Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vegas, baby!

We were so excited when Tomo Ogino, our homestay student from 4 years ago, sent a message saying that she was going to be in the States, going to college in Oklahoma for a year and wanted to see us.  She has the summer off and is travelling around and we invited her to come visit this month.  She was ending up with a friend in Las Vegas on the 4th so we decided we would take a little road trip to go pick her up.
We headed out on Sunday and stayed overnight in good old Beaver with Mom and Dad.  It's so nice to have them as a stop-over point. :)
Monday we hit the road again, arriving in Vegas around noon.  Just like when Yuna came to visit, we stayed at the Excalibur hotel (does that make it a tradition?).  Fortunately, unlike when Yuna came, the weather was beautiful and warm and we spent the afternoon in the pool.
After our fantastic New York style pizza experience in San Diego last year, we have been craving some great pizza so we googled and found New York Pizza and Pasta on Jones Blvd (how apropos).  It was not quite Luigi's caliber, but it was quite good and we stuffed ourselves and had a blast.
 The evening was, of course, spent on the Strip, mostly at the new Cosmopolitan with its VERY high end stores. What a beautiful place! Markee especially loved being in the midst of high fashion.

On the way back to Excalibur we ran into a zombie and discovered that there is a Zombie Apocalypse Store in Vegas!  Oh yeah, that was definitely added to the plans for Tuesday.

So Tuesday, as we were leaving the hotel I noticed that the front right tire was showing metal - not good.  It was definitely something we were going to have to get fixed before leaving town.  Our first stop, however, was to visit Kelley Corcoran Brasier, one of my best friends in high school.  I can't believe we have lived less than 6 hours away from each other for years without getting together.  She lives out in the mountains of northwest Las Vegas, which was a hike for our van with a metally tire, but we got there just fine.  How fun it was to catch up with her.  She hasn't changed a bit - honestly, not a bit!  The picture is definitely not a flattering one, but I was glad to have it anyway. :)
We stopped at Costco to get a new tire and grab some lunch and snacks before heading - you know it - to the Zombie Apocalypse Store!
 What a fabulous idea!  It's an emergency preparedness store mixed with zombie fun.  We could have stayed there for a long time, but the road was calling our name.
We did make one more stop before heading back to Utah; we stopped to visit Marcia's parents in Mesquite.  Todd and Kay are so great!  They were generous hosts, having the pool ready for us along with cookies and lemonade - could you ask for anything more?  The kids and Jared had a great time in the pool and I just enjoyed the beauty of their home, neighborhood and the area in general.  What a paradise!  How fortunate we are that Mark brought Marcia's family together with ours!  Love those Wooleys!

Finally, back in the car for the long rest of the drive back.  The tires were fine and we arrived home around 10pm with no incident.  A quick trip to Vegas chocked full of new memories!  Now we have a week and a half to enjoy with Tomo!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mom's Beaver beachfront

We pulled up to Mom and Dad's house Sunday and I was thrown back to Cape Cod. I love what she did with her adirondack chairs. Simple as 4 cans of paint and a brush! Wish my chairs had survived the Eagle Mountain wind so I could have beach chairs!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Headline: Markee Graduates From Westlake

Yes!  Once again it was down to the wire and we were sure if she was really going to graduate until a week before the actual event.  How happy I was to have her text me these pictures after she finished her math packets!
Westlake students have this tradition of getting this GRADUATE "tattoo" stamped on their bodies and they wear them proudly as long as they last.  I had to go into the seminary building to bring Markee a paper the day that she got her stamp and made the mistake of saying, quite loudly, "I want to see your tattoo!"  The seminary receptionist glanced up in surprise and Markee was embarrassed and assured her that it was not a "real tattoo".
The big day went off without a hitch, except for trying to find Markee and Tamsyn after the graduation.  But it all ended happily ever after.  Here are some pictures of the big day:
I love that Tamsyn and Markee went to jr high and high school together and were able to graduated together!

