Thursday, December 20, 2007


I hate my hair in Cleveland. It's too humid - it makes my hair go all wavy and frizzy. I hate my hair in Utah. It's too dry - it makes my hair feel brittle and staticy(?). I love my hair in California. Everyday was a good hair day for me in California. Is that a good enough reason to move there? Maybe not, but it's definitely something to add to the "Pros" column of the list, right?
However, Alex's hair is cutest in Cleveland. It curls beautifully in the himidity. In Utah and in California it usually turns into a giant fro-ball (see below). I guess if I'm going to put my good hair in the "Pros" column it's only fair to put Alex's scary hair in the "Cons" column. Which means they cancel each other out and hair will not be a consideration for where we move. In case you were wondering.

Palm Springs

After we spent Thanksgiving in Salt Lake City we were off to Palm Springs. I'm sure everyone is super confused about this so I'll do my best to explain. The original plan, as stated earlier, was for everyone to meet up at a resort in Palm Springs for Thanksgiving. But after that, my mom, my brothers and my own family were planning to change locations and stay at my grandparents time share condo in Palm Springs for another week. So...when we all changed our plans to go to Salt Lake my parents, instead of flying from Oakland to Salt Lake, first drove down to L.A. and left their car there and flew from L.A. to Salt Lake. So the monday after Thanksgiving we all went our separate ways. My sisters and their husbands went back home and back to work, my dad flew home and back to work, and my mom, my brothers and my family flew to L.A. where we got in my moms car and started the drive to Palm Springs. What should be a 2-hour drive took us more than 6 hours because of L.A. traffic. This would have been a total disaster except for one life-saving factor. My mom's car: equipped with GPS and, most importantly, a DVD player. Noah was having a meltdown about getting in the car for a long drive after spending the morning on an airplane - until he saw the DVD player. All he had to say after that was, "Is grandma cool, or what!?!" And yes, that's a direct quote. One he repeated many times over the next 2 weeks.
The first morning in Palm Springs Noah went hiking/exploring with Grandma. He created his very own "rock collection" which we all had to hike out to and see for ourselves. He was so proud! He checked on it everyday we were there.
The highlight of the trip was, of course, the swimming pool...

complete with kid-sized waterslide. This was hysterical. Noah was nervous and he would scrunch up his face, squeeze his eyes shut, and his whole body would go rigid as he slid down, dragging his hands to make sure he went as slow as humanly possible.
Alex, on the other hand, was bombing down this thing so fast we were worried she was going to fall back on her head. She insisted on going down by herself. She was so funny because she looked scared on the way down with her eyes opened so wide, but as soon as she hit the water she was kicking, splashing, giggling and demanding to go again. She's our little wild woman.

The next day was too cold for the pool so my mom and I took the kids to a desert zoo. The kids loved brushing the goats. Alex kept walking up to the animals, squatting down to be at eye level with them, and saying, "Hey!" Then they would move their heads up to look at her and she would run away saying, "Bite me!" What a nutcase.
Why do they always have to go for the bum?
The kids had fun in the play area as well

By this point Paul had left for his interview in Arizona (he drove down with my brother, who lives there). My mom and I had planned to stay longer but the weather wasn't very cooperative. It was too cold for the pool and there wasn't much else to do there with 2 young kids. So we decided to call it good and head back up to my moms house (where Paul would meet us in a couple of days). In order to avoid the horrendous L.A. traffic we left that afternoon and got home at about 1am. It was a fun trip, and we were glad we still got to enjoy some warm Palm Springs weather before heading home. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!

Noah will miss the pool.

And we're done...

with interviews that is. Hurray! I know I was blogging for awhile about the different interview invitations that Paul received but we didn't accept all of them. So, here is a complete list of everywhere that we've interviewed:

Cleveland Clinic
University Hospitals (Cleveland)
University of Minnesota (Minneapolis)
Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
Mayo Clinic (Scottsdale, AZ)
Oregon Health & Science (Portland)
Stanford (Palo Alto, CA)
University of Colorado (Denver)
University of Utah (Salt Lake City)

So, what's it going to be? Ohio, Minnesota, Arizona, California, Oregon, Colorado, or Utah? We've got a pretty good idea of how we want to rank things but I'm not supposed to put it out there on the internet - so, if you're interested ask me in person and I'll let you know. We'll turn our rank list in sometime in February and then we wait...Match Day is March 17th!!! We'll keep you posted! I hope I don't have an anxiety attack in the meantime : )

Monday, December 17, 2007

A few more highlights from our time in Salt Lake City

1. Watching mom push Michelle around Gateway shopping Center in a wheelchair and having to take over for fear of mom putting her back into labor.

