Thursday, August 13, 2009

Women's Conference

BYU Women's Conference is pretty much my favorite time of the year. This time it was awesome. Pam and I flew up together to Hotel H to be with our BFF Nicole. We have so much fun, staying up all night - relaxing on Black Beauty (her basement couch), giggling, crafting, watching movies, shopping, eating out and being silly that it almost eclipses the actual conference. But not really, the conference is always awesome. If I had blogged about it four months ago, I would have had much more to say I'm sure. But I will say that poor Nicole ended up getting really sick and having her gall bladder out right after we left. Every year - we must match. It is required. This year we got some hoodies at Old Navy. Every year we have a hard time leaving the Marriot Center after the last session. We never want it to end. This year Elder L. Tom Perry was the closing session speaker. Elder Nelson came along for moral support. We were so close to the stage - it was great being so close to two apostles like that.
The most amazing thing to me every year is just being in the general sessions and looking around at 20,000 other Mormon women who are all there for the same reason. We go because we want to be better people, better wives, better mothers, better leaders and better Followers of Christ.
Every year we end up running into someone we know. This year we saw Kelly B. from our ward there with her mom and sister. We also found my BFF from way back - Susie.

She and I have been friends for 25 years! We live in different states, we haven't lived near each other for many years but whenever we get a chance to be together it is like old times. We are not cruising Mill Avenue anymore but we are living the life!
Looking at these pictures is making me weep all over again that I didn't get a BYU brownie the whole time we were there. But, speaking of good food, in honor of my good friend Heather who recently took a job as a lunch lady - I will post a video for all to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Going on Four Months

It is true that I haven't blogged in nearly four months. And I really hate posts about why someone hasn't blogged. It is my blog and I'll post when I want! I just can't decide if I want to go back to the end of April and try and catch up or start fresh with some filling in when needed. I'll probably do a little of both.

Today was Nicole's first day of 3rd grade. Devon, Courtney and Morgan all started on Monday. I will post some pictures as soon as Courtney gets time to load them on to the computer. That is totally her job - I'm not even sure I know how to do it - but she does.

In April I did participate in the Pat's Run. I ran with my good friend Shannon. Our goal was to make it in less than an hour and to walk and run an equal amount of time. We did both of those things. We crossed the finish line together with a time of 56 minutes. There were over 15,000 runners - we came in in the low 10 thousands but I like to remind myself that I came in 62nd place in my age division. It was one of the most remarkable things I have ever done in my life. Not because I ran an amazing race or anything (I'm pretty sure the only people behind me were the elderly and the handicapped) but because I did it. Because I loved the feeling of entering that stadium knowing I had done something new. Words can not express the swelling in my chest and the lump in my throat that I feel even now thinking about that day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Closing In On 200 Posts

I guess I will finish this post that I started on April 20th. Then I will have to try and do some catch up with pictures.

Our two 8th graders were awarded medals at the Gilbert School District's Academic Awards night for students who have maintained a 3.8 or above all year. Courtney actually ended the year with a cumulative GPA of 4.4 and Devon with a 4.2 - seriously, I have no idea where these smart ones came from.

Easter weekend, my dear BFF - Nic came down from Utah to enjoy the sunshine and a Diamondbacks game (her husband is a superfan). Unfortunately it rained and the D-backs lost BUT we did some awesome shopping and got some of the girls together for lunch. It is always a hoot and a half to be with Nicole, I really want her to move back to AZ.

l to r - Pammie, me, Shannon, Nic and Juliet

Continuing with the randomness - one day my Nicole (the 7 year old) decided to build a podium so that she could play primary. My favorite is that she taped a conducting sheet from FHE and a pen to the hanger so she could mark things off as she went.
She invited all of the neighborhood kids in and before you knew it, they were giving talks, reading scriptures and singing primary songs right in the living room. It was pretty awesome.

Nicole the Primary President

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


As I am approaching a big birthday I am thinking about the mileage. I wonder how many miles I have traversed on foot walking through grocery stores, before my marriage I walked through countless airports for my job and then through the streets of France during my mission. I walked to elementary school every single day, rain or shine. I walked to and from Jr. High almost everyday - it was a little over a mile away from our home. For the last 10 years I have woken up early almost every week day to walk 2 - 3 miles. My walking partners have changed but I have loved the walking.

