At Saguaro Lake in Arizona with some friends that would include my future, genius husband.

Yep, you guessed it!  I’m 18 years old in this picture too.

A priceless moment:

Emma reading

“Ten Little Ladybugs”

with her Great Nana.  Only a 90 year difference but the best of friends!

Zachary on the day he learned how to ride his big 2-wheeler bicycle.

My two little

party animals

Summer of 2002

My darling angel

3 months old

Young Family Fun Pages

So I really liked being 18, who didn’t?  :) 

All you ever wanted to know about Karen… & more!

I grew up in the beautiful desert  of Tucson, Arizona.  I have three brothers who have all grown taller than me.  I graduated from Sabino High school as Karen McCown.  I attended Pima Community College for awhile, lived in Mesa for 6 months attending Mesa Community College then got married to Troy in the Mesa Arizona Temple in March of 1997.  We have two boys, one spoiled little princess, and another boy who I can’t put down cuz he’s so cute.

What I like:

I truly LOVE my parents, my in-laws, and my own family.  Sadly, not everyone can say that.  I love to see snow on Christmas Day and smell blooming flowers in the spring.  I feel I’m a religious person and try hard to become closer to my Heavenly Father.  To learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a.k.a. the Mormons, please visit or 

I enjoy sewing fun things for the kids and making memory quilts (see the Quilt Scrapbook page).  I also enjoy reading and love to visit the library almost every week, kids in tow of course (scroll down for book list). 

 I did my first 5K at the SLC Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer run in May 2005 with 12,000 other people.  It was a blast so now I do it every year.  I ran my first Half-Marathon in St. George in January 2006 with my cousin Amelia.  My parents drove up to encourage me and take pictures.  Thanks Mom and Dad!  :)  I also ran the Inaugural SLC Half Marathon while 4 months pregnant.  My only goal was to finish and I did.  I ran up until the day I delivered my fourth child, Nathan.  It made the delivery and recovery much easier.

In November 2005 I road in EL TOUR de TUCSON on my gorgeous new road bike, a Scattante.  We did the 67 miler.  I would’ve tried to do the whole thing (109 miles) but it was hard to train for my first Half Marathon run and the bike race at the same time.  The training schedules overlapped a bit.  It was so much fun and very well-organized and of course, the weather was perfect.   In November 2007 my dad, brother Mark, husband and I rode the whole 109 miles in El Tour de Tucson.  I love racing for good causes especially when T-shirts and medals are included!

My other goal for 2007 was to do my first TRIATHLON.  So in the fall, I did a reverse sprint triathlon.  Jeremy did it too but at a separate time.  I’m so proud of him!  I don’t think I’ll do another real triathlon though until I take some serious swim lessons.

Also in 2007 I did my first DUATHLON on Antelope Island and  my second one end of May.  (Duathlon’s are bike/run races). 

And the last thing I like... digital cameras!  I also love to SCRAPBOOK all the pictures I take and have a separate room just for that purpose.  :-)  That’s another story though...

My Favorite Things to Do in “Mormonland”

If you ever have a chance to visit, here are some things you won’t want to miss!

Liberty Park—if only I had known about this sooner… Tracy Aviary, a famous bird park, is great.  They have a bald eagle and every other bird you can imagine there.  Also at the park, a huge all-abilities playground and a carnival area open during the warmer months and what’s really fun is the water area, it’s made to look like the Salt Lake Valley.  It’s knee-deep water allows the kids to float balls down from the different canyons and into the Great Salt Lake with downtown blocks and State street running all the way thru.  Pretty cool!  They also have a wide running path all the way around, only 1 mile, but the park feels much larger.  900 South and 600 East is the north entrance.

Temple Square—There’s always something going on downtown.  We usually take TRAX, the electric train, and the gardens are always outstanding and the mirror pool in front of the temple is beautiful.  You have to go during Christmas just to see the lights.  Family History Library, Church Art History Museum, Conference Center (awesome tour info), Joseph Smith Memorial Building (great views and two delicious restaurants) and the Lion House restaurant (to die-for rolls) are all right there as well.

Church Art History Museum—They always have great exhibits and their Children’s section is fun to play in and educational.

