Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Anniversary to us

We're not sure we will ever top our commemoration of the first 19 years! We celebrated in what turned out to be one of the most perfect days we've ever spent together, literally. Maybe because we're in the captivatingly unique city of Barcelona, maybe because no other person or object has been vying for our attention, or maybe just because we realized how madly, deeply, and passionately we are in love with each other . . . still.

It possibly could also have been the morning spent in utter amazement at the brilliance and genius surrounding Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece, la Sagrada Familia . . . the fascination with Parque Guell and then subsequent downpour that had us running for cover, but made Gaudi's caves and tunnels all the more intriguing . . . our authentic and unbelievably good Catalan meal at media dia (thanks to Chris' relatives who welcomed us with open arms and food for an army). . . renting bicycles and peddling along the Barceloma coastline and grand avenues enjoying the fresh breezes and ocean air . . . another "Seinfeld moment" that kept us laughing for hours afterward . . . an evening stroll through city park after a quick stop for a pastry and chat with a local baker . . .

and maybe, just maybe what made it a night to remember was walking toward the Arc de Triomphe, hand in hand with a full moon overhead reminiscing about those very first dates and the early years of our courtship when all was new and life held so many possibilities. We both agreed that it has indeed been worth it, every bump in the road, every year filled with more growth, and most importantly knowing that each passing year we truly understand our relationship and how it has matured. That is the blessing of marriage, and if we've made it this far, we're confident we have many more good years and happy moments like this in our future.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Loving, loving every minute in this amazing city . . . it's been too long since I was last in Europe. Days spent in museums, walks through parks, tapas, beautiful architecture, plazas, people, shops . . . doesn't get any better.

Seriously can't believe we still have more than a week of this!!! (thought I would post something so you all don't have to keep seeing Ryan's dance pictures every time the blog opens :-).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ryan's first DANCE

Awww, my son on his very best behavior . . .

Ryan begged and pleaded with us to attend Skyline's Homecoming dance, mainly because all his friends were going, and in Ryan's words "it's going to be SOOOO much fun . . "  So, after much thought and discussion, Chris and I agreed that Ryan (who is still 15 and isn't technically supposed to "date" until 16) could ask a girl to the dance.  We told him we would be supportive under these conditions:

  • Mom gets to be 100% involved :-).
  • All activities will be supervised by parents.
  • The group needs to be at least 4 couples.
  • Ryan must wear a nice sports coat.
  • And most importantly . . . the girl he chooses to ask must meet our approval ;-).

OK, I had no idea Ryan would allow me to step into his world and actually ENJOY having me there!  Folks, I am confident that we have finally moved past the "oh, no, it's my mom here to embarrass the heck out of me" stage, to the "hey everyone, this is my mom . . . thanks Mom for driving us to the dance . . . hey mom, how do I look? . . . mom, I really appreciated your help" stage, and I couldn't be happier.  Not only has Ryan decided that it really isn't that bad to have your mom involved, but it's alright if your little sister hangs around as well.

Caroline loved being part of the action - we drove up to Jordonelle together to help drive the crew back down the canyon after boating (since when did dances become an all day event?), and the nonstop chatter in the backseat was worth the drive . . . lots of loud male voices all vying for attention from the cute females, and plenty of laughter and fun.  The conversation we enjoyed most took place after we dropped off the girls to get ready and just the boys were left in the car.  They were asking what they should say to their dates' parents when they pick them up, how they should act, how long they should stay, etc . . . it was priceless.

Thanks Ryan for letting me be a part of your life right now.  Thanks for introducing me to your friends with confidence that I won't embarrass you.  Thanks for being the wonderful son you are . . . for choosing great friends who strive to stay strong academically and spiritually.  And most of all, thanks for staying close to your family during these years.  We love you!

Some pics . . .

On the boat with Maddie

We were taking pictures through the window after they were dropped off for dinner -
look how cute and excited they all are!

Caroline and another little sister were the waitresses . . .
thanks to my friend who hosted the dinner at her house.

They all look so grown up!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blessed am I.

Next week Chris and I are headed to Spain to celebrate our 19th anniversary (September 21st), which means we've known each other now for 20 years . . . so technically, it is "the big one" - 20 years together - which means that I've now been with Chris longer than I was without him.   What a privilege.  The growth and progress that we have both experienced during these years is truly astounding.  I don't know if I can adequately express my gratitude in mere words for the blessing that my marriage has been in my life.  Of course, it is through much trial and error, many ups and downs, as well as countless joys and struggles where the greatest growth has occurred.  But most importantly, it is knowing that the majority of the happiest moments in my life have been spent with Chris by my side.

Yesterday during scripture study our conversation turned to marriage and sacrifice within the marriage covenant.  I am so grateful to a dear friend who helped me see clearly the how vital it is to overcome our inner selfishness and truly give all we have to our partner.  I shared these insights, and then was reminded of two of my favorite quotes on marriage that I promised I would post for my scripture group friends . . .

"Love, marriage, and family life are not for the faint of heart.  Loving, intimate relationships require much concentration, patience, discipline, and presence.  Elder Boyd K. Packer notes, “No relationship has more potential to exalt a man and a woman than the marriage covenant. Although marriage is not without trials of many kinds, these tests forge virtue and strength.  The tempering that comes in marriage and family life produces men and women who will someday be exalted" (Ensign, May, 1981, 13).

