Irony at it's finest...

Well, I'm ready. My bags are packed, I have my super-security Passport thingy that hangs around my neck so I don't get pick-pocketed, I have all-american snacks in my backpack (think Trail mix, beef jerkey, and protein bars) just in case the food doesn't agree with me, and 12 books that I requested from the Library came in, and I just need to decide which ones to bring.

So, I am taking 2 medium sized suit cases, but only one is packed with my stuff. Why you ask?
Behold- the suitcase of 400 fortune cookies--

Hilarious- this is SO my parents...if you know them, you totally get it! ADIOS PEOPLE!

Another conversation

I may be the only one that finds the things Jaxon says hilarious- but that's okay, because I am blogging this for my own personal records as well as general reading enjoyment of others.
Jaxon: I don't want to go to Sonic! I want to go home and eat a Hot Pocket!
Mom: Should I just leave you on the side of the road?
Jaxon: Yes! Leave me, Leave me!
M: But what is someone took you and I never got to see you again? I would be so sad I would cry forever!
J: What man mom? What man would take me?
M: A wicked man, who would steal you away. (Wicked is one of his new favorite words!)
J: Umm...Laman and Lemuel?
M: Kind of like Laman and Lemuel...
J: Umm...Mom...don't worry...they'll just stay in the video!
So, the moral of this story is- the living scripture videos really are awesome (at least the 3 that we inherited are great, but we can't afford any more!) but I guess I need to do a better job explaining that the videos actually come from the scriptures which came from real life...Ooops...


Behold, my two new favorite pictures of Jaxon and I! I don't know my SIL did it (thank you Emily, Thank you!!!) but look at the genuine smile on that boys' face...and he is not even (visibly) squirming to get away from me!!! This is from our fantastic trip to the zoo yesterday. It was PERFECT weather...about 68 degrees and overcast. It was pretty empty- and Jaxon, Hailey, and Katie loved it. Jaxon and Hailey do pester each other to no end (read: a 10 minute arguement about why Hailey wouldn't give Jaxon back his PRETEND airplane) but they are also apparently madly in love and going to be married! (more on that to come.) Also, I try not to plug my photo blog too often, but I just posted a reflection pic I took of a really cool family today...check it out, it's definately in my top 5 all-time favorites!

What to do??

Do I-
1. Bring my big ol' camera and lenses-
~ I will have to lug it around during a lot of walking
~ It will take up a lot of space in my backpack
~ I am probably not taking any shots that I am going to blow up or frame-
~The things I see and do will be a once in a lifetime experience and will be absolutely amazing to capture with a nicer camera

2. Bring my small point and shoot-
~It will be easy to access
~I will probably take more pictures

~I will miss some breath-taking once in a lifetime pictures that can't really be taken with this camera


One Week and COUNTING!!!

I think I have everything I need...stomach meds, long johns, 50 things my parents have asked me to bring that they can't find in China (including 400 fortune cookies...does that seem ironic to anyone else???), my passport, my visa, and a large empty suitcase to fill with awesome shopping finds!! I am getting really excited for my trip, and every day makes it just a little more real!

Here are a few pictures to set "the mood!" My mom sent these darling outfits to the little ones in the family and asked me to take a few pictures and bring some with me so she can show all of her students.

This first one- seriously? That pose, what is that? Captain America...err...China?

Katie- the fastest toddler in the West (For one more week, then she will be the fasted toddler in Wisconsin again,...BOO HOO!!!) I promise, this is about the only picture where she is not just a pink and white streak!

Jonathan- you name the time and the place, he will be there posing for his shot- he loves the camera, and the camera loves him!

One for the Road...


As I have previously mentioned, Jaxon really loves to play croquet (O-kay) with Dave. (Although the majority of the time was not actually spent playing croquet) They were having such a fantastic time that I had to snap some shots. There is nothing I love to see more than these two loving life and each other!

Do you think he might really love his dad?

Jaxon just noticed that the clouds move...he is really amazed!

Daddy the tickle Monster!

Playing Croquet

BBQ and Boxes

Here are some more pictures from our fun evening with Tyler and AnnaMarie...and don't forget katie! We threaded shish-kabobs (delicious, by the way) and then watched the kids play. Jaxon loved being pulled in a box by Uncle Tyler, who was really moving, and thought it was almost as funny as Jaxon did, when he would fling Jaxon out of the box. Dave is a master griller and times everything on the timer to make sure nothing is over or under done, what a guy! And lastly, my camera battery died, so I couldn't take a picture of the blueberry/blackberry buckle before it was 1/2 eaten, but it was delicious! What did we ever do before the internet? I wanted to do something with my blueberries and blackberries from the Ranch Market before they went bad. I searched through several recipes online before finding something easy and quick! Well worth it! I even added my own "sauce" to the recipe - berries blended with a little lemon juice and a some splenda- YUM YUM!

(Oh yes, and for anyone out of town, please note the green grass, shorts, and t-shirts all around! THIS is why we live in AZ!!!)


