Sunday, November 15, 2015


October was kind of a whirlwind for us.  I feel like I missed out on Halloween and all the fun fall things that most people revel in (and others despise with a passion).  Here's a little rundown of our autumn. Most of the pictures are from my phone.

I got really sick for a week.  High fever and chills on and off, random muscle pains, joint pain, dizziness, and sleepless nights. I went to urgent care and they drew blood and couldn't figure out what was wrong. They just said I had a bad virus. I now feel a lot of empathy for those with fibromyalgia.  I think I temporarily experienced some version of it from not sleeping for 6 nights straight. I did half watch a lot of Disney movies and a Korean drama. I spent Halloween passed out on the couch while John handed out candy.

I also got a weird rash all over my body (this is my forearm). My face looked like I had a sunburn and I felt like a leper.

We had to return poor little Pony Boy! Turns out he had a chronic bacterial infection of Pasteurella multocida which is commonly known in the rabbit world as the dreaded Snuffles.  Our choices were to medicate him for life or put him down. Our breeder said she would take him back and treat him and make the decision so we wouldn't have to. I was thankful for that but also a little sad.

Stay gold Ponyboy!
I took a lot of pictures! I had 7 photo sessions in less than two months. The sessions plus the editing took up a lot of my free time so we didn't have many unoccupied weekends. The pictures from this season have been some of my favorites though! 

I was in charge of YW in Excellence this year. I think it went well! I wish we had more girls that could have attended (there were a lot of extra curricular conflicts) but I think the girls and leaders did a great job of speaking and presenting and everything ran smoothly. And I won't lie, it's also nice to have it over ;) 

There's a new rabbit waiting for us! We found another Holland Lop breeder and she chose a bunny that she thought would be a great pet for us. We'll be picking her up after Thanksgiving break once she's 8 weeks old.

Our future bunny, Jasmine. John wants to change her name. It's going to be hard to top Ponyboy.
John is still loving his job and feels good about his new-ish managerial responsibilities.  We attended the Bamboohr holiday party and won an ipad mini in the big game at the end.  

Dice game for prizes at the Bamboohr Holiday Party.
I bought lounge clothes. I don't know what this means or what this says about me, but I realized I didn't really own any. I'm usually in my work clothes, workout clothes, or church clothes all of which don't fare well for chilling around the home. I think being sick for so long made me realize that I can't survive on one pair of PJ's. I hope this is not some sort of devolution and that I control myself to not wear these clothes out in public.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I met up with my 7th grade team during the summer for breakfast.  Tiff and Lauren were my right and left arm for two years teaching at the middle school and we just meshed so well together. Tiff had a little girl this summer and is staying home to take care of her. We miss her so much! We love our new team member as well, but in the ideal world we'd just have both of them.

These pictures make me laugh every time I see them because this is what we often looked like when we had our weekly team meetings and were trying to figure out what to do to help our more troubled kids.

Girls Camp 2015 at Heber Valley

I feel like this picture pretty accurately describes the general state of Girls Camp. A little crazy, a little messy, but lots of fun! This was a ward year for camp so we put our ward on the waiting list for Heber Valley which is an amazing camping site owned by the church. It has breathtaking natural beauty but also cabins and showers! It's basically the best of both worlds and makes life easier for a leader and super fun for the girls. As luck would have it we made it to the top of the list and got to enjoy this beautiful retreat! I think I have close to a thousand pictures from camp so I just chose a few and tried to include some of myself because that's what my family will want to see :) 

Abbey was super excited about her Secret Sister gift.

One of my main jobs up at camp was to oversee the food preparation.  I gathered my crews for each meal and gave them directions on how to prep and cook. They also had to serve the rest of the camp before they ate. The food was great! 

This is my leader twin Jesika Forbush! One of the days the girls participated in a challenge course that has spiritual lessons tied to each physical challenge.  One of the activities was a zip line that they also had the leaders use. 

I planned my descent pose really carefully but ended up just laughing at the end. 

