Monday, November 15, 2010

Temple Grounds

Look at this place. It's glorious.
I took these pictures on a magnificent fall day in early November.

I wanted my kids to walk around the temple while the fountain was still going, the flowers still blooming and the leaves still on the trees.

Mae has been wanting to go to the temple for several weeks now. She's very interested every time I leave the house to attend a temple session. She always begs to come along, last time tears were involved.

She wanted to wear her white church dress to walk along the temple grounds. I was touched at how sweet and excited she was about the temple. It warmed my heart.

I really enjoyed this afternoon and I think my kids did too. I feel immensely blessed to live close (less-than-15 mins-away-close) to a temple. There is so much beauty and peace at this Holy House.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Texas Trip!

Mike & I flew to TX in October so he could take his pediatric board exams in Houston. We decided to make a trip out of it. A most excellent decision, if I do say so myself.

C & Hil picked us up from the airport and our adventure began (you must check Hil's blog to see more fun TX photos. Click C & Hil on my blog list).
Here we are, taking in the beautiful foliage and enjoying a warm Texas evening, walking around The Alamo.

Sweet, sweet bar-b-q. We savored many good meals while visiting C & Hil. The food in Texas is so different and oh-so delicious!

C gave us a tour of Texas State University where he's getting his PhD. Here I am, shaking Lyndon B. Johnson's hand. President Johnson went to school at Texas State and so does C!

In Austin, we had amazing tacos and hot-chocolate shakes at Torchy's Tacos and Holy Cacao food trucks. That was some good eatin'.

Mike & I rented this Smart Car to take us from C & Hil's home to San Antonio. We were doubtful that both of us and our luggage could squeeze into such a car, but we fit. It was the perfect rental car, one you would never buy, but would love to try out for a few hours.

We stayed one night with our dear friends, Anna & Dell, before flying out of San Antonio. What a treat to see them and their sweet children, Henry & Lizzy.

While Mike & I were away, this picture was emailed to us. The words of the email went, "Sorry to report this, but the last time I saw Mae she was with these two strange little men." I dare say the children had as much fun with family here in UT as we did in TX! :)

Thanks to C & Hil for showing us your awesome world. Thanks to my parents, Mike's parents and Jess & Dave for caring for our young 'uns. It was a trip to remember, for all of us.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A piece of pepperoni pizza--

Two cute bugs--

Connie's awesome jellyfish--

Captain Jack, getting ready for a night out--

The cousins and the kids enjoying their spoils--

Carving our pumpkins a few days before Halloween--

One of Mike's first-rate photos--

Another fun Halloween! Boo!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Outing

We had a family pass to the Utah Museum of Natural History (thanks Liz!), so yesterday we took advantage of a free afternoon and headed up to the University of Utah's campus.

A giant magnetic wall puzzle was our first stop.

Mae and I loved all the glittery gems and stones. The nuggets of gold and beautiful opals were our favorites.

The dino skeletons were a big hit. Behind Quinn and Mae, a mighty allosaurus is sinking his teeth into his prey.

I saw this cool wall background at the museum and had to try for a family photo. Not the best, but I'm glad I tried!

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture of the kids favorite spot, an exhibit called Bugs Alive!. Insects were climbing, crawling, burrowing and swimming. Cockroaches, tarantulas, black widows, velvet ants, we saw them all.

Well, the kids are asking for lunch, I better call it quits. Good stuff is happening in Sandy, UT. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The County Fair

I love a county fair.
The cotton candy, the carni-rides, the clean-as-a-whistle livestock, the mammoth size veggies , the kids' happy faces, seriously, what's not to love?!?!
Here are a few pics from the Cache County Fair, taken on August 14th.

Little Mae, pleased as punch, riding her horsey, Chubby.

The boys taking a turn on their horses, Nelson and Nels (the young cowboy who told me these horses names seemed to be making them up on the spot. "Ummm, Nelson and that's uh, Nels." My boys didn't seem to care.)

Rides! Quinn especially lives for the rides.

And here we are, exiting with our arms full of fair goodies (I almost took home a 6 month old pot-bellied pig too, but last minute decided that our landlords might not appreciate a hog sleeping in the kitchen. He was cute!)
Time well spent. :)

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hey Slow Blogger! Yep, that's me....

The past:
Quinn and Hootz!!

The awesome Auntie Hil made it possible for Quinn to race the mascot of the Orem Owlz minor league baseball team last month. I loved Quinn's response when Auntie Hilary called to ask him if he wanted to race a giant owl. Quinn paused, raised his shoulders, softly giggled then said quietly, "Sure.". I burst out laughing. The Q was really excited and really nervous to go toe to toe with Hootz. I'm sure you can guess who won.....Quinn was one happy 5 year old!

While Quinn was sweating bullets rounding the bases, the rest of us looked like this. Surrounded by family, a little popcorn, some flashy sunglasses......
we're livin' it up in Utah. :)

Here they are, making hooting sounds. Quinn is holding/wearing the spoils of his win---a mini stuffed Orem Owl, a snazzy baseball that Auntie Hil gave him after she threw the opening pitch (she is such a celebrity, love it!), and a big black baseball hat that says Longballing on the front. Oh, what a night.

Even Past-er:

Over the 4th of July we went camping and rafting with Mike's family up in Montana.

Quinn found Uncle Kirk's mountain board and was in heaven, cruising around the campsite.

Mae, Pace and Paige are enjoying Grandma's hot scones for breakfast. Mae is super chill when she camps. She had a blast.

It was such a treat to hang out with Mike's siblings and parents. We ate well, slept well, and had a ball doing things we haven't done in years
(Mike used to talk about going camping during his residency......).

