Major Catch-Up, Part 2: NYC

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Last April John had a meeting in NYC at the beginning of Kailen's spring break, so of course, we tagged along! It was her first time in the Big Apple, and my second. To say I was excited to visit NYC again would be a total understatement, and I was way beyond thrilled to get to introduce all of it to her.

We took the hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which, in my opinion, is the only way to see NYC. It was really cold and rainy that first day, so we all got hats and sweatshirts at Canal Street. The sun did peak out for a bit when we got to the Statue of Liberty, though. No matter how many times I see this sight, it will always take my breath away a bit.

We also went to the 9-11 Memorial site (where are my pictures?), and it was quite emotional. The fountains are amazing, and there is a very special spirit there.

We also took Kailen to The Shake Shack a couple of times, and all the other touristy spots.

She also got to see her first musical, and it just happened to be Wicked, on Broadway. Needless to say, she is now a huge Wicked fan! Who wouldn't be, right? And when they raise Elphaba to the top of the stage while she's belting out the final notes of "Defying Gravity," oh my...there's not much like it.

John had meetings a day-and-a-half while we there, and one morning Kailen and I really needed some healthy food. Like, really. So we walked until we found a shop that also had a buy-it-by-the-pound buffet. She loaded up a container with salad, and I loaded up a container with fruits. We also grabbed an orange juice and a Greek yogurt. Did I mention this was by the pound? Yeah. We went to check out, and I thought I was going to die. $43.00!!!!! But, it was soooo worth every single penny. We thought we'd only eat about half and save the rest for later, but we ate the whole thing!

I also dragged her (kind of literally) to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and we spent a couple of hours there. When I go back (because I will!), I'm going to spend an entire day there. The first time I went there, I was so overwhelmed, that it was way too much, and I only spent a couple of hours looking around before I just had to leave. Next time will be different!

We also saw Live with Kelly and Michael, and it was seriously one of the highlights of our trip! Kelly and Michael were funny and very down to earth. They'd come and visit with the audience during the commercial breaks, and we loved it!

We saw Anne Hathaway!!!!!

And, after the show was over, they said they had to tape another guest for a future show, and that anyone who wanted to could stick around. They didn't say who the extra guest was, but we stuck around anyway.

It was Colin Firth!!!!

As we were leaving the show, people from Katie Couric's show were outside the studio telling people they had empty chairs in Katie's show, so we went! It was really fun! I've loved Katie Couric since her Today Show days, and it was fun to see her up close!

After Katie was over, we walked back to our hotel to get all our luggage and catch a car to the airport. Look what we almost walked right by:

The Manhattan Temple!

It was a jam-packed, but totally awesome trip. And I can't wait to go again! Kailen thought it was way too busy and crowded, but I could totally live there for a year just to get to do everything and see everything. I love it!

One thing I didn't get to do was run in Central Park again. I'd torn my meniscus, and my doctor put a halt to any running. :( Next time, though, me and Central Park have a running date!

More on that in the next catch-up post.

And I'm now wondering where all my other pictures are...I'll definitely need to add more later. :)
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2014. In Books.

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I reached my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal in 2014. By hours, to be honest. But I did it! My goal was to read 30 books, and I did really well staying on schedule the first part of the year, but then I got busier at work, got a new calling (RS President, for the second time!), and Life kind of took over.

Here's what I read during 2014:

I've decreased my goal for 2015 a little bit since Life is still pretty busy, and I'm excited to read some more awesome books! I love to read...I just wish I had more time besides the right-before-bed time, because I can never remember everything I read the next night, and I have to backtrack a bit. I guess I get sleepier than I think I do.
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While waiting...

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I headed to the County Licensing and Permit office first thing this morning to take care of some business license stuff. It didn't even occur to me that there would be some waiting time until I went to enter the office and saw the sign that said since they have longer wait times, they provide free wifi in the reception room.

Oh great.

I only had my phone with me (Rats! I could've gotten some work done! Note to self: Take ipad with you for any appointment, just in case), so this is how Facebook and I spent my waiting time:

Took a plural test a friend had shared. Did pretty well!

