Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First stop: Idaho

We took off from Seattle on Friday at 6:30 pm. Braden plowed through the night (we took a break just outside of Bliss, ID at a rest stop for a 2-hour nap) and got to Grandma Balls's house at 9:30 am. There we enjoyed picking raspberries from Grandma's raspberry patch, followed by a long afternoon nap, and finally we headed up to the hills for some huckleberry-ing. Although everyone seemed to be convinced that there would be no huckleberries, we were able to find a good patch and within a half-hour of picking we were able to get a surprisingly good haul! Kayla loved picking and eating berries all day. It was wonderful to spend some time with Grandma Balls.
Kayla tried to figure out which berries were ripe. Sometimes she got ones that weren't quite ready...

The spiders liked the raspberries too!

Daddy showing Kayla what to do in a raspberry patch.

Picking a huckleberry.

A sample of the huckleberry patch.


Berry pickin' with Grandma!

Reaching for the perfect berry.

Grandma, grandson, and great-gradaughter.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

All in 9 Days

It's been a while.  A lot has been happening though - we've been finishing up our time in Seattle, my internship with Amazon has been winding down (meaning things have been getting busier and busier up until last week), Tiffany's been incubating our unborn son, we provided fruit for over a thousand people, and we packed up all out stuff for  our summertime highway inspection back to Cambridge.  So here are the highlights, in no particular order:

Our Garden

Gardening out of an apartment isn't the easiest thing to pull off.  At least for us.  Really I don't know if our single tomato plant in a biodegradable pot can be called a "garden" in the classical sense - but it's what we could pull off on a 2nd floor apartment.  I'm not sure if it was the people smoking on their patio below us, the lack of natural sunlight available in the Seattle area, or the lack of any type of attention during our 4th of July vacation in Tahoe... but we didn't have what would be considered a "bumper crop" - 4 tiny tomatoes on a dead vine.  But hey, it's a start.

New Tenant
As soon as we cleared off things from our balcony, this little guy decided to move in.

The intricacies of the web built over night was incredible.  A veritable wonder of natural engineering, a suspension bridge built of spider sputum. Unfortunately for our creepy little eight-legged friend - not a lot  of bugs on our balcony.  After 24 hours he was still in the same spot, his web had started to fray, and only a few tiny gnats had been captured in the web.  Not quite the all-you-can-eat buffet I'm sure he was imagining as he poured all of his efforts into creating his web.  Not at all unlike some people with a tomato plant I know...

The reason the neighborhood arachnid probably thought our balcony would be a great place to stuff his face was that all of this was in our living room up until the night he built his web:

As a result, there were about a billion fruit flies in and around our apartment.  We were partly in charge of getting all of the fruit for the summertime Hawaiian Luau/Picnic for the church.  This was about 1/4 of the total fruit outlay, as we fed 1000 people or so kalua pork, rice, fruit, cupcakes, and snow-cones.  Cutting it all up so it was fresh for everyone worked like an assembly line, with all of the people that volunteered to help working like a fine-tuned assembly line of knives, cutting boards, watermelon rinds, and pineapple juice.  It was a successful operation, with no reportable injuries, everyone getting plenty of food, and only 2 watermelons and a few bananas left over after it was all said and done.


The day prior to this event, we packed all our stuff into a moving container for our move back to Cambridge.  Luckily my brother Randy came over to help so we could get everything in - it was like a real life game of Tetris.  All of those hours playing video games as a kid finally paid off, as we got everything into the container with everything stable and room to spare.  Kayla was the task-master with here favorite big stick, and then had a seat in the mud.

And she loved playing in all of the newfound playspace... inside the cupboards.

Since we've moved out of our apartment, but are still in Seattle, we're vagabonding it for two weeks.  Thanks Randy and Mel and Gavin and Amanda for letting us crash in your homes while we're homeless!

Finally, this weekend we had one final adventure in the Pacific Northwest and went to Canada with our friends the Ripps.  We put the little girls in the back seat of the pilot, and it was surprisingly comfortable for the four adults.  Honda Pilot = Awesome Vehicle.  Seating for eight, four-wheel drive, and a comfortable drive.  What more could you want?

We went to the Granville Island Market, saw a totem-pole workshop, visited the famous Stanley Park and took a walk along the sea-wall and checked out the totem poles, and got awesome Canadian Slurpees.  My Canadian friends at BYU always claimed that their Slurpees were better than ours - I always dismissed them as crazy and figured that all of the flannel somehow affected their logical reasoning.  It turns out I was wrong - Canadian Slurpees are awesome!!! Why you ask - a whole lot thicker, and somehow they stay frozen longer.  After an hour my Slurpee was still mushy and delicious.  The only problem was that the spout of Slurpee-dispensing goodness was too big, so you couldn't fill the Slurpee with the lid in-place.  As a result you had to mound the frozen goodness above the top of the rim and then place the cap, but that was a small price to pay.  Canada - you have awesome Slurpees.  Unfortunately I was so busy enjoying mine that I forgot to take a photo, but I think you can imagine the goodness.

Soon to be a Totem-Pole

Actual Totem poles

Little Friends

Big Friends

The Fam

The Float-Plane

Tiffany has a deep-seated love for ice-cream

Walking on the Seawall

A Sea lion and her pup in the harbor

And we'll soon be on to our next adventure - Cross-country road trip with a recently potty-trained toddler and a pregnant Tifferoo!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

4th of July 2011

We spent the 4th of July at beautiful Lake Tahoe with my family. I'm so glad everyone was able to be there. It's been a while since we were all together and it isn't going to happen again until December.
Braden, Kayla and I flew into Reno on Thursday, where my parents and sister Ashley picked us up at the airport. The rest of the family trickled in via car a little later. Some of the great activities included playing on the beach, the boat, paddle boards, and rafts. Braden wake-boarded on Friday morning but Kayla was NOT a fan of her daddy being out on the water and kept telling him he needed to be "right here!" (pointing to the seat next to her). We tried to get her on a tube with us, but that was a big failure. Maybe next summer she'll be happier on inflatable things in the water. She loved "driving" the boat and was often caught stealing Grandpa's captain's seat so she could steer the boat.
With lots of people willing to watch Kayla for us (thank you Mom and Ashley!), Braden and I were able to spend some time for just the 2 (1/2!) of us. We went for a walk, played tennis, and saw the latest Transformers movie with my elder siblings. It was great to go on fun dates.
Unfortunately most of the good pictures are in the wrong format for blogger, so I need to go through and switch how they are saved. I'll try to post some more pictures in the next post. There are a LOT of pictures to go through!
Kayla is telling the duck that wandered up on "our" beach to go away. She loved spending time on the beach and with extended family!