Sunday, November 28, 2010

Houston...I'm in love

While those back home (Utah) enjoyed a blizzard (which I heard even stranded a few people), Jon and I enjoyed 80 degrees of loveliness for our Thanksgiving.

Alas, when you go here for Thanksgiving.

And you eat food like this

And you cheer on family members to beat this

And you get all of your Christmas shopping done here

And you get to spend every day with this handsome man

And your belly is getting bigger and bigger as the days go by.

You don't take pictures while on vacation.

Sorry Mom

Thank you Houston for letting me rest, relax, eat, shop, read, and wear short sleeves when it's almost December. You are my new favorite place to visit.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Juno and Paulie Bleeker

I know many people don't enjoy Halloween as much as I do...I know some who even use the word 'hate' when thinking about the holiday (aka Sarah), but what can I say...the day holds a special place in my heart.

This year our friends Gavin and Mallory threw what I can only hope will become an annual event...the Halloween Shindig. I loved everything about it. Great costumes, incredible food, hilarious stories shared. Let's just say that someone at our table works for a psych ward. Think....human burrito and x-rays of people who in a drug induced stupid moment ate a pipe, a credit card, and some keys. You've got to love those crazies. I was laughing so hard my belly was shaking like a bowl full of jelly...which to be looking more and more like Santa these days.

White elephant gifts were shared. I won big. Used toilet seats are pretty much the best white elephant gift you could ever give.

And who would have thought that most original costume would go to Juno and Paulie Bleeker. Thanks baby for giving me a great excuse to be the world's most popular pregnant teen.

Also in the winners circle were these greats...

Woody and Jessie the cowgirl. And best host and hostess ever

The pirates. I loved these costumes.

Queen of hearts. I have to impressive.

M&M's. Best idea. I loved it. I was craving peanut M&M's all night.

Charlie Brown and Sally. I especially enjoyed the leggins. Classic

Thanks Gav and Mallory. I thoroughly enjoyed my Halloween this year!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dear Adelaide...

You may have beaches, and my mom may brag that she can have a garden year round, but I know you don't have anything like this...

Australia or not....not even Adelaide can beat Utah mountains in the Fall.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Twin Cities

At the end of August Jon and I were able to visit his brother in the Twin Cities. His parents and his sister were able to come as well, and even though we missed Dr. Al, we had a really good time. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have, but like they say.....a baby changes everything. Even your picture taking abilities.

The Shaw's have become big boaters. Jon's brother made sure we had a great time and made sure everyone tried something new. Jon became quite the wake boarder

The kids took a couple of face plants on the tube..funny for us, not so funny for them.

Pre-face plant

Jenny gave us a good laugh trying to get up on the knee board, and even though I missed it...Derek gave everyone quite a show when he gave Jon a nice birthday present with a glance of him in red bikini bottoms....classic. I will not however be sharing any of those photos with you.

We were lucky enough to find tickets to a Twins game in the new Target stadium.

It was pretty much the VIP treatment. Waiters to bring you drinks, comfy padded seats, private bathrooms. That's how I think all sporting events should be. The Twins won in a pretty intense game and it made me more of a baseball fan than ever before.

We had a few late nights enjoying a little rock band. The kids even got into it.

All in all we loved our visit to Minnesota. I loved being with all the Shaw's. It's a shame we didn't document it better, but I know we'll be back and I've promised myself I'll do better in the photo department next time....I hope.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Lawn Mower

Growing up I always wondered if my dad ever felt jipped because he never had a son. Instead of attending sporting events, he went to dance recitals. Instead of going to the father son outings, he took us on daddy daughter dates. Instead of having a son to sit and watch sports with him, we had special family home evenings where he would explain the complexities of football to us (favorite family night ever by the way). He even made our camping expeditions better by investing in a portable toilet that we could take on backbacking trips, and we were all too happy to carry that in our packs up the 5 mile trail.
During those years of drama, broken hearts, and the normal everyday thrills of raising girls...he never complained. I never heard him say he felt left out because he had all girls and no boys. He may have felt it, but never voiced it. I think as the years went by, he loved being the only man. I found it to be a blessing. Growing up I thought my dad was the perfect man. And to this day, I still think he's pretty close. I knew that he would always be the best example of what kind of qualities I wanted to find in someone.
My parents will often say that they were happy they were only given daughters because they have been blessed with great son-in-laws, which is true...but I knew Kevin was only waiting for the real pay day...grandsons. He says that he only wants them so they can come over and mow the lawn for him. I was happy to tell him this week that he had another lawn mower coming his way. Our little one is a boy and we couldn't be more excited, but I secretly think Kevin is the most excited of all.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Lady and the Baby

