Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can't Wait to See This Movie!!!

I had heard before about the Broadway musical "Mamma Mia," and I knew it was written using songs from the band ABBA, but I never really had a lot of interest in it until I saw the preview for the I am absolutely dying to see it! I love Meryl Streep and I can't wait to see her in a musical...what can't this woman do!? And its got Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth too...the former James Bond and Mr. Darcy, in a musical? I'm so there! I'm planning on going to see it as soon as possible with my boys allowed!

I love how over the last several years the movie musical has been reborn. Musicals used to be the big thing in movies! A lot of them were even Oscar winners..."West Side Story," "My Fair Lady," and "Sound of Music" all received the Academy Award for Best Picture. And who doesn't love those movies? Or "Singin' in the Rain," "The Wizard of Oz," "Grease," and all the classic Disney animated musicals? So, I'm glad it finally occurred to Hollywood that this genre of movie can still have a huge audience! Several of my favorite films are newer musicals...I could watch "Moulin Rouge," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Hairspray" over and over again...and I have! I still need to see "Across the Universe," which was written using songs from the Beatles.

I love stage plays, and there will always be something unique and magical and amazing about watching actors perform a musical live. But movies can take a musical and give it a huge new scope and range. "Mamma Mia" was filmed on location in the Greek can't get those on a stage!

And I'm always amazed by the film stars they manage to cast in today's musical of my favorites is Christopher Walken in "Hairspray." Who would have imagined the weird, creepy Christopher Walken singing in a feel-good musical? He was hilarious and fabulous!

I read an interesting article Time magazine did last year about the modern movie musical phenomenon...check it out by clicking here. Meanwhile, I'm sure I'll soon be adding "Mamma Mia!" to my list of favorite films!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

4th of July

For the last couple of years Ryan and I have gone out to Payson Lakes for a 4th of July picnic with my family. We went out again this year and it was a great day! It was beautiful out and we just enjoyed eating and relaxing and walking around the pond. A lot of people swim there, and even though I hadn't planned on me or Ryan or Thomas going swimming, Thomas had other ideas! He wanted in the water so bad, so eventually Ryan ended up getting in the water with him, clothes and all. I didn't have any swim diapers, so we stripped Thomas to his diaper at first, but man was that thing sagging! I couldn't believe how much it absorbed! So eventually we took it off and just put his shorts back on. I didn't bring any extra clothes or anything, so we did the best we could and borrowed my mom's towels. I kept Thomas' shirt dry so he had that to ride home in, but Ryan rode home totally wet--socks, shoes, shorts, shirt--poor guy! It was fun seeing Thomas play in the water though...he had a great time!

My family brought our black lab Lucky along and she did some swimming too. She was bushed afterward!

Here's some cute pics of Tommy before he took a swim...I love these expressions I managed to catch on camera!

Cute messy face!

Here's my arm-out-front photo gallery of me with my baby, my hubby and my lovely mom.

After Payson Lakes we drove back to our house and my family came over for the rest of the evening. We took turns riding our four-wheelers up in the hills across the street from us...we live up on the West bench of the mountain and there are several trails really closeby. Ryan and I ended up taking quite a long ride, just the two of us, while my family stayed with Thomas. We rode clear up to the top of the mountain, overlooking the valley. It was getting dark as we rode up, and when we got there we saw the most amazing fireworks show! We could see every major fireworks display in Utah Valley and even some over in Salt Lake Valley! It was a gorgeous panoramic view...I wish so bad that I would have had my camera or video camera with me, but they probably wouldn't have worked very well in the dark anyway.

Here's a photo I found online of Provo at night...our view was similar to this, but of the whole valley, with beautiful fireworks shooting up all over the place!

After Ryan and I got back from our ride we did fireworks in the street. Thomas was already in bed, so I felt bad that he was missing it, but I saved a bunch of my good fireworks for his upcoming birthday. My brothers Travis and Jared had fun putting on the show and I lit a few fountains. Our friends and neighbors the Ruby's ended up stopping by for awhile with some of their family to visit and watch our fireworks. Then my mom busted out some brownies to cap off the was a great Fourth of July!

