Monday, May 31, 2010

Just Beachy

Clara and Brynne with the kite
We broke with tradition this year, and it just didn't seem right.  It was only the second time since I was born that we didn't spend Memorial Day weekend at Whiskeytown Lake.  I felt antsy all week long and needed something to fill my weekend.  We ended up leaving Saturday morning for Rio del Mar.  A favorite family beach just a few minutes south of Santa Cruz.  Never too crowded, parking almost right on the sand, and one of the warmest beaches we've found yet.  Wes stayed behind at a friends house, and the rest of us piled into the car for a relaxing day.  The sun was warm and and the skies were clear.

 I LOVED listening to Garrett and Drew laughing with eachother all day.  They burried eachother in the sand, ran away from the waves, and of course did what every boy is always drawn to do...they dug big holes in the sand!

Brynne loves coming to the beach but is kind of funny about the sand.  She hates it between her toes!  For the first hour she just hung out inside her little fort, leaning out to dig in the sand just outside the door.  Late in the afternoon Haley and her girls joined us and Brynne ventured out to play with Clara and Maryn.
Jeff and I each took turns going for a run along the beach.   I snapped a picture with my phone as I was out.  It was a gorgeous day and my run was theraputic.
Loved the beach, loved the laughter, loved the run, but somehow I'm still missing my lake...

Monday, May 24, 2010


I changed my name again.  It's Fancy Nancy now.  Do you want to know why I changed my name?  Well it's because I have already been Brynne for my whole life!  Why don't you ever change your name? You have been Jen forever!  Do you know how to say excuse me in french?  Excuse m'oi...that's how you say it mom.  Oh and a lady at baseball told me my shoes were cute.  I told her they're not shoes, they're peep toe heels!  Can you believe she didn't know that?  Do you know how I got so smart?  Well it kinda runs in our family, but mostly is just 'cause I turned 5.
Fancy Nancy
(you know, your daughter that used to be Brynne)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oh Brother!

Saturday May 1st Utah had recieved over 36" of fresh powder.  The Snow Guru of Snowbird and Alta Ski Resort Fame, had said Friday was the BEST snow of the entire winter season.  Nope, I didn't head home as I had planned, I called my brother and insisted he go ski with me!
 We rode the tram at Snowbird to the top of the mountain, and pretty much couldn't see a thing!  We had such a hard time even seeing where the runs were.  Sometimes I would just reach out in front of me to see if there was a mountain right in front of me or if I was just still in the middle of a cloud.  We laughed so much at ourselves and how dumb we felt trying to figure out where we were.
A little lower the visibility was much better and we got ourselves sorted out.  It really was incredible!  I found myself going down runs I never would have tried at home and learning what all the fuss over fresh powder is really about.  Sometimes the visibility was poor enough that I couldn't tell if I was going up, down or almost flat, but because the snow was so light and soft it didn't even matter!  I just needed to see the outline of other skiers in front of me and head in their direction.
About halfway through the day we ventured through the tunnel to the back side of the mountain.  It was a full on blizzard on the back there!  We kept saying can you believe its the first day of May?  It took us nearly an hour just to get down to the bottom of the run on that backside.  Billy's legs were sore and my stomach and face hurt from laughing and smiling.
When we finally left we were exhaused and happy.  It was a fantastic end to my first skiing season!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lumberjack Aint Got Nothin' on Lumberjen

So ladies, I am about to let you in on a great big secret.  A conspiracy of sorts.   The men are having ALL the fun and they don't want us to know about it.  It's all about the tools.  I'm serious!  They know most of us women are completely in the dark on this one and they want to keep it this way.
In January when my neighbor's tree just tipped right over because of all the rain, I got to looking at my own trees.  One of them I had been itching to take out.  It was big and beautiful,  but so messy and I just couldn't keep up with it.  I decided it was time for the tree to come down. I borrowed a chain saw from some good friends, got an brief tutorial on how to operate it, and I was set! 
The day I had set aside to chop the tree down Jeff stepped in and offered to "help me out".  He climbed up into the tree and chopped all the big branches down.  I laid them out in the street in front of the house before it got dark so that I could cut them into pieces short enough to send off with our big garbage pick up day. When I looked out the window the next morning there was a stranger in front of my house with his own chainsaw cutting up my wood and loading into the back of his truck.  All that was left of the tree now was the massive trunk.
Finally it was my turn to do a little chopping with the saw.  I gripped the handle and gave it several good yanks before it roared to life.  As I felt the chain bite into the trunk for the first time, it was thrilling!  I was handling some serious power!  The thick thunk sound that comes when the saw has cut all the way through the wood is exhilarating!  Handling a machine with that kind of power is just plain fun. 
My mom, seeing my handiwork, asked if I wanted to help her cut one of her trees down.  She didn't have to ask twice!
Her tree was a bit taller than mine and it took us some time and a little help to get it done, but boy was it fun.  I even used the chainsaw on some of the smaller pieces, just for kicks and giggles! 

