Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christmas in July

Last weekend Olivia and I went to the Pioneer Day Commemoration concert with the Tabernacle Choir. It's my mom's last year in the Choir, so we were excited to go and hear her sing. I'm sure I'll offend some fans here, but I was less than thrilled about the special guests--the Osmond Family. Don't get me wrong... I have nothing really against them, it's just that I'm not a groupie like most of the people that were there that night. I think I just missed the Osmond craze when I was growing up and never really caught on. There is something to be said for swirling disco lights against the pipe organs though, I'll give them that. And Olivia said, "Mom, this isn't a Choir concert, they are rock stars!" When one of the Osmonds asked if we remembered seeing them on the "Andy Williams Show" Olivia came back with , "No, I saw them on Oprah!" You can see what generation SHE is from. I swear, there were about seven standing ovations--by the last few I just stayed in my seat, defying all those Osmond-lovers around me who were flicking tears as they realized they were in the presence of their heroes.

The concert reminded me of Christmas 1996 while I was in the MTC. All of our leaders kept telling us about a great surprise they had for us on Christmas Eve. They were keeping it all hush-hush and I was convinced (hoped) that the Prophet (or at least a member of the First Presidency or the Twelve) was going to come and speak to us. I was very excited at the prospects and looked forward to being spiritually uplifted on such a special day. As we walked into the big auditorium, we saw a set of studio microphones set up instead of a pulpit. I turned to my zone and said, "Just watch, I'll bet the Osmonds are here."
Sure enough, Donny and Marie and the "Osmonds: Second Generation" came to entertain us, complete with Santa Claus. Really? You can't see it from the picture, but Marie's skirt had a slit in it that was so high... and she was flirting with the Elders (who were all sickeningly love-struck) and even sat on the MTC President's lap. Not at all appropriate (not at all judgmental, am I?). To say I was disappointed would be a major understatement. Since then, I haven't been able to think of or talk about the Osmonds without feeling a little bit ripped off.After the concert the MTC gave us a Christmas present--a very generous group had donated thousands of silk ties, and since they ONLY had ties, they gave one to the sisters too. We thought we were so clever actually wearing the ties (there isn't a rule against that in the Missionary Handbook is there?). In the picture are my comp Hermana McLaughlin, Hermana Jenks, me (not sure what the look on my face is), and Hermana Angle.
This last photo is purely so you can see what a dork I am--why is it that I thought GQ poses were so funny back then? And the quality of the photo is amazing, no?

**Are you an Osmond-lover?
**Don't you wish you got a cool tie too?

Notes of Love

Olivia is so good at writing notes--a few months ago she made this cute note on a straw for me when I wasn't feeling good and brought it on a tray with some food.
Coleman was sick last weekend and Liv was a very good care-taker. When he said he was feeling better she got a panic-stricken look on her face and said "Oh no! He can't be better yet... I haven't finished my get-well note for him yet!" I thought her note was very sweet, and her actions even sweeter.
The note for today cracked me up though... "Dear mom, Thank you for being a great mom And pleas stop dad's snoring. Love Olivia". I glanced at it right before family prayers this morning and I couldn't stop laughing.

**Do you get cute notes from little ones?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brotherly Love

My brother Matt complained to me the other day that I don't share the blog love with my brothers nearly as much as I do with my sisters, so I promised him a whole post, dedicated just to them. I'm on the older end of the family (2nd of the 8, 3rd of the 12) and they are on the younger end (6th and 8th of the 8, 9th and 12th of the 12--I think?) so there were many years that we didn't have a whole lot in common. Now that we are all adults (and even act like adults much of the time) they are great friends and people I respect and admire a lot. And I like talking on the phone with them too.

Me with Matt and his cute baby Samuel. Samuel has the cutest grin and always seems happy. I wish they didn't live in Connecticut, but they love it there and are doing very well for themselves, so I'll have to settle for a few visits a year.

He graduated from Fordham University in New York and now is the President of Blue Streak, a sports training facility with three locations in the greater New York area. Read his bio, it's pretty impressive. He has always said that with his looks and my brains we could do anything. Unfortunately, my brains are turning to mush, so I'm not sure how far we'd get at this point, but he's well on his way to great things.

