Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Retrospective 2006 and 2007

I hope this Halloween is a happy one for all of you. This is just a look back over the past two years with a surprise at the end. I love all the costumes and fun on this big day. To dress up as your favorite character and eat all the candy you can? A child's dreamland. Here are some of my favorite munchkins dressing up on this big day.

The Entire Crew in 2006 and 2007

All the n&ns (with a few friend thrown in), 2006

All of the n&ns and Cassie (except the 5 babies), 2007

The 6 nieces, 2007. The nephews are nearly double their numbers.

Nine of the 11 nephews, 2007. Missing are baby A who was tired and out of his costume at this point, and baby M who lived in St. George.

Ric & Tami's kids

Ric & Tami's kids, 2006

Ric & Tami & kids, 2007

Rus & Jenny's kids

You gotta love Elvis in this one. 2006

Look how much Maxwell has grown! 2007

Adam & Michelle & baby

This little flapper looks like her Mama, but she did get her Daddy's smile, 2007.

The flapper family, 2007. Although we aren't quite sure what happened to Daddy's costume.

Matt & Cissy & kids

Matt & Cissy, 2006 (notice Cissy is just showing with baby #4--it's important later)

Matt & Cissy, 2007. I think Matt is going as a golfer every year.

Meg & Spence's kids

Meg & Spence's kids, plus the little one is their cousin Connor, 2006

Meg with kids, 2007

Brock & Julie

Dressed up for a 2006 Halloween party. Guess who won best costumes?

In St. George with yummy baby M, 2007.

Prego la Prega and the Wee Ones

Halloween 2006, Meg, Tami, Michelle, Charlene. I got this photo under duress (Meg's). She would deliver two days later. Also, Cissy had just left before this photo, (remember how I told you to pay attention to her bump earlier?) but we had Meg's sister-in-law Charlene there who was also expecting.

The mommies and wee ones, 2007. Baby M and Mama Julie are also part of the group but live a few hours away.

Party Food in 2007

Adam with witches' brew (dry ice and rootbeer)

Spider in the food! Spider in the food!

Or more correctly, spider web in the food!

Eyeballs served chilled.

Great Costumes, 2007

Cissy and Michelle in 2007. Both of them totally rocking their outfits. I'd dress up each year too if I turned out this cute. And can you beat the chubby-cheeked ones they are each holding? A tiny pumpkin and a little flapper? Too cute.

The Adult Clan, 2007

Most of the adults, 2007 (missing Brock, Julie & Cassie)

Some of Those Same Adults Back in the Day

Halloween, circa 197?

Green pajamas just for fun!

Happy Halloween to all you revelers in 2008!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This is her birthday week. She would have been 85 years old. I miss her.

It's been two years since she has been gone. It seemed like after Granddad passed away that her health failed pretty quickly. But before that, she was energetic and full of fun especially around the holidays.
She loved telling the story about dressing up for Halloween not too many years ago and sitting out on the front porch like a mannequin. Then when families would come up to ring the doorbell she would let out a cackle and scare them. She loved to have fun and always made every holiday exciting. We would go trick or treating each Halloween and always end at Grandmother's house. She had punch and dessert for us as well as a plate--an entire little plate all wrapped up with a pretty bow--for each of the grandkids. We would save that pretty plate for later, but then we would sit on her floor and dump out our other Halloween candy and bargain and barter with each other over the best treats.

Here she is in 2002 with Granddad in the front room of 1510 Conant Avenue. I think this year has been especially hard for me because I keep expecting that I'm going to make a trip up to Burley to see them and she will have chili on the stove when I arrive and we will sit on the blue "divan" in the living room and catch up on the news. Then I will go to sleep in the pink bedroom upstairs and wake up in the morning to the smell of popping bacon and sit in the little breakfast room and eat Apple Jacks with half and half.

