Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Brad!

Today Brad turns 4 years old. It's hard to believe it's really been that long. I can't imagine my life without him. He is incredibly funny, super sweet and insanely aggravating all at the same time. For his birthday I decided to ask him some interview questions and here's what he said:

Favorite color: Orange & Yellow
Favorite food: Corn Dogs
Best Friend: Anela
Favorite book: If I ran the Zoo
Favorite movie: Ratatouille (even though he hasn't watched it in months)
Favorite thing to do: Eat Pizza
Favorite animal: Dinosaur
Favorite word: Birthday
Favorite joke: "Knock, Knock" - "Who's there?" - "Justin" - "Justin who? - "Justin time for lunch!"

And here are some birthday pictures - enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scrap Pages

I've mentioned before that I'm on the Creative Team for Lindsay at Spinky Dink Scraps. Well she's expanding her designs in a big way and I've been busy doing some new pages with her kits the last couple weeks. Here's some of my work!

These 2 are using Future Star and are both from May of 2006 when Joe graduated from the University of Utah:

These next two are both made using All Good Things.

This is Brad & Jayden at the family reunion in August

This is one of my favorite pictures of Brad

And these last two are made using Corduroy & Lace Reloaded.

This was the first time Lucy, Jack & Carly met.

This is actually a re-make of one of my first ever digital scrap pages. I think it came out better this time. In my defense, this was taken just a few days before Lucy was born and Tenille still had a couple of months to go.

I really enjoy digi-scraping and it's a great activity for those few minutes of quiet after the kids go to bed since I don't watch TV any more. Oh yeah, did I mention that I don't watch TV any more? Well, I watch some PBS kids shows with Brad and Lucy, but those don't really count. It's not really by choice. You see, a few months ago Joe presented this idea to me where we would get rid of Dish Network and our DVR and replace it with a Home Theater PC which Joe would build. We would be able to get regular TV channels and watch any show that was online (which is a lot these days) and he would work it out so that we could use a computer program like a DVR. Well...let's just say it hasn't gone as planned. We do get regular TV channels, but the DVR thing has never worked and I just refuse to watch TV without being able to skip commercials and fast forward through the stupid parts. I have watched 3 or 4 shows online, but frankly it's kind of a pain. All this boils down to me just not watching TV any more. And you know what...mostly I don't miss it. Obviously something is going to have to change when American Idol starts again, but until then I'm sure I can find plenty of other things to occupy my time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I almost got out of bed at 10:00 last night to come down and write a post when I realized that it was the last day of September and that I will have missed a whole month. Then I decided I cared more about sleep than my blog. Ha ha!

Well, September has been one of changes for us. The biggest change has been Joe's new job. After a very long hiring process (5 weeks between second and final interviews!) Joe was offered a job at Amerinet. This is a big step forward for him and takes him back to the health care industry which is something he knows. The last 2 years at Marquette have been stressful and not as fruitful as we would have hoped, but I'm very proud of him for sticking it out and using it to find something better. He'll be working closely with his former associates at Intermountain Health Care and he's very excited about that. I think it's going to be a really good thing.

Another change is that we're in the process of trying to buy a new house (I was going to post a link but just realized that's not smart blogging). Actually we've been "in the process" since April. It's a short sale, which is the biggest misnomer in the history of real estate. A couple of weeks ago we actually got a signed purchase contract back, which is much further than we've ever been before. The house is around the corner from where we live now, which is a plus for us because we love our neighborhood. It's a bit bigger than our current house and has a much better layout for us. The kids would both have their own bedrooms near ours and we would have a family room which means I could get the toys and books out of our living room. I'm still not holding my breath, because this whole process has been pretty much a joke, but I'll keep you posted.

Both kids are doing well. Brad never stops talking. Ever. I'm blaming that on his Tibbs genes. I'll take the blame for his overactive imagination, but they have to claim the non-stop talking. When he's being especially vocal Joe always says, "Hey Brandon!" If you know Brandon you'll know it's true.

Lucy is 16 months old - crazy! At her 15 month appointment she was 23 lbs and 31 inches. She has 13 teeth with 3 more on the way. I swear she's been teething non-stop since April. I wish they would just come in so it could be done. Lucy talks much more than Brad did at this age. She calls us all by name and has some cute funny phrases like, "I want a snack." She's quite the little dancer much to her daddy's chagrin.

We've had a great summer with lots of hiking and biking. It just starting to get cold and I think that's coming to an end. I'm very sad about that, but I do enjoy the nip in the fall air. I'll try to get some pictures posted soon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

This is what happens...

