There is SO much I want to tell you about our cruise. I can’t put down every detail, but I must share some of my favorite things!
In Roatan, which is an island of Honduras, we went on a zip line excursion.
It was 12 different platforms. You hook on, and go. Fun! I was a little nervous, but really, there’s nothing to it, and you are safe. We laughed a lot, and enjoyed joking with the others in our group.
When we made it through the jungle and down to sea level, we were at the Gumbalimba park. Our guide took us through, taught us a bit of the history of the island (pirates!) and then we crossed the bridge.
It was like being in an Indiana Jones movie!
There were many birds, but the most impressive were the macaws! They even had one bird we could hold.
He bit off a button on Ryan’s shirt!
Then we went on to see the monkeys. Monkeys are not native to the island, but they have them in this park. They told us not to yell or jump if a monkey jumped onto us, and if the monkey took something, just let him have it. Eventually they would get bored with it and put it down. We weren’t allowed to bring bags or purses into the park for this reason.
It was SO AMAZING! This monkey reached into Ryan’s pocket a couple of times, just to see if there was anything in there. So fluffy and soft, and curious.
We absolutely loved the monkeys! I’m so glad a friend recommended that excursion to us. It was amazing!
One of the fun things about a cruise is the people you meet. Of course you can’t meet EVERYONE on the cruise ship (since there are about a small city’s worth of people on the ship), but you do see certain people again and again. Of course, we mostly hung out with our dear friends Tammy and Gardner. They are the reason we went on the cruise. Tammy was one of my mission companions. Gardner was also in that mission. Later they got married. Tammy LOVES cruising, and suggested we do a mission reunion cruise. Do we mind that it was only the four or us? Not at all!
For example, we met a cute couple at breakfast one day, named Kellen and Arian. Beautiful young couple that had been married about 2 weeks. He is a farmer in Oklahoma. She is a nurse. It was fun to talk to them, and then when we saw them later on the ship, we tried hard to remember their names and say hi.
There were many people that we didn’t know their names, but their faces became familiar, since we saw them again and again. There was Viagra guy and his wife that we saw while waiting for our turn at boogie boarding, the cute couple that was sitting near us that the husband did a magic trick and pulled a 50 cent piece “out of” Tammy’s ear, the other cute couple who were concerned about me when I left dinner the night the seas were so rough, the people we tubed down the river with, Saundra and Megan who we zip lined with, the table full of cute gay guys I stopped to talk to one night and then had to ask them every day how their day was.
One group of people we met was the “Royal Caribbean Pop Choir”. On Monday on the schedule there was this pop choir listed at 2:30. I decided I was going to see what that was about. Gardner also wanted to go. So, we found the bar on the 12th deck (the Olive or Twist–what a strange name) and met Lanie and Calvin Hudson. They were both in the cast of Saturday night Fever on the ship, and in charge of this little pop choir. They teach us a song and simple dance moves, then we perform it later in the week. Sadly, we only had two rehearsals scheduled, and one of them was bumped because another group had scheduled the space. It probably wouldn’t have mattered, though, because the night we were to perform it (up on a bridge), the seas were protesting. Things were rocking and rolling so much we couldn’t really dance, just hold on. We all laughed a lot about the train wreck that was our singing of Footloose. But no matter. We had fun, and we met these fun people.
I even met my dear friends George and Brad in the Casino.
Even though I am still the relief society president, I still tried out for plays this summer. I knew I couldn’t do something in the early summer because of the wedding, but I tried out for South Pacific that would run in August. I was even called back for the role of Bloody Mary, and I felt pretty good about that, but no. Didn’t get cast in that show.
Then I auditioned for Beauty and the Beast. There were SO many people at that audition. I was number 45 or something, and was there for 2 hours. All these young theater majors who aspire to play Belle are there. “What part are you auditioning for?” one of them asked me. In my mind I can just imagine her thoughts…’you’re so OLD and FAT. How could you even think of competing with someone young and pretty like me?’ (OK, so I might be exaggerating there a bit)
“Mrs. Potts,” I said.
“Oh. Well, good luck.”
I didn’t even get a call back for that show.
As I prepare for and go to these auditions, I always pray for guidance and help so that I can do my best and that I will feel good about the audition, no matter the outcome. I also leave it in the Lord’s hands and mention that I will understand if I am not supposed to be in this show (because of my calling, etc.), then I will understand. But I still take rejection hard. I especially hate it when I don’t get ANY word from the director. No email saying thank you for trying out, just…..crickets.
