Birthday scuba girl!



Party at Barton Creek!

Anatomy of a good week


Coming home from vacation is usually a bummer, but I had a fun week and I want to take a moment to record the little things.

  • Monday was book group which is always one of the highlights of my month. Just fun to socialize and chat books. I really enjoy the folks in my library group a lot. I recruited my mom to join and I was glad to have her with me. 
  • Tuesday was back to class but I was refreshed enough from my break that I wasn't surly in the least.
  • Wednesday Xandy and I went to the late show to see Shut Up and Play the Hits which was super entertaining. It's a documentary about the ending of LCD Soundsystem which I adore. We went to the new Alamo Drafthouse which always elevates movie going to an experience. Their queso tastes a little too much like Velveeta for my taste, but the peach prickly pear ironport I had to drink made up for it.
  • Thursday back at class, it is what it is. I did get to loudly debate my opinion in class which always heightens my enjoyment of scholarly pursuits.
  • Friday I went to see Iron and Wine at the Paramount which was a rich experience for sure. I had seen him at ACL but the sound was super sucky so I was excited to finally see him in a wonderful venue. Love that theater. Xandy was supposed to go with me but had to work and with most of my friends unavailable I ended up going with a casual acquaintance which was a little like an awkward first date with all the endless small talk, but it was still a fun night. Sam Bean was super funny and talkative and it was just achingly beautiful. 
  • Saturday there was a breakfast at church and it was fun to see some folks after being out of town. Attendance was mediocre but the breakfast pot luck was pretty yum.
  • And of course we went to Great Wolf Lodge with Abby and her two youngest kids this weekend which I'll post more about later.
  • And how could I forget to list lots and lots of yoga? I went every day and it was wonderful spending so much time on the mat. It's a luxury I'll soon be cutting out so I'm trying to soak it up.

The Pillars of the Earth

The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1)The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonderful story. I've been reading so many books lately that get me caught up in the language and symbolism that I forget how enjoyable it is to read a book just for a great story. This book is huge but I found it exceedingly readable and I was definitely swept along in the narrative.

What I loved:
Watching the story unfold with the multitude of characters and the long passage of time. I like epic works like this that really take a broad sweep. I felt like the characters had a slightly erroneous modern sensibility, but I suppose that made them more likable for me in the end so I forgave it.

What I learned:
There was definitely a fair bit in the book about architecture and cathedrals which honestly I could take or leave. I much more enjoyed the characters and how they intertwined. I'm not sure if this novel really gave me a good scope of what it was like to live in the 12th century because as I mentioned the characters all felt far too modern, but it was still a good read.

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Uh huh


That's how we do. See what happens when I hang out with pre-schoolers?


My great friend Abby invited my girls and I to accompany her to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine (Dallas) this weekend and it has been crazy fun. Lots of waterslides, a super fun "MagiQuest", and lots more have made for a fantastic time.

More change


Just before leaving on our trip, I was released from serving in the Primary Presidency (the leadership for the children't organization at church) which I've been doing happily for almost four years now. Lots of mixed emotions there. I have absolutely loved working with the children and the other leaders and teachers that have served with me. The gospel is at it's absolute core when you are with children and there is no better place in my opinion to teach and talk of Christ. That said, four years is a long time in any one calling and I am  glad for the change. I have missed meeting with the other adults and getting to know the other people in the ward. That will be a welcome change. My new calling is to teach Sunday School with the teenagers which is a little funny too me since it's the same age I'll be teaching Monday through Friday as well. Guess it's my season to focus on older kids as my girls grow up themselves.

I was fairly emotional the day they told me, pulling me aside before primary to schedule a meeting that could only mean one thing since all of the presidency members were approached at the same time. I got a little weepy while teaching the children knowing that I would be out of town for the next several weeks and not be able to give them a proper goodbye. (The callings are not official until announced during the main Sacrament meeting so it would have been inappropriate to tell the kids what I knew at that point.) Looking at each of the kids, the ones I adore as well as the ones that drive me crazy, I was overwhelmed with how much I'll miss being with them each Sunday. It has been a true blessing to serve them.

