Sunday, September 20, 2009

New to Us - Table and Chairs

When Leah insisted that she was tooo big for her high chair and that she wanted to sit at the table like all of us, it expedited the need for a new dining set. A humongous THANK YOU goes out to my sister Kalene, who gave us her old dining set with six chairs vs our four. It was a great, solid wood set that had been treated really well but didn't quite fit into the eventual grand decorating scheme for our house. But with a lot of hard work and even more black paint, it looks amazing now. First Kris secured any loose legs, arms or dowels with screws and gorilla glue. Then we sanded them all down, the steel wool on the spindles was the hardest. Next I washed them all with TSP substitute. The chairs we decided to spray paint and so I first sprayed them with Rustoleum Primer in brown, 2 coats. Then I used Rustoleum spray lacquer in black for a top coat, 4-5 coats. This is what took soooooo much paint. I used 7 cans of primer and 15 cans of lacquer on 6 chairs. I just kept going back, and going back to Home Depot for more paint. For the table, my cousin - in-law a professional painter recommended painting it by hand. Per his recommendation I used Zinser Bullseye Primer - that's a latex primer- tinted grey. Then I painted it with Porterguard Oil based enamel in black satin. Because our table will be well loved for many years to come by our family of 5+ I protected it with polyurethane, 2 coats gloss and 1 coat satin. Total cost - about $150. But look at it now........

Of course, it's not perfect but I am thrilled. I looks gorgeous and when the chairs get dinged up, as they will, I can just wash them down and hit them with another coat of lacquer. We are also protecting the table with the clear vinyl heavy duty tablecloth.

I'm posting my re-do on A Soft Place to Land Check out all of the other fun DIY projects.

Fair Fun

Visiting the Eastern Idaho State Fair is a tradition for the Meek family. Opening day was a beautiful Saturday so we loaded up and went. Abi and Tal love seeing all of the animals. They were especially excited to get to pet this miniature horse.
You have to get a hat from the Culligan Water booth - it's tradition. Leah is our little runner, but we kept close tabs on her with her Elmo harness. Tal is upset that I wouldn't buy everything for him.
We love going to McKee's petting zoo. Leah was thrilled that the goats would eat right out of her hand. You just hold out the food and they lick it right off. It tickles.
In the Ag Education Area our kids participated in many fun activities. This is as close to milking a cow as my city slicker son will probably ever get.
Leah found it quite enjoyable to play in the corn pit. This is one time when it is OK to play with your food.
Abi enjoyed milking the cow too. Hmmmm, maybe I should hire them out. We topped it all off with what else, ice cream from the Dairy Barn. Huckleberry Cream for me - Mmmmmm.

Leah at 15 months

Our little Leah is making the change from baby to little girl. This past month she refused to sit in her high chair any more and made the jump to the booster seat. She looks so tiny sitting up to the table but she knows that she is soooooo BIG. She is pretty good with a cup and spoon as well. Leah continues to grow tall and thin. She is 32 inches, in the 90th percentile for height, but only 19 lb 5 oz, just above the 3rd percentile for weight. Leah also stopped nursing and started sleeping through the night this past week. Yeah!!!
Leah also had her first haircut. Her bangs were getting a little long and so they got a little snip. She was soooooo good, just fascinated with the cape. Leah continues to love to take baths and play with the toys. She also likes to "help" wash dishes and drink out of all of the clean cups.
Leah's vocabulary is really starting to take off. She knows the parts of her face as well as "belly" and "toes". She loves animals and can say "doggie" and "bird". "Want down" is another favorite but it can mean down or up. Leah loves snacks and food. Here she is tearing into a fresh chocolate chip cookie. Yum. Other favorites are mac and cheese, cottage cheese, cheese, juice, cheerios, peaches, yogurt, peas and all kinds of sauces. I joke that her carrots or fries are just the vehicle for the sauce. She will dip them and then lick all of the ranch or ketchup off. Likewise she will lick the peanut butter or jam off of her bread and leave the bread. Leah loves books - her two favorite are "Baby Faces" and "Busy Baby." We read each of them before nap and bedtime.

