Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Today is Sherie's birthday. I am fortunate to have gained her as a sister-in-law by marrying into the C. family. She does this amazing thing where she writes nice bios about her sisters and sister-in-laws on their birthdays and she does a great job! Now it's her turn.

My apologies for not having a clearer photo -but I think her cute pixie-like-ness still shows through.
When I first married and gained this whole new big family of amazing people, it was Sher who made me feel right at home. She was comfortable to be around, easy to talk to. Even though our family get togethers are very large, Sher has always been good at making a point to visit with each person individually. I don't know if she means to do that. But, I can sure come away from those events, feeling like I had some good quality time with her. She makes people feel important that way. Like, Jesus, seeking the one, in the crowd.

Sher is warm and friendly and is quick to share a smile and a compliment. She plays the flute and the piano. I remember a time when she strummed a guitar and sang along to a duet she had written. I can still hear the tune and something about "standing in the kitchen." It was a good song and I hope she performs it again. She is a gifted poetess. Her spirituality and love for gospel and family shine through in her writing. She likes to read good books and she has passed that love on to her 6 brilliant children.

She is one of the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet. With her husband Derek's work, she gets opportunities to travel to exciting destinations. I think Sher enjoys these trips somewhat, but she is far more content to be at home with the people she loves.

One new thing I've learned about Sher this year, is how gifted she is at seeing the good in people and expressing it in words, as she has done in the birthday blogs.
I sure have enjoyed reading them. So here's back at you Sher! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Country Time Fun

Events of the last week:
The infamous BYU game. BD took Kate and they had a jolly old time. At least the sunset was nice, eh?
Our corny family. You know you're a redneck if you send this as your family Christmas photo.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!
We thought it would be nice to share some family time at the local corn-maze/hoe-down extravaganza, so here are the photos.
You can make up your own caption for this one above.

Fun things to do with hay.
Hay slide.
Mechanical Bull. Bd didn't even stay on long enough for a picture, neither did I...something about our center of gravity...but the girls did pretty well.
Waiting in line for the Redneck Roller Coaster
This is it. It kept breaking down, so we never actually got to ride it. Eat my dust!
The train worked.
More fun things to do with hay. After getting a lot of hay in our shoes and running through the cornmaze, but not far enough to get lost, the girls convinced us to share some ribbon fries and then some funnel cake.
Dictionary time: FUN-l cake: A delicious deep fried, powdered sugar-topped confection you have to try once every 10 years.
Personal Confession: This was my 3rd this year. (Thanks to that layover in Chicago--they know how to make 'em!)

This is Brynn playing in the Utah State Fiddle Competition, right here in town. We didn't know what we were getting into but it was a pretty big deal with some pretty big cash prizes. We're glad we came because Brynn took 3rd in the 0-8 age category. Shucks I'm a proud mama. She won herself 25 bucks and a trophy/frame. She's very happy about the money part.
She played Devil's Dream, Kiss-me Waltz, and Red Wing. The guitarist was her accompanist.
Fun to read sideways, isn't it?
In the evening we went to the Old Time Fiddlers concert where all the 1st place winners in each instrument performed. What a show!!! They say the violin sings and the fiddle dances. We sure got some serious toe-tappin' entertainment.
Another Personal Confession: I love fiddle music, bluegrass, folk, all of it. I love fiddles, guitars, banjos, and mandolins. I'd love to play any or all of them.

We also had the annual ATV Jamboree in town. We don't have ATV's so we don't participate but people come here from all over the world, Europe , NY, to be able to ride our great trails.
Idea! We should house-swap with them for the week!!!

That's all I got. Here's to another week of Country fun.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Pronounced GOOZ-burry with a Sevier County accent, Gooseberry is a beautiful campground in the Fishlake National Forest. It's an overnight field trip, adventure-camp, a rite of passage for every 3rd grader in the area. If you didn't grow up here you might think it strange to take a class of 8 year old kids, keep them overnight in the mountains, and scare the pants off them with a fireside telling of the legend of "Annie Bangs," the crazy lady who haunts the campground... It's weird really, but it's what we do. I went up as a parent helper and except for miserable sleeping conditions it was a pretty great time.
After a bus ride up to the campground, we all had lunch, and went on a nature treasure hunt. We found animal tracks, animal homes, and explored the stream.
Later the whole grade was divided up into groups and sent in rotation to different wilderness classes. I loved this part! This is education at it's best. Somehow, instead of 15 or 20 like the others, my group ended up with only 3 kids! Lucky us. I lovingly called them my Navy Seals, my Elite Special Forces, the Gifted and Talented, the Cream of the Crop.
FORESTRY: We learned to identify all the trees in the area from aspens to firs to spruces. Then the kids got to measure diameters and heights of the trees using some awesome tools. We had another class at the stream where we learned about water pollution and what makes a healthy or unhealthy stream.
The policemen and dispatch presented to the kids and Smokey the Bear came. This is Brynn's class.
Boondoggle and other crafts.
2 other moms convinced me it was WAY better to sleep in a tent than in the stuffy cabins. That might have been true if it wasn't FREEZING cold, and if our air mattresses didn't deflate in the middle of the night. Oh well, we're tough. We took this picture because we set up the tent ourselves, no instructions, no men. We're women and we're awesome like that.
"Once upon a time there was a little family that lived up here in the woods...TRAGICALLY the family didn't survive the winter...but where was little Annie?...they searched and searched but she was NEVER FOUND... BUT THEN campers started noticing things would go missing...especially RED things...ESPECIALLY right here in this campground.... THERE SHE IS!!!
And if the kids weren't already about to pee their pants, there appears a freakish lady in a red flowing dress, with crazy white hair, running through the trees. She darts back and forth as the kids point and scream. Then she gets closer and actually GRABS kids and takes them with her....where they are never heard from again. Okay not that last part but she does grab and release. One kid yelled, "I PEED MY PANTS!"
After all that it's--Time for bed! Sweet dreams everyone!! Especially you kids who don't have parents up here with you!!! Hope you're not wearing RED pajamas!!!!!
More classes the next day. FIRE and ATV safety.
The kids learned about prehistoric life and then tried their hand at atlatl throwing. We learned about ecology, habitats. In the wildlife class we learned to identify different animal tracks and how to use your 5 senses to appreciate the beauties of the forest.

