Thursday, July 16, 2009


I feel like I play peek-a-boo with my blog because I'm in and out about once a month now! Life is GREAT! Tanner is changing so fast and doing new things everyday! He talks a lot ("dada" most of the time with other high pitched vowel sounds), army crawls everywhere and very speedily (he's close to real crawling), bangs toys together, feeds himself gerber puffs, hollers at us when we eat in front of him, bounces his body a lot, tries to sit up on his own, pulls himself to standing, cuddles into me when he's scared, loves bananas and won't eat anything unless it includes bananas, and laughs A LOT! I LOVE this age! He turned 7 months last week and he looks so much older than that sometimes. We tell each other about a million times a day how cute he is! Here are some pictures of mostly just him from the past month (click on the link): (click on Slideshow in the supper left to see a large version of the pictures).

We have also been busy enjoying the East Coast! Here are the pictures from our adventures: (click on Slideshow in the upper left to see a large version of the pictures.)

  • We spent a day in Philadelphia visiting the sights in the Independence Mall area. We both really liked that historical trip, especially because we saw the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed. There was such a good feeling in that room, I just knew it was sacred. We also loved Valley Forge (see video below about Philadelphia).
  • We spent some time in Hershey, Pennsylvania where Eli's friend from California attends medical school. We went on a free ride that models the chocolate making process and ends up in a huge room filled with chocolate for sale. Can you say HEAVEN??!! My wallet didn't think so but my stomach was in 7th heaven.
  • We drove through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, aka Amish Country. The best way to sum up that area of the country is BEAUTIFUL and PEACEFUL. Picture large corn fields, farms and silos, red covered bridges surrounded by large and lush trees, cute houses, flowers filling the yards, farm animals galore! And your occasional Amish man driving his horse-drawn carriage, Amish teenagers riding their scooters through small back-country towns, and Amish children walking barefoot through the town.
  • We took Tanner to a small lake with a beach. He LOVED the sand and didn't even mind when he face-planted into it. He wasn't sure about the green water, but got used to it when he started splashing and zooming around in it.
  • We spent the 4th of July in Baltimore visiting historical sights around the city, including the Star-Spangled Banner flaghouse which is the house of the lady who sewed the flag that the Star-Spangled banner is about. (The actual flag is in the Smithonsian in Washington D.C.) We ended the day by walking around the Inner Harbor, sitting at a park and listening to a doowop concert, and watching fireworks over the Harbor (Tanner slept through the whole thing - yay! He hates loud noises and would have screamed the whole time.)
  • I have spent a few days downtown with Tanner visiting places around the city. We loved eating breakfast with Eli at a French pastry shop next door to where he works. DEEElish! He works in the cutest area of Baltimore with nice shops and restaurants right on the bay.
  • We got on weekly walks through the woods. It is SO green here! I'm going to miss this the most when we move back to Utah. Tanner loves grabbing tree branches and watching the leaves move when he tugs on it. During one walk, we had a deer follow us along the path from about 30 feet away. Tanner started hollering with boredom and scared the deer away.
  • When we're not exploring, Tan and I go to the pool (or he plays in his pool, aka dish tub, on our porch), go to the library, go on walks, Skype with family members, and sit on a blanket in the grass.
And last but not least, mostly for the fam, here are some videos!!


Swinging and Crawling

Downtown Baltimore

Celery and Cup fun

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Sisters, sisters, There were never much devoted sisterrrrrs."

I love my sisters. Did you know that? I think I've said that many times on this blog! I am psyched because they are both coming to visit us next week!!!!! Aly has been living in Africa since the beginning of May so she arranged to spend 5 days here before heading home to Denver. Yay! And Kristie decided last week to fly over from Denver and hang out with us. Double yay! And Paige is even coming to spend a couple of days with us. Triple yay!

(I love my mom too. She's coming by herself in August!)

