Friday, June 12, 2015

Utah Tour Part One: Kayla and Ben get married!

The Hamblys just got back from a marvelous two-week trip--which means about 10 posts are in my queue, friends. Let's see if I actually write them. Blogging time around these parts has not been plentiful.

Anyway, the kids and I left for St. George Monday morning with Kayla in tow. She'd flown from Idaho to Vegas Sunday night so she could help with the last things that needed to happen for the wedding. Ryan stayed home to work (most importantly) and to finish the corn holes he was building for the reception (which may have been the most importantly part in Kayla's opinion). I was planning on helping my mom and Kayla with all the final wedding stuff they needed to do. The week before and after Kayla's wedding happened to coincide with Reed's track break, which was truly perfect timing.

As it turned out, my mom had finished everything and needed essentially zero help. And I got Kayla sick two days before her wedding. But the silver lining is that the boys got to spend a week in on of their favorite places: Grandma's house! I don't think anyone is up for a day-by-day account (myself included, so here are some highlights:

+Children's Museum
We tried to take Kayla to our Children's Museum Monday morning before we left town only to find out that the museum is closed on Mondays! We were sad not only to miss out that day but also because that was our last opportunity to use our pass before it expired. I promised the boys a trip to the Children's Museum in St. George, though, which they were more than happy about.

+Splash Pad
We can't go to St. George without going to the river/splash pad down town. We always have SO much fun there. We were planning on going on the carousel, too, but unfortunately they only take cash and I had zero cash. We did walk across the street to have a treat and bread stick at Judd's, which everyone loved.

+Bird's Eggs
My mom and dad found two bird's eggs that had fallen out of a nest somewhere into their yard! While sad--the mama bird was nowhere to be found so the eggs wouldn't hatch--it was also cool for the boys to get to see real bird eggs!

Cousins started rolling into town Wednesday night and by Friday night all the Rolfes were under one roof! The kids had so much fun. They were in heaven playing with their cousins and we hardly saw them!

One of the very few things left to do for the wedding was to make pies! Kayla's main food at the reception was a pie bar. All the girls spent Friday making pie after pie after pie--12 total, which may not sound like a lot, but pies are pretty labor intensive. I was the main designer of the tops and I'm (obviously) quite proud of how they turned out. Between pies my mom bought, what we made, and what friends made, she had over 50 pies!

Ryan was able to find ALL the fruit for fruit kabobs at the dollar store! When he rolled into town Friday night--later than expected, because on the outskirts of Vegas he realized he'd left the strawberries and grapes in the fridge!--we had a fruit cutting party. Everyone pitched in and it went super fast. The Rolfe girls and a few of Kayla's mission friends tag-teamed the assembling of the kabobs the next day before the reception!

The reason we were all there, of course! All of my siblings are endowed, so my entire immediate family was able to attend the sealing, which was a wonderful experience. 

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures from the reception, so you'll have to trust me when I say that it was amazing. My mom brought Kayla's pinterest boards to life and the result was beautiful. Honestly, I was a little worried about setting it all up in time (we had to set it up after the sealing and lunch and before the reception) but Kayla and Ben had a slew of mission companions who came to the sealing and luncheon, then all stayed to help! My mom put me in charge of assigning people tasks and it was just amazing to see how willing and helpful everyone was. The decorations came together super fast. Then, when we realized there was no security at the barn where the reception was and that someone would need to stay there until the reception started, one of Kayla's former companions and her fiance offered to do it so we could all go home and get ready! After the reception, all these missionaries again pitched in to make cleanup super fast.

After the reception cleanup, Grandma and Grandpa stayed home to sleep and listen for the kids, while all the adults (minus Ben and Kayla :) went to In-N-Out. We had so much fun talking and joking and very much enjoyed making a detour to Kayla and Ben's hotel to leave a pie on their car, haha.

Kayla and I were able to go to the temple to do initiatories before everyone else got into town. The temple is always wonderful, but doing initiatory was so healing for me. I've had such awful self-esteem lately and just been really down about my body--my knee injury has worked a number on me--but I realized that I am blessed to have such a healthy body and that my body truly is a gift.

