Halloween – And Our Failed Corn Maze Attempt

October 31, 2011 - 2:33 pm Comments Off

I (Erika) took the day off work, borrowed my niece, Chloe and joined my sister-in-law, Sarah and Kendyl for a trip to Cornbelly Corn maze at Thanksgiving point.  Who would have thought that they would be closed on a beautiful sunny Halloween.  So we had to change plans and we took the girls to see the dinosaur museum.

We had a great time with the interactive displays.  The girls especially loved  playing in the sand and water at the “erosion” table.

One area had dinosaur sounds and Kendyl said they were scary.  Chloe who is not afraid of anything quickly covered her ears and made the best facial expression.  She wasn’t really scared :)

Next the girls got to dig in the sand for dinosaur bones.  The museum provided paint bushes so they could uncover the bones like paleontologists do when they find real dinosaur bones.

Afterwards we went outside to and had snacks and let the girls run and play on the grass.  We had a great time and the girls are excited to go trick-or-treating tonight!

10 Day Caribbean Cruise with the Martins

October 22, 2011 - 2:26 pm Comments Off

Mom and Dad Martin were finishing their mission in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and decided that they should end with a cruise since they had been living only 15 minutes from the cruise terminals.  They invited all of Jared’s siblings and Kyle and Elise came.  We of course decided to go with them, although we did not book the actual cruise until a week before we left.  We did not want to schedule too early in case there was an opportunity to be placed with a baby.

Saturday we flew in to Fort Lauderdale  and spent the night with Mom and Dad.  Sunday we went to church and then boarded the ship for 10 days in paradise!!

Day 1 – Ship day.  I enjoyed a good book, sun, the pools, exercising and of course good food.  Jared enjoyed exploring the ship, watching movies on the deck of the pool, exercising and the food.

Day 2 – Ship day.  Relaxing…more of the above.

Day 3 – Antigua – We booked a shore excursion and went kayaking and then boarded a boat to go to bird island to snorkel.  This excursion was too structured for us.  The guides required that we stay with them while kayaking and then when we were snorkeling they instructed those who had no experience stay by the boat and those with experience stay with the guide.  We like being able to explore on our own.  I saw my first squid while snorkeling!

Day 4 – Barbados – Boarded a Submarine and explored the depths of the sea… a coral reef and a ship wreck.  We got down to 142 feet below the surface.  What a great trip!  Next time I want to go scuba diving with Jared.  I just need to get him certified.

Day 5 – St Lucia – We booked a tour when we got off the ship which can be risky, but we had a great time.  We took a catamaran around the island to Soufriere (french for Sulfur Air), boarded a taxi and drove through the active crater of a volcano and then to a waterfall and back to the catamaran.  We stopped by a beach and were able to get out and swim.  As soon as we dropped anchor some of the island natives came up on kayaks to sell conch shells and other items.  I have always wanted a large conch shell to display on a shelf so we purchased one and then went for a nice swim.  It was a great tour!

Day 6 – St Kitts – We found a local taxi driver/tour guide in the port and had him take us around the island.  He took us through town and showed us many of the old churches and buildings and told us of the history of the island.  He took us by some ancient petroglyphs, one supposedly helped with fertility so we got out of the taxi so that we could touch it and take advantage of it’s “power”.  ;-)  We drove through a rain forest, toured the location where they manufacture Batik fabrics.  We then drove up a hill where we could view both the caribbean sea and the Atlantic sea.

Day 7- St Thomas – It was Sunday so we went to sacrament meeting with Mom, Dad, Elise and Kyle.  It was an expensive trip as the taxi driver charged us $8.00 per person to take us.  We found the local bus to get a ride back to the ship.  It should have cost $2.00 per person but the driver went off his route to take us back and then charged us $5.00 per person.  After we got back, Jared and I grabbed our snorkel gear and took a taxi to a beach with a great reef and spent the afternoon swimming with the fish.

Day 8 -Bahamas.  Spent the day enjoying the white sand, blue ocean, snorkeling, and the sun.

Day 9 – Ship Day and Formal Dinner and enjoying our last second course of dessert, chocolate obsession.  YUMM!!

Day 10 – Arrived back in Fort Lauderdale, disembarked, flight home.

Mary Poppins – The Musical

September 22, 2011 - 10:01 pm Comments Off

Jared took me to see Mary Poppins tonight.  We had great seats and enjoyed a night out on the town.

Mary Poppins was fun to watch but not our favorite.  I love the Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  Jared’s favorites are Wicked, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Jared keeps promising to take me to New York to enjoy the arts.  He lived in the New York area for 2 years after he graduated from BYU and know all the great theaters and is definitely a connoisseur of the arts.