There was a time that Matt wasn't on the right path (in my wise judgment). After I got home from my mission I took him to lunch at Italian Village (best pizza benders ever) and had a charla franca (frank discussion) with him and told him to get his butt in gear and do what he needed to do to clean up and get ready for a mission. He did it. I am sure I can't take credit for all his successes, but I'd like to take some :).

And there was the time that I was on my way to Paris three years ago and I was going to stay at his house for one night and he didn't answer any of his phones or his door so I was stuck on the street in Manhattan in the middle of the night with all of my luggage and a wad of cash (all in Euros) and finally his 'neighbors' offered to take care of me. But that was an honest mistake... and when he realized at 4 in the morning that I wasn't there, he did everything he could to rescue me, even though I had already made myself at home in Ryan's company's New York office meditation room for the night after Ryan's sweet co-worker footed the bill for a cab for me. I keep telling him he's forgiven, but then again I also keep reminding him and everyone else about it, so it's obviously not forgotten yet. You have to admit, it's a great story, and it's a great opener to the adventure that I had getting to and from Paris. That's another post for another day.

Maybe Matt will regret complaining about my lack of blogging about them...

I can't forget that Matt also plays a mean game of "Pit". He gets very territorial and tries to get in on some inside trading and then gets physical just so that he can win. And when I win (because I always win, except when I don't) he doesn't take it too well. He's still fun to play with.

Really though, Matt's a great guy and has always put his heart into the things that are important to him--football, wrestling, rugby, the gospel (he was a great missionary in Australia), his work, and especially now with his cute wife Ashley and their baby Samuel. I am really proud of Matt--and admittedly a little jealous of some of the great opportunities he's had... but he's made the most of them and I know he'll continue to do well in life. I love Matt!

Here's a picture of David and me--he's the baby of the family but he isn't a baby anymore. He also was a star in football and rugby and he has always done what's right. I don't think there is a mean bone in his body, nor any disposition to do evil. My mom always says he was the blessing that got her through the very hard years because he was so sweet to her (and everyone else).

He served his mission in Argentina and although my Spanish isn't great anymore, we still like to hablar espanol. He got married last February to a girl who is beautiful inside and out (Katty, who is Chilena, yay!). He met her when he was selling fiber optic phone systems door to door and started talking to her father--they ended up buying from David, but their phones never did work. They love him anyway.

Last year he began his career as a movie star in "Forever Strong" which is opening 9/26/08 (go see it!). He now attends college and works hard selling food storage--he's great at it because he's honest and charismatic and really believes in the product. He's the favorite uncle and is always good for a piggy back ride or a game of "Hide and Go Boo".

David and Katty live close by so we get to see them pretty often, which is great. I love David!

I'm so glad to have great brothers. They are good examples to Olivia and Coleman and they are an important part of our family, even if they don't get the blog love as much as the sisters do. I love you Matt and Dave!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jackson Hole and Yellowstone with the Fam

What do you get when you mix two parents, two grandparents, eleven siblings (we missed you Megan!) from Utah, Idaho, Connecticut, Arkansas, Georgia, California, and Nevada, their spouses (we missed you Tori!), and children (including 3 babies under one and two toddlers under two--we missed you Eva!) in the Grand Tetons National Park with 3 campers/RVs, 8+ tents, 2 cabins, and a gazillion mosquitoes? You guessed it... it's either a recipe for disaster or a good time waiting to happen. We had a little of both on our recent family reunion at Colter Bay, Wyoming just north of Jackson Hole and just south of Yellowstone.

Let me preface this by saying that I really don't love camping. I used to glory in "roughing it" and thought I was pretty impressive putting up my dome tent and sporting a bandana'd hair do. Now, I really just don't like to be dirty, I don't like sleeping in a tent or putting on 15 layers so I don't freeze (then sweat to death some nights and STILL freeze other nights), I hate mosquitoes (and find myself swearing at them often) and the smell of repellent, I hate having dirty boogers for days on end, I don't like to cook while camping, I hate doing dishes while camping, I hate my allergies while I'm camping, and it's just way too much work. Now that I've gotten that off my chest... it was very fun to see everyone and be in such beautiful surroundings. And I was grateful we had flush toilets in our campsite. And Ryan loves it. And the kids love it (Olivia said today "I just wish we could stay at that campsite forever!"), and there were some good times. Just don't expect me to go camping again anytime soon.

