Wednesday, September 22, 2010


If you had a wildfire raging down a mountain, directly toward your house, and you had one hour to pack your car, what would you take with you?

Sunday night my family found out that answer to that question. Sunday afternoon (in between football games) I heard news that a wildfire had broken out at Camp Williams on the other side of the mountain we live on and it was out of control. I heard the neighborhood on the other side of the mountain had been evacuated. I went out on my deck and saw this:

The kids and I watched the helicopters dunk giant buckets (I'm told they're giant. It looked a little humorous to me that these tiny little buckets were going ot put out a wildfire) into the neighborhood reservoir and struggle over the mountain with the strong winds.

By sunset, the neighbors had all congregated outside and heard the fire was expected to crest the mountain by nightfall. That rumor proved accurate:

At this point, I had already instructed the kids to get their cameras and take photos of all the "expensive" things in the house for insurance and tracked down everyone's birth certificates, passports, and social security cards. But when this fire started barreling its way down the mountain at us and we all realized there was a good chance we would be leaving a house that would not be standing when we returned, I told my kids to pack a backpack with clothes and pajamas for two days and anything else that was special to them that they wanted to bring. It was at this point that I was able to convince Jake to stop watching football and painting his Warhammer figurines and start packing our two SUVs.

We left under mandatory evacuation about an hour later with two cars and a truck and made it safely to Jake's mom's house, only a mile down the mountain and watched the mountain burn all night. We were prepared to be evacuated from her house as well.

Amazingly, the strong winds and high temperatures that had fueled the fire out of control all night stopped only 10-15 feet from burning our neighbor's homes. The wind changed direction and a cold front dropped the temperate 20 degrees in half an hour. By morning, the fire had spared hundreds of homes and only taken three.

The fire did little more in our area than burn through a neighbor's fence.

No doubt we are all blessed. We are blessed with loving neighbors who all made sure we were accounted for and had a place to go and who followed up with each other all through the night and the next two days we were still evacuated from our homes.

We are blessed with a city and municipalities and a community who were prepared and dedicated enough to stop the fire from mass destruction, keep us updated, and offer shelter, food, supplies, and support to everyone displaced.

We are blessed with a loving God who listened to our prayers and the prayers of those who love us and spared our homes.

After three days away from our homes, we are more thankful than ever for them. We have a rainstorm coming in today and we continue to pray our homes stay safe from lightening, mudslides, and flooding.

While the images in my head of the fire spilling over the mountain towards us are pretty frightening, we were blessed with the calm of knowing we had our family with us and we left peacefully knowing that was all we needed.

We were lucky. We had time to fill our cars with the material possessions most important to us. And in the midst of the danger, what filled our cars as we drove away allowed me to smile, and even laugh.

So, the hypothetical question of, "If you were stranded on an island and could have only three things, what would you choose?" became a reality for us, posed as, "If you have a wildfire raging down a mountain toward your home, and you had only an hour to fill your car, what would you choose?"

Do you want to know what we chose? It's eerily revealing and the only reason I am willing to share is because we honestly would have left the house and everything in it in a heartbeat. But, because we did have time, here are the things we chose (besides our two days of clothing and hygiene items and lots and lots of allergy medicine):


Family Documents


Camera (not pictured here for obvious reasons)

Running shoes (both sentimental and practical when, you know, running from a fire)

iPhone and charger

Laptop (contains all my photos and my 80% finished novel)

Notes for my Novel

Patriachal blessing


Wedding Album

Basket of library books (There's like $500 in books in there I don't want to owe the library)

Bag of eBay items whose auctions ended that very night. (No need to risk my eBay reputation over my house burning down).

I also brought water, gatorade, a bag of string cheese and and a few boxes of Chocolate Chex Mix Bars. Double Box Tops--Boo-yah! Plus those things are delicious. I mean, for the kids. Yeah, for the kids. Not me.

Ok. On to Jake. What did he bring?

Warhammer figurines. Boxes and boxes of Warhammer figurines. He filled the entire second SUV with Warhammer figurines. And paints to paint them. OK FINE, he went back last minute and also got the PS3, Wii, and XBOX 360 and the games for them. And a suit for work the next day. And he threw the kids' bikes and scooters in the back of his truck. But pretty much . . . just these:

He also went inside and ate an orange and made himself some nachos before the police started yelling on their bullhorn we absolutely all had to leave. Bizarre.

The kids were the cutest though. They came upstairs wearing two backpacks each and had two grocery bags full of stuff in each hand, along with their pillows and blankets. Inside those bags?


Several Webkinz and other stuffed animals

Silly Bands

Nintendo DS and case


Lego Minifigures

Seashell and Starfish

Koosh Ball Animal Collection



Scriptures (I'm going to say because she wanted to have with her the word of God, not because she
just got a super cute zebra-striped cover and tote for them this week.:) )

Sweater Boots

Running Shoes

Zhu Zhu Pets

Stress Ball

Glasses Case


Several Webkinz and other stuffed animals

Silly Bands

Bottle of Water

Beer Bottle doh! er, pirate party invitation holder

6 pumpkin notebooks

Lego minifigures

Bean Bags


Foam Play Gun

Nintendo DS


Penguin container from Nana

Stickly Notes

3 Balls (including the Sky Ball, which is pretty darn cool, I admit)

Picture he painted in art class

Ceramic snake he made in art class

Puppet from Sunday School

Misc. prize toys

Magic Tree House book

Things I thought about packing after that I didn't: Our guitars, my press pass

And finally, necessities we bought at the store yesterday: Newspaper with the cover photo of the fire, razors, toothbrushes for the kids, a puzzle, Diet Coke, and chocolate.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Teach my kids how to be cool.

Teach my kids how to be cool.

I have been putting off telling about out latest family vacation, but something happened today that inspired me to post.

