Category Archives: My crazy life

October or How to keep 3 kids busy at home during fall break!

October was a lot of fun.  We got to watch all sessions of conference this year, and the girls tried to pay attention!

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I had girls taking over my bed, hanging out in boxes and I got a bit of not Halloween sewing done, we also celebrated the first of college football season!

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We celebrated Jeff’s birthday.  His birthday always lands right around fall break for the school, so most people are out of town, but we got to go out and celebrate with a few friends at the new restaurant, Fazendeiro.  We love that place, good food and a great bakery next door.  We had a nice night with just the adults and then headed to Lina’s for cake with all the kids.  I was pretty proud of that cake, graham carrot with cream cheese frosting… yummmmm!

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On Jeff’s actual birthday we headed out to the new amusement park, Ulembo.  We wanted to go bowling, it was an experience!  We showed up, and it cost 1000 kwz each to enter the park and then we got to the bowling alley.  It looked good, and then we told the lady we wanted to bowl.  She explained that it was 1000 kwz for 5 rolls… rolls, not frames, not games… ROLLS!  The floor was slanted, the score computers didn’t work, and the first lane we were on only dropped 7 pins when it reset.  It was a truly Angolan experience, topped off by the lady telling us the reason the bowling alley wasn’t up to snuff was all the Chinese  fault!  Angola!

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The next week was Fall Break and the girls were off of school.  We made several Halloween decorations, had several tea parties with friends, had a great day of swimming at a new compound nearby and sewed a little.  The girls did a great job sewing their skirts for the tea party, they sewed every last stitch on those skirts, and helped cut the fabric.  I did all the ironing and pinning!  Hattie needed a new skirt too, so she didn’t feel bad!

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Also during the break Sophie had her first aerial class with Ms. Amanda… she was thrilled beyond belief, and little sore the next day!

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I spent a good amount of time working on Halloween costumes, the outfits weren’t too hard but the head piece for Sophie’s Ahsoka costume was a craft dilemma!  Here is the evolution of a headpiece of a Jedi Warrior!

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The girls had fun at the park, my friend KC was super nice and took some cute pictures of my girls!

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More ballet fun!

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We got to “Boo” some neighbors, and I loved my cute monsters!

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Violet made soap at school, and was so proud, and just wouldn’t hold still for a picture of it!

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Hattie had a playgroup Halloween party and was super pleased that she could dress up in her costume!

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So much fun in October… Halloween pictures coming up next!

Amsterdam 2015

On our flight back to Angola we had a 13 hour layover in Amsterdam.  We decided to fight the jet lag and have a day exploring the city.  eE had a lot of fun.  WE took the Red Bus/Canal Tour.  Visited the Rijks Museum and toured the house of Anne Frank.  The girls were great, and, though, we all fell asleep at some point during our drive/float around the city, we got to see a good amount of neat things.  It was a cool city, and we are glad we got a chance to visit it.  Maybe one day we will get to see more of it!

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Fun In California- August Fun 2015

After we returned from Paris we decided to celebrate Hattie’s birthday right away.  My mom was still in town and we figured the weekend would be a good time to celebrate.  We had Dickie’s BBQ and Kara’s cupcakes and a fun time with friends and family!  Hattie loved the presents, and the cupcakes, but was very distressed about the whole idea of fire on her cake!  She was very unhappy when we asked her to blow out the candles!

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Right after the party we had to take Grandma back to the airport.  We were so glad she could come play for one more week with the girls before we returned to Angola.


The next few days we played and visited with cousins and packed up last minute things.  We finally took the girls bowling with Dad.

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When Hattie’s actual birthday arrived we had to celebrate at our favorite donut place!

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That afternoon we had our Pixar Tour.  We had won it during a stake auction back in April, and Tara was nice enough to bid for us.  We had such a great time walking around, seeing all the private collection art and seeing all the cool statues!  Hattie was not a fan of the giant figures, but the other kids were over the moon!

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And with that, our time in the US was over.  Sad face!  We were off to start another school year (our last, we think) in Angola and return to our regularly scheduled life!

Paris 2015- Last Part

After we drove back to Jeff and I had a macaron class, which was my birthday present from him.  We arrived and got to make macarons with 3 different fillings, raspberry jam, caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache.  It was a lot of fun, though I am pretty sure Jeff checked out after a bit!  We learned a bunch of different techniques and then got to taste all the cookies, delicious!

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For dinner we tried to give Jeff his wish of Hard Rock Cafe, but it wasn’t worth it to wait over an hour… so we just took a picture!  And like that our Paris trip was over… so sad!  It was so much fun!


Paris 2015- The Loire Valley

We arrived in the Loire Valley and I was so pleased with our cute Chateau!  We headed to the pool first, so that we could enjoy some relaxation!  We ordered a couple Cokes and they came with delicious mini muffins… and we knew we were in a fabulous place!  we also went on a nice bike ride around the property.  I think we rode every walking trail in the place.  for dinner that night we headed into a nearby village and chose a restaurant.  The guy didn’t speak any English and half his menu wasn’t available.  We ended up getting some very delicious pizzas and the most delicious dessert with homemade caramel sauce. So good!

