Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

I can't believe it is already the end of August! Where does the time go? And more specifically, why do summers pass so quickly? We've had so much fun these past few weeks ... just enjoying hot, lazy summer days.

Some of our favorite things lately:
* Swimming (both in Grandma's baby pool and the big pools) ... Landon LOVES going down the big slides
* Playing in the dirt ... a little boy's dream
* Playing Dump Trucks (it's a pretty sophisticated game, if you're nice we'll teach you how)
* Going on walks (or rides in his car in Landon's case)
* Playing on the playground ... Landon is a climbing, sliding machine
* Having friends over
* Eating snow cones!

I caught a couple of these in pictures so I must share ...

I can't even describe how much Landon loves dirt ... LOVES it!
We went to get snow cones the other night. Behind the "shack" they have fans that mist water on you. You guessed it ... Landon thought this was incredibly awesome :)! Here he is trying to catch the water ...
And taste the water ... And I finally got them to show off their blue tongues for me :)Playing at Grandma's pool ... I couldn't get these two to both look at the same time :)
(It kind of looks like she's checkin' him out don't you think?)This afternoon we were at Grandma's and I saw a HUGE caterpillar from across the driveway ... they have a pretty big driveway so that is saying something about this bug. I detest bugs, so I called my sister Ale over to pick it up so Landon could look at it (aren't I both an amazing mom and sister ... as demonstrated from the previous statement, ha ha). Here he is checking it out ...
Then he moved in closer ...
Overall he was still a little unsure about touching it (fortunately for that caterpillar I'm sure) ... but he did think it was pretty interesting :)!

How are you spending the "dog days of summer?"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Starting the Day Off

A few days ago I was getting ready to go to work. Landon and I were downstairs and I was making him some eggs for breakfast. He always eats right after I leave with his sitter, but usually he needs to help me with my breakfast too :). I looked over from the stove and saw this:
He was eating my Kashi cereal, drinking his milk and reading his "Baby Listens" book (one that my mom got as a gift for me before I was born). I thought it was so stinking cute!! What a way to start the day off right!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Help: A Review

I love to read. Okay, that's an understatement ... I love, love, LOVE to read. It's my zen time. Some people watch TV, listen to music, work out, etc. and I like those things too - they have their place - but when I'm reading I am really and truly happy.

About a year ago I read The Help for the first time. And I was absolutely blown away. For those of you who don't know what the book is about (and have clearly been living under a rock) here is a quick description. (I pulled it off of Goodreads, because I thought they could be more concise).

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

It's a powerful book that let's you see a challenging and powerful time in our nation's history from different points of view. It's the kind of book that makes you laugh and cry ... and can change the way you look at life. It challenges you to have the courage to do the right thing, even when its the hard thing to do. You miss the characters when you finish ... like you could have kept up your conversation for just a bit longer. Love that.

Last week the movie came out. Now, I'm not usually a huge fan of books that have been turned into movies. I generally don't think they do the book justice. But I had high hopes for this one ... and it did not disappoint.

It's hard to condense a book like The Help into a movie (albeit a long movie). But they did a beautiful job - they caught the most important aspects so you didn't feel like you were missing out, without making it cumbersome with detail. The actresses (the movie is pretty much all women) did an incredible job of becoming the people they play. You love and hate them (depending on the person!) and get attached to them. And it moved me (and everyone around me). Not an easy task.

If you're looking for a great read or movie to watch, I can't recommend either enough!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Going Home

Today I RSVP'd for a friend's wedding. I went to High School with him ... so it's been a while since we've seen each other, and we're both really excited! It's interesting, because my parents moved not long after I moved to college at 18 ... so "home" has been a very fluid concept for me for the past 11 years (and if you're quick with math you now know 1. exactly how old I am and 2. what year I graduated from HS :)!). And once I broke up with my high school boyfriend I never went back ... that would be 10 years ago.

Ten years is a long time. I've actually always envied people who have a home town. A place where you grew up from kindergarten on and years later still know everyone. I love that we moved a lot and I got to meet a lot of new people - it really shaped who I am - which is priceless. But sometimes, when people talk about a hometown I have a longing for that as well.

