Sunday, December 28, 2008


I am ashamed at how I have neglected my blog lately. I am supposed to be resting right now as I have been pretty ill for the last week, but I wanted to update first.
We are currently at my parent's home in Utah. There is something about being home that just makes my heart happy. Even though this house is not the one I grew up in, Mom and Dwane make it feel as if it was. Mom works so hard to have everything just so that Christmas with her, in their house, is always extra special.
There is also something about being back in St George. Although I ran away from this place as quickly as possible after high school I will always love being here. The glow of the sunrise on the red sandstone hills with the snow covered peak of Pine Valley Mountain rising behind them is something truly spectacular to behold. The beauty of this place does not rely on the trees and various vegitation to make it beautiful. Its beauty is in the wide open spaces, the shapes of the hills, and the unexpected colors that mix together in a new and fascinating way.
Although we found our dream home in PA and will probably be there forever, this is and will always be home.

annual family update

We did not have the time or energy to put a letter in our Christmas cards this year. So, here is a quick update on the crazy goings-on in our little family.

James (aka Darth Maul) turned 3 this year. He is mischivious and so adorable that he doesn't get in trouble for it either. His favorite things to do are sing (mostly the Star Wars theme song), act out Star Wars movies (he is always the bad guy), play Star Wars Legos on the XBox 360, follow Samuel around the house calling him Master Kenobi, and playing outside. Hmmm... is there a theme here?

Samuel (aka Obi-Wan Kenobi/Luke Skywalker) is a very grown up 5 years old. He finished preschool and started kindergarten this year. He loves school and would rather be there than home with me and James. Samuel also had the chance this year to play t-ball, soccer and has just started wrestling. He enjoys sports a lot, especially because John is involved in the coaching. Sam likes to draw, sing, play Star Wars with James and Daddy, and have play dates with his friends from school.

Erin (aka Mace Windu/Mom) has had her hands full with the move this year. The beginning of 2008 she spent her time repainting the old house so that we could get it on the market, keeping it spotlessly clean so we could show it to potential buyers, and searching for our dream home. Exhausted by the cleaning and packing to move, Erin has sworn off ever doing this again. In her non house-related time, Erin is still doing music at church. She was called as the ward choir director in our new ward and is also serving as the stake assistant music chair. She just survived her first major project - the Stake Messiah sing along, and hopes they plan to release her from this calling before next Christmas! =)

John (aka Yoda/Qui-Gon Jin/any other character needed at the time) has had a busy year as well. In addition to the move, John has been bombarded with work and his calling in the church. In March he was released from the Bishopric in P1-yay!!- only to be called onto the high council a short 3 weeks later - sigh. (No, seriously, he enjoys his new calling we just miss him on those busy Sundays.) John has continued to build his patient base at work and also added a few nursing homes to his job this fall. In his free time he coached Sam's soccer team and is an assistant coach at wrestling as well.

As a family this year we took some time to have a little fun too. We went to Myrtle Beach in June for a week (in theory for a medical conference but the kids and I tagged along to make it fun) and we are spending Christmas in Utah with Erin's family. We are loving our new home and invite all of our friends to drop by for a visit some time soon. We miss you and we have a guest room so there is no reason not to. We hope you had a Merry Christmas and that the New Year brings joy and happiness to you and yours!

Love, Erin, John, Samuel and James

Sunday, December 21, 2008

almost there...

I feel like the entire time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is more like a marathon than a holiday. I am glad to say that we have completed the race in good standing and are ready for the reward- heading to Utah!!
The stake Handel's Messiah sing along was a success. We had a few glitches, but the spirit carried us through. Last Sunday John also had to speak for high council and I had to sing. Good thing it was last week as I have no voice this week.
Today was our ward Christmas program. It went really well, again there were a few hiccoughs, but now it is over, done, finito, kaput. Hallelujah!
Now all we have to do is make some cookies, pack, and pray for a working airport so we can fly home to Utah on Wednesday. If any of you have some pull with the weather gods please beseech them on our behalf!

