Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take a moment

“Life moves pretty fast . . .
If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Ferris Bueller

This is one of my favorite quotes, from one of our family's favorite movies.  Most days my life seems to move at the speed of a bullet train; running kids around the valley to their games and activities, racing to get errands finished, helping in the school, tennis league, fulfilling church callings, a few minutes here and there catching up with friends, exercise, phone calls, attending meetings, playing fetch with the dog . . . the list goes on.

However, in the midst of all the insanity, I am often caught off guard by the breathtaking beauty of a brilliant sunset as I'm driving high above the valley, or the magnificent sight of our towering mountain range that hugs the freeway as I make my way to and from my various destinations.  I love watching the first signs of the changing seasons out the windows of my car.   The valley below the I-215 corridor has become a living entity as I witness the gradual turn from summer's lush green, to the warm hues of autumn, to the barren branches of winter, and then to the beginning buds of springtime.

This past week nature couldn't have been more kind, as each evening as we made the drive home from the tennis club in Sugarhouse back to our Little Cottonwood, we were blessed with the setting sun illuminating the fresh snow on Mt. Olympus and the Cottonwood canyons in such a manner that I was literally speechless, it was that beautiful.  Of course, I had to try my best to capture the moment on my phone camera (btw, I don't recommend taking pictures and driving at the same time - quite dangerous - just ask the guy I almost swerved into - yikes).

These pictures don't even come close to how fabulous the view was, but I want to remember that feeling of pure "aliveness" that I feel whenever I am so lucky to witness nature it all its glory, and then hold on to the moment for just a few minutes before it becomes a memory.  These are the moments that, even with the "busyness" of my life, I am still able to notice and appreciate . . . it makes my days all the sweeter!
Heading south on 215 coming off Foothill Dr.

Glorious Mt. Olympus
Much better in person - the snow on the peaks was unreal
Making our way to our canyon 
Almost home - the view of our canyon neighborhood from Wasatch Blvd.

My kids get tired of me constantly pointing out the beauty that surrounds them, but I just can't help myself.  I hope that although life is fast paced and we're on the go much more often than not, my family will know that I do slow down enough each day to feel immense gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me, and to feel for a moment the love the Lord has for me as I try to comprehend the bounty of blessings in my life.  

Life is good.  I am reminded of that every single day when my eyes and heart are fully open.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I've wanted to post some quotes and thoughts on Sundays for some time now because it seems like a nice way to express what is on my mind and focus on an attribute I would like to develop more fully.  So, beginning today I'm going to try post something that might help us all turn our hearts to those things that are truly most important in life.

Some beautiful quotes on forgiveness . . .

"I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that it is our duty to overlook the faults and the failings of each other, and not magnify them in own eyes nor before the eyes of the world.  We ought not harbor feelings one against another, but have a feeling of forgiveness and of brotherly love and sisterly love, one for another."
Joseph F. Smith

"Love can conquer all.  Kindness is the best panacea for our ills this world has ever known.  Forgiveness is so Godlike that if we are willing to exercise it we will acquire a divine characteristic which will lead the way to complete understanding."
Mark E. Peterson

"If you have festering sores, a grudge, some bitterness, disappointment, or jealousy, 
get hold of yourself.  You may not be able to control things out there with others, 
but you can control things here, inside of you . . .  
If you resent someone for something he or she has done, or failed to do - forget it.  
We call that forgiveness.  It is powerful spiritual medicine."
Boyd K. Packer

"Not to be revengeful, not to seek what outraged justice might demand, to leave the offender in God's hands - this is admirable.  But to return good for evil, this is the sublime expression of Christian love."
Spencer W. Kimball

"There is no peace in harboring old grudges.
There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds.
There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness.  
This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said,
'Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.'"
 (Matt. 5:9) - Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lucky #7

March 13th our miss Elizabeth Jane turned seven years oldWhere has the time gone?  She is truly growing up right before our eyes, yet despite her becoming a little more mature, she still manages to keep us entertained like no other.  Here's the shortlist of why we love Liza:
  • Always happy, always a smile on her face.
  • Random, random, random.  We never know what will escape that child's mouth.
  • She still can't pronounce her "th" sound, and because she's the baby of the family, I just love hearing her say "fing" instead of "thing" or "fousand" instead of thousand, and of course "faif" instead of "faith."  The day will soon be here when she'll have flawless speech, but I'm in no rush.
  • Constantly asking questions and then storing the answers in her amazing memory.  Liza is beyond inquisitive, she is becoming a walking encyclopedia!
  • Liza is never bored, ever.  She entertains herself for hours and her creativity baffles us all.
  • She is filled with light, love, and joy . . .
Here are a few pics from last week's birthday celebration:

She was VIP in her first grade class and brought in this poster

Opening presents in the morning - after her favorite birthday breakfast - CREPES!

Grandma Pat came to celebrate - she even made the birthday cake and a little cake just for Liza!


Blowing out the candles

Enjoying cake and ice cream with the birthday girl - Grandpa Terry was in town to celebrate too, he helped Liza pick out her BIG birthday present and gave her a new helmet to go with it . . .

Liza finally got her own "big kid bike" with gears so she can keep up with the rest of us!

We can't keep her off this bike and Lucy has something to chase full time now!

One happy girl :-)

No birthday post for Liza would be complete without sharing a conversation we shared the week of her birthday.  An exchange with my random daughter that just needs to be written down for posterity:

Liza: "Mom, does it hurt when they cut open the moms to get the babies out?"  You were cut open, right?  Can I see where they cut open your stomach?"

