About Us

Billings, Montana, United States
The Professor and I were civilly married 24 May 1998 and sealed for time and all eternity 11 Sept 1999 in the Mt. Timpanogas Temple, American Fork, UT. We have, between us 6 biological children and 3 we claim as ours through the heart strings! We call Billings, Montana home and love it here. We camp, hunt, fish, ride horses and LOVE bull riding and rodeos. Our church is a huge part of our lives and our callings keep us very busy. We love our Saviour, Jesus Christ and strive to show that love to our fellow man every day. We got our nicknames because I am the "spark" that keeps things lively around here, and he was smart enough to marry me! That's the short story on it anyway!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Well, Hello everyone!

What a wonderful year we've had! Lots of great camping and travel trips, Let me give you a run-down. To start, we moved from Montana to south central Utah. It was a great move and we are glad we did it....but I have to admit I REALLY miss Jacob and Heather and Ben and Gwen. We try to Skype at least once a week, but preferably twice a week.

The pictures above are of Gwendalyn and Benjamin. Jacob and Heather's two darlings! It's nice to be closer to all the grandlittles that are here in Utah, but it's still hard to be away from the ones that aren't here in Utah. We have 4 here in Utah and 6 not in Utah, with one (here in Utah) on the way.

Capital Reef National Park. Such a beautiful drive from our house. Beautiful autumn day, perfect weather, a lovely day for a little road trip with us and the dogs!

On of the greatest moments of the summer was being able to go to Michigan to attend the wedding of my cousin Mandi DeGregory Zimmerman. It was the first time we have ever met each other. She is my biological cousin, and since I was given up for adoption, I never met her before this. It was wonderful. I met several other cousins as well and had a wonderful time! Isn't she a gorgeous bride!

Lily, Brighton and Tyler. Playing at Papa and Mae Mae's house. So much fun to have them closer and to be able to have them come down more often

Our first 24th of July in Utah. For those who don't know, July 24th is a Utah state holiday honoring the day the early Mormon pioneers arrived in Utah and took residence, finally able to escape the mobs and persecution that plagued them from New York to Illinois, Missouri and everywhere they tried to live and worship God according to the dictates of their own hearts. Freedom of Religion was not something they were able to enjoy until they landed in Utah.
We had one heck of a major rainstorm! I thought it was going to get into the camper, but fortunately it didn't. WHEW!

Megan and I did some canning/bottling etc. of peaches and apples. We made peach jam, bottled peaches and we made apple butter, applesauce, apple pie filling. SO good!! Great fun to do together as well!

Where's Mari?  Yes, there is something (or someone) in the trees. I didn't notice for a long time, but, look closely!

It is one week and two days after my surgery on the Acoustic Neuroma. It was wildly successful and I''m feeling pretty darn good! I am having an issue with my right eye because it doesn't want to shut properly and it feels VERY rough and scratched. I have called my Dr. again to see what to do about it. Just waiting for his office to call me back.

I am so grateful for my surgeons and all the rest of the medical staff who cared for me. I understand I was NOT a very good patient while in the hospital. I guess I decided to pull out my IV and my Catheter and just get out of bed and tried to take off somewhere! They had to restrain me to get me back in bed and then I guess Dan had to stay there with me to keep me from doing it again. What a brat I was!!

I am already able to walk around on my own volition and not need my cane or walker. At least in the house, I haven't tried to go to the store yet, but I'm thinking I will today.

We will be having a quiet Christmas here at the house, we had a big Thanksgiving, but decided to just have a small Christmas, likely it will be just Dan and me. We will be getting Megan and Victor baby items for Christmas since they announced to us at Thanksgiving that they are finally pregnant!! We are SO very happy for them. They had been trying for awhile to get pregnant.

I am trying to figure out what to get Dan for Christmas this year. Any ideas anyone? It's hard to know what to get a guy that seems to have everything. I mean come on....he has me, what else does he need??  LOL!! I know, I'll get him a diamond studded bellybutton cleaner!!  hehehehehe!!!

We wish all of you a very wonderful Holiday season. May your blessings be great and your troubles be few. May  you feel the spirit of the season and have good health and much happiness in the coming year.

