Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coming Home

So I'll drive John-don't worry. Although I am not a professional, I do have lots of miles logged in a Suburban. So I'll give you a couple of more days to catch up with work and I will drive the kiddos up to SLC to see these guys:

They are arriving home from their mission TONIGHT! I couldn't post about it sooner because I haven't told them we will be at the airport. Even though having your parents come home late on a Wednesday night is certainly not the most convenient, I don't mind too much. We will have to leave straight from school to make it in time!!

See you soon G&G Ross!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

He's a Professional

Have I ever mentioned my husband is a professional driver? He is. Technically. Or, he was. Pretty much.

Although he has become a pencil pusher as of late, he actually used to get out from behind a desk. And when he did, his favorite thing to do was drive...2 wheels, 4-wheels, 6-wheels, belt drives, propellers, it matters not. Heavy equipment, cars, snowmobiles, boats,dirtbikes, streetbikes, jeeps, you name it. And he's good at it too. Freakishly good at it.

Here's the proof. That is him at the SEMA show in Vegas at the BFGoodrich booth. They were one of his big sponsors and paid him to compete in Rock Crawling Events. So by definition (since he was paid), he is a professional driver.

Although he loved it, he was gone an awful lot. So, a few years back, he retired. I was surprised at his choice but he seems to be content. Of course as his loving wife, I have been trying to help him keep him fresh and current with his driving abilities. This means I try to roadtrip whenever possible, and I let him be the driver. I know, I know, I am one big bundle of kindness. Look how nice I have been lately:

The first weekend in September he drove me to Albuquerque so we could fly to Dallas for my nephew's football game (we didn't want to fly from Durango or it would have eliminated that glorious drive time). The second weekend we drove to Phoenix for my niece's baptism and to move some things for Grandma Kristine. Because of Grandma's stuff, we got to tow a trailer. I am sure it brought back memories of all those competition weekends, towing his jeep around the country. I bet he really enjoyed all that time behind the wheel in just 3 days. Then we actually stayed in town for a weekend. So weird!  And I'm sure somewhat sad for my driver. Last weekend we just had a short roadtrip over to Pagosa Springs for a football game, but I think it was enough to keep his skills sharp.

This Sunday he took off with Grandma and the trailer once again to take the last of her things as she moves to Arizona. He was supposed to come home Monday, but didn't get out of town in time to make it the whole way. He drove the rest of the way home this morning which means he got to drive and drive 3 days in a row! Except for the loss of feeling in his bum and legs, I think he was pretty pumped.

OK, OK! I know I am not fooling ANYONE! Including myself and my dear hubby! He has had to drive a TON lately and I am really feeling for him. Driving hours on the highway is certainly not as fun as creeping up cliffs or ripping through the desert.

OK, and now I really will leave it there for the day! I will finish on the morrow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Grandma's Big Move

Grandma Kristine has moved to her new place in Arizona.   She is renting a home just 2 blocks from Kip's house.   She is treating it like a winter vacation and I hope she enjoys it.   I have mixed feelings about it.    She told us she wanted to move there, so we put the wheels in motion.   But there are also days when she has second thoughts.   And my kids have had days when they cry thinking about her leaving.  
She has been preparing for the move for months and it has been very hard.   She has had to sort through 40 years of boxes (she saved, really...everything).    Many of the items have sentimental value as they came to her from family and friends that have passed on.  We have listened as she shared memories and stories and when just John is around, she has shed a lot of tears.    It has been difficult, but I believe it was a good exercise to get rid of much of the stuff.

We moved a good chunk of her furniture down to AZ a couple of weeks ago, but there was still plenty of stuff to fill the truck and trailer. We were up late Sat night sorting the last few things, then they all took off after church on Sunday.

I am hoping she enjoys her time by Kip's family. I hope she enjoys the warm weather. But I think I also hope it isn't permanent. I think she will always be the Colorado Grandma. And we will miss her. We love her! Have a good winter vacation Grandma-don't stay away long.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Why Bother?

This week I have had many quiet moments where I have thought about the deep stuff. Why are we here? Does what we do in this life matter? You know-the kind of stuff you think about when you attend a funeral. I attended a funeral for a man that served earlier in his life as a Stake President while teaching college here in Durango. He was active in the community and took care of his ailing wife for many years. It was a nice funeral-really long-but nice.

