Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just enjoying the Christmas Season...

Here are a few pics of what we've been up to while enjoying this Christmas time ...

Holiday dress with front yard-holiday tangerines!

Snow day in our local neighborhood!

Not necessarily Christmas related, just cute :)


You know how there is always that one house that is super decked out at Christmas time like this one?

Well those decked out houses don't even compare to this decked out house I came across in Scottsdale on Friday. This house has a full on Palace facade, snow machines (yes, making real snow), bubble machines, light machines and the lights are all timed to Christmas songs played on speakers. I have never seen anything like it from a homeowner - doing it for fun - like this before. I was so entertained - because of the effort put into it - it was crazy! I wish my video of it would work on Blogger so you could see it, and see the kid in my video yelling 'It's snowing!' when the snow machines turned on. My jaw was dropped the whole time.

That's all for now!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


It's 10:45; we ate our Thanksgiving FEAST at 4pm & I am still FULL.
That's how good our Thanksgiving was.
(I'm thankful for holidays centered around killer, top-notch, everything-made-from-scratch FOOD!!!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Your Choice (if it's a good one)

I would like to change the header name on my blog from Johnson, Johnson ... & Johnson to : ??

Your Choice (if I like it ).
It can't be too cheesy, too serious or sappy; just clever, free of my last name, a little funny, and better than all of your headers - you know, so I can surpass the Jones'. Okay, now GO! Tell me! What's my new title?
***Okay, so I'm going to add that I'm definitely enjoying my MapCluster I've added there at the bottom of my blog. It shows me how many hits I'm getting and where in the world they're coming from. But now my curiosity is getting the best of me. So this is the thing: Not to make my Saudi Arabia friend feel awkward, but would you like to show yourself? I am trying to think of who in Saudi Arabia would possibly find my blog (I have my blog so that it cannot be searched through google or blogspot). If you are someone I'd like to become pen pals with, leave me a comment! Suggest a new name for my blog! Pinch Taya's cheeks even! Or if you know me, leave me a comment! Suggest a new name ...... Okay, you get the point.
And I bet I speak for all bloggers when I invite anyone else who periodically takes a peek at my blog to poke their head in and say hi.***
I'm getting even more excited for Thanksgiving (my excitement began when October started - my entire family is having it together out here in Arizona). I'm helping to plan our Thanksgiving menu - I'm looking up fresh produce markets to buy our goods at, and I'm writing my posts in Thanksgiving colors, how excited are you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taya's Halloween 2008

Here is a bit of catch up on Halloween pictures of Taya. We had a blessing and baptism of our favorite niece & favorite nephew (don't worry all 26 of our other nieces & nephews - you're our favorites too -especially when you draw us pictures and give us candy) in Las Vegas that weekend, and we were able to leave at lunch time on Halloween to make it to Las Vegas just in time to trick or treat with all of Paul's family. We finished the night off with chili & cornbread and dug into Taya's candy :) (the only year we can do that)

(This is funny - these people weren't home & Taya just hopped on their tricycle sitting on the front porch - we snapped a pic before we took her off - should we leave a copy of the pic in their mailbox?)

It was a Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Last Time

Mother and child by Cassatt Pictures, Images and Photos

The Weaning

By Carol Lynn Pearson

There is cloth now

Between you

And my breast -


And a little pain.

This is the


I take your face

In my hands

And guide your gaze

Away, out there -

To the fruit trees,

To the stars.

My arms,

Though empty,

Fold comfort

To a mother-heart

That yearns for nursing,

Yet knows that weaning

Is the bigger part.

Do you ever feel like you're in a moment and you just want to soak it up completely, but you can't seem to? Like you want to soak up the smell, the sight, the memory of that moment because it feels important to you? ... I nursed Taya for what I told her and myself would be the last time tonight. Knowing I'll no longer nurse her makes me a little sad, and is not easy for me. She is so active these days, that nursing (down to once a day for the last few weeks) has been my main chance for peacefulness - touching - closeness - with Taya. I suppose I could be subconsciously sad because I know it means she is growing older or maybe I draw enjoyment from her needing me, those would be the obvious answers, but I don't actually feel those sentiments (especially the needing me one). I think I'll just simply miss the closeness of our nursing moments. But she is ready, completely ready, and that is the main reason I am weaning her. (That and Paul and I may be leaving her on an overnighter soon - Hallelujah!).

