Sunday, July 20, 2008

Animal Planet Expo

We heard that Animal Planet is touring the U.S. with their expo and had lots of fun activities going on at Liberty Park this weekend. Today we decided to head down there to see what it was about. It was pretty awesome! There was a guy from California with a bunch of his Border Collies that were obviously frisbee dogs. Oh how I would love to get Dakota trained that well!

I wish we would have at least brought Eden with us, but I didn't know if dogs were allowed for sure. There were so many dogs there! There were lots of breeds there ranging from a gigantic Great Dane (Tyson said "Whoaaaa!") to Chihuahas and everything in between. We did see lots of Pit Bulls, which I don't normally care for but they all seemed to be well mannered. Surprisingly, I didn't see any aggressive or really out of control dogs. It was great!

There were slides and other things for the kids to do but Tyson wasn't old enough to do any of them, nor would I think he be willing to go down a giant alligator slide. Maybe next time.

They also had a wild animal show with an iguana, python, Sun Bear and a few other exotic animals. Tyson enjoyed looking at these strange creatures. We didn't stick around for the whole show because A) it was very crowded and hard to see the people showing the animals and B) it was about 96 degrees and extremely humid so we were dripping wet. We moved on to check out what else there was to see.

All in all, despite the humidity it was a fun time. I hope they come to Salt Lake again in the next few years because I think if he'd been a little bit older he would have had a blast playing and exploring everything.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Work In Progress

As I was working in the yard today, I started reminiscing about how much we've done in the four years we've lived here. Granted, there's not a lot you can do on .10 acre, but I think we've come a long way. Take a journey with me down memory lane!

This is our home shortly before purchasing it. It's clearly a fixer upper. Look at the lovely grass (brown) and beautiful garden (NOT). I had no idea what work I was in for. You see, prior to buying this home, I didn't have much of a green thumb. It was more on the brown side. Boy have I learned a lot!

A month after moving into our first home, Doug's Dad gave us some free sod (he had ordered WAY too much for his house). We had to tear out all of the old, dead grass (and weeds in the back) and find a few rain-free days to lay the new sod before it died. It was a rough fall - it rained nearly every good opportunity we had to lay it. Nevertheless, we managed to get it down and the following spring, beautiful grass covered my yard.

Here's how the backyard looked. Don't be fooled by the green ground cover and the weed-like tree. It was hideous to look at. It all had to go.

The summer after the grass had been layed, I decided that I wanted to take the big muddy area by my back gate and turn it into something a little more pleasing to the eye. So Doug and I spent many weekends tilling the clay-like dirt and leveling it so that I could put some good soil in and the stone path you see here. Oh and I managed to plant a few perennials. Note the temporary fence to keep Dee-duh-dee (aka Dakota) out of it. Didn't work, btw. He cleared it without any trouble. Oh well.

Here is how it looks today. Much more aesthetic if you ask me. I love the Clematis (the flowers climbing the trellis). And the Peony has to be one of my favorite flowers. They are so delicate and fragile and the blooms last less than a week.

After dealing with a set of rickety, moldy and slippery (seriously - I slipped down them numerous times!) stairs for two years, I had had enough. We designed a deck for ourselves using Lowe's software program and set out to build it over the 4th of July weekend. We invited (ok begged) some family and friends to come help and in two days built what has turned out to be a beautiful deck. It has been a great place for BBQs since our kitchen is so small and we have loved it. I am never satisfied however, so this summer I decided that I wanted something to cover the deck from the summer heat. You see, this is Tyson's first summer walking and stepping out onto a blistering hot deck just doesn't gel with bare feet (which we are often). So again I solicited the help of my brothers and Doug to build me a canopy for my lovely deck. They did not fail me. It turned out magnificent!

And this is how it looks today. My haven. It's so relaxing now to go sit on the deck or walk around and admire the wonderful changes that have taken place. There are some things that need work, mind you.

Like everything else, this all used to be dirt and weeds. I made an attempt to put groundcover and bark with a few plants, but the dogs saw to it that nothing survived except for the weeds. Weeds always survive. So last fall we decided to create flower beds using some lumber and railroad ties. My plan is to plant tons of lilies. I've already started a few, as you can see. More to come thanks to Brecks - Love them! The middle portion there is planned to be paving stone with a nice covered swing. Maybe next summer. And lastly, here is our first vegetable garden ever. We are doing quite well so far! We have a few tomatoes, strawberries, melons, squash, pumpkin and peppers. We're even attempting to grow an artichoke! We'll see how it does with the climate...

Anyway, thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me! It's been a treat to go through the photos from 2004 until now and watch the changes and progress. More to come, I am sure!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Camping - 4th of July

We went camping last weekend. For anyone who has never camped with a 12 month old, let me describe it to you in one word:

I must have had this naive expectation of sitting around the campfire making marshmallows, playing cards or going for explorative hikes. Boy could I have not been more wrong. Ok well we did go for one walk that could have been labeled explorative, but it was by no means a hike. I spent the entire two and a half days following Tyson around with a wet wipe and examining the rocks he kept presenting to me like they were rare gems he had come across.

Tyson got a little mad because I wouldn't let him put them in his mouth.

But he got over it and had a blast playing inside the trailer (with Doug on the outside) against the screen.

We did manage to have some fun though. We took the dogs (all 5 - yes that's right 5) to Mirror Lake to play in the water. Here's where the venting part of this blog comes in... I realized this weekend that I don't have any great affection for fisherman. There's nothing worse than walking around a huge body of water that my dogs are dying to jump into and having no where that we can throw a stick and let them get wet. You see, fisherman can be kind of snooty. That is, they tend to get ticked when you start splashing around the water in close proximity to where they're at. Now, I understand the point behind fishing and normally don't mind finding somewhere relatively fisherman-free but the lake was PACKED and we had to walk quite a ways. Eventually though we found a spot and were able to let the pups get some swimming in.

We also made a stop at the Provo River Falls overlook, which I had never been to. It was beautiful! We are definitely going to have to stop there again when we go to Mirror Lake over the 24th of July... It's a great place to take the dogs to play in the water!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Be prepared to laugh!

So, anyone who knows me that I am a picture FREAK. My walls are practically wallpapered in photos and posters. Most of these are ones that I've taken.. I fancy myself a photographer. I don't know if they're any good, but I like 'em. My dream job would be to travel for National Geographic and photograph animals, scenery, whatever. I'm even moved by the environmental and humanity issues occurring in third world countries. These issues pull at me like a strange force that makes me want to record them on paper for others to see. Unfortunately for me, lots of other people have this urge too. Oh and then there are the bills that must be paid every month. Nevertheless, I continue to load up my computer with images that please me and make me happy. I admit that most of these are of Tyson, Doug and the dogs. But I also stop to admire odd trees, lovely flowers and creatures that cross my path. The point of this rambling is that most of this blog will probably consist of photos that I love to share. I hope they are enjoyed by others as much as I enjoy taking them!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blogging Newby

So I guess I finally did it.. I took the plunge and started a blog. Thanks JLW. I'm still figuring out how this all works so I don't know how much I'll be able to post but I guess I'll figure it out along the way. If nothing else, it will serve as my way to rant and vent about stuff going on, in my life and the bigger things... More to come soon!

Oh, and here's a cute pic of Tyson because I think he's the cutest boy ever. Not that I'm biased or anything.