...when you're too tired to even finish your Corn Dog.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Hiking We Will Go

A couple of weeks ago Joe and I took a drive up Mill Creek Canyon and ever since then we've been wanting to take the kids hiking up there. Today we took the afternoon and headed out for a hike. Unfortunately we didn't do a whole lot of research on which trail we should take before we went, but we looked at a couple of things on my phone on the way there and thought we knew where we were headed. The Elbow Fork trail was described as being an "Easy" level hike which "follows the road at low altitudes and is well shaded with beautiful views of Mill Creek Canyon." I'm sure that the Elbow Fork trail is just that. What I'm not sure of is what trail we hiked. I think we went up a trail on the south side of the road when we should have been on the north side.

The trail we took was beautiful, but it was not "easy". It had a lot of switchbacks at the beginning which took us straight up the face of the mountain and it pretty much continued uphill from there. I have to say that even though the hike was far more difficult than we had planned, we still had a great time. Brad was amazing. He walked the whole way with very little complaining. He did turf it a few times, but with no major injuries and nothing could damage his positive attitude. Lucy rode in the back-pack and was a trooper too. We hiked for about an hour and a half in the fresh, clean air and I think all of us felt great afterward. Here are some pictures for you!

This is the view of the canyon from about half way through our hike. You can just see the city where the mountains meet in the middle. You can also see how the air gets dirtier the further down you get. :(

Here's Lucy chilling in the back-pack. It looks like she's blowing a kiss, but really she's stuffing her face with goldfish crackers.

Joe and the kids. It's a good thing he can carry Lucy like that because I don't think I could.

The kids and me.

Brad leading the way. This was my view for most of the hike. He really did an amazing job and I was really proud of him.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that while we were hiking I got stung for the first time in my whole life. It really hurt!! Luckily it turns out I have no major allergies, so disaster averted.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I got a playdough recipe off my friend Joy's blog a couple of months ago and have made it twice now with huge success so I thought I would share!

1 c All purpose flour
1 c Warm (not hot) water
2 Tbs Cream of Tarter
1 Tbs Vegetable oil
1/4 c salt
1 pkg Unsweetened Koolaid (Optional...I haven't actually tried this part)
Food coloring as desired (I add mine after it's cooked so I can do several colors in 1 batch)

You combine all the ingredients in a pan and mix it until it's smooth. You then put it over medium heat and stir it continuously until it's one big ball. Then take it off the heat and knead until smooth. I then separate it into smaller balls and add different food coloring to each one. If your playdough is sticky even after you've cooked it you just put a little oil on your hands and knead it in - don't add more flour.

I like homemade playdough so much more than the stuff from the store. It's smoother and smells better and is super easy to clean up. If it gets dried on anything you can just dissolve it with warm water. Plus, if your kids eat it (as we know they will) you know exactly what's in it and don't have to worry.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Brad-ism 7/20/09

I know I just posted yesterday, but this was too good not to share.

This morning before I left for work Brad was making a house out of the kitchen chairs and a blanket. Lucy was being "helpful" and kept pulling the blanket off. Brad was getting pretty frustrated and I was trying to keep her away, but I was trying to get ready to go and she kept at it. After a few minutes I heard Brad quietly from the kitchen say,

"Dear Heavenly Father, Please help my baby sister to stop ruining my house. Amen."

I had to try so hard not to laugh, and I figured if it was that serious I really better keep her out of his hair. Glad to know he's at least getting the message that he can pray any time he needs help.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Layout and a Brad-ism

Like the new look? I felt like it was time for a change. It's from a scrap kit called Tomfoolery made by some of my favorite designers at Elemental Scraps, Bella Gypsy, in collaboration with designer Amanda Heimann. I just love everything Bella Gypsy does! Check them out some time at their blog, Our Life's Mosaic, or at Elemental Scraps.

I haven't shared any Brad-isms for a while, sorry about that! It's certainly not that there haven't been any. Here's a good one - the other day I asked him to go downstairs and get his shoes and socks so that we could get ready to go. With a thoughtful look on his face he said, "I'm really not an expert at shoes and socks." I wanted to tell him that I wasn't asking him to design them, just to go get them...but instead I just had to laugh.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Yes, I know I've been home for almost 2 weeks and have not yet blogged about Mexico. Joe and I had such an amazing time in Cancun that it was almost like a dream. Coming home was a harsh wake up call...but I'm re-adjusting...slowly. I took a ton of pictures and have just picked my favorite 3o or so (ha ha!) for you here.