I've never been a runner. I bet I haven't run 1/100th of the miles I have walked but this weekend I will participate in a 4.2 mile charity run. I don't think that I will be able to run the whole thing but I am going to run as much as I can. I did a trial run on Monday and I still can't walk well - I am very sore. But those 4.2 miles will be mileage I will add to my belt with pride.

I know I accrue a lot of mileage in the car. I make countless trips to schools, games, orthodontist/pediatrician/dentist/optometrist's offices, scouts, grocery stores each month. Miles, miles, miles. My suburban recently turned over an impressive number of miles and I took a picture

How are you racking up miles?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Or more accurately, when your mature, well fertilized lemon tree gives you tons of lemons... You pick and pick and pick. And then you juice and juice and juice. Alan and I juiced 40 quarts of lemon juice. We gave away at least 100 lemons to our neighbors and family and made several pitchers of lemonade for the girls to sell on the street.Courtney and Morgan starting on the low branches. Nicole with one basket of lemons.

CourtneyNicole and her friend Andrea made eight dollars in about 20 minutes. Then I got tired of making the lemonade and made them shut their stand down. But they were so cute selling it.
Got any really good lemon recipes?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Santa Rita Senoritas! Ole!

Relief Society Softball is the best! I could write an entire post about why ladies of a certain age should not be out there doing it but I won't. I could tell you about all of the injuries and how with even the biggest hits we could only get to 1st with our "Santa Rita Shuffle" but I won't. I could write about how the Stake Sports Specialist enforced the mercy ruling on last night's games because of how soundly our team trounced the two teams the week before but I won't. I will, however, tell you that I am having the best time ever playing with these ladies. I will tell you that we fill our bleachers with our own families and also families from our ward who just want to come cheer us on. I will also tell you that we bought the bright orange shirts at Walgreens for two dollars a piece - even if we weren't good, we would be intimidating!

UPDATE: go to Julies blog for her much more clever post about the team.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Love For Grandpa Mackay

I didn't post at all last week because just as we were getting our lives put back together after our Spring Break extravaganza in Utah, Alan and I got the call and flew back up for his Grandpa's funeral. The trip was fast and furious and freezing but I am so glad we made it. All of the grand kids were there except for one of Alan's young cousins who is on his mission. Alan had a very special relationship with his Grandpa - they shared the same birthday and Alan was the first grandson to go on a mission, to get married and have kids.

The day after Alan and I were engaged - my last grandparent, my Grandma Goodman, died unexpectedly in our home. It was weird for me to be grandparent-less. A few weeks later, Alan and I went to Salt Lake where his parents were throwing us an engagement party. That night, Grandma and Grandpa Mackay took me aside and told me that they had heard about my Grandma and that they were going to be my grandparents so I wouldn't be grandparent-less anymore. In the last 16 years, I can not think of a time that they did not treat me as one of their own.

The funeral was beautiful. Grandpa loved a male chorus and he loved the song Ye Elders of Israel so all of the grandsons and grandsons-in-law sang that. There were bagpipes at the cemetery as well as a military honor guard. We were all freezing but it was so beautiful with all of the trees dusted in snow. The morning of the funeral - Alan had to go out and scrape all of the ice and snow off of his mom's car that we were using. That is my favorite thing to say about living in Arizona - we never have to scrape the sunshine off of our windshields or shovel it off of our walk. It is hard to believe that this is the same backyard and trampoline that the kids were playing on just a week prior. I guess it is harder for us to believe that the weather was so nice the whole time we were there for Spring Break.
Thanks again to Jen and Mike for letting us crash in their basement. It feels like that bedroom down there is ours and we should consider leaving a toothbrush and other essentials down there.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Random Sampler

Here are 20 random photos from our glorious vacation over Spring Break. The weather was beautiful while we were there and then we heard it started to snow right after we left. We are glad we could bring the Salt Lake Valley a week of sunshine! (Utah family - I promise I will send all of the pictures today!) Uncle Mike giving Courtney a tow back to the lift after her first (ever) run down the mountain!
All of the skiers on the first day of skiing: L to R Courtney, Alan, Luc (in front), Mike, Morgan, Devon and Haylee

I am constantly trying to get a cool picture of the cousins.

Courtney, Sydnee and Haylee making pouty faces.

The cat (Alan's new best friend) came along skiing. It really is a funny story of the cat jumping in the car during loading and everyone thinking she had jumped out.

Another attempt at cute cousin picture - lighting all wrong.

