Saturday, June 10, 2017

first week of summer and “large, or to exceed all”

Adapted from a letter to Elder Baker, dated 6/6/17. . . .

Last week was a nice one, being the first full week of summer vacation. We have worked out a good routine, I think, with Daddy being in charge of the cute ones in the morning while I work on the house, and then in the afternoon I am in charge of the cute ones while he works on various things. Super Kid makes breakfast every weekday morning, and the other two make dinner. There is lots of frolicking with kittens, chasing lizards, visiting the fish, working for Nana and Grandpa, etc. Rosebud has begun a 4-week tumbling class that meets 3 times a week. She is learning a lot! She can do a tripod, bridge, and tuck roll, and is really improving her cartwheel.

It was another big week for the house! Framing done in the basement and floor joists for the main level in. Excavation for the garage and master bedroom done, footings dug and poured, walls laid. I started bidding electrical and stucco.


footings dug for master bedroom and bath

basement framing

Mariah comes to inspect

footings poured for master bedroom and bath

pouring footings for garage

prepping for garage slab pour


Monday was Memorial Day. We had a nice picnic at Pioneer Park (Nana and Grandpa were gone still to OK, so it was just us 5). The cute ones brought their rollerblades, and Rosebud brought Moana, who did not have a good time. Afterward we went to the Taylor Cemetery and found 8 of our ancestors who are buried there!


Memorial Day


Tuesday evening we enjoyed playing Sorry and Trash together, and we watched the Great British Bakeoff. We watched GBB nearly every night this week. :)

Wednesday evening Fluffy and Ham had a combined activity at Caldwell's pond, and walked all the way home afterward, across the highway and through the desert, with their trunks and flip-flops on! Rosebud went swimming with Daddy, and I sat and read nearby. Well, not much reading because Puffball came, too, and thought he needed to be right in my lap and be petted the whole time. 

Thursday Puffball and Mariah finally started to get along. Before this she would hiss at him and chase him like a whirling dervish into the woodpile. Now they have some sort of truce and Puffball is allowed to be within a foot or two of her. Fluffy took a practice ACT and did very well. We watched the championship round of the National Spelling Bee and of course some more GBB.

Friday I went to the 5:30am session at the temple. It was a beautiful, strengthening experience to be there. I was so grateful to have been able to go and be attentive in spite of the early hour! Nana and Grandpa had gotten home late the night before, but we only got to spend a few hours with them before leaving for the Valley for Fluffy's BD wish.


Fluffy, meet Esmerelda


It was a fun evening with the Ws. Fluffy and Ham babysat while Uncle Daniel and Aunt Becky went on a double date with us. We ate at a Thai restaurant and then did some scavenger-hunt type challenges for each other at Kohl's.


double date - Thai restaurant

scary sight at Kohl's

The truly alarming thing is that there were also ties and pants to match.

Saturday we all went to the Mesa Temple Visitors Center and got to see the two new movies the Church has produced, Days of Harmony and A Day for the Eternities. They tell the story of the translation of the Book of Mormon from Oliver Cowdery's perspective and then David Whitmer's perspective. They are both excellent! As I watched the portrayal of April 6, 1830 I felt deeply grateful to be a member of the restored church of Jesus Christ! To have been able to make covenants and receive Priesthood ordinances and partake of the Sacrament every week my whole life -- it is wonderful!

Later we went swimming at a city pool with a slide and then watched Blackbeard's Ghost back at the Ws.


Sunday I fasted for you and also for E. It was lovely to attend meetings with the Ws and the Van Baileys. Aunt Becky taught Sunday School -- I loved her lesson about the Kingdoms of Glory. Baby S fell asleep on my lap. <3 :)


The evening was idyllic in the Ws' backyard. Did Ham tell you about the bunnies the Ws got for free for him?A family in their neighborhood had gotten bunnies in two consecutive Snowflake rodeos and those ones had babies and two girl ones were now grown up and needing a home. So the Ws have been keeping them in their yard until we could come get them! One is white and one is a lovely light brown. They are ripliancum* bunnies with double chins.

Ham working on knots

*Ham’s term for very large bunniesimage

heavenly evening at the W's - lucinda near box

Ham and Uncle Daniel pioneering

Uncle Daniel helping Ham pass off some rank advancement requirements. #bombdotcom

When I was reading in D&C 138 this week I was especially struck by the verses toward the end, including verse 56.

Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.

I love you, Clyn!



At the dinner table, we were remembering when we watched you open your call.

Rosebud: He was still at BYU?

Me: Yeah, remember we webcammed with him.

Hummer, correcting my verb: Webcome.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

adopted by ranchers and Fluffy’s first date

When a man is kind to dumb animals, I always say he has got some good in him.
Owen Wister, The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains

Adapted from a letter to Elder Baker, dated 5/29/17. . . .

