Thursday, June 30, 2011

I walked in Zion (National Park)

Tonight I just got back from a fabulous three-day vacation. I saw wonderful Utah sites I’ve never visited before, had the opportunity to bond with my aunt and two cousins and now can’t wait to share the pictures with all of you. Ready or not here they come!

Just to give you a little context on this visit, it was 105 degrees in the park that day. Yikes! Since I go to Yellowstone every year, I would consider myself somewhat experienced with proper trail behavior. In this case, I feel like I acted more like a novice than an experienced hiker. If I could go do it again I would definitely leave my purse behind and bring my trail backpack instead, but since it was such a short trip I didn’t figure I needed to do so. Oh well! I still had a fabulous time.

Here’s interesting thing No. 1. I know Utah is known for the red dirt, but I didn’t realize we have roads made out of it! This is the road leading to the park, and the view from the shuttle that takes you around the park.


Here we are at the gates.


Our first stop: the Court of the Patriarchs.


Next we took the short hike out to see Emerald Pool. I was distressed to discover I don’t actually have any pictures of the lake itself. Oops! But I do have some from the trail along the way. We were pretty sure that the white mountain in the picture on the right is the back of the Great White Throne.



Brave hikers


The Organ and the Great White Throne and the other picture is Angel’s Landing. Part of me is intrigued at the idea of hiking up it, well the part that isn’t terrified of dying on such a perilous hike. I’m still debating whether I should add it to my bucket list or not. Thoughts?Smile


We also decided to do the short hike that would take us to the entrance to the Narrows even if we weren’t planning to hike the Narrows ourselves. Here are a few pictorial highlights. The one on the top right is an actual swamp that exists at the bottom of the canyon in the middle of the desert, ironically enough.


Cool rock on the left and an interesting bowl shape on the right. Who spilled milk all over the rocks?! J/K!


Now that is one hearty tree! Next to it is one of the hanging gardens that are frequently seen throughout the canyon.


The entrance to the Narrows. I’m so glad we walked there, even if we didn’t do the actual hike.


Finally, here we have Zion at sunset as we left the park. So beautiful!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The words I didn’t say

Okay, so it’s really late right now, and I should most definitely be asleep, but I seem to have insomnia tonight so I’m trying to find something that will put my mind at ease a little so I can sleep. Plus, I was told not so long ago that if you’ve tried and can’t sleep for 15 minutes, you need to do something else. I’ve officially been trying for an hour and a half now, so this is me finding a different activity.

I’m pretty sure most of us have moments of shame and regret in our lives we feel sorry for something we’ve said that was uncalled for or hurt someone’s feelings. We’re all human and we all make mistakes so it’s only to be expected.

But, have you ever felt regret for the other direction, as in, you regret the words you didn’t say?

I’ve always struggled with speaking my mind and expressing what it is I really think or feel. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me, but I have been working on it pretty hard in the last few months and feel I’ve made progress in becoming a more effective communicator.

However, in the past few days my mind has been straying to some times in the last year when painful and difficult things happened to me. These are things I’d rather not think about and have tried hard to put behind me, but my mind has just been drawn back to them.

These are times when I wish I’d said something but for various reasons wasn’t able to at the time. In the instance that’s troubling me most tonight, I couldn’t say something because I just wasn’t in a position emotionally to do so. I don’t know that it would’ve helped the situation if I had said something or not, but I think it might’ve made me feel better now if I had. I’m regretting very much the words I didn’t say, even if they might not have made any difference.

Truthfully this is something that I’m planning to just put behind me, but for now I suppose I’m just going to have to work my way through it, learn what I can and make my peace with it, whatever that looks like.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Antsy for the action to start . . .

When one has a vacation coming up, of course one is extra busy at work getting everything ready so one can be gone, have the work covered and come back just in time to play catch up. * Sigh * Yes, it can be a bit of a vicious cycle.

But the point of this post is not to complain. Rather, it’s to point out that the anticipation of vacation is usually the best part. I’m always trying to imagine how it’s going to turn out, especially if it’s a place where I’ve never been before. It never happens quite in the way I imagine it will, but it usually turns out to be a great experience anyway.

