Sunday, June 8, 2014



While looking through some videos for the young women lesson I taught in church today, I came upon this one again. I can watch it over and over, and still feel the power of its awesome message. If you haven't seen it, Because of Him is the best 2 minutes and 45 seconds you will spend today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

a new tradition and photo overload

In April, we made good on a plan we've had in the works for years: Take each child to General Conference when they are 12 years old. Just mom and dad and one child. I don't know why it took so long to enact this plan, but I'm sure glad we were 4 years late.
Molly is now pushing 16, and she was the first benefactor. She was much more excited about the trip than she would have been at 12. She appreciated the effort. She listened. She took fastidious notes. She enjoyed the music and the sights much more than her younger self would have. So I'm thinking about bumping the age to at least 14 for the rest of the kids. That's called a parental prerogative. Sorry kids.
Molly and I flew to Salt Lake City on Friday afternoon. Rode the Trax public train (super easy for our first time) to our downtown hotel. Mark met us much later that night after he could get away from work. In the mean time, we shopped and ate and had a great time at City Creek shopping center, which was a quick walk from our hotel.
Mark's dad met us for lunch on Saturday. It was great to spend time with him.
Fortuitously, we stumbled upon the cast of Studio C. They were just finishing up an autograph event at Deseret Book. I'm sure they were annoyed that we wanted to keep them just a little longer for some photos, but they were gracious and accommodating. However (in the photo below) I'm pretty sure they were laughing at me and my failed attempts to play "Do you know?..." with Matt. Or maybe Mark said something funny. I don't remember. Probably the former.
Joseph Smith Memorial Building 
We watched one of the conference sessions in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. The benches were more uncomfortable than I remember from my last visit to conference 20 years ago. Hmmm....funny how that works.
Salt Lake is seriously so beautiful in the spring.
My sisters both live in Provo and they drove up to meet us for dinner and more shopping. The cousins had a braiding bonding moment with Molly. Their handiwork was fabulous, though there was some pulling and ripping involved in the removal of all these ponies.
Emily, Me, Abby and Golden
Sunday morning, we had tickets to be in the Conference Center. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. I cannot express how touching the music was! The Tabernacle Choir took my breath away and I could not look away when they sang. I was completely in the moment and it was so so good. My favorite song was a new arrangement of "Let Us All Press On." Cannot get enough of that song. Download it here.
I love this shot of Molly and Mark and the throngs of people pouring out of the conference center.
Lots of missionaries and lots of languages back at Temple Square.
Sunday afternoon we were back on a plane and heading home. Such a quick trip and so perfect! Many thanks to my mom and dad who stayed home with our other kids. They can never get enough of Nana and Papa! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

bathroom under construction

my bathroom

As my pinterest board can attest, we are currently renovating our master bathroom. When I say "we," I mean "we" hired it out. 

90% of the tile is in: 12 x 24 gray tile on the floor, 2 inch noir hexagons on the shower floor and 3 x 6 white subway tile (and dark grout) in the newly-built shower. The mirror decision has yet to be made, along with new lighting, baseboards and the install of the glass shower door and half wall. Things are starting to look good, but the shower is completely non-functioning until door and plumbing are installed. So for the last two weeks, we have been sharing the kids' shower. I am so done with that.

This "little" project has turned into something big, as most reno projects do. What started as Mark's Christmas gift to me (professional closet organization) has shifted to the bathroom for the moment. We decided we couldn't have a spectacular closet, right next to a "blah" bathroom. So we changed our focus. After the bathroom, we will start on the closet (on a much smaller scale than originally planned, since most of our budget belongs to the bathroom now), and then some minor tweaks to the master bedroom. The whole thing is STRESS-FUL; not nearly as fun as I anticipated. 

I am pretty pleased with what we've done with the budget we have set. I am in LOVE with the Noir Hexazon tile, and would have used it for the entire bathroom floor, but it is pricey, so we used it in a very limited space. I also love the gray floor tile even more than I thought I would - looks like concrete with so much variation - no two tiles look the same.

Pictures to come.

p.s. This is my very first polyvore board, ever. I am learning.

