Looking Good

Looking Good

Friday, August 22, 2014

Machu Picchu - A Once in Lifetime Experience!!

We're back. Wow. What a summer. First Mark and I went to the amazing Machu Picchu with the Alison and Mike.

While we were there we hiked our petunias off but did get to eat amazing gourmet food cooked out in the wilderness by a real chef. (Yes, those are AVOCADOS almost as big as bananas.)

People were literally dancing in the streets in Peru.

Of course, we couldn't leave Peru without trying cuy, or guinea pig, according to our Machu Picchu tour guides. Umm...I think we could have.

Next we were off to Ecuador. We did a ton of things there, but here are a few highlights--visiting the world famous Otavalo outdoor market:

In Otavalo we met up with some of Mike's siblings and even managed to buy a few things with some help from Javier who is in the brown shirt and showing off his brand new leather belt for $5:

From there we went to Puerto Largo and stayed in a lovely hotel right on the lake.

Then we went to Quito which is huge. And crowded. This is a lovely view from the tram we rode up to the top of a nearly mountain.

There we met more of the Mike's family and friends, including his adorable nieces and nephews who are swarming Alison:

We also visited a lot of churches in Quito, including this one, the Basilica:

And of course, we had to go stand in the middle of the world (latitude wise, anyway).

Our last side trip before the long trip back home was to Baños. We stayed at the Samari Inn and Spa. Gorgeous!!

Baños is right on the edge of the jungle, and it is lush beyond belief. We took a tour of some of the many waterfalls. How do you like that trail down into the Devil's Cauldron?

At long last it was time to go. I loved every minute of the trip except for the three hours that I spent violently carsick after our trip to lovely Lake Quilotoa. Let's just say that for a few hours, I really wanted to just die and get out of my misery.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fourth of July

Today was the 4th of July, so of course we began our celebration with our traditional breakfast--yummy healthy pancakes with real whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries for topping, savory gourmet scrambled eggs with onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms, orange juice, and, the pièce de résistance, bacon. We only have bacon twice a year: 4th of July and Christmas. This tradition started back in the days when we would get up very early and go over and watch the hot air balloons lift off, or sometimes we would participate in the 5k and the fun run, too, all of which are a part of Provo's big Freedom Festival. After running or watching the balloons, it would be midmorning, and we'd all be starving. We'd rush home and make a big, yummy breakfast. Over the years we've dropped the balloons and the run, but we've kept the breakfast. ;^)
Ben came over the night before, so he was there for the breakfast, so that made it even more fun. After that we played a few games (of course). That evening we went to see Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepson, and Cirque du Soleil perform as part of the Stadium of Fire. The acts were all very good, and the fireworks were amazing. Patty Davis was the MC, and she performed a very moving rendition of "Lean on Me." After the fireworks, we went over and joined the street dance for a while as we waited for traffic to die down.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Caleb gets his Eagle!

Mike and Alison took all the pictures, so I'll upload those later, but here is the slide show from Caleb's court of honor. I made this slide show for Caleb and the other boy who was getting his Eagle, and everyone seemed to think it was amazing. I think it was because I set the whole thing to "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Mulan. Ha. It was fun to watch the boys grow up from little 12 year olds to now listening to that music. I was Caleb's number one volunteer for his Eagle, so it was a big relief to get this finished off.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June Update

Well, these are the big things that happened this month:

Ben moved out to some apartments by UVU. Mike, Denee, and Alison helped him move in. He's been in touch since then and seems to be doing well. This is a big step for him; we are proud and happy.

Alison got a job teaching English at Thomas Jefferson Junior High in Kearns. She doesn't know yet what grade she is going to teach. Mike also recently got a new job with a real design firm. So, the Canars are moving up in the world. Yes, if up means north. They are planning to rent out their condo in Springville and rent an apartment in the Draper/Sandy/Bluffdale area for a while to accomodate their new working locations.

Megan took great pity on her mom and went with her to get a pedicure.

Caleb is still playing a lot of D & D. Luckily it is not always at our house. It is a good group of boys, though, and they seem to have fun.

 Mark spent the last week at scout camp. He arrived home not too worse for the wear.
Denee is looking for a new job, as her old one kind of disappeared on her (her part-time position was eliminated.) She has an offer, but it is a 40 minute drive, so she's still hoping to find something closer.

