Ryan tries so hard to help all of the Scouts and leaders in our ward do their best. The award was well deserved!
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Ryan tries so hard to help all of the Scouts and leaders in our ward do their best. The award was well deserved!
Sunday, October 14, 2012
We got to go to St. George for a quick visit to see my sister Lindsey's new baby Kate. My sister Erin came with us too. Kate is adorable... Lindsey is too... and while we are at it Lindsey's boys Jonah and Jaxton are also. We were hoping to have some sunshine so we could go for a swim, but the weather was rainy and chilly. The kids loved playing with each other and did some fall crafts and watched some movies. Lindsey and Erin and I made yummy food and ate it.
Monday, October 8, 2012
This handsome boy turned nine in September!
We are so grateful to have Coleman as a part of our family... he brings so much happiness to our family!
(Stay tuned for more Phineas and Ferb excitement in the coming months...)
Our focus was to help the sisters know how "Faithful & Fabulous" they truly are... we made cute notebooks out of inexpensive composition books to give to each person so they could jot down a few thoughts. Each person brought their own dinner on Friday night and then we had a wonderful speaker that evening. She talked all about prioritizing and based her talk on one that Susan Tanner gave (first take care of my testimony, next my family, finally my calling). We ate fondue.... in the mountains... and it was wonderful!
Before bed we had a wonderful devotional by Jacque (2nd Counselor) about light and our ability to reflect the light of Christ. Then we departed to our separate cabins (we divided into Later Gators for people that wanted to stay up late, Early Birds for people who wanted to get to bed early, and Monkeys in the Middle for people who just weren't sure... ironically enough the Early Birds stayed up the latest... but got up the earliest. Go figure!) and played games until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore.
Saturday morning we had Kneader's French toast with caramel syrup and strawberries for breakfast, then a devotional by Jessica (1st Counselor), and a little workshop about being fabulous.... not that I am an expert by any means, but we wanted to look at the basics... we are fabulous because we are daughters of God and because we have a desire to do what is right. Our vision gets obscured for so many reasons and we aren't able to see clearly who we are or what our potential is. We had each person do an acrostic poem with the word FABULOUS--they had to write a word or phrase for each letter of the word that described something positive about them. I think a lot of times we can recognize and verbalize positive traits in others, but it is hard to do that about ourselves. Finally we shared some positive affirmations about ourselves... statements that are positive that we know to be true. I loved that so many people contributed to the discussion.
We made a fun, simple little craft (stuffed pumpkins!) and then after some tidying up we walked down to the Challenge Course which included some team building exercises and a crazy-fun swing.
It was such a wonderful time to build relationships with sisters in our ward... I hope we get to do it again!
**What makes YOU fabulous?
Olivia and Coleman were sad they missed it... and insisted that I check them out of school to go with us, but I remained the firm, mean mama and made them stay in school.... we'll make another trip to the zoo another day so they can come too :).
The end of August brought the start of another school year.
The school year is already passing by quickly... and my summary of it so far is "Thank goodness for carpools so I don't have to drive to both schools twice each day!"
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Can 20 years really have passed since I graduated from Cottonwood High School? Indeed they have... in August we celebrated 20 years since our high school graduation.
In many ways I was excited to see old friends and renew acquaintances. In other ways I was dreading feeling the same insecure feelings that I had during high school. When it came down to it though I decided that I needed to face my fears and get over my insecurities. I am so pleased with my life and I feel like I have accomplished great things! Even with that "comfortable in my own skin" feeling, I still wasn't completely sure I wanted to go to the reunion. I knew that if I didn't go I would likely regret it (just like I regretted skipping the dinner for our 10 year reunion) so I decided to suck it up and show up. I was so glad I did!
Our reunion committee planned lots of fun things... on Friday night we had an alumni only night at the school (which to be honest was a little on the weird side to be there) and on Saturday there was a fun family picnic which I dragged my cute family to. Later that night was the fancy soiree at Snowbird. My high school best buddy Kim flew in from the Indiana to be my "date" since we weren't going to force our husbands to come along with us. The printed programs included so many references to pop culture in 1992 and they even included our senior photos on our name tags. We decided that (for the most part) all of the women looked the same or better... most of the men looked pretty good too, but there were a few of us that the years had not been kind to. The program included a slide show of then and now photos, a tribute to those who have passed on, some love shared with a few teachers that attended, prizes for various things (like who had the most kids, who married other '92 CHS graduates, who was the most pregnant, etc.) and a hilarious, remarkably professional video that a few alumni put together (said video can be watched here if you are so inclined: 7 Tips for a Tolerable Reunion).