Ladies don't get snookered out of your own fun, step up, use your husbands tools.  Don't let the guise of "a man's job" keep you from trying new things.  Charge them up, gas them up, and then let 'em rip!  You may just find yourself calling them toys instead of tools before long!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue...

Tonight at the baseball game they were mostly just grey

The wind and the rain blew through us leaving just a bunch of popsicle humans in its wake.

The games end was a moment of rejoicing by all of the family members trembling in the stands.  After  shoving packages of oreos and capri suns at 10 little boys I looked Drew in the eyes and said, "Follow me to the car, and run, FAST!"

I sprinted all the way there.  When Drew got there his eyes were wide with new respect,"Wow mom I never knew you were THAT fast"

As the system blew through town it left the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen. I had to catch a few shots.  Made the cold almost worth it...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day is Everyday

Let it be known across the land and sea that I have the most amazing mother ever to be.  Spiritual and determined. Witty and wise, spunky and fun.  Strong and brave, creative and logical.  Independent and reliable, generous and selfless.  A lover of nature and all things good. Friend and example to all.  She is mine.
There are no words that can come close to describing the feelings born through motherhood.  So thick and deep you are sure this love is tangible.  Awe and humility at the responsibility and perfection that is yours.  Hope and dreams, pride and heartache, wonder and frustration, all in ways and to a degree you were unaware was possible.  Motherhood is endless and priceless. A blessing and a gift.

So now that we are clear on where I stand on these things let me say this...I don't care...I just don't.  Sure it's nice to honor our mothers and those who have raised the people we love, and hey I don't mind a little recognition now and then, but really mother's day...I kinda just don't care.

I would hope that we regularly express our gratitude and love for the mothers in our lives.   That we treat them kindly and show respect.  But really I don't need a day that's all about me.  I mean I love gifts as much as the next girl, and who doesn't enjoy a compliment here and there, but I just don't care about all the fan fare and hoopla.  Am I crazy? was a good day.  Jeff's sister Sharrisse and her husband Ryan and his sister Ashley who is living with them right now came up from Visalia for dinner with their 3 kids.

The kids all had fun playing with their cousins while most of the adults played Words With Friends (scrabble on iPhones) and visited.
Garrett and Jeff's birthdays were Friday so we had a little family party.  Jeff and Garrett wrestled it out to see who could blow out more of the candles.

The highlight of the day though was giving my mom her gift.  We all got her a Garmin running watch.  Tara and I both have one and my mom has had watch envy for a while now.  She was thrilled.

So it was a good day.  A family day.  A watch giving, candle blowing day.  It kinda wore this guy out...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seriously So Hilarious

As I have said before, I tend to shy away from just about anything that is overly popular, overly stated, or overly used.  I have no desire to be just like everyone else.  A few other things that rank in my book of not so favorable little quirks are the following. The ultra creative spelling of names,  the way people use "just kidding" at the end of a rude statement and think it somehow neutralizes the comment making it no longer hurtful or rude, and probably the highest ranking quirk is when people try so hard to be whatever it is that they think the people around them want to be. When I was in Jr. High we used to say,"Be what you wanna be, but don't be a wanna be".  I guess I should also add that I am well aware of the fact that I have PLENTY of little quirks in my personality.  Some of which I wish I could do better at changing, and some just might be the very thing that make you bonkers.  The ones listed above are in random order and some are much less bothersome than others not even listed.  So there is my disclaimer before we get any further into this...

Knowing these things about me, my brother Billy and his wife Jen told me about a blog they just knew I would get a kick out of.  They could not have been more right!  The blog is written by an absolutely hilarious and brilliant gal who must live in the middle of Utah.  She pokes fun at all of the latest crazes, phrases, and trends from friends blogs, Facebook status updates, and the general population around her.  It is the epitome of the stereotypical, young, Mormon, Utah mom.  And while none of us really know anyone who fits this mold exactly to a T, we do know plenty who fit at least a few of these bits and pieces, and some we may even recognize in ourselves.   If you are at all familiar with the culture of the young married couples living in this part of the world, you  don't want to miss out on this genius bit of entertainment!  If nothing else you'll have a perfect place to check in and see what the latest trends are in "Zion".

I recommend starting with the ABOUT ME column on the right hand side.  This will give you a great intro to the author and give you a feel for what you're jumping into.  Then you can click on the tabs up top to see her followers favorite posts.   One of the funniest things to me was reading the notes others sent to her.  Oh and one more thing...some of her readers comments are almost as witty as she is.  Check those out too. Let me know if you enjoy it as much as I did!

