Saturday, July 25, 2009

That Was Close...

So, that might have been the closest I’ve been to missing a flight thus far....

This is what happened: I HATE PACKING!!! I know, I shouldn’t have any trouble with it at this point and should really be pretty good at it since I pack at least once a month, but I suck at it! I wait until the very last minute and always end up staying up really late to finish. Last night was no exception. I actually did relatively well at leaving work at a reasonable hour (7). I did some last minute shopping, of course, and then headed home to get started... somehow I finally finished at 4:30am (yep - that’s right). I ended up cleaning my room and organizing stuff while I packed so that when I come home it’s not crazy. Then I set my alarm for 6:45 so I could shower and be ready when Joe came at 7:30.

I grabbed my phone to turn off the alarm and it said 7:45... What - that must be wrong, it has to be wrong!!! I looked and apparently had missed a call from Joe at 7:28 - with that proof I knew the time must actually be 7:45. Oh CRAP!!! Even with an extra hour of sleep my brain was still very tired; instead of calling Joe immediately I hopped in the shower, even though I knew I didn’t have time to wash and dry my hair I wasn’t about to spend 14 hours traveling and go straight to the Tour de France without having at least showered. As I got out I called Joe and was relieved he and Steve hadn’t actually left me, at this point I figured I be in my own car chasing them to SLC - I was going to make it to Paris! They were at Steve’s and would come back for me. I brushed my teeth, combed my really gross hair, and got dressed. I figured if we left by 8 we could be there by 8:45 - definitely not the 2 hours they suggest before international travel (10am departure), but still doable. I impressed myself by being totally ready to go at just a minute past 8. We had made it on the road, but would we make it to the flight....

Traffic was light, since it was Saturday morning, and Joe drove like a banshee. We made it to the Park-n-Jet and the van picked us up. He did one more round picking up this really slow couple. Finally we arrived at the terminal. Luckily with medallion status we didn’t have to wait to check in and we got to pass up the 30 minute lines in security too. We were checked in and headed to security when I had been up for barely an hour - way to go us! We actually even had time to get a breakfast wrap before we walked right onto the flight. Ended up being a great morning! I got upgraded to first class and after eating my delicious salad and fruit I literally passed out until the final descent. You know you slept a lot when the stewardess comments on it as you exit the flight.

I need to say something here - I also hate spending too much time at the airport! This sometimes frustrates those I travel with. Although this morning was not what I had planned, and had a little too much margin for error, I still prefer it when I get checked in, have time to grab some food and then get to head right on to the plane. I don’t like to run (although in trying to balance this I’ve had to do that a lot), but I detest sitting in an airport for hours on end. It feels like the biggest waste of time to me. I would rather do anything else then wait in the airport! I guess time can be good.... it can be used for blogging and finalizing rooms in Croatia. That said, I apologize to those that travel with me, but honestly at this point I’m really good at determining pretty accurately how much time will be needed so that the experience is as short and sweet as possible :) - and hopefully no running involved, but I make no guarantees.... take note though - I have never missed a flights so far, knock on wood (I have however been the last one to board a few times). Happy Travels! See you in Paris at the podium :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

DC 5 - Exhaustion & Joy

We’re headed home. The four or five days have gone by really quickly and yet been really long at times too! I’m so glad that I got to come with these guys to DC. It has been so much fun to spend time with them and watch them laugh and play. Again, I will state what a task I think it must be to be a mom. To worry about so many people all the time and try to let them be themselves and stretch and grow, but also try to get them to learn or do anything in any kind of order or semblance thereof… I was surprised at how many times I sat there watching Cameron and Karsen (and it could have been much more) and I was just entralled in their movements, their words, and their actions. Kids are so cool - little versions of who they're going to be someday and only that way for a little while.

Anyway, I’m pretty confident that we’ll all get a good nap on the flights back home and we’re not as lucky as on the way here… we have a layover in Atlanta. Today was not as full as yesterday, but I am whipped out. I need a vacation after this vacation.