In the photo above is a picture of me with Lisa, Sara, and Brooke at the picnic (photo on the left)... and a picture of Noelle (who came from out of state), Kim, me, and two of our buddies Dave and Adam. In the group photo you might be able to find me if you enlarge it... my head is just poking out in the upper leftish area right behind the brunette guy in the light blue shirt. The photo booth was fun... the photo strip on the left has me and Kim and our fun (kissing) friend Rebecca... the one on the right is me with Sara and Lisa. I was so sad that I couldn't talk our other closest friends Patrice and Loretta into coming... but I guess everyone had to do what they felt comfortable with. Maybe for our 30 year reunion they will come with us :).
When it was all said and done I think I worried about the dumb thing more than I needed to... it was so fun to see everyone and catch up with people that were so important to me during those formative years. I loved learning that although most of us have gone through hard things in the last 20 years, we are mostly doing okay or better (and that there are really a few crazies in the mix too!).
**Do you attend high school reunions?
**Do you regret going (or not)?
In the afternoon it was time to make our way to the airport in Rhode Island... flying out of Providence was an experience... Chicago was experiencing delays due to a severe thunderstorm (multiple lightning strikes per minute) so we were unable to take off for several hours. Our plan had been to find dinner during our two hour layover in Chicago... but when it became clear that we wouldn't have two hours (if we were able to catch our connecting flight at all). The airport is small enough that the few restaurants they had closed early and we had a hard time finding food to buy. Thank goodness for prepackaged sandwiches and fruit at Starbucks... and for the packages of fruit snacks and Oreos that Bruce and Terri insisted we take :). We finally got word that our plane could take off, and the flight attendants all but promised us that all the other flights going into Chicago were delayed too, so we should be just fine. Maybe it was good to have that false sense of security on the flight to Chicago?
When we landed in Chicago we were welcomed with a wait on the tarmac... so many planes had finally been able to land that there was a big back up and no empty gates... so they had to start clearing out the planes and of course our plane to SLC was one of the ones to go, without us on board. There would be more flights the next day...We were informed that because the delay was due to weather the airline wouldn't help with food or a place to stay.... but they kindly told us they would be setting up cots in the terminal for our "convenience." Hah! Maybe if it were just Ryan and me... but there was no way I was going to stay the night in the airport with our kids... especially a busy two year old who is prone to wandering.
Coleman was devastated... he was so concerned that we weren't ever going to make it home. I think he was on the verge of a full-blown panic attack. He was worried that his stuff was lost forever (including his beloved dinosaur pillow pet).
Bruce and Terri to the rescue! They secured a room (the last one, anywhere) at one of the nearby Marriott hotels and the kids and I hopped on a shuttle bus with our carry on luggage to get settled for the night. Ryan stayed at the airport hoping they would find the suitcase that held our extra diapers and wipes... wouldn't you know that the ONE time I don't over-pack our carry on bags is the time we will surely need it the most!?! The very kind woman at baggage claim tracked down some diapers for us along with another of our bags (the one with the pillow pets, hooray!).
We were all so hungry... the kids were begging for "real food"... so right when we got to the hotel we ordered pizza and Chicken Parmesan from Barraco's which came highly recommended from the guy at the front desk. While waiting for said food to be delivered all three children promptly fell asleep... they were so exhuasted! I wasn't the nicest mom and woke them up so they could eat the pizza that they had wanted so badly... Sophia had nothing of it though and refused to open her eyes :). Both kids ate a couple of small squares of yummy pizza and fought to keep their eyes open. They were so glad when I finally said they could climb back in bed. Ryan finally got back from the airport (after fighting the Lollapalooza crowd to get onto the shuttle) and ate what he could... then we put the rest of the pizza on ice and saved it for our breakfast the next morning (we totally forgot it was Fast Sunday). We woke to find that an army of ants liked our leftover chicken and cups with root beer residue... but luckily the pizza was left alone. Despite the ants, the room was great and we were so, so happy to have a safe place to rest our heads and a place to shower before putting back on our dirty travel clothes (also because of my grand idea to "pack light").
We slept well and made it back to Midway airport... got through security (again!)... and enjoyed a non-denominational Christian church service in the airport. We had an uneventful flight to Denver and then to Salt Lake City. We were most grateful that all of our luggage made it home (likely long before we did). Home Sweet Home! We were grateful that my mom picked us up from the airport and took us to her house where she fed us dinner before returning to our home.