Only a couple of days later, another man in our ward passed away after a battle with cancer. It was during those weekdays, sandwiched between two funerals, when I wrestled in my own mind about what is really important. I ran into my neighbor early one of these mornings as I returned from dropping of the kids at school. We spoke for a while about these two funerals. It was her comments about the second man that got the wheels turning.

The second funeral was for a man that in my mind personified being 'self-sufficient.' Although he was not wealthy by worldly standards, where he lived (on less than an acre), he was able to provide almost all of the food that his family ate. He had over 100 chickens (they sold the eggs), sheep, rabbits, and hogs. His garden was AMAZING! He is actually the man that gave me the start for my blackberry bush a few years back. He grew raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and vegetables of every sort. He grew literally 100s and 100s of pounds of potatoes each growing season. He also had fruit trees lining both sides of his property-apples, pears, plums, and apricots. And this man went hunting every fall to provide meat for the year. He was the seeming poster-boy for provident living.

My neighbor was making that same observation to me. She talked about how he had worked so hard to have food storage and to be self sufficient after which she exclaimed, "For what?!" She literally threw her hand in the air and dropped open her jaw trying to understand what the point of being so 'prepared' was, because, as she put it bluntly-"He died!"

We chatted a little longer, talked about what salads we might make for the funeral luncheon, and then I went back home. And I thought. I wondered. I felt a little conflicted.

I knew it was a good thing to work hard and to grow a garden. But my neighbor's point wasn't lost on me. He worked so hard for his food storage and his garden-and then...he was gone. He didn't live to see some crazy 'last days' scenario where he would survive because he had bottled green beans. He didn't outlive a killer pandemic because he was prepared to hunker down in his well stocked pantry. He didn't even survive some intense drought followed up by some outrageous biblical type plague. No, he didn't go out in a blaze of last-days glory. He just lived. Raised his family. Worked to be self sufficient. Followed the Prophet. And then he died. Leaving behind a years worth of food for someone else to use.

I thought about it for the next day or two before attending his funeral where I listened to the story of his life lived out wholey in Durango. Although he was never wealthy by wordly standards, it was obvious that he was richly blessed. HIs was a life well lived, and it was clear that his family loved him dearly. The final talk of the service was given by two of his daughters. They took turns reading memories of their dad written by his posterity.

There weren't any memories of extravagant presents or exotic trips, in fact, I was impressed how almost all of the stories and experiences were lessons learned and happiness shared right in his back yard. One story of how pulling weeds turned into a lesson on the wheat and the tares was consistent with the theme of many of the fond memories. He was a simple man with simple means, and he simply taught his family the Gospel using dirt, eggs, and various produce as his medium.

He told a son-in-law that the happiest day of his life was when his last child was sealed in the temple, attended by all of his other children and their spouses. I thought in that moment that I would be hard pressed to ask for any greater blessing here on earth. That afternoon I was expressing to John how I had thought about all of the growing, weeding, and canning and how I had wondered if it was all worth it. He finished my thoughts for me when he said "THEY are what it was all for." Of course he was referring to all of this man's posterity and the gospel lessons they reported learning from their granddad 'on the farm.'

Too often I am living with the biblical plague in mind. I forget that sometimes we follow the Prophet just because we do. There is a lot to be learned and much to teach our children in the day to day obedience that we show. I have to say that now and then I like a good funeral to help me remember that there are a million important moments every day in the sometimes seemingly mundane. So I will try to remember that it matters what I do each day. It matters if I am obedient and living a good example for my children to follow. I need to work towards the plague less, and just enjoy the growing season.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


A long time ago, on a campus far, far away...

I attended college a zillion years ago at what was then known as Rick's College (now BYU-I) and I'm not going to lie-it was cold there in Idaho. Really, really cold! But there were always things that could make me feel warm (Oh how I loved to feel warm).

There was this place on campus called The Nordic. It was a place where you could buy lunch if, like me, you didn't have a cafeteria pass and you didn't want to walk up the hill to the dorms just yet. I loved going to the Nordic. It was always warm. There were these round tables near the front I loved to frequent. After most morning classes you could go by and see some warm smiles of familiar faces. I would hang out there talking to old friends and making new ones most days. I missed too many afternoon classes when I couldn't tear myself away from the warmth I felt there because I wasn't ready to face the cold outside.

