Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Birthday Baptism Fiesta de la Ocho

Luke had a quite a week here in Sweeneyville. He turned the big EIGHT! Which means, donuts, presents and cake, Cub Scouts, and a baptism. Not a bad stretch, my son.

He is just a tad bit excited about Cub Scouts...

This year's cake was a huge success.  That soccer ball candle I bought on clearance 7 years ago FINALLY got put to use.

And now, a fun little comparison of Jacob on his 8th birthday :)

Luke got baptized on Sunday, April 26, 2015 after church (you know, when all baptisms should be) by his dad.  We had a ton of friends and family come and support us and it was an all around great day.  

(Insert Yesterday by the Beatles here....)

Luke, where are you looking?!?!

My baby!

Here is Luke's official baptism photo and the official program for the service.  

 And here is Jacob's :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

8 Years and 6 Days

After hanging on for over a month, Luke's first wiggly tooth finally came out at the hands of an apple.  
It's. About. Time.
You can't see it very well in the picture, but he already has a tooth grown in behind it.  
My crystal ball says braces are definitely in his future...  

That time we went and saw snow...

Cindy and Luke's bucket list of things to do while we were in Utah included going to see snow. Because of time and distance we didn't have a ton of great options for frolicking in wide open spaces of fluffy white powder, so we basically had time to drive up American Fork Canyon and out to this place- Tibble Fork Something or other- and see some icy, half dirty "snow." Not that my kids had any idea of the difference, of course.  It was a gorgeous place and my camera doesn't even come close to really capturing the beauty of it all.  

Funny story about this trip:  Robert, Jacob, Cindy and Robert's four kids all went ahead in their van.  Me, Brooke and Addie came behind them in a separate car by about 30 minutes.  When we arrived at the canyon we saw their van, but could not see them anywhere, so Brooke decided to double check to see that the van we saw was really theirs.  As she approached the van she heard a noise and discovered James, her two year old son, inside the locked van, crying. 
The guys had left him in the van by accident :(  It was not their proudest moment.  James was no worse for the wear, however, and soon was liberated from the car and happy as the other kiddos.

We found the "snow"

But first, rock throwing into the lake

Harder than it looked!

Luke had no idea that snow angels are not supposed to feel like "rock angels"

We lived to tell the tale!

Cousins, attack!

Next time we will not torture Sean and Tara with this excuse for snow, but will actually head up to Snowbird or Alta for some REAL pow-pow.  Isn't that what all the cool kids are calling it these days?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

General Conference

Let it be noted that while we were out in Utah we got to attend LDS General Conference and Music and the Spoken Word in person.  I have actually been to Conference live one other time, but this was the first time for the kids.  I tried not to oversell it, as it was probably still just another meeting to them, but hopefully my excitement registered in their minds and will be part of their memories.

Thanks for that picture, Luke!

And thanks for that face, Cindy...

It was an amazing experience.
I got to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  
I got to see Thomas S. Monson and the other apostles.
I got to hear Jeffrey R. Holland speak on Easter morning.   
And I got to sing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" with 21,000 other people.  

And I also got to see Luke roll up his pant legs 10 times because it was apparently 
"very hot" in the Conference Center.  

It was actually still a little chilly that morning.  
Good thing I was wearing sandals and didn't bring a coat!  

It was funny listening to the protesters outside yelling at us while we waited in line.  Cindy was SO OFFENDED.  She was ready, and I quote, "to go over there and punch them in the face."  Hold  me back, hold me back!!!

It was a really amazing experience all the way around.  
And bonus, we even got to give away our two extra tickets to a nice return missionary-looking 
guy in the parking garage.  

We paid so much, how could we still be in the balcony?

Saturday, April 25, 2015


photo credit
We couldn't leave Arizona without doing something adventurous, so one morning we decided to hike up Camelback mountain.  There are two trails to get to the top- one that is described as semi-strenuous and one that is described as easy.  The parking lot to the semi-strenuous trail was full that morning, so we headed for the easy one.  Looking back, that was one of the greatest blessings of my young life.  We eventually found some street parking and hiked to the "easy" trail head.

It started with manageable steps, but soon turned to tiny trails and climbing over rocks with no real "path" to follow.

The sun was brutally hot, we were so thirsty- but first, let me take a selfie.

