A whole bunch about us you may have never wanted to know.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Other parents!

So I'm leaving soccer this week when another parent annoys me. As I'm driving out of the parking lot, I'm watching out for kids since there are a lot in the parking lot between games, but I'm also trying to get out of the parking lot. I see a family walking toward the roadway, and I watch them closely. Sure enough, the two-year-old darts out in front of me. Because I was being careful, I was able to stop without a problem. I had to make a sudden stop, but there was no screeching tires or close calls. However, the boy's mom (instead of grabbing him or telling him not to run out in front of cars), steps in front of me, turns toward me and shouts, "SLOW DOWN!" Excuse me?

I was so annoyed! It was a really good thing I was borrowing my sister's car, because the windows are broken and don't roll down. Otherwise I may have rolled down my window and suggested she keep an eye (and maybe her hands) on her kids in the parking lot.

This just got me thinking how I really get annoyed by some other parents. You all know what I'm talking about -- there are some things that other moms do that just rub you the wrong way. Here are three biggies that always bug me:

1. Asking kids' permission to things. "Sweetie, is it okay if mommy goes to the potty now?" Why are you asking your kid for permission for something you're going to do anyway? Don't ask if they want to go to the store -- if they say no you either have to not go or deal with the fallout. You say, "We're going to the store now." Kids shouldn't have power over things like that, and honestly I think they act worse when they think they have it!

2. Threats, but no follow through. "If you do that again, we're leaving." [Kid does it again.] "I mean it! If you do that again, we're leaving." [Kid does it again.] "No more warnings. If you do that again, we're leaving!" [Kid does it again.] "Can you hear me? What did I say would happen if you did it again? That's right -- we'll leave if you do it one more time." HELLO! Does anyone see a pattern here??? Don't make any consequences you're not willing to follow through. If you say you're going to leave, then you better darn well leave or the kid isn't going to learn a thing ... except that mom doesn't mean what she says ...

3. Not putting kids in seatbelts. Okay, this one is not only annoying, but dangerous! I see so many people leaving the elementary school with kids packed in like they're circus clowns! Honestly, I see women I respect and look up to doing it and it makes me sick. I have actually thought of asking a cop to come sit outside the school and watch for incidents to cut down on the problem. You are risking your kid's lives by not using seatbelts! Yes, we live only blocks from the school, and yes, you may drive more carefully when they're not in seatbelts. However, you can NOT control other drivers! And an accident at 5 mph can injure a child seriously!!! Why even risk it?

I once picked up Becca, and she said her friend was a little miffed she couldn't get a ride home with us because there weren't enough seatbelts. The friend's mom even called me and let me know that she was okay if her daughter sat on the floor of the car if there weren't enough seatbelts. I informed that mom that I was NOT okay with her daughter sitting on the floor -- not only would I feel horrible of something happened to her, but I don't need her to become a flying projectile to injure anyone who is seatbelted in! I let the mom know that I'd be happy to make two trips if her daughter ever needed a ride again. The mom thought I was nuts.

I am often amazed at how adamant you have to come off for people to realize you're serious about seatbelts. I told one carpool (who wanted to add another child/driver) that I would drop out if there weren't enough seatbelts for my son. And I mentioned that they have to be legal seatbelts -- not the front seat, not shoulder straps without boosters, and no boosters with only lap belts. They always seem a little surprised by my concern and insistence. I'm always shocked by anyone's lack of it!

Okay, that's my griping for today. I'm sure as a parent I do things that annoy other parents, too. Isn't it amazing how parenting styles can vary so much?!?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I've been tagged!

Here's my response to the blog tag ....

5 Things I was doing 10 Years Ago...
1. Going to Brigham Young University slowly finishing my PR degree and psych minor
2. Working as an editor at The Daily Universe (BYU newspaper)
3. Being president of BYU's Public Relations Student Society of America -- got to go to Boston! Yay!!! And to Los Angeles, not as cool ...
4. Doing an internship at Novell (Have I mentioned that PR was my life 10 years ago?!?)
5. Starting to be roomies with my BFF Hilary and teaching a bunch of people how to play Yahtzee!

