Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley

Beloved prophet President Gordon B. Hinckley passed on to the next life on Sunday evening, January 27th, 2008. I met him once, when I was a teenager in England. He shook my hand briefly and smiled. I only remember that I felt power in that handshake.

This is one of my favorite pictures of President Hinckley, taken at BYU at the renaming of the stadium. It seems to me to capture the essence of a great man, but also a simple man. To me, he embodies a well-known phrase from the Book of Mormon, "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." He loved his wife dearly. He raised his children in a humble home, worked hard his whole life, was educated and served faithfully in all capacities. He had a testimony of Jesus Christ the Savior, of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God and of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. He lived the gospel of Christ. He traveled the world, served the Church late into his nineties and moved the work of the Lord forward in an unprecedented manner. All of these small and simple things added up to one great life lived. I am grateful for his example, for his legacy, for his spirit that touched so many, that touched me.
I will miss you, President Hinckley, and hope to be able to shake your hand again one day.

A Day in Seattle!

I had the pleasure of visiting the Northwest this weekend. I took Kate along and Ben stayed home with the boys.

I flew to Seattle with my newly acquired flying benefits, courtesy of my brother, Ryan who works for Skywest. This means I can fly anywhere Delta flies for pretty cheap.

We flew into Seattle, and had two days of gorgeous weather. It was very ironic since it was raining in Orange County when I left.

We went to Pike Place Market and then to Kerry Park for a great view of the skyline.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I have always loved swimming. I never swam competitively, but I grew up going to the pool with my family often. At age 17 I became a lifeguard/swim instructor at Steiner Aquatic Center. Yeah, picture me in a red swimsuit, glasses and a tank, a killer tan and sun-bleached hair...that was me! I have always liked swimming breaststroke best and I have learned to do freestyle pretty fast over the years. BUT, to my embarrassment, I have never been able to do a flip-turn! I tried learning a couple of times, but to no avail. Mostly I felt like an idiot trying. You can look pretty stupid doing flips under water, kicking off into the pool nowhere near the wall and coming up coughing and choking on water that streamed up your nose while you were flailing around. This was especially embarrassing with my fellow lifeguards watching from the lifeguard stand. I gave up.
I have been swimming with my friend Audra since August three times a week at 6:30 am. It's been great! We're amazed that we are still going, even swimming through December and January with temperatures in the low forties. There aren't any people to impress anymore... and I got over the embarrassment and practiced. This week I mastered it - I can officially do a flip turn consistently. Flip turn...check!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Love the 80's

As part of Ian's Spirit Week at school, he had to dress up in 80's gear today! I was way more more excited about it than he was. So this is what happens when you are a child of a child of the 80's.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


We celebrated another double birthday on January 8th. Ian turned 7 and Ben turned 33. Happy Birthday, boys! There are numerous other people with this birthday...The Blake twins, Elvis, Ian's school principal and his friend Dean, Ben's cousin and a brand new baby in our ward!
I was recounting to Ian about the day he was born, that it was Dad's birthday and I had gotten him DVD player for a present and started making a cake when suddenly, I started having a feeling that he wanted to get out (yeah, I toned that down A LOT) and a couple of hours later, there he was. Ian threw in this comment: "And then you gave dad another present...ME!" The DVD player stayed in the trunk of the car for a few days and Ben got a little jell-o and cream dessert with a candle and song from the nurses at the hospital.
We celebrated with Sprinkles cupcakes for Ben and a Lego cake for Ian. My take on those $36 per dozen cupcakes - really, really good, but not a whole lot better than homemade. The red velvet flavor was the best one...hands down. I think who enjoyed them most was my brother Ryan, who graced us with a 5-hour visit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Holiday Recap

We had a great holiday this year! We started December off with a visit to Santa. Ian asked for a Wii and Jacob asked for a Nintendo DS. Kate wanted her pacifier.

We had a German Advent at our house with some members of the ward familiar with the tradition. On the four Sundays preceding Christmas we light a candle; on the first Sunday one candle is lit, the second Sunday two, and so on. We sing songs and eat treats, sometimes they are German, sometimes not.

We did Christmas Pixies... we secretly gave gifts and treats to a family in our ward. we all giggled and raced to our car after we door bell ditched our family, even when they weren't there.

We scurried and hustled, worried and bustled to get everything ready for Christmas before we left for Utah...in time to get there the Saturday before Christmas to watch the BYU bowl game on Dad's big screen hi-def projection surround sound TV. We did some last minute shopping, I got a $13 Utah hair cut (!) and got ready for the big festivities.

Christmas Eve we were at Ben's parents in Draper. We did the traditional Nativity re-enactment - Ian was a stylin' Joseph, Jacob was a cow with a tinge of mad cow disease, and Kate was the cutest little Christmas angel ever.

Just a bit of M--- family history: this tradition had to be banned for a while when the favorite character of the nativity became Haste, the guy the shepherds came with. Usually clad in sunglasses and silly wigs, he wasn't exactly the spirit of Christmas.

Then grandpa read the letter from Santa, recounting all the goings-on of each grandchild over the year, if they've been good or bad and that he's bringing them an....oops almost told! Ian was pretty dumbfounded that Santa knew he scored a goal in soccer this year. He exclaimed,"Yes, I did!" He got even more excited when Santa mentioned he didn't know what all the excitement was about the Wii this year. Ian took this as an indication that Santa had indeed heard his pleas to bring him said Wii and proceeded to cheer and do a little victory dance. Luckily, Santa did indeed bring him (and his family) a Wii. Phew!

We watched lost of movies: my favorite was Stardust...a fun fantasy flick. We ate lots and lots and lots of treats and goodies: my favorite was black licorice caramels. We played games and did puzzles and went shopping, and ate at Cafe Rio, La Frontera and the Bonsai -all delicious and fun.

We braved the cold and went sledding and saw the lights at Temple Square. Kate was truly amazed. Some of the pieced together winter/snow clothes were pretty good...Kate's ghetto hat went nicely with Jacob's old coat and mittens, Ian looked fine in his girl cousin's powder blue snow pants and Jacob was divine in the neighbor's two sizes too small one piece snow suit. I didn't think you could get a wedgie when there was so much padding in a snow suit, but turns out you can. The Winnie the Pooh snowflake boots completed Jake's ensemble.