I'm not sure if you can see in this picture, but Olivia got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I think they were all resistant to DEET and any other repellent we tried to use. The bite on her forehead looked like a goose egg. I told her once that she has sweet blood, because she always seems to get more bites than anyone else. She ran with that idea and said some funny things this trip...

"The mosquitoes had their breakfast, lunch, AND dinner on me."

"Why do I have to have such sweet blood? I wish I had yucky blood like the rest of you."

"They are sure going to miss me when I leave."

And the bites got so numerous that she lost count at 34 or so. For some of them she even surmised what kind of mosquitoes bit her according to the size of the bite ("that was the mama, and these two were her babies").

Mike is always the happiest when he's around his kids--Jake, Cheristy, Mike, Stephanie, and Clint.

This picture is of my sister Heather and me just before we got on the ferry to cross Jenny Lake. She lives in San Diego with my Dad and it was so fun to have her here. She's so kind and positive about everything, we all just love being around her.

My mom LOVES camping and she LOVES her family and she LOVES everything about the Tetons and Yellowstone. She made packets for the kids to check off wildlife and trees and landmarks. She planned meals for everyone and assigned cooking and clean up crews. She even gave us all matching Yellowstone t-shirts and Jackson Hole jackets for Christmas. She put a ton of work into planning this trip and was unfortunately stressed out a lot of the time (maybe that's where I get it from?)... but here she is happy and relaxed riding on the ferry across Jenny Lake.

This is the group of us that hiked up to Hidden Falls . Ryan and Dave (my brother-in-law who also dabbles in photography) were on a ledge a ways away and they both kept telling us to do different things... move this way or that way or spread apart or squish together... it was pretty funny, but one of them managed to get a decent photo of us all.

Our little family in front of Hidden Falls (take # 569).

Ryan doing his photography thing with his tripod that weighs a hefty 8 or 10 lbs. It might not sound like much, but lugging it up the mountain was a chore. I was glad it wasn't MY chore.

Liv's a great hiker. She went with Ry all the way to Inspiration Point while Coleman and I chilled on a ledge below watching the chipmunks who had the audacity to come up to us and beg for food. A few of them even tried to crawl on us. Coleman kept telling everyone within earshot, "You better not touch them, they are WILD chipmunks you know. And don't feed them either. They are wild!"

Coleman and I looking out over Jenny Lake with the chipmunks.

This tree warranted a pull-off to the side of the road--you know, the kind that really messes everyone else up in National Parks because they all think there must be some great animal to see so they pull off too and cause a major traffic jam--this time, just a really cool tree.

Ryan and Dave got really close to a couple of adolescent black bears (even though they are brown, they are black. Got it?) on one of his early morning photo shoots. The ranger let them get closer than they "should have". The rest of us didn't get to see any bears, but we sure got the message to keep our food and toiletries and everything else locked up so that they bears wouldn't visit us in our camp.

This was a beautiful shot that Ryan got early in the morning. Everything was pretty hazy because of the California fires, but I still think this was a great photo.

This is my favorite photo that Ryan got while we were there--it's a barn from Mormon Row in the early morning. During our closing slide show that Ryan put together one of my brothers-in-law said that he saw that same shot in a gallery in Jackson. I do believe a large print of this photo will be hung somewhere in our home (HINT to Ryan!!!).

Some of the more adventurous of the group went down the Snake River in a raft--Ryan is in the hat in the front of the boat. For some reason I don't have much of an adventurous spirit after having babies, because I chose to stay behind with the kids and babies and do a little shopping in Jackson. It's been a really long time since I've been there... I was looking forward to some Outlet Store shopping, but apparently they've all closed down because the people that shop in Jackson are rich enough to afford regular priced merchandise. Buggers. We wanted to try some of the local fare and went to a bakery and milkshake stand and got ripped off (exorbitant prices that they didn't even have the decency to list) and the food wasn't that great either. I wasn't impressed.