Right before we got to SLC, Alan's grandpa had another stroke. We were so glad to be able to spend some time with him and hope it is not the last time we get to do it. He is very incapacitated after this last stroke but still himself in many ways. Grandma was pointing out to him how much our kids had grown up and he said "Did you expect them to grow down?"

I was a tad obsessed with the cousins picture.
I thought this was so cute - they were doing that without being prompted - but as soon as I tried to get a better angle - right behind.....
Nicole turned around to look at us.

Morgan and Whitnee

Finally, a cute cousins picture with everyone: L to R - Front Row - Whitnee, Nash and Sydnee
Back Row - Tanner (in Devon's lap), Devon, Haylee, Morgan, Courtney, Nicole and Luc

We made really good time on the way there - partly due to several test sections with a new speed limit.

Courtney, Morgan and Nicole with Aunt Suzanne. They had so much fun with her the first day we went up to Grandma and Grandpas.

Alan's family with his mom: All of the grandkids in front - and Michelle sitting next to Syd and Nicole (she is so little she fits right in) - standing next to her is Will, Alan's brother and Michelle's husband. They just moved back to UT after living in Santa Barbara for the last few years - they have two dogs, Molly and Dexter - Michelle blogs here. On the left in front is Matt, Alan's youngest brother - he is preparing to go on a mission. Bart (Alan's brother) and Bryn (wearing yellow) are Nash and Tanner's parents. On the way home from this trip Nicole told us that Uncle Bart is her best friend. Next to them is Mike and Jen (Alan's only sister) - this is their house, whenever we go to UT we stay there. Their home is haven for all who step across the threshold - they make everyone feel welcome and loved. Mike and Jen are two of my most favorite people in the world - I wish we lived closer (by that I mean, I wish they lived in Arizona). Next to us is Alan's mom, Nancy. She is looking for a rich, single, nice Mormon man. Know any?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Best Vacation EVER!!!

That is what my kids are saying.

We didn't go to Hawaii or to Disneyworld or anything. We went to Utah to visit family. It is how we spent our October Break as well. When faced with vacation decisions, our kids will always choose the cousins in Utah. We gave them the choice of a new trampoline, California/Knott's Berry Farm or Utah and they chose the latter.

We had a great time seeing so many that we love - lots of family and my True Blue. I have a ton of pictures to post of the trip and the skiing - definitely the highlight for the kids. We are all already missing everyone that we left behind. I cried big old salty tears watching my kids hug their cousins good-bye at 5:30 this morning.

Good Times.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Johnsies!!

Our dear, dear friends the Johnsons returned home from their mission to Cyprus last week. We are so glad they took time out of their first few days home to come see us. All of the kids put on their Cyprus t-shirts to greet them.

The Johnsons used to live across the street from us. Seven years ago when we built this home they started the adoption process. Our kids were so little and they loved to go over to the Johnsons (Nicole started calling them the Johnsies and it stuck) and get treats. Sister Johnson had a "treasure box" full of little toys and goodies and each day she would let the kids answer a gospel question and then pick a prize.

So they started with the kids and then Alan and I wanted to be part of the action. R. Wayne and Leslie became our fast friends. They had dinner with us, shared Family Home Evenings and they attended all of the ball games and concerts that they could. Even this last week while they were trying to see all of their family - they made it to Courtney's first school basketball game.

Leslie was an Arizona State Representative and R. Wayne was a judge. They are civic minded and love giving service to the community, the church and their friends. One thing we really missed while they were gone was the help they gave us filling out our ballots at election times. They are the only people I know who research each one of the judges and keep track of the ones that make bad decisions and vote against them.

I have never met anyone who has as much love to give as the Johnsons do. Everyone that comes in contact with them can feel it. Every e-mail they sent us from Cyprus was all about how much they loved the people they were working with. There are several people that they met and taught in Cyprus that have plans to come to the U.S. soon.

Whenever Alan and I talk about our future, we consistently say that we will model our future after the Johnsons. If we can be half as spiritual, loving, generous and kind as they are then we will be all right. While we are sad that they no longer have a home in Mesa (they will live in their cabin outside of Show Low) we are so glad that they have returned safe and sound.