Me: "Well, actually I was only cut open once, for Ryan . . . the rest of you came the normal way?"  And anyway, you can't really see the scar anymore, it's pretty low."  At this moment I point to my lower pelvis area . . . just figured she might as well know where they "cut you open."

Liza:  "Ewww, down there???  Why so low, that's like, um, like your bum!  What's the normal way??"

Me: I'm thinking - great, I guess she's ready to know exactly where the babies come out, so I gave her a sterilized explanation . . .

Liza:  "Ewww, that's so gross.  I wish I were a boy . . . no wait, no I don't . . . .  if I were a boy then I would have to be circumcised . . . oh, and even worse, oh, this is so disgusting . . . at this point she becomes all serious and lowers her voice as if she has some secret information she is divulging for my ears only . . . you know, boys have their thing down there that they have to squeeze to get the pee out of, like a cow . . . that is just so gross, I can't believe boys have to do that!"

Me:  Failing miserably at keeping a straight face.  "Um, well, that's not exactly what happens there . . . "

Liza:  Interrupting my explanation, "I mean REALLY, couldn't the babies just come out of my hand or just pop out of my bellybutton or something . . . I am SO not having babies!"

Oh, how we love our Liza.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Nope, no time for 4-leaf clover hunting, but I did manage to create green Belgian waffles this morning and we will have our traditional corned beef and cabbage with homemade green rolls for dinner (really, the world would come to an end for the children if I failed to make these silly rolls).  I doubt we'll even all make it home before 8pm, but since it's an Irish holiday and we have absolutely no Irish ancestry, it still means that WE WILL EAT TOGETHER at the table at the same time.

That, my friends is what we call a midweek miracle :-).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why ski?

Unparalleled BEAUTY . . . 
the spectacular view from the Great Western lift at Brighton

Heading up Powderhorn at Solitude

The view from Mineral Basin at Snowbird

Couldn't resist this shot while on Apex (Solitude) one afternoon earlier this season.

The spectacular BLUE skies.  Snowbird last week - unreal - I've never seen blue this color before, it was practically purple and my camera phone hardly does it justice.  And yes, my friend and I had just skied down that ridge (after getting lost and realizing it was the only way down - had to take a pic to commemorate the occasion ;-).

Solitude with the crew and cousins.

 mentally, physically, emotionally.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My daughter, my concert buddy!

Last week I learned that one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Joshua Radin was in town (yes, it happened to be the DAY of the performance - I have no idea where I was that I missed this tour date).  After some deliberation if I should really be spontaneous and a little careless of other responsibilities, I thought I would first run it by his number one 13-year old fan.

Well, there was absolutely no question that WE WERE GOING after I mentioned the concert to Caroline when she arrived home from school. So, with a few phone calls to take care of Sophie's tennis carpool (thanks Lori for taking over) and what was supposed to be a quick stop at Smith's to pick up tickets on our way to drop off Ryan at Jiu Jitsu (our car battery died while I was in the store - had to have a neighbor - thanks AMY - drive down to give us a jump start and we lost a precious half hour of what would have translated into a spot closer to the stage).

The good news is that we made it just in time to discover another beautiful songwriter,  Laura Jansen. Caroline fell in love with her voice immediately and can't wait for the release of her first album on March 22nd. Laura even personally signed a CD single of her song Single Girls for Caroline. She was THRILLED!

I find it refreshing that in today's teen culture and in the midst of "Bieber Fever," my daughter enjoys Indie music and seeks out new, fresh voices that encompass pure talent rather than the karaoke clones cranked out by major recording studios. When most 13-year old girls are waiting in line with other swooning teen fans to see latest Justin Beiber 3D movie, Caroline would rather go to a small, intimate concert venue with unbelievable acoustics, listening to talented artists who write their own music and lyrics.   And the sweetest part is that, at least for now, she doesn't mind attending with her mom :-).

Some more pics (taken from my lousy phone camera - better than nothing) . . .

We were able to get closer for Radin's performance - he was delightful and sounded AMAZING!

After the concert - Caroline next to a poster for Laura Jansen

What fun - let's do it again my friend!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

January break

Well, It's about time I get hopping on 2011 events, or the rest of my life will be one "catch-up post!"  In January we took off for Palm Desert to spend a few days with my parents who were oh, so generous to let our crew join them at this beautiful resort.  We had a fabulous time swimming, playing tennis, sand volleyball, taking long walks, and just basking in the 80 degree temperatures while Utah was in a deep freeze.

Here are some pics from our respite away from the snow and cold . . .

Favorite memory:  Ryan driving us across the desert while we listened to U2's "Joshua Tree" 

Breaking out the sunglasses!

Fun times in the pool - yep, pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Blue skies and bare feet

Caroline reading poolside


Our favorite hot tub - overlooking the golf course

Finding our own spot away from the kids ;-)

I think this evening we played volleyball until the ball was barely visible!

Going out to dinner our last evening.

Thanks Grandma Janice and Grandpa Terry!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


They did it!  

Last night Ryan's team won the state championship in an incredible game against Bingham.  It came down to the wire in overtime and don't think I can adequately describe the elation we felt watching the Skyline Eagles defend their title, especially after such an intense game.   Ryan was thrilled to be part of this amazing and talented team and couldn't contain his excitement as he raced out on the ice to celebrate.

They now head to Chicago in a few weeks to play in the national championship!

and the best part . . . 

recognition from the ladies :-).