Let me start from the beginning and end with the cute story.

So a couple of things seemed to magically fall in place:

1. Jake got a $200 ticket on the Utah/Nevada border for not changing lanes when passing a cop pulled over on the side of the road. (YEAH). He had to appear in court to contest it before July 15. Not so magical, I know. Keep reading for magical part.

2. My friend Amy bought a house in St. George (an hour from the Utah/Nevada border) and wanted to invite our family down for a weekend with them.

3. New Kids on the Block was playing at the Palms in Las Vegas July 11. (Vegas is just over an hour from St. George).

It was obvious fate was encouraging our families to vacation in St George that weekend, have Jake contest the ticket while down there, and Amy and I road trip the hour or so to Vegas from there for the concert.

The only thing holding us back--it seemed--was the $150 tickets to see NKOTB. A little steep. Even for my crush, Jordan Knight. The obvious solution? Hold an online bake sale. I am not kidding.

Here are some of our awesome goods:

We earned exactly enough in our bake sale to pay for the tickets. Meant to be right?

Nevada only hears traffic cases on Wednesday mornings at 7 am. We would have to go down on a Tuesday and stay the night, which would mean an entire week off work for Jake. Not going to happen. Intentional by Nevada State, I am sure. And Criminal.

Then a whole series of horrible events transpired which started with kids puking in the car on the way down and ended in Amy and I leaving the concert during the opening act to make it back to St. George to be with her 2-year old in the hospital. Yeah.

We're still recovering a little bit. But if nothing else, we did get a few cute pics from the weekend:

Indoor swimming in the neighborhood since Amy had to stay at the house with her still-puking child.
Ice cream at Blue Bunny!
Zions National Park- Going to find us a lizard!
The appropriately-named hike, "Weeping Falls". Our friend's daughter, posing for the photo in front, was feeling sick again.
Sand Hollow! I loved the bright red sand.
Super-pretty scenery!
AND this is as close as we got to the New Kids. This was the opening act. We made it about 2 minutes into it before had to rush to the hospital.
Don't worry, her son was released the next day and fully recovered. Amy gave me these from the boutique as a consolation:

Now for my super cute story!
Taylor hung a birthday party invitation on the fridge today. She used the magnet of Jordan Knight. She pointed it out to me and said, "You know why I picked him?" I said, "Why?" She said, "Because he's honk."I said "He's what?" She said, "What is the word you use when a boy is handsome?" I said, "Hot?"She said, "Yeah, he's hot."
Then Chase came over and said, "Do you want to know which one I think is hot?"I said, "No."He picked Jordan too.
What can I say, they have great taste.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Find Love.

Find Love.
Ten years of finding and re-finding love again... and again. A Major, major feat. :)
Ten years ago today:

How can I not love this face?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Breathe in Spring.

Breathe in Spring.

Can I tell you how much I love spring? Park lunches, golf lessons, afternoons weeding in the sun or reading on the balcony, and evening runs? Ah, I love it all. Despite the occasional snow day in-between. And the seasonal allergies from breathing in a little too much spring.

Here is our spring break in photos:

Kite flying in the circle!
Hannah Montana and Optimus Prime take flight.

Jake's kite-flying skills were far superior to mine. When I was helping all the kites did was take flight enough to whip around and hit us in the face.


Egg decorating

Getting Ready for the Easter Bunny

The kids let me know it was neccesary they write him a letter.

And leave him treats.

Their attention to detail paid off-the Easter Bunny left them a plethora of Webkinz.

And then in the spirit of Easter, I then made them pretend they love each other.
To end the break, the kids had their cousins over while their parents went to Hawaii (enter jealous, contemptuous growl here).
We battled the big kids at Classic Skate. My back was sore from picking spilled kids up off the ground. Taylor falls, er, a lot. She was sooo excited to be there, as you can see.
They were treated to an at-home beauty salon and about a million other different craft projects.
Snacked every 30 minutes. I think there is some sort of law that the more kids you have in a house, the more often they get hungry.
And when Mom couldn't take it inside anymore while it rained and snowed outside, we went to multiple playlands and bounce gyms.
Happy Spring everyone!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stay Young.

Stay Young.

I haven't posted yet this month and am headed out of town to turn 30 in style (more about that later), so here are a couple photos from the last month. Did you see last week's "How I Met Your Mother"? I so felt like Barney after raving it up all night here at the MC Hammer/Vanilla Ice Concert/80s Dance Party. But I hope I keep doing these things anyway no matter how old I get.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Get Outside.

Get Outside.
I haven't been updating my blog lately and my mom blames my facebook addiction. She may be right. But the reason I give is I feel like all I have done the first two months of this year is what you see in my previous post--look outside at the cold cold snow and wish it was warm again.

Of course that's not completely true. We've done a few fun things despite the bitter cold. I have a hard time believing it, but here is some picture proof (and excuse the raw photos. One thing that was definitely not fun was losing all my favorite programs on my computer to a facebook virus):

Dinosaur Museum=Fun. (Minus the tantrums, of course)

Goofing off at home=Fun.

Making Valentines for class friends=Fun

Chase setting the microwave on fire by cooking his magic potion for 30 minutes in a plastic cup=Fun.

Oh wait, no. That wasn't fun at all.

Living Planet Aquarium=Fun.

(Scary stingrays= still fun.)

Watching Taylor's uncanny ability to communicate with fish=fun.

Finally taking our yearly family snapshot=er, well, kinda fun.

Going to the Children's Theater=Fun.

We also took our fun neighbors to the Draper Temple Open House and then flew down to Gila Valley for the temple groundbreaking there and those, fine, were fun.
Still, not as fun as summer. Isn't it time yet? Darn you groundhog, coming out on the only sunny day of the season!