Many people know this lady as outspoken, sassy, independent Sheri. I don't know many people who don't love her. Our rocky relationship through the teenage years was mostly because we were too proud to admit that we were very much the same, strong willed, opinionated, but I'm not as bossy as she is....Sarah inherited that trait.

What many people don't know is what she went through to bring my sisters and I into the world. I'm not going to get too detailed about what exactly she went through. Slightly because she doesn't like pity, and mostly because it makes me cry and I do that enough as it is. It is a miracle that she is here today. I still have very real and vivid memories of how sick she was when she was expecting Beth. One particular day she was having a horrible allergic reaction to some medication and I was the only one home. She was so sick she told me that she thought she was dying and told me to run to the neighbors house. Fortunately they were able to help her. I still remember how scared her eyes looked.

Another day she was having a hard time so Sarah and I went to our room and sat at our plastic Barbie table set. I sat in the purple chair and Sarah sat in the pink chair. We both bowed our heads and closed our eyes like so many times before, but this time, all by ourselves, we sincerely prayed for our mother to get better. A humble prayer of a 6 and 9 year old, and my earliest memory of prayer. Even though she didn't get better that instant, He answered our prayer. She lived, and for that I'm very grateful.

Because it was always believed that this sickness was genetic, my sisters and I have been prepared to go through the same things to bring our own children into the world. Sarah was the first to test the waters. As it turns out, Sarah has near perfect pregnancies. She is basically the kind of pregnant woman that other woman hate because she has zero morning sickness and feels great the whole way through. She now has two children, and I'm grateful, as I know she is, that she didn't have to endure the curse.

I'm grateful to find that I'm on the happy end of the curse. Not as great as Sarah, but I don't have to endure to the horrific extent of what my mother did. I have my own challenge to endure. I have to do this without her, and that might break my heart even more than being horribly sick. But God spared her life so she could serve Him and I'm more than willing to endure her absence with a smile because she gets to come home to my one more.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A little wedding

It was the first day of 8th grade and I had mixed choir. That's right kids, Mr Leyva the creep and all. So here I was sitting in the soprano section when this blond girl comes and sits by me. Her name is Annie and I remember that she had really straight teeth and I was jealous because I still had my braces on. 3 years is such a long time for a self -conscious teenager isn't it? And who would have thought that you'd stay friends with a girl you sat by in choir all the way through Junior High never mind High school and College, but here we are. The best of friends, and she just got married. I swear I was as excited about it as my own wedding day.

I insisted on helping with most aspects of the wedding, think J. Lo and the wedding planner...or Frank and Father of the Bride. Ann of course planned everything, I just executed it. It was busy, it was long, my feet were crying by 12:00, but it turned out wonderful and I loved making sure she didn't have to worry about a thing!

We were up bright and early for hair and makeup. Aren't we pretty at 4:00 am?

Here is the lucky man...Steve-O coming to pick her up! See you guys at the ceremony!

Introducing Mr and Mrs Steve-O!

The 3 of us. Friends seriously since forever.

The fun luncheon, I have to say the green beans were the best part for me, is that weird? I loved them!

The sign in table. Ann found this super cute old sewing machine table to use. I LOVED it. Isn't she thrifty!

The candy table.

And to be honest. The rest of the time I was too busy to take pictures of anything else, now I feel bad, but I had no time. Everything was so great. A fireworks send off and everything. The perfect day. Welcome to the wife club Ann, you'll love it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mutton Bustin

Over the 4th we had Jon's brother's family in town from Minnesota. I loved having them here, and while I had to be a grown up and work the whole time they were here, I was able to go to the Rodeo with everyone. The rodeo is a bit of a tradition in my family...if you can call a doing it a few years in a row a tradition. Growing up we were never in the US to celebrate the 4th, but the past few years we've gone together. I was excited to be able to go with a different family this year, and the parents will have to enjoy the few pictures that I took.