Our lovely leaders that came up to camp. I love these ladies and appreciate the heart and sacrifice they put into their callings and the support they give to me.  You can see some of our cute photo bombers in the background!
Typical floor decor in the "messy cabin".

The senior missionaries that help run the camp also oversee a lake day for each group that comes up.  Most of it consisted of the girls soaking the leaders while we lamely tried to escape in our paddle boats.

As you can see, I was really inspired by the Japanese and their efforts to avoid the sun. I'd also had a pretty bad burn from a photo session on my arms a few weeks early and didn't want to exacerbate the damage. I can make fun of myself and realize this looks ridiculous! But, I will be thankful when I'm 50 and have (hopefully) healthy skin.

Our giant game of Big Bootie. 

Bro. Edwards may be one of the few males ever in the history of Monarch Meadows Girls Camp to make it to be Big Bootie! The girls quickly got him out after a round.

The bishopric members always come the last night of camp for testimony meeting.  They were such good sports and let the Young Women give them manicures. 

Our amazing Camp Director, Heather Stewart! I don't know what we would do without her! Her husband Sheldon also comes up every year and stays the whole week to help even though he's also the Young Men's president and already does Scout Camp each summer. These two give so much of themselves for the youth. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Arashiyama Video

I finally put together all the little clips from meandering around the the bamboo groves in Arashiyama. Lots of shake and sometimes a weird white balance, but it's all just for fun.

Visitors from Delaware

John's Uncle Doug and his wife Julie came to visit the Utah relatives and showed up in a lime green Mustang! Doug is a physics professor at the University of Delaware. I loved how he pointed out that he used to be in the negatives in cool factor points with his grandchildren and now he's well into the positives with this new car!

Uncle Doug is the second from the right.

We also chatted with Grandpa Alf for a little while. He's 94 I think and still reading the Wall Street Journal regularly!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

9th Anniversary at Forage

Since we had gone to Japan earlier in the summer we decided to do a simple anniversary celebration this year and just do a nice dinner. The dinner though was amazing! Forage is a tasting menu restaurant and serves a set 14 course meal with locally sourced, fresh seasonal ingredients. You can read more about it here. It was kind of cool to have just had a kaiseki meal in Japan and then to have the American version of it to compare to. It was something I definitely want to do again!

The food was amazing, but the dishes were also beautiful! They are made by a local ceramicist in Salt Lake. 

Young Women Activities

As some of you may know,  I've been serving as a leader in the Young Women's program in my ward for 5 years.  I'm the president right now which is both wonderful and extremely busy. During the summer months we try to plan as many outdoor activities as we can to take advantage of the good weather while it lasts.

One of our activities was a service project at Ching Animal Sanctuary.  We helped repaint a shed for the animals and got to pet miniature ponies and a donkey as they supervised our work. Mr. Ching was so grateful for our help that he gave me and John several bags of fresh vegetables from his garden. There were bunches of kale, kohlrabi, an amazing squash that tastes great when eaten raw or cooked, and a ton of eggplant.

Bert the donkey was very friendly with all the girls. 

Hard work in the hot sun. It was in the 90's that day with no shade.

Our finished work! Do you love my giant sun hat? I got it after being inspired by people's flawless skin in Japan. Got to protect from those UVA/UVB rays!

John was great to come out and help us. It looks like there's blood on his hands but it's just the paint.

For another activity we took a hike in the hills around our community.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trip Back Home to San Diego

I went back home to San Diego for a week to visit my family and to spend time with my new nephew, Oliver. I'm still not allowed to post any pictures of him, but I assure you that there were plenty of cute ones! John stayed in Utah to continue the project that took him home early from Denver.

Lemon cake I made for a family gathering. I made this recently for some new neighbors and my new name with their 3 year old is now "Lemon Cake Lady". 

Petting the sting rays at Chula Vista Marine Center.

Here's a back of the head shot of Ollie. Can you tell how happy my mom is to be holding him? I think everyone is ecstatic to have a baby in the family again.
Claire recreating the incident when she was younger and pretended to eat her ramen like a beaver spilling the whole bowl over herself and the floor.

These girls are getting so old! Both are in high school now.