I am always up front about my Wednesday night commitments when they ask me to fill out the “any conflicts” part of the audition form. Maybe I shouldn’t be so honest, and just try to get out of stuff later.
This year I have auditioned for 5 different plays. At the last audition, for Nunsense, I mentioned in my prayers that if I weren’t going to be cast in the play, could I please not be called back? If I have to prepare and go to a call back, possibly miss something else, and if I go to a call back, then I get my hopes up and it’s just harder when I don’t get it.
So, when another audition came up, I prepared a song, and I went. I was surprised to see so many people there to try out for a children’s show that rehearses and performs during the day. Again, it’s a bunch of young 20 something theater majors, and then there’s me.
There ARE parts for middle aged women, you know. Few parts. I did see one person I knew who was also auditioning. I met him in my very first community theater play, Seussical the Musical. That was 9-10 years ago.
As we were all sitting around, trying to not let nerves overwhelm us so we can’t sing, I thought of this little girl and her “pep talk.”
I may need to do that a few times. Maybe not stand on the counter, but just the positive self talk is a plus. I can do anything! I can do anything great! Is that how we talk to ourselves in the morning? Maybe it should be.
After a few minutes it was my turn to go in. It’s two directors and an accompanist in a room. I plug in my phone, my music starts, and I sing my song. (A little bit in Love from Wonderfultown, in case you are wondering.) I’m a little nervous, so it’s not the best I’ve ever sung it, but I get through. Then, the director says, “That was nice, but could you sing it again, but this time…. sing it like you are in love with someone who doesn’t love you back, and you have to try to convince him with this song that you love him.”
My phone picks this moment to turn itself off, and is in the process of rebooting. Whoops. Let me just restart my phone. Small talk, carry on, go ahead and eat your food, sorry about this, awkward, more awkward, find the music app, find the song, “Actually, I meant for my phone to do that so I could just stall for a minute,” I said, then push play and sing it again.
So, NOW, since I have permission to throw myself into the song and I’m not worried about notes, I really ham it up and commit to the idea of a lovesick woman who has a hopeless crush. It was over the top, and it was fun. They were laughing, and I felt good about it.
That was it, and I left.
Miraculously, I checked my email the next day to see an email from the stage manager. That’s a good sign. It said, Good Morning! Thank you so much for auditioning for “Alice in Wonderland” we would like to have you join us in our work shop and production as the Queen of Hearts.
What? Queen of Hearts? Are you serious?! I’m so excited!
The show doesn’t run until February, with rehearsals starting in January, but it’s a new musical, so we need to “workshop” it this month for a week and then do a preview show at the end of the week. I don’t really know what that means, but I’ll find out soon.
I’m just so excited that I get to do a play again!
And who wouldn’t want to play the queen?
Monday night we went to the SLC airport to pick up our new exchange student, Katerina.
When we got there with our sign, we saw a bunch of people there already, and many of them had flags.
There were even news cameras from Fox13 there, and we were pretty sure they weren’t there to film us. Soon we realized they were there for soldiers coming home.
As they came down the walkway, we all clapped, and then watched the JOY on their faces as they embraced their family members. This little girl was right by us and was so darling just hugging her Daddy. Then she held his hand and didn’t want to let go.
It was quite a special sight, and we hoped we weren’t intruding.
Then, our new sister came down, and I’m glad we had a big sign, because her face lit up. I would be totally worried that I would arrive with no one to pick me up.
She’s a cute girl from Russia. Her English is once again impressive! She’s been here almost a whole day and we’ve gone to the Health Department, eaten Russian candy she brought, went to Wal-mart, and she’s now at a back to school party with the youth.
Here’s to another great exchange student experience.
It was a busy day, shortly after the wedding, and one of the cousins had been staying with us for a few days. Kids were busy “having fun” which meant that the house was pretty much a wreck. But two sisters in my ward were having birthdays, and I wanted to at least visit them.
When I stopped at the first house, the kids were so excited to see me. It was like they had never had a visitor, even though with twin babies in the house, I’m pretty sure they have had a myriad of people coming to help. Ashley came down the stairs holding one of the babies and apologized that she was in her pajamas. They were trying to pack for a weekend away, and she was just doing laundry. I told her that was perfectly fine, and asked if I could hold that darling baby of hers. The 3 year old, Savannah, took my hand and said, “Come see my playroom!”
