Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New York, New York!

With Brett heading off to the Big Apple this morning, I am reminiscent of my own visit to New York. It was autumn, 2002. Halle was just over a year old & my best friend (Shannon) was nannying there. For an early Christmas present, Brett generously let me go for a long weekend of "just the girls". It will go down in history as one of my all-time favorite experiences. (If you want to ask me about it, be prepared for me to ramble on and on and on.) Shannon and I always have a hysterical time together, and being together in New York as our backdrop made it all that more special! We only spent two days and two nights in the city, so we went from sun-up to sun-down, trying to cram as much sights, sounds, and unfortunately sometimes smells (such as the stinky gush of air coming from the subway below up through the vents in the ground...YUCK), into our time as possible. We walked and walked and walked, trying to avoid $$$ from taxis (besides, when we did splurge on a ride somewhere, it was seriously questioned whether or not we would arrive alive!). By the time we'd arrive at the apartment at night, the very thought of hiking the four floors of stairs was enough to make me pass out. Our legs would burn with each painful step! We were fortunate that Shannon's boss's sister generously let us stay in her apartment in Manhattan (she was gone for the weekend). That only enhanced our "New York" experience.
Here are some highlights:
*This was so fun! While we waited in line at Battery Park for the ferry ride to Ellis Island, a group of entertainers performed for the crowd. I love Shannon's face (in the cream coat)
as the man ran and did a flip over SIX people!
One big item on my to-do list was to eat a New York Hot Dog. was very, very important to me
that I eat a hot dog from a street vendor.
I felt like it was part of the whole experience.
I know I'm weird.
And yes, it was YUM!

On the Sunday morning, we visited Ground Zero before
heading to church over by where they were at the time constructing the temple.
I was deeply moved by the letters and notes and signs that were found there.
I went in October, so the one-year anniversary had just passed.
Even 6 years later, the emotions I felt on that fateful day are still fresh in many ways.
So to go only one year after the attacks...well, I don't even need to describe how I felt.
I know many share the same feelings.
As you looked around, a man on a street corner played "Amazing Grace" on his violin.
He refused anyone that tried to give him money.
He said he came every Sunday to pay honor to the victims.

The note below was just one of many covering the fence surrounding the church near Ground Zero. But I took a picture of it because of what was hand-written next to the "Missing in Action". I don't know what would have been worse during the days, weeks, months following the attacks...not knowing the whereabouts of a loved one, or finally at last receiving the news that somehow they'd been identified among the rubble.

The entire experience of visiting Ground Zero was incredibly sobering.
I shouldn't have bothered putting on make-up.
Even a year later, people just stood around and sobbed, holding each other as they wept.
We even saw one woman kneeling on the ground, overcome with her grief.
I had to fight the urge to kneel next to her and wrap my arms around her.
I wanted to know...was she a "tourist" like myself, or were her wounds much deeper?
Did she lose her husband, a sister, a friend at Ground Zero?
I really liked how this picture turned out.
I took it as we rode the ferry to Ellis Island.
The Twin Towers would have been part of the skyline.
I loved Ellis Island. Everything it represented--hope, dreams, hard work--I found it very touching.
Our navigational skills in New York were basically null. We got so ridiculously lost, so many times! I bet everyday we had to ask for directions at least 5 or 6 times! Thank heavens for the NYPD...they were everywhere and always willing to redirect two giggly tourists! These two asked us lots of questions about Utah and Mormons. We talked to them for probably at least ten minutes.
This couple was from Australia. While we were trying to find Rockefeller Plaza so we could watch the Today Show be taped, about 6 blocks away, we had to pull out our trusty map (since we were lost again). I looked down the street and had to laugh because there on the street corner was this couple looking at the same exact 3-D map and looking every bit as confused as we felt! We asked them what they were trying to find and wouldn't you know it? The were also going to the Today Show! So, we were lost and found together!
By the time we made it to the show, we felt like old friends. They knew a lot about Mormons and Utah because he was a preacher by profession. He had done a lot of studying about Mormonism and although he did not share our beliefs, he and his wife very much respected our Mormon history and had a great interest in the sacrifices and faith of our pioneers. Part of their holiday to America had included retracing some of the pioneer trails. I still have the business card he gave me. By the way, the day we saw the Today Show, anchor David Bloom was present. He died a few months later of a blood clot (I believe) while reporting in Iraq. (On this particular day they were doing a tribute to Disco...Thus, the groovy attire.)

I wasn't a big fan of the Empire State building.

I went to it so I could say I did (and to pay homage to "Sleepless in Seattle"),

but our visit there was brief. Blame it on a little thing called acrophobia.

