Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I joined a gym... what?!!

One of the harsh realities of sending Brooke off to college and becoming an empty nester
 was the fact that Dad no longer had a workout partner. 
 Brooke, his constant and enthusiastic companion at the gym... was gone 
and he immediately went into recruit mode
 with me being the obvious recruitee... obvious being the key word! 
At first I was reluctant, I mean, as many of you know, I really don't enjoy working out.
 The whole changing out of my regular clothes into workout clothes, driving down to the gym, 
hanging out with other sweaty people, fighting for a piece of workout machinery
 and then working up a sweat, just isn't my idea of fun! 
Especially during this whole time that I was working out, 
I could be getting something else done at home, checking something else off my "To Do" list! 
 But I haven't been walking lately since Karen, my walking partner is in Africa
 and now with all the kids gone, I've had a little extra time in my day
 to get all those "Things to Do" done, so I decided to give it a try.
 Of course, Dad had to bribe me a little. He promised that if I went to the gym with him,
 he would  take me to dinner at Costa Vida after we workout. 
 Not a bad deal... so for a couple of weeks I joined him as his "guest" 
still not ready to completely commit until one night...
I ran into our adorable friend, Lindsy Ethington, who I haven't seen in ages, at the gym!
 We talked and chatted and caught up on every thing she has been up to lately.
 It was so fun and wonderful, and I felt so rejuvenated and full of energy! 
 I was beginning to believe that there might be something with this workout thing. 
Then last night, Lindsy's mother, Deborah, who is also a member of the gym,
 meet up with Mark and I for Family Home Evening at the gym. 
(That's right, kids!  That's how we do FHE with just Mom and Dad at home!)
 Deb and I giggled, and talked, and laughed, and oh yeah,... we worked out a little too.
 After enjoying a yummy dinner and I guzzled down my diet coke at Costa Vida,
 I was convinced that "going to the gym with Mark" should be added to my "Things to Do" list! 
 So sign me up for the 2 year membership! A gym rat, I will be!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jimmer & the Kings!

Wow! How I miss the Kings from the the 2001-2003 seasons!
 I miss watching Vlade Divac, Mike Bibby, and Chris Webber on the basketball floor! 
 I miss hearing them announce "Pe-Ja Sto-ja-ko-vic!!!" when Peja scored a basket! 
And I really miss seeing the hometown favorite, Bobby Jackson, "the 6th man" 
light up Arco arena every time he stepped out on the court!
 I miss seeing the team doing the little dance before the game, 
interlocking the arms, leaning back and forth to the music, trying to get their gameface on! 
 It was a magical time in the King's history and I miss it! 
 So when the King's drafted Jimmer, we couldn't be more excited!  And so were all of the other King's fans. 
We all believed that Jimmer was going to bring some of his magic to Sacramento!
 Tickets sells went up! Attendance was up! We even beat the Lakers in one of the first games of the season! 
 We couldn't wait to go to a game to see Jimmer and hopefully see the King's win!
 But it was not to be. By the time we could go to a King's game, they were already on the downslide. 
 Last night, the King's played terrible, the attendance was awful, even the garlic fries were cold and stale!
 But Jimmer saved the night and was the high scorer with 19 points! 
 Halfway through the 3rd quarter, when it was getting really ugly and we were getting beat by about 30 points, 
all the sudden Jimmer made a 3 point shot and as it swished through the basket, only touching the net, 
I turned to the boys and reminded them that
 "this is why we are here tonight, to watch the Jimmer! and that makes it all worth it!"
 I think I might have to tell myself that all season!
The other highlight of the night, besides watching Jimmer,
was going to the game with our favorite Jimmer fans, Dave and Mary Pettey!
The other nice thing about a blowout game is that Mary and I could just talk all night long 
and not even worry about watching the game.
It was great to catch up with her!
Although, a King's win would have been nice, chatting all night with Mary was nice too!
Dr. Pettey sporting his Jimmer jersey!
Two of the cutest Jimmer fans that I know!  Don't you agree?!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

