What a Sad Sad Blog and a Summer Update

I looked over the other day to my husband who was on his laptop. I noticed he had Mandagirl opened up and I said “Hey, why are you looking at that!” He easily replied, “Just looking to see if you’ve posted anything new.”

Nope. I haven’t.

In fact, I hear crickets over here.

Chirp, Chirp.

So sad.

In fact, I’ve been thinking of reinventing things over here. Total Overhaul, people! Something new and Jazzy! Yes, I just said Jazzy.

My scrapbook templates are just as sad and tired as this old blog. I love digital scrapbooking and will never quit but I’ve run into a bump or two.  No creativity going on here! Plus I don’t have a photoshop program. I never figured out how to transfer it over to this new computer (some mac vs pc problem). So… I either need to buy a new version or continue to dream about fixing it somehow. Sigh.

So while we dream about me actually scrapbooking…

I’ll entertain you with some favorite photos from our rock’n summer.

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Actually, a lot of these are photos that didn’t make the Instagram cut. I worry about posting to much on instagram because I don’t want to Overgram anyone. “Oh my gosh, is she climbing AGAIN!” I don’t want to make anyone sick. I personally know most the people on Instagram so I try to hold back a little. Betcha couldn’t tell. Hah! I don’t want people to think I have some strange outdoor problem. Here I either don’t know you or you are my mom or my sister. You probably already know I have a problem.

Hi Mom. Do you like my lavender plant? It’s taking over my front yard.

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Addiction? I might in fact… is it possible to spend too much time outdoors? Hah! No way!! I Need More! More, more, more! There’s nothing wrong with choosing to breathe fresh air instead of going to a movie. Is there?

Mom, our next picnic destination is Silver Lake up by Brighton Ski Resort. Purty, eh? I guess there is always a moose or two munching around.

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In the rock climbing department I have been working really hard to improve on harder climbs. I discovered a couple new places near by and have been happy to test some of my skills outdoors instead of in the gym. It’s been really fun.

See… I’m making you sick aren’t I? This is some really cool white limestone and it has fun pockets to jam fingers into. This was my birthday climb. Loved it!

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Here is pretty view looking down at Alta Ski Resort from the rock.

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Sometimes my kids enjoy exploring the great outdoors with me.

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And sometimes they don’t. I think she wants to pinch me with those sticks because I’m taking to long.

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Rock Climbing hasn’t made my bottom any smaller so for my cardio workouts I have started mountain biking regularly. No thank you to treadmills.

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I got a new bike as my Mothers Day/birthday/Christmas and next Valentines gift. I used to hate going up hill and now I still do but I’m faster than I was. I had no idea that a 15 year old bike would slow me down so much. It’s made riding much more enjoyable.

I heart the trails by my house. They are the perfect morning workout even if my legs feel like jelly for the rest of the day.

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I know that I’m super silly… so when I say that I not only wanted to go climbing for my birthday but I also wanted to go for a nice long beautiful bike ride for my birthday, I give you permission to laugh at me (or roll your eyes.) My good friend’s birthday is the day after mine so we always declare a Birthday Ride.

Wasatch Crest, baby, here we come!

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When it’s mommy time and I still want to be outdoors we plan little fun picnics by the river and try to convince someone to join us. Wanna come? I know some cool places.

This one didn’t make the Insta cut because I have some salad in between my teeth. Gaafaah.

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We occasionally try to hike but it more often than not, it turns into playing by the river. There are a “whole lot a” trails that we’ve only seen the first half mile of.

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This next one didn’t make the Instagram cut because Isaac’s arm is growing out of Leah’s side. I still love it though, bare feet and all. Leah was so brave and wanted to cross the log all by herself.

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Love this one too. Sam can be a real stinker but makes up for it in cuteness. I’m biased, of course. Note his dirty feet.

Silver Lake

That’s it for now. I will make no promises for my next post.

Memorial Day Weekend -Exploring St George

Hello dear friends. Summer is in full swing and it’s time to play, play, play.

