Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Most Awesome Vacation Ever- Wednesday

Kenny getting x-rayed at security...
Jacob riding with Grandpa to drop us off

This trip sprouted from my grief when my grandma passed and all our family went home (especially my cousin Kenny). The original plan included Kenny, my mom and I going to St. Louis to visit Little Kenny for a few days… It morphed into a huge, drive everywhere, do everything, see everyone trip. About a month before the trip my mom decided she really didn’t feel comfortable leaving my dad in his current condition and wanted to give her ticket to my brother. If you have ever bought tickets from hotwire you know… that is not possible. She ended up having to eat a bunch of money and buying him another ticket!
Since Brian’s ticket was purchased after ours he got stuck flying a different airline (Delta) and had a travel plan riddled with layovers… While Kenny and I enjoyed a direct flight, Brian had to leave several hours before us, endure a layover in MinneapolisMN and Kenny and I still beat him to St. Louis! Sure we felt bad for Brian, but we also found it hilarious. My brother hasn’t flown since his years of visiting our Uncle Rick’s family in the summer; well before 9/11. It stinks that we had to travel separately, but it was such a small price to pay for the opportunity of vacationing together.

We had originally booked our rental car online... apparently it did not include everything and we ended up paying several hundred dollars more to get both my brother and Kenny down as drivers, BUT we ended up getting an SUV rather than a car since it was the middle of the night and they were out of Impala type cars!

We all wanted to stop at White Castle and get some legendary mini hamburgers... here is what we ordered:

Little Kenny and the Crave Case 

We didn't stay long... a group of black men entered the restaurant and made it very clear we were not welcome... so we headed back to my cousins house. PS Brian and I didn't really love the burgers... but the Kenny's liked them.

Little Kenny was so nice to give up his master bedroom for us! He gave Brian a spare room and he took the couch.

Here is a picture of his beautiful home (our grandma would be so proud of him!) : 

OH and I just loved his sink!!

Check out the backyard! And his yard backs up to a creek, its just beautiful

And we finally got to meet his dog, Freddy.... yes Freddy Kruger : ) 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Da boat da boat da boat

For Kenny's Birthday I had bought him a Groupon for a boat rental and today we go around to using it! Kenny invited his mom, Jereme and Melodi, my brother and I to come along for the day. (Jereme was nice enough to chip in towards the boat rental to help out) 

Barb, Melodi and Jereme
Brian... before he got tossed around on the lake 

We drew numbers and took turns on the tube.... it wasn't long before everyone started to skip their turns and then it was just my brother's turn every time! Kenny really liked dragging my poor brother around the lake... Brian wouldn't submit and just kept asking for me.

Here is a blurp from the picture that I posted on FB

August 28, 2011 

Thanks for letting Kenny Kuhn drag you around the lake today! It was so much fun with you there. Sorry you got your face spanked by the water and your ankle got hurt! You better heal up in 3 days :)
    • Brian Taylor Figures everyone would love this picture. Anyone who thinks hitting water wont hurt is just fooling themselves. It is only fun the first 10-15 times. Anything more then that u are just asking for brain damage. I apparently requested major brain damage sunday. But I had a blast doing it. Thanks kenny for going easy on me. LOL not
    • Kenny Kuhn This picture proves what happens when you don't want mercy. You had your chance for a normal ride. lol

I think this one was Melodi :
Don't be fooled by this picture, I did get dumped out plenty of time, just not as aggressively as my brother!
Me taking an easy ride
Kenny's turn! 
Brian and I are dumb, and thought this would be a good idea.... It was really hard to hold on... I got scared and let go right away:
The above picture shows the snag in the ski rope... it did eventually break during our trip! One unlucky person, Brian of course, was riding and the rope snapped back and broke. Luckily no one was hurt! Also, during the trip the ropes got caught up under the propellers... Jereme and Brian tackled the problem with no hesitation. They dove time after time to locate the problem and untangle the ropes the best they could. Finally they ended up using the butter knife I had brought for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to cut the rope! 

