Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cousin Dear, I Love You So!

Yesterday was the birthday of a very special person in my life.

When my mom was about nine, her sister, Lucy, got married. A few years later, my mom became the proud aunt of first, Rodney, and then Sheralyn, or "Sherrie," as my mom called her. They always had a special bond and I grew up adoring my cousin Sherrie. I always thought of her when my mom would play the song, "Sherrie Baby" by the four seasons.

Sheralyn has so many gifts and talents that have touched my life profoundly. Sheralyn is one of the most generous people I have ever met. She will literally give someone the shirt off her back if that person needs it.

Case in point:

She opened her home to us for Tina's bridal shower in April and while getting ready, I spilled stuff on the front of my shirt. She threw it in the laundry and went to her closet, returning not only with a shirt, but a belt and ring to make the outfit really cute. I had to convince her not to give me the shirt for keeps. That's just how she is!

Another case in point: One year, Sher and her family came to visit my family in California. I was just learning to drive. In fact, her family saw me driving with my driver's ed instructor on their way in to town! But I digress. She had a jeans jacket that I absolutely loved. I had been wanting one of my own and talked about how much I liked it. After she left, I found the jacket in my room with a note saying that it was mine. I still have it, 11 years later! In fact I wore it just recently:

As if you need further evidence that my cousin is amazing, here are a few other examples...

I remember Sheralyn taking me to Costco when I first moved in to my apartment and paying for my whole cart of stuff, including some clothing items I had chosen, not knowing she was planning on paying. She absolutely insisted!

Sheralyn came to see me give my farewell talk before my mission and I remember her hugging me with tears in her eyes before she left, saying that serving a mission is one of her biggest dreams. I have never forgotten that image.

Sheralyn happily let me have my dear friend Shelley's bridal shower in her home a year ago. She had never met Shelley or her family but seemed like old friends with Shelley's mom by the time the shower was over!

Sheralyn went above and beyond the call of duty this year to make sure Christina's shower was absolutely beautiful and memorable. From the food to the decorations, everything was stunning and it meant so much to my little sister.

Sheralyn is the proud mother of five kids (4 sons and 1 daughter). She is their biggest cheerleader and fan. Her children are extremely athletic. She has one son who play for BYU football and another son who plays for Utah State. She goes to every game and opens her home to all of her kids' friends (which can mean a lot of hungry boys!!).

I have never met someone who can make me laugh harder than Sheralyn can. When I was younger, I wanted all my friends to meet Sheralyn because I thought she was SO funny and I wanted everyone to know her. It has been a joy to see so much of Sheralyn in my sister, Christina. Tina will get a look on her face or say something that reminds me exactly of Sheralyn.

One of my favorite things to do with Sheralyn is get together for lunch and tell her all my dating woes because everything is ten times funnier with her.

My mom and I are always laughing about things Sheralyn has said. A recent favorite quote came from a text Sheralyn sent from a family vacation in Florida: "The only thing magical about Disney World is how fast your money disappears!"

Sheralyn, thank you for holding such a special place in my heart! I love you!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I had guests over at my hotel today! (By the by, have you ever seen more precious faces than the ones on either side of me?). Dana and her family came up, along with my roommate Melissa, to go explore the outlet mall with me after my training.

It was a beautiful, relaxing evening. We wandered in and out of stores; then, Melissa and I hit down town for an incredibly delicious dinner with my co-worker, Mary. She is a very inspiring person and it was so interesting to hear her take on life.

I had a moment of pure bliss as I sat in the restaurant booth and realized I had absolutely no where I needed to be.

This has been a fabulous "stay-cation," including the fascinating literacy training I've received. I am looking at my curriculum in a a whole new way!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guess Where I Am?

Do you give up?


I'm at a 5 day literacy conference through my school district and we each get our own hotel room! There's a pool, a jacuzzi, a workout room, and a hot breakfast buffet. They also provide lunch and a visa gift card for dinner each night!! Plus, we are getting BYU graduate credit and a stipend for being here! SWEET!

The training itself has been fascinating. We go from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with breaks throughout the day. We learn about how to be more effective teachers, using the Jeffrey and Peggy Wilheim methods. I'm already starting to see the way I teach in a whole new light. I'm with about 50 other teachers from all over Wasatch county. We're all from different subject areas, but our goal is the same: to help students enjoy learning.

Aint that a kick in the head?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Make new friends, but keep the old!

James Tate got married yesterday.

James and I went through primary, junior high, and seminary together. Because we grew up in the same ward, we were around each other constantly and we've always been like siblings! Seeing him newly married was a truly joyful experience.

It was so fun to see all my childhood friends from church together again. It really felt like a family reunion. Their lives have taken them in such fabulous directions. It was so neat to see the wonderful spouses they married and to sense a deep happiness exuding from them.

I want to thank Tracy in advance for providing these pictures from her blog.

The picture above is from 8th grade graduation. We had a very tight knit group of friends at Goleta Valley Junior High. The church really brought us together as we entered the new and scary phase called "being a teenager."

Here we are now! Just a quick update...

David served a mission in West Virginia and married his lovely wife Meg soon after returning. They have two of the cutest children on the planet, Hank and Rue. David has always been a kind, gentle person and it is even more evident now in his roll as a husband and father.

Cody served a mission in Ohio and married his wonderful wife Stacy, whom he met at BYU Idaho. They are the parents of two adorable little girls and living in California.

That's me in the pink. You basically know my life story.

Violet got her cosmetology license and is the most amazing hair stylist on the planet. She has changed my hair's life (and the life of my eyebrows). She is studying art history and curation at BYU and is so good at SO many different things. She is my go-to girl for any kind of artsy endeavor.

