Thursday, March 27, 2014

Temple, Zion, stake conference, prom, speaking in stake conference, kabobs, bonfire!

Holy Cow.  We had an adventuresome slur of days!  I would normally blog each of these events separately, but in the interest of history it is now or never for it all! Our stake conference started with a temple session Friday night.  It was our first time to the temple since Emery was born so I was super excited about it.  Manti was gorgeous as always.  And I had just read a book on the temple so I felt especially connected to the legacy of this temple.
The best part of the excursion was Krista!  You know how it's always fun to share something you love with someone that you love.  One day we hope to make it with all others dear to our hearts!
We then drove home, set our alarms, and didn't prepare to leave at 6am the next morning for Zion national park! Funny thing though...neither of alarms went off, and it takes way longer than you could guess getting 5 people in a car.  However, since we did sleep in we were in a mad dash fury to get 5 people into the car so we could get to the finish line of the half marathon in time.  Krista, me, Brooke, Ram, and Emery made it into the Oldsmobile and we even managed to get 4 water bottles, breakfast bags for the kids and enough diapers for the day for Emery.  Unfortunately, two hours later, in the small town of La Verkin, after we had had the most delightful drive down through snow and rain and dark and sunrise Krista looked at me with horror written across her face when it dawned on her that she did not have her wallet.  Then I realized that I did not have mine.  Then I realized that we had no gas in the oldsmobile.  Then the immense laughing attack commenced.  What would we do!  Krista decided we should at least pull over to think, so we pulled into the Davis Market.  Krista's first concern was how we would be able to get into the park, my first concern was how we would be able to get home.  Ram's first concern, upon pulling into the parking lot was this: "I don't want to hike here!" We wandered into the store with the 5 of us in our morning glory (Krista had only brought her cow pants to Monroe, unfortunately I had lent her some shorts for the day) trying to think up solutions.  As a tender mercy of inspiration Krista had memorized her credit card number just the week before.  So with that as our only option we started sweet talking the employees. Could they take a credit card number and enter it in manually? Yes. Could they give us cash back from that? No. Could we buy something with the number and return it for cash? No. But you can buy gas with the number...really! Sweet! We checked the maverick and got turned down, so we went to the gas pump at Davis market. Hallelujiah, they hooked us up! So Krista asked for $40 in gas.  She filled the tank and it stopped at $36.75.  What would happen with the change?  Would it just go back onto the card?  Krista went into check and walked back out wit $3 in cash!  Whaaaa?  Had we known, we could have gotten $80 in gas originally!  So we decided to see if Krista could get some sweet return deal anyway.  In she went, this time the original lady from the store was in there too.  There was much whispering and disagreeing going on when Krista presented her proposal for more moola, but she stood her ground and they were kind beyond kind and we got $35 in cash!  All was resolved nearly as quickly as it broke out. But boy, in that moment between discovery and resolution we had some hearty laughs and serious doubts as to the future success of our adventuring! But onward we did go!  The half marathon was awesome.  It was inspiring and made me remember how i love the running culture. We handed out flyers for Krista's Top of Zion relay (Brooke: Run this race with your friends! Anyone she said that to: Ok! thank you! You are so cute!) We almost had another Krista/CJ moment when we got to the race and were so nervous about passing out fliers that we decided to split up but forgot to mention who would cover which area and where we would meet again.  Luckily we found each other, and Krista only tried to offer the flier to like 3 people we had already gotten to. Eventually it was time to head into the park!!  It was BEAUTIFUL. And Ram, Mr. I don't want to hike in the parking lot, was in the way Krista's eye reflection and nose reflection were on top of one another in the rear view mirror! Haha, I made him look out the window after that and he liked it! We especially like going through the mile long tunnel-through the middle of a rock!!  It was awesome! We checked out Krista's finish line at Clear Creek ranch-which is where my best friend Melissa worked and were she met her husband Thomas (and now they both live in Orderville and know Ellen from Orderville who is Krista's race director.  Small world!) And then we finally got to hike to a water fall at Emerald Pool.  Ram was satisfied and so were the rest of us.  It was beautiful.

By then we were so far behind schedule we just hit up some Taco Bell and hurried home.  Eric and I went to the adult session of stake conference, and Krista was kind enough to babysit. Then I came home a bit early so I could put Emmers to bed and help with the other kids and then Eric and I were off to PROM!!!  This year was extra special because Eric and I got to be the announcers!!!  It was what dreams are made of. It was so fun and I hope we get to do it from now until forever. We drew up a little script for ourselves and read in all of the juniors, like so; CJ-"Kylee Keele, daughter of Ric and Jennifer Keele" Eric-"Escorted by Slate Blackburn, son of Richard and Paige Blackburn" It was so great, and also so fun to announce the prom royalty!  Not to mention we had the best seats in the house for the promenade!  

haha, this is Lexi Viana's hero. They're taking a selfie during the last dip of the dance :)

