Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Family Fun Night

Yestereday was the annual KDOT Retreat for Rob at work. Not sure what all that entails for him, but for us it means an inexspensive dinner and fun activities at a reduced cost. In years past they've had it at Gage park with free train rides, carousel rides and admission to the zoo. But this year it was at the Family Fun Center on 10th St. We had BBQ riblets or pork, baked beans, potato salad and pop. There was also a photo booth where we could take silly pictures, which we did, but I'll have to scan them, then post them. After that we had our choice to do two activities. Our kids opted to go and drive the Go Karts first. They were so flippin' cool! Joe, Emmy and Sterling were tall enough to drive the small ones by themselves:

 Here are the three older kids coming around the final bend.

 But Cori had to ride with me. We had so much fun though!
We went really fast that he made slow down.

 For some reason, Rob didn't want to go on the Go Karts so I took Kailyn on them.
At first, while we waited to go, she started crying, calling for daddy. But once we got
started she seemed to enjoy it, though not neary as much as Cori...or Me.

After going on the Go Karts (twice) we took the kids over to go play Gooney Golf.
As you can see, Cori needs a little work on his form.
 Although he did get a hole in one on this hole...
with some help from Daddy!

 I'm thinking our kids need to go putt putting more often...
Joe totally missed the ball the first swing.

Emmy was fun to watch.
She kept switching from right handed to left handed putting.

And here's Sterling after his hole in one on the same hole as Cori.

 Kai Kai just putted on a couple of holes mostly she just wanted to do things like....

...this. This is Kai's version of putt putt. That and stealing other people's golf balls.

And Eddie, well, he just looked adorable the whole time.
Rob did let him out to walk around for awhile, but mostly,
he just watched.

We had a really fun time as a familyand ended up gettin home around 9:30pm.
 It was a late evening but so worth the fun and memories!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eddie's 1st Birthday Party

Well, it's over. My little Boo Bear is 1. Sad, I know. We did have a fun party for him on Saturday though. There were lots of friends and family there to help us celebrate. The Russells and the Dashiells came with their kids. As well as my mom, Taylor, Jordan and Blake and Rori, John and Clara and their kids, Pat and Bruce and Sara. Altogether there were 17 kids and 12kids. It was a house full!

Eddie got lots of cool presents including a lawn mower, shopping cart, musical instruments and a musical toy. He also got a couple books, a toy remote, a Little People gas station, a helicopter learning toy, an alligator push toy, and a semi truck with a car on it. And to top it all off he even got a great, big ball! What a spoiled little boy!

As for his cake, I was up until 3am finishing it but I really liked it.
 I thought it turned out pretty cute with all the pictures of him!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm Not Ready for This Day

I'm not. It's just way too soon and way too fast. Wasn't it just yesterday that I held that sweet newborn baby in my arms? That I kissed him for the first time and felt his warm breath on my cheek? That I ran my fingers through that sweet, soft, curly hair and drank in his perfection? Where did the time go?
I'm not ready for this!
Wasn't it just a few moments ago that we brought him home? And that he learned to smile and laugh? When did he learn to roll over and crawl?
And when did he learn to walk?
I can't believe that my little boy, my last baby, is turning 1 year old today.
He's grown far too fast. I tried to just enjoy it and make it last, but time has still flown by. And I'm left wondering where it went. I love this little man. His goofy smile, and adorable personality. I'm so excited to see as he grows, to watch who he becomes, but I wish I could have back those moments that have passed. I want to hold him again for the first time, and watch him grow all over again, but I can't. Those moments are past and I'll just have to be content with whatever comes in the future.

 Happy 1st Birthday Boo Bear!
 I love you so much!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The Sunday before Father's Day Clara and I decided to have a last minute BBQ so we could practice our BBQ skills. So, Clara and the kids came over after church. John WOULD have been invited, but he was out of town training. We decided to be really fancy and try a couple new things. We knew the kids wouldn't appreciate our experiments, so we kept the meat simple...hotdogs for the kids and chicken breasts for the adults.

This is Clara and I grilling...yep, working hard!

Our first experiment was grilled zucchini.
We used butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and onion powder.
We brushed it on the zucchini then grtilled it.
It might not look it but,
it was SUPER delicious!!

Our second experiment was grilled onions.
For those we used olive oil, salt and pepper.
They were even better than the zucchini!

I made a fresh fruit salad from cantaloupe (yuck!), honey dew melon,
and strawberries. I even put in a little bit of sugar.
 The kids seemed to really like this, me...not so much.
We did try grilling some of the fruit in honey or sugar,
but I wasn't really impressed.

Clara made her incredible corn casserole!
I LOVE this stuff! There wasn't any left at the end
of the BBQ.

