Monday, February 28, 2011


I love Valentine's Day.

13 years ago, Josh proposed to me on February 14. The holiday feels more special to me now because of that fact, but I loved V-Day long before that happened. I loved it as a child, I loved it as a teenager, and I still love it now as a grown-up.

For me, Valentine's Day isn't about having a romantic lover's holiday. For me, it's about expressing my love to people in my life.

My mom is a big reason why I love the holiday. When I was a kid, my mom always gave each of us children a valentine from her, and usually she put it on our beds for us to discover. I treasured her simple act of love on Valentine's Day. And as a child, I also loved making boxes decorated with hearts to take to school, and handing out candies and valentine cards to my classmates, and I loved receiving the same in return. As a teenager, I used to send cookie-grams to my friends in high school, and I have pages in my journal with taped-on valentines that I received back then because they meant so much to me.

Being a mother now, I get all giddy when the holiday is approaching. I enjoy helping my kids prepare their valentines, and I like going to their class parties at school. Unfortunately, since Ammon attends the middle school now, he is past the age of valentines-giving and valentines parties. And since I was working on Valentines Day at the school (my first official day at my new job), I couldn't attend Kanyon's preschool class party. But because I'm the room mom for Jonah and Micah's class, I went to their class party during my prep hour. And I loved every minute of it. I could feel the excitement that each child felt as they were handing out their valentines, and it was so fun to see them open up their bags to see what everyone had given them, too! I'm so glad I got to be a part of the fun!
I like carrying on the tradition that my mom did for me as a child, and I give valentines to my boys now as well. This year, I gave each of them a small bucket filled with chocolates and wrote a personal message of love and attached the individual notes to their buckets. The boys were so happy! I gave Josh a bigger bucket full of chocolates and a longer hand-written note. And he surprised me with lovely gifts that day as well--flowers and chocolates delivered to me at school, and a gift-wrapped surprise waiting for me at home: a new hairdryer that I needed so badly! My mom also sent a care package to the family that we opened for Family Home Evening the night of Valentines Day, and the boys loved that as well!

I thought the culmination of gift-giving and party-attending and goodie-eating and family-togetherness made Valentine's Day 2011 absolutely loverly!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seasonal Top 10

Since the end of February is tomorrow, I'm changing out my Seasonal Top 10 list on my sidebar. And am super happy to say farewell to winter! This year, winter has seemed especially cold and depressing and bitter; the snow and ice have never left the ground since appearing at the beginning of December. At first it was fun, and we loved having the snow and we played in it a lot. But then it became crusty and yucky and the weather was so cold that it was unbearable to go outside. I am totally looking forward to spring! I can't wait to see the grass again, to feel the sunshine, and to spend time outside!! And so, I bid adieu to Winter with its Top 10 list:

Winter 2010 Top 10

1. Cut down & decorate our Christmas tree.
2. Deliver friend & neighbor Christmas gifts.
3. Celebrate Christmas in our new home.
4. Enjoy New Year's Eve with family.
5. Host a winter party with friends.
6. Go sledding.

7. Celebrate Ammon's birthday.

8. Go ice skating.

9. Party for Kanyon's birthday.

10. Play in the snow: build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make snow angels.

Goodbye Winter! And HELLO Spring!

Spring 2011 Top 10

1. Host a party for Malachi's missionary homecoming.
2. See Lady Gaga & Bon Jovi in concert!!
3. Go on a mini-getaway for our anniversary!
4. Celebrate Easter in Utah
5. Attend Jonah & Micah's spring musical performance.
6. Listen to Ammon's band concert.
7. Plant the garden
8. Camp at Challis Hot Springs
9. Watch the flowers and trees bloom.
10. Fly kites.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Beginning in August, and for 6 months straight, we have constant celebrations in our home:
August-my birthday, September-Jonah & Micah's birthday, October-Halloween, November-Josh's birthday, December-Christmas, January-Ammon's birthday, and February-Kanyon's birthday.