10 Luxurious Things to Do in Park City!

It has always amazed me how Kimber can squeeze so much into her day.  
Even on vacation in Park City, she was working on a story for FoxNews.com
and we had the pleasure of watching her put it all together.
And we got to pose and be her ski models in some of the shots...
or at least our hands got to be in the photos:)!
Take a look at her live interview today on FoxNews.com.
She is becoming a regular doing the live interviews.
(Sorry about it starting out with kind of sad news with the death of R&B singer, Etta James. 
 I honestly have never heard of her but my condolences to her family.)
Here are some of the photos that Kimber took that day for the slideshow for her story.
Just a casual shot of Kimber, drinking her hot cocoa out on the deck at Look Out Restaurant at Canyons.
The menu and incredible fondue at LookOut Restaurant.
Yes!  That is Brooke holding the menu!
The Wild Game Mixed Grill Skewers were incredible!
Dad loved the Pleasant Creek Ranch Beef Shortrib and Winter Vegetable Ragout
and this is a cameo of my lovely nails in this shot!
Thanks, Van at Lily's Nails!
Brooke's favorite was the potatoes and the fondue!
It was pretty amazing!
And here is Dad with another one of his favorite dishes, 
the Utah Goat Cheese Dumpling and Garden Vegetable Napoleon.
The chef suggested adding chicken with this dish and I would highly recommend it!
And this is my personal favorite, the hot cocoa.  It was divine!
Definitely better than the free hot chocolate we get at the lodge:)!
And finally, here is Kimber taking a little break and enjoying a delicious meal on the slopes!
Kimber also has a blog, citytreatsandtreasures.com 
where she share her great tips if you are planning a trip to the city
 or living in NYC, things to do and see in the Big Apple.
Today is the last day to enter her giveaway.
Enter and you could win a pair of these darling shoes!
You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This is me and Dad yesterday on the Tombstone chairlift!  
Yes, it was snowing... kind of... but not enough and it was absolutely freeeeezzzzzing!!!
Every single part of my body was frozen!  I was seriously afraid that I was going to get frostbite!
Even the hot chocolate at the lodge was only lukewarm!  Boo!
Dad felt so bad that he said that I could download
 (which means take the gondola down the hill instead of ski down) 
and he wouldn't even tell anyone. What a nice husband!  
But I was tough and skied down Doc's Run as fast as I could.
Needless to say, Dad was proud, especially when we got home 
and checked the thermometer and it read 15 degrees!
This is Brooke and me a couple of days earlier, enjoying a beautiful sunny day on the slopes.
And yes, Ashley... that is your coat that Brooke is wearing.
This is what happens when you leave during ski season and live in a foreign country.
Miss you, Ashley and I miss having snow this winter!
But not to worry... Dad asked for snow for his birthday
and guess what?  
It's going to snow... I think for real this time!!
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Chuck E Cheese

Did I tell you that these two little gals love pizza?! I mean they LOVE pizza! 
 And what could be better than pizza and Chuck E. Cheese?!
 So I did what any aunt does that is trying to become "the favorite aunt" does,
 take the girls to Chuck E. Cheese, on a weeknight no less! 
It was worth every penny to see the excitement on the girls faces
 as I handed them their bucket of tokens.
 For 2 hours they ran around like crazy kids on a sugar pizza token high and for a moment...
 maybe a few moments, I couldn't locate those two crazy kids. 
 Don't worry, I stayed calm and found them in the booth 
where Chuck E. was sketching a portrait of the two of them for their mom. 
They actually turned out absolutely adorable (see photo below.) 
 Chuck E. Cheese hasn't changed a bit since when my kids were little. 
 The pizza is still pretty lame but the kids loved it!  They messed up our order
 and brought us another large pizza so we had plenty to bring home, which made the girls so happy!
 The girls combined their tokens in order to win as many tickets as possible.
 Apparently the "Wonder Wheel" alotted the most tickets of all the games
so the girls spent most of the evening at the wheel.
I would hand them 10 tokens at a time
and a few minutes later they would return with big smiles and a handful of tickets.
 And just when the girls had used up their last tokens,
 a little girl came up with a whole bucket of tokens and gave them to Megan and Molly! Score!
 I thought Molly was going to have a heart attack because she was SO excited! 
 She couldn't stop talking about the "nice girl who gave them all her tokens" the rest of the night 
and even mention it in her prayers and thanked the little girl for "sharing her tokens" with them. 
 So we had extra tokens, extra pizza, it was an extra fun night 
and best of all the girls came home extra tired, 
which made me extra happy because they fell asleep extra early:)!
The girls returning from the "Wonder Wheel" with a handful of tickets.
They liked this monster truck and I loved how Megan made Molly drive.
More tickets from the "Wonder Wheel!"
It took a team effort to knock down these scary monsters that popped up.
Tyler loved this game when he was a kid but I think they were gophers
 and you bopped them on the head with a hammer.
It's harder than you think!
These are the cute portraits that Chuck E. sketched of Megan and Molly.
Aren't they absolutely adorable!
Best bargain of the night!  It only cost 1 token!
If you are going to Chuck E. Cheese, I would say this is the best money you will spend all night.
Better than any of the other tacky prizes that you can buy with all of your tickets!
It was a fun night.  The girls were happy!  Mary Ann loved the portraits
and the extra rest that she got while the girls were at Chuck E. Cheese!  
And I loved watching the little girls devour the pizza, run around and spend their tokens, 
and then sweetly share their tickets as they carefully and thoughtfully 
spent them on tacky toys, penny candy and tattoos.
Chuck E. Cheese is still the place "Where a Kid can be a Kid!"
and the place where, "an Aunt can be the favorite Aunt"... at least for one night:)!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lucky Socks