Our new car…Road Trip!!!

September 7, 2011 - 1:47 pm Comments Off

After having a number of problems with our Endeavor we finally were able to sell it.  Happy Day!!

So we needed to purchase a new car, something that would be good for kids and that can handle the canyon.  After being a one car family for about 2 weeks we found the car we wanted but it was in Ohio.

It took a few days to negotiate with the dealer over the phone and Friday morning we finalized the price, booked airline tickets and were on a plane to Columbus by 11:30 am.  (Call us crazy…)

We arrived in Columbus Friday evening and picked up our “new” Rav4 Saturday morning and then we were off on our adventure.

A good friend recommended a deli in Columbus that we thought we would try.  When we got there there was a huge crowd and we both were interested in the same sandwich, a pastrami and corn beef with coleslaw on rye.  Jared suggested that I try another sandwich and we would “share”.    That sandwich was so good that Jared did not want to share, but I was able to get a few yummy bites. :-)   There pickles were amazing and we ended up going back in to purchase a dozen more to bring home with us.  So if you are ever in Columbus you must try Katzinger’s Deli!!!

The next 3 days we traveled through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming and finally back to Utah.

We spent a good portion of Sunday visiting Carthage and Nauvoo and would love to go back and spend more time there.

We also stopped at Mt. Rushmore.  It was amazing to see the presidents carved into the side of the mountain and learn about the history and the artist.

On the way through Wyoming we stopped and spent some time hiking to Martin’s Cove where the Martin Handcart company stayed during an incredible snow storm.  It made me realize what great sacrifices were made by the early pioneers and what trials some of these faithful saints endured.  It was well worth the stop.

All in all we had a great trip and would happily do it again – and we love the new car!

Just another Saturday…

July 30, 2011 - 2:18 pm Comments Off

My sister Lisa is in town still and her kids wanted to hike to the “Y” at BYU. We decided to join them and got up early so that we could leave Mom & Dad’s with the kids and David at 8 AM. Fortunately it was a cooler day which made for a wonderful hike. Everyone made it to the top of the “Y” even Elaine (with Nutmeg’s help to distract her). When we got back to the car we decided that everyone deserved ice cream from the BYU creamery. YUMM!!!

Here is a picture of us at the top of the “Y”.

Later that day Jared and Dad took the boys and Elaine to visit the Copper Mine. They loved it. The machinery was amazing! A boy’s dream to see it up close! It is the largest copper mine in the world and the equipment they use is HUGE!!!

Here is a picture of just the tire for some of the trucks. It is 12 feet tall!!!

Here is one of the trucks that use the large 12 foot tires:

When they came back we had dinner with everyone and then went swimming. Jared and I love playing with the kids in the water. Our nieces and nephews love to be splashed and thrown. It is tiring but we love it too!

We went home exhausted but had a great day!

Erika’s Family Reunion July 17th to July 24th

July 26, 2011 - 2:04 pm Comments Off

After about a week at home we headed back to the Oregon coast for my family reunion. Mom and Dad had rented a beautiful large house with an amazing view of Cannon Beach. This home was actually large enough for our entire family.

We had a great time playing with all 18 of my nephews and nieces. Jared earned uncle of the year for spending 5 hours in the ice cold water jumping waves with the kids. All of the adults were amazed at his endurance in the cold water. The kids loved having an adult so that they could venture out much deeper than they would have been allowed on their own.

The house we rented had a huge yard and we played many games of red-rover, soccer, badmitten, tag and more with the kids.

Uncle Corom brought his rocket and the first launch went perfectly (about 50 feet up) so he used a stronger “engine” and the rocket went about 200 feet up. Unfortunately on the way down it was blown into the top of one of the trees. We had a great laugh watching all the men try to get the rocket down. Jared videoed the whole thing. Here is the link if you wish to have a good laugh. (Link to be added in the near future).

I had fun baking cookies with my nieces and everyone enjoyed eating them. :)

Wednesday we had a photographer come and take a large family photo. She also took some photos of Jared and I. We have not had professional photos of us taken since our wedding. It will be nice to have a professional photo to post and for our adoption cards.

On Friday we had a bonfire at the beach and roasted Starbursts and made S’mores. Most of us ended up with marshmallow and chocolate on our faces and had to wash off in the ocean water.

My sister Lisa had driven from Texas with her five children and husband. They are staying in Utah with Mom and Dad after the reunion. She was not looking forward to another 14 hours in the car with her 14 month old. Jared and I volunteered to take Lily (the 14 month old) on the plane with us. Mom thought we were crazy and Lisa loved the idea!

