Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Hawaii

Gabe and I enjoyed the rare treat of spending Christmas in Hawaii with extended family this year. We had been planning the trip for the last 5 years with my parents and siblings. We stayed in a beach house in Laie on the island of Oahu. Most of my siblings were able to come with their children, but my brother Michael and his family had to stay in Vermont to take care of the Bed and Breakfast that they own. Here are a few pictures:

Shark Encounters

One of the most exciting things we did on our Hawaii vacation was to dive with sharks. We went to the North Shore and took a small little boat out to "shark infested waters." We jumped into a little cage with snorkel masks and watched intensely as raw meat was tossed into the water for the sharks to gobble up. The longer we were in the water, the more curious the sharks seemed to be and they would swim right up to the cage and look at us. It was a pretty thrilling experience to have sharks swimming under and around us!

We saw about 4 of these sandbar sharks. These sharks are about 7 feet in length. (This is a picture from the dive website.)

We saw a couple of galapagos sharks. They are described as aggresive and dangerous. They can grow to be 10 feet long.

The pictures we took above the water just don't do these animals justice! If I went again, I would buy an underwater camera.

Side Note: Gabe also got to scuba diving during our trip. He loved it! He went to two separate dive sites and got his Nitrox certificaiton.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Beach Baby

We're enjoying an awesome trip to Hawaii this Christmas with extended family. Here are a few preliminary pictures of our little beach baby. It's been fun to see her experience the ocean for the first time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fire Update

After spending half the day without water yesterday, our water is back on. We still aren't sure how the apartment fire started. We do know that it happened on a deck, so it could have been a cigaret butt. I spoke with our neighbor about the evacuation, and he couldn't believe that we had slept through everything. He told me that our building was barricaded and people were scurrying in and out carrying boxes of personal possessions! They've set up a red cross station at our ward for those without a home, so we will be meeting at another chapel this Sunday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Narrowly Escaping Disaster

Last night, the apartment building connected to ours caught on fire. Apparently, they tried to evacuate our building as well, but Gabe and I were too zonked out to hear the pounding on our door. We didn't realize anything had happened until we called the apartment manager this morning to complain about our water pressure! The manager probably thought we were idiots and very insensitive since her home was in the building and she was currently homeless. Interestingly enough, I got a cryptic text from some neighbors across the street at 1:00 a.m. asking if we were o.k. It woke me up, but I figured that they had sent a text to the wrong person. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the fire. I shudder to think what would have if it had been our building as well.

Lights on Temple Square

We braved the traffic and took Persephone to see the lights on Temple Square last night. She seemed to enjoy the exeperience and kept looking intensely at all the people and lights. She was most mesmerized by the flashing lights of a cop car and by the kilt wearing, bag pipe playing Santa. It was a fun evening!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Truly Growing Up"

Even though I am Christian, I have always enjoyed studying other religions. I find myself particularly drawn to Zen Buddhism. I found "Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up" a very thought provoking and timely book for me. The author discusses what it means to truly grow-up, pointing out that just because one gets old doesn't mean they've gained spiritual maturity. I've considered this subject quite a bit since becoming a mother. Here are a few thoughts that I enjoyed from Fischer's book:

"Maybe true maturity is finding a way of keeping questions alive throughout our lifetime. For when there are no more questions, we stop maturing and begin merely to age."

"Each of us has a place in this world. Taking that place, I have come to feel, is our real job as human beings. We are not generic people, we are individuals, and when we appreciate that fact completely and allow ourselves to embrace it and grow into it fully, we see that taking our unique place in this world is the only thing that gives us a sense of ultimate fulfillment."

"Consciously or uncounsciously, every moment you are choosing your life, and that choice is always decisive, never trivial. Your choices always have important consequences for the future, whether you can see them immediately or not."

"Forgiving our parents is an important step in the direction of maturity. It is astonishing how many people fail to take this step, choosing to remain, in effect adolescents throughout their lives. . . Peacemaking never depends on the other person. Peace is made in our own hearts and nowhere else. . . If we are fortunate enough to have our parents' cooperation in the peacmaking effort, so much the better. Bit if not, the work goes on anyway."