The Colonel and His Lady no longer reside here. But it is imprinted in my sight and sound and smell. I know the way the front door screen slammed when I walked in; I know the dark interior of the three-story laundry chute from childhood play; I loved the shocking daylight brightness of skylight at the landing up to the 2nd floor that is only there because of a fire in the sixties; I loved the wall of windows in the pink and blue rooms that made them seem like our own treetop hideaway; I remember the magic of a "secret closet" in the blue room, the hours of childhood dreams that were offered up in the dress-up corner in the basement, the neat preciseness of Granddad's tools at his workbench and the green fridge in the basement that was always fully stocked with Pepsi.

I miss her jokes, her constant giggle and her strong opinions. I miss seeing her in her apron at the stove. I miss washing and drying dishes at the beautiful, long, free-standing kitchen sink that she simply adored. I miss her pretty dining table at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the tempting smells that wafted continuously from the kitchen throughout the long, tortuous hours before we could sit down and enjoy the feast. I miss her crystal and her china and all her lovely things in the china hutch she brought back from Germany. I miss her bright outfits and her sparkly earrings and the boxes of clothes she had under her bed for when she went down a size or two.

And I miss reading her letters filled with her love of beauty and her poetic soul.

She is Grandmother. Irreplaceable, unforgettable and missed. I love you, Grandmother. Happiest of birthdays this year with your handsome Colonel. I have a feeling that the home you are making for us there will be just as full of your light, your love, and your laughter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Playing Tag

I've been tagged by both Kelley and Lori, so I'm playing along today, folks. So, perk up, pay attention, and then respond with oohs and aaahs, 'cause I'd like to believe you are actually interested. And, while the tags are a bit different, I'm going with the shorter one. 

6 TV Shows I Watch
Biggest Loser, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Divine Design, Eli Stone, Jon and Kate plus 8

6 Restaurants I Like:
Bajio’s, Citrus Grill, Chef’s Table, Kneaders (love the chicken al mondo salad), Happy Sumo, PF Chang's

6 Things That Happened Yesterday
  • Listened to an awesome devotional at BYU on election matters by Robert P. George, a law professor at Princeton University (you can listen to it here)
  • Talked about the election with coworkers
  • Had staff meeting
  • Worked on setting up my new iMac at work
  • Went visiting teaching with Holly and had a great conversation
  • Made my favorite, easy smoothie for dinner

6 Things I'm Looking Forward to:
  • Finishing organizing my study
  • Recovering my couch
  • Getting my iMac fully functional at work
  • Doing a family assessment for class
  • Finishing my Denmark posts
  • Being my own biggest loser

6 Things on My Wish List:
  • Get a new phone/iPhone or new phone and a iPod touch
  • Go see Meg Hilty and Eden Espinoza in Wicked in LA before it closes in January
  • Go see my friend Amy for a nice, long visit
  • Get my degree in therapy
  • Get a headboard & dresser for my bedroom
  • Getting married and having babies

6 People I Will Tag:
Cissy, Megan, Julie, Rus, Kristin, Uncle Ward

Monday, October 27, 2008

Love to Order

I was driving home Saturday night from dinner with friends and I was listening to Showtune Saturday Night on a local radio station. I love show tunes because they make me bust out in song. That is why I listen to them best when I'm alone. No need to frighten small children or unsuspecting adults. I've always loved songs with stories and show tunes are the ultimate representation of a story-song. And I'm a sucker for a really great story so, I make sure to turn on the show tunes every Saturday night and sing my heart out. 

This night the number one song on Showtune Saturday Night was "Taylor, the Latte Boy" even though it isn't a true show tune. But it does have a built-in love story that is charming and easy to follow, especially when sung by the multi-talented, platinum-blonde, Broadway star Kristine Chenoweth. I haven't been able to get it out of my head all weekend and I've listened to it over and over again. My favorite line is  

I used to be the kind of girl
Who'd run when love rushed toward her.
Till finally a voice whispered, "Love can be yours,
If you step up to the counter and order

I like this Youtube video with Miss Chenoweth singing but I actually like her voice a lot better on this recording. So, listen to both or one, but at least take a listen.

Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy? My order would go something like this:  tall, dark and handsome; spiritual, but hold the fanatical; funny, but hold the flatulence jokes;  intelligent, but hold the ego; with a side order of will-take-me-to-any-show-ballet-or-theater-without-gritting-his-teeth. 

Yes, that would be nice. 

But when you are not a made-to-order kind of girl it is hard to find your own made-to-order kind of guy. Which makes Mr. Latte Boy start to look more and more attractive. He's easy to talk to, has some musical interest, and knows how to put together something that tastes delicious. Maybe what I'm missing in my life is not love, but caffeine. 

In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if my Pepsi-loving grandmother was really on to the secret of life with the sign in her kitchen that stated "put down the Pepsi and nobody gets hurt." Maybe caffeine is the elixir of love. And maybe I need to get me some of that kind of elixir. 

So, I'm thinking I could start with a cola and a lime. Oh, who am I kidding? I've got such an addictive nature that if I try it once, I will next be chugging soda by the gallon, not the ounce. So, Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome? You and I are going to have to meet some other way. 

And know that while our love story may not be "so caffeinated," I'd certainly like it if we could both manage to "step up to the counter and order" before too much more time passes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Just a couple of things that have made me laugh the last few days. 

This is not the funny part, but I've been following the story of Stephanie and Christian Nielson mostly on her sister Courtney's blog. Courtney writes poignantly about many aspects of this trial, but she is also a character and doesn't take herself too seriously. 

Which is why I love this video (scroll down the post) on her blog of Courtney singing with Mindy Gledhill an LDS artist who is performing a benefit concert this weekend in Mesa for the Nielsons. Well, Miss Gledhill is visiting Courtney's family and she and Courtney make a video of them singing "Smile." All I can say is Courtney has verve and nerve that I shall never possess. And she certainly knows how to sell a song with her heart and soul. :) 

Also, I don't want you to miss this haircut story and its follow-up from a blogger named Christie that I just happened by a couple of weeks ago. Christie writes about her life, her kids, and even her embarrassing moments and she does it with great observational humor. 

Mostly, these bloggers reminded me to laugh out loud today. And I love those kind of reminders.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The House List

I'm sharing something that seems a bit vapid and shallow, but I'm sharing it anyway!
I don't know why it seems vain to me to worry about these things--I think I should be thinking about our economic crisis or the rape victims in the Congo or someone in my own neighborhood who needs me. Yet, I realize at the same time that all things must be in their proper order and it is all right to think about my home sometimes too. 

Do you have a list of all the things you want to do to your house or add to your house or ways to make your house more comfortable? I call mine my "house list" and it jumps to the forefront of my brain every few months and then recedes into the abyss as other matters take precedence. 

Currently, my house list has my attention. 

So, here it is. Do any of your lists sound like this? 

1. New bookcase (mission accomplished)
2. Headboard for my bed (really, I want a sleigh bed, I just don't know if my tiny bedroom could accommodate such a thing.)
3. Recover my couch
4. New chairs for my dining table
5. Linen cupboard
6. Dresser
7. Piano 

 And of course the icing on the cake

8. Macbook
9. Laserjet duplex printer
10. new phone (dare I say and iPhone?)

Now, I can't even begin to imagine how long this list might look if I had a bigger house. Likely it would be a bit longer. And if I had children? Even longer than that. I certainly feel that I am in the acquiring stage of my life right now. I guess the hope is that even though I am in the acquiring stage, I can be peaceful, happy, and grateful regardless of what is on my house list or not. In other words, my state of happiness is not directly affected by what I'm planning, shopping and hoping for someday. 

Now that we've dealt with all the psychological/emotional issues behind my list, let me update you on two recent improvements in my house. Some of you asked for a photo of the new bookcase so, here it is:

It's white, it's 33 inches wide and it is 72 inches tall. And it is everything I hoped for. Plus, it fit in the space without a smidgen of room to spare. Altogether, perfect.

