Sep 20
New Jersey
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Family Events | icon4 09 20th, 2009| icon3No Comments »


Steve and I took a 3 day trip to New Jersey for his best friend’s wedding (Bryan). We were so grateful to my sister and her family for keeping our kiddos while we were gone. We flew out Friday morning, arriving at the JFK airport around 5 pm. We rented a car and were a bit nervous about driving from New York to New Jersey at rush hour. Lucky for us, it was a holiday weekend. Most everyone seemed to be traveling north. We only had to turn around twice, and mainly right outside of the airport.


Steve told me about the Verrazzano Bridge and I really wanted to take a picture of it…but there were signs everywhere saying cameras were not allowed. Bummer. Steve said it’s probably because tourists would take pictures and cause an accident. With that traffic I could understand why! Luckily we made it to New Jersey with no problems and in decent time too.




I took this picture for Spencer…it’s only SOME of the train yard that I could get in the frame


And look what they have…2 highways…one for long distances, the other for local exits. Brilliant!


Steve took me to the best pizza place ever! Villa Pizza baby. He used to eat there often when he was working at a computer store (Bryan was his co-worker). Oh, and don’t forget…you have to fold your pizza. Don’t ask…just do it. ๐Ÿ™‚ The slices were huge and the garlic knots were the best! I want to steal the recipe! For both! Yum Yum YUMMY!



We checked into our hotel, went to sleep on Mountain Time…and the next morning the cleaning woman woke us up by knocking on our door after 10 AM. We got up, got showered and ready and went driving. Steve showed me lots of places where he spent time as a kid/teenager. I love the trees lining the roads, the view of the ocean (and New York) from Sandy Hook, and all the colonial style homes out there. They have MY wrap around porches!!!!




Does this look funny to anyone else?


Yeah…that’s right…if you want to do a U Turn or TURN LEFT, you take a “Jug Handle” – let me explain…instead of “Suicide Lanes” you have to go on a Jug Handle (from the right lane) so it can change your direction so you’re going straight where you would have turned left…if it was legal. This may or may not help….


These cars went off on the right and then are looping around to the left to the light (ahead of us) so they can go left. Confused? Hope not!

Look how gorgeous it is with trees EVERYWHERE! The streets are lined in them. It’s beautiful! We need more trees in Utah. Lots more.



We drove to his High School (Raritan Rockets) and saw his old home, his cousins’ home and a few others.



He took me to aย  look out point (don’t remember the name) that we also visited after we got married (6 years ago).





Can you see why it’s called Sandy Hook?


There was something new there….a monument. Once I realized what it was, I had tears brought to my eyes as I touched a piece of one of the Twin Towers that were attacked on 9/11.ย  Below the eagle (who had the piece of the building clutched in its claws) were the names of those who died from Monmouth County grouped by cities. It was a powerful feeling, especially looking at the New York skyline and realizing where those buildings stood. Wow.



We found the church building we THOUGHT was the church where Bryan and Melissa were going to be married that afternoon, but the address on Google Maps lead us elsewhere. We went back to the hotel, got ready and headed back to the church. We were so glad to see Bryan’s parents – we knew we were in the right place. I wish I would have taken my camera it to get pictures (Lucky for me I stole some pictures off of Bryan’s sister’s Facebook page!) of how beautiful Melissa looked, and how happy Bryan was to see her walk down the aisle. I started crying when I turned and looked at Bryan when Melissa came down the aisle. He was so happy and you could see how much he loves her.




She’s trying to dry his eyes by blowing in his face. LOL


I’m so glad that Bryan’s family are the great people that they are. When we were leaving the church, Bryan’s mom told us that this special day was even more special because we came and how much it meant to them that we were there for Bryan’s big day. They also invited us to their daughter’s house while we waited for the reception. It was fun talking to everyone there and boy did I feel like the odd ball out without a great accent!

The reception was a lot of fun. Different than any I’d ever been to. We arrive at the reception hall, and into the cocktail room. For those of you who know me, you know we don’t drink and it was quite humorous to see us go to the open bar and ask “do you have any soda?” and then say “Wow! That’s pretty neat!” to the soda dispenser that has 12 or so different kinds using one handle! The bartender even asked, “You’re not from around here are you?” LOL

After light hors d’oeuvres (which I thought was the actual ‘meal’) we were sent to the reception room. We were seated next to some of Bryan’s co-workers and they were some of the nicest people ever! We found out so much about them and what they do, and best of all, the co-worker and I snuck up to the chocolate fountain right when they were done getting it started and before they announced that it was ready. And he let me go first! YUM! The DJ was pretty good, although he was so loud that we didn’t understand half of what he was saying. There was tons of dancing, the garter, the bouquet, the cutting of the cake and the thing I loved most (****for those of you who are getting married soon or know someone who is…this is a great suggestion that I wish I would have done at our reception!***) was that the DJ had all married couples come dance. Then he started having couples sit down “Any couple married less than 1 year (minus the bride and groom), sit down”ย ย  “5 years”ย ย  “10 years”ย  “20 years”ย  etc until they found the couple married the longest. This couple was about to celebrate their 60th (I think). The bride and groom took a picture with this couple so that they could have an example to strive for in their marriage. I thought that was so neat!