The Nordic had all kinds of food, but I was on a serious budget. Luckily the Nordic offered a giant slice of warm wheat bread coated in honey-butter for a pittance. It was good. Super good. And gooey. And sweet. And warm. My mouth is watering a little just thinking of it's warm yummy goodness! I would go in phases when I absolutely subsisted on that stuff! The snow would fly, the Rexburg wind would blow, but I didn't care. There in the Nordic, with my big slice of bread, surrounded by friends, I was warm. Truly and wholly warm.

Now it's no secret that I don't love the cold. When the temperatures start to drop and the leaves start to change I find myself fighting my cold weather funk. I didn't want to let the chill sneak in and get a foothold. It must have something to do with being born and raised in the Arizona desert...

Sure enough, the days are getting shorter and the mercury is starting to dip. I decided this week that I would not succumb to the chill. I wanted to stay warm, and honestly, there is something about fall that makes me feel compelled to bake. And so I did. I got out the grinder and the Bosch and I have made lots and lots of wheat bread. The kids and I have really enjoyed it. there is something nice about cutting into a fresh loaf of bread, slathering it up, nuking it for a seconds if necessary, and just letting that honey butter soak in... AH! I LOVE IT!

What has really been satisfying this week though is sharing all of the whole wheat goodness. I have taken loaves to recent widows, relief society sisters, new moms, and people on the mend from surgeries. And although it's not the front table of the Nordic, it's still good. I have seen smiles of friends and in spite of the weather, I have felt warm. Really, really warm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I do so enjoy when I find cash in the washing machine. I think of it as a little tip from some member of my family that appreciates me cleaning, sorting, and folding their clothes. Ususally it's a shiny quarter or a dollar bill. It looks like someone is really sharing the love today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Marvelous Day!

Not only is it the Fall Equinox, but today is also my birthday and what a magnificent day it has been! It was such a great day that I don't even mind being one year closer to being really old.

It started out a little sketchy. When I went to wake up the kids for school I found that Jebb's bed was really wet. And Jebb was not in it (I found him curled up in Seth's bed...). I was still a little groggy that early in the morning but quickly figured out the water was dripping from the window. I thought to myself, what is above this window? That would be the kitchen sink. The faucet got a bunch of sand in it and apparently had leaked all night. The water made it's way through the cabinet, past the floor, through the drywall, and out the window frame where it dripped onto Jebb's bed. I got it mopped up and shut off the valve before taking the kiddos to school. But it didn't 'dampen' my spirits (OK, that was a terrible pun)!

I cleaned up the rest of the house so it would be nice and tidy for my B-day. John was going to take me to lunch and i was looking forward to it! I got a great phone call from my parents who are on their mission in Tobago. It was great to hear from them, but it put me behind schedule somewhat. I wasn't too concerned until the doorbell rang and it was Lanae! She was surprising me and taking me to lunch instead of John. As much as I adore my hubby, I admit I was really excited to hang with her. We went to my favorite Mexican joint-Tequilla's and as we stood at the hostess stand, I noticed a couple of my dear friends sitting at a table. As I took a closer look, I realized there were a bunch of my friends at the table! I did what anyone would do-I jumped up and down yelling excitedly! I skipped over to the table excitedly giggling and hopped into a chair. I was so excited!! I realized that I was being presumptuous and asked if it was just a coincidence that they were there? I was thrilled as their smiling faces assured me that this was indeed a birthday lunch for me. YIPEE! I was so, so excited! (Did I mention how excited I was?)

After we ordered I got to open my presents!!! Fun for me!!! They were all "M" gifts and they were so dang funny! Here are a few of the pics that Lucy captured for me.

This next picture looks like it is blurry or something, but what it shows is all of the Fajita steam at our table! It was so yummy!!! What can I say, my friends have great taste and Tequilla's fajita's are KICKIN"!!

As our lunch was coming to a close, several waiters walked past me with a desert and I thought I was off the hook, but they all turned back around and started singing what I assume is a birthday song in Spanish, while plopping a sombrero on my head. I was cracking up in the beginning, but when they started smearing my face with whipped cream I thought I was going to hurt myself I was laughing so hard!

As you can clearly see, I am a lucky girl. I know some amazing women that I am blessed to call my friends. Our waiter took this final picture of us-how cool are these girls? When I suggested they hold me for the pic, they obliged! Good sports, and buff too!

My family was terrific today too. The kids all made me great cards-Elise is an eloquent writer of compliments at such a young age and Jackson is a budding little artist. Even Jebb went into the laundry room and found my stash of gift bags. He put some stuff from my craft drawers into it and crumpled up some tissue paper on top of it. Too cute! I loved spending the rest of my day with them!! I also really enjoyed the many Bday wishes I got through Facebook-technology is cool!