The Gateway—Just to play in the Olympic Plaza and see the water shoot up to the music.  Great for summertime play.

Discovery Gateway formerly known as the Children’s Museum Utah.  The kids absolutely love it and it’s interesting for adults. 

Hogle Zoo—this will give you a little workout if you’re pushing a stroller.  It’s a big zoo with awesome bird shows, has a newly remodeled playground area and a mini train you can ride on for a nominal fee.  On the far east side of Salt Lake City near the mouth of Emigration Canyon across from This is the Place Heritage Park.

*And that’s just Salt Lake City!!!!  :)  Can you tell I love it here?  After 7 years, we finally went to Lagoon and I took the big boys skiing for the first time at Beaver Mountain.  :)  Here are some more ideas we’ve done recently:

Early December we went to Festival of Trees and now we plan to go every year.  It benefits Primary Children’s Hospital and there are fun crafts for the kids, amazing decorated trees and gingerbread houses and other crafts you can buy and yummy food of course. 

My cousin Marla and I went to Scrapbook USA Expo in Sandy and I’m already planning on going again every 6 months.  It felt like Christmas, it was astounding! 

My newest thing is finding when the local museums offer free days!  Search it out in your area!

And oh my, what beautiful mountains we have here.  I bought a backpack carrier for Nathan so we could go hiking.  There’s a great book we borrowed at the library that’s called “Best Hikes for Kids in Utah” or something along that line and has all the distances, routes, what to look for, etc. in it.  The kids loved hiking up to Cecret Lake and finding a mountain of snow in the middle of summer!

My Favorite Running Music List:


Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband—”Banjo Boy” and “Hey Hey Hey”

Erick “More” Morillo – “I Like to Move it!” from Madagascar

UB40 – “Can’t help falling in love”

Vangelis – “Chariots of Fire”

Van Halen – “Why can’t this be love?”, “5150”, “Jump”, “Can’t stop loving you”

U2 – “Where the streets have no name”, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”

Depeche Mode –Enjoy the silence” and “Just can’t get enough”

Cure –Friday I’m in love”, “Why can’t I be you?”, “Pictures of You”

Modern English – “I Melt With You”                                                                                               

Murphy Brown vs. Captain Hollywood – “Axel F”

2 Unlimited – “Get Ready for this”                                                                                                           Smiles after 13.1 miles!

The Knack – “My Sharona”

Real Life – “Send Me an Angel”

Escape Club – “Wild, Wild West”

Sting – “Every breath you take”

Beach Boys – “I get around”, “Good Vibrations”, “Surfin’ USA”

Queen – “Another one bites the dust” and “We will rock you”

Aerosmith –Dream On”,Sweet Emotion”, Walk This Way”

Smash Mouth – “I’m a Believer” and “All Star”

Boston – “More than a feeling”

Billy Joel – “We didn’t start the fire”

Bruce Springsteen –Born to Run”

Hootie and the Blowfish – “Hold my hand”

REM – “It’s the End of the world”

Cheap Trick – “I want you to want me”

Lindsay Lohan – “Ultimate” from Freaky Friday

Melissa Etheridge - “I run for life” (song for Race for the Cure 5K)

Kenny Loggins – “Footloose” and “Danger Zone”

Joe Satriani – “Always With Me, Always With You”

Rascal Flats “Life is a highway”

Sheryl Crow “Real gone” and “everyday is a winding road”

John Mayer “Route 66”

Erasure “I love to hate you”

Rihanna “SOS” - heard it in a spin class and now I like it

No Secret “Kids in America”

Savage Garden “I want you” and “Truly madly deeply”

Bon Jovi “Have a nice day”

“Eye of the Tiger” techno version

The Best of the Gypsy Kings 1994 album (Latin)

“Sweet Home Alabama”









                                                                                                              <—May 2007 Race for the Cure with my three oldest kids. 

What I like to do with my kids:


When they were infants, I nursed them almost constantly (except for Zachary - we both didn’t know what we were doing then) and loved being close to them, .  I support discreet nursing but don’t have anything against bottle-feeding since I did both with my children.  There’s pros and cons to each.  If you know someone who needs help, get in contact with a lactation specialist, usually at your nearby hospital.  We also have loved Baby Einstein books and movies.  And we love to go for walks in the stroller and point out all the one or two syllable objects we can find.


