Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sophia and the Purple Band-Aid

Sophie is my accident prone child.

Just yesterday she spilled hot soup all over herself, fell and skinned her knee outside and managed to fall off the couch in such a manner that she bruised her arm. Mostly she's pretty tough--a kiss and a Band-Aid will fix pretty much anything--as long as there isn't any blood.

However, if there is blood, I must prepare myself for lots of inconsolable shrieking and general hysterics. It doesn't matter if there is just the teensiest bit--Sophie is horrified by it. Fortunately, there has never been enough blood to make me worry too much.

At least, there never has been until this past Sunday during Sacrament Meeting.

I was trying to listen to the talk about how to trust in the Lord and not worry about the future when Sophia dropped the book she was reading. As she tried to get it, she somehow fell out of the bench and hit her head on the pew in front of us. Anticipating her loud wailing, I snatched her up and attempted to carry her out of the chapel before the screaming could disturb the congregation. I would have succeeded, too, if the door at the front of the chapel nearest to where we were sitting hadn't been locked! Instead, I had to run up the aisle, holding her head into my shoulder to muffle the crying until I got into the foyer.

When I got out of the chapel, I sat down and rocked her for a few minutes and then decided to take a look at the damage. I was expecting a goose-egg or maybe a bruise, but what I saw was blood everywhere. In her hair, on her face, in her mouth, on my dress, in her ears.

Trying to maintain calm and not scare her, I hurried into the bathroom and started cleaning her up. I was a little bit afraid of what I might find underneath all of that blood, and began to plan how I would go back into the chapel to get my car keys and let the older girls know I was taking Sophie to get stitches and hope Joel wouldn't get too worried while sitting up on the stand watching and wondering what was happening.

Luckily, when I finally got her mostly clean, I could see that it was just a little gash. She must have hit the corner of the hymn book holder just right. Who knew such a little wound could produce such a scary amount of blood?

The next task was to go to the library and locate the first-aid kit. The librarian helped me find some antibiotic ointment and a box of multi-colored Band-Aids. Sophia chose purple.

I carefully applied the purple bandage, kissed her forehead, and headed back into Sacrament Meeting. Sophie retrieved her book and began to read and I resumed listening to the speaker. And all was again right in the world.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Admitting my greatest weakness, and asking for help from my wise readers

I'm having a breakdown and it is all the fault of Project Walking into a Hug.

Here I was, going along with this project and smiling, praising and planning Family Home Evening. Noticeable changes were happening with my children, and I was happy. And then I was slapped in the face by the fourth goal.

Schedule for Structure: Make a written schedule that you would like to follow and follow this schedule for one week.


Besides the fact that my life is highly stressful right now, my ADD/right-brained/creative self simply does not do schedules. And when I do, I end up getting really angry at the schedule (especially if it is self-imposed) and rebelling against it and refusing any sort of structure at all. Logically, I realize that we're all happier when we know what to expect. Logically, I realize that I will get more done. Logically, I realize it is a GOOD thing.

But I hate it. And schedules just make me mad.

I'm so mature.

So. Help? How do you maintain your schedule, all of you naturally organized types? Even better, how do those of you that are more like me do it? (Or do you?)

Currently, my household is in one of the greatest schedule funks of all time. So this chapter was written for me. Give me your advice, and I'll see what I can do, even if it means being on this chapter for the rest of the summer.

And I'll try really hard not to be angry about it.



If you're interested--some of my recent photoshoots:

Bulloch Family
Pam: Headshots
Binga Bows shoot

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Alaskan Sunset

I'm really behind on all the Alaska photos. So much going on. Hopefully, I'll find time this weekend and get a few more posts up.

In the meanwhile, enjoy this amazing sunset photo.

This photo was taken from my room on the cruise ship around 11:00 pm. It was a spectacular sight in real life, and the photo doesn't even begin to capture the magnificence.

Alaskan Sunset

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to bowl with little girls

We took the girls bowling this afternoon, and I forgot my camera. A complete travesty, as they were the cutest little bowlers in the place. We don't bowl often as a family-- we're not really the athletic type when it comes down to it-- so this was a major event for us.

I learned a few things about bowling with children of the female variety, especially compared to the little boy bowling in the next lane over.

1. No high fives for girls. They each needed a hug from everyone after they did their turn. They also insisted on hugging Joel and me after our turns as well.