I have felt incredibly blessed today. I have been fortunate my whole life to meet some truly amazing friends. I thought about of all the people I have known in school, college, my mission, my family, and now. I feel so, so fortunate and rich!! I know some really great people I count as friends. What more can you ask for?! I only wish they all lived nearby!

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Full Saturday

It was a full and busy Saturday.

We are having an issue with our well. My dear husband had to go outside and hold some switch so I could shower-what a champ. Here is how we are currently brushing our teeth. I am pretending it is fun to pretend to be camping here in our home. What I didn't take a picture of are the many blue water barrels we have in our year supply-all sitting empty. Oops. We'll be working on rectifying that.

So ya, Seth is still doing football I guess. Apparently I was the only one that was done with it when he broke his arm. If you look close, you can see him on the end with his arm wrapped in a thick pad. We got killed, but it was a lovely warm day.

I hooked up with these lovely ladies and we went Parade-of-Home-ing. Fun. I do so enjoy real estate belonging to others.

When I got home all of the men of the house were putting up some 'for sale' signs at Legacy Ranch. Maybe we will sell some land-that would be a strange and lovely thing.

Tonight we went to another friend's home to see BYU get stomped, but it was great company. While I am usually glad to have lots going on, I do murmur sometimes when it gets really busy. But I love how it feels to fall into bed after a full Saturday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Felt Weird

We had a really great weekend in Arizona. We went to Gilbert with the whole family for my neice Jacqueline's baptism. We also used the trip to move some of my MIL's stuff to a new rental house she is moving into. It was a fun but quick trip. We arrived at midnight on Friday and it was still 95 degrees! Wowza! Good thing I love the heat.

In Gilbert there are lots and lots of Mormons. Lots. They are everywhere. And they are multiplying! And Jacqueline's baptism was evidence of that. Because of the large numbers of 8 year olds being baptized in the stake, they cannot all have their own service so they have one Saturday a month when all of the new 8 year olds are baptized. So we went to the 2nd of 3 sessions that day to see Jac and several other darling kids be baptized. Because it is a Stake thing, the Stake Primary Presidency gave the traditional talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost.
This is the part where I kinda started to feel weird.

Not because of the baptism, it was delightful. Jac had cute little ringlets in her hair and my kids all wanted to hug and congratulate her. It was all super sweet and very unweird. The weird part came when the Baptism talk was given. Again, not because it was a weird talk, it wasn't. It was nice-very kid relatable and baptismish.

The weird factor came in because I knew the girl that was speaking. In fact, I felt like I knew her really well. That happens all the time in LDS culture though, right? I often expect or hope to run into someone I know from an old ward, or my mission, or BYU, or some other Mormon-mixing subculture. You see familiar faces in unexpected places.

And I did.

And it was weird.

It was weird because the girl I recognized has never laid eyes on me and wouldn't know me from Adam (why do we use Adam in that phrase anyway? Anyhoo). But like I said, I felt like I knew her. I even knew stuff about her family. And her travels. And even her trials. You have figured it out haven't you? I know her from her BLOG. That's right. She's a blogger! I have another dear friend, Lisa, who lives in Gilbert and she told me about this blog that her good friend Shawni writes. And Lisa was right when she said it's really a fun blog to read. It is! I like it! I even have it in my 'Links I Like.'

So I was shocked when there she stood, speaking at my neice's baptism!

Of course I wanted to go talk to her, but I felt.....well, weird.

But I did it anyway. And she was really nice and very gracious about the whole 'I read your blog' thing. But I figured she would be nice, because I read her blog. And she seems, well, nice. As I was talking to her I told her that it was strange to me that I was just meeting her but knew a lot about her. She just kinda smiled and said something gracious. Ya, I felt weird. Really weird.

So tell me, all you bloggers out there (or at least the two who read my blog occasionally), should I feel weird? Or is this just a twenty first century kind of thing that I might as well get used to? I tried to think if I were Shawni, I would think it was kinda fun to meet someone that read my blog. At least I think I would like it. Unless they were really weird and wanted to hang out and stuff. But I am snooty, so that's not a fair gauge of the rest of you bloggers. Is a blog friend the same as a normal friend? It seems like you would have to read each other's blogs or something before lunching.

