Friday, December 31

highlights of 2010

if I cannot bring you comfort
then at least I bring you hope
for nothing is more precious
than the time we have and so
we all must learn from small misfortune
count the blessings that are real
this is a time to be together
and the truth is somewhere here
within our love of people
at the closing of the year.

As 2010 will NOT be going down in my history books as the "best year ever", but still wanting to ring in 2011 with a good attitude, I've decided to focus on the highlights of 2010. Because despite how unfun a lot of this year has been...I also had some really great times.

Taking out the fence at the bottom of the tubing hill at Soldier's Hollow with my mom. We took out about three of the six rows of fence and luckily did not get kicked off the hill.

Super gluing my fingers together and then spending about three hours trying to get them unglued.
Lesson learned:
Do not talk on the phone while trying to do projects involving super glue.

Watching the mouse who got it's hind legs stuck in the sticky trap, crawl across the floor. I will not post pictures, or the awesome video, as it tends to give some people the heebie geebies. But click here to see the full detailed post. Complete with pictures and video.

Jennifer Platts married Ed Parker.
And they had what might be, the best reception I've ever been to.
Such a great couple. One of my all time favs to be sure.

Jonah was adorable...ok so he was adorable last year too...and will be again in 2011...but he is for sure a highlight...possibly the highesty highlight of them all.

I purchased a pool for my balcony. It was the best ten bucks I've spent in a long time. Jonah loved it. I loved it. Many warm evenings and hot afternoons were spent sitting on my chair in the pool reading a book or taking a nap.

Two words: Pineview Reservoir.
From about the middle of June until the middle of August I found myself (along with various family members and friends) lying on the beach once a week at Pineview. It made for the best mini, mini getaway each week. And by the end of the summer I was a blonde bombshell.

A picnic lunch for multiple people:
Inflatable raft from Smith's: $3.00
Entrance fee to reservoir: $11.00
Soaking up rays, skinny dipping at the buoy (yes, in the middle of the day), and watching Jonah frolic in the waves:

4th of July.
It was nothing spectacular as far as fireworks go. Just a barbecue with mom, the sibs, Jonah, Shorts and Bingley...and the hose.  But we did have a great time discovering Jonah's love of spraying anything with the hose.

And I would be totally remiss if I failed to mention the TWO Brandi Carlile concerts from this year. The first was at Red Butte Garden with Katie Herzig. It was Kelli's first B.C. concert and I have rarely seen her so genuinely filled with joy. Kerri is also a solid fan now. The second show was at the State Room. She played the entire Story album for her first set and then came back for a second set. Kelli and I went to that show...which was a really huge deal for Kelli because it was her first concert at a 21+ venue. AND she got a guitar pick from Tim...well, I got it and gave it to her.

I don't have any pictures from the State Room show, but here are some Red Butte photos.

this picture makes me laugh out loud every time I see it.


Sticking with the musical theme...the greatest musical discovery of this year...thankfully made early in the year...and possibly the greatest musical discovery since Brandi Carlile...


Seriously folks...if you have not listened to them by now (and you should have because I've raved about them MANY times this year) get to steppin' before the year is over. Unfortunately I did not get to see them this year...but that is my goal for 2011.

Here is a taste of what you really need to check out:

Now go buy their album (Sigh No More). do it. now. seriously.

Mama graduating with her second Master's.
My mom finished her year long master's of administrative ed program at the Y at the beginning of the summer. She wasn't going to walk, but we (the sibs) talked her into it. And I was lucky enough to go to Provo with her and watch her. It was truly such a proud moment in my life.

(and apparently I lied about not having pictures from the BC concert at the State room. this is a picture of Kelli after the show with her pick from Tim)

We took a trip to Flaming Gorge which was a blast. Here are some scenery photos. For a more detailed documentation of the trip and family pictures (and MANY pictures of Jonah) click here. And it is worth the click. There is a great story about a flat tire. Which is typical for our vacations. We should be old pros by now when it comes to changing tires.

I think the highest highlight of my year was my date with Jonah. We hit the aquarium, the Belgium Waffle House, Temple Square, lots of "water falls" and puddles, and the "train" (Trax). Jonah was so good the whole time and I'm pretty sure we both enjoyed all of our adventures equally. And he loves walking. At least he did that night. We covered a lot of ground...and at the perfect pace.

