Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Boys Night Out!

It's official, my husband and son are "white trash." Marty and his brother-in-law, Jeremy, took the two boys to Monster Truck Racing. Tyler and Riley were so excited to go, they had been talking about it for weeks. For the most part they had a blast. Riley did shed a few tears when his favorite truck had a wheel fall off. He was extremely concerned and wanted to know if the driver was going to be okay. Tyler brought home the Grave Digger truck and has been carrying it around for days. Marty can't wait until Tyler is old enough to join him in Vegas for Nascar. Truly, I had no idea of Marty's white trash tendencies when I married him. Just kidding babe, you know I love you!

Marty & Tyler

Jeremy & Riley

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dunns Come To Town - Part 2

So it has taken a little time to finish documenting the Dunns visit. Saturday was filled with lots of fun sledding and playing at Kangaroo Zoo. It was fun for everyone but Allie. She was so sick she wasn't able to leave the house. Dane had to be the single father and brave the kids on his own, he did a great job!

All the kids inside the mouth of the alligator. Really, Tyler was having fun.

Gracie and Autumn climbing the giant slide.

Tyler on the giant slide, his now favorite attraction. A year ago
he was deathly afraid of the slide. For months he would only
go on someones lap, but now he is a pro!!

Autumn enjoying the giant slide.

Carson and Tyler showing off their blue tongues
after enjoying some ring pops.

Family snow picture after sledding. Sorry Nathan, you had
finally gone to sleep in the car and we weren't about to wake you up!

Marty, Tyler & Gracie on their way down the hill.

Nathan, making his debut in a pretty pink Snow Princess suit.
Since he has no snow clothes, this was the best the neighbors could offer.
Hey, it's better than having him scream because he's cold.

Marty giving Tyler a push. This hill has twice the size of the last sledding
hill. We were a little worried that it might be too scary for him but that
definitely wasn't the case. He laughed and giggled the whole way down.

Gracie and Autumn sledding together. They liked going down,
but weren't so thrilled about the hike back up.

Carson wasn't so big on the sledding
but he sure did like building a snowman.

Here's the gang making the climb. Carson had the right idea hitching
a ride. Gracie just couldn't bare the thought of climbing, again!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dunns Come To Town

Our best buddies from California, Dane and Allie Dunn, came to Utah for our annual snowmobile trip. However, we didn't get to do it last year seeing how I was 9 months pregnant. Allie came alone to visit Nathan two weeks after he was born. The kids also were looking forward to the visit so they could play with Autumn and Carson. Autumn is exactly two months, to the day, older than Gracie and Carson is four weeks older than Tyler. Gracie kept telling everyone that her cousins were coming to town. They might as well be since Allie is like my sister.
This year we decided to go to Strawberry Reservoir for snowmobing. We certainly were not lacking in the snow department. In fact, it was a little too much snow. We got the snowmobiles stuck a few times because of all the powder. We finally decided it was just not possible to go anywhere off the main trail.
Many thanks to my niece Kiera for taking on the frightening task of watching all five children for the day. Marty and I have decided we better give her a break for a while or she will disown us as family.
The four of us on our way out the door.
The rental shop also had gear you could use. I saw these snazzy little
coats and knew it was a picture moment (I think I have seen that exact
coat in my mother's closet). When you include the head socks and scarfs,
we look like some seriously sexy Arab women.

All geared up and ready to go.
Dane, Allie, Katrina, Marty

The girls looking pretty while watching the boys dig out
the snowmobile buried in 5 feet of powder!

The boys taking a quick break after their hard work.

Marty, trying to read the map to get back, but it was
halfway covered in snow.

Katrina and Marty standing at the top of the mountain.
It was a beautiful day "total bluebird" as we learned from Jeremy.
However, it was rather windy, but nothing like what was to come a week later.

This is a yield sign on the side of the road. There was so much
snow up there you could only see a couple inches of the top.

Allie & I sitting on top of a giant pile of snow.