We were a little unsure of how the trip back would go. Lily did very well. We made sure that she had time to stop and play at a park before we drove the 2 hours to the Portland airport. We made it through check in and security and then let her run and tire herself out before we boarded the plane.

She did very well. She only fussed for a few minutes towards the end of the flight. Jared was happy to hold her the entire flight and would not share with me.

I was able to snap a picture of the two of them on the plane. It was taken with my phone and the lighting was not very good so it is a little blurry, but you can get the feel of it.

Jared’s Family Reunion July 2- July 5

July 6, 2011 - 1:33 pm Comments Off

We just enjoyed a wonderful reunion with Jared’s extended family. The Smith’s hold a reunion every other year and it is usually on the Oregon Coast at Lincoln City. This year Mom and Dad Martin were not able to join us as they still have a few more months left serving their mission in Florida. We missed them but still had a great time getting together with Jared’s siblings, Aunts, Uncles and cousins. We had beautiful sunny weather (although not always warm due to the wind on the beach).

Jared and the other men and boys put on wet suits and rented boogie boards and played in the waves. They had a great time! I have done this many times as well but I prefer to go when it is actually warm outside. :)

While Jared was playing in the water, I was playing with my 2 year old niece in the sand. We built sand castles and then Kendyl got to jump on them. We also went in the water and jumped the waves. She had so much fun. I love playing with her.

I also got a number of photos of Kendyl flying a kite with her mother.

Another day the wind was so strong on the coast that we decided to go to the lake. We found a small sandy beach and other family members joined us and we ended up with a nice group of little kids. The water was warm and calm for swimming and wading. We decided that we should take advantage of the lake more often when the ocean beach is too cold. :)

We had a very low tide while we were there which made for great tide pools and access to caves that the waves have cut out of the rocks. The kids (and the adults) were amazed by the amount of sea life that was on display at in the tide pools. The caves were interesting and some had drift wood that had been wedged up in the ceiling by the powerful waves. We live in an amazing world!

We also enjoyed the Forth of July Fireworks. We had a great view from the house that looked down the beach and we saw a number of private shows as well as the big Lincoln City show. It was wonderful! I love watching fireworks especially with friends and family.

What a great reunion!!! We were sad to leave everyone and look forward to the next one.

Car Trip Bags for my Nieces and Nephews

June 23, 2011 - 8:53 am Comments Off

My sister’s family is taking a very long road trip and is not looking forward to the long hours in the car with 5 kids. I decided to help make the trip a little less stressful.

I was able to find a number of great ideas on the web and then made a bag for each child and have filled them with car appropriate crafts and activities.

It was fun choosing fabric for each child and then creating a pattern for the bags.

Some of the ideas that I found:

  • Give each child a cookie sheet. It works as a lap board and can hold small pieces. You can add magnets to game pieces and draw checker boards or other games on it.

  • Car bingo and gummy bears. Check out these bingo cards.


  • Pipe cleaners to make animals and other items.
  • Aluminum Foil. Kids can create jewelry, hats, animals, allow the kids to express their creativity.
  • Origami. Fish, Frog, Turtles, Boats, Stars, Flowers. Hours of fun.
  • Crosswords and word searches.
  • Items from the dollar store. Coloring books, and a bag of balls.
  • Paper dolls and clothing to color.
  • Familyfun.com has great papercraft ideas. Just cut the needed paper before you leave.

Long Lost Friends

June 17, 2011 - 6:52 pm Comments Off

We had the opportunity to have some old friends (Joy and Peter Rassmussen) over for dinner. They are in town on vacation this week and it was fun catching up with them and their children. It’s quite a coincidence since I was roommates with Joy for a few months in Portland and Jared was roommates with Peter when they lived in Connecticut both about 13 years ago. (We wish that they would have introduced us to each other… maybe we could have met much earlier).

It was great catching up and reminiscing about old times. We also enjoyed a spontaneous game of dodge ball with the kids. Although the kids had the advantage being at the top of the stairs with the parents sitting in the living room. I should have taken a picture.

Rowe’s Baby Blessing

June 12, 2011 - 9:09 pm Comments Off

We were honored to participate in the blessing of our nephew this weekend. It is wonderful to see the priesthood in action and to feel of the love Heavenly Father has for his little ones.

We got to hold Kendyl (our 2 year-old niece) during sacrament and she and the other nephews and nieces loved my “Mary Poppins” church bag. I have to admit that I love the toys in the bag almost as much as the kids. :)

We were also able to get some pictures of Jared and I. I love the ones where we are having fun. I especially love the lilacs (one of my favorite flowers).