Wednesday, July 30, 2008


sometimes Lake Powell adventures can really hurt! These last few pictures of our trip need a little bit of commentary to get the full effect.

The last morning while many were helping drive out the houseboat and clean, Ian and I took our kids along with Kody, Danny Boy and Jerzie on the boat to knee board, wake board and tube just one more time before the trip was over.

Ian skied like a champ -- just look at his lay it down! (and NO -- just in case you are wondering -- even if I DID lay it down also, I will not embarass myself by posting any pictures of me in a bathing suit)

Kody took all the kids on the tub white houseboat was making it's way to the Marina. As the kids were getting off, Ian decided to play a trick on Kody, Hunter and Kadan. He told them to stand up for a picture. Well, as soon as they stood up -- he punched it. Off they tumbled with Kadan being the sole survivor (he was totally proud of himself).

Our last adventure was one of my favorites. Right by lone rock there is this amazing white sand hill. Let me just tell you -- it is a total BEAR to climb. The kids were troopers, climbing (racing) all the way to the top.

After carving our names into the rocks, Ian had an awesome idea that we would have a race down to the bottom. Now, let me explain something to you -- when you challenge any children with Jensen blood in them, you are in for a race of your life. They get lots of their competitive spirit from their mom -- I totally HATE to lose. The Brimhall side is competitive too so add a double dose of die hard spirit and you have my kids.

After I roared "on your mark...get set...GO" the competition was on.

The kids were slipping and sliding everywhere -- trying to get down to the bottom of the hill first. One little one got the worst of it....

Poor little Addy May -- she face planted, flipped and tumbled down the hill getting a face full of dirt and her dreams of being the winner CRUSHED. I don't know if the sand in her eyes or the shear frustration of losing made her the most upset. It was quite a dramatic moment -- my poor little girl!!!!

To end on a more fun note. Here a a couple last pictures of the crazy boys.

There is nothin' like the wind in your hair....

and the sun in your face as you run up and down the lake at Lake Powell. Lake Powell has always been one of Ian's favorite vacations. The kids totally have a blast and it is so fun to teach the kids all the water sports. This year the whole family was able to make it to Powell in honor of Claudette. Despite the houseboat being a little snug for 12 adults and 12 children, we were able to have a load of fun. Sherida was amazing -- planning the whole event and getting enough food and toys to keep us all occupied. We swam, slid, boated, knee boarded, wake boarded, skied, hiked, cliff jumped, tubed, jet skied, fished (Kadan was fisherman extraordinaire), made bouncy balls, sculpted sand, played cards (of course Holly kicked our tushes), watched fireworks (compliments of crazy Ian and Danny Boy), kicked the boy's rumps in Catch Phrase and ate our hearts out (thanks to Chef Broc). The boys became knee boarding champions (even trying tricks) and the girls would not come off the tubes. I was so thankful that all the kids were safe during this trip -- it is always a little stressful being in the water with kids that do not swim (Bo) but after lots of prayers, cool "Turtle" wristbands that will alarm when wet and very close supervision, we all made it without an incident.

Friday, July 25, 2008

To my Michigan friends...

I just received a message from one of Ali's friends. They have put together a blog for all those that would like to share a message or memory of Ali. The blog address is I hope you all have an oppurtunity to tell her family how much we love her and miss her.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The other day I had a BLONDE moment...

that still makes me laugh. I must admit sometimes I say the most ridiculous things. And I just have to share this one for Tia's sake. Hopefully you get a laugh out of this one.

Just last week I was making some phone calls to find a bank to process our home loan. The conversation went the usual way -- I was being asked several questions and I responded simply. Then it came to the question, "What is Ian's Middle Initial." I promptly responded "K" (see I'm smart -- I even know my hubby's middle initial). Well the next comment that popped out of my mouth was not so smart. The phone guy asked, "K?" Then I responded, "Yes, K as in Cow."

What in the? I totally lost all composure, laughing until I drooled and couldn't talk. Ian and Daniel were in the room making matters worse -- laughing and making fun of me. Funny thing is the next question was "What is your occupation?"

I then said, "College professor."

"What did you say?"

"College professor," laughter broke out again from the peanut gallery and I am sure the gentleman on the other end of the phone heard them chuckling.

Almost in disbelief he asked, "At what type of University?"

Sorry ATSU -- I may have put a little smudge on your reputation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Shake, shake, shake your...

BUM!" Bo just can't help herself when she hears music.

