Monday, October 14, 2013

Time to Celebrate!

A couple weeks after Mike's birthday, it was finally time to celebrate his 28th birthday.  We were going to get the coveted Ducky and see what Tuttle, Idaho had to offer.  I had called Wayne, the owner of the duckies and High Adventure River Tour, a couple weeks back to ensure the ducky's were still for sale at $200 a piece.  He let me know we would be good to go an and was kind enough to work with me when we pushed back the pick up date.  He let us know we could also set up camp at his RV park for the night.  We were also going to be picking up two additional duckies, one for Ryan and Kenzie, the other one for Jake and Netti.  We had stopped by an additional time with Ryan and Kenzie to view the ducky's as we made our way to the Oregon Coast last year.  Ryan was also sold on the idea of the ducky and was glad we would be able to secure him one of the ducky's.  With three duckies on the line, you better believe Mike would pick out the very best one.

We arrived late Friday night.  Wayne was kind enough to show us where the showers were located along with possible camp spots.  We set up camp and would go exploring the next morning.  Wayne was a great host and gave us several different options in the morning of things to do.  Of course we were looking to try out the ducky- so he said we could try out the river or he also recommended a "beautiful" spot called 1,000 springs about 5 miles away in Haggerman, Idaho.  We decided we would give 1,000 springs a try.  Upon arriving, we decided the "beautiful spot" Wayne had told us about had had some pretty features but the island itself wasn't so beautiful.  I guess Wayne had been stuck in Tuttle a little too long.  Nevertheless, we were glad we came.  The boat launch was located at a swimming pool which was naturally heated by a hot springs.  We paid our fees and launched our ducky's into the Snake River.  Just across the river is an island with an old house on it.  We paddled about halfway around the island and saw a waterfall.  We stopped to check it out.  We climbed up the rocks close to the top of the waterfall.  We then saw a trail where you could view the old house.  We walked up to the gates.  On the way back, we saw a very manly looking woman, welcome to the small town life!  With that image seared in our minds, we continued our quest around the island.  After getting back to the dock, I noticed a drain for the hot pots.  I wanted to warm up and paddled over there.  Little did I know, how blasting hot it would be!  It definitely did the job and warmed me up but I kept my distance after the initial burn.  In paddling around the river, we had worked up quite an appetite.  Lucky for us, we had some cups of noodles in the car waiting for us.  I soaked up the sun while Mike cooled of in the shade.

After filling our tummies and baking ourselves to a crisp, we drove around Haggerman to see what else it had to offer.  Surprisingly enough we were able to find several things to occupy our time.  We went to a fish hatchery where we saw several very large sturgeon and some other not so attractive fish.  After sufficiently staring at the poor, trapped fish we continued on our way.  To our surprise, we saw Haggerman also had a Fossil Beds National Monument.  We stopped to check it out and found various types of fossils including, but not limited to, the famous, "Haggerman Horse".  They also have on display a Saber-tooth Cat, Ground Sloth, Camel, and many other unique animals along with information related to the Oregon Trail.  According to their website, it is "one of the most fossilferous Pliocene-aged sites in the world", aka 3.5 million years ago just prior to the Ice Age and which represents the earliest appearances of modern flora and fauna.  Don't worry, I did have to look that up on Wikipedia.  Nevertheless, it was a fun little museum where they even let you cool off with an informational video in the back room, which we utilized.

In one afternoon w were able to see many of the main highlights of the small towns Haggerman and Tuttle, Idaho.  Feeling pretty accomplished we decided it was time to pack up and head home.  We packed up our newly purchased duckies, said good-bye to Wayne, and hit the road back to Salt Lake.  We took a slight detour in Twin Falls to grab some food.  We were pretty hungry by this point and decided Sizzler, a buffet with unlimited grub, would be an excellent choice.  We went to order and they informed us that to get a steak and a salad bar was practically the same price as just a salad bar so obviously we decided to get ourselves a steak. We both came to the realization that this was the best steak we had ever eaten at a restaurant.  Although, the fact that we were camping may have played into it.  Yet, we still felt like royalty.  It was a great feast to end the birthday celebration and the acquisition of our newest boat, the ducky!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mother's Day Surprise!