That's about it folks. Despite a lot of unfun stuff...there were definitely a lot of good times. Oh dropping Kelli off at the MTC was definitely bitter sweet. There were no tears, but I was sad to say goodbye to my concert buddy for 18 months. I'm accepting applications for a new concert buddy for 2011. There are a couple shows at the end January so get your application in now.

2010...don't let the door hit you on the way out...
2011...I've got open arms, baby!

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
- Douglas Adams

Tuesday, December 28

A somewhat personal "Weekly Random Question"

Is it that the word I'm looking for? I don't know...perhaps I should explain the scenario and then you can tell me what the right word is.

Once upon a time I made a decision. It was a very painful decision. It was also the right in "Choose the right when a choice is placed before you..." But so often I regret making that right decision. Is that right, the regret part I mean? Is that possible? Can you actually regret a decision that was CTR right? Perhaps "regret" is the wrong word? But I know, unfortunately, what regret feels like...and this is regret. As I said...I don't constantly feel regret for the decision...but it is there...often.

Does this mean that I don't really have a desire to be a good person? Does this mean that I'd rather make wrong decisions in my life to satisfy my immediate desires for happiness? I think we all want that sometimes...more than sometimes...speaking for myself of course. Instant gratification, well, I don't think I would call it instant...perhaps..."not eternal" gratification is what I often desire...because sometimes the gratification is a little more than 55 second microwave cake. (which is awesome by the way).

So what do I do with this regret? I feel it and then move on and hope it goes away. And have faith that there will be a day that I will rejoice in the right decision that I made. I will know without any doubt whatsoever that it was the right decision and I will feel how right it was and regret will be something of which I have zero concept.

Saturday, December 25

Happy Christmas

I love this picture. It is from Carl Bloch.
Christ healing the sick at the pool of Bethesda. My good friend Cali opened my eyes to this painting and it has been one of my favorites ever since. I think it is such a perfect representation of how Christ lived his I would like to always live mine.

I borrowed the quote found below from my friend Lindsay's blog.
(thanks friend)

"Christmas is a time for remembering the Son of God and renewing our determination to take upon us His name. It is a time to reassess our lives and examine our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Let this be a time of remembrance, of gratitude, and a time of forgiveness. Let it be a time to ponder the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its meaning for each of us personally. Let it especially be a time of renewal and recommitment to live by the word of God and to obey His commandments. By doing this, we honor Him far more than we ever could with lights, gifts, or parties."
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf (he really is the rock star of apostles)

Thursday, December 23

Why I love the Christmas season

1. the weather...even if it is raining.  however...I do really miss the sun...a lot, a lot.
2. Christmas Lights
3. people tend to be a bit kinder
4. I'm reminded of how much I love to color. 
(there is nothing like putting in a good movie and coloring...seriously)
5. Shopping for Christmas gifts.  There is almost no better high than finding the perfect gift for someone. (although I'm of the belief that if you find the perfect gift...Christmas or just buy it)
6. The United States Post Office.  I love how crowded it makes for great people watching. 
7. this is a new one for this year, but I've really enjoyed coming home everyday to Christmas music playing...even if no one is home.  
8. the old school light up snowman by our front door.
9. having Christmas Eve, Eve (aka Christmas be know from here on out as our family winter solstice celebration)
10. winter clothes.

You may notice that I haven't mentioned anything about the birth of the Savior...well he wasn't born in December...ha ha ha.  But seriously folks.  I am grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ and his life.  The life he lived is the example that I strive to live up to and I am grateful for his atonement for those moments that I don't quite live up to that.


one of my favorite drugs...

No matter my mood...when I hear this song...I am instantly in a good mood.

(the video is nothing great...just do yourself a favor and download it...from iTunes...legally of course).

Thursday, December 16

Faith in our Friends

Regarding faith in those around us: 
"You give it to the people you love...but the people who really deserve it are the ones who come through even when you don't love them enough." 

~Veronica Mars

Christmas letter to Santa

Monday, December 13

from someone more articulate than myself...