If I had done a post about my sentiments with breastfeeding earlier on, I would have shared this poem:


By Carol Lynn Pearson

I savor

This mutual feast:


At my breast,


Drinking life -

And me



Sipping eagerly

On your sweet


Of immortality.

(While I was pregnant, I was especially nervous about nursing, breastfeeding, whatever you prefer to call it, because I had heard so many horror stories about it & because I had encountered adamant breastfeeding mamas who seemed to look down on those not breastfeeding - which turned me off on the topic. Then I read a book or two about it, and after feeling educated: and finding out that the hardest part of breastfeeding is in the first 3 weeks, and that people especially get the hang of it after 3 months, and also that as long as the baby is latching on correctly, there should not be a lot of pain, and if there is, you should look into another problem such as Thrush or Mastitis (have had both of those), ... after finding all of this out, I was determined to make it past 3 months and see if things weren't going just fine. Well, we made it and I am so glad I stuck with it. I don't want to hold that standard for everyone else, though I do think it is good to be open minded and educated on those things I mentioned and seek any lactation specialist help that may be beneficial. Besides, breastfeeding is so cheap and can be so easy in the end!!)

(Hope this post didn't make anyone too uncomfortable - if it did, maybe you're not a woman, and I'd rather you not read this particular post anyway, how's that for honesty? :) )

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The storm has arrived ...

The toddler terror storm is here.

(Dare I say 'terror'? - well I just did and I'm not taking it back)

(And don't tell me that it's not or that it doesn't start until age 2 or 3 - it may get more intense, but right now, in our house, it is here! Curious, active, trouble making, tantrums - the whole package)

See for yourself:

I know! Mama's favorite lipstick from her birthday will look fabulous all over my body, in my ear and in my hair!

Mama took it away!!

This is perfectly safe - afterall, look at all the stuff I can get to now.

This is called the warm candle wax hair treatment, the babies in France tell me it's all the rage.
See how well it works!

My mama is losing her sanity, so I make sure to be cute by dancing every chance I get and by giving her hugs throughout the day. See here - I'm a Dancin Foo'.

In addition to getting into my lipstick, rubbing her hair down with warm candle wax, and figuring out that she loves to climb up on our table repeatedly, Taya also managed to shock herself 3x this week - pulling plugs out and touching the prongs - within a foot of her Dada and finding an unprotected outlet in the bleachers at her cousin's football game - also within a few feet of her Dada. Have I mentioned that Taya swallowed a dime once? (I only found out because I found it in her you-know-what ... around 6 or 7 months of age). Yes, these are all my confessions - and the thing is, if I thought I didn't watch her very closely, I probably woudn't want to share all of this with you, but we keep a good eye on her! I don't believe in following her literally step for step, but keeping a good eye on her instead and intervening when necessary - apparently, it's not quite enough - or we're not fast enough.

The little stinker!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So Me Thinks I Can Dance!!!!!