And that was the menu for our impromptu BBQ. Not too bad if you ask me!
And even (somewhat) healthy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures in Orthodontics

Emmy got her bottom expander out and had it replaced with braces. The braces are not for straightening her teeth, but to help create a little more room for her teeth to come in. Here are the pictures of her getting them:

 Say CHEESE, Emmy!

Notice the slight green tinge to her bottom teeth?
She needs to brush more often!
(It's actually a cleaning agent to help the braces stick)

Ooooo! Her mouth glows!!
(The light sets the adhesive so the braces don't come  off)

Emmy's new purple and black braces!!
She was a great patient. She did say that for the next couple of days her teeth hurt, but I guess that's normal for braces.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Sometimes things happen in life that completely change our perspective on the things that we hold to be true and other times they reaffirm what we've always known, opening up new insights and understanding into things that we thought we already knew. The latter has been the case for me recently.

Some dear friends and wonderful people that we know recently decided to leave the Church. It has been a difficult decision for them, but in the process of making it I have had the chance to talk to them and re-evaluate my beliefs and my understanding of some of the more basic principles of the Gospel. I have come away a better, stronger and more committed person because of it and although I'm sad to see them leave the Church, I am grateful that I have learned so much from them.

I have come away with a much stronger testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. I have often taken for granted that I know that, but it is a very precious gift. I have always known that a prophet of God leads this Church through revelation from the Lord and it has always been enough for me that if the Lord commands it, I will do it. That is still the case, but sometimes I don't understand why he commands something. So, why follow those commandments when I don't understand all the reasoning behind them?

 I've realized that I am still a child when compared to my Heavenly Father and my brother, Jesus Christ. My understanding of myself, the world, even the universe and all the laws that govern such, are VERY elementary and finite. Their understanding, however, is infinite and perfect, grasping concepts that no mortal has even begun to consider. The Lord is the creator of our bodies and our universe, he understands them and their workings in ways that we can't even begin to fathom. He knows what is good for our bodies and our spirits because he knows, perfectly, how they function and interact with the world and substances around us. To question One with perfect knowledge when He commands would be foolish.

It's like a 2 year old child, who being told by her parents not to play in the street questions why. She may think that she's done it before and nothing bad happened, or felt that she can see any danger before it is close.The commandment from her parents doesn't make sense to her limited understanding. As the parent of that 2 year old, I can see danger that she cannot, I have knowledge, understanding and experiences that she does not. Her 2 year old mind simply cannot grasp the danger that she may be putting herself into but that doesn't make the danger any less real. Given that, if the Lord says it's not good for me, I trust that implicitly because He wouldn't lie and neither does He have commandments simply for the sake of having commandments. There is always a reason, even when we don't or can't comprehend it. I trust in that.

I also realized that part of my purpose in being here on this earth is to learn to become like my Savior and my Heavenly Father. To do that, I have to live as They would live, to choose those good things that They would choose. To do and think and speak as They would. To become like them I can't sit idly by professing a belief but refusing to act on it. To BECOME something, I must DO things that make me into that. Simply believing that I can be a doctor doesn't make me one. I must take the classes and practice the skills that will make me into a good doctor. It is the same with becoming like Christ. When the Lord spoke to Peter and Andrew he said, "...aFollow me, and I will make you bfishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and afollowed him." (Matthew 4:19-22) To become "fishers of men", they had to act, they had to leave their nets and follow. It wouldn't have been enough to just believe that the Savior could do, they had participate in their transformation. Otherwise, Christ wouldn't have been able to make them into the people He knew they could become. I am the same. He knows me and my ablilities, my strengths and weaknesses. He wants to make me into something more than I could become on my own. To do that, I must follow Him and trust in His commands; That by doing as He commands, even when I don't understand it, I will become what He wants me to become.

Granted, I will fail and follow imperfectly. No matter how hard I try I will always fall short. I can't become anything on my own. I need His grace and mercy because I inevitably sin and make mistakes. But together, if I will submit to His will and rely on His grace and atonement, I can become like Him and return to live with my Heavenly Father.

It is hard, uncomfortable and even painful at times. Trials come and test my faith. But it is in these moments of trial that I am perfected. It is in the trials that the growth takes place and without them I would be stunted and unable to learn or move forward. It is also in those moments, that my faith and understanding are solidified and my reliance on the Lord for everything, made clear. I couldn't get through this life without Him constantly at my side, encouraging me, helping me and even carrying me at times.