Lamby update

The news center has been a little busy lately, sorry for the delayed update. Lamby the Sheep was rescued from an uncomfortable, unintentional hiding spot last Friday. She was stuffed between Samuel's bed frame and the radiator, upsidedown. We have no idea how she got there, but we are very glad to have her back!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Have you seen this lamby?
Lamby the Sheep went missing late Thursday morning according to officials. When best friend of Lamby, James, was asked about her disappearance, giant tears welled up in his eyes as he said, "I want Lamby to come home soon!"

Lamby was last seen in her home, but after searching everywhere her family can not find her.
If you have seen Lamby or heard from her please contact the authorities as soon as possible. James misses her dreadfully!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

why I read

I am a voracious reader. I can actually track the beginning of my love affair with the written word back to a particular moment in childhood. My brother Jared and I were fighting over the TV; he wanted it off and I wanted it on. We stood there flipping the switch off, on, off, on, off, on, until we hear a soft pop and the screen went gray. The TV was dead- not broken, but completely dead. Although Mom claims it was only 6 months, we endured what must have been, at the very least, a year with no TV. That is when I started reading.
My mom is also quite a reader so I began with all of the kids books we had in the house and then continued on with Mom's numerous bookshelves. I think the only series she recommended I hold off from was Dune. I was still pretty young and she was afraid it would give me nightmares. At any given time of day or night you would find me curled up with a book. I often brought one to the dinner table (hidden on my lap), to church and any ride in the car.I would willingly go to bed at night--my parent's just had to confiscate the flashlight and my current book in order for me to go to sleep.
As I got older I figured out something that I received while I was reading: a means of escape. My life is not awful by any stretch of the imagination, I am actually quite happy for the most part. However, in difficult times (ie: my parent's divorce, bouts of depression, a bad break-up, etc.) I have found I can read myself through my frustration and pain. Reading gives me a place where I can go to not think, to clear my head, to live on borrowed emotions until I can regain some perspective. Sometimes a good book for me is just a place to hide for a while. That is part of the reason why when reading for fun I choose light and mostly happy material. Granted I was a Russian Lit major, but reading for school is a completely different story.
Does you have a favorite escape?

Monday, December 8, 2008

the big apple

We spent Saturday in The Big Apple. We dropped the kids off with the Waddell's (thanks guys!) and John's parents took us into the city to see a show. The show was ...interesting. For more information you will have to talk to me in person. I have been forbidden by my husband to broadcast that we actually saw this show. =) But we had a great time and really enjoyed the city. It is so beautiful at Christmastime. We were also happy to spend time with Annalee and Chris. They live in this really cool high rise apartment building in New Rochelle. James keeps referring to it as "Noah's Tower." Of course, Sam thought he had died and gone to heaven since he got to play with Noah again. Even James was thrilled to see the boys, he didn't even notice when we left. I can't remember the last time that happened!
Two weeks from Wednesday and we get on a plane bound for Utah! Woo-hoo!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Somewhere in the middle of insane Black Friday Christmas shopping, cleaning up pee and toys and clothes, wiping up little mud prints and reraking leaves for the umpteenth time I had an epiphany: I really love my boys. I mean, seriously, how could I not?

Playing Indiana Jones
Best Friends

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today is not only Thanksgiving, more importantly, it is my mom's birthday. For those of you who have had the opportunity to meet my mom know what an exceptional person she is. I have always believed that if I could be one tenth of the person - the mother she is, I will have reached success in my life. I haven't gotten there yet but I'm still trying.
My mom has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. She would do anything for her family and that includes her adopted family as well. Her adopted family consists of pretty much every student who walks into her office or anyone who has ever been to our house. She really has a genuine love and concern for all of the people around her. She is conscientious about leaving the world a better place than she found it.