Today after crashing like a ton of bricks last night and waking up a little late this morning we finally got down town around 1130. We headed straight to the archives to make sure we could get in before we left town. We got lucky and the line was moving fairly quickly. We got in and the boys had a million questions as usual, but at least they’re interested. It’s always tricky waiting in line and making sure they don’t: bump someone, run into someone, annoy everyone around us with questions, or even hit someone while attempting to hit one another. We saw the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I think Lexi thought it was pretty cool, but the significance was a little lost on Kars and Cam – maybe they’ll appreciate it more later.
As we left the museum we decided the other “must see” for the day was the White House. We considered taking the subway again so Cam didn’t have a relapse of his new illness, but decided we could make the walk up Pennsylvania Ave. We survived a little more of the “concrete jungle” as they loved to say (thanks Madagascar 2). Saw the White House and the grounds. Cam was disappointed that we couldn’t go in. I think he really thought he could just walk in and say hi to Pres. Obama.
For lunch we had….. yeah, wait for it… hot dogs! Yes, day 4 of hotdogs for lunch. After that many hotdogs I think I’m officially done with hotdogs for a while. That is of course, unless I find a really good corndog somewhere – then Im totally in! Tummies full and a little time in the shade and we were down to our last adventure – The National Aquarium. It was actually a really fun stop! The displays are kind of small, but they have lots of cool fish, turtles, snakes, and frogs. We all enjoyed the stroll through the aquarium and the boys were running back and forth and pointing out the cool things to each other. We took our final taxi ride back to the hotel and our favorite driver, Abdul was waiting to take us back to the airport. After a minor struggle to find our bags we loaded up and headed out to Dulles. Mom and Lex fell asleep on the ride in and I listened to a game of imagination form the boys in back. Made it to the airport and we’re on our way out. So much fun!
I must really love these guys if I was willing to be woken up and move from first class to literally the very last row on the plane just because Karsen wanted to sit by me (awh). It was worth it when he snuggled up and fell asleep in my lap. **just a note here, I gave my mom first class on the way out and offered it to Lexi on this flight, but she didnt want it. I even gave him my blanket and I'm ALWAYS cold! I love these guys! I already want more of these moments!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DC 4 - Adventures in Babysitting

Up early today to drive into the city and catch our hop-on-hop-off bus. We decided to do the whole tour once to get a feel for where everything was and then hop off to see the things we want. We saw all of DC, Arlington, and Georgetown. It was a beautiful day! Later that night Cam would say “we had a crazy bus driver. We thought he was going to it someone and he drove a on the curb a few times”. All true, but it made for a fun ride.

We hoped off and started at the Smithsonian Castle. After a quick orientation we headed to the Museum of Natural History. As we walked across the Mall I could tell everyone was getting a bit cranky so we stopped for lunch first – hotdogs, but of course. The boys loved the Museum of Natural History! We stopped by the Archives, but couldn’t get in because the line was too long. We moved on to the Air and Space Museum. So much cool stuff to see there! The boys loved the space ships and all the astronaut stuff. They were also really excited about seeing the Wright Brother plane and Amelia Earhart’s plane (thank you night at the museum, but hey, it got them interested –right).

Museum of Natural History

Cool shot look out from the Air & Space Museum

Ice cream break

After the museum we took our first subway ride through DC. We went from downtown to China town… only to eat at Fuddruckers. Hey, don’t judge it’s really hard to find stuff those guys will eat. At Fuddruckers I swore I spoke a different language. It took me 20 minutes to order (no exaggeration) and even then I wasn’t sure they got it right. At the end of dinner Karsen came back from the bathroom and said “Grandma, I found a dime in the toilet”. UMMMM… awkward pause as we all consider what to do with him after he’s stuck his hand in this public urinal for a dime. Then I say “did you get it out?” – He responds – “ooh, no, that’s gross”… and the collective sigh of relief. After dinner we took a taxi over to the Lincoln memorial so the kids could try all modes of transportation in the city. Plus we were about to do a lot of walking. I wanted the kids to see the monuments at night because it’s SO beautiful! As we passed the Washington Monument my mom started to tell the kids that the red lights at the top were for low flying elephants. Cam’s response, “well, if there were flying mammals I’d be impressed”. Baha!
We got off and toured the Lincoln Memorial by night and it was beautiful. Lexi was really impressed with how DC looked at night. It’s really beautiful. We took a walk through the Vietnam Memorial and then over to the World War 2 Memorial. Seeing that Memorial by night was beautiful. Lexi has a great love for WW2 stuff and she loved walking around. We got a little lost on the way over and walking in the dark around DC at 11 wasn’t my best idea ever, but once we got to the memorial it was ok. We started the walk back down the side of the reflection pool to catch a cab at the Lincoln Memorial and it had been a LONG day of walking. Cam had finally had enough and asked to sit on the bench. I know that walk looks easy, but after 10 hours downtown ½ mile is forever to a nine year old. I explained that if we made it to the taxi stop he wouldn’t have to walk anymore. And queue one more classic response: He says “I think I’m going to have a new sickness – walk-to-much-itis”. As I try to recoup from laughing so much he says “I just made it up myself. It’s short for tired leg sickness”. Wish I knew where he came up with all of this stuff. We caught our cab and made it safely back to the hotel and CRASHED!