One night my mom gave camping awards to everyone around the fire. Ryan got the "Best Photographer", Coleman was the "Most Cheerful" (obviously not my award!), Liv got "Most creative in the car" (that girl comes up with some crazy spin-offs of "I Spy" and "I'm Thinking Of"), and my award: "Best Cleaner-Upper". You can feel my love for camping, can't you??? Apparently they all felt it too.

This picture was so funny--they all looked like characters out of Lord of the Flies. Maybe if we had given them a little more freedom they could have run the camp better than we did! Chaim (Cheristy's youngest), Evan (Erin's middle son), Andrew (Lauren's youngest son, middle kid), Tayden (Erin's oldest son), and my Coleman.

Me with baby Grace. She was the youngest camper (although she got to stay in a cabin with her mama). I am quite sure she wasn't at all interested in being with me.

Coleman was SO dirty and he loved it. He'd pick up dirt and rocks just to get more dirt on him. Here he is enjoying the classic camping food--a s'more--that my mom kept calling "Some Mores" and even wrote them that way on the menus she typed and distributed to us.... none of us had the heart to tell her how it really is. Since she doesn't read this blog... maybe one of her sisters that DOES read it could break the news to her gently???

We drove into Yellowstone one day and this flyer cracked us up. We pictured bears, elk, and bison (or is it buffalo?) meeting in some grove of trees to get their next fix. It is true though, speed kills. Don't do it.

The other side of the flyer was just as funny with the drawing of the tourist getting gored by a buffalo (bison?). I'm sure it wouldn't be funny if it really happened, but the drawing made us laugh. A lot.

We arrived at Old Faithful just AFTER it erupted. Yes, we walked toward it and saw a mass exodus of people walking away from it. We made our lunch and ate while we waited for the next go around.

Coleman and me just after Old Faithful erupted. He had a great view!

All of my sisters were able to come except for Megan (who we missed!). Lindsey (and Jonah), me, Heather, Erin, and Lauren (and Claire). I wish we all lived in the same state so we could hang out together more often.

Lauren and Claire and me... you can tell by the force with which she is leaning away from me that Claire doesn't remember the love we shared the week I went and stayed with them. I was hoping that by the end of the trip she'd give me a little love, but there was none to be had.

Me with Jake (who lives in Arkansas--his wife Tori and his daughter Eva couldn't come) and Cheristy (who now lives in Georgia and came with her family).

Me and Jonah (Lindsey's baby). We hung out together while Lindsey and Chad went on the Snake River. He gets to hang out with me at our house every once in awhile too... he's a very happy and mellow baby and very easy to be with--he makes me happy to be his aunt.

The whole group just after Old Faithful erupted. What erupted next was a big, huge family fight. People wanted to go every which way and we didn't have enough cars to take everyone where they wanted to go--so it resulted in a big shouting match for all to enjoy.

The funniest part of it all was that one of my siblings swears he saw a Korean family close by shouting at each other in Korean. Fighting truly is the universal language!

We finally worked things out so that those who wanted to head back to camp could and the few that wanted to do the marathon Yellowstone tour could do that. Our last stop was at Geyser Basin where they have all the hot pots. Coleman was so fascinated and would have stayed there all day. He kept saying "This is the best day of my whole life" and "Come on Mom! Let's go up there and see some more AWESOME!" and "Oh, I just really wish I could touch it, just once."

All in all, it was a fun trip, but I must reiterate my point, camping is NOT a vacation. It is a lot of hard work! Vacation is something you go on to relax and you come home with a tan and have read a few good books and have not a care in the world--but here I am, two days later, still doing laundry and putting stuff away and itching my mosquito bites and scraping dirt out from under my kids' nails and wondering how I got roped into tenting it.

**Do you like camping (honestly?!?)?
**Do you like "Some Mores" too?
**Do you go on trips with your family? Do they cause you as much stress as they do for me?
**Have you ever gotten into a family fight in a public place?
**Where should I go for a REAL vacation?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

This looked like a fun little activity that I've seen on a few blogs...

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

On Being Nice...

