Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'm dreaming of a 90's Christmas

I love Christmas, decorating for Christmas, buying people presents for Christmas, baking for Christmas and so forth and so on. When Kate was a brand new baby I decided to make stockings for us. They were so cute and oh so 1997. But I didn't know they would one day be described as "1997". They were just cute and the decorating style I enjoyed at the time. As other babies came along I bought similar stocking kits so that I could make everyone else lovely "1997" stockings. But now, I have been told, "Mom, so many of your decorations are 90's". Yes my darlings, that is because THAT is when I made them. I have other, modern decor that I also love and what I end up with is an eclectic mix of items from 20 years of happy Christmas's that I can look at and love and be reminded of beautiful times in our lives. So the mantle is 2016, the stockings are 1997 and everything else is a beautiful mix of the two.

I love our sweet tree, and each and every ornament. Some are 20 years old, some are from the dollar store, some are precious others are not. But again, its just us somehow. I love looking at the beautiful photos of Christmas decor. White and silver and gold and burlap and vintage. It delightful. And maybe someday, as the kids grow up and take their stockings with them, and ask for the now "vintage" 90's decor for their own houses, I will do that.  Until then, its eclectic and mixed decades for this gal. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving weekend

Now that Kate is at college, there are many times where confusion crosses our faces. We need a table for 8, no 7:( There was the realization that when a kitchen chair broke it was fine because it left us with 7 instead of 8. When we gather for family prayer it takes us a second to realize that we don't have an 8th person to wait for. The only time its not a problem is with the extra brownie;)

But for sure the one thing that we couldn't do with only 7 was go Christmas tree hunting. So with Kate was home for Thanksgiving off we went to our favorite spot. 

 However the very little snow in our usual hunting spot was a bit of a let down. The sleds and the gloves went unused in the back of the car. But it didn't keep these beautiful people from looking their best in their winter gear.

There was a lot of discussion about the size of the tree this year. I thought it needed to be tiny because of the spot I had planned for it. But Jeff and Anne Marie were determined, and maybe had a little premonition, that a bigger one would be fine. And it was, I moved some furniture around and we found a lovely place for it right in front of the window. Charlie also decided that it was his turn to put the angel on the tree. I don't think he realized that included a prime photo op. Gone are the days of dad lifting him up to reach the top. *sigh*

One of the things on our list to do while Kate was here was to hike Manastash Ridge. Its one of our favorite things to do, hers mine and Jeff's. The other kids are so so about it, so we let them sleep Saturday morning while the three of us went.

And last but not least, my first church selfie with my girl. She sat next to me all through church, just like when she was little, snuggled up and happy next to her mama. It was wonderful to have her in Sunday School and Relief Society with me. There are a few perks to her being an adult now:)

I am so grateful that my whole family was back together for the weekend. Its the little things that I really miss about having her here all the time: her relationship with her siblings, the way she does the dishes without me saying anything, the hugs, OH the hugs!! Kate gives such good hugs. So now the countdown til Christmas vacation and we are all together for 2 1/2 weeks! Bless my little heart but its good to be a mom. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


The week after girls camp, we packed up the family and headed to Utah. 

1. To drop Charlie and Julia off at EFY. 
2. To spend the week doing fun stuff with the younger three kids.
3. To pick Kate up in between terms so she could come home for Nora's baptism. 

I was not a very good picture taker. That is sad. So my oldest three aren't in these pictures at all. Maybe Jeff took some. But he doesn't share. Just kidding. I didn't ask. 

 I did get a picture of Kate's dorm from the outside looking in. What is the point of that when there are no people in it? I have no idea.

We hiked the Y though, and I made sure to document it. Its a big rock Y on the side of the hill overlooking Provo and BYU. It felt like a million degrees. It probably wasn't. We just aren't use to being that close to the sun where we come from.

So breathtaking. I really do love Utah. I have lived there 7 years total in my life. And the place just holds a special place in my heart.

We also hit two great food places that our friends recommended. One had amazing philly cheesesteaks. And I don't even like philly cheesesteak.

 The other was Ruby snap cookies. Yum. Yum. Double Yum.

And finally this gal. We've been besties since 1992. And we don't look a day older. Ha! Ok, we don't look more than a year older. Ok,we don't look more than a decade older. Ok, well at least will always be young at heart:)

Things I wish I had taken pictures of:

-7 peaks water park with my family.
-Eden, Ut. Fun little town in the mountains. The lake was pretty great and our time share was beautiful and had the best pool ever. 
-Our friends Cindy and Fred. Two of the best people on the planet. Did I take even one picture? No. 
-BYU. Any part of it. Not counting Kate's dorm room looking in. 

I love my family though and it was so great to have the 8 of us back together. Even for a little bit. How many more times will I be forced to say that the rest of my life? Don't answer that. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Girls Camp 2016 Adventure Awaits

 Ah girls camp. The best place to be as a youth leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Its made even better for me by the fact that I get to go with my girls. Last year I had Kate, Julia and Anne Marie, which was amazing. With Kate gone Julia and Anne Marie and I held the fort down and made our own memories. Which included the 2nd year hike. Anne Marie was a second year and Julia was a YCL (youth camp leader) over the 2nd years. So we went with her on her hike and had a great time.

Anne Marie rocked it again at repelling. She has an adventurous side that I adore.

Julia and her friend Hannah-I have no memory of what they are doing here. I think they are eating the fishy crackers that I always bring to camp. Funny how something like fishy crackers tastes sooooo good when you are away from home.

