Sunday, December 27, 2009


While at Disneyland we all had the chance to sit in a big "Beauty and the Beast" chair and take a computerized personality quiz to find out what Disney character we were.

Ian was Timon, the meerkat from Lion King. He is energetic.

Jared was Sheriff Woody. He likes order.

Kudi was Tinkerbell. She is sometimes a little jealous.

Tara was Ariel. She likes adventure.

Sophia was Mulon. She fights to protect her family.

Scotty was Mushu, the little dragon from Mulon. He sometimes speaks without thinking.

Friday, December 25, 2009


This year Santa gave our family a week-long trip to Oceanside, California for Christmas. Because that was our big family present, Santa stuck to filling the children's stockings for the rest of our Christmas presents. We only took what we could fit in our stockings. I actually loaded the stockings a couple of days before we left, and we packed them all in a copy paper box. "Christmas in a box" we called it. It felt kind of funny, but I think it was mostly a hit. The girls got scarfs and make up and money and pop tarts and chocolate. The boys got ties and something, (uh-oh! I always forget!)

I thought it was cute this year how the boys actually put some thought into their gifts for others. Jared gave Ian a Spongebob cd, Kudi a badly needed wallet, Tara a necklace, Papa some earphones an ammo, and me some red mixing bowls. Ian gave Jared cash toward the laptop he is saving for, Kudi a hat, and Tara some ear rings, shared Papa's present with Jared, and got me badly needed socks. They did well.

The girls' presents were sweet, too. I got an apple timer, some red spatulas, and a wisk, and Scotty got some tools he really wanted. They threw in some treats as well. Notice the picture of us with our "memory mints" as we are getting a little forgetful.


I just want to jot down some ideas I had that might make Christmas away from home more Christmas-y, if we ever decide to take a Christmas vacation again.

Put the itinerary for each day (and any necessary tickets) in a gift box and open it each morning. Write on the outside of the box what day and what time to open it. Or open it the night before. But keep the trip and activities secret and only reveal one day at a time.

Remember the plastic wrap.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I am so glad we bought our Trendwest timeshare. It is sooo much nicer to stay in a 3 bedroom condo than a hotel room with a bed. We were able to compare the two back to back, since I messed up and we came on vacation a day early.

Travel Lodge - or - Trendwest. Hmmm.

Of People, Piers and Pelicans

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Comedy of Errors

Another title for this blog entry could be: AAARGH!

Or how about: I am so confused.

Or: I have never sworn so much in a single day.

So, we made it to Oceanside and, no, wait - let me tell you first how frustrating it was getting to Oceanside. Our directions were clear, printed from Mapquest, but the California Highway system was not clear. There was a point where “I 215 becomes I 15" and we were supposed to drive for 15 miles and take an exit. But there are no signs. I mean, California never tells you the name of the highway, or at least hardly ever. GRRR. And then, their exits make no sense. In Utah and Idaho the exits are the number of the mile marker they are on. So if you are at mile marker 72, then that is the number of the exit. But California seems to randomly number their exits. Exit 46 is at mile marker #2. What is that?!

And traffic is terrible. Even when it is moving it is terrible. Even the boys looking out the window at the ribbon of cars moving off to the right toward a different highway said, “Wow, look at all the cars.” I thought, “I sure hope I like Disneyland because I hate California.” (Oh, there’s another possible title for this blog.)

Okay, so we get here, and guess what? NO reservation. We pull up my account and my reservation starts TOMORROW. Are you kidding me? What can you do but laugh? The girl at the desk tells me it happens all the time. Tara said she worked at the hotel in Springdale for 8 weeks, and it happened 3 times to her. I’m grateful I am not the only idiot out there.

So here we are in the Travel Lodge. The boys said, “Whoa, I think we downgraded.” That is a colossal understatement. However, the bed is really comfortable and there’s free (if monumentally slow) internet. What more could you ask for?

And the beach is nearby. It is lovely. Ian and I went running on the beach last night, holding hands, racing toward the surf. As the waves crest, the normally foamy white part glows florescent green. It is cool. We laugh. We are happy. It’s been a rocky start, but Ian hugs me and says, “I love this vacation!” (I guess there’s another title for my blog.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Doozey of a Morning

Some days things just don't go smoothly but DANG! today was a record breaker.

I slept through my alarm (for the second day in a row, which also makes it the second time in my life I have ever done that.) So, I'm a half an hour late... only time for the essentials. No make-up, no making lunch. Then as I'm putting my coat on, I realize Jared has also slept through his alarm and now he is running about 45 minutes behind.

I wish him luck, ask Scott to make his lunch, and dash out to my car. Only to remember, my car is OUTSIDE because the garage door broke yesterday. Soooo.... my windows are covered in ice. I live in St. George; I park my car in the garage. I don't own a window scraper. I wait for the defroster (kind of), and zip off to work where---

Someone is blocking my parking space. They pulled in diagonally, blocking two spots, and left their car running. I honk several times because I know it is one of those darn choir students, and then finally, Mr. Proffitt, the French teacher comes running out! GRRRR!!!

