January 31, 2019

on Wednesday

Arizona weather has been absolutely perfect this month. A huge part of the country is experiencing a freeze wave right now which makes me especially glad that we live in Arizona. We are walking and bike riding and playing at the park and enjoying every minute of it.

Each week I drop Layla off at her music theater class and then Brinnie and I go to the Riparian Preserve. We see ducks, rabbits, birds, and people walking their dogs. Basically Brinnie is in heaven. I walk the trails with B in the stroller for almost an hour. I need nature. So this is a retreat I look forward to each week (until Arizona gets too hot...which soon enough it will).

We had the most breathtaking sunset last night. I was driving to pick Kacin up from wrestling practice and it was just gorgeous. Pictures can never do a sunset any justice though. But I tried. Especially when it was reflecting off of this water.

A quote that resonates with me: "Liberty is the daughter of authority properly understood. For to be free is not to do what one pleases; it is to be the master of oneself, it is to know how to act within reason and to do one's duty." -Emily Durkheim (Education and Sociology)

January 29, 2019

universal studios

One of the ways I want to celebrate the end of my cancer treatments is with adventures. So it’s been an unofficial goal of mine (which I might as well just add as an official 2019 goal) to go on an adventure every month this year. January’s adventure was a fun one!

I took Kyler and Kacin, some of their friends, and my sister Jacqui on a quick trip to CA for a day at Universal Studios.

The party bus pulled out Thursday afternoon and we drove to LA. We stayed at Jenny’s charming house. 

The boys played a lot of chess and monopoly while we were there. 

These boys were great. I’m so glad Kyler and Kacin have such great people as their friends. Though I will note that after a devotional from the Bible the first night before we went to bed, Jacqui and I looked at each other and both agreed we felt like camp counselors.

Friday morning we headed over to universal studios. We were one of the very first to get into the park. That happened because of me. And maybe because of a slight mix up with the time change not happening on my phone and so I was frantically getting everyone up and out an hour before we really needed to. Oops! Haha.

We headed straight over to Harry Potter land. 

It’s so charming and magical and full of intricate and cool details. It’s just hard to enjoy and take it all in when you don’t have to wait in long lines and can go straight into the ride. I’m not complaining about that though!

We made sure that everyone in our group knew which Hogwarts house they would belong in (we took the quiz while we waited to get into the park). I am a Ravenclaw. 

We decided Hippogruff’s must not like to fly very much because it was the shortest rollercoaster ever. But passing by Hagrid’s hut is always fun.

The longest line we waited in all day was to go into Ollivanders (a 30 min wait).

We got our frosted butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks. Yum!!

Kyler downed his turkey leg in 2 min.

We enjoyed the other rides during the day. But my favorite was definitely The Mummy.

We stayed until after the park closed. It was 6pm and we all ended up on the mummy ride together and ran from the exit to the entrance over and over again until they officially kicked us off at 6:25.

We definitely got a workout in on these stairs and escalators alone! There are like 4 levels of them. And we took the stairs or ran them up both times.

Ben collapsed after running up the down escalator.

Saturday morning we drove to the beach at Santa Monica.

We saw two dolphins near the beach and it was sensational to watch. I also enjoyed a nice long walk along the sand.

Jen and I walked along the pier while the boys and Jacqui looked at the shops.

Adventures and outings like this thrill me so I’m so glad we were able to go. 

January 24, 2019

These Days

Kyler was working on a pencil drawing before Christmas and Layla sat beside him to work in her own. They both share a talent for art and I love to see them side by side.

Kyler’s finished piece.

Kyler, Kacin, and I went with a big group of people from our ward late at night to serve at Feed My Starving Children. 

I finished my goal of reading 25 books in 2018! Reaching this goal inspired me to aim even higher in 2019 and read 52 books this time.

Perry was worried about “stomping feet” coming into his room at night so he set this trap by his door every night for almost two weeks. I think his problem solving paid off because no stomping feet ever got into his room. I love this kid so much.

Layla gave Brinn a rice Krispy treat to eat. Soon I found her walking around the house with said rice Krispy treat stuck to her little bum.

Kyler, Kacin, and Eric went on a snow trip with the youth on a Saturday. Layla decided to throw them a welcome home party because she missed them so much. She made a banner and set the table to serve rice Krispy treats with whipped cream (her invention).

Brinn is still obsessed with books. I hope that love of reading never, ever goes away. She especially loves this book with animals in it. She and E read it and make all of the animal sounds. I love hearing her sound like a whale and a monkey.

Layla had a friend over and all they wanted to do was play with baby Brinna. They played “baby school” for awhile and then it morphed to playing “baby queen Brinna”. They stuck her on her throne and were her servants. Haha! One thing is for sure, B does not lack for attention or inclusion.

Brinn is definitely a walker now. She really picked it up at the end of her 16th month. It makes life so much fun! She loves the park now.

Kyler gave her her night time bottle of milk. So she shared it with him.

The second graders at Perry’s school are going on a “trip around the world” and studying different countries. They had a “bon voyage” performance and send off. (If he looks cold that’s because he was cold, but he refused his jacket.)

A pirate wanted to play with me one afternoon.

This was posted on a community Facebook page—there is Perry sitting in the back with his pizza!

Perry had my phone during family home evening so I found these pictures later.

Layla was conducting.

Perry really has become an ingenious problem solver.
And if your know Perry, you know he has a deep hatred/fear of bugs. Especially flying ones. He spent a good twenty minutes trying to kill a fly that was in our house. This method of catching it was my favorite—attach the balloon to the pillow, sit on the pillow, and have dad throw you up so you could fly. It was so innocent and Winnie-the-Pooh-esque. I love the way his brain works.

We enjoyed a Saturday morning hike on the Mormon trail at South Mountain.

This trail has this cool rock you can slide down. And more rocks to climb on and through.

Perry has gotten all independent on us. He now asks to ride his bike to the park all by himself. It’s hard to see him in this picture, but I snuck outside to peek at him just as he finished safely crossing the street. I’m so proud of him.

Perry earned his money by helping to clean two of the cars to buy this Emmett stuffy. He loves it more than anything right now. And he is counting down the days until the new Lego movie comes out!

Layla put her in here once. And she was told right away to take her out. Since that day, Brinnie keeps climbing in by herself.

On the fire station is still another favorite place to play.

Another wrestling season has begun! 

Kacin went up at the beginning of the match as captain.

I love watching this boy work so hard.

Other things to note these days. Eric and I both got new callings in our ward. I am happy to be teaching a sunbeams/ctr 4 class in primary and Eric is the Elder’s Quorum secretary. Eric is also back at his master’s program and hoping to be done with his MBA in just a few months. Kacin was just called as a counselor in the deacons quorum. And Kyler is still a family history consultant.