Last Sunday while the congregation was singing the song that goes "Blessed, honored Pioneers" (I cannot seem to remember the title of the song), Bo started feeling the groove. She wiggled back and forth on my lap and was belting some of her own words to the song. At first I wasn't paying attention to the words she was singing since I was focusing on the music and enjoying the spirit of the meeting. But, nearing the end of the song, I started to listen to her more intently. Then I heard the words, "Pioneers shake your bum... shake, shake, shake, shake your BUM" I was taken by surprise. No wonder people were looking at us and smiling. How embarrassing and funny. This little gal is CRAZY!

Addy's 1st ballet recital...

was everything I hoped it would be. Back in June, Addy's little ballet class had their first recital. The girls were so cute in their beautiful ballerina outfits. They were total crowd pleasers -- everyone in the audience was gleeful giggling and applauding throughout the whole dance to "I am a Little Black Raincloud" and "Catch a Falling Star." I wish I could have captured the moment on video but all cameras and video recordings are not allowed. We were so fortunate to have my Mom and Harrison fly into Michigan and be their for the recital. I cannot wait for the many more performances we will share with Addy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Playing at Great Grandpa Brimhall's House...

was a wonderful way to end the day. Yesterday we made our way up the mountain to Pinetop-Lakeside to go to church in our new ward. It was a relatively crazy day -- Bo thew-up and we missed our church time but was able to still attend a wonderful meeting in which our Stake President spoke. After church we headed to the cabin but did not have a key, so to Taylor we went. It was so great to see Great-grandpa B, Aunt Ginger and her grandson, and Skeeter and Debbie. The kids had a wonderful time playing in the dirt, catching grasshoppers, watching black widow spider (scary!) and exploring. Just as the sun went down I captured some pictures of their adventures.
Grandpa just loves his Redwood stump (I think that is what it is called). I rests next to his front entrance. It is a beautiful peice of wood -- I keep thinking about all the neat furniture possibilites something of this size and beauty would make.

The girls played in the wheat field next to the house looking for all types of rocks and bugs.

This picture is a little silly but Addy and Kadan are showing off their spoils of the hunt -- 1 cricket and 1 grasshopper. They wanted to take them with us on the trip but finally consented to let them go back home in the grass.

Kadan is becoming such a romantic.

Over the past few days, Kadan has been such a gentleman. Holding doors open for very girl that he sees and then says "Ladies first." Giving me sweet kisses and lightly rubbing my arm. Coming from such a rough and tumble kind of kid , it catches me by surpirse. He is definitely following in Hunter's footsteps.

This morning while at breakfast Kadan found a large purple cup of orange juice and gave it to me. He then explained, "Mom, you have to have the purple cup because your favorite color is purple and pink right? They are so beautiful, they are even in the colors of the rainbow and they match your eyes."

I just giggled by the last comment "and they match your eyes." How totally sweet is that!?!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I just keeping asking "Why"?

Why? Why? Why? How can such terrible things happen to such a wonderful family?

Yesterday a dear friend of mine was killed in a car accident. Ali Van Geison was such a wonderful woman -- truly an inspirational person. Have you ever know someone who has sweet sophistication? Who is the most compassionate and humble person? A woman who was so gentle and kind and beautiful and talented but completely unpretentious? That was Ali. Ali was one of my favorite people. I was so fortunate to be her friend at church, at our FHE group and at Addy's ballet class. She was the mother of 3 beautiful children. Her oldest, Brinley was Addy's age. This little girl is a spittin image of her mother and I am sure will carry the legacy of her mother with her always. I pray that these little ones and their father, Jeremy, will be comforted and the Lord will be their companion throughout their lives.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's great to be 35...

or NOT! Yesterday I turned 35. Kinda crazy. I still think that I belong in high school but when I look at pictures of myself and see all those wrinkles and all the extra blubber I realize I am nearing middle age. It was a nice day if you count being in the car for almost 10 hours looking for a rental house to our liking but coming up with NOTHING. But the kids were awesome. Best part about my birthday was that Sunday night my mom planned on a family dinner with all my favorites including her FAMOUS homemade mac-n-cheese. YUM, YUM! In the morning I was serenaded by my kids as they sang their own renditions of birthday songs for me. All day long I received phone calls, voice mail messages with "Happy B-day" songs and wishes, text messages, hugs and emails from AZ and MI family and friends -- it is so great that so many people remembered.

Tonight when I tucked Kadan into bed he said, "Mom, I am so sad that your birthday was kind-a lame. I mean, you did not have any big party or friends come over. All you did was drive around and it was boring. But, I hope you are happy to be 35 years-old and all that matters is that you were with your family."

You know what? He is totally right. The most important thing is family and I have the BEST family EVER!!!!!

Okay, so I have to admit that I BAWLED like a little baby...

when we left Michigan. Leaving it was SO hard. Sunday night was amazing. First, three of the greatest gals in the WORLD came by without even being asked and spent hours helping me and my mom clean the house.

