Monday, June 30, 2008

OOO pretty colors...

Mom and Katie and myself(not pictured) went to the Natural History Museum today. We had a fantastic tour with a fantastic tour guide- Katharine's mom-and we got to see tons of behind the scenes stuff. It was all pretty amazing.
As well as seeing tons of natural animals, we saw the above jewelry which we hope to have someday in our own jewelry boxes. This was the Hazen Diamond Necklace, a very beautiful piece of art.
This is the Hope Diamond, the most viewed diamond known to man. Every year 6 million people come to see it. This diamond is very rare because of the deep blue color. You learn some very interesting facts when you go to the National Museum of Natural History with a tourguide who knows the whole place...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's Been Busy, But Fun!

Today we went to church at the chapel in College Park that my dad helped to build, which was dedicated I think in 1961. It's been about 32 years since I've been there. I can hardly begin to describe how fun it was to walk those halls again. It's definitely a unique design, different than any of the current newer building designs that the church uses. It has gone through some revisions over the years, but basically it is the same. The ceiling in the chapel is so pretty and seemed so high. I can hardly imagine how many hours were spent by early church members in this area erecting this building. It was just fun being there and reminiscing.

The view from Katie and Joseph's apartment cool is that?

So admittedly Joseph is sticking his stomach out a little and arching his back, but this was pretty funny. Katie is looking so cute. We bought a few maternity clothes yesterday...that's always fun. Something new to wear when you're pregnant is like manna from heaven. Yesterday while we were out and about she had two total strangers tell her that she would be having a girl. We get to find out on Wednesday and can't wait. We spent Sacrament Meeting today writing down names, crossing them off, and coming up with good combinations. Katie wants me to commit to what I think "it" is. I can't say, I'm just excited, and I'm okay with any name they choose as long as it is spelled correctly and is not too "out there". It was fun last night to relax beside her and feel him/her kicking around.

So yesterday after doing some shopping we drove to my "old" neighborhood to check things out. Wow, how is it that everything seemed so much bigger and further apart than it really was? No wonder my mom didn't worry about us playing in the woods...they were right there! This is the bus stop that I walked to and from more often than I can remember. I was telling the girls how I would stand behind this sign coloring or doing my homework, waiting endlessly for the bus.

After Hershey we met my sister Sharon and her husband in the Lancaster area to do some "antiquing". This was Sarah's first experience with this fine activity. It involves a lot of walking and looking and bargaining. She wasn't all too excited at first, but when she decided on a particular dish color and pattern that she liked the attitude changed considerably! She was finding the "aquamarine swirl" stuff everywhere, comparing prices, and finding the best deal. She's off to a good start. Stopped in a booth to try on one of many old hats we saw.

Ah, before we left town we went over to Kirstin's house to celebrate Heather's birthday. I think Heather's best birthday present happened later in the week when they found out that Justin got the job he'd been interviewing for. So exciting! Nothing like that first "real" job...and the best part is they are staying put. Yahoo! Heather made her own birthday was this lime/raspberry creation that was SO yummy...need that recipe!

Hershey's...Chocolate or City???

In this case, the chocolate city. Literally everything has some reference to chocolate or the brand. Mom and I went to the Hershey's Chocolate World, and we had a blast. Even though we only took the 15 minute tour, we learned all about how they make chocolate, the fact that they use milk to make the chocolate, and how they get it into the odd hershey's kiss shape.

The sign explains itself really....
This is the number of each candy that had been made already that day by about 9 o'clock
Mom and I attempting to get ourselves in with the sign, and not prevailing too well....

We've Got Just About the Whole Country Covered!

I was thinking on Thursday as we were driving 775 miles that our family was way too spread out. Chris in California, Lindsay in Utah, Rich in Houston, Marshall in Illinois, Katie and Joseph in DC, and Sarah and I going up and down hills in Pennsylvania somewhere!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Fun!

Sarah and Mom on our new bikes! We've had lots of fun riding the trails around the area. It is beautiful right now. The honeysuckle smells so sweet and the birds make such fun noise. Just make sure to wear glasses and keep your mouth closed...there are definately bugs out there. Of course our bikes have names...Mom's bike is named "The Ghost" and Sarah's bike is named "Quicksilver", not "Quiksilver". Mom's computer is affectionately named "Alice", a name my mother always wanted to use on one of her 5 daughters, but never got to. My blue Explorer is named "Bluebell" since it is blue and "she" came into our family when we lived in Bellingham. Thinking of naming my new red vacuum "Ruby". Speaking of Bluebell...back in May, the first day of turkey hunting season, I was driving on the freeway towards St. Louis, going about 65 mph. From out of nowhere comes this turkey. All I could think of was, "Please don't hit my windshield that just got replaced!" Well, it didn't, but hit the front grill instead. For the record, the windshield would have been much cheaper to replace.

