Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Henry at 11

This boy has been charming me with his dimples and giggly laugh since, well, forever.

When he was a baby, a woman in Target saw him and could not stop talking to me about his dimples. He had the chubbiest cheeks and these huge dimples and even now when he smiles, though he is no longer chubby, those dimples show up and just melt my heart.

By far my quietest and most tender child, Henry has a heart that I think is sometimes bigger than his body knows what to do with. He's not a pushover, but he feels things keenly, especially when things are unfair. I love him for it.

He is an amazing dancer, which we haven't pursued, but which he show cases when he's feeling the music and I know that its an expression of his inner joy.

In general he will fly under the radar, but he is not to be underestimated or ignored. He just goes about doing what he needs to do, quietly and knowing his own mind.

Henry really cares about what is right. He consistently makes good choices and is a wonderful example to others if they will take the time to notice.

I love this boy so much. I am excited for him to discover his talents, to find his place in this world and to live fully in the gifts God has given him. He is for sure a gift to us.

Happy birthday sweet boy.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Anne Marie

Anne Marie turned 14. That glorious age where you can go to youth dances, where you start high school and where you start to turn the corner towards young adulthood.

It is amazing to me still that I get to be her mom. She is talented and kind and funny, humble and super smart and she makes me proud to know her every day of her life.

From the time Anne marie was little she was hilarious. Like, roll on the ground laughing at the funnt things she would say. I don't even know if she knew it or if she was tapping into her early onset comedic timing. But the girl has a gift. We laugh daily because of her.

She also plays the piano, sings and has picked up the ukelele with which she has begun to write her own songs. She won't let me post videos of her, yet. But the girl is well rounded and talented beyond belief.

She loves to run and is very talented at it. Which I am in awe of since I run sooooo slow. Always have.

She is the best big sister. She plays with Henry and Nora still. Not because she feels sorry for them, but because she loves them and she genuinely enjoys playing games, creating fun and a good time no matter who she is with.

I hope this will be the year she can see herself and her gifts more clearly. She is amazing and we love her to pieces.

She has a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can see it in every thing she does, every decision she makes. She has decided to serve a mission when she is 19 and I know she will touch the lives of many in her life.

Happy Birthday darling Anne Marie. You are a gift to our family.

We went and saw Wonder Woman together. Fitting since she is so wonderful. Haha. I'm such a dork.

Love you darling girl. Forever and ever

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back to school already. And no, I'm not happy about it

If you know me at all or have read my blog for a while, then you know I hate it when my kids go back to school. I have never felt that I am suppose to home school them, but watching them head out the door every fall just kills me. I have no idea what I will do when they are all gone. I can't even think about it. Even as my second gets ready to leave the next and go off to college. *sob*

Because we moved to the surface of the sun, also known as Las Vegas, it means that we are part of the first year where school starts mid August here. We got out June 18 and started August 14th. That is just a smidge less than two months my friends. That. Is. Poopy. 

Add to that the fact that we were packing Kate for her mission and then our entire house for half of that and we really did not have a summer. 

So when I dropped Henry and Nora off yesterday, I cried all the way to my car. Thankfully, Julia is still here for 2 more weeks and so I did not go home to an empty house. Which I will in two weeks. Jeff doesn't work from home any more. And so my life, which happens, is changing. 

And I'm being fussy about it. I will adjust, get use to it, embrace it, blah blah blah and eventually (hopefully) love it. But for now I feel cheated out of time with my kids. 

But the beautiful, amazing part of this is that they are all ok! Yes. They all came home yesterday saying everything was great and that they are ok and will like it here. 

That is a miracle. Because moving is hard. Leaving everything you know is hard. And my kids are rock stars who have taken this whole thing in stride. I can feel the blessings of heaven. I really can. Which means I shouldn't whine because then I am ungrateful for those blessings. 


No more whining. I think. 

Anyway, Charlie and Anne Marie left a high school of 950 kids and have entered a high school bigger than my home town. It is 3200 kids! I can't even wrap my brain around that. The administration of the school seriously run the equivalent of a small town in the Cascade Mountains in Washington. They even have their own police. True story. 

But they will be fine. I feel it and I have seen it. Miracles. I believe in them. 

Henry and Nora go to an elementary school that is about the same size as the one they came from.
And they all start before 8 and get out at 2:11 Which I love. I still pick them up and we are all home by 2:30.