Here are the two other bookcases. Now, unless you begin to believe that I have lots of extra room, let me add that I'm not finished filling up the shelves with all of my books just yet. So, they will all be plenty full. 

And in other furniture news, something I promised over several weeks ago and finally is here.

My favorite dining table has been refurbished!

Look at those sleek, elegant lines. I took it to a sweet wood refinisher down south and he told me that my table is mahogany and from the 1930s. The best part is he fixed everyone of those curved, broken legs. 

That is why they don't make tables with curved legs like this much anymore because one overgrown child climbs on the table or you put too many boxes on the table and snap goes the leg. 

I didn't realize it but all four of the legs had been broken. So, he lovingly fixed them all for me and my table came back in mint condition. 

I love it. These two recent additions to the household are likely the reason the house list is at the forefront of my mind. I'll just keep chipping away it. And I'll share any of my recent additions or completions with you. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gems from the Peanut Gallery

G (4 years old) and N (6 years old) have been plying me with questions and observations recently. Here are a few:

N: How old are you?
Me: (Indistinct mumbling. N persists. I finally admit to being over 30 years of age.)
N: Hmm. You are older than my mom. She's only 28. And she has three kids. You don't have any.
Me: Yes. I hadn't realized that.

G and I had a heart-to-heart talk a week ago about why I wasn't married. She seemed deeply interested, so I told her to be on the look out for someone for me to marry. This is her follow-up to that conversation.

G: I been looking for a boy for you, but I not found any. I know lots and lots and lots of boys but none of them are chubby like you.
Me: I see. A problem we didn't discuss. Well, let's just say, I'm interested in lots of boys: skinny, chubby, tall or short. 
G: But I don't know any boys like you. 
Me: (mumbling) Unfortunately, neither do I. 

Friday, October 17, 2008

Booking It

I bought a new bookcase the other day. It's six feet tell and about three feet wide and it is beaoooooutiful. Meaning, I've needed it for about a year and wanted one for about two years and I finally succumbed to the siren song of more shelf space and brought one home. 

All of this, mind you, after looking at no less than twelve furniture stores. It had to be a white bookcase, it had to be a strong and sturdy bookcase and not cost me a mortgage payment (who am I kidding, I don't have a mortgage, but you know what I mean), and it could not exceed 34 inches wide. And I found one that matched all of that criteria and then I had to go look at several more stores just to make sure that the bookcase I found was the only true bookcase for my space.
It was. 

We brought it home the other day in my trusty CR-V (have I mentioned how much I love that car?) and it fit perfectly in the space I had for it. Then I got to pull out my three boxes of books that have been stored away and unpack them. 

And then I nearly cried. 

Because it was like I reconnected with old friends and great memories. Each book is a treasure to me and with most of them I can tell you when I purchased or acquired them and how they have impacted me. They make me smile just to look at them. My old friends had returned for a lovely and long visit. 

I now have three big bookcases and I even have some room to add more books when the inspiration hits me. There are several divisions for my books. There are the classics which run from Louisa May Alcott to Eudora Welty with a healthy smattering of Jane Austen, George Eliot, Willa Cather and Chaim Potok in between. The other divisions can't beat my classics in size but they are each and everyone important to me. There are books on:
  • art  
  • travel 
  • finance 
  • health and diet
  • organization
  • herbs and alternative healing
  • children's and young adult literature
  • gospel topics and church manuals
  • contemporary novels
  • relationships
Of course, within each of those divisions they are alphabetized by author and then title if I have multiple books from one author. You know, that's the only OCD way to go when it comes to knowing where all of your books are all of the time. 

So, I've fired up the old reading chair, turned on a lamp and I'm headed off to book land to hang out with an old favorite. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What to Do, What to Do

I seem to have a high level of popularity with Miss G recently. Enough that whenever I stop by her house for a moment she either wants to know if I'm staying or if she can come with me wherever I'm going. I'm totally flattered by this four-year-old adoration and she has been my little buddy over the last several days. 

