Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Choice of the Next Generation...

I've been down in Carson's bedroom and he has this photo of Clayton's baptism on his mirror (sadly, I don't even own any photos of Clayton's baptism, so this isn't the photo I'm referring to, but it's one of the few photos I have of Grandma Hunter).  There is a side of Carson that most of his friends aren't aware of, he's very sensitive to the people who matter most.  It was Clayton's baptism, yet Clayton doesn't have the photo in his room, Carson took it.  It's probably the last photo we have of Grandma Hunter before she passed away.  Both Great Grandma's are very special to Carson, he's the one that reminds me monthly to go bring donuts over to Great Grandma Nelson, yet I still never make it over there because I'm exhausted after a long day of teaching.  This photo got me to thinking...

There are many things that I miss about Grandma, I miss her genuine kindness, and the amazing ability to not worry about the little things.  I don't know if she just never trusted me enough, to let me into her real thoughts; but according to my memories of Grandma, her mind was always on the next meal she would cook for you but never ate herself, dealing with the incessant flies that plagued her life, and reaching the goal of using up every bit of material she purchased back in the 80's during the sale of the century (which was a lot!).  She never spoke unkindly about anybody, she did worry about the weather and her family at times, but mostly she focused on her goals for the day and that woman made everyone around her tired just watching her!  I think the only time she would sit down during the day was at 4 am, when she read her scriptures.  But that's not really what I wanted to focus these thoughts on...

Although I miss my Grandmother dearly, I miss the safety and seclusion of the farm.  I feel so blessed that my boys had a small taste of farm life during the few visits we made to Grandma's.  Grandma and Grandpa were a rare link to a time in history that this generation can't even comprehend existed.  They lived on a farm without indoor plumbing and electricity most of their lives; just like Chris and I lived without internet most of our lives. As they grew older, new technology surfaced-like washers and dryers, automatic dish washers, and indoor heating-my grandparents lived a life without these technologies and did just fine for years, so in their mind what was the hurry in buying the next greatest invention, just because everybody else was doing it? That's one of the things I loved most about my Grandmother-her stubbornness with change and technology.  It made going to her farm such a magical place, like a time-warp of sorts.  Her bedroom was always freezing because they never could get their weird version of a furnace to heat up that side of the house, after three minutes in her bath tub you would run out of hot water because I think her water heater held 10 gallons max!  She made her own laundry soap out of lye, and still used the old washer that had the roller on the top to squeeze out the water.  She never bought a dryer or an automatic dish washer.  If you wanted to reach Grandma, you'd better hope that she was home, because she never bought an answering machine, or heaven forbid a cell-phone! 

Due to this resistance to change, baths were rare in that household, and washing clothes that have seen a full day on the farm were rare as well.  I think my Grandparents bathed once a week and that was on Saturday, because "Saturday is the day to get ready for Sunday" (insert primary tune here...)  Grandma did the laundry either once a month or every other week I think, I'm trying to remember if I ever saw Grandma do the laundry.  I definitely saw the evidence with the sheets and towels etc. hanging outside on the clothesline, but I don't think I've ever seen her old machine turned on.   That saddens me, I should have asked her if she ever needed help with her laundry.  How silly you are as a young child/teenager, you just assume your family will always be around and that there will always be another chance to get that opportunity.  But honestly, I was just too self-absorbed and selfish to think that my sweet Grandmother could use the help.

I'm definitely missing her home and the stinky farm.  I know the house is still there in little Lewisville, Idaho and I could visit if I really felt the need.  But what a soulless skeleton it is without my Grandparents.  I miss them dearly, and once again feel so blessed that I knew them, better yet that I am related to such amazing people.  They left quite the legacy behind.  I hope and pray that in this world of internet and cell phones I can help my children remember what life was really like for people for centuries before electricity.  It got me to thinking how few children had the kind of experience when going to their Grandparents home like I did.  When we went to see Grandma it truly was, "Going over the River, and Through the Woods To Grandmother's house we go" and once you arrived at her house, it was everything that wonderful song described.  I'm glad that my Grandparents could be such a great link to that past for me, and that I can use real life examples, rather than just fluff from history books!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Jase and Tiff at The Red Carpet in Cannes-the original Red Carpet

With Friends Like These...

