Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Off to the Lake

Our very first LP trip together...ahhhh...

Lake Powell is the one spot Joseph and I have visited together every single year of our marriage. And I'm pretty sure I have been there every summer since the age of 13 (although one year we went in October...talk about a deserted lake--any water skier's dream come true :)

We are leaving our baby home with her auntie and Horsley cousins, and then her "Nanny" (Grandma LeBaron). I hope Livs won't feel too sad without us...because we are pretty excited to play and play all day without naptimes or diapers or a needy toddler. OK-it's mostly just me who's excited for those things. But we'll miss our cuddly girl for sure...after we're done cliff jumping and riding sea-doos and canyon exploring and water-skiing and swimming all day long, and doing a little art of course. I really am excited to spend some one on one time with my Bentley and Caroline. And my little sis and her fam, my big brother and his fam, and my parents who are the official houseboating pros.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I started the morning with another 8:30 swim up at Blackridge. My cute parents decided to join me and it was cool to see several other swimmers up there getting some training in. Thankfully the water was much warmer than 3 weeks ago and it felt great for a quick swim (we aimed for 500 meters but in open water it's hard to gauge.)

After our swim we changed into biking gear and biked the race course for the tri. One little section kind of beat me up with a fairly steady incline ending with an actual hill to climb but other than that the ride was really fun--especially right after that hill. For the next mile or 2 we cruised along as fast as we could down a great downhill stretch. Such fun--I was smiling the whole time. Plus the views were so pretty. I really do live in the country out here--we rode past many horse pastures and huge fields of rich, golden grain. And did I mention I was with my 60 year old parents who easily kept a better pace than me the whole time? I thought it was super cool--I want to be that fit and active when I am their age.

When we got home from our workout I found my own little kids anxious to start their own tri for the day. Beans and Cares headed over to the park on their bikes while Joseph pushed Livs in the stroller. My parents and I showered and changed, snagged a quick pic (because we had forgotten to take any while training), and then I sent my parents back home and drove over to meet my fam at the park.

The kids got soaked at the splash pad for the "swim" section of their tri and then had many sprint races around the park from tree to tree. Even after all of that they still had tons of energy and were eager for more. We came home for yard work which helped get more wiggles out.

We ended the day over at my parents' house for dinner and (early) fireworks. Someday we will do these in the dark again (I know--my kids go to bed pretty early but believe me, they are not fun after 8:30 pm so I don't push them. And everyone wins :)

We caught this shot before the fireworks freaked Max out and he ran into the house to get away from them.

New hats for Powell helped drown out any loud ones

Livs' preferred seating last night

Saturday, July 24, 2010


"[I do] not suggest that our challenges today are more severe than the challenges faced by those who have gone before us. They are just different. The Lord isn’t asking us to load up a handcart; He’s asking us to fortify our faith. He isn’t asking us to walk across a continent; He’s asking us to walk across the street to visit our neighbor. He isn’t asking us to give all of our worldly possessions to build a temple; He’s asking us to give of our means and our time despite the pressures of modern living to continue to build temples and then to attend regularly the temples already built. He isn’t asking us to die a martyr’s death; He’s asking us to live a disciple’s life."

--Elder Ballard, Oct. 2008 Gen. Conf.

I posted these same words a while back but they are still a favorite of mine and so fitting for Pioneer Day. Every time I read these I feel a renewed focus and desire to truly "lead a disciple's life." For me it has a lot to do with the idea of "standing as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places." I have been thinking about that concept a lot lately and wondering how I can actually do that. It's hard.

I distinctly remember a brief moment during our Zion trip this spring when I lost my temper with Cares for a sec over something really stupid. Her hands were grabbing at my shirt while I was loading Olivia and all our gear back up into the backpack and I finally yanked them off me and told her to calm down and just wait for a sec--in that grumpy and annoyed mom voice of mine. Cares erupted in tears and I realized about 10 tourists had just witnessed our lovely little scene and probably thought "that is why I don't have my own children" or something smug like that...but at any rate, I thought all about that during our shuttle ride back down the canyon and felt so sad that I had reacted as I did. Had I been patient (that ever illusive trait) with Caroline we all would have come away from things differently--with happy hearts and a great end to our beautiful hike. Here I absolutely love motherhood and the fun I have with my young family and yet my actions spoke so differently in that telling exchange with Caroline. No one who saw that would know I love being a mom and raising my kids nor would they ever guess that on Sundays I stand with the YW in my ward and pledge to stand as a witness of my Savior at all times. I thought long and hard about what that statement really means and how everything plays a part--my attitude, my topics of conversation, my choices of entertainment, my appearance, and most certainly my actions. I make many choices daily because I love my Savior and I believe in obedience and keeping covenants I have made in the temple. But I am realizing that I need to make so many more choices based on my faith and my desire to be a true disciple. I think it will take me a lifetime, but I am trying.

