December 20, 2007

Christmas Books

One of my favorite Christmas books for children is "Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear." If you are familiar with the original "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear" then you will appreciate this one all the more. It is a very sweet story that will take you by surprise.

We all know the old poem "The Night Before Christmas" but I especially love this version with illustrations by Tasha Tudor. [I grew up with a fascination for her lovely book, "A Time to Keep."] She was well into her 80's when she illustrated this one, and it shows, but it's still lovely.
My sister gave us this delightful book a few years ago, and it's been a hit. It's a fun imaginary tale of the adventures of the neighborhood snowmen when no one is looking.

And of course, Christmas wouldn't be complete without "The Grinch," as it is usually referred to around our house. I hated the live-action film with Jim Carrey (who I usually like), but I thoroughly enjoy the old animated version. However, nothing can compare to reading the wonderful words from the book!

So, grab your kids and snuggle up on the couch with a few good books.

December 12, 2007

Photo Session

Here are a few photos from the photo session we had on Saturday with Jay's family.

December 11, 2007

Mary was chosen as "Student of the Month" at school. Each teacher selects one exemplary student from their class each month. She is such a good student and takes school very seriously. We are very proud of her.


Today is the 6th anniversary of the death of my sweet sister, Charity. My mom and some of my sisters and I got together and read letters that family and friends wrote to Jonah about the mother who he will not know in mortality. It was a nice remembrance, but also very emotional. We visited the cemetery and left some beautiful red roses from my mother's garden.

Today is the also the 6th anniversary of the birth of my niece, Isabel. Happy Birthday cute girl!

December 10, 2007


So, I had JURY DUTY today.... M--- County Superior Court. It was quite an experience. Honestly, I wouldn't mind serving on a jury.... as long as it didn't conflict with the rest of my life. So I was hoping to be excused when I proclaimed that I am the mother of 3 young children and it would be a hardship for me to serve for more than one day... today.

It was nothing like you see on TV, which makes it seem very solemn. Everyone, from the woman handing out paper work and doing the orientation, to the Bailiff and court reporter, to the Judge, was cracking jokes right and left. They all seemed to really enjoy their job.

So, 55 of us sat in the court room answering lots of questions while the attorneys took tons of notes. The defendant, an African American man accused of transporting and selling drugs, looked respectable in his suit.

By lunch time, we still had a ways to go, and I hadn't been dismissed yet, even though I had made my case. I should have just answered yes to the question, "Do you think drugs should be legal for personal recreational use." The handful who did answer yes, were dismissed right after lunch.

When we got back into the courtroom after lunch, the attorneys all took a really long time coming back into the room, so the judge entertained us with stories and answering questions. (Seriously, he loves his job. He took the mandatory retirement at 70, and came back to work the next day at $15/hr. because he loves it!)

Then the attorneys came back into the court room and asked for a side-bar. They all left the room for another 5 minutes, after which the judge came back in and said, "Well, he plead guilty. You can all go home." Whew!

So, I got my "proof of service" paperwork and got on the shuttle to go back to the parking garage, along with the other people from my group.... and the public defender, who was excited to get to go home early too.

During the short ride, he told us that after the lunch break he asked his client if he still wanted to go through with it, and he said, "No way!" The reason? There was not one African American among the prospective jurors.

The judge also told us that the defendant will be sentenced to 5-9 years. He had prior convictions.

December 05, 2007

Wedding Weekend

Jay and I spent the weekend in Seattle for my brother's wedding in the Seattle Temple.The wedding was wonderful, of course, and I couldn't be more pleased with my new sister-in-law, Leone. My brother, Stephen, did well. But then so did she.

We flew to Seattle on Friday morning... my parents, all my siblings (except my youngest brother who is in Germany/Austria on a mission), and their spouses. It was SO much fun to be all together... without any kids! (Eating at non-kid-friendly restaurants, going to late movies, sleeping in, staying up late talking and laughing with my family, no cooking or cleaning, shopping without hearing any whining... can you say "heavenly?")