So Melanie (my close friend who I had several classes with at BYU, then was in the same ward with, then became roomates with, & then ended up living in the same city with! And Paul and I even lived with her and her husband, Jarom for almost a month when we moved here - talk about NICE FRIENDS! AND she threw my baby shower! Can you tell I love Melanie?!) Anyway, so Melanie & I tried to get tickets to the So You Think You Can Dance Tour when it came out, but it sold out SO fast! So I told Melanie I was determined to get tickets off Craigslist, and with way too much time spent searching for tickets on Craigslist, I finally found some affordable ones. So off we went to the show, (let's pretend this happened last night and not a couple of weeks ago - and that I am on top of my posting :) ). Well guess what! - We walk up to the section our seats are in (mediocre to not great seats) and the ticket holder looks at our tickets and says, ... Do you wanna go sit down there in Section CCC? .. 8th row from the stage? ... believe or not, we actually hesitated because we didn't want to be looking UP the entire time. But we got smart and swapped the tickets -
8TH ROW!!!!! LUCKY huh? So it was a great night. Every year now I starting looking forward to the summer time, despite our heat here, just because I know I'll get my fill of amazing choreography and amazing dance each week with this show. Paul can attest that I am tuned in to only this show while it is on; I am almost like him during the Suns Playoff Games, almost I said. After the show, my dancer girlfriends and I often call each other and analyze/critique the dances, feeling like we are the best judges of dance in existance (I actually missed several episodes this year though due to work, etc. - so I am not quite as free in my time as I sound).
Thanks for going Melanie! See our pictures below (a lot of them are from Melanie's camera b/c my battery died soon into the show - grrr... thx Mel). If you are bored by this and scan past all the pictures, you should at least watch the video I took of Katee & Joshua down below - one of my top favorite dances! - and you can tell how close we were. (By the way, you can watch a lot of these dances on YouTube. Look up some of the titles I list below here and you'll find them; you should also look up Travis & Heidi, Park Bench dance.)
Kerrington (sp?) & Twitch in hip hop - she got kicked off TOO EARLY!
Courtney & Will, this one will make you cry, about a wife who has lost her husband, and look - they even took pretend wedding pictures for the background!
Twitch & Katee, such a cool dance choreographed by THE BEST, Mia Michaels: Beggin For Mercy
Mark & Chelsea in one of the best dances: 'Bleeding Love'
We had SO much fun!
It was a full house! Why we were given the chance to move up to the 8th row beats me! I guess we're just cool like dat. ;)
Opening Number, hip hop! That's Will & Joshua, Will is one who I thought would win the whole thing, but shocked everyone leaving early & Joshua did win the whole thing; watching this show did make me glad that Joshua won though - he was SO GREAT!
Two of my favorites: Katee & Joshua after their running dance, also choreographed by Mia Michaels, watch the video clip below on this post.
See how close we were?

Chelsea is truly talented; she's from Utah, and I believe is Mormon - random who's who Mormon fact for you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things that make me happy

(consider this a tag if you like)

homemade jams - or jams from farmer's markets

farmers markets

country crop rows

rain (when it's occasional)

when it's cold enough to run a fire in the fireplace


remembering my grandma & grandpa (Dad's side)

hearing stories about my grandma & grandpa (Mom's side, they died around my birth)

freshly clean me, Taya, Paul

Taya's laugh

Paul's smile

Paul & Taya laughing together (usually from rough housing)

family memories

my dad's wise cracks

childhood memories

chats with my mom filled with both trivial and meaningful

when a beloved friend calls

Taya's toddling walk

Taya's babbles

beautiful scenery

lovely photographs

when I'm pleased with a meal I've created from scratch

dates with Paul

Taya's dancing


homemade bread

beautiful interior design - especially if clean & modern, but warm and personal-

when I'm pleased with the design of a room in my home

playing hostess occasionally




favorite songs; especially ones I haven't heard in a long while randomly popping up on the radio

Carol Lynn Pearson's poetry

little kids playing outside

children's art

puffy clouds

thick forest of pines

making s'mores and hot chocolate by the campfire

my siblings - endless chatting & laughing

time with just my sisters

the tender and consistent love from my parents

snuggling with Paul

when it's chilly enough to snuggle in a blanket

a real Christmas tree

the house all decorated for Christmas

clean floors throughout the house

chats with friends who you feel 100% comfortable with

having sisters

when Taya lays her head down on me (brief moments, but I'll take 'em!)

Taya learning knew things and constantly

pictures of Taya

hearing from our Prophet


knowing I am a daughter of God

knowing God & Jesus Christ love me unconditionally

kneeling in prayer touching closely with my spouse

a clean house

a clean kitchen

watching a good movie with Paul

long talks with Paul

laughing with Paul

my own quirks that I can laugh at

epiphanies (or 'ah ha! moments' as Oprah calls them, & yes, I did just quote Oprah on my blog)

introspective moments

watching dance

big cities

small towns


favorite restaurants & cafes (unique atmosphere with killer food)

learning from and about people

snow skiing

roller coasters

playing social games and card games

doing someone's make-up

using quality or playful make-up

getting dolled up


ice cold water quenching my thirst

the 'pop!' sound of opening a Snapple bottle

that new plastic smell - like a new shower curtain or a new inter tube (weird - I know)

performing arts

listening to my favorite tunes

iPod! (if I personally had one to use, we have a nice iPod Nano I bought for Paul off Craigslist)

Target commercials (not to mention Target itself)

So You Think You Can Dance!