Elizabeth, Colorado is where I went to high school and the last place I lived at home full time. That was the last place that was "home" before Jeff and I made our own home here in Utah. I didn't go "home" during college ... I went to my parent's house. Which was always wonderful ... I just didn't have any other connection to any of those places that always left me feeling a bit like I was floating somehow.

I didn't stay super connected with many people from high school past my first couple of years of college. I just didn't hold on. And in a lot of ways that makes me really sad ... I had some really great friends. And I've reconnected with a few over the last year, which has been really nice. Maybe in some way I feel like I need to go home and reconnect before I move into my 30s. (I'm not sure why, that just sounds sort of poetic doesn't it?!)

Jeff is really excited to see where I went to high school, where we lived, and meet a few people. I've contacted a couple of people, and to hear their excitement over getting to see one another has been so wonderful ... like I mattered to them the same way they mattered to me.

Every time I hear the Bon Jovi song "Who Says You Can't Go Home?" it reminds me of me ... like just because I didn't still have a physical house there I tried to distance myself, or maybe I just lost the connection.

I spent 20 years trying to get out of this place
I was looking for something I couldn't replace
I was running away from the only thing I've ever known
Like a blind dog without a bone
I was a gypsy lost in the twilight zone
I hijacked a rainbow and crashed into a pot of gold
I been there, done thatand I ain't lookin' back on the seeds I've sown,
Saving dimes, spending too much time on the telephone
Who says you can't go home


Who says you can't go home
There's only one place they call me one of their own
Just a hometown boy, born a rolling stone, who says you can't go home
Who says you can't go back, been all around the world and as a matter of fact
There's only one place left I want to go, who says you can't go home
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright, it's alright, its alright

I went as far as I could, I tried to find a new face

There isn't one of these lines that I would erase
I lived a million miles of memories on that road
With every step I take I know that I'm not alone
You take the home from the boy, but not the boy from his home
These are my streets, the only life I've ever known,
who says you can't go home


I been there, done thatand I ain't looking that

It's been a long long road
Feels like I never left, that's how the story goes

It doesn't matter where you are, it doesn't matter where you go

If it's a million miles aways or just a mile up the road
Take it in, take it with you when you go,
who says you can't go home


It's alright, it's alright, it's alright, it's alright, its alright

Who says you can't go home

Here's to going to one of my many "homes!"

(Lyrics from here.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Little Chef

Yesterday I had a hankering for cookies ... okay, cookie dough ... but you know what I mean :). Instead of making them after Landon went to bed like I usually do, I decided we could do it together. My friend Megan wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about making cookies with her little girl, and it looked like so much fun, I thought, why not? And I am so glad I did because we had a great time!

Here is the story of making Oatmeal, Craisin, White Chocolate Chip cookies ... in pictures!
First, we had to get out all the ingredients
Then we had to put all the ingredients together ...
Landon is a really good helper!

Then it was all mixed up! I love how proud
he is to get to help! So cute!!
He watched me putting the dough onto the cookie sheet.
So he opened up the silverware drawer (which was right in front of him),
took out a spoon, and started imitating me :)!

Proof he snuck some cookie dough!!
Totally my son :)!
When I went to put the cookies in the oven and start
cleaning up, Landon decided to get back to that
silverware drawer. Which he unloaded/rearranged ...
this was his response when I caught him :)!

We waited to eat our cookies until Dad got home from scouts. Jeff and I thought they were really tasty ... Landon picked the Craisins out and just ate those with his glass of milk :)! We had so much fun doing this together. I need to find some other easy, fun things for us to make. I'm thinking play dough or something like that would be fun. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

Also, if you get cookies from us ... consider yourself warned that Landon probably helped with them! He's a cooking machine now :)!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Well, we're home! Isn't it amazing that 10 days away can feel like minutes? We had a really wonderful time ... and Hawaii is as beautiful as people say it is! Surprisingly enough we don't have tons of pictures (relatively speaking) and a lot of them are on my dad's camera. We spent much of our time with water and sand on our hands (bliss, I tell you) so a camera didn't seem like what we should be holding :)!

We had a 2 hour delay in the SLC airport - there was something wrong with the plane, which isn't my favorite thing to hear when we are flying predominately over the ocean. And then we found out they fixed it with super tape. Tape. Luckily we were still able to leave that afternoon.

