June 30, 2021

early morning thoughts

My eyes popped open at 4:50am this morning when I remembered we have an important court hearing today. And I completely forgot to take that in to account when I was carefully planning out all the things today. How glad I am that I remembered at all. Our brains even, or maybe especially, when we are sleeping our amazing.

I knew there was no chance that I would fall back asleep. My brain just wouldn’t shut off once it started going. I have too much on my mind. So I decided to get up and head to my mountain.

It has been weeks since I hiked my mountain! It was so nice to be back on the Santans. Never mind that it was 84° when I set out. There was a breeze and I can’t ask for anything more on an Arizona summer morning.

I was thinking about time, priorities, and decisions. I find so much more clarity in the early morning when I’m moving. It feels good to being a step closer to making a big decision.

I also got to talk to kyler on the phone for a few minutes. He set off at midnight last night on an amazing adventure to the Dominican Republic with HEFY. I’m so excited for him. And so worried too. (I’m his mom so I can’t help that.)

I’ve been thinking about the power of faith this week, too, and come across this from Richard G. Scott:

 When faith is properly understood and used, it has dramatically far-reaching effects. Such faith can transform an individual’s life from maudlin, common everyday activities to a symphony of joy and happiness. The exercise of faith is vital to Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness. But true faith, faith unto salvation, is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His doctrines and teachings, faith in the prophetic guidance of the Lord’s anointed, faith in the capacity to discover hidden characteristics and traits that can transform life. Truly, faith in the Savior is a principle of action and power.”

June 16, 2021

Newport for daaayyyssss

When we planned this trip, I couldn’t imagine what we would do for a whole week by the beach. Now I think that was the silliest thought I have ever had.

Long days at Disneyland or big excursions in a foreign city are my ideal vacation. But we have fallen into a rhythm here that I truly love.

A morning walk by myself along the sand
Coloring, games
Morning outing
Clean up from the beach
TV shows together
Sunset bike rides 
Downtime and to bed 

It really does make for happy days for all eight of us.

So Newport has my heart and I’ll be back.

Eric took the boys surfing for the first time.

The younger kids and I played at the house, cleaned up for family to arrive, and then went to the park. Layla led us in a Ninja Warrior course! We all took a turn and timed ourselves running the course. Layla impressed me with her skills.

Little B climbed in the bike with me for a two minute ride. And she promptly fell asleep. So I just kept riding with her for a long while. She gets some good sleep on the seat.

Layla showed us the sea foam she gathered on her hand.

K was happy as could be in her beach abode, but slept the majority of the time in Eric’s arms.

Family arrived!

These boys tried body surfing for a long time which is pretty impossible without fins.

More digging of bases and moats to protect bases.

I took these three on the most gorgeous sunset bike ride. 

Gray took these pictures. I was going to delete most of them, but it is a most accurate series of Brinn pictures. She smiles at you, places her hand on your cheek, and tells you how much she loves you. I love her.

This picture is nothing compared to what we saw in real life! Amazing sunset! I really could spend endless days here.

June 15, 2021

it comes and goes in waves

I sat all my kids down this morning and we had a discussion on contention and love. Maybe it was more of a lecture. 

Whatever it was, can it please sink in for awhile? 

We have moments of peace and fun. Then we have moments of chaos and fighting. Like all things in life, it comes and goes like the ocean waves.

Yesterday was no exception. The waves of happiness and frustration came just like the literal waves that we played in. 

I do love the challenge of it. I love being a part of a big family and helping each other learn and grow. We each have such different strengths and weaknesses that we bring such value to each other's lives. It's not bad that we experience all these things in one day. It's an amazing opportunity actually.

We learn, we improve, we persist.

Let's ignore all those fights and whining for a moment and focus on some of those happy moments from the day. One highlight was riding bikes down to Balboa pier. 

Riding along the beach is my favorite.

The bucket bike was an amazing gift to myself. These girls of mine have already taken some really great naps in their seats.

Too bad Eric and Perry had to wait for the tow truck to take our van to the mechanic and missed our ride. We made sure to bring them back some donuts.

Our beach time was full of sand castles.

Layla loved her boogie boarding time with her brother.

I loved watching Brinna catch the water in her bucket.

Perry worked hard again!

This is the life--just a nice long rest right on the sand. I sat next to her and we talked like this for quite some time.

Until she ran off to the ocean with Perry.

And to play with her boat.

We had a lot of time just to sit around and talk and hang out as a family.

K's smile gets me every time.

More football...

And lots more running into and from the waves.

Kyler had this brilliant idea for a sand bath.

looks relaxing, doesn't it? We all pitched in to get them buried. And it was exciting every time a wave washed over part of them.

Meanwhile, the girls and I were pretty excited to turn our towel into a kite and do a little dancing under it while it flew.

Every little girl needs a chance to find joy in flying a beach blanket.

We did end the day on a very happy wave after another episode of AGT, a beach walk for me and E, a sunset gaze for the older boys and E, a quick family game of "that's it," and cozy beds to settle in to.

Grateful for another day at the beach and all the different waves of life.