This week Sarah and Mom are preparing for our Road Trip to the East Coast...too fun! We'll make sure to send lots of pictures.

Welcome to Arkansas!

OK, so last week Rich, Sarah and I headed for the hills of Arkansas. Rich's father is originally from a small town kind of near, but not really, Little Rock, in the northwestern area of Arkansas. John passed away a couple of years ago and we've kind of lost contact with the family, so this trip was an effort to let them know who we were once again, to get some information, and hopefully to get some pictures. Mission accomplished. It was interesting to meet "kinfolk" and spend the day with them. They were very kind and hospitable. However, it was also a relief to return to life as we know it. We kind of think they are stuck in a time warp. One example...this waitress at a place where we had breakfast showed us her "cell phone".
Rich was in charge of making reservations...any doubt why he chose this particular Marriott? And he says he didn't know anything about any motorcycles...hmmmmm. For those that don't know, Rich loves motorcycles and any time we drive by one, particularly a Harley, he rolls down the window so he can listen to it. Currently there is one for sale on a street close to our house. It is on display in the front yard. He slows down every time we pass by.

Some of our "kinfolk". This is Rich's Uncle Bennett and Aunt Billie, his cousin Malinda and her husband Leland. I'm not sure how old Uncle Bennett is, but he wears his overalls everyday and plows his garden almost everyday also. He lost his teeth some time ago, not sure where they are, but he does just fine without them. Rich must have heard 100 times that he looked just like his dad. He was getting a little tired of it. Gotta love your family!

And then there was his sweet Aunt Betty. This gal is on oxygen almost all day. She looks rather frail, and she is, but she was also incredibly spunky and had lots and lots to say. She has this rather large doll collection and was kind enough to send one home with Sarah. All in all, a good trip! Arkansas, at least where we were, is actually very beautiful.

What River? What Flood?

I've had several relatives call lately wondering if we've been affected by the Mississippi River flooding. I reassure them that we are fine and dandy and live far enough inland from the "Mighty Mississippi". However, two weeks ago I posted about how relieved we were that Rich's coke drums were finally safe on land. Well, we went to check on them yesterday, and as you can see from the picture, they are now currently surrounded by water. Check the post from two weeks ago to see how much water has come our way. We've been told that the river has "crested" as of Saturday. We're keeping our fingers crossed!
Here's a picture as we were crossing the Mississippi River last Wednesday morning. For those familiar with the Arch area, you can see how far the river has come up. Crazy, huh?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Fathers in my Life

This is my dad in he dashingly handsome or what?? It's hard to know where to begin to describe my dad. He was incredibly intelligent, such a talented and hard worker, and showed such patience in all of his afflictions. Talk about enduring to the end - that was my dad. Not one to carry on lengthy discussions, nevertheless I do so miss hearing his voice. "It's ok, it's all going to be ok."
My mom and dad in 1991. So glad my sister Sally managed to get this picture taken. Such a good picture of my dad's quirky little smile.

I love this picture of Rich, also dashingly handsome in my book! He's been such a good father to his children, in spite of the fact (or maybe because of it) that he did not have too many great examples in his young life. He is a wonderful example of overcoming the odds. He is incredibly intelligent also, like my dad. He loves the gospel and understands it so well. I love listening to him teach on Sundays. I hope that one day he will find himself in a classroom full time. I know that he'd love it and his students would love him. I think that one thing our children appreciate about their dad is his sense of keeps all of us on our toes. He is so supportive of all that any of the kids (and me) want to do and try to be. Love ya!

The Mall Looks Different Through the Eyes of a Child

I got to go to the mall yesterday with two of my favorite little ones. It's a whole different ballgame when you are maneuvering a double wide stroller and trying to keep a two year old entertained. Katharine sure has this system down...I was way impressed. I told her how excited I had been when I got my first double stroller when Chris and Lindsay were little. I must have been a little out of sorts one day because I got the kids in the car, but drove off without the stroller and didn't realize it till I was home. Sure enough, it was not there when I went back. Luke is totally happy with his thumb and his toes and his comfort diaper - such a cute, big little boy. For Addy the mall is all about the merry-go-round and the pretty soap scrubbers to be found at Bath and Body Works. So going to miss this little family when they move out to Provo!