Now here's the link  Seriously So Blessed

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Piece of My Heart

My friendships are some of my most treasured possessions. Each of my friends fulfill different needs and compliment different parts of my personality.  The ones who I am closest to are not necessarily the ones I talk to the most.  I don't have the time or energy for high maintenance friends.  I don't get my feelings hurt if I don't hear back from them when I call or send a message.  It's okay if some time goes by between chats.  The ones I am closest with pick right back up where we left off, as though we have never skipped a beat, regardless of time or circumstance.  No explanations are needed.  It is that feeling of coming home.

When you are with them you feel lucky just to be included in their circle of friends.  They make you feel like you are on top of the world.  You admire and respect them, wish you could be a little more like them in so many different ways.  They see you better than you see yourself, and yet you know you can let it all hang out with them and they will love you in spite of yourself.  These are the people I call close friends.

Every once in a while you will find a friend just like this who you also totally connect with.  Not only are they exactly the kind of person you know you'll be friends with forever, but somehow, they just get you.  Often no words are necessary.  A meeting or roll of the eyes,  a quick nod, or a smirky grin, and paragraphs are communicated,  an understanding that you are on the exact same page.  You've just noticed the same thing, are dying of boredom,  or absolutely must have something.  One glance and you understand a need or feel the mood.  You know exactly what you can do to help, because it's just what you would want if the shoe were on the other foot.

Kristen is one of these friends.  There are no words for the love I have for this girl, but it's okay, we don't need them!  Suffice it to say this friend has a piece of my heart.

Women's Conference 2010

BYU Women's Conference has been a little something I have been treating myself to for the last few years.  The first year I went the classes were amazing and I came home with my bucket full.  I had a fresh perspective on life, family and marriage.  Great ideas for motivating my family, and a strengthened testimony of Jesus Christ. I've returned each year hoping for that same experience.
The classes since that year have been hit and miss, and unfortunately it seems like more missing than hitting especially with the smaller classes during the day. Luckily the beginning and ending sessions you can count on to be fantastic. Our general Relief Society President Julie Beck has spoken the last few years and I always love what she has to say.  She is down to earth, direct, and makes no excuses for herself or anyone else.  She just says it like it is, but manages to do so in a way that inspires you to do better and be more.  
Another highlight of the conference is the concert held on Thursday night.  We hear from several amazing artists and have such a fun time.  Hilary Weeks has hosted the event for the last 3 years and with her you are always guaranteed to laugh.  Its always fun to see all the women fill the Marriott Center and act a little bit like a bunch of teenagers.  
One of my favorite things about attending women's conference is the company I'm in.  My mom and I always go up together and my aunt Diane always comes with us.  Tara and Janelle have been there some years, and I've had a few where my cousins were able to go to a few classes too.  I always run into friends from home and try to meet up with friends I haven't seen for years.  Before the conference this year I was able to squeeze in a lunch with an old Ricks college roomate and good friend Kari Morrison, and almost got in a visit with my friend Jessie Funk.  
I was also so excited to catch up with my roommate Debbie Grace from my freshman year at Ricks.  Debbie came to Ricks a nonmember with one of her high school besties for just the summer. She ended up staying, marrying a return missionary and getting baptized.  She gave me the nickname "little Jeni" that stuck throughout the year, and she taught me how to drive in the snow, during my first winter, out in the Wal Mart parking lot.  I haven't seen her since then, and it was so fun to catch up!  She lives just 5 minutes from my aunt Diane and is serving in the primary presidency in her ward.  
I was thrilled when I got a text from my friend Kristen Hanamaikai on Wednesday letting me know she was coming.  Since she moved down to LA several years ago we don't see each other as much as we would like. We have been thrilled to have little reunions at women's conference as we go to classes together and try to fill each other in on our latest happenings.  This year she stayed in the dorms with her freshman year roommate Amy, and I was in stitches laughing the moment I met her and her sister Amanda.  They are an absolute blast!
The conference always concludes with one of our Apostles speaking to us.  This year we heard from Elder Dallin Oaks and his sweet wife Kristen.  What a treat it was to hear from them!
Another year at women's conference down in the record books.  A great week with friends and family, the purchase of a 5lb bag of cinnamon bears and BYU paraphernalia, unpredictable weather (SNOW in May?!!), trips to some of my favorite stores and restaurants, and I even got in one last day of skiing!  It was a good week, but I am so glad to be home!  
While I was gone Wes sent me the following picture with the message, "mom you would flip if you saw what things look like here!" Re-entry to reality is always a little rough...