I apologize early for the length of this post, it's going to be a long one. Have a lot to say.

So here's the quick run down of our story with the Pierce's. Tiff and I were roommates in college. She went on a mission to The Dominican Republic and met my husband Chris. Chris mean-while was companions with Jase. Tiff spent 9 months with Chris and loved him to death and wrote me that I just had to meet him. I wrote her back and said, "I can find my own dates thank you..."
Well, while Tiff was talking me up to Chris, Chris was talking Jase up to Tiff. So long story short, once they were all back home from the mission, we met, fell in love, and a few short months later... Tiff married Jase, and I married Chris. So here's the beauty of our friendship, how many people do you know that are married to each other's best friends? Tiff is mine, has been for 18 years now, and Jase is Chris's, also for 18 years. Needless to say, we were devestated when our best friends left for France to work for the next 3 to 5 years. But with great friends like these, you do what you can to stay in touch. I have to take this time to dearly thank Jase for his extensive hard work that allows him to have the sky miles to fly me out to visit for a week.

A quick stab: for those of you who think you have the best friends in the world, ask your self this one question... Will they fly you to France?

Charmed Life
Tiff and I at the Italian Market in San Remo, Italy-a quick way to burn through all your euros

Those who know Chris and I know that we love to travel and have been to some fabulous places in our day. This trip was definitely in my top two trips of all time. With that said, it's difficult to blog about without making the entry turn into a travel log. So let me just say that every day was better than the day before. I had a 9 hour flight from Nice to New York, and I cried the entire time. It was very hard to leave my best friend behind. Yet my heart was so full of gratitude that I have a friend like Tiff, because she is a rare find in this adult world that we live in, a friend that has stuck by me since I was 18 years old, basically we grew up together. I love you Tiff-thanks for the memories.
To keep things shorter, I've decided to make a list for you all...

10 things I'll miss most about France

10. The Boulangerie's and Patisserie's-
Oh my gosh, the croissants were so delicious. It's scary how many I ate every day. My jeans have definitely noticed I spent a week in France, but the pastries were worth every calorie. I crave them every minute of my day. The French definitely know their pastries!!!
In lieu of pumpkin pie (which I can't stand-due to all of the birthday pumpkin pies I've received from having a Thanksgiving Birthday), Jase bought us all of these tarts. They were sooo delicious, I particularly loved the raspberry/strawberry tart, and the lemon meringue was amazing!
9. Charming little Towns at the top of the Hill
Tiff and Jase live in a cute little town called Plascassier, in the south of France, which is about 10-20 minutes away from the Mediterranean Sea. From Tiff's backyard you can see this darling little town with a clock tower. This picture is what I woke up to every morning.

She also lives minutes away from Mougins Village. Mougins is exactly what I would have pictured classic Europe to look like. Cobble stone streets, beautiful gardens, and little shops focused heavily on the arts.
I love all the clock towers!
8. Narrow Streets
I took so many pictures of the little streets, because I absolutely loved them all. I loved the art work, the beautiful flowers they would all have nestled around their windows. But I think what I loved most was that Tiff had to drive down the streets and I didn't. Everywhere I went I felt like I was in a movie, that either Ashton Kutcher or Julia Roberts would come prancing down at any time.

This first picture is crazy, that's the hood of Tiff's car driving down from the clock tower that you can see from her backyard, I can't believe we didn't kill her paint job-great driving Tiff!