"To really love someone is to recognize that they are not us, and that they have needs, aspirations, and lives that do not belong to us and that we cannot control. Can we appreciate and give ourselves to them without fixating on what they will give us in return? Can we allow them their freedom and autonomy? Love like this may be the highest form of the practice of nonposessiveness."

On anger:
"Anger is in the end a marker of our weakness, not of our strength, and this is why it is so useful. . . Anger always flares up precisely in the places where we are most vulnerable. . . Using our anger well, we can pinpoint our weak points, our personal narrowness."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

Pied Beauty
Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-color as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced-fold, fallow, and plow;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change --
Praise Him.

Gerard Manly Hopkins

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chick Flick with Fangs

I participated in the "Twilight" frenzy by going to a midnight show with my friend Rebecca on Thursday. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Here we are sporting our glow in the dark fangs!

Monday, November 17, 2008

8 Things . . .

8 TV Shows I Watch
(8 is a lot! There are only a few that I watch practically every episode.)
1. Man vs. Wild
2. The Office ****
3. Mythbusters
4. John and Kate plus 8 ****
5. House Hunters
6. The Amazing Race ****
7. Oprah (I'm strangely ashamed to admit that I fit this stereotype. I don't tune in religiously, but I do watch on occasion.)
8. What Not to Wear

8 Restaurants I like
1. Elizabeth's Bakery and Tea Shop
2. Docetti's Gelato
3. The Mikado
4. Bombay House
5. Mazza
6. P.F. Chang's
7. The Bakery - real name!
8. Art City Trolley

8 Things that happened yesterday
1. Drove to Logan for a surprise visit with the in-laws
2. Had interesting conversations in the car with Gabe
3. Finished folding laundry
4. Put away laundry
5. Read "Good Night Moon" three times
6. Tried to make creme brule with Gabe, but it didn't turn out
7. Visited Grandma White
8. Listened to David Sedaris audio book

8 Things I'm looking forward to
1. Christmas in Hawaii
2. The Midnight movie of "Twilight" with Rebecca
3. Finalizing our adoption
4. No more student loan payments
5. Making cookies/forts/crafts etc. with Persephone someday
6. Becoming a world class fiddle player (who knows? I may have a secret talent and all that is missing are the lessons!)
7. Deep fried Turkey on Thanksgiving
8. Buying a home

8 Things on my wish list
1. My own washer and dryer
2. A Super hero outfit that really works
3. A life-time supply of Ferro Rocher chocolate
4. Snazzy sun glasses
5. A shopping spree at "Anthropologie"
6. My own vegetable garden
7. A personal chef
8. 1000 years to sleep

8 Things I love
1. My Family
2. Sharing a pint of Ben and Jerry's
3. Digging my toes into the sand
4. The sound of the dish washer
5. Hazelnut Gelato
6. When a long and stressful day finally comes to an end
7. The scalp massage you get when you have a hair cut
8. Baby giggles

8 Things I can't stand
1. The DMV
2. Rude behavior
3. Driving in the snow
4. Getting on the scale after a particularly festive weekend or vacation
(That's all I can think of right now. I'm in a pretty good mood!)

8 People I tag . . . Whoever wants to do it!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I've been tagged by Laura.

What is your husband's name? Gabriel
How long have you been married? 6 years
How long did you date? Almost 2 years
How old is he? 29
Who eats more sweets? It's about equal. We are a terrible influence on each other.
Who said "I love you" first? Me!
Who is taller? Gabe, I think he's the perfect height.
Who can sing the best? I can, but it is nothing to brag about.
Who is smarter? Gabe, this guy is absolutely brilliant! We do get competitive about certain subjects though.
Who pays the bills? Gabe- when we first got married I was paying the bills, but being in charge of the finances when money is tight really stressed me out. There's more peace at home now that Gabe looks after the money.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Gabe
Who mows the lawn? Ahhh the joys of renting. . .
Who cooks dinner? We both cook. Gabe is an amateur chef and cooks for company as well as on the weekends. I do more the everyday stuff. We also eat a lot of cereal.
Who drives? Gabe
Who kissed who first? I did! :)
Who asked who out first? Gabe asked me out to a fireside on our first real date.
Who wears the pants? It's equal.