I just enjoyed a quick little read by Eleanor Estes called The Hundred Dresses after it was recommended by my friend Sally. It was such a good reminder to me to be nice to and about people around me. It's a children's book written in 1944 and is about bullying and understanding and compassion. Wanda is a girl who has a different last name and doesn't have much money but really wants to fit in, so she tells all the girls she has a hundred dresses, even though she wears the same faded blue dress every day. The popular girls of course don't believe her and make it a point to have "fun" with her and tease her mercilessly. One girl, Maddie, really wants to stop teasing her and wants to stick up for her, but she can't bring herself to do it, because she might become the target of the bullying. Maddie realizes that some of the girls weren't aware that they were being cruel, yet she (Maddie) was aware of it and still failed to correct it, so she was more to blame. The story comes full circle where the mean girls come to understand Wanda's talents and capacity to love and they feel badly being cruel to her, but it's not until after Wanda is gone and they can't do anything about it.

Reading this book has me thinking a lot about how I treat others and also the way that I think of and talk about others. I want to believe that I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but I fall short so often. I fall into the trap of being judgmental, jealous, petty, and sometimes I just say things to be funny, even when I know they aren't nice. I wonder if I ever got over the whole high school game of trying to be better than others? Other times I might not even be aware that what I say or think can hurt others feelings and often stick my foot in my mouth and then it's just out there, without being able to be retracted. It reminds me of the example of squeezing toothpaste out of a tube--our words come out so very easily, but once they are out, they are a big mess and can't be put back in.

Why can't I just be kind? This is my public pledge to be more conscious of my thoughts and words regarding others and to be better. Thanks for the great recommendation, Sal.

**Have you heard of or read this great book?
**What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

100 Things I LOVE...

This is my 100th blog post! I thought it would be fun (at least for my own personal record) to list 100 things that I love. After reading some of my previous posts, you'll know that many of those things will be food related. I'll probably do a lot of plugs for various restaurants and TV shows too :).I'll start off with a new favorite, a great homemade ice cream recipe that came about by combining a few recipes that I couldn't decide between, and the result was amazing! It was so flavorful and creamy and had a really rich pink color with the right amount of frozen bits of berry. This recipe takes a little extra work, but it's worth it! This is for a 4 quart ice cream maker.

4 cups half & half
2 cups whipping cream
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 (24 oz.) container plain yogurt (I like Activa by Dannon because it's so smooth and creamy)
4 (6 oz.) containers fresh raspberries
1 (12 oz.) package frozen red raspberries

In a large bowl, mix half & half, cream, sugar, and vanilla with a wire whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Rinse the fresh raspberries and put in the blender with 1 cup of the cream mixture. Blend for 1 minute or until the raspberries are pulverized. Pour the raspberry mixture through a fine sieve with a bowl underneath to remove the raspberry seeds (be patient, it will be very thick and might need some stirring to get it through, but you'll be so glad to get rid of all those nasty seeds). Stir the raspberry juice/cream in with the remaining cream and add the yogurt. Stir in the frozen raspberries and pour the entire mixture into the ice cream maker tub. Follow your ice cream maker's directions for layering rock salt and ice and churn until it's thick and creamy.

Now... on to my favorite things... in no particular order at all:

  1. Above mentioned homemade raspberry ice cream
  2. Being married to Ryan
  3. Being the mother of Liv and Cole
  4. Coleman's goofy sense of humor
  5. Olivia's sensitive and kind nature
  6. Ryan's smile and the knowing looks we share
  7. Spending time with family
  8. New clothes and shoes
  9. Frozen York peppermint patties and Junior Mints
  10. Going to lunch with Grandma Cole
  11. Frozen Thin Mints (Girl Scout Cookies)
  12. Grandma Wirthlin's caramel apples in the fall
  13. Going to the cabin in Midway and pushing kids on the swing there
  14. Fresh flowers
  15. Newly painted rooms
  16. Clearance rack at Old Navy
  17. H&M
  18. Great Harvest oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
  19. Wheat bread, hot out of the oven (homemade raspberry jam is a bonus!)
  20. Cinnamon and sugar toast
  21. Book Club
  22. Long, hot baths
  23. Showers (baby showers, bridal showers) and parties
  24. Cafe Rio pork salad with black beans, hold the cilantro and pico de gallo
  25. Lemonade (the real stuff, not from the powder)
  26. San Diego Wild Animal Park
  27. The beach
  28. Having a tan (I know it's very unhealthy, so I've been trying so hard to be good about sunscreen, but I just feel better when I have some color)
  29. Pedicures
  30. Foot Rubs (Ryan gives the best)
  31. Flip flops
  32. Clearance at Target (clothes, home decor, household goods, etc)
  33. Roberts' 40% off coupon
  34. My paper cutter
  35. My new tape gun (makes paper crafting a breeze)
  36. Reading blogs--of people I know and don't know
  37. My laptop (when it doesn't crash/freeze, which isn't nearly as often since Ryan has rebuilt it four times!)
  38. Gift certificates (I said in a previous post that I don't like to give them as gifts, but I LOVE to receive them!)
  39. Date night
  40. The Temple
  41. The Book of Mormon
  42. The feeling after teaching a great Relief Society lesson
  43. Costco
  44. General Conference
  45. Ryan's Frozen Berry Lemonades
  46. Sour peaches and sour apples
  47. Sincere smiles and compliments (from me and for me)
  48. Being in Primary
  49. Cheese empanadas and completos (hot dogs with diced tomatoes and avocadoes) both Chilean specialties
  50. Good friends
  51. Fox TV: Arrested Development, House MD, So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, 24
  52. NBC TV: The Office, Medium, Heroes
  53. Music videos
  54. Sting
  55. U2
  56. Dark Chocolate--Haagen Daaz bars and Dove chocolates (especially their little messages, like one that I got said "Chocolate, the gift that loves you back")
  57. Meltaway cookies
  58. Caramel popcorn
  59. Japanese Pan Noodles from Noodles & Co.
  60. Honey Seared Chicken from Pei Wei or PF Changs
  61. Handmade cards
  62. Photos (especially pics of my kids and pics taken by Ryan)
  63. Home decor
  64. Real Simple magazine
  65. A good book--the kind that makes me want to put of everything else so I can find out what happens
  66. Hand me downs and great yard sale finds
  67. Comfortable shoes
  68. Travel
  69. Hot chocolate (I love my Cocoa-Latte machine!)
  70. Bear Lake with Ryan's family
  71. Talking on the phone with my sisters and friends
  72. Tickling, giving zerbits (sp?) to the kids, and dog piles with Liv and Cole
  73. Creating something new or improving something old
  74. Chocolate dipped strawberries or pretzels
  75. Disneyland
  76. Christmas cards
  77. The smell of clean kids
  78. Girls Nights Out
  79. Making a "To Do" list
  80. Crossing things off of my "To Do" list
  81. Email
  82. Grilled pineapple
  83. A great new hairstyle (right now, I'm in desperate need of one.. .any suggestions?)
  84. ABC TV: Lost, Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Ugly Betty
  85. USA TV: 4400, The Closer, Psych
  86. Soft-serve chocolate ice cream
  87. A clean house (I have yet to achieve it, but when I do, I'm sure I'll love it!)
  88. Outlet stores
  89. Exercising (at least when I'm finished with it)
  90. Being right
  91. Cookie dough and cake batter and brownie batter (even though it's bad to eat because of salmonella... I don't usually let my kids eat it, but I can't get enough)
  92. Key Lime Pie (Mike's Pies in Tampa, FL or Costco for something a little closer to home)
  93. Paris with my dad and sisters
  94. Drixoral (how I miss this never-fail allergy med that is no longer being made/sold in the US.. I have yet to find a suitable replacement)
  95. Good mail
  96. Thunderstorms and the smell of rain
  97. Family Gatherings at Granddad's, especially after General Conference
  98. Having everything in it's place (and having a place for everything... still a work in progress)
  99. Battlestar Galactica (new series on SciFi channel)
  100. Blogging! Even if it doesn't enrich YOUR life, I am glad to have a record of the things that are happening in my life. I recently read in a news magazine that many psychiatrists recommend blogging to their patients as a way to cope with life. It's especially effective because you have a built in audience and it can be anonymous (I threw anonymity out the door with the creation of this blog, though). So if you made it this far, thanks for being my audience.
**Do we share any favorite things?
**Do you agree that I love a ridiculous amount of TV and treats?
**Do you think blogging is therapeutic?