And the reality of girls camp. Tears. Some frustration. I locked myself in the walk in cooler and had a good cry. Then took a picture to send to Jeff so that he could get a glimpse of the affect a week away from home does to me;)

I work with two Rachels. This is one of them. The other one is equally awesome but I didn't get a picture of her sadly. These two make my life better, and more fun.

Anne Marie ran in the triathalon again this year. Her team came in 2nd, I think. But they were the 1st finishers of the all girl team. The first place team had a 6 foot 5 priesthood leader who did the running leg. So, sorry, but it doesn't count;)
And the day after camp, leaving straight for Utah for family vacation. It was an EXHAUSTING two weeks and I was glad to be home at the end of it. But super rewarding and fun. Can't wait til next year.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Miss Nora

 Sweet little Nora was born 8 years ago. Finding out I was pregnant with her was the biggest surprise and turned out to be such a wonderful blessing. She is a smart, funny, adorable little girl who truly brightens the lives of everyone she knows. This past year has been the year of Harry Potter for her. She read the first 5 books before she turned 8 and is now finishing the 7th. She loves Harry and Hermione and Ron and Luna Lovegood most of all. So what else do you do for a Harry Potter fan who is turning 8 but to have a Harry Potter Party?

Luckily for her, Julia is an amazing artist and so Nora awoke to a picture of her favorite hero. 

She also genuinely dreams of being a quidditch player. So I was not surprised at all when she asked for a quidditch uniform. Not a costume, because then that would make it make believe. And we all know that Harry Potter is a real person;)

This thing was a labor of love. Yes, that is a golden snitch pinata. Yes, I am the best mom in the world. 

And what is a Harry Potter birthday party without a Happee Birthdae Harry cake?
Some very exciting things happen in our family when you turn 8. If you are a girl you get your ears pierced. Yay! And boy or girl, when you turn 8 you are baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Nora was so happy to be baptized. She waited an extra month to do it so that Kate would be home between terms at BYU. The spirit was so strong at her baptism. Her siblings all sang and it was beautiful for this mama to have her baby in her little white dress sitting next to her while her older children sang like angels. Life is so good. 

I highly recommend having six children if you don't already. I know it seems like a big number, but your heart and your mind and your capabilities all grow to meet the challenge. Marrying Jeff and having these 6 children have been the 7 best decisions I have ever made.

Now some lovely things about Nora, because she is so lovely.

1. Nora is always happy. Always. People say that and don't mean it. But I mean it. Because its true. Sure she gets annoyed at her siblings sometimes, but she literally runs around the house singing and laughing and bringing joy.

2. Nora is incredibly smart. The world just makes sense to her, math included. She is bright and capable and so fun to talk to.

3. She loves candy. She probably asks for it every day. Her dad is the same way. Inherited or learned, I'm not sure, but perhaps she has a sweetness quotient that the rest of us don't.  Either way the girl loves sugar.

4. Puppies. Who doesn't love a puppy? But do you have a million stuffed little puppy dogs, do you have a puppy calendar and a puppy poster? And do you ask your mom at least once a week what kind of dog we are going to get when we buy a house? I didn't think so. But Nora, puppies are her thing.

5. Friends. Almost every day after school, "Mom can I have a play date with....." insert friend's name. She loves her friends. She is very loyal and forgiving and enjoys being with them. I think she is a very good friend to many, so she has many friends. Its a talent I believe.

6. Gluten free. Nora cannot eat gluten. None. Not even a tiny spec. But we have lots of her favorite things that are gluten free in our pantry, ready to go. She has a good attitude about it, even when it can be hard to watch other kids eat a cupcake and you have your gluten free cookie that mom sent from home:( She handles it better than I do.

7. Shoes, and clothes and sparkly things are her favorite. (besides candy). She loves pretty things to wear and bright happy colors, kind of like her mom :0

8. Snuggler extraordinaire. Seriously she could teach a class on giving good hugs. She hugs me a million times a day ( if I don't hug her first). She hugs all of her siblings. I think she lives off of them. The rest of us need air, Nora needs hugs. And once you have experienced one of her hugs, you realize you need them too:)

Happy Birthday sweet Nora. I am so glad you came to our family 8 years ago.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My heart, it is a breakin

I have been trying in vain to not think too much about how our lives are going to change soon. Only because if I think about it too long I start to cry.  And my mascara is expensive so I don't want to reapply.

Kate is leaving in a month to go to BYU. She is going to be amazing and do amazing things and experience amazing things.  And I could not be happier for her. She has worked hard and earned this moment. Even though she already knew she got in to BYU, we still gave her a surprise party. Cuz we're fun like that. Jeff's cousin is an amazing baker and he sent us these cookies to help with the surprise.

I have been trying to soak up every moment with her.  I have always been like that as a mom, all too aware how quickly it goes. I love being a mom, I love being her mom and I am so thankful for every day I have had with her. I would honestly shave my head, or eat cooked liver, or do a polar dip, just to be able to go back and spend one more day with her as a little girl.  (Those were the worst things I could imagine).  But what a blessing to know her as an adult and get to experience that as well.

She is an amazing sister, unifying everyone and connecting us with her unique gift of get-along-with-everbody-ness.

And oh the joy of watching her and Julia be best friends since birth.  What a gift to both of them and to me. They have had a friend everywhere they have ever moved.

I know I am not the first or the last parent to ever send a child out in to the world.  But its a first for me. Check back soon for more blubbering as we all adjust to our new normal. Only 5 kids at home. What will I do with all my time')
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