Took a "Which muscle car are you?" test, also shared by a friend (Thank you, friends, for keeping me busy while waiting!). Not sure if this is the actual muscle car I would buy if I ever wanted to buy a muscle car since I didn't understand many of the options for the questions the survey asked (engine size? type? huh?), but this Ford Mustang does look pretty fun! And it's red. I've always wanted a red car...

An interesting (and maybe subconsciously-related) fact: The parents of my first best friends (that I remember) had a Ford Mustang, and I called it a "Holly Kay Car" because their names were Holly and MaryKay. So I guess this was meant to be my muscle car. If I ever buy one. Which I don't see myself doing.


Entered myself and a friend (You're very welcome, Diane!) in a contest to win a year of free Almond Milk. Because that would be awesome!

Another California Riverside Missionary Mom posted a picture, and Parker was in it! Too fun! They were at a "Greenie Dinner" for a brand new missionary. Still can't believe our boy will be home 8 weeks from today!

Read a funny article about tweets from parents, and it really was very funny! I could so relate to many of them.

I'm really hoping I win that year of free Almond Milk. That would make my wait today so worth it! But if not, that's okay too. At least I kept busy, even if it was a totally-wasting-time sort of busy.

I've just got to remember that ipad next time...
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A Major Catch-up, part 1: Parker's Mission

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I know.

I have been a horrible blogger for the past nine months.

What can I say?!

Since I spend the majority of my day writing for my job in one capacity or another, I really don't feel like doing any other writing, and when you get a few months behind, the thought of catching up is not really appealing.


Since I like to print my blog every year for family history's sake, I'm going to do a few quick updates, and hopefully do better at blogging in 2015.


Here's the first update - a lot of pictures Parker has sent us from his mission (and I don't have any info for most of them - just want to post them):

These next two pictures are from the car accident Parker and his companion were in. A lady came straight at them and for some unknown reason didn't hit the front passenger side where Parker was sitting. It was amazing that no one was hurt, and Parker talked about how he knew they were being protected. We were very say the least!

 Can you guess which pumpkin is Parker's? The UK/Nike one, of course! :)

This is the second pair of shoes he's worn out. Thank heavens for Missionary Mall's two-year wear guarantee!

 This is our Facetime call with him at Christmas. He was loving the UK shirt we sent him!
He's doing really well, and will be home on March 10th. His mission has flown by, and it's been fun to see him change and grow. He was an awesome kid before he left, and he's even more awesome now!

We love having a missionary, and it looks like we'll have another one in the next year or so. Kailen says she's be going on a mission! :)
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One year. It's been one year. Already.

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One year ago today we took Parker to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, UT. What a day that was! We drove to Provo that morning from Rexburg, Idaho, where we'd been spending a last few days with Zach and Angela, Kam, and my sister and her family. We ate his "last" meal at Tucanos, and he loved it! Then we drove to the MTC, parked across the street by the Provo Temple, and took some pictures. Lots of pictures, actually. Gave lots of hugs, and then drove to the MTC missionary drop-off area.

So many emotions hit me. All at once.

  • Sadness: I wasn't going to see my boy for two whole years! 
  • Nervousness: Had we prepared him (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) for this new season in his life? 
  • Gratitude: Our son chose to serve the Lord for two whole years, and was willing to leave his life full of college, work, dating, basketball, and other things he loves behind. For two whole years.
  • Love: Yeah, I love that boy so much!
  • Peace and Comfort: I knew he was doing what the Lord wanted him to do, and he was where he was supposed to be. And I wouldn't want it any other way!
  • And so many others...

I sent Parker a "hump day" package last week and found this awesome poem I just had to include! I don't know who wrote it, but I'd really like to thank him/her anyway (a "Greenie" is a brand new missionary):


The latest pictures from Parker's mission (thank you to his awesome Mission President's wife as well as his Homeshare Family (some missionaries live with families in some areas)):

Christmas 2013 with his companion

Christmas 2013 with his Homeshare Family

His new Homeshare Family has a dog! He's so excited!