A Souvenir

When I was in Ogden last week with my good friend Kari she casually mentioned that Desseret Book (a LDS book store) had all of the Minerva Tiechert paintings half off. I circled the car around that very minute and headed straight there with her in tow. And low and behold, right there on the floor was the last copy of Christ in a Red Robe which I wrote about here. I've been wanting a copy of it for years but just didn't put aside the cash to make it happen. I was so excited. And driving back with my new favorite possession on the planet I was overcome with true joy in being able to have such a lovely object in my life, such a memento of my faith. Best souvenir ever.

Snow Country

Snow CountrySnow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved this book. It's such a gem of a novel with the most amazing imagery. The introduction makes note of the author being accustom to the haiku format and it shows. It's amazing what he can describe with just a few very choice words.

What I loved:
The language first and foremost. But the story itself was sad in the best of ways. The relationships were carefully drawn but there were a lot of lose threads hanging that really kept the reader wondering.

What I learned:
I have enjoyed a lot of Japanese novels, but this one had a different perspective that I thought was extremely rich. There were tidbits about the local culture that were interesting, but this really wasn't a novel for learning about Japan, but about the relationships.

A favorite passage:
"Her words, though short and broken, were a sign that she was alive in all her vital intensity, and he knew he had not forgotten her from the fact that the listening was a trial."
"He looked up, and again the Milky Way came down to wrap itself around the earth. And the Milky Way, like a great aurora, flowed through his body to stand at the edges of the earth. There was a quiet, chilly loneliness in it, and  sort of voluptuous astonishment.
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It's a Jayhawks day



It's been a rough drive today and it's not over yet. Crazy rain, stupid traffic (on a Sunday afternoon?), and good old fashioned throw up has continually moved back our ETA. Somehow no one is yelling yet. Keep your fingers crossed.

Lovely rainbow though.



General good will related to the car and the road ran out about two hours ago. With another 13 hours left for tomorrow that's soured my mood somewhat. Blurg.


We stopped just for a pic. After all, "Sylvie at Sylvan Lake" is a pretty catchy byline. But this little spot drew us in and now ranks among my favorite on the planet. Good job South Dakota.



Well, it was kinda on the way home :-)



Bear Lake today. There are serious sand castle plans brewing and I'm already dreaming of the (chocolate) raspberry shakes.



I may just be tired, but my fortune seems to be on the vague side.



Crazy cousins got hot at the park with grandpa so they had to cool off in the sprinklers.



Hiking at Ruth Lake today.

Oh love...



Back in Ogden today, enjoying my mountains.



Lesson of the day: cattle are very curious about a lone runner on a country road and they make pretty good running companions. All along my run this morning the cattle would stop and stare at me, coming as close as they could, then run along side me for a while. It was highly entertaining. Personal best this morning as I logged 9.3 miles. Who'd a thunk?




SLC <3


Spending the day in SLC. Rain kept us indoors most of the day but it finally cleared up so we could go to Red Butte Gardens, one of my favorite spots on the planet. Gorgeous.


Good morning...



Happy 4th of July! We are lighting things on fire.



I spent the day with one of my dearest and oldest friends, Kari. Here we are looking our glamorous selves on our way up Waterfall Canyon. I'll post more pictures when I'm back home at my computer, but it was a great day with a great woman.


I drove by myself to Ogden today and as I got closer and closer to my mountains I found myself getting really emotional. Every time I come back I am even more appreciative of the beauty I grew up with and feel a deep connection of home here. There are many things about Utah that I do not miss, I have no desire to live here, but I also will never stop pining for my mountains.


Gorgeous morning for a run. The elevation kicked my trash from the get go but it was still lovely out. There were four moose out this morning. Close enough to be a little intimidating, but still awesome to see.



We've landed in Evanston and no more than 15 minutes later cousins from down the street were ringing the doorbell. Let the vacation begin.

Another 11.25 hours in the car today bringing the grand total on the road to 25.5 hours. I'm done.


Wyoming is, well, Wyoming. I've driven I-80 enough times that my expectations for the afternoon were pretty low.


Nebraska = corn



Fourteen and a quarter hours later we've landed for the night in Colby, KS. The drive through Texas was amazingly beautiful. Oklahoma and Kansas had their moments too. And wonderfully the day was tear, conflict, and drama free. Although the sugar binge from the car snacks seem to be catching up with my girls now that it's bedtime. Let's hope day two goes as smoothly.


Kansas. Let's talk about flat.


Road trip! I will be enthusiastic enough to warrant an exclamation point for at least another hour.