Mom holding her most adorable child--me!
When I was a kid my mom worked 2 jobs, went to school for her master's degree and raised a family of five kids. She did it with love and patience and energy. She never missed a concert or play (front row with a huge smile on her face) and she was always available to talk if we needed her. I don't know how she was able to find the drive to keep going all of those years. Life was not exactly easy and I know she must have been lonely after the divorce. One of the happiest moments in my life is when she married Dwane and I knew she finally had found someone who could make her happy and who could match her in kindness and compassion.
The Day Mom Married Dwane

On Thanksgiving since I am not able to go home and be with my mom, I do the next best thing. I make mom's homemade yeast rising rolls. My mom makes these every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The process takes about 13+ hours since the rolls have to be allowed to rise twice. Mom wakes up in the middle of the night to shape the rolls so that we can have them for breakfast Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. If you have tried them before, you know that these rolls taste better than anything else in the world. Even though I make the rolls, mine never taste as good as Mom's. I am convinced that the love that Mom puts into her rolls make them taste better. That's just how she is.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

giving thanks

Here is a list of the things I am thankful for at this very moment:

--Thanksgiving is tomorrow so I can finally change the silly turkey background on my blog. My kids have gotten a kick out of it but I have to admit I am a little sick of it.

--I didn't get lost going to or coming from Bridgewater, NJ today. I was on a quest for the perfect Christmas present for John which involved 4 hours of driving unfamiliar roads. Love it!

--Tyler and Becca are bringing Theo for a visit next week.

--John doesn't have to work tomorrow.

--I just got a call that my sister Lisa and her husband, Tracy, are moving to Arlington, VA in January. That means they will only be 3 hours away!! Woo-hoo!!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the twilight zone

Seeing Twilight last night was an interesting affair. I got to the theater at 6:00 pm for our 7:15 show. I have been to enough opening nights for Harry Potter movies to know that the line forms early. As I stood in line, keeping place for my friends (Christina, Meredith, Jill and her daughter Julia), I had ample time to people watch. The group of teenage girls in front of me had homemade Twilight shirts on- actually probably 89% of the girls in line had Twilight shirts on. They were constantly shrieking over one thing or another. One even tried leading the crowd in a "Twilight! Twilight!" chant- cruise director style. She was quickly berated by the theater manager and went back to the line screetching over Edward and Jacob.
Once we finally made it into the theater we settled in for a good 30 minutes of previews - one of which was a terrifying extended-length preview for a horror movie (but that is a topic for its very own blog sometime). The group of teenagers sitting behind us actually included one of the three boys in the theater. The girl next to him announced loudly several times that their engagement was off because she was in love with Jasper. Throughout the movie this group repeatedly made comments that had Jill and I in stitches.
The movie itself was good, not great, althought the girls in line (who had been to the midnight showing already) had proclaimed it the best movie ever! I liked it but I think, like Breaking Dawn, it grows on you with repetition. I actually liked all of the actors in their roles, with the exception of Jasper. Even Robert Pattinson grew on me as Edward although Christina and I agree that he should have acted a little less high school and a little more like a 100+ year old vampire with some experience and confidence, you know, mature. The movie had some really funny moments and some great one liners... along with the cheesey ones of course. I especially liked Alice, Esme, Carlyle, Emmett, Angela, Jacob, Billy, James, Victoria...pretty much everyone. The director should have gone with about half as many close-ups as she had though. They made it more cheesey than it should have been. There were also some very awkward shots in the beginning.
After the movie we went to a little Italian restaurant for dessert. Yum. Coincidently, the restaurant had a mural inside painted by Edward someone and had the name Bel in the name. We all got a kick out of that. Over Tartufo, Bomba and a Napoleon we dissected the movie and discussed our anticipation for the next one.
Anyway, I plan on watching the movie again, maybe in the theater but probably when it comes out on DVD. I think experiencing it without all of the screams, sighs, and giggles of the teenage crowd I will appreciate it all the more. I have been thinking about it a lot though-- in fact I had a hard time falling asleep last night when I got home. And of course, James woke up with croup around 3 am and didn't go back to sleep for a couple of hours...
Perhaps tomorrow I will write a more coherent, less sleep deprived review but probably not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

first snow

This is what we woke up to this morning.
The kids were ecstatic! After they had breakfast they begged to go play outside. We rushed through the bundling process and they spent about 40 minutes romping through the snow.
Don't you wish you were here?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

for Star Wars fans

I got a few funny (and that is an understatement!!!) Star Wars links from some friends this week and I just had to share! Enjoy!