Me, reinacting a graceful fall which occured moments earlier while
running down the giant hill we were just sitting on.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Blizzard of 2008

To say the least, February 13, 2008, was a most memorable day. It's not too often you have these kind of experiences, so I figure I better write it down for history. The weather reports had stated that there would be some rain Wednesday afternoon and possibly turn to snow in the evening, so it was quite a shock when blizzard conditions appeared that day. The morning was so nice, that Gracie had only taken a sweatshirt with her to school and no coat.

As every Wednesday, Tyler had his appointment with Mrs. Matthews, the speech teacher. We left the house at about 2:45 when the snow was just beginning to come down. Luckily I remembered that Gracie didn't have a coat and took it with me. Normally I have a neighbor watch Nathan while we are gone, but I just decided I would take him with me. At the school, Ridgeline Elementary, the wind was really starting to pick up, but I had been there days worse than that. Tyler was crying as I raced the boys into the school. He's a little on the soft side and wasn't fond of the snow blowing in his face. Thirty minutes goes by and school is now over. Gracie normally rides the bus to and from school but most Wednesdays she likes to ride home with us. Fortunately, this was one of those days. The wind was now REALLY blowing, you could hardly see in front of you. I knew I was going to have to make two trips to get the kids to the car. I leave Gracie in the school and push Nathan in the stroller while attempting to carry Tyler. The school kids outside are crying and screaming as they run to the buses or wait for parents to arrive. I finally make it to the car and go back for Gracie.

As I begin to drive out on the road, I could hardly see the cars in front of me. I let the final bus leaving the school pull out in front of me. I figured it would be easier to see and follow. We had only made it a few blocks when the bus stopped. By this time I could see nothing but the occasional splash of yellow. The car was shaking from the wind. It felt like we were going to be blown off the road. There were now three buses in front of me that had stopped and were not going anywhere. It was so windy they were afraid they would blow over if they tried to drive, not to mention it was a white out. The kids remained calm through it all, but I was beginning to panic. I called Marty and told him what was going on. He suggested that if I could, to turn around and go back to the school to wait it out. That is what I did. I ran back into the school to make sure they were still there and we could get in. By now, my jeans are soaked thru, hair sopping wet and all my make-up running down my face. I was quite a fright. Mrs. Matthews saw me come back in and recruited some men to help me get the kids back in the school. They had the other students who were waiting for parents in the library watching a movie. The school is one of the Weather Bug schools for channel 5 news. They had all the equipment in the library. The winds were around 40 miles an hour at that time. They later reached as much as 75 mph.

Eventually they had all the kids go to their classrooms as some of the buses were turning around. Of course, kindergarten teachers have to be stocked with snacks for little tummies. Mrs. Judd brought out crackers, cereal, popcorn and more for us to munch on. Later the school brought around PB & J sandwiches and Scooby Snacks for dinner. Tyler was having fun playing with all the stuff and Nathan was like a minature tornado tearing everything apart and dumping things onto the floor. It was about this time that Gracie started not to feel well. Before long she had a terrible fever. The nurse was able to give me some aspirin for her. For about an hour she just laid on the floor feeling quite miserable. It's now about 6:00 PM and they are still trying to get some of the buses back to the school. The storm is only getting worse and 3 buses are stuck on the Alpine Highway, which was just closed. UDOT also closed the road going to Suncrest and the enterence to Traverse Mountain.

Marty was at work in Salt Lake and his Honda, Accord just doesn't do well in the snow. Fortunately his brother-in-law, Jeremy, called on his way home and picked him up. He has 4 wheel drive and lives in our neighborhood. They left downtown about 5:45 PM and arrived home at 8:00 PM. Taking the back frontage road they were able to get in Traverse Mountain. The police were not posted at the other entrance. Our friend Rob, had called Marty earlier to let him know how bad the roads were coming out of Salt Lake. He also lives up the street from us. Marty told him that the kids and I were stranded at the school. Rob told Marty he was on his way to go rescue us. It wasn't until 8:15 PM that he arrived at the school to get us, since all the roads were closed and by this time approximately 1600 people were stuck on Alpine Highway.

The other two buses made it back to the school around 8:45, but Gracie's bus was still stuck and we later found out it had broken down. One of the kids from our neighborhood borrowed a friend's cell phone to call their parents and let them know where they were. Fortunately, the parents were able to go find them and get them off the bus around 6:30. Jenna and Mike were the first parents to arrive to the bus. The kids were scared, hungry and needed to go to the bathroom. They had been on the bus since 3:30. Some of the boys were peeing into a bottle, dumping it out the window and passing it down the line. Think about the poor little girls, that wasn't even an option for them. The bus driver happened to be a 23 year old substitute that day. I don't think he's going to be doing that again any time soon. The kids on the bus whose parents weren't able to get to them were later taken to a nearby church that was opened up.

So Rob arrived around 8:15 PM and we start moving car seats and kids to his car. I went back for the final load, Nathan, and headed for a door near where the car was parked. As I open the door, instead of a pathway like earlier, there is a 4 ft snowdrift in front of me. I'm holding Nathan in his car seat and climbing through some alternative smaller snow banks when I slip and fall with him landing right on top of my. No worries, all is well. We leave the school at 8:30 PM and make good time going down around American Fork. When we get to the freeway it is stopped and not moving at all, so we think we will be tricky and go thru back streets. Well, that didn't work either. Everywhere we went there was a line of stuck cars. It was so weird that one mile south there was only a little bit of wind and no snow, but as soon as you got within a mile or two of the highway and along the mountainside it was a blizzard. I never in my life have seen anything quite like it. The drifts were 4-5 feet high on the side of the roads, cars completely submerged, a wall of snow 7 feet high that appeared out of no where, and my favorite, a small truck high-centered on top of a rock in front of someone's yard. The front of the truck was about 4 feet high. The man was still sitting inside the truck, I think afraid to move for fear the truck would fall forward. But, if the rock wouldn't have been there, he would have gone through the front of the house. At first all the kids did really well. Gracie and Nathan immediately fell asleep and Tyler watched a movie. After about 20 minutes, Nathan woke up and screamed for 2 hours straight.

Since the entrance to Traverse Mountain was still closed, Marty suggested that we go thru Old Lehi out to Saratoga Springs and take Redwood Road north to Bangerter Highway and come south on the frontage road to get in to Traverse Mountain. Poor Rob, we will be forever indebted to him for rescuing us and sitting in the car for a total of 4 hours, which 2 hours consisted of nonstop screaming by Nathan. About 10:45 both of our cell phones died and neither of us had chargers. Thank heavens he had On Star in his car so we were still able to talk to Marty. And if we hadn't had the GPS system we would have had no idea where we were since you couldn't see anything at all. We finally arrived home at 12:15 AM. We were all beat!!! They cancelled school the following day, since 65 students and teachers had to sleep at the school and weren't able to get out until almost 11:00 AM. We also made national news the following morning. Marty's mom called to let us know that it was on Good Morning America. We are all still recovering this exciting adventure and now all the kids are sick. Yesterday was Nathan's birthday, but we had to postpone his party to next week. Hopefully we will all be well by then.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gracie's Kindergarten Sledding Party

A couple weeks ago Gracie's school decided to do a sledding party for the kindergarten classes. I took Tyler and went to help out with her class. We had a blast along with all the other kids. Gracie's teacher, Mrs. Judd, was joining in with the kids. She also recruited her husband to come help out. They were just like giant kids themselves. The both of them were sledding down the hill, head first with students on there backs. Definitely a great time for all!

Gracie getting a push from Cory, Mrs. Judd's husband.

Rubee & Gracie

Gabby & Gracie

Gracie & Mrs. Judd

Riding on Mrs. Judd's back!!

Mrs. Judd with Faith and Rubee.

Gabe just chillin out on the hill. He wasn't too thrilled about taking pictures, however, he was more cooperative than Andrew.

Tyler was a little nervous at first, this was his first time sledding. He only wanted to go down with mom. It wasn't long before he got the hang of it and no longer had a need for me.