February 25, 2017


We procrastinated our homemade Valentine's cards until the night before Valentine's day. That was a great idea. Or not. 

Kacin got lucky this year and I bought store bought starburst Valentine's for him to pass out instead of making him make some (though, much to his dismay, I still made him write everyone's names).  I figured if we were in WA still he would be in middle school and completely over the valentine's cards for your class anyways. 

Plus, Perry had to make Valentine's for 50 kids (a mainstream class plus all of the autism program kiddos). I was not going to try to get him to create that many. So I bought him the starburst set too for one class (and he made the rest).

Layla was the first to sit down and create her cards for her friends at school. She worked hard writing her name on each one and going to to town on each one with the stickers.


Even with the starburst valentine's for the mainstream class, Perry had to make 25 cards for his friends in the autism classes. In order to make this a successful project, I had him write his name four times on a blank piece of paper and then copied it onto his Valentine's message. Then when we sat down together he focused on the stickers and the candy. It worked well!


Kyler did not make any valentine's cards for school, but he did sit down and work on valentine's for each member of our family.


On Valentine's Day, we were all bummed that daddy was out of town and wouldn't be there with us. We tried to carry on and celebrate as a family, but we sure missed him.

I gave Valentine's cards and a plate of treats to each of the kids when they got home from school. 

I got to join Perry at both of his Valentine's parties at school.

And then I was off to see Layla pass out her Valentine's at her school. You can see my attempt at a heart in the hair on Valentine's day.


Kacin came home with a secret admirer. He consented to me taking a picture of the candy gram that was sent to his classroom from  an "unknown" admirer. 

We spent the evening (missing Eric still) pulling out the disco ball, turning out the lights, blaring the music and having our own living room dance party. We exchanged the family valentine's cards before everyone headed to bed.

Love my 5 Valentine's!

random picture from recent hiking (picture from our hike today)


February 23, 2017

a 60th birthday celebration

We celebrated my mom's 60th birthday!

Two teenage boys set up the party decorations.


On her day, we spent the afternoon at our house eating lunch, playing games, and jumping into the swimming pool for the first time.


We were quite excited that the pool was being filled up so as soon as the kids were all home from school we let them get in. Thankfully, it was a pretty warm February day. Still too cold for me to go splashing around. But the kids weren't phased by it.

After the pool, we had a pasta dinner and sang happy birthday over cupcakes.

So glad she has had 60 years of a beautiful life here on earth! Here's to 60 more! :)


February 21, 2017

scripture reading

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but we hold two family scripture studies a day in our house. Because we are just that righteous.


No, it has nothing to do with our level of righteousness, but more with our level of forgetfulness and our busy schedule.

By trying to do two a day, it pretty much guarantees that we will remember to do it at least once and that even if you miss the morning one because you are at soccer practice or, in Layla's case, you are sleeping or if you miss the evening one because of mutual or because we just plain forget, it's ok.

In the morning, just before Perry and Kacin get on their buses, we pull out the picture scriptures and read a story. Perry is awesome at reminding us to read scriptures and pray together before he leaves!

In the evening, we do one of three things. We might read one column or page from a Book of Mormon (everyone reads a verse or two) that we pass around. Or we have tried sitting around the table with everyone marking their own copy of the Book of Mormon (usually we try to mark the names of Christ, but we have told them they can also mark what stands out to them). And then lately some nights we have been sharing a scripture story from the Gospel Art Kit.

Let me explain that last one a little better. I have been wanting to do this for at least two years now and my sister finally helped make it happen. The idea came when I decided I wanted each of our kids to have a picture of Christ in their rooms. I looked into it for a long time, but nice art work is so expensive and I was hoping to get pictures that they could rotate through their rooms. So last year I decided that since we already have a Gospel Art Kit (I don't think they make these anymore!), what we really needed was a board in each child's room that we could hang and switch out those pictures. And so that's what Jacqui made for each of my kids for Christmas.


So about once every week or two-ish, the kids pick a new gospel picture to hang on their wall. And then sometimes, for our scripture study, we meet in a child's room and they read the story to us. And then I ask them to tell us why they picked that particular picture or what did they like about it, etc. Then we rotate to a new child's room the next time.

We are almost two months into using the picture boards, and I love them. And I'm pretty certain the kids enjoy it, too.

February 14, 2017

hearts on the wall

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just dropped Layla off at school. Due to somebody getting her first kiss from Jackson last week, I had to give her an extra big reminder that we do not kiss at school. Or play kiss tag. She assures me they won't play kiss tag, only Hug tag. What am I going to do with this girl??

We had a heart shaped breakfast and I sent all of the kids off with a heart shaped lunch (pbandj). 

But I have to admit I am not feeling very heart filled and loving at the moment. It has something to do with discovering that the candy I have been saving in the freezer to make our traditional valentines surprise candy bar cookies is all gone. Someone ate the entire bag. I guess that means no cookies this year. :(

I'll get it over it eventually. It helped a little bit when I stopped to read over and take pictures of the hearts on our wall.

This is something we try to do every year as a family and I love it. We each write something we love about each person in our family. (I wrote mine last week when I was actually feeling loving).

We got some gems this year.

Some of those made me laugh out loud! I guess when it comes down to it, I'll keep all 5 of those people, mistakes, imperfections, candy eating, and all.

February 10, 2017

book: a hope more powerful than the sea

Image result for a hope more powerful than the sea

I stayed up late last night finishing a book I started last week--"A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea" by Melissa Fleming. It was a book that I wish I had read a long time ago (even though it just came out last month) and I book I wish never had to be written. It is the story of one Syrian refugee.

Before we adopted Kyler and Kacin, Eric and I volunteered through the IRC (International Rescue Committee). We were assigned a family from Burma (Myanmar). We went to their house each week and ate with them, taught them about the cleaning supplies they were given (comet is not a spice for your food, etc.), took them grocery shopping, helped them with their english, gave them rides to visit their child who was in the hospital, helped the children with homework, etc.

It was Eric's idea to volunteer, and I am so glad we did. I learned a lot about communicating with someone who does not speak english and about their beautiful culture and family.

But I was also completely naive about why they were refugees and their life before they came to America, and, really, their future, too.

So that is why I wish I had read a book like this earlier in my life. Because while Doaa's story is an extremely powerful one, it is not the only story out there. There are too many lives and families destroyed by war and then trapped in a hard, hard place as a refugee.

And here I am worrying about the details of the pool in our backyard, while they are worrying about survival and hope for a future.

I am so grateful that Sister Burton, the General Relief Society President, spoke of the crisis last year and urged us to do what we could. At the time, I wasn't in a good place mentally and emotionally to put myself out there and do much, instead I had a very strong impression of who I needed to focus on right then in my life. But I have become slightly more aware and have donated when I could. And I am also so grateful for many women I have met recently who have put in countless hours working and doing what they can to help the refugees since her talk.

But in light of recent political/government decisions about the refugees, which I don't claim to know much about what's exactly going on with that right now, I do feel very unsettled by a a freeze on allowing refugees in for any period of time. We should be doing more, not less. We should be welcoming them with open arms.

And then I read this book. You can not read Doaa's story and then go right back to your life of swimming pools and big meals and a beautiful home and healthcare and education and a future for your children without doing anything more. Her story stays with you. It humanizes the word "refugee." So I decided I have to do something now. I'm not sure where this resolve will lead me yet. But I am determined to do something, to do what I can right now. I know there are many organizations out there. And so I will think and pray and talk with Eric this weekend about what we should do.