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The next morning we headed out to visit a couple different chateaux.  The first one we visited was Chateau de Chenoncheau.  Henri the Second took the castle fro the original owners and gifted it to his mistress.  His wife, Catherine de Medici was furious about this gift and when Henri died she took it over as her own.  It is called the Women’s Castle, because so much of it was designed by and for women.  I loved how it spanned the river, there were people canoeing, boating and kayaking right through the tunnels under the big walkway.  The trees surrounding the place were gorgeous, as were all the gardens.  Then we took a very short couple minutes to master the labyrinth on the grounds!

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Our next stop was Chateau Cheverny.  The owners of this chateau still live on the top floor of this “hunting lodge.”  It houses a ton of antique furniture pieces, and 100s of hunting dogs.  It also was the inspiration for TinTin.

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That night we swam a little more, and then Jeff and I had dinner reservations at the restaurant… the Michelin Star restaurant at the chateau.  It was part of my anniversary present from Jeff, and I was excited!  We ate so well that night.  I tried to get pics of some of the food, but we also didn’t want to be those people, so we tried to sneak some.  They started us with a couple little dishes, that of course, the described in French, so we don’t know exactly what they were, and Jeff made me try everything first to see if he would like it!  We got bites of some cheesy things with a green foam, a crab bite and a cantaloupe and foie gras skewer.  Jeff tried the foam and another green bite, but left me the crab and the liver.  Jeff ordered a caesar salad for his appetizer and I had what was described on the menu as “La Salade de Homard dt Collection de Tomates” or Lobster Salad and tomato collection, with raw fruit and vegetable mignonette and a peach vinaigrette.  Let’s just say when I ate that dish I knew I was going to be happy the rest of the night!  It was delicious and perfectly done.  Yummmmmmmmy!

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Then we both ordered the beef for our main dish.  “Le Boeuf” poached Domaine style with artichoke and celery crips, “barigoule” juice with truffles.  I think there was also some cheesy something in between the meat and the green… it was so hard to tell what there was on the plate, it was all so well cooked, but wasn’t easily identifiable.


Before our desserts came we got these little chocolate tarts.  Then Jeff received his “La Fraise” the strawberry, light cream with white chocolate and tonka bean.  I ordered “La Framboise” the raspberry, stuffed with blackcurrant, basil and lemon sorbet and a raspberry jam coulis.  I am kinda drooling just thinking about it… it was all so good!

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It was a great night, and they don’t even bring a check at the end of the night… so you never know that you just paid with your first born and a right arm!


The food for breakfast was also delicious, fresh yogurt and fruit preserves, fresh pastries, all kinds of delicious everything… the last day we went to eat before leaving and finished right before the rain came.


The next morning we checked out and headed to one last chateau before returning to Paris.  Chateau Chambord.  It had double staircases designed by DaVinci, 440 rooms and 365 fireplaces.  Pretty impressive.

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And then back to Paris for our last afternoon!

Paris 2015- Part 3

We had originally wanted to take a day trip to Normandy, turns out, it is  super expensive for a 5 hour visit and a lot of traveling.  So instead Jeff and I headed to Giverny which is where Monet lived and painted his water lilies.  It was beautiful, amazing, and so inspiring. Such a beautiful place to visit and so much fun.

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The next morning we headed to the Eiffel Tower tour.  We booked a tour in order to get front of the line privileges, and it was totally worth it!  We headed to the second level, and then Rachel, Jeff and I headed to the third and top level.  Sean didn’t want to go any higher, and wouldn’t get close to the edge.  The views were pretty cool up there!  Jeff and I walked down to the first level and then took the elevator down to the bottom, that would have been a whole bunch of stairs!

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After our trip up to the top of the Eiffel Tower we picked up our rental car and headed to our Chateau in the Loire Valley.

Paris 2015- Part 2

Our second full day in Paris we started by walking to Napoleon’s Tomb.  It was in this massive building, HUMONGOUS!  And then you saw the tomb, and it was just so ridiculously large, it was crazy… impressive crazy.

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Our next stop was the Rodin Museum, which was really a Rodin sculpture garden, it was pretty, gorgeous and so nice to just walk around and see his amazing work.  Apparently Rodin had envisioned this place to house his art and never got to see it come together.

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Our next stop of the day was Versailles.  We had heard the line would be shorter in the afternoon- LIES!  We stood in line for a good long time, even though we had tickets already.  It was crazy busy inside, and kept funneling together, so it got super crowded all of a sudden, and it was nuts.  But the stuff inside was so extremely over the top, and extravagant, amazing.  My favorite part were the gardens, you could walk around and get lost forever.  At the end we also visited Marie Antoinette’s summer home, unfortunately my pictures came out dark…

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After Versailles and dinner Jeff and I walked around the Eiffel Tower to see the lights sparkle and flash at 10.  It was so pretty, we had to take a few more pictures!


The next day we started at Musee l’Orangerie.  We went to see the wall to wall Monet water lilies, and they did not disappoint!  Amazing!  The downstairs held a private collection from an art dealer who was friends with Picasso and his artist friends.  It was a cool collection, organized by artist, and very interesting.  But really, the Monet’s were the reason you visited this museum.

