Sunday, June 24, 2012

Taking It Easy

After California Adventure on Thursday, as tired as we all were, we grabbed a quick meal and headed back to Nevada. We got in at 12:30am, just in time for Sam and Savannah to grab a few winks and a shower, pack up again, and meet the youth in my parent's stake at 4:00am for their Youth Conference.

While they were enjoying the Manti Pageant and other activities in Ephraim, Utah, the rest of us were taking it easy - swimming, visiting the splash park, watching the long-horned sheep that come down and graze at a nearby park, and feeding the fish at Lake Mead.

Jeff was in his element fixing things at my parent's house: installing a washer and dryer, fixing the oven, hooking up the DVD player, fixing a phone problem, etc. My parents joked that they should fly him out every six months. :)
The boys with long-horned sheep in background. I love Soren's scrunchy face!

It was a much needed break after long days of driving and Disneyland! And how are Sam and Savannah holding up? I worried we'd taken on too much with the Youth Conference right on top of everything else, but they came home happy, having made many new friends and both of them better for having gone. Hooray!!

Today the kids sang "Jesus Once Was a Little Child" in my parents ward with Savannah on the piano and Sam on the violin. So beautiful! It always makes me cry.

Goodbye, Nevada! We'll be in Utah this week!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

California Adventure

You should have seen Sadie yesterday. What a trooper! She took great pride in the fact that she was willing to go on any ride, hands in the air, smile on her face, and no screaming! Then she would happily point out that Katie and Savannah were not nearly so brave. Ha!

Sadie with Grandpa once she perked up. :)
Unfortunately, after her first ride today (Tower of Terror on which she was every bit as brave as yesterday), she started fading fast. Before long it was obvious she had a fever and didn't feel well at all. Still, she never complained. We got a stroller for her and she was able to sleep a little. After a few hours, I approached a woman with a baby and asked if, by any chance, she had some children's medication. Thankfully she did and forty-five minutes later Sadie was feeling much better. Yay!

Radiator Springs
We loved California Adventure. The new Cars ride lived up to the hype and was worth the wait. Fortunately, Jeff had gotten us all fast passes earlier in the day so our wait was only 45 min, not the 2.5 hours  for everyone else! We also loved Soarin' Over California, the Aladdin Musical, Tower of Terror (somehow this one struck me as funny and I laughed until I cried!), California Screamin' (I only liked this one when I was sitting in the back. The front was a different story...yikes!), Toy Story Mania (I got the highest score of the family. Woo hoo!!), and the Grizzly River Run (we were all drenched!).
Paradise Pier at California Adventure

Soren and Flik
A great day! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The matching shirts ended up being a great idea.  Much easier to keep track of everyone!
If you are a cheapskate like me, you should decide to go to Disneyland and then announce your plans to your kids and invite your parents and little brother before you realize how expensive it is.

Fortunately, I got over the sticker shock before we left on vacation and we all had a GREAT time! It really is a magical place.

I wish I took more pictures, but here are a few:

Sterling fighting Darth Maul at Jedi Training Academy. Sterling's dreams have now come true!

Soren takes his turn defeating the enemy.

Savannah and Sam - their faces pretty much sum up how they felt about most of the rides!

Soren announced that I was his buddy for the day and we stuck together!

Jeffrey and Katie. You don't get much crazier (or more fun!) than these two!!

Spencer, Grandma and Savannah.
(Somehow Grandpa escaped the picture taking...)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

At the Beach

Happy Birthday to Jeff today!
We spent Saturday evening and Sunday in Colorado at Jeremy's house (Jeff's brother). The kids had fun with their cousins and it was nice to have a day in between the longest stretches of our driving. 

But Monday morning, bright and early, it was back in the saddle and on to Nevada. We arrived at my parents house in time for dinner and some time to unwind before packing up to leave for California this morning.

With my parents and the newlyweds, Jeffrey (my brother) and Katie, we arrived in California and checked into our hotel rooms then headed for the beach! It was a beautiful evening and the kids loved playing in the ocean.
Soren, Sadie and Jeff
We could get used to this!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

You Know It's Going To Be a Long Day When...

After a crazy day of packing up everything we might possibly need for 3 weeks and a thorough cleaning of the entire house, we got up bright and early this morning and headed out for our long-awaited vacation! We were on the road by 5:15am anticipating the 1,000 mile/15-hour drive ahead.

