Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Her Farewell

A missionary farewell is a strange day for a parent. First off all, I want to take my people and squeeze them all together forever. United time is ticking away. So our family unit becomes extraordinary in all it's ordinary ways.

You watch your child stand at the church pulpit and teach. She also bares testimony of truth, especially her truth. And as a parent, your heart is so full of pride and sadness and hope, so all you do is cry. You look at her in awe and cry.

And then she sings. Oh, when she sings. My heart tries to capture every word and hold it close. Because music is ingrained into her very being. And when I watch and hear her, I am caught in her beauty. I am reminded of her unfailing example of what it means to be a righteous, warrior of a woman.
It is such an honor to be this girl's mother. I was created for her, and she for me. And for the next 18 months we are both giving our hearts to the Lord. Mine is in letting her go. Hers is committed to teaching the Savior's truth. Noble, and honorable, and great, but also hard. Pretty much the perfect recipe for growth.

I gave Sam a necklace for Christmas. It's titled, "The Ties That Bind". It's five perfect circles centered inside one another. The 5 rings represent the 5 of us. This family of ours. For we will be with her with every step she takes and every door she knocks on. We will be right there on the hard days and cheering for her on the glorious days. And every night when she lays down to sleep, we will be right along side her holding her together with our love. What a mission for us all.

Santa Rosa, California is getting one awesome Sister Missionary.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Day After

Merry Christmas, Y'all.
I hope it was the loveliest of days.

And now it's the day after. The day you look around and realize you've got to find room for all this new stuff you just brought into your house. Why does this day always look like a tornado hit the family room? And the kitchen?!

I'm up early this morning with a migraine. #storyofmylife. And I've walked around to survey all the work I have to do today (or next week), and somehow my eyes don't see the mess. They sweep past the piles and decor. All my eyes see are blessings. Oh, and gratitude. Yes, gratitude for sure.

My blessings feel ever reaching today. My college girl is home. She leaves for her mission in 10 days. I'm drinking her in every minute. Yesterday I got to see my kids open presents with bright eyes and laughter. And when they opened something that they really wanted, That. Is. The. Best. I think I'm addicted to their joy.

The Husband and I hugged each other and took a good look at all we had created together. A hot mess and a whole bunch of awesome, all wrapped into one. That's pretty good odds. That man is half my soul. Truly.

These people are my very life strings. And yesterday I just got to soak them in and watch them glow. There really is no greater gift. Gratitude feels everywhere.

I hope you had the merriest of a Christmas.
I hope you got to gather with your people and just love each other. With presents thrown into the mix. That makes for the perfect kind of recipe.

Today, in all the aftermath, look around and see your joy.
It's goodness and gratitude and family.

Happy Holidays, friends.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Only the most special of friends gift you with a blow up moose head for Christmas.
The entry has never looked more chic.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas At Our House

This is how we decorate for the season. And by "we", I mean "me". Right? It only took me 30 minutes to vacuum up all the pine needles that fell off the tree as it was being fluffed. No big thang. Here's how our house looks for Christmas.

Happy Season of Giving
Happy Season of Putting Up All The Decor So We Can Take It Back Down
Happy Season of Buy All The Things
Happy Season of Eating All The Baked Goods


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Best

An awesome photographer.
Plus one crazy family.

This is what you get.
This. This, right here.
Click to enlarge it. Seriously.
It makes it so much better to look at.

Have an awesome Saturday, homies.

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Only Taken A Week To Recover

Y'all. I'm just now catching up. Thanksgiving week was a doozey. Just now, a week later, Christmas decorations are up and I can finally catch my breath.

Here's how our awesome week played out.

First and best: My college girl came home. Like, I could physically touch her and talk to her. I literally soaked her up for days. Just having our family all together again was my greatest blessing. Lots of hugs and screams at the airport.

We had family pictures taken. My favorite day of all time. Says no one ever.
But, just look. Aren't they adorable!? Family really is the greatest.

My girl went through the Temple (our sacred church where we make covenants with the Lord). It was such a special time to be with her there. She was over the moon excited. It was thrilling to be her mom that day.

We then had a family reunion in Austin! We spent 3 days at a lake house with all the cousins. Lots of cooking and even more laughter. We had an incredible time.

And then, to top it all off, the Baby Child had her 13th birthday! And by that point I was so exhausted, I didn't take one single picture of her or her celebration. Bless my heart.

I hope you're Thanksgiving was good. No. I hope it was special. Mine was filled with blessings. Front and center. All around. The best kind of way to enjoy them. But most of all, let's be grateful for family. They are all the things and then some.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Blessing of Being Sick

On any normal given day, she hates me. She can't even stand to share the same air. It's the age. At least that's what I keep telling myself. It's my hope anyway. I've done this stage twice already. You'd think I wouldn't be so surprised by it's effects. But I am.

