Friday, October 30, 2009

SPoOkY SiGhtS!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from the Manwarings!

First up....a zillion black crows flying over my house. EEEERIE!!!

Okay these guys aren't scary, they're cute.

But their pumpkins are a little spooooooky.

And if that didn't scare you enough,

these next images

are just



Yep, those are HUGE fake eyelashes. I was SO frightened about the "coming off" part, but they didn't hurt at all. (And all my real ones are still attached!)

Let me tell you....we "rocked" our outfits! (Thank you to my friend Jennie for the use of her wigs and her brilliant costume idea!)

Pictures of cute kiddies coming soon!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

She turned 11!!!

My baby Alyssa turned 11 this year. The years are just flying by and there isn't much I can do to stop them.

We are so thankful to have Alyssa in our home. She is such a help and usually (she's starting to get into the teenage years) has such a great attitude about everything. Her giggle makes us all giggle. She is such a smart girl and her grades are very important to her. I never have to remind her to do her homework and I never have to worry about a bad report coming home. Alyssa enjoys to read, write and direct plays, sing, play piano, sew and cook. She's not into frilly hair dos, but does enjoy a nice fingernail color on her toes and hands. She's as responsible and honest as they come and tries her best to be a friend to all. Thank you Alyssa for being you. I love you very much.

The morning started off with the traditional German Pancakes.

And a new outfit. (The boots are too big, but she REFUSED to let me go exchange them for a smaller size. Who am I to say she can't wear boots that are too large on her birthday?)

She had a little party with friends with included a rousing game of tackle candy ball. (Take a roll of packaging tape and wind candy into a ball with it. Take turns rolling the dice and if you land on a 5-or number or your choice- you get a chance to unwind and keep all the candy you can until the next person rolls a 5 and steals the ball away from you.)

Alyssa really wanted Happy's Chinese food for dinner. Not many kids I know that would request Chinese and I think we exposed all her friends to something new. Some really liked it, others...not so much.

We surprised her with an MP3 (a Sony Walkman - sure different from the Walkman I had as a kid) player and Grammy gave her a knitting loom. When I came down this morning to wake everyone up for school, Alyssa was sitting in the family room sewing away listening to her "Walkman". She was content as could be.

She doesn't like birthday cake, so she requested brownies and ice cream this year. I put two straight candles in to look like the number 11, but EVERYONE asked me why she was only going to be 2. It was an eleven people, one one, get it. (Note to self put correct number of candles on next year.)

And when it came time to blow out the candles out, I only put one on top of her sundae because it was just cuter that way. She's a good girl and rolled with the punches, but she forgot to make a wish. Even without a wish, I'm sure many good things are headed her way this coming year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

U-Missed the U-Pick

So, when you go out of town and leave the kiddos behind, you miss some fun things, like the pumpkin patch. Thank goodness for blogging sisters-in-law that post incredibly cute pictures of your very own kids.

Here's the funny part of this story, as I was checking out Becky's blog, I read the caption for this picture before I really looked at it.

It said, "Emily, Alyssa, Halle, and Brandon." I thought to myself, "Hmmm...I didn't realize they know another Alyssa and Halle." Then I noticed the children in the picture were my very own Alyssa and Halle. So this started me laughing at myself. (It was late at night and I get very giddy late at night.)

I read on and looked at all the cute pictures Becky had taken. Then I read this. "These guys posed themselves. Naturals I tell ya! Their mom must have a blog. (;" Ha Ha! More laughter from myself. (Remember, late at night.)

Reading along, immensely enjoying cute shots of my kids, and still giggling that I didn't realize they were MY kids.

Browsing, browsing, I have cute kids.

Silly Faces are so fun.

And then I hit this whopper.....

Hysterical laughter I tell you! I all but fell out of the chair. Really, there is NOTHING like seeing a surprise picture of your kids' bum to make a mom laugh.

