Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mother's Day surprises are hard to pull off if you're married to Melissa.

For Mother's Day this year I watched the boys (including cousin Kimble) so that Melissa and her sister Amy could go out for the day--do some shopping, get lunch, see a movie, etc.

Of course, my real motivation for getting Melissa out of the house was so I could paint our bathroom, which while it is really lovely for lots of reasons, had a serious case of beige-itis.

 (If you've never heard of beige-itis, that's a disease in which a room in your home is so overwhelmingly washed out and boring that you find yourself inexplicably wanting to sit on the couch all day watching reruns of the home shopping network while painting hotel art and subsisting on a diet of wonderbread and mayonnaise sandwiches...Our house currently suffers from beige-itis in most every room).

So I asked Amy to keep Melissa out of the house for at least three and a half hours and as soon as they walked out the door I got to work.  The paint color is "Atmosphere" from Behr, and in addition to the paint, I got some white towels at Wal-Mart on clearance, and I cut a faux frame out of 1x3 stain-grade pine and glued it onto the mirror.  As pictured below, the frame has one coat of  gel stain on it, but that is all I had time for (I'll get the few coats on soon).  Eventually we'll swap out the light fixture, and maybe find some art to put up, but for now, this was change enough.  It's my favorite room in the house now.
The best part is, I got it all finished about thirty minutes before Melissa and Amy came home, and even after they arrived, it took Melissa nearly two hours to make her way back into our bedroom to see what I'd done (Amy kept trying to come up with ways to get her to go back into her room -- "Don't you want to change?" She'd say...).  

Of course Melissa knew I was up to something (she told Amy in the car, "I think Joey is building me something"), but she didn't catch on that I was painting the bathroom (which is a feat, considering three days earlier I'd had a subtle conversation with her about paint color as we sat at the computer looking at bathrooms on Pinterest. I almost painted it green, which I would have loved, but she would have hated).

Easter Ties and Easter Eggs

 Melissa bought us all Easter ties again this year, and the boys (I think for the first time ever, they were all really happy to get them, though Nolan and Ian have already broken their clip ons).

 On Easter Sunday we had dinner with my sister Krysti and her husband Ross and a bunch of their kids (they have 13 + some in-laws). The events included a brief devotional in which a few cousins  took turns giving part of the message about the meaning of Easter and then we watched brief video (#becauseofhim) and then an Easter Egg hunt for all the kids from Ian (4) to my twin nieces who are both 16.  There were 180 eggs, if I remember correctly--enough for twenty each.
Nolan was the first one finished!  It wasn't a race, but, of course, it was (you know how it is).

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Capitol Reef

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” 
                                    --Edward Abbey

 So your wife has a broken collar bone, you students are all about to turn in their finals, and you just got word that Grandma might not make it through the weekend? What do you do? Well, if you are me and the boys and our exchange student, Naoto, you head to Capitol Reef for the weekend.  I don't think we would have gone if Naoto wasn't scheduled to go back to Japan the following week, but he was and we had a friend's cabin scheduled and the boys had been looking forward to the trip for weeks, so Melissa's sisters came to our house in Springville and stayed with her and the little cousins while we spent Thursday night - Saturday afternoon in red rock country.

Climbing on rocks.  This is what we did the whole weekend. Even when we were on a trail the boys stopped at every big rock or outcropping to climb up.  Only occasionally did they strike a pose.

We packed lunches each day and brought water and snacks and the boys carried their own gear and didn't complain a bit. (okay, maybe a tiny bit on the last hike when i wouldn't let the stop every two minutes to throw rocks, or climb higher up the hill off the trail after we'd already gone way off it and had to get back to the car, but really 959 of the trip was fuss free and we had a really great time).

“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear-the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break” --Edward Abbey

 We had pancakes and sausage for breakfast on Friday morning and we let the boys stay up crazy late both nights watching movies and eating junk (isn't that what vacation is for?). 
 On Friday we did a two two-mile hikes and on Saturday we did another two-mile hike. We hiked slot canyons and red rock ridges and saw petraglyphs and pioneer registers (and some rock graffiti, including one lady who carved her first and last name into the stone, along with the date--isn't that kind of like tagging your name on the side of a building?  Sure makes it easy for the authorities to track you down).
 You can't see Nolan very well in this picture, but those are his legs up in the pocket of the rock.

There is a certain something about red rock country that is hard to get anywhere else--a certain awareness of the age of things...of the way time builds upon itself one thin layer at a time...of the way water and wind heat and cold can whip through a valley and crumble an entire mountain.

In red rock country, as in the rest of the world, all things are working themselves to dust, but the difference is, in red rock country there's no putting on airs. The world is crumbling around itself, and that is okay. The sage brush withers, an arch falls under its own weight, the canyon walls slip slowly into rubble, and a pair of brothers step down a trail together, taking the lead from their dad, kicking rocks as they go, wearing down their own channel, slowly, in the earth.