Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation: God's Country

I'm not sure how I managed to leave this out!  A couple of days before we traveled to Nevada, we spent a day at my brother-in-law's family cabin.  It's located in a remote little corner of Heber City, Utah and - I'm telling you what - it's a little piece of heaven on earth!  So pretty.  So peaceful.  We spent three days here with the entire Martin Clan last year (read about it here, here, and here) so it was fun to return and spend another relaxing day.  I could get used to this!

The clouds were amazing as we drove through Heber.  So pretty!
Soren and a couple of other brave souls didn't seem to mind the cold water of the pond.  Brrr!
Spencer caught three large trout.  He purposely released two of them, but you should have seen the one that got away.  (Seriously!)
Sterling was a maniac in the paddleboat.  He cruised all over the pond.  He was also master of the canoe!

My niece, Abby, was quite adventurous herself.  She was a natural in the kayak.
Taylor loved Sam and talked his leg off while they enjoyed the view from the deck.
Yay!  Molly smiled for me!  Sadly, she didn't particularly like me.  She's probably smiling because of that big chocolate cookie in her hand!  :)
Beautiful!  What a great way to spend a day!
Thanks, Amy and Levi, for inviting us up to the cabin.  It was a perfect day!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation: Vegas

According to Savannah, there is something cool about saying you've been to Vegas, so to Vegas we went!   There were tons of lights, plenty of glitz and glamor, too many people, and loads of money (or maybe too many people pretending to have money...?)  We walked down Fremont Street to see the light show, then we drove the strip, ending our tour with the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel.  Plenty of cool things to see - and a few things that made us shield our eyes - but one night was enough for me. 

The 'quote of the day' goes to Sadie.  On Fremont Street there was a stage on which a scantily clad woman was dancing.  Sadie was impressed. "Look at that girl.  She has pink hair!"  To which I was thinking, Thank you for only noticing the pink hair! 

Here are some other things that caught our eyes:
Watching the lights on Fremont Street
Spray Paint Art - cool to watch!  This painting only took about 5 minutes.
The fountain show at the Bellagio didn't disappoint!
 Now I can say, "Been there, done that." :)  Thanks for the tour, dad.  You were a great host!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday, Baby Girl!

July 12, at Grandma and Grandpa Martin's house in Nevada
Dear Sadie-bug,  

How did my baby get to be six years old?  Could you please stop growing up so fast?  Every time I turn around lately you are losing another tooth, a sure sign of a first grader!  I can't imagine our family without you.  I love watching you with daddy.  You follow him around and help him with whatever happens to be on his list for the day.  You might be a little bossy, but he doesn't mind.  And when daddy isn't home, you happily help me, instead.  You are great company.  I know we don't always know the answers when you ask "why?" but you ask it so often that we know you are just taking everything in and thinking so hard about the world you live in. 

You are so funny.  From your nonsense jokes to your infectious laugh, you spread cheer everyday.  You are a little piece of sunshine.  I know my world wouldn't be nearly as bright without you in it.  I'm proud of you for freaking out less as you get older.  You are learning how to communicate your frustrations without getting so frustrated!  I can tell you are trying really hard. 

I'll miss my afternoon buddy when you are in school all day.  I know you'll be a great student - you are such a hard worker! - but it just won't be the same at home without you and your questions, made up songs, great ideas and opinions to keep me company.  I'll look forward to 3:00 everyday! 

I love you, my sweet Sadie.  I hope six is your best year so far!

Don't you love Sadie's layered look?  We were in Nevada on her birthday and our evening was to be spent in Vegas.  Knowing she would be tired on the way home, she put her pajamas on under her clothes so she could easily wear her p.j.'s on the drive back to Boulder City.  No amount of coaxing could convince her that this was not fashionable a great idea.  This girl is a thinker!  ;) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cereal For Dinner

We interrupt this vacation recap to bring you the following weather report...

It's hot.  I mean like steamy, gross hot.  The kids don't want to play outside because sweating buckets right after they walk out the door is not their idea of fun.  We have gone to the community pool every day this week, but the water is in the 90's so it's hardly refreshing.  If I really wanted bathwater, I'd go downstairs and sit in the tub.  We haven't turned on the oven in days.   By dinnertime, our house is so warm that no one wants to eat hot food, let alone turn on the oven and warm up the house even more.  Yes, we have air conditioning, but our rates fluctuate throughout the day so we really try to keep it off during the peak hours.  (Maybe there is such a thing as too cheap...?)

The other night, I couldn't think of anything to make for dinner that a) didn't require the oven or b) we hadn't already eaten 3 or more times in the past 3 days.  When I casually threw out cold cereal as a cop out suggestion, you'd think I had just announced we were all going to Disneyland.  Oh the novelty!  The kids took full advantage and somehow talked us into letting them eat it on the floor while watching television.  I was only slightly embarrassed when our friend stopped by to drop something off during dinner.  So much for visions of the Stowell family gathered around the kitchen table with the aroma of a home cooked meal wafting through the house as we engage in lively dinnertime conversation!