This year’s destination is the Shakespeare Festival, where I’ve never been before.I’m excited to experience this wonderful event in Southern Utah. As a bonus I also get to see some fabulous Utah landmarks while I’m there, namely Zion National Park (make sure you don’t put the ‘s’ on there because they get very upset if you do), Bryce Canyon and Cove Fort. Fantastic! I’ve been close to all three before but have never been able to stop, so this will be a new adventure!

Even though work is extra busy the rest of this week and early next week while I get ready, I still find myself antsy for the action to start. That and I’m seriously ready for a few days off. And in a month I get to go to my favorite place, so I have that to look forward to as well.

Only a few more days until my first vacation of the summer starts. Yippee!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Goal

Okay, so I have a new goal that just got worse tonight. I desperately want to own a piece of real estate. Is that so bad? I've had the bug for awhile but just haven't acted on it because I haven't had (still don't in fact) the funds to do anything about it.

But tonight I was looking through an email a friend sent me with houses for less than $100,000 and then I couldn't resist and had to check out Should I have done so? Probably not because it just made it worse! Especially when I found a listing for the townhomes I've been in love with for ages now for less than I ever thought it would be possible to get them. Alas!

This is why you should never put yourself in a position to be tempted by something you can't have.

I'm still following Dave Ramsey's program Financial Peace University and am in a position to be 100 percent debt free by the end of the year. Yippee! But, I can't skip a step (the 3-6 month emergency fund) and skip to step 4.5, which is to invest in real estate, so I'll just have to keep at it. I know I can do it though.

And if always helps to have a goal in mind anyway, right?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

To the bestest Papa Daddy ever!

Today is a special day. It’s a day set aside for all of us to give thanks for our fathers. I’d like to think I’m always grateful for my dad, but it never hurts to let him know exactly what it is I’m grateful for.

My dad has always been one of my heroes. He has encouraged me. loved me, disciplined me when necessary and pushed me to do better. He always knows the right buttons to push to tease me right out of a bad mood and make me laugh. Did I mention he’s also the king of the cheesy joke? He has a loving heart and will do anything for any of his children.

Here are a few pictorial highlights of why I love my dad:

Two words: the cane


I am the queen of picture taking, but I learned it somewhere. Ta-dah!! It’s a skill I learned from the best.


Sometimes he let’s me do silly things to him like this. What? I was helping him recover from surgery a few years ago.


He loves animals, all types of animals. Even stinky ones.


He can sleep anywhere at any time, even if the bed is already covered.


Have I mentioned how fun it is to give him a bad time? It’s fantastic!

Pumpkin Walk etc 074

This post is dedicated to the bestest papa daddy ever!! Love you!!


Thanks for always being there for me and believing in me, especially when I can’t myself. Thanks too for being a worthy Priesthood holder and being able to give me blessings when I need them. I am and always will be your baby daughter, no matter how old I get.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pictures from my race day

I know it’s been a few weeks since I ran my 5K, but I just barely got the pictures from it tonight. I’m pretty proud of myself, and it was for a special cause so I can’t resist posting a few pictures.

Here I am at the starting and finishing line. There were tons of people there, so it’s not really a clear shot, but I’m so glad I did it anyway.


As I mentioned, this race was special because I did it in honor of someone whom I loved very much and lost a little over a year ago. Here’s the sign I wore in her honor.


My support team who came to cheer me on. I must confess that I desperately wanted someone to be there to share this with me, but because I essentially made the decision for my parents so there was no way they could come, even if they’d been able to, it’s kind of my own fault. I was touched that my dear aunt and two cousins made the effort to be there for me . . and are the reason I have any pictures of this event.


Yay for me being able to accomplish something so important to me.

Zumba for a cause!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned in my blog more than once how one of my favorite things  of late happens to be Zumba. I absolutely love it! Not only is it a great workout (I feel it in my abs in a way I never do with other workouts) but it’s fun!!! I don’t really feel like I’m exercising even though I’m pretty sure I’m burning quite a few calories. And I’ve been to some fantastic Zumba instructors who really make it that much more enjoyable.

Yesterday was a combination of two of my favorite things: Zumba for a great cause! I suppose I’m also into doing things for a cause recently, hence the Running with Angels 5K I did a couple weeks ago. In any case, a Zumbathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society was held yesterday. It was an hour and a half long, and it was fantastic!!!

