Thursday, March 13, 2014

*snap snap*

The past few months I've dusted off my camera and snapped quite a few family photos.  I think I am going to bite the bullet and take some 'official' classes and start a mini-photography-side-job.  I already have a name picked out and a vision in mind!  Stay tuned.  I really enjoy getting creative and I know I have a long, LONG way to go until I'd call myself an actual photographer, but here are a few family's that I've snapped pics of over the past few months.  For once, I didn't torture my own kids and tortured some other people's kids (and dads, whom never, ever love getting family pictures).  Hehe!

My favorite part of this family shoot...the snowball fight at the end!  I love candid shots the best! 

(taking kids pictures can be hard, but taking 6 kids pictures...ha!  They actually did a great job!)  

I love my Nana and Pops!   

 We took these pictures on this blue wall because it's the same wall they had their engagement pictures taken! 

I did not take this last collage, but while I'm on the topic of photography collages, I thought I'd add this one as well, since I forgot to add it in an earlier post.  These were taken last Fall by a friend who is fantastic!  We used them in our Christmas Cards this year.  We were supposed to have family pictures but Dan was in the middle of an emergency dental case and couldn't make it.  When he had finished at work, the rain had started.  One of these days we will get us all in there!  Thanks Emily for snapping my kiddos!  Photos are some of my most favorite treasures!  

The hardest part about this post was not posting a bazillion pictures.  It's hard to choose which ones I like best and sometimes they are too small to even see the cuteness when they're in a collage.  Oh well, I tried my best! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

When I grow up...

I love the way ringing in the New year makes me feel.  I am overcome with feelings of Hope, Optimism, Possibilities, and Motivation.  I must admit that 2013 wasn't the easiest year, it wasn't the hardest year, but it certainly had it's ups and downs.  Starting a new business for Dan, starting back in the work field myself after taking a 10+ year hiatus, trying to figure out some health issues,  trying to find balance for each family member's life spiritually, physically and mentally, just to name a few. But as per the norm, the good always far outweighs the bad. As I scrolled through the pictures that I've downloaded over the last 12 months, my mind is flooded with SO many good memories.  I feel truly blessed to have a healthy family, a full fridge and pantry, comfy/warm beds, a beautiful home just to name a few, and to top that all off, I can honestly say that I think I have the three greatest kids in the world.  They are the 'cherry-on-top'! I also have a pretty fabulous dog too.  We have also enjoyed being back in Idaho where our story originally began. It seems as if we have taken so many paths, lived in so many great places (where we were able to meet so many amazing people), yet they were all necessary detours to get us back 'home'.  We survived and we are anxious to see what 2014 has in store for us.  We have great hopes and have made our '2014 goals'. My big goal for the year is to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  I am determined to finally take the time to figure it out.  I think schooling is in my near future.  I am hungry to learn again.  I am not however, looking forward to the studying and exams that accompany going back to school.  I have a handful of ideas that I think I would like to pursue...I just need to meet with a counselor and make some plans!  I am not and never have been good at making decisions.  Here's to a New Year and New Beginnings!!!

Our New Year's Eve was great.  It was very laid back with board games, bowling, sparklers, banging on pots and pans, yummy food and lots of Just Dance competitions.  We had one little one who wasn't feeling well, so we weren't able to go to our friend's party, but, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere but home!  XOXOXO

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Don we now our Ugly Sweaters...

Fa La La La Laaa La La La Laaaaaaaa!!!!!  Christmas has come and gone and I realize that it is now February and I'm just getting around to updating the past couple of months.  Luckily in the blogging world, you can go back and add posts to previous calendar dates without anyone ever knowing I am months behind on my updates.  Shhhhh.....I still say better late than never, right?!  Christmas this year was perfect.  The actual holiday was laid back, we were all healthy, we had snow outside, and I was able to spend some quality time with my little family.  What more could I ask for?

We had a very busy month, but I'll try to be brief because really, pictures are always better than words anyway.  Plus, I am typing this as I am sitting next to Jack while he does his homework and it is very hard to focus on what I'm trying to type, when I get interrupted every 18 seconds.  Literally.  Ha!  Homework.  I'm NOT a big fan.  At all.  And apparently his teacher is, seeing as Jack has at least 2 hours a night.  Especially math....I want to rip my hair out.  Speaking of hair...I have discovered a couple of gray hairs mysteriously growing out of my scalp this year.  Seriously, I'm NOT old enough for gray hair...right?!? "Squirrel!!!!"

