Monday, December 27, 2010

Yet Again

I need your help with a real, actual problem.  Yeah right.  Who am I kidding?  What would I do if I had actual problems?  I can't even imagine what life would be like, haha.  This time around I could really use some advice when it comes to basket options for the shelf in the playroom.  Here's what I have, and here's what I'm thinking.
Black Shelf
Gray Oval Baskets
Brown Square Baskets
 I wanted baskets to put on the shelves to hold the toys.  So I found a couple I liked.  All along I pictured getting something like the square brown ones.  Then I found some round ones and then these oval ones.
I LOVE the circular shape.  It is a little more exciting to me (makes me feel like I'm thinking outside the box) but they are a cool gray (which I loved) and the shelf is very warm with the brown bead board.  So... 
Do I just use the warm brown ones?
Do I use both square (on the top two side portions) and the oval (in the other four side spots) and spray paint all baskets to the same color?
Do I use only the oval ones and paint them?
Do I use only the oval ones and paint the bead board?
 So what should I do?  Any and all suggestions are welcomed.

P.S.  The bottom two shelves are for the trucks, so they don't need baskets and the top middle is for books or puzzles or something.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning :: 2010

Christmas morning starts early for us.  Usually around 5:30... partly because Colby is still the biggest child I know ;) and because we make a lot of stops Christmas Day.  We wake up early at our house, then head to Colby's parents', then to my Mom's, then to Grandma Stratton's, then lunch is always at Grandmap & Grandpa Tom's, then we finish our day with a stop at my Dad's house.  I know many people find it exhausting to even think about and may even go as far as saying that we don't have a chance to enjoy our day, but we do it this way because we love it.  It's all just family time for us and it is a blast to see all the grandparents get excited with having little ones around again.  Each year I swear we will only have our kids open a couple things at our house then leave the spoiling to the other FIVE households, but somehow I always lose sight of that goal and then we have a whole house full of stuff by the end of the day.  Maybe in the coming years I'll figure it out.  These photos are just a few memorable moments from the day.

It always takes the kids a bit to realize what is going on... I love that early morning daze.

Marshall starting to realize this was something to get excited about.

Tyler was still a little sleepy so he needed some help getting going...

Something had this kid amazed!  I think it was the monster truck race track/mountain that Tyler picked out for him.

This year we got rain boots!

And cool matching plates that Mommy made.

Haha.  Tyler cracks me up.  He was ready to eat!

There was just so much to be excited about!  Games, trains, glowing flashlights, and more!

I sure love this boy.  (I love all my boys.)

Now they were fully awake and excited about all their little treasures.

This was a special moment with Colby's parents.  Cassadee made a memory book of Grandpa's funeral.

I'm not sure why I didn't take pictures at every stop, but these next few were taken at Grandma & Grandpa Tom's house.  They made some cool stuff for the little ones (because the older ones already had their own version of each of the handmade gifts.)

Ty loved his gun.  Now he has his very own and Marshall doesn't have to share his (which actually belonged to Colby when he was a kid).

He knew just what to do with it.  He was so excited!

Tyler also got his very own rocking chair.

Colby's aunt Laurel made a really neat book of all of Grandma's paintings.  They took photographs of each one and put them in a book.  It was a really sweet gift.

I sure love Christmas and the special feelings that are shared around this time of year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Our family doesn't have any big Christmas Eve traditions, but we always seem to end up at Colby's parents' house.  It's a good way to stay just a little distracted from the anticipation of the coming morning.  While we were there, wouldn't you know it, there was a visitor!  Santa dropped by.  The boys were initially excited, but then they sort of ran away from the big, hairy stranger.

The two little boys were a little more nervous, but Marshall seemed to remember that it was a fun thing to have Santa stop by for a visit, but he was kind of quiet and just took it all in for a second.

Santa brought the boys some animal toys.  I love Tyler & Karter in this picture... a little unsure still.

Marshall got a big cow and Tyler got a cool dog.

Look at Marshall... still just staring in wonder.

We had a picture of the boys from the year before sitting on the hearth, so we tried to recreate that but they were a challenging little bunch.  Most of my pictures were all blurry because they were far too excited to sit still.

Yeah for Christmas!!!

Here we are in our Christmas Eve PJs.  Yes, I realize we are not in focus and the tree is, but I didn't notice until much later, so this is what we got.  :)
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas to me!

