The Life and Thoughts of Robyn

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Top 10's of Rugby 2015

This year was a wild ride in Parry Rugby history, so I wanted to record some of the coolest moments . . .
1. Cody earning a starting spot at UVU for the Division IAA National Championship Game at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. He missed the fall season due to his LDS mission (and came home 30 pounds lighter due to the rice and beans only diet), so he needed to work hard all winter and spring to end up on the A squad. Wahoo!
2. "TRY!" on the big screen at Rio Tinto after Cody pushed aside defenders and used his long running legs to score, pulling UVU ahead in the second half.
3. "TRY!" again! Touche for Cody! Two tries in a row!
4. Cody on the television news that evening and on It's become our standard Parry casual remark: check out rugby.
5. 3rd time is a charm. Cody has played twice before at Rio Tinto Stadium: in the high school national championship tournament (2011, Snow Canyon High School) and with UVU in 2012, but now he takes home a win.
6. This also has to tie for #1, just on the high school level . . . In the State Championship Game at the University of Utah, Snow Canyon and Herriman are tied at the end of regulation play, and Snow Canyon earns a penalty kick. In cold rain on a muddy and slippery field, at a very difficult angle . . . Sam Slivers delivers a miracle, curving the ball through the uprights for the State Title. 
7. Watching Dylan move into the #10 spot for Snow Canyon, including the game against Cedar when he enabled just about every player to score, spreading the love (and winning by 100).
8. Watching little Snow Canyon stand up to and successfully maneuver around much larger teams. Seeing Polynesian-heavy East High come onto the field in the semi-final game was intimidating, but Snow Canyon used their speed game to score twice in the first five minutes and never looked back.
9. Traveling as UVU and Snow Canyon groupies (i.e. parents) to see games and tournaments from UCLA to Phoenix. Fun times.
10. Watching mighty mite and fearless Wyatt as #9 on Snow Canyon 9/10, hanging with players easily twice his size. They fought their way to the state semi-finals game (through 2 lightning delays). . . . Next year . . .

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Top 10's of Brazil

Just got home yesterday from being "Tagalongs" with our stake president and his wife who had served as mission president and mission mom in Brazil. Awesome opportunity to see a new country (and set foot on Continent #5 for me, uh huh) so with a personal translator and personal travel coordinator, we had a great opportunity to tour and see some highlights :)
1. Beaches of Rio. Sugar white sand, check. Dramatic mountain views, check. Cool black and white wave-patterned sidewalks, check. Famous names: Copacabana and Ipanema (yes, I sang both the cheesy Barry Manilow song and "The Girl from Ipanema" while there), check. Beautiful people, kind of check (there were some, but also some pretty scary bathing suits). Yep, I could live totally live there :)
2. Running and walking on the beaches. The country is apparently in a fitness craze. Loved it! In the mornings, traffic lanes are even blocked for runners. On Copacabana, the sand was perfect for barefoot running. In Fortaleza, the whole town seemed to be running beachside with me. Sweaty humid, but fun. Even did some obligatory beach handwalking.
3. Corcovado, the famous Christus statue overlooking Rio. Tram ride up, wonderful 360-degree hilly, beachy, big-city views.
4. Fortaleza. It's a beach town on the Atlantic, and the water is mid-80s! Incredible! The beach area is totally fitness-crazed: beach volleyball and a kind of beach soccer-volleyball (kick serve, and players can hit with their head, chest, or legs only), 100-person zumba classes, running groups, and fitness trainers every hundred yards or so. The town is on the move :)
5. Iguazu Falls. I've been lucky enough to see Niagara Falls and Victoria Falls and now to EXPERIENCE Iguazu Falls. We rode in a little motor raft right into some drenching downpours, hiked along a mile-long, spray-soaked trail, took a helicopter tour from above, and got to see both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. These falls are spectacular. The water just keeps on coming!
6. Tour of Rio. We went through the stadium for the upcoming Rio Olympics (recently renovated for the World Cup), saw press rooms and sat in team seats right next to the field, saw Pele and other cool memorabilia. We also enjoyed going up Sugar Loaf Mountain for more scenic views and saw toucans in the Botanical Gardens (rainforest beauty right inside a major city).
7. The Amazon. We stayed in a floating hotel (called the Floating Jungle Palace, though I'd probably delete the last word of the name if I were honest :). We were near Manaus on the Rio Negro (the water really does appear black) and saw the "meeting of the waters," where the Solomon River (brown) joins, and the two run side by side with a distinct line between them, apparently for over 100 kilometers. Scott got a cool snakeskin, and we saw cute monkeys and sloths. Piranhas kept sneaking his fishing bait, but we weren't able to reel one in. No alligator or anaconda near-death experiences this time . . .
8. The surprisingly impressive colonial Opera House and other buildings in the middle of nowhere, i.e., deep in the rainforest jungle, in Manaus. Imported European marble and glass. A funky air conditioning system built over 100 years ago.
9. The restaurants. Brazilians have Americans beat in fast food (though they do have some American fast food too). "Kilos" are a great invention, affordable buffet/salad bar/dessert bars named after the payment system (you weigh your plate). Also, pizza and barbecue places where servers are ready and circling with dining options.
10. The beautiful LDS temples in Sao Paulo and Manaus. Dramatic Brazilian granite. Impressive and sparkling. Fun for us to see touching missionary reunions in the different areas and conference in Rio as well.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Top 10 (or so) LDS Church Callings