"'ll find that being a friend is to like a person for who they are, even the parts you don't understand. The reasons you like them make the things you don't understand unimportant. You don't have to understand, or do the same, or live their lives for them. If you truly care for them, then you want them to be who they are; that was why you liked them in the first place." Terry Goodkind

Sunday, December 5


I was sitting in Sunday school today (not really paying attention to the lesson) reading the story of Noah.  I think this is my favorite version of the story.

Just breathe and remember...

Saturday I took a trip to the Bountiful, Utah United States Postal Office.  It was about 12:30pm.  I walked in and saw quite a long line as well as many people trying to decide which packaging to purchase.  I found the two envelopes that were suited to my needs and added the items to be mailed, addressed and sealed my packages and made my way to the line where I would wait, patiently for my turn.  For the most part people stood in line and chatted with one another in a pleasant manner.  But it wasn't long before some people started getting irritated.  As the did their irritation seemed to spread to others in line.  Soon people were wondering why the hours weren't longer during the holidays, why there weren't more people working, how ridiculous this line was, etc...  As I stood there I had three thoughts (well more that three, but three I wish to share)

1.  It is SATURDAY FOLKS!  You're at the Post Office on a SATURDAY!  The line is going to be long.  If you didn't know that...well, now you do.  Welcome to the United States Post Office on Saturday.

2.  You are in South Davis County (and it's Saturday).  People here tend to have big families. Not only do they have bigger families they are close to those big families.  I'm talking moms, dads, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, etc...  Lots of those people live in other places.  Perhaps because of work, or military or they are serving missions for a church with a prominence in the area.  People like to mail things to the above mentioned people who are out of the area.  So when the woman in front of you is filling out TEN address forms to send to military bases and small countries were their relatives are serving both the military and the Powers that Be...just breathe...and think about how excited these people who are AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES will be when they receive gifts from home.

3  IT. IS. DECEMBER. (you are in South Davis County and it is Saturday).  Due the the prominent religion in the area many, many, MANY people are celebrating the holidays and are going to be sending gifts to their loves ones...both far (mentioned above) and near (because sometimes sending things in the mail is really easier than delivering them...even if the recipient only lives in the Avenues).

So I would hope that each of you...when running any errands this December will just stop and take a deep breath before you get into your car and jump into the madness that can be the holiday season.  One thing I have always loved about the holidays is the crowds in the malls or at some sort of light display or even in the stores.  I worked in a grocery store for about a decade and the holidays were truly some of my most favorite times. is insane...and people can be pushy.  But we do not have to be those people.  Chances are, whatever your errands...they do not involve saving the world.  So just take your time.  Enjoy the crispness (and sometimes biting cold) in the air and smile at the people around you.

Tuesday, October 26

Fuzzy Pigs

I am not a hater of authority.  I am typically a law abiding citizen.  I've had my moments of rule breaking but it has never been too serious.  And yet I do not really like policemen.  I apologize to any relatives or friends of policemen...or policemen themselves...who may read this post...but whole life you've been annoying.

Instance #1-16 years old.  Getting a handle not only on driving, but also on driving stick.  In Las Vegas at a stop light.  In a school zone...however...the school zone has ended ten minutes prior, so the speed limit is now 25 and not 15.  The light turns green and still being a "greenie" myself with a clutch I go from zero to about 30 with some nice peeling in about .25 seconds out as I move through the intersection.  This was of course NOT on purpose.  And yet...a cop pulled me over.  He asked me if I knew how fast I was going.  I said I was going under 30.  He said that was true, but that I was in a school zone.  I then pointed out that it was now five minutes to four and the school zone ended at 3:45.  He glared and me and sheepishly muttered that I should still try and keep it slow until four pm.  I told him that I was barely over the speed limit and that school got out at 2:30 so I felt ok driving the speed limit once the school zone was over.

Instance #2- I'm 18 years old driving back from a day trip to the SUU campus with two of my friends.  We are taking the back roads home so the speed limit is 65 mph.  Which is fine with me...I love taking the back roads.  I have my cruise control set on 70 mph because five over has never ruffled any feathers.  Except I should have known that being a member of the Russell family driving on highway 89 in southern Utah automatically puts a target on my back.  Almost every time a member of my family drives in southern Utah on highway 89 we get pulled over.  Usually by the cop who lives just up the street from my grandpa Gene's house.  The cop pulls me over and asks me if I know how fast I was going.  I say I was going five over. He said that was correct.  He then proceeded to give me a lengthy lecture on why it is important to drive the speed limit...seriously...twenty minutes or so...NOT counting the time it took him to run my license.  I will say this for the nice old man...he only gave me a WRITTEN warning.  Did you even know they actually give written warnings?  They do.  They are ridiculous.

