Surf and Turf


Christmas Time Decorations

So last year I blogged about some of my most favorite and precious Christmas decorations.  This year I'm going all worldly:

 I used a pool noodle for the wreath.  Then wrapped it in leopard duct tape.  Michael's had a leopard poinsettia and I already had the black and the leopard ribbon.  Voila!

 Too bad all the ornaments aren't easily seen.  There are many shoe ornaments.  And purses.  And leopard.  And leopard shoes and purses.
 One year we received a large, real pine wreath and David put it up over the garage.  The nail has been there ever since.  So this year we used the nail again.

 New this year.  (the hanging ornaments)  And I hated to throw out the Cinderella pumpkin after Thanksgiving.  Color it silver and keep it for Valentines??
Can I make this last until Christmas??  Maybe if I act like a princess I can . . .
I had this manicure for two weeks.  The upkeep was every night and I kept a bottle of red polish in my purse.


Sadie's Birth Day

On November 8th, Sadie came to join our family.  Tanner and I went to meet her around noon and then as soon as school was out, we took Emma and Tyler back to meet their new little sister.  A new baby.  All is right with the world.

 Is "Grandma" the funnest thing, or what?  (Actually, if I were saying it the way Tanner does, it would be "gamma.")   I miss those kids.
"Sisters. Sisters.  There were never such devoted sisters."


Happy Halloween

Just random pictures of some of my Halloween decorations.  Some.

 This is new to my collection:  a Halloween ornament tree.  And for the tree skirt:  an orange and black boa.   Of course.

 ...and a cinnamon broom

And what house doesn't have princess and leopard pumpkins?  (and a leopard spider to boot) I mean, hello.


Conference Weekend

To start off our Conference Weekend we stopped off in Angle, Utah to spend some time with our friends at their place.  The first thing we did was get on the ATV's and head up to Pole Canyon.  The leaves were stunningly beautiful.  Living in Southern California, I forget that we have an "Autumn." 

On the ATV

 Our friends -- Steve and Robyn Brown.  Thank you for a fun time!

 We stopped and picked grass to feed to "Junior" and his harem.  If Junior only knew that a flimsy piece of plywood and an equally flimsy piece of fence was all that was keeping him from freedom, he would simply tap it with his head and he would be outta there!
 Friday morning we left for Provo and then that night we went to the BYU/Utah State game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.  Adam came down from Rexburg to spend the weekend with us and Michael and Benjamin joined us too.  (He had some use-it-or-lose-it points with Southwest)  So 15 month old Benjamin got to tag along. 
We sat pretty close to the rabid Utah State fans.  I'm just glad we won.  It was an ugly game, but it was still a win.  And it's always fun to sing "Rise and Shout."
  Being from Florida, Benjamin didn't know what "cold" was.   The game didn't start until 8 pm (10:00 to their east coast bodies), and because they had flown all day, they were pretty tired.  I held a sleeping Benjamin for at least an hour before they left the game early to go back to the hotel.  That was okay -- no more scoring happened.  Like I said, ugly game.

 Saturday morning we all drove to Salt Lake and checked into our hotel before going to the afternoon session of Conference.  And then I kept Benjamin while all the boys went to Priesthood Meeting.  We went to the City Creek Mall and found a toy store.  He was in heaven!  And then I let him play by the fountains.  Again, HEAVEN.  He walked around enjoying all the water displays.  If it was in the middle of the day, I would have let him walk through the squirting water.  But seeing as he was wearing a sweatshirt because it was cold, I had to be the bad guy.  He was a good sport though.  But I did have to change his clothes anyway before we went to J.B.'s for dinner.  (an after Priesthood tradition)  
Michael and Benjamin left for the airport Sunday morning.  The rest of us went to the afternoon session of Conference (Was this the best Conference ever??) and then said good-bye to Adam.  We drove to Vegas and then home on Monday morning.  What a fun trip.


A WICKED weekend

Cheri's family came to play at Disneyland for two days.  David and I joined them on one of those days.  We had a great time.  David spent Saturday morning with them at the beach before they drove home.

Tower of Terror.  Me, Tyler, Emma, David.

And then the next day I flew to Vegas for a Girls Weekend.  First stop:  Serendipity for lunch.  And of course, we had to try their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate.  I got the white chocolate.  Yum.
L to R    Me, Ann, (Kami's friend) Kami, Michelle

Jimmy Choo.  That's right, baby!  And no, I did not buy anything there.  (The sales people sure do keep an eye on everyone that comes in the door.  {Caesar's Palace} There was a super cute glittery, blingy pair of dancing shoes that kept saying:  "Melody, Melody!  Buy me!") 
We celebrated Kami's birthday at Macayo's on Friday night.  My favorite restaurant!  It's kind of a dive now, but in "the day," it's where we went after every Saturday night stake dance.  It was the place to be.  Their chips and sauce (sauce -- not salsa) is the best EVER.  I can eat it with a spoon. 
L to R:   Pam (Kami's friend), Kami, me, Mom, Alayna, Michelle.
After Macayo's, we went to Planet Hollywood to see "Vegas: the Show."  It was all about the first days of Las Vegas and the first headliners.  Sammy, Dean, Frank, Elvis, and even Elton entertained us.
L to R:  Mom, Dad, Kami, me, Morgan, Matt, Mason, Shelby, Alayna, Mont

Because this whole girls weekend was centered around us going to see "Wicked" on Saturday night, Kami (the hostess with the mostest) instructed us to wear the wicked colors to dinner.  (purple, lime green, blackAnd she also made each one of us girls a bracelet with those colors in it.  She even had an Etsy lady make us tiny witch hat charms for the bracelet.
We all met at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner beforehand. (avocado eggs rolls --yummmm.)  Then it was off to the new Smith Auditorium for the play.  It was awesome, of course.
This whole weekend was: eat, see a show, eat, see a show.
I flew home early Sunday morning.  Back to life, back to reality.



