February 26, 2020

And Eric is older, too

Kacin turned a year older and then two days later his dad did, too.

A letter to the birthday man:

Oh, Eric.
How much we adore you!
You have done so much work over this year to grow and become an even better father, husband, and contributer to the world. And you have done just that! You set some pretty specific and personal goals at the beginning of 2019 and it was inspiring to see you achieve them. You take time for each person in our family (including yourself) and you show us such great love. 
How fun it was to celebrate your birthday with free food all day long when you took each one of us out individually to share in your birthday treats. 
You are hardworking, humble, faithful, patient, wise, fun, easygoing, and always up for an adventure. 
We are the luckiest to have you!

We love you,

February 25, 2020

Kacin is 15

Fifteen years ago this guy came to this earth.

And the world is a better place because of him, our family especially.

Kacin is tough as can be, but the absolute sweetest person. He is an incredible big brother and SO good with babies. He can be quiet and easygoing about some things yet energetic and the first in line for other things. He is brave and courageous. He stands up for what is right in small, pure ways. He has such a great sense of humor. He is a thinker and good at reminding me to slow down and be still. He is a loyal friend and carries himself with a quiet, confident strength. I love watching him grow and become who he is. I adore him with all of my heart.

With a birthday so close to christmas, it can be tricky to celebrate, but we arranged it so that we had a couple of hours to spend together with these three.

At red robin, Kacin wasn't so sure about the idea of them coming to sing to him..

But he smiled for the sundae.

Then we went to play some glow miniature golf.

His real treat wish was for Bahama Bucks (smart boy) so we stopped there, too.

Then we went bowling. Look at Layla and Kacin go!

There were a few more birthday celebrations to be had. We gathered with extended family to celebrate all of the december and January birthdays.

Then as a family, we celebrated Kacin and Eric together by singing happy birthday at home and giving them all of their gifts.

I just had to throw this on here because Kacin was pretty excited and took this picture to brag the day he got number one at Fortnite. He doesn't play video games too often, but when he does it is usually Fortnite with friends.

We haven't had a chance to celebrate his birthday with friends like we originally hoped to (Sorry December birthday boy!), but we love this fifteen year old more than we can say!! He has always been a light in my life and I'm so grateful he was born and that I get to be his mother. 

February 24, 2020


Last night, Layla gathered all of us into her room for a performance. With the light from a cell phone held by Perry as her spotlight, she blasted the music and danced on her bed which acted as a stage. the rest of us sat on pillows on the floor with our backs against the wall. Brinna alternated between performing "once there was a snowman" with Layla and sneaking her pacifier and blanket and snuggling up in my lap.

We had spent time earlier in the day saying goodbye and supporting our dear friend Aizlynn as she leaves on her mission. She will be missed! She has grown so close to Perry these last few months so he is sad (as we all are) to lose our respite babysitter. New Zealand is lucky to have her!

Our sunday was also filled up with the first dance moves in the backyard for a music video, family calendar, come follow me discussion, a face to face broadcast with the Oaks, talking about our own personal goals during dinner, and walks to and from church.

Kyler spoke in church. He gave a beautiful talk about personal revelation. It's been a topic that has been so much on my mind lately that it was an amazing sacrament meeting to hear Kyler, his friend Micayla, and another lady in our ward (who I greatly admire and also call friend) share so many great insights about personal revelation and how we prepare for it, receive it, and recognize it.

Then what magnified my joy after an uplifting sacrament meeting was to go into Relief Society. I have been so weighed down lately, but when I walked into that room to meet with the women of our ward, my heart was lifted and strengthened. I think there was around 15 women in that room. I felt power and unity unlike anything I have felt at church in a long time. My heart swelled with gratitude to be a part of a women's organization like this. I looked around at the women in that room and I saw women from so many different backgrounds and struggles, but who are genuine and good and kind and trying their best to draw closer to the Savior and to learn and grow and strengthen each other. We had a wonderful discussion about the talk "Consistent and Resilient Trust" by Elder Budge and life's challenges and how and why we can trust in the Lord. It was an answer to my prayers to be a part of that discussion.

Not every sunday goes like this one did. Many sundays there are tears and fights. So when a sunday filled with connection, strength, and peace comes around, I want to cherish it for a few minutes and somehow etch the good into my memory to draw strength from when I need it. 

February 20, 2020

escape room: escape house mesa

I was hooked on escape rooms ever since my first one about four years ago. The puzzling, the competition, the collaboration, the cool locks and effects!! Sign me up. Escape rooms are A BLAST. Now, not every escape room is created equal... some are definitely better than others. But with the right group of people, it can be so much fun no matter what.

We went to escape house mesa for our most recent escape room adventure. We did Flood the City. The pros were that it was not linear and there were some challenging puzzles to figure out. The cons were the tiny room, lack of cool effects, and the old school walky talky system to communicate with the controller with.

With only one clue...we escaped!!

With time to spare. Go us!!

Since we escaped, we got to sign our names on the door.

Then we headed to Handel’s for ice cream. Our first time there and I think I’m hooked on this one, too. (We already went back a week later. It was that good.)