Joe and I were invited to go down to Cancun by our good friends Justin and Angela Baker who had a 2 bedroom Villa at the Royal Mayan resort. Justin's dad has a couple of time shares and this was a trade from a week in Hawaii, so it was upgraded and we were all just shocked when we got to our villa on Saturday afternoon - it was literally on the beach. You would walk out the patio doors onto the grass and then down about 8 steps to the beach. It was beautiful. I loved being able to open the door or window and hear the ocean. Of course you couldn't leave the window open all night because the humidity down there is insane and I can't sleep when it's hot! Here are a couple of shots of the view from our room:

Saturday night we decided to go shopping for some groceries so we took the public bus (which was like $.60 to ride) to where else...Wal-Mart! The food there was cheaper than at the food at the markets at the resorts and it's always comforting knowing that Wal-Mart is pretty much the same no matter where you go. The bus ride was a little crazy, but very efficient. The driver hits the gas as soon as your money is in his hand so you better hold on!

On Sunday we were all a little tired from traveling and wanted to take it easy so we had a relaxing day. We hit the pool and the beach. There was this guy on the beach trying desperately to sell these really ugly hats. We didn't buy the hats, but we paid him a few pesos to let us take a picture with them on.

On Monday we rented a car to head out into the jungle. Justin is fluent in Spanish and Joe's Portuguese was close enough for him to get along, so that gave us a real advantage. I think you could easily do the Cancun area without it, but it sure helped, especially with the driving. Before we went down there we heard all these horror stories about how the Mexican police pull tourists over all the time and you have to bribe them to let you go, so we were a bit nervous. Since Joe was the only one of us with foreign driving experience (Canada doesn't count) we elected him driver. I must say he did an amazing job. He never got pulled over and by the end of the 4 days we had the car he was driving like a native (although I'm not sure that's a good thing). There are two very annoying things about driving in the Mayan Riviera, the changes in speed limit and the accompanying speed bumps. We were on a fairly major highway and there was honestly a change in speed limit about every half a mile. It would go up and then back down and up again. Obviously the Mexican Government doesn't understand anything about gas efficiency. At the beginning or ending of any little town (or just when they randomly felt like it) there were these HUGE speed bumps. They look like this and you have to slow down almost to a stop to go over them. It was insane and don't even get me started on the caution signs. Anyway, Joe did a great job driving and I was very proud.

On Monday we drove down to Tulum which is a Mayan ruin site. It was a port city so it is right on the ocean and its beach is just stunning.

On the way in, this guy basically handed me his giant iguana and then quickly told me it would cost $5 to take it's picture. I guess I should consider it a donation to the Mexican economy. It WAS a pretty cool iguana:

Here are some of my favorite shots of the ruins and the beach at Tulum. Don't let the breezy conditions and overcast skys fool you, it was like 90 degrees and 100% humidity there. I've never sweat so much in my life!

These things are everywhere!!

When we left Tulum we went to the Dos Ojos Cenote. A cenote is a sink hole which means it's basically a lake in a cave. We didn't really know what to expect and on our way in they tried to talk us into paying for a tour guide, but we thought we would just try exploring a bit by ourselves. We took our snorkel gear and headed down to the water. The water was so cool and incredibly clear. It's probably the cleanest water I've ever swam in and it felt so good to cool off. It was so neat to swim around and look at the stalagmites and stalactites which have formed in the caves.

There were only a very few other people there which turned out to be a huge stroke of luck for us because the photographer that usually goes around with the tour guides was sitting around bored. He came down and was swimming and talking with us for a little while and he asked if we had been to the "bat cave". We told him we didn't even know there was a bat cave, so he offered to take us to it. It was a cave you had to snorkel to through a small opening and it was just beautiful. There were a few bats in it, but they certainly weren't bothering us in the water. The photographer took a bunch of pictures of us and gave us a great deal on the CD of all the images. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

This is my favorite picture of the whole trip:

We left Dos Ojos and drove to Playa del Carmen for dinner. I loved Playa and I think if we go back to the area we would probably try to stay there. Several blocks around the beach are closed to traffic and it's full of shops and restaurants. We found a great place with a really affordable buffet for dinner and then walked around the shops. Everyone was so friendly! We also had my favorite Spanish faux pas in one of the shops there when Joe asked the shop keeper if she would accept a "Carta" for a wrap I wanted to buy. Apparently in Portuguese Carta is "Card" but in Spanish it's "Carton". The lady just laughed and told him no, she would not accept a carton, but would accept a "Tarjeta" meaning card.

On Tuesday we took on an even bigger adventure and traveled to Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is one of the seven wonders of the world and has a very large Mayan Temple. It is about 150 miles from Cancun, but by then we were confident in Joe's driving. On the way there we stopped in Valladolid which is a colonial Mexican town. It has Mexico's oldest continuously operating cathedral which was really neat. I'm not sure we would have actually stopped, but Joe and Justin spotted a shop on the street selling insanely inexpensive barbecued chicken and they just couldn't resist. We got half a chicken with rice and tortillas for about $5.00 and it was really good. Here's a picture of Joe and me with the cathedral in the background.