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After the museum we headed to Sacre Cour.  The views up there were amazing, and the sandwich I ate at lunch was KILLER!  We had a good time walking around the cute shops around the cathedral.  We also bought some gorgeous artwork… which later got stolen from our suitcase- I am not sure I am over it yet. (update, since I wrote this… it has been found in a random location in Kelly’s house!)

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Later that day we stopped at Luxemburg Gardens.  We also at some very delicious gelato, so deliciously yummy.  The gardens were perfect and manicured beautifully, people were picnicing and reading everywhere.

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That night we ate dinner at the booths near the Eiffel Tower, crepes, kebab and giant sausage (yummy street food) and watched the tower sparkle.  It was pretty hard getting a good picture of it, but we tried!


Paris 2015- Part 1

Jeff and I were so lucky to get a week just for us in France!  Kelly and my mom watched the girls for us, and we met up in Paris for a great week of being tourists!  Sean and Rachel joined us as well.

Jeff arrived Friday morning and waited at the airport for me to arrive that afternoon.  We headed to the Shangri-La and then walked around Paris looking for food and keeping me awake so that I could adjust to the new timezone.  We found the Eiffel Tower right away and even though I know it is a cliche, it was totally cool!

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After a delicious lunch of burgers and Croque Madames we walked around Paris a little bit and decided to head up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.  The views were amazing, but the stairs were killer… and a little dizzying.

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That night we found our friend KC’s favorite macaron place, right near our hotel, and tried a few!  They were absolutely delicious!  We might have headed there several times during our time in Paris.


The next day we got up early to head to the Louvre with Sean and Rachel.  We tried to get there early enough to miss the crowds, and though it wasn’t entirely a success, we missed the majority of people.  We saw the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and Venus de Milo.  Along with a whole lot of other cool art, and Napoleon’s apartments.  We stayed for a couple hours, just walking around and seeing what we could, it is such a giant museum.

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Then we headed to Musee d’Orsay.  We ate lunch in the beautiful dining room, and then saw the amazing art, they had a whole floor of impressionists, and the number of gorgeous art… swoon!  Degas, Monet… so pretty!

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We next headed to Saint Chappell.  The stained glass windows were just beautiful, and the fact that each panel had a whole bible story on it was pretty cool.

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Then we headed to Notre Dame, which was also so pretty.  Such an amazing building.

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On the way back to our hotel and dinner we walked through this cool park, and just in the middle of it was this random old tower, with gargoyles and flying buttresses- Europe is so great, just random old buildings in the middle of everything.


Our feet were hurting, and we were tired, but it had been a great day!

Fun in California- Summer 2015 Part 2

After LA we had another week of fun, before Jeff and I headed to Paris.  We visited Barnes and Noble to hear them read the new Dr. Seuss book and see some interesting animals from the Lindsay Museum.

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We visited Cowell Park, they had blow up obstacle courses set up, so the girl and friends, Liz and Tara’s kids, all decided to play on them.  They got hot in the sun, unfortunately, but they all had a couple turns and had a good time at the VERY crowded pool!

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While Jeff and I were in Paris the girls did a whole lot of fun things with Grammy, Megan and Grandma.  They were spoiled by everyone!  Here are a few of the pictures that i saw of the fun they had!  Pictures from Kelly or Megan, thanks guys!

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LA Weekend!

Now that there is an Angolan Consulate in LA we knew when we had visa issues we would try to get fingerprinted there, instead of trekking ourselves to Houston.  We decided to drive down Saturday morning, and then came back to the Bay Monday after being fingerprinted.  We arrived Saturday evening and Sean and Kelly picked up Mr. Noodle and Diddy Riese for us all!  Yummy (my favorite LA meal, if I am being honest).  We had a good time visiting with Sean (Rachel and the kids were in Utah).  The next morning we headed to church at the family ward.  I wasn’t super excited to get up and all 4 of us ready for church, but it was one of the best meetings I have been to.  All 3 speakers were good, interesting and spirit filled.

After church we headed off to the Skirball Museum, specifically for the Noah’s Ark exhibit.  It was a lot of fun, and the girls could have played for a long time!  I loved all the animals made out of recycled materials.  The alligator with a violin case as the head and a scroll as the tongue, the elephant made from rope.  All so cool!

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After the Noah’s Ark section we headed to the roof.  There is an archeological dig up on the roof.  It was so cool.  There was an archeologist there to explain how to dig, and what the items we found were.  In addition, she spent a lot of time helping the girls process through the dig, how do you tell what pieces might have been used for, what they might go with and what rooms we might be digging in.  Super neat!

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That night we had delicious burritos for dinner.  The next morning we headed to the consulate, which was just minutes from Sean’s house.  Kelly stayed in the car and parked it while we ran in.  Easy and no hassle, the consulate was empty except for us.  We were done in less than an hour, and then back on the road to Concord.  Long days, but we got to do some fun things in addition to getting our visas.  Not too bad for a weekend!