall over...


This is what a handstand looks like from my perspective...


Every once in a while, Todd would look back and check on my to see if I was OK in the back. You can tell by my happy face that it was a fun, happy day.


The only blight on the day was that I broke ANOTHER pair of sunglasses. It doesn't matter if I buy fancy ones or Target ones, my huge Swedish head will eventually compromise their structural integrity...


Isn't that a disconcerting picture? Let's end on the happy one...


It was a great weekend to reflect on all the things I am grateful for. I am grateful that I have such a wonderful husband, no one gets me like Todd gets me. I am grateful for his wonderful and generous parents. They are so fun to be with, and I love them. I am grateful for Todd's siblings. They are like my siblings. I am grateful for my dear parents and all my amazing siblings, their spouses, and their darling kids. I am grateful to be healthy and happy, to have so many wonderful friends who love and support me (and listen to me vent). I am grateful for a job (and Todd's job), and a home, and food on our table, and clothes in my closet, and chickens out back, and yes, I am even grateful for Fiona the dog (but only sometimes). I feel more than just lucky, I feel blessed. My Heavenly Father has given me SO much more than I actually deserve.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Halloween at Lagoon!

So every year my darling sister-in-law invites us to go to Lagoon for Frightmares (they put the whole park in a costume...), and every year I have said no. How sad! Maybe it was the wonderful Indian Summer we have been enjoying this Autumn, but I felt inspired to go. I was pleasantly surprised when Mo said she and Dad wanted to go, too! So we ventured out on a rainy (but weirdly warm) Halloween Night and headed to the park...

Our first ride was your classic "Tunnel of Love" style ride, but scary style. This is Todd in his sock monkey hat "costume". Please take note of the happy look on his face. I may call attention to that later in the post. The only scary thing about the ride was the ride operator who kept appearing on the back of our cart and making me scream. I don't like that.

So here's Mom and Dad coming out of the "Tunnel of Slight Annoyance". Mom's faking the scared face.

Next we rode the good old fashioned wooden roller coaster. I was psyched. I love roller coasters and have not been on one in YEARS! The first photo was in honor on Kacy's awesome roller coaster photo. The other ones are GENUINE photos from on the rails!

The entire ride, Mom was screaming "GET ME OFF!!!! GET ME OFF!!!" Not joking. Apparently, Mom doesn't like heights AT ALL. I did not know this about the woman who birthed 7 children...

So next we headed for something that did not leave the ground... a carnival classic, but Todd was out. He can't go on anything that goes in a circular motion, or he vomits.

This was a fun ride. Mom and I just tried to relax and enjoy it.

Mom was at least comforted by the appearance of this sign.

Dad was super brave and came on the Wicked ride with me. No it was a Broadway review with singing witches. It was a crazy ride that used electromagnets to propel the cars. It was crazy!

We were excited to see some other "classic" rides... like the bumper cars!

Notice Dad looking at me. He looked me in the eye and said:

Dad: "Carrie, you are about to see your mother's true nature."
Carrie: "Duly noted..."
Dad: "I'm just warning you..."
Carrie: "OK, Dad... thanks."

Luckily for us, she was stuck in gridlock the whole time.

By the time we got to the beautiful merry-go-round, everyone was feeling a little woozy (except me). It was the Tilt-a-Whirl that put the final nail in the motion sickness coffin.

Mom documented our various "rides", but Todd's is totally note worthy... it was a rainbow dragon shrimp. Lovely, but strange.

Remember Todd's happy face at the beginning? Let's compare and contrast (and keep in mind we're wet and getting cold to boot!)...

So we took a break and took in a show. You gotta love carnival shows. The costumes weren't bad, nor was the singing and dancing, it was just the very existence of the show what was deliciously campy.

All night I thought it was fun to see all the teenagers there, and a surprisingly large amount of parents with their kids (everyone else was trick-or-treating... we had the park to ourselves! No waiting!). I thought, "I'd bring my kids here..." and then I realized, I was here with my parents... I WAS the "kids". At 34, my parents are taking me to Lagoon for Halloween, the only difference between me and the 9 year-olds is that I paid for my own ticket.

And then to reinforce that thought, we went back to Mom and Dad's after and got into our warm PJ's and had hot-chocolate, tea, and popcorn while we watched a movie. I loved it. I love still being their kid. They still make me feel happy and safe.

So the invitation is open to all non-trick-or-treaters next year. We're going to Lagoon... rain or shine!