It's 10 after 7 am and I already need chocolate. The good news is: I know where to find it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Newsletter 2009

I don't know why I am so tickled about the whole thing... but it makes me smile that my newsletter turned out so cute. I don't know if you can read this very well. If you click on the image it gets bigger, but I was trying to be creative and chose a funky font. It looked beautiful on the silver paper I bought. And the labels had cute little silver ornaments. Simple things are simple pleasures.

The Candy Bar Memory Game

Here is a fun party game that we like to play. I made up a little tote bag and filled it with the candy and a copy of the rules and plan to give it as my "White Elephant" gift at my work Christmas party.

Click on the picture and it will get bigger, so you can see the rules.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's always fun when the whole family gets together. Much laughter and silliness abound.

The second best thing about Thanksgiving is that I get to drag out my china.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Making Holidays Special

Crab Cheeseball and crackers
Little Smokies in bbq sauce
Texas Caviar

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Sweet potatoes
Cabbage Salad
Dixie Salad with pomegranates
Watergate salad
Pumpkin Pie and whipped cream

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's a bad hair day...

We are supposed to do family pictures today for our Christmas cards. It could be ugly, in more ways than one.

I woke up at 2 am and could not get back to sleep. This is what my hair looks like so far.

So this will be like a "before" and "after" shot. Hopefully "after" will be so much better, right?

After - I take nap

After - I go to lunch with the girls

After - my near tears meltdown at the clinic this morning when they let someone go in front of me for a blood test AFTER I had been waiting FOREVER.

Pretty sure I wouldn't have cared if I had gotten to sleep in until 5:00 am.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Best Friends Animal Shelter

I am one of 4 advisors to a group called the Leadership and Resiliency Club. We went to Kanab a couple of weeks ago to work at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It is a huge 37,000 acre ranch dedicated to saving all kinds of animals. (The Michael Vick pit bulls got sent there to be rehabilitated.) Our project this day was to clean up after several hundred bunnies that had been rescued from the Arizona desert. A bunny breeder had lost control, and 500 bunnies had to be picked up and found homes for. They spayed and neutered them as fast as they could, but in a matter of weeks, there were 1500 rabbits.

A few of the kids from the LRP group.

We scooped poop.

Sara Sisam suiting up.

The compound complete with yert.

The sign says, "Smile as you enter. What better place could you be." Nice thought but I was actually thinking someplace a little less stinky could be nice.

The magnitude and scope of the projects Best Friends is willing to take on is amazing. They have dogs, cats, horses and even pigs.
Check them out at

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Faith of a Dog

See this fence. The golf course has erected this little fence along the cart path, for some project that they are doing.

So this morning, I let the dog out, and he goes down the cliff behind our house, out on to the golf course. He generally goes on the rough and then comes back up the cliff. I wasn't feeling well this morning, and it was stormy, so I didn't wait for him, and just left the back door open so he could come in when he was ready.

After a few minutes I hear a bark. Just one. It's not his crazy I-think-the-moon-is-an-alien-spaceship-about-to-land, angry and alarmed bark. It's his "open the door, please" arf. And I'm thinking, "What the heck, there are no doors on the golf course?!" (It's early.) So I go outside and call him. I whistle and call and he barks back, just once. I can tell he's in the middle of the golf course, but it is too dark to see him, and a gale is blowing that is making my eyes water and tears are running down my cheeks. I'm freezing, so I run inside and grab a jacket and a flashlight, and go back outside and call him again. I shine the flashlight and see two glowing orbs that are his eyes. I can hardly make out the rest of him, but I can tell he's just sitting there not moving, so obviously something is keeping him from coming in. So in the middle of the gale force winds I scramble down the boulders on the cliff side, using the flashlight to see. As I get closer I can see this little fence that somehow he's managed to cross, but he can't figure out how to get back over. So he laid down and called me. As I walked toward him, he doesn't move, and I wonder if he's tangled up in the string. But, no, he's just waiting. There he is, with all four legs tucked under him, belly on the ground, ears alert, smiling at me with his body, just waiting. He knew I would come.

The faith of a dog.

I lift the string and he slides under, and we go home.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sundance Trail Ride

Our 26th anniversary. A quick trip to the Provo night life, and a morning ride at the Sundance Stables, up Provo Canyon and the Alpine Loop. The trail was called Stewart Falls. It was pretty steep and rocky, not really for the novice rider, so I was glad we left the boys at home. I decided, too, that this is the only way to hike anywhere near Mt. Timpanogos.

You can see the Sundance Ski runs behind us on this mountain, where they've cut the trees away.

Scotty rode Willy. Will he or won't he? He will. He did. He was a good horse. Scotty was in heaven.

The colors were just beautiful. The leaves were floating down all around us, and it smelled wonderful.

