Riding the Rails

Last Saturday we took a train ride on the Heber Creeper. They are not kidding around with the name “Heber Creeper.” It’s a THREE HOUR ride. And yes, “a three hour tour” was stuck in my mind all day.

Dave’s parents wanted to take the grandkids for their birthdays, and they paid for parents to come along too—a smart move.

Despite the length of the excursion, it was a lot of fun and the girls loved it. There were two open air cars from which you could see the fall colors and great scenery of Provo Canyon.

However, in the outside cars, the train whistle is a little too loud for certain three-year olds.

The girls had a lot of fun with their cousins.

There was much time to look out the window and just ponder life.

The train goes to Vivian Park and then turns around to go back to Heber. It was nice to get out of the train and let the kids play.

On the way back, some people got to nap. Luckily for Dave, our nephew Gavin doesn’t know about wet willies, yet.

Afterwards the girls indulged me for a little photo shoot on the train tracks.

On the way home, we saw the coolest house in Midway. It looks like it’s right out of Alice in Wonderland.

Here’s the backside of Timpanogos that we rarely get to see. And I realized, yet again, that we really do live in a beautiful place.

We had a lot of fun, thanks to G & G Lesue.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I love certain holiday movies. I love them so much that they only come out during certain times of the year—around the holiday to which they pertain. I pack the DVDs with the holiday decorations—guaranteeing that I won’t ever catch my children watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in April.

I’m a nostalgic person and I vividly remember when Frosty the Snowman (or whatever old classic holiday movie) was going to be shown on TV. It was always close to the holiday adding to the excitement of the season, which as a small child was already building quickly with each passing day. We would usually watch the show as a family, which made for even more fond memories for me.

Now that my girls only watch these Halloween movies during the month of October, I have realized that I haven’t taken the time to form any memories with them. I usually pop in a DVD to occupy them while I am busy elsewhere. So I’ve decided that I am going to make sure our family makes some time to watch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, while eating pumpkin cookies, drinking apple cider and snuggling together on the couch.

Aside from the above DVDs, there are a few classic Disney Halloween cartoons that we enjoy as well. Take some time and watch these classics with your kids. You won’t regret it.

And it is probably okay if upon the seventh time they ask to watch it AGAIN!, you leave them at the computer to watch it by themselves.

Rock the vote

So Inez brought home her very first school pictures on Friday. I have to admit I was pretty excited to see them!

Then. I saw them.

After laughing for a little while, Dave and I discussed a few things about her very first picture taking experience.

(A) Was the photographer paying any attention to her expression?
(B) Did it occur to the photographer to say “smile” right before snapping the picture?
(C) Was there more than one picture taken and if so, was this the best of them?

When I asked her why she didn’t smile, I got some random excuse about how smiling is not always good in pictures.

Maybe the photographer told her NOT to smile, and instead, she should try and look really, really uncomfortable.

So now I’m considering retakes. Part of me wants to keep this version because it will be funny to look back on. The other part of me wants to retake them so that she at least looks somewhat happy in them.

I know that I’m biased, but really, she is a cute girl.

I’m not expecting perfection from a school picture, but geez! Since when was Kindergarten so miserable? Can’t I at least get a smile?

What do you think we should do? Has anyone else ever had to deal with this before?

Let’s put it to a vote, shall we?

Should we get picture retakes?

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Random McRanderson

Yesterday Inez brought me this freshly drawn picture.

Our little artist/bombardier

me: Good job honey! Who is that?
inez: It’s me! (with a hint of duh in her voice)
me: Oh! It’s cute! What are you holding?
inez: A bomb.

Gwen is attached at the hip to this Halloween decoration. She is always dragging it around the house with her, and would sleep with it if I let her.

The best thing about this Halloween decoration is that there is no off switch, which means I get to hear this skeleton rattle around and yell, “GET ME OUTTA HERE!” “OKAY, THIS IS NOT A JOKE!” “HEY, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!” and other obnoxious phrases ALL DAY LONG. It’s so great.