We're probably not supposed to rank volunteer "callings" we have . . . but still, I wanted to remember what my different callings have been. So this list is more "reverse chronological" than "preferred," but it should bring up some fun memories . . .
1. Gospel Doctrine Teacher. My present calling, and I have it easier than most, because our ward in little Santa Clara, Utah is overloaded with awesome people and not enough callings to go around (opposite of some wards we've lived in, when Scott and I have each held 5 callings at the same time). Anyway, with eight Gospel Doctrine Teachers for two classes, we each teach once a month and get to listen and learn the other weeks. Teaching makes me read, think, research, and delve into questions and topics much more than I would on my own. And I used to teach English, so it's a little like old times.
2. Visiting Teacher. Had that one since turning 18, I suppose. I do like getting to know sisters one on one, and we've had fun lunches and other activities as well. It's not always easy to coordinate schedules, but it's worth it to go and visit with friends and hopefully uplift each other. 
3. Relief Society Teacher. I've said for years that this is my favorite calling--involved, learning, and appreciative of the other teachers and lessons too :) I taught Relief Society for three years here and taught in St. Louis years ago. Also in Relief Society, I've served as Visiting Teaching Coordinator (harder than it sounds, with lots of sisters moving in and out), Education Counselor (now called First Counselor) and President for a short time in Philadelphia. That was an eye opener. I now APPRECIATE all of my Relief Society Presidents!
4. Nursery. Must list this one because it's my old stand-by. I've had this calling five times. Maybe I'll get it right some time. Let's see: lots of kids 18 months to 3 years old, treats, toys, rests, two-minute lessons, songs, coloring, building with Duplos or doing puzzles. I'm learning.
5. Young Women's. I enjoy the girls, fun atmosphere, and abundance of treats in Young Women's. I've served as 2nd Counselor, Secretary, and Laurel Advisor. Two years ago I was Camp Director, and sleeping outdoors (i.e., not sleeping) and going natural totally isn't my thing, but the girls and other leaders were great. Our stake had impressive evening programs. We concentrated on the Young Women Values, which was nice. And I led yoga every day :) But it also rained for two days straight.
6. Primary. I've served as President, 2nd Counselor, and Secretary. The kids rock (love their prayers and talks plus the clever/innocent/crazy things they say). The best part there is the Primary Songs.
7. Cub Scouts. With four sons, this one was bound to happen. I've been Wolf, Bear, and Webelo Leader (and taught Webelo Leaders at training for a couple of years). The way I see it, Scout activities are fun and get the boys out doing things. Too many rules and details to be too much fun though. BUT, our youngest son has an Eagle Court of Honor this month, which means I'm officially finishing with 4 for 4 Eagles. Booyah.
8. Temple Patron. This one my husband and I made up ourselves soon after we were married. We were in was a gigantic family ward in Provo, Utah, where we lived for a year without receiving any callings (not even visiting teacher, now that I think about it, so correct the error under #2. Don't think anyone ever visited us either; though we were living in a scary basement apartment :). So once a week we went to the temple, and that was definitely a good thing for me. I was able to get some temple experience and a bit of understanding. After that, for the next 9 years, we were far from temples in Philly and St. Louis, and it became much more difficult to attend.
9. Here's a different one: Special Secretary to the Bishop. In our Philadelphia ward, our Bishop was also an Institute Teacher and needed administrative assistance, so I helped type lists, letters, and whatever else he needed.
10. Sunbeam Teacher. Had to put this one separately because it was my first calling after graduating from high school. I had a little room of 11 active 3-year-olds, and years of babysitting came in handy. It was fun to see their excited faces and have some friendly lap sitters among them.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Top 10's of Costa Rica

