Category: Travel (Page 1 of 6)

The Frozen Hague

While we were still in Australia for Christmas we found out that Ruth would be having knee surgery after the first of the year. What none of us know at the time was that it would be major surgery and she would be off her leg for six weeks.

We were in Australia with all summer clothing and they were in the middle of winter in The Netherlands. I wanted to go to help, but I needed to stop home first. I was in Houston for a weekend…just enough time to catch up with family here and change wardrobes.

I arrived the morning after a big snowstorm. The temperature was below freezing and stayed that way most of the time I was there. When I hopped into Big Blauw the first thing I was reminded of was the standard transmission. It’s not that I can’t drive one, it’s just that I haven’t for awhile. Also, it would be a van filled with kids and I would would be driving on the left in the snow. I have done all of those things a lot so it didn’t take me very long to calm down.

I pushed Mark and Holli to preschool in the jogging stroller. The other children were pulled by their mothers on sleds. The stroller went through the snow well, but the sleds looked much more quaint and fun.

My days were filled with car pools, laundry and cooking, but I had such a good time. I love being with family and serving. The car pools always began with an argument about where everyone was going to sit. I finally got tired of the bickering and when it would start I would crank up One Direction or Taylor Swift and soon everyone would be singing along. Man, the words to You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful and We’re Never Ever Getting Back Together Were Stuck in My Head for Weeks, in a good way!

Here are some photos:


My early birthday celebration


Belgium Chocolate Trifle

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IMG_2114It was great fun!


Christmas in the Land Down Under

Our routing to Perth was unusual for us. We have definitely been Pacific Ocean fliers for the last 6+ years and most of that flying has been on Singapore Airlines. This flight was on Singapore Air, but it was over the Atlantic…Houston to Moscow ( I can now say I have been in Russia…technically, but not really), Moscow to Singapore, and Singapore to Perth. The return routing was more familiar…Perth to Singapore, Singapore to Narita, Narita to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Houston. Spending Christmas in the southern hemisphere is different.

We arrived in time to participate in creating the traditional Christmas sugar cookies-


IMG_1823 IMG_1819Christmas day we opened gifts and then got ready for the grand Aussie tradition of going to the beach-


A true beach towel has fringe!


Furbies and boogy boards

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Christmas Day sunset from the beach

The next day we headed north to The Pinnacles-

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Our picnic lunch was tricky, it was very windy.

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After lunch we walked down to see the beach, it was beautiful-

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A very fun day!

Most of our days were spent on Cottesloe Beach…I am sure going to miss my trips to Australia. I love this beach!

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IMG_1967 IMG_1962 IMG_1948 IMG_1945I also helped Ally and Maddie with a cupcake decorating class for the Primary Activity Day Girls-

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.Maddie and Izzy both took swim lessons at Cottesloe. We loved watching them learn to swim in the ocean-


Maddie got her first jellyfish sting during swim lessons. It was the first of five for the summer!

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 We also saw several movies, visited the aquarium, and met Luke downtown for a yummy lunch at Nando’s-

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 With Luke, Ally, Maddie and Izzy moving to South Africa we will miss visiting Perth. We are excited to go on Safari with them!

October in The Hague

Rick and I went to The Hague in October for the Carruth Family fall break. Enjoy the photos!

The Delft Museum-


Aimee- picking the nose of the Delft Cow. Funny!

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Walking around Delft-

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The Pannenkokken Boot (The Pancake Boat)-

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Havana’s Baptism Day-

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At the playground in Wassenaar-

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Madurodam- The Netherlands in Minature-

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The Big “Blauw” Bus- Carruth Family Vehicle


What’s up with this nose picking thing, Aimee?

IMG_1506 IMG_1515 IMG_1519 IMG_1530 IMG_1544 IMG_1574It was great fun!

Class Reunion

My high school reunion was in September. Since I have never been able to attend one, I decided to go and Rick came along, to Utah, not my reunion. He didn’t want me to have to worry about entertaining him.

This is the Place

This is the Place

We arrived on Friday and drove around a little and had lunch at one of my Salt Lake City favorites, Aristo’s (Greek). While we were there we noticed a poster for the Greek festival. Salt Lake has a large Greek population and a huge annual Greek festival.

On Saturday morning, I was up early for a walk to Temple Square. Here are the photos-


I worked in this building


This is where Rick gave me my engagement ring


We had our wedding reception at the Lion House

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Later that morning we walked around some more and ended up at the Greek Festival for lunch. They also had performers on stage, dancing. We ran into Alison, one of Kristina’s roommates from Boston-

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Yes, we did eat all of that!

It was fun to see so many of my friends from high school at the reunion, but I only got one photo with my very good friend Susan Loveridge-


Sunday we went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast and then met Cody, Nicole and family at church. We loved getting to see these cute girls…where were Zak, Nicole, Cody and Susan. I need to take more photos!



The thought that this might be the last time I fly through Los Angeles makes me a bit sad. I cannot count how many hours I have spent in LAX in the last 7 years. The Singapore Air reps here know me by name and ask about my grandchildren. I wish that I had kept track of how many times I crossed the Pacific Ocean, many more than I have crossed the Atlantic for sure. The interesting thing is that I haven’t ever spent much time out of the airport during the last seven years. Once, when a plane crashed at Narita my flight back to Tokyo was cancelled and I spent a day there. Thanks to Ruth’s sister Charite I got to leave my hotel for a really enjoyable dinner.