Kanyon's birthday is the tail-end of all the back-to-back celebrating. And because there's 6 months between his birthday and the next person's birthday, he hasn't been able to fully understand what his birthday even means until just this year. This past year, he finally caught on to the concept that when you have a birthday, you turn one year older. So in September when Jonah and Micah had a birthday, he thought he also had a birthday, and he told everyone he turned 4. When Ammon had a birthday in January, Kanyon said he also had a birthday and that he turned 5. After that, there was a couple of weeks where he told us that on his next birthday, he would turn 6. Finally, after lots and lots of convincing, when his birthday came he announced his age, and it was the right number--#4!
Because I was substitute-teaching that entire week, I wasn't able to spend his birthday at home with him or take treats to his pre-school class to celebrate. And I felt really bad about that. All day long on his birthday, I thought about him and couldn't wait to spend the evening with him. But right before I got home from work, he fell asleep on the couch. Josh made his birthday dinner for him: steak (he LOVES anything beef) and potatoes. I tried to wake him up from his nap so he could come eat his special birthday dinner with us, but as soon as he saw me, he said "I don't like you. I don't like you. I DON'T LIKE YOU." Then he rolled over and went back to sleep. That pretty much summed up how I felt about myself after missing out on his special day with him! So, we ate his birthday dinner without him. And he missed out, because it was delicious!

The older boys helped me pick out a birthday cake for him (I ran out of time to make one since I was working), and the boys and I wrapped up his gifts and put up decorations around the house for his little birthday party that we were going to have that night for him. But he slept past the time we were going to have it, so we postponed the party for the next day. So, unfortunately on his real birthday, he didn't get to do a single birthday thing!!!

The next day, we treated it like his actual birthday since he had no idea he slept through the real thing! We invited Josh's parents over, and Kanyon opened up gifts, and then we ate the cake with his favorite ice cream: raspberry sherbet! He loved all of his new gifts! And best of all, he was SO happy to finally be FOUR (since for months he'd told everyone he was anyways!)!
At the age of 4, these are Kanyon's favorites...

TOP 4 TV Shows:
1. Tom & Jerry
2. Dora the Explorer
3. Max & Ruby
4. SpongeBob Square Pants

TOP 4 Games:
1. "Yanna Johns" (Indiana Jones) on the wii
2. "Dar Wars" (Star Wars) on the gamecube
3. "Monster Trucks" on the wii
4. "Fighting Game" (Smash Bros.) on the N64

TOP 4 Foods:
1. bread w/ranch dressing on it
2. vienna sausages
3. hamburger
4. cheese w/ketchup

TOP 4 Possessions:
1. "Thomas the Train" blankie
2. Pink binkies
3. Sippy cups filled with his lactose-free milk
4. his toys (all his trains, cars, trucks, & bouncey balls)

TOP 4 Phrases:
1. "It was Jonah and Micah. They did it." (Anytime he's mad)
2. "What the heck" (Random times)
3. "Please you play with me." (Whenever he's lonely)
4. "But I don't want to." (Anytime we have to go somewhere)

TOP 4 Activities:
1. following along with whatever his brothers do
2. being alone in the afternoon when the boys are at school
3. learning new things at preschool
4. playing board games with the family

Happy 4th Birthday Kanyon! We love you!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Questionable Timing

I don't understand the timing of certain events in life. I know and understand the concept that my life is a gift from God, and that He is in charge of what ultimately happens in my life's timeline. But sometimes I just don't get why certain things happen at certain times.

At this time last year, Josh and I had a plan for 2010: move out of our old house in April, have the new home be moved onto the property in May, move everything from the old house into the new house during the summer, and I would start work in the fall. Everything went according to plan except the last part, the part where I would start a daytime job in in the fall.