Sources: wood mirror, gold mirror, Noir Hex tile, gray tile


Monday, March 31, 2014

february and march goings-on

>>> Owen turned 8 and was baptized. I can't believe he is getting so old. Turning 8 also means cub scouts and he is pretty thrilled about future pine wood derbies and campouts.
>>> The Gilbert Temple cultural celebration was fantastic! 12,000 youth performed their hearts out and it was beyond impressive. These photos are from a "dry-run." The actual performance was accompanied by complete and constant rain. There was no cover. No umbrella. No place to hide. The rain saturated everything: the ground, their hair, their clothes, their instruments, and their costumes! My kids came home entirely drenched. And they loved every minute of it. (Mostly.) Watch clips here.
>>> Molly played the ukulele for one of the songs. It was my favorite.
[Making cultural celebration costumes for the Babylonian Fire Dance.]
>>> The following day was clear and bright for the official temple dedication. 
>>> We recently realized that Grace is four inches taller than Jonah! They are only two months apart, and have always been about the same height. Until last week, I guess. 
It was crazy to see how much Grace has grown without me even noticing. She is only two inches shy of Molly.
Owen is catching up quickly too. I had a hard time finding him a suit for his baptism. The one I bought is on the brink of high-water status, and I already let the hem out as far as it will go. Stop growing, children!
>>> Maybe it's insensitive of me to post pictures of our southwest spring, given the horrible winter that's raging across the country. But it really is lovely here and before I know it, the fire-breathing dragon-of-a-summer will enter the picture.
I have to enjoy it while I can.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

a temple trip

Mark and I were able to walk through the new Gilbert temple a few weeks ago, on a lovely slow tour with a group of mostly visitors to our church. We relaxed under sparkling chandeliers while our guide explained art and architecture, procedures and purposes.  It was peaceful and awe-inspiring and it ranks up there as a favorite day, for sure.
Last Friday, we were able to take our whole family to see the temple. Although it was not a slow-paced tour by any means, it was still so great! 
Just a few hiccups: George refused to wear the little carpet-protecting shoe covers. Refused. So our guide said he could just go barefoot. No, he didn't even have socks. Just sandals. I have to say, his bare feet were probably dirtier than the sandals he was wearing. And halfway through, Hank looked at George's feet and realized the injustice he was enduring in the form of little white plastic bags on his feet. Hank's a good sport though, and kept his on.
That same child (George) started to melt down just as we began the tour. So while we started out eagerly at the very front of the group, we quickly found ourselves at the very back, with the follow-up usher, ushering us along. She very sweetly told us we might need to carry George up the stairs if he wasn't cooperative. She was very sweet. But George immediately insisted (loudly) "NO! I can walk." From that moment on, he had a focus - STAIRS! And there were a lot of them. Forget the Swarovski crystal chandeliers: We are talking four flights of stairs! That is four year old heaven.
Upon exiting the temple, every single child thought they might collapse from starvation, so we drove our famished-from-all-those-stairs selves across the street to the Waffle Crush truck. We were thinking it could count as dinner. We thought wrong. Even our sugar-loving kids can't handle ice cream AND chocolate AND Nutella AND fresh cream AND marshmallows on a waffle - for dinner! Sugar overload is an understatement. The waffles are super delish so we all agreed that next time we will order perfectly plain waffles. Maybe a few berries too. But that's it.
The temple is a must! If you haven't been, GO! 
Saturday, February 15th is the last day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

so far so good

2014 has been busy. I do not pretend that busy-ness is a badge of honor. It's not. The "stuff" that fills our busy days is often meaningless and forgettable. So it's nice when that "stuff" is worthwhile and memorable. In looking back on the short few weeks of 2014, at least some of our busy-filled-days fall under the latter category. That's a nice feeling. 'Cause certainly, we have our share of fluff around here. Examples of both below.
The Gilbert Temple open house is in full swing.  It is my favorite place and it is stunning. If you are in Arizona, take the free public tour, which ends this week. 
Mark and I were ushers at the temple one day last week. It was so great! Our job was to stand at the front doors and open them for each new group. It wasn't a very busy day, so the tour guides had time to stand at the doors and give a little instruction to each group before they went in. That was nice to listen to. We also got to count everyone that came through. (See those little clickers on our wrists.) On that slow day, there were about 1000 people every hour. (FYI, yesterday a new world record was set with 21,000 people visiting the temple in one day.)
No more braces for this 12 year old! Man, he was so happy.
The missionaries indulged our kids with a game Telestrations while I finished up making dinner. I don't think they know how much it helped me. I think they all enjoyed themselves. My sister gave us the game for Christmas - it's a good one!
First place (in social & behavioral science) at the high school science fair? What? She was shocked and thrilled.
Nana and Papa came out to watch the kids play tennis and then we ate at Joe's Farm Grill. That was a good day.
Grace is a champ on her new unicycle! It's so fun to watch her. I think ten years ago, I would have attempted to learn, but now I'm just too old to risk injury to wrist/ankle/skull/pride.
This is definitely fluff: I captured my Sunday outfit, and a peak into our soon-to-be-changing bedroom. That's our new blue bed in the background, and our giveaway junk pile most everywhere else. Talk about injuring my pride.
Hank made a rainbow out of wooden men and told me it was a monster disguise, not a rainbow.
Mark helped me put up these acrylic shelves in Hank and George's room. I love them. (The books on the bottoms two shelves are some of their faves. The Rabbit Problem has been recently rediscovered and it's now in the daily rotation too.)
Busy doesn't mean better. But so far, my "busy" has been pretty good.