DC 3 - Mt. Vernon

Today I had a meeting with the hotel to look at their meeting space. I was exhausted having to be down there at 8:30 (give me some credit – that’s 6:30 Utah time). When I came back everyone had just woken up. We got ready for the day and headed out for Mt. Vernon. I had never been there so I was excited to see it. We took a water taxi from our hotel down the Potomac. It was a beautiful day and we saw tons of cool stuff! It was a fun way to have the kids really see history happen. The boys had all kinds of questions about Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Jefferson, etc, etc… I was very glad to have a blackberry with internet access so I could keep all the facts straight. I think they knew more than I did for sure.

It was a little overcast today, but only rained a little as we sat and listened to an actor portray George Washington’s personal physician and tell about being alongside him in battle and then being there the day he died. The guy was incredible – totally worth listening to. After he finished he let us ask questions and Cam had a million. He was really nice and answered as many as he could. As we headed to the boat for our return to the hotel we were running a little late so we decided we should run. Cam calmly said – “I’m not worried, we have two legs, raptors have two legs”. Apparently the logic is – they only have two legs and they go fast so if I have two legs I can go fast. Not sure I was as confident, but we made it. The plan was that as we headed back from Mt. Vernon we wanted to go to Alexandria, but on the boat ride it started to down pour and when we made it back to the hotel we were all soaked… we opted out of the Alexandria idea (I’ll save it for next time).

When we got back we wanted to go out to dinner, but couldn’t decide on anything so the boys had hotdogs again and we had Potbelly’s Sandwiches. We walked around the wharf area again and headed home to see the fountain show at the hotel before an early bed since the next day was our big downtown adventure.
The boat ride over
My new home on the Potomac
A slave cabin on the estate

Wandering throught the grounds around the mansion

A tree planted by George himself

Near George & Martha's tomb.

The back of the estate

Lexi and me sporting our super curly humidity hair at the end of the day


So after the ballgame Karsen wasnt feeling very well... maybe it was the hotdogs, nachos, sprite and cotton candy that did it, maybe. Anyway, we woke up and found this note that Cam had written as he went to bed....

DC 2 - Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Well, I don’t think I’m ever going to be completely current with this thing, but at least this is just a few days ago. …. So, day 2, our first official day in DC, we woke up late and were pretty lazy most of the day. We hung out and the boys enjoyed some R&R and SpongeBob (which I don’t get at all; it’s SO annoying). We left the room in the afternoon and headed out to find some lunch.

We walked around the harbor area around our hotel, which Cam has named “Hotel City”, and finally sat down to eat at a little sports bar. Everything we do is an adventure with Cam & Karsen. As we try to order the two of them are checking out the kids menu, which happens to be their coloring book for the moment as well. Karsen politely orders his grilled cheese sandwich and now its Cam’s turn. First he says: “um, what do chicken tenders taste like?” to which I of course say “tastes like chicken”. Apparently he wasn’t sure as they weren’t called chicken nuggets or chicken strips. Not satisfied with the chicken nugget options he stares at the very short children’s menu and then asks totally seriously with his hand under his chin resting on the table… “Can you tell me how big the mini-burger is”? I’m not sure why, but this comment struck the funny bone of all four “adults” in the area (me, mom, Lexi and our waiter). The waiter starts to explain what size he thinks the burger is. Totally hilarious – in the end he went with the very big mini burger and had trouble finishing it.

