On Tuesday, Aug 2nd I left Derek and Isaac home to go to the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City with my friend Rae and four more of her friends.  She goes every year to see all six plays.  This is the second time I have gone with her and it was so fun.  We rented a three bedroom house close to campus and ate, went to plays and relaxed.  It was fun to make new friends and to enjoy a little “me” time.

I got home on Thursday in time to do laundry and start packing for our family vacation to California.  My family has been planning a trip to Yosemite and Mitch’s mission ever since he came home.  They rented a 15 passenger van that everyone rode in except us.  We wanted to spend some extra time with Kim, Josh and Sadie at Rye Patch Reservoir (between Winnemucca and Lovelock, NV) so we drove separately.

We left Friday morning and made it to Rye Patch around dinner time.  My family drove clear to Modesto.  Isaac was in the backseat screaming for the last 15 minutes of the drive so I’m glad we decided against going clear to Modesto in one day.  We spent a night with the Ivins and then drove the rest of the way to Modesto.  We spent two nights there so Mitch could spend time with mission friends.  We got to eat lunch at the taco truck (yum!) and went to church in one of Mitch’s old wards.

Next we camped two nights in Yosemite at the Wawona Campground.  It was beautiful.  We did a little bit of hiking and spent a lot of time cleaning the campground so the bears wouldn’t eat us and all our food.  🙂

At the end of our stay in Yosemite the 15 passenger van headed south to Fresno and on to St. George.  Derek, Isaac and I went back the way we came to spend a couple more nights at Rye Patch.  It was so much fun to spend time with our friends.  We visited them two years ago when Sadie was just a baby.  As a 4 month old she decided that Derek was her best friend and as a 2 year old she hasn’t changed.  She enjoyed teasing Derek and playing with him.  It was fun for her and Isaac to play together a little bit too.  Kim and Josh spoiled us with yummy food and gifts and a relaxing visit.  I wish we could live closer and see each other more.  Next time we see each other our babies will be almost 6 months old!  Crazy.  I am so glad we could see them this trip.  Thanks guys!  We miss you already.

We drove home Friday and only had to stop once!  Isaac was fantastic.  Now summer is pretty much over.  Derek starts school again in two short weeks (last semester!!! Wahoo!!).  We have a bathroom to finish before that.  While we were gone Derek’s mom and dad came to our house to work on our bathroom and in our yard for us.  We’re finally making progress thanks to them!  Thank you Mom and Dad!

I really enjoyed these past two weeks.  It was just what I needed to gear me up for the months ahead.




When six girls live together in a small apartment, there is usually drama.  In fact, when TWO girls live in a BIG apartment, there is usually drama! There are little incidents of cattiness and arguments over unimportant things and lots of boy related jealousy.  Coming from a home of only brothers, I didn’t realize this anomaly existed until moving away to college.  Even so, in the past ten years, as I’ve lived with roughly 30 different girls, I have only had to experience mild cases of unpleasantness.  I’ve been really blessed.

One year at college was a particularly easy one for me.  BFF Kim and I moved in with another friend Kerianne and three girls we didn’t know yet but whom we quickly loved: Marietta, Alisa and Angela. We just clicked and have stayed good friends ever since.

We were able to nail down a day this June when all six of us with our husbands and kids (minus one hubby, Josh) could get together to barbecue, visit and let the kids play in the water. Oh and eat fruit pizza, of course. It’s been about 8 years since all of us have been able to be together so it was quite an accomplishment and such a nice reunion.

Among the six of us we have 12 kids (5 girls, 7 boys) with three more babies due within the year (Kim, Marietta and me). The kids’ ages range from 6 years old (Marietta’s) to 6 months (Kerianne’s). I was a little worried about how to entertain 12 kids under 6 for longer than 30 seconds but the slip-n-slide and kiddie pool were a magical success.