I mention this because the kids could NOT leave Kayla and Ben alone while Kay and Ben were opening their wedding gifts. I reminded them so many times to let Kayla and Ben open the presents. So. Many. Times. They also insisted on being right in the action, basically on top of Kayla and Ben the entire time. Ha. Lynnie and I gave Kayla and Ben two bins of Christmas decorations! This might seem like a weird gift, but Ryan's best friend's mom gave us Christmas decorations for our wedding and it was seriously my favorite gift we received.

Lynnie and I did a super classy wrapping job, too:

More pictures? Sure.

Jae carried this net around all week--she called it her "basketball hoop"

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Are New Backyard"

(I spelled "are" incorrectly on purpose. You know me better than to assume otherwise, right?)

As I write this (ha, at time of publication, I wrote this two months ago!!), the boys are watching guys pour cement into our backyard. We started out upstairs, looking out the windows. Reed gave each window a station name--my window was station one, his was station two, etc. He'd yell out a station, and he and Asher would run to that window to see the action. After seeing their excitement over seeing only a sliver of the action, decided that we would go downstairs to see better--but if we hadn't, Reed was all ready to draw a map of his stations!

Downstairs, the boys watched the cement truck fill up wheelbarrows out our front door, then ran to the back door to watch the workers dump the concrete and smooth it in our yard. At one point, I looked over at Reed and he was talking into his hand like a walkie talkie! I love him. When Lila woke up, all the concrete had been transported, but the guys were still working on smoothing and making the cracks. The kids spread a blanket right in front of the slider and watched the guys work in the yard forever. They were entranced! I felt kind of bad--our back yard is tiny, so the boys were basically right next to the guys who were working, ha--but you only get your backyard concrete poured once (hopefully) and I didn't want to pull them away from their excitement.

We were all in awe as they carefully put in the cracks (so cool) and the boys gave Ryan a detailed blow-by-blow account of the whole process as soon as he got home. As you can probably deduce, we were all quite excited. You see, we'd lived with straight-up desert in our backyard for two whole years. Desert sand and rocks aren't even fun sand and rocks because you can't really dig in them. We didn't use our back yard ever, which was a shame. I mean, it's a tiny yard, but we might as well be able to use it, right? So everyone was happy when we planned to use Ryan's overtime tax-season bonus for a back yard.

The process was a little drawn out. First, it took us forever to decide exactly what we wanted to do in the yard because Ryan was in busy season and basically never home when I was awake to talk to him about it. Then, once we finally did decide, we had a few days of rain (so weird) followed by tons of windy days (not weird), which are both not ideal conditions for pouring. Finally, though, the pouring day arrived.

After the concrete was poured, we had to wait a few days for it to dry. I was expecting the other crew to come Monday morning to build our planter (step two of the backyard). On Saturday, though, when we came back from being out all morning, we were pleasantly surprised to see the crew working on our planter! And the crushed granite for our side yard! Woohoo! (Side note about the crushed granite: the boys are now so impressed that they know what crushed granite is that they've been identifying crushed granite by name everywhere we go! They were super pumped when they found crushed granite in my mom's side yard, too.)

The next step: enjoy our backyard! And oh, did we. We ate breakfast outside every morning. We rode bikes in the tiny square footage it provided. Ryan and I enjoyed our evenings after the kids were in bed on "the veranda."

Then we went on vacation. We came home and the weather made me want to punch myself in the face. For, you see, it is already too hot to eat breakfast outside. Thumbs down. But I will say that I am quite excited that our backyard is done and that once it doesn't feel like the surface of the sun outside, we'll spend many hours playing out there.

I should add that once we came back from a vacation we planted seeds in our planter. I am not sure if they will grow (see above discussion on living on the surface of the sun), but if not, we'll try again in the fall! Yay!

Two more side stories, to conclude the most rambling of all rambling posts: one day, during our last consult with our backyard guy, there were two new beautiful wildflowers growing in our backyard! They were seriously gorgeous flowers. In an effort to save them from the coming demolition, we dug them out of the ground and potted them. They lasted approximately two days before they died. At least we tried.