I TAG: whoever wants to do it

Rainy Days in Portland

This week, Gabe had depositions to do in Portland. I got to be a tourist with Persy while he worked. It was rainy during our entire stay, but that was to be expected.

My favorite outing was to the Portland Zoo. Persephone was pleasant and awake for the entire time. I didn't think she would get much from the experience, so I was surprised to see her following the animals intently with her eyes and making funny noises at them. She really enjoyed being snuggled into my jacket at a height where she could see everything.

On Wednesday, we saw the Japanese Gardens. I thought they were all the more romantic and charming in the rain. Oregon is such a gorgeous state. I would love to see more of it. My brother reminded me that this was right near the Rose Gardens where I got bit by a squirrel when I was about 6 years old. I was feeding the squirrels nuts and was so excited by how close they were that I decided to put a nut in the middle of my palm to see if the squirrel would climb into my hand. Squirrels aren't that clever though and when the bugger approached my already salty fingers he bit down with a vengeance! There was a tremendous amount of blood and my parents were frantically calling animal services to see if I would need to get rabies shots.

Gabe is sampling the famous bacon and maple donut from Voo Doo Donuts (It was a bit disappointing after all the hype and in a pretty dodgy neighborhood.)

We took a short stroll through Powell's the largest independent bookstore in the world.

The Vacation MVP position goes to this little cutie who was pleasant and fun for almost the entire trip. We think we'll reward her with more adventures!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


In honor of National Adoption Awareness month I participated in a walk yesterday. It was kind of lame though because Gabe had to work and I didn't know anyone and felt ultra introverted. Basically we just met and meandered around the park wearing orange. There really didn't seem to be a lot of energy in the group. I decided that next time I'm an activist their needs to be chanting or picketing of some kind. I mean really! I thought the Falun Dafa crowd that was meditating near by exhibited more passion than us. Anyhow, they had free burritos so we could refuel after our athletic little saunter, so I guess it wasn't a total waste.

Speaking of adoption, a friend of mine from high school adopted a little girl on Friday. They had been planning for the adoption for nearly the entire pregnancy. When it came time for the birth mother to deliver they drove up from Texas. I guess the birth mother started to have doubts at the hospital. They were really nervous that she wouldn't sign and so they gathered the whole family together to go to the LDS temple. When they got out of the temple there was a message on their phone saying the birth mother had signed the papers and the baby was ready to be picked up. I was so happy to hear their news that I literally cried knowing the anxiety and joy they must have felt during the experience. I have such a deep respect for the maturity and love that it takes for a birth mother to make this difficult choice for her child. Although I've never met Persephone's birth mom, I pray for her constantly and feel incredibly grateful that she has given us the opportunity to be parents.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Call of the Cougar

Do you ever have a day when your kids wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Today, Persy woke up with a slightly stuffy nose and when I tried to suction out the snot it threw her into a torrent of crankiness. If I even go near the spot on the couch where the torture occured, her face twists up in a most unbecoming manner and she howls like a wild cougar. Every new infraction sends her into a new wave of rage.

"What?! Change my onesie? The injustice!"
"Lay me on a blanket to eat breakfast? You'll be hearing from my attorney!"

The only good news is that her fierce feral roars have completely exhausted her and she now snoozes peacefully. I hope when she awakens we can begin the day anew.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee

Traveling may be worse with a child, but holidays are a LOT more fun! I haven't had such a great Halloween since I was a child, and Persy isn't even old enough to trick-or-treat yet. I have a feeling that it's just going to get better and better.

On the porch at Grammy and Grandpa's

Persy was mesmerized by this blinking skull that my mother was wearing. She wanted to eat it.

