Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to make your own bike rack

by Ben

Step 1 - Have an entire day of free time

Step 2 - Ingredients:
  • hacksaw
  • PVC
  • Little Ts
  • spray paint
Step 3 - use the hacksaw.  Cut off some pieces.  You know what?  I'm gonna stop the whole steps thing.

Ok, so if you want to make your own bike rack you just have a free day and the ingredients listed above and then text my dad and ask him how.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Days Like These

It's kind of hard to decide on the single best part of a day like today...
  • Girly shrieks of surprise and terror from both me and Steve to find a bird in our basement.  It was bad enough when we thought it was dead, but then when Steve picked it up and it started squawking and flapping, well, you can imagine our reaction (I ran and slammed the door behind me, Steve just screamed and dropped it)!  Thanks, Mandy, that present sure added some excitement to the day
  • Sasha and WanYing's delight in pulling out the next round of hand me downs from our fabulous friends (it's all new to them!)
  • Sasha and WanYing determining that they had to wear their fluffiest new dresses  today - to plant blue potatoes in the garden
  • Enjoying my beautiful yard that Steve has worked so hard on
  • Steve wearing his Telestial Seasonings shirt and picking up a Starbucks while helping the Elders (the men of our neighborhood Mormon church) pick up yard waste
  • Playing Dominion with Ben in the evening while Sam read Lord of the Rings (Two Towers) and regales us with observations like, "Thrice 12 hours?!?  Really, people, just say 36."
Start to finish, today was just a delight.  You have to love Saturdays at home with our never-boring crew!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Bike!

Did I need it?  Heavens no.  Do I feel like a million bucks riding it?  You better believe it!

And, in my defense, getting a new bike wasn't even my idea.  My old bike was fine and I hadn't even considered upgrading until my mom mentioned that she's like to have a bike to ride here in Utah... which led to Steve thinking that maybe Mom would like to buy my bike (which is a fab ride!)... which led me to weeks of review-reading and research... which led to the Civia Bryant.  Her name is Lickety. 

What's so cool about Lickety?  Well, besides looking so gosh darn smart, she is belt-driven.  That means she has a carbon fiber belt instead of a chain, which is cool because it's basically a 0-maintenance all-weather bike - good for crazy people like me who ride in all kinds of psycho weather.  Also, belts don't need lube, so they don't get your pants greasy ever.

The gearing is internal, like the old Rohlhoffs, so there are no external gears to get gummed up and the shifting is smooth and instant.

And I opted for a road bike-ish frame - the posture is still commuter-friendly, but I'll provide a little less wind resistance on my commutes.

But clearly the best part of my Civia package are the fenders.  It's ok, you can say it - Nice Fenders! 

Fenders are a necessity for me and I opted for the bamboo fenders and matching rack.  Silly?  Yep.  Love em?  You bet!

And how did all of this come about?  Well, after weeks of research I took a trip up to the Salt Lake bike stores on Friday to try out a few models that you can't buy down here in the valley.  Saturday Cycles was the last stop on my bike shopping tour and as soon as I rode Lickety around I was pretty sure she was the one.  The fab and very funny shop owner Mike graciously stayed open an extra hour to let me hem and haw and pick out accessories and noodle and hem and haw some more, and by Monday she was all ready for me to pick up!

I rode the train up to Salt Lake and Mike picked me up on a tandem from the Frontrunner station (an experience in itself!).  We did some fitting and fiddling and by 4 pm Lickety and I were ready to hit the road!  She definitely enjoyed the train ride home - you can tell by the way she's looking out the window.

She still needs her kick stand and new saddle (that stock saddle has got to go!), but other than that she's all tricked out for my commute.  Now, do you think I can beat last year's total of 3,000 miles?  I better get riding!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blessed Mama

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it
Trusting that he will make all things right if I surrender to his will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with him forever in the next

On days like today - warm sun, happy kids, beautiful backyard (that Steve and the kids cleaned up yesterday for Mother's Day!), planting veggies, gazing at the mountains - it's so blessedly easy to feel serenity and gratitude.  I think that the last year has taught me many lessons about enjoying one moment at a time, and I'm blessed to be able to enjoy this one.  And this one.  And this one :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Who digs trilobites? We do!

This summer we're applying ourselves to enjoying as many Utah natural wonders as possible, and we're off to a strong start!  A couple of weeks ago we decided to try out U-Dig Fossils, a trilobite fossil quarry about 60 miles west of Delta, Utah.  Directions:  drive 2 hours to the middle of nowhere, keep on driving for another hour, and you're there!

The trilobite quarry was exactly what it promised to be - a giant pile of shale that was under the ocean 200 million years ago and when sea bugs died they got trapped in the sediment layers.  It is now a giant pile of shale in the aforementioned middle of nowhere where those trapped sea bugs are now rocks.

We discovered that there are two basic techniques to trilobite hunting:

  1. Grab a hammer and start whacking rocks
  2. Don't bother with the hammer and just turn rocks over until you find something
Both are effective, you'll just want to choose the method that best matches your current aggression level.

Sam shows off his rock-whacking skills
Sasha lugs around her bucket of treasures, mostly obtained by turning over rocks with a few whacks thrown in for good measure 

We had a good-natured family contest to see who could find the biggest trilobite and for a long time it looked like Sasha would be the winner - she was amazing at just looking down and finding those trilobites staring up at her!  And she was very, very excited to bring all of her "pet bugs" home, although she was admittedly confused by our answers to her questions of when they would come back to life again (i.e., "Never, they're rocks now").

WanYing, on the other hand, was more concerned with staying warm (hence the layers) and stuffing as many Clif Bars into her mouth as possible.  Fortunately, entrance for small children was free.
But at the end of the day, it was Ben who found the biggest trilobite of the trip.  It is about two inches long and quite the magnificent specimen.  The guys at U-Dig helped him clean it up and even gave him a fancy bag to keep it in.  And, yes, he proudly showed it to every person he met for several weeks.

Not bad for a day's work in fossil-land!  Honestly, we had a great time in the middle of nowhere smacking apart rocks for a few hours to liberate the captive rock-bugs within.  The carsick kids both on the way there and home dampened our enthusiasm a little (ugh) but nothing that a carpet cleaner and baths for all couldn't take care of!

I highly recommend U-Dig Fossils for a fun, unique family outing. Go for it, you won't be disappointed.  And everybody needs more hard-fought treasures to collect dust on their kids' shelves!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


by Sasha

I cut my hair short because I like it short at summer and it's warm at summer.  It's easier to brush my hair now because it doesn't have much knots.

Miss Carol cut it and brushed it so it wouldn't be knotty.

And I look beautiful with it.  That's my cutest hair!


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