I guess that was what was so weird- I knew lots about her, but to her, I was a stranger. I suppose it's a new and evolving phenomenon, this whole blogging world! But I do like it! I enjoy reading different blogs, though sometimes I don't comment because I don't want to be intrusive, or something (??). Although if I read and don't comment, it's really not any less intrusive. Hmmm. I just don't know all the etiquette of stranger blogs. I really enjoy comments from people I don't know-I think it's fun! I guess I am just not sure if everyone feels that way. And is it OK to actually TALK to someone IN PERSON without ever first introducing yourself on a blog comment???!! So any advice for this weirdo on blogging friendship would be welcomed.

And thank you Jacqueline for inviting us to your baptism. I loved it! Weird blog moment and all!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nine Eleven

Today is 9/11. It marks the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Wash. DC. There have been 9/11's when I have chosen not to give it much thought. Because it was really bad. And really shocking.

Back in 2001 I only had 3 kids. Gabe was almost 5, Seth was 3 1/2, and Elise was just under 2. Gabe was gone to preschool and Seth & Elise were home with me. John had just installed a TV in our bedroom at the gravel pit house, so when he called me mid-morning, I went in there and turned it on to see what he was talking about. He told me that I needed to turn on the TV because there was something going on. I remember his voice was quiet and he sounded stressed out or something.

I turned on the TV and every channel showed the first tower on fire. They were saying a plane had crashed into it. What? A plane? It was still unclear how this could have happened. A freak accident? I felt confused. And sad. There were people jumping from the tower. The newscasters struggled to narrate the scene and they all seemed confused too. I unmade my bed and got in the covers.

I couldn't stop watching. I wanted to understand. What were the odds of a plane accidentally hitting the World Trade Center? Crazy. Then crazy turned to chilling. I was watching the TV when from out of nowhere, another plane came into view. And hit the second tower! It was so unexpected and shocking, I couldn't really process it. What? How? Why? But there were no answers. Just confusion.

I kept watching the news waiting for the commentator to make sense of it for me. I just watched and watched as the towers burned. Then the first tower started to fall. No. No. No. There were clouds of dust everywhere and when they cut to a reporter on the ground that was running from the debris, he was almost crying as he said he didn't know what was happening and why. They cut back to the newsroom, but no one there had answers either. We all just watched it unfold together. When the second tower fell, I was past the initial shock and I began to wonder what would be next. I had just seen two iconic skyscrapers burn, then fall. I had some idea that many, many people died or lost loved ones and I found it so very sad. And so very frightening. I offered silent prayers throughout the morning for those poor people so far away.

I put Disney movies on in the other room when the kids asked me why those buildings were on fire. But I kept watching and wondering and waiting. There had been another crash in Washington-the Pentagon. And there were sketchy reports that another had crashed out in the country somewhere. They were making all of the planes land wherever they were. Where would the next one hit? It became a day of waiting for the other shoe to fall.

The mood everywhere for days was subdued and somber. I took the kids to a Dr's appt the next day and everyone had the same shell-shocked manner. I remember the Pediatrician telling me the towers had their own zip codes because they were so big. No one knew how many people were lost. We watched on the news as people held up pictures of loved ones gone missing. I felt like I was holding my breath. For days. I think everyone was.

Details began to emerge about the hi-jackers. This was planned for a long time. They were a bunch of men (sons, fathers, uncles, friends) that had chosen to become terrorists. Understanding still eluded me. It just seemed so out of the blue. Violence could now happen anywhere at anytime. But I guess that's what makes terrorists effective, they make the random chance of harm seem personal and possible.

That Sunday we had gone up to Utah to attend the baby blessing of out new niece Jacqueline. Church was abbreviated and treated like a memorial service. We had a special baby blessing for her at home.

We took pictures and enjoyed great food, but we were all still somber. My sister Kim has some very nice neighbors that are from Pakistan. They were afraid to leave the house.

This was also the same year that we had planned a big trip to Florida to go to DisneyWorld with our friends the Manns. We were going the second week in October. It had been a month, but I was still nervous to fly. Our planes weren't full. Everyone sized up the other passengers. I thought what a drag it would be to fly if your skin was the wrong color right now, but I admit that I eyed a few guys myself. Disney World was super fun, but not at all crowded. The workers told us that it had been quiet like that since 9/11. I talked to a woman at the swim-with-the-dolphins place that drove all the way from New Jersey. She refused to use the plane tickets her husband had bought them months earlier.

