Thursday, June 27, 2013


A couple weeks ago we went on an awesome trip to Mexico.  We had been talking about and planning this trip for months, so we were pretty excited when it finally rolled around.  I took lots of pictures, but decided to just post ten of them here to highlight a few of our favorite parts of the trip.  We stayed in Playa Del Carmen, a smaller beach town south of Cancun.  Our resort was right on the beach and about a 20 minute walk to "5th Avenue" where we did souvenir shopping.  

The resort was all-inclusive, so we could eat and drink to our hearts content.  We tried a few of the specialty restaurants that require reservations.  My favorite was the Mexican one.  The food was so yummy and it included the best dessert of the trip.  As it turns out, I'm not a huge fan of Mexican desserts.  They just don't seem to have enough flavor, or maybe not enough sugar.  But we had some good tres leches here and most of the rest of the week I had to settle for the coconut ice cream.  Aaron was a big fan of the little fried cinnamon balls that tasted like little churros.  He even became friends with the person that cooked them so she would make him his own special bowl without honey butter in the middle.  Aaron also became friends with the person that cooked the shrimp, and she made him a special large plate of shrimp without shells.  He loved using his Spanish to his advantage.

One afternoon we went to Xcaret, an eco-archeological park.  There was a lot to walk around and see, but my favorite was the sea turtles.  They had babies, medium size, and then big huge ones swimming around.  It was pretty cool to watch them.  Then we went to the nighttime spectacular show.  It was in a large stadium type theater and showed parts of Mayan history as well as different cultural songs/dances from various states in Mexico.  It was a great show, and I was really glad we went.

Another highlight of the trip was the full day that we spent touring in the area.  We started at Tulum, a coastal town with Mayan ruins.  It was beautiful.  We had an awesome LDS tour guide who taught us about Mayan religion and symbolism as well as how it may relate to the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ.  It was really interesting.

Then we headed out to Coba where we had an authentic Mexican buffet lunch and then got on bikes to ride through the jungle to see more ruins.  Biking through the jungle was pretty fun.  The biking also created a slight breeze to blow on our faces and offer some small relief from the heat and humidity.

We biked to this temple and got to climb all the way to the top.  I am the one in the orange shirt.  Aaron is the one that already beat all of us to the bottom and took the picture.  The view from the top was pretty.  You could see jungle for miles and miles surrounding the ruins.  Then we headed to a Cenote (a sinkhole with a big pool at the bottom) to go swimming.  It was so pretty down there and the water was so clear and refreshing after a hot day.  We finished off the tour by going to visit a Mayan family in a small village in the jungle.  It was very humbling to see the way they still live in small huts with thatched roofs and have a monkey and rodents roaming in their house, eating their food or waiting to become their food.  It was a great day of touring and I'm so glad we got to see some of the local sites.

Did I mention the resort was all-inclusive?  Did I also mention that they served Pepsi?  Aaron was pretty happy about that.  At nights we liked to hang out in the bar/lobby area and play cards, read, try to get internet, visit, and order our virgin drinks.

The pool was delightful.  You didn't even have to get out if you wanted a drink.  There was a swim up bar.

The beach was beautiful.  There were lots of chairs and some hammocks where we could read and relax.  I loved swimming in the ocean.  It was the perfect temperature and the waves weren't too crazy.  I even got Aaron to join me a few times, despite his previous refusals to swim in the ocean.  It really was such a great trip.  We are so grateful that we got to go and spend time with the Barth family in such a beautiful, interesting, fun, and relaxing place.  Thank you to everyone that helped watch the kiddos at home so we could go.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A Mini Reunion

We had a mini family reunion a few weeks ago to celebrate some cousins coming into town from far away places, some as far as Kosovo.  It was fun to see everyone and for the kids to ride grandpa's train.

Lexi is spoiled with lots of attention from her older cousins.  They take such good care of her. 

 Brigham was a big fan of his new ball and playing on the baseball field with his cousins.

I can't imagine where Lexi learned this.  Don't worry, it wasn't open.  But on two separate occasions she pulled a can of Pepsi out of the ice and walked around like she was drinking it.  I guess she wants to be like her father.  

She enjoyed meeting her cousin that is just a week older than her and her same size.  She is so used to playing around the bigger kids.  And right before this picture was taken she discovered a bag of nacho cheese Doritos that someone left where she could reach.  If there is junk food around, she will find it.  Good times.

Women's Conference

I was asked to put together a sharing station for BYU's Women's Conference this year.  I was assigned the topic of "teaching by the spirit" and given a few months to come up with handouts and a display.  They have finally uploaded all the handouts to the website, so you can check them out here if you are interested.  We were station #4.  There are handouts for each topic with ideas for families and serving in the church.  Some of my favorites were 17, 27, and 50.  We had a good time and it was a fun opportunity.  Thank you to all my helpers.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A wedding, Memorial Day, and Cousins

 My sister spent a week with us after the Brown Reunion so that we could photograph my cute cousin Lauren's wedding.  We had so much fun!  The kids did too.  They loved hanging out with grandma at temple square while we were working.  Not sure why exactly I'm making this face, but it is nice to have an occasional picture of what goes on behind the camera.

I have completely neglected our photography blog lately, so I thought I would post two of my favorites here.  Weddings can be super stressful as a photographer, but they were so nice and we really loved working with them.