As you may remember, last May I applied for the elementary music teacher position that was to start in September. It fit perfectly into our 'plan' for the year. The music teacher was retiring, and because of budget cuts, the school district changed the position from certified teacher to a classified, uncertified para position. That meant that anyone could apply for it and teach music, at a lower pay of minimum wage. Because I don't have a college degree, I was excited that I could apply for that job. I truly thought that I would get the job, too: I had volunteered at the school for years and I'm familiar with the staff and students, I have lots of experience working with children, I have a love of and experience with teaching and performing music, and I was friends with 2 of the 3 people who were interviewing. And I ALMOST got the job. I was told that my resume looked great, and my interview was great, and I came SO CLOSE to getting the job, but they decided to give the job to another candidate because she had a master's degree. I felt like the statement of being "overqualified for a job" was definitely true, and I couldn't believe they would hire someone with a master's degree for a job that earned only minimum-wage pay. In my heart, I knew the lady they hired wouldn't last--she didn't have experience working with children, and she was taking a major pay cut from her previous job.

I mourned the loss of that job all summer. I was depressed and upset and bitter. I was mad at my friend who didn't hire me, I was upset that I wasn't a good enough candidate to get the job, I was depressed that I couldn't fulfill my part of the 'plan' for the year. It felt like a catastrophe to my spirit. And it took me 5 long months to heal. In October, I finally forgave my dear friend who interviewed me and didn't hire me. I moved forward in my search for a job, applying for over a dozen jobs. Unfortunately, I didn't get a single one of them, either. Every time I found out I didn't get another job, it would throw me into a repetitive cycle of depression and acceptance. At first I always felt denied, incapable, unwanted, unworthy. And then I constantly reminded myself that my life was in God's hands, and that none of the jobs were "meant to be", and I would accept it and move on. After not getting another job that I really wanted in January, I decided to stop applying for new jobs. I felt like it just wasn't worth it to my spirit to keep applying and being denied and feeling depressed and going through the vicious cycle over and over again. I felt like God was letting me know that now was not the right time in my life to work during the day, and I was finally accepting that.

The fact is, I had a job--I just wanted a better one. I have been cleaning the credit union for 4 years and 4 months. I started cleaning it just a few months after I quit working there as a teller to stay home with my children. When I started working there, I was 6 months pregnant with Kanyon. I really liked the janitorial job in the beginning; it was a chance to get out of the house two nights a week and make money without having to put my kids in daycare. But the last year or so, I've hated it, because now that the twins and Ammon are in school all day, I feel like I'm leaving our family time to go to work, and I hate that. For over a year, I've been wanting a daytime job so that I can quit my cleaning job to be at home with my family in the evenings. I started hating my job so bad that I decided that I was going to quit it in March, regardless of whether or not I had a new job.

So after resigning myself to the fact that I wasn't applying for any more jobs, and after deciding I was quitting my cleaning job, guess what happened? I got a job. The lady that was the bookkeeper for the golf course retired, and since Josh works there, he put in a nice word for me. Without even applying, I got the job! I started doing the golf course bookkeeping in the middle of January. The job is slow right now because the golf course is closed, but once the golf course opens in March or April, my hours will increase. I do the work at home, and I'm very content with it.

And then at the beginning of February, the new elementary music teacher quit her job. I couldn't believe it. It angered me all over again, and brought up my old feelings (that I thought were resolved) that they should've hired me for that job in the first place. When the school district office called me and informed me of her resignation, they inquired if I would apply for the position. I told them that I didn't know if I would or not, because I just started a bookkeeping job. They asked me if I would substitute for that teacher for a week until they filled the job, and I agreed to do that. After weighing the pros and cons, I ultimately decided that I would apply for the position. And after a week of substituting, I interviewed for the position and got it. In addition to doing the bookkeeping for the golf course, I now teach music to over 350 students, grades K-5. Because Salmon schools have 4-day school weeks, I will do the golf course job on Fridays during the school year and all summer long when school is out.

