I had this scheduled to post earlier, but wanted to write something meaningful about Veteran’s Day before I posted.  And here I am, totally late.  The kids are home today and we’ve had the cousins over as per tradition when we have Mondays off, and Grace is on a student council trip and we are working on all kinds of projects.  But I just have to stop and say, I’ve felt such a gratitude for our Veterans leading up to this day.  What a great time of year to be GRATEFUL for all those who have served, and continue to serve.  I know there is so much sacrifice and grueling work and heartbreak…so many highs and lows wrapped up in keeping citizens safe and protected, and I am just so very grateful.
Hope everyone is enjoying soaking in this great day of gratitude!
I’m celebrating by trying to get going on recapping life over here. 
So here we go on Fall Break 2018.  I am out of time today, so I’m not proofing this…beware!  A lot happened over Fall Break!
We had big plans to go to Lake Powell as per tradition, but the 58 degree rainy weather forecast made for a change of plans.  We had some connections through friends to go to a place in California instead (same group of people except one and a half families who couldn’t swing the switch, dang it!).  We missed them!  But California was pretty great.
We listened to General Conference en route…loved Lucy’s notes:

…made up a little family dance:

Ha!  (That’s an outtake pic…)
Watched more conference there with friends:

Ate our traditional conference cinnamon rolls…except we didn’t make them this time, brought some that had been in the freezer since last Christmas…not quite the same appeal but hey, tradition rules 😉

Lu and I got to ride her beloved ferris wheel:

We enjoyed the beach:

It was during this dinner out that we finally got the news that Max had done it:  He had slipped that ring on Abby’s finger.  And this picture popped up on our group text:

One of my favorite memories from the week was huddling around my phone on FaceTime with those two, their excitement electric, telling us all the details.


We went to Disneyland one day.

The big kids stayed late, and Lucy sweet-talked all the adults into playing some scum:

Ha!  Lucy sure has some great supporters.

Took and adult bike-ride one morning:

…and loved the uninterrupted time these guys got to hang out:

We had those few days in California and then Dave headed back for work while the girls and I made the trek to Utah to meet up with these two other kids we love:

We hadn’t seen them since they got engaged so we were all so excited, but it was pouring rain, hard to find parking, Lucy was yowling trying to maneuver the puddles and the rain in the dark despite (or maybe because of) all the help we were trying to give.  But those guys had hot cookies waiting for us and we were pretty excited to see them for a little before Max had to get some sleep for early-morning volleyball the next day.

From there we headed through leaves and glory to visit three colleges.

We stayed at Noah and Krisit’s and got some good morning hugs:

Then Grace and I took a tour of Utah Valley University (UVU).

Pretty impressed with that place!

After that we went to a career fair at BYU, and within about 15 minutes ran into four people we know and love:

We didn’t really “know” this guy, but kind of, because he was in so many of Elle’s Jerusalem pictures, the girls spotted him from across the parking lot and we had to say hi.

From there we made the long drive up to visit Dave’s parents and two nephews up in Rexburg, Idaho:
Nana fed us the most delicious soup in their cozy home and we felt so welcome and so happy to be there after all the driving.  
Drove around the dark BYU-IDAHO campus with Cole and Papa while Nana stayed to play cards with Lucy.  Ran around the indoor track, found some exceptional art at the mini conference center, walked in to the big huge chapel building where someone was jamming out on the organ as the carpet cleaning machines whirred through the halls, our eyes wide with all the beauty bouncing off those walls.
So much adoration spilling out of that late-night conversation with Nana and Papa.  I’m the luckiest to have them as my second set of parents.
I don’t have pictures of that night, too cold to take out my phone, ha!  But here we are the next day on our two BYU-I tours:

One with these nephews showing us the way:

And one in this golf cart with an actual official tour guide:

…amidst all this beauty.

The next morning was this one:

…a pretty profound experience what I wrote about back HERE.

More driving and oooo’ing and ahhhhh’ing at all the beauty of the earth:

Until we arrived in Logan where we went to dinner at this tasty place I fell in love with.

(I know that’s not the most important thing, or very picturesque, but it was good enough to add to this post and I really am trying to be selective in the pictures.  My mouth is watering thinking of it.)

Meanwhile Dave was back home at a company golf thing and sent this:


We saw our own beauty-views the next morning at our Utah State University tour.