taking photographs


cinnamon rolls

Thai food

wood fired specialty pizza
pretzels dipped in fudge sauce
lemon bars

children's honesty

down-to-earth people

children singing

the internet

tall grassy fields


hiking - (not always though)

the beach

newly weds

thinking of how much I loved my wedding day



my time spent in London


fresh herbs, especially basil or cilantro!

any combination including fresh basil, roma tomatoes, & fresh mozarella cheese!

good cookware & handy cooking tools

independent films
laughing 'til my belly hurts - but I guess that one obviously makes me happy : )

(And if you haven't spent enough time reading this post and learning way too much trivial info. about me, here is a little video of Taya showing off a couple of her 'moves' -- her shoulder shimmies are the best)

Pending posts to come: I'm still gonna tell you about my trip to Vegas helping my sister-in-law out with her newborn baby girl (but I have beautiful pictures that we took that I'm playing around with in photoshop and want to finish them so I can share them! ..... & a post about Melanie & me going to the So You Think You Can Dance Tour - which was SO GREAT!!! ..... & a Taya update which is VERY overdue)

Monday, September 29, 2008

You should meet my mom.

You should. If you knew her like her friends and family know her, you would be inspired like the rest of us.

My mom celebrated her 35th birthday on Saturday (just kidding about the Saturday part; er no wait, just kidding about the 35th part, I think she turned 36, not 35) ;)

So here is why you should meet my mom.

She is the most service-oriented woman I know. I am not saying there aren't other service-oriented moms out there of course, but she really gives the most service out of anyone I know. For years, it seems like every time I call her, she is in the middle of some project or deed to help out another ... and whether she knows them well or not at all. Seriously, just about every time. ... That's a lot of service. And she has always been extremely selfless in raising us kids. She taught me that service opportunities can often come at the least convenient times possible, and just to expect that and go ahead and serve anyway.

She is a very happy and positive person. You can't help but feel better when you're around her. Even if she does use words like chonk (I think she made this word up) and zany and does a little giddy march while raising her shoulders, rubbing her hands together and doing the cutest cackle happy laugh, you can't help but feel happy.

My mom is talented. She plays the piano with such beautiful emotion. She taught many kids piano for years and is a wonderful teacher, instilling a love for music in them. Everything she touches turns beautiful; her home, weddings, floral arrangements, Christmas decorations, the food she cooks, even herself - she has great style, yet she is not materialistic, ... She is a talented reader and has served with this talent reading story times to kids at community libraries. She has directed many a road show play (remember those?) and dance festivals, and has the mind to just whip up little ditty songs for such plays.

She is an incredible seamstress. I didn't realize just how incredible until she created and executed these gorgeous Irish Gaelic costumes for an Irish soft shoe dance that a few other dancers and I did in our dance performance group during my high school years. She can figure out ANY sewing project.

She is a steadfast woman who is striving to draw closer to Christ every day. After I went through our LDS temple for the first time before getting married, I thanked her for holding true to Christ and our Heavenly Father, and I meant it.

My mom is down-to-earth, smart, talented, beautiful (seriously she is beautiful now, and if you saw her college pictures, she's gorgeous!), very hard working, organized - very organized!, diligent, and so much more. With her down-to-earth sense and approachability, I have discovered that it seems like almost anyone who knows her has come to her with a problem and has sought her listening ear. I love that about her.

And so like I said, you should meet my mom. There is still much more to her than what I've described, so next time you see her with me, just walk up, shake her hand, and say, 'Hi Carol - I was told I should meet you', and you'll be glad you did.

Happy Birthday Mom!!! (I'm sorry I wasn't here in person). I love you so much!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Promise ...

I promise ... to do a new and better post within the next couple of days so that you can get that stinkin DTPS out of your head! (That was not the kind of post I meant to leave lurking and waiting to say boo every time you check my blog for over a week).

By the way, in my post on September 16th, I recruited some of you to write letters to our senators about passing the Protect Our Children act in order to try and catch more sexual predators out there and reduce the number of such crimes. Well it passed! I feel a little rest assured knowing I can do my part to protect my children from sexual predators, but now also knowing that the government is doing their part as well in ways that I can't.

Anyway, soon I'll tell you about my week in Las Vegas last week helping my sister-in-law out with her brand spankin new newborn (well no spankin actually, that would be just plain wrong, in fact - how could I even mention it?)

