Monday, December 13, 2010

Trimming the tree

Saturday we went up to Draper and borrowed some decorations from Jon's parents. Karen had told us they weren't decorating this year because the back half of the house is currently torn up and we could borrow some stuff if we wanted. I didn't really think we needed much for our house, but we did need stuff for our tree. We ended up coming home with a bunch of giant pine cones, rusty jingle bells, an assortment of rusty metal stars, and some white berry things. Jon and I decided we would do the tree in rust and red with accents of white from the berries. I wanted some red berries, so we decided that we should just buy some at one of the many craft stores around. Unfortunately I was very particular about the red berries I wanted. I wanted them to be the same style as the white berries we had borrowed from the Wares. We stopped by the Joann's and Michael's up in Draper, but neither of them had what we were looking for. We decided we would stop by a few places a little closer to home that might have them. We tried Hobby Lobby, Taipan, and Roberts and didn't find what I was looking for. We decided we would stop by Kmart to get some red balls, so we could still have some red on the tree and looked for berries there too with no luck. We got our red glass balls and decided we might as well try the Quilted Bear by the Kmart as one last attempt at finding the red berries. After wandering around a bit I spotted a little area that looked promising. It had wreaths with the right type of berries, but nothing like the picks with the berries we had got from Karen. Jonathan noticed one long garland of the berries in what seemed to be a little deeper red than I was originally thinking, but they matched pretty good with the glass balls. I decided that I could just cut the garland up into pieces and that would work. After driving all over and going to what felt like a million places we finally found what we were after.

Sunday after church we decorated the tree. It was fun. Stringing the rusty bells on the wire and wrapping that around the tree was kind of a pain and my hands got super dirty, but I think our tree ended up looking really neat. We set up our camera (a Christmas present to ourselves that we opened early) to take a picture every 2 minutes as we were decorating. The battery died not long after we started, so I strung most of the bells while the battery was charging. Jon put the pictures together into a little video. For some reason I can't figure out how to put the video in the middle of the post, so it is down at the bottom.

After the tree was done I had fun playing with the camera and taking the close-up pictures of the tree.

Here is my self portrait :)

The tree turned out good and Jon takes every chance he gets to turn on the lights so we can enjoys its full grandeur.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birthing a Christmas tree, Megan's party, and the washer and dryer

Labor and Delivery

The first weekend in November Jonathan and Phil went and got permits to cut down a Christmas tree for this year. We had never chopped our own tree, but Jennifer and Phil did it last year and had a great time, so we decided to give it a shot. It didn't work out for us to go with the Willsons to cut down our tree so Jon and I went this last Saturday the 4th. We ended up leaving Provo around 3 and then stopped by my parents house to grab some rope and some things we thought might be nice to have for hauling a tree. We were under the impression that getting the tree wouldn't be too difficult. Unfortunately we were mistaken. We drove our Neon up to the woods outside of Heber to the area it showed on our little map from the forest service of where to cut our tree. A couple miles short of where we could cut our tree the road was no longer plowed and the paved road was covered in slushy wet slippery snow. We tried to go up a few times but couldn't make it up the little hills, so we slipped and slid back down to where the road was plowed and parked our car. We were not giving up this easy, so we started to walk up the snowy street.

We hiked up the snow covered street for an hour and a half. I thought I was going to die. As we were walking up every so often there would be a no trespassing sign or a sign that said private property, so we thought if we could just go far enough up until we hadn't seen one of these signs for a while it would probably be far enough up that we could chop our tree. Hiking through melty slippery snow up hill is not the funnest thing to do while pregnant. On the way up I was getting pretty discouraged because we kept seeing the private property signs, and I just wanted to cry every time I saw one. I kept myself from crying because I knew that Jon would make us turn around and go back if I did. I didn't want to give up and have to hike back down without a tree. We were already there and there wasn't going to be a better time for us to go later. Because we didn't plan on hiking for an hour and a half it started to get dark as we were trekking up. It was getting kind of dark by the time we saw some footprints leading off the road into the woods and we realized it had been a little bit since we had seen a private property sign, so we decided to go for it. We hiked off the road and tromped around in the snow looking for the right type of tree. We didn't find any thing and then we noticed that the trail that the previous travelers had taken went over a little creek and in the creek there was a little chunk of a pine tree, and it was the right kind of tree!

