Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Menan Butte Hike

Apparently the Menan Butte (which is miles away from Rexburg) is also referred to as "R Mountain." (I suspect this is BYU-I's sad attempt to be like the real BYU, which has an actual mountain next to it with a letter representing the school. I'm assuming the "R" would be for "Ricks" or "Rexburg.")

 Anyway, we took the boys on the complete hike up the mountain, around its rim, and back down. It was a pleasant enough hike, and geologically fascinating, though sadly punctuated with much whining from the little people.

My "thinker." 
(Sadly, fully clothed.) 

Liam preferred to be carried the last several yards, but Soren and I raced to the end.  
He won, of course. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Getaway 2015

This year for our anniversary getaway, Abe and I went hogwild crazy and left the state. He wound up in Salt Lake City, where we took advantage of some great hiking opportunities. But don't worry, we haven't lost our vacationing touch. There was still plenty of lazy hotel lounging.

We don't have one of them there fancy phones that let you see yourself when you're taking selfies. So this series of photos shows Abe trying to explain how it's not going to work and then giving up and kissing me instead.

Brain Rooms

Last night Abe and I were lying in bed, talking and giggling way past my bedtime. (This is one of my favorite things about being married.) At some point--probably after I said something weird--Abe remarked that he would love to take a peek inside my mind. That started me imagining what it might look inside HIS mind, and this is what I came up with:

Abraham's Brain Room

It is a tidy room, lined with floor-to-ceiling mahogany filing cabinets, each neatly filled with information. Abraham himself sits calmly in a high-quality leather chair in the center of the room. The color of the light in the room changes according to what he is thinking about, and his thoughts fall tidily into the following four categories: Relationships (red), Technology (blue), Religion (clear), and Current Events (orange). The colors rarely overlap. He will often access materials in his files, but after he has referenced them, he will neatly put them back where they belong. It is a calm and orderly place. 

Then we discussed what my mind looked like. 

Rachel's Brain Room

A busy place. Papers swirl around everywhere, whacking me in the face periodically. A hamster runs on a wheel, repeatedly singing parts of a song over and over again. The whole place is pulsing with emotion--mostly love, but sometimes sadness, joy, frustration, gratitude, anxiety, elation, and anger. There are piles of rocks that represent my responsibilities and my to-dos. I run back and forth, moving them from one place to another, hoping that none get forgotten, hoping that I don't fall behind. I carry a lot of the rocks in a backpack. It is a heavy load and I quickly grow tired.  

Now You

I found this to be an entertaining and enlightening exercise in self-awareness. And now I'm curious. What does YOUR brain room look like?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Field Trip to the Zoo

Liam's end-of-preschool field trip was a visit to the local zoo. 

He was in some hurry, so we left the other preschoolers far behind and viewed the zoo at double-speed. No cooing over newborn babies or watching as the penguins got fed. Our mission was simple: to see all the animals and get the heck out of there.

He was also very serious about being in charge of the map. 

He did allot some time in for some photo ops, though. 

Liam had a wonderful preschool year with Miss Camille at Sunny Times Preschool. You can view more of the sunny times here

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Man Bun Ban: How It Represents Everything I Despise About Church Schools

First off, let me say that as a proud BYU graduate, and regular utilizer of BYU-I interns, I do have some nice things to say about schools owned and operated by the LDS church. They have lovely campuses filled with great people. They employ many passionate and interesting and intelligent and kind professors. The students are generally hard working and excited to learn. The clean lifestyle promoted by the church makes the LDS college experience unique in a wonderful way.

But there are definitely some things that irk me about church-owned schools, and this article, which has been shared with differing responses by several of my Facebook friends, re-lit an angry fire that has lain dormant in my heart since I left Provo in 2006.

The gist of the article is this: As part of its ongoing campaign to force students into complying with the visible components of the Honor Code, BYU-Idaho just laid down a specific ban on the "man bun" hairstyle. The justification for the school's recent Man Bun Ban (and any previous bans that have been made on other "deviant" hairstyles) is that the powers that be have determined that the man bun falls outside the dress and grooming standards identified in the school's Honor Code.

This ban represents everything I despise about church schools.

And the reason can be boiled down to one word: honor.

Honor is something that comes from within. It can't be forced from without. It can't be administered by an office. It can't be created with bans. If a student signs a Code of Honor, it should be up to that student to ensure that he or she is living up to that code to the best of his/her understanding and ability. It should NEVER be the school's responsibility to ensure that students are "living with honor."

In fact, it takes away from each student's personal dignity to tell them that they're giving their word of honor by signing the code, and then setting into place an "honor enforcement" system that clearly sends the message, "We don't trust you to keep your word."

Instead of focusing so much on forcing students to follow an ever-growing list of regulations and nit-picky rules, church schools would do well to emphasize the importance of integrity and keeping your word. Yes, this might mean that some people will interpret the man bun as being a perfectly acceptable hairstyle under the school's dress code standards. But is that really so bad?

Thursday, September 17, 2015


As I was packing lunches one morning, I noticed a slight discrepancy between the size of my preferred lunch and the size of Abe's preferred lunch. 

Rachel's lunch.  

Abe's lunch. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pirate Day

The museum in Idaho Falls has been hosing a "Real Pirates" exhibition. To kick things off, the city hosted a Pirate Day in the downtown area. There were lots of fun things to do, but Liam was mostly mesmerized by this decidedly un-Piratey obstacle course. 

The National Guard guy supervising the blow-up course was really enthusiastic and kind. He quickly learned Liam's name. After he went through the course 1, 223,462 times (I counted), we went on a treasure hunt through a bunch of cute stores in the downtown area. It was a lovely day for just the two of us.

Meanwhile at home, Soren (who is too cool for pirates) spent some serious time reading his newest Tintin book. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Abraham tried to take a nice picture of Soren for his baptism announcement. Needless to say, it was a challenge. 

...and then Liam begged to get dressed in his church clothes and have his photo taken, too. 


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