Here, Mike and Quinn (and a bunch of cousins and aunts & uncles) are headed out onto the Clark Fork River. The scenery was amazing, even if it was chilly, chilly for the first of July.

I love Mae's little bed head and sleepy face. Children love sleeping in a tent. Mike & I were making dreams come true that weekend.

Like I said, beautiful, beautiful country. The kids were set on swimming....when this pic was snapped, I was sitting on a rock with my fleece zipped up to my chin wishing I had some hot chocolate in hand! Kids are so incredible.

Well folks, there is more to be said. Much more. But I'm callin' it a night. Thanks to all who are checking in on us via blog. Life is rich here in UT!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Here's Quinn, perched in our old tree. Yes, our old tree, in the front yard of our old house in our old town of Rochester, MN.

We've moved from our dear home, our dear neighborhood and our dear friends.

Life is good here in Salt Lake City, UT. Our rental home is nice. Very nice. The closeness to family is unreal & oh-so very much fun. But, you can see on Quinn's face-we were happy in Minnesota and I'm missing it tonight.
(sniffle, sniff)

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back from Haiti

It seems like a lifetime ago that I left Haiti, not a little over a week ago. I feel like I'm finally settling back into work and life, but I find myself checking the news every day for something from Haiti, surfing Facebook for updates from the Haitian interpreters and wondering what else I can do to help.

Basically, Haiti is still in chaos. Poverty is the norm, even before the earthquake in January. Health care is available to those that can afford it (a very few), and provided to the poor only through the outstanding and tireless work of organizations like International Medical Corps, Partners in Health and Doctors without Borders. The world's generosity was apparent with a global mix of clean water provided by Switzerland, Spain and Catholic Charities in the University Hospital (where I worked part of the week). Most of those who lost their homes still live in tents and tarped huts, with plans for more permanent relocation moving slowly in the face of the coming hurricane season. There is no such thing as homeowner's insurance in Haiti, making each and every destroyed home a complete loss, forcing even those who still have jobs to scramble for shelter.

To those who know Haiti's history, these dire conditions may not sound so different than before the earthquake. I've heard some people say that if the Haitian people wanted a more stable government or a more prosperous future, they would have done it by now; that our help is only prolonging their poverty and fostering dependence. I have to disagree with those who use these thoughts as reason to not give help when it is desperately needed. If our aid fosters dependence, we aren't doing it smart enough or with enough compassion. If we find it hard to give, I'm finding it hard to look at what I have and not see excess that could be trimmed and turned into more generosity. As Christ himself related “...when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer, … Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:35–40.)

I hope you'll forgive a bit of preaching, when you were likely looking for more of a travel log. I just can't help but return from Haiti changed. Not just in my attitude toward Haiti and Haitians, but in how I view giving and compassion and wealth. I've lived a long time without seeing true poverty, and many live with it long enough to accept it as normal or see it on the news as something removed and somehow chosen by those that endure it. This, for me, has been a call to never forget our humanity and our bond as brothers and sisters, regardless of our situation.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a sweet mix-up

Mike's in Haiti. That's far away. Jonah went to Nineveh. That's also far away.

Mae spotted Mike's water bottle here at home and asked me, "What if Daddy needs a drink in Nineveh? He will have to come home and get his water bottle.".

Oh, how I love to hear their little thoughts.

(I should say---we're learning a song about Jonah in church. Hence Mae's biblical knowledge of the prophet Jonah. It goes like this:
"Jonah was a prophet, tried to run away
But he later learned to listen and obey
If we really try the Lord won't let us fail
That's what Jonah learned deep down inside the whale")

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Words

The kids and I were sitting down to lunch when Quinn turns and looks at me. He gets a big smile on his face, opens his mouth and says happily,
"You're stupid Mama!".
Whoa. Thoughts race through my mind, "What was that?! I don't think so! Try that again, Mr.!".
I look at my 5 year old. He's beaming.
New thoughts enter my mind, "He's trying out a new word. He likes the way it sounds. He doesn't get how hurtful that word is.".
Deep breath. Teaching moment, here I go....
I smile. I ask him where he's heard that word. He doesn't know. I tell him that's not a nice word to say to someone. It's an ugly word, a mean word.
The twins are glued this exchange. The next few minutes made my head spin. But it was a funny spin. A new kind of conversation for me and my kids. It went something like this;
"How about stinky?"
"How about big puffy?"
"Hello Cow!" ouch.
Language. Nice words. Mean words.
My kids are growing up.
The conversation ended with us suggesting happy words to replace bad ones. The phrase that everyone liked best was one Quinn used on my Dad just a few weeks ago. "Hi Gorgeous!". Quinn came up with that one all on his own. I think he's going to turn out alright after all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mother's Day

I get to mother these three cuties:

After a wonderful morning of worship and a tasty pasta lunch by Mike (made right before he crashed on his pillow---he worked Saturday, Sat night & Sunday morning) the kids and I took a long nature walk Sunday afternoon to get out of the house while Daddy slept.

Spring, glorious Spring!
It is a joy to walk along the bike trail.

The kids were so cute about Mother's Day. I told them it was a day to give your Mom a gift and tell her you love her. Then I took them to Target (you see where this is going...) and they wanted to buy me everything! It was the cutest thing ever. If I stopped and lingered looking at something (for instance, sunglasses), the kids would say, "I'll get you some sunglasses for Mother's Day!". I laughed as Max held up a Go! Diego watch that he was going to buy for me. Bracelets, rings, shoes, headbands, the kids were ready to put anything I touched into the cart. I could have gone hog wild this Mother's Day! In the end, a nice new red wallet went into the cart, and Mama + kiddies were happy as could be.

Yeah, I'll keep my day job. My co-workers are pretty awesome (Daddy included!). :)

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