Then I ran and told Jarom to look and he did the EXACT same thing..."Oh...they went to the pumpkin patch. What? Huh? Alyssa and Halle? Oh....OH those are OUR kids!" LOL!! More late night, uncontrollable laughing from me.

Thanks to everyone who helped with my kids while we were away. And thanks Becky for the fun surprise of seeing the good time they had without me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

For a while now (like a year) Jarom has been wanting to go to Vegas for a weekend getaway. It's somewhat close, relatively inexpensive, and warm. I found out that a bunch of my bloggy buds (aka my "imaginary friends") were going to be in Vegas Oct.'09 and decided that was as good as time as any for Jarom's getaway. So we booked a flight & hotel room, and headed off to Vegas for me to meet some new friends, reconnect with an old friend, Jarom to get warm, and just overall relax. And THAT is exactly what we did.
We stayed on the 33rd floor of Treasure Island and had a marvelous view from our window. We spent a lot of our spare time just watching and taking in all the sites from our window. (There is a lot to see in Vegas.)

The pirate show Kaboomed out our window all evening long. Seriously the fireworks would shoot right past our window. That was kind of fun.

One of my favorite people in the world is Kat. I started reading her blog just because of her title "Sunshine and Lemonade". I found out she was incredibly funny and a friendship soon blossomed. It's amazing just how deeply a person can care for a complete stranger from words alone, but that is exactly what happened. I've laughed and cried and prayed over this lady and I could NOT wait to meet her in person. She is just as sweet and funny in person as I imagined her to be. (Although she has a different voice than the one I gave her in my head. AND she calls herself Katrina which throws me off a bit. HA!) Jarom and I enjoyed our double date with Kat and her husband Michael. Honestly, I can not even tell you how GLAD I am that I can now say Kat is a "real friend" and not just an "imaginary" one anymore. :)

Somehow I finagled myself a ticket to the Friday night SITS party that was going on in the Venetian. Kat was such a dear and let me tag along with her and introduced me to Shannon (who was sporting a very cute new do). Shannon is the one that ran that awesome auction for Kori a little while back. Such a great lady! BTW, Happy Late Birthday Shannon! How did I not end up with a picture of just the two of us? (Must of ended up on Lula's camera. HA!)

I can also add Lula to the "real friends" list now! Meeting Miss Lula was like meeting a celebrity to me. What a riot this lady is! Seriously, this lady can make me laugh like none other. Even her blog comments are funny. I absolutely LOVED hearing her say, "I'm just saying" with my very own ears. I've imagined Lula saying that a million times.

My goodness, I had such a fun time meeting all these lovely ladies and a few others too. I'm narrowing down my "imaginary friend" list slowly but surely. I'm going to meet all you ladies some day. Mark my words!

Saturday morning I woke with THE WORST headache! And no, it wasn't from the cocktails the night before. I'm Mormon and don't drink alcohol; so unfair for me to be the one waking up with a hangover! I'm blaming it on Lula's wine that sat in front of me the entire night. :)

Anywho, headache or not, I had plans. BIG plans. I was meeting up with my long lost friend Julie for a day of fun.

Julie and I were very close friends in elementary school and junior high. Then high school hit, we had a serious misunderstanding, and the next thing we knew we were enemies. (There needs to be a word for what we were. Just like "frenemy" is an enemy disguised as a friend, we were friends disguised as enemies. "Enefriends" ?) Through facebook we've reconnected, put our past behind us, and picked up where we left off.
It was so good to see my long ago friend, Julie. I had forgotten how animated her eyebrows are!! There truly is something endearing and enduring about childhood friendships. Even those that have been stagnant for 15 years.

Yes, I did do a few things with Jarom too. We saw Mystere and it was amazing, bizarre, and a little bit creepy all at the same time. The amount of body fat on the performers has got to read in the negative range. I've never seen so many muscles (male or female) in one place at the same time. I was sweating bullets just thinking about how hard they all worked. Really though, we enjoyed ourselves. And I've decided that in my next life I'm going to be a bungee trapeze lady for Cirque Du Soliel.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sister Sneak 2009

This all happened before 8 am today:

  • "Mom, I accidentally wet the bed." Really? Because I was on the LAST load of laundry today.

