Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Independence Day and a Baptism!

I told so many lies leading up to this trip I couldn't keep them all straight. It was awesome! I told my parents I wouldn't be able to make the trip because of all the traveling I've done so far this year. I even went so far as to take a photo of myself in DC and send it to my mom the morning of the 4th with the caption, "Happy Independence Day from DC!". I'm so sneaky.

Independence Day is a big, big deal in my family. We have a strong military legacy in our family so this is pretty much unanimously our favorite holiday. Especially because Cache Valley knows how to throw a party! As do the Johnsons.

Naomi and Grant. This picture makes me so happy.

Oh my darling Grant, please don't ever grow up. 

The Gosselins came up for the day! It's always fun to have more friends (especially friends with squishy babies) around for eating and the festivities.

Sweet, sweet Haven

And Julie came too! I know Julie from DC (we're kind of heterosexual life partners) but she's in Utah for the summer. Having her and Ashley around for the day was incredible. They fit in with my family seamlessly.

I tried to get pictures with his face in it but he kept wanting to show me his sugary hand!

Family = lots of eating

Owen found a trail of ants so the boys had to investigate. Isn't this the cutest picture!?!

Two days later we went to my sister's house for my niece's baptism. It was such a special weekend!

Naomi and Haven's new puppy, Cookie.

Haven's big day! My mom made her dress.

Naomi wanted pictures too!

Dad and Grant

Porter on the way to the church

Selfies with Haven

This lady has a fabulous future ahead of her!

Some of my favorite people. They have my whole heart.

Cute, cute Cookie

So grateful these kids love hugs

Haven and my mom

It was the perfect visit and recharged my batteries in ways I didn't know I needed. I'm so grateful for eternal families!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm a Sucker For a Boy Band

Boy band + Disney + a dash of One Direction + cross dressing = a win for me!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Hands

A few months ago I looked down at my hand and noticed for the first time that I have my mom's hands. I immediately texted here to tell her this and she replied that that was impossible because I have long graceful fingers while hers are stubby and gross. I told her we would compare the next time I came for a visit.

Last week I was in Utah to celebrate Independence Day and my niece's baptism so I grabbed my mom for a quick comparison. Her hand is on the right and I'm on the left. I think they're pretty similar - we even inadvertently both stuck our pinkies out and wear our CTR rings on the same fingers. Mine are chubbier and hers are more glamorous (hello, nail polish!). 

Basically, I'm thrilled to resemble my mom in any way. She's just the coolest and if the only trait I can say strongly resembles her is my hands, I'm happier for it!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


We left Scotland on the morning of my 31st birthday (and Kent's too! Except he's not exactly 31) and took a train to London.

Love the Tube, it feels much more intuitive to me than most subway systems I've ridden on.

The train arrived at King's Cross Station so OBVIOUSLY I had to do this - it was my birthday! And even if it wasn't my birthday there was no way I was going to miss this. Notice I'm wearing a Ravenclaw scarf? That's right - no Gryffindor here. They're great people and all, but I'm Ravenclaw through and through.

The London Eye

What up, Big Ben? He's truly magnificent. 

Probably the greatest tragedy of my life up to this point is that there is no photography inside Westminster Abbey. I have wanted to go there since 7th grade when I started my weird fascination with Queen Elizabeth I. 

It did not disappoint. This was another site that took my breath away and I had several moments of panic/tears. Upon entering I quickly found some volunteers and asked them about 27 questions.

1 - How does one come to be buried here? You have to have performed service to your country. Then someone nominates you and the Dean of Westminster makes the decision.
2 - How many people are buried there? Over 3500. Sometimes they still find bones where they did not expect to.
3 - There are some massive monuments/graves in here, are you concerned that it will start to sink? No, There is no crypt, just a super strong, double fortified foundation so it can take the weight.
4 - When someone is buried there now do you pry up the ancient floor tiles and deposit them in the ground? No. Now if you are buried at Westminster it may only be ashes. They do pry up a single floor tile and replace it with your placard.
5 - May I move to London and volunteer here every other Saturday? Yes. 

Harry Potter Film Studios. It happened. Whatever.

The Great Hall. It looks much greater on screen, but still pretty cool!

Bellatrix Lestrange's weave.

The entrance to Dumbledore's office.

Over 1700 hand made wand boxes!

I cried. That should be expected by now.

Camden. Used to be a huge horse stable, now it a kooky outdoor market.

Our heads are in nostrils. Do you see it?

Greenwich Mean Time line. Where East meets West.

Living dangerously and straddling the line.

St Paul's Cathedral

At Parliament

Part of the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Pretty cool stuff!

I desperately wanted to got to the Victoria and Albert Museum on the recommendation of my UK pen pal. It did NOT disappoint! It may be my most favorite museum in the world - and I volunteer at the Smithsonian! This is a statue of Lot's wife turning to look at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah after the Lord commanded her not to. It has a lot of personal meaning so coming upon it was just phenomenal.

Isn't this lovely?

I didn't feel the need to rush to see everything during our four days in London because I had a strong feeling that I will be back sooner than later. It was a very nice feeling, indeed. 

London is lovely and like Scotland, felt like home. I could easily see myself living in either country if I had the opportunity. So...who wants to plan a UK tour with me? Anyone?


I fell madly in love with Edinburgh! I have traveled to many places but I have never felt so immediately comfortable in a foreign place as I did in Scotland. Someone give me a reason to move, please!

The old town is right in the city center. Overwhelming. Stunning. Gorgeous. Happy.

One of Edinburgh's nicknames is Auld Reekie. Reekie refers to smoke in old Scots and Edinburgh is famous for having chimney upon chimney. 

Four small potatoes (this was a medium serving...) with guacamole, sweet corn, and sour cream. YUM. Potatoes are my perfect food so adding all sorts of extra deliciousness was basically a dream come true.

This crag is called Arthur's Seat and it is situated behind the old part of the city. It is supposed to be an easy and popular hike.

There is a place in this old part called the Grassmarket and we were told the story of Maggie Dickson. Here's what wikipedia has to say about her, "The Grassmarket was also a place of public executions. A popular story in Edinburgh is that of Maggie Dickson, a fishwife fromMusselburgh who was hanged in the Grassmarket in 1724 for murdering her own baby. After the hanging, her body was taken back to Musselburgh in a coffin. However, on the way there she awoke. Under Scots Law she had served her punishment. Only later were the words "until dead" added to the sentence of hanging. It was also to some extent seen as divine intervention, and so she was allowed to go free. [2] In later life (and legend) she was thereafter referred to as Half-Hangit Maggie. There is now a pub named after Maggie situated on the Grassmarket."

Have the Weasley twins been here?!?

Edinburgh is stag party central. Bachelor party after bachelor party wandered (or stumbled drunkenly) past us. Some of them dressed up in outlandish costumes. I highly suggest a Saturday afternoon in Edinburgh for the stag party watching. FABULOUS.

Erin got photo bombed like you wouldn't believe

Many buildings around Edinburgh have a plaque that describes something pertinent to history that happened there. I appreciate the sense of humor behind this.

University of Edinburgh

We stayed with an awesome family in the suburbs, just about 5 minutes from the beach. Beautiful but cold!

This was just down the street from J.K. Rowling's house!!!!!

We spent Sunday evening walking along the beach with Kent and Bonno, and some friends from their ward.  Now, time for a photo shoot.

Everyone, say hello to Kent. "Hi Kent!"

Guys, this is Bonno. "Hi Bonno!"

Just saying that I adore these guys doesn't do my feelings justice. We had SO much fun!

I want to go back. Like, yesterday.