I dressed up like a Bollywood star. I got this outfit when Gabe and I lived in Washington, DC. I've actually worn it to church a couple of times, but I got some strange stares!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sundays in the Park with Gabe

Sundays are my favorite day of the week. They are the only days when I am guaranteed to have Gabe at home all day. We spend the mornings at church and then cook, nap, and read together. The highlight of the day is usually a Sunday evening walk in the park near our home. The park looked gorgeous this week and the trees were festooned in all their fall splendor! Whenever I lament the lack of space in our current apartment, I remember how lucky we are to live near such wonderful public parks. It is one of the reasons we enjoy living in the city. I hope all of you are enjoying this prolonged Autumn season as much as us!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Culinary Adventures

Persy had her first taste of "real food" this week. She seems to be enjoying the new sensation, (despite looked very concerned in this picture!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So Long, Library "Anne"

For reasons far too boring to name, I have decided to leave my job at the library and stay at home with Persephone. My last day will be the 24th of this month. I wish the situation had worked out, because I've really enjoyed my job. It was a difficult choice to make, but I'm grateful that Gabe's job situation makes this option possible for our family. Here are a few things I'll miss about being Library "Anne."

1. Being able to peruse an endless selection of titles as I check-in books.
2. Having literary conversations with random strangers throughout the day.
3. Having "back stage" access to the awesome downtown library.
4. No library fines.
5. My fun and quirky co-workers.
6. Rainy and snowy days spent in a library.
7. Doing the children's story time and book baby programs.
8. My fun responsibility of picking art work for display in the library's gallery.
9. Staff Development Day
10. Being proud to work for such an awesome organization.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I'm the type of person that has notebooks throughout my house with lists of goals, thoughts, phone numbers etc. Yesterday, I came across a funny list that I had written about one of our symphony performances last year. The symphony had chosen to play a more experimental piece. Here is what Gabe had to say about the number:

* "I'd rather be vomiting!"
* "It killed my love of symphony!"
* "It was like squashing bunnies!"
* "It was worse than the Bar Exam!"
* "It was the enemy of fun!"

And my personal favorite . . .
* "They should play this piece for Al-Qaeda detainees."

Reading that little list had me chuckling all over again. Gabe can be so passionate and funny sometimes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


We are going through a rather traumatic transition this week as we are weening Persy away from swaddling and sleeping in her car seat to sleeping in a play pen with her arms free. In sounds like such a minor change, but 4 month babies really lack life perspective, (and new mothers sometimes too!) We decided it was necessary to stop swaddling because she is close to rolling over and we felt concerned about both the way that she was starting to inch out of the car seat and the danger of her rolling over and not having her arms free to push up and breathe in the middle of the night. I know that this is necessary, but it takes some serious conviction and stamina to keep calming Persy for hours on end as she makes this transition. Last night, I had to get up with her no less than 7 times in order to comfort her and put her Binky back in her mouth.

Seeing her so distressed also makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. I constantly read, research, and question: Should I let her "cry it out" so she can learn to "self soothe"? How long should I let her cry before I comfort her and intervene? Will this be damaging to her emotionally? Should I ween her from the Binky as well? Should I let her go to bed with her silky blanket or will this pose a suffocation hazard in her crib? On, and on, and on. I realize that there is no "right" answer here, but I can't help but search in hopes of a solution. (I'd also LOVE to hear from any of you if you have good advice to give!)

It's interesting the Persy's transition should coincide with some of my own transitions. I can't help but think that I have a loving Heavenly Father who tries to ween me away from my own personal crutches and shakes His head to see me fuss over such minor changes. Being a parent has me constantly thinking of my own childish behaviors and tendencies and how the Lord is tirelessly trying to teach me and help me to refine myself. My daughter and I are growing together and I only hope that I can become the type of person that I want her to become.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Conversation Board

I'm excited about this conversation board that I made for Persephone's "room." My mother-in-law bought me the board and I painted it black, sanding down the edges to give it a distressed look. For the magnets I hot glued some painted knobs and some antique buttons onto magnetic disks. We've hung the board about Persy's changing table and I plan on using it to talk about different items in the collage and also to sign about the items. (I've been doing sign language with Persy for a couple of weeks and even though she can't sign back, she does focus on my hands.) The pictures are a mix of family photos, gospel pictures, and random items, (like a postcard of an elephant standing on his head.) I'll change them every couple of weeks so we have something new to look at and talk about.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I think every mom can relate to the trial of trying to care for a sick family when you are feeling sick yourself. If motherhood was a sorority, then this would be its twisted hazing activity. I am being initiated this week as I simultaneously sneeze along with my daughter and spouse. Gabe and I are lucky enough to be on antibiotics now, but poor Persy just has to wait it out. She has been such a trooper too. Amidst coughs, itchy eyes and mucus extractions she will still look up at me and give me a beaming smile. Who does that? Clearly we have an "old soul" in our home who will be a spiritual guide for her parents. I love this child and wish that she did not have to suffer.