When we were making our plans to return to the US, Rick suggested we spend a few days in California before flying on to Texas. We arrived on Sunday, got our rental car and drove to San Diego. Our goal was to drive along the coast as much as possible. We rested and drove around the entire area. We stopped at the Mormon Battalion historical site in Old Town San Diego. It was well done and very interesting.

The only part of our stay in California that was planned was arriving and going to San Diego. As we drove back north, we decided to go east and see what Plam Springs was like. Well…it’s a bit run down. We ended up staying in Rancho Mirage and liked it well enough to stay two nights. We shopped a bit in Palm Deseret, but mostly just relaxed. Then we drove back to LA the day before our flight to Houston. We drove up Highway 1 to see the section north of LA. We ended up at Santa Monica Pier and got out to stretch a bit.

We also made a stop to walk around the Los Angeles Temple.

We met Charite, Sarah and Brian at PF Chang’s for dinner. It was so good to see all of them. We love Ruth’s family!

The next day we said goodbye to the Pacific as we headed east to Houston and our new home (at least for awhile, until the next adventure beckons).


Auckland is a great, very walkable city. After dropping our bags at the hotel our first stop was Wendy’s. Maddie was so anxious to go there. Although we were a bit disappointed that they only had vanilla frosties.


We stayed at a great boutique hotel, the DeBrett.

Maddie and Izzie chillin’ in our room.

The view from Auckland Sky Tower.

An interesting view of Izzie’s gorgeous blue eye.

We took a boat cruise around the Auckland area and stopped off at Davenport Island for hiking, shopping and a yummy lunch.

An interesting view of the Hilton with skytower in the background.

Hiking Mount Victoria on Davenport. Luke, Maddie and Izzie took the short cut right up the side of the mountain. The rest of us hiked up the road.

The view of Auckland from the top.

Reunited at the top.


On our last day in Auckland Maddie decided she wanted another boat ride. So while Luke and Allyson shopped around the wharf for one. Maddie, Izzie and I stopped and watched and interesting street performer.

Although Maddie and Luke were most interested in a sailboat ride, they had finished for the day. They decided on a ride like the one we had taken in Queenstown. Izzie was too short for this one so we sent Luke and Maddie. Maddie is already for this ride in her cool shades.

Front row seats in the splash zone.

They’re soaked!


Saying goodbye is always so hard.

After we loaded them into their cab to the airport, Rick and I headed to an airport hotel and checked into a day room to watch a couple General Conference sessions. That evening we caught our Air New Zealand flight to Los Angeles and then on to life in Houston.

Perth, WA, Australia

We love visiting Perth and as I have said before the sky in Perth is almost always gorgeous.          On Saturday afternoon we went to a going away party for one of their friends. Maddie and Izzie enjoyed the playground.

Sunday we celebrated Easter and Ally’s birthday. (None of the photos turned out).

On Easter Monday we drove to Penguin Island. We took a boat ride around the area and saw, pelicans and several dolphin. At the end we saw some of the penguins.

During the week Maddie had a day of horseback riding. She learned how to take care of them, too.

We spent time at the beach and play ground, too.


On beach day we started with breakfast at the Naked Fig.

It was such a fun time with this wonderful family.



We flew from Tokyo to Singapore for the first leg of our trip to Perth. Although we lived in Singapore for a year I never really spent much time in the airport. We’d arrive, check in, go to the lounge, and go to the gate. On this trip we had no lounge privileges and a long layover. First, we ate chicken rice. Yum. Then we claimed two seats near a window in an area with trees. After sitting for awhile we took turns guarding our bags and taking a walk around the terminal. There were many people sleeping.

There was a Koi pond nearby.

And then I found this…right in the airport. An amazing idea!

Changi Airport is a great place for a layover and I hear the duty free shopping is good, too.




It is already the last week of September so you can see by the title of this post that I am way behind. During July we left the heat and humidity of Tokyo and traveled to the southern hemisphere to catch a few weeks of winter. Winter in Perth still means trips to the beach, parks and city. We were there for Maddie’s birthday, baptism and just to have fun. Here are the photos:

Winter in Perth

Bell Tower

King’s Park

Maddie Loves to Climb


Some things never change...

The skirts Maddie made for her and her American Girl doll

City Beach


Mr Wombat and us

Koala and Maddie


Freemantle Croissant


Maddie demonstrates Minkie (field hockey)


Nicole and McCall at Porcupine Grill

Presley and McCall at Gardner Village

In June I traveled to the US and spent a few days in Utah with my sister Susan, my niece Nicole and her family. We talked and ate and shopped and even did a little biking. Obviously, I didn’t use my camera much.

Rick and I met in Kingwood to spend the next week with our family living there and to attend Lainey’s baptism.

Super swimmer

The Birthday Girl

The big sister

Don't take my picture

My Rosie Girl



Leigh and Rorey

Ready to be baptized


The uncles

The Crazy Aunts

Trying to get a cousins photo

We had a great time! Rick left for Japan and I went to San Antonio to spend a few days with Alex, Stacey and Jan.

At the children's museum

Milking the cow at the museum

Jan loves baking and eating what she bakes

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