Tuesday, May 23, 2017

when last we met. . . .

I was rejoicing in our upcoming move to Snowflake, AZ. In June it will have been a year since we moved in with my parents and DC started his new career as an occupational therapist and I started mine as a general contractor for our house. Fluffy had 10th grade at SHS, and Hummer and Rosebud went to a little charter school.
It has been a wonderful first year here!
Exacto had a semester at BYU and is now serving as a full-time missionary in southern Germany. It is an extremely high priority for me to write to him weekly, and that means I am going through my pictures weekly and keeping up with my journal. That means I could just adapt a letter to him for my blog, right?
That’s my plan anyway. I really prefer blogging over any other form of social media. (Although IG is a close second – so fun! And quieter than FB, if you know what I mean :). With blogging I have a chance to share more completely what’s going on in my mind and heart, and I like that people can choose whether they see it or not.
I’m hoping to post abridgements of my letters to Exacto, updates on the building of our house, more days of gratitude, and just any thoughts or happy things I want to share. 
Anyway, I really miss being here and hope that now we’re settling down probably permanently (WOOOT!), I can return to my happy spot here. I seriously need to update those sidebar pictures. Wow.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Day 67 - { snowflake }

A couple of years ago I was talking to my brother and his wife about where we'd want to live when DC finished school. There were about 5 places we were planning to apply. They asked which was our top choice. I said I knew it was really unlikely that it could ever happen but I would truly love to be able to live in Snowflake, Arizona right next to my parents. (They have a standing offer to give a few acres to build on to any of their children who "come home.")

My sister-in-law (who grew up in gorgeous southern California) seemed surprised and asked me why. I jokingly answered that I wanted to be the favorite child, the first one to move so close. We laughed and left it at that, but there are many more reasons why I've been dreaming of moving there for the past 10 years or so.

The Sky - huger than you can believe, breathtaking summer storms, heartbreaking sunsets

The Climate - cooler than Phoenix, warmer than Flagstaff, but still 4 seasons

A Temple and A Stoplight - one of each :) (I wonder if it has the world record for being the smallest town with a temple? It wouldn't surprise me!)

The Culture - unique mix of ranchers, Mormon pioneer descendants, live-off-the-grid independents, just really nice people all around

Quiet, Simple Life - at least that's how it always seems when I visit. I love the throbbing energy of big cities but for home I really crave privacy and space and simplicity.

Lower Cost of Living - right now the cost to build is less than half of what it is here in Fort Collins

Mom and Dad - since Exacto was born and 8 weeks later we moved to Tallahassee, we have never lived closer than 11 hours to my parents. We've been blessed with lots of visits but I have longed so much to have my kids know my parents the way I knew my grandparents when they lived by us in Tucson! It was the best to be able to ride our bikes less than a mile to go visit or help them, and I feel so much closer to them because of that time. This is definitely Reason #1.

DC graduated from Colorado State University a week and a half ago (WOOT!) with a job already in hand (WOOT AGAIN!). It's been a really long haul for us, these last 3 years, and he does still have to pass the national boards before he can start working, but it has all been more than worth it. Because Heaven has intervened for us and sent a miracle. We are moving to Snowflake!!!

Snowflake has a population of about 5000 people. We had always hoped but knew it just wasn't likely. I can hardly believe that DC was able to get a job nearby that will provide for our family! He will be a school OT, traveling to schools around Navajo County. This year he's assigned to a school in Winslow (1 hour away) and a reservation school in Whiteriver (just over 1 hour away). The company he will be working for provides a car and pays for the gas, so we're good with that. :)

I am so amazed and grateful that we get to move to Snowflake! I know that Heavenly Father heard the desires of my heart and answered our prayers!

video with cheese (but I really do love you, Arizona :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

general conference and family portraits

We did our traditional countdown-to-conference pictures for FHE this week. Each of us gets assigned a day and then we choose a quote from the last conference and put on the poster with an illustration. It helps rev up the excitement. :)

002 041


Autumn has really arrived now, with temperatures dropping into the 60s and 40s, and some lovely rain and overcast days this week.

006 .

One of the highlights of conference weekend was having my brother and his wife and daughter come for a few hours. For the past 8 months he has been my closest sibling, living only about 45 minutes away. Now they’re moving to Wisconsin, and taking my adorable niece with them. :(

030 .

Another favorite conference tradition of ours is to put a bunch of blank cards in a bowl with pens, and then have a treat nearby. During each session we write questions for each other about the talks (or songs :). For each question we can take a treat from the treat bowl. Then after the session we read the questions to each other and try to answer. Super fun and it helps us pay attention. :)

033 .

Saying goodbye. :(

036 038 039 Man, are we going to miss those guys!

This week we also had some family portraits taken, as well as Exacto’s senior portraits. I am so relieved they are done and we have them! Maybe only you mothers out there know what I mean, but I was seriously euphoric after we got these back, even if they’re not perfect.

I am really happy with them and highly recommend our photographer Brooke Clayton to anyone in this area!

Some of my fav’s. . . .