Of the three college tours we took, this one took hold of Grace’s heart.  

It doesn’t hurt that the weather was glistening off of the fall leaves and that we ran into a few people we love:
(second cousin above, family friend on the left below, cousin on the right and some guy who was awesome and stopped to tell us the story of his decision to attend USU when we got talking at lunch.)

It never hurts to have your fellow-senior-cousin come join in the second part of the tour and think maybe he’ll go there too…

…nor does it hurt to find out all about “true Aggie night”  Ha!  That is a pretty funny tradition that happened to be happening that night.

Ok, and the ice cream didn’t hurt the experience either:

My parents went here, and got engaged in that “A” tower behind us, so it was fun to be together there with my sister Saren and think of those parents of ours traipsing around the same campus.

Saren and I drove back down the canyon together with Lu, and Grace, Isaac and Claire drove their car so we could all have some good talks en route back to Saren’s house where we got to see her little remodel project (so exciting):

Then we watched our cousin on the other side in his football game along with Nana and Papa and other cousins:

Grace ran into some HEFY friends and was so excited about that.

And then…on our last night…we had a sleepover/dance party with this crew:

Played cards until late, and then dance party until even later:

(My parents were out of town and missed all the hoopla…missed you M&D!)

Phew!  We were sure tired in the morning!
Grace and Claire turned into “engagement photo coordinators” to help these two figure out some outfits:

 Loved watching this group together…missed Elle though!!

Lu was the official photo-bomber:

Here are some out-takes of our morning:

We tried to go wedding shopping at a place that was all stuffy and didn’t let you try on wedding dresses without a stylist and an appointment…but we still had fun looking.

And then…we came home.

To be reunited with our David…and our dog.

It was quite a week!  


  1. Just a question, but I am curious as to why Arizona State University hasn't been a choice? Or perhaps since its right there in Phoenix you just haven't put it on your blog? I am a fan of ASU, but I do like all of Graces other choices as well. That will be a tough decision!!!!! Being from Idaho we hear a lot about the Utah schools and BYU-I.
    Also, another nosy question for you. Did any of your teenagers want to go back east to college like you and your sisters did? If Elle did, I have to say Hawaii seems to suit her completely!
    Happy Fall-

    1. Sorry for some reason these comments didn't come through on my email so I'm late to respond We've actually heard great things about ASU, especially the honors program, but we encourage our kids to go out of state for college. We feel like living away from home is such a great way to learn, even though it makes me miss them so terribly!

      Elle did apply for Boston University just to appease me (since I went there), but it didn't speak to her at all. I would so love for someone to get back East!

  2. I found it odd you are redoing Grace’s room when she is looking at out of state schools. I mean I can see getting new bedding but the wall changes seem a bit ambitious.

    1. Good question. Grace and Claire are actually trying to figure out how to spiff up that room together since when Grace leaves Claire will move in. Both were just a little "done" with that bold wallpaper and thought it would be fun to mix it up.

  3. just wondering.. you seemed to visit every school in the state, including uvu (which is usually the school people go to when they don't go to byu) but not the university of utah. I know you are byu lovers, but do you hate utah that much that you would not consider that school?

    1. The University of Utah is a great school! Just not one Grace is considering since it's more of a commuter school. Less than 15% of the students who go there live on campus and I think Grace is one who will thrive much better if there's a bigger on-campus student community. Utah State is also more appealing to us because Grace qualifies for in-state tuition since there's a "legacy scholarship" she qualifies for (my parents both graduated from there).

    2. Awesome! Thanks for clarifying. She definitely should find time to check it out because I thought of it as the same way and had more fun on that campus in one semester at the u, than my 2 years at byu combined. They also have the largest institute and biggest budget for students and always did fun things.

  4. This post made me smile bc for years and years I've thought that the way you describe your Grace reminds me so much of my son who is her age (plus the same hobbies – tennis, skiing, etc!). I wasn't surprised she loved Utah State bc that is the tour that stole his heart too. He's set on going there after mission. Tons of sharp, fun kids from Provo are headed there so they can have the "away" college experience. He's had so many older friends love it – I'm sure she will too! Now if my heart can even bare to let him leave the nest…good luck letting that cute girl go. PS – I often see our arizona relatives in your pictures…seems like such a great place to raise a family.

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