Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas this week!!! We had a very enjoyable (and memorable) Christmas. Having a little person around to enjoy the sights and sounds made it fabulous!

Here are some pictures. On Christmas Eve we spent the evening with my family. We actually had to head back to their place at 10:30 that night to spend the night because of some police activity that would not allow us onto our street (that is part of the memorable part:). We ate Christmas Day breakfast at my Grandma Nielsen's house and then exchanged gifts with my family. We had dinner with many from Mike's family that night. It was a great and very busy day! With all the comings and goings, we (Mike, Abby and I) didn't get to exchanging our gifts until the morning of the 26th. That actually turned out very nice because it was so calm and laid back!

Christmas is about Christ and family and I am so happy that we were able to enjoy the spirit of both!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Book Suggestions?

I belong to two book clubs and in January we will be planning the reading schedule for both. Any great suggestions? Here are a few of my favorites that we read this year. Any genre is fine...

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
These Is My Words by Nancy Turner
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On Abby and Christmas Magic

We are doing our best to help Abby enjoy the Spirit of Christmas this year. We have talked about baby Jesus, listened to lot of Christmas music and loved the lights. It's such a magical time of year. Here is some of Abigail's magic:

Candy Canes
We have a few candy canes on the Christmas tree. As far as I know Abby has (had) never had a candy cane, but I did have to move the candy canes to higher
branches on the tree when she had taken off the lower ones, broken them and was caught with bits of candy in her mouth--managing to avoid the wrapper. (Smart kid!)

We seem to have a rather musical child. You know that song that starts with Pachebel's canon, then sings "This night, on this very Christmas night..." The other morning as the Pachebel's canon part was playing Abby was singing, "Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, ahhh." I couldn't quite tell if she was precisely on key, but she was making a very valiant effort!

"Deck the Halls" seems to be the winner though. (Stay tuned for a great video!)


I'm not convinced that the snow thing has really grabbed her attention, but, admittedly, I haven't done a lot to foster that relationship! She looks great in the snowsuit! (Thanks, Samantha...) We'll keep working on it.

Has sat on his lap twice--liked him--no tears. (Bummer--no pictures either.)

One of her twin bruises on her forehead was from tumbling while standing on her tippy toes trying to reach her favorite pop-up books that are really mommy's favorite pop-up books:)

True Christmas Magic
The true magic of Christmas is in the spirit of family, of giving, and, above all, in the Savior, Jesus Christ. We're working right now on trying to help her say Jesus. She is very close, I think. That would be a great present for her to learn to say Jesus for Christmas
. Don't you think?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ten Things I Love About Mike (or Ode to Mike in Honor of His Birthday)

In honor of Mike's 29th birthday, I'd like to post ten things I love about him. In case you may wonder, there are many, many more things than just 10 that I love about him--but tradition dictates "10".

10. I love that Mike is so friendly. I suppose that if he wasn't we may not have met as he did take the chance in coming and asking me (a stranger:) to dance 4 1/2 years ago. But, really, he is friendly with everyone. He has very little inhibitions about talking to people and always tries to make them feel noticed and included.

9. I love that Mike is so committed to the gospel. He has a strong testimony and works daily to strengthen it.

8. I love that Mike is a missionary. (This fits in well with both #10 and #9.) He hands out pass along cards on vacations and is an awesome home teacher.

7. I love that Mike always likes to try new things. He is always up for visiting new places and eating new foods (that is one he's a bit--more than a bit--more daring than me on).

6. I love that Mike is so handy. He has done so much around the house and does it himself! He knows how to learn if he doesn't already know how to do it. On top of that, he takes pride in his work and the stuff looks good.

5. Speaking of learning, I love that Mike is so smart. He did well in school and is now using lots of his smarts as a valued employee.

4. I love that Mike is completely devoted to family--his parents and siblings, my family, me, Abby and Hope!

3. I love his personality in general. We have so much fun together! He is a lot more level-headed than I and knows how to talk sense into me when I need it:)

2. Mike is a great dad! He loves to play with Abby and make her laugh. She loves it in the evenings when she hears the door open and just knows that her daddy is home!

