July 27, 2021

back to school

Another school year has begun! We are so ready for 12th, 11th, 5th, and 4th grades. 

I can not believe this is Kyler’s senior year. I have such mixed emotions about that myself. I am so excited for him but I am also so sad to think that this is our last year with him. He has really grown into an amazing, mature, thoughtful, hard working, outgoing, fun-loving guy. He is a natural born leader and listener and wise beyond his years. 

Kacin is starting his Junior year! I have such a good feeling about this year for him. He is looking forward to wrestling season and dedicating himself to the sport. He quietly goes about doing good and putting in the effort. He's not one to draw attention to himself on stuff that truly matters, but he has such a good heart. He has found a job as a Ninja Warrior coach that he excels it--he is so good with kids and super athletic. I am so proud of him and excited to see what this year has in store for him.

Off to 5th grade! Same school, same teacher, but many new friends. He is discovering who he is and what he loves. When we were at a dance recital for the girls we saw some boys dancing hip hop. Perry really enjoyed watching it so I asked him if that was something he would want to do. He explained to me that that wasn't his thing because he was a baseball player and he liked bowling. I love how aware of himself he is and that he identified that way. Because this year we found him some things he truly enjoys--baseball, bowling, swimming, American Ninja Warrior, Survivor, listening to books on audible, drawing, and math facts. He is a fun 5th grader and hoping this will be another year to make lots of progress, especially in learning to read.

Layla is a 4th grader. I prayed long and hard all summer long about the right school choice for Layla. I'm so grateful for the early morning inspiration I received about which school to send her to. As soon as we walked through the doors of her new school for Meet the Teacher, I knew that this was the right place for her. I could feel it. And I know she could, too. Her teacher is amazing and approachable and such a great fit for her. Her peers have been so welcoming and inclusive. I'm so grateful that God helped me make this decision for her. Layla's creativity, thoughtfulness, kindness, and wisdom will shine ever stronger this year and I know she will continue to grow in so many good ways.

I am home with only two little ones right now. And Brinn will start preschool soon. I think some time to myself during the day with a calmer atmosphere is going to help me so much. I have my own goals to focus on nurturing my children's spirits, minds, and bodies this year by holding consistent scripture study, cooking and preparing more nutritious food, and helping them with their school work or areas they have been struggling with academically. I want to be present with them and keep a healthy balance for myself. 

Yay for the start of a new school year!!  

July 11, 2021

summer paddleboarding

I haven’t been out on the river nearly as much as I did last summer, but I have almost averaged once a week since summer started. I don’t always take pictures, but I’m glad for the times that I do. 

One of the first runs on the river was with my sister, Stef, and her family.

We had some kids on kayaks and two people to each paddleboard. Perry insisted on being in his own kayak the entire time. It’s so good for him to be independent. So proud of him for that. We also had to stay on guard. He was doing so well and then halfway through he hit a tree on the edge and panicked and fell out of the kayak. Eric and Kyler went to help him in their kayak, but Layla also tried to turn her kayak around to help. When she did that, she toppled out of her kayak. An oar was lost. It was a few moments of crazy, but everyone was just fine and Eric, Kyler, and Kacin were able to get them both back in their kayaks while I kept Brinna safe with me. We caught the oar upstream and all was well.

I think I have the same picture of me and Brinna just like this from last summer. Same swimsuit and same life jacket, too. Ha!

I’ve been out 3-4 times with these ladies. We have a good rhythm when we go and we paddle our entire route so we can get back to kids and work. It works out great.

Eric and I took these three out over the 4th of July weekend.

We only took the paddle boards this time and everyone did great.

We found a water gun floating along by itself along the way. Kacin made sure to soak us with it. So Layla tried to get him back.

He just got us back with his paddle.

I’m glad we ended up getting more paddleboards so we can go out together. 

The river fills me with so much peace.

July 10, 2021


Monsoon season in Arizona is majestic and thrilling. 

Arizonans crave water. And when the first storm came a few weeks ago we were so excited we rushed outside to play in the rain.

Brinna saw her brothers take their shirts off and had to follow suit.

When the rain stopped and brothers went inside, Brinna stayed out awhile longer to jump in the puddles and play in the water draining down from the roof. 

She found a little shower to play in to catch the water in her hands and let the drops roll down her head.

Arizona summer showers are pretty great for us desert folk.

That first rain was pretty mild. We have had a few storms since then.

But the storm last night was the biggest I have seen in who knows when!

We peeked outside to see the wind blow the trees and the lightening crash across the sky. And then we saw our trampoline literally tumbling through our entire yard rolling towards our chicken coop! It hit our small bridge and destroyed it and landed on our big rocks. Eric rushed outside to stop it from doing more damage. I stayed inside with Perry worried that he was going to blow away himself or get struck by lightening!

We kept hearing a banging in our house. After checking on all of the sleeping girls safe in their rooms, Perry and I went downstairs. We finally realized the banging was coming from our game room. The French doors had blown in from the wind and were banging open. The whole room was filled with leaves and dirt and debris. We secured the door and and got the room cleaned up. 

This morning, as we drove to Layla’s dive meet, we saw tree after tree blown down from the wind. Two trampolines even ended up in the wash behind our house. 

I was so grateful that, when all is said and done, the aftermath of the storm was pretty minor and that we had a safe, strong house to protect us from the elements. 

I hope we continue to get many more monsoons this summer!