DSC_0011 DSC_0019 (2) DSC_0030 - Version 2 .

I think this next one’s my favorite.

DSC_0030 DSC_0043 (2) DSC_0046 (2) .

I really love the background in this one. See the Horsetooth?

DSC_0070 DSC_0089 DSC_0090 DSC_0112 DSC_0121 DSC_0133 

My favorite of Exacto. . . .

DSC_0164 (2) 

I’m really glad to have gotten some good Colorado portraits of us before we leave (probably) next year! Maybe now I can update the big 2010 portrait I’ve had on our wall since Rosebud was a baby.  . . .:)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park, raspberry tarts, and other delights

A couple of weekends ago we spent the day at RMNP. We live only about an hour away, and I wish it were even closer! It is so, so lovely.

Many of these photos were taken from the car (apologies!) but I think they still show the beauty of autumn beginning to unfold here.


1 2 3 .

We hiked in an area called “Hidden Valley” and went really, really high. It was surprisingly cold – there was frost on the ground.

4 5 .

We met up with DC’s mom and brother’s family there, and had a wonderful day. I wish we could have spent about a week up there!

6 7 .

I was curious to see the highest stretch of road in the park (and Bear Lake and the other lower areas were super crowded) so we headed up to the tundra at 12000ft+.

8 9 I was amazed at how barren and windy it was at the top, almost like another planet. But then see the lakes up there? So gorgeous!

We came back down to near Bear Lake and had a picnic at a lovely spot near a stream.11 12 13 14 .

All the campgrounds within an hour of the park were completely full. So the boys camped in our backyard!

15 .

Grandma with B&D’s children.

16 .

I think we must be related! :)

19 .

Rosebud and S.

17 .

Mom Baker made us a fabulous Sunday dinner, of course with ice cream for dessert!

18 20 21 22 .

Rosebud and I found a farm in town with you-pick raspberries. We had a wonderful time and came home with 3 pounds (for $9!). Rosebud’s request was to make raspberry tarts, just like Amelia Bedelia. They turned out super yummy. I can see why Amelia Bedelia is always forgiven for her mistakes when she hands these out. :)

156 157 .

We still try to take a weekly family photo by the temple. I’m hoping to do a time-lapse video of the progress. . .that would be super neat.

007 .

My amateur attempt at capturing the super-lunar eclipse last Sunday. It looked so much cooler in real life!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Rosebud begins Kindergarten, and other unbelievable events

“What I like doing best is Nothing."
"How do you do Nothing," asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, 'What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?' and you say, 'Oh, Nothing,' and then you go and do it.
It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"Oh!" said Pooh.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

108 (2)

She was so excited. She didn’t seem sad or anxious at all. I was feeling like Winnie-the-Pooh, getting left behind when Christopher Robin goes to school. At least she will be home on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Friday afternoons, so we will still be able to do Nothing sometimes!


Meet Isaac and Katherine, the start of Hummer’s betta fish family. He is researching betta breeding and hopes to sell the offspring to save money for his mission. Quite the adventure right here in our kitchen!

053 .

Major car woes over the past month, including a sea monster infestation. The car below has about 250,000 miles on it and is being driven with a salvage title. Our Sienna has 200K. So yes, we were unsurprised when the troubles began. But still it was painful and we do hope we have given enough cash offerings to appease the car gods for at least a year!

011 .

I have been reading Little House in the Big Woods to Rosebud, and we both LOVE it. She was especially enthralled with the dance at Grandpa’s. She set up a dance for us here at home, with refreshments, decorations, and even live fiddling from Pa!

024 027.

Rosebud’s dance attire.

031 .

Our traditional Back-To-School Breakfast Picnic (BTSBP) was held at the area near our home we call The Buttes. It was my favorite BTSBP location so far since we moved away from Arkansas. Peaceful and lovely and no people besides us. I don’t like people besides us. JK LOL.

 055 (2)  .

9/8/15 ~ Fluffy’s 1st day of high school! It was still dark, on accounta his leaving at 5:45am for seminary.

082 (2) .

Hummer’s in 6th grade this year (still considered “Lower School” at their K-12 charter school) and Rosebud is in Kindergarten.

Aren’t their uniforms super cute? H can’t stand his, and changes into “nice” clothes immediately after he gets home.

102 (2) 104 (2) .

I like that they are able to leave and come home together in spite of a 6-year age difference.

111 (2)   .

This was the first time DC got to come with me for the Kindergarten sendoff. It was really sweet.

117 (2)

Here’s her other uniform – just can’t resist.




With Rosebud gone all day M/W as well as F mornings, I have taken on a couple more piano students. Two of my long-time students gave a joint-solo recital two weekends ago, and here they are with their trophies, as well as their older sibling who also studies with me. I really love this family. (Can you tell by my exploding smile? :)


Such an odd new phase for me, having my youngest start school. I’m definitely enjoying having a little more time to excavate our house and get organized, but I miss my little Friend on the days she’s gone.

“But, of course, it isn't really Good-bye, because the Forest will always be there... and anybody who is Friendly with Bears can find it.”
A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner