Our Christmas Desert Drive

For Christmas this year we went down to Yuma, Arizona to visit my in-laws.  We had a really great time while we were there.  One day we decided to take the Jeep out into the desert and see what we could find. 

We saw hundreds of RVers boondocking in their pricey rigs.  They even created "yards" to take care of, which consisted of dirt bordered by rocks.

We ended up by Ferguson Lake in California. 

But best of all, we got to chase some wild ass! 

Paper Flowers

These are some really cool flowers I bought while in Mexico. I saw some on a chandelier in a restaurant we ate in and had to bring some home. Now I'm not sure what to do with them! I bought a dozen. Should I put them on my chandelier? On top of the cabinets somehow? Make them into an arragement to hang ove the door? I'm just not sure!

Farewell to Jim...

Wednesday Jim got promoted to Captain.  He asked us to pin him on (military mumbo-jumbo...) because we are "his Utah family".  Immediately after the ceremony he left for New Mexico.  I didn't cry because we will see him for Christmas, but I expect many tears then.  I'm going to miss our adventure buddy so much!!

Anyone want to volunteer to be his replacement?  Job duties include:
Spontaneous vacations
Wakeboarding (Sundays at 7am)
Playing with the dogs
Rockin' out with the band
Being up for anything
Suggesting crazy things to do
Sleeping on our couch at least once per week
Having an excellent sense of humor
Being adopted into both our families

It's a lot to live up to...

Christmas Meme

I am joining Emma over at Not So Usual:

The last time I went caroling - I can't even remember!  I don't generally like to sing (at least where people can hear me).

My favorite Drink in the winter is - Hot chocolate of all kinds, preferably Stephen's: milk, dutch, mint, candycane, hazelnut, it's all good.

My favorite Holiday meal - Classic turkey, ham, roast.  Anything that gives me mashed potatoes and gravy.  And quiche is a requirement for Christmas morning.

I think Fruit Cake - is a mystery.  I've never actually eaten any.

One tradition we had growing up - we got to get out of bed at 6:30 and open our stockings and "Santa gifts" before getting Mom & Dad up at 7:00.

One tradition we have now - Not much - with no kids we bounce around from family gathering to family gathering, without much happening at our own home.

I get my Christmas Tree from - the shelf in the garage.

I decorate - whenever I get around to it.  And sometimes, like this year, hardly at all.

On Christmas Eve I/we usually - hang out with family, stuffing our faces and playing games.  We always get new PJs to open too.

On Christmas morning I/we wake up - whenever we feel like it, unless we have arrangements to be somewhere at a certain time.

One special thing I make at Christmas time is - Pie! Cookies! Quiche!  Mmm....

My Favorite Christmas song is - none of them, really.

Every Christmas - we see family as much as we can, and try to have a family outing of some sort.

I hang my stockings - I used to hang them on the piano, but since I don't have it anymore, I haven't figured out where to put them.

Something I look forward to at Christmas time is - having an excuse to buy lots of stuff, even if it's not for me.

My Favorite Thing about the Holidays - Christmas lights, yummy smelling candles, and getting to wrap presents.

Something I want to start incorporating is - actually sending out Christmas cards.  Sorry to everyone that sends one to us without us reciprocating...

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

My birthday was a week ago, but I didn't have a birthday dinner until Sunday, and I didn't think a few more days would matter.

My mom made dinner (which was delicious) and my sister made dessert (which was scrumptious).   Thanks guys!


Sunday we went snowboarding for the first time this season. It was awesome! We went up to Brighton for the first time. It snowed a ton while we were there, and it was all light, fluffy powder. I’d never gotten to board in powder before. It was very different. Better because I didn’t catch edges and fall, and it was softer if you did fall, but worse because it made you much more tired. I think that wakeboarding so much this summer really helped my control. Hopefully I can keep getting better with more practice, as long as I can afford the lift tickets!

Christmas Decorations

We are going to visit Pat's parents in Yuma, Arizona for Christmas this year.  Since we won't even be home, I didn't really feel like dragging out all the Christmas decorations.  I usually add a little bit to our decor every year anyway, so I decided I would decorate the front door this year and call it good.