This guy wasn't the best bronco rider, but he did get his arm stuck on the saddle (is that where they stap themselves to?) and that horse was bucking him all over the place. He was flopping around like a rag doll until the other guys in the arena could get him loose. I was amazed that he walked away. I feel bad saying this, but I love when the guys get hurt and they have to bring in the paramedics and everything. It's all so dramatic.

And what is the rodeo with out a little WT? Here for your viewing pleasure was the best mullet we could find in close proximity to us. Enjoy

We of course got a few treats for everyone to share and my nephew concocted a very interesting way to eat a few of them together. I love the way his mind works. We had some kettle corn popcorn and he got some blue cotton candy. He liked to wrap a kernal of that kettle corn in a bit of cotton candy and pop that right into his mouth.

This mouth....missing the two front teeth. He talked with a little lisp and everything. I loved it.

Of course Mutton Bustin is my favorite part of the rodeo. If you're not quite sure what that is let me explain. They have kids ranging from 3-7 years old and they have them ride sheep. They strap a helmet to their head and put them right on the back of a sheep and off they go. Whoever stays on the longest wins. I was too excited about the whole thing to take any pictures, but the kid who was sitting by us won and he was adorable. He got on that sheep and rode it like he was riding a camel. Sitting high on the neck and everything. The kids thought he was so cool and went over to congratulated him after he won the trophy that was bigger than he was.

We had a great time and I'm excited for next year when Tate (my nephew) said he would participate in Mutton Bustin! I'm buying front row seats next year.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mr. Australia and my day in Provo.

A few weeks ago we had a house guest. A nice, young, Australian boy… accent and all. I have to say I’ve very much enjoyed listening to him talk…and apparently a few others did as well. Steve has bewitched the Utahn’s. The girls at Best Buy were just giving him free stuff. Those accents can make a woman weak in the knees. Jon thought we should have really used that to our benefit and scored more free stuff, but I didn’t feel right about using Steve for his Australian charm.

Although Steve is going to see some big things while he is in the states…New York, Las Vegas, Boston, he was very excited to head down to Provo, UT. It was a very good thing that Jon attended BYU and knows the in’s and out’s of the town. I, however, don’t care much for Provo…or so I thought. Let’s be honest….I had a Provo prejudice. I’m not happy to admit it, but I did.

Our Provo adventure started with a trip to the Cougar Stadium. It was locked of course, so Jon suggested that Steve jump the fence and take a look around. So he did. He snuck in right here.

Take notice the sign

Then he spent a few minutes inside, took some pictures, smelled the grass, sat in a seat, soaked in the cougar stadium experience. Then hopped the fence again and we were on our way.

As we were finishing up some pictures of Steve straddling the cougar, we had a visitor. The BYU campus police.

How nice.

A tall, lanky officer stopped us and said,

“Hello folks, I just wanted to ask you how you got into the Stadium. We had our security cameras catch you.”

Steve frankly replied, “I jumped the fence.”

So the lanky officer asked some other questions and informed us that he was going to talk to his partner. A typical, I-ate-too-many-donuts-and-now-I’m-a-bit-chubby officer. I swear it was Horice and Jasper chatting over there.

A secret photo

After the discussion, Horice came over and, using his rent-a-cop authority, tried to threaten us.

“You seem like a very nice young man and I don’t want to ruin your vacation, so I’m going to issue you a warning today, but I want you to be aware of what could have happened today.”

Then he goes on and on about how he could have arrested Steve and because it was a weekend that the jail would have kept him over the weekend until the judge could see him, and how he would be put on the international flight risk list and they could possibly not make his international flights because of this misdemeanor.It was painful not to laugh at him throwing his campus police authority around.

As we were walking away from the office, Steve said, “I’m pretty sure that could be the highlight of my whole trip.” Steve’s spunky. He fit in well at our house.

The rest of the day consisted checking out the MTC, Provo Temple, and a J-Dawg. I’m pretty sure it was the first hot dog I’ve had in about 12 years. I was nervous, it was intimidating and also….(surprising?)delicious.

After the J-Dawg we attempted to hike the Y.

We made it this far. Do you still see the parking lot? Yep. I was proud. Good for us.

My Provo prejudice has changed. Well done Provonians. I thoroughly enjoyed your quaint town and hope to go back soon....and maybe get a real arrest this time.