2. Girls bowl daintily. The ball goes down the lane more slowly than you could ever imagine, and it is somewhat shocking when it actually knocks some pins down.

3. Girls are observant. Sophia noticed how Joel and I walked up to the lane to throw the ball, and how our legs would kick out behind us as we let go. She was using that special rolling-contraption-thing-a-ma-jig to do her ball, and she insisted on a little kick of the foot before she pushed it down.

4. Girls are more enamored of their "cute" bowling shoes and the color of their bowling balls than their actual score.

5. Girls get giddily excited even if they roll a gutter ball, which they did even with the bumpers. They get over the moon excited when they actually knock down a pin or two. But it's still not as cool as a pink bowling ball.

6. We should go more often. It's fun to bowl with little girls.

Final scores: Lara: 105, Joel: 101 (Yes, I won! It's never happened before in our entire marriage!), Bria: 70, Chloe: 65, Sophia: 78 (she actually rolled a strike!).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

When I came home from my mission, I immediately got a job teaching at the Senior MTC. Mostly I taught couple missionaries who had been called to go to Romania, but when there weren't Romanian missionaries to teach I taught word processing skills to couples called to serve in mission offices and every Saturday I taught a large group meeting about the temple.

Let me tell you, this was the best job I've ever had in my life because I was paid to go to the temple. Yes. You read that correctly. Part of the deal was to take all the senior couples who were scheduled for that class to a session in the Provo temple, and then meet back at the MTC where we would have our lesson. I was actually required to stop at the MTC before I went to the temple and clock in. I was dating Joel at the time, and he used to joke that I was participating in priestcraft.

Anyway, since it was my job to attend the temple, and I actually received compensation for such hard and difficult work as being spiritually edified, I went to the temple weekly (and sometimes more, if I went on my personal time) during that period of my life. It was wonderful.

Later, I transferred over to the main MTC as a Romanian teacher since there was always Romanian to be taught there. As a part of my transfer, I had to give up teaching my luxury temple class. Naturally, I tried to still go just as often, but that's when I first learned just how much life gets in the way of temple attendance. It's hard.

When Joel and I were first married, I'd say we went pretty often. After all, we really lived within walking distance. But then I got pregnant and sick with Bria and our attendance tapered off since there isn't much of an escape route when you're sitting in an endowment session and you have to throw up. Now.

Then there were the new baby months. Hard to leave her, but we still put forth a noble effort. I think we made it at least monthly. And then I was pregnant with Chloe and the cycle started all over again.

In Arizona, I actually went a few times a month, especially during the 20 month period that I served as Relief Society President. Joel didn't always go with me, but that was okay. I needed the strength and it was important. I continued with that pattern until I was pregnant with Sophia, but still managed to go once or twice during my pregnancy.

As you know, we moved up to Cedar City just 3 weeks after Sophia was born and that's when my life became truly insane. Three children, three jobs for me and three for Joel and maybe three hours a week to see each other. I am embarrassed to admit just how little we actually made it down to the St. George temple, especially because it was about the same time commitment as the Mesa temple was when we lived in Arizona. It just seems harder to drive down to St. George for some reason.

And now we're off to Michigan. Lovely Michigan where the closest temple is about an eight hour drive. And I feel horrible. For the last three years I've had a temple less than an hour away from me and I was even in St. George every Saturday to teach lessons, and yet I never took much advantage of it. When I think of the peace and comfort and blessings I have received in my life when I am attending regularly and often, I feel even more guilty. I am sure much of the insanity I have lived through in this last portion of my life could have been alleviated by simply taking the time to go to the temple each month.

Now I will not have the luxury of just running to the temple whenever I feel like it. I will not have the luxury of procrastinating a temple trip because I am too busy or because gas prices are too high. Attending the temple will take a huge amount of planning, time and money. Worse, it probably won't happen more than once or twice a year. We're trying to make up for lost time and go as much as we can in the 7 weeks we have before we move, but it doesn't change the past.

It's a hard lesson learned, and I write this so that maybe you don't have to learn it. If you are close enough to a temple to attend regularly, do it. No excuses, just go. You need it. I need it. We all need it.


Monday, June 22, 2009

In which I really wish I had a telephoto lens

Our first real port was Juneau, Alaska.

Very cool town.

The first thing we did was go on a whale watch. Just the four of us and Captain Rick, our leader. He took us out on the water and we saw some truly amazing things.

A juvenile bald eagle.