Bowling at the Wilkinson Center at BYU has always been a favorite family activity. 
 Years ago, when Brooke was about Megan and Molly's age, Mary Ann took her bowling one afternoon. 
 When they went to rent the bowling shoes, 
Mary Ann realized that Brooke she didn't have any socks on because she was wearing sandals.
 Everyone knows that you have to have socks when you go bowling, 
but because it was summer, I didn't even think of that and sent her without a pair of socks.
 So Mary Ann took her upstairs to the BYU bookstore and let her pick out some BYU socks 
with a big "Y" and a Cougar embroidered on each side. 
 Brooke was absolutely thrilled with the new socks 
and fell even more in love with the socks when she bowled a great game! 
 Mary Ann reported that with the bumpers up, Brooke bowled a near perfect record, 
hitting almost all strikes and spares in both games. 
 Brooke decided that it was her "lucky socks" that made the difference
 and for a while she thought that bowling was going to be her sport! 
 Everywhere she went, she had to wear her "lucky socks"
 especially if she was going to compete in any competition. 
 She loved her "lucky socks" and told everyone about how her Aunt Mary Ann bought them for her.
So it was only fitting that before we went bowling last Saturday,
that we visit the BYU bookstore first and let Molly and Megan pick out some "lucky socks" of their own.
Brooke and Allie joined us and we had a fun time bowling.
I'm not sure which was more exciting, picking out their "lucky socks"or bowling with Allie! 
But both were fun activities and kept Megan and Molly entertained before Brooke's race that afternoon.
Megan getting her game face on and ready to roll her ball.
After rolling a spare, Megan gets a arm bump from Molly, congratulating her!
Allie is a little excited about her "blowout," which means all the pins are down but one.
Molly needed a little help keeping the ball in the middle of the lane
so Megan grabbed one of these bowling slides to help her.
And that made Molly very happy!
What a nice big sister!
Bowling buddies!
Allie with her bowling buddies!
I can't believe that I didn't get a good picture of the girls "lucky socks!"
But here is a shot of their lucky shoes!
And I was very lucky to have Allie there that day, 
who was such a good sport and bowled with the girls since I was suffering from a bad cold.
Thanks Allie!  Remind me that I owe you a pair of "lucky socks" of your own!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Catching up with the college kids at BYU

