We're back! And we had the best weekend ever! So, here's the whole story. We had originally planned to go to Mesquite to visit my parents over UEA weekend. We planned on hiking in the desert and going to Hoover Dam. But then, I was surprised with tickets to Mama Mia at the Mandalay Bay and our plans changed! We left here on Thursday and drove to Mesquite, stopping at Cove Fort along the way (which is way cool.) We got to my parent's house late Thursday evening. The next day, Friday, we kept our promise to the kids and went hiking in the Valley of Fire. I love that place and Doug had never been there, so of course we had to go! That night we had a weeny roast at my parent's house with my cousin Joseph and his wife, Andrea. They brought their new baby who has more hair than I do and he's only 3 days old!
Then on Saturday Doug and I got all gussied up and went to Vegas!! Most everyone knows that I have anxiety issues when I'm away from my kids. I don't really like leaving them, but I have to admit that it was soooooooooooooooooo wonderful to be alone with my husband! We arrived at Mandalay Bay a little early and wandered around. I gambled a little and won $11. I felt dirty in a good way.... Anyway, then I discovered how poor folk like us could afford a show in Vegas. Apparently my father, now a shady Nevada resident, had made a new "connection" with the Mandalay Bay Theater manager. Here's how it went down, we had to go to a certain spot at a certain time to call a certain number and say a certain thing. We were then given directions to go to a certain door at the theater and ask for a certain person who led us to the theater manager who told us to go through a certain door at a certain time to find him. Doug even gave him one of those suave handshakes that resulted in a huge tip for the manager..... Anyway, all the cloak and dagger shannanigans resulted in VIP BOX SEATS! We not only got to see a show in Vegas but we got to do it in style! It was awesome to sip our $100 diet sodas while we watched the show. And let me tell you, it was sooooooooooo much better than the movie. The singing was amazing and it was completely hilarious. My anti-musical husband even loved it!
I'll spare everyone a description of the rest of the evening but let me assure you that it was the best anniversary ever! I love my husband so much, more than I did 10 years ago. It's amazing how much he's become a part of me, he's in everything I think and do. He's what I breathe and dream. I never thought, in all my messed up formative years, that I would deserve what I've found in Doug. We've been through some tough times and some hard things, but we've learned to grow together and now whatever crazy things come our way, we're able to deal with them together. And of course, I love him more and more for giving me my beautiful children.
Ok. I'm appalled at my cheesiness so I'll stop. To sum it all up, we had an awesome weekend.
Thank you to my parents who played with my kids while we were in Vegas! And thanks to the Cox's for lending us the car top carrier so I could pack a variety of wardrobe choices!
I am so excited that I can barely contain myself! Friday is our TEN year anniversary and we were planning to go to Nevada to hike in the desert. However, last night I was surprised with tickets to Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas!! We're going to have the best weekend ever. We're still taking the kids to the desert (no we won't leave them there....) and then we're going to Vegas after that.
Yes, I have the best husband EVER. I'm continually amazed that he has put up with me for 10 years.
Here's what's gonna be happening in Nevada this weekend:
Today we attended my baby cousin's wedding in the Manti Temple. This is the second time I've been to that temple, the first time was for my sister's wedding. I'd forgotten how gorgeous it is!
I call Kairon my baby cousin, even though he's very far from being a baby now. He's over 6 feet tall and a returned missionary. However, his new wife, Autumn is probably barely 5 feet tall. She's so tiny! They make a cute couple. I am so happy for them! Although it was very strange for me to be sitting in the sealing room, watching Kairon sit across from his bride. He got this look on his face that he used to have when he was little and it made me cry. He grew up too fast!
During the sealing ceremony, the officiator compared our sealing ordinance to canning fruit. He made a couple of really good points, the first being that there is a lot of preparation and crucial ingredients to properly canning fruit and the second point is that you don't seal empty jars. In marriage, there are crucial ingredients, you need a man and a woman, love, commitment, and patience. There is also preparation, which is something that Doug and I had to learn the hard way before we were sealed to each other and to Ethan. The officiator said that there's a lot of work and patience that goes into canning and of course we all know that there's a lot of work and patience that goes into a successful marriage, especially an eternal one. Just because we get a piece of paper saying we're sealed for eternity doesn't make it so. We have to put in the effort, we have to obey the commandments, serve our Heavenly Father and each other, and strengthen our faith in and knowledge of gospel principles. We have to do our part in making our marriage an eternal marriage.
Doug and I have our off days, we often joke that we've been together for 10 years and it's been blissful for 8 1/2! But we love each other enough to make sure we're each doing our part to ensure that the other is happy. I am so lucky to have Doug. He is such a good daddy and he's an adoring husband. There's never a day that goes by where he doesn't tell me that he loves me and why.... sometimes even sending me eyebrow raising text messages while I'm at work.... He also does sweet things like doing all the prep work for dinner on the nights he has to work so all I have to do is heat it up. He still leaves his underwear on the floor BESIDE the hamper but somehow I wouldn't trade that away if I could. Next week we'll have been married for 10 whole years! Crazy!!