I love how Mike treats me. He is kind, thoughtful, fun, loyal and complimentary. He is very patient with me (and rarely lets me know when he is needing to exercise that patience). I love him very much and am thrilled that I've got him forever!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cute Abby

Other than the recently mentioned illnesses, we are happy and enjoying the Christmas season. Here are some recent pictures:

Poor Mike and Abby

The Wessman Family has been sick this week. It actually started last weekend when I had a 24 hour flu. Abby was just a couple hours behind me.

(The flu bug hit us the day after we had taken her to the doctor's because there was a chance she'd swallowed part of a Christmas ornament--oh, the drama! By the way, they did an x-ray and checked her out and she appeared to be ornament-free! These cute little ornaments used to be a set of 3, but...Abby did her magic on one of them and DIDN'T swallow any pieces, thank goodness!)

We thought she was OK until she threw up ALL OVER (me, Mike, the bench, the floor) during Sacrament Meeting. I had to teach Relief Society so we all went home so Abby and I could bathe. Mike put on his street clothes and went back after the meeting was over to disinfect the bench. As soon as he returned, I headed back to teach R.S. Abby has been steadily improving since then--just took her a couple days to get back to her usual self!

Mike is (still) sick, too, the poor guy! He only went in to work one day this week (must be pretty bad) but did work a bit from home. His symptoms change everyday so sometimes it is hard to tell which direction he's headed, but we think he's on his way out of it. He went to the doctor's yesterday and said the meds appeared to help. I sure hope he feels back to his self soon!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Mike suggested that I put a link to our little girl, Hope's, website on the blog. Most of you know that our first daughter passed away shortly after her birth due to the effects of Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder. Her story is found at We love and miss her and are so grateful that she is part of our eternal family!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catch up and Thanksgiving

Uh oh--It's been two weeks since I have updated!

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend. We traveled to Idaho Falls and stayed with Mike's family from Wednesday through Sunday. All of his siblings were in town so it was fun to see them. Thursday's dinner was great. We (6 of us) went to the IF Temple Friday morning and Mike, Kaye and I saw
Enchanted on Saturday afternoon. I recommend it--cute movie. (OK--so I really liked it--it appealed to my romantic-sentimental-cheesy-and-a-bit-corny side.)

One of my favorite things about our little trip up to Idaho was Abby riding the little token rides at Leo's Pizza Place. They really don't look too exciting from an adult's perspective, but for a 13-month-old--wow! These were a hit!!

Abby also enjoyed Lara's (Mike's sister) dog. I'll have to post the "dictionary according to Abigail" some time with some of her favorite words, but suffice it to say that whenever she hears a dog bark, it is "d-d-d-d-d" or "diggy".

A couple other things. A Friday or two ago (the 16th) one of my best friends, Haley, got married! It was fun to spend a good part of the day with her. She was sealed to Jason in the Salt Lake Temple with her dad (isn't that great) officiating and we were able to go to a nice luncheon and a very fun reception. It was great to see friends that I hadn't seen in a long time. I am very happy for them!
me, Amy, Summer, Haley, Holli, Shana

Sunday before last, we attended a farewell for my mission president and his wife who are returning to Chile for the third time--this time as temple presidents. They have had a great influence on my life and I appreciate the love they showed for me at such an important time!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Zion National Park

We took a little trip down to Zion Thursday through Saturday. Here are a few thoughts:

  • November is a great time to go to southern Utah. The weather was beautiful! I think that it might have been a bit warmer than usual, but it was very nice. We wore sweatshirts in the mornings and short sleeves while we hiked. Also, we didn't even need reservations at the campgrounds. It wasn't empty, but there were plenty of available sites.
  • I am afraid of heights. Several years ago I went to Zion with a group of people I didn't know very well and hiked Angel's Landing having no idea what it entailed. It was a terrifying (maybe that is an extreme word) experience and although I am happy to say that I have done it I don't really have any desire to do it again. (If you don't know about Angel's Landing, I'd be happy to tell you about it sometime.) So when Mike suggested the Hidden Canyon hike and I found out it had chains along parts of the trail, I had memories of those awful chains along Angel's Landing. I am brave so I agreed to do it with the understanding that there was a very good chance that when we got to the chains, I might plant myself and wait for Mike. Well, I finished the hike and I will say that it is nothing like Angel's Landing. I didn't even worry about Abby being along for the ride (still won't let her on that other trail). It was high up and there were big cliffs, but it wasn't too bad. The Hidden Canyon was nice, too.
  • I am much better at planning for long camping trips than short ones. (I actually pride myself in planning pretty well for most vacations.) I forgot the dish soap, wash cloths and my hair brush.
Enough of my musings. Here are the pictures:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Fall!