2. Swimming with the kids - Noah is at the age where things start to become scary and Alex is at the age where there is no fear of anything (even when there should be). But I'm not sure which was more entertaining: the kids jumping in to Daddy or Randy jumping in to Paul's arms : )

3. A quiet afternoon with just the girls: coke and candy from the minibar, the movie Waitress from the comfort of our room, a sleeping Alex (the best part of having a suite - being able to stick the kids in the other room), and the boys at Cabella's.

4. Watching Noah eat 8 pancakes, piled high with powdered sugar, every single morning for breakfast. He always needed a change of clothes after this meal - and he usually wasn't hungry again until dinner : )

5. The guys spent a day at the BYU vs Utah game (yeah BYU!) while we took care of the kids. In return the girls got pedicures/massages at the spa and afternoon tea. Definitely worth the trade-off.

6. I think my most favorite thing is laughing with my siblings. I love all the funny stories we remember and I love how weird I can be with my sisters : ) Love you guys!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

Tanner's mission call: Mexico City East!!! He reports to the MTC on Feb. 20th. Tanner is the first boy and first missionary in my family so this is a new experience for us and we're all so proud and excited! Way to go Tanner!

Some of us decided to walk up to Temple Square and work up an appetite before Thanksgiving dinner. Noah decided to hitch a ride with Michelle.

Family Picture Time. Notice the above picture, the one that actually looks good, is missing someone? That would be when Noah was hiding under the table in the lobby of the Grand America. And I don't mean quietly...I mean the kicking and screaming kind of hiding. After much threatening and bribing (I'm not sure which one actually ended up working) Noah joined us for a picture (see below). Just lovely, isn't it? I guess we forgot to specify he had to actually LOOK at the camera.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Grand America - better food doesn't exist. I love that they have a kid-sized buffet table, and so did my kids. Alex especially enjoyed the M&Ms (by the spoonful). I got a kick out of the look on the staffs face as Noah walked up to the buffet table, dug his fists into the candy bowls and walked back to our table and sat down. No need for serving spoons or plates for this kid.

Family Gift exchange: Christmas is so fun with kids, and ours are getting old enought to really enjoy it! Noah loved his helicopter (of course) and was flying it over everyone's heads for the rest of the night.
When Alex opened her present and saw that it was a baby there was a dramatic intake of breath
and an exclamation of, "Oh, BABY!" It was hilarious. I love this picture of her with her new purse and jewelry too. She was saying "pwetty Awex" all night long.

Lounging in our suites at the Grand America - life doesn't get any easier than this : )

California for Thanksgiving...ummm, make that Utah

This Thanksgiving was a special one for my family. My brother Tanner received his mission call a few days before and was waiting to open it on Thanksgiving, when my whole family was supposed to meet up in Palm Springs. 2 days before we were all supposed to leave my sister Michelle was in the hospital with what looked like pre-term labor. We were all panicking for about 24 hours but luckily, the doctors were able to stop her contractions. But this also meant bed rest for her until the baby comes. So, what did my parents do? Late Saturday night my parents are on the phone and on the internet cancelling resort reservations and changing flights from CA to UT. This was not an easy task. We were all scheduled to leave on Monday, a few days before Thanksgiving and we were coming from 5 different locations! It was a huge blessing that they were even able to pull this off and find flights for us all and hotel accomodations and, of course, reservations for Thanksgiving dinner. I have to say, I think my family is pretty cool. It turned out to be an amazing trip! Thanks mom and dad! And thanks family for being so cool! I miss you all already : )

Traveling across country for 7 weeks with 2 kids in tow...

What a joke!!! We caused quite a scene in the airport. At least Alex is smiling now. The major downer was when all the bags fell off the cart in the middle of the street at the Salt Lake Airport - including our portbale DVD player. It hasn't worked since. Paul said he would take a look at it and try to fix it. "Kinda like our video camera that's been broken for 4 years now honey?" I reminded him. The next time we were out shopping I saw him scoping out portable DVD players...I think that's much more realistic : )

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Missing Home

I am missing home tonight and therefore felt the need to blog. For some reason that makes me feel a little closer to home. I do plan on posting about our Thanksgiving and the rest of our trip thus far but I am in the process of acquiring photos from family members so that will have to wait a little bit longer. But this post could not wait.