I will try to tell you briefly about an eventful and interesting week. On Monday, we had Fluffy's BD dinner and party. Rosebud fell asleep right after school and slept for several hours. Between that and work on setting up the bunny palace and planting the big evergreen, the celebration ran really late but it was so fun! Rosebud gave the sweetest FHE lesson spotlighting Fluffy, and the strawberry meringue cake was a smash hit. Also we played a game and he opened presents.


1 - Russell's BD cake


Tuesday we had an adventure with Grandpa's red truck. I used it to pick up the kids from school so that Ham could bring home his aquarium from school and so we could go to Hector's Hay and Feed and pick up 3 bales of straw to stack behind the bunny hutch (wind shelter, hopefully).


3 - Puffball inspecting the construction site after hours


Wednesday was Daddy's last day of work until the end of July! Woohoo! He is going to look for some non-contract work but for now he's free as a lark for the first time in years. It is so nice! Uncle Duff and Aunt Lori and B and A arrived in the afternoon -- they came to visit for Lori's sister's HS graduation. It was so fun to hang out with them and Nana and Grandpa treated us all to dinner at Eva's.


2 - Benjamin, Nana, Puffball, Abby

7 - Uncle Duff teaching Daddy how to do Magic Eye

. uncle duff (in his last year of optometry school) teaching DC how to do magic eye :).

Thursday Uncle Duff offered to take the kids to their last day of school, and that was a fun bonding time for them (especially regarding having the radio on). Little B and I helped my Dad to plant the garden and it brought back delightful memories of Tucson childhood days. Rosebud's caterpillar hatched! She named it Swirl. Nana taught me and Uncle Duff and Ham a new card game called Trash (it’s kind of therapeutic, actually). Nana and Grandpa left to fly to Oklahoma. That evening Fluffy sang in the seminary choir for Snowflake Stake Seminary Graduation, held in the Main Street Chapel for the first time since about Nana's graduating class. :) We stayed up very late visiting afterward.


4 - Rosemary's hatched butterfly Swirl

5 - Basement walls done!


Friday the framing on the house began! It was pretty chaotic out there because the concrete guys were still working on the outside, waterproofing and installing the french drains, so very loud, and the wind was crazy-high, blowing dust like you wouldn't believe. It was happy, though, to see so much progress going on at once. That evening Daddy and I had a very fun date, playing tennis at a park in town until the sun set, then having a yummy dinner at El Cupidos, then watching some Great British Bakeoff and having ice cream.


6 - Waterproofing and beginning of framing


Saturday was zauber interesting. It was the Flakes' day to do calf-branding, and at the service auction we had purchased the opportunity to help with it and have lunch afterwards. There was a bonus attached -- Rocky Mountain oysters -- but all of us declined that (ew). It was truly amazing to see real cowboys at work and to get to "help." They let us try everything we wanted to. We tagged ears, gave shots, and branded. Fluffy, Ham, and Rosebud rode horses, too.


8 - Russell branding

9 - Rosemary riding

10 - Me branding

11 - Hyrum riding

12 - Hyrum giving a shot

13 - Russell riding


In the evening Fluffy went on his first date! With me! It was so fun! He had planned it very well, and was a perfect gentleman, opening my door every single time we went in or out. Also he was very fun to talk to. We ordered a pizza, then drove on Taylor's Lovelake Rd (near where you were baptized, I think) while we waited for it to be ready. We ate at a park – Fluffy had planned ahead and brought plates and water bottles. Next we went to 5-Mile Draw and hiked down into the canyon while the sun set. We saw a beautiful caterpillar that I've never seen before. Then we drove the temple and sat by the waterfall and talked and talked for a long time. And last we went to McDonalds and Fluffy bought us chocolate-covered ice cream cones! So happy!


15 - Russell's first date!


Sunday was nice but I was groggy all day because I slept in too late. :( Daddy played in sacrament meeting to accompany R Flake singing My Heavenly Father Loves Me. It was really lovely. I had a spiritual experience in choir practice after church. We are singing Sally Deford's setting of The Lord is My Shepherd, and Bro. Flake had Daddy pull out his violin and play the obbligato while we rehearsed it. The words of the last verse touched me so deeply. I felt how much the Lord has blessed me, and how much the Savior loves us all!

Thy mercy will follow me all of my days,

And in thine own house thou preparest my place,

With blessings unmeasured my cup runneth o'er,

Oh, what shall I ask of thy providence more?

I feel so grateful for the care He has always given me. He truly is my shepherd. I want to serve Him better!

I love you, son.




Ham talking to our cat Puffball: "You want to go outside? In your glitterbox?" (Unfortunately this is the sandbox, as opposed to a regular litterbox).

Thursday, May 25, 2017

how firm a foundation

I just throw on foundation and under-eye concealer, then dust bronzer on my cheeks so they look defined. ~Camila Alves

(Sorry! LOL! I searched for quotes about having a firm foundation and that one came up and I just couldn’t resist.)

Adapted from a letter to Elder Baker, dated 5/22/17. . . .

Monday I went and played for a short rehearsal at the high school. It was a super busy day with the house. I am fielding lots of texts and calls as general contractor, and I feel like I can hardly leave the house during normal work hours. In fact, I had to take a call just before the choir director began a song, right there onstage with the whole honor choir waiting for me!