Actually, now that I think about it, this is what I love about summer.  No, not the heat.  I love the spontaneity.  Doing things on a whim.  Deviating from the norm.  School will be back in session soon enough bringing with it schedules and structure and rigid bedtimes.  (And early morning Seminary...sigh!)  We'll do our best to enjoy these last few weeks of summer, but I'll have to remember during the doldrums of school to occasionally serve cereal for dinner.  On the floor.  In front of the television.  Just for fun.  :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vacation: Dam Bridge

This was taken through the window of our van.  No, there is not really a giant water bottle in the sky...
Near the end of our trip, we ventured to Nevada to spend time with my parents.  We had a great time and wondered why on earth we let 9 years pass since our last trip to the Silver State!  I guess my parents have always made it so easy on us by driving to Utah each time we head west.  This trip was no exception - my parents were in Utah the first weekend of our vacation, but we hardly got to spend time with them and we figured it was high time we headed to their little corner of the world for a change!  We are so glad we did!

One morning, before it got too terribly hot out, my dad took us to the Hoover Dam to walk across the new Memorial Bridge.  Completed in 2010 after 5 years of construction, it cuts a full 30 minutes off the drive to Arizona and is an impressive structure.  We walked halfway across - just past the Arizona state line - and admired the view of the dam before heading back. 

One foot in Nevada, one foot in Arizona
My dad and Jeff
The Hoover Dam as seen from the Memorial Bridge
The Nevada end of the bridge
I'm throwing this last photo in for my kids (left).  This is one of two angel statues that are mentioned in one of the Percy Jackson books.  The boys almost jumped out of their seats when they saw them.  From their reading, my kids learned that people rub the angels' feet for good luck.  Sure enough, the feet were much shinier than the rest of the statue.  Unfortunately, they are not located in a good stopping place so we had to be content with a picture through the window.  Fortunately, we didn't need the angels' good luck.  Our great days just kept on coming!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vacation: The Whole Stowell Gang

One of the best things about our almost-annual trek west is spending time with extended family.  This year was no exception.  With all of the Stowell brothers and their families congregating at Grandma and Grandpa's, there were 35 of us which made for a lot of fun.  (A lot of food and a lot of work, too, but lots of fun!)  There was plenty of catching up to do, crafts to make and games to play.  Grandpa even managed to get all 35 of us to look at the camera - and to look happy about it - at the same time!  We're all spread out between Illinois, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and Utah, but I'm glad we could all connect for a few days.  This is a great bunch of people!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vacation: Ririe Reservoir

I wimped out and wore a wetsuit but the water was much warmer than I expected!

Whenever we visit Jeff's parents in Idaho, one of the things I most look forward to is going out on Grandpa's boat.  I love to water ski!  We couldn't convince Jeff's dad to get out on the water this year, but he joined us so he could help drive the boat.  We had a great day.

Jeff makes it look so easy.  He's much braver than I!
The kids' favorite is the tube.  They had so much fun!
Sadie loves her daddy.  She never stopped grinning on their ride together!
Sam and Savannah had a crazy ride and actually acted like they like each other. 
Grandpa laughed a lot at my crazy kids.  He's a good sport!
Soren looks like someone out of Gilligan's Island. 
(We need a boat!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vacation: The Tabernacle

We visited Temple Square near the beginning of our vacation.  The Tabernacle holds a special significance for me because I used to be a Church Service Missionary* as an usher on Temple Square.  As part of my service, I attended Music and the Spoken Word every Sunday and ushered the tour groups in the Tabernacle (the Conference Center wasn't built yet way back then...). 

It was fun to take the kids to the Tabernacle and show them the world famous pipes.  Jeff was explaining to Sadie that the pipes are the image we see on our hymnal at church.  Sadie thought about that for a few seconds then asked, "Then why doesn't it say HYMNS?"  An honest question!  :)

*During my year as a Church Service Missionary (1994-95), besides Music and the Spoken Word, my responsibilities included ushering at various concerts and other events held on Temple Square.  I was asked to usher and sit with President Hunter's family during General Conference when he was sustained as our prophet.  I later ushered at his viewing, standing near the head of the casket to make sure no one crossed over the guard ropes, in the Administration Building.  Then I ushered and sat with President Hinckley's family during the solemn assembly when he was sustained as the prophet.  Between sessions of conference, I was invited to attend a luncheon for the choir at the Lion House where President Hinckley joked with "his choir."  Assigned to stand near the podium during a fireside in the Tabernacle, I literally brushed shoulders with President Hinckley when he came in to take his seat.  I also ushered 2 or 3 sessions of the dedication for the Bountiful Temple (overflow was held in the Tabernacle).  I didn't fully appreciate those experiences then, but I am very grateful for them now.  This was just something I did on weekends or for special events, but it was a great time in my life.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We're Home!

