Monday, May 4, 2009

Feliz Cumpleanos, Miranda!

Happy 14th birthday to my beautiful daughter, Miranda Suzanne. She is the toast of the town, the rose among the thorns, the cat's meow, and a bright spot in my life! She brings enthusiasm, emotion and endless joy to me! Suey, you are aware of your great potential and your divine nature and you make me proud every single day! I love you! In Kindergarten, Miranda was "Max" in their class play, "Where the Wild Things Are."
Yes, she is "the most wild thing of all!" Me and my girl!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

So Very Thankful . . . .

At about 5 a.m. this morning, I was awakened by flashing lights outside the window of the bedroom. When they didn't go away, I got dressed and went outside to see what was going on. The house two doors west of me was on fire! My neighbor, Cheri (she lives inbetween me and the house that was on fire), came out at the same time and we were completely stunned! First, let me say that thankfully all the people that lived there got out safe. It was one of the most incredulous things I have ever seen. The east side of the house was completing engulfed in flames with thick, black smoke pouring out of every window, soffit and roof vent. The street was filled with emergency vehicles and personnel. The fire department was in the process of hooking up the hoses, etc. so they had apparently just arrived. Within moments, the windows blew out from the intensity of the heat. With the source of new oxygen from outside, the flames grew even bolder.

Cheri has her boat parked between the houses so she let the firemen know that there was a boat close to the fire with gas in the tank. So, in addition to spraying water on the house, they also sprayed her side of the house/boat to keep the flames from spreading. Luckily, the ground was a bit damp so it helped to keep any embers from spreading the fire. Although it seemed like forever, they extinguished the fire within minutes. I was SUPER impressed by the efficiency and professionalism of Rockledge's fire and police departments! They made sure everyone was safe and stayed calm.

I have to say that my fire experience is pretty much limited to camp fires and fireplaces. It is the first time I have witnessed the power of flames that destroy. My heart goes out to my neighbors who lost just about everything. Witnessing this event has been really humbling . . . thinking about how your belongings can be gone in a little more than an instant. This morning I am so thankful for my family and all that I have. I realized how blessed I am to have so many earthly possessions but also realize EVEN MORE that the intangibles in my life are what truly bless me. My family, my faith, and my God can never be taken by fire or any other means.
In the pics below, you can see how devastating the fire was -- even the 2x4 frames were charred and destroyed. It is a complete loss . . . what wasn't burnt to a crisp was ruined from smoke. Again, I am so glad that everyone got out safely.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Floating, Roasting and Freezing!

It's spring break here so we took a short camping trip to Ichetucknee Springs! It's located about 30 miles northwest of Gainesville. We went with the Lund family and Ben & Joey Waters came as well. It was beautiful! The weather was originally supposed to be perfect but at the last minute the forecast changed! Although there was plenty of sunshine, the sun was deceiving! Both nights, the temperature was in the 40s and we froze our buns off! During the day on Monday and Wednesday , it was in the 70s and perfect, but on Tuesday, the wind was blowing 20-30 mph and we literally huddled around our fire ring most of the day! I took tons of pictures but have only posted the highlights. I have tried my first crack at a Smilebox Slideshow so, if I did it right, you can browse all the photos.

Our campsite was beautiful! There were lots of trees and we had sunshine and shade! At night, we were surrounded by fireflies! Other than the freezing night temperatures, it was a wonderful experience!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Ichetucknee springs
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Gaming was in full swing with Risk and Be Serious!

The campfire tradition of marshmallow roasting!
This one's a bit too done!
We don't just roast marshmallows, we roast Peeps!
When smoke gets in your eyes, improvise!
Fire is fun!
Here are the headsprings of the Ichetucknee - it is like a big swimming hole. Not everyone was willing to get in the first day! A bit chilly!
Amateur snorkelers!
Hanging out at the Headsprings!
This is what happens when you think there is a bug on you!
We FINALLY got to go tubing on Wednesday! The first picture is NOT of us because we didn't have a waterproof camera to take down the river - it is just an image I found on the internet. But I wanted to give just a glimpse of one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! And the pic shows exactly what we looked like! The scenery is amazing! The water is crystal clear so you can see turtles and fish swimming below. We even had a manatee swim right by us! The water is 72 degrees year round, so even tho' it was chilly - because the air temperature and the water temperature were so close, we weren't uncomfortable and the water even felt warm when you were in the sun! Tubing down the Ichetucknee should be on everyone's bucket list!