Thank you to all the people who watched my kids for us today! It was so nice for Doug and I to have a day ALONE. It's a rare phenomenon.
I'm in a really bad mood, so I decided I needed to sit down and really think about something positive. When I do that, my thoughts always turn to my grandmother. Her name is Joyce and she is absolutely amazing. She's in her mid-70's and a total firecracker!
I was able to spend last weekend with her. Doug had to work, so I took my kids up there on Saturday, in between conference sessions, and spent the night with her. She totally spoils us when we go visit. She made yummy meals and planned fun activities for my kids. It was completely relaxing. One of my new favorite memories of her will be cleaning up dinner with her whole listening to the beginning of the last session of conference.
Let me tell you a little about my grandma. She's a beautiful woman who has accomplished many great things. I watched her tackle some enormous situations with strength and grace that most people could never pull off. On Christmas day of 1994, my grandpa passed away from a heart attack. He was 65. Two years later my uncle (her youngest son) died at a wedding from a major heart attack. He died 5 days before his 40th birthday. She was there when he collapsed on the dance floor and she watched him die. About two years after that, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a masectomy which was extremely difficult on her because she does not deal well with anesthesia. However, her doctors discovered they didn't get all the cancer and had to remove her other breast. To make matters worse, when she underwent reconstructive surgery, she came down with a nasty infection and had to be hospitalized for that. She did this while still grieving for her husband and son and she had completely uprooted her life, moving to Layton, UT. She had sold some property and her business that she had built from the ground up, and left her home of almost 30 years in Jackson, WY.
My grandma had many experiences before all this tragedy that I think prepared her to deal with these events. She not only raised 3 children, but she always worked full time in an era when most women stayed home. She did this so my grandpa could go back to school. She served cheerfully and willingly in the church, and their home was ALWAYS the site for major church parties.
Later she helped my grandpa acheive his childhood dream of starting a "western adventure" business in Jackson Hole, a place where my grandpa had spent his summers when he was growing up. They purchased my grandpa's family homestead and started a chuckwagon dinner show, a 7 day packtrip adventure and a 4 day wagon train. They built their first covered wagon in their driveway in Provo. By the time my dad bought the business from my grandma, they were running 10 wagons twice a night for their dinner show. My grandma was featured in tons of magazine articles, including County Woman and Family Circle.
When I was in middle school, my grandma brought her father home to live with them. At the same time, my great-grandmother on my grandpa's side had passed away and he had brought his father to live with them as well. Her father had alzheimers. I watched her care for these two aging men while she was running a business and serving in the stake relief society presidency. She eventually had to put her father in a nursing home because he became too volital. At the time, the decision was so hard because she couldn't afford the nursing home in Jackson so they had to send him to Rexburg which was about an hour and a half away.
She has had a full life and I love to hear her stories. And she keeps on living her life. She has traveled all over the world and continues to do so. She has volunteered at the hospital and she now serves a mission at Temple Square in SLC. She has always been a central figure in my life. We lived right next door to her on the same property until I was 16. She is one of my best friends and one of the best examples to me. My memories of her are sweet and strong.
In Conference, Elaine S. Dalton stated that she has a plaque that says she can do hard things. When I forget that I can do hard things, I think of my grandma who has done more than her fair share of hard things and I simple have to tell myself to "Cowboy up Cupcake" and get on with it. I was raised by incredibly strong women, my mother, my aunt and my grandmother have given me peices of themselves and because of them I know I can do anything.
So, I get a phone call from the school this morning saying that Carter had fallen and hit his head. The secretary thought it would be a good idea if I came to evaluate Carter myself. I rushed over to the school and found Carter sitting next to the principal, Mr. Jensen in the office who had been checking his eyes to see if they were dilating properly. Carter was holding an ice pack to his head and when he lifted it, he had a HUGE bump on his head. It was a little bigger than a golf ball but not quite as big as a baseball.
Carter has beautiful, huge greenish blue eyes with the longest, thickest lashes I have ever seen. He looked at me with his sad eyes, his lashes looking way longer because they're wet, and my heart broke. Of course I take him home, calling our pediatrician on the way.
Apparently Carter was riding on a scooter in Gym and face planted on the floor. He's fine now, the bump has shrunk but it turned into an ugly purple bruise. So sad. Luckily there's no concussion and he says it doesn't hurt unless someone touches it.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say: "I used up everything you gave me." ~Erma Bombeck
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela
"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." – Herman Melville
Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that a son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that the child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. -Nelson Mandela
I am a single mom of six precious children! They are six little pieces of my heart, somehow walking independently of my body. My goal these next few years is to make sure they are going to be happy, healthy and successful.
Here's to new beginnings! Stay tuned!