She's been sick for the last 3 days. Home. With me. And guess what? She's the girl I remember. The one hidden under her teenage anger. We've talked, and laughed and listened to music in the car. It's been the strangest of days and yet the best of ones.

So today I'm grateful for the blessings standing in front of me. Especially the sick one laying on the couch. I'm rather fond of her.

I'm crossing my fingers that she still likes me once she feels well :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Seasons

Back when they were small and little, there was Fall. An actual season where the leaves changed colors and the air got cold. We lived in Utah then.

I miss Fall. In Texas today, it's 80 degrees and my flowers are still blooming in the yard. It's so strange to think it's actually November. I'm wearing flip flops.

And then there are my girls. Changed just like the seasons. Grown. That feels strange too.

Maybe looking back is the best way to appreciate the very spot I'm in today. Soak it up and enjoy it's offering. I may not have red leaves out my window, but my blessings feel rather monumental. Especially the 3 that have grown up way too fast. They are the strings that hold my soul together. Each in her own unique way.

Enjoy the season your in. No matter where you are.
It's beauty unfolded.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sugar Is The Name Of the Game

Halloween was made for people like me. Those that believe sugar is the base of the food pyramid. This is Game Day. And there is no messin' around. I've got my leggings on with an extra stretchy elastic waist band. This day is all business. It's a free pass to eat all the sugar everywhere. How can that possibly be a bad thing?

I had dreams sprinkled with fairy dust that the Baby Child and I would carve the pumpkin. She currently loathes the sight of me. But I persevered with my dream anyway. I think it's painful for her to share the same breathing air with anyone she's related to. So why wouldn't she want to carve a pumpkin with her mother? For the love, I'm an idiot. I carved the pumpkin by myself. Literally, all alone. In between loads of laundry.

If you still have kids that like being with you, carve a pumpkin today and love every minute of the mess. And if you have teenagers who are off with their friends and leave you alone on this holiday, I'm in your corner. Gobble up the cuteness of the kids who stop at your door tonight.

But listen. Today is a celebration. Of what? Of sugar. That's what. Sugar is the pixie dust of the universe. It's beautiful and golden. Enjoy it today. Every last, little piece in the bucket. Put on your stretch pants and eat like you mean it. You have my permission.

Happy Halloween, friends.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Live Like You Believe It

I often wish I was something I'm not. Patient, carefree, softer around the edges, not afraid of airplanes. I'm all hard edges, loud voice and opinionated. I tend to think about trying to be something other than that. Something that doesn't come naturally to me. But that just usually ends in failure. Which creates it's own self esteem plummet. "Why can't I be more like so and so? She's got it all together."

We do that to ourselves. Create a conversation in our head that wants us to be different. Somehow we've associated everyone else's different into better. We long for qualities that we "think" will make us into the best version of ourselves. It's really all hogwash. There is no better. Just various shades of different.

Because, here's the thing. We already are our best selves. With these qualities and these flaws. Right here, today. With all your personality hiccups that drive you crazy. This is the best. We've got it goin' on. We really do.

We are enough. In all the ways. In my loud, opinionated voice. In your unorganized, chaotic life. This is where we were meant to be. Always. This has been the plan from the very beginning. This you. The one you find lacking all the time. That you has a soul that is just right. Gifts and talents and virtues all your own. This is real.

Celebrate your goodness. Not the fabricated kind you think you need. The one that's within you today. You are your own best self. Day in and day out. In all the ways. Let's remember that. Let's take good care to remind ourselves that this is who I am. Imperfectly perfect.

No more wishing for something we were never meant to be. Only believing in who we are and remembering our worth. For it is great. Live up to your goodness.

"Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire."
St. Catherine of Sienna

No one else can fill your footprint. You are unique. We were designed that way. Not to be the same, but to be our own. Let's own it. Who we are, in everything that makes us tick. The good, the bad and the works-in-progress. We are each extraordinary. So let's start living like we believe it.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Oh, How She Teaches Me

This girl.

She teaches me.

She has made me look at motherhood from all different angles. She gets me down to the nitty gritty of parenting. But most of all, she's taught me about love. The unconditional kind. The kind that loves you as you are. No matter what.

This girl helps me see life from a different side of the street. Through her I've learned that goodness looks like a hilarious 16 year old girl. And that life shouldn't always be taken so seriously.

She moves to a beat that I long to hear. I watch her rhythm and try to match it. She pushes me to be the best mother possible. All the things, all of the time. She radiates joy and I find that contagious. She's taught me that endurance and perseverance are rather essential to living. Lessons I just couldn't find through anyone else.

How grateful I am that the Lord gives us these people to love and care for. They turn us into our best selves. Just by their very being. Learning in it's purest form. Loving in the fiercest way.