Supporting this idea Catherine Thomas writes, “God designed marriage as a refuge – two people tenderly caring for each other through life’s experiences – but also as a tutorial in love. Each has something to teach the other and the learning is usually not easy. Thus, marriage, perhaps more than any other relationship – because it is more intimate than any other – is our greatest spiritual challenge and has the greatest potential, along with parenthood, to make godly beings of us (Thomas, Spiritual Lightening, p. 62)."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

At my feet . . .

Yesterday evening, I walked Liza over to Sugarhouse park while Sophie was having her tennis lesson.  After pushing Liza on the swings, I found an empty park bench to sit and relax while I watched her play in the warm glow of the evening sun.  Then I looked down for a moment, and right there in front of my crossed feet I saw these words staring at me from the pavement.  Pretty cool . . . made me smile, so I took a picture with my phone . . . figured there are days we all could use this reminder :-).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh, Dolly!

Yep, Dolly Parton.  Yesterday morning as I was perusing NPR for something to listen to while I go about my morning chores, this story caught my eye.  I know, I'm a total NPR geek - Chris is so patient during our dinner conversations when I begin practically every sentence with, "today on NPR . . . oh, I listened to the greatest interview on NPR . . . oh, you've GOT to hear this music I heard today on NPR."  Tedious I know, but I love sharing my new found knowledge with anyone who will listen, plus it adds something new to our routine "how was your day . . . what's everyone been up to" conversations.

Back to Dolly.  I've never really thought much about Dolly Parton except that she seems like a good person and is an American icon of sorts.  I don't have any of her albums, never been a huge fan, but appreciated her work as an singer/songwriter nonetheless.  Furthermore, who doesn't just adore her role as Truvy in the movie Steel Magnolias?

I was completely captivated by her interview (originally aired in 2001) . . . so much so, that I listened to it again this morning (Terry Gross is one of my favorite NPR hosts - love her style), and it only took about a half hour for my respect and admiration for Dolly to increase hundredfold.  What an incredible person!!  Really, her life story is filled with amazing courage, determination, and an unbelievably strong sense of self.  I have always been impressed with people who have the tenacity to pursue their dreams, without fear of failure or how they are perceived by others, and Dolly exemplifies this perfectly.  She is the real deal . . . aways staying true to herself, her faith and ideals, and those things that make her happy, regardless what anyone might think or say.  She also possesses a sincere and optimistic outlook on life, her relationships with others, and the future.  I just love her confidence . . . it's rare to find someone who's experienced so much success and who can still so easily balance their self assurance with genuine humility.

Thanks Dolly for the inspiration! 

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I love, love, love this production.  The beauty, grace, and pure artistry that encompasses The Lion King is unparalleled.  Julie Taymor is simply a genius, and it was a delight watching the show again last night, this time with Liza and Sophie.  It was their first time experiencing the magic, and I made sure our tickets were in the orchestra on the aisle so the girls could view those amazing animals up close as they made their way to the stage, as well as truly feel the rhythm and pulse of the African Savannah through inspiring music and dance.  It was also a treat to have Chris' mom along for the evening.  The girls were so excited to surprise grandma Pat with this special outing and we all enjoyed our time together.

Before the show - so excited!

With Grandma Pat

Almost curtain time

Perfect evening with the girls

For old times sake, here are some pics from the first time we took Ryan and Caroline to NYC in 2005 to see the production . . .
They were so little (notice how they were the same height . . . I remember people asking if they were twins - haha) - seems like yesterday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Liza, the instigator

Oh our dear Elizabeth, who has played the role of "everyone picks on me . . . I never do anything wrong" with such overwhelming sincerity, we just HAVE to believe the poor kid.  Well, not anymore.  Sorry Liza, your gig is up.  The tables have turned and we're realizing that it should be "poor Sophie" who, because of her reactive personality always takes the wrap for the sibling battles that lately have been occurring quite frequently in the girls' room.

So tonight was an eye-opener.  I quietly waited outside their bedroom door to witness Liza's antics firsthand . . . watching how she silently sneaks behind Sophie and sticks her tongue out, then rolls her eyes and gets Sophie right where she wants her - MAD - then Sophie tells her to go away and leave her alone, but Liza keeps pushing buttons until Sophie has had enough and *smack* Liza gets it in the arm (not hard btw) and begins her well-polished yelp of pain, so when I appear she's writhing in pain and explaining how horrible Sophie is and how she didn't do anything at all . . .  how she was getting ready for bed, minding her own business and then out of the blue, Sophie just hit her!  Um, ya right.

Here's the conversation I had with alone with Liza in the bathroom -

Me:  "Liza, you were not being nice to Sophie.  We don't act like this in our family, we treat our brother and sisters with respect.  I'm not happy with you.  You need to be nice."

Liza just looks at me and frankly states:  "Well, I'm nice in my dreams."

Me (trying to stay serious):  "Great, I'm glad you've got it down in your dreams, but that doesn't count, you need to be nice when you are awake.  Do you think you can do that??

Liza doesn't say anything, she's just staring at me and wondering if I'm serious, so I shake my head and say, "What in the world are we going to do with you?"

She gives me this answer in her best martyr voice while looking at me intently with those big brown eyes because she knows she's finally been ratted out:  "I guess you could just send me to an orphanage."

SIGH . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

To ponder

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge . . .

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

{T.S. Eliot}