We have another escape room in Mesa that we are going to try in the next month or so! I’m excited. :)

February 15, 2020

These days

I typically try to stay in chronological order when I post things on here, even if I’m playing catch up because life is speeding by faster than I can sit down to write about it. I know I haven’t been doing that lately because I have birthdays to post about from December, our family theme to share for the new year, and so many other small and big moments (walks in the rain to wrestling tournaments) to document on here. It’s always a balance of living and being present in the moments and prioritizing all my life’s goals and demands while still taking time to reflect on and document our daily life to make meaning out of things and to capture our families memories. Whew. That’s a task that requires grace and balance. And time.

Today is Saturday and we have plans that will take up a good chunk of the day, but I am also hoping we will all get some time to rest a bit. And maybe read a good book (my wish of all wishes today!).

Here’s a quick look at everyone these days:

Brinna—more big girl than baby lately. She loves to play “doggy” and “baby” and go to the park

Layla—we just had her parent teacher conference this week and she is on track and showing so much progress at school, she’s always the helper at home and uses her creativity and big heart to fill the world around her with joy

Perry—has grown by leaps and bounds these last few months in his language and behaviors, he can engage in and play family games with us, and he can beat Kyler at his video game

Kacin—just had another ear surgery and is recovering well, he had an awesome freshman wrestling season, his smile and laughter fills our home with happiness, he has such a special connection with Brinna

Kyler—he’s still working at DQ to make money for gas, dates, and Taco Bell, he had a concussion from wrestling that took some time to recover from, and he still does incredibly thoughtful and kind things for everyone around him (sending kind text messages, buying gifts, taking the initiative to see who needs the sacrament or extra help on a Sunday afternoon)

February 10, 2020

on the jumpoline again

One morning on the “jumpoline” with one of her best buds.

I want their life.

And that hair.
(wait, actually my crazy curls do resemble this staticky hair most days, haha!)

They jumped and fell and rolled and sang “let it go” as they ran around in circles.

I love these two year olds.

February 9, 2020

Belize 2019 music video

This week has been especially cold here in Arizona. Our regular weekly park playdate was moved indoors because us Arizonans don't know what to do when the temperature drops below 55 degrees. However, because of that we discovered library story time which may end up being a great thing for me and Brinn and to go to together.

But the colder weather also made me dream of going back to Belize. And then I realized I don't think I ever posted our Belize trip music video. Such a fun trip with awesome people (who are willing to dance in different countries with us)!

My favorite part of this whole video is the end--dancing with the sweet Mayan man in the airport (Angie! haha) and our jump on top of the Mayan ruin in Guatemala.

February 8, 2020

now that’s a pancake

We had second breakfast this morning at Henhouse cafe. Two of the most gigantic pancakes of all time. 

All seven of us went to work on these pancakes, but we still didn’t finish them.

A thought to think on for your Saturday:

February 7, 2020

locked in

We had to turn the lock around on Perry’s door. Sometimes our little guy has very big emotions. For the safety and well being of everyone, sometimes he needs a few minutes in his room alone until his body and mind calm down a bit. And unfortunately that means sometimes for our safety, we have to use that lock.

Well, Brinna has recently discovered locks and how much fun it is to turn them. 

Eric was out of town, the boys were at wrestling practice, Layla was at a primary activity, and I was home with Brinna and Perry. We walked into Perry’s room together to get something and Brinna shut the door behind us. And she had made sure to lock the door before she shut it.

We were locked in.


How long could we survive stuck in a room together? I just wasn’t sure.

Eric would be no help since he was out of the state. The boys wouldn’t be home from wrestling practice for at least another hour. Same with Layla.

Thankfully, I had my phone with me. I called Eric, but all he did was laugh while I searched for the key that we used to have hidden in the room (it wasn’t there anymore!). 

But I was able to get a hold of my friend who lives down the street before she had to leave for soccer practice. I gave her instructions to break into my house and she was able to rescue us!! Nicole is my hero. 

February 4, 2020

old town scottsdale

Date night.
It was questionable if it would happen.
The day got busy, busy and I didn't get a good lunch.
And I am embarrassed to admit it, but if you know me at all you know it is the truth... 
I get really, really grumpy when I don’t eat properly.
So I said mean things and was disagreeable about where we were going to go and how we were even going to make our outing work.
Not my proudest hour.
But things started looking up for us as soon as we sat down at the Thai food restaurant and I got to drink some nice ice water and eat a delicious plate of food.
Such good curry and pad thai.
It was like magic the way it returned me to a human who could speak full, pleasant sentences again.

The rest of the evening was lovely and I was so glad we went to Scottsdale. We walked around Old Town and admired some of the art galleries and ate a treat and enjoyed the perfect weather and each other’s company and conversation. 

The longer I date him, the more I realize how lucky I am to have such an intelligent, patient, forgiving, easy going, fun loving, adventurous, kind, and all around good guy by my side. 

(Dear E,
A million sorries that you had to put up with me during my bad mood. I love you.

February 3, 2020

head, shoulders, knees, and...


Wait, what?

Yep, that is exactly what this two year old sang to us tonight before bed
as she pointed to each body part.
"head, shoulders, knees, and butt!"
She smiled a mischievous smile, too.
Which of her older siblings taught her that one??
Or is this really her own humor??

Oh, Brinna Lou.

Here are a few more happy moments from the life of this two year old this week.

She gathered grammy and papa to play ring around the rosies with her.

And we spent a beautiful morning with friends at the zoo and got to pet the goats.