Not sure if Ashley wanted me to explore her house, I asked if that was ok. Ashley was a bit frazzled, and I didn’t want to add to her stress. “I’m sure she doesn’t want to go down to our messy playroom,” she said. But I couldn’t disappoint my cute little friend, so I went with her to the playroom. She was so excited to show me the barbies, the blocks, and trains. It was fun to watch her and her brother dance around and show me things. I felt privileged to be allowed into their world. After a few minutes, Mom came down. We chatted for a few minutes, I wished her a happy birthday and gave her a small gift. Savannah held my hand as we walked upstairs. It was like we had been friends forever. She even wanted to walk me out to the car.
What joy I received from that short visit!
Later that day, after another visit with a sister (that wasn’t quite so joyful), picking up a little guy from school for a friend, and then dropping off cousin at Hang time for a party with his other cousins, I was done. I had spent my whole day serving, and I was done.
However, I was already in Orem, and I had planned to visit a sweet older sister in my ward who was in a rehab place after she broke her hip. She’d been there 4 weeks and I hadn’t visited. I had promised her daughter-in-law that I would go that week. Today was supposed to be the day. But I’m tired, and I’ve been out of the house all day, and I want to go home, my inner voice whined.
But if not today, when? You are right here. You said you would do it today. My other inner voice protested.
It was a struggle. Right there, in the Hang time parking lot. I said a little prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help me. Asking him to give me the strength and the desire to do what I knew in my heart I needed to do. After I finished my prayer, I took a deep breath, and put the car in drive. I didn’t exactly go RIGHT to the care center, I went through the McDonald’s Drive through to get myself a large diet coke FIRST, and then I went to the care center. Hey, it was 2:00 and I hadn’t had lunch, so don’t judge. At least I didn’t order food. I happily slurped my cold refreshing drink until I got to the care center.
I went inside and asked around for Shirley, and was directed to her room. Her husband was there with her, but they were both so welcoming! I found out how she had been learning to walk again, and she was doing even better than before she broke her hip. Her new physical therapist was such a blessing, and was teaching her how to walk, even with the neuropothy in her feet. She had walked all the way down the hall today! Amazing! I had never seen her walk before. She’s been in a wheelchair all the time I’ve known her.
I wasn’t there more than half an hour, but it was a good visit. Good for her, but even better for me. Why was it so hard to make myself do that tiny bit of service? I came back to the car and said another prayer, thanking my Heavenly Father for allowing me to feel such a sweet spirit of love with this couple. I also repented of my stubborn and selfish spirit earlier.
Service is a blessing.
No, it’s not always fun, and it’s hardly ever convenient, but whenever you serve, you WILL be blessed.
Matthew 25: 34-40
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
I had the day planned, including picking the Chinese girls up quicklyso we could go up to the Conference center for the King’s Singers concert. I have loved them for a while, especially after they were guests at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert. They were so nice, and even talked to us backstage. And their voices….AMAZING. But even before that concert, I fell in love with this song from a PBS commercial.
I didn’t know who was singing this song, but I loved it. My sweet husband found out that it was the King’s Singers, and he bought me a CD with that song on it. The rest of the songs are kind of hokey, but THAT one..that ONE song is worth it.
Don’t believe me?
Listen to one of my all time favorite Christmas song arrangements. Hearing this one just takes me back to waiting in the stairwell keeping our bells quiet for our entrance in the next song. Every night, I just thought it sounded like angels. I’m listening to it right now and it’s such a calming song! I should make it my ring-tone.
Anyway, they are here with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir again for the Pioneer Day concert. Tonight. Right now.
Rewind a bit to about lunch time. One of the kids mentioned that some things in the freezer were mushy. I didn’t do anything right away, except to say to make sure they CLOSE THE DOOR! Jenna had a group coming over to go to space camp, and we were trying to make sure everyone was here, etc. Once we got that mess figured out, I had forgotten about the freezer. Later, when it was time for me to leave to go and pick up the Chinese girls, I remembered to check the freezer in the garage. Ugh. No WHOOSH should when I open or close it, which tells me the seal is not properly sealing, and things are all mushy and there’s a lot of goo on the floor. But I don’t have time to deal with it.
So, from the car, I called my daughters and asked them to
a-go and get some ice from the grocery store
b-start taking the meat out and putting it in the coolers
c-throw away stuff that is dripping
And I texted Ryan to see if he could come home a little early and assess the situation.