If you live in the area - we will be hosting an open house for the Johnsons at our home sometime after Spring Break. I will let you all know when it is going to be. If you read this and think that I won't remember to invite you - please send me an e-mail and I will let you know as soon as we iron out the details.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Few More Things (this time with some pictures)

My life is not really my own right now. Well, that is a little dramatic. What I mean is that I feel super busy - Devon is on the track team, Courtney on the basketball team - combine those with all of our everyday afternoon/evening commitments and I feel swamped. I'm having some stress about signing up to do Pat's Run. I'm really going to do it. I would love it if you would do it too. I'm not really sure why I decided to do it. I've never run in my life - I don't think I really like to run. I just felt like it was something that I could work towards. Pat's story has always moved me and I think that is part of it. I started a training program that eases the running in - yesterday was the first day - I ran 60 seconds and then walked 90 seconds, I did it seven times - 60 seconds has never seemed so long. But, I did it and I will do it again tomorrow.

My other stress is my new camp calling. I was called to be in charge of the "spiritual night" - if you are not familiar with girl's camp or maybe more specifically, girl's camp in this stake - the spiritual night is a really big deal. I am not a big deal. I'm not sure how to pull off a big deal.

For the promised pictures. Courtney took my Morgan out in the back yard for a photo shoot the other day. I don't have a fancy camera - it is really just a point and shoot digital thing but the pictures she took are so amazing. I love these girls!

One last picture: I can't think of anything sexier than a husband doing housework. Alan pulled out the ladder and dusted and cleaned all of the things in my front room that are way too high for me to do. It was awesome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Few Things

So, my last post was my "homemade" give-away. Nine people commented and wanted something homemade from me - but, as far as I can tell, no one did the "pay it forward" part. So I am just going to send everyone who commented a little something. If you live close and I can hand-deliver it then you will get something better. I love my neighbors. If you live farther away - I'm thinking of sending you a homemade Mother's Day card. Be looking out for it.

I'm pretty sure I have written about my dinner group so many times that you all wish you were in one too. I really love it - I can't imagine life without it honestly. Several times we have talked about putting together a cook book or at least writing down all of our dinner recipes each week. Then I started thinking that someday it will have to end and what if I never get Cami's recipe for Salisbury Steak that my family loves, or Sara's chicken enchiladas or Laura's spaghetti pie? My family would be so sad. Luckily - Sara got smart and ambitious and started a blog where we can all post the recipe we are making for food group each week. Now I have every one's recipes at my fingertips and you can too! Sara so cleverly named it the Saucy Apron and you can find it here. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Like Homemade?

Jam? Crafts? Lemonade?

Almost everything is better homemade! So I am joining the homemade giveaway bandwagon! The first three comments/ers to this post will receive something homemade from moi. Something gooooood. BUT (don't say anything about my big but) you have to do the same thing on your blog. You have to post this "pay it forward" saying you will send out some homemade prizes and then come back and comment saying you did it. Sound good? Hop to it! I'm in the mood to make some stuff!

Monday, February 9, 2009


I saw a car with that license plate this morning and I LOVE it! I wish I had it! I am coveting my neighbors license plate. Speaking of my neighbors license plates. Apparently there is a family from Wales living down the street from me - how do I know this? The man's car has a plate that says WLSHMAN and his wife's car says RAREBIT. I don't know if rarebit is a Welsh endearment but I have eaten Welsh Rarebit and it is gross. I'm okay with rabbit - we ate it a lot in France but not with cheese and eaten over toast with questionable gravy. Ewww. You can tell a lot about a person from their vanity plate.

I love personalized license plates. I have always wanted one but I think I am not clever enough to pick one that will last or define me in some way. I feel like my suburban is indeed a taxi but how many times have you seen plates like MOMSTXI or MOMOF4 or whatever. BORING! There is always the motocross mom MXMOM or IRIDE2. I could celebrate the fact that I lived in France for a while with OUI OUI or CESTMOI.

My favorite plates are the ones that you can't really figure out what they are trying to say so you make a game of thinking up all of the crazy things it could say. One of the best ever used to be on a truck owned by our good friend who lives down the street. I know this man to be a huge fan of comic book heroes - namely Bat Man. So when he got a big black truck - he got a vanity plate to go along with it. Now this man is also an IT type guy - his previous truck had a plate confessing CMPTRGK (computer geek) - so while I understood his new plate for his new truck - DRKNITE to be an homage to the masked one - my husband came home asking "why would Lee get a plate that says Dork Nite?"

I still want one. Help me think up a good one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Should Stop Talking About the Gym So Much

But when every muscle I have is screaming at me - it is all I can think about.

I will keep going. Quitting is not an option but the thought comes to me every. single. day. I feel good about myself when I am done with a work out. This week was particularly good - yesterday one of the teachers said I was young. Now, most of the women in his class were a good 15 or 20 years older than me but it sill felt good to be called that.

After taking a crazy "combat" class (lots of kicking, punching and running around) the teacher - who knew I was new - came up to me and told me that I did a great job and that I was very coordinated. No one has EVER called me that before - quite the opposite in fact. I regularly trip over nothing, fall UP the stairs and walk into walls and doors. It makes me smile just to think about it - maybe they get paid by the number of return visitors and they know what to say to keep me coming.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Month Off


I have started so many posts in the last four weeks. I have 8 semi-finished posts in draft form. They all suck. This post will probably suck too - but too bad. Lots happened in January that kept my mind off of my blog, a new calling, sickness, taking care of my mom and recently realizing that I put apostrophes in totally inappropriate places.

January was exciting. Devon and Courtney turned 14. They have yet to attend a Saturday night dance. Probably because they are afraid I am going to follow them and embarrass them in front of their friends. I will be really tempted. I will want to see if they are keeping the only rule I gave them - that they only dance with each other. They think I'm weird.

I have a new calling as the Primary Chorister. I think I mentioned it a while ago. It is going well. I really like it. I received no instruction or materials from anyone so I am just going about it in my own way. We learned "I Lived in Heaven" in January. I am teaching "How Firm a Foundation" in February - not easy to teach to three year olds.

We have taken the motorcycles out a few times lately. The desert is so pretty and green right now. The weather is amazing - I even got a little sunburned on my nose last Saturday watching Devon and Alan ride at a new track in our area. This time of year we are all about the motorcycles and camping and being out side. Come July and August every year we discuss selling our motorcycles and trailer because they aren't getting used. We suffer from short term weather memory.

I am making plans to go to Women's Conference again this year. I can't wait. I am such a nicer, better, happier person when I get home.

I just read something very disturbing today on the internets. You know how at the beginning of the season on The Bachelor (you know you watch it) they kept showing a clip of DeAnna coming and telling Jason that she made a mistake and should have picked him? Well, it was all set up by the producers as a teaser for this season. She doesn't really come back. She has a boyfriend. They were just tricking us to make sure we watched every week. I feel duped. But I'm still watching. I choose Molly or Melissa.

I've gone back to the gym. Right now it is kicking my rear-end. Every time a teacher gives out instructions I know they are seeing my bad form and correcting me - every time they shout out an option for the elderly or disabled - I know they are really giving it to me. But - I'm going. I will keep going and hopefully get some more of this weight off.

I still haven't completely put my front room back together since moving everything for Christmas. I need a change - I just haven't figured out what yet. I wish I could afford to re-paint and buy new furniture. I'm wishing for a beachy cottage-y look. Painted wood floors, white slip covered furniture and gauzy windy coverings. Maybe I just need a vacation.

Speaking of vacations. Alan and I were this close to booking a trip to France a few weeks ago. We do this every couple of years. Deals are abounding when the weather is questionable. A wonderful family I know in France recently moved just outside of Paris... if we were just a little bit more secure in Alans job - I think we would do it.

Alans employer has had LOTS of lay-offs as of late. We feel so blessed to still have a job. This blasted recession. I hate that everyone is always talking about it.

Last week I made 16 Mothers Day cards for my card group. Number one, I can't believe I made them last week - typically I am still making them the day we meet. Number two, they are so cute I can't even believe I made them. Number three, I think I made up a technique that I used - but I probably saw it in a magazine or on a blog or something - but I like thinking to myself that I am a paper crafting genius.

I read a cute book on Saturday while at the track. It is called the Secret Journal of Bret Colton. It is Courtney's book - very LDS teenager-y but I liked it. I cried a lot. Probably because I love my brothers so much. I never get to see my brothers. Three live here in town - I rarely see them. I think that it has been over year since I have seen two brothers that live out of town.

I kind of hate facebook. It is overwhelming. But I love that I am keeping track of my nieces and nephews on it. My dad was the great connector. I always knew what was going on with my brothers and sisters and their families while he was alive. There is no one to keep us all updated. For a while we had a family blog - but everyone kind of pooped out on that. Maybe facebook can take its place.

Anyway, kids are home from school. We are heading out for a bike ride or walk to the park to enjoy this beautiful 78 degree day.