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Friday, November 2, 2007

I Got Tagged...

So Lichelle "tagged" me. She posted 7 things about herself in her blog and now I have to post 7 things about myself. Here it goes:

1. I love family history. A year or two ago I came across a couple hundred names that extended what had been a real dead end. It was/is pretty exciting and has provided me with plenty of research and temple work for us to do!

2. My all time favorite vacation was to Tahiti for our honeymoon. It is an amazing place with the clearest, bluest beaches anywhere and the snorkeling was fabulous. (And what better person to spend it with than Mike!)

3. So before I decided to be a teacher, I planned to get a degree in Human Biology with the hopes of moving on to med school. I loved my science classes at BYU and looked forward to more, but I am glad I switched to teaching. It was wonderful and developed into something I passionately enjoyed. (On a pretty distant stretch of a tangent, I just read a really interesting article on Yahoo about how the medical care in Afghanistan has improved since the war began. It was really interesting! It is pretty amazing (a miracle) to see the changes that have been made but still sad to see how far they have to go...

4. I love to travel!!! It is kind of hard to get enough of it--except in the month of July when it seems like we are never home and I kind of ache for my own bed. But anyway, I do love to travel. And so does Mike so I'm happy we're compatible in that regard. I like hotels and tents alike--a bit of each is always nice.

5. One of the qualities that I admire in other people is to see (and look for) the best in others. It is something I'd like to/I try to emulate.

6. I think that gardening is fun. I will admit that I am a pretty good gardener about March through June, but a dismal one during July and August (way too hot). I worked at a nursery throughout high school and college (Wasatch Shadows) and I have a difficult time visiting without picking up a few flowers.

7. Being a mom is the greatest! I think that Abby is fabulous and beautiful and I love raising her. I love my girl, Hope, and look forward to being with her (and all my children) someday!

So there are my seven things. I think that now I am supposed to tag some other people. How about Monica, Anne-Marie and Shana? Now it is your turn...

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Big Day in Murray!

OK--so I will admit that Abby and I did spend ~15 minutes in the Costco parking lot watching the ambulances bringing patients from LDS Hospital and helicopters bringing the tiny ICU babies to the new hospital. It is pretty exciting and monumental! I've lived here (0.87 miles away) for nearly 7 years and Mike has been here for almost 4 years so we've watched it from the ground up! We toured the hospital last month and it will be a great addition to our neighborhood. We are so blessed to live in a time and a land where the medical care is so advanced! Modern medicine is nothing short of a miracle!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our Baby's Growin' Up

What a great day! I can hardly believe that Abby is a year old. After experiencing our loss of Hope and Abby's illnesses when she was born, it was hard to believe that Mike and I would ever celebrate the first birthday of one of our children, but, of course we would have the opportunity! (Sometimes it just seemed a bit distant.) Anyway, perhaps I am partial, but I truly feel that Abby is the smartest, cutest and funnest child I know. She has a spunky personality. She is social and happy. I love her dearly and love being her mom. I couldn't have "created" a better dad for her than Mike. He is extraordinary. Our family has been so blessed and today was one of those fun paydays!