Friday, July 23, 2010


We love it when cousins come to town! We lucked out and got to have the Christensen family for a sleepover during their annual trek to Utah and Idaho (from North Carolina.) We loved having them here and tried to make the most of their overnighter. Joseph and Rob engaged in an 8 ball tournament, Flori made us delicious calzones for dinner and I made us some Southern Cream Pie for dessert, and once the little ones were in bed we watched Jurrasic Park. Joseph got the biggest kick out of seeing his nieces freak out and yet keep watching. They were pretty brave and very funny during it--Eloise kept quietly repeating "it's just animation..."

In the morning I woke up around 8:00 and happened upon this gathering on the couch. Aren't they cute all huddled together? It was pretty funny--oh, the joy of sharing ugly YouTube videos with family :)

We popped down to Kneaders in our PJs for Cinnamon French Toast and then stopped at the park on our way back so the kids could get some of their wiggles out. It was such a hot morning though--we didn't last very long. Instead we headed home and played Dance, Dance Revolution on the XBOX and the big kids built a killer fort for the littler ones under the pool table.

Joseph had the rest of the day off so we got him fitted for some new glasses and then I dropped him at the movie theater with Cares and Beans to see Despicable Me with the whole LeBaron crew--one last hoorah while Flori and Rob were in town.

Christensens--when can we see you again? You guys are so fun and my kids completely adore you! I think Cares wants Bea for her own little sis :) And thanks for showing me some cool new musicians--did you know that Tightrope was used on So You Think You Can Dance the day after you played it for me? Now maybe they'll use The Apples in Stereo next week...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So Big

This little lady decided she would only eat her breakfast at the big table today (like her favorites Beans and Cares.) She's growing up so fast--although she still looks pretty tiny sitting in that big chair.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Girl's Camp 2010

Camp. What an experience. It was rainy and then hot; adventurous and then easy going; filled with teenage drama and then loads of fun; silly and crazy and then solemnly spiritual. As a leader I felt like it was an amazing time for me to get to know the young women in my ward--to cook with them, hike with them, laugh with them, learn from them, and just really listen to them. I am amazed at the strength of these young girls--they have been through hard things and are experiencing hard things. They are not naive and sheltered nor is their faith untested. And yet I marvel at their optimism, their happiness and the sheer trust they have in the Lord. I want so much to be more like them.

My favorite part was by far our testimony meeting. Each girl opened her heart and shared her testimony and it was a meeting that touched me profoundly. There's so much I want to remember about it and yet so much that was sacred and personal--things that aren't mine to share here. I simply felt grateful to be a part of that beautiful, tender meeting, enjoying the warmth of the camp fire and the shockingly bright, starry night sky.

Thank you to all of you who watched over my babies while I was away. They felt so loved and adored by all of you!

Prepping for the zipline

and going for it (it was fun but I wish it had been much higher and longer--the daredevil in me ;)

Addie, Ashley and Tori--3 YCLs and best friends

Daisy, Addie and Marley

pit stop on our hike to the canoeing pond
(a group of girls stood in front of their friend as there was no door on the outhouse :)

midweek hair washing

airing out my feet after our long and sweaty hike

string bracelet mania

Granny Ashley (dressed up for our ward skit)

Hilaree, Stacey and Tori with the fancy awards lady
This stake leader in her sequins had a new outfit for each award--and they were awesome--always puffy and ruffled and bright...some of the coolest dress-ups ever!

Breanna and her mama, Shauna (you can so tell they are related can you not?)

Rachel, Aralee and Stacey "Bon-bon" Bonner
Did I mention the girls gave all the leaders nicknames? Mine was Caribbean. After toying with Chrysler, the former seemed to stick.

with Tori and Jaleece just before testimony meeting

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Super Saturday

---I'm going to get around to blogging about camp soon...

---5 days until a private blog friends--just a reminder...

So, I got home from camp on Friday just before noon, gathered my kidlets from my sister's house, came home and fed everyone lunch and then finally showered. I must have gotten used to the dirt embedded in my fingernails because I was really in more of a rush to see and hold my babies than take a shower. Besides, they love me all stinky and sticky so it didn't matter to them :)

When Saturday rolled around, we hit the ground running and cleaned house all morning. At lunch time we met all the LeBarons over at Cottonwood Heights for a big family swim party. 2 of the 3 out of town siblings were around to play and the cousins had such fun entertaining each other. My kids sure slept soundly after almost 3 hours at the pool!

