Thursday, August 28, 2008

Roughin' It

Our annual ward camping trip. A welcome escape up to the mountains with lots of our church friends. The evening bonfire. The breathtaking views. The trail mix (with extra M&M's.) The DIRT. Much of which we brought home as a souvenir.

It's funny how camping is so much different now than when I was a kid. Back then it was 5% work (for us kids - Dad might have a different perspective) and 95% fun. Nowadays it is:
10% winding road up to the campsite
10% attempting to set up the Boy Scout tent we borrowed, thankfully with the assistance of three experienced scouts
5% soothing Grace when it turned out she was TERRIFIED of the tent
20% meal prep (read: reminding the kids 14 times that hot dogs need to be kept OVER the fire -- not IN the fire, in the dirt, or in the neighbor's tent -- in order to cook properly)
10% trips to the porta-potty (I swear they don't go this much at home, do they?)
10% baby wipes
2% looking at the stars, marveling at nature's wonders, and singing songs around the campfire
75% trying to keep the kids out of the fire

Yes, I know that's more than 100%. It was a really long weekend. And we multitasked.

In Marty's words, "Let there be fire."
(What is it about fire that always brings out the superhero personality in men?)

If it weren't for the long hair, Grace could have easily passed for a boy this weekend - she was obsessed with the dirt. And rocks.

A break from "hiking." (Once again, much different from my childhood memories.) Our version of hiking is attempting to keep all of the kids on the paved trail, in sight, and heading in the same direction. All of this during a 15-minute window in which no one has to go to the bathroom. And by the end of 15 minutes they're suddenly all starving.

This is the 2% marveling at nature. Ooooohhh. Ahhhhh.

Water break / shower (after the 15-minute hike.)
I've never seen Grace's mouth open that wide.

The view really was awesome.

Thank you to the Activities Committee who planned this whole thing. It wouldn't have been summer without it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School

The obligatory first-day-of-school photo. Good luck, Jacob! We know you'll rock the first grade.

Rite of Passage

Look who just ditched the training wheels! Jacob came to me yesterday afternoon begging me to take them off his bike. I gave him a mini-lecture entitled "Please Wait till Dad Gets Home," but he was undeterred. So I readied the bandaids, checked helmet, knee and elbow pads, gave him a few unsolicited tips on turning and speed, and held my breath. And he took off down the sidewalk as if he had been doing this for years.
Without so much as a wobble.

A Fair to Remember

A favorite family tradition. Every August we spend a day (sometimes two) at the Fair. When I was a little girl, I used to show llamas for 4-H at this same fair. Now it is a joy to take my own kids to experience the things one can only see and do at a place like this.

As you can see, Grace loves animals. Enough to get up close and personal with a cow whose head is as big as she is.

I believe this is Grace's first encounter with livestock of any kind. She referred to every animal as "kitty". (This was particularly funny when she was pointing at a giant bull with long horns.)

The boys endured hours of walking, watching shows like Splash Dogs and 4x4 rock climbing, eating pronto pups and pizza, and looking at "boring" photography with mom and dad, just to get to this point. The Rides. In their minds, this is the reason the fair was invented in the first place. (And judging by how much they charge these days, they might be right.)

The boys were allowed to choose two rides each. Isaac picked a helicopter and a fun house. Jacob weighed all of his options (for upwards of an hour) and finally settled on a caterpillar roller coaster and the swing carousel. Luckily, he found a friend from our ward to ride with him.

Even Grace (who didn't ride any rides) quickly learned the correct procedure, hands in the air, squealing "whooooooo" periodically.

We finished off the evening with a famous Ice Cream Potato - vanilla ice cream shaped exactly like a spud, coated in cocoa powder for a skin, and topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and crushed Oreos. The "potatoes" are seriously so realistic that Jacob refused to try it for quite a while. Only in Idaho.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All Olympics, All the Time

The infamous Michael Phelps race. We let the kids stay up late so we could all (hopefully) witness history together. Still can't believe he pulled this one off!
The boys' version of Olympic beach volleyball.
Jacob drew this picture yesterday - just for me, he said. (That's me in the right hand corner, with a gold medal around my neck, in case you were wondering.) I had to laugh when I spotted "vesa" at the top of the page. I asked Jacob about this, and he replied, "Yeah, Vesa. Proud sponsor of the Olympic games." Sigh.

This Will Come in Handy When You're Sixteen

Here's proof, Mom, that the extra fabric you gave us is being put to good use. :) Yes, those are skirts, and it was their idea to dance, not mine.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary!!