Courtney was stove cleaner extraordinaire and was miss "chucker" (loving to trash as much needless stuff as possible) -- JUST what I needed. She is one of the wisest woman that I know and has such common sense -- whatever she says is down to earth and just makes sense. She is always there to help in a pinch and has an uncanny sense of when someone needs something. She is also beautiful -- great "bod" and cool strawberry blonde hair. She has the total package -- personality, smarts, and pretty.

Ann was fearless and would clean even the scariest area of the house (the sump pump area in the basement). She is such a trooper, being in her last trimester and running around like she just ran a marathon. She just moved into our ward the last year and I am so sorry that we were not able to spend more years together. We are so much alike and I love to her just chat with her. Always with a huge smile on her face, she is an optimist and is so fun loving.

Hilary is another one of my dearest friends. She has been there to help me out during the thick and the thin. We have shared so much together -- being pregnant with out last children together and having hubbies that totally love basketball have created such a fantastic bond. She is a great mom and makes mommy-hood fun. She is all about service and will jump in an help until she is completely worn out but will do it with a smile. We have shared in so many late night talks just for fun.

When they left my emotions started -- this was REAL! We were leaving.

Then after the gals left, we walked around the neighborhood saying goodbye to our friends. Kadan's best friend Andrew and his family was the first stop. As Kadan said his farewells to the boys, I chatted with his mom, Karen. She is such a neat lady. She is so organized and friendly. We shared so much together due to our boys being best friends -- a friendship that I will always be grateful for. We just cried and cried.

Next was Grant -- a fun little friend that Kadan loves to play tag and baseball with. His grandma Nell always keeps an eye out for my little ones and gave me a HUGE grandma hug as we left.

After that was the Brado's. Have you even had a friend that would be so "real" that you know exactly what she is thinking and will protect you no matter what. This is Lecia. I will miss the pasta salads, evening bike rides and cheering our boys on during baseball and tennis. The boys made great friends with Chadd and little Cole. I also made great friends with Lecia's hubby Bill and love to tease him about his "sexy calves." Having great neighbors is so fun!
Then came Monday -- the dreaded Monday. The Mayes came by to say their goodbyes to us just before we left for the flight. Can I just say, it is just NOT fair that we are not moving to the same town. We have been together for 9 years and it took all the strength I could muster to say good-bye. After taking a few pictures and letting the kids pile into the car, we left for the airport. Tia and the kids followed us in the car while Russ drove us to the airport. She drove side-by-side until the lane on Masonic merged into one. When she slowed down so we could pass I completely LOST it. I sobbed so hard that my body shook. Just thinking about it now makes me cry. I will miss her -- my best friend, my confidant, my strength during bad times and my trusted friend.
Bo's favorite past time was to go to Zachy's house. "I go to Zachy's house." The 3 musketeers -- 3 crazy preschool and neighborhood friends Zach, Gavin & Addy.
As we entered the freeway the rain just POURED! As the rain was pounding I got a phone call from Lecia (her and Amy were following us to the airport and bringing some of our bags). The conversation was simple. She said, "The rain is our tears missing you already." Her voice then broke and I started crying again -- just too hard!

Finally we made it to the airport. I was filled with so many emotions. I was nervous and sad and did not want to leave.

Russ gave me the most tender good-bye. He is such a great man. He is a chief, a spiritual giant, a true friend -- he has helped Ian and I so many times. When things got rough, especially when I was so sick a couple of years ago, he gave me strength (both emotional and spiritual) so see the bright side of a difficult situation.

Last was the good-byes to the gals. Lecia, a fully converted woman who loves the Bible and loves Christ, was the first to give me a hug. It lasted forever and she gave me strength to say good-bye. Her hugs always gave me strength. Lecia, Amy and I were like the 3 amigos. What a fun trio we were!

Finally was Miss Amy Lou, the best next door neighbor (and friend) in the whole world -- no the whole universe! Amy has been so much fun. Crazy thing is that we look so much alike. Many of the neighbors confused us for each other for the first few years we lived in the neighborhood. Amy is a thinker, a counselor, a true friend. One that I would call when I needed something like getting the kids off the bus or her to look after the kids while I ran a quick errand. She was my shopping buddy, my Wednesday night last night dollar movie goer, my huge back yard party organizer, my dream sharer, my hour-plus phone call friend. What will I do without her? One hug turned into two which turned into three. Back and forth between Lecia and Amy -- not wanting to go but just had too. Bosom buddies -- Addy and Gavin. Playing in the sandbox was a year-round event (even if they had to wear winter coats they still ventured to play here).
I am so thankful for such wonderful people. People who I learned so much from and always was there to help me and my little family. There are so many more friends and experiences with them that I want to share. Believe me, it may take a while. Michigan is FULL of great people.