Friday, August 29, 2014



Isn't that the truth?^ So often I want someone else to be the one that is going to say or do the right things to buoy me up, to make my day. I have had several instances lately where this sweet friend of mine has done just that.  At my literal breaking point, she has been there with the kindest notes of encouragement that were exactly what I needed to hear.  She had no idea that I was struggling during either of these instances but had just felt prompted to say what she did at that time.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.  I had to tease her and ask her if she was spying on me because of how acurate she was. :)
But I've realized, those experiences don't happen every day and they certainly don't happen every time I am having a hard time.  I found this quote on pinterest the other day and I just love it.  "Some days you just have to create your own sunshine."  So simple yet so profound.  I can wait around for someone to do something nice for me so I'll feel better or I can be proactive and change my mood myself.  Definitely easier said than done but I'm going to try and remember this so when the hard days come (because they inevitably will), I will be ready.  I will be the one to create my own little sunshine and maybe, be the one to create some for someone else.
Happy Friday, friends!
xo, Syd

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hawaii: Day 7

Thursday came and it was our last day at the beach house and it wasn't even a full day! :(  In order to make it to the temple before we had to check out of the house, we had to get up pretty early to make it to the first session.  And I am so glad we did!  The details of the Laie temple are so unique to Hawaii and I just loved it. 

We made another stop by Ted's Bakery after the temple because ya never know the next time we'll be back there so we had to live it up! :)  And I need to find me a Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie here in Utah - they were to die for!!

A Knowles Family Vacation is never complete without a custom tshirt made by Miss Emily (bottom right).  You can't tell from these pictures but she drew a scene from Lilo & Stitch and then had them screen printed on the shirt.  Our vacations are always Disney themed if she can help it. :)

My cute parents and their cute grandkids.  Don't we have the cutest little blonde kiddos in our family?  I just love them! 

A little closer up shot of the shirts. :) I love Emily's art. And I love that boy up there a whole lot too. :) By the way, these pictures were taken in the yard of the beach house we were staying in.  We got to wake up to that view every morning.  I could have stayed forever!

The original six.
After we checked out of the beach house, we made our way down to Kapolei to the Disney Aulani Resort.  We had a little time to kill before we could check in down there so we explored a little bit and somehow found ourselves back at the Dole Plantation with another Pineapple Dole Whip in hand. :)  Those things are AMAZING!  We found that a Farr's Fresh here in Utah does a pretty good job of replicating them, if you're interested.

Not entirely sure how this happened, but I somehow managed to only get this one picture of our first day at Aulani and it definitely does not do the place justice one bit.  Disney never disappoints and always goes above and beyond any expectation.  The picture up above is the view of the lobby.  As soon as we arrived, we were greated by name and given a lei.  No matter who you are, they treat you like royalty.  It's awesome.
They have the best little bay at the resort and Preston finally convinced me to go snorkeling with him.  I agreed since it seemed like a pretty safe environment.  I'll never make that mistake again.  I finally felt comfortable breathing through my mouth piece and had even ventured off on my own a little bit when I was greeted by another huge seal!! SERIOUSLY? I couldn't get out of the water fast enough.  Preston has the whole thing on video but for some reason I'm not tech savvy enough to upload those here.  Anyways, it was frightening (and quite comical, I am sure).  My poor husband sure didn't luck out in the adventurous wife department.