Jess, Luci and Jack

Seth and Finch, Livs and Joseph, and Rob

Justin, Maggie, Gunner and Bob

Curly girl Isabel

Bentley, Sarah Jane and Porter being towed around by Tommy

We ended the night with a relaxing date night downtown (again with all my hubby's siblings--trying to live it up while Mag and Flori were here!)

entertaining ourselves outside Settebello

Friday, July 16, 2010


Is that even a real word? Actually, I don't want to know. I like it. And it is perfect for this entry because this little bliggity blogger is going private--mostly because a very random foreigner keeps checking up on me and I am tired of seeing a new comment pop up in an Asian language for every single post lately. Weird. And a little creepy.

You know the drill here--leave a comment right now if you want an invite. I have no patience for this kind of thing so let me know now. By next Friday, done and done.

And thanks to all of you who comment in a language I can actually read...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Off to Camp

I am heading to Girl's Camp later today to stay through the end of the week. It's my first time back in about 14 years. Crazy. We are going the old fashioned route (and only way I ever camped in my youth) and sleeping in tents and going without showers. And it will be wonderful :) Honestly, though, I am excited to head up the canyon and spend time with my ward in the mountains. They even have a zip-line at the site so my kids can't wait for me to try it out and see if I like it as much as the one in Zion. And Thursday night is the annual camp testimony meeting which I am very happy to be a part of. I remember loving that night as a teenager and feeling my own faith grow so much just from that one night. I feel lucky to be a part of it again.

I am really going to miss my little ones the next few days. Give them a tight hug from me if you see them this week. They'll be in great hands with Grandma, Nanny, Auntie Cec, and of course their loving daddy every night. I love you my dears! Be good and I will see you on Friday.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Swim

Thought we'd test these waters out before the big race with our new recruit and triathlon veteran, Tommy. He is Joseph's little bro and therefore a silly LeBaron (see picture above).

Let me just say, that water at 8:30 am was cold. I had to adjust to it for several minutes before I could even put my face in it. But it was fun to be the only people up there this morning. Nothing like a brisk swim to start the day!

**Tried out my new tri-shorts--and I am loving them. We'll see if I feel the same after riding my bike in them (the padding is quite slim...)

***Thanks for the advice on my bike tires today Dad--so glad you know stuff like that because I do not!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


1) I just finished washing every nook and cranny of my (currently useless) refrigerator and freezer. It was gross work but now looks brand new. So I am seeing the bright side of things--I could never have given it the detailed cleaning it needed if it had not broken down. So there--a slim silver lining.

2) I had brunch at Corner Bakery with my big sis, my mom, my sister in law and all our kids this morning. It was lovely and fun to see Stacey and her adorable little Mason--that baby boy is a charmer and such a happy smiler. I was enjoying our little gathering until Cares' tummy started troubling her and I had to rush her to bathroom--where she lost it out of both ends (not both at once, thank goodness, but one right after the other.) Poor little thing--but she has been happily playing ever since we got home which is a good sign.

3) I am currently loving Sarah's House on HGTV (thanks for recommendation Cec!) and this blog all about refinishing and repainting furniture. My hubby and I have been planning a master bedroom redo for some time now so stay tuned. And because of Sarah I am determined to find an ugly thrift store chair and reupholster/revive it for our room. The writer of this blog finds the best thrift store chairs--and recovers them herself--why don't I know how to do that? I am dying to head to one of my favorite spots in Phoenix, J&K Furniture--I know I could find something great to work with there. Anywhere in the Salt Lake Valley with great second-hand furniture deals? I honestly want something cheap so I can spend the money on fabric.

4) Let me just add that it is pouring rain outside as I type--just a summer afternoon thunderstorm that will pass in a few minutes. I can remember many times in my youth running for cover during a tennis lesson and taking it indoors for the rest of the hour. The smell of rain hitting hot cement is so striking, so rich. I love it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Money Pit Monday

How was your holiday? I hope it was relaxing and wonderful because ours...was not.