On another unrelated note, Inez bought her own slippers with her own money. She contributed seven dollars in quarters and I made up the last two dollars. She loves them. I think I love them too. Maybe Santa will bring me my own pair. They are from Target, just in case Santa is reading this.

She also lost her second tooth. And would you believe that the tooth fairy forgot to come for two nights in a row?! That mean ol’ fairy. She better pay more than one measly little quarter this time, or I don’t even want to know what a certain little girl’s opinion of her would be.

Her new tooth decided to come in way before the one it was replacing fell out, and just a little bit out of place.

I’m really looking forward to the orthodontia bills that await us.

Knit one, can too

Last weekend I canned for the first time. Dave did too, but that’s because I made him help me.

The conclusion I reached is that, I’m not sure that canning and I were made for one another. Especially after making freezer jam for the first time over the summer. Freezer jam is the easiest thing in the WORLD.

Anyway, we canned just about a billion tomatoes. It gave me heartburn just looking at them. We also made peach butter, and my stove top is still very crusty from that endeavor.

I’m also learning how to knit (thanks to my friend Camille). It’s pretty wonky looking and I’ve only been at it for a few hours, but I think I foresee an obsession.

Now I bet I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Geez, is there anything Holly doesn’t do!?”

Well, the answer is yes. Underwater basket weaving. And that’s just because I’m a bad swimmer.

Stupid Teenager Husk

I’m warning you. Right now, I’m warning you and I’m doing it with my serious, somewhat frightening, “I’m warning you” voice. This is post is preachy. And heavy-handed. And a lot bit clumsy.

But. It’s got a strong heart. And it tries. And that’s enough reason to go ahead and give it a read anyway, isn’t it?

I vote yes.

Okay. So, back when I was a stupid teenager, I hated General Conference. No. That’s not true. I didn’t feel strongly enough about it to hate it, but it did bother me. Every April and October it annoyed me.

It was just SO long. And SO boring. And SO frustrating.

The place where weekends go to die (photographed by the talented Jeremy Hall).

The place where weekends go to die (photographed by the talented Jeremy Hall).

Each time it rolled around, conference seemed to gobble up my entire weekend. Not just my Sunday, mind you, but my Saturday too. From 10 in the morning to 8 at night! And all those talks just ran together like a two-day chain of navy suits and tidy haircuts and droning voices. Those voices! That same soothing, rhythmic, peaceful cadence… in speaker after speaker… lulled me… to… sleep… JUST as one of my mom’s side jabs jerked me back.


Long, boring, frustrating, teenage torture.

The fact that those weekend-consuming, tidy-haircut-sporting, sleep-inducing voices were the voices of latter-day prophets didn’t really register with me. As a stupid teenager, I just wasn’t ready to appreciate conference.

Going on a mission (and growing up a bit) has helped me to start to turn things around. I’ve slowly started hearing the value of those voices.

Now, at thirty-old years-old, I feel like I shed a layer of stupid teenager husk each year. I enjoy conference now. I engage with it.

Don’t misunderstand me. I still doze through a talk or two (or three?), but when I’m awake, I’m REALLY awake. I hear those voices now. They affect me. They change me a little bit.

I finally want them to. <brushes off husk flakes>

Wait… wow. Preachy, heavy-handed, clumsy, AND self-righteous. I warned you, right?


This conference—this time around—there was one voice that really boomed out, don’t you think?

If you’ve got 15 minutes and you’re not a stupid teenager, listen to Elder Holland’s talk again.

It might wake you up.

Collaborate and Listen

Holly and I were rummaging through our Photobooth snapshots and videos from last year when we re-discovered this gem. Two things I didn’t realize I miss until watching this video:

  1. Inez’s toddler accent. e.g. “Cowaborate and wisten!”
  2. Vanilla Ice

Twilight and Prejudice of Green Gables

I’ve decided to write a book. It’s going to be about a red-haired, kindred-spirit-seeking teenage orphan girl who meets a diamond-skinned, volvo-driving vampire emo teen who just says no to human blood. At first she’ll be put off by his arrogance—his pride—but later she’ll fall in love with him when she realizes that her prejudice has blinded her to his true, fabulously wealthy self.

Do you think there’s an audience for a book like that?