It's been 2 weeks since I got hired at the school, and I don't feel as happy about it as I thought I would. Instead, I feel like I just won a consolation prize or something. It should've been my job from the beginning, and I still don't understand why it wasn't. It's difficult taking on a teacher's job mid-year. I have no idea what the classes have learned and what they haven't, I have to prepare for 4 grades' spring performances that will happen in the next few months, and two of the grades have no program even outlined or have started practicing song for it. The job has been been overwhelming and stressful, and in the last 3 weeks, I've been working 4 jobs: the school job, the golf course job, the cleaning job, and teaching piano lessons. This past week was the peak of stress since I started my new teaching job because Josh was gone for 3 days, so not only did I have to do all my jobs, but I also had to take Kanyon to and from daycare, and I had to make dinners and do all the house work, too. It was awful. And I'm exhausted. But--I made it. And I'm happy to announce that last night I cleaned the credit union for the last time. It was very rewarding to quit that job that I've hated for so long now.

The most disappointing part of my new job is the pay: since I'm a full-time employee, I qualify for benefits, but I won't start getting insurance until June. Because they will pay for my insurance year-round, they also have to pay my wages year-round. Since I'm not working in the summer, they have to ration my wages from the schoolyear so that I will get paid during the summer. And since I started working in the middle of February, they have only 3 months of work to divide between 7 months of pay. So, I figured it out and I'm essentially only making $3.00/hr right now. And I currently pay Kanyon's babysitter $2.00/hour. So in comparison to cleaning the bank, I'm working 8 times as many hours, but making less money. And that sucks. But, I do feel like there's at least a future for me in teaching music; I could never have made cleaning the credit union a lifetime job. And although I've been overwhelmed and stressed out the last few weeks, I think this job will be much more rewarding for me in the long run. So, even though Josh and I don't understand why this didn't happen last year when I wanted it and expected it, and even though it's overwhelming and difficult and stressful right now, and even though Kanyon is struggling with all the changes happening, and even though the pay is not good right now, I am glad I finally got the job, and I am looking forward to a brighter future!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Chinese New Year 2011 was on February 3. The Chinese Lunar Calendar is 2,640 years older than ours and never begins on January 1st, nor does it begin on the same date each year. It can begin any time between January 21st and February 18th, depending on the date of the New Moon in Aquarius. Each year is named for an animal, and every 12 years this cycle begins again. The Chinese say that the animal ruling the year that you were born will influence your life. 2011 is the year of the rabbit. These are our family's animal signs:

Josh & Ammon = Dragon

Kala, Jonah & Micah = Sheep

Kanyon = Pig

According to Chinese folklore, every person has personality traits that are the same as their animal birth sign.

Dragon (Josh & Ammon): You are imaginative, lucky, full of fun, and energetic. Dragons are the doers of the world. You don't sit around waiting for things to happen, you make things happen. You demand perfection from yourself and from others. You will make a good talk-show host, artist or diplomat. (Josh is a doer. Ammon is imaginative)

Sheep (Kala, Jonah & Micah): You're a strong believer in what you do, gentle and loving, and very talented in the arts. The sheep is ultrasensitive, altruistic, and sincere. Sheep individuals follow the crowd and seldom lead. You will make a good author, therapist or landscape architect. (Kala is talented in the arts. Jonah is gentle & loving. Micah is ultrasensitive)

Pig (Kanyon): You are happy, good-natured, outspoken, but a little too trusting. Pigs are the nicest people to know. A pig will remain your friend for life. You might do well as a craftsperson, art collector, or comedian. (Kanyon is happy & outspoken)