We started the day with a trip to the Living Planet Aquarium. Abby enjoyed it and I am excited to use our passes to return. After that we had a lunch with lots of family. It was wonderful to get together and see so many people (grandparents - Pat and Adele, Dave and Kaye, Leola, Ray and Ellen, Marva and Tom, David and Nancy; aunts and uncles - Tami and Kevin, Tim and Katie, Brian, Kaley, Steph and Ben a bit later in the day; cousins - Brooklyn, Isaac and Jack). Here is an album of birthday party pictures.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Abby the Octopus

Abby is going to be an octopus for Halloween. I doubt you'll see many of those among your little ghosts and goblins this year:) She really loves the outfit--both when it is on and off. When it is off, she'll sit and snuggle up to it and when it is on, well, she just does her normal thing. (I was afraid she'd be bothered by the extra appendages.)

So I have made two trips to Gardner Village this fall to see their fun witches. The first time I went with friends from the neighborhood (Monica and Alicia) and Shana. The following week Shana and I decided to take Abby and Cooper (aka the cow) back in their costumes. Gardner Village is set up with perfect little picture backdrops. We had a nice time and Abby did a pretty good job hamming it up for the camera!

Friday, October 12, 2007

A quiet afternoon

It has been a quiet afternoon--not terribly productive, but relaxing, nonetheless. Here are some assorted pictures. Click on the picture to go to Picasa and to see the picture with a caption. Then, click on "View Album" (will be to the left of the picture) to see the full album.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Running and Remembrance

It has been an enjoyable weekend. Yesterday I woke up at 4:45 and drove to meet my mom and then sister just off the freeway in Sandy and Spanish Fork and we drove to St. George to surprise Brian, who was running in the marathon. We arrived about 20-30 minutes before he crossed the finish line, in just enough time for Tami to walk up the course a bit to meet him with ~1.5 miles to go and run in with him and for mom and I to get along the last bit of the course to cheer him in. I think he was pleased to see us and we enjoyed being there with him. We did a bit of shopping at the outlets and then ate lunch in Cedar with Brian and his traveling/running friend then headed home. (I rode from Cedar to Utah County with Brian.) We were back on the road by 2:30 and after a couple stops I was home by 7:30. Getting in and out of the car so much in one day was rather strange because I felt about 17 lbs. lighter than I usually do when I am loading and unloading the car:) I missed Abby quite a bit--it's the longest I've been away from her I think, but she and Mike handled themselves jut great for the day! (She even got to go to the Priesthood session of conference!)

So yesterday Brian crossed the finish line at about 10:08 so after visiting with him and what not, we didn't hear more than one talk from the morning session of conference. In the afternoon we heard most, but not all after leaving lunch so I look forward to watching some re-runs. Today we had a very nice time watching conference and I think I was most inspired by President Eyring's talk this morning. I think that we could avoid a lot of life's heartaches by remembering--avoiding sin by remembering how sin has felt in the past, overcoming trials by remembering the Lord's promises, treating others well by remembering how much we love them, doing the right things because we remember the promptings of the Spirit. Life will always be tough, but I think that remembering is a key to lightening our heavy loads and reminding us that there is so much more of the good than the bad. I loved his idea of recording God's kindnesses. That is something I'd like to do--and a legacy I'd like to leave my kids. Conference was all good and I feel uplifted.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Many Faces of Abigail

Abby loves to pull herself up on anything and she has recently begun to climb! She will stand alone for a few seconds out on the grass.

The other day she was looking at herself in the mirror on our closet door and trying to touch the baby in front of her. It was especially cute when she crawled to the other side of the door to try and find her mysterious (and exceptionally cute) friend.
This is what I call the "poofy hair meets poofy dress (complete with tags)" look. We were going through a box of the next size up in clothes and I couldn't resist putting her in this dress for a few minutes (still a bit big but should be great around the holidays). The skirt has so many layers that she kept picking at them and trying to figure it all out.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Birthdays and Baptisms

It has been a great weekend! I need to get better at posting things here (or at least writing in my journal). I read an article in the Deseret News this week (and I'm mildly frustrated that their website is being silly and not letting me bring it up) about a speech that David McCullough, the renowned author and historian, gave here in SLC recently. He talked about the value of history along with the importance of learning our country's history. (I would have to add the importance also of learning the church's and our family's histories as well. And while I'm at it, aren't the scriptures full of history?) Mr. McCullough also emphasized the value of writing and said that "To write well is to think clearly. To write very well is to think very clearly," (finally got the website to cooperate) and I am not opposed to being able to think more clearly so here is some writing...