Juvenile Bald Eagle

Some Sea Lions.

Sea Lions

And yes! Even a whale.

Whale Watch

I only wish I had had the capability to get more detailed shots.

Next time I'll just buy the stinkin' telephoto lens.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Through the window

At my brother's wedding open house last month, I was inside when I noticed Chloe trip and fall down just outside of the window. Before I could go out and help her, Joel appeared and took care of her. So, naturally, I just snapped a picture of it all instead.

I love this picture because it illustrates just what a wonderful daddy he is.

Happy Father's Day, Honey!

Through the window

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hey Everybody! It's Family Night

I've been hit and miss with these Project Walking Into a Hug posts, simply because I haven't really been with my kids all that much this last month!

But, I have been with them all of the past week (the older girls stayed with my parents for four more days after the cruise), so I can finally give a report on the Plentiful Praise.

And let me just say, I know it's obvious, but I personally don't think about it enough. When I am constantly noticing the good things my children do and letting them know, they sure as heck want to keep doing it. Just yesterday while I was in the kitchen with Sophia, Bria came out to tell me she'd not only made her own bed, but mine, too! Wow. (Of course, Sophie was really upset about that because she wanted to get under the covers and watch PBS Kids.)

The next goal is Family Night: Block out one evening a week and make Family Night a priority where the Spirit is invited to dwell.

Normally, we are very good about having it every Monday night, but the last few months have been pretty hit and miss with all the vacation and such. The girls are asking about it (which is a good thing, I suppose), and so this is a great goal to have this time and get ourselves back in the habit.


Just put a photoshoot up on my photo blog: Baby Aidan, 7 weeks old.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Brain Purge

Yesterday was Joel's birthday, and I fully intended to write a blog post about it, but it completely slipped my mind. But he had a nice birthday without the blog tribute, I'm sure. We went out for lunch in St. George as a family and had a little shindig at our house later on. My big surprise gift for him was a custom framing of all three of his diplomas. It cost me an arm and a leg, but it looks amazing, and he was honestly surprised. I figure that since he'll finally have an office in one place (instead of three the way he has here in Cedar) that he should be able to have his degrees hanging there.

So, Happy Birthday, Joel! I love you! And that's all the blog time you get this year. Sorry.


I am going to be the music director for one of the plays in Cedar's Neil Simon Festival this summer. (Don't remind me how insane I am, believe me, I'm fully aware of the fact.) Anyway, they needed my headshot for the program, and mine is embarrassingly old, so I contacted my friend Rae in St. George for an emergency photoshoot. I dragged the whole family along yesterday morning and she did an excellent job, as I knew she would. You can check out some of them at her photography blog. Go tell her how fabulous she is. Thanks a million, Rae!


Yesterday was so packed I couldn't really get ready for the yard sale. So, we will only be doing it tomorrow. I figure Saturday's the big day, anyway. Right? I did manage to finally finish going through the house with a fine-toothed comb and really get rid of things. I'm sure I'll be even more brutal next month, but for now, I feel very good at all the downsizing I've been able to do.


I haven't edited any more cruise pictures. I lost steam there for a bit, and had too many other things going on. I'll hopefully get to more this weekend and then I'll share the last half of our vacation with you.


Speaking of cruising, I have officially lost all the weight I gained on mine. All that food everywhere gets pretty hard to resist and no amount of willpower could keep me from eating "just a little" dessert every night. Even though I gave a noble try, and didn't order dessert on a couple nights, I still ate way too much. I learned in the yoga class I took on the ship that the average cruiser gains 7-14 pounds. Yikes! I'm here to testify that it is completely true. Joel is still working on losing all the weight he gained and that's all I have to say about that.


I am constantly singing songs from High School Musical 2, due to Joel's gig music directing it down at Tuacahn this summer. My girls find it quite hilarious that Daddy watched their HSM2 DVD several times before he started so he could get a feel for the storyline and the music. I am officially sick of the music already. I guess when I start my own music directing gig next week I'll have a new set of songs to drive me insane.


Sophia wants to know what everyone's name is lately. She will not accept "I don't know" for an answer, so I either have to make one up for the random lady walking ahead of us in the grocery store, or Sophie will ask the person herself. After she learns the person's name, her next question is inevitably, "Oh. She like me?" and when I tell her that "yes, of course she likes you." she wants to know why. I've learned from this little dialogue that she also knows when people don't like her (why someone wouldn't, I dont' know!) and I find that very interesting. She knew the rude cable guy in my parents' home a couple weeks ago didn't like her, and unfortunately, she was probably right. I don't think he liked anyone.