Mother's Day was just around the corner.  My dad wanted to surprise my mom with all of us coming down for the weekend.  Of course we were game for a trip down south.  We also had a very special Mother's Day gift to give to our mother's...removable tattoo's!  Don't worry we did provide more practical gifts as well but the tat's far surpassed any other gift we could give.  Mama Deb had a good laugh while Marty had some ideas of where to put the tats.  We left after work on Friday and picked Levi up in Cedar City to have him join the party as well.  Michelle would not be joining us this weekend as she had a 10 day camp out for school.  It couldn't have been a more suiting activity for Michelle.  It was ironic to think she was in the woods as we were eating some frozen yogurt at Menchi's and watching a crazy lady make a scene in the parking lot.  Apparently she was saying some pretty off the wall things, some people decided to call the cops and she was not too happy to say the least.  Later that night, we tried the famous wiggle scooters, they were as everybody had said, slow and hard to get going.  Needless to say, we didn't waste too much time with those slow scooters.  We had other activities to pursue.

Saturday morning, my mom had to go into work for a few hours.  Lucky for her she had put one of her tattoo's on her neck.  It made a great look for her in the Salon.  My mom is not the biggest fan of golfing, so while she went into work, the rest of us went golfing.  Mac and my dad split a round, which was probably a good thing seeing my dad was on the phone for much of the time, and Mac doesn't like doing the full nine holes. Golf is definitely a love/hate relationship for me.  I love it when I am doing well, which in all reality isn't too often, and it is super frustrating when you are losing.  Well this day of golfing was a not so hot one.  I was doing terrible, however, Mike was doing awesome.  I know a good supportive wife should be throwing up high fives and patting him on the back,  but, unfortunately, I was not being such a good wife.  Instead, of throwing high fives I was throwing my clubs. Curse my competitive spirit.  Yet it was a fun time on the course with the gang.

After my mom returned, we did one of her favorite things to do, biking.  In Washington Fields there was a trail she loved doing which she lovingly referred to as the horse head trail.  It received the name due to the fact that there was actually a dead horse's head on the trail.  Pretty crazy, eh?  It was supposed to be a pretty easy trail.  All was going well until my pedal fell off my bike.  Mike was kind enough to take my bike and give me his bike.  He got creative and rode the other bike the rest of the way home like a scooter.  He got his work out and good deed all done in one fell swoop.  He was still able to make it fun for all and that's one reason I love him so! We also spent time swimming in the pool, playing Monopoly Deal, our "true" Mother's day gift which was a smashing success, and saw none other than War Horse.  Probably better than the movie itself was renting the movie.  We went to the Red Box and my dad was up getting the movie.  My mom told him to get War Horse, he said, "What?".  Again, she repeated, "Get War Horse".  Levi pointed out, very accurately I might add, how much they symbolized an aging couple.  As one tried to communicate to the other but their aged ears were failing them.  We all had a good laugh.  

To top off the weekend, we figured we still had a new kickball, which was my dad's birthday present, which we needed to use.  After drinking some home-made orange julius we all headed out to a nearby park.  We split up into teams and started kicking.  It wasn't long before we realized how out of shape we all were in.  A few times around the bases, in the hot sun, and we were feeling it.  The Orange Julius that had previously tasted so good, wasn't settling too well and many of us were feeling slightly queezy.  We spent a good deal of time in the shade drinking some cool water!  Despite our opposition, with the sickness, and the breeziness we endured and finished the game. Mike, Mac, and I lost, even after our almost super dramatic comeback.  So close and yet so far!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mike's Birthday/Hill Family to the Rescue!