David and Adam went on the stake scout trip to Havasupi. (Grand Canyon -- 2nd time they've made this trip)   They hiked in 10 miles (downhill) with heavy packs.  Adam was in charge of four 12 year olds from another ward since they didn't have a leader.  He has a better appreciation for Scout Masters now.  They had a great time swimming in the "pools" and jumping from waterfalls.   Four days later they hiked back out.  They hiked in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. The plan was to sleep at the cars that last night and come on home Saturday morning.   They were so happy to get home.  Oooh -- hot showers, ice cold drinking water, and soft beds.  Heaven.

While the guys were gone, my friend Nancy came down from Santa Barbara and we celebrated her birthday.  She stayed 4 days.  We shopped (I have the cutest Halloween ornaments now!) and she even went to the beach one day with me.  I was off work because my boss was also in Havasupi with the scouts.  For a couple of days that I had alone, I splurged and went for a massage and facial.  I know -- rough life.   Oh - and Nancy brought her shaved ice machine.  I may need one of those in the future.  Need.  In the near future.
August 18th.  Adam's 23rd birthday.  He spent the day painting the house and working out at Gold's Gym with a friend.  The missionaries and one of his friends came for dinner and cake.
Happy Birthday Adam!


Emma's Most Excellent Adventure

  On Saturday afternoon, we were on Facetime talking with Emma and her family and I was describing David's birthday cake that was being made for the next day.  "Chocolate with oreo cream cheese filling, and on top - pieces of Snickers, Rolo's, kit kats, kisses, and chocolate chips.  Emma said, "Don't talk about that when I can't be there to eat it!"  But two minutes later . . . it was a spur of the moment decision to have Emma come and spend a few days.  And since she is eight years old and can now travel alone, and I was off from work for the week, everything fell into place.  I picked her up at LAX Sunday morning.  She was a trooper and went to two Sacrament Meetings with me, plus Primary.  AND -- it was Papa's birthday.  So she enjoyed being here for that.  (And getting two pieces of cake.  "Your mom's not here -- have another piece!")

Enjoying her morning green smoothie.  Fancy, of course.

On Monday, we went shopping for new clothes.  And then to the Westover's for some pool lounging. And then a stop at Yogurtland for FHE.
Tuesday and Wednesday found us at the beach.  Papa came down for his lunch break to play.
Papa and Emma
With very little surf, it made for great swimming.  They even had a seal join in the fun.
Wednesday morning we got up really early and collected sand dollars and sea shells at the beach.  And then we went to Chick-fil-A for dinner that evening.  She enjoyed her peach shake and waffle fries the most.  After dinner, we did mani/pedi's.  Pink zebra on her fingernails and leopard print on the toes.  Chic.
She wanted a new haircut, so we spent Thursday morning at the salon. 
Then it was off to the mall to see Ice Age in 3-D. 
After a quick lunch at home and saying goodbye to Papa, we left for the airport.  It was WAY too crowded and she boarded the plane as soon as we got to the gate.  No time for a teary good-bye.
Her family missed her a lot, but she sure enjoyed her time with us.  All too soon it was over.
We've decided that this is a good tradition for our grandchildren.  As soon as they are 8 years old and able to travel alone, they should plan to spend a few days here with us.  Spoiling is our job and we're happy to do it.
Thanks for coming Emma.  We love you!



Had a great birthday today
 Melody made me an amazing cake
 And she can dance too


Aspen Grove

First things first:  Tyler needed his wiggly front tooth removed.  Four days later, he had me pull another loose one.  He got one dollar from me each time and the tooth fairy came also.   The kid has a good gig going.
Adam was able to be with us for only 24 hours.  On Sunday, both he and his cousin Nick gave a five minute overview about their missions.  (Nick had just returned from his mission 10 days earlier.)

We took this picture the first day there.  The next day, three people had to leave.  A few days later, eight more joined us.  David's parents are front and center and then each of their children and their families are wearing a different colored shirt.  (The 8 more that joined us were our own children and grandchildren.)

 Benjamin joined us on Wednesday, along with the rest of his family.

 The Wirthlin Clan.  Emma, Spencer, Cheri, Tanner, Tyler

 David did the high ropes course.  Impressive.  Doesn't he look ruggedly handsome scaling that wall?  Even better than Spiderman.

 This is the closest we got to having our whole family together.  We'll have to photoshop Adam in for the print for the living room wall.
 Man, I love these people!  (our shirts say:  Hales Angels)
 The Hales Clan.  Jessica, Laura, Benjamin, Michael, Chandler.
This was a long day for them.  They flew from Orlando and got to Aspen Grove around 3:30 on Wednesday.  They adjusted from eastern standard time pretty well.
The Byram Bunch.  Michael, Carly, Matthew.  They arrived Wednesday morning.  After being in a car seat for way too long, (Phoenix, by way of Vegas) Matthew was happy to be spoiled by grandparents and cousins.  And his parents were more than happy for that too.

 The Three Musketeers.  (and Papa)  So thrilled to have their picture taken.

 The Binky Brigade.
Waiting for the closing ceremonies.  (P.S.  Did you know that if you put a baby's binky in the powder of a Lik-a-Stick pouch, they like their pacifier even more?  Um, uh, me either . . . )

 Jessica, Emma and I went to the dance on the last night.  We had fun!

Grandkids.  This is what it is all about.  And with them all scattered around the country now, photos like this are even more special.  They are the sweetest things.  
Our own children were (are) the greatest, but grandchildren . . . goodness - don't get me started.  LOVE YOU ALL.  Thanks for coming to play with us.