Wednesday, July 22, 2009

grandma was right

My grandma {her name was Elmo, how cool is that?} used to say, "Three moves is as good as a fire." This being our third move as a family, I wholeheartedly agree. I think I'd just rather burn the place down than move it all. {Of course, I am not serious...I would never want to go through that.}

Really, though. Moving is a pain BUT I do love cleaning out and getting rid of things we don't need and really won't use. Take a picture, remember it that way, right? Give to charity. I also love the idea of decorating a new space from scratch. Love it. I have design ideas whirling through my little brain.

And yet:

Must. Keep. Packing.

p.s. end table is FINISHED (pictures to come when i get some energy to upload them). chair is painted. just needs to be screwed back together. i'll recover the seat after we move because the fabric has been packed. quickly after, though. can't wait!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

just keep running...

Leah just started to try to "run" in the past couple weeks. She can't quite get her feet lifted up off the ground as you should when you run, but she leans really far forward and pumps one arm like there's no tomorrow. I love hearing the pitter patter of her feet run across the kitchen floor. Love it. We also started going to a kid's running club with some friends at a local elementary school track. All the kids have a punch card and for each lap, they get a punch. When you've gone 20 laps (5 miles), you get a prize. Leah went around the track THREE times last week. That's 3/4 of a mile! I was completely amazed. She loved it. If she keeps it up, she'll earn a prize by the end of the summer...a little mini vacuum all for herself. She's a little obsessed. Cutest little runner-in-training if I do say so myself.The first part of the video is running club. The second half is our nightly routine. It lets off a lot of energy and makes for a good night's sleep. My favorite part is when she licks her lips in front of the camera. Nice.

a jam jamboree*

I made strawberry freezer jam for the first time ever last week. There's something so satisfying with opening the freezer and seeing the fruits {no pun intended} of my labors. Yum. *for those looking for a cute kid's read, check out Jamberry by Bruce Degen: a former favorite of one of my piano students...and now a favorite of Leah's.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

land that i love

we celebrated the fourth of july at our local google lawn again this year. good times were had by all. we tried to get sarah to sing a stunning rendition of God Bless America, to no avail. leah not only thought the stars and stripes were beautiful, but yummy too. ryan really was there...we just don't have the family shot on our camera. a photographer thought leah looked so adorably patriotic he shot a few pictures of her for the local newspaper. we'll have to check it out this week to see if she made it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

senior trip part deux

{brace yourselves, it's a loooong one.}

I know what you're thinking: "Ryan doesn't seem old enough to have graduated from high school 10 years ago!" And if you just look at the way he and his friends act when they're together, I would completely agree with you. But...the receding hairlines, increasing bellies and achy bodies after four days of physical activity would tell you otherwise. They are definitely getting old. Very, very old.

We had lots of fun playing in southern Utah with {most of} his close friends from high school - and their incredibly fun wives {where applicable}. Here's a quick recap:

We considered driving down in just a truck. Yes, five of us all crammed into a truck. Dani made the clutch decision to take Max, and for that, I am grateful. Dani and I drove together while the boys stunk up the truck together. We called them so we could visit the big chair in Beaver. They thought the big chair in Beaver meant Arby's. "Ryan, you can always assume I don't want Arby's for lunch." Ah, well. At least they have good curly fries.
We were greeted at the condo {amazing, by the way} with an awful stench that we finally figured out was coming from the sink. Once that was figured out, we were off to Costco to get some amazing fruit leathers {I'm so glad someone thought of that} and Old Navy {the first of many trips}. Dani and I wanted to get something matching. We ended up with these two purchases, among others. I don't really want to talk about the first one. Oh, except that they purchased those in the little boy's department. The boys don't really want to talk about the second one. We've even.
The rest of the day was spent surviving the squelching 110 degree St. George heat and checking out the condo amenities. Oh, and eating at Cafe Rio. I miss that place!

Day #2:
We headed to Zion, where I have never been before. I know, I lived in Utah for 26 years. I also only skiied once {and I hated it - gasp, gasp!}, and I've never been to the other major parks either. Or Lake Powell. Now, let's get on with it.