Instance #3- I am late for a birthday dinner an PF Chang's and I'm going about 65 mph down Beck Street (50 mph is the limit)...on a Saturday evening.  I get pulled over by a motorcycle cop.  He tells me I was going about fifteen over and asks me why I'm in a hurry.  I tell him I'm late for a birthday dinner.  He gives me a ticket and I drive away annoyed because the weekend previous I had almost been hit by cars going WELL over a 100 mph on Beck street at 2:00 am in what appeared to be a street race.  Where were the cops then?!  Oh bed.  I mean why wouldn't they just set up speed traps on a Saturday night so that they can meet their quotas and help out with their retirement funds. Which is exactly what I told the hearing officer when I went to pay what started out to be a $75.00 ticket.  She knocked $10.00 off since I came in person to pay the ticket.  Then she knocked another $10.00 off when I shared my feelings about the retirement contribution speed traps.  She said I was clever.  I was still irritated about the ticket but I was $20.00 less irritated.

Instance #4- 27(?) years old.  My car is stolen out of a church parking lot.  The cop comes.  He is very nice.  He shares on the job stories...the highlight being that his biggest pot bust was in the very same church parking lot...he let's Aubry sit in the back of the squad car...he is handsome and friendly and tells me that another officer will come by later that evening to my place of residence so that I can fill out an official report so that my car will be entered into the "stolen car database" (not sure of the official term).  As promised an even younger looking cop (probably still wet behind the ears) shows up at my place of residence.  I fill out the report and send him on his merry way.  Almost a month goes by.  One day I am at my parent's home and I get a phone call from the North Salt Lake police asking me how long my car has been in North Salt Lake.  Two things are odd about this phone call 1) my parent's home is not my place of residence and their number is NOT the number I gave to the cops 2) Why would I know how long my car has been in North Salt has been missing for a month?!  I explain this to the woman on the phone and she seems puzzled tells me to hang on. Comes back a few minutes later telling me that they have found my car.

The ENTIRE TIME my car was about 100 yards away from where it had been stolen in a parking lot of an apartment complex.  I went down to pick it up and meet yet ANOTHER NSLPDNSL PD...aren't they wonderful?

Instance #5- my parent's have a house that is good for parties.  (Though the house is located on a step and narrow street not designed for easy parking).  Many parties have taken place at this residence...thrown by myself and I believe each one of my siblings.  And at at least one of each of our parties the cops have shown up...for various reasons.  The best part is when they show up to Kelli's high school parties full of "band geeks" and "concert choir nerds" (who are not really geeks or nerds at all). I mean we are talking about some of the nicest, law abiding kids in the world...and the cops come because the neighbors are complaining...because it is too loud?  Rowdy?  I have no idea why...but oh how the NSLPD loves the Russell home.

Instance #6- I am driving through Foxboro on my way from Aubry's place of residence and I am going about five miles over the speed limit...ok maybe almost ten...anyway...I get pulled over.  And who should walk up to my window and ask me if I knew how fast I was going...why it was the same young, "wet behind the ears" cop who NEVER reported my car as stolen.  As he asked for my license and registration I proceeded to ask him if he remembered me and when he said that he did not, I told him..."You're the cop who never reported my car as stolen last year."  Interestingly enough, I did not get a ticket.

Instance #8- Yes, I know this is out of order, but I want to save #7 for last because it actually is a redeeming moment for the cops.  Just the other morning. I am driving down Beck Street in the morning and I see the motorcycle cops out filling their quotas and collecting for retirement. (I now drive 55 mph on Beck).  Further down the rode said moto-cop has finished up giving out a ticket and proceeds to pull out right in front of me and two other cars so he could flip a U to go back to his buddy.  I mean I (as well as the other two cars) had to slam on my breaks!  If I had done that exact thing I would have gotten a ticket.  I was so ticked off.  It was actually the motivation for writing this post.

