Sunday, May 31, 2015

JJ's EPIC Minecraft Party

Six! Wha?!?
Yesterday all Nethers broke loose at our house when a gaggle of kiddos showed up to celebrate THIS little munchkin's sixth birthday.

If you have a kid who's anywhere from 4 - 16... oh heck, even 36.. years old, you probably know FARR too much about Minecraft. Since JJ was turning the big S.I.X. I really wanted to do something special for him. And now, quite frankly, I also know FARRRR too much about this blocky game of creativity and zombies and creepers. I do have to admit, planning this party was pretty fun. And cheap! It turned out super cute and everyone seemed to have a very fun time.

Party Food!

Explosive Redvines

Krispy blocks!

Jewels :) Mint m&ms and cookies and cream kisses

grassy blocks - brownies with green dyed coconut shreds

gold and fish.. rolos and goldfish crackers

Lava and Water!


This was all so easy to do! If there are any other moms reading this, I downloaded free Minecraft Food Labels here.

I got the free printable Creeper labels here.

For goodies bags, I ordered some neat bracelets off of etsy here and also some really cool shoe bling from the same place. Check them out!

And lastly, Steve and I made these seriously awesome bookmarks (cuz who doesn't love to read?!?). My cool friend Jenny (who incidentally works at the library!!) lent us her laminater and paper cutter which made them look super professional. And I downloaded free Minecraft bookmark templates here!

steve, zombie, creeper, and of course Enderman (Zombie Pigman, Hugh O'brien, pig, and exploding creeper not shown)
If anyone out there reading this knows a whole lot about Minecraft, can you please tell me who that one character is that looks like Steve but w/ white eyes? My kids are saying Hare O Brien?? or something like that.. .but I googled it and found Hugh O'brien. Please, for the love of everything Minecraft, tell me WHAT IS THE RIGHT NAME???

Anyhow, so that was our fun day! Here are some more candid kid shots playing and having super amounts of fun.

Brooke is all smiles under the Ocelot

Party Games! We had a treasure hunt in our deserty back yard. Fun!

Matthew is all creppered out for the party

The tramp and star tower were lots of fun


Daddy created this super SUPER cool sign in Minecraft for JJ

JJ made these cute directions, by the way. Super easy. SUPER cheap... square plates from Dollar Tree and streamers.
Well, there you have it. Another year older. And I think I deserve mother of the year, don't you? At least some wine!

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Maze petroglyph panel

The boys discussing the meaning behind those scribbles on that huge rock ahead

A couple of months ago our friend Paul told us about these fantastic petroglyphs nearby (note: we use that term "nearby" in a very relative matter of speaking... considering that the nearest Target is 3 hours roundtrip... so in this instance, nearby means about 45 miles east of Kanab). The panel would be only a short hike and totally kid-doable. Today was our third attempt to find the rock art. And YES! WE FOUND THEM!! WOW!

Mackie makes the trip up to the glyphs with a big smile :)

The route was actually very easy, in hind sight. But you have to know where to go and what to look for (something we were a little sketchy on). We first had to walk through a ginormous field of sage brush. It's been raining in the desert for nearly a month now (at least it feels that way!!) and so if you can imagine a wonderfully green, fragrant landscape that stretches on as far as the eye can see... you can get a glimpse at what we waded through.

Smiley Flora the mally came along with us.

Sharing a polka-dot rock moment

Love these two

My mini-me all smiles, lookin' for treasure

Rocks!! Rawr!!

Check out this crazy rock art! Wha?!

Swirls and cool stuff with dad

Dad and the boys heading back through the sage. Can you spot them?

close up of the maze, two-headed snake thing, and whatever that top thing is.

Get out. Unplug. Explore! :) peace xoxo

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Saying goodbye to a best friend. RIP Gandalf.

Where do you begin when there's so much to say about someone? Gandalf --- he'd give Marley a run for his money any day. Gandalf was the catalyst that jumpstarted my entire world as it exists today. He's the reason that I'm married to Steve, live in the desert and living my dream of working for Best Friends Animal Society. He's the reason for so many good things. And he was a great dog and friend to us.

I'll start off by saying that Gandalf left this world with the same sort of brazen defiance we're used to and come to expect. Why should we think his death would be any different? He had a great day yesterday. He played all day with this dog friends, chilled with his human friends and relaxed under slightly stormy Utah skies. Gandalf was 14, but don't let that fool you. He was no old man. His last act of bold and sneaky "Heh, I'll show you.." resulted in stealing one last cheese sandwich from a high up counter two hours before he closed his eyes and drifted off. He never suffered.

Gandalf aways loved his kids. From the day they came home from the hospital he was by their site. (thanks Molly Wald for the photo)
Steve and I worked together in PA and the first thing I saw when I started my new job was a photo on the desk of a guy... and it was Gandalf. Our first conversation was about Gandalf. And then about dogs. And animals. And our love of them... which lead to a trip to Best Friends... then a move here... then a job here.. then a wedding here and more dogs, cats and kids (years later).

Gandalf was a puppy mill dog. He was neurotic from the start. The poor guy was flipping out in a small crate in a pet store (someone's returned  Christmas present). Steve naturally felt sorry for him, and... well you know how that ended.

Gandalf was known for his ability to bend steal and eat through doors (and lightbulbs, wallets, couches... oh how he loved couches). He's steal a slice of pizza right out of your hand when you weren't looking. He broke out of any crate (reinforced), ate through a cellar door, chewed legs off tables, and destuffed anything he could get his teeth on.

But then we moved to Utah.... and he truly changed. He calmed down and lost his anxiety. He had 2 acres to run on and came to work with us. He had pet friends and a quiet life.

I love this guy. I'm so happy to have photographer friends to capture these moments :) thanks, Molls

Our young fam back in the day

Squinty :)
I remember when I got pregnant with Harry I thought.... "how will i ever love a human child as much as I love my dog?" Silly, I know. The love never left, of course.. it grew. Especially when I saw how much the dogs loved our children, and vice versa :)

JJ letting Gandalf know who's boss

Gandalf and the scrunt. Although Mack won't admit it, he loved his brother.

Gandalf got to go to one of THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER hikes in all the world!! The WAVE!

Our adventure buddy


Steve and his best bud

Mischief is his middle name

Gandalf at our wedding. :) Love this pic (thanks, Denise for taking this!!)

First kisses (that's HARRY!)


Love xoxo (thanks Ann for this wonderful memory)

Never forget this guy

Center of our fam
I always called Gandalf "Steve's dog" (especially when he was being a jerk). But of course that's not true. He was OUR dog.. .our Gandalf. He brought so much craziness and love into our lives. We'll never forget him. Rest in peace, Gdawg. We love you.