Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Prep

Costumes are assembled, pumpkins are carved, candy is sitting on our counter mocking me. Yep, we're ready for Halloween.

It all started with a Sundance Halloween lift ride. It's always a blast (the only haunted house I can handle is one where I'm dangling 30 feet above it) and with our unseasonably warm temperatures we had the pleasure of not freezing this year.

The next step in Halloween readiness was pumpkin carving. We try not to carve too early so that we don't end up with a pile of rotted pumpkin goo on our doorstep by the time Halloween comes - hopefully carving within a week of Halloween will prove good timing.

And, yes, the costumes are ready and we have a family theme again, but you'll just have to wait until Halloween to see those!

Transporting the pumpkins home... we don't do anything the easy way around here.

Time to carve! WanYing was a huge fan of the gutting

Ben survived only by wearing gloves

And Grammy helped a ton

An artist at work

Sasha's impression of her Jack Skellington pumpkin (a keen likeness)

Tah dah! We were very happy with how Ying's Minnie pumpkin turned out

The finished masterpieces

Come on by on Halloween! You can see 'em in person and this year we have full-size candy bars so we're well worth the visit!

Monday, October 19, 2015


Confession: We are not home improvement people.

This is a little ironic, because we are both active folks, good with our hands, and Steve is an excellent handyman. But we're just not those people... you know, those people who are always redoing a room or making a new patio or whatever. Those people are odd. We are odd, too, but just not in an addicted-to-home-improvement kind of way. We have too much cycling and skiing to do.

Fortunately, our house is sturdy and not too much worse for our neglect over the past 15 years. And every few months/years/whatever we do take up a project. This year it was the front gardens. You may have confused these in the past with the front weed patches, but they are gardens now.

My wonderful mother spent days and days weeding and prepping. Mom, Ying, and I designed a lovely perennial garden that will look better year after year. My husband did a heck of a creative edging job. Ben jumped on the green waste bin so we could cram more in. It was a total team effort.

And now - tah dah! - our front entry is presentable! All it took was days of effort and hundreds of dollars in soil, plants, and supplies. Yeah, I'm guessing that's why we're not addicted to home improvement.

Project two was the side garden né weed patch. Honestly, this one wasn't in the plan or budget, but there were some Intervarsity kids who wanted to go to camp and were willing to work for sponsorship, and who am I to turn down someone else weeding my garden? I have a keen talent for employing minions.

And now - tah dah! All it took was days of effort (even with the minion help) and hundreds of dollars in soil, plants, and supplies.Yeah, I'm detecting a pattern in the "joys" of home improvement.

But the biggest and best change of all this autumn is that my mom is now my neighbor!

Yep, Mom moved in a couple of blocks away and we couldn't be happier to have her in our lives full-time. The children, of course, are thrilled to have a captive source for candy and sodas.

We had plenty of strong arms and willing smiles for moving day

And the best part of finishing it all was Ben's new unicycle ramp!

Lots of changes here in Morningstarland. Welcome to the neighborhood, Mom!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Autumn Adventures

I have now fallen so far behind in my blogging that I have to do a catch-all September-October highlights reel. I shall attempt to keep it interesting.

We went to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Everybody enjoyed it, including Ben, who was just being a troll (i.e. natural state) in this photo.

The cat got groomed. This was excellent because his fur was all matted and disgusto, but now his butt hole is terrifyingly prominent when he struts around (strutting is the only way he knows how to move) so we're waiting for the matted fur to grow back in.

We went to see Cake. We played Mille Bournes but after I handily creamed the children they insisted on playing (gag) Uno to pass the time.

Cake was phenomenal and the boys loved it. Ben got lots of attention for his Invader Zim hat from Halloween like 8 years ago. Apparently I made it with plenty of room to grow.

Ben brought a Wubble Bubble Ball to the concert to launch into the crowd and it brought great joy to many. We saw several people photographing themselves with it before batting it up into the air again. The kid is chaotic but he sure is fun!

Our garden produced reportedly delicious cantaloupe. I think cantaloupe is disgusto so I just took their word for it.

Sam was tasked with putting the leftover pizza away. A tinfoil massacre ensued. He was dumbfounded by my brilliance when I suggested that if he made the pieces too small, he could just use two to wrap the piece. Score one for mom, the environment, and our tin foil bill.

We saw Mark Knopfler and the leprechauns smiled upon us.

I raced in the Snowbird Hill Climb. I did not puke or pass out. I was near (but not actually) last.

But there were so few women in my category that I got third! It's no Tour de Donut championship but it still felt darn fine and I was awarded a free day pass at Snowbird this winter for my prize. Score!

We went up the next weekend to enjoy the Snowbird Oktoberfest. The boys succeeded in executing simultaneous flips while we drank beer and cheered them on.

The girl succeeded in climbing every face of the rock wall while we drank beer and cheered her on.

The other girl talked the facepaint lady into a rare and beautiful creation - the rainbow ladybug. We drank beer and paid the $5 facepaint fee.

We went to the wedding of two former youth group kids that we mentored when they were in middle school. Clearly a good time was had by all.

And we looked frickin' adorable.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall Break - Zion National Park

Combine biking, camping, National Parks, and a darn fine set of good friends and you have our perfect Fall Break combination. Zion never lets us down!

Although cycling was the (rightful) focus of our Fall Break, we also enjoyed some hiking, plenty of romping, gift shop perusing, and an ice cream stop - your requisite National Park excursions.

We noticed that our kids sure complain a lot less on hikes when they're in the presence of other peoples' kids. Finally, the secret of happy hiking is discovered!

The fun continued to the campground, where the kids spent hours happily hunting treasure with the Browns' metal detector. They found about 10 billion bottlecaps, a spoon, 2 tent stakes, and 58¢ in change (if memory serves). And their enthusiasm never wavered.

It was a heck of a fall break.

Ben unicycle photobomb!


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