The flight is a long one ... and ours was filled with kids! One flight attendant said she had never seen so many in her entire career on one flight to Hawaii. It was pretty chaotic, but that actually made it better because if Landon screamed it didn't really matter - someone else was also screaming so nobody could stare at us :)!
Our little traveler

Here is a picture of our first Hawaiian sunset. Please keep in mind we had been traveling all day and it was approximately midnight Utah time. And we were waiting to be seated for dinner. We were a bit tired and hungry to say the least!
We stayed at the North Shore for the first few days in a condo right on a golf course. Every morning we would wake up and go for a long walk and explore. Life's a bit slower up there without the hustle bustle of the city.

The first full day there we hit the beach! Landon LOVED it! The water overwhelmed him sometimes because he didn't know what to do about the waves ... but the sand was pure little-boy heaven for him. He couldn't get enough :)!
Jeff had the opportunity to go golfing and have a golf lesson with the pro at the resort where we stayed. He was in heaven! We also went to a beach known for their sea turtles and saw a turtle come up to sun herself. They are creatures of habit and always return to the same places, so she had a name and everything (there were preservationists there to protect them from tourists while they were sunning who told us her name, habits, etc.).

While we were there we also went to visit the temple - it is so beautiful. We also took in the visitor's center, BYU-Hawaii and a luau dinner at the Polynesian Cultural Center. (**After the temple we thought we lost our camera ... turns out we left it at the temple, so we are missing pictures of a day or so in there!)

Jeff and I had plans to go to the temple and my dad and James were going to go as well. However, the morning we were going to go I realized I left my recommend in my wallet back home. I usually only travel with my passport, license, debit card and credit card ... oops. How do you pack church clothes and not remember that?! Then it turns out the temple was closed for cleaning ... for the whole month. That made me feel a little better :)!
The most profound thing that happened on the North Shore, though? LANDON TOOK HIS FIRST STEPS! July 24, 2011 ... it was pretty exciting!!

After all that excitement we headed down to Waikiki beach. There is a lot to do there so we were constantly on the go. We spent time at the pool and the beach and did a lot of walking.

My mom, Ale and I went to the Iolani Palace. Hawaii is the only place in the US to have ever had a ruling Monarch - they were annexed in the late 1800s and became a state when my mom was a young girl. Isn't it weird to think Hawaii became a state such a short time ago? I remember singing "50 Nifty United States" as a kid. I had no idea there weren't 50 until the 1950s. It was so beautiful!! Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside.

We also hit up Sea Life Park while we were there. It's like a very little version of Sea World. Landon LOVED it!! There were fish up close and personal (right where he could see them), a dolphin, sea lion and penguin show and lots of turtle. We even swam with the dolphins!!
Dad and Landon had to get front and center for the dolphin show!
We actually bought the DVD of our dolphin swim ... it was so cute (and because I am a sucker-mom who had to have the footage!)! Landon got to come with us (which is why we picked that program) and got to pet, kiss, and interact with the dolphins. It was so, so cute!!

We also spent some time at Pearl Harbor visiting the USS Arizona memorial. What a profound place. It was incredible to see the ship underwater, as well as all of the other relics, pictures and videos that they have. It's a very meaningful place for America in general, but particularly profound for us - both of our grandfather's served in World War II.
Here is part of the USS Arizona

The names of the brave men who lost their lives that day.

There was also a list of men who were part of that crew who did not lose their lives that day, but that have chosen to be buried with their comrades when they pass away. What an incredible display of patriotism and connection. It was really an awe inspiring place.

Jeff and I were lucky ... since we were with my whole family we got to go out on a romantic date while we were there. We celebrated our anniversary a bit early and ate at a fancy restaurant right on the beach ... and Jeff might have bought me a beautiful necklace and some earrings to go with it :)! Love him!

We finished up our vacation with a trip to Hanauma Bay. It is a nature preserve and one of the most beautiful places on the island! It has great snorkeling - so we did that and played in the sand. Then Jeff, my dad, James, Ale and I hiked up Diamond Head - the big volcano there. You actually hike up the crater and end up at the top rim looking out. It was beautiful!! I'm also proud to say the park ranger told us it would take 45 min. each way. We made it in 15 up and about the same going down.
What a fun, exciting trip! We were all sad to say good bye, but we'll have lots of fun memories forever.