Crisis #1

We returned from a lovely 2 night stay at the cabin just in time to make it to most of church. Except that when we walked into the house our refrigerator was making the most horrendous noise. It was so loud it resonated through the whole first floor. It stopped intermittently and then picked back up again. We knew this was not a good sign. In fact, our fridge had been making squeaky, rattling noises for about a week already but we just hadn't found the time to get it looked at. Anyway, we addressed the situation right away--the sound was driving me crazy and stressing me out and I only had to be at church for the last hour so I could teach the YW. After Google searches, a call with Geek Squad (yes they do appliances), disassembling the back and locating the issue (the compressor fan), vacuuming everything, wiping down any surface we could reach, and unplugging and replugging-in the fridge, nothing changed. The same awful sound started right back up and swept through the house.

After making it to just one hour of church, we camped out in the basement away from the noise. And since we had left Joseph's car at work during the weekend we headed over to Draper to retrieve it--a nice little outing on a Sunday evening--away from the noise of our fridge. The kids and I had never seen Joseph's office so we went inside and had a short tour of the new space. When it was time to head home the kids were cranky and demanding their daddy. So Joseph tossed me his keys and sent me to drive home in peace in his fancy Cadillac while he drove the crazies in our family car.

Crisis #2

It was a lovely and quiet ride home. So lovely in fact that I decided to take a small detour and drive about a mile past my house up to the Black Ridge Reservoir--the swim site for next month's triathlon. I had only seen the lake once and wanted to check it out again. I should have just headed for home because just before I pulled into the parking lot I got pulled over. For speeding. On a road I have never even driven on before. And I had no wallet with me--left it in the other car. I tried to explain that it wasn't my car, I wasn't used to its power and I didn't know the streets up there...but the cop had no sympathy for me in my hubby's sleek car--none at all. And I was presented with a speeding ticket.

I came home to the awfully annoying fridge, found my hubby and cried on his shoulder. Actually, I always cry when I get a ticket. It's so pathetic but true--like I am a little kid in big trouble. It has been 5 years since my last speeding ticket so I was sad to have one on my record again...but I guess I was due (I do drive too fast...)

Crisis #3

Back to the loud refrigerator--after the speeding ticket I was fed up and tried to figure out how to simply quiet the thing down. I finally tried some WD-40 and it worked like magic--still making suspect noises but on a much quieter level. I was thrilled and knew we could sleep through the night without an angry rattling appliance.

A repairman arrived at noon on Monday and informed me that while he was checking things out the fan had died altogether and that my fridge was right then and there rendered useless. He ordered a new part arriving in the timely manner of one week away. Until then, a useless fridge. Perfect.

And we spent the rest of our holiday researching for and eventually buying a newer, smaller fridge for our garage. We have wanted to do this for a while to store extra goods and bulk items. But today, when we were forced to do so AND pay for repairs on our current fridge--it felt like an expensive let down rather than a useful investment.

To deal with all of the extra--I don't know what to call it except "stuff" (stress, unexpected errands, fines for speeding, worrying and rearranging) I went for a midday, hot and sweaty, good, hard 10 mile bike ride. I think I may have punished myself a little and ridden faster than normal on a route I am not used to but it felt great. I needed to work out the physical part of me to let go of the drama. And it helped a lot.

Now we have a nice new fridge in the garage stocked full of our perishables. Say hello to our new garage mate:

A huge thank you to Tim Freiss for 1) living in Herriman 2) being home today 3) needing to head to Lowe's yourself yesterday and 4) taking Joseph with you in your big truck so we could purchase a new fridge and get it home pronto.

Thank you, Cec, for being related to such cool people.

Thank you for even reading to this point. My sad little adventures seem pretty insignificant in the large scope of things--so I'll take them.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Highlights of the weekend:

1) running in the mountains with my hubby on a gorgeous 70 degree day

2) happy cousin playtime ALL day Saturday (Will, Bentley, Cares and Maddie roamed the outdoors for hours on end without any arguing, hurt feelings or tears...amazing. And they were playing "Joseph King of Dreams" and gathering wheat before the famine hit. At one point Maddie was Pharoah, Cares was Benjamin, Will was Joseph and Bentley was Peter...? They were darling playing together.)

3) kids' hike with Uncle Chad. He took all the children except Olivia (still napping) and explored the forest above the cabin.

4) fireworks on the driveway in broad daylight :) My kids were so wasted from the rodeo the night before that they weren't going to last past 8:00 pm.

5) sunset ATV ride with Joseph once our babes were all in bed. We drove through a thick aspen grove and up into the mountains north of my parents' cabin. The pictures we took of the setting sun don't do it much justice but it was breathtaking.

Livvies loves fireworks!

sparkler kids (could Bentley get any more grounded in that pose?)