Friday, April 18, 2008


Natalie went to "school" yesterday. It was actually just a minimally structured, hour-long Parks and Rec class but to her it was excitingly grown-up. She's been looking forward to the start of "Alphabet Adventure" since I registered her about a month ago.

Natalie and friend, Chloe, excited for the first day of "school."

Miss Betty--the same teacher that has been running this class since Caleb participated in it 6 years ago--greeted us enthusiastically. She's a bespectacled older woman with a mousy voice and gentle manner. She seemed genuinely thrilled to have the last of our children come through her program. Natalie went right to work rolling and cutting a mound of play dough and it was clear she was really going to enjoy herself.

She arrived home with a pile of messy projects, some with still-wet paint. They are destined to land in the recycle bin by day's end but I've allowed one to be displayed on the frig for now. She gave me a recap of her activities which included "Ring around the Rosies." I was curious if she'd remember Miss Betty so I asked, "What was your teacher's name?"

"Grandma." I'm sure that's not entirely wrong, she probably is someone's grandma and she certainly fits the visual of one. Natalie then added, "Mom, I 'ppreicate you got me to alphabet school."

After lunch she picked up the phone to call her imaginary friend, Sally. She pretended to dial, held the phone to her ear while cocking her head to the right and after a quick greeting said, "Sally, I 'ppreciate you to come over to my house to play."

Later, we needed to get ready to take Alyssa to gymnastics but Natalie had changed into shorts. Though she always prefers to be bare-legged, it's still too cold to wear shorts outside of the house. I asked her to change in preparation of our departure and she just replied, "Mom, I 'ppreciate you let me wear shorts."

It's nice that she seems to be so full of appreciation, but I don't really appreciate her using it as a means of getting her own way. She still had to change her clothes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Break

Our Spring Break trip was all about being reminded of those things for which we are most grateful. Here they are, in no particular order:

Visiting BYU means reliving some of my fondest memories. We enjoyed the cheap bowling and yummy Creamery food, loaded up on new apparel and visited some favorite places on campus.
The new alumni building was especially enjoyable. If only there had been some action at the stadium, then my visit to my alma mater would've truly been complete.

The Gospel

Attending Conference was a highlight of the trip. Caleb was thrilled to see the prophet and listened quite well to the messages. Jon was excited to run into his mission president outside the conference center. We also enjoyed our stroll around Temple Square later in the week. Seth's baptism was a great occasion which reminded me of how blessed we are to have the gospel.

Our own kids got lots of together time but Jon and I especially enjoyed seeing our siblings. (We missed you, Erin and Emily) Jen and Christopher hosted us the night before we left and even let Caleb ride in their van all the way to Utah as we caravanned with them. Chad and Amy were excellent hosts and we loved being able to stay with them for a few days. Caleb especially loved the basketball court that was just outside their house. They kept us well-fed and even took us to Brick Oven one night. Lucy and Jay put up with lots of people in their house and provided us several nice meals. Maureen and I were also able to sneak away for a pedicure. It's always nice to get a little pampering. Most of all, we just enjoyed visiting with each of them. If there's one thing I can do, it's talk. I really enjoyed all the conversation with the siblings. I wish I'd gotten a picture of each of them.

There's something special about being able to catch up with old friends. We even got to meet some friends from home for lunch at the Creamery.

Sara is one of my dearest friends from college. We used to get together for playdates when her daughter, Julia, and Alyssa were babies. They don't remember those days, of course, but they became fast friends again.

I love the unique cousin bond. The kids can go months without seeing each other but when they get together they are the best of friends. Caleb couldn't stop the tears as he said good-bye. I know he had lots of noisy fun with all those boys but I'm quite sure it's more than that. They make him feel loved and good about himself, too.

Aunts and Uncles
My Aunt Shauna and Uncle John hosted us for a couple of nights. We sure enjoyed visiting with them. Shauna catered to Caleb's picky eating habits and they both played with the kids, making them feel welcome. Natalie wanted to call them Grandma and Grandpa but she eventually got their names right. Shauna shares my gift of gab so we spent several hours talking while John and Jon did a lot of listening.

Our kids also loved seeing their aunts and uncles and I enjoy being an aunt to all my nephews and nieces. They're all great kids.


A fun sporting event makes any vacation complete. The Jazz game was the perfect way to end our week. Caleb screamed until he was hoarse and was thrilled to watch his favorite team win.


We were able to eat dinner with my parents on our way through town. It was nice to see my mom up and around after having surgery on her thumb. One of the main reasons for our Utah trip was to be able to meet up Jon's parents who just returned from their mission. Natalie really turned on the charm with Grandma and we all enjoyed visiting with both of them.

Jon and I both had lots of fun looking up our parents in the old BYU yearbooks that they have in the new alumni center. We weren't ever able to find a picture of Jon's dad but we found several of his mom and several of both of my parents.

Family Time

This trip gave us lots of time to spend together as a family. Jon prefers to be the driver and since the car makes me so drowsy, I quite enjoy the passenger seat. It's the perfect match. There's no one else with whom I'd rather spend so many hours in the car. We all had our moments, Natalie had a few more than the rest of us, but overall, we really loved being together.


I love coming home after being away. I love that feeling of pulling into the driveway and then stepping into my own familiar dwelling. Natalie got carsick about an hour away from home so we had a mess to clean up and Jon's truck had a dead battery but as I climbed into my very own bed last night, none of it mattered. It felt so good to be back where I belong.