July 30, 2015

50 Shades of Blue: A Paint Nite Date Night

I was actually able to surprise Lady Hiva for a date night this week! Usually she figures out what it is that I have planned so I was really excited that I kept it a secret for so long (little did she know that all she had to do was check my email and she would have seen it). I never told her what we were doing and she thought she was SO smart and just KNEW that we were going to see Mary Poppins in Provo (which we need to do sometime). But no, we went to Paint Nite.

Paint Nite is an international company that teams up with local restaurants to provide a night of creativity. All you have to do is look up a place that does it in your area and choose which painting you want to complete. Of course I chose a beach painting for us to do.
This is the painting that we are supposed to make...

When you arrive they give you an apron and a tea towel and you choose a place to sit at a blank canvas. As the night progresses, you eat and drink and the instructor walks you through the painting, color by color. She was going a bit slow for me…imagine that…so I decided to detour away from her instructions and add a some rocks, a lighthouse, and some little yellow flowers to mine.

Proof that we started with nothing...literally a blank canvas

Lady Hiva must have been bored too because she had many different abstract renditions of the painting before she was done. This included a change in colors and even some water splash streaks at some point. We had fun doing something different and enjoyed the people around us at all different artistic levels. Their reactions to painting ranged from “I am sweating making this bird” to “I feel so creative now! It makes me want to become a painter!”

She told me to pretend I was painting...

One of the many versions of Lady's painting

The painting was supposed to be 5 different colors at different areas, but that was not enough for me, so I mixed and mixed and stirred and mixed some more until I had several colors I liked…by the end my palate (paper plate) was a collage of strange colors as if the rainbow had exploded onto it! Lady Hiva’s looked so pristine and orderly. (Perhaps telling of our personalities?)

So if you are looking for a great date idea…here is one (oh and I was able to get 50% off on a Groupon discount so it saves even more!) 

Our finished products with the two people we chatted with all night

July 28, 2015

Pioneer Day the Cowboy Way

This is the first year that I have been back to Utah for the 24th of July. For those of you who don’t know that is when Utah (and all Mormondom) celebrate the establishment of “Deseret” in the West. Deseret has now become several of the Western States and parts of Canada and Mexico. In Utah it is the SECOND big holiday in July…and actually for most places the larger of the two celebrations. Provo does the Fourth of July and Salt Lake and Beaver do the Twenty-fourth.
I say Beaver because for two weeks straight this little town celebrates! The town literally quadruples as thousands of people flock back for reunions and family traditions. We were part of that group this year and arrived to spend a large chunk of the week and weekend joining in on all the ‘country activities.’
We rode four-wheelers, we rode horses, we pet goats, picked apples, ate snow cones (which are VERY different from Hawaiian Shave Ice)  watched fireworks, enjoyed the mountains, saw horse races and of course went to a few rodeos! (busy weekend).
WOW! Uncle Beau-D's Fourwheeler!

Tau’aho loved the parade. For being such a small town the parade boasted of 72 entries! I can see why people were lining up their chairs along Main Street three days in advance. Some of the parade entries had several floats to them so the parade was a few hours long! Talk about intense parade watching. They were throwing candy and it took the Lucky Dragon a few floats to realize why all of the children were so excited, but when he finally caught on I could not keep him sitting down. When he was not grabbing candy (and eating it) he was waving at the people on the floats, who of course were waving to him, and yelling “HELLO!” I had to laugh when he started to make friends with all the people up and down the road who also would give him a piece of candy here and there. He would say, “Thanks! Love you!” and in return he would get a laugh and more candy…smart kid.

Chairs already lined up  the day before the parade

Showing his patriotic side

He needs to wave back if they wave, right?

Dancing with his  new beads on!

The Cache Valley Cheese float (giving away curds)

Lucky Dragon was too impatient to wait for dad to open the candy

Doing the Sugar Rush dance for everyone

 In addition to the children racing for candy, there were plenty of adults who joined in to be sprayed by the fire department or to get cheese curds from the local cheese plant or a new potted flower from the town nursery. I had to laugh when old ladies barely able to keep up with the float were chasing the floats wanting a free flower like a bunch of kids! (I guess whatever keeps you young).
Watching all the 'moms' chase the float for flowers

Still eating...

...still dancing

He wanted to be sprayed so bad, but when all the people started yelling in suprise from the cold water, he changed his mind

After the parade, there was a car show, foot races, bounce houses, and a BBQ lunch on the town park. Tau’aho raced with the two-year olds and at first was MAD I left him with Madre, but when he realized it was a race he quickly dried up the tears and ran to me yelling, “I did it! I diid it!” What  a fun little guy.

Next we went to the horse races and the highlight for me was watching Beau-D and Dallen (my brother and cousin) do what is called a “Chain Saddle Horse Race.” In a Chain Saddle Race, two men and three horses per team race with the same saddle. Each team has to saddle their horse, ride around the track, unsaddle it and put it in the next horse to go around until all three horses have raced. It is not a serious race, but always a crowd pleaser—of course it is extra fun when your team/family wins!

He wanted to wear a hat too, so he found one of my old baseball caps from when I was a kid to wear

"Another picture dad? Seriously?"

Chain Saddle horse Race

Summer would not be complete without a swim and Tau’aho and I went to swim in a cousins pool complete with FREEZING cold water and several drowned grasshoppers! But this little Lucky Dragon did not mind and laughed and swam until his chin was shivering so bad I made him get out (which just made him angry).
Rounding out the weekend were rides in the mountains and rodeos. There are not many aspects of the rodeo that I really can get excited about, but again we gathered as a family to watch Dallen and Beau-D perform. This time in a “Trailer Race.” All the teams have their horses in their trucks and have to jump out, saddle the horse, ride it around the arena (each guy) and unsaddle the horse, put back in the trailer and jump back into the truck. Again the chaos that results is a crowd favorite and we had fun watching them do it two days in a row. They even came away with battle wounds of pulled muscles, dislocated fingers and plenty of bruises…but we had fun watching!

Trailer Race

Beaver Mountains

Filming Trailer Race #2

There is often after traveling the world that it is hard to say what American Culture is, but after being gone so long and coming back to participate in these…a bit odd…events reminded me that there really is a culture and I am glad that even if I don’t always have a truck, wear wranglers, or speak with a drawl, that someone is keeping those experiences alive!
Honoring a special request to be featured on the blog!