Friday, November 20, 2015

Beautiful Barbados and Autumn in NYC and Boston

How lucky are we that the friends that we met on a YPO cruise in the Caribbean last year invited us to come to speak at the YPO chapter in Barbados? We really like these people! Not only because they supplied a lovely two bedroom condominium for us to stay in their building and because they had a personal chef who provided a couple of gourmet dinners for us, but also because they have a delightful family and are dedicated to providing funds for humanitarian projects all over the world!

Barbados is a beautiful place filled with the gorgeous scenery and the stark difference between the rich and the poor. No matter what the economic status, all can enjoy this lovely spot on earth,


One of our favorite places was Crane Beach, watched over by the Crane Resort. Incredible!




The other side of Island was equally beautiful! That is a huge rock out there, not a tent!



We stopped by a place called the Flower Forest, which was actually pretty hard to get to. The road to get there was absolutely crazy but our little rental car made it and it was certainly worth it. The flora and fauna were just astonishing!

Palm trees so tall that you couldn’t see the top as well as the way nature makes itself work.











I’m so lucky to be married to this great guy!


After four days we headed back to our NYC “home” with Eli and Julie. We were at Central Park at the height of spring six months ago when Dean was born and now we got the chance to be there at the height of Autumn!


Zara gave her baby quite a ride that day! Wish I knew how to post videos. What she can do on this little scooter is almost impossible to believe!



That great Julie just sits down and feeds that little Dean anywhere, anytime he needs it. We’re fans of that woman!


Autumn wonderland!



After a delicious lunch at The Boathouse, Dean and I hung around all the excitement at the Bethesda Fountain. That includes a bubble extravaganza, opera singers under the arches, brides and grooms taking pictures everywhere and live music at almost every corner of the fountain..In the meantime, Julie and Eli, Grandfather and Zara took a fun boat ride on that spectacular day!


It was great for Grandfather to do a little jumping in the leaves with Zara and Dean, since we didn’t do that tis year on his birthday! Dean LOVES the swing at the playground and never tires of swinging back and forth.



Most important thing….keeping those glasses straight!



As always, Rick and Eli found a court to play on! This is at Riverside Park, playing on clay courts! Eli almost won!


When Zara get tired of the scooter, she takes a little ride on her “Rolls Royce” stroller which accommodates two kids and a friend!


This girl is bursting with passion and pizzaz! This is my favorite picture that her mom posted on Instagram of her meltdown at the end of Halloween night. This is just how a lot of kids (and moms) feel at the end of a long Halloween season!


From there we hoped on a train and took a four hour ride to see our Boston family! We got there on Saturday night and Saydi picked us up and whisked us to an Art Show to raise money for kids who have been accepted at BYU but don’t have the money to go.

It was so fun that Eva and Adam, Ian, London and Skye were there displaying some o their beautiful photographs!  How great to see them! London had taken a picture of the Angel Moroni reflected in a puddle (not a typo). It’s beautiful and Grandfather immediately bought it! It was so wonderful to see that great family again!



The next morning we went on a magical late autumn hike to The Fells with the Shumways. Here is cute Hazel and I on the reservoir bridge. Our destination was a very creative hut that this fun family has built in the middle of the woods. That required quite a lot of work don’t you think?



Church is always fun with the Shuways, especially when Bishop Shumway is conducting!

One of our main reasons for going to Boston was that it was Emmeline’s birthday on Monday. What fun we had celebrating with her at breakfast. Big sister Hazel had hand-made cute hair clips and bands for her which delighted her!




I took the kids to school (I love that) while Saydi and Rick went for a run. Then we loaded up and headed for downtown Boston before we had to catch our train back to NYC. But first we visited the Boston Public Library which is always a treat. What a building!


We had a delightful lunch and some great conversation at the Library Restaurant in this historic building (also the site of the Boston Marathon Bombing just across the street).


How we love this wise and wonderful woman!


After another 4 hour train ride to Penn Station and then a quick change-over to the New Jersey transit system, we arrived in a rain storm to a hotel across the street from the train platform. The next morning we were picked up and taken to a gorgeous Country Club in the splendor of late Autumn in New Jersey where we spoke to an outstanding group of parents who wanted to know how to help their kids be financially responsible.

That evening it was back to New York City and our cute family there provided another day and a half on their luxury air mattress in their tiny five-story walk-up. in one of our favorite cities in the world!

The next morning the laundry was delivered:


…and Eli and Julie and I walked across the street to Sarabeth’s for breakfast while Grandfather babysat. What a guy huh?


Julie and Eli are going through the two-year-old-who-won’t-stay-in-bed stage since she have recently put in her “Big Girl Bed.” and put the baby in the closet. Those who have had two-three year olds probably know exactly what I mean! She gets up about 20 times after she’s been “put down.” At the moment after trying everything else, they’ve given up and decided to let her put herself to bed when she is finally tired enough to go to sleep. As frustrating as that is….those precious little people are so adorable…when they’re asleep!


And that’s the end of our 3 1/2 month saga. We’ve been gone all but about 10 days in the past 100 days. After posting every day this week, FINALLY, I’m caught up on blogging for a while.I’m doing this for the sake of family history (how soon we forget). Thanks to those of you who have followed along for the ride!

I have to say that we are so blessed tobe able to have our flights paid by someone else as we speak in places near where our kids reside! We’ve had so much fun the past eleven days meeting new friends but most of all, reveling with our kids and grandkids…in their own environment!