The year we lived together we learned a lot from each other and with each other. Since then, we’ve all had different life experiences; from missions to marriages; from graduate school to home ownership and even several kids in the hospital. As we were visiting the other day, I realized that we still have a lot we can learn from each other. I really enjoyed spending time with those wonderful girls and hope that it won’t be another 8 years before we can do it again.


Isaac’s First Vacation

My good friend and former co-worker Rae McAdams invited me to spend some time in California with her.  She likes to camp at South Carlsbad Beach for a couple weeks every summer with her friend Heather and Heather’s family.  Isaac and I flew out while Heather’s family was at Disneyland to keep Rae company and to enjoy the sun. 

I have always vowed I would never fly with a baby because they always cry and I didn’t want to annoy everyone on the flight.  Never say never I guess!  Needless to say, the part of our trip that I was most nervous about was flying with a six month old by myself.  Isaac was fabulous though and everyone was so nice!!  Isaac slept most of both flights and I had so many people offer to help me.  That was such a blessing.

We flew to Phoenix and then to the Ontario airport which is very close to where my friends Sarah and Bryan are living right now.  They were nice enough to come and pick us up and let us spend a night with them.  Isaac loved playing with their dogs.  I wished I had gotten a picture of Isaac with Moses and Abby.  They were very friendly and so good with Isaac.  🙂  It was so fun to spend time with Sarah and Bryan and to catch up on life.  Miss you guys!

The next day Sarah drove Isaac and me half way to Carlsbad and Rae came to pick us up.  We spent the next three days laying in the sun, reading, napping and playing in the ocean.  It was so relaxing.  Isaac liked the feel of the sand on his feet but was not a big fan of the 60 degree water!  He cried everytime I got him wet.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.  🙂

Thursday we packed up camp and drove to Vegas with Rae for a couple of shows and dinner.  We saw Nathan Burton’s magic show (from America’s Got Talent apparently which I do NOT recommend… he was kind of terrible), buffet at the Flamingo and then saw the Blue Man Group.  I loved the Blue Man Group!  They were very entertaining.  I’d like to go see them again.  Then we spent the night in St George before driving home. 

Isaac doesn’t love being in his car seat for long periods of time but he was such a trooper.  He slept a lot and was pretty good about playing with his toys while he was awake.  There were only a couple of times that he screamed because he was DONE driving.  Luckily it was right before our pit stops in Barstow and Vegas.  

We missed Derek who had to stay home to work and do an insane amount of homework but we had a great time.  It was nice to get away for awhile and to break up the routine a little bit.



Ever since the Zwangs got married, Cary has been planning a trip to Europe for us.  We finally got to go this year and we had such a good time.  Derek and I flew over on buddy passes from Jeff (yes that means standby tickets to and from Europe).  We left on Thursday, July 8 and Cary and Jeff left on Sunday, July 11.  We figured that we’d give ourselves some extra time to try and get on a flight so that we’d get there about the same time as Cary and Jeff.  As luck would have it, we got on the very first flight we tried (non-stop to Paris) and they put us in first class!  We could never have afforded those seats but first class overseas is THE ONLY way to travel.  The seats recline clear back into a bed basically.  You get a three course meal and pretty much anything you want.  It was wonderful!!

Our luck didn’t last for the flights home unfortunately.  We ended up having to purchase a real ticket out of London because standby tickets don’t really work over there.  So after spending two extra nights in London we flew to Geneva, Switzerland and then to JFK in NYC.  From there we tried our luck with standby tickets again.  We barely missed our two best chances to SLC that night and so stayed in a hotel.  We finally made it on a flight to Las Vegas the next afternoon (first class again!) after discovering that all flights pretty much anywhere else in the country were oversold.  Cary drove from Cedar to pick us up when we landed.  We stayed yet another night in Cedar City and the next morning we met my Mom in Filmore who drove us the rest of the way home.  After such a ruckus home has never looked better! 🙂

The rest of the trip was so great.  Derek and I had an extra three nights to spend in Paris while we waited for the Zwangs.  We took it easy and got adjusted to jet lag pretty quickly.  We spent two days at Versailles.  I love that place.  The first day we saw the Palace and the next day we took the long walk to the Grand and Petit Trianon where the queens spent much of their time.  I really wanted to see Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet she had built to escape palace life but it didn’t work out.