Testimony of the month: Heavenly Father does care about us and hears and answers our prayers. When I (Denee) went up to interview at a school in Salt Lake, I stopped by the Fashion Place Mall on the way home. When I got back to my car, I realized, after some searching and visiting of lost and founds, that I had locked my keys in the car. The nearest member of the family who can drive was Mark at work in Provo, almost an hour away. I sat on one of the benches in the mall and closed my eyes and prayed that Heavenly Father would help me to know what to do. I opened my eyes and looked across the way and saw a display window in the store Crate and Barrel. They had set up kind of a picnic scene, and one of the items on display was a telescoping hotdog/marshmellow fork.
The spirit whispered to me that this was the answer to my problem. You see, I've been keeping the back window of my car open just a crack (about 1/4 inch) due to some smelly plastics that were left in the car last month. So I went in and bought the fork. I took it out to the parking lot, and, ignoring the stares of passerbys, I proceeded to break into my own car. I'm thankful for the quick inspiration that I had, and it was a real testimony to me of how the spirit will give us answers if we stop and ask and listen.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

End of July Update

July has been a crazy month. Caleb has gone on two big excursions, and the rest of us have had a lot going on, too. Caleb went to EFY on the Fourth of July. (I think he also left his cell phone charger there, which he just noticed yesterday.) Then he went on a high adventure trek down to the Subway (the slot canyon, not the restaurant) in Southern Utah.
Mark bought himself a new car, a Mazda 6. The one you see pictured here looks exactly like the one he bought. He's pretty proud of it. He loves to research buys, so I think he ended up getting just the car he wants. The main criteria for the new car was sporty looks (yes, this is true), good gas mileage, and room for three to sit comfortably in the back. Everyone in the family gave this the thumbs up. We've already all driven in it as a family, and there was a lot less fighting with the extra three inches between each person. It's a modern miracle! Of course, in order to park the car in our garage, we had to get a shed. So, I've spent a while (with help from everyone) preparing the site of our old trampoline for a new shed. This did involve laying pavers as well--but I'm an old pro after last year's mammoth paver laying project. Here is the new shed below. These are not the right doors (they are only 5' 10" tall!), but they will be bringing out the correct doors on Tuesday.
As you can see, there was just enough room to squeeze it in the spot--there is only 6 inches between the southwest corner and the back of the fence (Oh, the joys of an odd-shaped lot)! We choose this funky saltbox style so Mark would have a lot of headroom--the other choices either don't have as high a roof or are too tall. We also picked a very light color to keep the heat down--we didn't even try to match our house except for the gray colors.
Some of the new paving I (and Mike) have put it. This part is all finished except for putting gravel in the sprinkler area that I couldn't cover over.
This is along the side -- still a little work to do here. And the whole thing needs sand swept in. I put this fifty inch walkway here so that the shed wouldn't shade my garden too much (the shed is on the South side). Mike helped with the paving and Alison was our fetcher girl. Mike and Alison have pretty much lived with us all summer. For extended family reading this, Alison could use our prayers as she searches for a job--she is getting a bit discouraged.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

End of June Report

Well, I'm starting to find out what it's like to be a scoutmaster's wife. Mark and I had to postpone our anniversary celebration so that he could go to scout camp at Typhee for a week. Bummer.
Anyway, we've been both busy and lazy here at the Tyler house. I've crossed a lot of to-do things off of my list.
Caleb attended Stake Youth Conference and will attend EFY next week.
Megan and I have had our own little Harry Potter Fest. We've watched all seven of the previous Harry Potter movies in preparation for the new one coming out soon. It's made me want to re-read the books again.
I've started a 17th blog - What Denée Wore Today. It's a way to keep track of what outfits I liked - and which ones I didn't.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

End of School Year Report

First the little good news: Caleb Tyler got all A's and B's! This is the first time ever in his high school career; we are very proud of him.

The big good news is that Megan graduated with high honors from UCAS. Not only that, but she was chosen among twelve other competitors to give one of two commencement speeches. Here she is below delivering her speech and walking across the stage.

Megan and a few friends

Megan and Kristina Gregory

Megan with proud parents

Megan with Grandma and Grandpa Tyler
Megan with whole family
Megan with Gregory cousins

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Blast from the Past

Here's a fun little memory for anyone who remembers this:

Drawing on the superb example of Penny Kittle, here is an alternate point of view piece. (This is the story of my son's piñata breaking injury episode from the point of view of the piñata.)

The Short, Brief Life of a Cub Scout Piñata
(alternate point of view)

Denée Tyler

My life began simply enough as a pile of paper pulp in a factory somewhere in Mexico. One day the craftsman took the pulp, wet it down, formed it around a mold, covered it with crepe paper, and voila, I came into being, a small blue boy with a strange-looking blue cap and a garish smile. I hung with several hundred of my brothers as I dried and contemplated my purpose in life.