We stayed at the lovely Hyatt Regency in downtown Bellevue, which was very comfortable! Stephen had arranged for a friend to take us into Seattle in his... "bus" (for lack of a better word). (See photo below)

We visited famous Pike Place Market, which was amazing. I wish we had been able to spend more time there. I'm determined to visit again... in the summer. (It was freezing!)

That evening there was a dinner for the families (and a few close friends) of the bride and groom. At my mother's request, Jay and I wrote a skit which we performed after dinner. That "we" does not include Jay, who refuses to perform, even though he is totally good at it. So, my other brothers and a brother-in-law got roped into it. They did a great job, and it turned out pretty good. It was a lot of fun. [Most of the jokes are about the bride and groom, so unless you know them, you won't get it.... but it's still pretty funny anyway, especially if you are a fan of SNL.]

Saturday morning we slept in, had a leisurely (and delicious!) breakfast, and then hit the mall across the street for a while, since the wedding wasn't until 1:00. The wedding was lovely and my brother was absolutely beaming. So was his bride, of course.

It had started snowing during the wedding, so we came out to find a winter wonderland. It was quite beautiful.

It was so much fun to be with all my family. Here are all the gals in front of the Temple... except my new sister-in-law, who was busy being photographed by a professional... and trying not to freeze to death in her wedding gown.

I admit it was kind of fun to feel like it was actually winter. I got to wear a real coat, gloves, and scarf for heaven sake... borrowed, of course. I have no need for such things living in the desert.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take any pictures of the reception that evening, but trust me, it was beautiful! It was a very fun trip, and I was reluctant to leave. But as always, we were happy to get back to our kids, who were in the capable hands of Jay's mother... being spoiled. :)

December 04, 2007


Whenever I go to someone's house during December and see how cute their house is decorated with Christmas stuff, I always lament my extreme lack of Christmas decor. I'm pretty cheap about it too.

Around our house, we put up a Noble fir purchased from Home Depot, and decorate it very simply with white lights, ornaments given to us as gifts or passed down, and cheap candy canes (you know the boxes of 12 for $0.88 at Wal-Mart) that are easily broken.... and replaced.

The first Christmas we were married, my sister-in-law gave me a lovely wreath that was custom-made by her neighbor. We hang it on our door every year... though it's now missing several of it's decorations.

My sister, Charity, bought me an olivewood Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus when she spent a semester at the BYU Jerusalem Center. That goes on my entry table, and always reminds me of my dear sister who I miss so much.

We hang the same stockings that I ordered from a catalog year ago.... from our built-in bookcases because we don't even have a fireplace in our house (who needs a fire in the desert?). Some people get new ones every year... what's up with that?

Jay hangs a row of simple white lights along the roof line of our house, and that's about it. This year I did buy one new item... a snowglobe/music box from Target, for $12.

Our house feels under-dressed compared to most others.... not even worth posting pictures or even taking them. And from my description, you have probably begun to feel some pity for me. But don't! I love it!

I have always preferred simple. Number 1, I don't have to store a ton of junk; #2, I don't have to spend days putting it all up and taking it down; and #3, we keep it simple.

And though we say we are going to do so every year, this year we finally did it.... we kept the gifts simple. Now I'm excited to enjoy the season.... Christmas music, baking, taking goodies to elderly neighbors, and teaching my children the true meaning of Christmas.

November 27, 2007

Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, and Cranberry Sauce... Woooooo!

I think this might be my favorite TV commercial ever. And it's very appropriate for post-Thanksgiving.

Mom Knows All

A conversation with Jack in the car yesterday:

Jack: Mom, you know everything.

Me: (smiling) I do?

Jack: Yes, you know how to cut the brown stuff off apples.

Me: (trying not to laugh) Oh, right.

Jack: And you know how to buy stuff at the store, and all kinds of things. That's hard stuff for me.

Me: (busting up) I see.

Well, he's right, you know.

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend. We ate with my family on Thursday, and then that evening we drove to the cabin for the weekend. We enjoyed relaxing and visiting, and the kids had a great time playing with their cousins.