5 Things I Need To Do Today...
1. Finish laundry -- I "do laundry" on Mondays
2. Take my car to the shop
3. Buy kids' toothpaste. They've been out for two weeks and complaining ever since about having to use yucky toothpaste
4. Take someone to soccer -- don't remember if it's Tyler's or Zachary's night tonight
5. Clean. Not that I will, but it needs done ...

5 Snacks I Enjoy...
1. Brownies. Hands-down my favorite, especially when warm, and sometimes w/vanilla ice-cream
2. Candy bars, specifically Reese's Crispy Crunchy bar, Take 5 or Snickers. (Actually, most any will do. :)
3. Pretzels
4. Granola bars -- the crunchy kind, although chewy ones work
5. Wheat Thins

5 Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire...
1. Get more space in my home (buy bigger or add-on)
2. Set up some kind of charity. Probably something like Make-A-Wish, which is awesome! Or just contribute to Make-a-Wish.
3. Anonymous donations to random people
4. Travel
5. Get a getaway -- a cabin that's close enough to visit frequently but far enough away to be a getaway

5 Places I Have Lived...
1. Mapleton, Utah (where I grew up)
2. Southern Georgia (mission)
3. Provo, Utah (MTC & BYU days)
4. Kent/Covington, Washington (bachelorette days and newlywed years)
5. Spanish Fork, Utah (now)

5 Jobs I Have Had...
1. Cherry picker
2. Dump-truck driver (very short-lived)
3. Children's reading program at library
4. Pizza Hut
5. BYU Travel Study
6. Events Staff at BYU football games
7. The Daily Universe (BYU newspaper): receptionist, dummier, editor, Web editor, layout, etc. (a new job every semester). This is where I got someone fired for sexual harassment, but that's another story ...
8. Novell intern (twice)
9. High-tech PR professional for Microsoft, SAP, T-Mobile and PogoPet
10. Mom -- worst pay and best benefits :)
Oops, my stroll down memory lane brought out more than 5 ...

5 People I Tag...
1. Anyone who wants to be tagged
2. Anyone who doesn't want to be tagged
3. Everyone else
4. Nobody else
5. Although I'll usually respond, I don't usually pass on tags or hugs or poems or other chain e-mails, even under threat of bad luck or failed casseroles ... :S

Rules: Each player answers the questions themselves. At the end of the post the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blog and leaves them a comment letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let them know when you've answered the questions on your blog.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A very young old

Aren't I really a lot too young to feel so old? I've been amazed this year at really how old I feel. It doesn't help that this year I have started developing arthritis in my fingers. Hello! I'm not even 35 years old, and I have arthritis?!? I thought that was an old person thing ... sigh ...

I came to a realization recently that my body really is too old/tired/worn out to consider many more pregnancies. Again, I'm not even 35! However, I realized that my pregnancy with Shayla was a lot more painful (and I'm a baby -- I still have so little pain compared to many women) than my first two pregnancies, which were a piece of cake. Does it get worse with each pregnancy? Or is it just because I'm older? I'm still trying to figure out why most women in the USA wait until their late 30s to even consider having babies. Hello! Do you realize how much easier it is when you're younger? :)

My sister claims that women shouldn't have babies over age 30. Mind you, our family would be very small if that was what I had done -- we had Tyler and Zachary and that's it. Not all of us get married young enough to even consider that "goal." However, I see her point! Not only does pregnancy destroy your body to the point of feeling really old and beat-up, but chasing after toddlers gets a lot harder the older I get.

In any case, I never expected to feel old so young.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Canon Rebel, I love you ...