The 1st graders in Salmon celebrate the Chinese New Year by making animal creations and parading through the halls of the middle school and elementary school with their creations. Jonah and Micah's class made a dragon out of boxes and construction paper. They painted the boxes and cut and taped different colored construction paper to it. The kids worked hard on it all week, and they did a great job!!! They loved their dragon creation!
On the afternoon of Chinese New Year, February 3, the other classes in the schools lined the halls to watch the 1st graders as they passed by. Jonah and Micah's class were the leaders in the parade, and they carried their dragon proudly!
The second class made & carried kites with colored pictures of animals on them, and the last class made and wore lion hats and banged instruments in the parade. It was so fun to watch the parade! It was noisy, too!!! Jonah and Micah's class chanted "Gung Hay Fat Choy" which means "Chinese New Year", and some of them carried instruments just like the other class. Jonah and Micah each held a streamer from part of the 'tail end' of the dragon, and got to shake maracas, too! The kids all loved participating in the parade, and their excitement filled the hallways! It was a fun event to be in and to observe!!! Happy Chinese New Year, or as Jonah and Micah say: "Gung Hay Fat Choy"!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Boy Scout

Because Ammon turned 11 in January, he moved up from being a cub scout to a boy scout. Ammon earned his Webelos badge and his Arrow of Light award at his last boy scouts pack meeting at the end of January. He worked hard to get both, and we were so proud of him! The cub scout master did a little presentation for his Arrow of Light, and after receiving the medal, his cub scout leader walked him across the room to the pack of boy scouts and his new boy scout leader. He had to hold onto a rope as they were walking to represent the transition between cub scouts and boy scouts.
He is loving being in boy scouts! Last Sunday was "Scout Sunday", and Ammon was asked to be the youth speaker at church. It was the first time he's spoken in Sacrament Meeting besides the annual primary program, and he did a great job! He wore his boy scout uniform to church, and he wrote his own talk. In his own words, this is what he said:

"I've been asked to give a talk on scouting. I was in cub scouts for 3 years until I turned 11 in January. Some of my favorite activities were probably making baskets and drums. A couple of the food drives were a little fun too. I was proud of myself when I earned the bobcat, wolf, bear, and webelos badges and I was also proud to earn the arrow of light award. It took some faith to earn the arrow of light award because I had to believe in myself, and some of the things I had to accomplish were hard. Some of the things I had to do to earn my arrow of light were to memorize the 12 points of the scout law, to go on an overnight campout, and visit either a boy scout troop meeting or a boy scout activity. Some things that I hope to accomplish in scouting are to earn my tenderfoot, 1st and 2nd class badges, star scout, life scout, and Eagle Scout badge. I'm looking forward to the Klondike derby at the end of this month because I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bucket List: Item #7

When I was a child, my family would go visit my Grandma Perkins' house once each summer. She lived on Lake Coeur d'Alene, at the north tip of Idaho. From our house in Northern Utah to her house in Northern Idaho, it was a 12-hour drive. We always broke up the 12-hour drive into 2 days. The first travel day was our favorite, because we would drive for just 4 hours to Boise and stop there to sleep at Aunt Candi's house. But we always dreaded the second travel day, because most of the 8-hour drive was through winding canyon roads. And being in the backseat of the van while going around corner after corner was awful. But the best part of the second travel day, my personal favorite part of the whole drive, was driving through the central/west section of the state of Idaho, through the towns of McCall and Riggins. Those towns are situated on rivers. They are absolutely gorgeous towns, and in the summertime, they are alive with people and boats and rafts and kayaks and fishermen. McCall and Riggins exude excitement and fun and I always wanted to be a part of it as we drove by. Whenever we went through that part of the state, my face was glued to the windows, trying to take in as much as I could, and my soul was filled with wonder and delight.