I got a couple of pre-decorated garlands and a wreath from Tai Pan, and some red & white LED lights from Target.  The lights will match the big lights we usually put up on the house.

Family Outing (Or Ining, As the Case May Be)

After we finished our Citizen's Academy class, my dad decided that we needed to get together more often because we didn't get to see each other often enough.  Since Monday nights were obviously free, we decided to meet one or two Monday nights every month for a family activity.  We started last Monday with a planned outing to This Is the Place State Park to see their Christmas displays.  However, the day arrived and was just too cold and windy to justify standing outside all night.

We decided to still meet at my parents and go out to dinner, then afterwards we went to Target and bought some premade gingerbread house kits.  We took them backto my parents and had a blast decorating them, and dropping candy pieces all over my mom's kitchen floor. 

They turned out pretty cute!

My parents' is on the left, my sister and brother-in-law's is in the middle, and ours is on the right.

Apparently it's my turn to plan the next outing - first Monday in January.  Any ideas?

Jezebel's New Look

Jezebel is what we named the Jeep.  Don't ask me why we name our cars, we just do.  (There's Beast the Landcruiser, and Lola the Mustang.  The truck doesn't have a name yet - we just haven't come up with a good one.)

Anyway, Jezebel got a little makeover after we got home from Moab:

Hopefully we'll be able to keep adding to the list everytime we go down.

The Storm

Living in South Weber usually isn't too bad.  Sure, the trees grow a little sideways, but all in all it's a great place to live.  The wind blows a little every morning, but generally only when we're on our way to work.  It doesn't hamper our lifestyle at all. 

That changes when a storm blows in.  For the last day we have had strong gusty winds blowing all day and night.  It snowed, but the snow won't stay in one spot.  It gets blown across the otherwise plowed roads, making driving hazardous.  It also manages to sneak its way under our closed garage door and under my poor Mustang. 

Here's a picture of the mini snow bank inside the garage.  It was stepped on a little before I could get the picture.  There's a matching one on the opposite side of the Mustang.

Moab Scenery

Wheeling may have been the reason we were in Moab, but that didn't stop us from enjoying some of the most beautiful country anywhere.

Moab Day 3

We hooked back up with the group for our last day in town to run Hell's Revenge.

Pat only tried to give me a heart attack once - on Hell's Gate.  I finally had to take a walk and not watch what was going on.  They decided to hook up to a winch just in case he started tipping.

We had a really fun time wheeling, but next time we go I think we'll run some easier trails - not just the crazy ones.  I need some time to build up my nervous system.

Moab Day 2

Since the first day with our group was so frustrating, we ditched them the second day in favor of letting Pat's uncle Brent, and cousin Nate show us around.  We drove three trails: Poison Spider Mesa, Golden Spike, and Gold Bar Rim.  We were on the trail for a good 7 hours.

Moab Day 1

Drove 5 hours to get to Moab.  Stopped before we hit town to find the first trail of the weekend.  Only problem?  Trail can't be found.  End up driving in circles and wasting time with endless banter.  Did see a few cool things though.

Tusher Tunnel:

We finally headed into town.  We were staying with Pat's aunt & uncle, who live there.  The dogs all met each other and Damage and Max were so alike it was scary.  They had a bit of a bromance going on.

Moab Adventure

After running around in circles yesterday, we had some great fun today. We ran 3 trails today with Pat's uncle and cousin: Poison Spider, Golden Spike, and Gold Bar Rim. Tons of fun and awesome Jeeping! Will post pics when we get home.

Citizen's Academy

Riverdale residents learn policework

By Jessica Miller (Standard-Examiner staff)

RIVERDALE -- Gunshots ring out from a vehicle surrounded by police cars.

"Put your hands in the air!" one officer yells at an armed man.

"Put the gun down!" another officer shouts out.

"We will shoot you!" yells another.

Tensions run high, but luckily for the officers -- and the man driving the car -- none of it is real. The "officers" are Riverdale residents dressed in plain clothes, and most of the guns are just fingers held in a shooting position.

