May 26, 2010

Zoobilee Zoo

"...Magic and wonder are waiting for you!" Anyone else watch that show growing up? :)

This was Toby's first experience at a zoo and....he loved it.

My sentiments exactly, Tobe. [shudder] I. Hate. Spiders.

I have a picture of me by this very same lion when I was around 10 years old.

So this picture would've been perfect if Toby wasn't so fixated on the Rhinos...

I got a million pictures of the the mommy and baby elephant. So adorable.

My fellow cougar.
Thought about doing my cougar roar but then the zoo keeper came out.


We took a "chance" on their train...

Yes, I need to color my hair again.

What you see: Toby having a good time on the Carousel.

What you didn't see: Toby smacking Nick in the head and screaming because the ride was over.

My boys.

Oh how I love summer and having Nick home in the mornings. I need to milk these days while they are still here!

May 24, 2010

Come fly with me...

Last Saturday, a life long dream was fulfilled. When I called my parents informing them that I was coming to spend the weekend with them, my dad announced that he had a huge surprise for me. The only hint he gave me was: it was something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl. My mind was reeling. What could it possibly be?

Saturday afternoon when I arrived at the Rarick residence, my mom smiled as she told me that my dad had reserved a spot for me to go flying. Not in an airplane flying, but actually hovering-in-mid-air-with-my feet-not-touching-the-ground flying. He was taking me to "I Fly"- a vertical indoor tunnel which is basically used for indoor skydiving!!


I was beyond ecstatic.

After about 20 minutes of training, I suited up and anxiously waited my turn in the huge wind tunnel.

My stomach was doing flip-flops. Standing all around the transparent tunnel were my parents and about 20 more spectators.

Finally, it was my turn. I stepped in and felt my feet lift up behind me.

It was amazing! I was completely horizontal and totally flying.

You get two minutes in the tunnel, split up. So when I went into my second minute I was able to do more then just hover in one spot. My trainer actually grabbed one arm and one leg and spun me up to the top the tunnel and then back down. The adrenaline rush was surreal. It was definitely an experience I will never forget and I hope to go back again someday!

And although I am totally grateful to my parents for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I will admit that my favorite part of my visit was just spending time with my dad.

Saturday evening we went to the grocery store together. My dad was cracking jokes while we filled up the cart with all kinds of unnecessary snack food. After all he has gone through, he still looks at life with such a positive disposition. He is truly my inspiration.

I love my dad.

May 14, 2010


The past week has been really rough on my family. The day came that we were hoping would never come. Let me start from the beginning.

Last Sunday my mom called to inform me that my dad had been admitted to the McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden. Although I was extremely concerned, I kind of thought this would be a routine visit. For those of you who don't know, my dad is diabetic and his health has plummeted dramatically the past 1.5 years. He has been in and out of the hospital more than I'd like to remember and has had a few of his toes amputated. The doctors have had major concerns with this recurring infection in his leg and last Sunday reported that infection was so bad that there only choice: amputation, starting just below the knee. Monday morning mom called and shared the dreaded news that my dad's surgery would be the following morning and I felt instantly sick to my stomach. I always had a feeling that this was going to happen some day, but wasn't prepared for when "some day" became "today." The night before his surgery, I fell into a bit of a depression. I kept thinking "this is my dad's last night with his leg." My eyes welled up with tears thinking about how helpless he must feel knowing that after tomorrow, his life will never be the same.

Tuesday my mom called and reported that the surgery had gone well, no complications at all. She told me that Wednesday might be a better day to visit since he would be resting most of the day.

It was Wednesday morning when me, my two sisters, brother-in-law, and niece Jade, all crammed into Vanessa's little Hyundai for the trip up to the hospital. When I saw my dad for the first time, I didn't completely fall apart like I thought I would. I was definitely sad and absolutely hated seeing him in that hospital bed, but I had this overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be OK. That my dad was going to be OK. That it will be hard for a while, a long while, but that this surgery would ultimately improve his health now that the infection is gone. Plus, while visiting with my dad I could see in his face already there was some relief with the infection gone. His complexion looked pink and bright, instead of that ashen gray I had grown accustomed to seeing this past year. His overall demeanor seemed cheery and although he was cracking jokes, underneath the smiles I could sense I deep sense of loss and pain. You could just tell that despite his improved health, he was suffering immensely emotionally. That was the hardest part of the visit.

I'm so grateful for those of you who were already aware of this situation and prayed for my dad. I can testify that those prayers were heard and felt, every one of them. And I know the Lord will be carrying my dad through the hard months of rehabilitation and adjustment that lie ahead for both him and my mom.

And although I still get teary eyed every time I think about my dad in a wheel chair as he greets us for Sunday dinners, this quote from President Hinckley always seems to trickle into my head:

"It will all work out. It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. … If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”

Thanks again for all of your love and support...

May 3, 2010


So I have a weakness. Well I have many weaknesses but I want to only showcase one of them tonight. I absolutely LOVE people watching. Not only that but I love to eavesdrop on my unsuspecting victims. Especially when I am with Nick. I can't tell you how many times we have this non-verbal conversation with each other about the poor couple on their first date sitting in the booth next to us. We snicker together as we listen to them ask each other all those forced get-to-know-you questions and trying anything in the world to avoid an awkward lull.

A few days ago I was able to listen in on a such a validating conversation. I took Toby to Arctic Circle so he could get all his pent-up energy out on their play place, since the weather has been a little less than ideal: rain, snow, rain, snow, lots of wind, random sunshine, and repeat... Anyway, as I sat there watching Toby go up and down the slide I couldn't help but tune into a conversation between two dads. Dad #1 was a stay-at-home dad and Dad #2 (from what I could gather) worked from home. The conversation went something like this:

Dad #1: "Man, I am so ready to go back to work. These kids are wearing me out."

Dad #2 "How much longer til you are done with school?"

Dad #1 "One more semester and then I am done. I hope I can make it. I tell you what staying at home is HARD. The constant fighting, refusing to nap, no time for me to do anything for myself..."

Dad #2 "Yeah I know what you mean. It's amazing how many dad's think being at home with the kids is easy. In reality, going to work is a lot easier to me. It's almost like a mini-vacation."

At this point I was just beaming over in the corner (while still trying to pretend I wasn't listening). I almost wanted to tap Dad #2 on the shoulder and ask, "Excuse me, but can you repeat what you just said? I didn't quite catch it." Just so I could revel once more in the huge compliment to mom's everywhere. Now let me clarify something. I am not saying that men have no challenges or stress with being "the breadwinner" or that mom's who work full-time or attend school don't have their own hardships either. I only wanted to share this because as a mom who is currently able to be at home with my son, I felt so appreciated and flattered by his words. It was like someone gave me a pat on the back and said: "You got a tough job and I have complete respect for all the hard work you do day in and day out."

After I left I kept thinking I wished I had a tape recorder because I am sure woman everywhere would have loved to hear such a priceless exchange between two dads. I guess my blog is the next best thing. :)

Happy Mother's Day!