Instance #7- It is August 23, 2008 (I remember because it was the day Jonah was born).  I was driving down Hwy 89 just in front of Camelot.  Earlier that year (April) my driver's side window had broken.  I had not gotten it fixed because it was summer and my windows are constantly down in the summer.  However...since it was not fixed I was told that I would not pass I decided to put my inspection off until it got cold enough to fix. First for 30 days past the deadline...then 60 and here we were in August and I was almost 90 days delinquent. Well an eagle eyed member of the NSLPD caught the expired sticker and pulled me over.  I explained why I hadn't fixed it...leaving out the part of wanting to enjoy the wind in my face all summer...and he told me that I could go and get the inspection done, get a temporary sticker saying that I would be getting the problem fixed.  Who knew?!  He also told me that since I was about 90 days past he should impound my car.  My stomach dropped.  But...queue the trumpets...he gave me a fix it ticket allowing me two weeks to fix my car and instead of paying $95.00 I would only have to pay $35.00.

So there you have it folks.  I have at least two more stories I could tell you and in both instances the cops were less than pleasant.  Which means 9 times out of ten they are deserving of the blog title.  90% of time they are jerks.  If I was a jerk 90% of the time at my job, I would not have a job!

Sunday, October 17

Kelli Jean Russell

My sister Kelli is leaving in about two days to begin 18 months of service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I'm so excited for her.  I'm excited for all the good I know she will do and I'm excited for all the good I know that the people she meets will do for her.  I'm a bit jealous of all those people who will get to spend the next 18 months with her because I know that in those 18 months she will learn so much about the gospel, about her self, about life...and it would be kind of cool to be around for that.  But I suppose I can't complain since I've had 21 years to see that.

I was talking to my sister-in-law (Mattie) today about missing Kelli and missing Scott.  I missed Scottie for sure when he left for his mission (I cried to whole way home from the MTC and the rest of that night)... and I missed him most especially at holidays (Christmas without a stirring rendition of Feliz Navidad and The Friendly Beasts is almost not Christmas).  But in my day to day life it wasn't so painful because we didn't socialize that often outside of family time.  Initially I told Mattie that it would be the same with Kelli...but then I started to think about all the concerts that I've been to with her...I'm pretty sure that she and Aubry are neck and neck for number of concerts attended together...a handful of them have been the three of us.  And then there are movie outings, visits to Provo and Cedar (depending on where she was attending school at the time) and just time spent talking about music or life or whatever.

I love my siblings so much...and I think in the last five or so years have gained an even greater appreciation for them as not just siblings but as real, true friends who I am always happy to socialize with anytime.  So while I'm insanely proud and excited about her decision...I am going to miss her. (Not too mention that now I'm going to have to work extra hard when looking for new artists to listen to because I won't have Kelli to help me out.)

But I do know that Kelli's decision to go on a mission will not only be a blessing her life, but a blessing in the life of my family as well.  I'm excited to hear about all her adventures (and misadventures...because with Kelli in the mix there will definitely be some of those) and trials that come her way. I know she will handle them all with charisma and a chuckle or too.

I love you Kell Bell.

Saturday, September 25

RVF Summer 2010-Flaming Gorge

I am a little behind in posting this...

For our (somewhat) semi-annual RFV, we decided to head up to Flaming Gorge. Mattie's grandparents have a "trailer" in the trailer park near the Flaming Gorge Lodge. I use to word "trailer" loosely because it is more like a nice home/cabin. But technically it is a double wide trailer. Anywho...We began our trip with a late night drive with my Kelli which included a dead pig on the side of the road (sorry no photo), a real Wyoming cowboy complete with spurs on his boats, a hat and chew in his bottom lip, a conversation about uteruses (or is it uteri?) and a somewhat creepy drive in complete darkness on a road that we were not sure was the right one (it was).

When we finally arrived Friday evening and stepped out of the car I was reminded that there is indeed a Milky Way that is totally not at all related to the candy bar...the stars were...well...they were say the least.

Yes, this is the "trailer".