So slowly, slowly, we all started to exhale. Airport security got a whole lot more tedious, but over days, weeks, then months, life returned to a new 'normal.' Watching the TV in my bedroom that morning it seemed like the whole world stopped, but it didn't. The earth kept turning. The sun went down that night and came up again the next morning. I don't know why that always seems odd to me sometimes, that life keeps going on-no matter what happens.

I remember how patriotic and fiercely proud I felt to be an American. I remember how everyone flew their flags. I put a big sticker of the American flag in the back window of our Suburban-Dominos was giving them out to customers with their pizza. I felt grateful for pizza, hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball. I took faith knowing that my family won't die until God is ready for us. Joseph Fielding Smith put it this way: “No righteous man is ever taken before his time." So I tried to be good.  It seemed like lots of others did too.

I talked to both of my sisters about 9/11 this morning and how it changed the way we saw the world. Kim remembers how everyone was worried about an attack at the 2002 Winter Olympics in SLC. I felt that way at Disneyworld. If someone could attack on a random day in September, could they attack the Happiest Place on Earth in October while I was there? I am so impressed with the citizens of New York that stayed, and cleaned up, and carried on. Eight years of perspective made me wonder at how worried and cautious we all were. I can see now how statistically unlikely it would be that terrorists could harm my family, even if there were more attacks. But I guess that is why it is called terrorism. Because it inspires fear.

The world continues to be a place that can be frightening and unsure. But we don't have to live in fear. We must choose NOT to live in fear. We need to remember that the Lord is always in control and nothing happens that is a surprise to Him. WE read in the Book of Mormon:

2 Nephi 9:20 O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.

This doesn't mean bad things aren't going to happen, but if we have faith, the Lord will see us through anything the world can throw at us. The New Testament says:

Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God

This weekend we are going to AZ for my same niece Jacqueline, only this time it is for her baptism. Even though 8 years ago, it felt like the world would screech to a halt, it didn't. It kept going. And it has been really, really great. I have had two more children, moved out of the gravel pit, seen my parents go on a mission, welcomed new nieces and nephews, and have seen lots of them grow in the gospel and in life. And it's great!

We need to learn from 9/11 and let it work for our good. We need to love our country and serve one another. We also need to cherish each day we have on earth with our families. We need to hold to what is good and right. We need to stare down fear with our faith. God is good and He loves to bless us. Even in difficult times that are beyond our understanding right now, if we will keep moving forward, He will keep us in His care.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Today's date is 09/09/09. I just think it is cool. I have enjoyed all of the previous triplet dates (01/01/01, 02/02/02, 03/03/03, etc.) well, except for maybe June 6, 06. That one seemed kinda unlucky. But all of the rest have given me a warm fuzzy happy feeling. I am really looking forward to 10/10/10 as this is Gabe's birthday. Fun.

OK, that's all. I just like the repeating dates. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Miners in Dallas

We were feeling a little spontanious this weekend and we decided to hop a plane to Dallas. That's right. Dallas. OK, well spontaneous isn't necessarily the right word. We had thought about going to Dallas off and on for weeks. And weeks! Off and on. And Off. And On. (My husband holding down a job can be sooo annoying when I want to make travel plans...) Our flakiness was driving me absolutely mad so I threw my hands up and told my husband that he would have to plan the trip if he wanted to go. And so on Sat night he bought the tickets leaving Sunday, returning Monday. To Dallas.

Grandma Kristine graciously took Elise, Jackson, and Jebb while John and I loaded Gabe and Seth in the car with us. We got up early Sunday morning and drove to Albuquerque to catch a plane. When we arrived in Dallas, we hooked up with the Hannays or as I like to call them, 'they for whom we traveled to Dallas to see.' What were the Hannays doing in Dallas? Well, we'll got to that. But first, we were hungry. So we went to an authentic Texas Steak House. They had yummy food, giant drinks, and this really long slide the kids were allowed to play on. Our kids were a little old, but when in Texas...
Eric shows us how it's done...

John took this picture of all of us at dinner. Somehow he managed to miss Kim completely, and my mouth was open so wide that I blocked Seth out of the picture too. Oops.

But wait, Ty (the oldest Hannay son) is not in the picture either. Why? You may wonder. Or maybe not. But I will tell you anyway. Ty was eating dinner with his team-his football team. That is the reason we went to Dallas-not just for the steaks and fine company-but for some football.