I treated myself to something extra special for Christmas this year.  I've been branded!!!  Cierra from The Yellow House put it together for me and I couldn't be happier.  She's got my photography blog all spiffed up and I'm feeling so spoiled.  To top it off, my business cards came today and I'm stoked!  I just might slip them into my stocking for one more thing to smile about on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Road Today

Well, the road survived until morning.  There were definitely some losses, but better than expected.  I'm sure if the Trees Ranch Dam above Rockville had been breached like was suspected yesterday we would be looking at a completely different situation.  Compare these two pictures (the first from Wednesday morning and the second from Tuesday midday) and you can see the affects of the water.
We definitely realize things could be a lot worse and that there are people in the area dealing with great tragedy.  Our hearts and prayers go out to them.  This, however, is just a glimpse of the affects on our family.
I was able to get some shots from down below the road thanks to my super strong husband.  He calmed me and lowered me down and I'm actually glad he did.  It's pretty cool to see it from that perspective.  Clearly the water levels have subsided some and I was in no danger.
There appears to be some damage to water lines that ran under the road.  The larger pipe protruding from the ground is a culvert that helps with drainage of the road above, but you can see remains of other pipe here and there in these few pictures.  How blessed are we that our company's expertise can help rebuild all of this mess?
The picture above is upstream, along the river to the east of the shop.  I was standing where the water's edge was yesterday and Colby and both boys ventured out near the water to see all the debris and stuff.  Can you believe how wide the river was?  This was nowhere near the immensity the Virgin River achieved in Southern Utah, but it was incredible to see.
The kids were more than glad that Daddy was with us today.  Yesterday they had to stay buckled in their seats the whole time but today they got to explore... in their jammies.  :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today's Field Trip

Before I get into the details of the latest storm, I wanted to tell you all that my photography blog has received a delightful face lift.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

We woke up this morning and decided to go check out the swollen rivers around Hurricane.  It's been raining since last Thursday and I'd been told the river near the Interstate Rock shop was pretty high.  When we got there it was a magnificent sight.  Not that flooding is good, but it was incredible to see that much water.  It flooded like this a couple years ago and some homes in Virgin sustained a lot of damage.  Back in Jan. 2005 there was even more flooding in Southern Utah that destroyed many homes.  Maybe I was too young to care before that, but it seems like before 2005 there hadn't been storms and flooding like this for a LONG time.  For the 11 years before then that my family lived in Southern Utah I just can't remember this kind of stuff.

I snapped a few pictures of what we found.  Most were around the shop below Brentwood and all were taken midday December 21.  This post is taking on the nature of a documentary, but its kind of like a journal entry so let's all enjoy the fact that our posterity might appreciate these details.  :)
 This is similar to what you can find all over town.  Full gutters with a steady flow.
 Usually the river is more like a large creek through here.
 You can see how the road is completely flooded as with much of the yard.
 Notice in the upper left just passed the Jeep and in front of those couple of people standing in the road that the white bar across the road is the gate.  It is still in place.
 I've done photo shoots in this area before and its usually dry as a bone.
 This is the view from the west side now.  This is the sight that was so incredible to me.  The people are standing near where I was pointing out the existing gate.
 But... it's gone now.  Notice how the bank was sloughed off and the beam is sticking up out of the water a little bit.  Within 10 minutes they brought a track hoe up to try and fish it out but it was long gone.
 It's impossible to show the scale of how enormous this tree was that was floating down the river.  It was huge.
 The authorities came by in the morning and downed this power pole because it coming down was inevitable.  You can see the track hoe in the background forging his way through the road/river.
 A close up of the same portion of river.
 This was taken up in Virgin, not even a mile passed the Staples' homes.
This was at Sheep's Bridge in Virgin.  Marshall's favorite part was the handful of waterfalls coming into the river in this area.  He also got a kick out of singing "let it rain, let it rain, let it rain."

I saw a picture earlier of the river in Santa Clara reaching the bottom of the bridge.  We'll all keep praying the destruction is held to a minimum and that everyone can still enjoy a safe and happy Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

For Uncle Chase

 Last week in his letter, Uncle Chase had me feeling all guilty.  He told me he had a chance to check my blog and was hoping to find some new pictures of these little ones but couldn't find any.  That's because I've been slacking.  (P.S.  Marshall's started doing this funny closed mouth smile lately.  It's really only funny because I can't figure out where he's picked it up from because every picture of me has a big toothy grin and Colby doesn't smile like that...)
 So on Sunday as we were frantically running out the door to church I made these kids stop for a picture or two.  They looked so handsome in their sweaters that it took us a few minutes before I was ready to stop.  What I'd really like to do is take them out somewhere fun and have a little photo session with them but it's been raining for the last FIVE days and it's still coming down!  Maybe once the clouds part a bit we'll get something a little nicer looking.
 For now we'll just enjoy some snapshots of them in the glowing light of the Christmas tree.  I love my little handsome men.  They are soooo soooo excited for Christmas and we parents can't wait either.
I hope you got a chance to see this Elder Stratton.  I didn't want to disappoint you for Christmas.