As I got onto the freeway, I got a text from the exchange group telling me that the buses from park city were late, and the students should be about 15 minutes late. Since I was driving to Orem, I decided to run into Costco quickly with those 15 extra minutes. I couldn’t get anything that needed to be frozen or even refrigerated right away, since I still had to wait for the girls.
Then I got to the school by 4:45 to pick up the girls. No Chinese kids. Listen to music, text a few people in my ward, trying to be productive. At about 5:20, they arrived. They had been to the outlet mall in park city, and every single student had at least one bag.
I had already given up hope that we would be going to the concert, which was good. At least I wasn’t super stressed trying to get home in time. I knew it was a lost cause.
By the time I got four girls dropped off and our two girls home, it was almost 6. Ryan was almost finished cleaning out the freezer. Three coolers full of food were on our counter, with lots of food that didn’t fit in the coolers. Time to start cooking. For dinner, we had cream puffs, taquitos, mozzarella sticks, and fried rice (all from the freezer). Everyone seemed to enjoy our hodge podge dinner.
After dinner, I had the pleasure of putting the food BACK into the freezer.
The funny thing is, that LAST night at book club, Susan, Tess and Melinda were commiserating about their respective freezer thaw disasters. Ugh. I had to text them and thank them for jinxing me.
So, here we are…tired, sticky, a little bit grumpy, and NOT at the Kings’ Singers concert. Maybe I can scrounge up ticket for tomorrow night. If not, I’ll survive. I’ll just listen to my favorite song about 10 times.
There is a stack of gifts in the front room. We brought home a car load of gifts from the reception and they have been sitting there waiting for the bride and groom. As the week has gone by, more and more people have brought gifts over. Cards have arrived in the mail.
People are SO generous!
We laugh about some of the gifts we received for our wedding. I don’t remember people being quite so generous. One of our gifts was a blender. There was a card with it, with about 10 names on it. We just laughed. The blender can’t have cost more than $25, and if 10 people went in on that gift, they each gave $2.50? Ok. Another gift was a dishware set for 4. Brown glass plates from the 70’s. Sort of like this.
There were also cups and saucers, I believe. The best part was that the box had been opened and taped back up. Was this a gift for their wedding back in 1979 and they regifted it to us? Don’t know. We laughed about that one and thought we would keep that until we had a cabin someday. But my dear friend, Tess, saw that set of plates a year or two ago when she was in our basement for some reason, and she really liked them. So, I gave them to her. Someone might as well use them.
We also got a multitude of Coleman coolers. Popular gift back in 1992.
Some of our gifts got returned, some we kept, but have not used. I still have several fancy bowls still in the boxes. I thought I would have more of a need for fancy glass bowls than I do.
I have one of these party balls in the basement. Never been opened. Maybe I’ll give it to one of the kids to take to college or something.
But these cute kids came back from their honeymoon and we had a little present opening party last night at Emily’s house.
There were piles of presents! It was like Christmas, but all the gift were for them.
I am blown away with the love and generosity. So many gifts! So many cards, gift cards, and money. I am amazed. And I feel like I need to step it up personally in the gift department. I always buy things when they are on sale, sometimes even with a rebate. I do not spend $50 on wedding gifts, unless it’s a group gift for a niece of nephew. But so many people have given gifts of $25 and even $50 in cash or gift cards. One couple from our ward came up to us at a play before it started and we were chatting for a minute. He pulled out his wallet and said, “We won’t be able to come to the reception, but give this to them for us,” and handed Ryan some cash. $50. Wow!
Yes, it’s been a while since we got married, so I do understand that things are more expensive now, and we live in an area where there are a lot of well off people, but still, I was shocked. And thankful.
The gifts they got the most of? Pyrex dish sets. I think they got 5 of those. And bowls. Plastic bowls, nice glass bowls, heavy ceramic bowls. Lots of bowls. I didn’t, however, see plates. Maybe they already got some plates, or maybe that’s one of the things they will have to buy. They did say they were going to buy a portable AC unit with some of that cash/gift card money, so that’s a good thing. Their apartment is quite hot with no air. They did get a garbage can and a dustpan, which I thought were nice and useful, even a whiteboard and a bookshelf.
I also learned some good wedding gift tips. Write what your gift is inside the card, or even on the envelope. That way, if the card gets separated from the gift, the happy couple can figure out who gave it. Or, one person had stamped their name and address on the outside of the card, so that no one has to look up their address to write a thank you note.
And even though they registered, they still got multiples of the exact same thing–from the registry. I guess it doesn’t keep track of things bought if they don’t scan it and say it’s from the registry.
