Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Joy to the World

We hope you had a joyful and peaceful Christmas! I had so many moments during the past week when I felt overwhelmed with love for my little family and for all our extended family and friends. Thank you!
Gabe with his little brother Rob

Persy with a cousin and Aunt Rachel. Everyone is wearing the snugly PJs.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Every year we gather with extended family to reenact the the nativity story and sing Christmas hymns. It is always a memorable night, but this year we were thrilled to have my brother and his kids visiting from Texas. Merry Christmas everyone! What are your favorite holiday traditions?

This year's Troupe. Persy played the roll of Mary, but she still wanted to wear an angels halo to jazz up the costume a bit!


What a fun month we've had in preparation for Christmas! Last year, we started the tradition of an advent calendar with daily treats and an activity. It was something my mother did with me and I loved as a child. Some activities are just plain fun, and others center on service projects or things to remind us of the Savior. Here are a few highlights:

A trip to the Aquarium with friends

Singing Christmas songs by candle light

Playing with indoor "snow"

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wild Wicklow and Glendalough

We took a day trip during our Irish vacation out to the Wicklow mountains. There were luscious rolling hills and a rugged beauty that felt all the more mysterious and enchanting on a grey winter day.

(This bridge is featured in "P.S. I Love You.")

The lower lake at Glendalough

The entrance into the 6th century monastic settlement at Glendalough. I loved exploring the ruins and cemetery here and I took nearly a dozen pictures of Celtic crosses and headstones.

Friday, December 16, 2011


We used Dublin as a home base during our trip and took a few day trips out of the city. We stayed at a charming Bed and Breakfast called The Adare House and I highly recommend it.

The row houses in Dublin had brightly colored doors. They added a touch of whimsy to the city.

Melinda and I went outside the city one night and learned how to do traditional Irish set dancing with a local group. It is similar to square dancing, but without a caller. We spent nearly every night during our trip listening to the music in the pubs. It is common for musicians to show up at pubs for their own enjoyment and begin improvising off one another . Listening to such lively music was one of the highlights of the trip.

Our first evening in Dublin we went to a memorable Evensong service at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

This is Kilmainham Gaol, an interesting jail that had historical significance during Ireland's revolution. The citizens involved in the Easter Uprising of 1916 were housed here before they were executed. It has also been used as the set for numerous movies.

Melinda and I inside one of the jail cells.

Grafton Street is a lively shopping district. It was festive place to get some Christmas shopping done.

St. Stephen's Green, a pleasant public park with statues of Dublin's literary giants.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Newgrange and Trim

Home again from a delightful trip to Ireland. The people we met were so warm and friendly, the food was a delicious surprise, and the music kept us out until the wee hours.

Standing outside the 5,000 year old burial tomb of Newgrange with Melinda, my sister in law and fellow explorer. She was an ideal travel companion with a good sense of direction, a taste for adventure, and an interesting intellect.
The construction of these burial mounds is mind boggling. Stones were acquired from all over the country and it would have taken considerable man power to bring them to the mound.

Notice the symbolic swirls featured on this rock outside of Newgrange. The interior was decorated with designs as well. During the winter solstice, the morning light comes in through the entrance and lights up the passage for 17 minutes.

Not far from Newgrange, is the lovely Trim castle. We had a great tour here. Many of the guides we met had a knack for story telling.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


My Ireland guidebook offers a list of English and Irish specific words to help the confused traveler. I hope that at least a few of the people I chat with have accents so thick that I am utterly flummoxed. Here are a few favorite translations:

Beer Mat = Coaster
Boffin = Nerd
Candy Floss = Cotton candy
Fiddler's Fart = Worthless thing
Gasman = Life of the party
Jacks = Toilets
Knackered = Exhausted
Smalls = Underwear
Starkers = Buck naked (Tee hee :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Irish Fantasy