Okay back up, before all the trouble with the ropes we tried out the water skis. I was so proud of Barb!! She got up on the skis like a pro!
Barb water skiing 
Kenny water skiing 
My camera was dying at this point, but everyone tried the skis... and after about a half a dozen times I actually got up! Melodi got up briefly and then did the splits...  and my brother got up on the skis for the first time that day too! 

It was a fun, exhausting day! We need to rent a boat every year!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cardinals Game

Amanda called me up one day to let me know that a co-worker was selling their season tickets to the first preseason game for the Arizona Cardinals.  With all the talk about Kevin Kolb and needless to mention  Larry Fitzgerald, who could turn it down?  I was glad to have the opportunity to go to this game - even though it was a preseason, it still professional football.  My mom has never been into the new stadium so I invited her to come with me to the game (Since Amanda hates football).  During the third quarter the starters were benched and guys were fighting for a roster spot.  We ended up leaving early, but we were not alone.  I hope to one day be able to go to a regular season game.  The experience was fun.

Written by Kenny 


Several months ago my mom's friend, Keri Tieman, asked me to teach a card making class at our old church. I haven't taught a class since I worked at Scraps N Stamps 8 years ago, so I was surprised, but accepted the invitation! I was super excited to teach a class and see some old friends. When Keri asked me what I wanted to charge I told her I would just provide the supplies and teach the class as a service, but she ended up having the students pay $5.00. Also, she asked that I make 5-10 cards and I ended up doing 11.

 I did end up having to purchase some supplies, however I was also able to use lots of things I already had which felt really good. My mom decided to come along so she could visit with friends and help me out. I was SO glad she came along.

I have to say, it was not a very good experience and left feeling very beat up, but I really learned A LOT about teaching crafting classes.

I set up 11 different stations with the supplies, tools and sample card at each station.

This is how Creative Quest does their 10 card extravaganza. The problem is I ended up having to give instructions numerous times and since the supplies were pre cut and all placed in front of the student, over usage of supplies was a big issue. In conjunction with the set up I learned I should kit all the supplies before class. When I go to classes out at Scrapbooks Etc at the beginning of class each student gets a kit with all of their supplies kitted in the bag. What I did was leave all the supplies for all the students at each station; therefore, if someone messed up on stamping they just grabbed another one. This put me in a bind since I only cut enough for each student! Also, Sandy (whose daughter was my flower girl!), ended up inviting two friends but only signed up one... So I was short some supplies there as well. It was super stressful. Somehow I made it work, but one girl was finishing her last card and all that was left was a remnant of ribbon... I switched it for some tulle and she made a face and a rude comment. It was really hurtful. Also, if I had kitted the items I wouldn't have had the trouble of people using embellishments from one card station on another card, just because they wanted to add something more to a particular card.

People complained about the pattern papers being different from the samples. They wanted me to stamp and cut and punch things out for them.... I guess people don't really want to make the cards themselves they just want to have them done.

The day really opened my eyes and made me think about things differently. I will give teaching another go it the opportunity arises, however I will do things a lot differently!

The day was not a total bust though, I ran into Linda Lee one of my most favorite teachers from when I went to the Mormon Church and I learned a few flower making techniques from Sandy. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

New/Old Friend

    Christina and I met and were friends back in the sixth grade and into junior high until some circumstances kept us from spending any time together. We ended up going to the same high school, but by then we both had new circles of friends and didn't spend much time together. One day, she disappeared from school. I asked around, but no one seemed to know what happened to her. Back then (in the late 90's) there was no facebook or myspace to reconnect with people, but I always wondered what happened to her. When I did get into myspace and then facebook in my mid 20's I searched her name to no avail. Finally last year I did a random search on FB and found her!! She looked exactly the same as she did back in grade school! At first she wasn't sure who I was (because of my married name), but then it all came back- Dr. Pepper floats and swimming in socks- how could we forget!? We talked about getting together, but to be honest I dragged my feet like I always do with old friends... never sure what people will think of me after all these years.
Earlier this week Christina had posted on FB that she needed someone to work on her car. She knew what the problem was, but didn't have money for a mechanic just the parts. I was excited to text Kenny, who was in Vegas working, to see if he would be willing to do it. Of course he was since he LOVES to work on cars (and projects like this are much cheaper than a project car), plus he gets to help someone out... and I get to reconnect with an old pal!

