Friday, September 22, 2017

San Diego - First Impressions

#1 - Greg - "It's like vacation 365 days a year."    

#2 - Pretty Girl - "It's hot!!  There was even a rattlesnake in my back yard.  And most of the streets have Spanish names.  We have our own family beach now and I've made a lot more friends here."     

#3 - Bubbs - "Our house is totally white.  At school, I always get so sweaty because of the hotness.  School is awesome!  Our backyard is also not very big."

Andrew's school 

#4 - Mom - "I'm embarrassed to confess that I was proud of the diversity in Eagle.  My daughter's best friend was from the Ukraine.  My son's buddy was from India.  And we were actively involved with Syrian refugee families.  Here... MY family is the one that's bringing diversity to the city."

#5 - James - "Warmer!  Schools are good.  The teachers are so much better and explain things.  I like our church here.  We get to go to the beach a lot."

James School

#6 - Mom - "I have a life long habit of being punctual and compulsive.  I'm either early or right on time so I can maximize my efficiency, minimize worry and beat the lazy masses of crowds who slept in.  The problem here is the masses are JUST LIKE ME!!  Everyone is early!  Everyone is pushing to be first!  I need a new strategy."

#7 - Dad - "Date nights at the beach at sunset are awesome!"    

#8 - Andrew - "Welcome to FUNNER California??  Californians have really bad grammar.  Much better schools and more homework.  More pools and trails.  Our house is tiny, but the sunshine is good."    

Friday, September 15, 2017

Greg at 41

In the middle of the moving chaos, my excellent husband turned 41.  

When Greg was in the middle of his undergrad and I was in my second semester of grad school, we lived in a tiny basement apartment on Cherry Lane off the east side of BYU.  Greg had a 7:00 am class 3x/week and in order to maximize our limited time, we walked together and I'd spend the extra hour studying before my 8:00 class.  

This was the winter semester.  Which meant many mornings of bundling up in coats, beanies, boots, gloves, etc. before making the trek into campus at 6:30 am.  Oftentimes, we were the only two on the streets.  

It's amazing how you start to whisper to each other when it's dark, it's dead quiet and nobody else is around.  We'd talk about our upcoming days, what was bothering us about classes, internship possibilities for me that summer (I was stressing a lot because I didn't have one yet), finance worries, family planning post-grad school.  This was our second year of marriage and one morning we even had an argument over something insignificant which led to us not talking the entire walk.  We just huffed silently next to each other.  But on the whole, most mornings involved quiet laughing over nothing in particular.  Just Greg's knack at making me laugh anywhere at almost any given moment - including a deserted 900 East intersection that was completely buried in snow.

I didn't appreciate those early mornings enough.  

I always hated when we reached the law building because that's where Greg had to turn south for the Clyde engineering lab while I continued alone across campus to the Tanner.  It also meant a good 10-12 hour stretch before we'd see each other again - if that.

Walking without Greg is terribly dull and depressing.  And I despise the thought that one day we'll have to temporarily walk without each other while one of us waits on the other side.  Hopefully, that's decades away.  And hopefully, the separation is brief. 

In the meantime, walking beside him now is my greatest blessing.  My greatest miracle.  There are not enough eons of time to satisfy my craving for his company.  

Happy Birthday to my better half!      

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Shaha Family

"There are no coincidences, Rachael."  

Thank you Steve.  I'm already looking forward to our next theological discussion on the other side.  You were one of the best and we love you and Stacey. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Your Order Will Be Processed Momentarily...

Too busy and way too much on my plate right now to update.  I've nearly hyperventilated with how much is available to see and do and explore.  

Breathe.  Breathe.  

It might be a few weeks.  

In the meantime.  Here's a sneak peak at one of our days...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Andrew's Big Surprise

So I forgot to post this back at the end of June.  This was the afternoon when Andrew's friend surprised him with a visit.  Andrew knew a major unveiling of something was coming - but he had no idea on the specifics.

There are so many great things about this 34 seconds of film.  But I think my favorite is how my lovely daughter goes OUT OF HER WAY to avoid the hug at the end.  It's priceless, and it makes me laugh every time.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


July.  Oh, July!  Busiest month of the summer.  And August could be worse...

#1 - 4th of July in Utah

We decided at the last minute to spend the 4th of July weekend in Utah while Greg was in San Diego.  We ended up staying with my sweet sister-in-law, Laurel.  I'm so glad we went because it was the last time we had the chance to see Ashley.   

#2 - Farewell McCall

One of the hardest parts about leaving Idaho.  I can hardly endure giving this place up.  What will we do without these trails?  The beautiful lakes?  The hills?  The Pancake House with our favorite sweet rolls?  The incandescent smell of those Tamarack trees?  What a tremendous blessing to have been part of it all!  

I fully confess that as we drove out of McCall there were tears streaming down my face.  I don't expect to come back here again in my lifetime.  It's too remote and my bucket list is too large.  Regardless, a piece of my heart stayed behind.  There is no place like McCall.

"How hard it is to escape from places.  However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - like rags and shreds of your very life." - Katherine Mansfield.

#3 - Science Projects 

Gummy soda.

#4 - Idaho City Hikes and Freaky Cool Cemeteries

After a lack-luster hike in Idaho City, I decided on a whim to stop by the local ghost town cemetery.  Seriously one of the coolest cemeteries I've ever visited.  Exceptionally creepy and mysterious.  I was captivated.  And I cried!  Lots of babies during the flu epidemic at the beginning of the 1900s.

#5 - Hot Springs

I could not leave Idaho without taking my kids to The Springs.  We stayed for hours!  It was beautiful. 

#6 - Field Trip to the Boise Capitol

(See that lavender bush on the right.  That will be my baby in 3 more years.  I hope the new house owners love her.)

I was delightfully surprised to find a replica of my favorite statue - the Nike of Samothrace - on the 3rd floor of the capitol. It's not nearly as big as the original at the Louvre.  But it still packs a punch.  

#7 - 24th of July in Utah

Back to Utah (again!).  It is highly unlikely I will have to make that 5 hour drive from Boise to SLC again - thank goodness!  

Greg met us down there this time for a few days (yay!).  Lots of reunions (Hoopes, SuperFriends, McKinnon), a brief accident with Pretty Girl (thank you Dad!!!) friends, family photos, Sundance play, a heartbreaking funeral and love from family. 

James and Joseph are currently the tallest and shortest of the McKinnon cousins. And they're the SAME AGE!!

I think Grandma Hoopes is smiling down on these cute girls who share a lot of the same Hoopes genes.

The original 11 Hoopes cousins (except we're missing my brother, David).
I think cousins by nature get a bonus.  They're the closest thing you have to an ideal combination of friend and family.  So in a sense, they get a free pass.  You know they'll always be with you.  But you can confide with them in ways you can't with siblings.    

The Hoopes Cousins - how do I even begin to describe us?  

We know Palm Springs in the middle of July, with all the driving, hikes, games, swimming and shopping that goes with it.  We know BYU football in Section C.  We know Bombay House, long talks on a Grandma Hoopes' bed with the blue bedspread, doughnuts, the Los Angeles Mission Home, Stouffers mac n' cheese, Shirley's, Nat King Cole, black and white family photographs, Jordan in the 1950s, and Suburbans.  

We know cancer - oh boy, do we know cancer! - suffering, heartache, endurance and devastating loss.  We know the sharing of burdens.  But most important - we know happiness, virtue, marriages, family, love, the power of temples, and eternal principles.  

We know joy!

#8 - The Rest