Have you seen this library?? As you may know, I have an obsession for good books and libraries. This is a picture of the "Long Room" at Trinity College in Dublin, and in just a few short days I will be there! I am headed to Ireland for a week with my adventurous sister-in-law. We are going to explore Christmas markets, do set dancing, see ancient burial mounds, listen to music in the pubs, and explore an ancient monastic settlement. Somebody pinch me! We are going to have a blast together. (Gabe will be taking over at home, and he will do an awesome job. He also has some outings planned with little Persy. They will be a cute duo!) Bon Voyage!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why I Wish I was a Better Photographer

Here are a few highlights from our recent family photo shoot. We look downright presentable! I just love this little family of mine.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee

We had a festive and fun Halloween season. Persy was so excited about dressing up and knocking on houses. She ran around for nearly 2 hours gathering treats. We also had a blast doing hay rides, pumpkin picking, decorating, and other Autumn activities. We spent an afternoon at Cornbelly's when my brother came to visit from Vermont and we had a blast!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paperwork and Prayers

We just finished up the paperwork towards getting approval for another adoption. Gabe and I both had our interviews with the case worker this week and I couldn't even talk about our previous adoption without getting all mushy and choked up. Honestly, adopting Persephone has been the greatest blessing of our marriage. We are both madly in love with this little girl and when I think about Persy's birth mother I am filled with profound gratitude and awe. We have begun to pray earnestly that another child might come to our family. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Witchy Fun

We've had a flurry of fun and festive fall activities the last week. There have been hayrides, pumpkin picking, farms, and farmer's markets. Last week, we saw the witches at Gardner Village together. Persy thought they were pretty hilarious.

Persy is very excited about Halloween this year and keeps asking everybody what their costume is going to be. Last night she said to Gabe, "Daddy, what are you going to be for Halloween?"

"Um, I'm going to be an attorney," replied Gabe.
"Ooooooh, that is going to be SO scary!" Persy exclaimed. We both cracked up. I just love having a three year old.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Stuff

As many of you know, each year I try to grow a little by doing new things. I try to do one new thing for each year of my life. Here is the list from my 30th year. What have you been doing to challenge yourself?

1. Read the Old Testament cover to cover
2. Knit a hat, fingerless gloves, and a sweater
3. Heard Hilary Hahn play her violin live with the Utah Symphony
4. Traveled to Turkey and Asia
5. Visited a mosque
6. Toured the famous Hagia Sophia
7. Bought a black truffle and cooked with it
8. Finally moved to the intermediate level of my Pimsleur Spanish study
9. Ran the Halloween Half Marathon with a 10 minute personal record
10.Cancelled our cable in favor of just Netflix and Hulu
11. Swam with Dolphins off the shore of Honolulu
12. Pulled off planning my first ward Christmas party
13. Threw up on an airplane
14. Had a Bunny predict my fortune (This is a popular tourist thing in Turkey)
15. Started doing hill training as part of my regular running routine
16. Visited Old Town San Diego and Coronado Island
17. Read 54 books in one year
18. Started running with a training partner
19. Learned how to do a rib stitch, cables, mattress stitch, sewn bind-off, kitchener, blocking and how to read a knitting pattern.
20. Started a pre-school co-op with a few other mother friends.
21. Saw Hansel and Gretal the Opera
22. Used a Bidet
23. Ate Turkish delight, fried muscles, authentic Baklava, and Lotkma
24. Partied with Gabe at a famous Vegas night club overlooking the strip
25. Played and won my first black jack game in a casino
26. Saw David Copperfield and he made me "disappear" as part of his grand finale.
27. Learned how to play Texas Hold 'Em
28. Got on a road bike
29. Pet a baby llama
30. Ran the Park City Half Marathon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Conquering Fears

I have been doing a lot of swimming for my triathlon training. I am still a weak swimmer, but I am so excited to say that I no longer feel panic when I put my face in the water and that alone has been worth signing up for the race! (Biking on the other hand has been a bigger obstacle than I had anticipated. Cycling through traffic makes me fear for my life!)

Miss P showing me proper swim technique

Persy took this picture :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Take a Hike

Best part about living in Utah? We are just minutes away from mountain paradise. Hiking season came a little late this year because we had a cold, wet Spring, but now we are heading into the mountains nearly every week.
We let Persy do some of her own hiking, and despite falling and looking like she had just completed a Tough Mudder, she could not be happier.