So I'll see you soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008


It does!
Oh wait, you don't know what DTPS means?
Get it? Got it? Good.
Need I say more?
Oh, I do? Okay, I'll explain a little more. There have been many times when changing Taya's diapers or catching her spit up in my hand or finding her blow-out all over my shirt, that I have thought, wow, I must really LOVE my daughter to not be as grossed out as I normally would be right now!
But this past week proved it by miles!!
Taya came down with diarrhea and a horrible diaper rash last Saturday. After unsuccessfully trying a few basic things to help her get better in both areas, I resorted to the recommendation of letting her 'air out' ... go naked, diaper free, shake her little bun buns around the house; however you'd like to say it. I shut all the doors to carpet areas, rolled up the rugs, and let her run free!
And then there was the clean up. Like I said, she had diarrhea, and that is why I say LOVE=DTPS, because I am so desensitized to poop and pee (hers only) it's not even funny (don't worry, I do still try to avoid it, but it's just about impossible in a situation like this). Only motherly love could get me to do this dirty, dirty job.
Oh - I've gotta go, Taya's got a poopy diaper. Hey, at least it's in a diaper this time right?

(And by the way, between letting her air out, feeding her bananas, applesauce, and rice, and using 'Butt Paste' after already trying Desitin and Dr. Browns Diaper Rash Cream, we successfully eliminated the problem!)
And by the way again (if you're a mother and you're not desensitized to your children's poop, spit up, throw up, urine? Don't worry, I'm sure you've still got motherly love in some other unique fashion).
And by the way - uh, again - you could pretend I color coded this post in brown because I am excited about the fall colors that don't exist here in Arizona, but no, I am that gross at this moment; it is color coded for another reason, but you can pretend to see pretty fall leaves in the back ground.
And by the way AGAIN (somebody should come up with an acronym for that, so that I don't have to write out by the way so many times, maybe some Latin meaning or something?).

Maybe this is why she got a rash in the first place; slow response time to poopy diapers. Hmmm, where's the motherly love now?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is VERY important and quite easy, why wouldn't we?

***If you don't want to read a serious topic right now, stop.***
***If you want to help with a serious topic (and you easily can), read on.***

Well this is another serious topic. I saw just a little bit of Oprah today and she had 3 girls on her show who had sadly been molested by their neighborhood friend's dad. It was another example similar to others I've heard of where the parents and the kids knew the sexual predator well and still had no idea to steer clear. The only reason these girls found out (because he had drugged them) was because they were contacted by police saying these girls were some of hundreds or thousands that this man had posted online. (I'm sorry, like I said this is serious, but there is something simple we can do about it to help). There are thousands of sexual predators out there, who choose local victims and victims far away through Internet communication. There are so many that the number is overwhelming and hard to control through government agencies at this point. In order to catch more of these predators, the Protect Our Children Act/S. 1738, Biden-Hatch is going through Senate soon. As described on, this act will:
-"Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
-Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
-Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

So the easy part that we need to do is write our senators to put pressure on them to pass this act. Doesn't sound very easy? - It actually is, because Oprah provided all of the information through her website, along with a letter you can copy and paste and everything so that you know the correct wording for passing the Protect Our Children Act.

Here are the instructions (all you'll have to do is go to a couple of these links I'll show you and copy and paste this letter -or write one if you want [I added a paragraph to mine] and email it through the Senate link below):

Go to, specifically
Here you will see the letter to copy and paste, as well as the link to that will help you find your senators and their email links.
Lucky for you who are fellow Arizonans, I am providing you with both links to directly email Senator Jon Kyl & Senator John McCain (I sent it to both b/c I assume John McCain is a little busy right now). Here are those Senator email form links:

I haven't emailed or posted about something like this before, but I just think there is only so much we can do to protect our children from sexual predators right now, and when it comes to predators who can make you trust them and befriend them, it seems like a helpless situation. But with this act, they could be caught (because many who are predators of local children are also predators online and can be tracked). So I don't know why anyone wouldn't want this act passed.

Now, all you have to do is DO IT!! It's easy. Just follow my instructions above, or the instructions on

Thank you!!! The more of us that send this, the more our senators will know how serious we are about this topic, and the need to improve this situation.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Deep Thoughts

(Not by me this time though! Uhh, will this post go along with my 'thesis'? ...I don't know, but I'll share anway!)