Chichen Itza was truly awe inspiring. The scale is just massive and it's been so well preserved that you can really imagine how it looked in its time. I really loved it.

There are 2 different roads from Cancun to Chichen Itza. One is a toll road and one is not. Our map didn't really say which was which, but on the way there we ended up on the toll road. It was a great road. The speed limit was consistent and the road was straight and not very busy (except for the thousands of yellow butterflies with a death wish). When we got to the toll booth we found out the toll was about $20.00. That seemed like a lot to us so on the way home we decided we would take the non-toll road. It ended up being the worst/most entertaining decision of the whole trip.

I think it took us about 2 hours to get to Chichen Itza, and about 4 hours to get home! The road wound it's way through ever little town between there and Cancun and every one of those towns had six of the gigantic speed bumps. It was beautiful and wonderful to drive through the "real" Mexico, but after a couple of hours we were all so over it! At one point when we slowed down for one of the hundreds of speed bumps our car was mobbed by about a dozen children and old ladies trying to sell spices, peppers and tamales. They were hanging on the car and banging on the windows. Talk about determined sales people! We also ran into construction where Joe had to navigate between a five foot drop off on one side and the oncoming traffic on the other side with about six inches to spare. In the meantime a crazy city bus driver kept trying to PASS us!

We finally got back to "civilization" and were following the signs to Cancun, but after about 20 minutes we realized we had somehow passed the turn off to Cancun and were too far north. We were getting a little giddy with our fatigue and just started laughing and laughing. We pulled over and asked directions and the man chuckled and said "Usted está muy perdido" or "You are really lost." He pointed us in the right direction, but it took asking 2 more people before we really found our way back. Luckily everyone was very good natured about it and we just viewed it as an adventure.

On Wednesday we got to take advantage of the sail boats that our resort offered use of for free. Joe got a 15 minute sailing lesson (which he didn't really need because he's an experienced boy scout) and then took me out to sail around the Lagoon. It was a really nice surprise activity that we enjoyed more than we expected.

That night Joe and I went to dinner at a place called Hacienda Sisal. I have to say, ALL the food we had down there was just amazing. I don't know how they make their refried beans, but they are SO much better than the ones here. Nothing was too spicy and I loved it all. At Hacienda Sisal we had a great waiter who really wanted to chat. We talked with him about politics and tourism and he gave us a lot of insight into life for Cancun natives. The Swine Flu panic has had a really negative effect on everyone who works in tourism (which is pretty much everyone). Everywhere we went people would tell us that it was so slow and although it made for a really nice vacation for us, I do feel bad for the people there.

On Thursday we drove down to Xcaret which is an "eco-park" sort of a zoo/theme park/water park/beach with a big cultural show at night. It was wonderful. We saw their animals and enjoyed some great snorkeling. They have an underground river that was like one of the cenotes and we followed it out to where it met the ocean. We didn't really see fish in the river, but once we reached the ocean we saw a lot, including some BIG suckers that made even Joe and Justin scream like little girls.

On the last day we did something that all of us had always wanted to do - swam with Dolphins! We took a ferry out to Dolphin Discovery in Isla Mujeres where we got to play with a sea lion, swim with dolphins and also manatees! It was truly one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences. The dolphins are so smart and well trained. They would even come up and push you by the feet back to the dock. The manatees were so gentle and very different than I thought they would be. Dolphin Discovery is one of the few places that will let you swim with manatees because they are endangered. They feel like if you get in the water with them and get to know them you will become an advocate for them, which is totally true. I never really even knew what they were before, but now I'm very interested in them. I don't have any pictures of us actually swimming with the animals because they wanted like $20 per picture, but here are a few I snapped from the shore:

That night we went to our last big dinner out at a great sea food place. As much as I missed my kids while we were gone, it was so nice to just be able to go out every night and do whatever we wanted.

Well, I could probably write a lot more about the trip, but this is already longer than I intended it to be. I do need to give my mom a HUGE thank you because she and her friend Janet took care of our kids while we were gone and Brad and Lucy both got sick. Lucy had an ear infection and Brad got a virus that won him a trip to Primary Children's hospital for a chest x-ray. Even though she's a nurse, my mom got a lot more than she bargained for, and I'm incredibly grateful because I knew they were in good hands and didn't have to worry. Thank you mom!

And now back to your regularly scheduled posts about real life....