Oh…I forgot…before the chocolate fountain came dinner. Yum-diddly-um. Filet Minon. Mmmm Mmmm Good. ๐Ÿ™‚ And another open bar….with soda! ๐Ÿ™‚ The reception started at 6 and we didn’t leave until 11:30. It was quite a night and the bride and groom were fabulous.ย  We knew we wouldn’t be able to spend much time with Bryan and Melissa but we were so glad to be there and share in their special day.


On Sunday we got up, got ready and packed and headed to Steve’s old ward. We walked in and a few people did a double take when they saw Steve. One man even said, “Hi. Are you new here?” and the guy next to him said “You really don’t recognize him?” Then it hit him. LOL We sat towards the back and Grandma Peggy walked in, saw us, gave a big smile and sat next to us. Grandpa George walked right past and sat by himself. After a minute he started looking around trying to find Peggy until he saw us! ๐Ÿ™‚ (PS – these are not Steve’s real grandparents, but they’re “adopted” grandparent….friends with Alec and Pat and they are just like family to us all). It was fast and testimony meeting at church and George kept telling me to get up there. I told him to since it was his ward, not mine. He said “So if I go up, you will too?” “Sure!”

So we sauntered up to the front, and George went before me. He said how glad he was to see teenagers grow up, go on missions, come home and start a family and how true the Gospel is. Then he gave me my own personal introduction. “And now we’ll here from Sister Emily Shaw” LOL What a hoot! I bore my testimony about how grateful I was for Temple marriages. I am so glad to know that once Steve or I die, we will still be together after this life and that our families are sealed to us.

After sacrament meeting we talked in the hallway with those who knew Steve and his family, said our farewells, and changed into jeans in the bathrooms. ๐Ÿ™‚ We were going to eat at a place called Friendlies (we typically don’t go shopping or eat out on Sundays since it’s the Sabbath day but we kind of had to since we were traveling). I BEGGED Steve to take me back to Villa Pizza. And he laughed and said OK. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am hooked! Little Ceasars is so Blah compared to Villa Pizza! Like really BLAH.

I don’t know why…but this made me laugh. We call them Speed BUMPS. LOL (Click on the picture to see it larger)


We made our way back to New York and took a few too many wrong turns. I think we might have added on an extra 30-45 minutes driving time. Luckily we left early enough! This time (coming from the Jersey side) the Verrazzano Bridge did not say that cameras were prohibited! So I took out the camera and started taking pictures. It was great.



The barges out at sea were so big, and there were so many big cities in the distance, I’m not sure which was which….Brooklyn, NYC, or what?! Then I saw these great signs. I love them!



We made it to the car rental place and inside the airport with plenty of time before our flight. Check in and security were not too bad, especially since there was an Italian in front of us and we started conversation with him. Steve got to practice his Italian and did really well but the noise in that place had him asking for the guy to repeat himself. I caught a word every once inย  a while that I understood but it was so fun listening to them talk back and forth.

We walked around the airport a lot…looking for things for the kids, finding a place to plug in our laptops (and Steve take a nap) and then got some dinner. Look what they have at the airport! (From different stores too)


We were ready to board our plane when we realized where we were headed was DOOR 12 at GATE #?….not GATE 12 where we were supposed to be. We had to book it across the terminals to get to our plane. Whew! That would have been bad!

I made Steve take a few pictures with me….

Pretending he was asleep


Trying not to smile


And finally a smile…although I hate the angles of me. ICK.


My sister came and picked us up at the airport and was sweet enough to drive home (driving our van). She had our kids in their seats asleep so all we had to do was drive her home then head home ourselves. The next morning we told the kids how much we missed them. Want to know what they said?

“Can we go back to Netty’s?”

WHAT? ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL Guess they didn’t miss us, huh? Thanks again Netty and family! You’re the best!

Feb 11
Stop Fightin
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Family Events | icon4 02 11th, 2009| icon35 Comments »

The meat section of Walmart is now a funny place for us. Stephen and I were discussing how we don’t really like ground beef much, except for in certain meals. We started listing off what we’ll actually eat with ground beef in it. Stephen said one thing, then I said another, and Stephen said another, and all of the sudden Spencer blurts “STOP FIGHTIN’!” I said, “Spencer, we’re not fighting.”