7. Amazing Grocery Stores
I don't have any pictures to share, but Tiff took me to the huge Carrefour (close to double the size of Walmart). I loved all of the fresh vegetables! I've really started to enjoy cooking as a hobby, and have a hard time finding things like fennel, healthy leeks, fingerlink potatoes, fresh herbs, and great fruit. They had it all, plus things I've never heard of. Not to mention the fresh fish, and the meats... Panchetta, Chorizo, brains of cow, horse meat, and all sorts of meat you wouldn't even think was edible. I absolutely LOVED the french yogurt, they came in these cute little ceramic pots. They easily have 3 times the fat and calories of american yogurt, but oh sooooo goood!
6. The Mediterranean
Everywhere we went I just couldn't believe that Jase and Tiff actually live there. Just to give you an idea; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own property in Southern France with their own private yacht. It is honestly picture perfect just about where ever you look. They live minutes away from Cannes, Antibes, and Nice; which are main ports for Mediterranean cruises.
Look at the beautiful blue water! This is from the top of the hill in Eze looking south.

In Mandelieu, farely close to Tiff's house is a real neat place called Castle Beach. Too cold to get in the water, but the weather was beautiful otherwise.
I feel so silly blogging with all of these pictures of just me, but this is one of my favorite pics from the trip. This is me looking out on the Italian Mediterranean, and seeing the sea for the first time!
5. The Shutters
I don't really know why I loved the dumb shutters so much, but the sweet provincial lifestyle just made me feel as if was Belle in Beauty and the Beast everyday. I loved opening up the shutters every morning and unveiling the beautiful light of the day. What a great way to start your day. How do I get the states to adopt these functional shutters that help to control your temperature? Love them, love them.
My sweet provincial life! These are the window shutters on Jocelyn and Jenica's windows.
Every night they board up the house as if it is "Fort Knox" as their land-lady describes. NO need for expensive heaters and air-conditioners.
4. The Gardens for privacy
I'm bummed that I didn't take more pictures of Tiff's garden, and yes they have a gardener. French people are very private, and rather than having those huge vinyl fences for privacy, they use large shrubs. Every other week the gardener comes and trims the hedges to make them look just right. I love the beauty that it adds to the country-makes everything once again, "picture perfect".

These aren't of Tiff's house-but you get the idea
3. The European Style
I absolutely love their style. The boots, the overcoats, the scarves, hand bags etc... With Tiff's help though I have to admit that I felt as if I blended well.
I have to share a funny little story about the French. At the beginning of my trip Tiff took me to an Italian Market-everything is super cheap, and it was a ton of fun. Tiff noticed that I got this Dolce & Gabbana knock-off purse in New York. She asked me, "How much do you like that new purse Cherae?"
I said, "Well, I just bought it, so I'd like to hang on to it." Apparently when you go to these Italian markets, the French police will stop you as you hit the border. They go through your bags, and any knock-off merchandise is confiscated. I found that funny because later on in the week, we noticed some guy peeing on the side of the road. So I simply stated,
"So the french won't allow anything fake in their country, but darn if they're ok with public indecency!" Got to love those priorities!