I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hypothetical Answers

We haven't decided yet about the car. We are seriously considering selling it, knowing we really won't get much more than it will cost to take it with us. It's all going to depend upon where our house of dreams (or house of desperation, at this rate) ends up. A lot of the homes on the market are extremely close to the University, so Joel could walk to work in the nice weather, and cross-country ski or snowshoe in the not-so-nice weather and I could have the car. And I am really not even kidding about the skiing/snowshoeing. That's what people do. We could also buy a snowmobile, but we'll see. First things first.

We're paying for packers. At least for the kitchen and anything else I don't get packed up myself. I've already packed five boxes, and we're not leaving for 7 more weeks. Be impressed. I am. Anyway, the movers' quote actually looks pretty good, and we'll have the fundage for it (especially if the car is sold).

I'm keeping the dress. For now. I kind of like the idea of making it into throw pillows. It could work with this particular dress. I didn't mind getting rid of it, but Joel was really sad about it. I figure, if he loves it that much, I can tuck it away somewhere. I'm probably just bitter because it's a size 6 and that will never happen again in this lifetime, I'm quite sure.

But don't you worry, I have certainly gotten rid of enough other clothing to make it worthwhile. I finally bit the bullet and went through the mountains of pink baby clothes I have. It nearly killed me to get rid of some of it, and I did save my very favorites, just in case. Besides, I think I had enough to outfit 14 baby girls, and if I do happen to have another child of the female variety, she will not be wanting for cute clothing.

But if you are, come to our yard sale this Friday and Saturday.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The blue palette of Glacier Bay

The ship arrived in Glacier Bay around lunchtime on Tuesday and slowly made its way around the five different glaciers located there. I wish I could remember their names, but they were all magnificent! Especially the last two.

We were extremely lucky to have such a clear day there. Apparently, it's usually foggy, but we had an absolutely gorgeous day. I still had to wear a hat and jacket when we were near the glaciers because the glacial winds were quite chilly, but it was still much warmer than expected.

We saw a Grizzly bear and her cub through the binoculars. No pictures, because even through the binoculars it looked about the size of a hamster. But it was still very cool to see. And there were seagulls everywhere. They really loved to fly right near the ship, even as high up as the 9th deck where we were watching with our binoculars. Everything you could see was blue or white and so the seagulls just seemed to fit right in with the landscape. The coolest thing about the glaciers was seeing them calve, which means that chunks of ice would break off and fall into the water. They always made a huge explosive sound and a gigantic splash. It was a literally awesome sight.

I took almost a full gigabyte of photos in Glacier Bay, so here are a few of my favorites. Enjoy!



Grand Pacific Glacier

Glacier Bay, Alaska


Glacier Bay, Alaska

Blue Glacier

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska


Monday, June 15, 2009

Ping-Pong champion of the whole dam ship!


Joel was extremely excited about the Ping-Pong tournament they held on Tuesday morning. And, rightly so, because he beat every person who played him and won lots of dam dollars. Very exciting stuff.

Mom and I had done our second yoga class that morning, and then we all went to play our team trivia challenge. The questions were much harder that day, and we still lost--we always lost to a group that had 10 people. More brains to happen to know which European country produces the most cork. (It's Portugal, by the way, should you ever happen to need this knowledge.)

Then Joel and I took a walk around the Promenade Deck. To give you an idea of how big the ship is, three times around this deck equals a mile. We had to walk pretty far just to get to our room every day! While we were walking, we saw a boat with people on it come up next to the ship and then the people climbed on. Turns out they were the Glacier Bay Rangers, come to give us information about Glacier Bay, where we would be that afternoon.

Joel and I attended a lecture given by Ranger Emily about the area, which was very interesting and informative. Not to mention she was an outstanding photographer and had gorgeous pictures to share. That's always my favorite part.

After the lecture, we ate lunch, and here are some pictures to prove it. My Dad was really there, but for some reason I didn't photograph him. Maybe when I had the camera out he was up getting more food. Quite likely, actually.

Mom eating

Joel eating

Lara eating

(That's probably the best picture you'll get of my haircut. I don't have many pictures of me on this cruise on my camera. Might have to have my parents send me some off of theirs.)