Rock Reunion 2009

Our annual Rock Reunion was held in Lewisville this year at the homes of my parents and my aunt Patsi on August 21-23. Over the 3 days we were able to visit and socialize with all of my aunts and uncles, my Grandpa Rock who is 89, and many of my cousins and their kids. The kids enjoyed sleeping out in the tents at grandma's while mom and dad enjoyed sleeping inside in beds. (Now this is my kind of camping.) Our first activity was hiking the Menan Butte. Even though I grew up in Lewisville, I had never hiked to the top of the Butte. It was hot and steep but we made it.
Up at the top you can look down into the Crater and out to Rexburg or back across to our side of the Valley. ( Cousin Clint and Regina Hinckley and kids. Me, my brother Jared, Donetta and Terry Fife, Abi and Talmage, and Gabby and Sterling Howell. Cousin Elliott Hinckley and Ellie. Cousin Troy Hinckley and several of his kids. Aunt Patsi and Uncle Lee Hinckely.) On Friday night we watched a movie outside and enjoyed cobbler and homemade ice cream. The kids loved to watch the ice cream being cranked but weren't so fond of actually helping with the cranking.
On Saturday, the little cousins had the opportunity to make our craft - personalized tote bags. Luckily we kept the paint and markers mostly under control. Kris took charge of adding the buttons with the hot glue gun.
Later on Saturday afternoon we went to Jefferson Lake for wading, floating and a hot dog roast. Leah tip toed into the water at first but soon we couldn't keep her out.
The older crowd hung out up on the grass near the beach and visited. What else are family reunions for.
Kris organized and supervised the building of a sand castle. It was quite impressive, complete with a moat and suspended bridge.
Before dinner we tried our marksmanship with the BB guns. I'm not to good, but Abi and Tal are spot on.
After dinner we walked over to the Lewisville park where Uncle Brian shot off the Candy Cannon. It is quite a sight to see it go off.
And obviously it is a BIG HIT with all of the kids. They run for the candy.
Finally we enjoyed roasting marshmallows over the chimea'. That is my favorite part. Oooh, I love a golden brown toasted and gooey marshmallow. Yummy!!! We're looking forward to seeing you all next year.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Utah Vacation Day 3

Lagoon, It's what fun is!!! ( I never remember to take pics of signs. Thank goodness for the Internet where you can borrow someone else's :)
Abi and Tal were soooooo psyched to go to Lagoon. They've never been to a real amusement park before. Ever since we started researching our trip they talked and talked about going on Wicked. But we decided to start slow with the Lady Bug Bop.

Kris and I took turns going on rides with Abi and Tal while the other chased Leah around. After 2 days of sitting in her stroller she was ready to run around. The strollers main purpose was carrying the lunch and the diaper bag. I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to rides. I'll go on scarier ones with Kris, but I don't want my kids to hear me go "Oh, I don't want to do this," all the way up the line. So Kris and Abi rode the Rocket together. Tal was heartbroken that he was too short but we made up for it riding a couple of other rides together.

As the day wore on we worked our way up to the bigger rides. Even Kris opted out of riding the Samurai though, no one wanted to lose their lunch. Flying Aces did me in, so there was no question that I didn't want to whirl around and around anymore. Soon we were over to Wicked and Kris took off with Abi while I was going to watch Tal ride the kiddie rides. But soon Kris and Abi were back with great news, Tal could ride the big rides if he rode with an adult. Abi was tall enough by herself so off they went.
When Tal got off of Wicked he ran over to me yelling, "That was AWESOME!!!" They also rode Cliffhanger and Colosus. My favorite was The Bat. Then we took a little break and cooled off at Lagoon A Beach. Both Abi and Tal loved the water slides and Leah liked to float around the Lazy River so again Kris and I took turns going with each of them. After that everyone got to pick their favorite ride to ride one last time. Kris, Abi and Tal all loved Wicked again. Mom got to ride with them on The Bat which was also my favorite. And Leah got her first ride on the Carousel. She squealed as a little breeze ruffled her hair as she went up and down. And then she squealed again when the ride stopped because she didn't want to get off.