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We started off the hot months by heading down south to the hottest part of Utah… St George. My climbing friend and I have been wanted to check this place out for a while we we convinced our family to join us on this wild, fun packed weekend. We had so much fun exploring and learning are way around town. Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

Green Valley Gap.

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There is both climbing and mountain biking around Green Valley Gap. We were really just scoping out the area, figuring out where the trailheads and routes were. We ran out of time to really do either but the kids had a lot of fun climbing around on boulders and spotting wild life. We saw a road runner, couple bunnies and lizards. Emma also found a left behind Easter Egg with $5. Score!

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Chuckawalla Wall.

Saturday morning my friend and I woke up early to beat the heat and the crowds to the best climbing wall in town. I was super excited because I’d heard so many great things about this place.

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It didn’t disappoint. The sandstone pockets were amazing and created the perfect climbing wall. Don’t be fooled though, it was a lot tougher than it looks. The kids joined us later at the crag and spent the rest of the morning hunting lizards.

Snow Canyon.

Next stop was Snow Canyon State Park. We grabbed a map and planned out a little loop hike involving the Lava Tube hike and the Petrified Sand Dunes hike.

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The lava tubes turned out to be better than expected. The kids had a great time exploring the dark underworld and luckily I had had enough sense to grabbed some flashlights.

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Sam had a major tantrum/freakout under the ground. I’m not sure if he was claustrophobic or just didn’t understand where we were or what we were doing but he screamed the whole time. Not so fun, although he does looked pretty happy in the above picture. It must have been in the beginning before he realized he was trapped.

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Walking around the slick rock/petrified dunes was fun. We climbed up to a little look out point that felt airy and exposed. Sam must have wore himself out for all his crying because he’s catching a few zzz’s in this pic.

The wind was rushing past us making it a fun wind dancing sort of place. Don’t wear any skirts here unless you’re under the age of 5.

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(I’m sorry if you’re following me on instagram, you’ve already seen a lot of these pics.)

The biggest highlight for the kids (and husband) was spotting two rattle snakes. I know most people would be slightly freaked out but this was a big time moment for my reptile lovers. I made sure to keep my distance.

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After our hike everyone was pretty beat and the only thing the kids wanted to do was head back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. Sam tried out his new life jacket. Independence at last. I’m in love.

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This cute little boy didn’t realize that it was his birthday. (On second thought, maybe he did and that is why he wanted to try being a Terrible Two by throwing a tantrum in the lava tubes. Hah!.) We celebrated by getting some custard ice cream cones and singing to him. Not very celebratory of us but it worked.

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Sunday was low key for us. We went to church with my aunt and uncle who live in St George. The crazy thing was, so did the rest of the town. We walked in the meeting and found the place completely filled up to the back of the cultural hall. Crazy vacationers. The rest of the day was spent visiting with family and checking out the Brigham Young Home.

Monday was our last day so we wanted to cram in the last bit of fun we could get. We took turns mountain biking the Bear Claw Poppy trail (big fun!! but no pictures) and hurried and packed up before check out time.

Kanarraville Falls.

One our way back north we stopped in Kanarraville, Utah to do this hike we’d heard about. Oh my! This place was so cool. It was awesomeness I tell you. It is a river/slot canyon kind of hike and perfect for a hot day and my little hikers.

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The only problem was that we weren’t the only one who had this idea.

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There is this waterfall that requires climbing up a ladder in order to get past it. There was a bit of a traffic jam and we had to wait in line for our turn.

But it was well worth it.

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The highlight and a good stopping point for us was the natural water slide. More big fun! I have a video of it on instagram if you want to see how it worked. Even Sam took a ride down it.

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Good Things

Just look at this sweet face.

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We had a really special day this last Saturday. My second child was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was an amazingly special day. When I watched my son come out of the water I felt a rush of the spirit come into my heart and whisper to me that this was true and good.

Afterwards my sweet boy stood up in front of all the family and friends there to support him and bore his testimony about baptism. He said a few things but the one quote to remember is when he said “I know that baptism is… (slight pause and then a smile crept across his face) …the gateway to awesomeness.” How true that is. It was so cute and funny and sweet and totally Isaac.

I was also able to take a day off from being Mom and headed down to BYU Women’s Conference with my in-laws. For some crazy reason I was possessed while shopping the other day and bought these wide leg pants pictured below. They are comfy and flowy and I even got a compliment from a college student on them but looking at the picture I can’t help regret them. Is it because I’m comparing them to my sister in laws leggings? Maybe I needed to bend my leg in the picture so that I don’t look like a balloon. But really… perhaps I should never wear them again.

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I didn’t find my scrapbooking mojo at Women’s Conference but was inspired in so many other ways. It was a great spiritual boost listening to speakers and music. Gosh, we can always be just a little bit better, right? I walked around campus in the most amazing spring weather and had all kinds of college day memories come back to me.

Ah, good times. It would be nice if there were more days off like that.

Mojo, Where have you Gone?

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I’m really lacking in the creativity department. My scrapbooking mojo is just gone. I left it in bed or maybe left it dangling on the last climbing wall.

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Wait. Was it there? Blowing out of my brains, through my hair and down the cliff? I think my writing mojo is gone too.

Cooome baaaaack.

(The depth perception in this next photo is kinda weird. My foot is pushing against the rock, not floating. Can you see my miniscule car down by the road?)

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There’s my mojo, blowing down the road. Dunno where it’s going. But it’s gone and here sits a very unmotivated mandagirl. I’d much rather be looking up climbing routes for my next trip. Or how about watching YouTube videos for inspiration.

Sigh.

I had to look up Mojo in the Urban dictionary just to make sure I was using the word right.
:The word originally means a charm or a spell. But now its more commonly said meaning sex appeal or talent.
Not so much the sex appeal but maybe the talent part. How about this definition
:a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc.
Yes, I want to be effective and successful. Where are you mojo? Heck, I’ll even take the sexy part if I need to. Hah.

I’ve given myself a little kick in the pants to just post a teensy, tiny update for you… Oh wait, I’m already way into it.

I haven’t made anymore progress on the newest vacation template package that I’ve been slaving way working on. In fact, catching up on Once Upon a Time has been my priority and is mainly to blame. Hum, what to do during nap time? Get comfy and watch a show or work on some templates that aren’t coming together? Good question… but I think you know what I picked.

There is also the fact that my 30 day photoshop trial has run out. I really wish my old photoshop version would work on this new computer. Boo. I’m am trying to get away without buying a new one. Do you think a new one will just magically appear on my front door step?

Me either. Might as well just go to the river and throw rocks.

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Now that spring is in full swing I find myself wanting to be outdoors more and more. My hopes of getting caught up on scrapbooking during the colds months have been smooshed into the ground. Oh well. There will be more nap times ahead and perhaps I’ll find it there.

Escalante and Bryce -Spring Break 2014

I love little getaways. I was really looking forward to spring break this year and hoping the weather would turn out for us. I’ve been hoping to go down to Escalante National Monument for a while now. I’ve reading about some fun family hikes down there. It’s a bit of a drive for us but we did it.

Hurray!

The first hike on our list was Lower Calf Creek Falls. It’s a 6 miles round trip but it’s nice and flat and absolutely beautiful.

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Next stop was Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons. They are two slot canyons near each other. You can hike up one and then come down the other one. Both are family friendly and don’t have anything too technical. But super cool!

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We found a lizard on the way to the second slot. My kids love this stuff.

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And so do I.

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Near the slots there is a fun little area called Devils Garden. We played and rested here for an afternoon. The kids had so much fun climbing around on the formations.

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We checked out Escalate State Park and the petrified forest there. Pretty place.

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As a youth I camped at Kodachrome Basin. I have a lot of cool memories. We went to check it out the 60 some spire formations there but got stuck playing on the red rock. Check out my Instagram posts for a video of the cool natural slide we found there.

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Next stop was Bryce Canyon. Pretty, pretty, pretty! We did both the Fairyland trail and the Queens Garden/Navajo Loop trail.

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We made some awesome memories. By the end the kids were exhausted and tired of hiking. Heck, I think I was too. I think we hiked around 16 miles over the 4 days. It’s always nice to get home after some fun adventure.

Good times in April

I hope you all had a happy Easter. We had a nice little Easter. I don’t go crazy with lots of candy and eggs but I put together a little basket for them to find and we had a family gathering with an Easter egg hunt.

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I’m struggling to come up with a clever title for this post. This is really just a hello to let you know I’m still around.

Hello.

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April has been a busy month. As the weather warms up we have managed to have lots of fun.

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This little darling had a birthday and turned 5. Is she really that big?

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She wanted a Disney Frozen party like the rest of all the 5 year old girls in the world. Luckily her big sister got all excited about it and wanted to plan and host the party. Phew for me. I have a love/hate relationship with parties. We built snowmen out of marshmallows, had a paper snowball fight, had a treasure hunt and makeovers. Fun times for the little kiddos.

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This stud muffin also had his 8th birthday while we were on our spring break trip (pictures coming next.) We’ve yet to celebrate it fully but we will.

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For his birthday dinner we went to a restaurant on our trip and Isaac ordered a 2/3 pound burger. He ate the whole thing. Then they gave him a free chocolate cake with ice cream. It was huge! We each had a few bites of the cake but I couldn’t believe how fast Isaac ate most of it. Wowzers I would have been sick.

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Before we left for our spring break trip I invited some friends down to Maple Canyon for a climbing trip. All these little monkeys had a great time. Can’t help wish for more days off from school.

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I have spent a little bit of time scrapbooking. I’m working on some vacation templates. I’m getting a little frustrated with it… hopefully it will come together soon.

Template 108

Hello there.

Before my computer crashed I had just finished a new template to share with you. Luckily it was saved on my external hard drive. Phew. I’ll share it with you today.

If I hadn’t saved it there you’d be waited a bit longer. I’m still hoping to be able to retrieve all my 2013 photos that are stuck on the old laptop. They were not on my external hard drive nor any sort of cloud back up. I know, very unwise. Big frowny face!

I could take the old laptop in and pay someone to transfer the data for me since I’ve been told the hard drive is still good but I’m going to try to do it myself. Yikes! I’m hoping that learning to do it myself will be worth more in the long run. Ya know, empowering and all as well as saving money! My sweet brother has been holding my hand through the whole thing. He’s so great to have patience with my lack of computer knowledge. So far I’ve tried using the Target Disk Mode for Macs with a firewire and that was a fail. The next thing to try is to take the laptop’s hard drive out and stick it in a Hard Drive Enclosure Case. I’ll be completely stoked if it works!! The case is in the mail. Hurry up, please.

Ok, on to my new template.

It’s pretty basic guys but it sure gets the job done. If you like it then download it by clicking here.

Template 108 preview -Mandagirl

Here are my pages.

2 Feb snow b

2 Feb snow

That’s it for now. My next scrapbooking project is a vacation with 150+ pictures. Whoo, time to get busy.

Warming Up

The spring weathers has been just lovely around these parts. There has been a little bit of rain but for the most part it’s warming up and the blossoms are starting to come out. I can’t help but just go sit in the sunshine. We’ve been playing outside as much as possible. Sam is overly happy and content at the park. He points and says something like “pay” meaning he wants to go play.

He always wants to go “pay.” I can’t get anything done around here.

Park days

While I was fixing dinner one night Isaac and his friend were swinging spider style. I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of them because I think days like this wont last forever. Such sweet happiness.

This past week we’ve been up and down with sickness. It’s run through most of the family but my little Leah isn’t bouncing back so well.