We left and walked around more and then stopped for some gelato. They loved it. As we sat and ate the Katy Perry song Hot & Cold came on. I didn’t think the kids would know it very well, but we all ended up sitting there singing together. As the song was ending Cam explained: that song is about opposites: if you have an assignment in your class about opposites you can just think of this song – I must remember that.

Back to the hotel to change for the game. I thought the guys might like to go to a major league baseball game. I bought the tickets, but I’m slightly cheap and wasn’t forking over $60 each for two nine year olds to watch the game so we got the extreme nose bleed seats for $13… and they loved it! They didn’t care how far up we were or that we were in the sun – the game, the food, the dancing – they loved it all and we had a blast cheering on the Nationals, even though they lost.

Yes, thats the fence behind us.. one row from the top of the stadium, but it was still so much fun!

There was an amazing sunset over DC that night

On the ride home the driver asked the boys what they thought and as they were gushing Karsen explained that he felt like he had just “conquered the concrete jungle” it was so funny. I swear, I don’t know where they hear this stuff. It was also hilarious because Cam got really upset that Karsen was being the funny guy. As Karsen tried to make us laugh again Cam sat there saying “blah, blah, blah” right over him. Funny that kids are so protective of their roles at such a young age.
On the ride home we stopped to get some groceries for breakfast. There wasn’t a store near the hotel so we had the driver stop in the city. Lexi and I headed it to get our stuff, but ended up waiting in a very long checkout line. As I stood there I was a little surprised to realize we were the only white people in the entire store. I didn’t mention it to Lexi because I didn’t want to make it a bigger deal than it was, but as we left she looked at me and said “it’s kind of strange to be a minority”. Guess I had to give all the kids a different cultural experience. It’s good for her to be out of Utah a little and see that diversity can be great!
All in all a great day and lots of great moments!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

DC 1 - Up, Up, and Away....

I flew out to Washington DC with my niece and nephews last night. I got to bring Cameron, Karsen, and Lexi out to an extended weekend here. Traveling with kids is pretty tricky… always trying to make sure that you don’t lose anyone and that no one leaves anything behind. We made it through security and I felt horrible for always being frustrated when I’m behind a family in line… it’s a serious skill set to get a group like that through that process. We bought dinner and boarded the plane. Karsen and Cameron did pretty well for a 4 hour plane ride. Karsen was kept busy with Get Smart on my iPod and Cam played his gameboy for most of the first part of the trip. It was great to watch their excitement as we headed out.

They are both such great little guys! I love spending time with them. Karsen is the sweetest and most considerate kid I’ve ever met and Cam is SO funny. I think in the next few days there will be lots of “Camizims” on here. As we got situated and ready to take off it was hilarious to hear Cam (the plane expert because he’s been on two flights) explain to Karsen (the plane novice since he’s never flown) how a plane takes off: “basically you just start going forward really fast and then they go off the ramp and up into the air” – haha! I love how kids think, especially that one :-). They both kept asking me all kinds of great question throughout the flight and the guy in front of us got a good laugh out of it – I’m glad he thought it was funny because those two guys hit the back of his seat and dropped their tray tables so many times I think I would have gone crazy if I was seated in-front of them instead of next to them. I also wish I was still as excited about free Sprite and peanuts, but I guess some things lose their novelty when you’re not 9 anymore.

As we got off the plane my mom was excitedly telling me what she had heard about Robert Redford:
Mom (very exasperated): Did you hear Robert Redford got married? I can’t believe it – he never even got to meet me.

Cam (curious): Grandma, who is Robert Redford (pause) Is he one of your old friends?

HAHA – man, you just had to hear the delivery – so great!

We were lucky enough to have a driver meet us at the airport and take us to the hotel. The kids thought they were superfly in the decked out Suburban with our own driver. As we pulled up to the hotel everyone was oohhing and awwwing. It’s a really large structure right on the Potomac River. As we pulled closer Cam said “it’s like paradise”. Man that kid makes me laugh! Its his delivery – total deadpan. I’ll tell you more about the hotel in another post, but here are a few pics from the flight.
The Boys - Cameron & Karsen
Me and the guys

Lexi with the guys. Notice the guy in front of them... yes, he was slightly creepy when he peeked over, but at least he didn't get mad at the noise and bumping.

I'm excited for more of these moments this weekend :-) !