Here's the rest of the story...remember when we helped Trevor ask Kristen to Prom?  Here's Trevor with his mom during the parents dance.
And here's Kristen!  Cool mask!
Well, after our great announcing it was back to valet parking!!  So fun!  This year it was us, the Bagleys, the Joneses, and the Johnsons.  It was such good company and so fun!  And we made a sweet $10!
We got home near midnight and Eric got ready for priesthood session the next marn at 7am.  Krista left the next morning too.  Then we headed to stake conference at 10.  Eric was in the men's choir.  It was SOOOOOO good.  It was so peaceful and serene to sit and listen to their prelude. They really invited the Spirit to the meeting.  Then Eric got to speak!!  It was such a great talk.  His topic was  how regular and meaningful sacrament meeting attendance hastens the work of salvation.  I love listening to Eric speak or teach, and this was no exception.  I gained so much from his talk, and from the whole experience.  Good job Eric!
Eric is loving his christmas present tat he now finally has.  And we are lovin it to!!  We had some good skewers on Monday!  Look how handsome and manly my husband is!!
Then the Wilsons invited us over to roast some marshmallows on their burn pile.  It was such a perfect spring night.

And that was that. Such a good, rejuvenating, fulfilling, fun, inspiring, wonderful slew of days.  I am so blessed and feel so grateful to my Heavenly Father for all of my blessings, especially my family and the love we have for one another!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Eric's double sweet sixteen!

Eric's Bday (aka St. Patrick's Day) was delightful!  I got 15ft of green butcher paper and I had the children decorate their own huge shamrocks, so at 4am I hung them all around the house for Eric as a surprise!  He was surprised!  I then intended to make him breakfast, but fell asleep on the couch (tired from the 4am sneak!) Ooops!  That's ok, because I brought him some buffalo strips and prawns from Sagebrush at lunch! He had to stay at work until 6 to get some homework done that was due that day, but that gave us time to clean the house and decorate!  He came home to this:
We all got dressed in our St. Paddy's gear (Brooke's shirt is a rainbow, Ram's shirt says St. Patrick's Day, and Emery's says Little good luck charm)

Then we took off for town!  We first went to DI where I showed Eric the choices of epic work-out bikes and we decided on one!  Yes! Then we went to the bowling alley to fill out our NCAA brackets!  YES! Viana even did one this year ("Ok, so this is the state Meemaw lives in and this is the state Disneyworld is in, so chose between those...") Then we played $4 worth of games in the arcade. Yes! Then we picked up Little Ceasar's and headed home! It was getting late so we ate in the car so we could cut to the chase with the presents and the cake! We had trick candles on Eric's cake-he had to blow them out 3 times! It was fun.
Eric wanted a german chocolate cake
 Ram made Eric like 10 cards.  He used some old cards we inherited from Grandma was hilarious because Eric would read each one: "Get well soon, may your days be full of peace and hope that you find yourself feeling better soon." It was awesome.

Batman and Fiji!  Perfect!
Eric also got his Christmas grill last week so we got him some sweet grill accessories. We have grilled 3 times and it is a gooood investment!!  So it was just a lovely, pleasant, day of spoiling for Eric.
AND THEN!!  Lest you forget that it was indeed St. Patrick's Day...Viana was really into Leprachauns this year, she built her very own trap-which she said was just a house because she wanted a friend and not to trap him, and left gold and notes and even little pencil lead with her note so he could write back.  That tricky dude just didn't come to our house.  Tears were shed when there was a sealed envelope and empty trap that morning. All day she kept checking, but no one ever came.  Until we were at the table eatin' cake and there was a knock on the door.  The kids brought back a rainbow pot filled with gold.  REAL GOLD.  $45 in gold one dollar coins!  Holy Cow it was so cool.  Attached was this poem-with each line starting with ROY G BIV: Revealing ourselves cannot be done/Of course, that's what makes this so much fun/You'll never guess who we could be/Gold from us, to you, for free/Being examples of Christ's eternal love/Is why you've recieved a golden gift thereof/Volumes of love for the Carter family/A rainbow of happiness from us to thee!
It was pretty neat and so so kind.  And it was a fun way to end a great birthday for our favorite Daddy!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

We love to see the temple!

So, Eric is graduating!  It is on April 17.  All are invited.  There will  be 26 people graduating.  You read that right 2-6.  So...I think that's the coolest news ever!  Should be short(er) and sweet! It's in Ephraim at the Snow College campus.  His regalia (imagine me saying that with a fancy voice) was going to be ready for pick up Friday, so we thought we'd head over to pick it up!  As it turns out, it wasn't ready yet, but we got to stop by Danielle's apartment and give her an early bday surprise (her and Eric are birthday buddies) and then we took Emery to the temple for the first time!  It was so great!

One of my favorite pictures...EVER.
My other favorite picture-I can't decide which is better

7 hands!

fuzzy, but adorbs

Cropped and zoomed-in is in this pictures future

It was a great evening in which Ram ninja rolled all over the temple grounds.  Boys=DIFFERENT THAN GIRLS!
On the way home we stopped at the feature attraction in Gunnison: Mater and Dusty!  So cool!