After lunch, we were officially in Glacier Bay and stayed there most of the afternoon. Look for pictures of that tomorrow!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wisconsin Farm

No cruise pictures for today.

I made this photo somewhere between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Houghton, Michigan. I was really enamored of all the farms on that drive. Just my luck, I took this picture and my camera battery died, so I didn't get any more. There were so many better farms, too!

Still, this one is pretty cool. Makes me excited to live in the Midwest.

Wisconsin Farm

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sea Day

Monday was spent entirely at sea. I took a total of two pictures, and here they are:


Basketball at sea

After breakfast (buffet style on the Lido deck), Joel and my dad went up to the sports deck to compete in the free-throw contest. All of Joel's attempts were airballs (lots of wind to contend with up there), but my dad actually made his first two shots.

On Holland America ships, you win dam dollars for participating in their dam activities. Then, at the end of the cruise, you get to exchange them for dam merchandise. So, these basketball shots were our group's first attempt at winning some dam thing. We also participated in a team trivia challenge a little bit later that day to try and win more. We didn't win (at least not that time), but we did get some dam dollars just for participating.

I actually got fairly seasick this day and spent a lot of it in my bed reading with my wristbands on. After a few hours I felt much better and it didn't really bother me much until a few days later when we hit some choppier waters.

Other happenings of note:

Mom and I went to the first of three yoga classes early in the morning. Keeping your balance in certain poses is difficult enough on stable ground, but trying to hold reverse triangle without doing a nosedive on a ship is quite difficult. You really notice the ship's movement when you are in downward-facing dog.

I got the best haircut I've ever had by a Danish stylist named Tonni. Apparently he is quite a good stylist, and goes around the world teaching other stylists to be better. He decided to do a year on the cruise ship so he could see all the bad haircuts (and mine was definitely one of those) and learn what the stylists are not quite understanding. I was happy to be part of his research. Hopefully somebody can duplicate what he did when it comes time for another haircut.

It was formal night for dinner and I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures. I wasn't about to pay the exorbitant amount the ship's photography people wanted for a picture that wasn't even very flattering of us. Only my newly-cut hair looked any good. :)

After dinner, Joel and I found a string quartet and sat and listened to them for several hours. They were exceptionally good, even by the Maestro's standards. Turns out they were from Romania, and so we made friends with the cellist and sat and talked with her about Romania and music and such things. Plus, they played Lara's theme, so that made them doubly cool.

More to come (eventually)...

Friday, June 12, 2009

So, we went on this cruise...

I'm not really sure how to approach the details of our trip, since reading travelogues are not my favorite thing to do. I think I like writing them even less. But, I did get a few photos edited, and they're all of the first day, so a travelogue it is. (Sorry to all of you who share my dislike of such things. Perhaps I'm an anomaly, though, and everyone else LOVES them!)

Let me preface all cruise-talk by telling you that Joel has always been completely against cruises. Whenever I would mention that I thought it would be a fun thing to do, he would shoot it down. If any of our friends ever went on a cruise, he would tell me how stupid a vacation that would be and that he would never go. Ever. End of discussion. He really can be so stubborn sometimes.

Well, a few months ago my mom called me and told me that she and my dad were planning on going on an Alaskan cruise and she had found a really great deal and would Joel and I like to join her? Of course, I was all for it, but I was a little worried about what Joel would say, considering his anti-cruise platform. He was out of town at the time, but I called him and mentioned it to him. If it had been anywhere but Alaska, I'm pretty sure he would have said no way, but since he's always wanted to see Alaska, this seemed like a pretty good way to do it. We were planning a big trip of some sort this year, since we'll be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary on June 26 and this was the right price. I realize some people might think it's weird to spend an anniversary trip with one's parents, but my parents are super fun and we loved every minute of being with them.

I don't know that we would have gone had we realized we would be moving across the country shortly after we returned, but I'm actually really glad we did it, even if the money might have been more practically used for moving expenses. It was wonderful, and guess who has been converted to cruising? That's right. Mr. Joel has actually spent a few hours on the internet since we've been home researching different cruise lines and places to go. So, I again have hope that I will be able to go on cruises in my life. After we win the lottery, of course.

Anyway, moving on with the actual cruise. On May 31, we flew up to Seattle and went straight to the dock and boarded the M/S Westerdam (Holland America Line). We boarded fairly early, so we had a lot of time to explore the ship, eat the best hamburger I've ever had in my life, and relax on the Lido deck while we waited for our rooms to be ready.

