Tuesday, July 29

Russell, Wall, Bevan, Maloney, Chamberlin, Carroll...whatever...I LOVE THEM ALL!

so...since this is my blog...I can be somewhat indulgent on it...so this may not be exciting for some of you, but I feel like it is worth being said, and not just to my journal.

I love my family. I am not speaking of my immediate family...although...I do adore them. My extended family. I grew up (well until I was about 12 or 13) assuming (bad idea, I know) that everyone knew their extended family the way that I do. Aunts, uncles, and cousins, great aunts and uncles, second and third cousins...probably removed some how...I don't really know how that works...but anyway...as I reached the realization that not everyone knows their extended family as well as I it made me sad. I was thinking about this today as I was contemplating my day this Saturday...family reunion...I have a lot of other options this Saturday as far as entertainment goes, but I am STOKED...S-T-O-K-E-D...STOKED...to see my family on Saturday. They are funny, and they love me, and I love them. I have great memories of them from my early childhood, as well as recent memories including having one of my mom's cousins be in the temple when I went through the first time, as well as the sad passing of a great aunt...but in all of the times in my life...happy, and sad...when my family has been around it has always been so great.

I remember when my grandma great (great grandma for those of you not members of the Russell family) was turning 90 and my grandpa Gene was turning 80 (I think)...I met members of that family I didn't know...but by the end of the day, I had new recipes for the grill, as well as a place to stay if I ever went to Louisiana.

Growing up in Chicago we made a few trips to Tennessee to see a great aunt and uncle and I made a great friend...her name was Leanne, while I was down there...we had some pretty serious religious discussions...considering we were about eleven years old. But I had a wonderful time. Right now, writing this, I miss it...I want to go back.

Last summer I was in Cedar for the weekend. It was Saturday, late afternoon, and I was getting ready to head home. I stopped at the gas station for the necessary water bottle. I noticed a sign on the door "Northbound I-15 closed due to fire"...guess I wasn't going anywhere. I thought about staying with my friends one more night, but decided that I since I loved driving home on Hwy 89 might as well swing over to Kanab via Zion National Park, and see my aunt Carolee and her family. As I drove through Zion with my windows down memories of so many times in that park came flooding back. I made my way through the big tunnel, and coming out on the other side, pulled off at one of the turn offs. There was a trail to a scenic overlook that I had never been on. So I grabbed my water and put on my shoes and headed along the path. Great hike FYI.

I got back to my car and continued to Kanab. I called my aunt to let her know I was coming and she was more than happy for me to come and stay. I spent the evening watching movies with my family, and reading, oh and taking a MUCH needed shower :) They next day I visited my grandma great in the nursing home (it turned out to be the last time I would see her), and had Sunday dinner with my aunt and uncle. It was a great dinner, and both Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon I passed time talking with my aunt Carolee. She is...well...without words.

Which brings me to another topic of family. My brother and sister in law are having a baby boy in September. I am VERY excited to say the least...but I have to be honest...a little part of me was really hoping for a girl. You see...I have the most wonderful aunts growing up. Both on my mom's and dad's side. (They are still wonderful). But they spoiled me rotten, and made sure that I always enjoyed myself. I was hoping for a niece so that I could return the favor...but I suppose a nephew will do ;) In all seriousness though...they have been wonderful supports throughout my whole life.

I could go on and on about my cousins, my grandparents...but I will stop. Suffice it to say...I have a wonderful family, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

Monday, July 14

Crest Kids...or Maybe Colgate?

No...this is not a toothpaste commercial, although it looks like one. The other day I was walking to my apartment and my landlord was on the premises. (he is a great landlord, and is actually there every other day). He saw me, and told me to smile. I did, because he makes me smile, and then he said that I had one of those great smiles that brings a smile to other people's faces. Well, part of that great smile, is my teeth. And, this is going to be cocky, but I have great teeth. (And honestly I should, my parents put some money into my teeth, and I suffered for many years with orthodontic appliances in and around my mouth). And just fyi, I never get tired of hearing compliments on my smile or my teeth...