Shrimp and Beef- raw- gross looking I know, but boy was it good when it was done!
This is only about 1/3 of the veggies we grilled...

Spunky little Katie bear!
Uncle Tyler getting his work out for the day!


I had to include one of my favorite shots from their quick photoshoot this week!

It's Great to be a Kid!

My friend Lindsay does a great "segment" on her blog called, "It's great to be a kid" that I always love to read. Here is my ode to her segment- this picture! Seriously, being pulled in an old box by your cool uncle, spread eagle in the grass and just loving life? Does it get better than this? I really don't think so- Oh to be a kid again!

(more fun pictures from this night are coming...)

Pie Day!

Jaxon seems to have switched his obsession with Backyardigans back to an obsession with Cailloo. Dave REALLY wishes he would switch back, but I don't know why! This morning Cailloo's dad made apple pie, and Dave said, "YUmmm, I sure wish I had some apple pie!" Believe me, he did NOT say that with any idea that I might actually make one. I tried making him some pies for his December birthday...and disaster doesn't even begin to cover it...
I have never made pies, I don't like pies, and I vowed to Dave's mom over Christmas break that I would never make another pie as long as I live. It was a lie. I decided to make Dave his beloved apple pie- and I have to say- it was a RAGING SUCCESS!! I was mostly just scared of the crust, and it looked okay, and tasted GREAT! As an added bonus, I convinced my two sisters in law to come over, let the kids play, and make a pie of their own! Jaxon went to sleep an hour late last night, and didn't sleep during his nap today (he seems to talk through about everyone other one...I think this is a dreaded sign of 'dropping the nap' ARGGGG!!!) and was, well, cranky would be the understatement of the century, but it will have to do! Dispite Jaxon's timeouts at least 75% of the time his cousins were over, we all had a great time, and have decided to try another culinary treat soon!

My First Apple Pie!!! (Kinda pretty huh?)

Jaxon mistakenly thought that if he tethered himself to the chair, I wouldn't make him move when I wanted to sit down!
My beautiful nieces- Peyton and Hailey

Emily and Katie (Aunt and Niece, not mother daughter!)
(AnnaMarie was the photographer, so she is not pictured!)


Today something funny happened. Dave and I took Jaxon for a quick haircut before Nedra's reception. (the reception-SO BEAUTIFUL by the way!)
A young girl (probably 20...) took us to her station and then says to me, " I LOVE your eyes! They look just like Edwards in Twilight-you know, the beautiful golden brown."
I was totally taken back! Believe me, NOBODY ever even notices my eyes if I am with Dave (Mr. Beautiful Blue Eyes) or Jaxon with his bright green. So I said, "Oh, uh, thank you! They're nothing compared to these two..."
So the girl stops, and first looks carefully and Jaxon's eyes and says "Yes, pretty and green." Then and Dave's and says, "Blue, very nice." Then back and me, "No, I love yours the best. They're really beautiful..."
Anyway, the conversation changed after that and I forgot all about it, but after got in the parking lot, Dave said something like, "JEEZ! What a flirt! I thought she was just going to fling herself right into your arms and ask you to come home with her!"
Oh Dave! He just doesn't understand the depth of the love that some of us have for Edward Cullen!

Less than a MONTH!!!

No seriously, HOLY CRAP!!!...this is coming up so fast, and I am SO excited, and SO nervous! Here is the itinerary we just got!

Jan 30: (Evening) Fly from Arizona to LAX

Jan 31: 12am-Fly from LAX to Korea
Switch planes in Korea- Fly to Tianjin, China

Feb 1 & 2: Tour Tianjin
Stay in University housing
See Mom and Dad's Campus life
Visit the "Large Markets"

Feb 03: Fly from Tianjin to Xi'an in the morning
Met by the guide and van at the airport.
Visit the City Wall,
the Big Goose Pagoda;
Enjoy the dumpling banquet and Tang Dynasty Show in the evening.
Overnight at the Gaosu Shenzhou Hotel in Xi'an

Feb 04: Visit the Terra-cotta Warriors Museum.
Fly to Beijing
Overnight at Grand Mecure Hotel, Xidan, Beijing

Feb.05: Silk Market & Pearl Market today.
Overnight at the Grand Mercure Hotel,
Xi'dan Beijing
Feb.06: Visit the Great Wall at Badaling
Visit the Summer Palace
See the Acrobatic show in the evening.
Overnight at the Grand Mercure Hotel, Xi'dan Beijing

Feb.07: Visit the Tian'anmen square,
the Forbidden City,
Olympic Sites (Bird Nest and Water Cube--entering inside for visit)
Enjoy the Roast Beijing Duck Lunch.
off at the Beijing railway station in the afternoon.

Feb 08: Return to Tianjin

Feb 09: Return to USA

Holy Surprise Party!!!!