The most recent Zone Conference. He's serving in Riverside again.

The missionaries with February birthdays in Parker's zone.
We are so proud of our boy and the great work he's doing in California. We look forward to what this next year will bring, and are so thankful to have a missionary son!
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Thoughts on a rainy Tuesday morning.

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Yesterday afternoon I saw a post on a friend's Facebook page about a family--husband, wife, and two sons--who died from carbon monoxide poisoning over the weekend in Pocatello, Idaho.

This is sad enough as it is, but when I read the name of the husband, Bill Parrish, this tragedy immediately hit pretty hard. I went to school with Bill at good ol' Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho. I interacted with him in classes. I did fun high school activities with him from time to time. I'd been in his home. I looked up to him as a leader (he was either Senior Class President or Student Body President, I can't remember which right now). I looked up to him as a peer--he was always kind, stuck to his standards, and was a friend to everyone. Everyone. I also know his cousin, Craig, who has been quoted in some of the news releases, and who was more of a brother to Bill than a cousin. The whole Parrish family is one extremely close-knit family. An awesome family. A family loved by pretty much everyone in the area.

Bill and his wife Ross also have two other children who are serving full-time missions for our church. My heart breaks for these two kids right now, who are coming home from their missions today to be with family and do what needs to be done. Bill's awesome example (and I'm sure his wife was just as awesome as he was!) has rubbed off on his kids, as his missionary daughter asked to be able to stay today to do her part in a missionary zone conference this morning before flying home. Seriously. That speaks volumes.

When I first heard this sad news yesterday, I think I kind of went into shock. Like, did this really happen, or am I making it up? Then I moved on to wondering how does this happen? Most of a family gone at once? Then when I woke up this morning randomly at 1 a.m., the truth really hit, and I've been kind of emotional ever since.

It's a good day for it to be a rainy day.

I'm praying the Parrish family, Ross' family (Bill's wife), and especially his two remaining kids can find peace and comfort in all the thoughts and prayers being offered for them from all over the country, and probably the world.

This story also reminds me of a young mother, who was friends with several of my friends in Arizona but whom I never met, who suddenly died a few months ago a week after giving birth to her second child. She left behind a young husband, toddler son, and brand new baby girl. Again. Unbelievable at first, but then a pretty hard hit to the heart afterward.

Both of these experiences, and others just like them, beg the questions Why? Why are parents taken from their children who still need them desperately? Why are both parents taken at the same time? Why do kids have to die before they get to experience all the milestones of life? Why? Why? Why?

Tough questions to answer. Almost impossible at times.

But I do know a couple of things.


Because of and through my knowledge of the gospel, I know God loves each one of us and has a plan for our individual lives, and while I do not know--or even understand--that plan at times (like now), I know it's what's best. Even if and when it doesn't make sense with my earthly eyes, because God's eyes are eternal and He can see so much more than I can ever hope to see. This is faith, which can do miracles when I'm dealing with hard things. My all-time favorite quote on faith is from Virginia H. Pearce (one of President Hinckley's daughters), from a talk she gave many years ago:

When we bring that definition [of faith] into everyday language, faith means that I really believe that:
  • Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live, and they are in charge of this world. 
  • They know me. 
  • They love me. 
  • They have a plan for my future. 
  • I will obey the commandments, work hard, and trust in their plan. Sooner or later, everything will be okay.

I have sometimes clung to this thought during difficult times, and I'm sure it'll be on my mind the next little while. 


I know Families Can Be Together Forever. Even though we're separated from our loved ones for a time by death, we can be together forever one day. And this knowledge brings me so much comfort and hope. Especially during tough times.

And this tragic event, and others like it, also reminds me to let the little unimportant things go, to not stress so much about the future and things I have no control over, and to take better advantage of every single moment I have with those I love. Because I never know when this moment might be the last.


It's a good day for a rainy day.
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