Good Friends

It's been so fun to have good friends and family visit this week. I took Olivia, Madison and Amanda (with their American Girls Kit, Julie, and Kit) with our friends Jill and her daughter Addie to see the new "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl" movie at Thanksgiving Point. We went on the day after it opened, so I thought we'd have to buy tickets beforehand. Thanksgiving Point has reserved seating, so I reserved our seats and had to chuckle to myself because there were only 2 other small families there, so we could have picked any seats in the theater. The girls loved the movie and Jill and I thought it was pretty cute too. There were some pretty big names associated with the show--Julia Roberts produced it with her sister, and the cast included some of my favorites: Abigail Breslin as Kit, Chris O'Donnell as her father, Julia Ormond as her mother, and a supporting cast that included Stanley Tucci and Joan Cusack, who stole a few scenes all by herself. It was a fun girls' outing made even better by getting lunch at the Thanksgiving Point deli before the show. Below are the girls in front of the water tower. Madison, Amanda, Olivia, and Addie at the Deli. They ALL ordered chicken nuggets and fries.
My favorite thing at the Thanksgiving Point deli (besides the whole entire dessert case) is the Tuscan Chicken salad. It has grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, pine nuts, and a yummy pesto dressing. I get it every time I'm there (and make sure to snag some of the kid's fries, because they are really good too!).
On July 4th we were lucky to have our friends the Zollingers come over for lunch on their way to a family reunion in AF Canyon. They have lived in Tennessee for several years, so it was great to get together. McKenna (back), Olivia, Coleman, and Rebecca had lots of fun on the trampoline and playing in the water.
Jill Z. and I were roommates at USU for three years--she was great to live with and has continued to be a dear friend, even though we only see each other once every couple of years. Jill has been quilting for years and is amazingly talented. She started a business about a year ago doing long-arm quilting out of her home and does amazing work. Visit her website at www.sew-southern.com.
One of the things I'm grateful for most in life is good friends. My friend Kristy said it best on her blog when she said "Old, new, here, there, all my friends are gold to me!" I love getting to spend time with old friends because I am reminded why I liked them so much in the first place!

Coleman's Quips:

"Choo-Choo Bobs or Shishkamabobs" (both are used interchangeably for shishkabobs)
"Drastic Park 3" (Jurassic Park 3)
"Fashion Donuts" (you know, the kind with the sprinkles)
"Basil Donuts" (Glazed donuts)
"I found a hooker!" (as we were doing a family puzzle--he was talking about the puzzle piece with the little part that juts out and hooks to the other piece)

**Do you take daughters out for girls' days (or nights)?
**Do you always order your "favorites" when you eat out, or do you try to taste something new?
**Do you keep in touch with old friends?
**Would you die laughing from all the silly things Coleman comes up with?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summertime Fun and Politics

Our cute friends Amanda, Madison, and Brandon are visiting from California. We have LOVED having them here! The other day we invited some other friends (Emily, Sarah, Megan, JD, and Addie) to play in the water...

Sarah, JD, Madison, and Olivia (This picture reminded me of Charlie's Angels)

Amanda and Emily

Megan and Addie

Coleman and Brandon

Madi and Olivia

Tonight Amanda, Madi, and Brandon are "sleeping" over. I put it in quotes because there isn't a whole lot of sleeping going on, even after they've all been in bed for an hour and a half. We don't usually do sleepovers, but we made an exception since their best buds are here from out of town. Fun stuff! Tonight our family scripture study (D&C 98:4-10) was about choosing good and wise people to be our leaders, and I asked the kids what they would do if they were the president. Their responses were kind of funny:

Amanda (10): Take out smoking.

Madison (7): Make everything free.

Coleman (4): Go to Disneyland everyday of the world.

Brandon (5): Make everyone free.

Olivia (7): Make coffee and alcohol illegal.

Our country would be in good hands, no? Looks like we might need to keep this dialogue going!

**What would you do if YOU were president?