Monday, June 9, 2008

They're on Land...Finally!

Rich's four coke drums are finally sitting on the shores of the Mississippi River! It was a long trip from Belgium with a lot of worry along the way. There is a major look of relief on Rich's face. You can see some water in front of them and also behind them. That water is not supposed to be there! We have had so much rain. The other night when we were listening to the weather forecast the weatherman labeled the clouds as being "juicy". We concluded that they were running out of terms to label our very wet skies and the weather patterns that have passed through the mid-west.

It's a Graduate!

Marshall graduated on Saturday afternoon! Yahoo! 4 down, 1 to go. Marshall is wearing a medallion from the Thespian Society. Way to go son! Especially love the glasses.

Marshall and Sarah at Zapata's Restaurant...his choice for dinner after graduation.

Before Marshall went on to other events of the evening, we stopped by the Gray's home in our ward. Erica is also headed out to Provo for school. Our ward had 7 high school graduates. We'll miss them all.

It was kind of tricky trying to figure out what a good graduation gift would be for Marshall. Katie came up with this terrific idea...a George Foreman Grill! He was pretty excited...especially about the spatula, silverware and towels that came with it. Marshall is planning on living in a dorm where he has to do a lot of his own cooking. Anyways, his grill has 5 different plates, capable of cooking all sorts of things - from pizza to waffles to steak! Yummmy!

We Found Bambi In Our Yard!

Look who we saw in our back yard this morning. I was able to get within a couple of feet before she got up and skampered away. We see deer fairly often, but I've never seen one left alone without Mom, looking pretty scared. Babies are SO cute!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Not Even Tornado Sirens Could Stop Us!!

OK, We were just a little determined to go to our dinner and show that had been planned for a week. It was to be a surprise for Heather. However, Katharine took care of that one...while talking to a friend on the phone shortly after we were on our way, she happened to mention, "Yea, I'm on my way to dinner with my girlfriends and then to see Mamma Mia." And then she realized what she had done and we all had a good laugh about that one. It had been pouring down rain a good part of the afternoon with watches all over the place. Our tornado sirens were even going off. I'm a real whimp in these situations, but also really wanted to go, so I showed the brave side and off we went. I think we had missed the worst of it in St. Louis, so we had it good afterall. Sign post on side of looking questionable?

Kirstin Lindsay, Heather Porter, Lisa, and Katharine LeCheminant...well, they all have birthdays fairly close together (not Lisa) so we needed to do something extra special, especially since Katharine will be leaving us, so, sad, but exciting, too! We held the dancing to a minimum. The St. Louis crowd was probably a bit more subdued than NYC. Too much fun, though! Thanks for going gals!

Friday, June 6, 2008

No Longer a Freshman!!!!

Happy day, school is out!!!!! I'm finally free to sleep in until 10:00...unless my mother decides otherwise. My mom likes to refer to me as "Sarah the Sophmore," however i please ask you all to NOT address me like that!!!! (Still love ya mom!) Of course, I still have my priorities this summer. I am still trying to lose a bit of weight this summer, and by doing so, my parents are rewarding me. Hopefully, I will be able to have a new room, new makeup, and a new haircut!!!!! total, that will bring me to have lost 30 pounds. Wish me luck!!!

Any suggestions?

Mother and myself are taking a trip to Washington DC, and we are trying to figure out where in the world to start...ANY SUGGESTIONS? Please write on the comments board if you have any ideas of things to do.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guest Blog from Rich

Ok, so I was asked to write a guest blog. I'm being forced into the 21st century here.

So I thought I would show what I did today. This is a picture of the first of my four coke drums. Fabricated in Belgium, this giant vessel came over on a ship, and was then transferred to a barge at New Orleans. It came up the Mississippi to a terminal near the refinery. Here it is being offloaded using a self propelled 16-axle transporter, rolling off the barge across a heavy-duty ramp and onto a landing we built up. The river was high and rising today; it's been a challenge to design for offloading with all the changing river conditions we've experienced in the last 2 months (very high levels, fast rises and falls, swift current, major flooding in the area). This brute weighs 1,200,000 pounds empty. It's 31 feet in diameter! My boss asked me if it would float, if we dropped it. I responded that it would float, downstream, along with all our careers! One down, three more to offload. We're still waiting on a permit to begin construction, so for now we will just store these vessels at this terminal.
There you have it, my first blog entry. Only an engineer could love it.