The other day she was with me at my house when I started pulling out the Halloween decorations. I have a scary Halloween door knocker that swells with a spooky crescendo when you push its button and G could not leave it alone. We listened to scary door knocker over and over and over and over and over again while G proclaimed every time she was "not scared of the scary noise." 

As a distraction technique, we started chatting about Halloween night when we use the scary door knocker and what other spooky things you might see or hear on Halloween night. G mentioned witches and I started reciting "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble" in my cackliest witch voice. She stared at me through this little recitation and said "What you doing?" like I had suddenly turned certifiable and ought to be committed. When I told her I was using my witch voice to say a spell just like witches do on Halloween night, she responded with "I not scared of your scary voice" and then proceeded to make me recite the spell over and over and over again. By the end of the afternoon my house looked a bit more Halloween-y and we had doubled and toiled lots of fire and caldrons. 

[Now, heads up. This is where the shameless advertisement comes in.] 

I found this Witches' Spell and other great fall activities on RedRoko, a new blog with ideas for fun ways to spend time with your wee ones. Each activity is broken into 15 minute or 1 hour time segments and they are categorized under Know It, Make It, Play It and Read It headings. In other words, need a great idea for a Halloween book to read to your kids? Or want to make a pumpkin smoothie for family night? Or ever had your kids ask you "Why do the leaves change color?" each fall? Well, on RedRoko you can find answers to kid questions, yummy treats they might like and ideas for doing fun things with kids when you are fresh out of ideas of your own.

And who knows, you might even know some of the authors over there. :)   

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Double the Fun

I'm sitting next to four-year-old G the other day just hanging out when she becomes deeply interested in my chin. When we are sitting next to each other that is about where the top of her head meets me--at my chin--so it makes sense that she would want to inspect it, as it is likely the first thing she sees when she turns to look at me. 

She touched my round chin and then touched her own pointy chin and then touched my chin again. Then she said:

"Why do your chin have two parts?"

"Excuse me?"

"Why do your chin have two things?" she said while touching my chin and then my extra-love chin that burgeons out beneath my real chin. 

Why, indeed. 

I could give her some spiel about calories in and calories out, or some sob story about my genetic weakness and the cruel psychological horror inflected on me by this torment, or I could even plead ignorance with a shrug and an "I don't know." None of these would interest someone in her age group, so I gave her the only sincere and truthful answer I could come up with on the fly. 

"Because sometimes God likes to make some of us with extra parts. That just means that I have more parts to squeeze you with. And someday, if you work really, really hard and eat lots of chocolate, maybe you can have extra parts too!"

Yes, indeed. Chocolate just gives me a greater ability to love. 

And I'm sticking to that story.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Snacking

We've had a little tradition going on around here at Eden's Garden that makes a simple Sunday special. 

It happens after church when some of the n&ns (nieces and nephews) come over to my house for snacks. 

It is usually for only about an hour before our family's big Sunday dinner but they plunder my stock of toys and critique the snacks.  The castle in the background there was one of my favorite toys to play with at my grandmother's house when I was little and it continues its reign as a favorite at my house.

The jockeying for position around the snack bowl is very important. We've found that a circle works best. And some of them take their position in that circle very seriously. 

Hopefully, what we end up with is a few minutes of pleasure and lots of imaginative play. 

And the most make-believe usually comes from my side when I get to pretend for just a few short minutes each week that these little cherubs are all mine. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I have a hard time making a decision. At least when it comes to making a decision in a restaurant on what to order. I love to peruse a menu in detail and go over and over all the possibilities in my mind and narrow my choices down to what I really want. Except what I usually really want is a taste of about four things instead of limiting myself to just one entree and one taste experience. That's why I like going out for Chinese food when we eat family style and everyone orders an entree and then we share and share alike. Then I get to taste lots of things. 

So, in my frustration at not being able to taste everything I want, I often order a couple of appetizers as my entree. Then at least I get to taste two different things. Or even better I order one of those appetizers that is like three in one--you know, like mozarrella sticks, bbq wings, and quesadilla slices. Then my taste buds get to explore several items. That is as close to nirvana as I have come, restaurant-wise. 

