Summer visitors

This week was a great week for visitors. One of my mission companions came by with her family on the way from Oregon to Disneyland. I haven’t seen them since we visited them in Portland on our way from Seattle to California. She was in the hospital after having her fifth child, who is now 3. It was great to catch up with them and see their family thriving and growing up. Our kids are getting so old!

IMG_2541 IMG_2542One of my great friends from study abroad in London stayed with us a couple nights this week. She was in town for a wedding. A few years ago, we also found out that she and Erik are third cousins. It was fun to catch up and have some time with her this week.





London arrival

We landed around 2 pm London time, middle of the night our time. Five of us slept for a fitful 2-4 hours, and two of us couldn’t sleep at all. It will be interesting to see how jet lag hits us all. We landed in Heathrow. We got through customs and passport check-in quickly, picked up some pounds at an ATM, and then found our way to the tube, London’s underground system. Heathrow is the end of one of the lines into London, so we had our 7 day travelcards already purchased. It covered busses, trains, and the tube anywhere in London in Zones 1-6 which is pretty much everywhere. It was so nice to already have the travel all covered here.

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We had one hiccup when we had to make our one transfer to another tube line. Nicole forged on toward the other train but we didn’t see her go and lost sight of her. We were separated for 10 minutes, and then made a rule that before we head to a transfer we make sure we can see everyone.  We got off at the Pimlico tube stop and headed for the Georgian House Hotel. It was a long 15 minute walk with all our bags. We were in a basement apartment, but a kind bellhop helped us bring all our luggage down and brought down an extra folding bed. We have beds for everyone, a kitchen, bathroom, and wifi!

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We got settled and decided to head out to a bus that would take us over to the London Eye. We have tickets to go on it at 8 pm. We are feeling a little tired but excited to get out and see London! The bus stop wasn’t too far from our apartment.



When crossing the street, these signs definitely helped out since the cars come from the opposite direction than we are used to.


We were worried about long lines at the London Eye, but we checked in with our tickets we had printed at home, and then saw a short movie that showed some of the views from the London Eye. Then we walked over and got right on our 30 minute ride around on the giant ferris wheel. It goes very slowly and gives wonderful vistas of the city of London, with the Thames right below and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben present right across. We love being in London!


Robin was nervous about going up so high. But she quickly got interested in the interactive guide that showed what sights we were seeing and she ended up loving it, and asked us many times if we could go on it again.DSC_6355

Nicole was in heaven taking pictures.DSC_6356

I was dealing with a little bit of fear of heights especially with the kids being up so high, so sitting down helps me with that.  Still very excited to be in London, one of my favorite places on earth.DSC_6362 DSC_6366DSC_6368 DSC_6369 DSC_6370 DSC_6372IMG_2045IMG_2093 IMG_2114After we finished, we found a fun park to play on for awhile with great views of the London Eye behind it.

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We decided to cross the Waterloo Bridge nearby and head toward Trafalgar Square. I am so excited to be in London with everyone. I can’t stop smiling.

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We got on a bus and headed back to our apartment. We passed Westminster Abbey and lots of views of the city.


We are ready for bed. It is still light at 9:30!



We are off to London!

So here we are at SFO before our 12 hour flight to London! It has been a lot of work to get to this point. We spent the day packing and cleaning and shutting down the house before our trip. It was nice to have the whole day to prepare. I wish I had a little more time, but I got everything important done. Erik had a few hours to work. I went on a walk with Nancy this morning, and she will actually come and stay at our house part of the time while we are gone. It feels comforting to have someone here to look over the house.

We got to the airport and waited in line for a half hour to check in with our passports and luggage. It feels like all those months of work are coming to fruition. I can’t wait to get to London with the family.


We saw the Etheringtons in the airport. They are off to Italy. We settled into the plane. Everyone has their own entertainment screen. Erik and I sat with Maren. Brandon and Nicole sat together, and Camille and Robin sat together. It is a full flight. We had dinner and watched movies and played games. It was hard to actually get to sleep, but we dozed for part of the trip. We will wake up and be most of the way to London!


IMG_1833Robin gave a family night lesson on Family tonight from For the Strength of Youth. She wrote out the importance of the family in swirly letters. She did a great job. Nothing is more important than family. Our best efforts should be in the home.


Tulip tour in the rain

This morning the six of us set out on a bike tour of the tulip fields in Skagit valley. It was a rainy day, so we had to bundle up in ski clothes. But it was an adventure on the bikes. And the tulips and tulip fields were magnificent. We also passed by raspberry and blueberry fields, daffodil fields, and rustic barns. It was a memorable experience on a cloudy day filled with color and light.P1020349 P1020350 P1020351 P1020352 P1020353 P1020354 P1020355 P1020357 P1020359 P1020360 P1020361 P1020362 P1020363 P1020364 P1020365 P1020367 P1020368 P1020372 P1020373 P1020374 P1020376 P1020377 P1020378 P1020379 P1020380 P1020381 P1020382 P1020384 P1020385 P1020386 P1020387 P1020388 P1020389 P1020390 P1020391 P1020392 P1020393 P1020394 P1020395 P1020396 P1020397 P1020399 P1020400 P1020402 P1020403 P1020405 P1020406 P1020407 P1020408 P1020409 P1020410 P1020411 P1020412 P1020413


Going Away

I am going away overnight to celebrate Rachel’s 40th Birthday! It will be fun to be by the ocean and have time with other great women and celebrate this milestone for Rachel. I always have mixed feelings about going. I am going to miss my Friday night with Erik, a baseball game of Brandon’s, and time with Robin. The rest of the kids will have time with their cousins and grandparents at their annual Kousins’ Klatch. So it is a good weekend to be away without missing out on too much. But I do love my time with Erik and the daily routine. I used to have a travel bug when my first kids were little. Now I want to just travel as the whole family. Interesting to see that shift.

I will have some beautiful pictures of the beach and ocean and friends tomorrow from the time away. Happy weekend!

Laundry Party

On Tuesdays we fold our laundry together. Today was really a week and a half’s worth because I did a little extra at the end of last week. Plus, Brandon and Nicole did their laundry last night and joined in the fun.

The baskets were overflowing tonight.


But the piles were folded neatly and put away in the drawers and closets, and we had fun watching a few episodes of a fun comedy.


The kids start doing their laundry by themselves after they turn 12. Camille still needs to jump into that system. I do the rest of the laundry, and then we sit and fold together while we watch something funny together. It has worked well for many years.

I think I am in an organizing mood. I just bought a rolling cart to put all my projects plus have each child have a place for their odds and ends and projects also.


I am inspired to get my desk and paperwork and mind organized after a fantastic Power of Moms retreat in Los Angeles last weekend. You can read about the retreat here. This was written by a fabulous mother who helped take pictures and teach at the retreat on Saturday.

So I am determined to keep up with the laundry, have a new system for my projects and get on top of the papers on my desk, and make it a party if at all possible — with my family along for the ride.