Deep Thoughts,
by Jack Handey

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we'd all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad." We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

(Did you think you were in for another long methodical post? I thought I needed a breath of fresh air, well maybe not fresh, but at least funny air: these are some of my favorites from a regular 'Deep Thoughts' segment on Saturday Night Live in the '90s).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's my point?

Pen and Paper Pictures, Images and Photos

Why do I blog? What's my point? I've thought about that recently. Although I have random thoughts throughout the day or week that I tell myself I am going to turn into short blog posts, I seem to forget them when the pencil comes to the paper. I started out blogging so that extended family and a few friends could keep up with Taya and anything interesting in our lives, and also so that I could keep a kind of journal. Now I have a lot of friends who read this and very few family members that do (that I know of - they don't seem converted to the blogging world - yet). So I've been wondering what my blog says about me? Does it say I complain? (Hopefully not). Does it say I enjoy life? My family? Does it say I'm funny? (I wish, but no). Does it spell out my deep thoughts? (Not as often as I have them, but probably more often than you'd like).

I read a newspaper article yesterday about my boss's niece who has developed a widespread avid blog following and has recently been in a plane crash, resulting in tragic severe burns for her and her husband. They have four children who are being taken care of by family while they try to recover for months (which according to the article is even questionable). Part of the reason that this story has been featured in newspapers, online, and on the Today Show is the way that her blog touched thousands of lives, and the way those blog followers have joined together to raise $100,000+ for medical expenses for this couple. What I liked when I looked at her blog ( was the fact that you got a sense for who she is and what her family is like and the positive life that she has been leading. And that is when I wondered - what's my point? What does my blog say about me? I realize it is just a blog, but it's also kind of amazing the impact that some blogs are starting to have. I am not saying my blog has a large impact (because really, it doesn't) and I am not trying to copy the Nie Nie Dialogues. I just want to reflect positive things and leave a journal for my family, friends, and kids to eventually draw from and know who I am, and hopefully leave a positive taste in their mouths.

One more story: on this topic, I also thought of an experience I had in college, where when my two fellow college roommates from my hometown and I heard the news about Katie Tenny, another girl our age from our homeward, dying in a car wreck on the way back to BYU from Thanksgiving Break, we were very saddened and wondered what we could do. We offered to go collect and pack all of her belongings from her apartment. We knew it needed to be done soon and thought that we might be appropriate people to do it; close to the situation, but not as close as family and roommates who this might be extremely hard for. But what I still remember about this experience is that as we packed her belongings, we saw many, many uplifting books, inspirational pictures, studious notes and college work, and an overall inspirational living experience. Feeling touched by Katy's life, I felt very strongly that day - what would people deduct about me from packing up my living space?

So I felt the same sentiment again yesterday reading about this mom's blog who has touched so many.

Now I want to include things in my blog like: stories of my wonderful grandparents, the things I love about my marriage and about Paul (have I conveyed how much I love this wonderful man?), of course tales of Taya, the little idiosyncrasies of myself that we can all laugh at, experiments in the kitchen!, what I find amusing about myself or in people in general in everyday life, my love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and many other things that I feel make up my life, in a positive way. Maybe this is the thesis that I should have started nearly a year ago when I started my blog.

We'll see how I do and what my blog says about me, my life and my family.
Happy Blogging!
Okay, so I think it can say I'm a tiny teency bit funny. Sometimes. Maybe. Just a little bit? Yeah, a little bit funny.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Outdoors Trip!

We spent most of Labor Day Weekend camping at the top of Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona. These pictures show Slide Rock Park, a natural rock water slide near Sedona. You can enter it through a paid, crowded parking lot, but we hiked down in and were able to swim through a secluded beautiful swimming hole (shown) before getting to the crazy crowds of people. It was entertaining to watch the people of all ages fill Slide Rock Park, little kids and adults both going down this natural water slide. We did some cliff jumping too! Paul and I both did one that is probably 35 feet high (?) and Paul then did one that is maybe 55-60 feet high (high enough to plug my ears the rest of the day, but it was fun! I felt daring of course).

