August 31, 2010


Well, the inevitable has happened. With Joey's 13th birthday which we celebrated last week, Jeni and I are now the parents of two teenagers. Where in the world did the time go? In the last few months Joey has become somewhat of a tennis fanatic so his birthday was centered around all things tennis. He got a new racquet and tennis balls, a carrying case, a tennis ball holder, some clothes and some shoes. I think he may try out for the Jr. High tennis team in the spring. His birthday was fun with some time to shop, eating at Red Robin and dessert at Cold Stone. Below are a few pictures from the day plus the card we made him. Happy Birthday Joey!

August 30, 2010


You may have read about our escapades with Baxter, the supposed pure-bred Shih-Tzu we ended up selling a few months ago. His departure left an unanticipated hole in our family, one we just filled this last week with another Shih-Tzu, much more likely a pure-bred, Koda. His mom is about 9 lbs and the dad is about 13 so we're anticipating Koda to be in the 12-15 range. He was a gift from a very kind family, a friend of Maddy's from school, and we have loved him like crazy since last week. He is 9 weeks old and is showing very different behaviors than Baxter did, in that Koda is much more snuggly and wants to be around you all the time - just what we were looking for. I'm sure I'll post more to come as he grows but here are some pictures for now.

August 29, 2010

Broadway Vocal Solos

Maddy had her semi-annual vocal recital yesterday at Piano Gallery in Orem where she performed four songs from Broadway Musicals including:

1. Adelaide's Lament from "Guys and Dolls"
2. Good Morning Baltimore from "Hairspray"
3. A New Life from "Jekyl and Hyde"
4. Find Your Grail from "Spamalot"

We're so proud of Maddy and her continued love of singing. Below are videos of the first two performances listed above. For some reason my video camera didn't work on the third one so I'm going to try to get a copy from someone else that was there. The last one I posted here when she sang it at her Jr. High Musical. Great job Maddy!

August 19, 2010

Eagle Project - Back to School Kits

Joey completed his Boy Scout Eagle Leadership Project this week, having spent the last two months on it. Joey worked with the ward Relief Society, Young Womens group and Boy Scout troop to create 30 custom schoolbags and fill each of them with 15 specific school-related items to benefit the Community Action Services and Food Bank in Provo. He received over $200 in donations as well as supplies and ended up donating 107 pounds of school material. Total hours spent on the project for him and a total of 41 volunteers were 117. Joey found this project himself and oversaw all of the work including the creation of the flyer used to communicate the project to our ward.

Below are some pictures from the various phases of his project as well as his flyer. Now all that's left for Joey to earn his Eagle is to complete 4 more merit badges and wait his 6 months from the time he earned his life. If all goes well, he hopes to earn his Eagle on December 26, about 4 months after his 13th birthday. Great job Joey!

August 14, 2010

Seminary Reunion

Ten years ago I taught an early morning Seminary class of nearly 40 freshman at Centennial Hills High School in Las Vegas. Though I had taught Seminary for 3 years prior to this class, there was something about this group of kids that made this experience one of the spiritual highlights of my life. Thanks to Facebook I've been able to reconnect with many of them and it's been wonderful to see how their lives have turned out.

Since Maddy will be starting 9th grade this year and attending Seminary herself, I thought it would be fun to have some of these old students over for a meal. I made Irish Soda Bread, Buttermilk Blue Cheese Wedge, Asiago Alfredo Rotini, Orange Mango Sorbet and a Dark Chocolate Truffle Torte with Mixed Berry Coulis. It was great seeing everyone again and hearing what they've been up to. Above is a picture from that seminary class from 2000 and below are pictures from today's mini-reunion. Those that joined were Natasha Benfield, Taylor Eliason, Jeanette Clayson, Chris and Karen Harris, Justin and Ashley Curnutt, and Nick and Candice Watkins. Thanks everyone for a great time and laughs over old memories.

August 09, 2010

Stake Father and Sons

On Friday night, our Stake hosted an Aaronic Priesthood Commemoration Father and Son's Encampment at Camp Koholowo up Payson canyon, the same camp where Maddy had stayed for her Girls' Camp. Friday night was a ward night where fathers and their sons brought up their own dinner and we made a campfire under the stars. The next morning the Stake put on three workshops including a compass course and a title of liberty activity. Thankfully we didn't have to sleep in tents as there were cabins with bunk beds. I am very grateful for Church activities like this that help us focus on the things that really matter.

August 07, 2010

Girls Camp 2010

Maddy returned on Friday from 3 nights spent at Camp Koholowo in Payson, Utah for her annual LDS Girls Camp. Just as Maddy has grown in the last 3 years, so have the number of girls in the Young Womens Program in our Ward! I believe there were almost 30 girls that went to camp this year. Here's a link to 2009 camp, and here's a link to 2008. This year's camp was run by the Stake and I heard there were close to 350 girls and their leaders.

I had the privilege of going up Thursday night and Jeni was able to join me. As we pulled up to their camp, it was amazing to see the unity between the girls and the leaders. They were all in their camp shirts, sitting in a circle making bracelets. It was a sight I'll never forget.

We were asked as a bishopric to cook dinner for the girls so Bishop David Ahrens' wife made homemade rolls, Hugh Black made two amazing salads, and I made buttermilk chicken, fettuccine with a garlic Parmesan alfredo sauce and then chocolate soup for dessert. It was a fun night and we were all so impressed with the girls and the leaders. What a great experience for them all. Below are pictures I took from the evening we were there plus several others from Heather Disbrow, their Young Womens President.