Ok, waaaayyy too long without writing anything to remember some big events in the Parry household, so I'm going back to last October and remembering our favorite moments of picking up our missionary Cody, who served in the LDS Costa Rica San Jose Mission :)
1. Ok, here's a toughie, not.  It's seeing Cody for the 1st time in two years at a sketchy bus station in the middle of San Jose. He was in a small town and said the bus ride in would take "2 to 4 hours depending on mudslides and stuff." Luckily, delays were few and he made it into the city pretty quickly. My first impression was, tall and SKINNY! Eating a steady diet of rice and beans, then walking for many hours every day, took some weight off him. But his smile was the same, and we had an awesome reunion!
2. Firsts for Elder Cody. He was most excited to have his first hot shower in years and loved a comfortable hotel bed.  And it was fun to hear him try to remember English again. He had only worked with one English-speaking companion during his two years there.  "What do you say--when someone sneeze?"  "How do you say . . . .?" It was a half-Spanish half-English combination spoken in a quiet, soft tone for a few days.
3. Going to Guacimo. We drove to a small town in northern Costa Rica where Cody served for 6 months. We were able to visit with many people he worked with and even baptized. Ok, the ride there wasn't a favorite moment. We got delayed by rainy mudslides in the mountain area. But once we made it, just like in the US, kids would come running! "Elder Parry!! Otinorinco!" (Parry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb).  They'd call their friends who would also come running, and it made for fun reunions. One teenage boy probably summed it up well when he said, "The missionaries since you leave not as fun." Cody and his companions had set up church soccer games and activities :) One lady asked him to give her reading assignments. We even saw and were able to thank his "other grandma" who took care of him when he had dengue fever. "He lay on this floor for over a week." Things I learned: people love missionaries who've connected with them. People love their tvs (most homes had them on and loud the entire time we all visited). Also, the pre-tech days are long gone. At the first humble home we visited, a young boy pulled out an ipad, asked our address, went on Google Earth, and showed us our home. He even practiced his English and said, "nice house."
4. Going to the Mission President's Home for a last meeting. 20 missionaries were being released the next day, and President and Sister Wilkinson graciously invited us to join them for a final meal and meeting together. We learned that they still have young children at home, all of whom were doing homework and then practicing music when we arrived, so we learned that Sister Wilkinson had her hands full with family things. She served an American feast, smiled a lot, and reminded me of Mrs. Santa Claus. President Wilkinson gave Cody one of the best compliments we have ever heard when he said Cody was "one of the most Christlike missionaries" he had ever met. He could trust him anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Most of what else was said, including testimonies of all the finishing missionaries, was in espagnol, so I got a headache trying to understand, with my background in gringo English and some French.
5. Traveling with Brent and Brenda Mangus. They have been to Costa Rica over 40 times, mostly with US Olympic Development Program soccer teams, and they led us around like true pros! We knew that Cody wouldn't be released from his mission and be able to do water activities, etc., so before we picked him up, we went with Brent and Brenda on a fun rafting adventure (got stuck on a rock and had to each swim at one point).
6. Enjoying the Arenal volcano-warmed water park with pools of varying temperatures and some pitch black and crazy water slides, plus a nice buffet meal.
7. Hiking to a beautiful rainforest waterfall and really enjoying all the green, green, green vegetation.
8.Hiking with Cody in Manuel Antonio National Park--seeing beautiful rocky and white sand beaches plus all kinds of animals, ending with an active family of monkeys!
9. The Marriott Los Suenos resort. We enjoyed the nice pool, good restaurants, and workout room comparable to a hotel stay in Hawaii for a fraction of the cost.
10. The waterfalls, scenery, and animals in La Paz Nature Park near the top of the Poas volcano. Loved the jungle cats and colorful birds, didn't especially love the snakes :) The employees charged us for two people and said our "tour guide" was free because Cody was wearing his (now old) white shirt, tie, and missionary name tag. It was his last freebie as a missionary . . . before we flew home and loved the neighborhood greetings at our little airport late at night.
(The bottom ten list would definitely include driving in Costa Rica. Adventures in crazy car rental, mudslides, rain, mountains, curves, impossibly short exit and entrance ramps, and people walking along the freeways day and night).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Top 10's from Lake Powell