Sp: “Yes. You goin’ back and forth back and forth back and forth.”

Em: “That’s called a conversation.”

We could not stop laughing!!! He was so serious and we really don’t fight – not even quietly. If we get into an argument, it’s usually normal talk and then some quiet time while we both tell ourselves we’re right. What a funny, funny kid!

Jan 27
High School Flashback
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Thoughts | icon4 01 27th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

1) Did you date someone from your school? I “dated” Tanner during my Senior year
2) What kind of car did you drive? ’98 Honda Civic
3) Did you pass your driver’s license test the first time? Yeah…but I chose to fail parallel parking since Oklahoma streets are not as spacious as streets in Utah and with a car parked on each side of the street and being in a boat of a car chose not to destroy two cars in the process.
4) Were you a party animal? Nope
5) Were you considered a flirt? Yes. Absolutely.
6) Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Choir – which I loved cause I got to go to Disneyland with Tanner and Mauni andย  Stacey and…EVERYONE!
7) Were you a nerd? Not THAT kind of a nerd but I am a nerd
8) Were you on any varsity teams? Nope
9) Did you ever get expended or expelled? I was ALMOST sent to the principals office (Thanks a lot Danny!) but I talked my way out of it.
10) Can you still sing your fight song? Not from Choctaw…not from Springville.
11) Who were your favorite teachers? Mrs Leech rocked..So did Mrs A…Ms Swagert…I liked a lot of my teachers
12) Where did you sit at lunch? I was always with either Tanner, Mike Jeff, and Chelts or on occasion I was with Keri, Amy, and Caleb…AND Mauni and Devin….
13) What is your school’s full name? Choctaw High School and Springville High School
14) School mascot and colors: Yellow Jackets (Yellow and Blue) and Red Devils (Red and Blue)
15) Did you go to homecoming and who with? Never in Choctaw…I believe Ryan Ashby was Homecoming dance. Although, I don’t remember when Homecoming is and it was my first dance in Utah.
16) If you could go back and do it again, would you? Nah….I have my journals and don’t regret anything. I am sad at some of the emotions I wasted (lack of self esteem, etc.)
17) What do you remember most about graduation? Singing and flirting from a distance with Tanner and laughing with Angie.
18)Who was your biggest crush in high school? I know he’s in a lot of my answers, but Tanner.
19) Were you in any clubs? Spanish club in Choctaw, but that was just to go to Costa Rica.
21) Who was your prom date? Tanner again.
22) Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion? Yep
23) Did you have a job while in high school? I babysat for an awesome family

Jan 21
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Thoughts | icon4 01 21st, 2009| icon31 Comment »


Post the rules on your blog
List 6 random things about yourself.
Tag 6 people at the end of your post.
Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I can be called a half-started…or maybe and almost finisher… with most things in my life….mainly cleaning…or laundry….or filing. Or maybe you can just call it lazy, who knows! For example, my laundry will get cleaned, the towels might get folded, the kids clothes might get folded, but nothing gets put away…it stays on my couch or bed until it gets thrown on the floor or they all become dirty again.

2. I used to half a mole on my face – it was in the same spot as a certain celebrity…and I was nicknamed Madonna (only for the mole, not the boobs!)

3. I take pictures all the time – mostly with the thought “How can I scrapbook this?” in mind.

4. My left ribs stick out farther than my right ribs.

5. I love natural disasters – it’s so neat watching the force and power of a tornado or hurricane, and although I don’t like seeing people’s lives turned up-side-down or their lives taken, I love that it brings people together and they serve each other. Plus, it’s not a human with an evil heart hurting others.

6. I lie to Steve all the time! If he asks when I’m going to sleep, I’ll say “After I finish the chapter.” Usually 4-5 chapters later (or 3 in the morning) I’ll finally close the book and turn off my lamp. Sorry hun!

I tag:

1. Coley

2. Annette or Steph or Mom…or Lauren since she blogs more than you do!

3. Leona

4. Janel

5. Katie S

6. Susan

Dec 14
UVU Basketball
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Family Events | icon4 12 14th, 2008| icon3No Comments »

Steve bought us tickets to go see UVU play the Aggies tonight. At first, it was just alright. I tried showing Spencer what was happening – and then daddy stole him from me, but Evie was more than entertaining the whole game. She loved watching the dancers and when I asked, “Are you going to dance?” or “Will you learn to do that?” she’d say “yep” and shake her head. She’s such a cheeseball and would let me take her picture…Spencer, on the other hand, wouldn’t. But he couldn’t stop me when he passed out on daddy’s lap! Steve’s friend from work (and former boss-man) sat next to us and cheered on the Smaggies while we cheered on the Wolverines! Too bad at the end, Jason did more cheering. Here are some pretty darn cute pictures from our night out:

Nov 8
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Family Events | icon4 11 8th, 2008| icon32 Comments »

So, I’m a bit late on this and a little out of order but things have been busy! Kids are just the cutest – especially at Halloween. Here are some so sweet pictures of Spencer, Evie, and their cousins.