Yup,  you guessed it, Mike was about to get a whole lot wiser.  He was going to be turning 28!  Mike had been eyeing a ducky we saw at a garage sale for an old rafting company for over a year.  It was on a return trip from Boise where it all got started.  My dad recommended on our drive back from Boise we stop to look at the Malad Gorge, as it was worth seeing.  On the same exit, luck would have it there was a large sign for a "Garage Sale" posted and we decided to stop and check it out.  It happened to be a High Adventure River Touring company/campground.  It was here where Mike first spotted the ducky.  Mike fell in love at first sight and tried to convince me of how great a deal it was.  I was able to talk him into getting the man's number and thinking about it.  But after a year plus of delay, I decided I had delayed him long enough and was going to surprise him with not only the ducky but a trip to  retrieve it in good ole' Tuttle, Idaho. However, a series of events led us to rearrange the scheduling of our ducky trip.

At the end of April, after returning from a beautiful trip to France, Mark had an unfortunate accident...with a toilet.  Before leaving for France, Mark decided he was going to be leaving his job at the Post Register and start looking for work elsewhere.  Upon returning from France, he was going to work on odds and ends around the house to get it ready to sell.  One day he was going to replace the toilet and do some painting in the bathroom while the toilet was out.  Unfortunately, the toilet had other plans.  It attacked Mark and had sliced his wrist open.  Thankfully, Mark was able to think clearly enough to call 9-1-1 and get in a position to lose the least amount of blood as possible.  Carrie had been out at a doctor's appointment and was promptly notified.  She was able to call a neighbor to pick up Taylor as she raced back home. She arrived in time to see the ambulance.  The neighbor's husband gave Mark a blessing in the ambulance.  Fortunately, Mark was able to see a hand specialist who was quick to get him into surgery.  Mark was going to be OK with a little bit of rest and physical therapy.  However, Mark would not be able to live down the fact that he had just gotten worked by a toilet which severed three tendons, two nerves, and the radial artery.  Poor Mark.

On the 3rd of May, Mike moved up in the world though and was now 28. It hit him for the first time that he was closer to 30 and I was closer to 20.  For the first time, Mike realized he had in fact robbed the cradle!   With this realization, there was nothing left to do but embrace it and celebrate.  My dad happened to be in town and wanted to take us out to Rodizio Grill for Mike's birthday.  We obviously accepted and had a wonderful feast.  On the drive home we were rear ended, creating only a few small screw marks in the back of the Corolla.  Obviously we weren't too impacted as we rented "We bought a Zoo" and had a nice relaxing night.  Pretty easy going birthday but the real birthday party would come in a few weeks on our ducky trip.  Needless to say, with Mark being down for the next few weeks, Carrie needed some assistance with the house and that took priority over Haggerman.  Plus, in a few weeks it would only warm up that much more making the ducky trip even more enjoyable.  So Friday after work, Danny, Jon, David, Mike, and I all hopped in the Expedition with Papa Hill and made the trip up to Idaho Falls. Mama Deb had gone up a few days prior to help Carrie paint the kitchen cabinets.   We had a great road trip.  My favorite part was when we decided to play Karaoke with the iPod.  Only this time, the singer had to put in the headphones as the rest of the car tried to guess which song was being sung.  It was really funny and we got to hear some excellent solos.  We also stopped at Arctic Circle to grab some grub before arriving at Mark's house to do the real work.

We all pitched in as David worked on the sprinklers, Jon and Papa Hill spackled the playroom, and Danny, Mike, and myself painted several rooms, baseboards and all.  Carrie's brother-in-law also was able to do some odds and ends around the house as he had once been a contractor.  In between painting, we took a short intermission to destroy the shed in the backyard.  Jon, Danny, Mike, and I took turns kicking, running into, and our favorite sledge hammering the walls of the shed.  In no time, we had demolished the shed and had it loaded on a trailer to take to the dump.  We also made sure to take away that awful toilet and put it in it's place.  We showed it who was boss. The weekend turned into another great party with good food, aka Donuts and KFC, music, and just a good time.  At KFC, Mike decided to try the Double Down sandwich.  A sandwich made with fried chicken as the substitute for bread and even though it was dripping with grease it was surprisingly pretty tasty.   We also found out the honey isn't really honey after all.  Rather it's a "honey sauce", good one KFC.  Despite the disappointment with the "honey sauce", it was a rather successful weekend where much was accomplished.