I snuck this picture of this french lady in the perfume distillery that we toured-notice how thin and the 4" high heels she's wearing...
See other than the fact that I'm not stick thin-I didn't do so bad in the style department. I must admit my best pics are when I borrowed Tiff's boots and trench coat.
2. Eze Village
On my last day Jase thankfully talked Tiff and I into being adventurous and discover Eze Village for ourselves. Wow, I am so glad that we did. It was such a great way to end an amazing trip. It's a cute little village with a mid-evil castle at the top of the hill. When you pay three euros, you can tour the garden at the very top and see that gorgeous view of the Mediterranean from below (there's a picture of it above). We stopped and ate some crepes there; and you might want to check out Tiff's blog on that experience She writes about it really well. Let's just say I think she felt the need to talk to the bishop after eating those crepes.
After looking through this post, I noticed I have a lot of scenery pics and not a ton of people, her I am in the castle, this was a gorgeous garden. The castle had all these cute little shops with doors that were 5 feet high, and gardens all over.
I love this picture of Tiff tucked away in the streets. I just think she's so beautiful, I wish I had her skin.
After eating our crepes, right out the door you could look down at these amazing gardens with full size sculptures of rhino's, elephants, and giraffes-so cool.
1. Jase, Tiff and the Girls
Tiff prepared the most delicious meals everyday I was there. It started with her Chili Lime Enchiladas, and ended with this delectable capressi salad, and prosciutto pasta. Wow, it was goood. I had so much fun playing Fun fusion with Jenny and Joyce everyday. I'll miss watching The Middle with Jase at night and laughing our heads off, then quoting it for the rest of the week. I'll miss watching Maisy open each of her Kinder Eggs with such enthusiasm. I'll miss Maisy's darling little voice that I hope she never loses. I'll miss Joycelyn being so excited to be next to me every minute I was there. I'll miss sitting next to Jenny in McDonald's while scoring a toy that some spoiled kid left behind. I'll miss the constant hum of the DVD's playing in the back seat while the girls are mesmerized by the songs. But most of all, I'll miss Tiff-I love you so much Tiff. Thank you, thank you for being the best friend I could ever ask for. Thank you for loving me despite all my craziness. Thank you for sharing a week with me that I will never forget, you are a treasure, and I am so blessed to have you in my life. (Can you tell the tears are just flowing? I think that's why it's taken me two weeks to write this dumb blog).
Our fabulous Thanksgiving dinner that Tiff prepared-you can tell she worked her but off to make it absolutly perfect!

Maisy and I at Castle Beach in Mandelieu
Me and the girls in their backyard-Thanksgiving was a marvelous day. Look how happy we all were-tough to be away from themTiff wanted me to have a truly authentic French dining experience. Jase took us to this amazing restaurant in Cannes, these were our appetizers-the deep fried zucchini flowers just melted in your mouth-soooo good.
At this gorgeous hotel that Jase took us for dinner on my birthday in Cannes
5 Things I won't miss
5. The French Police
Check out Tiff's blog on the story of Jase's ticket. Pretty darn funny.
4. No Sense of Direction
If you know me well, you know that I can get myself around pretty well. Chris calls me his personal GPS. So you can imagine how annoyed I was that I could never figure out where I was in France. I was completely turned around all the time!
3. The Euro
I feel so fortunate to live in the US where your dollar can go so far. I exchanged $315 dollars in the airport for 200 Euros-which I quickly burned through at the Italian Market on my second day. Everywhere you go, you need to make sure you have plenty of Euros on hand for things like tolls, to grab a grocery cart, even to go to the bathroom if necessary. The cost of living is so crazy out there, I feel for Jase and Tiff. A quick trip for a week or so is doable, but I know for a fact that if I lived in France I would be quickly in the poor house with my little teacher salary.
2. Feeling Deaf and Dumb
Most of the time, I could easily get away without speaking any French, most people speak English and are extremely friendly. But Tiff took me to her ward, and very few people speak English. I felt so stupid and basically deaf and dumb. All I could do was just stand there and look as if I could understand a word they were saying. I was just Tiff's lame friend who traveled all the way to France without knowing a lick of French. However, I did leave the country motivated to learn the language-which is GORGEOUS! It just seems near impossible to learn.
1. Cafe' Creme
If you know me, you know I love my latte's. I was so excited to experience a real European latte or mocha, I just figured that's where they came from. Well Starbucks definitely doesn't exist in France, you're lucky to get a little steamed milk. It's a tiny little cup of espresso, with a sleeve of sugar on the side, and maybe some cream. So my Young and the Restless that I love sooo much, with it's white mocha, and hazelnut espresso is definitely a product of America-plenty of sugar, fat, and way YUMMY! I must say thanks again to Tiff and Jase for your patience with me as we searched for the perfect American latte in France.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Simple Pleasures
I don't know what it is about Conference weekend that fills my soul with thoughts of gratitude and joy. As you all are aware, I love this weekend. I love listening to the words of our prophets, who are continually inspired for my family's benefit daily. How blessed we are to live in a time with the words of a living prophet. I loved President Monson's talk on gratitude. How true that when you focus on the larger picture, such as your health, your family, your education, a roof over your head, your friends, rather than keeping up with the Jones's and the things you don't have that somebody else does, your life is filled with happiness and it is easy to overcome the little hiccups in life.
Between sessions my 1st grader sat next to me reading "Green Eggs and Ham". He reads with such enthusiasm and knows exactly when to raise his voice with an exclamation point, and it is such a treasure to listen to. It is those little things in life that I am truly grateful for at this time. I love having a son who is just a bit younger than my two older boys. I have learned with Clayton to stop time, focus, and relish in the little things he does as he grows up. I only wish I would have done that with Connor and Carson. It is unfortunate, that rather than relishing their milestones, I could only wish for the next mile stone to come even faster. Carson asked me the other day, what his first word was-I don't know, and was too foolish to even write it down. So please young mothers-remember that they will not be babies for long, and you can't wind back time-take time to focus on the little things, relish their milestones, and most importantly-WRITE IT DOWN!
I wouldn't consider myself an overly religious person by any means, but I do love this weekend. I love that our leaders help us to remember to focus on what is most important in this life, to be gracious in all that we do, and remember that the Lord is always with us, all we need to do is invite him in. I kind of feel silly writing about all this in my heart today, but my favorite post that I find myself reading more than any other of my posts was last conference weekend. I've decided that when my heart is full, I'll write it down-more for me than for anybody else. Thanks for listening...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