It was really cold, but the kids played outside most of the time, though they would run inside and stand by the fire for a while, and then run off to play again.

Oh, and Mary finally lost Tooth #2 at the cabin. Fortunately, the Tooth Fairy found her. She was excited to lose it, of course, but also a little disappointed that she didn't lose it at school, because (as she informed me numerous times over the last few weeks) if you do, "you get to go to the Nurse's office, and you get a little necklace with a plastic tooth on it, and it opens up and you can put your tooth inside so it won't get lost."

Oh, well. Maybe with tooth #3.....

November 15, 2007

"You gotta get some mawble cawlumns!"

I became physically ill while viewing the photos of this house ("house" hardly qualifies as an appropriate term for this monstrosity), which Emily blogged about. (Don't take the "Property Tour" on a full stomach.) It certainly can't be called a "home" because no one could actually live a normal life with a family in such a place... you would never SEE your family. Obviously, they were going for the palatial look. It's really ridiculous, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Then I had a good laugh when I realized anyone can get this look by following the instructions from one of my favorite SNL skits.

November 09, 2007

This is not a commercial

Can I tell you how much I love my kids' school? I really love it! Can I also tell you why? (For the sake of privacy and my kids' security, it shall remain nameless. But you can ask me about it later.) I will try to be brief. Here are just a few of the reasons:

1) Academics: Our school uses the wonderful Spalding Method for language arts (unlike some schools who claim to use the program, our school truly does), the Open Court literature series, and the excellent Saxon Math program. I also love that the children are required to memorize and recite poetry every term.

2) Patriotism: Flag Ceremony is held every morning before school, and parents are invited to attend any time. The children sing a patriotic song, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, observe a moment of silence, and hear a message about the Virtue of the Month. In addition, they learn greetings in various foreign languages, and practice skip counting aloud on the way to class. It is so amazing!

There are several "special" Flag Ceremonies held throughout the year, and one of them was today, in honor of Veteran's Day. The children are invited to bring any family members who have served or are serving in the Armed Services to enjoy breakfast and a special program where the children sing all the Armed Services songs, and the winners of the Veteran's Day essay contest read their winning essay. (Each student writes an essay... in class, without parental help... and the teacher selects 2 as finalists. The principal then chooses one winner from each grade.) This year Collin won for the 3rd grade! He was so excited, and we were so proud of him. Each of the winners receives a medal too.
3) Fund-raising: We don't send our children door to door selling crap! We have ONE fund-raiser a year organized by the parent association ... a carnival-type event, with games and other activities, food, a silent auction (the biggest money maker), and a raffle. Ours was last Saturday (which is one of the reasons I have been super busy... I was on the committee... big sigh of relief), and it went really well. Our profit was over $6500 (I know because I'm also the treasurer of the parent organization), and ALL of it will benefit the school and our kids..... not some "fund-raising company."

4) Dress Code: Our school has a pretty strict dress code, and they enforce it. I won't go into the details here, but I love that there is complete modesty on our campus.

5) Our school is not afraid to have a CHRISTMAS concert where religious songs are sung, have CHRISTMAS parties in class, and refer to CHRISTMAS break. (That's probably because it's a charter school.)

Thank goodness for charter schools because we have a choice. I'm not saying that all charter schools are good, because there are a lot of terrible charter schools around. (Though the really bad ones don't stay around long.) But thank goodness for our awesome school!

November 08, 2007

Doing the "Best" I can

Everyone keeps asking why I don't blog very much anymore. Well, I'll tell you. (Though I don't think I EVER blogged "very much.")

1) I'm stirring too many different pots, wearing too many different hats, I bit off more than I can chew... choose your favorite cliche. (read this)

2) I've been trying to heed Elder Oaks' most recent conference talk entitled "Good, Better, Best." While blogging is "good" it's not the "best" use of my time.

That doesn't mean I'm quitting. Just take the posts as they come.

November 06, 2007

The Big #1

Mary FINALLY lost her first tooth. She was so thrilled that she said she thought she was dreaming. She kept looking in the mirror and commenting on how different she looks. She was especially excited to find a shiny gold dollar coin under her pillow the next morning.