We finally drug ourselves out of the park just before 9:00 pm. We grabbed a bite to eat and changed into our PJ's. Then our kids fell into an exhausted sleep for the ride home. I loved our vacation: the fun, the memories and the time being together. My eyes twinkle whenever they talk about our trip, it was soooooo worth it.

Utah Vacation Day 2

I apologize for the delay in recording the fun memories from our Utah vacation but life got in the way of blogging. Sooooo....

Tuesday morning we awoke bright and early, Ok it was like 7:30, but this was a VACATION. After a delicious breakfast buffet we were off on our adventure at Hogle Zoo, just up Emigration Canyon in SLC.
I realize that random pics of the animals we saw are not really entertaining for anyone else but this display at the elephant enclosure helped give us an idea or how massive these animals really are. One of the female elephants had just given birth the day before so there wasn't an elephant show that day.
We did however enjoy the "Birds in Flight" Show. The doves, hawks, owls, and eagle all flew right over our heads, skimming just above our hair. Leah was fascinated. My favorite animal is the giraffe and I love Hogle Zoo because they have giraffes whereas our zoo doesn't. This little baby is only a few months old and was sleeping out in the open. His mama was watching close by.

Abi of course loved the monkeys the best. Tal likes the big cats like the tigers. Leah was mostly thrilled with all of the animals, they are all new to her but at the meerkat exhibit she stood right up straining in the stroller to press her face against the glass and look at the little meerkat eating just inches away from her. None of us liked the prehensile tailed porcupine though, his scent drove mom right out of the exhibit. Pheeyew!!! Abi, Tal and Leah enjoyed climbing on this huge elephant sculpture and had to have their picture taken.
One of our last stops was to ride the Wild Kingdom Train. I remember riding this train when I was little and visiting Hogle Zoo on a Utah vacation with my family. Too fun.

After Hogle Zoo we drove downtown to Temple Square to see some of the Latter Day Saint Church sites. We were melting in the August heat so we made a quick stop at a Utah favorite, 7-11, to get slushies. Yummy!!! We strolled around Temple Square and the Joseph Smith Building. A cute young couple took our picture in front of the SLC temple. Crazy that it's been almost 10 years since Kris and I were married here and took our pics in almost this very spot.
The kids were amazed by the number of pipes in the Tabernacle Organ. And Tal commented that the Tabernacle benches were very hard. Having sat through a couple sessions of General Conference on them, I can attest to that. ( Saturday Afternoon Session Standby Line - it's the easiest to get into.) Abi and Talmage enjoyed seeing large representations of pictures they knew from Primary in the Visitors Centers. But their favorite was seeing the Christus. My heart did the little mommy melt when they both just sat and looked quietly for a minute. Mind you, it was only a minute, but I could tell they were feeling the Spirit.
After that we went across the street to see the Conference Center. It is exciting to be in the building that we see on TV when we watch General Conference. Abi said that she loved being up on the roof and seeing all of the plants, waterfall and gardens that are up top. I am always blown away by the sheer size of the Auditorium. Kris and I attended the Saturday morning session there the first time they had General Conference in the Conference Center. We were way up in the 3rd balcony and still when the prophet came in, the room was electric, and you can feel the power.
Tal loves the Book of Mormon heroes, especially Captain Moroni and Samuel the Lamanite. So it was sooo fun to walk through the Arnold Friberg gallery of the Book of Mormon paintings and have Talmage tell me about each one. After that we went to dinner at the Red Iguana on North Temple. The Red Iguana is Kris's favorite Mexican Restruant; no one else is even close. He craves their Mole Verde. The kids' Killer Nachos were yummy as well. To top off the night we went to the Clark Planetarium in the Gateway Plaza and checked out all of the free exhibits. Tal was mesmerized by the perpetual motion machine and we all had fun "visiting" the moon and Mars.
Soon it was time to get my little Martians back to our hotel for another quick dip in the pool and then off to bed so we could be ready for another big day.