One of my favorite things to do when I'm staying in Provo 
(besides visiting the BYU bookstore and buying fudge)
 is visiting with my GB friends that are attending the Y. 
 One day we met up with Clay Wilkes and his friend, McKenna, for lunch at the MOA.
 We had a wonderful time catching up with him
 and hearing about his adventures from his recent trip to Africa to visit his parents,
Brad and Karen Wilkes, who are serving a mission in Rwanda.
Brooke treated us to lunch using her dining plus card. Thanks Brooke!
McKenna and Brooke are both on the BYU cross country and track team 
so it was such a fun lunch chatting and catching up with these cute kids.
I really appreciated the fact that Brooke and Clay color coordinated their outfits that day for me.
It's the little things that really matter:)!
These are my adorable former GB3 ward Young Women who are now attending BYU!
On Wednesday morning, I sent around a text inviting them to dinner at Brick Oven that night.
It was last minute because I wasn't sure what my schedule would be 
with watching the little girls and taking care of Mary Ann.
But Mary Ann felt good that day and I had promised that I'd take Megan and Molly to Brick Oven
 because it is their favorite pizza place.
I invited all the girls from our old ward to join us because I love catching up with them.
Even though it was totally last minute, all of them were able to make it that night,
Carlie McKeon, Brooke and Anne Barton, Katie McGregor, Kelsey McGregor Perry,
 Carissa Mills*, Brooke Holt, and Allie Holt Larkin.
We had a back room all to ourselves and had so much fun catching up!
Two of them are in grad school, one is applying to law school, one is getting married, another just got married,
 one will be graduating in April, another in December, and a couple are just starting their college adventure!
It was so wonderful to see them all grown up, making good decisions, excelling in school and achieving great things!
I have to admit, as I was telling them all good bye and how much I loved them 
and how proud I was of them at the end of the night, I almost lost it and got a bit teary eyed.
I just remember being their YW leader at church when they were young
and I remember telling them to believe in themselves.  Anything is possible.  
That they can achieve anything that they really want if they work hard and put their mind to it.
And years later, to look around that table and see those beautiful young ladies, so posed, confident and classy, 
listening to them talk to each other about what is going on in their lives, was truly inspiring!
It was one of those moments that warms your heart,
grateful to have the opportunity to be surrounded by special young women in my life!

*Not pictured above is Carissa Mills.  For the record, she was there but I couldn't find my camera at first so we took picture with my Iphone but it made all of us look like we had vampire eyes... scary!  After she left, I found my camera at the bottom of my purse and we took the picture above.  I would have posted the Iphone photo with all of us which included Carissa but the girls may not have joined me for dinner ever again!  Yes!  It was that scary!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Allie's Zebra Birthday Party

 After I picked the little girls up from school last Friday,
we headed straight for Zurcher's to pick out the decorations for Allie's birthday party.
As soon as we walked into the store, 
we passed a table all decked out with zebra theme paper products.
The girls squealed with delight and insisted that these decorations were perfect
because "Allison LOVES zebras!"
They are right.   Allie does love zebras. 
Little did they know I had been purchasing random zebra items for months,
 saving them to give to her on her birthday.
I have been doing this for the past couple of years.  It never gets old, at least not for me.
Allie is a good sport and seems to enjoy adding zebra items to her collection.
This year she received a zebra glue gun, zebra scissors, zebra compact, 
 zebra back scratcher (Justin's favorite), zebra cup, zebra manicure set and a zebra print Iphone cover.
You can never have too many zebra items, right?!
 It seems like zebra print is everywhere you look right now, especially at the party store. 
We found zebra stuff on every aisle that we just had to buy!
So a zebra birthday party theme it would be!
 The first surprise of the day!
Justin invited us over for yummy french toast bake that he made for Allie.
She didn't know we were coming so the girls hid behind the kitchen cabinets
and jumped out and yelled surprise!
 That Justin is such a good cook. The french toast bake was delicious!
 And it looked so festive and yummy on the pretty party plates
 that they got as a shower gift from my dear friend, Katie Segale!
 The girls once again surprised Allie as she came to the door that night,
wearing these zebra masks and huge smiles.
They insisted that Allie wear the heart headband all night!
 Megan made the cake the night before with a little help from Brooke
and they decorated it together!  It turned out pretty cute!
 They set the zebra party table and made party bags!
 They sang "Happy Birthday!" to Allie.
 And helped her blow out her candles.
 Molly was an expert with the zebra tissue paper and knew just how to fluff it to make it look pretty!
 Molly was particularly proud of this zebra bag 
because she had so carefully put the tissue paper inside 
then added a big bow in the front.
 One of the favorite zebra item is this zebra cup and Justin scored and got an OU cup too!
I'm so glad that I was able to spend Allie's birthday with her
and glad that she puts up with all this crazy zebra stuff!
I'm not sure who had more fun... me, the little girls or Allie!
Happy Birthday Allie!  We love you and love that you love zebras!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Finishing First