I had to steal some pics from Mike and Nicole since I didn’t pull out my camera when I saw them! Oops! (and for some reason the page with mike’s picture won’t load so I can’t steal it!) ๐Ÿ™

Nov 8
New Hair!
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Thoughts | icon4 11 8th, 2008| icon39 Comments »

For my birthday (thanks mom and dad!) I went to get my hair done by my friend, Cami. I called to make an appointment, met Annette to give her my kids (thank you!), and headed to see Cami. I pretty much said “I’m tired of my hair, do what you want as long as all I have to do is flat iron it!” She told me her favorite thing to do lately is the ‘stack’ (I think) and showed me a picture. I said “Go for it!” So – she did!

Oct 13
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Family Events | icon4 10 13th, 2008| icon34 Comments »

We went with Jed & Leona and Austin & Rosanne to Upalco over Conference weekend. It was a lot of fun! On Friday evening, we headed to Jed’s parents’ house and got settled in. The next two days were spent watching conference, playing with the kids outside and chatting away. Saturday was rainy but that didn’t stop the kids from wanting to play outside. We let them. They all wanted apples and Leona helped the kids pull them off the tree. Those were some tasty apples. They had a few moments on the soap box (I won’t give details Rosanne!), otherwise known as a big rock, and chased around the dogs.

On Sunday the rain had stopped and we went for a hike up the mountain. Grandma Burton, Leona and I took the kiddos up. Spencer usually liked to run ahead and Reid was really good at throwing rocks. We got up pretty high and Steve came out to join us. Evie was little miss independent and at one point, Steve pulled out a cactus needle and showed Evie that it would hurt if she stepped on it. She wanted BOTH fingers poked. Silly girl. Sunday night we had a bonfire. If you see weird pics of Steve and Jed, they’re just trying to strick a match on their zippers. We ate, roasted marshmallows, packed up and headed home. We had a lot of fun and got to spend more time together with our friends.

Sep 24
Pages Pages!
icon1 memilyrae | icon2 Digital Scrapbooking | icon4 09 24th, 2008| icon32 Comments »

Pretty simple but I loved all of the pictures! I couldn’t help but do a two-spread of it! These were back in 2004 in our first apartment. What goofy pictures!

Sep 7

Wow. What a weekend. We are done with the 2008 UTOS Conference and it sure has been a busy week! Luckily I have an awesome family that helped with my kids and when I say ‘help’ I mean watched them nearly 24/7…well, actually 24/4. I slept in the same room but was gone before they woke up. So, thank you!

On Wednesday I did a little running around before heading up to Salt Lake Community College – Redwood campus. We were so lucky to have a lot of volunteers who helped with banners, registration, and room management. Some helped set up on Wednesday. Our Sponsors also came to set up booths. Wednesday evening we went to Fiddlers’ Elbows for a speaker’s dinner. It was 21 and over so we had to show our ID’s. The food was fantastic! I had 2 servings of ribsย  but my favorite part was the bread triangles and spinach and artichoke dip. Will kept stealing it from me ๐Ÿ™ We had a ton of fun. I left Steve with my Benji (Ben Payne) so I could down to my sister’s before the kids fell asleep. Evie was wide awake when I got there but Spencer was passed out.

Thursday was our first day of the Conference. I woke up at 530 (AH!) and met Steve to carpool up. We got there before the inside doors were open so we hung out a bit. Once inside we set up registration and our swag boxes (Novell laptop bags with more swag inside). Around 10 we started getting a slow flow of attendees that needed to sign in to get their swag and badges. Luckily I had awesome volunteers that helped with the madness of registration. Throughout the day we had registrations plus during each class time I took pictures of the speakers and attendees. Thursday evening was the Keynote dinner and I attended for a short amount of time to let another core team member leave the registration desk.

Friday was an early morning again. More registrations, more pictures, and more fun. That evening a group of us (near 50 people if not more) went to Tucanos. YUMMY!

Saturday was the last day and, to tell you the truth, I was glad for that. It ws such a long weekend with so much work that I was excited to be done. I was able to sit in 2 classes – Inkscape and Gimp (both open source graphics programs) and learned a few things I didn’t know as well as had some questions answered.ย  We also had Family Day on Saturday so we had Smokehouse BBQ for lunch and bouncy houses for any kids who came with their parents. I ended up leaving around 5 when the BoFs and Games started.

Here are a few pictures. The rest are on flickr

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