We spent Monday-Wednesday in Paris with Cary and Jeff when they arrived.  We saw the Opera House, Sacre Couer Basilica, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Orsay Museum, Rodin Museum, Arc de Triomphe, took a boat tour and even enjoyed some Bastille Day fireworks. 

Thursday we rented a car and drove up through Belgium to the Netherlands.  Both sides of Jeff’s family are from the Netherlands.  His dad was even born in Amsterdam so he wanted to spend some time there.  Derek did an awesome job of driving us out of downtown Paris and into the country despite three faulty backseat drivers.  We stayed in the China Hotel Holland in Delft, which is about 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam.  Delft is famous for blue Delftware china and also for being the birthplace of the artist Johannes Vermeer. 

While there we saw the Anne Frank house, Royal Palace, toured a houseboat, took a canal tour, and went through a Delftware factory.  I think this was Derek’s favorite part of the trip.  It was less crowded and crazy than Paris and London.  Amsterdam has a much slower, laid back pace and that was nice.

Sunday we headed back to Paris to drop of the car and stay one more night in our favorite hotel, Hotel de Rouen.  Cary affectionately called it the hotel de RUIN.  🙂  Monday morning we took the train through the Chunnel to London.  We spent the rest of our time there.  We saw Abbey Road, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Covent Gardens, Harrod’s, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and took another boat tour.  Last minute we decided to see Les Miserables since the Zwangs have never been.  It was, of course, amazing.  The last night we also saw Comedy of Errors in Shakespeare’s Globe.  That may have been the highlight of my trip besides Versailles.  The show was so well done and hilarious!  It was nice to sit back for a few hours and be entertained after two weeks of walking and standing in lines. 

Another fun thing that happened on the trip was we were able to start feeling the baby moving around.  Derek can even feel him.  And once we started feeling him move, it’s like he never stops!  Anytime I sat down to rest or have lunch it felt like he was doing sommersaults in my belly.  That was pretty fun for both Derek and me to experience. 

Including our extra days we spent coming home we were gone for just under 3 weeks.  It was nice to get away and spend time with good friends.  Thanks Cary and Jeff for such a fun trip! 


Week in Paradise

Derek’s work sent him to Hawaii for a week and since school is out I got to go too!  Derek did a lot of work from a military base right at the Diamond Head crater on Oahu.  L-3 booked us a room at Waikiki Beach Marriott.  Here’s the view from our room.  You can see Diamond Head in the background.

The first three days I entertained myself while Derek worked all day and then we stayed a few extra days to see the sights.  One day I drove over to La’ie from our hotel to see Mikensi, a friend from high school who was finishing up her degree at BYU-Hawaii, and her baby Jae.  We ate at the Hukilau Cafe.  The cafe in the movie 50 First Dates was based on this little one we ate at.  We also walked around BYU campus and just visited. 

I also met up with Lorraine, one of my co-workers, and her daughter Kayla.  They were in Hawaii for a mother-daughter vacation.  We went to the Waikiki Zoo and had lunch together.  It was nice to have some friends to spend time with while Derek was working.

After Derek was finished working on Friday we drove around to see a lot of the island.  We “hiked” to a couple of little places, drove all the way around the island, ate at Romy’s shrimp truck (after a two hour wait….), went to the visitor’s center at the La’ie Temple, went to church and spent a day at Pearl Harbor.  The last two nights we stayed in a little town on the eastern shore called Kailua.  We stayed in a little bed and breakfast called the Sheffield House.  Kailua beach was a lot nicer and less crowded than Waikiki.  I wish we’d had more time to spend there.

We loved our week on Oahu.  I hope we can go again sometime and do everything that we didn’t have time to.  What a perfect way to wind down after the school year and to start off summer vacation!