Tooth #2 is on it's way out. Should be any day now.

November 04, 2007

Disneyland Trip - Day 1

This is a first for my blog; an entry with a commercial sponsor. This Disneyland Report is brought to you by our friends, Jason King and Jocelyn, who let us stay at their lovely home in return for publicity on this blog.

[Jason King is concerned about his "Google Rating", and seems to think that my blog will give him enough of a boost to edge past "Jason King's Bail Bonds in Hackensack, though he will never surpass "Jason King" the 1970's British television series whose title character inspired Mike Myers to create "Austin Powers."]

On Wednesday, we drove to the home of our friends, Jason King and Jocelyn (did I already mention them?). We enjoyed visiting with Jason King and Jocelyn. Jay threw out his arm playing baseball on their Wii, but he and Jack had a great time watching the races at the Jason King Family Motocross Bonanza.
[This portion of today's entry was brought to you by our friend Jason King, and the DVD release of "Jason King." The following material is commercial-free... unless you count the publicity for Disneyland... as if they need it.]

On Thursday morning we drove the short distance to Anaheim and checked into the Park Vue Inn (the cheapest and closest motel to the main entrance) and spent the day at Disneyland having a great time. This was Jack's first time, so it was especially fun to watch his reaction to everything.

Jack was very excited to ride on Space Mountain....

Then somewhat concerned....

Then sort of stunned....
But in the end he loved it, and wanted to ride it again and again, which we did. He also enjoyed Splash Mountain... can't you tell from this photo?
The kids also enjoyed the Woody's Roundup show in Frontierland.

We felt really lucky when we somehow got selected to ride in the VIP car on the Disneyland Train. We had no idea it existed before. It was nice and plush, and a nice break when our feet were killing us.
We went on all the other rides too (not the first day though), including "It's a Small World".....

And the Haunted Mansion, which Mary wasn't so sure about.

I thought it was fun that we ran into this little "Band of Pirates" (get it?) in New Orleans Square after riding "The Pirates of the Caribbean."
We watched the big parade on Main Street that evening, and didn't stay up too late.

The weather was great, and we had a blast!

November 02, 2007

Now do you get it?

My sister featured me on her blog yesterday. I'm flattered, but kind of embarrassed by something. I guess it's my own fault for being so vague with the title of my blog.

Even my own sister thought my title referred to me being a "kind" person. Though I would love to be known as a kind person, I'm afraid that is not always the truth.

She did get it right that "aliceknd" = my first name + middle name initial + maiden name initial + married name initial. But the "i" is in there to create a word similar to "mankind" or "humankind," as in "alice-and-her-husband-and-children."

So, I hope that clarifies things.

And thanks, Liz, for thinking I'm kind. I'm not so sure about the part where you point out my big nose, and how I'm SO much older than you. But I'll forgive you, since that would be the kind thing to do.

November 01, 2007

"Super" Halloween 2007

Spiderman costume.... $0.99 on eBay.

Wonder Woman costume.... $14.98 from Lillian Vernon.

Batman Costume.... FREE from mother-in-law's stash.

Continuing our tradition of theme-dressing for Halloween....

October 26, 2007

Pushing Daisies

I can't help being totally smitten with this show. It is the perfect blend of funny/quirky, sweet/romantic, with a little drama and action to boot. I also love that the creators aren't afraid to throw in cheesy musical numbers, ala "Grease" and "They Might Be Giants." No one can blame them. After all, with the hilarious and talented Kristin Chenoweth among the fabulous cast, how could they help it? Not to mention "the" Prince Charming himself, Lee Pace, and the absolutely darling Anna Friel. Add to that the eye-popping sets and "Chuck's" gorgeous wardrobe, and there is enough eye-candy to last until the next episode. Even Jay likes it. And that's saying something.

October 16, 2007

We're Back

We returned from our trip Sunday evening. I found many birthday wishes waiting for me... email, voice mail, and snail mail. Thank you all.

We had a great time, and I will tell you all about it later. (I'm still trying to recover from the trip.) I was going to post a photo to hold you until them, but blogger won't let me. According to the error message, they "are aware of this problem and currently working on a fix." Sorry.

October 09, 2007

Fall Break

We are leaving town tomorrow morning for Disneyland. See you next week!

September 27, 2007

My Theme Song

I feel exactly like this.... my new theme song. Listen closely.... maybe a few times.

UPDATE: The link will be taken off YouTube eventually, so if it doesn't work, search on for "Anita Renfroe William Tell."

September 25, 2007

I've Been Tagged

So, I've been tagged, and because I like Jen, I will respond, even though I don't want to.

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago...
1) Learning to be a new wife.
2) Building a house (the one we live in now).
3) Working full-time for my dad's company.
4) Dreaming of having children.
5) Teaching the Mia Maids in Lindsay Ward.

5 Things on my "to-do" list today....
1) Go to Adult Institute at the Stake Center (loved it, as usual).
2) Get a poster laminated at Teaching Tools (done).
3) Make visiting teaching appointments (actually, my companion did).
4) Visit neighbor who just had her first baby (still pending).

5 snacks I enjoy....
1) Smoothies made of mixed frozen fruit and skim milk.
2) Unsalted chips and fresh chunky salsa.
3) Whole grain pita chips and roasted garlic hummus.
4) Fresh fruit.
5) Chocolate and peanut butter

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire...
1) Be a philanthropist.
2) Be a philanthropist.
3) Be a philanthropist.
4) Be a philanthropist.
5) Be a philanthropist.

5 bad habits...
1) Procrastinating
2) Biting my nails
3) Interrupting my husband
4) Taking too long to say what I want to say
5) Eating when I'm not hungry

5 things I would never wear again.... (notice the non-committal "would" rather than "will")
1) Jelly shoes
2) Polo shirt with collar flipped up, and a strand or two of bright colored beads
3) "Skinny jeans" (unless I can ever wear a size 0)
4) Enormous shoulder pads
5) Neon colors from head to toe

5 of my favorite toys....
1) iPod
2) ClearPlay DVD player
3) My new washer and dryer
4) My Steinway grand piano
5) Computer

5 people I tag.... (sorry if you've done this before)
1) Emily
2) Cindy
3) Sarah
4) Melissa
5) Laura

If I didn't tag you, you can still do it... if you want to.

September 13, 2007

Last Chance

Last weekend, my little brother, Stephen, and his cute fiance, Leone (rhymes with peony) were in town, visiting from Seattle. As usual, he made a trip to Last Chance (I think it is the only reason he comes to visit). Since we were headed over to that part of town for a barbeque on Saturday at my older brother's house, Jay and I couldn't resist making the kids suffer through a little "Last Chance" purgatory.

Jay headed for men's wear, while I hit the shoe department. After loading up my cart with shoes (I only bought one pair in the end, but they are super cute red flats), I headed toward the clothing and ran into Stephen who showed me his finds.

Stephen told me that he had seen Jay holding 3 dress shirts that he was planning to buy, and that Jay had said I wouldn't be too happy about it. He was obviously a little confused by that. I sighed, and then explained, "Well, you see, Jay already has about 50 dress shirts at home." Stephen laughed. He thought I was joking. I'm not.

Yes, Jay wears a dress shirt to work every day, so he needs to have plenty. But, hey, I do laundry at least once a week! Recently, Jay explained to me that he fears "Last Chance" might pick up and leave (after all, it's the only one in the country) and then how would he get his preferred shirts (these and these) for only $9.97? So, I stopped bugging him about it. Sort of.

I have been known to exaggerate on occasion (mostly when I was a teenager, but I've gotten over it, so give me a break please!) but I'm not exaggerating about Jay's shirts.

Well, maybe a little. I went and counted them, and he only has..... 46.... (probably because I insisted he get rid of some of them at our garage sale recently). So sue me!

But don't get me started on his shoes!

The Break-up

Dear John (1),

The last 10 years were good ones. You were always there for me. Don't take this personally, but it's just not working (2) for me anymore.