Okay, back to Christmas! 
It was a whirlwind month.  We had a lot of fun.  I threw a few parties.  I was exhausted and blessed and reminded once again that I have so much to be grateful for. 

I am Olivia's classroom 'room-mom', which means I was in charge of her class party.  We had a great time.  I wasn't able to take many pictures because I was busy keeping 24 kids busy! I was glad when that was over.
*As a side note - Mom's with kids...if you volunteer to help or bring something to a class party, please follow thru and actually BRING it or even just show up. helps all those in charge.  End rant.*

KJ was pretty excited about his school party T-shirt.

We also went to Santa's workshop and made little Gingerbread houses for FHE one night.  We usually buy those pre-made kits and those are always fun.  This year we went old-school and used milk cartons and graham crackers and the kids had more fun getting creative than ever.  Who needs fancy schmancy?!  Ho Ho Ho!  Jolly Fun.

I had all the YW come to my house for a Christmas pajama and white elephant party.  What. A. Blast.  I really love being their leader.  We always have a grand time!  We were also able to go caroling with all the youth.  It was 13 degrees outside and we were frozen to the core, but still managed to have a blast and I think we spread Christmas Cheer for all the neighborhood to hear!  

Christmas Sunday we all wore our plaid.  How cute are my kiddos?  I really, really can't get over how much I adore them.  Doug included.  He is THE best dog in the history of dogs.  Currently, he's laying on my feet and keeping them toasty warm on this cold and dreary day!

Christmas Eve was wonderful!  We had my mom's traditional Christmas Eve Party complete with a feast and talents and ugly sweaters and of course the reading of the Christmas Story as a reminder of the real reason for the season!  Santa even stopped by to visit the kiddos!  Oh what fun!

Christmas Day was awesome!  The kids let us sleep until about 8:00!  We opened gifts, stockings, had some breakfast and headed to my mom's for a bit and then to Nana Raine's for a bit.  The kids were anxious to get back home to play with all their new 'loot'!  I always feel like the most blessed woman on earth when I sit back and watch my littles and see real joy on their faces.

 Jester left shortly after Christmas to go back to College.  *sniff sniff*  We were able to sneak in a night of sledding!  It's always a good time when Jess is around!

We had a Holly Jolly Christmas and hope you all did as well!!

As a side note, I was actually prepared this year when it came to making neighbor/teacher/friend gifts this year. Shocker!  Way back in October I started brewing my own Vanilla.  The real stuff.  The kind you have to go stock up on Bacardi Rum and wonder if the cashier at the liquor store thinks you have a drinking problem.  :)  It was really yummy and it was a fun treat to make and experiment with!  
We packaged it up cute with a wooden spoon and bag of chocolate chips and I made my kids dress as elves as they delivered the goodies.  KJ was so NOT into that idea.  The other two made the cutest little elves.  I wish I would have taken a picture! 

Reading over this blog post, it seems like I was on crack or had an overload of caffeine.  Neither of those statements are true.  Just scatter-brained I guess.  Sorry for the extremely unorganized thinking. And maybe a lack of sleep last night.  
There are so many things that will just have to be cut short because time seems to fly much too quickly when I'm typing and loading pictures.  Time to get dinner on the table...

Sunday, December 15, 2013


The craziest thing happened???  My *not-so-little* baby magically turned '7' YEARS OLD!  How in the world does the time fly by so quickly?  I realize I must sound like a broken record as I tend to say the same thing on each one of my kids birthdays, but it is just so mind-boggling to me.  I still feel like it was just yesterday I saw her for the first time.  My easiest C-Section.  My easiest recovery.  My easiest newborn.  My favorite Christmas gift of all time.  My curly, silver-haired, red lipped instant best friend.  My only GIRL!  One of my biggest blessings.  There is just something special about the bond shared between a mother and her only daughter.  Can't quite explain it, but I can just say it is pure magic.  She still has the ability to melt my heart daily.  I do not think I could possibly love her any more than I do.  I even enjoy her 'spunk' as it makes me chuckle and I see myself in her in so many things that she does.  She is artistic, smart, determined, athletic, stubborn, creative, social, sensitive and my personal shopping buddy, hairstylist, manicurist, sous chef, back scratcher and smile maker! I was watching her walk home from school the other day in her skinny jeans and cowboy boots, long blonde curls, a bounce in her step, and my mind did a fast-forward and I could picture her 10 years down the road, walking home from 11th grade.  I hope I am able to soak up as much of her as I can before she's all grown.  I hope she is as sweet in ten years as she is today.  She's on the right track so far! 