Saturday was our trip down the Green River. I would say that we went rafting because we were indeed in a raft, and there were paddles, but the white water was not really that white and raging. But it was a good time nonetheless.
The rest of Friday, and into the wee small of hours of Saturday were spent chatting about a variety of things including a baby in Australia that came back to life after being held by it's mother.

Jonah playing in the puddles while waiting to load our raft. Unfortunately what is missing is a picture of me doing the exact same thing. It's no wonder this kid and I get along like gangbusters...we have similar interests.

He hasn't quite got the hang of when to start the jumping...actually he has now...this happened over Labor Day weekend and our date was just on Wednesday. He got the timing right on Wednesday night.

driving to the river launch.

Getting ready to ride the river! Although I think float is a more appropriate word for the Green River. No offense to the Green River...I love it.

it is GORGEOUS. This picture does ZERO justice for this beautiful place.

Jonah and some of his biggest fans.

"Can it be?!" Jonah wonders, "Did Grrrm-pa just catch a fish on his first go at fly fishing???"

"He did! He did!" And then he threw it back...I will never understand "catch and release" Apparently there is a regulation on sizes you can that's fine...but if it is a fish you can keep to eat...then I say eat it!

"Yep, I am adorable and have each member of my family wrapped around my pinky. Figuratively speaking of pinkies aren't that big...I'm only two."

Lunch and lounging...

...and napping. He actually feel asleep sitting next to me on the raft while we were still on the river.

Of course no RFV can be complete without a flat tire. But that was ok...

...because it gave Grrr-ma and Jonah a chance to go on a little hike...

and see a bunny is there I assure you...

...all while "soggy" (Jonah's name for Scottie) changed the tire.

All in all it was a great our Russell Family Vacations usually are! Oh and how could I forget to mention the food! Mattie made German pancakes for breakfast on Saturday and delicious sandwiches on the River. Then mama grilled salmon and halibut with asparagus and rice for Saturday dinner and to top it all off we found a campground and had AWESOME dutch oven chicken!!

thanks for the great vacation...

(thanks for the photo Mattie)

RFV 2010-Flaming Gorge Edition was a success!

Thursday, September 23

Date Night

Tonight I had a date with the best lookin' fella in Salt Lake City. It was an awesome evening...mellow and entertaining...good eats...perfect weather...and the best company I could ask for. Don't believe me...see for yourself:

This is my date. His name is Jonah.

Jonah loved watching all the "fishies"...although he didn't love the "jellies" (jelly fish) and he zero desire to touch the star fish...he was happy to just look.

Finding Nemo...literally.

This picture was totally an accident...I wasn't even looking at the screen...but I think it looks awesome...although I wish I could take some of the light from the flash off his face. but still...a serendipitous photo. He was looking at the sharks and giant sea turtle when I took this.
Looking at a big "fishie"

Pushing this button to hear the noises that frogs make might have been one of the highlights of the evening for Jonah.
Jonah is quite the photographer. He took this one all by himself. We watched the penguins swim and jump in and out of the water for a solid fifteen minutes. He is TWO folks.
I will neither confirm nor deny that this is possibly what we ate for dinner. There is a waffle under there.

We decided to ride "the train" and walked through Temple Square to get there...but ended up taking an hour long detour because Jonah LOVES water and waterfalls ...and there are a LOT of waterfalls and a LOT of water on Temple Square.
Here is the first stop. He loved this "waterfall" and we watched it for a few minutes and of course he had to put his hand in to "touch it".
Playing in "more water"

"Touch it!"
I took this picture while playing in the water and then messed around with the editing tools in iPhoto. I love the moon...but not so much the spots on my lens.

In addition to water he also enjoyed the flowers. Kelli you should be proud...he is a nature lover!
But let's face all comes back to the WATER! In any form. I splashed in that puddle as well.
Riding "the train"...aka Trax. He loved watching all the cars go by.

Seriously! Even with the binky he is the cutest fella' in town! Does life get any better than this? I'm pretty sure it doesn't.

I can't decide what the highlight of the night was for me...watching Jonah get startled by the shark as it swan right in front of his face, running away from the "Jellies", all the compliments I got on how cute "my son" is (props to you Mattie and Scottie), snuggling while waiting for "the train"...I think just spending time with Jonah was the highlight...I think he is my favorite person.

I love you Jonah! Thanks for the great date!