When I was growing up, every year my family borrowed our grandpa's boat, cleaned out all gross remains from his fishing trips, filled it with water skis and lovely and extremely uncomfortable orange life jackets instead, and left for Lake Powell on the last day of school. As I got older, we progressed from camper stays to the AIR CONDITIONED (yeah!) early motel there, then to a houseboat, and life on the Lake got sweeter. My husband and I lived in Philadelphia for 4 years and St. Louis for 5 more, so we had little time for Lake Powell runs, but then we made our way back to Utah. And now with our own family, Lake Powell trips have become a Parry tradition. It's hard to choose just 10 favorite reasons we love it, but I'll try.
1. The night sky. Best star viewing of almost anywhere I've been. Ever.
2. Boating on blue water surrounded by staggeringly beautiful red cliffs. (The scenery is in plenty of movies. We've spotted Lake Powell as "Mars" in John Carter and its area in "Texas" in The Lone Ranger.
3. Water skiing. I'm from the old school, before wake boarding was even invented :). Early mornings and late evenings on Lake Powell we can still generally find a nook or canyon with perfectly smooth ski water. Ahhh.  4. Cliff jumping. Actually we like jumping off  the houseboat too.
5. Mid-day movies. When the sun is hot overhead, we tend to take a break inside. How spoiled we've become :)
6. Food. We usually invite people who come with tasty meals and treats to feed an army.
7. Jumping in the lake and not getting cold. Compared to those northern Utah mountain lakes, well, 80 degree water is just perfect.
8. The kids. Every year the wake boarding tricks and flips get more impressive, the rope burns from tube wars get a little scarier, and new competitions such as best falls on the wake skate impress.
9. Hiking around the area. People come from around the world to see the red rock formations, and hidden coves and canyons, even petroglyphs and other ancient finds, are treasures.
10. Time together with family and great friends. My older kids plan to come home when they hear it's Lake Powell time, and they spend days thinking of famous but easily forgotten names to win at the fabled "Name Game."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top 10's of Favorite Daughter Ashley

Happy Birthday to our favorite (and only) daughter Ashley! She's a doll and a great friend, and it's her first birthday on which she gets to wake up and go to work :). Party on! (Or,  some parts of growing up aren't all that much fun, but it's life.) Some of my best memories with Ash--
1. Our mother-daughter cruise with Tracy and Lexie Parry. We might have set a Princess Cruise Line Record for movie viewing by the pool. We also might have set a record for sampling desserts, but having seen some people on cruises I might be overstating a bit there. We also enjoyed snorkeling with sea rays, beach time, dance time, sudoku (her) crossword puzzle (me) time, and and talk time.
2. Graduation trip to Africa. Quite a wild experience! Beautiful Capetown and safari adventures including being in the middle of a lion hunt (one lioness was an arm's length behind us, as we froze on the back row of the Land Rover). Up close and personal with hippos, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, you name it. We even had a glass enclosed exercise room and saw monkeys and beautifully colored birds while running on the treadmill.
3. "Groupie" touring with Ashley when she was chosen to represent the US on a softball trip to Italy. From Venice to Rome to Milan, we saw wonderful towns and wonderful sites. Also, she played great and shortstop and at the plate, capping off the end of her college softball years. Too bad she was on a sugar strike and didn't try the gelato at every stop with us though.
4. "Groupie" visiting Hawaii to watch Ashley play softball for four college years and for her and Lyndon's college graduation! Awesome accomplishments! We also got to meet her on Thanksgiving weekends in Hawaii. Waves, beaches, pools, hammocks, waterfalls, flowers . . . Hawaii really is a paradise.
5. Preschool and kindergarten moments. A headstrong and precocious girl, she provided some most entertaining scenes on both sides of the spectrum. On any given day she may insist she was a horse or be the ideal student. I didn't know if I would hear a bit of neighing or quotations like, "May I please have some beets," or, "Mrs. Schulte, someone is breaking a safety rule."
6. Her preschool dance performances with numbers (and cute costumes) from "The Lion King" to "Achy Breaky Heart" to "Les Miserables." She moved on from dance and through lots of violin years, often performing her best right in programs and competitions.
7. Horse lessons and rodeo/gymkhana competitions. Ashley became quite an accomplished rider and still claims she will buy a horse before she buys a car.
8. Soccer games. Watching her sprint past other players to get the ball. She and Ashley Timo as forwards at Snow Canyon were an unbeatable team.
9. Being together. When she visits, we tend to do everything together, from working out to eating out to going out. Otherwise, we have to settle for texts and emails.
 10. Watching our awesome daughter get married to awesome Lyndon. Our family day at Disneyland and family beach day, complete with cheesy skits, were fun and adventurous. Then a beautiful ceremony in the Newport Beach LDS Temple couldn't ever be topped.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top 10's with Connor in 2014