As I looked over the pile of presents, I thought, “What would be a really unique gift?” A fire extinguisher. A hammer and tape measure. A level. Command strips. A drill.
Maybe next time.
But, if you sent or brought a gift for them, please know how much we all appreciate you! It’s so nice to see this cute couple get started as a couple and to have the basics.
Wow! Even if you are the groom’s parent’s, there is a lot to do to get ready for a wedding.
But I’m glad they got married in June, as early as they could. Short engagement is good, and then it doesn’t drag on all summer. Getting the invitations out was kind of a mess. But hopefully we keep that list updated for when we have the next wedding. And then there’s the stress every time an invitation comes back. Do you try to find the correct address and send it again? Do you just email the person, or do you figure they are lost forever and you don’t need to try to track them down further?
As the groom’s mom, I decided I wanted to host a family dinner the night before the wedding at our church. That way I could decorate and do some of the fun and creative stuff, and we could invite a lot of family and still keep the costs down. My friend, who’s daughter got married in May, pointed me to a fabulous local caterer, and I was very happy with how the food turned out.
Even though the location was simple, we tried our best to make it pretty. I was going for a garden theme, so I brought all my plants, watering cans, and cute garden decor. I also arranged with a few neighbors to borrow some of their plants.
When we went to set up, I wondered what we should do with the blackboard, and I think Ryan said, “Oh, it’s just like their announcement,” So, we got Megan started in copying the writing from the announcement on the chalkboard.
On each table there were bird cages filled with greenery. I had snipped a few branches from my laurel bushes, and also some clematis. It looked nice. We set each place with a plate, fork and knife, napkin, cup and a temple cookie in a cute bag.
It was a nice evening! And it was wonderful that so many friends and family of both the bride and groom could come. I think we had 78-80 in attendance. Of course, when it was over, we had to take everything BACK that we had borrowed. We had more help cleaning up, so the tear down was quicker than the set up, but we were also tired. We had lots of silverware and plates to wash, too, and had to wait for the caterers to finish washing up all their dishes before we could start in the kitchen. Thankfully, I have some dear friends who helped me clean up. We were there until nearly 9:30 washing dishes, while Ryan took a few loads of plants and other garden things like our wrought iron bench back home. They plopped all the plants on the porch, after returning the ones they had borrowed.
After I was home and finally in my pajamas, Cole remembered that he needed his white pants hemmed for the temple. That will just have to wait until morning, I told him. Emily invited all her bridesmaids to sleep over at her house, so the girls grabbed some pajamas, and went over there. So fun.
In the morning, we were trying to get hair done, sew up those white pants, get the girls’ hair done, etc. 10:00 came quickly and we got in the car. Megan was going to drive herself, Natalie, Jenna and John and meet us at the Draper temple at 11:30, after the wedding. One friend called me on the way and said that they just realized the wedding was in Draper, not American fork, and they might be late. No worries, though, somehow they made it on time.
They let the parents go up to the sealing room before everyone else, and we wait quietly. It’s so beautiful!! After a few minutes, friends and family start to come in. Wow! After everyone was seated, they brought in the bride and groom. Cole was seated by me. The sealing was so special, so touching. During that ceremony, I remembered my own wedding, and I looked across to see Ryan. And so many of our families were there to show their love to Cole and Emily.
It was beautiful.
It’s come full circle. We were just two stupid kids when we got married almost 24 years ago. Look at us now. We have 5 children, and our oldest son is starting his own family with a girl he adores.
Here’s my first picture of them as man and wife. They come out of the temple to a large group of family and friends who are there for them. To show love and support to both of our families. It’s overwhelming the amount of love we felt.
Then there were pictures. So many pictures.
This is my new family. Six kids instead of five. Isn’t it wonderful how a family is constantly growing and changing, all while staying the same?
One of the smart things we did was purchase and bring 5 large umbrellas. They aren’t expensive, just from IKEA, but it helped to have some shade during the picture taking. And we could even use them as props.
The reception that night was also beautiful. Yes, it was long, but it was so amazing to have So many people come in support of us and Cole and Emily and the Beus family. Wow. It was overwhelming. So many people came through the line to tell us how much they love Emily, how special she is, and how much she loves Cole. Such a fun evening full of love. I don’t have a single complaint about the reception, and I hope Emily and her mom feel the same way.
Now the bride and groom are on their honeymoon. Today they spent the day in Disneyland. And the packages and cards keep arriving.