I am now a resident of Idaho, and I haven't been through Riggins since I moved here! I've lived in Salmon now for 10 years. Salmon is a lovely town on the beautiful Salmon River, in fact it's the same river that flows through Riggins. And in all these years, I've never rafted on the Salmon River. Josh and I have taken innertubes a few times and floated down a short stretch not far from our home, but I've never been white-water rafting. Every year, we talk about rafting the river, but that's about as far as it gets.
Tonight, Josh took me on a date. We went for a drive down river--a stretch of road along the river where the whitewater rafting takes place. It was a peaceful and gorgeous drive. And once again, we talked about taking a rafting trip in the summer. I've wanted to float the Salmon River ever since I was 9 years old, when I first saw people floating the Salmon River along the drive to my Grandma's house. And someday it's going to happen, and I'm adding it to my bucket list to ensure that it does!!!

Bucket List Item #7: Take a rafting trip on the Salmon River!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Skater Boys

At the end of January, the first graders went ice skating at the local ice skating rink. Jonah and Micah were so excited to go! Weeks before they went, they repeatedly asked that I buy ice skates for them to take on the special occasion, because we only have one pair and they're way too big for them. I checked at D.I. when we went to Idaho Falls, but they were sold out of them. And since we only go ice skating once or twice a year, I knew that buying brand new skates would not be cost-efficient. I told the boys they could just "skate" on the ice with their boots, since that's what they've always done in years past when we've gone. That wasn't a satisfactory response for them, and they weren't happy with my answer, but they were still excited about the prospect of going with their classmates!

When the kids first arrived at the skating rinks, Jonah and Micah started out on the public skating pond with just their boots. They scooted across the ice, and the ice was slicker than slick, so it really seemed like they were skating. They slipped and fell several times, and then they started saying that it would just be "easier" if they were wearing skates instead of boots. I tried to tell them otherwise, but they didn't believe me. Not at first, anyway! They wandered down to the adjoining Hockey Rink, and Micah found an extra pair of skates that someone had brought. He was so happy!! I helped him lace up those black skates, and he got back on the ice.There are several kids in his grade that are hockey players, and they made it look so "easy"! But skating in skates wasn't as easy as he thought it would be. Micah had a hard time standing on his feet upright; his feet kept bending on their sides, and he had a difficult time moving that way on the ice. He finally got a hold of a chair, and discovered that if he walked on his tippy-toes while pushing the chair, he could maneuver himself around the rink that way. But even that only lasted about a half hour, and then Micah insisted that he put his boots back on, because they were actually "easier" to move around in!
Since Micah got to wear ice skates, then Jonah insisted that he get to wear some too. I walked back up to the public pond, and found another extra pair for him to wear. I helped him lace up the white skates, and away on the ice he went.He approached the concept differently than Micah, and tried to take slow and smooth baby steps. He was doing a pretty good job of it, too! He still fell numerous times, but he was determined to be able to skate! He stayed in the skates a little longer than Micah, but he also figured out that it was easier to move around in boots! I've only worn ice skates on the ice once or twice in my whole life, because I'm not very coordinated, and I don't like feeling out of control. So I wasn't very much help with my boys, except holding onto their arms and trying to help them balance. I was so glad that others brought extra skates so that my boys could try skating, and I was really proud of them for trying something new! With or without skates (and regardless of whether they believed my advice or not), I had so much fun watching them on the ice!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Music Man, Boy, & Woman

Ammon performed with his 5th grade class in a shortened version of the play "The Music Man" in January. He played the role of Mayor Shinn; he had only 3 speaking parts, and 2 short music solos, along with the group musical numbers. His class did a great job, and even though Ammon doesn't like performing in front of others, he remembered to speak and sing all of his parts!

His class did a great job, and I enjoyed watching them perform! It took me right back to my junior year of high school when I also performed in "The Music Man". I played the role of Mrs. Squires, one of the Pick-a-little-Ladies. I loved being in that play, and I loved the part that I played! The music was awesome, the cast was so fun, and I have great memories of participating in it!

