Thursday, June 30, 2011


I love Boston. Friends that have lived there, gone to school there, and visited there have been telling me I would. I could't really see what the allure was..until a couple of weeks ago when Brittney and I had the good fortune of accompanying Jordan for one of his insulation conferences.

This was the weather in Boston when we arrived. It was a crazy, beautiful storm.
But the next morning dawned bright and clear for mine and Brittney's guided tour to "Little Italy" in Boston's North End. They introduced us to quaint storefronts being run by the direct descendants of the original owners and often offering the same pure, antiquated goods and services.
This store offered various coffees weighed and ground while you waited and bins and bins full of nuts and herbs and teas.

We visited The Old North Church with it's "box pews." The idea being that in the dead of winter you could bring a bucket of hot coals into the pew with you and the confined space would offer more warmth. This particular church was the one that Paul Revere is said to have hung his telling two lanterns to indicate that the British army was traveling by sea. (Remember Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride?)

As much as the Bostonians love their history I think it's very possible that they love their hockey team more. Their Boston Bruins had made it to the finals this year and they were a proud, enthusiastic town.
Paul Revere is apparently a big Bruins fan as well.
There were a lot of dog tags in this little memorial garden. It was quite sobering.

That evening the IA group loaded four large touring buses and headed to the JFK Library for the evening dinner and entertainment. We had a police escort the entire way. The motorcycle unit would tag team each other riding ahead to secure our easy passage. It was so cool but seemed to anger many of the locals. There was many a bird flying as we passed the (stopped) traffic. Upon our arrival we were greeted with the band/flag performance. I could't help but wonder: who the heck did we think we were? It's not very often that insulation contractors and manufacturers get police escorts and privates dinners in a presidential library.

I loved having Brittney with me! Jordan was in meetings all day and even when he was physically present, the phone was his companion. I was so glad (and I know Jordan was too) I had someone to talk to and hang out with. Brittney was as enthusiastic about Boston as I was but she was relentless about wanting to go to a Boston Red Sox game while we were there. I was thinking the same thing but I just didn't see when or how we would fit it in.
There was one night on the agenda that they said was a "surprise." We waited anxiously to see what it would be. There was speculation that it was a concert in the park. There was not one part of me that wanted to go to a concert in the park, and so when we got to our room and saw the bag of peanuts, cracker jacks, bottles of coke, and Red Sox hats we were elated!
The night started out with a DuckTour. Loved the DuckTour. Please do a DuckTour if you're ever in Boston.

This was Brittney's reaction when she found out we were going to a Sox game.
Fenway Park is the coolest! I'm not kidding. The park still looks very similar to when it opened in 1912.

The famous Fenway Frank. We had an open snack bar for the entirety of the game. I've never eaten so much crap. I loved every bite of my hot dog, my fries, my mozzarella sticks, my lobster roll, my chicken fingers, my hot chocolate and my unlimited refills of diet coke.

Beautiful. And they won.
Our Harvard guides were current students and very entertaining. I could't help but think of the show, Psyche.
Once again-beautiful.
Our last day ended with a trip to Faneuil Marketplace. The meatball sub that Brittney got was the perfect ending to our trip. I love the incredible history that permeates every corner of Boston. Faneuil Marketplace has been around since 1742. Amazing.

The Founding Fathers met here. Although I'm not sure what "here" is. I will pay closer attention next time. And there will be a next time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


My sister sent me this photo she took on her iphone the other day. I love it so much I just had to share it. When Jodi married Pat last August, she became a step-mother to 3 more children. (Jodi has 2 of her own). Miles is the youngest of those step-children. Miles was adopted at birth and is one of the most loving and content children I know. I know that it helps that he feels so much consistency from his dad and that Jodi is as warm and loving a mother to Pat's children as she is to her own. At times I have wondered if he even knows that he is different. He's black. They're all white. Does he feel that? Does it bother him?

Miles drew a chalk family portrait on the driveway. He is flanked by Jodi and Pat. (Pat's easy to pick out and draw because he is bald). When Jodi asked Miles why he was a different color than everyone else he told her it was because he was! "Because I'm BLACK, Jodi!" Like..DUH?!
So he is aware. And his smile is just as big as everyone else's in the picture. Just because you're a different color doesn't mean that you feel less loved or less a part of the family. Family isn't about being the same...because we're not. Family means having differences and cherishing and celebrating them together.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

Sheryl and I went back and forth on wether or not we should go. It was still a little chilly and we knew driving our own four-wheeler was probably not an option. Lon assured us that we would find at least a 2-seater so we wouldn't have to drive and to be perfectly honest, I just really didn't want everyone to go off and have fun without me. So...we all headed south to Sand Mountain for some 4-wheeling fun. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

Everybody picked their machine of choice and Lon rented a 4-seater Rhino for himself and Sheryl and Jana and me.