Our special ops team found Annie Bangs hideout.

Brynn with her 2 neighborhood friends. We had a great time and we're glad we all survived the infamous 3rd grade field-trip to Gooseberry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sweet Home California

I really should be from here. My parents USED to live here, back when they were first married with just 1 or 2 kids. They had met at BYU and moved out there to start my dad's career. He had a really good job with Shell Oil Company. They had a house. My mom would walk a few blocks and spend the day with the kids on the beach. What's not to love? That's how my mom felt but darn it, my dad started to miss his Utah roots. They left it all and came back to Utah (my mom kicking and screaming.)

Ah well, we can't change the past but we can certainly visit as often as possible. Growing up we probably took roadtrips at least once/year. I remember every time, sitting on the beach and crying because I didn't want to leave. Why do I love it so? Again, what's not to love! Water, sand, and sun, and that warm happy feeling that you're home.

So this trip, #321 or so, was fabulous, fabulous. We thought instead of taking two days to drive the whole coast to our favorite beach, we could just fly there directly and spend the time there! That is how our SF coast trip turned into a last-minute Laguna Beach trip. (It's fun to be spontaneous like that when it's just you, your mom, and sister and you're flying stand-by.)

We did all our favorite things like eating creme brulee and watching the amazing sunsets, shopping at Bardot's, early morning walks on the beach and swimming. I never mean to get soaked that early in the morning, it just always happens.
And we added some new things like Balboa Island and Corona Del Mar.
We met some wonderful people. One of which we found out was my mom's cousin!!! Wouldn't it be sweet to have a big ole' family beach Thanksgiving:)

My only low was checking out real estate and finding out that I can't LIVE there.
Unless... (I've been thinking)

  • I or Brandon invent something even more amazing than those Snugglie blankets you watch TV with.?
  • I or Brandon write a best-seller (that would have to be Brandon.)
  • I supplement our income by becoming a world famous brain surgeon
  • I or Brandon join the Coast Guard.
  • We put in an early request for a mission?!
  • Or California could just fall into the ocean and we'd be the new coastline...

Ha Ha. But yay! I'm feeling gladness from having a wonderful time and being back with my husband and kids again!

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

A special delivery arrived yesterday. No way has anyone ever been more excited for grass than me! The kids? Maybe. At least they showed it more with their tumbling and skipping. I am dreaming of all the benefits that come with bedding down the dirt: picnics! clean floors! volleyball! slip-n-slides! races! no back-breaking weeding! What it boils down to is LESS WORK and MORE FUN! Mowing it even counts as fun, if you add a pina colada. Lucky for us this kind of grass is a special slow-growing, lower maintenance variety.

It required some heavy labor putting it in but our kind neighbors helped-- a few sweaty, dirty hours later and Presto! Instant yard just in time for my birthday. (amazing how 4 years can count as instant.)
I thought that staring out the window and soaking in the green sight would be a perfectly lovely way to spend the day. Maybe I'd bring a book out so I could glance up and into the green after every few pages and enjoy the surprise again and again.

It's been a good day of well-wishes and birthday messages, and if that AND green wasn't enough I also got presents! Brandon gave me a GPS sports watch that tracks mileage, pace, and heart rate for walking/running/biking. What a great gift! I'll be able to run longer and faster than ever with my new awesome gadget! Brynn is going to mop the floor for me today. Cannon gave me a birthday hug. Adrie agreed to go to school willingly and un-whiningly (which she did!) and Kate gave me a coupon for a 30-minute foot massage! Perfect pampering after that brute labor yesterday.
My cup runneth o'er. I came across this scripture the other day which seemed to sum it all up.

...and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.
(Helaman 3;25)

The local radio station called to tell me I won a birthday cake! Astonished beyond measure.

Life is good. Brandon and I are going to Boston in a month which I am SUPER duper excited about. Travel IS my drug of choice. So just when I thought life couldn't get any better my sister called--
"I've got 3 days off and a buddy pass for you. Where do you want to go?"
FOR REALS?!!!!!!! Add beach to the travel and I'm on a serious high!
Our plan is to fly to San Francisco then drive down the coast, stopping at all the best beaches along the way then fly home out of L.A. or San Diego, wherever we end up. PCH 1 here we come!