Wednesday, June 27, 2007

4 Days to Go!

My oldest friend, Lori Gerlach Gerten, is coming to visit in just 4 days. (No, she's not 72, I've just known her for almost 20 years!) I am so excited! Lily is very excited, too, because Lori is bringing her daughter Gracie, age 3. Lily has been dying to meet her for the last 3 years.

Lori and I met in the 8th grade when we lived in Heidelberg, Germany. Here are a few of our finer moments:

Big bangs and photo booths. Has 1989 written all over it.

What the...? Sookie! 1990

Sweet 16, complete with zits and braces. 1991

After we both moved away from Germany we continued to visit in the summers through high school. We kept in touch sporadically through college and then when Lily was a baby, after not talking to Lori in 3 or 4 years, I got the urge to track her down. We had both changed and matured (I know, very hard to believe, but I guess it's all relative) but we were thrilled to find that we still liked each other and could talk for hours! We started planning a reunion and in 2004 I went to visit Lori in Minnesota. We had such an awesome time that we agreed then and there to visit each other every year. Lori came to Utah in 2005, hopefully some of you remember meeting her at Jane's house, right before Avelyn was born. Then last year I went back to Minnesota.

Each year I have made a scrapbook of our visit (yeah, still need to start the 2006 book!) Here are a few from 2004 and 2005:

There's nothing that can compare to a friendship that has lasted since your adolescence. All the history, all the inside jokes. Sookie, for example. This goes back to the New Kids On The Block days. It's the word for someone that is good looking. Or can be used in a sarcastic way, as in the scuba flipper picture above.

So Lori and Gracie are going to be here for the 4th of July and we really have to show them a good time! We're planning to go see the hot air balloons launch at sunrise, but I don't think my nerves can handle the parade (the parking, the crowds, the heat) so we'll come home and play in the sprinklers or something. Let's plan a BBQ for dinner here at my Mom's house. I thought it might be cool to put together some soldier packages like we did at our reunion 2 years ago. Very patriotic. Then when it gets dark we can do the white trash fireworks show in the street. Josh, did you mention something about Wyoming contraband?

I'm frantically trying to get all of my work done (editing, reprint orders, etc.) so I can be totally free to hang out while Lori and Gracie are here.

Ready, and go!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ride Em' Cowgirls!

After a year of riding the Don Cox saddle at Grammie's house, Lily introduced Amelia to the joy of being a cowgirl. Yee-haw!

LLC (Lotsa Luscious Cash?)

Dan is now the president of Dan Richardson, LLC and while that means he has a limited liability corporation, I'm hoping it will mean more money for us! Not that I'm a greedy, materialistic girl, I just like the idea of getting out of debt!

In addition to his cool new name, Dan has a cool new office. Nice and spacious at approx. 100 square feet.
For you locals, it's located on State Street on the American Fork/Pleasant Grove border. Dan's had the office for about 2 weeks and it has made a world of difference in his ability to get things done. Working from home just wasn't cutting it. At the office he works on patents, corresponding with the law firm and draftsman via email, as well as studies for the patent bar exam. Soon he will start preparing for the LSAT, the graduate entrance exam for law school. Law school is still under debate, but he has to take the LSAT to even have the possibility of going to law school. A typical day involves a few hours at the office in the morning, then lunch (sometimes coming home- it's less than 10 minutes away), more work in the afternoon, followed by a bike ride at some point, and occasionally going back to the office after dinner. Today was a great example of the flexibility Dan has with his patent job and his office. He went in for about 4 hours in the morning, studying for the patent bar, then came home after lunchtime and took Lily to a movie (Surf's Up.) Then he went for a short road ride and went back up to work for another 4 hours in the evening to work on a patent. Flexible hours and a decent paycheck to boot! Sure beats the heck outta graduate school!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Can You Say Luscious?

For all of you not in the Cox family (and perhaps a couple of you that are), this will probably be a really long and boring post, so bear with me (or feel free to skip it!) My Mom's side of the family has a reunion every year and this year looks to be the best yet! Our family reunion is going to be in Eden, Utah (who can resist a place with a name like that?) It is up above Ogden by the Pineview Reservoir. Last week I took my girls and went to preview the reunion house with my Mom, Aunt Liz, cousin Katy and her daughter Avelyn.

One word: Luscious. The house is in this breathtaking valley and it was a gorgeous drive once you turn onto Hwy 84 (it took us an hour and a half from American Fork.) Lots of beautiful green rolling hills and mountains. Let me give you a tour. Disclaimer: I took all of these photos with my wide angle lens so you could see as much as possible. However, this makes things (especially the bedrooms) look bigger than they are. So use your imagination. As you can see from the photos, the house is in a little subdivision and is pretty close to the neighbors on the side, but it totally open in the back with about 10-15 feet of lawn and then open land with lots of sagebrush and rocks. Looks to be a great exploring area for the kids, but there's likely to be little prairie snakes out there, so for those parents who are going to let their kids play out there, we should at least require that they wear long pants and sneakers, not sandals.

For our outdoor movie night, we'll get either butcher paper or sew some sheets together and tape it up between the two large stone pillars. You may want to bring your camp chairs or some blankets to sit on for the movie.

The back patio area is equipped with a hot tub (we think it fits 8) and that big window belongs to the upstairs king bedroom which has a door that accesses the patio (so Gram and the Aunties can go skinny-dipping after midnight!)