Love to you all....Dan and Mari Catherine

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Today was my favorite Sunday of the year!!  Once a year the primary children do the sacrament meeting. In my class we have a young man (he's 6) who is pretty squirmy so I had him sit on my lap. Then he suddenly looked up to me and said "Teacher?" and I said "yes" and he said "I love you" and I told him I love him too. Then he started doing the sign language symbols for "I love you"

Everyone thinks Michael is "a handful" and he is, but with some love, patience and guidance, he's a sweet boy. He did get mad at me when I made him put the dinosaur he brought from home on the floor and didn't let him play with it during our lesson. But oh well....whats a teacher to do!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

counting down to surgery

On Dec 9th I will have surgery to remove a benign tumor in my right ear. It's called Acoustic Neuroma. The tumor is resting on my balance tissue and my hearing tissue. If it continues to grow, it could go into my brain and that would be fatal.

The surgery will be about 4 hours, they will shave that part of my head, make an incision, cut out a section of my skull, and lift the part of my brain under that section of skull and go in to get the tumor out. In the process, they'll have to sever my balance nerve permanently and until my left ear can fully compensate for the right ear, I'll be even more unbalanced. There is also a 50/50 chance I will lose all hearing in that ear.

I have been given a priesthood blessing, and that helped me feel calm, but I am still fairly nervous. I wish I could hurry up and get it done instead of waiting until Dec.9, but oh well, what can I do!

Of course everyone has been incredibly kind and helpful. Many have expressed that they are praying for me and you can imagine, it is very comforting to me to know that I am being prayed for like that.
So, thankful to all my friends and family who are and will pray for me! 

In all honesty, I am a little nervous, but I know that whatever happens, it's the Lord's will and so everything will be ok.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


This summer was crazy busy, very eventful and I have some great stories and pictures to share.
One of the very best highlights of the summer was Dan and I flying to Michigan to meet my cousins there and attend the wedding of my cousin Mandi DeGregory Zimmerman. She was a stunning bride, and my other cousins were so warm, gracious and inclusive. It was really fun.

We flew our usual standby status, and had no problems getting to Detroit, but getting back to SLC was a whole different story. We couldn't get out of Detroit, so someone told us to fly to Seattle and then back to SLC, so we flew to SeaTac. Sadly, we couldn't get on a flight that day, so we ended up sleeping in the airport. (NO FUN!)  The next morning, we started trying to get on flights starting with the very first one at 6:30 am....but, we couldn't get on three flights in a row, so Dan got frustrated and said to heck with it, and we went and rented a car one way, and drove. We left Seattle about 11 am and pulled into our driveway about 5:30 the next morning. Dan drove it all the way through. We did have to make a pit stop to return the rental car and find our car at the SLC airport. We got there about 3am and we were parked in the Economy lot, so I was really glad that there was a shuttle bus to take us out there and that the driver could call someone and find out the spot where we were parked.

The fun we had at Mandi's wedding was so worth all the flight craziness though. I'm glad we went!

Megan and I did some canning together this year and it was so much fun to do it together!  We canned peaches, and apples and Megan made some salsa. With the Peaches, we made peach jam, and canned peaches, and with the apples we did applebutter, applesauce, and apple pie filling. When we started, the laundry basket in the picture below was almost over flowing with apples. There is a place here in Monroe that lets you just go pick as many as you want, and leave what ever you think they are worth in a little lock box. 

We did this in my kitchen just because it is bigger and had more room...but it was a blast doing it together!

We went on some pretty spectacular camping trips near home, and to the North Kaibab. Oh my goodness, the North Kaibab was incredible. Kaibab is the Paiute Indian word for "mountain laying down"  It is just a huge plateau. Here are some pictures of our trip to the North Kaibab

This is the "Lady in Repose" as Dan named her about 30 some odd years ago when he worked here in the Forestry Service. As you can see, she was carved into the tree in 1908....over ONE HUNDRED years ago! WOW!!! Very cool!

In Dubois, Wyoming, I rode the worlds biggest Jackalope! So funny!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


coming along nicely
the first wall goes up
WOW!!! We got our garage built! It only took the Tuff Shed guys two days, well, more accurately 1 1/2 days to get it done. We still need to have the electrician come and put the electricity in, then Dan will build some shelving for storage, and then we can empty our storage shed and bring everything over here.

I'm glad Dan still has to build the shelves just because he loves puttering and making things.

The weather the last couple days has been in the triple digits. I felt so bad for the workers, so Dan and I went and bought them a super lot of gatorade to help keep them hydrated. It was fascinating to watch them, and I am SO excited to be able to park my car out of the heat of these super hot summer days.

Pouring the cement