Camping was fun - once we found out Paul had a half day on Friday on a holiday weekend, we thought we should use it up! I will tell you briefly about our fellow campers and then I will stop so I don't complain too much! We camped in some unofficial open land campgrounds where hardly anyone else was to be found. Then Friday night some people decided to join us within 100-200 feet, despite the open land. With their RV generator running late, they also thought it would be a good idea to start loudly partying at midnight each night, kids up and yelling and all. Then Saturday after we had been gone all day and came back, they had like 30 family members who had joined them. They were blasting their booming, abnoxious music for hours and into the night, and were firing shot guns in the campgrounds! (A 22 and a 45 - even in the dark). This all repeated every day until we left early on Sunday night instead of Monday afternoon when we had planned to leave. Saturday night we called a ranger/911 on them for the gun shooting and ended up just playing phone tag with a deputy who could never find us. The time we spent in our campground was interesting to say the least.

SO, we had fun camping, but just avoided our campground as much as possible.

Here are two videos of people cliff jumping where we had (didn't have our camera on us when we went) and of me making Taya crack up in the hammock.

Friday, August 22, 2008

LOTS to do (and tell about) in the White Mountains...

So my parents invited us to join them in Pinetop, Arizona for this past week. We went up Saturday through Wednesday and then let my parents have a few more days to themselves. Paul & I had been to Pinetop for a brief overnighter for our 2nd anniversary in the wintertime and knew how beautiful it was, so we were looking forward to just enjoying the beauty, playing, relaxing and enjoying the cooler weather! It was a really great trip. We got the scoop on what to do (i.e. last post + some other tips for Arizona natives). We actually started on Friday night, staying at my parents house, and went rapelling Saturday morning just outside Mesa with friends which was very fun! - and then we picked Taya back up at my parents' and all headed out for Pinetop, stopping along the way near Payson to take a short hike to a natural swimming hole - it was beautiful! Sunday we just enjoyed church and then staying in due to a pouring rainy day; playing games, taking naps, etc.
Monday was the highlight: we got up and headed out to the nearby secluded Hawley Lake surrounded by pines, rented a small motor boat and went fishing on the lake and picknicking across the lake. Poor Paul and my Dad only caught crawdads (like 6 of them!) and were teased by fish over and over again, biting and stealing their bate only to get away. After we left the lake, we drove further away from Pinetop towards the tiny town of Greer (near a ski resort) and took a scenic loop drive to Greens Peak Lookout along the way, 10,000 ft. elevation - amazing views!!! We then finished off the day driving to Greer and eating at Molly Butler's Grill - a locals lodge with great steaks, etc. that faces grassy meadows and a tall green mountain of pines right across the street. After a brief rain pour, a double rainbow showed up right over these grassy meadows - it was a picture perfect finish to our wonderful day.
Tuesday, Paul and I started with an intense workout dvd, then did laps in the hotel pool, then went mountain biking - and later regretted all of our activity due to our SOAR muscles. Then we finished it all off with a dinner out to The Pasta House restaurant - GREAT Italian food - a restaurant we had been to on our 2nd anniversary as well.
Before driving home (which included a couple scenic lake detours) on Wednesday, we went to the Snowflake temple that morning and then briefly stopped in and by a couple of the cute, quaint historic houses/social hall before heading back to pick up Taya so we could drive on home.
All in all, it was truly a wonderful trip and we felt VERY lucky to have the chance to stay with my parents in Pinetop, and lucky again to have a few chances to go to dinner, to the temple and moutain biking while my parents watched Taya. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mom & Dad!!
So now for the part that's actually interesting for everyone else: the pictures!

I did this cliff jump too, but there was no flipping for me thank you - but look at Paul!

The only sad part was that there was SO much trash near this swimming hole; this is only part of it; we collected the rest and packed it out of camp like good scouts :)

Coming from church
Hawley Lake

At Greens Peak lookout, there were radio towers too and we climbed over this to get up there despite the 'Danger!' & 'Keep Out!' signs - I felt so tough, it was worth it for the best view!
Then this big black rain cloud started to loom and I scurried down knowing we were in the WORST POSSIBLE LOCATION for lightning.

Here is our view near Molly Butler's restaurant in Greer.
We could see the entire arches of this double rainbow, but were too close with our cameras to capture it all.

Goin' out to dinner.