We LOVED being in Connecticut for a week--it was so fun to be with Ryan's parents and see and do so many fun things... and we loved coming home too.
Our last day in Connecticut was Bruce's birthday! It was fun to be there with himon his special day :). We didn't fly out until later in the afternoon... so we got to go on a little boat tour of Thimble Islands (off the shore of Branford, CT) in the morning.
We stopped (again) at Rita's on the way back home.. It was a great way to wrap up our fun-filled trip!
We spent our last full day at a wonderful orchard called Lyman Farms. They have a store where they sell all of their harvest (and other delicious things) and a fun pond with ducks.
It was fun to see some of the places that Bruce and Terri have grown to love. Driving through so many little towns and through beautiful back roads gave us an opportunity to see a whole lot of the countryside. We loved it!
Have I mentioned that there are so many fun things to do in Connecticut? Thursday, August 2nd was our 13th anniversary! It is amazing in some ways that we have been married for that many years... in other ways it seems like we have always been together. That is a happy thing.
The kids and I LOVE the beach and could spend endless hours there. This time around Ryan loved it too since there was so much animal activity to photograph and video.
Ryan and I ended our anniversary with a lovely dinner at a Brazilian grill that Bruce and Terri gave us a gift certificate to. They stayed with the kids (again!) so we could have a quiet night out. We spent a few minutes at the local beach (once we found it!) chatting and enjoying the sound of the water. Why don't I live closer to an ocean?
All in all it was a lovely day and we all went to sleep tired and happy.
Ryan's parents were so kind to offer to watch the kids for a whole day (5:45 am until almost midnight!) while Ryan and I rode the train(s) into the city to celebrate our 13th anniversary. It was a long, long day and we filled it as much as we could. I really wanted to do a session in the Manhattan temple, but as luck would have it, the time we were there was during their annual cleaning. We managed to fill our day with other fun activities...
"The Cake Boss" which is set in Hoboken, NJ. It is a short train ride away from the WTC site. When we got there we realized that there is probably never a slow time for business for Carlo's Bake Shop so we took a number and waited to GET INSIDE the building. Once inside we were sardined together with so many other adoring fans of Buddy and his family. We had plenty of time to look over all of the lovely creations and when it came time to order we just about took home one of everything :). We decided that we weren't going to take home NYC souvenirs, but we could always look on our tummy rolls with fondness and give credit for at least a part of them to the $50 worth of pastries we purchased. (We did haul them all back to Ryan's parents and the kids... so we didn't eat ALL of them by ourselves :).) Favorites were the cannolis and lobster tails... the cupcakes (caramel, PB cup, carrot, and red velvet)were pretty tasty too and I loved the cream puffs. Someone in front of us in line bought the last eclairs, so we missed out on those. Only the chocolate dipped cookies disappointed.... I thought they would be like shortbread or an almond butter cookie with dark chocolate, but they weren't that tasty, kind of pasty and bland. At any rate, we had enough for many tastes of these sweet treats when we got home and some for breakfast the next morning too :).
We sped back to Grand Central Station and for dinner ate crusty baguette bread and NY Style Cheesecake for dinner that we purchased on the fly. Our long train ride home was a good time to think back on our fun-filled, exhausting day in a fun, energetic, and vibrant city.
I'm not sure when our next trip to New York will be... but I'm determined to go to the temple and to Central Park to sit and read and people-watch the next time I get there! We are so thankful that Ryan's mom and dad were such good sports taking us to and from the train station and entertaining our kiddos while we were gone.
One of the things I love most about the East Coast is that so many states are so close together... we spent a lovely day in Rhode Island. Ryan's parents had four adult bikes and a trailer and (after some trouble finding a place that had bikes available) rented two smaller bikes for Olivia and Coleman.
Our biggest challenge during our week long stay in Connecticut was deciding what to do... there were so many options! Bruce and Terri have been there long enough that they have seen quite a bit and made great suggestions. We loved everything that we did and know that we could have easily spent several more days checking out all the Connecticut (and all of the surrounding states) have to offer.
We were so lucky to be in Connecticut at the same time that my brother Matt and his wife Ashley were going to bless their newest baby girl, Cecelia. They live in New Canaan, about an hour away from Ryan's parents, and they were kind enough to let us use their car to go to church with Matt and his family. Matt and Ashley even got to teach a portion of the combined RS/Priesthood meeting which was fun for us to hear.
It was so good to be with Matt and his family!
Saturday, October 6, 2012
After our dry ferry ride home (we rode inside on the way back :)) we all crashed for several hours for a glorious afternoon nap.