I know we're not supposed to love material possessions, but I really do love my new camera. Yes, we finally broke down (or at least are broke now :) and bought the new Canon Rebel. This one actually was a great deal -- we got the camera and two lenses for what the camera alone usually costs. In any case, Paul has been tracking it very closely and talked me into it. (He keeps mentioning that it really wasn't very hard to talk me into. Of course it wasn't! I've wanted one for years! :)

In any case, I think he's more excited about it than I am. He's going to know how to use it all before I can really get my hands on it. :) To date, we have taken 700 pictures. (Keep in mind that we didn't open it until Friday night.) Paul walked in after work on Friday (after tracking it online) and said, "Did you open it yet?" I hadn't had a chance (kids actually thought they needed dinner that night), so he opened it and brought it straight to Tyler's soccer game where we got these pics. Don't you love how you can tell the ball is moving while Tyler's running to get it? (We didn't have the lens for better close-ups yet. That should come today.)

Oh, and here's the picture of Paul looking at me with the camera right before saying, "Can I have it back now?!?"

Our friends Scotty and Marilee were kind enough to "donate" their daughter Amelia to our camera practice on Saturday during the BYU game (well, if you can call it a game). Here are a couple of really cute ones we got:

Then Scotty said, "Denise, you know we have other cute kids, too." Yes, but there's nothing as cute as a newborn! So, here are the cute pics of their other kids:

Yes, I know Savannah is crying, but I still happen to think it's a really cute picture. I love taking pictures. And I love even more taking really cute pictures. Sometimes you don't even need a Canon Rebel for that. I got these pics of Hilary's girls last week with my "old" camera (that really wasn't so old). I was driving home from soccer when I found the perfect location:

Anyway, here's your fair warning -- this blog may contain a lot more pictures from now on. Of course, you may be safe for a little bit since I've still got to figure out this camera now that I have it ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


So, yesterday afternoon I realized that Becca would not be home in time to watch the three young'uns while I went to scouts. I thought about just taking them with me, but then I remembered that Shayla went down late for a nap, and the lady whose house we go to has a dog that would scare all my kids.

I thought about asking Hilary to watch the kids, but then I thought better of it -- she's very busy these days and I'm using her all day Friday while I head to the Scrapbook Expo USA. (Hooray, horray for that ... but that's another story ...)

I finally decided that I'd just call a neighbor girl to come watch the kids for 30 minutes until Becca got home. With Shayla asleep and my boys fixed on the TV that I let them turn on, I figured it would be a very easy few bucks for the girl. I showed her where to find some good books I had as a teenager and said she could just read if she liked.

Needless to say, when I got home a bit later, I found that she had cooked mac & cheese. I asked the boys if they had asked for mac & cheese, and they said no. (I figured not, because I don't ever make it for a snack, and they had both had snacks before I left.) However, the entire box was gone. I'm figuring the girl must have been hungry and saw the mac & cheese box on the counter where I left it (after almost making it for lunch), so she went for it. Paul said, "Cooking the mac & cheese probably took the entire time she was here!"

I still laugh, because it was just strange. She knew she'd be there for only 30 minutes, and she made mac & cheese. I don't mind, but I do find it very funny.

It made me wonder if I had any other strange babysitting behavior. The only thing I could think of is a girl who called me to find out how to run the TV/VCR. I would have died before calling someone to find out how to watch TV while I was babysitting. (Not that I didn't watch TV, but I would have never called to find out how to do it!) This same babysitter ended up ruining one of our VHS tapes. She did try to replace it, but I told her not to worry about it since it was one that was given to us and I didn't think we'd ever watch it again.

We've been very fortunate here in Utah living by family and Hilary to not really have to use "outside" babysitters much. And we're very grateful that Becca is now old enough to babysit as well. (You'll all get your own live-in babysitter one day! :) In the meantime, any of you have strange babysitter stories?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

PhotoShop Elements, my new friend ...

So I've been having a bit of fun with PhotoShop Elements. I was first exposed to PhotoShop in college, but I figured I'd never be able to afford the $800 program. Then I learned about PhotoShop Elements -- a smaller version that is also a lot smaller in price. I'm loving it!

Mind you, I bought it years ago and there are two new versions (well, as of next month anyway) since mine was released. However, I'm thinking I can upgrade to the next version for something like $40 now that it's the "old" version. I don't need all the new features anyway, although I'm sure they really would be nice.