So the weekend--On Friday we attended a baptism and a birthday party. On Saturday we attended a baptism and a birthday party. (Do we see a trend here?)

Friday's was a convert baptism (that I played for) of Howard Kelly. He and his wife, Joyce, have been attending church for a while and to be honest, we didn’t realize he wasn’t a member. It was a nice service and the ordinance of baptism was miraculous as ever.
Saturday morning we attended another baptism (that I also played for). This time it was for Perla Cisneros from our ward. She is a cute 8-year-old and her mom is a friend of mine. It was a beautiful service as well and very well planned. It was an honor to participate. Isn’t it amazing that something as simple as being submerged in the water when done under the proper authority of the Priesthood can have such eternal consequences? It really is beautiful.

My side of the family is full of September birthdays. Steph's is the 8th, Grandma Marva's is the 14th, Brian's is the 15th and Ben's is the 16th. Next Sunday we'll have a dinner for Steph and Ben. Friday we celebrated Grandma Marva's 80th birthday with a dinner at Marie Callendar's with all of my parents' family along with Grandma's siblings and their spouses (Dixie and Ray and Curtis and Susan) and my other grandparents whom she considers dear friends (Ray and Ellen and Leola). It was fun to have all of my surviving grandparents at the dinner! Here is a picture of all three of my cute grandmas.

Yesterday we celebrated Brian's birthday at the Tucano's in Provo. It was an excellent meal. A few years back I ate at Rodizio's here in SLC (both are Brazilian barbecues) and I wasn't impressed. I didn't know what to expect with Tucano's but it was great. The prices weren't too bad and they give you a free meal for your birthday. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tails, Teeth and More!

Abby has been really doing a lot lately! She has gotten her first two teeth over the last week and a half. I have started putting her hair in little pig tails. She has begun to crawl - at least her own little combination of a crawl, scoot and bear crawl, and she is pulling herself up onto furniture!

This was the first time (I was aware of) that she pulled herself up in her crib

The swimming season is nearing a close, but it has sure been fun to swim at the neighbor's pool this summer!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Liberty Park

Our new favorite outing destination is the Liberty Park Seven Canyons Fountain. It is a big fountain with a bunch of interconnected streams that resemble the canyons of the valley. They all come together in the "Great Salt Lake" pond. Abby loved it (except when she was overzealously attacking a ball and face planted into the water...whoops)!

Home Again, Home Again

Our trip ended nicely. We drove from Glacier to Missoula and stayed the night there. Sunday morning we drove a bit off the beaten path to church in Hamilton, Montana. (Mike was curious about a pharma facility he had been contacted by a head hunter about there. Small town Montana seemed like an interesting place for a high tech facility...nice town, nice ward.) Sunday afternoon we arrived in Idaho Falls where Lara barbecued for us. Mmmm. Monday morning we went, along with Lara, to the IF zoo. It was a fun getaway. I liked their zoo...

Lara, Abby, the tiger and I

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pictures from Glacier

1: St. Mary's Falls
2: Virginia Falls
3 and 4: Logan Pass
5: Just for fun - Mike and I like to watch Abby grasp her toys with her feet while she plays with them...

Days 8, 9 & 10 - Waterton Glacier and bears

On Thursday (after spending the night in a welcomed hotel in Calgary) we traveled to Waterton Lakes National Park (via Cardston to see the temple). We took a very nice boat tour on the Upper Waterton Lake. This is an interesting lake because it crosses the international border so we started and ended the tour in Canada but visited the States along the way!