Zion was AMAZING! We hiked Emerald Lakes (not very lakey this summer?), but pretty nonetheless. And then we hiked the narrows. Scary. Wet. Cold. So worth it. We cut the narrows hike a little short because of some impending rain clouds/wind, but not before Ryan and Chris dove in to swim and then immediately screamed like ninnies on their way out.
Yummy pizza for dinner where Ryan tried to shoot his crushed up ice across the table. It worked.Day #3:
We headed to Sand Hollow Reservoir for a day at the beach with wave runners. I had also never been on a wave runner. I decided I like being a passenger on the wave runner when someone is being pulled on the tube OR I like to drive them. That's it. Nothing too crazy. But, it was a lot of fun. Favorite quote: "Hey Dani, do you want to come on the wave runners?" Dani: "Well, I do have to pee."
Later enjoyed yummy iceberg shakes. I'm not sharing next time, Ryan.Day #4:
Back to Zion. This time with Ben, Eva, Dale and Aubrey to hike Angel's Landing. We had fun running up Walter's Wiggles and hiking across death-defying trails holding onto only a chain. But the view was incredible. If you are deathly afraid of heights, I do NOT suggest this specific trail (although, you can still get a great view stopping just before the narrow/steep part). Otherwise, it's a must.
After a much-disappointing dinner {or lack thereof} at Chili's, we also went to see a show at Tuacahn. I'd never been there either, but I guess that's not as rare? We saw Footloose, which was really fun. But, just remember: If it's 100+ degrees during the day, you probably won't need to wear jeans and a jacket to stay warm that night.
Sunday we lazed around, Ryan won the raquetball tournament, we ate a yummy breakfast {they actually brought us our food!}, we packed up and drove home. Little bean was sure excited to see us and it was great to squeeze her again. The trip was jam-packed full of great times. Over a period of 10 days, Ryan and I drove approximately 2589 miles just to see these guys. It was worth it...and we can't wait for the 15 year trip...somewhere a little more exotic??

Sunday, July 5, 2009

a picture a day: june

leah belongs in a zoo

Not because she loves the zoo, but because she's an animal. A mean one. Ryan and I thought, being the nice, wonderful parents we are, we should take Leah to Hogle Zoo when we were in Salt Lake. Kids like the zoo, right? Kids like animals. Well, all the kids there except Leah did. She was a terror. Really. See for yourself:So we tried to feed her to a lion.The lion didn't want her either.

She had a moment of sanity eating goldfish while dad wandered off on his own.Then she was back to her normal shenanigans. She did not measure up to the gorilla. He was much better behaved.
Speaking of measuring up, I've always known (thanks to a piano teacher who shall not be named...cough, cough, Shar, cough, cough) I have small hands. "Can you believe THESE small hands reach an entire octave!?" But, I thought I'd make sure just in case. I think this gorilla could probably reach a few octaves.
She did like the train. Loved it, actually. And the second she stepped off, she was her normal {sweet?} self. Just another day with the Laytons. Good thing that little girl is cute...

temples, temples, temples

monday we had tickets to go through the new oquirrh mountain temple as a family. the last temple open house i went to was jordan 1981. ryan went there too and i'm sure i met him when he was a strapping eight month old and i just a mere three weeks. :) we figured it was a good opportunity for leah to go through a temple, since there aren't many being built where we are.

we are now assured it was NOT a good idea. the only part she liked was the stairs. sigh.

earlier that day, we found ourselves in draper, so we decided to see the new draper temple...and later that night, we went downtown for dinner and walked around temple square. a day full of temples.

and, because i promised: nate and brittany made it onto our blog. hip hip hooray for more girls in the family!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

dad's day

we arrived in utah just in time to celebrate the big day with all of our dads. we started off at the cemetery {where we saw tons of deer} to have leah see my dad's grave for the first time. we noticed that, within a few steps of my dad's headstone, there were THREE leahs. maybe it was meant to be. :) ryan and leah spent the entire day at the layton's house celebrating not only dads, but also lamar's big #54. we finished the day off giving richard his funny card {that's all he wanted, folks}, but we don't have pictures of that. he did chuckle, though, so we succeeded.
happy belated dad's day to all the dads out there.

p.s. for those wanting to see leah in her new shirt dress, here ya go! i thought it very fitting that she should wear her dad's old shirt on his big day. Also, Ryan is sporting his brand new father's day tie. Fabric was picked out by Leah, tie was constructed by moi.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


so for father's day i was planning to get ryan a bike rack for our car. i got him a mini toy "bike" that i found at a local japanese dollar store. similar to this one: i ended up not getting him a bike rack, but the toy bike purchase was well worth it simply for the sheer enjoyment of what was written on the box. I just love how things are translated. And the way I hear it is in Ryan's perfect Chinese-accented-English. If you've never been privvy to hear this, just pray you'll get the chance one day. Pure entertainment.

Here are some samplings from the box:

"Some of the parts are separable."
"Some of the parts are moving."
"Do not throw to person, use gently to avoid hurt or break."
"Do not play risky places, on the road, cloud places, stairs, narrow paths." (this is a 2" toy bike we're talkin' about here)
"Keep on eyes on the children not to swallow. Make safe from the suffocation."
The front of the box says to keep away from children under 3 years, but the back says, "Child fewer than 4 years old directly disable." (the toy or my child?)

For similar entertainment, visit

And utah/10 year graduation trip posts are coming. The pictures are on Ryan's computer and he took it to work before I remembered to switch them over. :)