We finished up the day by going to the Dinner Buffet in the resort where I had to have eaten my body weight.  But it was hard not to! They had the best food.  My poor husband was wiped out by the end of the day.  I found him sleeping in our room just like this.  Someday we'll go on a vacation that is actually relaxing. haha

See here for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, & Day 6.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ogden Temple Open House

Last night we had the opportunity to attend the Ogden Temple Open House with the youth in our ward.  It's about an hour drive away from where we live and we were lucky enough to have the Jones' ride with us.  More on them later but I just have to say they are the absolute sweetest!  We love them.
I was a little skeptical about actually being able to get in the temple when we arrived and saw the GINORMOUS line.  Seriously, it was out of control.  But we hopped in line and it moved a lot faster than I anticipated it would.  As we entered the temple, I couldn't help but imagine what it must feel like for those visiting the temple for the very first time. This is a time that anyone and everyone can enter the temple, regardless if they are a member of the church or not.  I imagine they would notice how beautiful it is.  How much attention is paid to every little detail.  As I wondered what someone from the outside looking in would think, I found myself noticing how the beauty of the temple is really, so very simple.  It isn't filled with lots of little trinkety things, but rather it has fewer things that are really nice.  It allows you to focus on the beauty of a single painting without being distracted by a bunch of clutter.  One corner might have an equisite piece of art while another has a beautiful flower arrangement, but very rarely were they placed together. I feel like that there is significance in that. It allows us to focus and to devote our time to understanding and noticing things one at a time.  To truly try to understand what the artist or designer is trying to portray.  It is also interesting that not everywhere you turn do you see a picture hanging on the wall.  Sometimes you simply see a clean, blank wall.  I feel like that allows for meditation and interpretation of the feelings that can be felt within those sacred walls.  And sometimes you see a mirror, causing you to reflect inward on yourself. To think about ways in which you can be better and to also be grateful for how far you have come and for your future potential.  Now, these are just my interpretations of the beauty and design of the temple.  Certainly not doctrine.  Most likely interpretations that stem from growing up in a furniture store. :)  But the temple truly is beautiful.  If you live near one that happens to have an open house going on right now, you should go! Even if you are not of this faith, still go.  It is truly amazing and is an experience you certainly won't regret. :)

Hawaii: Day 6

By the sixth day, we were completely in love with the north shore and talking about how we could stay forever.  While the boys went out and did some spear fishing, the girls and kids walked down to Ted's Bakery.  Pretty small place but they have delicious breakfast sandwiches, pastries and pies. I will definitely go there again whenever we visit Hawaii next. 
Of course we couldn't pass up the famous Matsumoto's shaved ice. I'm not a big snow come person but wow, their stuff can't be beat. Plus, they have the best selection of souvenir shirts and hats and MAUI BABE! That stuff worked wonders on my pasty white skin. I should have bought several bottles, really. 
Have I mentioned how beautiful the trees are in Hawaii? Probably. But they are so beautiful! I love that they come together to form a huge canopy. We hiked to Manoa Falls and it was beautiful. We were all in awe the whole time. There are vines hanging from the trees and you can actually swing on them! So fun! Such different scenery than we are used to back in the desert of Utah. 
We finished off the day by eating at Banzai sushi in Haleiwa. I loved the atmosphere there. They have the option of sitting on cushions on the ground but we had too many people and couldn't do that. I tried the Red dragon, Crispy ahi, & Gnarly Marley rolls and they were all very good. 

Day 1, 2, 3, 4 & here.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

'Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!'

'Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!' I love that! I am not super familiar with the story of Fiddler on the Roof but for some reason that quote really stuck out to me. Traditions really do keep us grounded. Maybe not to the extreme extent that the characters believe in in the play but there is security in rituals and traditions. I'm grateful for the traditions in our life that provide us with structure and security.  We change things up from time to time to do what works best for our little family but for the most part, the core traditions always stay the same. Preston and I were both fortunate enough to grow up in families with good, strong traditions and it's been fun taking what we grew up with and adapting into our own. 

We were able to watch part of this play up at Sundance.  Unfortunately, it got rained out. They have a little outdoor theater and they ended up canceling the show because of all the lightening. I have to admit, I wasn't too disappointed with the rain. I was loving the show but it was awfully fun getting stuck in a rainstorm and having to huddle with my sweetie under an umbrella. :) Definitely made the rain more bearable. I sure do love being able to live in such a beautiful place!


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