I just wanted to say how much I love our life in Cleveland. I miss our cozy little apartment. I miss our daily routine. I miss our friends. At the same time, I am very grateful for the time we are spending right now with extended family. It's so fun to watch the kids interact with and strengthen their relationships with their grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousin. I am grateful to our families for opening their homes to us, for making time for us, for entertaining us, and for going out of their way to make us feel comfortable. We are blessed with wonderful families. But, there's just no way around it - things gets pretty chaotic being on the road, changing locations, living out of a suitcase and having so many other people around all the time. Fun, but stressful with 2 little kids in tow (who are having a blast but also missing home). It makes our life in Cleveland seem peaceful, quiet, and serene - which, I have to remind myself, it never is : )

I wanted to write about this tonight so that when I get back home I will remember to be grateful for my life there. The next time I am bored, stressed out, stir-crazy or just wanting to escape from it all I will remember how much I am missing all of that right now.

I think it's a good sign that I miss home so much. It means we've done a good job of making Cleveland our family's home. But, although there are people and things I miss that are specific to Cleveland, home to me is wherever my own little family unit is. And so I am confident that wherever residency happens to take us will soon feel like home too. This confidence also comes from knowing that wherever we go we will have the gospel and a ward family. This has come to mean so much to me and I am so grateful for the blessings of the gospel.

So, to our friends in Cleveland and to my regular blogging-buddies, we are thinking of you and missing you all. Hope you are all enjoying the holidays!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Checking out

I have been meaning to post but it has been a crazy week with preschool, fieldtrips, Noah's birthday party, Paul going to Minnesota for 2 interviews, church meetings, temple recommend interviews, visiting teaching appointments...and, oh yeah, trying to get us all packed for a 7 week trip - which also means cleaning the house, doing all the laundry, emptying out the fridge and cupboards, getting the mail taken care of, the bills paid...I could go on and on! I think I'm about ready to lose my mind at this point - good thing we're leaving tomorrow!

So, we'll be bouncing around all over the place but I will try to blog here and there when I can so I don't have to catch up on 2 whole months when we get home. I feel like we are temporarily moving away, this is weird. We will miss our friends (and our life) here in Cleveland! And we'll be back January 7th : )

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I let the kids run wild for the last 1/2 hour - it was chaos but they loved it! I was never able to get a picture with everyone in it though - there's always at least one kid missing in action. I liked this one though because Noah and Austin and Alex are wrestling on the ground in the back.
And that's all : )

Cake and Ice Cream

Noah makes a wish while Alex tries to touch the flames

Noah kept telling me how "dewicious" the cake was

Alex decided on just ice cream and insisted on eating it all by herself, like a "big girl"


The food was a hit!
These 2 guzzled their juice boxes
Noah had fun flying his airplane sandwich around before every bite
Alex was the life of the party - she was so wound up and got a kick out of making everyone laugh. I don't think she knew that the party wasn't for her : )

The Big Airshow

After presents and letting the kids run wild with balloons I turned on one of Noah's favorite movies, "The Big Airshow" which is about an actual airshow. I think it's hilarious that he likes this movie so much. He discovered it on tv at Grandma Gunn's house 2 years ago and watched it with daddy every morning at about 4am (don't you love jetlag and kids?). Thanks for getting us our very own copy Grandma - we've gotten much use out of it. I thought the kids looked so cute squished onto the couch together - and no, I didn't pose them or tell them to do this. They did it all on their own, everyone helping each other up and making room. So cute! Alex got the chair all to herself. She's not very good at sharing.

Opening presents

Noah had a great time opening his presents - he was so excited about each and every one. He also surprised me by using his manners - after he opened each gift he'd yell, "Thank you ____" to whoever the gift was from. This is the part of the party that Alex sobbed through because I wouldn't let her open the presents or play with my camera.

Water Paints

Noah is really into crafts - I figured water painting would be pretty safe and manageable. He loved painting his airplanes and the kids were great. Alex, of course, had to be a part of the action too. She was doing great until she knocked over a very LARGE cup of water - surprisingly, there was minimal damage to pictures and kids

The Food

I got the brilliant idea of making PB&J sandwiches shaped like airplanes (Noah's obsession). I found these super cute cookie cutters at a candy shop and I was so excited about how they turned out! This is about as crafty as I get. I served the sandwiches with goldfish and juice boxes, which we never buy, so the kids were thrilled.