Here we are in Central Park.

I loved New York and would love to go back someday!

It's definitely one of a kind as I've never seen anything like it.

(If you love New York, too, click on some of the New York blogs

and links I've got in the sidebar.

My favorite is A NY-Odyssey.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

keeping all the balls in the air...

Sometimes life's ironic. Perhaps it's just part of becoming a parent of a child that's getting older and more involved. Or perhaps it's not for any reason in particular, other than this is how life happens at times.
But for me, this summer screams with irony.

I entered into these summer months worried that my kids wouldn't have enough to do, and now that I find summer halfway over, I'm already wishing it would come to a close because I feel like it's been a constant "go-go-go" and I'm ready to get back into some semblence of a routine! Between vacations and road trips that seem to appear nearly every other weekend, swim lessons, weekly movie day, craft camp, birthdays, family home evenings, etc. I feel as though our entire family has a schedule akin to that of the Energizer bunny! It has been non-stop. All fun, mind you, and nothing that I'd want to give up, but there just hasn't seemed to been time to catch my breath. Let's be honest here...we're lucky if the laundry gets washed between events. And what I hear from moms more "experienced" than myself is that it only gets worse. Heaven help us!

However, I am grateful that we've had things to do and haven't been bored. We're so lucky to live in a community that offers a variety of entertainment, many times for FREE! (I'm taking part in a prime example of that entertainment tonight with my dear friend, Heather. Our husbands are absent, so we're taking the kids to the Polynesian concert at Brigham Young Park after dinner.)

One public service that we've enjoyed this summer is the Storytime and Programs offered at the Davis County Libraries. Here are some pictures of my kids (with the sweet neighbor friends as well as their fun little cousin Mack) at the Bountiful Branch's Jugglers performance. You can see from their faces that they had an excellent time!

Friday, July 18, 2008

No thanks...I don't like Tapioca...

OK, all you sisters out there trying to conquer your family's
food storage challenges...this video is for YOU!
I found this on the most awesome food storage website
(seriously, check it out:
Turn off Neil Diamond or whoever else is singing on my
playlist and watch this. It might be short, but it will
bring a chuckle to your lips!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spell with me, Sesame!

One of my favorite places to browse the racks is a store that Wyatt calls, "The Book Store". He calls it this because when we go we usually purchase at least 1-2 children's books. You might be more familiar with this store's other name: Deseret Industries. Yeah, sometimes you go and just find "junk". But other times, a little treasure catches your eye and your day has just been made with the fact that you purchased something "new" (to your family, at least) for probably under $5! Sometimes we find stuff for Mom (I bought cooking utensils and pans for camping...the entire mismatched "set" for only $7). Or sometimes we discover toys that are still in good shape or books (the Centerville D.I.'s got the best Disney book collection). And finally, sometimes we find games--last time we found Operation, and that was a very big deal to my kiddos! Well, this picture shows my kids playing with one of their absolute favorite D.I. finds. It is the cutest little game called Sesame Street Scrabble. It didn't come with instructions, so we made up our own. Each child chooses a game board (it comes with about 8 of them). On each board are words already spelled out along with pictures so that even little Wyatt can figure out what the letters combine to read. Then children take turns choosing a yellow card, on the reverse side of which is a letter. If they are lucky, they will be able to place that letter some where on their game board. The first person to completely spell all the words on their game board is the winner! I love this game because Wyatt is already catching on to how to spell some words and...(drumroll please)...they can play it without any help from Mom! If you have young children, this game would be worth the price to purchase it, whether new or gently used. What about you? What are your most memorable second-hand store finds???

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Have a seat!

Anyone that has known us since we first became homeowners in 2003 has no doubt noticed the empty greeting they've received as they've entered either of our homes. Except for a piano, we have never had "front room furniture". It was especially painfully obvious in AZ, because our front room was combined with a dining room, making it an extra large room with 12-foot ceilings it was near-ridiculous to walk into the house and see nothing but a piano and carpet! I, of course, have always wanted furniture, but we could never justify spending the money. And it took a long time before it was something Brett really wanted. To him, "front room furniture" was only used when Visiting or Home Teachers came, so "what's the point?" Anyway, a couple weeks ago, Brett and his coworker were talking about the coworker's upcoming yard sale. Neighbors of his had asked if they could sell their loveseat and chair at the yardsale. Brett saw picture and price tag and VOILA!

We now would like to proudly & officially
welcome you into our FRONT ROOM.
We'd love to show it off in person--come stop by sometime!

And it feels so good to say,

"Won't you please sit down?"