Jon leapt over the creek to see if he could find a tree for us. I stayed on the other side of the creek and waited because I did not want to attempt a flying leap across a creek while pregnant for fear of losing my balance and ending up all wet. While I was waiting I had to pee, so I did. This is the first time I can think of that I have ever peed in the snow. It kind of reminded me of when we had a dog and how he must have felt in the winter. I took a picture of the snow after I had relieved myself, but I decided reading about it would be bad enough for some people that they probably wouldn't want to see a picture so I didn't include that one.

Besides relieving my pregnant bladder I also took some long exposure pictures, so we could kind of see where we chopped the tree from. The picture above is probably a 4 second exposure- it was pretty dark by this time and I couldn't see where Jon was but he was in the trees that are right in middle of the picture. We couldn't see each other but we could hear each other, so I told Jon about peeing and taking pictures and he gave me updates on how the search was going and then when he found a tree he gave me updates on how the cutting was coming.

He got the tree cut and drug it back to the creek where I was waiting. I helped carry the tree out of the woods and we started back down the road carrying the tree between us. Jon tried to get me to let him drag it but I didn't want the tree to get all mangled by us dragging it down the snow covered road. After all we worked hard for this tree and I wanted it looking as pristine as possible. Sadly my determination was cut short because I started having a pain in my right side a little above my hip inside my guts. The pain went away after I stopped helping with the tree and Jon drug the tree the rest of the way down. The hike down was a cinch and went super quick even though it was really dark. We got back to our car and started the task of affixing the tree to it.

It wasn't too difficult and I think we did a pretty good job. As we were getting the tree tied down some people in a truck that was parked in the same place that we were asked if we had seen some people on snow mobiles. We had seen these seasoned Christmas tree choppers coming down with their first few trees on tarps behind their snow mobiles as we were walking up and then they had passed us going up again as we were still making our original trek up the mountain, but we hadn't seen of heard then as we were coming back down. We told the people that we had seen then and about when it was (I didn't mention that I had wished they would have picked us up and given us a ride or something so we didn't have to keep walking). Right as we were taking the pictures of the tree on the car and were ready to go some of the snow mobile people made it down and we overheard them talking about having some problem (in my mind I thought maybe if you had given the pregnant girl a ride on the way up you wouldn't have had any problems). It was good to know that they made it back before we left because I would have worried about them.

The drive home was a little scary because it was raining and visibility wasn't great, but we made it back to our place safely and unloaded the tree. We had to cut a bit off the bottom of the tree because it was too tall, but we got it in the house and in the stand with some water.

I determined that getting this tree was kind of like having a baby. The process of getting the tree was a pain and a lot of hard work, I imaging birthing a child will be more of a pain and more difficult than hiking up a snow covered mountain for an hour and a half but the idea of laboring to get something is similar. The next day at church the bishop mentioned to me that Jon had told him about our tree obtaining experience and he said our tree better be the most beautiful great smelling tree in the world. I told him that it was like having an ugly baby: you might not realize that your baby is ugly, and even if you do, you still love that baby because it is yours and this is how I felt about our tree. The last reason why I think this tree is like having a child is because now that I have done all the work of obtaining it and I have it in my house and it has lights on it and I'm enjoying it; I am already forgetting how uncomfortable and miserable it was to get it here and thinking that I would be ok doing it again next year. We'll see what we end up doing about a tree next year, but now that the laboring is over I am enjoying my tree and am excited to finish decorating it.

Megan's Christmas Party

With pine needles still covering the floor in the living room we left our place after the tree adventure for Megan Rogers Christmas party. On the facebook invite she had said to wear an ugly sweater or cheesy Christmas attire. I didn't have a sweater, so I decided to wear my lovely hand crafted Christmas tree skirt as a cape. It was fabulous. I looked both ridiculous and festive, which I think was the goal.

We met my brother Michael and cousin Teri at Megan's and took some excellent photos with the cheesy photo backdrop that Megan and her roommates had prepared.

We had a lot of fun at the party with Christmas Karaoke, Pin the nose on Rudolph, Pass the parcel, and a greeting card competition. When we got there Teri told me about the greeting card competition and she was already formulating a card that would be sure to win the approval of whoever the college-student-age judges would be. Her completed card had a limmerick on the front that said something like "You are my favorite Ho Ho Ho! So meet me under the mistletoe. We'll make it so merry, it might get scary. But you will be asking for mo' " then on the inside it said "here's to hoping we make the naughty list this year." (Teri if I butchered that you should leave a comment with what the exact wording was). Needless to say at the end of the party when the time came for everyone to decide a winner for best card, Teri's card won hands down.