Friday, May 22, 2009

What Every Single Guy Should Know

I just found this gem on my friend Ashlee's blog. Its a recent post by Orson Scott Card in the Mormon Times... every single girls frustrations laid out from a guys point of view and the guys need to fix this issue!

Read on:

I want to be somebody's "exception" some day....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's about Time...

So, I am totally stealing this post from another blog, but it seems to fit my life right now...

"I have come to a new theory, which is...time hates some people (me).

I dont know what I have done to piss time(ing) off but I would really like to make up. Seriously, time, I am sorry. Time has been playing favorites for awhile now. I must admit I get a little resentful when married-dating-happy people say things like it just wasnt the right time. Your time hasnt come. You will know when its the right time. etc etc. They only say such things because time loves them, but time hates me."

Someday, these moments will be worth it... or so "they" say...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I plan on actually posting some details from the trip I recently took to Tahiti with my family, but first I wanted to get this moment down :-)

I love Moorea!

There are places in the world I love and Moorea, French Polynesia is one of them. I’ve been very lucky to be able to go there many times in the last 10 years and each time I love it even more. I was just there a few days ago and was reminded of one of the first amazing experiences I had there. It was one of the first times I knew I LOVED that place!

It was 9 or 10 years ago and I was on Moorea for an Outrigger event (one of the groups I take down there each November). At that time on Sunday mornings we would try to let all of our attendees go to church so one of the events staff (me on this particular day) would end up spending all morning driving people to beautiful little churches around the island and then all afternoon picking everyone up. We would drop people off at about three or four different churches all over the small island.

This Sunday morning I had just finished dropping off the last church goer at a beautiful little catholic chapel and was headed back to the hotel. As I drove on this beautiful little road through the tree covered streets it began to rain. It was a soft tropical rain with lots of sunshine still streaming through the canopy of trees along with the raindrops. The combination made it look like tiny little diamonds falling from the sky. It smelled like heaven and the temperature was perfect. Those few minutes driving along, alone, in that little car, on the island of Moorea were a quite form of bliss. The warmth, the light, the color, the breeze… everything just came together and sang to me. That day I didn’t feel bad that I didn’t get to go to church. I was in church as I drove down that road. Amazing creation!

I had a minor “glimpse” of that when I was just in Moorea as we drove down a different part of that same road. The trees covered the road again and the rain and sun were peaking through in patches. It wasn’t quite as serene, but I remembered that day from so long ago so vividly that I had to write about it.

On a side note… well, a few side notes :-). I also am in awe whenever I see sunshine coming through the clouds after a storm or during a sunset. You know when you can see individual rays streaking out across the sky stretching across the horizon or beaming down on a particular stretch of earth. I think it is one of the most amazing things to see. It always stops me short. I think it makes the sun’s rays look almost tangible, like if I really tried and got close enough I could hold that warmth and light right in my hand as it beams out through the fluffy clouds.

Another thing I did when I was on Moorea one afternoon was watch shapes appear in the clouds. I love doing that… why do we forget to do those simple things that fill our hearts with such joy and beauty? I’m trying to make a mental note to notice stuff like that more often because when I do it’s a lot easier to remember how many wonderful things I have in my life.

My heart saves these moments !

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bumper Cars

I think I’ve found the cure for road rage…. BUMPER CARS! I have been stuck behind a lot of really horrible drivers lately. I really think if I could just bump them softly and remind them that they should focus on driving rather than on their cell phone conversation or on whatever else they are focused on it might help. It might help to just be able to nudge the old guy who is going too slow or floating over into my lane. I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but I think it would be good just to bring people back to the task at hand – driving. Also, have you ever seen anyone that was in the bumper cars and not laughing…? I haven’t, so I think it would make everyone laugh a little too; instead of everyone being so angry when they drive.

Here are a few people who have already taken the bumper car idea to heart apparently….. I don’t think I want my car to have to actually look like a bumper car. I just want big rubbery safety bumpers added all the way around that you can’t see…. Someone else will have to design it and do the physics. Do you think it would hurt to bump someone out of the fast lane at 70mph? I hope not because I think I would use my bumper car a lot to remind people not to camp out in the fast lane – not really a lane at all; it should really be used for passing only, not cruising, folks.

Bumper Cars for all….

Bumper Car police chase :-)