August 31, 2008

Eleven!

















Joey turned eleven this last week and we celebrated first with waffles on the couch (supposed to be waffles in bed but Joey was up before us all), and then I brought his class Frosty's from Wendy's for his birthday treat. After school we headed to Boondocks with his uncle Steve and Bob and Carin's family and then that night we had ice cream cake from Cold Stone.

Joey is very sensitive and loves to make people laugh. He is the man of 1000 faces (see below), and loves the piano, magic tricks, X-box, math and hip-hop dancing. What an interesting combination! We love him and are so grateful to be his parents.















August 25, 2008

5000 Day Anniversary
















Today marks our 5000th day as a couple! We've had some incredible ups and some horrendous downs but we're so grateful to still be standing side by side. We were married exactly 100 days after returning home from our missions and I've been asked if I had any regrets getting married so quickly. "Only one," I say. "That I wasted 100 days." Sappy? Yes. But true.

To celebrate, I was doing some work in St. George over the weekend so we had a fun getaway for dinner and then a broadway performance of Les Misérables at Tuacahn. Here's to the next 5000!

August 24, 2008

Lake Powell

Our family had a real treat a few weeks ago when we were invited by Jeni's uncle Terry and his family to join them for a week in Lake Powell. It had been nearly 8 years since we had been there and we were thrilled for the invite. Jeni and I had our own air conditioned bedroom on the houseboat so she was able to rest as needed and that made the trip perfect for her. It was such a great experience for us and we made so many memories. Some of our favorites included:

1. The houseboat - amazing. 6 bedrooms, a huge kitchen and family room, 3 bathrooms, 3 stories.













































































2. Olympic wars including jet-skis, swimming, jumping off the houseboat, ice cream eating (my event), crotch croquet (panty hose with one leg filled with an orange, hanging in front of you, and the other leg tied around you, and then using the hanging orange to try and hit another orange in front of you - thanks Cail for the hilarious idea!), and hill racing

3. Pulling Jeni and Maddy on the inner tube with Joey and I on the jet-ski

4. Tube wars - a water banana and 2 inner tubes trying to knock each other off while speeding around the lake
































5. All the amazing meals coordinated by LeAnn, Terry's wife

6. Trying (unsuccessfully) to get up on a wakeboard and airchair (thanks Robert!) - I'll stick to ground sports. Below are pictures of Spencer on the wakeboard and Skylar on the airchair
































7. Building sand sculptures















































8. Trying to spray water at Bob going 40 mph on the jet ski and doing a backwards somersault into the water

















9. Going to Rainbow Bridge with Joey on a day trip with the Ficklins





















































10. Jeni and Maddy getting matching rings on the way home at a trader shop

11. Joey going on the Jet-Ski with Steven and even driving

12. All of the kids and Jeni getting major sunburns

13. Maddy and Elise getting thrown off the Jet-Ski with Branden

14. Late night fires
































15. Skylar, Tyson, Steve and Bob log wars

16. All the family and friends there































































































































17. Steven's Lake Powell song

18. Still feeling dizzy two days after coming home

Thanks Terry and LeAnn for giving us such a great vacation.

August 23, 2008

PB & Chocolate






















What does this look like to you? An ordinary jar of peanut butter? Guess again! I went to the pantry to make myself a peanut butter sandwich and to my surprise, I was greeted by some visitors inside the jar.

















Maddy and Joey must have some secret pact going because neither will confess. Seeing the chocolate chips inside made me think of some really old commercials for Reeses Peanut Butter cups. You remember - the ones where someone is eating peanut butter and someone else is eating chocolate and they trip into each other? "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter." "No, you got your peanut butter in my chocolate!" Amazingly, I found one of these commercials online. Click here to see! Its amazing what the mind can recall after 26 years.

August 20, 2008

6th Grade






















Joey started the 6th grade today, his last year in Elementary. He's excited to "rule the school" and especially glad to have Mrs. Cope, the same teacher Maddy had last year. Every so often you are blessed to have a teacher that believes in your child and helps them to reach their potential. Mrs. Cope did that for Maddy last year and we know she'll have the same influence with Joey.

He is growing up too quickly. His shoes are already a Mens 8, he's almost as tall as Jeni, and he's grown out of most of last year's clothes. It seems like just yesterday he went to his first day of Kindergarten in Las Vegas (below). Almost everything about him has changed, except maybe his handsome smile.

August 19, 2008

Junior High






















It's official. Maddy has grown up. Wasn't it just yesterday that she was starting Kindergarten and our hearts were breaking, wondering if we had taught her all she needed to know to be able to make it in this crazy world? Jeni and I had similar feelings today as Maddy started 7th Grade at the local Junior High. She was as excited as we were nervous and she loved every bit of it. I asked her what made today so great and here was her list.