Aly has had some awesome, interesting, disturbing, tender, etc. experiences in Africa. Some of the stories she has told just boggle my mind that have to do with how people treat one another over there. They make me so grateful to live in America! Here are some experiences from the mouth of Aly Archer: (for more stories about her adventures, go to

This story is about a man in her branch that witnessed horrible deaths, including his own parents
"We had our friend Dennis who is in the Jinga Branch come to our house
and talk to us on Wednesday. He is from Gulu and used to be in the
LRA. He had such a crazy story. When he was young the LRA came and
raided his house and told him to kill his father. He refused and ran
away and they shot at him but just hit his arm. He laid in the grass
in fear for a while after they shot him, and then went back to his
house because he didn't know what to do. When he went back to his
house the LRA had tied his dad and his 2 wives to trees with their
arms and legs spread open. Then one by one they cut open their bodies
down the middle and pulled all of their insides out, while Dennis and
his brother watched. Dennis drew a picture of it and brought it to
show us, it was disturbing. Then the LRA took him and he was with them
for 7 or 8 years. He said they made them do terrible things, like eat
human flesh or they would kill someone and make the boys sit on the
bodies while they ate their dinner. He also said they would go days
without food walking from town to town and were treated terribly. He
escaped one night when the LRA and ugandan army or something were
fighting, but he had no where to go. So he lived on the streets for a
while, eating out of trash and doing random labor jobs to make money.
He has no family and still has no home. He met a professor from BYU in
2007 who was doing research in gulu and they became good friends. When
the professor went home he told dennis to research the church on and so he did and then he met the missionaries and
joined the church last october. The professor sponsors Dennis, meaning
he pays for his school fees, so Dennis goes to school in Jinga but on
holidays goes back to gulu and has no where to live. He just goes to
his old IDP camp and stays with friends if they let him. He said that
sometimes when he thinks about his life and what has happened to him
he feels like he has nothing to live for and shouldn't be alive, so
sad. A lot of other crazy things have happened to him, but he is still
such a great guy and has such a sweet countenance. Hearing the gospel
and the plan of happiness must have been such an amazing thing for
him. I recorded most of what he said, it would be cool if you watched
it sometime. Its crazy stuff. OH he also said that he has been around
Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA, and he believes that he is
possessed by evil spirits. I agree with him, that is a sick sick man.
He also said that invisible children interviewed him so that is kind
of cool, but they never did anything with his story so that is not as

This story is about when she went to Rwanda (have you ever seen Hotel Rwanda? If so, then you'll know what she's talking about)
We went to the memorial museum and it was really touching. One room was full of huge
pictures of kids and then underneath it had their favorite food,
favorite activity, favorite person, how they were killed, and last
words. A lot of them said things like favorite food: rice and chips,
favorite activity: laughing or football, favorite person: their older
sister, killed: macheted to death or shot in their mothers arms or
something like that. It was so so sad. Outside the memorial is a huge
mass grave where 250,000 people are buried. The branch president from
Kigali drove us around for the 2 days we were there, he is a foreign
service officer from Utah so that was fun to talk to him. He showed us
Hotel Rwanda and we drove on the road that he goes on in the movie
that is covered in bodies...crazy. We also went to a church where
5,000 people were killed. We got there at dusk and there were no
lights in the church so it was kind of eerie. There were shelves and
shelves of skulls when we walked in, and then the walls were covered
with clothes they hung up from the people that died. I thought they
were bodies hanging on the walls at first. The people were all hiding
in the church because they believed that churches were safe spaces
when the Hutus came and shot out/threw grenades in the windows. Then
they came in and macheted everyone to death. Then behind that church
was a one room school and that is where the men took the babies and
threw them against the wall to kill them. There is still blood on the
walls from that. Next to the school is a mud building where women were
cooking (i don't really understand why) and the men went in there and
basically burned all of them to death, so they still have the remains
of the women's clothes in that building. It was so sad. I can't
imagine those things happening and the fear they must have felt.
Rwanda/Kigali has cleaned up a ton so it was crazy to think of those
things happening there. Kigali is a very safe city now and very clean.
To get rid of racism it is against the law to take about race or
ethnicity so we couldn't ask anyone about their experiences which is
kind of a bummer. We went to church though and it was just at the
branch president's house in his living room which was way cool."