In any case, I'm having a blast making baby announcements for people. I HAVE to share the one I made for my friends Scott and Marilee Gillins. Not only did the announcements turn out cute, but isn't that baby adorable?!? I took these pictures in the hospital when she was just two days old. I can't wait to see here again because she's so cute:

I also made one for my sis-in-law a couple of months ago, and she got an adorable picture of her baby smiling:

If I ever decide to open up shop and do these for money, I have some cute samples stored up, which is easy to do when the people around me are all having such adorable little babies!

Oh, back onto subject. Well, kind of. Did you all know that one day I plan to get braces? I went to the orthodontist for years and my parents paid a bunch of money, but my teeth came in so late that I didn't really get much done before we couldn't afford it anymore. In any case, I plan to -- when we CAN afford it, and probably after all of my kids have had them -- get braces one day. In the meantime, I can use PhotoShop Elements to straighten my teeth:

Really I just wanted to show off my new BYU T-shirt. Isn't that awesome?!? And it was on clearance at the BYU Bookstore. In any case, I'm enjoying learning a few new PhotoShop things and am having a bit of fun doing it.

In case anyone is wondering (based on this blog), I don't do digital scrapbooking. I prefer putting on all the stuff separately and "getting my hands into it." I figure maybe one day I'll do some digital pages, but I'm still enjoying the "old-fashioned" way for now.

For those who use PhotoShop Elements, what are your favorite tricks? Let me know if you have any sites you peruse with cool ways to do things. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

BYU Football and General Authorities

Man, oh, man did we pick the best year to get cable JUST to watch the BYU games! Oh, and even better than watching each game on TV? Going in person! Hilary's sister and hubby couldn't make it, so they gave the tickets to Hilary. Good thing about Lee being a pilot and out of town is that I get to be the fill-in when he can't do cool things like this. :) Morgan took a pretty good pic of the two of us before we set off for the game. Thanks to Hilary's parents, we not only matched, but were ready to FULLY cheer on our BYU Cougars:

Hilary and her parents were quite concerned about me because I forgot to wear sunscreen or bring a hat. (These are things I'll get down when I'm the one with season tickets. :) Anyway, as you can see from the photo above, I just have a red face. However, I kept telling them that if I did get a really bad burn, then when people asked how I got it I could brag about being at the game. I did get a little burned (after turning down Dale's repeated attempts to give me his hat), but not enough that even one person asked me about it. Can you believe that? Anyway, here are the four of us before the game even started. You think those are good smiles? I'm sure a photo at the end of the game would have had us with even bigger smiles on our faces:

So, the only thing better than BYU slaughtering UCLA and shutting them out was that Hilary and I got to see and shake hands with Elder L. Tom Perry of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I saw a man in a suit and knew it had to be someone important! We took pictures without asking him to stop and pose with us, but he was very gracious to anyone who wanted to shake hands or take a picture:

I am so grateful that we have a prophet with two great counselors who are supported by 12 Apostles on the earth today. We have people here to guide us who are as powerful and important as Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, etc. What a wonderful thing it is to have someone acting as the mouthpiece for the Lord here on the Earth to lead all people!

I have no other reason to post the following picture other than every time I look at it I smile. It is one of our newest Apostles, Quentin L. Cook. I received a calling from him when I was the Seattle-area public affairs media director. Since it was an area calling and he was the area authority at the time, he was the one to give me the call. In any case, we had a big genealogy event with the Black Genealogy Research Group of Seattle, and this picture is from a luncheon prior to the event. I never got a picture with Elder Cook (too busy handling a different media crisis), but I was glad to have a copy of the pictures, including this one of him just having a great, ol' time! Look at that smile:

I love that the "celebrities" of our church are just humble, righteous men who are making a difference in their own quiet, humble ways. I think many church members would rather meet our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, rather than any celebrity in the world. I know that's true for me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today is the anniversary of the dreadful 9/11 attacks. It was my first day alone with my new baby Tyler. When Paul heard the news he let me sleep a bit longer before calling to tell me, and then I just sat there glued to the TV trying to figure it all out. Actually, when he called and said, "Turn on the TV," I made him tell me what was wrong, because the last time someone said that it was the Oklahoma City bombing.