Let me pause for just a minute to tell you about the instructor of this Zumbathon. Her name is Lindsey Taylor and she is the Zumba education specialist for the state of Utah. She’s also been featured in several of the Zumba fitness DVDs. Most recently she was in Pitbull’s brand new music video, “Pause.” Here’s a link to it on YouTube:

“Pause” by Pitbull

She’s the one with dark hair. I didn’t think the song was too exciting when I first listened to it, but we did the dance yesterday during the Zumbathon, and now I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to download it.

Anyway, it was a fantastic experience! An hour and a half of dancing my little heart out. I wondered what, if any, effect the weather might have, but it turned out just fine. Don’t worry, I drank plenty of water so I stayed hydrated. I found out they were able to raise $3,000 from this fundraiser, which was also sponsored by Fashion Place Mall, where it was held outside in the parking lot.

I didn’t bring my camera so I don’t have any pictures to post. But trust me when I say it was really fun! This was also the first time when I did a Zumbathon (it’s my third in the last 6 months or so) where we had an audience. A year ago that would’ve mortified me. Now, I don’t mind knowing people could have been watching. It was just fun to do something I love for such an important cause.

I have one more quick thing to add before I close, a reason why the American Cancer Society is important to me. As of March, my sister is officially a cancer survivor. She was blessed to have one of the most treatable types of cancer, but I know many others who haven’t been so blessed. I have several friends who’ve lost loved ones to it. My heart still goes out to them, and I hope the money raised yesterday helps fund important cancer research.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One year . . . four baptisms

It all started almost nine years ago when my oldest sister announced she was having her second child. Only a short time later my sister closest in age to me announced she was also having another baby, due just six weeks later. Of course this is the Diva and Z-Man. We couldn’t have been more delighted to have them join our family, particularly Miss Sassypants who waited through 5 boys before finally getting a girl cousin. And then she got two in just under a year.

Little did we know that only eight months later my sister-in-law would also give birth to a baby, another girl, and just two months after her, my second oldest sister had her fourth and final baby, a boy we’ll refer to as Scamperboo. Each brought a great deal of joy to our family as well as their own set of challenges.

Fast forward eight years and you’ll reach today. Or rather the last year when all four of these children turned eight and entered the waters of baptism. What a wonderful experience to be able to share this with them! I’m not even their parents and it makes me get slightly weepy to think about/talk about it. What the heck?

It started with the Diva. Here are a few pictorial highlights of her special day:

Yellowstone-Katriel's Baptism 060Yellowstone-Katriel's Baptism 075Yellowstone-Katriel's Baptism 081Yellowstone-Katriel's Baptism 079

Here’s Z-Man’s baptism day last September. It was doubly special since his older brother was ordained as a Deacon the same weekend.



In April our whole family was able to travel to Idaho for my niece LouLou’s baptism. She looked beautiful, and we couldn’t have been happier for her.



I was so delighted with my perfect record of being able to have made the baptisms for all the kids thus far . . . until I realized Scamperboo’s baptism was on a weekend when I’d made a previous commitment so I didn’t think I’d be able to go. Sad smile I felt pretty devastated about it actually even though I definitely wouldn’t have been the only one who had to miss. The very idea of not being able to go was seriously killing me, until my circumstances changed and I was able to make it work after all. Yippee!! And it was a very special experience, so I was glad I made it.



After this whole long post and me going on and on about how I was able to make it when I didn’t think I’d be able to, well did you notice someone important missing from these pictures? Oh yeah, me! Being that I’m the queen of pictures and all, did you really think I’d let that happen? Not so much. I was just saving them until last. It was a wonderful blessing that I was able to make Scamperboo’s baptism this last weekend, and I had a pretty incredible experience there that I can’t talk about here. In any case, thanks for indulging me as I document these important family events in my blog. But then again, this is the world according to me, so I should have the freedom to write about things that are important to me. Oh and to put pictures of myself in my blog sometimes.

Yellowstone-Katriel's Baptism 083IMG_6679



Have I mentioned in my latest posts that I love my children because I really do. Just look at the faces and personalities in this last shot. So fun!