Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hawaii Paradise on Earth

We have had the fortune of visiting the different Hawaiian Islands every year for the past 5 years and every time I fall in love with it all over again.  Hawaii is definitely on my favorite lists of places to discover.  I think I was a Hawaiian girl in another life.  Wade had the opportunity of speaking to the Hawaiian region of Pfizer with his "Strengths Course", and he told them he would be glad to come to Hawaii and asked if he could bring his wife.  How could I refuse?

We spent the day at Ko'lina.  Everywhere we turned was a breathtaking view. We read books on the beach in our private cabana, snorkeled, swam through the water falls, felt like kids again on the water slides and loved the Jacuzzi at the end of the day while the sun was setting.
This is our breath taking view out of our hotel window that we awoke to every morning .  We looked forward to watching the sunrise every morning, slowly but majestically rising over the diamond head volcano.
Waikiki is such a happening spot, there is always something fun going on at every corner.  Beautiful walks on the beach,  restaurants with amazing sunset views every night, an aquarium, entertainers on every corner, concerts in the park, surfers catching waves....just to name a few.  Wade and I even attempted paddle surfing.  We couldn't stop laughing as we kept going overboard.  The ocean was beautiful and the weather was perfect...but I guess that is expected when you are in Paradise.

Hawaii...I hate to leave you but will be back next year.  They already asked Wade to come back for another speaking engagement next year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mitch is the Big 18!!!

Mitch started the day having a breakfast chef (Jessica Barney)  in the kitchen making him a birthday breakfast. Her and Jake decorated his car so everyone could honk at him all day.
I heart attacked his bedroom with all the things that make Mitch so great!  Mitch stole my heart from the moment I held him in my arms.  I can't believe it has been 18 years.  How did my baby grow up so fast, right before my eyes.

We celebrated his special day all day long!  At work a few girls brought him a cake they made.  His employers bought him a company shirt.  So now he really feels apart of the Menlo group....thanks to Grafton.  Outback Steakhouse was the choice for dinner so Mitch could eat his favorite...Steak!  After we all celebrated and showered him with Gifts!!!  Some of his favorites were his new leather bound journal, a book and gift cards along with a Mcdonalds T-shirt from Marshall and a gift card that Marshall gave him several years ago that could never be used because Beyond Image went out of business, so they pass it back and forth each birthday!  Gotta love best friends!

We celebrate your birth Mitch and are so blessed we get to enjoy your blessed life with you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Boo Bash

Our Annual Boo Bash is always a hit with over 500 people in attendance.  Last minute I took my hat decoration and decided to be a Witch ( a good one that is) and found Wade a warlock costume last minute.  It is always so much fun seeing everyone all decked out.  Everyone really goes all out every year.

Many of my sister witches came to the party.  The boys spent hours setting up the Spook Alley that the young men were in charge of, so they could then scare everyone all night.  I had to go through twice to find which ones were my sons.  It was a highlight for them to scare us all.  Nana was the most frightened but she came out fine.
Mitch dressed up like John Travolta to go with his friends to a dance party!  How could he not be the best dancer on the floor with a costume like that.  Waylan alias (Dragon) came to visit us and Tommy alias (werewolf) attacked Nana. Laurisa made yummy carmel apples.  They were in Washington for Halloween weekend so it was fun to have them over for a chili dinner. It is tradition for Paco and Roxy to dress up.  This year they were a football and cheerleader.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Which Witch quilt

Shea and I finished our Halloween quilts.  I have never had a hobby I enjoy quite as much as quilting.  It is something I have always had an appreciation for but never had the time.  Quilting is one of my very favorite things to do....I may even be addicted!

Family Halloween Dinner

 Nana and Grandpa Paul always out do themselves when it comes to festivities of holidays.  They had us over for a Halloween dinner and pumpkin carving.  Nana served soup in a pumpkin bread bowl, along with every pumpkin bread, salads, veggie trays, and every Halloween treat you can think of.  We even had Halloween poppers with a toy inside.  The kids had a pumpkin hunt where they found money inside small plastic pumpkins.  Upon the kids arriving Wade hid in the bushes with Grandpa Paul's werewolf mask to scare them.  You should have seen them jump.  I loved watching Grafton, he was ready to kung fu Wade right in the face.
Look at the faces of these pumpkin carvers.  They take it very seriously when there is a prize involved.  I had to finish carving Mitchell's since it was a school night and he had to finish his homework.  Nana and Paul thanks for making it such a memorable night...we loved your glow in the dark Halloween shirts.

Will someone pinch me please!!!

This is the view out my front drive way that I never tire of.  Yes,I live in paradise.  Everyday I feel so blessed to live in this beautiful place that is home.  I am so thankful Wade brought me back home so I can live in this beautiful part of the country that is so familiar, warm like a comforter and looks like paradise.  Sometimes it feels like a dream and I pinch myself to make sure it is real!

