Stay Gold, Knights.

Stay gold.




To my very first students:

I’d like to leave you with a story. It’s a short and simple one.

Once upon a time, a great American poet named Robert Frost penned a poem.

Nothing Gold Can Stay
By Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Years later another great author named S.E. Hinton wrote a book titled The Outsiders, one of my favorite novels of all time. I never got a chance to talk to you about The Outsiders, just as I never got a chance to tell you a lot of other magical literary things I would have liked to stuff into our last two months of school. However, I do have high hopes that maybe you were introduced to this great American classic in junior high. To jog your memory it’s about a bunch of American boys stuck in the socially-constructed life of violence. Read the book. You won’t regret it. Then, watch the awesome movie.

In Chapter 9, while struggling to breathe (that’s all I will say because you know how I hate spoilers) Johnny turns to Pony Boy and admonishes, “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold…” In his dying state, the one message Johnny has for Ponyboy is to “stay gold.” Here S.E. Hinton is making specific reference to Robert Frost’s poem. You should go back and read and analyze the poem to contrive so many meanings packed into these two words. Meanings such as:

  • Life is short.
  • Change is inevitable.
  • Carpe diem.
  • Accept what is.
  • Cherish the early experiences that shape you.
  • Shine to your fullest.
  • Everyone’s time will be up eventually.

My students, my last words to you are “stay gold.” Not just because I am Mrs. Gold, but because the message packed into the two words include everything I want you to know, everything I hope for you in  your lives.

Stay gold.

I love you. I love each and every one of you. Thanks for sharing your lives with me. Thanks for teaching me. Thanks for giving me one of your golden school years. I’ve loved almost every minute I’ve spent with each of you and the minutes that weren’t so hot, I still will cherish in my heart forever. You are all some of the best people that ever happened to me.

S.E. Hinton started writing The Outsiders when she was fifteen. That is younger than most of you. I challenge you to really think about that. Some of you might not bloom until later. I hope I can write just one mediocre novel before I die. I don’t know why some people can do things at fifteen that I am still working towards, but I will never stop trying to play catch up. And neither should any of you. You all have miracles to create of your very own. It might not be in writing. It might not even be in reading or speaking, but it will be from our three class principles: listening, learning, and loving. Your miracles will be something that comes from your heart. Teaching you all was a labor from my heart. I know I wasn’t perfect. In fact, I know I was far from perfect, but I am better because of each of you. Every one of you has shaped me into more of an S.E. Hinton than when I started as your brand new teacher. And, that is a miracle that I will never EVER forget. If any of us exist after this life, I will look for you. I will always be looking for you to tell you I love you and I believe in you, no matter what.

Stay gold.


A Simply Marvelous Life

caroline-harpWhile going through old class notes for my current paper, I found this story I wrote last spring. I remember how it made the student that presented after me cry. I felt so bad as she approached the podium upset. She explained that my story was especially tender to her because her dad had passed away recently. How was I to know that within months I’d be in the same “dad gone” boat?

I remember telling my dad of our plan to take a gift to the orphan boys and how he loved it. He wholeheartedly sanctioned it to my kids and he shared an inspiring story of his own. He cried. What a tender memory. He believed in the art of compassion. He lived the art. How grateful I am for him and his  example. He inherently knew that the true joy of life was within our relationships with others.

I am grateful to have come across this story today. I’ve been in a school slump, not feeling up to the writing task. Today’s discovery reminded me of the importance of storytelling. Even if I am not the most eloquent storyteller.

A Simply Marvelous Life

“Those poor, poor boys,” Mother said loud enough for the room to hear as she read the newspaper. I asked her, “What boys?” She explained. Twenty years before she used to work with this guy. They were nothing more than acquaintances. “But still, it’s just so tragic.” He was dead now among the remains of his personal jet. It crashed on take-off in Colorado. The crash also killed his wife, and two of his five children.