Before I was able to complete my meditations, I was abruptly packed into a close, dark box with others of my kind. There wasn’t enough room to speak and scarcely air to breathe, and we really thought that this was the end.

Just when I had given up all hope, the box was opened, and several pimply young men wearing shirts that said “Macey’s Groceries” pulled all of us out and hung us crookedly from a flimsy string. I had to endure the staring, pointing, and jeering of many until a large, jovial man abruptly pulled me down from my precarious perch and said, “This would be perfect for our Blue and Gold Banquet.” Then, to complete the insult, he summarily stuffed me with tootsie rolls. Of all the candy in the world . . .

The man took me to a place called a “cultural hall.” This was obviously a cruel misuse of the name, as there was no culture in sight. Instead, a rope was tied around my neck, the rope was thrown over a basketball standard, and I was raised and lowered over a group of rather unscrupulous looking eight-, nine-, ten-, and eleven-year-olds in blindfolds. I could only continue to smile my vapid, painted-on smile as these same children proceeded to hit me all about the head and body with a four-foot length of PVC pipe. Oh, the cruelty of man to man!

I endured their blows for at least a half an hour while the parents and leaders of these little heathen stood around the circle and cheered them on. Despite the fact that I was only made of paper, I held firm and determined not to let them break me. Even as a piece of my foot and a part of my sweet, sugary innards fell, I remained strong.

Unfortunately, once the small torturers lost interest, the adults around the circle took over. A brawny man, who professed to be the parent of one of the yapping children, declared that he would finish me off. He took hold of the PVC pipe and gave a mighty swing.

I could feel the force of the blow coming, and although I tried to brace myself, my strength was spent at last. I could only stare and smile in amazement as my neck separated from my head, and my blue-clad body dropped on the savage crowd below. They fell on my sad remains like a flock of ravening vultures, snarling and grabbing with abandon and extreme bad manners.

But what was this? Could it be? As I gasped out my last, I felt the glory of sweet revenge. As the deathblow was struck, the PVC object of my pain broke in two, and the severed end flew forth like the arrow of justice and took out two of my tormentors. One was merely grazed, but the other, one Caleb Tyler, received the force of the pipe full on in the middle of his forehead, causing a huge ruckus, raising an enormous goose egg, and resulting in a trip to the emergency room. And thus, my glorious end is a lesson to all who would meddle with . . . Cub Scout piñatas!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our first college graduate....

I am sure we all thought Alison would be the first Tyler child to graduate from college--after all, she is four years or more older than all of her siblings.

But no, Megan Marie turns out to be the winner. She just graduated April 29th with an associates degree from Utah Valley University. She'll be heading off to BYU in the fall.
Megan with Lauren Bobo

Megan with Kory Tryasakorn

Megan also went to prom:

Don't worry about Alison, though. She'll graduate from BYU with honors and a degree in English and Psychology in August, 2011.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summertime . . . and the Living Ain't Easy

Meanwhile, back at the ole Tyler Hacienda:

We are just kicking it back during the summer. Mark and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this next week, so we'll be taking a little trip together. I am really looking forward to it.

I just spent the last week at Camp Yearbook up at Snowbird Resort. Wow. It was fun and educational. I learned a lot about yearbook that I didn't know. My two students who came up with me and I are committed to making a better yearbook this year. Anyway, when I got back from yearbook camp, Mark and I spent some time reminiscing about our dating days. What memories!

Megan spent a week at EFY. She enjoyed it but claimed that her session had no cute boys. I know it's hard to believe, but she pretty much lives for eye candy -- she's so much like her mother. Now she is busy taking Driver's Ed. online.

Megan and Caleb attended our ward's youth conference at Goblin Valley. When Megan left, she was determined that she was going to have a terrible time. When she came back, we asked her how it was, and she said, "Awesome!! We nearly died!!" So, apparently the near-death experience caused by a flash flood while they were hiking in a slot canyon really made the whole trip for her. Caleb was a little less enthusiastic about dying, but he apparently had a good time. He also brought home half of Goblin Valley in his bag and shoes.

I am working on a project as usual. I just can't seem to leave well enough alone. I've also noticed that I'll do anything to get out of the house. Anyway, I am putting in pavers around my garden to keep the weeds down and just to make it look good. Here are some working shots:

It's actually much further along than this now, as I've worked on it quite a bit.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jazz Hands and other Tyler Things

We've been watching a lot of Utah Jazz basketball, and Caleb always says "jazz hands, jazz hands" while we are watching and clapping, hence the title. We aren't usually that into Jazz basketball, but we tend to catch playoff fever when this time of year rolls around. We are spoiled by the Jazz, because they are almost always in the playoffs.