I am very proud to be an American, and I'm so grateful for this free land that we live in. I try to imagine how amazed the first Americans would be if they could have seen what this country would become, because of their sacrifice. I'm grateful for all the people who still serve and fight for America today. I love my country!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sandbox Boy

Awhile back I started getting really excited about the idea of getting Thomas a sandbox! Our yard isn't landscaped yet, so I'm always trying to find ways to have fun outside with Thomas doing something besides just walking around in the dirt and picking up rocks. I've been using our back deck a lot as our "back yard," so to speak. The back of our lot slopes down, so our back deck is one story up. The deck is pretty large and since it has a railing all the way around, its nice and contained...we do have stairs going down, but I just gate them off and then I have one giant playpen! I thought putting a sandbox out on the deck would be great for Thomas and me, because he could play in it while I sat out by him and read a book or something. Plus, our deck is covered so it would be out of the sun.

So about a month ago I finally went and got the sandbox and a bunch of fun sand toys, and Thomas loves it! He was hesitant to actually sit in the sand at first. But he has a great time playing with the shovels and rakes and the fun sand gadgets. The only downside is the mess...I didn't think it would be as messy as it is! I bought the sand at Toys-R-Us, and its really fabulous play sand because its cleaned thoroughly and is very soft, but is incredibly fine! Sand blows all over the deck and inevitably some of it gets into the house when we open the back door. So...*sigh* the sandbox might have to be relocated to the basement patio, overlooking our dirt lot, which is not quite as fun. Oh well...I'm just glad to have something new and fun for Thomas to play with outside until we put in grass!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Family Reunion & Flaming Gorge

(I'm way behind again! I have quite a lot to catch up on. Sorry my posts are always super-long...I realize I tend to write in uber-detail about things. Don't feel bad if you can't make it through all my long schpeels!)

The weekend of June 20th - 22nd was the annual Briggs Family Reunion. Briggs is my mom's maiden name, and the reunion is put on each year by my Grandpa or one of his siblings...they all take turns. They've been doing it for as long as I can remember and I've always enjoyed going! I have a huge extended family, so I feel a little embarrassed at the reunions because I have a hard time remembering everybody's names! There are so many of my mom's cousins and their kids, and those people's kids, that it sometimes seems that I know hardly anyone there! But they're all friendly folks and we have a good time eating, talking, watching the kids play and just hanging out and getting to know each other.

Thomas and his...2nd cousin? 3rd? Once-removed? I dunno...

I tried to get photos of Thomas sitting up in this cute tractor,
but he wasn't very cooperative, so...I just took photos of the
cute tractor! I love anything John Deere!

My mom was raised on a ranch and my Grandpa is still a rancher to this day. Many of my extended family are ranchers as well. This year the reunion was held at my Mom's cousin Floyd's ranch in Manila, Utah. This is a beautiful little town close to Vernal and Flaming Gorge. I had been there before, but it had been many, many years, so when Ryan and I arrived that Friday evening I was amazed at just how lovely it was! I made Ryan stop outside the entry to the ranch to take photos...Floyd's home and barn were set in a large grove of trees in the middle of a green pastured valley nestled in the hills. It was nearing sunset when we arrived and it was such a beautiful scene!

That first night they were doing Karaoke, and I was so excited! I've only done it once or twice before, but I really love it, so I was planning on doing a song or two. It took me quite awhile to work up the courage to actually get up and sing, but after a lot of nudging from my parents and grandparents and anyone else who knew I was a decent singer, I finally did it. The karaoke lasted almost til midnight, and by the end of the night I had done 3 solos and 2 duets, one with my mom and one with my little brother Jared. It was a lot of fun and now I want to have a karaoke party at my house sometime! I even got a compliment on my singing from the sweet old cowboy who had been hired to bring in the karaoke equipment and was the MC. He did quite a bit of singing himself while people tried to work up their courage, and he was pretty good! Thinking about it now, he reminds me a little bit of Willy Nelson, but without the braids. =)