Yes, it's true.  We pulled in just before 10:00 last night.  After a total of 4,927 miles (a record for us) and 17 days away - not to mention 16 hours in the van yesterday alone - we are so glad to be home! 
Today was spent doing laundry, unpacking, shopping and otherwise trying to catch up.  Over the next week or so, I'll be posting some of the highlights of our trip.  Until then, I will leave you with a clever video by some BYU students.  Perfect for all the Harry Potter fans out there.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy 7 Eleven Day (a.k.a. July 11)

Did you get your free Slurpee today?  We did!  Yummy!  (The cups are even 7.11 oz.  Funny!) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Picture This

It seems that a good chunk of our Idaho adventures are going to have to live on in our memories because I keep forgetting the camera.  So, if you will, picture this:

  • The kids at the splash park in Rexburg laughing their little heads off when the big bucket of water dumped on them again and again.  
  • Sadie riding on the carousel (twice) which is the thing she remembered most from 2 years ago and what she wanted to do more than anything else.
  • The adults getting together for ice cream cake and a hysterical game of Catch Phrase.
  • Sadie sleeping over at her cousin's house and the three youngest girl cousins "laughing and tooting," as Sadie so eloquently described it, into the night.
  • Jeff and I attending the Idaho Falls Temple.  (The 20 minute drive to get there sure beats the 2.5 hours we usually have to endure!)
  • Savannah's crush on the boy next door.
  • Sadie freaking out for 45 minutes (at least) because of too many late nights.  She was completely exhausted and I couldn't believe how long she was able to carry on with her tantrum.  She finally gave in to sleep and will hopefully wake up happy.  (I actually did get a picture of that one, but she got mad and made me delete it...)
  • Our drive around BYU-Idaho campus, remembering this building or that and wondering what all the new structures are for.  We vaguely remembered our old stomping grounds with all the changes from the Ricks College days. 
Here is one picture I got from our drive around Rexburg.  I love how the clouds are so pretty behind the temple.  

We're having a great time and there are plenty more adventures in sight!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

And the winner is...

While plenty of people viewed my first giveaway, only two signed up to win.  Too bad for the rest of you!  ;)  But that made it pretty easy for me.  I just flipped a coin (literally) and the winner is...  Karey!  Here's what she said:  "Sign me up. I want to win this. I NEED to win this. I need to be organized so I don't feel everything slipping when I'm trying to parent, wife, housekeep, church serve, write, exercise and have time to do something I want to do, too. Thanks for the giveaway, Missy."

I hope you love it, Karey.  You'll be contacted by someone at The Power of Moms with your program.  Thanks for playing!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blessing and Baptism

Yesterday morning we went to church with my brother, Dave, where he blessed little Libby.  After the meeting, Libby snuggled right into Sam and fell asleep.  So sweet!  Sam thought that was pretty cool.

After a yummy brunch at Dave's house and a nice visit with family, we were on the road again.  Four hours later we pulled up to Jeff's parents home in Rigby, Idaho.   We were the last of Jeff's brothers to arrive and it's a full house.  My kids are still trying to figure out who everyone is.  Seeing their cousins once a year at best isn't nearly enough.  Everyone grows and changes so much in between that it's hard to remember everybody's name.  Fortunately we'll be here for a few days.

Last night we all went to the church and Soren was baptized.  It was so nice to have all of his Stowell aunts, uncles, and cousins there.  That was a real treat for us.  Grandma and Grandpa gave the talks and some of the cousins joined my kids for the musical number, Jesus Once Was a Little Child, with Sam on violin and Savannah on piano.  It was so pretty and yes, I cried.  Homemade ice cream and brownies completed the evening.  A great day!


Saturday, July 2, 2011


This is my niece, Libby.  Isn't she adorable?  We met her for the first time this morning.
We first saw her here where she was sealed to my brother and his wife. 
Libby was adopted, just like her sister and two brothers.  What a beautiful family!
It was a great day!! 

Friday, July 1, 2011


{A quick reminder to click here for my first ever giveaway!  Still a few days left.  Just leave a comment to enter!}

I just wanted to record a few things that have put a smile on our faces -- and one that definitely has not.  Let's just get that grumpy one out of the way right now:

Utah traffic.  Boo!  Hiss!
Onto happier things:
Mountains, oh how we've missed you!
The coolest car so far: 
The owner saw me taking pictures so he got out and let the boys get in the picture.  Sweet.

  Blue-eyed babes at Temple Square.  Love these guys!

 This is just a little glimpse of the past couple of days.  Lots more to come...