The top kept looking farther and farther away and for a while I was convinced the mountain was growing taller as we climbed.

After about an hour and half, we finally made it to the top.  Two 24 oz bottles of water is not near enough for hiking in the desert, by the way.  I think I sweat at least 64 oz, so let that be a lesson.

2,700 feet.  Not bad for two sea level rookies!  

Please take note of the shirtless man looking at his watch right behind Jacob's left hand.  Yes, there were crazies up there running up the mountain.  For exercise.  
Simmer down, weirdos!

But the view was pretty incredible.  

And here is the part where Jacob almost got translated by a heavenly visitor.  False alarm, it was the guy next to him that was taken up to the heavens.  Close call.

Friday, April 24, 2015


If I don't finish blogging this trip soon, I might not finish at all.  So I got a can of Red Bull, a raspberry 5 Hour Energy and 12 hours to burn!  Let's do this!*

Cindy's Birthday

Because we would be in Arizona for Cindy's actual birthday, we celebrated early in Florida before we left so my parents could deliver their obscene amount of presents, while I on the other hand, could open two boxes of Little Debbie red velvet snacks and phone in a "cake."  Don't be jealous of my ability to hack everything I touch.

In Arizona we took the ceremonial trip to Sprinkles bakery, which is a very uppity bakeshop in the very posh part of Scottsdale.  

Even Sprinkles has stinky garbage apparently...

Even though the kids were dying to have the experience of getting cupcakes
out of an ATM, we decided to go inside instead.
I figured it would be cheaper to build my own when I got home.

Should I get the lasagna flavor or sour cream and onion?

 Here is a blurry picture of almost the whole dozen we got- which consisted of a variety of flavors like coconut, vanilla, carrot cake, red velvet, marshmallow, baby squid, toasted pecan, dark chocolate and a few others.

I gotta admit, even though a cupcake is still pretty much always just a cupcake, these were actually pretty darn delicious.  The frosting was tremendous.  I cannot lie.  Well, I can, but right now, I am not.

 For Cindy's present, I got her some time with her Grandparents.  I think I did pretty good this year :)

*I don't actually have either of those things.  But I am currently not at work and have promised myself that I will stay off Pinterest for a few hours, so it's basically like the same thing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tucson and The Reese Effect

The last day we had to spend in Arizona we drove down to Tucson for a visit with Nathan, Linnley and their dog, Reese.  

In case you were wondering, Tucson is very moutainy.  Just as much as Provo, for sure.  

While we there there, we ate Sonoran hot dogs....

Photo Credit
(hot dog wrapped in bacon, covered in pinto beans, tomatoes, onions, grilled onions, mayo, mustard and jalapeno sauce.)  These are a really big deal in Tucson.  And pretty tasty!

Outside of El Guero Canelo, which means "The Guero Canelo,"

Luke drove this old tractor:

After plowing 40 acres, I could sure go for a hot dog wrapped in bacon!

Played some Jenga.....

Toured the University of Arizona (where Nathan is getting his PhD)...

That Wildcat family is awesome! And those cats are pretty cool too.  

Does your finger need a foam finger?  

Hit up Golf 'N Stuff for some batting cage action.....

Poor Nathan.  He missed like, 3

....and some fossball.   

We found our Native American brother....

Narrowly missed getting hit by this swirling desert sandstorm....

This was so weird, like a microburst with sand

Drove by this restaurant, "Little Luke's" which has "Chicago style sandwiches" and yet has a picture of a hot dog on it..... (What is it with Tucson and hot dogs?)

No one takes a picture with a pole in it quite like me.  It's a skill.  

And secretly took this picture of Linnley while waiting for our BBQ dinner.  

But who are we kidding, the real star of Tucson was this girl!

The kids LOVED this dog.  She was the most patient and kind dog ever.  Please note that in all of my vacation photos, these are the only ones where Cindy was smiling.  It was ridiculous.  Ridiculously awesome!

The kids fed her approximately one million treats

Here is more evidence of the Reese effect:  Cindy was running. In the sun. Without complaining.  What planet am I on?


Thanks Nathan, Linnley and Reese!  
We had a great time in Tucson and can't wait to see Rees- I mean, everyone again :)

Take a picture with a dog?  Well, that's totally different.