  • "Mom, I can't find my library book and it's due today." Really? Because that blasted book has been in my way for a week now. Of course it would disappear today.

  • "Mom, I spilled my juice." Really? Because I just cleaned the floor.

  • "Mom, why is the bathroom wet all the way from the toilet to the sink?" Really? Because...oh well, I guess I need to mop the bathroom.

Sometimes being a mom is exhausting. After this morning's adventures, I decided it was high time to post about my girls get away that happened last weekend. (I need to relive it for a few minutes.)(And no one feel too sorry for me, I am leaving again tonight for another child free weekend in Vegas!)

We have a tradition in Jarom's family where the adult ladies go away together for the weekend. It is always SUCH a great time.
The only children allowed to come are babies dependent on their mommies. And honestly, who could say no to this little sweetheart?
Is there anything better than cuddling a sleeping baby?

This year was Katie's turn to host, so we went to Logan, where we stayed in a hotel, ate great food, and learned how to "wire wrap" necklaces at a VERY fun bead shop.

The best part about sister sneak is the "favorite things" bags we do. A tradition we started last year and loved so much, we vowed to do it every year. It's seriously better than Christmas. There's just something about an entire bag of goodies meant for you and you only! We each bring a secret, small item that we love, and share it with one another.
My mother-in-law made these darling bags for us to stuff our goodies into.

Here's what we got this year:
  • Missy gave DARLING sugar cookies shaped like flowers. She had wrapped them in little boxes so they looked like corsages.

  • Becky gave yummy smelling bubble bath.

  • Kaylin gave homemade caramel apples.

  • Natalie gave a CD of some of her favorite inspirational music.

  • Amber gave Scentsy car candles and tins. And also brought a big bag of perfumes and lotions to share.

  • I gave "3 things every purse should have"- Orbitz sweet mint gum, Aquafina lip balm, and hand sanitizer.

  • Emily gave bobby pins and a nail file.

  • Katie gave monogramed notebooks, pens, and Snicker bars.

  • Anna gave Halloween sit abouts, fall garland, and homemade chili sauce (aka liquid gold in a jar).
After a refreshing night in the hotel and necklace making, we all headed down to Salt Lake City to enjoy Gardner's Village sans children. It was so nice to actually be able to go into the little shops and enjoy the decorations. We even had dinner in the old mill. Be sure to look at our necks to see the necklaces we made.

What a great time! If you are lucky enough to have your sisters nearby, you should SERIOUSLY consider a yearly sister sneak! Thank you to Katie for making this year so successful. Can't wait until next year. Good luck Amber!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mini-Quin has arrived!

Like Father

Like Son!

Little Baby Smith (who doesn't have a name yet, possibly Cameron) arrived yesterday Oct. 13, weighing in at 8 lbs 4 oz. He looks exactly like his daddy! (He was even 4 days overdue, just like his Dad.)

We're all so excited that he's finally here, safe and sound. And we hate how far away he is. Congratulations to Quin and Natalie!!! Now, I can not wait until I can get my hands on this little guy!!
I just want to rub my face in all that hair! Quin and Natalie, DO NOT cut his hair until I get to see him in person!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last Day of SD Trip

I didn't realize it, but there are MANY caves around the Mt. Rushmore area. We thought about visiting "Wind Cave" but decided we'd had just about enough wind to last us a life time, so instead we settled for "Wonderland Cave". I think caves are so cool. We had a great time checking this one out. Jarom wasn't as fond of the cave as I was. He said it was eerie being so deep under ground. We were pretty deep, about 200 ft. down. Certainly the deepest cave I've ever been in.

After looking at cool cave formations, we hopped in the truck and began the long journey home.