A downside is that their new playground is about a 1/4 of the size of their beloved Valley View. All the playgrounds have big shade coverings over them. Otherwise the metal burns your skin. Also a true story. So that was kind of a let down. Also they only have one 15 minute recess. Possibly because its too hot to play outside right now? Not sure. But I guess in 4th and 5th grade you start to have less recess. Which doesn't make sense to me either. But hey, this is not Finland. So I suppose I have to take what I can get.

Its for sure different here. But not bad. I do miss our little town and the friendly feeling to it. Such as seeing people at school and the grocery store and just kind of knowing who a lot of people are. I'm sure we will get comfortable here and that feeling of being somewhere so big and different will get better.

And I guess we have more breaks during the school year once it cools down. Which is nice. Also, we are only 4 hours from Disneyland. Who can be sad about that?

So back to school 2017. Already. But in May, when everyone else is dealing with spring fever, we will be done with school. I will tell you then if it was worth it:)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hoover Dam!

The title needs an exclamation point. The place was insane. Insanely hot. Insanely crowded and insanely huge. 

There is a pedestrian walk way on the bridge that crosses the dam and goes from Arizona into Nevada. It was neat and also very disconcerting to be that high up with semis and cars going by you at 70 miles an hour. Separated only by a 4 ft tall concrete barrier. Also, it is so weird to only have 7 of us. I can never get use to it. And in two weeks Julia will go off to college and there will only be 6 of us on a regular basis. I hate it. But I love and support them. But I hate it. 

Remember the scene in the original superman? If you're old enough I guess? Its pretty amazing to think that he could hold this back and fix it all.

We really wanted to get there in the morning and avoid the heat. Its only 17 miles from us. That should be too hard right? Wrong. Its my fault. I made Jeff take the boys to get their back to school hair cuts first. Hence Nora's sweaty brow. At least we brought water. Which quickly became warm but was preferable to the almost hot, odd tasting stuff coming out of their drinking fountains.

That is the bridge we crossed looking out from the dam itself. It really is a marvel and a feat of engineering. It was amazing to see. And there were a lot of dam jokes. So the day was a success.

When we got to where you can look down at the dam (a dizzying site) this big warm wind picked up. It was nice as it helped to dry the sweat pouring from everywhere. But wind and short hair, always a weird combo.

I love my family. I love my husband even though he suggested going to Hoover Dam in the 108 degree heat. We survived and learned pretty quickly that everyone there were tourists. Locals would not be there on a day like that. And since we are locals now, we need to assimilate and not give ourselves heat stroke.  We're smart like that;)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A day in Vegas life

Because the school year starts so early here, on Monday yo! that means cross country has already started. One of Anne Marie's workouts was at 6 in the AM. Which means yours truly got to drive her. I love Washington, I think it is the most beautiful place I have seen in this country. But Nevada has its share of majesty and beauty unlike anything I've been around. 

Exhibit A:

6 am Sunrise

Also, I just think its awesome that Anne Marie can run in the heat. I turn bright red, wilt and then die.

And then what is Vegas without splash pads, pools and lots of water activities to cool you down when it is still 108 degrees at 7 PM? 

We love new adventures. But this is the craziest for us. I never thought that I would say I live in Vegas. Which technically I actually live in Henderson. But close enough. 2 miles away close in fact. Not to the strip. I cannot see the strip from my house. I forget its there. We live in a neighborhood. Not across from the Bellagio. Its actually just a normal place with shopping (lots) and nice people (lots). And lots and lots of air conditioning. 

Stay tuned:)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Til we meet again Sister Allen

So we moved to Vegas two weeks ago. In the middle of packing for that, we were also getting Kate ready to leave on her mission to Argentina. 

Time line was this:she gets set apart as a missionary on the 24th of July (also Nora's birthday). Then Jeff and I take her to the mtc on July 26th. We drive back July 27th and we are out of our house in Ellensburg July 30th. Sound crazy? It was. 

She had her farewell, where she gives one last talk in church and bares witness of what she is about to go and do. And what is she about to go and do? Give all of her time and talents to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Argentina for 18 months. In spanish. 

Before she was set apart as a missionary she wanted to go swimming one last time. Missionaries don't swim or go in the water for their entire mission. Even if they're in Hawaii. Or the Mediterranean. Or California. Or anywhere with water. 

Also I love this picture because all of my kids are together. I don't know when the next time will be. 