They are part of the Riverdale Citizens Police Academy, a 10-week course that teaches residents the whats and whys of police work.

"It's good to educate citizens on what we do and why we do things," said Lt. James Ebert, who organized the classes. "The 'why' is the most important thing, so they have an understanding for the purpose and the reason."

The weekly class started off with a bang -- literally. After the first week of orientation, participants got a taste of what the SWAT team does and the equipment they use. They saw the SWAT team in action, shooting targets and throwing flash bombs in a mock-home raid. Then, participants were able to shoot a handgun and a machine gun at targets.

A week later, participants got to drive a police car, talk on the police radio and pull over people who volunteered to commit "traffic offenses" in the parking lot behind the police station.

For Earlene Lee, from Mountain Green, this was her favorite activity in the police academy.

"I really liked driving the car and pulling people over," she said.

The challenge of the activity was the students never knew what they were going to get. One volunteer may be compliant, but another may have a gun hidden in the vehicle, ready to shoot anyone who gets in the way.

The real officers taught tactics to use to successfully handle any situation that may come up during a traffic stop. They learned to be quick, to be loud and yell at the offender, and always watch the offender's hands.

"It's distraction," Ebert said. "It takes people off guard. Those are the tactics that law enforcement uses, and when people understand that, it helps them to better understand what we're doing and why we're doing it."

Ebert said all 19 officers from the Riverdale police department are used during the training, whether they teach or help make the practical exercises run smoothly. He said that while the academy is helpful for people to understand what officers do, it is also beneficial for the officers to be involved in such a program.

"It gets officers in contact with citizens that like them, that want to understand what they are doing," he said. "It helps them stay balanced, and that balance is really critical to law enforcement. Not only do we try to educate and train and help the citizens understand, it's also really good for our officers to be in contact with people who are interested in what they are doing and are positive."

The academy was open to Riverdale residents, but Ebert said they also allowed people from neighboring cities to participate. The department had twice as many people sign up as they expected. Nearly 50 people registered for class, and while all were accepted this year, Ebert said they will put a cap on future enrollment.

Ebert said the most difficult part about planning the academy is managing all of the people involved.

"Managing it and putting it together is always a task," he said. "But we are lucky because we have so many resources through other departments and other agents that will just come in and help us. We are really lucky."

Several departments, including the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, Crime Scene Investigations and the Weber County Jail, played a part in making the academy happen by helping to teach about their areas of law enforcement.

The cost of the program comes out of the training budget, Ebert said. He said the biggest cost for the academy is the T-shirts provided to participants, and the overtime paid to officers.

"There is a cost associated," he said. "But we provide a service, a very large service. It's not just enforcing laws. One of those services is education."

Many of the citizens said their experience was worth it, and they would recommend it to others contemplating attending a citizen police academy.

Lee, who works for the Riverdale Justice Court, said she joined the academy to get a better understanding of what police do so she could explain it to those who come through the court system.

"When people come through the court, they are always complaining about the officers," she said. "I can explain it to people and give them an understanding."

Chad Buckler, from Riverdale, enjoyed his experience.

"I joined because I thought it would be interesting to find out what police do," he said. "I've learned a lot."

Charlotte Christensen, from South Weber, said she joined the academy because the police chief was a former neighbor of hers. She also said she learned a lot from the academy and what police do on a day-to-day basis.

"It's starting to ruin movies and TV," she said.

Students will graduate from the police academy Monday after a mock trial at the Riverdale Justice Court.

Oh, Happy Day!

Madeline (the cat that lost 6 teeth in her dental surgery) ate hard food today! That means I get to save $30-$40 per month on wet cat food, I don't have to worry about feeding her twice per day, and I don't have to pay the neighbor kids to feed her when we leave for a long weekend.

I don't think I realized how irritating all that stuff was until now. Maybe the $400+ surgery will pay for itself.  Hooray!

Another Vet Visit...

Zoe recently had to go to the vet again - this time for an ear infection.  The poor thing just can't catch a break, and neither can my wallet.  Hopefully she'll be back to 100% soon...