It was a horrible day that actually brought out the best in our nation. Makes me realize that sometimes our best DOES indeed come through trials, as much as we don't want them or like them. I'm definitely not one of those who gets up at church and says, "I'm grateful for my trials." However, I am grateful for what I learn when I am pushed to my limit and tested.

Anyway, shortly after 9/11 I received the following via e-mail. I LOVE it! I know that God has to let people have their agency so that He can judge them accordingly. If He stopped people from doing anything wrong, that is taking away their agency, and He can't punish them for something they didn't do. So, although He lets bad things happen to His children, He is there for them throughout.

Where Was God on September 11, 2001?
How many of us have heard that question "Where was your God when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked?" Well I know where my God was the morning of September 11, 2001, and He was very busy!
  • He was trying to discourage anyone from taking these flights. Those four flights together held more than 1,000 passengers and there were only 266 aboard. He was also on those four flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who were called by a loved one on a hijacked plane said that passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights he was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the hijackers.
  • God was also busy creating obstacles to prevent people who worked in the WTC from getting to work on time. The work day had begun, more than 50,000 people worked in the two towers, yet only 20,000 were at their desks. On that beautiful morning, God created scores of unexpected traffic delays, subway delays, and commuter train delays. A PATH train packed with commuters was stopped at a signal just short of the WTC and was able to return to Jersey City. And far more meetings were scheduled elsewhere than was usual.
  • God held up each of the two mighty towers for a half hour so that the people on the lower floors could get out. And when He finally let go, He caused the towers to fall inward rather than to topple over, which would have killed so many more people. The foundations of six surrounding buildings were demolished by the fall of the towers, but God held them up for many hours until all the occupants were safely evacuated.
  • And when the World Trade Center buildings went down, my God picked up almost 3,500 of His children and carried them to their home for all eternity. He also sat down and cried that 19 of His misguided children could have so much hate in their hearts, that they did not choose Him, but another god that doesn't exist.
  • He sent his children who are best trained for this disaster (firefighters and police officers) and had them save those who were still alive but unable to help themselves. And then He sent many others to help in any way they were needed. And He brought people together across the world in a way that moved thousands to tears and hundreds of thousands to prayer—and caused millions to turn to the one true living God.
  • He still isn't finished. Every day He comforts those who lost loved ones and gives His other children the strength to reach out and help them in any way they can. He is encouraging others to reach out to those who don't know Him or believe in Him. He is giving the leaders of our great nation the strength and conviction to do the right thing, to follow His will, not a popularity poll.
  • And I believe he will continue to help us in what is to come. He would never leave us in our time of need.

So if anyone ever asks, "Where was your God on 9/11?" you can say, "He was everywhere! And, in fact, he is everywhere today and every day." Without a doubt, this was the worst catastrophe most of us have ever seen. I can't imagine getting through such a difficult time without God at my side. Without God, life would be hopeless.

- Author unknown

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Random thoughts ...

Just a few random thoughts about life these days, including a few things that just don't matter but are a part of life anyway ...

First of all I have to say how grateful we are for Paul's new job!!! I went to Costco this week and realized that EVERY item we buy there went up in price. Without his raise, we would be feeling the pain of higher groceries. Also, people are jumping ship left and right from his old company. The management is no longer trying to improve the company, but trying to "slim" it up to sell. It sounds like a mess, and we're glad we left when we did. We just hope Paul's friends still there get out while the gettin' is good! (Jump, Josh! Jump!!)

Something annoying me lately is Lifetouch. They're the photo people who do sports photos here and school pics. I didn't actually order any school pictures this year, because last year's were a crock -- Becca's was so dark her hair looked black (it's brown), and Tyler's were off-center. How hard is it when you tell the kid to sit down and snap his picture?!? Their sports photos are even worse -- in Tyler's T-ball picture he is so far back you can't confirm for sure whether or not it's him. Apparently some lady just posed my nephew so he got the pictures back and doesn't appreciate his feminine pose. In soccer last year they got the water meter cover in the pictures with the individual poses -- until I pointed it out to them and they corrected the problem. Duh! This is your job -- do it right!!! In any case, I've decided to start taking my own pictures by standing next to the Lifetouch photographer and just taking one the same time they do.

Well, due to weather they had to move them inside this year, so I ordered a small package anyway since my camera isn't the best for indoors. (My Canon SLR is still on the wishlist!) Anyway, I took the team photo wihout a problem. Then for individual pictures the lady informs me that their background is copyrighted, and I can't use my camera to take any pictures on their background. Excuse me? The BACKGROUND is copyrighted? I told her I ordered a package, but I wanted a backup since I really didn't always get the best pictures from them. She said no. I asked who her supervisor was so I could ask them. She said, "There's Frank. If he says it's okay we can do it." I explained the situation to Frank and he said sure, I could take a picture -- especially since I ordered a package. She said, "Well, I guess we better ask Mike." HELLO! You just said Frank could decide. Why did we ask him if he's not your supervisor?!? I said, "You said if we ask Frank and he said yes we could do it. We're already going to be late for the soccer game, let's just go on what Frank said!" She was all worried, but Frank said, "Just let her do it!" So, Tyler gets up to pose, and the lady steps in front of me on purpose. Are you kidding?!? In any case, I had him step to the side and got this picture ... hope I don't get arrested for using this so totally original background that Lifetouch copyrighted ...

And the last little annoying thing has to do with my car blinkers -- they're not working. Apparently I have some kind of short in the system, so sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, and sometimes the wrong blinker comes on. (The first time the wrong blinker came on I figured I was really tired and had turned on the wrong one. Nope, just the car thinking backwards. I can't wait to get my Toyota!!! They rule!) Anyway, I haven't worried too much about it, but I'm sure I get some people behind me a little annoyed ("Thanks for the blink, Dink!"). So, last night I came to an intersection where I had the right-of-way, the guy coming towards me wanted to turn left, as did I. I figured rather than making him wait until I got to the intersection to turn left, I would stick my arm out the window and signal that way. You should have seen the looks I got! The guy coming towards me was so stumped by my signal that he just sat there staring at me. The lady sitting at the stop sign on my left stared at me all the way around the corner with a confused look on her face. Maybe I should try the arm signaling more often -- it was hilarious!

Oh, and the most hilarious randomness comes from Becca. Oftentimes in the morning her brain isn't quite awake yet. This morning she wasn't wearing her glasses, and Paul and I kept saying she was missing something ("I SEE when I LOOK at you that you're missing something"), that maybe she had Lasik and didn't tell us, or that her vision improved dramatically overnight, and she said (in a VERY annoyed voice), "I am wearing my retainers!" But that wasn't the one that had me almost crying I was laughing so hard. We were reading scriptures, and we came to the one that I always read as, "Forgive men their trespasses." Becca was reading, and she said, "Forgive men their tapestries." I laughed so hard I almost couldn't be respectful during our prayer later! In any case, if you have curtains I don't like, I will work on forgiving you. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

College days ...

So today I went onto BYU campus for the first time since I graduated 9 years ago. Has it really been THAT long? I suppose so, considering I moved to Seattle got married and now have four children. :)

I've been meaning to go look at how everything has changed, but I just haven't gotten around to it. However, I wanted a BYU shirt for Shayla (sans shipping costs), so I stopped by for a brief moment this morning.

Walking back into the WILK, where I spent a LOT of time as a student editor of The Daily Universe (it has since moved locations), I just felt a sense of energy. I looked at how things had changed (a computer lab on the first floor of the WILK?) and thought about how much fun it was to go to school there. I walked through the eatery and study area and listened to someone playing beautiful piano music. I remembered the yummy chocolate oreo shakes I would get from time to time at the eatery.