WOW! Saturday night I got a fantastic surprise! A secret party planned by my sister! My sis, my sis-in-laws and I were supposed to go out to dinner and then to a "fun secret activity." My sister had earlier in the week let slip that I needed to dress warm because we would be outside, and that we were going to Shneff Farms. We had a fantastic time at dinner, and Amber showed me the print off from the computer about the Chocolate Fondue tasting we were going to go to at the Farms. It was beautiful, and had all information plus a whole bunch of internet-y type stuff on it- AND SHE MADE IT HERSELF!!! (She is going to scan a copy for me to put on the blog, so you can see it- it's unbelieveable!!!) One of my SIL's forgot a jacket, and I suggested we swing by my house to borrow one of mine since it was on the way (That was one of their plans- to get ME to suggest going back by my house so it would seem even less contrived!) When we got to my house, a friend of mine was standing at the door with a present in her hand, and Amber thought for sure they were doomed. Ro played if off, saying she had stopped by to bring me a birthday present but no one was home. At that point I got worried becuase I didn't have a key, and we were supposed to be hurrying to the fondue tasteing! I tried the door and found it open, but the house was dark- off course at that point the lights went on and everyone yelled SURPRISE!! Well, needless-to-say, I was surprised, and I burst into to tears...not the usual response to a surprise party, but it was just so nice and thoughtful, and seeing all those friendly, but unexpected faces was a little a good way!

The rest of the night I was a little out of my element, which is not normal for me. My hands were shaking and my heart was pounding, but honestly, it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. There was pizza, veggies and dip, soda, punch, a GORGEOUS cake, and a chocolate fountain with ALL the dippers you could imagine! The theme was black and white, and Amber had scanned pictures of me from all different stages in my life (some much scarier than others!) and put them up around the house along with banners and signs!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! to everyone that helped or came, it was seriously so special! Special thanks to Amber, the world's greatest sister, for all the planning and hard work that went into it, Lauryn for making a beautiful e-vite that I just saw today, Nedra, Matt, Christi, and Mom and Dad Rogers (who drove down from Vegas just for the party) for the putting everything together and making it pretty, and the bunco girls who drove WAAAAAAY across town to come! And of course I can't forget Dave, who did a thousand little things to get the house ready so (in his words) "I wouldn't be embarrassed to have people there." I am seriously such a lucky girl (that's right, I'm 30 and still a GIRL!) what a blessing to have kind, good, fun people around me, I really couldn't ask for more!

At dinner-

At the party-

Friends that I've known forever--

Bunco friends-(who interestingly enough, I found out at our last get together, are almost all my height or shorter, I KNEW I liked these girls!)

Gym friends-

Family -The best friends of all! (Somehow I missed Tyler and AnnaMarie...sorry guys!)

I also somehow missed Lauryn and Garrett (who I SWEAR I took a picture with??) and few others who snuck out- THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE!!!

here we are at lunch-

And I was having such a good time at dinner with Dave and Nedra and Matt, I forgot to take pictures!

Really, I could not have had a better 30th. I really think it is one of the hugest blessings in my life to be surrounded by so many amazing people. To know people who love life, laugh a lot, accept you with your faults, and forgive your stupidity on a regular basis- what more can you ask for?

Happy Birthday to ME!

I'm 30, and it rocks! I have had a fantastic birthday, and the fun is not even over! This morning I got to sleep in (well, relatively...7 is sleeping in when you have a toddler) then I took a hot bath while Dave got breakfast for Jaxon. Marie took me to a delicious breakfast at IHOP, where the conversation was as good (or better!) than the delicious breakfast!
I came home and rested a little and then Jaxon and Dave took me to lunch at Crackers-my choice and my favorite! The highlight of our lunch was before our food came-

Jaxon (yelling at a waitress): Hey lady!...HEY LADY!!-BRING ME SOME FRENCH FRIES!!!
Me and Dave: Jaxon that's rude, our french fries are cooking right now and will out in a minute!
Jaxon: Well, just tell them to just put them in the microwave!

While Jaxon napped I got to spend time with Dave, do a little reading, and get ready for our dinner/double date with Matt and Nedra. They took us to a DELICIOUS restaurant called Brio- I had never been there, but you better believe the next special occasion we have- we will go back! It was delicious! Nedra and Matt are as good of company as it gets, so the evening flew by with lots of laughter. We were going to go Mini-golfing but the freezing air helped us decide to go back to Nedra's and play games instead. (Dave and I lost spectacularly in three games of Sequence, but it didn't put too much of a damper on the night...)

29 was a pretty crappy birthday (and I can't for the life of me remember why...?) but 30 has been wonderful! I have loved the emails and birthday calls, and I am feeling very loved, and not a bit sad to see the 20's go. I think I can honestly say that 29 was the best year of my life so far, and I see no reason why it shouldn't continue onto 30! BUT WAIT! It's not over!
Tomorrow night my sister planned to take me to dinner and an activity, and by some stroke of luck, ALL of my sister in laws are also in town! So we are are all going out to dinner and then somewhere fun that I am not allowed to know yet! It's such a treat to be able to go out with all the girls, and I am so lucky to have such a thoughtful sister/best friend to plan it!