It's fun for me to know that Ammon and I have both performed in the same play! And Ammon thought so, too! One day I substituted for the music teacher while they were still rehearsing, and I overheard him tell proudly some of his classmates, "my mom was in this play a long time ago"!!! Hearing that made my heart feel proud and happy, but it also made me feel old, too!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Toll" Bridge

We drive over a bridge every day to get from our house to town. The bridge spans the wide and beautiful Salmon River. A few months ago, Kanyon started calling it the "toll" bridge. In fact, he started calling every bridge he saw a "toll" bridge. There are no toll bridges in Idaho, and he's never been in a car with me when I've crossed a toll bridge, so I couldn't figure out how he even knew what toll bridges are. But one day, I learned what he really meant when he said that...

He likes watching Dora the Explorer. Every time Dora has to cross a bridge in one of her adventures, there's a troll in front of it who won't let her cross until she solves his riddle. So, since Dora only has troll bridges to cross, Kanyon now thinks every single bridge in real life is also a "toll" (troll) bridge!

A few weeks ago at preschool, Kanyon's class was learning about the story of three billy goats gruff and the troll. They got to make a hat that day with either a troll or a goat on it. I thought he would pick the troll since he's obsessed with "toll" bridges, but when he came home from school, he was wearing the goat. And he was so proud of the goat that he colored, too! I love this age he's at--so independent, so fun, so cute! He's says the funniest things and he loves learning about new things! It's so wonderful to watch him grow!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Road Tripping & Photo Comparing

I like to get out of town about once a month. Salmon is very isolated and lonely, and getting out of town helps me feel connected to the rest of the world. In January, I made 3 out-of-town trips in one week, which is a bit excessive for me. During the week of Ammon's birthday, Josh and I went to Hamilton, Montana on Monday to get him a few last-minute gifts, then our family went to Idaho Falls on Friday for the Orthodontist appointment & birthday bowling celebration, then on Saturday, I went with my friends Amanda and John on a day trip to Boise. Amanda's husband lives in Boise, and we'd decided to go with her to visit him.

It was a LONG day: we left at 7:00am and got home after midnight. The roads were good, but the drive seemed took us 6.5 hours to get there, we were in Boise for about 6 hours, and the drive home was another 5+ hours. A long road trip is boring, but a long road trip+friends=fun!!

We took John's car, and on the whole drive down, I sat in the backseat. This is what I saw & heard:

(I saw the backs of heads. And can you see John's open mouth in the rearview mirror? I heard a lot of singing along with the tunes belting from the CD player.)

Amanda was SO excited to see her husband--she hadn't seen him in two months. Doesn't she look super happy and excited (and gorgeous, too)?! Amanda says people tell her she looks like Garth Brooks' wife, Trisha Yearwood. I can see why they say that. What do you think?

When we stopped for a pit stop to refuel our bodies with food, John tried on some merchandise in the store.

Doesn't he look like somebody you've seen? Doesn't he remind you of someone? Like, perhaps, this guy from Despicable Me?: (See the resemblance? Bald head, large black goggles, black collared shirt, zipper in front...the similarities are uncanny if you ask me.)

Amanda and I tried to take our picture together in the car, but I was laughing too hard to smile pretty...

Seriously, I had no idea my face turned so ugly when I laughed. A song came on the radio, "Hey There Delilah", and it reminded me of my friend Ryan who loves that song. That reminded me of a time 15 years ago when I was in a photo with Ryan, and my facial expression was similar (I've always hated that photo of myself.)
Then Amanda tried to get a photo of John (who was driving) and me together. And she would count so all he had to do was hurry and look over when she said "3". But he could never take his eyes off the road, so we finally quit trying...

I just love my friends Amanda and John. It was so fun to spend all day with them. Josh opted to not come on the trip because he was tired of travelling that week, but he texted me sweet things all day long, and I had {mostly} the best day! John and Amanda were great company!(Seeing this picture of the three of our heads together reminded me of the 3 stooges.)

The multiple road trips that I took that week cured me of my desire to get out of town. So much so, in fact, that I don't want to go anywhere this month!!!