Helmets were a must for all riders-except those in the Rhino. We were told that they were the safest of all the 4-wheelers. Super-duper roll cage and impossible to flip.

Everybody got a crash course in operation. Except Lon. He didn't really need one. The Rhino practically drives itself.
We caravanned it and headed toward the sand. There was a brief moment where Sheryl (who was shivering in the front) had to decide whether or not to continue onward or return back to sit in the warm car. She decided to switch places with Jana and sit in the back and share the blanket and gloves with me. It was at this point that there was no turning back. Was I cold? Yes! Had I lost all feeling in my hands? Yes! Was I about to say anything? NO! I was having way too much fun. Lon was 'pedal to the metal' the whole time. And yet I felt quite safe. (There was a heavy-duty roll bar-remember?) It was better than any roller coaster ride- ever! The only time I felt real panic was watching my kids ( son) tearing it up on those machines.

Christian and Brandon

The more sand you had on your face meant the better driver you were. Hailee and Shae were by far the best drivers.

Warming up in the sand...

Jason and Brittney take a turn in the 2-seater.
There was a lot of digging out. Not the Rhino. Not once did we get stuck.
There was Jason and Weston...
And Brittney and Gabe...
And my personal favorite rescue...Hailee...willing to offer Jason any help he might need.
Ready to rumble...

Jason and Weston

This was my view the whole day. The back of Lon and Jana's heads. Although Jana did glance back a couple of times to make sure Sheryl and I were still strapped in after a couple of hair-raising dips and turns. It was all good until Lon decided to try a couple of donuts in the sand. The first complete turn felt a little unstable, by the second one I knew we were going over. Lon laid the 'unflippable' Rhino on the right side and put Jana and Sheryl in the sand -resulting in a couple of scrapped elbows and sore necks. Lon and I were hanging snugly by our seatbelts. After a couple of seconds of shock-induced silence, I felt moisture dripping off my face. I had my big SLR hanging around my neck and when we flipped, the camera swung around and smashed me in the face-just above my lip. I heard a hint of panic in Christian's voice as he reached the Rhino and surveyed the scene and I was anxious to get out and wipe off my face. My biggest fear was that Lon would feel responsible and regret our trip. I haven't had that much fun in a long, long time.

The nurses in the emergency room said that the words "4-wheelers" are banned from their vocabulary. They claimed they have just seen too much tragedy. I just kept offering a silent prayer of gratitude that all of our kids were still in one piece.

6 stitches was a small price to pay for a day of (mostly) safe, happy, fun in the sun.
And Lon, for the 100th time, I'm not mad! I had way too much fun and I'm the only one who got to go home with a souvenir.

(Here goes my pride...I look pretty, huh? Thanks, Jord, for the close,close up)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Hello purple cactus"

So...I've had a little struggle with the blogging thing lately. I'm backlogged with photos and events to document and share and so here it goes....

First..I'm going to rewind to Memorial Day weekend. Just a short 3 weeks ago. Our friends, the Wardrops, invited us and the O'Briens down to St. George with them for the weekend. With 2 days notice, and various activities and schedules to rearrange, it was a tricky, spontaneous getaway. But Lon never, ever takes "no" for an answer-and we're always glad. Our lives have become more interesting and entertaining since meeting them. We are eternally grateful.
They had rented a home nestled in the red cliffs of Snow Canyon. It was over-the-top beautiful. I felt like I was in a Parade of Homes home. Oh, wait... I was.

I kept seeing leaves on the floor and couldn't figure out where they were coming from. Then I noticed the giant tree growing up out of the floor.
We started off the day at my favorite breakfast place. The Bear Claw has the best breakfast potatoes around.
And I'm apparently not the only one that thinks so... Brandon and Christian waiting for a table.

We had to split our group up in order to find enough seats to accommodate everybody. I loved that Jason was willing to hang out at the bar with the little boys but then I realized that it was the "crazy morning hair" club.
We spent some time at the pool soaking up much needed sun and warmth. (L-R: Brittney, Gabe, Hailee,Shae, Lexi, and Christian)

Our fabulous hosts, Lon and Sheryl. Love them to pieces.
Weston gives us a glimpse of the Gun Show!
How to compensate for sun glare on your cell phone...
Shae, Britt, Lex, Wes, and Gabe

Wardrops are big tennis players. Brandon's doubles team went to state this year..(and last year, and the year before that...) So it was only natural that the tennis courts is where I found them all. It is just as natural, of course, that I would also find all of the girls parked on the side of the court spectating/supporting.

Sadly, no one was watching the over 40/under 12 crowd play. But I suspect that was just fine with them. (Jordan and Sean)

Happiness is: ending a perfect day at The Pizza Factory with breadsticks and alfredo dipping sauce...
Tomorrow...Sand Canyon and stitches....