I can no longer put up with your complaining (3). It's time for you to move on (4). I'm sure you will find someone else who will take you (5).

Don't try to change my mind, because you can't. I have already found someone new (6), and we are deeply in love. He cares about the environment (7), takes up much less space and is much taller (8). My life (9) is so much better now. Yes, he has already moved in, which is why you have been sleeping on the back porch.

Goodbye forever. I hope I never see you again.


1) My old washer and dryer.
2) Your drying function.
3) The loud noise you make during the spin cycle.
4) To a landfill... or perhaps a parts shop.
5) If I put you on the curb, I'm sure someone will pick you up.
6) Whirlpool Duet Sport.
7) Uses one third the water, and dries in half the time.
8) Because they stack!
9) My laundry room.

British Humour


"Mommy, what is that you are putting under your arms?"

"It's called deodorant."

Jack nodded wisely, as if he knew exactly what I was talking about, and said, "Ooohhhh! De-ogre-ant."

I think he must have been thinking of one of his favorite story books.... "A Box of Ogres," by Tim Healey, and illustrated by Charles Fuge (published in Great Britain in 1991). I would tell you to run out and buy it, but you can't. It's nearly impossible to find. Knowing how much I love children's books, my sister bought it for me when she went to England as a college student, probably 15 plus years ago. (Thank you Helena!)

My kids love the book for it's crazy story and fun illustrations. And we all get a kick out of the funny British phrases, such as "Nip down to the corner shop," and "How would you like a nice, tasty lad to eat?" and "She handed me a five-pound note," and "I daren't think what they're doing to my kitchen." Plus, the use of words like "Mum" (for "Mom"), "dustbin" and "flabbergasted" are a treat. I enjoy reading it in my (pretty decent) British accent.

If you want to make an attempt to find this charming book, you will have to visit the UK, or find some amazing online book shop (which has so far eluded me) with a used copy for sale. (Yes, I already tried Amazon UK.) Sorry.

Though I did find it available from one library... in South Perth, Australia.

September 07, 2007

Amazing nieNie

Check out my amazing sister-in-law who was interviewed here.

August 23, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Yes, I know, I know. I'm sorry I haven't been blogging. But honestly, I simply don't have time. Believe it or not, once my kids went back to school, life got even crazier. Here is what is keeping me busy right now.

- Organizing a Uhaul trailer sized pile of materials for my music classes, and teaching said music classes to preschoolers and kindergarteners. (Is that a word?)

- Researching, comparing prices, and scheduling inflatables for the school fall festival.

- Trying to figure out how to be the treasurer for our school parent organization, collecting dues and money for school shirts, and making deposits almost daily since school started. I also need to research and update the software too, and organize the files, and close out the end of the fiscal year (June), and create new budgets for the new fiscal year, and a lot of other stuff I'm not aware of yet.

- Driving kids to school, preschool, playgroup, gymnastics, and, starting next month, ballet lessons. (Thankfully, Collin can ride his bike to piano lessons and Cub Scouts.) Oh, and picking them up again.

- Pestering my kids to do their homework, practice the piano, clean their bedrooms, and rinse off their dishes.

- Researching and shopping for a new washer and dryer after our 10-year-old set died, taking apart my laundry room and reconfiguring it for the new machines... and putting it back together.

- Organizing the "Art Masterpiece" and "Music Masterpiece" programs for our school for the 2007-2008 school year.

- Preparing a show for the musical theatre performing group for kids I've started; assigning solos and speaking parts, figuring out how to record my voice singing the songs on CD for the kids to practice with (and burning the CD's), typing lyrics for the kids to take home, choreographing the musical numbers, designing and creating scenery, finding a venue for the performance and possibly acquiring a sound system (depending on the venue).

- Planning various Sharing Time lessons.

- Trying to find time to play with and read to Jack.

I don't even like to think about all the other things I need to do that aren't getting done.

So, I don't have time to blog right now. It will just have to wait. But I promise that when things calm down I will tell you all about the above, plus our trip to the ranch, and more. Just be patient.