I chickened out of the hike we were supposed to go on which was to the top of Timp. I figured that I'm already exhausted enough after school these days, and don't need to add to it with an all nighter of a hike. Although I do love that hike when you start at 2 am and reach the summit just in time for sunrise. Absolutely breathtaking and worth the exhaustion if you haven't done it already. So we ended up hiking up to Timp Cave and being the cheap parents that we are, didn't even take the tour. Got some beautiful fun pics though and it is so great showing Chelsea (Chris's cousin) this great state of ours. She's living with us until November during her student teaching. I wish she lived with us permanently-she is the best helper ever!!! It's like living with a nanny.

Clayton was cute, on the way up he kept complaining about how he hates climbing up and can't wait to start going down. Then he complained all the way down as well. One of my favorite comments he made while looking down the steep mountain, "Mommy, if this were covered with snow, it would definitely be a black diamond." Love to hear he's getting psyched for our next ski season!!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

June, July, August-3 reasons to be a teacher

I realize how horrible I am at taking pictures, because we had such a fun summer this year, and I have no pictures to show for it.

Most of June we just chilled out at home. Chris's mother and step-father came for a fabulous visit-but once again, no pics of that. It was great having Dave here for a change, he loves the outdoors. I took him on a quick (I mean that literally-we were up and back in 27 minutes) hike up to Battle Creek Falls, and then spent a lovely evening roasting marshmallows and hot dogs up American Fork Canyon. Wendy was able to stay for
a few extra days longer than Dave, and my kids really love having her around. She's just so dang cute with the boys.

At the end of June Chris and I took a short trip to Cancun, well actually Playa Del Carmen- just a bit south of Cancun. Last March when I was feeling a bit bummed about my life teaching 7th graders, my husband kindly asked if I needed something to look forward to; so he booked an all-inclusive resort in Cancun for 5 days. The resort was great and HUGE, but all the reviews raved about how great the food was. Let me just say, that I think I came back a few pounds lighter at the end of my trip. Which considering I had the option to eat 24/7, gives you a small idea about the quality of food. I think the owners of the Sunset Princess Resort are too focused on making their resort feel American, and forgot to stick to what they are best at. From the lovely picture above, you can see what the humidity does for my hair and make-up. How sad, that picture is one of my best from the trip. (Oh the joys of being in your late thirties-all the days in the sun you spent as a child come back to haunt you, and everything you put in your mouth adds 10 pounds to your thighs).

The first day of our short 5 day trip was spent indoors listening to a damn (pardon my french-but hey if you are reading this, you must know how well and how often I speak that language) timeshare presentation. But it turned out ok because we arrived in the middle of a tropical storm, so we couldn't really go outside much anyway.