We go to the library at least once a week and Barnes and Noble for free story times.  We go to the parks (there are so many in Utah)  We also go sightseeing and catch the $1 movie if it’s a Disney one.  We read books (Sandra Boynton is my favorite for this age group, “Snuggle Puppy” is the best) and we play outside in the yard finding bugs and seeing who can find the longest weed.  **My newest thing is finding when the local museums offer free days!  Search it out in your area!

Big Kids

We ride bikes to the “faraway park” (a hefty 1 mile away) or ride to the grocery store for a cookie.  We go to the Children’s Museum and the zoo.  In the summer we go through workbooks, I really like Summer Bridge Activities.  Read, read, read!  Here’s a list of my favorite series for young readers:

* Scripture Readers; these are so great!!!  We read them every night.  You can order these online through

* Usborne books (at the library; although I did buy some and they’re our favorites)

* Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

* Bearenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Bearenstain

* Magic School Bus— educational!

* Little Bear by Minarik

* Frog and Toad

* Secrets of Droon

* Robert Sabuda’s pop-up books.  AMAZING!!!

Here’s a list of books for grade school kids that I found online, it’s not our school but I sure like the list of books they have:


What I’d like to do someday:

I have 60+ credits of college and I’d like to return someday soon to get my degree.  By right now at the top of my list is the well-being and safety of my children.  I don’t have anything against mothers who work, I just believe this is right for me and my family right now.  I feel very lucky to be able to stay-at-home and have a hard-working husband who has a job where I can do that. 

I would love to spend days and months getting caught up on my Scrapbooking and Genealogy (a.k.a. Family History) but I’m the kind of person who likes to see everything laid out in front of me and work till it’s all done so stopping every 5 minutes for kid-related “disasters” hinders my efforts at the present time. 

I’d like to read all the classics among other great books.  I used to have time for the neighborhood book club.  Below are some of the books we have read that I have enjoyed:

Pride and Prejudice—need I say more?  Jane Austen is a remarkable and witty author.  I’ve watched the 6-hr A&E movie also (too many times)  We then read Persuasion  which I also thoroughly enjoyed.  Sense and Sensibility and Emma are my other favorite Austen novels.

Count of Monte Cristo—I admit the size intimidated me so I didn’t read it but a little while ago I was at the bookstore for story time and saw the abridged junior novelization and quickly read it while the kids played, this would be great on Broadway!

The Five People You Meet in Heaven—made me cry.  By Mitch Albom 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Eat Cake—you can almost taste it just by reading it.  By Jeanne Ray

Joseph and Emma by Gracia Jones

The Hiding Place—everyone should read this account of the Holocaust.  Everyone!  By Corrie Ten Boom

Maisie Dobbs by J. Winspear

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.  This male author understands a woman’s intuition.

Charms for the Easy Life– made into a movie.  By Kaye Gibbons

Tending Roses—Wonderful book by Lisa Wingate.  Her Good Hope Road is interesting as well.

Goosegirl by Shannon Hale—for the princess in all of us women

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale, a continuation of Goosegirl. 

The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis—about a recently converted Orthodox Jew in the East states.  Questions how converted we are to our own religion and if we have a testimony and desire to follow God or are we just going out of habit.

The Color of Water by James McBride

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Caution: Has some really hard moments.

The Wedding Dress by Virginia Ellis.  Fun and easy.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham and Christmas Jars found at DeseretBook

I’ll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock about hope and understanding


Recent reads: Austenland  by Shannon Hale and The Gift by Richard Paul Evans.  Wednesday Letters by the same author.  I enjoyed the idea in Twenty Wishes and P.S. I Love You but wished they were cleaner.  Read the Twilight Series in a couple of days (I think we had cereal for every meal... I don’t remember) LOL.  I liked but didn’t love The Host by Meyer.

** has a “Time Out for Women” section that is a great resource for good books.  I admit I’m a proud cheapskate so I look for them at the library first. 

Three Gold Medalists after

2005 El Tour de Tucson bike race