August 16, 2007

Just Jack

Jack had his first day of preschool yesterday. (Yikes! My baby!) He had a great time and came home wearing his "space helmet."
I can't believe it's just me and Jack at home for most of the day!

As I was in the bathroom getting ready this morning, Jack came in and we had the following conversation:

Jack: Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.

Me: OK.

Jack: But just p**p.

Me: OK.

Jack: I'll go in the other bathroom.

Me: OK. (thanks!)

Jack: But mommy, don't talk on the phone.

Me: O .... huh?

Jack and I have been enjoying spending time together reading and playing, and running errands. He has no older siblings to fight with, which is nice. He has turned out to be quite busy, with music class on Monday (with me.... more about that later), Institute on Tuesday (actually, that's for me... with the ladies in our stake.... but he gets to play in the nursery), preschool on Wednesday, playgroup with his neighbor friends on Thursday, and preschool again on Friday. It gives me an hour or two for myself on a few mornings, but boy it flies by fast!

August 10, 2007

The First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of the new school year. Collin and Mary were very excited.... and a little nervous. Jay gave them each (including Jack, who starts preschool next week) a very nice father's blessing the night before. I couldn't resist peeking at Jack, who had his eyes shut tightly, and a huge grin on his face. He was obviously very pleased. Mary had a nice experience. Afterward she told me she felt all tingly, and I was happy to explain to her that she was feeling the spirit. She was absolutely beaming.

Better Late Than Never

Thanks to Sarah, I have some pictures of our latest trip to Sedona, and Mary's 6th Birthday. Thank you! Thank you!
The first (and last) time I ever bought a birthday cake instead of making it from scratch.

Ohio Trip - Part 5


Day 6 - Monday, July 16th

We decided to check out some antiques stores before we left, so we explored (with "Helga's" help) the Lorain Avenue Antiques district in Cleveland. Wow. I'm not an antiques expert, but I couldn't believe how many shops there were in one place, and how many amazing things each shop had!

I was especially taken in by "Century Antiques." They had the most gorgeous architectural items.... chandeliers, mantle pieces, etc.

And the vintage department store Suite Lorain was quite fun. I was excited to add 2 sets to my growing Salt & Pepper shaker collection.... for a mere $20 total. (I will blog about that one of these days.)
We met back up with my parents and the Barazotos at the Visitors' Center, and spent a little more time there and in the N.K. Whitney store which was fascinating.After lunch, my parents went to work their afternoon shift as park rangers (they were asked to volunteer as part of their missionary service) giving tours at the stone quarry where the stone for the Kirtland Temple was procurred.

So, the rest of us drove over to nearby Headlands Beach on Lake Erie and spent the afternoon there. Until he put his swim suit on, Jack felt it necessary to pull up his shorts (which were already higher than mid-thigh) to keep the water off, since I had pushed up my capris, and Mary was lifting her skirt. (I love his little tan line.)Mary got a kick out of the waves and swimming out to "sea" with cousin Maddy.Jack had fun trying to skip rocks, showing rocks to Daddy, and couldn't stop giggling every time a wave hit him.Collin had a great time playing in the sand (and "surf") with his cousins.And the boys discovered some "sea weed." We all had a great time, and the kids were reluctant to leave.
We joined my parents at the stone quarry (Chapin Forest Preserve) and had a cookout for dinner, and enjoyed the lovely scenery.
That evening we (the adults) were fortunate to be able to attend a special event in the Kirtland Temple. Every year, the Community of Christ puts on a hymn festival honoring Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith, who compiled hymns for the early saints. We sang several hymns as a group (including, of course, "The Spirit of God") and listened to a choir of the young sister missionaries (who did a beautiful job), and a local soloist who sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." In between, different speakers gave the history of each of the hymns. It was a very nice event, and I'm so glad we our trip coincided with this annual event. Afterward Dad took us all out for ice cream at Malley's which was a great way to end our lovely trip. We left for the airport early the next morning. We had such a wonderful time, and were very sad to leave. My parents were terrific hosts, and everything was absolutely perfect. Honestly, I wouldn't have changed a single thing.