John Williams a'capella tribute

The Star Wars Holiday Special (pop some popcorn, this is a long one!)

Harrison Ford interview on Conan O'Brian about said Star Wars Holiday Special
Don't miss this one!!!

Thanks Shawn, Julie and Jewels for the info!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I had to laugh

On Yahoo today there is an article or rather pictures of Hollywood's Most Handsome. Topping the charts at #1 is none other than Josh Brolin. Unfamiliar with the name? He played Brand in The Goonies. Maybe it is just me, but I find this hysterically funny.

Don't worry Twilight fans, Robert Pattison was on there too. He doesn't really do it for me but whatever. Just 4 more days! Do you have your ticket yet???

Friday, November 14, 2008

leiper-smedley trail

John and I have been taking bike rides and walks around our new neighborhood trying to get to know our little community better. One of our trips resulted in the discovery of the Leiper-Smedley trail. It is a walking/biking path that starts at the old Thomas Leiper house (I have no idea who he is!) and winds throught the neighborhood and then runs alongside I-476 behind the cement barriers on the hill.

It is actually a beautiful trail and provided me with ample opportunity to take pictures of the fall foilage. It amazes me that even though we were right next to a very busy highway, we felt like we were in the middle of the forest - minus the paved trail of course. =)

And although the trail is beautiful, the coolest part was the surprise we found not 10 feet off the trail. We followed a little mud path off the trail and hit a wall... literally. The map marked it as the Italian Water Garden Ruins. It looks like it was a beautiful garden at one point because even the ruins are impressive. I would love to see this restored one day. In fact, I had a dream about it the other night that we had a garden party there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

7 Random Facts

I got tagged- thanks Eryn. So here you go.

7 Random Facts about me

1. I played t-ball when I was a kid and was the only girl on my team.

2. Carrying on with my tomboyish ways I played the trumpet in middle school and a little bit in high school. There was one other girl trumpeter but she was two years older than me.

3. I am a chicken. I do not watch scary movies at all because they give me horrible nightmares. I saw Ghostbusters when I was younger and it gave me nightmares for a year.

4. I am adamantly opposed to handguns but the only video games I like to play are the shoot 'em up games.

5. I am a dancer. I have taken dance lessons since I was 3. I studied and performed modern, tap, ballet, jazz, swing and a little ballroom. I do not take lessons now but I dance in my kitchen all the time... usually with my husband and kids.

6. I love to travel. I have already been to Russia, Italy, Germany, Finland, Jamaica and Bermuda. The next few places I really want to go are England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Greece and Spain. My ideal trip would be a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea. I keep hinting at it to John as something fun to do for our 10th anniversary.

7. I am extraordinarily gullible. John made up a fairly plausible BS story about why our old house had two front doors. However, he forgot to tell me he made it up until about 3 months later when he heard me telling the story to one of our friends. Of course I had believed him and told everyone we knew. Yes, I did smack him for that one!

Ok, I think I will tag Heather W., Lizzie, and Amy S. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I hope I don't get in trouble...

I don't talk a whole lot about John on my blog. Mostly because I don't want to embarrass him. However, I just have to say that I have the best husband ever. I know some of you may think you do, but I know I am right. =) Here are my reasons why:

10: He is as big a chocoholic as I am - so he doesn't think my monstrous consumption of the stuff is anything strange.

9: He watches chick flicks with me.

8: He likes to sing all the time, just like me... he's just a little off key sometimes. =)

7: He enjoys outdoor sports (ie: biking, hiking, snow skiing) and insists we do these things as a family. I grew up that way and wouldn't have it any different.

6: He plays with our kids (light saber duels, tickle fights, piggy back rides, pictionary, you name it, he does it.)!

5: He jokes about everything. Granted this can be annoying sometimes too, but he makes sure I never take myself too seriously. That is a very good thing.

4: He loves God, honors his priesthood and uses it too.

3: He learned how to swing dance just to impress me.

2: He volunteers to help. He was Sam's soccer coach and is now one of his wrestling coaches; he just wants to be involved. He does the same thing with his church calling- but he would never tell you that himself.

1: He loves me... even when I am half crazy with depression and yelling at the kids. That is truly impressive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Got a rake?