Just last night Olivia had a nightmare, I sent her back to bed and about 30 minutes later, she was back in my room because her nightmare had returned.  It was 2:30am and I was completely exhausted, so I had her curl up in bed next to me.  The whole night she clung to my back, (picture Piggy-Back style - she must have been scared) and although I knew I wasn't going to ever go back in to a deep-sleep, I actually enjoyed my night with her.  I just don't know how many more times that will happen.  I love that she still came to me at a time she was looking for some comfort.  I wouldn't change my sleepless night or stiff neck for anything.  My little princess still needs me, and I still need my little princess.  I wish for her to have an abundance of JOY in her life!  I wish for her to find strength when she needs it.  I wish for her to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is a Child of God and that she is never truly alone in this world.  I wish for her to have life-long friendships.  I wish for her to be strong.  I wish for her to know that she is loved completely, as BIG AS THE BEACH!  Happy 7th year of life, little peanut!  XOXO
Liv's Classroom party!  I love that her teacher makes the kids feel so special!

For her birthday she chose to go ice-skating and to have dinner at Golden Corral!  Ha!  She just wanted their unlimited cotton candy and chocolate fountains.  It was a fun day! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I am...

Thankful....I really am.  I am blessed in ways I probably don't even deserve.  We really enjoyed our Thanksgiving day.  I love thanksgiving as it always gives us an extra excuse to be a little extra thankful.    The thing I am MOST thankful family.  Hands down.  No question.  I ((((heart)))) them.  
 I was able to snap some pictures of my little ones.  
The banner they are holding says 'BLESSED' and we truly are! 

Yes, we ate Dinner in the garage. Nana always decorates it nice and with so many people a 4 car garage fits us all just fine at a couple of very long tables!  Always a good time!!! 

Monday, November 25, 2013


Our little 'Jack-attack' was baptized on Saturday and it was practically perfect in every way!  I am so proud of his decision to be baptized and follow in the footsteps of the Savior.  He is such a good boy and he was very excited and a bit nervous for his big day.  He wanted to wait until his Uncle was home from his mission so that he could baptize him and having Uncle Jess baptize him was extra special.  We didn't invite many people from the ward, but it's a good thing because with all our family in town, we filled the whole room.  Almost all of his favorite people were there in support of little Jack, it was really heartwarming.  We wish we could have had all of our family there, but there are some far distances for everyone, and we know they were there with us in spirit!  The only thing I wish I would have done differently is to have taken more pictures.  I wish we could have had a big group picture of everyone who was there!  The program was beautiful and so special.  Jack picked out each and every person he wanted to speak and pray and even picked out the songs that he wanted us to sing.  His Uncle Jason wrote and played a beautiful arrangement of How Great Thou Art especially for Jack. We appreciated him sharing his musical talents for us all.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.  I was overcome with emotion as my sweet little boy was baptized and then confirmed and given a very sweet blessing from his Dad.  He is just one of my favorite people in the whole wide world and I am so proud of him.  Here are some pictures of his special day! 

 As we were walking back to the car after taking pictures, I snapped this quick picture because I couldn't help but think that this could be him in 10 years walking down the path, holding his scriptures,  preaching the gospel as a missionary.  

Guest Book and programs

Since we had his baptism in the middle of the morning, we did milk and cookies.  

 Little donut bags as a thank you for coming!  The donuts made an 8, hence the "It's great to be 8!"


 Jack and Uncle Jesse right before the baptism!

Jack's buddy from church and school, Jake. Such cute boys.

 His Program and inside of his Invites! 

Thank you to everyone for your Love and Support!  Jack had a super-fantastic and very special day!

Also...Dan shared his Birthday with Jack's special day!  Can't forget to mention his special day too! Even with a very humiliating Duck loss, I think he still had a pretty swell day! 
Happy Birthday, Babe!