Yeah, sometimes they like each other!

Even Daina made it out to graduation

Proud mom and dad!
The whole crew!

Not only did get get to go to school with one cousin; this lucky girl had two!  Kaila Donaldson, Kiera's daughter went to Westlake with Markee and Tamsyn too!

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day, the kickoff to summer.  It was pretty laid back for us this year as we knew that graduation was the next day and trying to plan two big days back to back was rather daunting.  We spent most of the morning putting in the garden since we are way behind this year.  As of the date of this posting (June 2nd) we STILL have not finished the garden.  We still have just under half to do.  Yikes!
After doing work around the house and garden we headed down to Jeff's to barbeque.  And, as you can see, we made the first homemade salsa of the season.  Summer=salsa to us and although this is obviously not fresh from the garden (although we did get the tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro planted) it was from fresh ingredients from the store. :)  Chips and salsa is the highlight of every summer get-together!

Afterward we played some games - Rage and Telestrations - and "hung out".  Here are the boys hanging out.

My little pioneer

Every year each grade does some kind of "program" at school.  Because the 4th graders study Utah history they did a pioneer program, singing many songs about Utah's history and performing dances.  Nicolas sang his little heart out and did a great job with his dances, in spite of his family laughing at him and being disgusted through the "boot scoot boogie" or whatever the heck that atrocity of a country line dance is called. :)
We tried to get pictures of his dances, but they are all blurry because we had to zoom and he kept moving!

Friday, June 1, 2012


My sweet Marin is much like her mom, always wanting to please and afraid to disappoint.  Fortunately this characteristic is paying off in school.  She is so smart, but more than that she is determined and willing to put her all in - to do her best.  She carried a 4.0 all year long in 7th grade.  Not only making sure she had a A, but going above and beyond and making sure that she was as close to 100% as possible, if not over.  She took advantage of every "extra credit" opportunity whether she needed it or not, and ended up with 103% -104% in some classes!  What a treasure she is!  I appreciate all her hard work and love to see her excellence acknowledged. 
She received a letter in the mail a few weeks ago that was addressed to parents and informed us that she was receiving an award in an honors assembly and we were invited.  At first I figured it must be some kind of junk mail as the only letters that have ever been sent home before were to inform me that I had a student failing or missing credits for graduation. :)
With great delight I went to the honors assembly (unfortunately Jared had to work and couldn't make it during the school day) and watched Marin walk across the stage and receive a "certificate of excellence" for maintaining a 4.0 all year.  I love this girl and hope that some day I will have a graduate with cords around her neck showing her accomplishments.  She will go far!
On a side note, her major goal this year was to get on the yearbook staff for her 8th grade year and she did it!  She's already making plans . . .

Young Women - back where I belong

Many exciting changes/events have taken place this past month.  May was a very good month.  I will post a few of the highlights in separate posts in chronological order.  First of all, on Easter in April I was released from my calling as first counselor in the Primary presidency.  We had served for almost 4 years and I really loved everything about the position.  I loved the children; I loved teaching sharing time; I loved getting to know the teachers; I even enjoyed helping to write the sacrament program each year. :) 
It was a sad day when I was released but I was surprised that I recovered quickly - not like when I was released from being the Laurel advisor almost exactly 6 years ago.  I mourned that calling for over a year.
I spent over a month calling-less, which is unusual in our smaller ward and after teaching indexing in Relief Society one week I was worried about being called as family history representative.
In the middle of May I was called to meet with the bishop who extended a new calling to me - Young Women President.  President???  Are you sure???  I'm the fun one, advisor-ish, not in charge-ish!  Of course I accepted hoping that with the help of my Heavenly Father I can fulfil and magnify this calling.  I love the Young Women and am SO excited to be back with them.  I have a lot to learn, but loving the girls comes naturally.  I have some great women to work with also, and I think this will be a labor of love.