When Christina and Jonas, her son, arrived Jonas came right up to me with a exuberant greeting. It was really sweet, especially since I always worry about first impressions with kids! It seemed like no time had passed, but at the same time SO much time had passed. We talked all evening long while the boys played and the men labored away on the car.

Look at her poor child! HOT with sticky ice cream all over him! 
 We ordered pizza and got treats from the ice cream man. Finally it was getting super late for her kiddo and we decided to take her home and then drop the car off the next day once it was finished.... We got all the way to her apartment and realized... the mechanics had her keys,  so we came back. At this point the project had taken a turn for the better and was well underway so Christina decided to stay and wait. Finally around 1:30 or 2 AM, exhausted, but proud Kenny and Brian announced the new started was installed and the job was complete!

Although things didn't go as planned and I was totally exhausted the next day teaching my class it was a really, really great night. I am totally inspired to try to start making some of my craft items to sell (if time will allow) and I can't wait to hang out with my new/old friend sometime soon. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Little Brian had a BBQ at his school and being that we want to support him in every way possible we were all over going with my brother.... turns out it wasn't really a BBQ, but a curriculum night for parents to learn what the kids will be learning that year... awkward! 

I am shocked that Little Brian will be expected to not only read and write by the end of the year,but he will be expected to read stories, understand them, summarize and write a paragraph... wow! 
Kenny, Little Brian, Brian and my mom

Jacob, Little Brian and my mom

Brian's Bee

Brian and his 1st grade teacher Mr.Mendaval 
After the classroom experience we headed to the cafeteria for dinner and dancing.
Little Brian and my mom

My mom, Me, Little Brian and Jacob

There was some square dancing and the personal that was calling looked very familiar to Kenny... turned out it was his cousin Michelle's biological dad Dennis Ferrar.  He wouldn't really talk to us or Kenny, but he did confirm who he was...

Kenny, Brian, Me and Jacob, my mom and Little Brian 

me and Jacob (he is saying Rock n Roll, Rock n Roll) 

Although, it was kind of a trick the school used to get us there it was actually pretty fun and I am interested to find out what Little Brian will be learning this year even though I am not his parent.

When we got back to the house the boys banged on the piano, they are so cute.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Worth Remember- Scrapbooking Class

My mom, Jackie and I went to Scrapbooks Etc to make a fun book. This is a new (to us) teacher, Joey and we just love her! She works at Bazzill , only the best scrapbooking paper company on the earth, so she gets new products before others- FUN 

There is something about the beginning of class when you get the kit packed full of goodies- it is just SO exciting. 
Here is my completed book - 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kickin up Mud

Since Brian couldn't get a hold of Crystal for the boys weekend visit to her house, we decided last minute to take them camping with us! I was really excited, because I think it will be our only opportunity this summer to take them and they always love to go. I am a planner and it does stress me out a lot to just 'wing it', but we loaded up the truck with ice chests, dogs, a quad and the men and loaded the car with clothes, food and little boys and headed out of town less than an hour after we got off work. 

On our way up the Beeline hwy there was an accident with a jackknifed truck and trailer. Thankfully no one was hurt, but what a shake-up! Kenny gave them some bottled water and he said the driver was pretty shock up and emotional. We aren't really sure what happened because no other vehicles were involved.

After they cleared the fast lane we were back on the road and headed for cooler weather! We made our stop in Payson for groceries and dinner then headed up the last hill to Forest Lakes to say hi to Sarah and pick up the trailer and blue quad. Brian and I rode the quads from the Cabin over to the road we camp off of and it was pretty chilly! Especially when we were splashing in the puddles, kicking up muddy water (I, of course was wearing flip flops).