Until yesterday. That is right, people, I found something even better than my appetizer-as-an-entree restaurant life and it is called Citris Grill

This place is local and purports to serve fresh ingredients only. And let me tell you it all tasted fresh and delicious to me. But that isn't the only reason I love it. It also serves every appetizer, soup, salad and most entrees in either a hearty or petite version. The petite version of each item ranges from about $2.50 to $5.00. Which means my dreams have come true: I can actually go to a restaurant and order the taste of four items I want without breaking the bank or killing my digestive system. I thought I had entered food heaven when I realized this. 

So, Meg and I were in our element. She being my sister experiences similar pangs of indecision. We both hate that awful feeling when you finally decide and order something and when it comes, you wish you had ordered one of the other three things you really wanted because the item in front of you makes your 0h-so-NOT-fabulous list after one bite. Well, we ordered plenty last night and some of the items made our oh-so-NOT-fabulous list but it didn't matter! Because there were other items that made the oh-SO-fabulous list with a gusto. 

We lucked out with a $50 gift certificate so we really went wild ordering several petite versions of things like:
  • Rock shrimp and calamari: a little too deep-fried for me. But hey, I got to try squid!
  • Smoked salmon plate: a definite favorite. Lots of great smoked salmon, decadent cream cheese, red onions, tomatoes and capers and served with fresh-from-the-oven pita wedges. 
  • Sweet potato corn chowder: it needed a pinch of salt but once we added that this soup was creamy and full of yummy, earthy goodness. 
  • Crab wontons: were okay. I liked them, but once again more crispy and deep-fried than I expected. But definitely worth the try when dipped in the great hot sauce that accompanied them. 
  • Cobb salad: very good to me, if it only had a bit more punch to the dressing. It was served with gorgonzola cheese instead of the more typical blue cheese, a substitution I liked,  but as a result it needed a bit more bite or pungency in the dressing that was missing. Still a very good salad. 
  • One pizza: a definite keeper with its black beans, bbq sauce and chicken. This dish was a favorite of the night as well. 
  • Five pizza: a cheeseburger pizza that was even better the next day. It earned rave reviews at the impromptu taste testing we shared with several family members a day later. 
Then the entree we ordered was a New York Oscar steak, which means it was topped with asparagus, crab and a bearnaise sauce and served over a wild rice. And what a dish this was. It is not on the menu but was the special that night and it was EXACTLY what I want all of my future steak orders to encompass. It was melt-in-your-mouth tender with hot, buttery asparagus. The asparagus were done perfectly--not too chewy and not limp and soft. The steak was sublime. It practically sizzled in my mouth and then dissolved in a fresh, yummy splendor on my tongue. 

Of course, since we were celebrating, we had to wrap up this taste fiesta with their chocolate cake. Hmmmm. It was a dense, almost brownie-like cake with a strong cocoa taste. 

We had a ball. And I've finally found the kind of restaurant that caters to the indecisive crowd. 

The next day we wanted to share our spoils, so we held an impromptu taste test at my parents' house for anyone present. What got rave reviews a day later? The cheeseburger pizza, Cobb salad, smoked salmon plate and the New York Oscar steak. 

So, the big question now is: Anyone want to go to dinner? 

Friday, October 10, 2008


Photo of flowers I received. Love, love, love them.

It wasn't the day I expected after a week spent reckoning my past and figuring my future. This happens to me every year because it is my birthday and always causes me lots of reflections on the good and the bad in my life.

But it has been a lovely day.

It started with a quiet morning, visits from dear, dear people, and a GORGEOUS bunch of flowers. Sometimes beauty just knocks me flat and that is what these flowers have done for me today. They made the whole world around me vibrate with their shimmering beauty.

I've been to the symphony, found a great new restaurant that answers one of the deep desires of my heart (the ability to order multiple items for a small price so I get a taste of everything), and I've even had a long, heartfelt talk.