We had a lot of down time at grandma's house where the kids could compete for grandma's attention.

We took a trip to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point.  Brigham enjoyed running around and seeing all the "big dinosaurs."

We spent memorial day with family visiting family graves in three different cemeteries in Salt Lake.  It was a good day.

We finished off Memorial Day and Julia's visit with a little photo shoot of the 5 grandkids.  It was too hard for me to pick just one favorite. They make me laugh.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Few More May Days

One day the kids were playing outside and it got really windy, as it often does in Lehi.  Brigham ran over to Lexi and put his arms around her to protect her from the blustery day.  Pretty cute.

Brigham is fascinated with Aaron's new haircut.  He loves to sit and rub his head while they watch TV.

We had a good weekend visit from Grandma and Grandpa Barth.  The kids loved having some time to play with them.  And Aaron was happy to spend his birthday and Mother's Day with his mom.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Brownies at the Ponderosa

We had an early Brown family reunion (my great grandparents and their descendants) at the Ponderosa the weekend before Memorial Day.  I love that area of Southern Utah and it brings back a lot of happy memories for me and my family.  We were able to make some new happy memories in the short weekend trip.  One of my favorite things was watching my kids enjoy running around and playing with their cousins.  It was a bit crazy at times trying to keep track of both of them, but they had a great time and if we weren't in the house they could usually be found at the little waterfall, the playground, or the tennis courts.

We enjoyed a little family dance the first night we were there.  Lexi was helping Uncle Johnny be DJ.

The next day the kids enjoyed a fun carnival with games, prizes, a bounce house, and clowns.  Neither one of them wanted anything to do with the cotton candy.  But they were pretty excited about the slinky and twisty straw they got in their prize bag.

Grandma gave Brigham a headlamp and he was a big fan.  He didn't want to take that thing off either night we were there.  He wore it out at the campfire and all around the house and was fascinated watching how he could make the light on the wall move by moving his head.

Julia, Brandy, and I hosted an updated version of our family reunion game that was lots of fun.  Our last morning there we heard stories about Great Grandma and Grandpa Brown and Brigham got to play Great Uncle Ray as a little boy in one of the skits.

I was on the committee to plan this reunion and it ended up being a lot of work, but it was worth it.  We had a great time.  I sure am grateful for this big crazy family that I have. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Lexi Girl

This little girl is showing more and more personality and makes us smile and laugh every day.  She loves to wander around in the backyard with bare feet.  When we sit down to eat this is how she folds her arms.
She has awesome bed head in the mornings and after naps (see both pics below), especially now that we attempt pig tails.  The way we usually get her to sit still long enough to put the pig tails in her hair, is by bribing her with marshmallows.  This girls has a serious sweet tooth.
She loves to play in the rain or in any kind of water.  She splashes around and then sticks her hands in her mouth to slurp it out of her hands.  She gets a little mischievous look in her eyes when she is trying to take one of Brigham's toys or climb up the stairs when she isn't supposed to.
 She is getting pretty good at blowing kisses, waving goodbye, and acting like a monkey.  She is working on throwing a good tantrum when she doesn't get what she want by throwing herself on the floor and burying her face in the ground.   She loves to laugh when other people are laughing. She likes to dance to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but has little interest in watching the actual show, or any other TV.  She is an adventurous climber with little fear of anything, except maybe being left with strangers.  We sure do love her a lot.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Oh the Barnyard is Busy

We took a trip to see the baby animals at "This is the Place" farm.  

Brigham was a big fan of the goats.  Lexi, not so much.

She was a bigger fan of the baby chicks.

And she loved the little playhouses.

 Not sure what is going on here.  But it looks like fun.  

The kiddos loved the train ride.  One ride was not enough for Brigham, so grandma kindly took him on a second ride and they made a stop to pan for gold.  Pretty fun day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Roommates go to Milwaukee

 I was blessed to have awesome roommates in college.  These girls are the very best kind of friends.

The three of us living in Utah decided to take a trip to visit Katie in Milwaukee before she moves this summer.  The first day we were there we got a great tour of the city and ended the day with some famous Wisconsin frozen custard.  That stuff is delicious.

The next day we headed off to Chicago!  After getting a bit lost while trying to find our Marriott, we spent some time exploring Michigan Avenue.  We had Chicago style pizza at Giordanos and delicious carmel/chocolate popcorn from Garrett's Popcorn.  We spent the evening at the top of the Hancock Tower enjoying the view, sunset, and great conversation of course. 

The next day we explored some more of the city.  We went on a boat architecture tour that was really interesting.  I loved seeing all the cool buildings in Chicago and hearing stories about them.

We walked down near Navy Pier and then along the water to get to Millenium Park.

 Millenium Park has this cool giant mirror Jelly Bean sculpture thing that people love to take pictures with.  So we had to join them.

These signs were all over the place in Chicago.  We felt so loved.

We spent part of our last day going to Katie's branch, visiting the Joan of Arc Chapel at Marquette, eating more custard, and walking along Lake Michigan.  It is so beautiful there.

We had the best time together.  There was never a dull moment and we easily kept the conversation flowing for our four days together.  We reminisced about our time in Jerusalem and the Regency and laughed a lot.  I don't get to see these girls as much as I wish, but I sure am grateful for the times that we do get together.  They are the best.