Just looking around made me miss college life! I had so much fun and energy during college, and I felt smart and useful. Seems I often feel like I'm missing on some of those things these days. :)

Anyway, then I remembered how stressful it was to be a student and to look forward to graduation and wonder what it would be like to "start life" after college was over. (Honestly, my most fun as a single woman came from my days in Seattle. I loved the Kent 9th Branch!) I thought about the whole dating scene and what a mess it seemed, and how stressful that could be. I remembered that while I was single I also didn't have the same confidence and surety that I have now, even though my brain doesn't seem to function on the same plane as it did during those BYU days. I remembered that although I did have TONS of fun at BYU and in the K-9, I am SO HAPPY to be married, and to be happily married at that. I am grateful that we have been blessed to have four wonderful children and hope to add more to our ranks one of these days. I'm grateful that I got to experience that life -- and love almost every minute of it -- rather than getting married shortly after high school (which is probably what I wanted to do at the time). And I remembered what an honor I felt to graduate from college, and especially from BYU -- a college filled to the brim with good, honest, hard-working, FUN people who will be friends for life.

I should probably mention on that note that BYU is where I met my BFF Hilary. We were both interns at Novell and spending LOTS of time at The Daily Universe and somehow we just clicked. We served in the public relations student society together, went to Boston together, wrote and worked on a PR movie together, and taught countless numbers of people how to play Yahtzee! (Where did these non-Yahtzee! people come from, anyway?) We were roommates our senior year, and we moved up to Seattle together after that. I'm not sure I would have had the guts to go to Seattle without her, and it was an AWESOME experience with her. Hil, you're the best. Have we really only been friends for 10 years?!? Oh, and when are we doing Hawaii again?!?

In BYU football gear we borrowed for our PR video (BTW, Lavell Edwards was SO NICE!):

With the most awesome college mascot ever (Cosmo), the awesome BYU football coach (Lavell Edwards), and the very kind President Merrill with his wife. Hil is next to Cosmo, I'm ducking down next to her:

Pretending to be broadcast news reporters on graduation day. So glad we stuck with print:

At Pearl Harbor. Yes, I realize Hilary is with my mom -- not me -- in this picture. Somehow at the top of Diamond Head I have a picture with Hilary and my parents, but nobody got a picture of me. I PROMISE I did make the climb!

The Seattle ferry -- Christmas card from 1999:

Sunday, September 7, 2008


On Saturday we had our friends over to join us in cheering on our BYU Cougars (Go, BYU -- AWESOME win!), and their little girl showed up in the same shirt that Shayla has. Now, Marilee and I had already figured out that our girls had the same shirt, because when she came over on Tuesday Shayla was wearing hers. It happened that yesterday Scotty got Savannah dressed and put her in the shirt without knowing that Shayla has one, too.

So, when they showed up with Savannah wearing the shirt, Marilee and I decided we had to put Shayla in hers for a picture of the two together. Then we decided we'd leave her in it and see how long it took our husbands to notice that our daughters were wearing the same shirts.

Guess how long it took them? Well, they never really did figure it out on their own. Marilee gave some not-so-subtle hints as we sat around the table eating dinner -- with Savannah and Shayla sitting right next to each other -- and the men still didn't notice. We had to finally say, "Look at Savannah. Now look at Shayla. Notice anything?" It was hilarious.

So, I guess next time Paul doesn't notice my new haircut (again), I'll try not to take it personallly. It's just a guy thing.

In any case, here are the two cuties:

Kite festival

Okay, so I'm still surprised I got only two comments on Disneyland suggestions. Please, keep 'em coming. Those were great ideas, and I'd love more ...

Anyway, this weekend we got to attend the first-ever kite festival in Spanish Fork. (Actually, I think they eventually settled on the name "Sky Spectacular" but whatever.) What is it about kites? They really are just exciting! They put to use some of this crazy wind we constantly have in Spanish Fork.