James served a mission in Colorado and has been working in Utah with troubled teens. He just married Jessica yesterday and looked stylin' with his white vans! (All the groomsmen and the two fathers had black vans. It was classic!)

Tracy Jean is the queen of creativity. She went to massage therapy school and currently works full time (is it for Novell, Trace?). She is constantly trying new crafts, recipes, activities and hosting themed parties. She also travels the world. Next stop? India in the fall!

Also present at the reception:

Allan Mount and his wife Kattie, who are soon moving to Georgia where the rest of the Mount clan lives. They are the proud parents of two cute sons!

Brett Holbrook and his wife Amy, who live in Irvine CA.

Todd Holbrook and his wife Christiane (sp?), who recently became the parents of adorable little Jet James Holbrook.

Rachel Tate and her husband John, who are moving to California where Rachel will start graduate school.

Sister Susan Holbrook, who works at the temple, directs her ward choir, and teaches the 12-13 year olds in Sunday School! She is also the proud grandma of 6 grandchildren!

Vaughn Holbrook and his girlfriend and Ryan Holbrook (whose wife wasn't able to come. They have 2 boys!)

Matt Hansen and his wife.

Scott Busby, who is currently living and working in Salt Lake City.

The whole Tate crew! Janice, Richard, Joe, his wife, and Amy. So fun to see they all!

How grateful I am for these two lovely ladies below. They know my heart and have been there for me through thick and thin!

We really missed those of you who weren't there! Love to you all!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kate said, "Yes!"

My roommate and dear friend since freshman year at BYU

Kate's fiancee, Darren, proposed just hours before dropping her off at the airport, after which they'd be separated for over 2 weeks.

As Kate recounted...

He started by taking me to a sandwich shop in Sandy called the Village Baker that we both love and where he held my hand for the first time. We ate our sandwiches and then drove to Salt Lake. He parked right next to the Conference Center in the exact spot he parked when he picked me up at the airport a few months ago and I told him I loved him for the first time on Temple Square. I must mention that this whole time it is POURING rain.

We walked to the place where I told him I loved him and he mentioned what a special moment that was for him. He then took me to a place where I could "get a good picture of the temple." I turned to take a picture of the temple and when I turned back around he was down on one knee. He told me how much he loved me and then said, "Katherine Claire Sonne, will you marry me?"

I said yes, of course, and then we ran inside the Joseph Smith Building to get out of the rain!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 13: Back to Wales and England

Our final full day in Europe went much differently than planned. We left Ireland on the ferry for in the morning. When we arrived in Wales, we started heading for the temple in Preston, England. While still in Wales, our car broke down. We had to have it towed to the Hertz Car rental place at the Manchester airport.

By the time we got our car situation straightened out, we weren’t able to make it to the temple. But, the Lord moves in mysterious ways. The man who towed our car was a kind, middle-aged father of two children. He spent lots of time in Utah when he was younger and was an avid skier and rugby player. Although not LDS, he had even been to Temple Square in Salt Lake City! Over the two hours we spent sorting out our car troubles, he was able to tell us a lot about the country of Wales and we were able to tell him a little bit about our lives in the U.S. We all agreed it was a delightful afternoon and we ended up exchanging contact information.

I’m anxious to return to some of the routine parts of my life, like going to the gym, organizing my room, sleeping in my bed, etc. But this is a trip I will never, ever forget for many reasons. Here are just a few:
  1. Spending these two weeks with my parents and Anna (and Tina when she was free!) was priceless. I can’t wait for all of my family to be together for Tina and Jer’s wedding in July! Just being together was half the fun of the trip. I miss them already...
  2. I learned so much about the history of the countries we visited during our travels. I felt like I was back in college. It was so refreshing to be learning new things and expanding my view of the world.
  3. Seeing the countryside of both England and Ireland are moments I will treasure in my memory and pictures forever.
A few last observations about Ireland and England before I sign off…
  • The Irish are such kind, gentle people. Case in point: at one point during our travels, my dad pulled off to the side of the road to look at a map. Not one minute later, a kind grandfather with his grandkids in the back seat pulled over in front of us and asked if we were lost. He proceeded to give us excellent directions to where we needed to go and even took us part way.
  • Both the Irish and English love toast. And lots of it. Every morning for breakfast, we were brought out more pieces of toast than we could possibly eat! It was hilarious and endearing.
  • Food is served very hot in both countries. The plates are piping!
  • There are some funny street and town names in England. My family got a kick out of pointing out streets such as Teddington, Toddington, and Oddington. Needless to say, many streets end in –ington. My dad’s personal favorite, however, was the little town called ‘Darlingscott’, for obvious reasons!
  • In many European countries, parking is done through a method entitled “Pay and Display.” There are “pay and display” signs all over in various languages, depending on where one is! When we parked our car each time, we’d go to a little machine, pay a fee, get a ticket, and then place it in a little clip on the bottom corner of the windshield. Sometimes, the booth indicated that we needed to pay by phone.
Moral of the story: If you know any handsome young men who might be dashing enough to splurge and plan a honeymoon in Ireland or England, give them my number. I'm sure we'll be a perfect match.

The End
(of this vacation)

Day 12: Ireland

Day 12 was a day full of hunting the great treasures of Ireland!

It is appropriate that Ireland is surrounded by the “sea,” because everything we found on our Day 12 excursion begins with the letter ‘C’!

If you think I’m kidding, ‘C’ for yourself…



‘C’-nery… (admittedly a stretch)





And Cathedrals!