Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ni hao, Frances!

I'd like to start this post by saying that I've been very lucky in my life to have been able to travel to (and live in) several different countries. Not only has it been fun, but I have also experienced things that have really helped expand my view of the world & of life, and shape who I am today. I am also ├╝ber blessed to have met some really fantastic people along the way...many of which I have been able to maintain some form of contact with. Toward the end of this March I got an email from Frances (my boss from when I lived in Taiwan for 1/2 year as a volunteer teaching English to children). She and her family were in Utah (visiting from Taiwan) and she wanted to see if we could meet up while they were here. We'd maintained contact through holiday cards, but it had been 12 years since I had seen her in person, so I was really excited to see her, to meet her family, and to introduce her to Mark and our boys! They own a beautiful second home here for when they visit, and they invited us to join them there for dinner (real Chinese food). Here is Frances with her husband Gerald and their two adorable kids:

Frances knew how to win over the boys...with candy! Her she is with Noah.

And Frances with Lincoln.

And...since I promised Ellie several pictures (ok, and because I always love lots of pictures!) here's one of Frances, the boys & me.

We had such a wonderful evening visiting with Frances and her family...and the food was amazing! Not only was it really nostalgic for me to eat her cooking, but it really was delicious. AND...she sent us home with a bunch of food to enjoy at home later! So, although this washed out photo does no justice to this delicious dish (which happens to be one of my all-time favorites!) - I had to include a shot of it...just so I can go back and look at it and salivate upon demand.

The other thing that was really fun was how much both of the boys looooved her noodles. The smell of the broth she had them in triggered a thousand memories for me (amazing how smells can do that) - and the boys loved eating it as much as I did. I also loved that Noah enjoyed trying to eat it with chopsticks. Here he is (at home) using various techniques to get those tasty noodles to his lips:

Thank you so much for thinking of us while you were in town, Frances! We all had such a fabulous time visiting with you and enjoying your wonderful cooking! Let's be sure not to wait so long between seeing each other again next time though!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Amanda & Tysa's Visit

During the middle of March we got to have our good friend Amanda (from Iowa) and Tysa (one of her daughters) come stay with us! We were able to do a few fun things together while she was here, and one of the highlights for me was going snowshoeing together! Here's a shot of Mark with Noah & Linc trudging through the beautiful snow.

It was hard to capture in a picture, but Noah looked so tiny snowshoeing against the backdrop of our majestic mountains...

Since this wasn't Noah's first time snowshoeing, it was fun to watch his little, "I know how this is done" attitude.

A couple shots of our family:

Mark headed down with Noah to look at the river.

Eventually Lincoln and I decided to join them.

Tysa & Amanda.

Mark commented that he didn't know that this outing was going to turn into a photo session...sorry, sweetie. It just so happened that you went on an excursion where you were outnumbered by people that love to take pictures! Thanks for being patient - it was lots of fun for us! And, it's fun to have a few pictures of the two of us too - so thanks, Amanda!

I've known you for nearly half of my life...and we've been married for nearly 9 of those 15 years. I love you, and I love us together.

(Of course part of loving Mark includes loving the way he teases) After Mark tossed me into the snow...his self-satisfied smirk is the best part of this picture.

And here is Mark tossing Noah into the snow too. Noah thought it was just hilarious.

And since we were doing a "photo session" here are a couple shots of me with each of my boys individually. Lincoln was so happy to be enjoying some time out of the backpack. Here is my sweet, energetic little 2 year old with his mama! Oh, and if you've never noticed Lincoln's chipped teeth on one of these pictures to make it bigger - and you can see that he has chipped not one, but both of his two front teeth! (We had one of those teeth fixed twice before he did it yet again, so we have just given up on fixing them for now)

Noah is going through a real mama's boy phase right now, and while it can be a bit frustrating sometimes (to both of us) for him to want to be attached to my hip every second of the's also sweet. Noah is such a spunky, imaginative and talkative little kid, but he is definitely a tender little guy too. He loves smooches and snuggles and all things affectionate. I love you, little man!

I fell over and pulled Noah down with me. It was pretty funny...especially to Noah.

Well...while we're down here, we might as well get a good snuggle in!

Helping me up...

Check out Tysa...can't you get a glimpse of what this nearly 2-year-old will look like as a teen?

Tysa & Amanda.

Tysa & me.

Me watching Noah try to pick up a little bit of speed without carrying poles.

Bridget, Tysa & Amanda.

I'm not sure what I love about this picture so much except that it reminds me of how I felt at the end of a day of skiing as a kid. In the parking lot, peeling off layers of clothing, wiped out and ready to fall asleep in the car.

And I'll end our snowshoeing pictures with this photo of Mark borrowing Amanda's moisturizing "lip balm". Mark's lips were hurting *real bad* (insert Napoleon Dynamite voice there) and he didn't have any chapstick, so he borrowed what Amanda had. I just couldn't resist taking a picture of Mark putting something on his lips that looked like this...

One evening Amanda and I went to the temple and then ate out at Vinto in downtown Salt Lake. Yummm. It's a wood fired pizza place - sleek, but casual. If you like gourmet pizza then I highly recommend it! I've had a couple more chances to go there since then and the Campania or the Patate pizzas are my favorites. Delicious!

"Did somebody say cake?!" We celebrated my brother Matt's birthday at my parents while Amanda & Tysa were in town. While we were there we captured this expression of Tysa's and it just cracked us up. She is such an adorable little girl. She's such a cute, happy little girl.

Here is Noah enjoying watching as Matt blows out his birthday candles! Happy 24th, Matt!

I love this little smirky-smirk of Lincolns. Mark does the same one.

Emily & her mom.

Beautiful Tysa.

And I couldn't resist including this one of Lincoln showing us the "owie" on his finger. I'm guessing he won't want me to kiss his owies better forever...better enjoy it while I can!

We also enjoyed just having Amanda and Tysa hang out around the house. And who doesn't love to snuggle a baby? Most people I know do...but Mark particularly loves it. He got to help feed and snuggle Tysa one night, and it wasn't long before they were both asleep in the recliner together.

Just look at that face. Don't you just wanna smooch those cheeks?!

One day while we were driving I turned around and saw that Lincoln and Tysa were holding hands. I thought that it was pretty cute, and just loved the way their hands looked together too...his ivory white skin against her beautiful brown skin. So sweet.

The kids playing in our backyard.

Thanks for coming to visit, Amanda! We loved having you, and it was lots of fun to spend time with you two and Bridget! It was so crazy to see (in person) how much Tysa has changed since you stayed with us while she was a newborn. What a beauty.