1 - Basement pouring day

  Tuesday was a big day. The concrete for the basement was poured. It took from 7am to about 1:30pm, and was so interesting to watch. Hummer stayed home from school and we worked together on digging holes for trees and spent lots of time just watching in amazement. We were relieved that the threatening clouds never did dump, but only sprinkled a couple of times. It was surprisingly cold and of course breezy. That night was the high school choir concert and I played for 6 songs. They were all from movies or musicals, including Moana. :)


3 - Russell's BD lunch

Wednesday was Fluffy's birthday! I can't believe that sweet fluffy baby of mine is 16 now! We had a special breakfast and invited Nana and Grandpa to join us. We put candles on Fluffy's pancakes and sang to him. Daddy had the day off, and we had the special experience of going to perform with Fluffy for his choir performance project. He sang the Erbarme Dich aria from St. Matthew Passion and Daddy played the violin part (I played the piano). It was so beautiful, and the choir was such a gracious, generous audience! Then we took Fluffy to Emalee's Carniceria for lunch.


4 - Bunny palace in transit

Later that day the menfolk worked on getting Hummer’s Bunny Palace from the workshop out to our property. Hummer and Grandpa have been working on it for months and it is huge and beautiful. We hope many bunnies will live happily and luxuriously there. (In the photo above, Rosebud is trying to get her kitten Moana out from under the truck.)


5 - Field day at GWA

  Thursday workers came back to the house to continue the blockwork on the basement walls. Rosebud stayed home sick from school. Hummer got dragged to school. This was ironic, because it was going to be Field Day, and while H did not want to go, Rosebud really wanted to go but couldn't. She had a bad headache and bright red tonsils, which made me suspect strep throat. She rested and watched Moana and took a nap in the afternoon. She still noticed out her bedroom window, though, when Puffball caught a mouse out at the pavilion! He is such an awesome cat. I took Rosebud to the doctor and she tested negative for strep. I guess it's just a bad virus.

That night Fluffy went to the Madrigals concert and was introduced as one of the new Madrigals. The rest of us stayed home and enjoyed a visit from the missionaries, who followed up on our family mission plan. I am grateful for experiences I have already had and things I am already learning as a result of this mission plan. I think I had been leaving my charity in the car when I go to Walmart! But this last time I remembered the mission plan and knew this would be an opportunity to make someone smile. I ended up having a wonderful conversation with the cashier!


6 - Cornelius, Olivia, Rosemary

  Rosebud with Cornelius and Olivia.


7 - Ham giving himself a haircut

  Hummer giving himself a haircut for the first time. It actually looked good! :)

Friday morning at 5:15am Fluffy was kidnapped by two senior choir students to be taken to a breakfast for the Madrigals. Later Fluffy and Hummer and a friend went to the temple and did baptisms. That evening was the Fathers and Sons campout near Vernon, AZ. While Grandpa, Daddy, Fluffy, and Hummer were gone to that, Nana and Rosebud and I went to "High Tea" at the Celebrations restaurant. It was so elegant and fun. Later we painted our nails and watched the "Great British Bakeoff" show.


8 - Mother-Daughter date

9 - High Tea at Celebrations


11 - Rosemary in the hammock

Saturday we had a classic day at home, with lots of productivity and hanging out with cats. Saturday jobs, haircuts, digging tree holes (we planted the Christmas tree! :), and Hummer even got Rosebud's hammock installed in the ash tree behind our apartment. Daddy and I went on a date where we walked on the sidewalks around the temple neighborhood, which are nicely lit at night. Then we watched some GBB and had ice cream.


12 - Moana and Olivia

Now it is Monday afternoon, and I am trying to hurry and finish this up before going to pick up your siblings and get busy with Fluffy's BD dinner and party. But first I have to tell you about yesterday. Yesterday Fluffy was ordained to the office of priest by Daddy. Grandpa and Bishop assisted. It is wonderful to se the light and goodness in Fluffy's face! He is growing into such an awesome young man!

I am always mindful of you in my prayers and at many other times, too. I love you so much, Exacto! Have a wonderful week!




Our Family Mission Plan

Daily -- Pray for missionary opportunities

        -- Make someone smile (by serving them, finding out sth about them, complimenting them, talking friendly, making them laugh, etc.)

        -- Report at dinner

Sundays -- Notice and make a visitor feel welcomed and loved

              -- Look around and ask, "Who is missing?"

              -- Review this plan at our family council and make any changes we feel inspired to make

Monthly -- Invite someone to a family activity, FHE, church activity, or service opportunity

            -- Fast for missionary opportunities



Rosebud and I were discussing the crazy chicken on Moana, to whom I referred by the feminine pronoun.

Rosebud: You think Hei Hei's a girl?

Me: Yes.

Rosebud: He's definitely a boy. I can tell by his personality!

(Later she clarified: "He's super silly. He's one of my favorite characters.")

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.  . . .:)