beach day

We spent Saturday at the beach.  It was very cloudy and eventually rain chased us away but we still had fun. 
jenn & leslie
 there was a fun playground across the street that jilly (and my sisters) loved

sandy, sandy girl
 tyler was throwing cheez-its to the seagulls; it was funny to watch them follow him around
when jilly woke up from her nap she was feeling snuggly and sat on my lap like this for a while- heaven.

This week we're heading to Utah for the next leg of our Summer Vacation.  We're sad to leave Virginia but glad that our favorite Virginians are coming with us.


eat mor chikin

There are very few things I wouldn't do for free food.  Apparently dressing up as a cow is not on that list.  Last Friday was "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chick-fil-A.  Everyone who dressed like a cow got a free meal.  You better believe we were there.

Jilly left a trail of spots, but at least her cute little ears stayed on!


Friday Five

1.  We've been in Virginia for about 24 hours and everyone is determined to get Jilly to say their name.  The only name she can say so far?  Luna, the dog's name.

2.  Thank you for your kindle suggestions; we now have lots of fun new apps to play with.

3. M&M's were my desperation treat for when Jilly was really having a breakdown.  We busted out the M&M's 15 minutes into our first flight.  It was a long, long day.

4.  In the airport a random man came up to me and said, "I'm a photographer, and your daughter is one of the cutest I've ever seen."  I needed to hear that after spending 5 hours wrestling with my cute but feisty daughter.

5. A few month's ago I read Preethi's travel fashion advice where she proclaimed to have discovered the most comfortable travel outfit- a maxi dress.  Hello?!?!  How had I not thought of that before?  I felt like I was wearing a big cozy blanket all day and was the most comfortable I've ever been on a plane (except for the squirmy toddler on my lap.)


half way

 My goal is to read 50 books this year.  I finished my 25th book on July 7th, so I’m a little bit behind but still going strong.  Here is my reading rundown for the first half of the year-

1. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. I loved this book- so fascinating and fun to read, more of my ramblings here.

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I LOVED this book.  I learned so much through Gretchen Rubin's insights and discoveries on happiness.  I most love her Second Splendid Truth, "One of the best ways to make myself happy is to make other people happy.  One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy myself."  I've been more aware of happiness and finding ways to create it since reading this.

3. The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow. I loved loved loved this book. Zaslow perfectly mixed the history of the store, interesting facts about marriage, and brides' stories. Fascinating. The true tragedy of 2012 was when this book accidentally made its way into my "books to return" pile when I was just a few chapters from finishing. Then it took a lousy 3 months on the hold list for me to finally be able to finish. Worth the wait.

4. Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley. This book was amazing. Both fascinating and heartbreaking, it told the stories of Thomas Jefferson's children with his slave Sally Hemings. Monticello is one of my very favorite places, and I loved reading more about what went on there. Though this book is historical fiction the author says she did meticulous research and as far as she knows nothing in the story could not have been true.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  A wonderful classic that I could read over and over again.

6. Love Life and See Good Days by Emily Freeman, I heard Emily Freeman speak at Time Out for Women and really loved her message so I read the full book.  She has some great ideas to help you to look over the bad to see the good.  Her stories are cute without seeming too preachy.  This was my first book of the year and a great way to start 2012.

7. Matched by Ally Condie, I loved this book!  Comparable to The Hunger Games/The Giver.  It has a cute romance (although I wanted her to love the wrong boy the whole time.) 

8. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. I seriously laughed out loud for the first 3/4 of the book.  I loved Jack's humor, sassiness, and love of history. It reminded me a lot of The Wednesday Wars, which I adore. But then the end fell flat. Some things were resolved way too easily and some things were completely unresolved. I feel like it left me hanging, and that is not the way I want to finish a book.

9. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. I really enjoyed listening to this book. It definitely wasn't The Hunger Games, but still was very engaging. My 10 year old brother loves this series, and I think they're great books for middle-grade boys. Gregor is a wonderful hero- adventurous, compassionate, and very responsible.

10. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins.  Again, I love Gregor.

11. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. Very cute and fun, especially because I read it just a few weeks after visiting Alcatraz myself.

12. 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  This story is thrilling, and I learned a lot about Kennedy and the 60's- a win-win in my book.

13. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Fascinating and heart-wrenching. Alice is a 50 year old Harvard professor who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. I started crying halfway through and couldn't stop; this is a great read.

14. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Somehow I missed this delightful book when I was young (I did see the movie, but that doesn't count.) I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen to my girls.

15. Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson. I really enjoyed this book (in fact, much more than I thought I would.) Very inspiring and heart-wrenching; I love a book that makes me more grateful for what I have.

16. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, This book was a whopping 32 discs but luckily I listened to it during a month that I did a lot of driving and painting.  It is a fascinating story of cathedral building in 12th Century England.  I enjoyed it, but not enough to take on the second book.

17. Bossypants by Tina Fey. Funny, funny, funny.  Bryan would get annoyed because I was constantly laughing while reading and he felt like he was missing out on a great joke (he was.)  But, it was also annoying at times.

18. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. I love it when a book tells a powerful story but is still accessible to kids. I'm kicking myself for not reading this to my fifth graders.