2010 Homecoming

Mitch took Jessica Barney to the Highland Highschool's Homecoming dance.  They each made video's of themselves singing a rap song they made up, to  ask and answer each other to the dance.  You can go on Youtube.com to view them.  They are amazing!  I had the songs stuck in my head for weeks.  This year the theme was to dress up as a couple, so they went as Cinderella and Prince Charming.  As you can see they are so adorable. These two have so much fun together.  Mitch said it was his favorite dance ever!  Reminds me of Laurisa, every dance was her favorite.

Jake our Eagle Scout

Jake received the highest scouting rank~Eagle Scout last week.  It was a very inspiring and motivating Court of Honor.  Jake did a great job talking about his project and put together a slide show.  He highlighted his mentor and thanked everyone for all the leadership training and support they have given him through his scouting journey. His scout master gave him a picture of him at 11 years old, it warmed my heart as a mother to see a comparison of that freckle face happy boy with a crooked teeth smile grown into a handsome young man.  Jake we honor you and are all so proud of you and your accomplishment as our newest Eagle Scout in our family.

Family support.  It was awesome to have 6 members of our family in the Eagles' nest~Wade, Mitch, Grafton, Justin, Jake, and Grandpa Paul.  We love our newest Eagle Scout!!!

Jake's Eagle Project was for an organization called Save the Family.  It is an organization that provides shelter for homeless families for a few years until they can get back on their feet.  He organized a paint and clean, which means he cleaned and painted a home so a family could have a nice place to live.  Jake had such amazing support system, so many people came to help that they couldn't all fit in the house. Jake showed amazing organization skills along with tremendous leadership.  It was wonderful as parents to witness Jake's growth and leadership as he modeled the qualities of one worthy of the highest status of Eagle Scout.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Break 2010~ RoCkY PoiNt

Our Tradition for Fall Break is to go to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) Mexico for some rest, relaxation, and fun family time.  This being our 7th year to go, our family loves the traditions of:
  • building sand castles
  • playing games at night
  • flying kites
  • kayaking
  • boogie boarding
  • skim boarding
  • reading a good book
  • playing sand games (ring throw, bean bag toss, botchie ball )
  • swimming in 90 degree ocean water
  • looking for seashells
  • jet skiing
  • feet in the warm sand
  • beach fun
  • jacuzzi time
  • romantic sunset walks on the beach
  • early morning sunrise walks
  • breakfast on the patio overlooking the ocean
  • homemade tortillas and salsa
  • buying stuff from the vendors (more sunglasses that we don't need
  • coconut Popsicles (helado)
  • practicing our Spanish with the locals
  • looking for crabs on the coral
  • riding horses when Adam Sanchez shows up
  • sitting on chairs with our feet in the ocean watching the sunset

    It is tradition to go with the Gray and Rollender family. We love these families and have so many great memories with them. This is the first year it has been just our families, usually we have about 20 more. We also loved having Grafton a part of our tradition this year.  The boys have so much fun having another brother to hang out with.
    Look at this inviting crystal clear turquoise ocean, it was hard to stay out of it. We kayaked and boogie boarded.  Grafton practiced his swim for his upcoming triathlon,
    Every sundown when the tide went out the kids made a new sand sculpture.  The creativity was over flowing.
    My favorite part of the beach experience is when the sun is setting.  We love to put our beach chairs in the water and talk while the sunsets.  We also love our sunset walks on the beach.  It is always hard to say goodbye every year to this beautiful place in the world. We missed Joslyn and Justin, we'll all be there next year!

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Pioneer Trek

Our Trek Family
Words cannot describe what an incredible experience the pioneer trek was and to be able to experience it with our boys made it that much more special.  I can actually say it was life changing in so many ways.  The pioneer trek is a reenactment of the pioneers coming across the plains to the west, 500 youth, along with adult leaders participated  pulling handcarts 25 miles in 2 1/2 days up hills and over rocks.  Wade and I were a Ma and Pa of 10 youth. 

My friends who were the other Ma's, trained for 2 months prior by walking every morning together.  Also to prepare I read every journal and story I could get my hands on.  Recounting those stories while walking I felt as though I could feel a small part of what they went through and gain strength from them.  So many of them experienced things that I have never and will never experience in my life, all for their religious freedom.  Their testimonies, positive attitudes and desire to follow the Lord, help me on a dailly basis to know that I too can walk with faith in every footstep and overcome obstacles and adversity in my own life.
The first night we froze and didn't sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time,  it really gave me a glimpse of what it would have been like for the handcart companies. I was thankful for the experience and since I have been back home I feel like I can not take anything for granted.  I am so thankful for my warm comfy bed, toilets,toilet paper, shelter, clean clothes, comfy socks and shoes, food, and most of all the sacrifices of these early Saints so that we too can have the gospel of Christ that blesses are lives so abundantly.  It was definitely the hard that made this experience "Great".  I realized that with the Lord's help I too can do hard things.