Thanks for the mini vacation, Scotty. Love You!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Boat Races

We made "boats" out of junk we found around the house, and took them to the downtown water park to float them down the creek. Ian's boat is from a microwave popcorn box. He says, "I'm gonna win this race or my name's not Orville Redenbacher!"

The Competitors.

Dashed upon the waves and rocks (and the drain grate.)

The winner and still champion!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I can't believe summer is almost over

What a delight it has been to have a job that lets me have the summer off. We did a lot this summer, starting with:

Memorial day and our trip to the Grand Canyon. There was so much fog when we got there that we couldn't tell there even was a canyon, or a tree, or a shrub. So we had lunch in the Lodge and watched that fog burn up and disappear and one really awesome canyon appeared in the window. It was so deep that Ian was afraid to go out on the path to the scenic overlook. A condor flew right above us and flapped his wings right above our heads. It was so cool.

Then we went camping in Pine Valley and saw a dozen deer. It was a little colder than we expected, so I'll have to remember that for next year.

The next week we went to Park City, well really it was Midway, Utah where we stayed. But Ian had his life changing experience riding horses in Park City. He's been a dare-devil ever since. We hiked Timpanogos Caves, which nearly killed me. Note to self: don't go there next year.

Over the 4th of July, Jenny Brown and Kerrie Stone and their cousin Stephanie and family came and we had a great Independence Day celebration. The fireworks at the rodeo grounds were awesome, and my friend Erica won the country music singing competition. Woo-hoo.

The next week we traveled to Las Vegas to spend the day with Terry and Debbie at the Lazy River at the MGM. A very fun and relaxing day. Good food, lots of laughs.

Then it was time for the Mackley Family Reunion at Gooseberry Campground in Fish Lake National Forest. What memories! It was wonderful to see all the cousins, but I particularly enjoyed sharing a cabin with Jamie and Theron (and kids), and Sonya and Scott (and kids). Oh, and lets not forget, we also shared the cabin with some Olympic athletes who lived in the attic. Some kind of rodent olympians practiced their events every evening. Very entertaining! (and frightening.) And we appreciate so much Scott Poole and his efforts at serenading. I still cannot believe Theron slept through all of that.

Then we had two fun days at Lagoon. Thank Heaven for Laguna Beach, or it would have been too much to bear. The boys rode everything, and in an effort to not be too much of a stick in the mud, I rode some scary rides, too. Someday the boys will know how much I hate to go upside down, but for now, I just wanted them to have a good time.

I couldn't believe my 8 weeks was nearly up, so we had to squeeze in a hike in Zion National Park. Pine Creek is a boulder hopping hike. Or really, instead of jumping from boulder to boulder, you actually heft yourself up one side of a boulder and scramble down the other side. It is a workout. We were all exhausted.

But hard-core summer fun seeker that I am, I went to Lake Powell the next day with my husband. Paddled around in a two-person kayak for an entire afternoon. What a stud I am. Note to self: spread out the fun, and give yourself a day to recuperate.


Two more days left... what can I squeeze in?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

St. George

When we got home from our family reunion/Lagoon/visit to the eye doctor trip, it was a toasty 115 degrees in St. George. Nice welcome. Actually, I don't mind the heat. I unloaded the back of the Vue and hardly broke a sweat. Scotty doesn't like the heat, so I told him to leave all the stuff in the car until it got dark, and then we'd get it out. Then I got worried my make-up or hairspray might explode in the car, so I tried to sneak and get things out myself. Scotty caught me but he stayed in the garage while I ferried things in. We're a good team.

So the family reunion was a hit, Lagoon was fun (and exhausting) and the eye doctor is taking Ian out of bifocals. We'll go back in 6 months to see how the new near-sighted prescription is doing. The trick now is: is there enough correction in his glasses to help keep his eyes straight? If he doesn't need glasses we lose the ability to prevent him from crossing his eyes, so more surgery becomes a possibility. However, the doctor thinks he's holding his eyes straight on his own without the bifocal, so that's why we are going to try to make the switch. (I know what I'll be fasting for over the next 6 months.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So Much Fun

We went on a trail ride at Park City Mountain Resort. It was so much fun. The horse guy hadn't had very many customers for several days because it has rained every day for two weeks here, so he was willing to give us a deal. I love a deal. So that was one positive.
Ian was pretty nervous since the last time he was on a horse, he was three years old. But the horse guy promised he had the perfect horse for him. And she was. Thunder was her name, but she was extremely gentle and docile and obedient and Ian had a great time. Positive number two.
I was pretty nervous, too. It's been years since I was on a horse, and I usually ride in a fenced pasture, so riding up a mountain side was a new thing for me. It was really fun. We went through pine trees and aspen groves and had to duck under tree limbs. But the horses weren't nervous or skittish. We're all ready to be horse owners again. Ian says he wants to have a horse and name it Nellie so he can say, "Whoa, Nellie!"