Monday, March 30, 2009


This is a recent journal entry that I thought was blog-worthy. Russ said it was okay for me to share it:
March 23, 2009
So we had the pleasure of a visit from Cary Arave (sista Bingham) and her husband Nate the other night. They live in CA. We were visiting with them and Kimberlee late Saturday night. It was so funny because Russ was sharing something that he is “adamant” about and said, “that's one of the few things I am adamant about, right Sus?” I couldn't disagree more. I'm sure he regretted having asked me...I went on to explain how no, he's not adamant about anything—except for his salad dressing, he has to have something creamy, preferably ranch. In fact the other day we were all out of ranch and Caesar and all we had left were two types of vinaigrettes. Since he hadn't had a salad or any veggies for about five days, I made him a salad anyway and counted on him being a trooper about it—which he was—but not without a little disappointed 5-year-old sad face asking me if we were still out of ranch. I told him we were but that he could figure out something and rushed off to take care of Gracee, my other child. =) Oh and then there are his cereals, there are only a handful out of the hundreds of options that he likes. Honey Bunches of Oats (must be spaced apart with other types of cereals), Frosted Mini Wheats(must be spaced apart with other types of cereals), Cinnamon Toast Crunch(must be spaced apart with other types of cereals), and Waffle Crisp (which I only give to him as a rare treat since it's pure sugar.) Occasionally he'll resort to Golden Grahams or Chex, but as he is going through the box he'll be sure to let me know that “we are almost out of cereal”. Oh and then there are leftovers....he can only have them about once or twice—if I try to stretch them further—he'll mysteriously 'forget' to eat that day at lunch or 'accidentally' leave the tupperware container in the car or on his desk at work so it's ruined. (In his defense, he hasn't done this for a long time). Oh and then there are bruises on apples or bananas. I have to cut them out, or he won't eat them. Then there is his yogurt, I can't buy any kind but Yoplait with the red label, I am not allowed to buy Yoplait “light”. To make a long story shorter, he then said all of these were just food things, and I went on to explain how he is absolutely right other than refusing to wash his face at night even though he obviously should, refusal to shave more than twice a week because he “hates it”. Who loves shaving?? After I finished off with a couple of other non-food quirks, he was actually speechless, holding a cushion in front of his face and trying not to laugh but obviously had nothing to say in his defense. For the first time in our marriage I left the unconquerable witty Russ SPEECHLESS.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Swimming Fun

We've now taken Gracee swimming twice! What a delight!

This is us ready for our adventure going into the Rec Center!

First we got to introduce her to the Ladie's locker room where we all got changed!

Then she was amazed by the huge body of bath water that lie before her! Wow what is this big bath for? I explained that this was a little different, it's called a "pool"!

She tightly clung to me for the first little while...

but then grandma helped her to warm up a bit more to the water, she showed us by starting to kick ONE of her legs!! We love it when she does that!

Then we got out of the wet diaper and she had a nakey bum! She loved this!

Saying goodbye to "pool". Again, amazed at how BIG it all is...

swimming with Daddy in St. George...

She loves her daddy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shave and a Haircut...

So Russ and I let our hair get way too out of control...

WAY WAY out of control.
So we snapped! We both went pretty extreme.
Hello 16-year-old Russ again!

Then there's me...

BEFORE (I let this grow out as long as it has ever gotten before)

AFTER (I had her cut off about 9 inches so I could donate it to locks of love! I was so daring!)

Thanks Kristen!

She made it so easy to style too!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mariella--tru fren blong mi

This amazing woman sitting next to me is having a birthday today. I wanted to introduce you to her. I am a better person for her influence in my life. She is a wonderful example of goodness to others, faith that propels her to be better and courage to stand up for what she knows to be right.

She is the wife of the branch president that I served with on my mission. This is how I originally came to know her and her sweet family. We have shared many wonderful spirit-filled conversations at her home. Her and her husband Katimal had the RARE opportunity of not only being sealed in the temple, but they were able to do it in the Salt Lake temple. Her conversion story is sweet and shows her strength. We recorded it on our video camera when I brought Russ to Vanuatu in 2006. The story of her getting to the Salt Lake temple shows Heavenly Father's love and tender watchful care over her.

I am so grateful that the Saints in Vanuatu have a strong example like her. One of my favorite memories of Mariella was the night Russ and I arrived in Vanuatu. I was extremely stressed about planning the trip and I did something that I NEVER do in situations like that---I didn't plan a thing! I mean it, nobody even knew we were coming until the day before and I didn't even let them know when my plane was coming in because I didn't think I deserved the traditional greeting party that our friends there are known for. Mariella caught wind of my coming and in her Mariella way, organized a huge welcoming party at the airport. She wasn't sure when we were coming in so she had my dear friend Rachel Susurup check periodically throughout the day to see which plane we'd be coming from. When she greeted me with a hug and a bissou (kiss) I did get a scolding! She brought us straight to her house and sat us down with a piece of paper. Her and our dear friend Honore Tiasnmal helped us plan out our 12 day adventure. This meant so much to me because words cannot describe how much anxiety I felt about the whole trip. I was excited to see everybody, but completely overwhelmed at the thought of planning it. She took care of it all and made sure that I felt completely at peace.

My mom and I agree that there are many friends that come and go in life. There are also those that come, but they never "go". We like to call them the "true blues". Mariella, you are one of those in my life--a true blue. You are one of those that I will look for when I get to heaven so that I can embrace you and share tears of joy with you. Happy Birthday fren blong mi. Mi lavem yu sista blong mi.