Along the HUGE and mile long path back to our room were all these great statues that I think were supposed to be Mayan but we couldn't figure it out-so like typical ignorant Americans, we decided to make fun of them.

Since we listened to the three hour long presentation, we received 4 different excursions. Here's us swimming with the Dolphins. Of course, you can't walk out of there without spending at least $100 on the lame photos they take of you with the dolphins. I mean seriously, couldn't they have taken at least one picture with both of us together? Who wants a CD full of photos with you alone with a dolphin? Apparently I do, because I bought the dumb things.

After Cancun, we were home for about two days and then took a trip down to Long Beach for Connor's national futsol tournament. Once again, no pictures. We love being with his team members and their families. They are our second family. They all played so well, but when it came to the semi-final game they played this Mexican alliance team who has won the tournament for the past several years. These kids were so mean to our team, I guess it's time we start playing rough because they would purposely foul us 5 times each half knowing that they had to use as a buffer. They were mean fouls, and their parents were awfully rude as well. I thought Cameron Pennock's mother was going to get in a brawl with one of their parents before the game started-WHEW! Needless to say we lost to the team, and didn't win the tournament. But they played hard and we really did have a great time together. Until I locked my keys in the trunk of my car at seriously the nastiest beach I've ever seen in California-but that's just a whole other story.

We got home from Long Beach just in time to pack up and meet my brothers and sister in Wolf Creek, up Ogden Canyon. I got my camera out for that trip.

I love Wolf Creek, and would love to own some property up there. During the summer time it reminds me of Kauai, without the beach of course. It so green, with a small valley surrounded with mountains. It was great being with Shayne, Shaughn, and Chanin's family. We always love spending a day or two on the boat with Steve and Chanin. I think my highlight of the trip was finding this cute little boutique where I bought James Breaking Dawn. He read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn in three days.

You'd probably think that Cancun was my highlight for the summer, but you're wrong. The first week in August my parents came home from their mission. It was soooo great getting a huge hug from my Mom and Dad again. I REALLY missed them, I know most missions go by fast. It seemed like they were gone for centuries.

I had to share these two pictures of my darling nephew Danny, and my son and I at the Carrie Underwood concert for Stadium of Fire. I don't listen to country music, but didn't realize just how country I was until I took inventory of all my cowboy hats, cowboy boots, and indian jewelry I have. I might not like to listen to them, but I sure have fun dressing like 'em.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Just a few Thoughts...
I love the relaxing nature of Conference weekend. I must take a second to thank my husband for insisting that Easter is a day to reflect on our blessings and to slow down and enjoy the little things-like time to read and catch up on all my friends blogs. Although the weather on this Easter weekend is just not cooperating, we woke up to 2 inches of snow on the ground, life couldn't be better. I am so very blessed to be a member of a church that provides great peace in my life. I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who continue to inspire me to be the best person I can be. I am blessed that both my husband and myself have two very solid careers that although will never make us millionaires, provides the freedom to allow our family to make incredible memories together. I am blessed to have two wonderful parents that continuously make unselfish decisions to serve our father in heaven, and provide such solid examples for their children and grandchildren. I am blessed to belong to a ward family that has worked very hard at making all of my family feel important, necessary, and missed when we aren't there. I am blessed to have three very beautiful healthy boys who shower me with their love everyday. They brighten my day and give me such a sense of purpose every minute of my life. But most of all, I am blessed to have a husband who believes in me, relaxes me, and makes me feel everyday that I am the most important thing in his life, and that I am the center of his universe.