Our entire yard is blanketed in leaves. It is beautiful but I can't help but wince when I think about the effort the clean-up is going to take. The most depressing thing: look how many leaves are still on the trees! Anyone want to come and help???

Friday, November 7, 2008

recent Samisms

Just a couple notes about what Samuel (my precocious five year old) has been up to lately...

At dinner Monday night Samuel started an interesting conversation:

Samuel: "Tomorrow I am going to vote for Barak Obama."
me: "Oh, really? Why are you going to vote for him?"
Samuel: "Because Riley is." --as if that explains everything. Riley is Sam's best friend at school.

Sam has turned into a social butterfly. Every day when he gets on the bus I hear a chorus of voices say "Hi Sam!" and then he quickly walks to the back of the bus to sit with his buddies. When I was a kid, the back of the bus was where the cool kids or trouble makers sat- sometimes both. Isn't five a little bit early to start with all of that???

Samuel has already started calling his friends on the phone. A week or so ago he called his friend Maya. Here is the resulting conversation:

Maya's Dad: Hello?
Samuel: Is this Maya Rozin's house?
Maya's Dad: Yes it is. Who is this?
Samuel: Samuel Traverso. Is Maya there?
Maya's Dad: She's not. (Finally catching on that he was talking to a five year old!) Can I give her a message?
Samuel: I just wanted to tell her that I have a zebra and I want her to come and see it.
Maya's Dad: You want to have a playdate?
Samuel: Yes!
Maya's Dad: Ok. I will talk to Maya and she will call you back. What is your phone number?
Samuel: 610-***-****.
Maya's Dad: Wait let me grab a pen... ok. Go ahead.
Samuel: 610-***-****
Maya's Dad: Ok. I'll have her call you. Bye.
Samuel: Thank you. Goodbye.

I was astounded by his phone manners. Where did he learn that??

And one last thing... Wednesday was Samuel's first wrestling practice. John wrestled in high school and college so he has been counting down to this moment since I was pregnant with Sam.
Samuel was one of the youngest and smallest boys there. The practice involved a lot of pounding the mat and yelling like coaches of all sports do.
As we got in the car to go home I asked Samuel how he liked wrestling. His response cracked me up! He said, "Ummm... (with a glance at dad) I'll get used to it. I don't like it as much as school though." He is so MY kid!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Welcome Baby Ellie!!

Stephenie and Jared had their baby girl on Sunday. They named her Elleanor Elizabeth Hains (after our grandmother and mother respectively (dang it! they stole my girl's name!)) and call her Ellie. She was 19 inches long and 7 lbs 3 oz. I am once again a proud auntie!!

Ellie with Mommy and Ellie meeting her big sister Kaylee from the safety of Daddy's arms.
Going home!
Hanging out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New President

So most of you already now that Obama was elected yesterday. Most people in the country are either thrilled or terrified depending on their political affiliations and beliefs. I am indifferent. I have tried really hard to like or care about either one of the candidates and have been completely unable to find one who had outstanding qualitites that made me want to stand up and cheer. Am I the only one?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

weekend update

I have been remiss about my posts lately, I guess I can blame it on Phillies fever. What with the World Series Championship and Halloween, I have completely lost my head!
So here is a quick update through pictures of our last two weekends.
Last weekend we held our first annual Pumpkin Party ala Austin and Emily Gray. The Grays started throwing pumpkin parties when we were all in the singles ward together. When we were all married and had kids the parties continued... until they moved. We miss the Gray's and the parties so we decided to start our own. (If you didnt get an official invite, please don't feel bad, my brain was on serious hiatus for the last few weeks. For future years please know the party is open to anyone and everyone we know. You just might have to ask me when it is as my brain seems to have ceased functioning about 3 years ago.) This is a new family in our ward from Sweden. It was their first Halloween and their first pumpkin carving experience.
These are our neighbors. The kids got to do some cookie decorating and pumpkin painting.
Who knew we could fit so many people in our attic at one time!!
This weekend was crazy! After the Phillies win on Wednesday night (finally!) I spent 2 hours in Modell's - a local sporting goods store - getting World Champions t-shirts for the family on Thursday. Then Friday while I took Sam to his school Halloween parade and party, John took James into the city for The Parade.
There were over two million people on the streets of Philly on Friday for the parade. It was a giant sea of screaming fans bedecked in Phillies red. It was apparently so exciting that James... fell asleep. That night we took the kids out trick-or-treating for Halloween. Sam was Obi-wan Kenobi and James was Darth Vader (only because we couldn't find a Darth Maul costume in a kid's size and I was to lazy to make one).
And because Sam and James were dressed up, Zebra and Lamby had to dress up too! Zebra was a reindeer and Lamby was a one eyed pirate. Too fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The curse is broken, the Phillies have won and John is on his way to buy the family World Series Champions t-shirts. All is well in the world!

