Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our day with the Allen's

Meet our friends the Allen's - Amanda and I met at the Student Creative Marketing Department where we designed ads for BYU campus back in the day (aka, 10 years ago). She and Dan had just married. Rob & I had just met. I brought Rob to a beginning of school work party (2nd or 3rd date) where he and Dan became instant buddies (very similar personalities). Toward the end of the evening, as we four sat around talking; Rob was teasing me about something and Dan, in my defense said "well that's why you married her, right?". Awkward moment. Well, I guess that got him thinking, and the rest is history.

The Allen's and their soon to be five children liven in Albuquerque. They are as fun as ever which is why they were one of our first stops on our road trip. Amanda and I and five of the kids (two who had learned to ride training wheel free only the week before) took a fantastic bike ride that morning. Our families, minus Rob who had work to do with his technicians in Albuquerque, visited the amazing Sandia Tram that evening. 

The Sandia Tram is the longest in the world - 2.7 miles. It climbs something like 5,ooo feet in about 20 minutes and the view is incredible as you might imagine.

Amanda is a photographer in her spare time! She took all the photos in this posting even though you may catch a glimpse of my camera bag which I hauled up there minus one memory card...oops. We hiked down the back side of the mountain a short distance to the perfect picnic spot where we enjoyed still toasty warm breakfast burritos Amanda and I had made. These were an instant hit with the kids and appeared a few other times in our road trip menu.

I'm fiddling around with these two shots for a wedding announcement of the future. Clara is just a few months younger than Jeremiah and as precious as can be. She can out-talk him by a long shot which I figure is a good basis for a marriage.

This photo sums up the tortured Bennett who was forced to walk back up the mountain after we hiked around. It wasn't pretty, but he made it.

A huge thank you to Dan and Amanda for making us feel so welcome and showing us a good time. We're so glad to have really cool friends like you!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Illinois Family Reunion

We are home from our 3 week RV road trip to Illinois. What an unforgetable adventure with so many new experiences. I had never seen Nauvoo, Kansas or Oklahoma, never riden the world's longest tram up a mountain side in New Mexico and I had never even wanted to drive a 30 foot vehicle around a block, let alone 4,000+ miles. Despite a few challenges with the rig, we had a fantastic time.

This was the first time Rob's entire family (parents & all the kids & grandkids) had been together since our wedding day nearly 10 years ago. We all came together for Memorial Day in Dixon, IL, the home of Rob's Dad's Cobra which he flew in Vietnam. It has been restored and painted just like he had it 42 years ago and is on display at a Veterans Memorial Park. Here are some of the photos from the reunion there and Nauvoo, IL.

The patriotic citizens of Dixen gave us all a warm welcome. Rob's Dad was honored in the parade by having us all ride with him in a Deuce and a half military truck.

The Nauvoo temple was breathtaking. It was rebuilt in 2002 almost exactly as the early saints had built it in the 1840's. We were able to park next to the hotel where everyone else was staying, kiddie corner from this sacred building.

Joel, Cassie, Maia, Audrey & William. Cousins from 3 of the 4 families coming from Pennsylvania, Alabama, Utah & Arizona.


Bennett got to lead the children's parade in the Nauvoo evening variety show. It was so fun to watch the senior missionaries and talented mini-mission missionaries perform. I could just imagine my folks up there on the stage!

The statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in front of the beautiful Nauvoo Temple.

Cousins Josh and Jeremiah, 2 of the 4 J's who were all born in October. These two had never met, but had an instant bond.

A bumpy ride behind some seasoned oxen gave us new appreciation for the pioneers (who rarely rode due to weight limitations for their journey). I think I would prefer to walk also.

Saying goodbye as everyone headed their own ways from Carthage Jail. It was so moving to see be in the room where the Joseph and Hyrum were killed. What an incredible sacrifice. My testimony of his purpose on the earth was reaffirmed - I know he was a prophet of God.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Happy Birthday Audrey!

My little girl is eight today... crazy. She and I went to have her ears pierced today. I had to wait till I was 11, but I couldn't see listening to her asking any longer when I was just as excited as she was to have it done. Here's my happy, smart, creative, helper - as adorable as ever. I love you Audrey. I'm so glad you're part of my life!