Kate was set apart by President Ron Gibb of our stake presidency. He is also the brother of my sister in law Amy. We have known him a long time and love him and his entire family. So it was a lovely thing to have him be the one to set her apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. When someone is set apart, they are given a blessing with guidance for what they are about to do. They are also given a charge to fulfill the commitment they have made.
It was really hard for me emotionally to be packing our house and also trying to pack her for 18 months. I had wished I could have spent more time devoted to getting her ready. Maybe it was better emotionally. It didn't feel like it at the time. So once we were out the door to drive her to Utah, it was nice to just focus on her. And to cry from time to time. 

Here we are at one of our favorite place. Costa Vida. Kate and Julia I love to eat yummy food together. All the time ha!

This is the basement parking of the MTC (missionary training center) in Provo. You pull up. Another missionary who has been there for a bit comes to help them get their stuff. They hug you goodbye quickly and then off they go. It was the happiest sorrow I have ever felt. So proud of her and glad she has chosen to be a missionary. So sad that I won't see her or hug her for 18 months. 




Its funny because I was alright at this moment. A little teary eyed. But excited for her. And I had just seen her so it didn't sink it. Its been almost 3 weeks. It has sunk in. In her entire life, I've never gone more than a few days without talking to her. It is surreal. The sacrifice by missionaries and their families is real. We wouldn't be willing to see her leave, and she wouldn't be willing to go without a firm testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It is too great a thing to ask of anyone if they aren't aware of the tremendous blessings for themselves and the people that will hear the gospel because of these young missionaries.

How many other groups of 18-22 year olds do you know that sacrifice 18-24 months of their youth serving God? Its normally a pretty selfish time of life (it was for me) and so to see them willingly serve and come home changed is a blessing I would never want to deny any of my kids just so I wouldn't have to not see or talk to them.

I love my daughter. I am so proud of her. In a year when Julia leaves on her mission, I will be proud of her. And in 3 years when Charlie goes I will proud of him. And over arching all of it will be a profound happy sadness as their mom. So if you ask me how Kate is doing and I start to cry, its not because anythings wrong. Its because everything is right, I just miss my girl.

For more information on what Mormons believe and why anyone would sacrifice like this, visit and

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nora's 9th

I think that youngest children learn resilience younger than their older siblings. They get carted around to a lot more sports events, concerts and awards ceremonies. They spend more time in the car then their oldest siblings and with so much going on in a family of 8, and they learn to adapt pretty well. 

Case in point, Nora's 9th birthday. One month before we learned we would be moving to Las Vegas. And then two days after this picture, Jeff and I would be taking Kate to the MTC (missionary training center) in Provo. 

So here she sits, surrounded by boxes and chaos and as you can see from the pictures, she is still happy. Surrounded by her family, the people who love her most. And of course having your birthday list of Disney dolls come to life doesn't hurt either:)

I am so thankful that we received this little surprise we now know as Nora. She has been a gift of joy, happiness, easy going-ness, affability and just all around sweet, kind and fun.

Her birthday being so crazy was helped by the fact that she had a friend party, dessert with her grandparents and cousins who live in Ellensburg and then her "family" party with just us. 3 parties helps the bitter pill of moving go down easier I think:)

I can't believe she is 9. Seriously folks, don't take for granted the time your children are young. I know its hard, I know there is a lot of sleepless nights, poopy diapers and tantrums. Soak up every moment. There are new, just as wonderful times ahead of you, but those tiny babies, who just want their mommy go by all too quickly. I promise. I would shave my head for just one day with any of my children as 3 year olds again. And I would tell my younger self to not worry so much. They will all turn out just fine.

Happy Birthday darling Nora! thank you for being your bright, sunshiny self.

Friday, March 24, 2017


 Charlie turned 15 this year. He has never been little. Always bigger than most everyone his age. But all of a sudden this year, he really seems like a teenager instead of a little kid. And we love him. He is awesome and larger than life.

And like most teenage boys, all he wants to do his eat. He is eating as I type this. He eats pretty much the whole time he is home. I can't even imagine the change in my food bill when he moves out. 

There has been a lot of growth for Charlie this year. He is maturing and recognizing what it requires to be a valiant son of God. Charlie is a powerful son of God who when he chooses, is a force for good. 

He is bright and intelligent and fun to be around. He is kind to his friends and accepting of everyone. He is a big goofball and when he wants, he is the best brother around.

Happy birthday big guy. We love you more than you love Doritos. 

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