Mother seemed obsessed over the three children left. It was hard to understand how complete strangers to her sabotaged her heart for months. She talked about them to everyone. Her friends. Her kids. Sometimes she would even talk to random strangers about how grateful she was to be alive. “Shopping with a toddler is hard, but it makes it easier when I think about how blessed I am to be alive.” When the family knelt in the family room every night, mother would sometimes pray out loud for the family. “Bless those boys.”  When I complained about chores or homework or getting my phone taken away, she would remind me to be grateful. “You have both your parents, and all of your siblings. Remember, life is marvelous.” When Christmas neared mother told us that in the quiet of one morning she heard a voice in her mind. It was a woman begging, “They must have a gift from us under the tree.” Asking our forgiveness mother said she hoped we’d understand her stealing from us. She had withdrawn from her Christmas account, upsetting her carefully budgeted plan, to buy something for the orphans. She apologized and explained that we might have a little less this year. “But, I just feel it my duty to provide a gift for them from their dead mother. I can hear her voice as clear as day. I can’t ignore it.”

As Father drove us to the next town over, Mother watched her five elves stretch and giggle among the large sack of gifts in the back. The wrapped gifts would be left anonymously. “Because that is the best kind of giving,” mother said. The boys’ names, the ones their mother gave them, were monogrammed on their blankets. A note was included reminding them of their mother’s love, all the way from heaven. “She had found a way to hug them, through the mind of a stranger.”

Mother had done some serious sleuthing to get the names and address of the boys, but could hardly believe her eyes as they pulled up. When they verified the house number to the information on the paper in mother’s hand, everyone voiced their utter shock. A chorus of “no way” echoed the yelps of surprise as the vehicle reached the top of the mountain. The boys lived in a literal mansion. Mother laughed. “What in the world?” We all told her we should take the gifts back home, but she directed her elves to drop the gifts on the doorstep. “Be quiet. Don’t let anyone see you. Hurry up before someone calls the police.” As we sprinted our way back to the modest minivan that cowered under the massive gate, my little sister spared a glance for a golden harp glowing through the windowed fortress. We jumped in. The tires peeled. My baby sister described the harp’s shine to her amused mother. How badly Caroline wanted a harp. She had even written to Santa for one. She didn’t know what I knew.  Santa had already bought her a harpsichord. It was the last Christmas purchase she had made right after the wrapping for the boys’ blankets.

We never knew it, but in those first few moments driving home, mother deeply questioned the meaning of helping where help didn’t seem to be needed. Those boys had more than she or hers ever would. The answer came quick, at the traffic light on the way home. Flashing behind her eyes, red and green, it spelled one word. C-o-m-p-a-s-s-i-o-n. Mother turned to dad and said, “I guess tonight we got to help meet an emotional need, not a physical one.”  Yes, compassion knows no class structure. Or biases. Only pure love. And that night both mothers had managed, from separate realms, to teach their children the true meaning of Christmas.

The next day mother listened as her baby girl, surrounded by her parents and four siblings, transformed our family’s condo into a two-bedroom castle with music from her harpsichord. As Mother closed her eyes to enjoy the marvelous moment, a familiar angel voice spoke to her mind one last time, “It sounds just like my harp.”


Your Field Day

Field Day = life
Matt = you
Matt’s determination = your faith
The track = your life
Cerebal palsy = your personal battles
The spectators = also you

Sometimes we are the runner.
Sometimes we are the spectators.
Every field day should look like this.
Keep trying.
Keep encouraging.
Stop competing.
Everyone gets to finish.
It’s not about who wins.
It’s about who shows up,
and who loves each other.

It’s About Who’s Waiting For Us in the End.

