Sunday, October 12, 2008

Top of the Alps

We took a train up to Santis on Saturday, and it was amazing.  We even had our first snowball fight of the season!  It was a perfect day for some pictures from the top of the world.

It was a perfect day for a hike.  Charlie slept through most of it on my back.

Madison danced at the top and...

...sang her favorite songs from the Sound of Music with Angie and Ellie.

We're thinking about using this picture for our Christmas cards.  But we have to delete the two random extra kids.... and the dog..... sorry to you dog lovers out there.

Emily had the birds eating right out of her hands.

Angie told us about her bird phobia shortly AFTER this picture was taken.

Charlie and I couldn't get the birds interested in our PBnJ with bananas sandwich.

Angie... just before she started yodeling... no, really... She yodeled... pretty well actually.

Train rides are always a good time.

happy birthday, Angie!


We are glad you made it back from Italy alive!

We hope 2-5 is a great year for you...

Luzern--Kent's day off and girls in school!

Isn't this great?  You, too, could have your nanny drive you around the lake in Luzern while enjoying the gorgeous view!  Don't worry, we pay Angie well with lots of slobbery baby kisses from Charlie... 

We are so lucky to have Angie here!  The kids make her play "pets" or "Uno" every day.  And on her days off, she has been to Luzern, Munich, Venice, Rome, and Naples.  Next stop, Paris.

He looks more and more like a Cragun everyday.  Isn't it unfortunate that his head is almost as big as mine?  It's to hold all four of his new baby teeth!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Deseret News article

Hello. The Deseret News picked up my venting article about the credit crisis. You can read the article and comment at,5143,700262986,00.html



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kent Wrote the Following Article

I really am flattered that you all thought I could write such interesting and informative words concerning our economy, but alas, all the credit goes to Kent.  And now that YOU read it in that light, YOU all know that it sounds much more like him than me... 

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Financial Blame Game

Unless you have been on another planet for the last month, you know about the credit crisis in America. If you have been paying attention to the coverage, you have heard several reasons for the crisis… big firms on wall street, the Bush administration, Fat Cats in New York, and even the guy who offered a loan with an adjustable rate. But there is one person noticeably unmentioned in this game of blame… YOU. That’s right… Y.O.U.

But I must admit I am not surprised YOU haven’t been mentioned as at least an accomplice to the financial mess. Who would tell you? The media… no way… they need you as a customer to drive their ratings. They would never insult you (their customers) by saying that this current mess is YOUR fault. It’s not in their selfish interest. That is media-business suicide. How about the politicians? Will they tell you it is your fault? Of course not… especially in an election year. You are their constituents, and they need your vote. You can do no wrong in their eyes. So if the media won’t tell you that you screwed up, and the politicians won’t tell you that YOU have been living beyond your means, who will? I consider myself part of "Y.O.U.", and I take it upon myself to give us all a good dose of reality.

For years, YOU have been living beyond YOUR means. YOU drive a car you can’t afford. YOU bought a house that is way too big just hoping the market would go up and YOU would get rich quick (like those horrible “fat cats” on Wall Street). YOU made short-term decisions that will have long-term consequences. YOU bet it all on the real estate market. YOU spend more than YOU make. YOU were greedy, and YOU lost.

I would like to mention three groups of people YOU can’t blame for this mess… First, Fat Cats on Wall Street: Their firms bought into YOUR decisions. YOU decided to buy a house YOU couldn’t afford, and they were dumb enough to lend YOU the money. They were greedy just like YOU, not more, not less…. Just like YOU. If YOU are honest, YOU will realize that YOU are no different than those Fat Cats on Wall Street… except they were smart enough to negotiate severance packages and YOU didn’t.

Second, the George Bush administration: I know it’s popular to blame them for everything, but I’m sorry… W. wasn’t there when YOU signed the loan on YOUR house. He didn’t buy YOUR car(s). He didn’t make the short-sighted decision to take a sub-prime finance gamble on shelter for YOUR family. He didn’t bet the farm on one real estate deal. YOU did.

Finally, the Lenders: They made it possible for YOU to start making payments on YOUR home. They qualified YOU for way too much borrowed money… but ultimately, YOU took it. YOU didn’t have to. They didn’t hold a gun to YOUR head, and in spite of what YOU are currently saying in your lawsuit against your lender, they did not trick YOU. YOU knew the risk, and YOU thought YOU were invincible. YOUR gamble and their gamble drove them out of business.

I know it’s hard to hear. The truth often is… which is why so few people actually tell it. Let’s be honest about how we got here. We did it ourselves through poor decisions based on trying to get something for nothing in the housing market. Let’s turn off 24 hour news that panders to its customers and get back to the accountability, responsibility and self-discipline that made the United States of America the greatest and most prosperous country in the history of the world. Let’s all quit blaming others and take an occasional look in the mirror to ask the really difficult questions… “What did I do to contribute to this mess?”, and “What can I do to help us get out?”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ravenna, Italy

One of our stops while visiting Venice was the small town of Ravenna.  What a fascinating place!  There were several churchs and museums still standing that were filled with mosaics from the 6th century.  Check out the amazing detail and symbolism in what we know to be restored truths...

The only bad part of our trip was saying goodbye to our Heather!  We miss her so much already!  At least we have a ton of memories and pictures to remember her with.  She is the most incredibly helpful, responsible, kind, fun and beautiful girl.  I am so happy my girls have a nanny, and friend, like her to look up to and admire.  We love you, Heather!


We were lucky enough to take a summer vacation to Venice with the Rowbotham family.  What a blast!  We were especially lucky that Reed spent his mission in Italy and could help us get around.  The Rialto bridge was beautiful at sunset.

Even though we had kids with us on the gondola rides, it was still quite romantic!  However, I couldn't seem to talk our gondolier into singing us a tune...

We couldn't drive to our apartment in the city.  What an adventure to take a water taxi and then walk up and down the bridges with our luggage!

Madison and Ellie's favorite things there were the masks...and chasing pigeons!

An absolutely beautiful and magical city!

Hiking through the Alps


We were lucky to host the Rowbotham family here before they took Heather back with them to the states.  On one of our days with them we hiked through the alps, singing songs from the Sound of Music on the way.  I was very proud of Madison.  She ran with "the big kids," Heather, Yan, and Kyle.  We ate at an awesome little restaurant on the side of the mountain.  All of the views were quite surreal.  We had a great day, and were pretty worn out when all was said and done...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

4th of July in London

We spent the fourth of July in London. We stayed with Heather's relatives for a few days and then stayed in a hotel in downtown London for a few days. It was great. Emily and Kent went to watch Wicked; Heather and Madison watched the Lion King; and Heather went to Phantom alone. We went through Westminster Abbey, saw Big Ben and the London Bridge, the Tower of London, rode the London Eye, and generally had a great time driving around downtown London on the "wrong" side of the street. Here are a few pictures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Father's Day

Father's Day was the first time Kent got his boy to dress alike in their favorite team shirts! I am sure there will be many more events of this. The girls surprised Kent with an invitation to their ball. They all got dressed up and got to order off of the menu for the "King's Table." After dinner of golden nuggets, they had dancing followed by dipping from the royal pot of fondue. Quite a memorable event...

Renaissance Festival in Feldkirch

So how cool is it to go to a Renaissance Festival when you are really walking around cobblestone streets and looking up at a real castle? We had a great Saturday outing in Feldkirch, Austria at the Renaissance Festival. Madison loved getting her face painted, and we loved locking the girls in a cage! Pretty fun day.