"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Monday, June 19, 2017

father's day

Today, I got to talk to my own father and celebrate the man that he is. What a lucky girl I am to have grown up in a home knowing what a cream of the crop father was.

Maybe that's why I married one.

This week holds a family reunion for his side of the family in California and we took off just a bit early to enjoy some fun and sun.

And what a great opportunity to kick it all off with a memory lane tour, starting with his childhood home.

We hung on every detail of every teenage antic and childhood plot.

Then headed over to his elementary school.

I loved watching these kids envision their father as a small seven year old.

We ate up the stories.

That seven year old boy probably never imagined his future self would sit on his daily elementary lunch table with all these adoring kids.

He said the water pretty much tasted the way he remembered it ... bad ;)

He showed us how to step up to get your lunch from the lunchroom window.

This spot where he first met his lifelong best friend.

Over to point out his high school locker ... next to that cute girl he never would talk to.

We ended our day with a bonfire over on the beach.

With some dancing and a song and a trivia game about his life.

He shared his testimony with all these kids of ours.

And they shared cards they had made expressing their love for him.

I'm so grateful for fathers. For all that they do and are. I'm forever glad for this man. He is the glue to our family and I'm constantly reminded of what a lucky girl I am to travel this world with him. 

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

memorial day in review

In the past, Memorial day marked the end of school.

In our new town, it just signified that the hamster wheel had two more weeks to turn. Today is our first day of glorious summer break and maybe, just maybe, I can recap the last little while around here.

Starting with Memorial day.

Grant is in an awesome boy scout troop here in town. It's affiliated with the local Catholic Church and they do a bang up job of involving these boys in everything scouting.

They were to gather the Friday evening before Memorial Day to place flags on the graves of veterans buried in our local cemetery, but most families were traveling and this boy of mine arrived alone.

Watching Grant there in a silent, gentle rain, kind of caught in my throat.

Especially as he conversed with these great gentlemen.

Monday, we attended the ceremony to be held in the cemetery.

We were proud to be supporting one of our dear friends leading the flag bearers with that rifle in the picture below.

I welled up with tears more than once at the greatness of it all.

What a great country we live in. What great hearts we have willing to defend it.

Such an incredible experience to remember to never forget the price of freedom.

And I sure love this boy.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

janie at 15

Janie turned 15.

I know this move has not been especially easy for her. She had a great group of friends before and leaving that life behind was tough.

But I want to give a snapshot of her at 15 to remember.

She has taken a deep breath and moved into this new world we pushed upon her like a champ.

Janie has built new friendships and embraced her interests and hobbies. She's decided that sitting still and moping wastes time. That girl is out on her bike taking in beauty and enjoying the present continually. She's so much fun to be around. We sit and we talk and I cling on her every word about her day ... even though I think she thinks I'm only halfway listening.

I love the way she has to have a hug at night. I love her determination to make the best of everything all of the time. I love her organization and her drive that moves her through everything she tackles. I love her grit as she plugs away at hard things.

I love the way she stoops to help little girls and instruct them. I love that she's got a clear view of right and wrong and love and forgiveness all wrapped up into one.

I love that most of the time I don't have to worry about her. I love that she talks to me about anything I am worried about. I love that she helps me set aside my worries with clarity in who she is.

I often wish that time could stand still and yet with Janie, I love that as time moves forward, we are becoming greater and greater friends.

Maybe because in her, I've seen the making of me. She is my heart.

Happy Birthday, Janie. I love you and all that you are.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

april 2017

In reverse form, March came in like a lion but left like a lamb.

We lucked out with some very pretty days pushing everything to green just a little earlier than usual, or so I'm told. I'll take it. 

I spent about a thousand hours in a physical therapy office and it was a real blessing to have nice days to be outside and moving.

I got hooked on boosting our eating habits around here after listening to a really good podcast about creating a dietary lifestyle change within a family to eat good and feel good.

We agreed to filter in more meatless meals, involve kids in the prep and cooking, focus on portion control and eat less processed ingredients.

And I've changed some impulse buying habits by having a grocery delivery. 

Delivery can be more expensive but I'm actually finding I save. Even with a carefully orchestrated list in my hand at the store, I grab good, healthy-but-not-always-necessary, items in the moment. Delivery is saving time and money.

Organization is key so I mapped it all out. No cutting carbs entirely. Just using whole grains instead of white, minimally processed, homemade, sugar free, and outweighed by tons of fruit and veg.

Such a better ... less deprived ... plan is so much easier to stick with and healthy up an entire family.

We also needed an attitude revamp.

I sat with the kids and asked them what would be worth working for. It both warmed and hurt my heart that the greatest reward would be more of my time.

These guys are plugging away at earning those things.

Charlotte wrapped up the best year in preschool with the best teacher ever. We see her all over town when we aren't in school and these two are just thick as thieves.

The last day of school was a field trip to participate in an Early Childhood Development Parade in the center of our town.

I think the highlight was the police car.

And getting to cram into the back seat with friends.

Oh boy, have we ever loved that teacher.

With Charlotte no longer in preschool twice a week, every day has been the two of us.

I had a stark realization that my time with just my baby is coming to a close.

With summer inching closer, everyone will be home (which I do long for). But before we know it, we'll be into August and she'll be off to kindergarten. All those daily one on one library story times and lunch hikes and play dates to the pool or the river will come to an end.

Trying not to think about that either.

Or maybe I'm thinking about it a lot so that every moment of these last weeks of school count with me and her alone.

Time needs to slow a little.

Newel has taken on a tradition of making Saturday morning breakfast for us. 

It's my favorite morning of the week.

Celia came down for General Conference and some friends came up from Denver.

I just breathed in having all those kids on the floor listening to those most important words.

I tried not to think about the one who would be missing in the next couple of years out there serving a mission. That conference just puts wind in my sails.

We said goodbye to our friends later that afternoon as they headed back down to Denver.

I lost the pictures I had of them in a computer glitch, darn it, but we sure love and loved having them.

A few minutes later, we bid the same goodbye to Celia as she left to drive pack to Provo. This time, I had Eliza clinging to my leg in tears. I teared up a bit myself as she drove out of sight with all those voices shouting "Goodbye" to her tail lights.

Annie had a birthday. Seventeen. There will be more on that later.

Our SPRING BREAK road trip was in there somewhere, too.

Janie, too. Fifteen. More later there, as well.

I had a birthday.

Newel had a client engagement in Turkey and I pushed and pushed until he gave in and let me come along.

I enjoyed my birthday there and there's a whole lot to say about that coming soon. 

I felt pretty lucky to have kids who could hold down the fort for me to soak in a foreign culture and it's people. My favorite thing and a pretty great gift.

Before we knew it, April was gone.