But I am not the only member of the Russell family with a great smile, as you can see in the above picture. We all have these big cheesy grins for the whole world to see. And honestly...I love it. It wasn't just for that picture that we were cheesing it up. Those are our real smiles. I have a picture at my desk at work from Mattie's and Scott's wedding day, and though we are not in the same pose, we are all still standing there with our huge grins and white teeth. Mattie definitely married into the right family because she had a great smile as well.

4th of July

So, for the last few years I have not really had what you would call a spectacular 4th of July. Which, in all likelihood, is probably normal as you grow up. However, this year, I decided that I was going to have a great 4th. So I asked a couple friends if they were interested, had them sign in blood that they would be happy, and enjoy the whole day no matter what it brought, and off we went.

I should start with the 3rd of July, which is when North Salt Lake has their celebration. The fireworks at Eaglewood are always pretty entertaining, and this year there were some small fires on the golf course...just the driving range from what I could tell. Then we went to Village Inn for a little last night pie and silliness. By the time I got home it was close to 2:00am.
Well...the next morning...bright and early, Aubry came and picked my up at about 7:30 ish, and we hit McDonald's and the grocery store for the necessary supplies. I must say I was extremely impressed at the good moods that both Aubry and Jen (Jen in particular) were in. We arrived in Provo and found what could be considered in some circles as the "perfect parade watching spot". (Until this lady came with her spoiled, undisciplined (she has never sang "Always Hold Hands" to them. (see Mom's blog)) children and put her stroller in front of me. However, Aubry, not wanting my fun to be ruined politely suggested she move it to a less conspicuous spot. Which she grudgingly did...and I was able to enjoy the rest of the parade.

Some highlights for your viewing pleasure:

I love Underdog. I have not seen the movie that has come out recently but as a child I remember watching and enjoying Underdog. I love parades...so, so, so much. I don't know what it is about them, but I truly feel like I am about eight years old again. They are one of those things in life that really brings a genuine smile to my face.

And, seriously, what is the 4th of July without a little KFC?! This may have been my favorite float. I am not a frequent patron of KFC, but come the 4th, and I just have a craving...kind of like the ones you get a baseball game, but with hot dogs. (Notice the stroller in the bottom right corner).

I also loved this shot of Governor Huntsman shaking hands and being a man of the people, all the while his daughter is hanging on for dear life.

After the parade, one of the largest 4th of July parades in the country and the largest in the state of Utah, we grabbed a bit to eat and then drove up Provo canyon (on a somewhat empty tank of gas) to Jordanelle Reservoir. Jen had been protesting the water part of the day, but I coerced her (I know real healthy;)) into coming and a great time was had by all. Well I had a great time playing in the water and getting sunburned (2nd degree, and yes in my older age I will probably be suffering from skin cancer). The best part of the beach, well, maybe not best, but funniest by far (me laughing, I mean a real, solid, hearty gut laugh, for at least ten minutes) is not appropriate for posting. If you would like further details, please email me. ( I am laughing right now about it).

Aubry and Brooke in the water. After the photo op Aubry left the water to enjoy the sun and a good book...well actually...a nap....

Next it was down the canyon, with a stop for an ice cream cone of course, to shower, sleep, and relax until the real highlight of the day...FIREWORKS!!

We went to Sugarhouse Park for the fireworks, and I wish I had pulled out my camera because there was some serious people watching. I love the Gateway on Fridays and Saturdays for that reason, but Sugarhouse Park on the 4th of July puts the Gateway to shame (even on the opening night of Sex and the City). The fireworks were excellent as well.

All in all it was a great 4th of July. I was reminded how much I love fireworks and parades. Which makes me very grateful that I live in Utah...because you bet your sweet bippy that I will be celebrating the 24th as well!!

Oh and we can't forget dinner...best 4th of July meal ever!