I didn't take a ton of pictures on that first day. Just a few of Seattle as the ship started leaving the dock. I have a thing for skylines. I love them. And who can resist something so glorious as Mt. Rainier?

Seattle Skyline

Seattle Skyline

Mt. Ranier

Once our rooms were ready, we spent some time unpacking and doing more ship exploring. I checked out a book from the ship's library and read on the deck until dinner. Our dinners were in the Vista Dining Room and our table was right by the window with a beautiful view of the ocean (obviously). I ordered salmon, and in case you were wondering, it was quite good.

After dinner, my mom and I went to the spa and got ourselves some facials, after which we just hung out with Joel and my dad. Joel was in heaven as soon as he found the ping-pong tables, so naturally, that's what he spent most of his time doing.

That, and eating ice-cream.

More to come tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hypothetical Questions

If you were moving across the country...

...would you keep your second car (12 years old and 150,000+ miles on it) that is still in great driving condition and pay the 1,000+ dollars it will cost to move it, or would you just go ahead and sell it and become a one-car family for a little while?

...would you pay the extra (very large) fee to have the movers pack everything (sounds so heavenly!) or would you save and do all the box-hunting and packing yourself?

...would you keep the dress you wore when you were dating your husband that he just loves, but that you will never fit into again despite all the weight you just lost, so it has sat in your closet for over 8 years and besides you are doubtful that it is even stylish anymore even though you love it almost as much as your husband does or would you just go ahead and try to sell it in your garage sale?

ETA: Now that most people have given (great) advice, I should probably give a bit more info. A plane ticket to our new hometown from where we are now would cost 1100 dollars (I know!), or a plane ticket to about 2 hours away would cost around 300, so that's doable I suppose. Also, we are getting a fairly generous moving stipend, but if we did both packing and car-shipping we'd be footing a portion out of our own pockets.

Thanks for all the thoughts...keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Summer has been in session now for more than two weeks, and I've certainly made the most of it. Here's the (not-so-interesting) rundown:

May 22: The second the kids were home from school we drove up to Orem where we spent the night at my parents' home.

May 23: Flew to Green Bay with my mom bright and early in the morning. And by bright and early, I definitely mean dark and early. We then drove the 4 hours from Green Bay to Houghton and checked into our hotel and started to get a feel for my new hometown.

May 24: Attended the small branch that will be my church family for the next portion of my life. Was even smaller than usual as the majority of members were in Chicago for a Stake temple trip. When I noticed that they didn't have an organist (normally they have two) and were struggling to make the self-playing organ work, I went and offered my services. I don't play the organ but I do play piano, so I have already served in my new branch, unofficially. After church, we drove around and looked at neighborhoods and several houses I had seen online--at least from the outside.

May 25: Saw houses all day long with the realtor. And ate sometimes. And saw a movie.

May 26: Saw houses all day long with the realtor. And ate dinner at the Branch President's home.

May 27: Saw one last house. Never did find the right one, but I have hope it will be on the market soon (please pray). Checked out of our hotel and drove to Green Bay where we caught a flight to Chicago. Flight delayed. Stayed at a hotel.

May 28: Woke up dark and early again and caught a flight to Denver and finally on to SLC.

May 29: Took the kids to Thanksgiving Point all day.

May 30: Packed up for next trip. Got kids ready and sent them with Joel's parents back to Cedar City where they stayed in our house and took care of them. Afterwards, we headed up to SLC to see Keith Lockhart conduct his final concert (The Bernstein Mass) with the Utah Symphony.

May 31: Yet another dark and early airport trip. This time to Seattle. We then took a shuttle to the dock and embarked on the M/S Westerdam.

June 1-7: Cruised. (Cruise info coming in mucho detail soon. That is, as soon as I wade through the 3 gigabytes of pictures I took.)

June 7: Disembarked ship, checked into Seattle hotel. Spent time in Pike's market and then met my Seattle-living brother and his family for dinner.

June 8: Got on an airplane at a decent hour. Arrived back in SLC. Wonderful reunion with the kids in the evening! I missed them so much.

June 9: (That's today.) Sticking around here for a day or two and then we will head back to Cedar City and face moving preparation and summer as I usually know it.

I'm exhausted. (But definitely relaxed.)