The first track meet of the BYU indoor season was held at the Smith Fieldhouse today.
Brooke ran the 3000 M and finished in first place with a time of 10:27.
It was a great race.  Two of Brooke's teammates ran the first part of the race, pacing her.
Brooke lead the rest of the pack most of the race. 
As the two "rabbits", that's what the girls that were pacing her are called, 
dropped off, Brooke was still leading.
But as the gun went off to signal the last lap, another BYU girl passed her.
By the time the girls came around the turn, Brooke was trailing by about 5 yards, 
and it looked like the new leader was pulling away from Brooke.
Oh, yeah.  I forgot to tell you that the track at the Smith Fieldhouse isn't really spectator friendly 
since more that half of track is enclosed, you can only watch about 1/3 of the race.
There are no stands so friends, family and fans stand in the middle field or the inside of the track, 
to watch the race, or should I say, 1/3 of the race.
So back to the race... as they head to the enclosed part of the track, 
it appears that the other girl is pulling away from Brooke,
 and then they disappear and we are left to wonder.
We slowly walked over to the finish line, across the field,
 thinking that Brooke was in 2nd place and hoping that she could hold on to that spot,
when we hear a lot of cheering and hollering and I can hear someone say,
"It's Brooke!  Brooke is in first place!"
We ran over just in time to see Brooke sprinting to the finish line with about a 20 yard lead.
It must have been a great last 300 meters... too bad we couldn't see it.
But we didn't care.  It was more fun to have Brooke just tell us about it.
Many who were down on the track, teammates and coaches,
 said that it was the most exciting race of the day.    
Coach Shane was very, very happy about her race!
And so was her cousin and teammate, Stephanie, who was one of her "rabbits."
Thanks Steph!
I love this photo of Coach Shane and Brooke.
Like I said, he was very excited about her race.
This picture was taken the first time he came up to congratulate her.
He was so cute and looked so serious, almost emotional 
(kinda like Dad gets after a good race), looked her right in the eye
 and told her all the things that she did right in the race.
Then a few minutes later, he came back again
 and was so excited to tell her that he looked up the times for the race last year 
and that Brooke would have won that race too.
Brooke's cute friends from the dorms, came and watched her race.
After Brooke ran her cool down, we all went to Los Hermanos to celebrate!
I was so glad that I was in town and was able to watch Brooke's race.
The little girls thought it was great too.
And of course, Allie and Justin came to cheer her on to victory.
I called Dad and told him about the race.
He was at the church helping with the young men's basketball tournament
and could barely hear me but he must have heard enough
because he got kind of quiet and then said,
"You better not tell me anymore because I'm going to start crying right now
 because I'm so happy for Brooke.  
And I better not cry right now because everyone will think somethings wrong with me."
Gotta love that Dad of ours!
I wish he could have been here too!

Tender Mercies

When we found out that Mary Ann was going to have surgery at American Fork Hospital,
Allie was so happy because that is the hospital where she works.
When she found out that Mary Ann was scheduled for surgery on Friday,
Allie was really happy because she was scheduled to work that day. 
Allie could be Aunt Mary Ann's nurse, 
she could be with her before and after the surgery and take care of her.
And that made Mary Ann very, very happy, knowing that her little niece, Nurse Allison
(Aunt Mary Ann still calls Allie, "Allison" and so do her little girls.  It's cute!) 
would be there to take care of her was very comforting and reassuring.
Now many might think that this was just a fortunate coincidence, 
but I know that it was a tender mercy from our Heavenly Father.
I believe that even through our challenges and trials our Father in Heaven
is watching over us, keenly aware of our every need, blessing us in small ways,
letting us know that he loves us and is with us even in our dark days
or on a scary and uncertain afternoon in a hospital.
Nurse Allison was there with Mary Ann in the recovery room 
as she was coming out of the anesthesia, comforting and reassuring her.
And Andrew, Mary Ann's husband was there to take this picture of the two of them.
This photo is precious!  I love that Andrew caught Mary Ann smiling like that.
I mean really... who smiles like that right after surgery and is so willing to have a photo taken?
Maybe the anesthesia hadn't worn off or she really wasn't aware of what was going on.
Either way, I'm glad that we have this photo 
so that I can remember to acknowledge the tender mercies in my life.