Come with me back to a high school track meet. It happened two weeks ago. I sat in the stands watching my teenage daughter and hundreds of other high-schoolers, all vying for their own personal records, hoping to beat out all the other competitors. Unlike the athletes, I, however, had a completely opposing mantra for myself. “Let it go, Alice.” “Let it go.” The Sunday before, my track-star daughter, my husband, and I had a heart-to-heart. Come to find out, I have always put undue pressure on the poor girl in all areas of her life, but especially when it comes to sports and grades. Yeah, I’m not proud. What can I say? She’s my firstborn? That doesn’t really cut it. You’ll be relieved to know that I am working on it. I have specific goals, one of which is not being result-obsessed.

So, my daughter had just run her 100m. Unlike her past track experiences, she’s not typically in the Top 3 this year. She’s running at the middle of the pack. Thus the mantra. “Let it go, Alice.” I was pep-talking myself, “This is about your daughter, not about you. Abigail is having fun. Abigail is getting exercise. Just because you want her to be in first place, it doesn’t mean that is where she needs to be. Be happy. Love your girl. Let it go.”

Then an amazing thing happened.

the end

It was the boy’s mile. The mile takes forever. As my thoughts were repeating in circles, I haphazardly watched the male athletes going round and around. I watched while I wrestled with my only baby boy and started imagining his future. I wondered to myself if I could master being a better mother by the time he takes to the track. I hoped I would never put too much pressure on him, too. I questioned whether or not he will even be an athlete and silently wished I will be able to embrace whatever it is he decides to love, even if he only loves it with mediocrity.

The race was over….or so I thought. My mind moved on. Then, right in front of me, I saw some super energetic young man rally his whole school to their feet. He hooted, hollered, jumped, cajoled, begged, and demanded full participation. I silently hoped, “Oh, I don’t wish that for Max. Please let him be an athlete, instead of a cheerleader.” Stay with me. My mind was abruptly changed.

It so happened that there was one runner left. He was way behind the pack. He belonged to this crazy make-shift athlete turned cheerleader’s school. This runner was a runt. He was slow. He was in last place. Yet. Yet, as he slowly made his way to the finish line in front of the crowd, his school was cheering for him like he was an Olympic gold medalist. All because of the efforts of his crazy encouraging teammate (that he hadn’t even seen rally the crowd) his stride quickened. His chin lifted up in pride. There was a wide smile on his face. The finish of this race is one he will never forget. Neither will I.

I hid my face in shame for being such a proud person. And because I was bawling my eyes out. I whispered to Max, “You don’t have to be an athlete, but please be a make-shift cheerleader wherever you go.”

Then I ran over to tell Abigail that she did awesome in that 100m.

The following Sunday, while I was driving to church, this song came on the radio. It took me hours to find it but it was worth every search effort.


It’s not about how fast we get there, it’s about who’s waiting for us in the end.

The parable of the cinnamon roll.

I am blessed with many wonderful friends.
I am a lucky girl in the friend department.
This parable really happened.
It has a great moral & spiritual lesson.
I think Jesus would approve.


One day in my living room I sat chatting about life with two friends. One friend was a few decades younger then I and the other one a decade older. The younger friend is extremely bright and a total whiz on the computer, especially when it comes to genealogy research. The older friend is a piano instructor and a lover of all things music/literature. Important to the story is the knowledge that all three of us friends are decent in the kitchen. We can all cook. I would say we are each above average cooks. I know this because I am a food connoisseur and have eaten yummy samples from all of us.

As we sat chatting, both ladies thanked me for the delicious cinnamon rolls I had delivered to their doors the week before. Ironically, the older and more experienced of us three was the one to lament that she had yet to perfect her cinnamon rolls. “They always turn out really dry and I don’t know how to fix it,” she complained. Both the twenty something friend and myself both agreed that her answer was quite simple: stop adding too much flour into the dough. The older friend said she would give it another shot.

A few weeks later my older, wiser, and way more accomplished friend was ecstatic to report to me that for the first time in her life, she finally perfected the cinnamon roll. It just took one easy adjustment…the adjustment suggested by her two younger less-experienced friends: less flour. She was happy, but I think I was happier. I was happy at her accomplishment (even when she didn’t share her spoils – how dare she!?!), but the most joy in the moment came from the simple truth that real friends help each other be better. They don’t compete with each other. They don’t have to pretend to be something they are not. Real friends can honestly admit disappointment in themselves and can help lift each other to a higher plane.

Real friends share their cooking tips because no matter how much I want life to be about the cinnamon rolls, it isn’t. Life is about relationships and the world needs more friends who are willing to share their title of perfect cinnamon roll maker – even if they don’t share them every time.

Oh yeah, and here is the recipe. It was shared with me by another real friend who lives in TN. It’s a good thing she taught me how to make her cinnamon rolls for myself or I would be in a bad bad place void of the ooey gooey goodness.

Being the Change Sucks Sometimes

be the changeIMG_5055 So I have this friend. Well, I guess I should say that I HAD this friend as she has told me that we are no longer friends. This friend is the best friend I’ve ever had. She’s a great person. A really great person. She is kind, thoughtful, gentle, hard-working, loving, beautiful in and out, smart, a total clean freak/germaphobe, a great mom, selfless, and easy to get along with. She is extremely spiritually-minded and a great example of faith and Christianity in action. She has been there for me countless times in my life when no one else was.

She also has flaws. I won’t tell you what they all are as it isn’t necessary to the story, but I am intimate with her flaws. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” is one of her favorite quotes. The ironic thing is that she is sometimes very closed off to change. As long as I’ve known her (which is a long time) she resists change, especially in herself. For a long time I thought she didn’t need to change. I thought she was perfect and that I was the one with problems, but I’ve come to my senses and realized that I was bamboozled into believing this lie.

She needs to change. I need to change. Everyone needs to change.

The hard part about change is that when you do it, it effects other people. That is why marriage counseling is so totally awesome. It helps people change together! Changing together is miraculous.  I have seen the most significant changes over the years but none are more important then those that my husband and I have made together.

They need friend counseling. They really do. I am embarking upon the second round of no-contact with this friend in the past ten years. It’s because we don’t know how to change together. It seems we can only change apart from one another. I don’t like it, but it is the reality of our friendship.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this friendship and how to handle it. It seems I am ill-equipped. This friend is very closed off. She doesn’t like to talk about her problems. She doesn’t like to admit her weaknesses. Sometimes I wonder if she is even aware of them.

On the other hand, I am a very self-aware person. I love to talk about myself. Talking is one of the greatest ways that I learn, second only to writing. I will share anything and everything with pretty much anyone. I struggle to contain private information.

You can see how this creates a problem in our friendship. It pretty much goes like this:

me: “I am so sick of my husband.”
her: “My husband is so fantastic.”

me: “I have been so depressed.”
her: “Let me help you with your depression.”

me: “I am so sick of being poor.”
her: “We just bought a house for $50,000 less than it is worth.”

me: “How are your kids doing?”
her: “They are perfect little angels.” (As they tear each other’s eyes out in the background.)

me: “You are going to be so house poor with that huge house.”
her: “Oh but it’s so worth it.”

her: “I am so glad you guys are happy.”
me: “We are happy.”
her: Whatever she needs to say to make sure I know she is happier.

I just couldn’t take it any more. I couldn’t play the game. I knew from past experience that she doesn’t like to be called out. I also know that when I tried to change and quit complaining/over-sharing we ended up with nothing to talk about. You can see if you have two “hers” in the same conversation it won’t get very far. I didn’t know what else to do to fix it for myself. I would be miserable every time I hung up the phone. I quit taking her calls. I quit calling her. We live in different states now but if we still lived in the same state I would have avoided her physically also.