On Friday morning we woke up early and drove up the
Red Rock Canyon in Waterton to go bear watching. Mike has a good eye and spotted what looked like a young grizzly right off the road. We were only able to watch him for a minute or so before he went behind the trees. He was probably 30 yards away. As we drove between Waterton and Glacier later that morning, we spotted a black bear off the side (maybe 15 feet). All the park rangers in all the parks have been warning everyone that the buffalo berries have just come on so all the bears are coming down lower to eat the thousands and thousands of berries they'll need before winter. Anyway, after we got to Glacier NP, we drove to visit the Many Glacier area and had a sow and 2 cubs cross the road in front of us and in the Many Glacier parking lot, we watched a sow and 1 cub through the scope for a half hour or so! The count was 4 grizzlies off the road, 1 black bear off the road and 2 grizzlies through the scope - all in the same day!

Saturday was spent in Glacier. It is a gorgeous place! Our favorites were a hike to St.Mary's and Virginia Falls and Logan pass - a very high elevation pass similar to Albion Basin (um...but better) with amazing views and lots of wildflowers. We both would've like to have spent a bit more time here! (I'll add a couple pictures when I get them downloaded.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Days 5, 6 & 7 - Lake Louise

Happy birthday to you, dad! We hope you had a great day!

On Monday, we left Banff (the town - still in the Park) and drove North to the Lake Louise area. We set up camp and then drove to the Lake. It is hard to describe the colors of these glacial lakes. They are such a gorgeous turquoise color. We drove to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, both fed by huge glaciers that you can see from the lakes. They were both great, but Mike and I both thought that Moraine Lake was our favorite. (I think it is our favorite of anything we've seen thus far on the trip!) Moraine Lake seemed a bit quieter and more secluded. It was beautiful!

These are all at Moraine Lake - Yep, it's real...

Tuesday (in honor of the pioneers!?!?) we drove to the Columbia Icefield. It is a huge icefield (the size of 95 Central Parks) that can't be seen without some serious ice climbing, but the glaciers that come off the icefield can be seen. We actually took the icecoach tour onto the Athabasca Glacier. Pretty neat (and really cold)...

Here we are standing on the glacier and then Abby and I
with the glacier we were standing on in the background

The drive to the Columbia Icefield itself was amazing! There are mountains all along the way with glaciers. It is a breath-taking drive.

On the way back to camp we hiked a short bit to the overlook to Peyto Lake, another glacial lake. Again, spectacular...
Overlook to Peyto Lake

This morning, before leaving, we went to Moraine again and rented canoes. We found 4 great waterfalls high up on one of the surrounding peaks. When we were rowing back to the dock, only 2 of the 4 waterfalls were still "running". It is such a dynamic area that is constantly changing!

Days 3, 4 & 5 in Banff

On Saturday morning, we left Great Falls, crossed the border and arrived in the late afternoon in Banff National Park. The Canadian Rockies are amazing! We set up camp and then visited the town of Banff. (It is a bit different here and I haven't totally figured it out, but within the National Park there is a town that claims a population of 8000+ and shops and restaurants like The Gap, Chilis, McDonalds, lots of local stuff, etc.) We drove past the Vermillion Lakes, looked at some cool birds (loons) and watched Abby play around a bit.

Abby at Vermillion Lakes

On Sunday, we attended the Banff Branch. We got there during the Sacrament song so we didn't hear the announcements so it wasn't until R.S. that I realized that about 75% of the 80 or so people in Sacrament Meeting were visitors. It was also interesting because when everyone in R.S. introduced themselves, there were just about as many Utahns as there were Canadians! It was a great little branch though and I really enjoyed it. After church we drove around town a bit (and saw the great big fancy Banff Springs Hotel built in the 1880s), the Bow River falls (beautiful, beautiful setting) and then walked around Johnson Lake, a few kilometers from Banff. We also visited Two Jack (hello, muffin - the one true Jack) Lake and Minnewanka Lake where we followed 4 or 5 bighorn sheep down the road and then watched 3 or 4 more jump over the guardrail on the dam to
join them.
Mike and Abby from different views around Johnson Lake

On Monday, we took down camp in Banff and drove to a lookout that we had driven past several times but never stopped at. It was a lookout for the HooDoos (funky name for some rock pillars sticking out of some trees). Mike's comment was that the HooDoos are pretty anti-climatic when you compare them to the rest of the view from the lookout. The mountains and the river were spectacular!!

Abby and I at the HooDoo overlook