This has been a great and exciting year for Connor, our third child, and I thought I'd record some of the best memories surrounding him as he leaves to be a missionary for the next two years . . .
1. State Rugby Championship. Senior Year, and he was Team Captain, helping with team strategy on the pitch as our player #10. Two heart-palpitating, nail-biting games in the semi finals against Olympus and the finals against East High School, and Snow Canyon pulled out the win :). Our local newspaper called it a "Dynasty in the Desert." We're a small team physically, but we're well coached and play with a lot of heart.
2. Mission Call to Iquitos, Peru. Connor and his friend Warner Rigby received mission calls the same day and opened them together, with lots of friends at our house (Warner's was to Honduras).  Connor was hoping for a German-speaking mission, after taking three years of it in school, but, hey, Spanish is the new challenge :) Actually, a couple of years ago a friend their age drowned while at Scout Camp, which made Connor and a bunch of his friends think seriously. They decided that their friend, K.J. Harrison, was needed on a mission in Heaven, and they signed a pact that the rest of them would be worthy and serve missions when they were old enough. A youtube video of Snow Canyon Class of 2014 Missionaries shows all of these friends fulfilling their promises, and they are now going all around the world sharing the message of Jesus Christ.
3. Graduation trip to New Zealand. What a great group of boys (20 from Snow Canyon), a great group of coaches, a great group of relatives and friends who hosted us, and great rugby too.
4. High School Graduation. Wahoo! Connor received High Honors and received an award from the school Principal, Warren Brooks, for "Outstanding Young Man." He was accepted to BYU (go Cougars!) and plans to play rugby there after his mission. Both sets of grandparents were able to come and share in the happy event.
5. 18th birthday--and the Parry Sky Dive! We now have 3 crazy children who have chosen to go Sky Diving when they were old enough. Connor went the day before he left for Peru and loved his experience with SkyDive Zion, overlooking beautiful Zion National Park. 20 minute ascent, barrel roll take off, and a safe landing made for a fun and memorable day.
6. Connor landing wakeboarding back flips. Wahoo :)
7. Connor, Dylan, and Wyatt all playing together. Our youngest sons were able to play at the same time for a few minutes on the rugby pitch in New Zealand, played together on our Ward Basketball Team, and played against each other in the friendly end-of-year Snow Canyon barefoot rugby match. Fun memories to see them all back each other up, or hit each other down and then help each other up . . .
8. Mission Farewell weekend. We enjoyed gathering with family and friends and hearing Connor bear his testimony and give an excellent talk. Connor has a nice spirit about him. His farewell happened to be on Father's Day, and he chose to use examples of how his dad and two grandpas help others. He also recognized his younger brother Dylan as a "never give up" kind of guy--the time he was recovering from an appendectomy, took a mountain bike spill which resulted in head staples and road rash over much of his body, then suffered a broken nose (yes, it was sideways until his doctor dad pushed it into place) yet ran right back into a rugby game.
9. Small moments together. Shopping for mission clothes. Eating at In and Out Burger and Honolulu Grill. Yucky mounds of vaccinations before going to South America. Singing in the Hummer (and being chauffeured; I don't much like driving but all my kids do)!
10. Mission Setting Apart and saying Good-bye at the St. George Airport. Actually I like getting weekly emails better than saying good-bye, but he's off to Peru and sounds excited to be there.