While we were digging the flowers out, Reed noticed a lizard in our pool. He was worried the lizard was stuck, so we tried encouraging the lizard to climb out of the pool. The lizard was, in fact, stuck. I caught the lizard, which is amazing because I am super squeamish. Reed and Asher both decided they wanted to touch the lizard before I set him free. All went well. Then Reed decided to take a turn holding the lizard. The lizard sensed his chance and, as I tried to pass him to Reed, ran up Reed's arm, down Reed's back, to the ground, and IN THE HOUSE. Awesome. We saw him dart under the couch and I knew we had to track him down and catch him again because, really, who wants a wild lizard living in their house? I carefully scooted the couch out--I didn't want to smash him--and saw him serendipitously poised next to my open scripture bag. I herded him into the scripture bag, then took him outside--where I closed the slider before I let him go again.


BEFORE/with all our junk moved out:


And presenting...


It should be noted that while I tried to take after pictures of the side yard, a dance party broke out.

Enjoying our new back yard with a s'mores roast!

You wanted a side-by-side? You're welcome.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Monthly Reed: 78

During the first hike of our trip, on one of our many pauses for breathing (the hike was a doozy), Ryan convinced Reed to let Ryan pull the wiggly tooth in Reed's mouth. Reed had sworn to never let Ryan do this again after the last tooth, but we talked him into it. Anyway, Ryan barely touched the tooth (seriously) and the tooth fell right out! We stored the tooth in an empty water bottle for safekeeping. That night, Reed put it in his tooth pillow--which we'd thankfully brought along because Reed knew he had a wiggly tooth--and the tooth brought him a roll of nickels! The next day Reed commented, "This tooth was one of my popular ones!" When asked why the tooth was popular, he explained that it was one he used a lot and thus popular.

One day, Reed poked his fingers through the crack between the open door and the wall. He wiggled his fingers around and said, "Mysterious fingers!" in a heavily accented voice. 

On our trip, Reed was holding a box of fries in his lap. When the box fell, he totally caught it with his feet! He even managed to pin most of the fries between the box and his legs\. I was impressed by his reflexes.

Below is a crazy lego creation/setup Reed made. He loved it so much he wanted a picture! I thought I had a straight-on picture, but apparently I only took a shot from above. The setup was a labyrinth of various guns, traps, and watch guard dogs/guys.

We took a lot of pictures on our trip (as is to be expected), which helped highlight the fact that Reed has started to make a big effort to actually look at the camera and smile! I think this stems from a conversation we had while Ryan and Asher were out of town. I was trying to take a picture of Reed and Lila and no one was cooperating at all. I was pretty frustrated with Reed--his is SIX after all--and explained to him why I like to take pictures (so we can remember all the fun things we do together). That explanation helped things click for him and now he loves to look at me and smile for a picture. And I think he's realized that if he actually looks, taking the picture only takes a few seconds rather than a few minutes! I even overheard him telling Asher to look at the camera and smile and, when Asher didn't do so, Reed said, "Ash, don't you want to have a picture to remember this?!" I can't decide if I'm happy about this development or if I've maybe created a monster. I'll let you know.

Reed got a National Geographic book full of dinosaur facts at his last book fair, which he brought along in the car on our trip. He was SO pumped to have all kinds of facts to tell us, especially when we went to Dinosaur National Monument! His favorite fact--that we've heard many times--is that modern birds and chickens are living dinosaurs!

Speaking of facts, Reed loves random trivia. Our kids' shampoo bottles always have random and interesting animal facts that Reed tells us over and over. He was super pumped when I bought detangler for the first time a few days ago and he realized that it's the same brand and has animal facts, too! In fact, he asked me to always buy that kind of detangler and shampoo so he can always have the facts! He loves to watch mental floss videos with Ryan, which are essentially long lists of random trivia.

We went on a lot of hikes on our trip. I felt super sore, as did Ryan, and we heard from Asher how tired he got any time he was a little worn out. But Reed seriously did not complain once. I'm not sure if he's just stronger than everyone and wasn't bothered or if he was just a good sport!