You know it's going to be a long day when, at 6:42am, Sadie asks, "Dad, is it starting to be night?"

Also by Sadie:
"Toka-peka! I saw a sign that said that," after seeing a sign that said Topeka.
"Why are there so many butter makers? (Referring to all the oil pumps in the Kansas fields.)

A long day of driving!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hoppy Taw

If you have a blast from the past and find yourself thinking about your elementary school Hoppy Taw, you might get rather animated as you tell your son all about that awesome little hopscotch helper and the countless hopscotch games you played at recess.

If he has no idea what you're talking about, you might look on the internet where you'll see that Hoppy Taws are alive and well on But you'll probably talk yourself out of it before you hit the "Add To Cart" button.

If one mysteriously shows up at your house a few days later anyway, you might draw a big hopscotch on the sidewalk and spend an enjoyable afternoon playing with your kids as you teach them the finer points of the game and convert them to the necessity of a Hoppy Taw.

It'll be great!

Thanks for the Hoppy Taw, Spencer!  ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Recipe: Fresh Salsa

Okay, so some of you may not really think this is a salsa in the true sense because it's not spicy at all. But it's my favorite and I love the freshness of it! It is SO easy and quick, which is a huge bonus in my book!

Simply chop up fresh tomatoes, some red onion, and cilantro. Add salt to taste and enjoy! See? I told you it was easy!

For this batch I used:
4 medium sized ripe tomatoes
~1/4 c. red onion
2 Tbsp. cilantro
1 tsp. salt, give or take.       YUM!

My Other Car

Our big 12-passenger van is sporting a new sticker. It might be good for a few smiles on the road! :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Blessing of Knowing You're Not Special

I love the message in this speech given by David McCullough to the graduating class of 2012 at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts. It's a little long, but there's not much to see so turn up your speakers and listen while you fold the laundry. I think you'll be glad you did. :)

A few of my favorite parts:

"We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point. And we're happy to compromise standards or ignore reality if we suspect that's the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantlepiece - something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole."

"Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying by-product. It's what happens when you're thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air, and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you."

"Exercise free will and creative independent thought, not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others - the rest of the 6.8 billion and those who will follow them.  And then you, too, will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you're not special. Because everyone is."

Friday, June 8, 2012

Souvenir de Sarasate

I just came across a video of Sterling at his violin recital from last month and thought I'd share. I love the song he played, Souvenir de Sarasate by Potstock. Savannah was able to accompany several students in the recital, including Sterling. They both did a great job!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Look at those bright blue eyes. This boy's a heart melter, for sure! 

I just wanted to give a shout-out to my Spencer. What a consistent, steady, great kid!! He goes to bed when he's tired (what a novel idea!), then he gets up early and exercises then gets his work done. Spencer is almost always willing when I need help with something or a partner to play games with. He is thoughtful and kind, ever the peacemaker. He loves to serve. He and I had several opportunities to serve together in the elementary school this past semester and the kids loved him! He loves to work with his dad when Jeff needs an extra set of hands in the garage or yard.

Spencer is well read and has a great vocabulary as a result. He is comfortable around adults and can intelligently add to most conversations. He is willing to try new things and seems to be a natural at many outdoor activities.

I sure love you, buddy! I can't imagine my life without you. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Progression of the Storm

Yesterday, early evening, I was driving to attend a church meeting an hour away. I could see a storm up ahead as I started off. It was beautiful watching it from a distance where the clouds looked like they were melting out of the sky.

Pretty soon, I was right in the thick of it. It rained HARD and loud. Honestly, as long as I feel safe (which I did), I love turning off the radio and just listening to the rain pound on the roof of my car. It calms me. As I reached the end of the storm, it was still raining, but there were bright blue skies ahead and a brilliant rainbow to my right.

Up ahead it was sunshine and blue skies all the way, but it still looked pretty dark in my rear view mirror. As I looked behind, I saw a shelf of dark clouds where it was still raining, but above them were the most beautiful white fluffy clouds. I wonder if the people right under those clouds had any idea was was going on above the storm. (There's got to be an analogy for life in there somewhere!)

I wish I could have taken a picture of what I saw directly behind me, but I was driving...  Still, you can see the dark clouds at the lower left and the white clouds and blue sky above. It was a beautiful storm!