August 22, 2009

My Childhood Obsession with Love

Next week, we're heading up to Aspen Grove with the Ricks side of the family, which got me thinking . . .

Aspen Grove means being in a forest nestled under scenic Mount Timpanogos, spending time with family, laughing all the time, playing sports, staying in cabins, swimming, hiking, fishing, climbing, meeting new people, and eating three good meals a day without having to plan. It means birthdays, since I've spent at least three there, including my 16th and 18th ones. It reminds me of my carefree childhood and my mother. Perhaps most of all, to me, Aspen Grove signifies romance.

My parents, James and Marjorie, when they first fell in love
This idea of romance stems from the fact that my parents met each other there at a college activity. When I went for the first time, I was already thinking in my 7-year-old mind that I would meet my future husband there. (I used to be a romantic, until I started dating). So, when I met a cute boy named Brody, I was smitten with the biggest crush of my life yet. He had a twin named Sean who happened to have a scab on his face, which was the only way I could tell them apart. Naturally, I expressed my interest in the 7-year-old way of tormenting him, giggling at everything he did, and constantly fighting over the ownership of a little playhouse in a field. I had my sidekick, a girl named Jerrilyn, who helped me guard our domain faithfully. During mealtimes, we'd compete by seeing who could eat the fastest and then race to the playhouse to bar the door with sticks and rocks. As you can see, pure romance.

Later, when I was 10 years old, my family went to Aspen Grove again. And I met a boy again. This time, I was sure that it wasn't only a crush, but deepest love. I spent most of the week following him around trying to show off how outdoorsy I was. I even pretended to like fishing, since he spent so much time doing it. At the end of the week dance, I burst into desperate tears during the Proclaimers song 500 miles and took off to sit on a bench outside. As I cried, I saw Royden slowly approach me. I sat there with a stomach full of butterflies, trying not to look at him. This was it. He was coming to tell me he loved me, I just knew it. When he got to my bench, he shyly said, "Um, I never got your name." I was shattered. However, this didn't keep me from thinking we'd one day find each other and express our undying love.

My cousin, Jessica, and me at Aspen Grove in 2003

At age 16, Aspen Grove completely lacked the romance I had expected before. My mom died only a week before we went, so my mind and feelings were otherwise occupied. It was fun, as always, but I can't remember even one attractive boy. At age 18, I had a little Aspen Grove crush, but it was soon forgotten about when I moved away to college a week later.

Now that I'm married and already in love, I wonder what the experience will be like this time. The excitement of infatuation may be gone, but more meaningful things can take its place, like the security of knowing that you are loved in return. I used to think that when you got married, your opportunities for new love were over, but when I had my baby, I fell in love all over again. Even though it wasn't romance, it was still wonderfully exciting.

I didn't end up meeting my husband at Aspen Grove; I met him at the most mundane of places--a church activity. It wasn't a beautiful forest environment, but I know now that the quality of the love doesn't depend on the surroundings. Romance can still exist in a shabby basement apartment. Nope, I must say, love isn't what I expected it to be when I was a child, when I followed boys around, showed off, and cried over them. Thankfully, it's much better than that.

August 15, 2009


I cut my first 'fro today. After 5 years of doing hair, you'd think I would have done one by now. But alas, we just don't have enough black people here in Utah. I convinced my little sister Jamie to let me do this to her amazing naturally curly hair. We took off at least 12 inches.

I love it. I hope she does. I know it's different, but that's why I think it's so cool. She'll be the only white girl at BYU with this hair, I bet.

My lovely naturally blonde sister Jennifer had me chop off about 8 inches from hers. Cute, huh? What do you think?

August 14, 2009

Lake Shore Safari

Last Saturday, we went to my friend Cindy's exotic animal farm in Lake Shore, which is west of Springville. Steph and Steve came along with their cute kids too. We saw zebras (including a little baby one), a herd of bison, gemsbok, ostriches, emus, a camel, llamas, horses or donkeys that look a lot like this, miniature donkeys, a miniature yak, an enormous wild boar, and some friendly young water buffalo.

My niece just loved the animals. Ivy wasn't old enough to enjoy them yet, but if she's anything like me as a child, she'll be obsessed later.

Photography once again by Stephanie Wells

August 6, 2009

Triple Take

Photography by Stephanie Wells

August 5, 2009

Painted Dresser Knobs

Although I'm an artist, I don't give myself much time to create. I love to paint, usually on canvas, but lately my artistic talents have been devoted only to cutting and coloring hair. But I did manage to do this right before Ivy was born.
My grandmother used this dresser for her children way back in the 1950s. I gave it a few new coats of white paint, removed the old clunky metal pulls, and drilled new holes. I painted damask patterns on wooden knobs, glossed them up, and this is the result. The only problem is that this is the only place I have to put all Ivy's clothes; it's not so pretty inside.

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