The festival was planned as a kick-off event for nine HUGE (>400 feet) wind-powered windmills/turbines that will create energy ... although not energy that we will use here in Spanish Fork. (They are owned by a different company than what we use in Spanish Fork.) We're still waiting for all nine windmills to be going at once, but they are exciting to see (behind Shayla in this photo from our hike to the cross):

Anyway, we decided to go to the festival on Friday to try to avoid some of the ribbon-cutting ceremony crowds on Saturday. They had free kites for the kids to make that were just cool, and they worked really well. We went up with Hilary and her girls, so here are the kites they all made:

We were on the ridge of the mountain, and we got some pretty good wind. The kites were easy to get going, so the kids LOVED them! Here are my kids flying around with theirs.



Shayla actually got her kite into the air a few times, but I included this photo since you can see her cute little face. At one point I saw a woman sitting down clicking tons of pictures of Shayla. I figured she was probably a reporter, but just in case I called Shayla over to me. The woman then came over and said she was indeed a reporter and asked if she could use Shayla's pic in the newspaper. I love when other people realize how cute my kids are. :) Anyway, she did look cute trying to fly that kite, just like my boys (who the reporter also snapped a few pics of):

(This part for Hilary only: Look at the kids' kites they were giving to the kids on Saturday! I'm so glad we went on Friday!!!)

They had some really huge, cool kites there with expert kite-flyers. Unfortunately on Friday there wasn't tons of wind, so they only got the octopus up for about 30 seconds, and they never got the 100-foot cat in the air. However, I was quick enough to get a pic of the octopus, and I went back on Saturday to try to catch the cat, but it wasn't even there on Saturday. (You can see it on the ground by the octopus):

However, on Saturday there was a kite of a woman swimming that was just AWESOME! She really looked like she was swimming, and gracefully at that. Being in the blue sky and seeing the mountain behind her almost makes it really look like she was in the ocean with rocks she was scuba diving around. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention that there were two small shark kites attached to her to look like they were following her:

Here are Tyler and Zachary in front of a little cove of kites they had:

They also had guys on jet skis on the reservoir to do kites over the water. That was awesome to watch. When I look at these pictures, I relate very well to John Denver's song, "Rocky Mountain High." How can you not LOVE living in the Rocky Mountains when you see pictures like this?

Because the event was a kick-off for clean energy, they also had all kinds of other vendors there, including Smart Cars and others like it:

I also had my first chance to ride a Segway. I've always wondered what it would be like to ride them, and they really are easy. (I guess this depends on whether or not you usually keep your balance. I do, so it was easy. I think I've found an extremely fun way to be lazy! :) The police departments around here are getting into buying them for crowded events. Doesn't make sense to me, but they sure are a fun way to spend tax-payers' dollars! My boys were bummed they couldn't try one (you had to be 16), but Tyler got a picture of me on one:

We're sure hoping that next year they have the event again. I know they were overwhelmed by the response -- when I went back on Saturday morning I had a brief conversation with one of the organizers, and she had been up until 2 a.m. printing off more maps (of vendor locations) and getting supplies to make the alternative children's kite after running out of the cool ones my kids got to make. I guess on Friday alone they had 1,700 cars. What do you expect when it's a really cool event in a beautiful location and is totally free?!? I think next time they'll get it ... hopefully! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Disneyland or Bust

We are so excited to be going to Disneyland next month!!! I haven't been for more than 13 years! California Adventure? Never seen it.

We are very excited to be staying at the Portofino in a family suite -- a separate compartment/room for the kids with a set of bunk beds for the boys and a sleeper couch for Becca. Hello! Exciting!!!

Anyway, I need your comments -- what do we need to know to best enjoy Disneyland? (especially Disneyland with kids)?

I'm tempted to do the root beer in a diaper in a bag on the stroller (to look like a messy diaper) so that people will leave it alone, but I'm really not too concerned w/the stroller. (If I did this it would mostly be for the laugh.) Any other (maybe more helpeful) tidbits? I'll take 'em all!