We drove through Deadwood, SD where Wild Bill Hickok was killed and Calamity Jane is buried.

Devils Tower was so close (only about an hour out of the way) that we had to drive over and see it. We're so glad we did. It was amazing! A giant rock mountain just shoots out of the ground out of nowhere. So strange.

Click on this picture to make it big and try to find the rock climbers. There are 4, but the easiest one to see is just above the tallest pine tree and to the right a little bit. He's wearing a bright orange jacket. This gives you somewhat of a perspective as to how massive this rock really is. (The other guys are above him, in the same column/crevice, but they are really hard to see.)

We decided to forgo all strangers, and went directly to the self timer for this shot. I think it turned out great.

We just had to get out and enjoy the prairie dogs for a little while. They were so cute popping up and down in their holes.

This little fat guy was mighty curious about us.

About this time in the day, we started hearing weather reports of a nasty snowstorm due to blow in on our direct route home. We made a change of plans and decided we needed to try to get as close to home as we could, as fast as we could. So we all settled in for a VERY long drive.

Of course as soon as we decided we needed to hurry, our tire had to go and pop on us. Miraculously we were stopped when this happened. Kate was needing a potty break, so we had pulled off the interstate. I was helping Kate in the camper when I heard a very loud bang and the camper felt like it dropped off a curb. I came out to discover a VERY bald tire with a hole blown right out. We were thankful we were stopped when this happened!

We drove all night and got within 2 hours our home. We had made it past all the highest mountain passes (and had beat the snow storm) so we decided to pull over and sleep for a few hours before continuing on.

I just had to click a picture of the colors as we went whizzing on by. The trees were gorgeous!

We made it home and I think this little girl had missed her pets. :) (Not so sure if the pets felt the same way, but that doesn't matter a bit to Alyssa.)

Since brother was the photographer for Alyssa's photo shoot, he wasn't about to be left out himself. Silly kids. It's good to be home!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Finally...Mt Rushmore!

We made it! It was still SO windy, so it was kind of like run, see the mountain, click a picture, run into a building, view from the window, run back to the car. But still...we accomplished our goal of seeing Mt. Rushmore, and it really was quite neat to see in person.

"Sir, could you take our picture?"

ALWAYS look at the picture after you've had a stranger take it for you. I guess this guy thought we drove 1000 miles just to get a family photo. No need to include the presidents' heads, we're good looking enough without the incredibly famous national monument behind us. LOL!

Never fear, Jarom and his tripod are here. Ahhh....that's more like it. Yep, self-timer is the way to go.

We continued on to Custer State Park where the drive was beautiful, but VERY twisty and had tiny, little tunnels to drive through. This was our favorite tunnel with a view of Mt Rushmore straight through. The lighting was just to crazy for our little camera to do justice to the shot however.

So much wild life in Custer. Turkeys, turkeys EVERYWHERE. (They really were EVERYWHERE in SD, not just Custer.) I loved it. I want a little flock of wild turkeys roaming around my yard. How fun would that be?! (Well, if they were poop free anyway.)

Most of the buffalo had already been herded up and put in the corrals for winter. (They vaccinate, brand, sort, and sell the buffalo in Custer. A little different than we are used to over here in Yellowstone.) But we managed to see a few still roaming about.

We even saw wild burros. (Although I think "wild" is a little extreme. How about "free roaming"? I think that works a little better.)

"Well hello there." The burros....Oh the burros. We got SUCH a kick out of them. They were SO curious what we had in our car. They could smell our lunch warming up on the dashboard.

Or maybe they just wanted a kiss.

Me and my burro buddies. (Did you ever watch the Sesame Street episode where the girl takes her llama to the dentist? The theme song kept playing over and over in my head, only with the word llama changed to burro. "Me and my burro, me and my burro...") Yep, I loved the burros. So did my kids.

After another full day of driving and site seeing, we decided to call it a night and head back to our camper. And guess what??? The wind STOPPED!!!