19. London Refrain by Bodie Thoene.  I have really enjoyed this series; partly because of its WWII setting and partly because of the characters that now feel like my friends.

20. The Last Summer by Ann Brashares. I liked this book more than I thought I would. The story was sweet and full of emotion (even if terribly predictable.) My only complaint is how jumpy it was, but that may have been because I was listening to it.

21. Crossed by Ally Condie.  I actually liked this much less than Matched but I still am excited to read the last book of the trilogy.

22. Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Jack's manic depressive mom leaves in the middle of the night while they are camping. He must find his way home without alerting any suspicion that could lead to trouble for his mom. Not my absolute favorite, but a solidly good book.

23. Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich. Pretty dumb and completely unrealistic

24. Austenland by Shannon Hale.  In my humble opinion Shannon Hale should stick to YA; this was pretty silly.

25. Graceling by Kristin Cashore.  I really struggled getting into this book, then really enjoyed some parts of it.  But, overall, I didn’t like it enough to start the next book in the series. 


here we go

Jilly and I are about to embark on our semi-annual trek across the country.  We're so so excited to be back in Virginia with family.  But before we can leave I have 2 questions-

1. What Kindle Fire apps do your kids love? We'll be on a plane for a looooong time and I'm hoping for lots of fun, new distractions.

2. Does anyone know where I can locate Hermione's beaded handbag?  I'm in desperate need.



As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge camper but this trip turned out very fun.  We spent two days at Bear River Lake with Bryan's parents and his brother Chad.  Unlike her mother, Jillian was born to camp.  She loved running around in the dirt all day and collecting rocks and sticks.  I was super stressed about the nights because Jilly is such a bad sleeper, but she slept like a champ, mostly between Bry and I in the "H is for you-know-what" position.  Jilly slept great; Bryan and I - not so much .  But, all in all, it was a success and I just may be convinced to camp again.

It was chilly up there and somehow Jilly's pants didn't make it in the bag but luckily I did pack extra jammies so she wore these as pants

Uncle Chad's rock towers were a huge hit

 peach cobbler = my very favorite thing about camping

lots of time to relax and practice funny faces with daddy

hello world's largest pinecone

perhaps if she didn't have to wear that pesky life vest Jilly would love the canoe, but I guess we'll never know

we're just a little concerned about where this favorite activity could lead

We made it!  This is in the morning right before we left to go home


Festivities on the Fourth

We started out at a ward pancake breakfast.  Jilly loved watching all the kids in the bike parade which further solidified Bryan's resolve to get her a bike for her birthday.

Then we headed to Oakley and went swimming.  Jilly loved jumping to her daddy and Uncle Chad.

Luckily the water fight started after the girls got out

After a good old American barbeque, we headed out for a parade and fireworks.  Jilly was looking very patriotic.

Parade watching

Fireworks!  A check off our Sumer Bucket List!

(fireworks pictures taken by Chad)



Today is our fifth anniversary.  So today we're doing the Friday Five: Marriage Edition

1. In five years we have earned 3 degrees, had 7 jobs, moved 2 times, been to 4 states, bought a car and a house (not at the same time), and had a baby!

2. In many things we are complete opposites- he is tall and I am short, he thinks things through and I am very impulsive, he likes vanilla and I like chocolate, he hates to shop and I love it, he loves to camp and I tolerate it, he prefers Mexican and I prefer Italian, he's from a family of all boys and I'm from an almost all-girl family, he likes to get messy outside, and I like to make messes inside

3. But there are a few important things that we are in perfect agreement on- Sunday night treats are a necessity, the beach is the best place to vacation, pets are an unnecessary evil, and Jilly is the cutest girl ever.

4. We have spent approximately 15 weeks apart (not consecutively.)  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

5. We're so lucky to have had these 5 years together and many, many more to come!



Last week was kind of crazy around here.  Tuesday- I accidentally locked my keys in the car and Bryan was at a work conference so I had to call AAA to let me in my car.  Wednesday- the great burn catastrophe, Thursday- we took the Camry in to have something fixed (I honestly have no clue, vehicles are 100% Bryan's domain) Friday- Jilly runs into a corner and gets her first goose egg on her forehead, and a crayon *melts in her car seat.  I realize that may not sound like a lot, but compared to our usually rather calm and boring life, it was eventful and a little exhausting.  We were ready for a fun weekend.

First up was Bryan finding out that he PASSED his P.E. Exam!!  He's now an official engineer and I am so proud of him.  It's great to have this hurdle behind us.

(Bryan rides his bike to work so I almost never see him in his real work clothes- hopefully they're not too wrinkly when he gets there!)

Next up was the wedding!  We drove out to Dillon Beach, and although it was very foggy it wasn't too cold.  It was a lovely ceremony, and a very fun reception afterward.  Jilly had a blast running around with the other kids, and we enjoyed the delicious food (except for the oyster that Bryan made me try- blech!)

We headed back to Bryan's parents for the night and had a relaxing Sunday with them.  We have a very, very busy next few weeks so let the fun begin!

*If you should find yourself in this predicament, scrape off all the crayon that you can then make a baking soda paste and rub it on the stain.  It will take a lot of rubbing (very sore fingers) but it really works- nice new trick to now have in my repertoire!