A Gift from the White House

Yesterday, I went to pick up a package and was a little puzzled to see that Persephone had received a package from the White House. Hmmm. . . what is this girl up to while we sleep? Inside was a letter from Mr. Bush himself. Here is what it said:

Dear Persephone:

Welcome to your new home! Your arrival has brought great joy to your proud family.

As you grow, I encourage you to help your neighbors, set high standards, and follow your dreams. Your kindness to others and commitment to excellence can strengthen your community and our Nation.

Mrs. Bush and I send our best wishes to you and your parents. May the coming years be filled with happiness, health and much love.

George W. Bush

(We got this letter as a gift from a friend who works as a speech writer for the Bush administration. He used his connections. I think we're going to hang it in Persy's "room" as a reminder of her importance! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I love about Fall

1. The crunch of leaves under my feet
2. Sipping hot chocolate with loads of whipped cream from any of the local cafes
3. Rainy Fall days
4. Driving through the canyon
5. Visiting my parents and the smell of grape juice being bottled
6. Crisp mornings and sunnny afternoons
7. The season return of my favorite show, "The Office"
8. Planning my Christmas gift giving
9. My birthday
10. Baking more cookies, bread and soup
11. The start of a new Symphony season
12. Watching children walking to and from school
13. Putting away summer clothes in favor of snuggly warm sweaters
14. Sales on school supplies
14. October LDS General Conference
15. How cute Persy looks in PJs and a beanie cap!

A Day on the Farm

Persy and I had a very fun day yesterday meeting up with friends at Wheeler Farms. Wheeler Farms is a free historic park with farm animals, and large grounds for running and having a picnic. We also took a little tractor ride around the grounds. Persephone was a bit fussy without a nap, but I'm glad I discovered this fun place so I can take her when she is older. This picture shows two of my close high school friends Rebecca and Megan. It is just wild that we're "all grown-up" with children of our own now!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Back to Work

I started back at work this week. I am fortunate enough to work at the library with people I love and in a very happy environment. I am also lucky to be going back just part-time so I can keep up my important job as full-time mom to Miss Persy Pie. I hope the situation goes well. Here's a couple of cute pics from this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One Last Visit

Warning: Whiny content ahead . . .

I have spent the morning preparing for one final home visit from our case worker. We have been assigned a new case worker, so I've felt pressured to get the house white glove ready again for fear that any errant crumbs could incriminate me. I have enjoyed most aspects of our adoption but the very idea that we are still under surveillance irritates me. I found the whole approval process for the adoption a little invasive. In addition to the endless paperwork, we had doctor's appointments, background checks, and interviews where we were asked everything from how we were disciplined as children to questions about our sex lives. Um. . . excuse me? I could not be happier with our child, but I'm ready for the state to stop treating us like trial parents.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

When Wasps Attack!

On Friday, Gabe and I saw the musical "Big River" at the Tuacahn Theater in St. George. The theater is outdoors and we found ourselves being pestered by a particularly aggressive wasp. It wasn't long before I got stung. By the end of the show the sting on my finger had swelled to the size of a Polish Sausage. Making matters worse, was the fact that I had been stung on my ring finger. My wedding band began to act as a sort of Tournecut, cutting off circulation. I spent Saturday and Sunday examining the juicy apendage and grimly imagining my finger being amputated. Without a ring finger I would never be able to learn how to fiddle, (a secret ambition,) which means I would never travel the world in a bluegrass band! Luckily for me, the swelling has subsided today and all is well. Lesson learned: If you get stung on the finger by a wasp, quickly remove all your rings!

Side Note: "Big River" was fabulous! I just loved the music and thought it was a fun adaptation of Mark Twain's novel. Because the production was outside, they were able to flood the stage and make a real river!