After several months she messaged me and asked me what was up. I replied,

I have avoided you and it really isn’t cool of me but I’ve been felt it necessary for my own well-being. In one simple sentence of explanation: “It’s not you, it’s me.” I’ve missed talking to you too but the peace of mind I’ve gained has outweighed the benefits of broken companionship. I haven’t been able to pinpoint my issues exactly and I haven’t wanted to hurt you so I’ve just avoided it. Not very mature of me but it is what it is. I can’t even give you a complete explanation as, like I said, I haven’t figured it out myself. The best I can give you are two things. 1 –  I feel like we have had an unequal friendship. I have shared with you too much and you’ve shared too little. 2 – I have issues with comparison/competitiveness and for some reason you put those into high gear for me and it was causing me a lot of heartache. It has been easier for me to tackle this part of me that I detest by just avoiding you. I didn’t and don’t know how to address this with you and truthfully it’s made me a lot happier to not talk to you as much. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had but our relationship is somewhat toxic for me emotionally (not because of you because of me). I feel like we lack honesty and the kind of intimacy I want from my friends and I don’t think you  will be comfortable with the change it would take to make our close friendship healthy for  me. I love you______. You are like a sister to me. I’ve missed you and I’ve prayed for you. I am the first to admit that I suck at relationships. I wish I was better at it, but being so far away and because they don’t make friend therapists I think this way is better for now.


I wasn’t trying to say goodbye, but I did give her the out. I was really saying I need more from you, and if you can’t give it then it’s probably better this way.

I didn’t hear back from her. I then got a message on Facebook from a total stranger telling me that I was an evil person who treated this friend so badly. How dare I hurt her when she has never done anything to hurt me?

I promptly told this extremely codependent random person to mind her own business and immediately texted this friend to let her know I had been reprimanded by so and so (later she told me it was her sister-in-law) and that I was sorry if I hurt her with my reply.

This friend in true to form fashion immediately gave me a lengthy explanation about how she wasn’t really gossiping about me (because she’s perfect, right?) and then informed me that we would probably just be better off without each other. I told her that whatever she wanted as fine. That was it. End of story.


So for the past couple of weeks I have been pondering on this end of friendship. I can’t help but feel like I am in high-school again. It feels so wrong. I feel like I should try and fix it.

I’ve decided that I did the right thing. I can’t change this friend. I can only change myself. I could try to keep living in her facade but it was just harming me and ultimately it was probably harming her too.

I needed more and she just couldn’t give it. She probably needs something from me that I just can’t give: like acceptance of her unreality for starters.

She’s a good person. I’m a good person. We just aren’t really good for each other and that’s o.k.

I’m moving forward. I believe I’ve been much clearer in stating my needs to her than she has with me. If she ever thinks that she can be what I need, she will know where to find me. I would love to be what she needs if she can start living in reality.

The one thing that I really wish I would have said to her and didn’t though is this reply to her telling me that she can’t just sit around being vulnerable and waiting for me to call her. I wish I would have told her this. Vulnerability is not your strong suit. You haven’t been the least bit vulnerable. Ever. If you ever want to be vulnerable, you know where to find me. I’m right here with my heart always hanging out for all to see.


I have had to really examine myself if what I am experiencing with this friend is jealousy. It is easy to become jealous when one person is always talking about how wonderful her life is and the other is a total realist. I don’t think that it’s jealousy. It’s just that I feel like I’ve finally grown past being the friend who is the one being helped. A friendship takes two people who are willing to admit that they need help. Maybe she never needs help. Maybe she is perfect? Or not because perfect people only exist in their own world. It is just really psychologically and emotionally trying for a person like me who throws all her flaws out to the world to be real with people who don’t seem to understand.

Bend Out of Shape

I have this great friend 
Lynnae Boyer Weller.
She owns a little business called
Savannah Balloons.
You can learn more about her through her 
Her balloon skills are awesome.
Here is her version of
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I love it when people
can make our world
a better place
with their
I wish I had more artistic abilities.
I plan to read
to explore
if there is something
I have been missing.