Above: View From the Kitchen

View from the bookshelf.
To the left of where I'm standing is our front door and to the
right of where I'm standing is the entry to the kitchen

I should have taken a before picture, just so you could see how much better it looks now, but hopefully the AFTERS will be enough. I can't tell you what it has done to that room. Have you ever had a room that you hate? Where every time you pass by it, your good mood is struck down a notch or two? That was my front room. It felt so empty, and I don't mean just physically. Now it has a warmth to it. It's welcoming and has done wonders to make our house feel more like a home! (Best of all, it was only $200 for microfiber furniture that really was in great shape...I love that the color is a neutral, soft tan, too.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

watching this makes me happy. let it make you happy, too.

(Don't forget to turn off my music player first!)

If you watch the clock that runs underneath the screen,
my favorite moments occur at these times:

1:14 'Gotta love the gap in Rudy's teeth as she belts out the "Baaaaaaby"
2:11 I love the way Cliff's eyes bug out as he "hits" the high notes

Enjoy! And I hope this made you
smile and laugh as much as it did me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


It's taken me a couple weeks, but I wanted to share the pictures we took when we visited my niece/best friend in Rexburg last month. We went on the weekend so that meant Jeramy and Shannon had their girls...BONUS! I love these girls! They are beautiful and smart and sweet and oh, so fun! Jane is Halle's age and Kenzi is Wyatt's so it works out so perfectly! And Shan is due in October with Jack so he and Carson won't be too far apart either, at least not when they are older.
We arrived Friday evening. Here is a picture of a Sinclair dinosaur the kids just had to get their picture on. That's was nice to have an excuse to stop and stretch our legs during the drive up. Carson went nuts over the "Dino"! After we'd arrived and visited some and settled the kids into bed, Shannon and I took off to Albertsons to load up on some groceries. We then sat in the parking lot for thirty minutes talking and laughing, and porking out on the stuff that looked good to us in the store. (Never go hungry...)
The next morning, Brett and Jeramy took off early for a golf tournament while Shannon and I hung out with the kiddos. They have two pets, a shelty named Sadie (which Carson got a kick out of) and a kitten named Spike, who Halle took quite a liking to. If I couldn't find Halle, all I had to do was find Spike! She really was very enamored.
After lunch, we loaded up the kids and took off for the Dollar Store & the local Nature Park where the kids had a blast feeding (and chasing) the ducks!
The best part was watching 5 baby ducks follow their Mama all around the water!
Later on Saturday, we drove out to the cemetery because I wanted to see Thomas J.'s headstone. It is beautiful and depicts one of my favorite portrayals of the Savior. I also saw my aunt's headstone.
This cemetery is so lovely and serene.
I love that you can see the Tetons off in the distance and it is filled with lilac bushes. I know that at one time my dad took a start from the very lilac bush that was planted at his baby sister's grave.
Following the cemetery, we drove to Green Valley, where Jeramy's family owns a Hot Spring. The kids LOVED swimming in all that warm water! Needless to say, we were worn out by the time we got home!
After church the next day, Shan and Jeramy treated us to a delicious BBQ. Joey, Rayna, and their adorable new baby, Jude, came, too. I'm kicking myself that somehow I left there without one picture of Jude! Originally, I thought he looked just like Joey, but actually, his features are so small, much like Rayna. And he definitely has Rayna's mouth. We left shortly after, so happy with our weekend with them and excited for the next time we drive up, which will most likely be Jack's blessing this fall/winter! It was the perfect, low-key weekend.
Shannon is one of those friends with whom you can go a while without seeing and when you do finally get together, it's like you were never apart. It seems she and I are in a constant state of laughter and I think we bring the best out in each other. We've hardly ever really angered each other, and when we have it's been over such minor things that we've never stayed angry for long. We usually end up apologizing within a couple minutes and are either crying or laughing over whatever piddly thing had come up.
(Brett wouldn't stop taking pictures, even after we'd walked away!)
I have two wonderful sisters. And I feel very close to them and love them very much. Now that I'm "grown up" I feel I can relate to them well, despite the difference in age. I really do mean it when I feel like they are not just my sisters, but also my good friends. However, I have to say that Shannon is probably the closest experience I could have had to growing up with a sibling; that is to say experiencing life day-to-day with a sibling in the home. You have to remember that by age 6 or 7 I was the only child left in my parents' house, so my growing up experience compared to other people with siblings closer to their own age is quite different. So in a way, I feel blessed, as though I was given a "3rd sister". One of these days I'll share more pictures of her and me...we did some crazy stuff together! :)

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson