June 29, 2017

a day in Tucson: rock climbing and the temple

We took a day trip to Tucson to see my Uncle Randy and to attend the Tucson temple open house. My uncle took us to his indoor climbing gym to let us experience rock climbing. Who would've guessed it, but three of our children found a love in climbing. I guess I was only surprised by our youngest child who could not get enough of climbing. Layla was up and down again and again and so enjoyed it.

Layla left me in her dust when we climbed next to each other.

Uncle Randy's technique may have been a lot better than ours.

We only got Perry to climb on the bottom portion a couple times. And he was mad about doing that. He said it was too tall and too scary.

Uncle Randy made us a really nice lunch at his house and then we went over to the Tucson temple open house. I was hopeful this would be a beautiful experience for us, but unfortunately it was SO very crowded on that saturday afternoon. They told us so far that day they had 1200 people an hour going through the temple. Which meant we parked a mile away, waited a long time to get on the bus, and walked through in a packed line. Everyone was a bit tired by this point. Perry couldn't handle it so Eric only made it through the first room with him. Layla was bothered by the coverings they put over your shoes. Everything was feeling so crazy that this was the only picture we actually took there. There were some good moments and conversations inside the temple. And it was absolutely beautiful. I am glad we went. I just wish, for our family, we had gone at a less busy time. But we are so grateful to have another temple built here in Arizona!

June 28, 2017

Father's day

Our children our lucky beyond words to have such a great father. He is a pretty perfect example of love and service. Case in point: Without hesitating, he agreed to volunteer to prepare and serve a meal at a shelter for a group of homeless people on father's day Sunday evening.

We drove back home that night and we were all feeling grateful for the opportunity to serve and to meet and talk with some of those nice people. Kyler and I had a very interesting and enjoyable conversation with a man at our table. And I was feeling pretty grateful, too, to have Eric by my side leading our family and providing for us in so many ways.

We celebrated him in the morning with a prepared breakfast of breakfast burritos and then cards and small gifts from all of us.

In the afternoon, right after church, Eric requested a game of Nerts.

While the older boys played with us and Perry played with his own Legos, Layla asked to use my phone to look at pictures. I had an inkling of what she was up to, so I wasn't too surprised when I discovered at least twenty new videos on my phone. Most of them were of songs she made up. Our absolute favorite was this Father's Day song.

She summed it up perfectly! And it's the first song I've ever heard that mentions black licorice and a"grilling gloooooove!" We love this girl and her singing talents so, so much.

Happy Father's day, Eric!

June 27, 2017

grandma Mary

Just two weeks after we said goodbye to my grandpa Allen, we had to say goodbye to another absolutely remarkable woman. Eric's Grandma Mary passed away and her family and friends gathered for her funeral.

Grandma Mary was a favorite of mine. She was so very welcoming when I married Eric. This probably had something to do with the fact that I met her criteria for marrying one of her grandchildren--have to like Mexican food, like picture shows (especially hallmark movies), and darn it all I can't remember the last one but I met it. She always made me feel like I was her favorite granddaughter in-law. She made everyone feel like they were her favorite.

When Eric and I were newly weds we used to gather at her house often for meals with some of the other cousins. She even organized a cousins golf tournament. Eric and I visited her in Minnesota one year. And I remember one time we drove her to a funeral she wanted to attend in Thatcher. I loved that drive with her. She told me story after story about her life growing up in Texas, experiences attending a boarding school, and her life with Eric's grandpa Farrell. I wish I had recorded those stories. She did not have an easy life, but she was resilient and full of life.

It was wonderful that almost all of her living children, grand children, and great grandchildren were able to be there to celebrate her life. We loved catching up with people we haven't seen in years. We used to spend a lot of time with some of Eric's cousins when we lived in Utah so it was so fun seeing them all.

The funeral was really nice. Eric was asked to dedicate the grave.

Josh, Kt, Sierra, Justin, and Jasmine came over to our house that night. Some people jumped in the pool, but most of us just stayed up really late into the night talking. The next morning Layla loved spending more time with sweet Sierra.


June 26, 2017

last day of school, summer begins, and our summer school plan

School is out and summer is in full swing. Let's look at these cuties on the first day of school vs the last day of school.

First day:
Last day:


They all look a little bit older and wiser, don't they? But isn't it crazy how much Kyler has grown this year??

Our summer break is so much shorter here because we are on a year round school schedule (which I love!!). But much to my older boys chagrin, we are still doing a summer school, of sorts, here at home.

First of all, I did not come up with any reward this year. I don't really feel like my kids needed it this time around. My kids are just getting used to the expectations in our family. And we have some other goals that we are working towards to get to Disneyland in the fall. And we are just trying to have a relaxed, yet productive, balanced summer. And it's working for us.

We all have our basic summer expectations. We get our work done in the morning and play in the afternoon. No screens until after lunch. Mom Time is around 9:15 each day (but that is pretty flexible depending on our day). But the littles and the bigs have some differences after that.

The littles are supposed to go through their daily jobs each morning. Those daily jobs include picking up their rooms, a house help chore, and homework time. Homework they do with me and it's just a little letters practice, singing songs together, numbers work, etc. We use one of Perry's star charts and do three things together. It lasts 10 min at the most.


The bigs created their own individual daily schedules. I just approved them. They are not held to their schedules by any means but it's been a good reference when someone is bored. Or someone starts bugging and bothering someone else. They are also encouraged to initiate sib time each day.

We have also begun a family study of different religions. Each week we have picked a different religion. We are researching and learning about that religion and then we attend one of their religious services. Our goal with this study is to foster respect, understanding, and appreciation for people of other faiths. We also want to deepen our understanding and testimony of our own religion. And it's just very interesting!

Mom Time is still my favorite time of the summer day. After a prayer, we have been starting by answering a journal question. We then take turns recording everyone's answers in a notebook. Then I share a little devotional. I've been using this book called "Q&A: Common Questions and Powerful Answers for LDS Youth" By John Hilton III and Anthony Sweat. We end mom time by reading a chapter or two from a book. We finished "Alice in Wonderland", "A Hundred Dresses", and today we started "Frindle". I'm hoping after that we will read "The Secret Garden". Usually the kids color or draw while I read to them. 

We spend the afternoons in front of the tv, swimming, playing, and hanging out with friends. I'm trying to make sure we have some kind of outing one or two days a week (even if that just means a trip to the library). But mostly we are just relaxing this summer.

We have a vacation that we are looking forward to soon and school starts back up again in four weeks. The summer is flying by!