Still, it’s always nice to be home! Even when it looks like this out the window:


On to winter!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mom Conference and World Congress

We are so proud of our oldest daughter Saren, who has taken the baton in the effort to help moms and families and has charged ahead! Many of you will know about the incredible website she and her brilliant and wise friend April Perry have created at

While we were in Japan, Saren, April and Desiree Ward (who had done something similar last year) pulled off the most incredible online conference for moms imaginable.They lined up twenty speakers, all doing one-hour presentations on topics crucially important for mothers, who otherwise get precious little training for their lifelong careers as mothers. After hundreds of hours of hard work and marketing, they gathered almost 40,000 mothers who attended the three-day conference. The accolades are still pouring in and we are so happy that their tireless efforts paid off, giving help to a lot of deliberate moms!

We haven’t heard all the talks yet because we were busy speaking in Japan, but we are honored to have had the chance to be a part of this with a one hour session on Teaching Your Children Values which we recorded before we left. Saren and Shawni also each contributed an hour to the excellent presentations! In addition Saren did an excellent job of being the interviewer in many of the session.


As soon as we returned from Japan, we headed up to close up Bear Lake for the season and enjoyed a coupe of Blue Apron meals which I’ll explain in another post. Needless to say, Richard was delighted to get some real meals while we were pulling in outdoor furniture and battening down the hatches at Bear Lake until next summer which is always kind of a sad event for us. 

That’s kale hanging out that gourmet burger! Sorry it may not look too great but it was delicious!


The next morning we were off to an event near Logan, Utah where Richard grew up, about an hour and a half away from Bear Lake. There we had the opportunity to speak to a huge group for creative Mothers, an event sponsored by The American Mothers. This just may be the best-organized American Mothers group in America!

Their clever theme was “Put That in Your Purse” which lent itself to several interpretations! The committee created a list of about 20 things which you would think would never be found in a purse and amazingly, at least one of those 400 moms in that audience were able to find every single thing on the list including, something that could be used for a centerpiece on a table! Hilarious!

That was followed by great support for Mothers through stories, speeches and workshops.

Sadly, I didn’t take one picture because so many fabulous purses were used for decorations. Creative displays showing everything from gorgeous quilts to books and candles bedecked that large room. Women are amazing!

That weekend The World Congress of Families IX came to Salt Lake City! This Congress has been held all around the world…from Amsterdam to Australia and from Mexico City to Madrid, but it had never yet been held in the United States.

Over three thousand people congregated at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake city to enjoy four days of non-stop speakers and fabulous entertainment celebrating the importance of the family!


Richard and I had a chance to be part of one of the plenary sessions. Since Rick has always been big on “props” we found four giant gold statues we called the “Guardians of the Family”.


He had quite a good time putting these signs on these guardians, showing the four things that we assumed would always be the part that families would play in our society. Richard then turned the signs around indicating that the world is turning away from the principles of strong families. Many are deciding not to get married…ever… and many of those do get married are deciding not to have children.

Populations all over the world are not replacing themselves and strong families, which are the core of any good society are in grave danger! We ended our presentation with some ideas to create stronger families and the challenge that we must work tirelessly to protect and enhance the part that families will play in our future societies. .


This is the first time in our lives that we have actually written a speech. Richard worked on it tirelessly and then, as expected, he got so excited about what we were saying that he went off script and it took a little maneuvering to get him back on track! LOL! I have to admit that what he said was pretty important Smile!

Our generous publisher, Familius sent 500 copies of our book, The Turning, to be given away at the doors as people left the auditorium in exchange for their email address so that we can be in touch with people who believe that good, strong families are at the core of the success of our world.


We also got to do a fun workshop on “Best Practices for Parenting.” There were so so many fascinating workshops throughout those four days that included everything from Political action for families at the United Nations to the horrors of Human Trafficking.

There were 250 “Emerging Leaders” there who were young leaders being prepared for leadership in creating strong families. One morning we got to be on a panel of three couples who did their best to convince these young people that marriage is not only important but fun!

We met a delightful man from Prague who heads the “Big Family Organization” in Europe. He heads up a conference there every year. Any family with more than two children can be members. He has three children and was obviously a very committed father! He invited us to come and present at their conference in Latvia next year. We are planning on it!

One of the men who presented with us at our plenary session was a Greek Orthodox Priest who told me an amazing story! His brother’s son-in-law was living in Syria. On Mother’s Day he went to the roof of his house to call his mother. An ISIS sniper recognized him as a Christian and shot him dead on the spot. ISIS is so wicked and so pervasive! Although most of the attendees were from America, over 52 countries were represented.

An young Father who has been on a Christian Crusade for many years spoke to us for an exciting hour. The interesting part of his story was that he could be sitting in a dark room feeling sorry for himself because he was born without arms or legs. Instead his goal was to impact 7 billion people with his story of faith and determination. I think he said he was pretty close to that goal!  He was amazing and inspiring!


The entertainment was spectacular….from the International Children’s Choir who sang at the opening ceremonies to a fabulous concert at the Tabernacle by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.



We also heard the American Heritage School Philharmonic Orchestra from American Fork who were simply astonishing. Over a hundred excellent young musicians played very sophisticated music with amazing precision. They even got a chance to play with the Piano Guys who closed the conference with a standing ovation!



We learned so much and met many hundreds of people who are doing great things to support and celebrate the family.