Remember I blogged about Lynnae’s mom here.
I miss her mom,
she always made me smile.
I hope you all have a great green weekend.
I plan to make some shamrock
clean house,
squeeze in a date with my hubby,
and enjoy
every last minute
or our last lazy Saturday
before Spring sports begin.
I wish you all the
luck of the Irish.
And just so you know
if you google
funny + st patricks day
you are going to
see a lot of stuff about beer
and even some naked redheads.


Did you know that there
are college degrees
in family science?
I never got it when I was younger.
Why would anyone
go to all that school
just to learn how to
be married and have a family?
Can’t anyone do that?
Doesn’t everyone do that?
I felt that those who majored
in family studies
were just doing so
because they wanted
an easy Bachelor’s Degree.
Or they were looking
to build a resume
for their future spouse.
“Look at me,
I want to
spend eternity
in your kitchen.”
The older I get,
and the more I attend
marriage counseling,
I am grateful for
the other suckers who
went through all the work
to help me to figure
out the complicated
parts that I never
understood back then.
And honestly: still don’t.
just like everyone else,
I get it right,
without any studying at all.
Sometimes I get it right
out of sure dedication
and practice.
In the kitchen,
I need no therapy.
I am the boss.
In one small area
I’ve got the momming down
to a science.
I’m a PHDmf.
People Hone Down
(my food)
Here is a photo
for evidence.
Tuesday afternoon
this is what my kitchen counter looked like
right before I headed
out to my real job.
(ha ha – we all know
momming is my real job)
white chicken chili, homemade bread,
and after-school cookies
Let me brag for a moment.
Just the other day,
while we were on our way to soccer
Abigail received a text
from a charming young man
with whom we attend church.
We had taken his family
some cookies the day before.
He said,
and I quote,
“I would marry you
just so I could get your mom
in the deal.”
Fist pumps were had
all around.
This little exchange
made my day.
Add to the fact
that Abigail’s boy buddy
at school
(who has learned to cook
out of sheer desperation
because his mom doesn’t)
calls me
“the regular Rachel Ray.”
The neighborhood
adolescents’ each have
their own
favorites of mine
whether it be
pumpkin bread,
cinnamon rolls,
chocolate chip cookies,
cake pops,
homemade bread,
or pizza.
Yeah I screw up
in the momming
But today I just want to take
 a moment to scream from my laptop:
“Guess what?
When it comes to
all it takes
is some skill in the kitchen!”
Momming comes naturally.
It comes best
while wearing an apron.
You can’t learn it at college.
The reason any food is good
is because
the cooking of it has been
practices and practiced
and mixed,
and spooned,
and baked,
with LOVE
til it reaches
the status of
God had it all figured out.
He gave us plenty of time
to get it right while they are young
and didn’t know any different.
By the time
they just want to hang out with their friends
the moms who have put
in the most
They can’t resist bringing
their friends home
for some down home food.
They don’t know it
but they are all getting
some good old momming
all of the time.
Every bite
includes a
subliminal message
“drugs are bad”
“believe in yourself”
“I love you”
“I’m always here for you”
I might still have a bunch
of stuff to figure out,
but when I think of
my success in the kitchen,
I know
that even
without a college degree
I’m doing pretty good.
It’s not that complicated.
It’s called I love my kids
enough to cook for them.
No matter how else I screw up,
I know one thing.
As long as I feed everyone
til I die
I’ll always
keep them coming
back for more.
Did I mention
that my girls
have all been fighting
over who gets
which  recipes of mine when they
get married?
I told them I would
make them each their own
recipe box.
Maybe I won’t have to cook til I die
after all.


I just put this little diddy
as I am going
visiting teaching
I made it in Microsoft Word
but couldn’t get it
the same in Paint,
but I guess
it’s close enough
for you to the get the picture.
I am now off on my run
and I will be pondering
this month’s
visiting teaching message
The quote above
Elder Ballard
is the part
I liked the most.
is tricky
when you live in
the state of Utah
and I am ashamed to
say that I have
kind of given up
on making friends.
I am going to try harder.
I also loved the quote by
President Hinckley
 “we must make an increasingly substantial effort to assist them as they find their way. Every one of them needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with ‘the good word of God’.