Hard to believe it's actually been nine years.

This was our first date (depending on whom you ask,) the BYU Homecoming Dance in October 1998.

Engaged June 1999.

{Photo by Chris Daum}

It's been quite an adventure. We've been through seven years of school together, lived in three different states, held numerous jobs, had three children (one in each state,) and visited 20 U.S. states. But the things that matter most aren't necessarily the ones you can tally. Hopefully we're a little wiser, a little more compassionate, a little more patient, and much better people for having spent the last nine years together. Love you, Marty!

I Don't Usually Like Surprises, But...

Marty planned an incredible surprise for our anniversary this year, which we celebrated last weekend - a few days early. He booked a suite at the same hotel (and even on the same floor!) that we stayed in the first night of our honeymoon. We had a fancy dinner - the kind where you can't pronounce most of the menu - at the restaurant there, and enjoyed a peaceful evening of (uninterrupted!) conversation sitting on the terrace and watching the stars come out. (Thank you to Grandma for babysitting our little monkeys!) What a wonderful way to celebrate and re-live our special day. My girlfriends are now asking for Marty to give their husbands lessons! :)

This is Marty in our room, relaxing with his glass of Pepsi.

Hands down, the best French toast I've ever had. And the first time in our lives that we've ordered room service, I think.

The gorgeous view from the 13th floor.

Too Much Free Time

Apparently I've discovered a new talent. Very useful for entertaining children during Sacrament Meeting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This is Shoshone Falls, where we stopped for a brief hike and sightseeing after visiting the Twin Falls Temple. You can't tell from the picture, but it is taller than Niagara Falls. It really was a magnificent sight.

Or as Grace would say, "Wooooooowwwww." (Her latest word.)
And these were the elk that we unexpectedly spotted on the drive home. Part of a farm.

Scenes like these definitely make us stop and appreciate the beauty and power of God's creations.

A Holy Place

Last week we took a little road trip to go through the new Twin Falls temple. My mom came with us, and we met my sister-in-law Constance and her mom there. What a beautiful, peaceful place! Mom and I liked how the architecture, both inside and out, incorporates scenes from the surrounding landscape, particularly the gorgeous canyon walls.

We met in the church next door, watched a brief video about ancient and modern-day temples, and then took a 30-minute tour of the temple itself. (When LDS temples are completed, they are open to the public for a few weeks before they are dedicated to the Lord.) We were so excited for the children to get to see the inside of this sacred building. The last temple open house we went to was Nauvoo, when Jacob was only 8 months old, so he obviously doesn't remember it.

The children were extremely respectful and quiet inside the temple; I think even Grace could sense that this was a sacred place. Jacob said his favorite part was the celestial room, which is symbolic of heaven. It was very special to be there all together as a family.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Isaac, you could be the poster child for bottled water with your surfer hair and summer tan.

Just Call Him Edison

This is very typical of Jacob right now. Always working on a new invention. This time he built a waterpark in our backyard, complete with diving board and waterfall. He is so clever and resourceful. (Sometimes a little too clever. He tried to get Marty and me to pay him $10 an hour to use the waterpark. We explained to him the concept of overhead and utilities.)

The day before, he had created Hawaii, including palm trees, surfboards, and pineapple. Now he is building some atomic bombs out of Tinker Toys. We tried very hard to talk him out of this one, reiterating the awful consequences of World War II, but it must be a boy thing - he will not be swayed.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Our wonderful neighbor invited us to join him and some of our ward members for a day of tubing up at the lake last Thursday. This was the kids' first time on a boat, and boy did they have a good time! I'll never forget the pitch of Isaac's giggle when the boat started to move.

After a fearless demonstration by Marty, Jacob reluctantly agreed to try out the "Bonzai" - but only really slowly, and sitting on Daddy's lap. It took him about 30 seconds before he wanted to speed up, and after that, it was tough to get him off of the thing. Next it was Isaac's and my turn, and I was impressed by how quickly he warmed up to the ride and also begged to go faster. There's nothing like trying new experiences together to build up the boys' confidence. (Incidentally, Grace was the only one who wasn't particularly thrilled about the boat ride, mainly because she was confined to a life jacket. She did enjoy waving to Daddy out on the tube, though.)

The rest of the day was one of those perfect, lazy summer afternoons where the kids played in the sand and swam in the lake, and Marty and I splashed the kids, visited with friends, and thought: "We are so blessed to have days like this."