The weather here has been crazy, normal Utah weather. It is snowing today, and it will probably be 75 degrees later this week. I had to drive a group of my yearbook students up to Salt Lake City for a conference on Wednesday, and of course it was snowing and fogging like a blizzard going up around the point of the mountain. Sheesh. I hate driving in snow, especially in April.

We went to see the new movie, How to Train Your Dragon, for FHE. We all enjoyed it. We are also still watching Avatar, The Last Airbender with Mark. He's the only one who hasn't seen it, so we are forcing him to watch all three seasons. He acts like it's killing him, but I think he secretly likes it a little. We do have to lean over and punch him every once in a while to keep him awake.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Tale of A Sunday Talk

On Saturday afternoon, April 17th, I noticed that there was a message on the phone from Thursday night for Caleb from Bishop Longhurst. I had Caleb call him back, and we found out that Caleb was supposed to give a talk in church . . . the next day. The subject was his choice of a favorite talk from the Priesthood session of General Conference. Saturday evening I decided that we needed to get to work on the talk. Mark had mentioned that Caleb had seemed to like the talk President Uchtdorf gave, so we printed that one out.

Now came the hard part. Have you ever tried to get Caleb to sit still and do something?? It is not an easy task. He likes to be up and moving. When you do get him to sit down, he immediately goes into "I'm too tired to work on anything right now" mode and threatens to fall asleep. He also didn't like any of my ideas of how to organize his talk, but he didn't have any ideas of his own. Let it suffice to say that we got nowhere with the talk preparation.

On Sunday morning I had to go to an early morning choir practice, so it fell to Mark to help Caleb with his talk. As I was leaving I  heard Mark giving Caleb suggestion after suggestion only to have Caleb veto every idea.

As I sat in the pews after choir, I had to wonder if Caleb was going to have a talk prepared or not. There was also some question about whether he would make it to church on time to give said talk, as he has struggled a bit in that area of late. Megan was there with me, and she assured me that Caleb and Mark were right behind her, but . . . church started and no Caleb.

As the opening hymn began, I was hoping it would be a long one to give Caleb time to get in. My worst fear was that he wouldn't get in before the Sacrament and he would be locked out and have to walk up to the podium as they were announcing him as the speaker. Still, that would be better than not having him show up at all.  Oh no - the opening hymn was short.

Just as we finished the last verse, Caleb came in looking like a deer in the headlights. He took his place on the stand, and Mark sat by us. I gave Mark a searching look, but he just shook his head. Oh my.

Caleb got up to give his talk - and he did a fantastic job. He had some notes, but he actually gave the impression that he had his talk somewhat memorized. Afterwards several people from the ward came up and congratulated him or passed on congratulations through me.

If they only knew . . .

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can we clone this girl???

I just want to brag a little on this girl, Megan Tyler. You see, Megan had to take the ACT test on Saturday, April 10th. Her sometimes lazy, sleep-deprived parents forgot all about it, but Megan herself remembered that she had to take it and got herself up and over there on time. Would this have happened with any other Tyler children? I think not, but I'd love to be happily surprised.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Time Yearbook Teacher Has Success!

As some of you may know, I took on my school's yearbook class this year in addition to teaching my other classes. It has been both a fun and frustrating experience. I know I've learned a lot--probably more than my students, actually!

Anyway, our yearbook is almost finished (we just have one more file that a senior editor needs to upload on Monday), and I am experiencing a great feeling of accomplishment and pride for my little staff. Our theme was Technically Speaking, and we really took that theme and ran with it. Here's our cover--it looks like a computer hybrid between a Mac and a PC:
The actual cover looks way cooler than this--this is just a small file drawing of it.

Our pages themselves look like internet sites, except for our first and last pages, which look like a computer desktop and the infamous "blue screen of death."  Here are some examples (if you click on them you can see a larger version, I think):

It's been a ton of fun making UCAS themed near copies of various websites. (I hope you recognize Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and Youtube.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Report on the March 25th Meeting of the Literary Ladies

This month we read Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë. I have to admit that it was not my favorite book ever. The main character works as a governess. She is probably the most spineless female character I've read since Bella in Twilight. There is a love affair in the book, I guess. I really couldn't tell because there was no passion involved at all. And we all know that I either have to have passion or eye candy if I'm going to really enjoy something.

Even though the book wasn't all that great, the company, as usual, was highly entertaining. We have the best book group ever!!!