Ty plays on the Bingham Miner's football team. He is the starting QB in fact, and their team was invited to Texas to play against a local powerhouse, the Trinity Trojans. They were the top ranked football team in the country last year, so Bingham was pretty pumped to be invited to play them. I wondered how Bingham scored the invite. Yes, they are one of the best teams in Utah, but there are lots of great teams. Apparently, there is a Polynesian connection. Lots of Utah's Polynesian population makes their home in the Bingham school district. Out in Texas, the Poly's like to live in Trinity's boundaries. They say there were even some cousins facing off in this match-up. Pretty cool.

We enjoyed our meal then hurried home for a good night's rest. Monday morning came soon. This is my little nephew Ty with his mom (AKA my sister Kim). Kim is as tall as I am, so as you can see, Ty is not really little, but I am still in denial that he has grown so big. And I like it that way.

We stayed at the Econo Lodge where the team was. John kept saying Ecccccconoooo in a weird low gravely voice because it was kind of a dive-but it afforded us the opportunity to spend Monday morning preparing ourselves for the big game. The nearby Walmart had this great body paint and blue hairspray. We painted Gabe as the "B," Nate as the "H," and Seth as the "S." We tried to convince Eric to be the "!," but he opted out. I painted a "#17" and "B" on my cheeks to show solidarity with the other face painters as well as the team.

Yes we have incredible team spirit, but we were also hoping to stand out for the TV cameras with our blue faces. :) That's right-it was broadcast on Fox Sports Channel! Too cool! We headed out to the stadium so we could be there right when it opened. And no, it was not the Trinity Trojan's stadium, it was the brand-spanking-new-super-cool-humongo-awesomeness-swwweet Dallas Cowboy Stadium !!

We were awed and amazed by the enormity and beauty of the stadium, and we hadn't even gone inside yet. When we finally made it in, we were very impressed! The stadium was huge and cool and even had that new carpet smell still. Unbelievable! Kim had hurried in when the doors opened and managed to score us the. best. seats. ever!! 50 yard line front row in the padded seats, baby! We were in the lower left of this pic.The Bingham fans were sorely outnumbered. We only filled 3 or 4 bottom sections-but we had team spirit (see blue faces)! Aren't we such a spirited looking group?! Look how close we are to the field! It was soooo cool!

One of the most amazing features of the stadium is the jumbo-tron. It is mega-ultra-jumbo as far as jumbo-trons go. That is another reason for the face painting-we wanted to see ourselves with 50-foot-wide smiles up in lights. Sadly, it never happened. Good thing I layed on the ground and took this pic of the boys with the screen behind's almost the same, right?
I took this next picture to illustrate the home-team-factor that was in play. Trinity fans fill the bottom and middle sections all around the stadium. I am thinking there were 8 or 9 fans for each of ours. They had a band, cheerleaders, and guys that carried flags that spelled T-r-i-n-i-t-y. They even had an inflatable tunnel for the players to run through when they came onto the field. A tunnel for crying our loud! They were serious!
Bingham has this super cool tradition of doing what is called the Haka before every game. It is a Maori warrior chant that gets them fired up. Here are the Miners doing the Haka. Of course Trinity is so huge, they do the Haka too. Big copy-cats. So the players were all Haka'd up and the game began.
I didn't get a lot of photos of the action because I was too busy screaming my guts out. Here's one where everyone is all clustered up and I have no idea what is happening-but aren't our seats fabulous?!
And here's a picture of Ty on the jumbo-jumbo-tron. He looks even huger than usual.
I guess I stopped cheering long enough to get this picture of myself and John.
It was a terrific game. The Miners played their darndest, but alas, it was Trinity's game. They won 21-42. It was an fantastic game in an venue that we will never get to see a family member play in again. I LOVED IT! I wasn't even really sad that Bingham lost. They played so well, but this is Texas. Home of Texas Football. I was really proud of Ty and enjoyed cheering for him SO, SO much. After the game we went back to the Econo to say goodbye.
Ty stayed to eat with the team, but Steve took us all out to lunch before we had to go back to the airport. We bid the Hannays and their large selves farewell.

Overall it was an amazing experience that we will never have again. To cheer for and with our family in a pro stadium was oober fun! Although it was a little quicker turn around that I like in a getaway, it was worth it. Thanks, John for giving the green light on the trip! Thank you Hannays for letting us crash your party! Congratulations Ty-you played like a champ!