There is also a gas fire pit (mmm, s'mores!), barbeque grill, and some sweet lounge furniture.

Right off the patio is the kitchen, dining area, and living room. The view is beautiful!

There is a TV and DVD player inside the cabinet to the left of the fireplace. There's also a poker set in the other cabinet, so if you want to get wild and gamble for Skittles or something, you're all set!

The kitchen is fully equipped with cookware, baking sheets, even a coffee maker for Gram. Liz is the meal coordinator, assigning who will fix what meal and she and I will buy all the groceries. Look for an email to come with your assignment. There are dishes for eating, but we will probably still bring paper plates, cups, and flatware just so we don't have to do a lot of dishes.

There is another living room downstairs with a big screen TV, huge couch, game table, and a smaller kitchen area with a fridge and microwave for storing all the sodas and microwave popcorn that we are sure to eat!

All of the TV's in the house have cable and a DVD player, but no VHS, so if you have video tapes that you want to watch, you'll have to bring a VCR for us to hook up. Another little treasure is a cubby under the stairs, perfect for the little kids to use as a secret hideout (there's even a little fridge in the back of the cubby! Now that's a sweet fort!)

We spent a long time trying to figure out the best way to fit everyone in the bedrooms. We shuffled the list around several times and came up with the following room assignments. There are two king suites and the only way to fit everyone was to assign the king rooms to those who were willing to share a room and have some sleep on air mattresses. If you want to trade a room with someone, work it out with them (if you'd rather be upstairs instead of downstairs, etc.)

Upstairs King Suite: Gram and the Aunties. Gram and Jane get the bed and Lois Ann and Liz will bring their air mattresses.

There's a door that leads to the patio and an armchair with ottoman for watching TV or reading. There's a HUGE closet, which Liz said she may just put her air mattress in and close the door. That way if she's naughty, we can just say "Go to your closet!"
This master suite has an attached bathroom.

Who's that saucy lady in the mirror?

Upstairs Queen Room #1: Don and Lora. Bring your air mattresses or pack n' play for the little ones. There is a bunk room downstairs that we thought the older kids can sleep in with the older cousins. If you would rather be downstairs so you can be by your older kids, perhaps you could negotiate a trade with Josh and Jenn (I'm sure Josh would love to hide upstairs away from all the spazzy children!)

Upstairs Queen Room #2: Shawn & Emily. Bring air mattress and pack n' play for the little guys.

There is a bathroom in the hall between these two rooms to share.

Upstairs office: Dan and Sue. There's no bed, but there's a queen air mattress and a couch for sleeping. There's also an attached bathroom. If anyone would rather have their own private bathroom and you don't mind not having a real bed to sleep in, we're open to a trade. However, this is the bathroom where Grandad snake (read the follow-up too) made his appearance, so consider yourself warned!

For the parents of toddlers, I will be bringing two baby gates, one for the top and one for the bottom of the stairs.

Downstairs King Suite: Katy and Andy & Chris and Shad. You'll have to draw straws on who gets the bed! There is an attached bathroom and TV with cable and DVD player. Katy says she's going to bring the Playstation, so this may become the video game room. (Careful, Gil might try to move in!)

Me again. In triplicate.
Downstairs Queen Room #1: Josh and Jenn. No more commentary necessary (I'm getting tired of typing!)
Downstairs Queen Room #2: Becky & Zen. Bring pack n' play for Connor.

Bathroom in the hall.

Downstairs Bunkroom: Cousin Sleepover Central! I thought Rachel, Nicholas, Gil, Dani, Lily and any of the other cousins that want to can crash in this fun room.

It really isn't as big as the pictures make it look, but there's room to pull out the queen trundle mattress and fit at least another twin air mattress. Since Rachel is the oldest (and a teenage girl!) I thought she should have the top twin bed to herself. Gil and Nicholas can share the queen mattress and Dani and Lily can share the double bed.

Jen and Dalin will be in town for the reunion and will join us for some of our daily activities, but they will sleep at Dalin's parent's house in Huntsville, just up the road.

All of the bedrooms have bedding and extra blankets, and the bathrooms come equipped with towels and washcloths. We just need to bring our own towels for the beach and/or swimming pool at the clubhouse. We can use the clubhouse pool (about a 1 mile drive) anytime. I forgot to go look at it but the manager guy said it has a slide and a separate hot tub. We'd like to have a day at the beach on Thursday, but if there are other times you want to swim without the mess, the clubhouse pool will be perfect.

We scouted out the beach and it looks really fun. This section is about a 10 minute drive from the house and is called Middle Inlet (view map of the reservoir here.) The manager said this area is a lot less crowded than Cemetery Point where the boat dock is. There is a $9.00 per carload (up to 8 people) fee to get into the beach, so be sure to bring a little cash.

There are lots of mature trees to give us some shade and there's even a couple rope swings, although the water is pretty low so I'm not sure if we'll be able to use them.

Between the parking lot and the beach there is a big grassy area with picnic tables and BBQ grills if we need them.

Well, that's it. This is the longest blog post in history. I hope to never blog this long again! Remember the dates: Wednesday, July 11th to Saturday, July 14th. Check-in time is 4:00pm, but I'm pretty sure the owner is going to let us come earlier, like noon. Check-out time is 11:00am, but I'm going to see if we can extend that if no one is coming in right after us.

A parting shot:

Wading, waiting...