I love His gospel and His Church. I am who I am because of them. I know that it can be hard to live as He as asked me to, but I am committed to doing it. Becuase in the end, all the pain and sorrow will fall away, leaving pure joy and perfect understanding. For now, though, I will walk by faith, knowing that in each of his commands there is a purpose and a skill that I can learn to make me more like my Savior.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Little Adventure Part 4: Utah, Wednesday thru Friday

On Wednesday we finally had some really nice weather so we decided to make it the day we headed to Temple Square. To get there we decided to take the TRAX which is a train that runs through Salt Lake City into some of the outlying areas. The kids were really excited about that.
Temple Square is such a beautiful place, so calm and peaceful. There were quite a few things to walk around and see while we were there. One of the first things we did was tour one of the visitors centers. Inside there was a replica of the temple that was cut open so you could see the rooms inside. The kids thought it was really cool to see. As we were heading over to the other visitor's center we met a couple of sister missionaries. Their names were Sister Bruno, from Bazil, and Sister Ku, from South Korea. They took us into the Tabernacle (the silver dome shaped building in the top picture) and we listened to a demonstration. The Tabernacle has incredible acoustics! You can hear everything perfectly from anywhere inside, and that's without a sound system! Even if the speaker faces backwards, it's easy to understand what they're saying. They even dropped a pin and ripped some paper and you could hear it as if someone next to you were doing it!! AMAZING!! The missionaries then took us to the other visitors center where we learned about the Church's humanitarian aid. Then we went to my favorite part which is up a spiral walkway. As you ascend the walls are painted like space. When you reach the top there is a large statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched. It's called the Christus. It is a beautiful statue and the peace that you feel in that room is wonderful. I can't wait until I can meet my Savior for real someday! What an incredible and sacred experience that will be!
Kailyn was so excited to see "Jesus" and wanted to get right up there and touch him. Even Eddie smiled huge when he saw the statue. I really believe that children recognize Christ in ways that even we adults can't. They did just leave his presence not to long ago after all. We loved talking to Sister Bruno and Sister Ku but it was time for us to go see other things. I really wish we had some way to contact them! We just fell in love with them! They were so sweet and kind and helpful. And the kiddos just adored them and ate up all the attention they could get from them. So, if any of you out in UT have a chance to go to temple square, could you find Sister Bruno and Sister Ku and give them our email address or something, PLEASE!! Thanks!!
After touring all that we decided to go to the Church Office Building to take the elevator up to the observation deck. You could see for miles! The top picture was one I took looking out over Temple Square. After that we took pictures of each of the kids in front of the Temple then headed over to the Conference Center to take a tour and go up to the roof. The Conference Center is huge! The coolest thing is being in the auditorium part and realizing that there are no columns supporting the ceiling! You can go HERE to see some amazing photos of it.

According to,
"...the 21,333-seat Conference Center auditorium is believed to be the largest theater-style auditorium ever built. The second-largest, the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico has about 11,000 seats...Large enough to comfortably hold a Boeing 747, the auditorium's volume is 8.5 million cubic feet. The Tabernacle's volume is 1.5 million cubic feet. The famed London Royal Albert Hall is just over one-third the volume of the Conference Center with 3 million cubic feet." 
And according to
,"The Conference Center is truly a feat of engineering. It contains a 21,000-seat auditorium with a 7,667-pipe organ and no visible support beams, plus a 900-seat proscenium-style theater and 1,300 parking spaces below the building on four levels. It also boasts four acres of landscaped roof with trees, an alpine meadow of grasses and wildflowers, fountains, and a waterfall. The main support beam for the Conference Center weighs 621 tons, and the electrical wiring is over 50,000 miles in total length. Despite sqeezing all of this into an area equaling less than a square city block, the structure exceeds building code requirements for withstanding seismic forces in the event of an earthquake."

It is an awesome sight to behold and even more so when you consider the engineering that went into it! Although I think the kids favorite part, by far, was going up to the roof and seeing the garden. There were trees and flowers, grass, bushes, etc. Pretty stinkin' cool since we were on top of a building! After all that walking on Temple Square we decided it was time to head back to the hotel where we swam and rested.

Now our original plan had been to head home the next day (Thursday) but after some begging, pleading and compromising Rob and I decided to stay one more day. Thursday we didn't really do anything. We mostly hung out at the hotel. Although I did make a quick, ok looong, trip to the nearby Quilted Bear. Then we took the kids to Deseret Industries, a Church owned thrift store, to look around and get some clothes and shoes. My brother Larry, his wife Megan and their son Allen then joined us for dinner at the hotel, followed by the movie, "Little Fockers" in our room. It was nice to have time to just relax and talk with them.

Friday morning was busy getting everything ready to go. After another delicious breakfast we headed over to my cousin Camille's house to say goodbye to her and her kids. It was sad to be leaving but w were excited to get home and sleep in our own beds and in our own rooms! We had decieded that as part of our compromise we would drive straight through to Kansas. We left around 8:00am Salt Lake time and got home around 3:30am our time. A nice long drive of about 18 hours. It was a wonderful vacation seeing our family and friends and even some of the sites around Salt Lake! Thanks for the good times and memories!!

Robert Allen