When we arrived at the camp site and finally got settled in it was about 10:30 PM and the boys were exhausted! Little Brian complained he was so tired and wanted to go to bed. Brian delighted in the comment and joked that they never say that at home and he wished they would!

Saturday morning the guys went out on a long ride geocaching. 
Little Brian and Jacob


Uncle Kenny, Little Brian and Jacob (note the flowers in Jake's hand!) 
They had a great time and when they returned I asked if they had fun and both boys exclaimed , "Yeah!" Jacob declared, "I saw reindeers!" It was so adorable. Kenny and Jacob spotted two male Elk with giant antlers! Brian and Little B missed it because they were behind them and the quad noise probably spooked the Elk, because Kenny said they ran away pretty quickly.

Jacob also brought me flowers : ) Kenny said he picked them up on their first stop and said, "I take these to An Ananda!" He held onto them the entire rest of their ride (leaving only one hand to hold on because he had to protect and hold the flowers). He continued to bring me flowers all weekend and by Sunday Little Brian was bringing them too. It was fun.

Kenny and I found a nice loop trail and he even saw a deer! Here are some pictures from the ride- 

Without the goggles 

Taken with the goggles 

We got a nice storm on Saturday afternoon and I sat out under the awning reading my book, while it poured buckets of rain (everyone else was inside napping) until the cold mist was actually soaking me. I LOVE rain! Especially in the forest. Kenny and I both commented how sweet the forest smells especially after a rain. 

Taylor boys napping 

Kenny and our pups napping 
Saturday night Kenny and I rode the quads over to Sarah's to have a nice steak dinner. Kenny prepared the steaks and headed back to camp to get the Taylor boys while I stayed and chatted with Sarah. While Kenny grilled the steaks the boys played tag, hide and seek and red light/ green light with their dad in the giant front yard. I just adore how my brother plays with his boys (and other kids when they are around).  The steaks came out perfect and all the trimmings Sarah made were delicious so we all pigged out (including the boys!)

We headed back to camp and tried to start a fire, but everything was too wet from the afternoon rain so the guys set up the TV for scary movie time under the awning. I read my book in the trailer. 

Sunday morning, Brian, the boys and I went out for a ride to no where... well actually we were geocaching, but the GPS took us astray. discovered a rode less traveled for sure! There were 2 places where trees had fallen and blocked the path and there was tons of grass growing in the trail. I was hoping we would see some animals, but we didn't see any. I was really nervous about riding double with Jacob, but he is such a trouper! We came across a trail that was super muddy with huge puddles. There was one part with a big puddle, a hill and then a puddle on the other side of the hill! Jacob said, "Whoa!" It was cute, because he doesn't say much, but when he does it was pure delight! We came to a place where the road was washed out and decided we couldn't make it and turned back (especially since we were both riding double).

I have such a hard time enjoying the moment the actual moment something is taking place. I let other factors like being tired or the stress of a situation take away from the moment. I think that is why I relish this blog. I enjoy remembering things and looking back on the fun we had (even when it may not have been pure fun when it happened). I know I am not alone in this, because I ask Kenny all the time after our adventures, "Did you have a good time?" and his usual response is, "Yeah, now that it is over." The reason I even bring this is up is because camping can be super stressful for me... Even though I don't normally drive and never pull the trailer (Kenny does), there is still that element of danger from other drivers, animals and just the road in general. It can be stressful because almost every weekend something breaks... this weekend a rock hit the blue quad while I was riding it and headlight shattered into my face (I had eye protection on thank goodness)  which will probably cost us $50. Its stressful to get the trailer into the rocky, bumpy forest without damaging any part of the truck or trailer. Also, it is a lot of work to pack up everything and try to remember everything you need.... but in the end the memories are always worth the effort and all the work, money and stress fades away. I know we all had a good time together this weekend and I am so thankful to be making these memories with my hubby, my brother and his boys. I know the boys will have fond memories of camping as they grow-up (even if they don't remember this specific trip) and that is what really matters to me.