Miranda took this picture! Aren't these wildflowers beautiful! They were growing along the sides of the road so we stopped to pick some and brought them back to camp.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Growing like a weed!

We went to see our Madi on Sunday afternoon -- we think she is tons cuter than the Gerber baby! She is growing some hair -- red, of course! And as you can tell by the pics below -- she is probably growing some teeth! She couldn't keep her fingers out of her mouth and there was major drooling action! As my mom says, it will be time for the "spoon test" soon! If you don't know what that is, you put a spoon in their mouth and listen for the tapping of tiny, new teeth!

Super Silly Sea World!

On Saturday, Miranda, Jared & I went to Sea World with my sister and her family. The last time I went to Sea World was with Miranda on a 5th grade field trip. It was hot, crowded and we didn't get to do too much. Jared hadn't been to Sea World since he was a toddler and we went with the Thomas family when they were visiting us from Utah -- so he didn't remember anything about it.
On Saturday, the weather was perfect -- no sweating, which is a miracle for Florida :) -- no lines, and TONS of laughing! The Shamu show was spectacular, the seals were a crack up, and we laughed our way through the day! If you come to visit in Florida, a trip to Sea World is definitely worth it! This is a pic of Jared & Caleb climbing on a HUGE net/playground they have at Sea World -- it is a crazy contraption! Chase, Caleb, Miranda, Jared & Savanah! Jared shows off the only Liberty Spike hairdo he is allowed to have! Miranda and her cousin, Savannah, try out the hats! Miranda on the Happy Harbour slide!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Travis!

We got together yesterday to celebrate Travis' birthday -- I can't believe my first born is 19 years old! One of my favorite things to do on my children's birthday is look back at pics through the years. I love to see how sweet and adorable they are when they are little! Here is a picture of Lon -- WOW! What a youngster Lon is! :) -- and Travis on Easter 1992. Isn't Travis just so dapper in his bowtie and suspenders! We love you, Travis!
Celebrating bro' to bro'!
Madi came to wish her Daddy a happy birthday! Isn't she a cutie!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meeting David Archuleta!!!

What a surprise from the church pulpit on Sunday when one of the counselor's announced that David Archuleta would be hosting a special stake youth fireside that evening. There were quite a few stunned looks on the faces of many girls as they tried to figure out if someone would joke from the podium :) -- and no, it wasn't a trick to keep them from watching the Super Bowl! Apparently, someone in our stake has connections with the Archuleta family and DAVID was here for some local radio promotions. The youth were told this was a missionary opportunity and to invite their friends. After church, Miranda and Justin both invited friends (who were not quite sure it was real also!) to come with them. The fireside started at 6:30 p.m. but Miranda and her friends were determined to get the best seats in the house so I dropped them off at 5:00 p.m.! They got seats in the 2nd row with a straight shot view of the podium!

The report I got from the kids was he sang two songs (amazing voice, they commented) and then answered questions that the youth in attendance had put on index cards. From what I heard and saw, he was a real "down to earth" guy! He spent a lot of time with the youth in the gym talking, taking pics and signing everything from casts to pictures to clothing!

Before the fireside started, Miranda and her friends found DAVID's reserved parking spot. Not knowing how "up close and personal" they were going to be able to get (who knew he would spend a couple hours signing autographs and taking pictures), Miranda decided that a picture with his reserved spot might be the closest she would get! Little did she know . . . .

Miranda likes to call this pic "DAVID and Goliath" --sshhh, it's Ben!
Josh, Klinton and Joey served as "church bouncers" (we call them ushers!) and posed for an official bodyguard photo!
Jennifer, Miranda, Lisa, DAVID, & Heather are all smiles!
Miranda and DAVID!
I told Miranda she should wear a T-shirt that said "The Future Sister Archuleta" -- of course, not appropriate for church, but I though it was funny (she thought I was a nerd!)
Justin and DAVID!
Jared & DAVID! Even Moms are entitled to a celebrity photo op! I didn't go to the fireside because my parents were coming over to eat and watch the Super Bowl (Go Steelers!) so when Justin called to say they were ready to be picked up, I put on my houseshoes and went up to the church (we only live about 1.5 miles away). When the kids weren't outside, I put on a pair of Miranda's friends flipflops that she left in the car (Thanks, Heather!) and went in to the gym. I wasn't expecting to still find DAVID and adoring fans in the gym, so I hopped in line for my own photo!