I think that of all the people at the party only the five of us (Megan, Mike, Teri, Jon and I) grasped the true meaning of Christmas Karaoke. Jon put it well when he told me that Karaoke is not about singing a cute song and looking cute and sounding good (which is what most people were trying to do) it is about making a fool of yourself and having a good time while doing it. This is exactly what we did. There were a few karaoke moments that stand out in my mind as our best the first being when we did an a capella rendition of little drummer boy with Teri and I doing our best young boy sounding vocals, Jon being our metronome of pums, Michael adding flourishes of rum pa pum pums, and Megan finishing off the vocal-percussion section with the clash of cymbals at appropriate times. It was pretty amazing. The other great times were Megan and Jon singing an amazingly slow version of "Do you hear what I hear" and then Mike and I singing "Good King Wenceslas" with Mike singing the parts of the narrator and king and me singing the page and joining in for added emphasis on the last part of the last verse. The other Karaoke gem that we performed was "The friendly beasts." We sang in our best animal voices and even though I was trying not to laugh while I was singing the part of the sheep with the curly horn I couldn't help it because Teri told me I sounded like a sheep that had been possessed. So classic.

Pin the nose on Rudolph was fun, but nothing too memorable to note for anyone that I knew. Jon won the lovely apron that he is wearing in the picture of all of us in the pass the parcel game and Mike got a Santa sippy cup from the same game. We all had a fun time and I think that the party was a success for Megan and her roommates because a bunch of people came and had fun.

Washer and Dryer

A few weeks ago my grandpa Snow mentioned in an email that they were having some problems getting the people from Sears to deliver their new washer and dryer. Jon and I had been looking on for a washer and dryer because we thought this would be a really good thing to have when we have our baby in a few months. I took the opportunity to respond to the email and inquired about the old washer and dryer because this was the first thing I had heard about them getting new ones. I thought that if there was nothing wrong with them, they still worked fine, and my grandparents were just getting rid of them we would like to have them. The email I got back from my grandpa was a little discouraging. Some of the things that he said that worried me were-
1. " We had a leak in the washer last week"
2. "I imagine the heating element will need to be replaced sometime soon"
3. "If you want them we'd like you to pick them up later this week"

Leaky washer, broken heating element, and having to find time over Thanksgiving weekend to drive to St George and pick them up when Jon and I both had to work the Friday after Thanksgiving didn't sound like that great of a deal. I responded to that email with an "if they are broken I don't think it would be worth it" tone and to let Sears take them. I got an email from my aunt who was there in St George with my grandparents saying that grandma thought the washer and dryer were fine and they worked great and they think the leak was just because they overfilled it and they would be happy to leave them on the back porch until we could come and get them. I still had my doubts, but after my aunt and my grandmas assurances we said we would like to have them.

My parents went down to St George for a quick weekend trip last weekend to get the washer and dryer and help grandma and grandpa install their new TV. It was very nice of them to do that for us and grandma and grandpa appreciated my dad installing the wall mount for the TV and getting that all up and running. They dropped the washer and dryer off at our place on Sunday night and it just happened that Jon's parents were down here (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the wooden shoe of goodies we got delivered to us that night ;) ) so Kent helped Jonathan and my dad to bring in the washer and dryer. We got the washer all hooked up and started a load of wash, but we couldn't test out the dryer because our plug in the wall and our plug on the cord didn't match.

We knew we would have to get some sort of converter or something for the dryer and Jon figured out that we could change the cord rather than re-wiring the plug. We went to the Home Depot and got the cord with the right plug and Jon double checked with Marion (the old-white-haired-bearded-electrical expert at Home Depot) that this was what we needed and how he needed to switch from the old one to the new one. We went home and Jon with his electrical man skills took off the old plug and hooked up the new cord to the right leads and bolts and stuff on the dryer. We plugged it in and it works! It didn't even blow up or cause the power to go out on the whole block or anything. It has been really nice having a washer and dryer in our house I have done two loads of laundry already and there have been no leaks or problems with the washer or dryer. I think they are going to work great for us and I am grateful that my grandparents let us have them and that my parents helped get them from St George for us.

This weekend was busy but I learned a few things, like that I don't think this baby is going anywhere for a while because getting our tree could have easily put me into labor, Jon has some serious man skills, and having a washer and dryer is great. This post was pretty epic, but so was the weekend.