1. Having your own locker
2. The food
3. Having more than one class and more than one teacher
4. The rush of getting to your next class
5. Especially the cute boys

Today was a "practice" day where only 7th Graders attended. She's off tomorrow and then joins the 8th and 9th Graders on Thursday. It seems like just yesterday when we were in Middle School ourselves with our own lockers, trying to remember how to find our classes and figuring out who you wanted to "go" with, whatever that meant!

August 18, 2008

Quote 16

Mothers’ arms are made of tenderness, and sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein.

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, p. 128

August 17, 2008

High School Musical

A few weeks ago Jeni and I took Maddy and Joey to the Broadway version of High School Musical, playing at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City. We had a great time and the kids thought it was even better than the original movie. We also saw Little Women recently at Hale Center Theater, another local company that puts on outstanding productions. There is so much talent here in Utah and its fun to expose the kids to this type of entertainment. Equally entertaining for Jeni and the kids was watching me get scolded by one of the ushers for taking pictures in the theatre before the show (see Maddy's "told you so" and Joey's "quit embarrassing us Dad" faces in the picture below.)


















































August 09, 2008

4000 - Joey

















Yesterday we celebrated the 4000th day of Joey's life! We've tried to track this for Maddy and Joey as well as our anniversary over the years and its been a fun deviation from the regular annual birthday celebrations (which we still do), especially since the 1000 day celebrations come only every 3 years. It has also led to some fun conversations about taking advantage of every day we're given.

To celebrate Joey's milestone, we took him to Cold Stone for an "anything on the menu" treat, which he took full advantage of. Happy 4000 Joey!

August 06, 2008

Quote 15

If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man's outward actions - if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before - then I think we must suspect that his "conversion" was largely imaginary and after one's original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in "religion" mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better; just as in an illness "feeling better" is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up. In that sense the outer world is quite right to judge Christianity by its results. Christ told us to judge by results. A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 177

August 04, 2008

Soufflé

















Jeni and I were invited to a birthday dinner last week at La Caille . We had eaten there for our anniversary in December (see previous post) and were so excited to return. We sat in an outside gazebo and the view, the people, the food, everything was just incredible. My favorite part of the meal was dessert (no surprise) as I was thrilled to try a real French soufflé for the first time. From the French word "Souffler" meaning "to puff up," it is described as a "light, fluffy baked dish made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a main dish or sweetened as a dessert." I had seen this made on cooking shows and it seemed like the difficulty was trying to prevent the top from caving in. As you can see from the picture above (my actual soufflé from that evening), our chef didn't have that problem.

They set it down before me, cut a large X in the top with a small knife, and then poured about half a pint of warm vanilla sauce into it. This was one of those few occasions in life where the world stands still, the noise around you fades away, and you are left alone, just you and your soufflé. It is impossible to describe the taste, the textures, the sound of the soufflé breaking apart as the spoon cut through the outer layer, the resulting fragments gently soaking up the sauce without fanfare or pageantry, as if this happened every day. The way the spoon seemed actually lighter with the soufflé than without. Oh the wonder and the marvel. Distinction and grandeur colliding with egg and cream into the majesty that is the French soufflé!

Jeni ordered the chocolate cake. She does not appreciate the subtleties of this elegant delicacy, nor does she agree with my "over-dramatic" description of it. She thinks I have taken this gourmet food thing too far. Is that even possible? Maybe just a sliver.

August 03, 2008

Reverse Persuasion

A few months ago Maddy wrote us a "Persuasive" paper trying to convince us that she should be given an e-mail. We had taken her texting privileges away after she racked up a whopping 2000 texts in one month so she wanted e-mail as her way to keep the communication lines open with her friends. "Nobody" talks on the phone or in person anymore we were told. Though we shared how we felt about that way of thinking, her paper was persuasive enough that we allowed her a "monitored" e-mail address. A few weeks ago, we received this.



























Despite Maddy's mastery of English prose and her amazing ability to pen her thoughts so expressively with heartfelt emotion (ie, manipulate her parents), Jeni and I are not persuaded this time. What happened to the good old days where you actually called your friends on the phone and talked for hours or hung out in person?

August 02, 2008

Quote 14

(The Bishop) could be called at all hours to the bedside of the sick and the dying. He well knew that there was his highest duty and his greatest work. Widowed or orphan families had no need to send for him; he came of himself. He would sit silent for long hours by the side of a man who had lost the wife whom he loved, or of a mother who had lost her child. As he knew the time for silence, he knew also the time for speech. Oh, admirable consoler! He did not seek to drown grief in oblivion, but to exalt and to dignify it by hope. He would say, “Be careful of the way in which you think of the dead. Think not of what might have been. Look steadfastly and you shall see the living glory of your well-beloved dead in the depths of heaven.” He believed that faith is healthful. He sought to counsel and to calm the despairing man by pointing out to him the man of resignation, and to transform the grief which looks down into the grave by showing it the grief which looks up to the stars.

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables, p. 16