Thursday, December 31, 2015


New years eve and I am about to got into full armageddon attack mode to get our house ready for our annual party with a few close family and friends.   Last week my kids showed me this video which I am told I sometimes bear a striking resemblance to…. Moms, hope you get a little laugh from this one. It's my new favorite.

Monday, December 21, 2015

monday inspiration

What matters most?  In the middle of the wrapping, and baking, and shopping,  and everything else that seems to go along with christmas,  I will stop and breath and smile and remember the why of christmas.  Love, love, love this new video.  A beautiful reminder of the why.
Happy Monday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

through my front door

A few weeks ago, when Sadie and Andy were visiting with us, we decorated our christmas tree. It's a family tradition that I love.  I am super sentimental when it comes to Christmas ornaments. Each one tells a story and  holds a memory for me.  I am  that mom that saved every single preschool ornament my kids every made…the toilet paper rolls with glitter and glue, and the traced and decorated cut out hands.  Our tree is the culmination of many years and many experiences together as a family.  As 2016 fast approaches, I find myself once again wishing for time to slow down.  This christmas we will be together for the first time in two years (since Sadie's mission).  Next year Drew is planning on serving a mission sometime after his graduation in May. Changes. Growth. And I remind myself once again that this is the way it's suppose to be. *sigh*

Even Navy seemed to appreciate the scene. 

Looking through my front door that night, my heart was full of gratitude for this one moment. 
This moment of 
J* O *Y

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

sugar love

One of our many Christmas traditions each year is baking and decorating sugar cookies.  Today I thought I'd pass on our  recipe.  It was given to me by my sister-in-law several years ago, and it's become our family favorite.

Sugar Cookies:
6 ½ c. flour
2 t. soda
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 ½ c. butter
1 c. sour cream

Mix sugar, eggs, and butter.  Then mix in sour cream.  Sift  soda, salt, and flour together.   Add to wet mixture 3 c. at a time. Roll out, cut with cookie cutters, and bake.  375 for 7-10 min.

Monday, December 7, 2015

family pics, man tracker, and giving thanks

This thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time for an extended family pic, at least for some members of the family.  Others (the men and the teenagers) would be happy if such a thing as "the family picture" never took place again.  So… we tried to compromise.  The group text went something like this, "Hi all, we are doing a family picture at the ranch.  This is a "stress free" picture… so come as you are (no camo please)".

This is how it went down...

And oh yeah, meet Sadie's boyfriend, Andy…

We like Andy a lot. He's a mechanical engineer major and had every light on my Christmas tree working in about seven minutes. Talk about bonus points.

After the group photo, I tried to talk my kids into some individuals.  Only this kid was willing.  She was my favorite child that day. 

Then, it was play time for the little kids…. 

and the big ones.

The traditional backgammon grudge match.

And we ended the week with another tradition, our own version of Mantracker.  This year Gregg, Jenny, and Tyler tracked on two rangers and a quad while the rest of us tried to make it back to base.

One of these years I need to do a little video of the chaos as a bunch of teens and adults play hide and seek among shrubs, cactus, trees, and barbed wire. The casualties this year only amounted to some torn jeans.  One year the result was a missing wedding ring (Tyler's when he bailed over a fence trying to catch Drew).  The ring was never located.
So grateful for this family I married into.  Family: when you roll all the happy, sad, good, bad, and especially funny together and come up with something wonderful.  Thank you family.

Thursday, December 3, 2015


Gentry recently joined the ranks of the teenagers in our home.  Thirteen years ago on thanksgiving day she made me a mom for the fourth and last time.  I will never forget the funny scene as fifteen of our family members squeezed into our little hospital room to bring me thanksgiving dinner and meet Gentry Alyse.

A few weeks ago, we had an early celebration with Gentry and a few of her friends at our cabin in Flagstaff.

  They opted for an indoor marshmallow roasting (it was 21 degrees when we arrived).

 The game Tenzi (one of the birthday presents) was a big hit. 

And so was the snowball fight.

Then it was on to our own version of Food Network's Chopped .

The ingredients were presented, and two teams went to work.  

 I got to judge, and the taste and presentation were extremely impressive. 

And we ended as every good party should.  

With chocolate cake and good friends. 

Happy Birthday Gentry.