There is no better feeling in the world than the peaceful feeling that the warmth of the spirit when it wraps around your soul like a warm blanket. I pray that I will allow myself to forget my "to do" list every now and then and truly let the spirit in. I love this gospel, I love the spirit, and I am so very grateful that Christ is a part of my life.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

2 Minutes to Get ya'all up to Speed!
If you are indeed a good friend to us, you already know that Carson's little U8 team won first place in The Vegas Cup over Civil Right's Day Weekend!
It's a fun little story. This little team wasn't even scheduled to play, but one of the mother's figured that we should put their team together considering they were all going to be there with their older brothers anyway. After 3 days of playing on a horrible field-and quite frankly, smoking their competition-it was down to the final game on a very cold Monday! They ended up playing the Premier Vegas Club team. This team was all dressed up to the nines-easily each kid under 8 was wearing $350-$400 in apparel, backpacks with their names on it, full jerseys, and the coaches were even all dressed up in their matching gear! I'm sure the coach figured that they just had this game in the bag. Our team walks on the field with their cheap $5 t-shirts that have been washed way too many times, we looked like complete white trash! Anyway, we won with a 3-1 victory and it was absolutely FABULOUS!!! Carson was so happy, and loved telling everybody his story on the long drive home back to Vegas. I think his main key to success was the "Kel-power" that my cousin bestowed on him before the game. We loved having the Peery's there to celebrate and spend the weekend with. By the way, if you ever need a true "rock star" to go shopping with, Mekel is your gal! We had an amazing time! My students have definitely noticed a different "edge" to my style these days-Thanks Kel, love you much!!!
Soldier Hollow-February 27th

We are all now experiencing the true "winter blues"- the way I fight it is to have fun in the snow! We love Soldier Hollow-definitely pricey-but well worth the experience. We were a bit bummed after spending $100 on the day because it was the warmest day of the year so far. On our first run, we had to push our way down to the bottom. But we learned from our experience, moved on over to the last run, and flew all the way down to the bottom. I am currently the reigning queen with the fastest trips down to the bottom. We always have to finish up with a cup of hot chocolate and fresh donuts, the kids loved it! Clayton keeps asking when are we going again?

A few pictures of Grandpa Ecalono

I had to include these priceless and oh-so-rare photos of Chris's father, Charles "Bud" Ecalono. He past away when Chris was 9 and unfortunately we'll have to wait until our next life to truly meet him. But we have definitely felt his presence when needed, we love him and can't wait to get to know him. Can you see where Chris gets all of his italian good looks from? Actually, it's scary how much he looks like Uncle Chad.

My First Hunting Trip

If you can call it hunting. Basically, I shot my rifle 4 times at nothing in particular-just to say that I did. Chris and I both quickly realized that we feel really bad killing live animals. It was quite sad, basically it was skeet shooting with live birds. We paid to release 5 birds-knowing that I'd be lucky to hit one, hoping that the other four birds would fly away forever. Well, you can probably guess with that many guns, if we couldn't shoot them, somebody else would. So at the end we had 15 sorry dead birds, we bought five, so I was to take 5 different pheasants home and cook. You mean, I have to actually clean the feathers? I wasn't born in the pioneer era for a reason! A hunter I definitely ain't!

Connor's Recital-February 1st
Connor is working so hard this year learning two different instruments. He plays the piano and clarinet. Thanks to Lea, who is an amazing instructor, he is learning so fast!

Connor's 10th Birthday

Connor scored this year and had his party at the new Pirate Island in Orem. He invited 10 close friends from school and from his soccer team. They loved it, we reserved the Smuggler's Cove, which was cozy and very private. Just a little tight for over 17 people. It's sad to think that Connor is so old. He's in 5th grade writing research papers! Crazy!!!

Learning to Ski/Snowboard as a Family

Last year, I posted how much I love skiing, well due to all of Chris's extra coaching we were able to buy ski-passes for our entire family this year. We are loving it, just about every weekend we spend the afternoon together on the slopes. Connor and Carson are learning to snowboard-doing absolutely fabulous I might add-and Clayton is learning to ski. He flies down the mountain and anybody who gets in his way beware because he isn't slowing down for anything. It's delightful and it's nice to experience the positive side of winter for a change.

Well, that about does it, hopefully you are all up to date on our family. Until the next time, I have an extra hour or so, to update the blog...