See you at the parade!!!

starving for a championship

Philadelphia sports fans just can't seem to win. Monday night was supposed to be THE day! We were one game away from a championship. ONE GAME! And we had our best pitcher, Cole Hamels on the mound. How could we lose? Is it possible the tiny statue on top of the Comcast building had finally appeased William Penn? Many people in the city thought so! In fact, they were so confident Foreman Mills was planning to be open all night so that fanatics could buy World Series Champions shirts that very night. And the #3 search on Google on Monday was Phillies Parade, followed closely at #5 by Phillies World Series Parade. Talk about counting your chickens! Don't we know better than that by now?

Well, somewhere in there, be it Billy Penn or the Sports Gods, we must have offended someone because Monday night was a disaster! Not only did it rain and rain and rain, but the wet was followed by some of the coldest October weather we have had in years and the game was postponed!! Finally able to resume the game tonight, the certainty of Monday has dwindled drastically. Cole Hamels will not be on the mound. In whom do we place our hard-earned trust while our favorite has to rest? Will our hitters remember their strokes from Sunday night or will the Rays continue to recover their swings?
The perfect ending of a 28 (I think) year drought, a victory in Philly by our #1 guy is no longer possible. Can the Phillies pull out a win in just a few short innings??? History says no but our hearts say...

Monday, October 27, 2008


One of my friends sent this news story to me. I must have missed all of the press about it because it was new to me (I sobbed all the way through it, of course). It is an incredible story about a couple that survived a plane crash in Arizona and how the woman's sisters helped out. Man it made me so homesick for my sisters! My favorite dream is one day all three of us will live near enough to each other that we can get together on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, since I am in Philly, Lisa in Kansas and Keri in Utah, chances are this is not going to happen anytime soon. Seeing my sisters is one of my most favorite things in the world!

Check out the story and send some love to your sisters!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Prestige

I watched a really twisted, fascinating movie this week called The Prestige. It is the story of two rival magicians, how they became rivals, how that rivalry ultimately destroys them and the lengths they go to to perform the best trick ever. The last five minutes completely turned my stomach but I can't stop thinking about it either, I so did not see THAT coming! It was recommended to John and I by our friends from church Travis and Jen Clark (Hi guys! We miss you!), so I was a little surprised by how brutal it was at points. However, four days after I saw it, I can't stop thinking about it. Not only was the story interesting but the acting was supurb! Michael Caine, Christian Bale (John is making me erase the yum part.) and Hugh Jackman (probably should erase the super YUM! too (although honestly, if I weren't married to John, Hugh Jackman would be a fabulous second choice)) are all amazing.
So if you are in the mood for a suspenseful, somewhat gory (a couple of drownings, mild gsw and some broken fingers) tale and you enjoy a good magic trick, this movie is for you!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I love fall!

I really love fall in Philadelphia! When I was a kid I always thought that the it was a myth that the leaves on trees actually changed into brilliant reds and oranges and gold. Here it is true!
I also love all of the fun things we get to do with the kids.

Linvalls Orchards Pumpkinland,

John's Ursinus College Homecoming (they had face painting this year!),

Halloween parties and trick-or-treating (here is a costume preview!) with the kids. We have our first party tonight at church. I signed up to take cupcakes--here is how they turned out. The boys think they are great!
This is a view from our back door taken last weekend! I know, gorgeous right?!