Then between phone calls, text messages, emails, cards and gifts I've been filled up with your love. Thank you. I feel simply lovely and completely loved.

It has been a B-E-A-UTIFUL day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I totally agree with this post from yesterday over at It is from Courtney and Nie's sweet brother Andrew and it is all about the importance of touch and how touch is essential to our health, our well-being and our spiritual lives. I couldn't agree more. I think one reason I felt so healthy and well on my mission was because we were always hugging, holding and wrapping our arms around someone. That kind of touch alone is healing. And powerful. And needed.

I would classify my family as pretty touchy lovey. Not necessarily always with each other, but definitely high on the list of essential daily needs. This weekend, Brock and Julie were talking about the book Five Lanugages of Love and we were all telling each other what our language of love is. Meg mentioned that physical touch was high on her list and Brock said, "Yeah, that's easy, 'cause you are one of us" meaning a part of our family. Our clan certainly thrives on wrapping arms around each other and a big kiss on the cheek. And we all recognize that love hunger in each other.

Really it seems important to everyone. So, if you have a moment today don't forget to love on someone today. You both may feel better afterwards.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Racing Fall

These were the excited faces greeting me before we left for our trip. G was so excited about this trip that she kept telling me, "I've never even been to St. George before." Yes, except she was born there and spent her first year of life there. We tried to break it to her gently. B was just happy to be a part of all the excitement. When we were packing up the car, I loaded G's car seat in first and B started wailing immediately. He had been sitting in his car seat in the front room waiting for me to arrive and when I took G's car seat out to the car, he thought he was being left behind. Not to worry, we loaded in his car seat and reassured him. 

The first part of the drive was through the mountains south of us on a drive called the Nebo Loop. I had been wanting to take this drive for a long time and it seemed like the perfect opportunity with the mountains ablaze with color. It was stunningly beautiful. 

We even saw several cows grazing along the roadside. And B loved them and pointed out every cow he saw on the subsequent trip. He even learned how to say "moo." See what we were doing for his educational skills? 

The summit was an ear-popping 9000 feet. Definitely felt a bit woozy at that altitude. But I wouldn't have missed the scenery. 

We stopped at several lookouts just to take pictures. And good thing we did too because the next day this area got the first snow storm of the season. It was the last chance we had to see these views this season. 

Megan even bravely put a smile on her face and tried to enjoy the whole experience. She claims to have a little too much of Dad in her--the concept of plan it, do it, don't waste a moment. I've have been forever changed by a road trip I took to Florida with my aunt when I was just out of high school. We spent a week leisurely traveling across country, stopping to see many points of interest and enjoying our way through each state. I was hooked on that kind of travel from that moment. So, Megan got to enjoy too!

But we did--finally--reach our destination which was Brock and Julie's house. Julie had the big race the next day, so we chatted and ate her yummy sugar cookies and talked about the marathon. 

The next morning Julie left at 4AM for the race. We watched the clock knowing she began running at 6:45AM and that she wanted to run it in under four hours. We got to the very, very busy end of the course and walked in the pouring rain to see her cross the finish line. Yes, it had been pouring in St. George since early that morning so all the runners did the entire marathon in unrelenting rain. It didn't seem to mess up Julie at all though. She said her race went really well. She never felt like she hit a wall and she kept an excellent pace making it to the finish line at 3:55:56! She did her marathon in less than four hours. She looked totally triumphant at the finish line and we couldn't have been more excited for her. Brock and M had watched her months of training and they were her greatest fans that day. 

And Julie was all smiles. It was a great victory for her. 

We were all so enthused after watching her that we smiled as we congratulated her and snapped some pictures and then headed back to the car. Even G and B were great sports despite being soaking wet. 

They were just excited to be involved in all the excitement. 

After lunch and a long, hot bath for the runner, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Julie whose birthday is in a few days. And we kissed Mason and chatted up Brock. It was fun to have them all to ourselves. 

And we took a picture in front of the sign that Brock had posted on the house celebrating his favorite runner. It was a memory-making day. 


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