She’s been getting afternoon fevers for 5 days now. She’ll wake up feeling great and ready to go but later in the afternoon she heats up and lays around on the couch for the rest of the day. Weird. I haven’t dealt with this before. The internet didn’t seem to come up with much. I don’t think there is much call for worry unless it goes on for longer than a week. My mommy alarm isn’t going off quite yet. I could call the nurse. If it goes on for a couple more days I’ll have to take her in.

Hum. Any ideas?

How’s the weather in your parts? Anxious for spring?

Up and Running

Computer desk

Hello friends.

I’m typing away on my new computer and it’s sooo lovely. It took a few day to decide what we really wanted for our family. We did lots of research, talked to lots of people and browsed the web way to much. Making decisions in this household can take a while, especially when they involve a chunk of moolah, if you know what I mean. What my husband wanted and what I wanted was a little different which made the process a little longer but I think we found a nice comfortable compromise in the end.

We decided on on a refurbished Mac Mini. I surprised myself by picking a mac because I’ve been a PC girl up to this point but it came down to getting the best (meaning fastest, largest, awesomest etc.) computer at our price point. I didn’t even know the mini existed until we started searching around for options. I was really, really loathing the idea of a great big black menacing PC tower so when I found the mini I did a little jig of happiness. Whoo hoot!

Another factor that went into our decision was that we wanted the safest, most family friendly computer we could get and had hear really great things about macs outscoring PCs in this area. My brother and sister both swear by them and they are super computer nerds (wink, wink) with a lot of experience. I certainly trust them with my computer purchases. As my kiddos get older and learn to hop on the computer all by their wee little selves, I like the added safety that a mac can provide- less garbage to accidentally download and there are some awesome parental controls (if I can figure them out.)

Do any of you have add-ons or software you use for parental controls that you’ve liked? I’d love to hear some recommendations.

There is a little bit of a learning curve on macs but I’m already well on my way since I’ve been using Jeremy’s old Macbook for a few months now. With the mac mini being a desktop I think I will like it a lot better for digital scrapbooking than I did his laptop. I’m dreaming of a nicer screen but I’m going to have to make this acer monitor work for now. It certainly is better than the laptop. I’m still working on getting my photoshop set up and looking forward to diving back in.

I’m really hoping I end up loving it all.

Part of our lengthy decision had to do with where to put the computer. So far the computer has dwelt in the basement near the tv and my crafting corner but again, as the kids get older and use the computer more, I found myself having a hard monitoring their usage. I had tried passwords and time restrictions but different schedules everyday made it hard with our set up. Jeremy had the idea to move the computer upstairs where it is more public. It’s a super great idea and I completely 100% agree with it but… I didn’t love the idea for one vain reason. I don’t have anywhere to put a computer upstairs. There isn’t a cute little office anywhere to tuck it in. I hate all the cords (note the picture above) and dust computers create so I don’t really want it all up in my face all the time.

But alas. Here I sit in my kitchen. I do have this nice white desk I purchased a while back for this corner. (Seems like the builders forgot to add the last of the cabinets or something.) I’ve been using the desk for papers, school supplies and school clutter. It keeps every thing off of the kitchen counters. The bulletin above and the calendar to the side help keep family stuff sorted and on the the calendar. It really is the hub of the home. I guess it’s a logical place for a computer… I just. Dunno. I worry the kids will hop on it more then they usually do because it’s so out in the open. The Mac also has parental controls that allow you to set how much time a user can be on the computer, like 30 minutes throughout the day as opposed to a set time like 3:00 to 4:00.  So… we’ll see how it goes. Maybe it’ll work.

It’s a trial run, really. I could possibly move it to the front room. Where do you keep your computer?

I also worry about keeping it clutter free. Hello dumping zone! I don’t want my computer area to be cluttery. It makes my mind feel crazy and a Mommy with a crazy mind isn’t a good thing.

Plus where am I going to pile sort all my papers?