Back in the days
when I was the
of the
Relief Society
this was the theme
of our work.
We wanted
all the sisters in our ward
to have
1- a friend,
2- a responsibility,
3 – nourishment with the
good word of God.
I miss the days
when I got to serve
other women in
the Relief Society.
Those are some
of my most
and I find
that I don’t make
as many friends
when I am stuck
in a church calling that
is fully autonomous.

New Year

In Utah,
we’ve had some record colds
for the past week.
I’ve loved all the snow.
I don’t think Olive has though.
Check out her water
frozen over.

We’ve all been enjoying our
Christmas gifts.
Caroline is up to her same antics.
But like her shirt says,
she is the best present ever
so it’s o.k. that
she’s spoiled rotten.
Notice that Santa
did bring the girl
all she wanted.
Make-up and nail polish.
Sophia finally got a fijit (she’s wanted it for 2 years
and Santa found it on sale at Target for $15.)
Caroline with her make-up case.
 She has carried it around the house with all her treasures.
Bella with her FurReal Pets.
Abigail with her combat boots. Katniss style.
My favorite gift you ask?
It is a 50/50 toss up between
my pizelle maker
that I asked for on pinterest
the diamond earrings
that LG
picked out
all by myself.
But my favorite of all was this purse.
I’ve been looking for the perfect purse for 3 years.
LG and I spotted this at TJMaxx a week after Christmas
but it was $100 so I put it back.
LG went back to the store
on his own accord and
surprised me with it for no reason at all
on New Year’s Eve.
He said it is my
“the party is over” purse.
That means I’ll have it to enjoy
when I go back to living on a
non-Christmas bonus budget.
It makes me so happy every time I see it.

I love this photo from Christmas.
Abigail thought that Bella’s present was awesome.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is
taking the girls to the Dollar Tree and letting them shop.
It always proves to be entertaining.
I justify the expense by only letting them shop
for a select few and by
not doing stockings.

Oh yeah, this post was supposed to be about New Year.
Well, we had a great New Year.
We got to be reunited with our good friends
The Varnon Family
from Knoxville TN.
They were bringing Jordan out
for his first semester of college
and stayed with us a few days.
That’s Jordan.
The kid figured out that he can dominate
at Just Dance4 by only moving his arm.

Yeah, our family room is not made for 13 people,
but cozy is how we prefer to do things around here.
I suck at dancing.
But man I’m looking fit,
even with that layered looking
hanging all out.
Isn’t Caroline the cutest?
She’s a great dancer.
So are all these girls.

Of course we took the obligatory outoftowners
sightseeing trip to
Temple Square.
Here are two of my favorite photos.
I wish I had more time to play with  my camera.

Here are the Varnon’s
in front of the historical
Salt Lake Temple.
And here they are
in the Conference Center.

We stopped in at the church’s
Historical Museum.
They have a pretty great kids’ wing.
LG was pretty sick that day.
What a trooper.

I’m always amazed at how
some of my favorite pictures
are the spontaneous ones.
I sure love these kids.
Oh yeah,
we have rung in the New Year
 with the Varnon’s
every year but 2011 for about 10 years.
We missed our other
partners in crime
The Ryan family.
I am pretty certain
this year was the best.
The photo says it all.

We did some other fun stuff
while the Varnon’s were here.
We went up to see
Bridal Veil Falls.
We saw a funny movie.
(Highly recommend Here Comes the Boom).
We went to BYU.
We checked out Deseret Industries.
And last but certainly not least,
we went sledding.

If you made it this far in the post,
you are our true friends
and you are invited
to come and crash at our house
past the 3 day
fish and family stink
any time.
Happy New Year y’all.
We love you Varnon family.
Hope you still love us
after spending that much time at our house.