The next day, Saturday, lots of people were going over to Flaming Gorge with their tubes or boats or waverunners. It was very closeby, only 20 minutes or so away. A couple of my 2nd cousins that had boats offered to take a bunch of us on a ride to the Flaming Gorge dam and back. I was so happy we were able to hitch a ride, because I love boats! We didn't do any skiing or anything because the water was quite choppy that day, but the ride was very enjoyable...I love cruising over the water with the wind in my hair. It was Tommy's very first time on a boat and I was very interested to see how he'd do. He didn't love having to wear the life jacket because it kept riding up on him, but he seemed like he was having an okay time watching the scenery and sitting with Ryan...until he fell asleep! I couldn't believe it! Ryan held him for awhile, then eventually we made enough room on a bench to lie him down and we made a little tent out of a beach towel to shelter him from the sun and wind. He ended up sleeping through quite a bit of the ride, which amazed me because it was pretty bumpy!


At one point during the ride my 2nd cousin showed us a spot on the rocks where someone had affixed a rope, so you could climb up the rocks and swing off! I wasn't wearing swimwear and I wasn't about to try it anyway, but my little brother and a couple of my cousins did. I think they realized afterward that the drop was a lot farther than it looks!

After getting back from the Gorge we had lunch and just hung out awhile, and eventually we decided to drive to the dam for a closer look and to go to the visitors center there. Then, we got back, we ate again...that's what we do the best at my family's! =)

Thomas loooooves watermelon!

After dinner that night was one of my favorite parts of the reunion each year...the auction. Every year people bring anything old or new they want to donate, or things they made, and everything is auctioned off to raise money for the next year's reunion. I think its such a great idea! And its a lot of fun to see all the things that people bring. Some of the most popular items are quilts. Many of my family members are quilters, so they sew quilts to bring to the auction, and these often go for a seriously high dollar! This year I was scanning the auction table and one of the quilts caught my eye. It was folded up, so I couldn't see it very well, but I could tell it was gorgeous! I kept waiting and waiting for them to auction it, but they saved it for the absolute last! When they finally held it up to show it I knew I had to have it! But, I knew that quilt would get really high bids. I had a good time getting into the bidding, but I was outbid over and over and almost gave up...there were quite a few other people who were obviously taken with the quilt as well! I almost let someone else win it, then shouted out another bid at the last minute...and I finally won it! I was so excited! I did feel a little guilty about how much money I ended up spending on it, but I decided it was a great way to contribute to the reunion and would be a lovely family keepsake. The quilt isn't full-size...its more of a throw-size or twin-size quilt...but I absolutely love it! It will make a perfect blanket for a little girl someday, and I love it so much that I'm thinking of calling up Peggy, the talented lady who made it, to see if she can make me a matching bumper and bedskirt! She is the wife of my Mom's cousin, and is an incredibly avid quilter. She has a huge quilting machine and a room in her house devoted entirely to quilting, and she even went on a quilting cruise recently...I didn't even know there was such a thing as a quilting cruise!

So here are the photos of my lovely quilt...I seriously drool over it! The fabrics Peggy chose are to die for, and I love the flower appliques!

After the auction everyone started winding down and saying goodnight...lots of people brought their campers and camped right there at the ranch, but Ryan and I had a room in a little motel in Manila, about 3 miles away. It was a cute mom-and-pop run place and we really liked having our own space to go home to each night (and a bathroom all to ourselves!). Here's a seriously tired (and seriously dirty!) Tommy winding down and watching cartoons before his bedtime bath:

Sunday morning we drove to the ranch for breakfast and said goodbye to everyone. One thing I'm upset with myself about is that I didn't take any pictures of my grandparents the whole weekend! My camera is practically attached to me and I carry it everywhere, but the thought didn't occur to me once! So, I'm sad I don't have a photo to post of my cute Grandma and Grandpa. They are such wonderful people and I love them so much!

So, it was a fun trip and I'm looking forward to going again next year! =)