May we celebrate all the ways our children move us to be better parents. All the ways they teach us to be better humans. They are our greatest advocates. We are their biggest fans.

It is an honor to call you mine.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Here's the thing. There are just certain times where I feel the need to let you in on some stuff. I've somehow convinced myself that you are uber interested. Which I know you're not. So clearly I'm more self absorbed than I initially suspected.

Anywho, here we go:

You need this book. Like, now. Will you just buy it because I told you to? I had no idea I would need it as much as a needed it. You know? So, will you buy it? Just so you know, I've bought books before simply because another blogger told me to. There's no shame. Or, if you prefer, you can borrow mine. I've highlighted the crud out of it.


I keep giving Child #2 my credit card. It's becoming a situation. The Husband has made this point very clear. The real problem lies in the fact that I never have any cash. So I just hand over the credit card. And then I forget she has it. For like, days. What kind of a mother does that? The moron kind, that's who.


I only wash my hair once a week. It's true. Fight the jealousy. I have thick, dry hair. So I push it 7 full days. Bring it. Ponytails forever! No really, I only wash it on Sundays. Because you know, church and all.


I have unknowingly created a shrine in my kitchen. Every Monday is grocery day. And every Monday I clear off this little corner of goodness and restock it with new candy. I stared hard at it the other day and realized it's a good old-fashioned shrine. It's just missing some candles? Teenagers love this house.


Just in case you've forgotten, Child #1 is away in college. Like, states away. An entirely different time zone. My heart hurts when I think about it. Still. I expected this to get easier. Funny joke. It's not. So, I've made a chalkboard countdown until she comes home for Thanksgiving Break. Is that pathetic? I'm choosing to see it as adorable.


Last thing.
I'm afraid to fly on an airplane. We're talking radical, epic fear.
I'm such a weirdo.

Happy Monday, friends.
Celebrate your weirdness.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Currently And A Few Clicks Over

Y'all. My baby is going on a mission.

Santa Rosa, California. Spanish speaking.
She will be serving for our church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. 18 months. No family, no texting, no regular world life. Just teaching people about Jesus. In Spanish.

I'm a mix of emotions. Proud, awe, anxiety, love. All bundled into one.
But I had the most amazing peace settle over me as she read the words of her mission call. She is in the right time and the right place. It's amazing to watch.  She's such a beautiful example. I can't get over it.


I stumbled upon this the other day.
Click over here and check them out. Please. You won't be disappointed.

Naturally I offered to buy them for my college girl. Can't you just see her walking across campus in these? I've really thought about them all week. How does one accessorize such shoes?

Could we all buy them together? Wear them on Thursdays?


I just finished reading this book.
Another click, go over and take a look.

It's super lovely and a gentle reminder to slow down and let your soul breathe.
I highly recommend it. She's such a beautiful Christian writer.

The next book on my list is this. Have you read it?
Shall we read it together while wearing our gnome shoes?


Enjoy your Sunday.
Find time to do something that brings you joy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

For When Life Gets Real

So. There was a birthday. She's now 19.

And we went out to eat as a family. We sat down on a bench to take a picture and my thoughts whispered, "This is the last time for a while we can all sit together." And my soul got tight and my eyes got blurry.

And then we were off. Headed to Idaho. All the way from Texas. A 25 hour drive. Good times. No really, sometimes when you're stuck together, cramped in a small space, it can be great. Exhausting, but great.

We unloaded, unpacked, sorted and put away in her new dorm room. BYU Idaho is now her home.

We hiked through campus and bought her enough groceries to last 3 months. We ate dinner together, just one last time. I could barely swallow.

I've done hard things in my life. I held my dad's hand as he died. And saying goodbye to my daughter, my heart, was one of the hardest. Driving away and leaving her behind made me unravel. I gave myself a good 3 hours to lose it. And then I sucked in a breath and got it together.

Another 25 hour drive and we're back home again. But it's different now. There's a different feel to the house, a flow that's slightly off-kilter. We are now a home of 4. That's something to adjust to. At some point I'll walk in her room. Just not in the near future.

She's in a great place at a terrific time in her life. I'm excited for all she will see and do and how she will come into her own. My sister gave me the greatest advice that I have tethered myself to, "She is made for greater things. Now let her go do them." And so I will.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Beauty On A Sunday

These 3.
They are my very heartbeat.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Oh, How I Need Her

My voice feels silent lately. And my heart. Because my head can't find a way to accept that I have a daughter leaving for college. Everything about that statement makes me sad. And I can't find a way to kick myself out of it.

The first day of school has come and gone. That's usually a milestone day for me. Not this year. Because only 2 walked out and back in those doors. It's always been 3. Always. I don't know how to handle it. My mother heart can't work it's way around this change.

I know it's time. For her to move on. But I can't seem to find a way to relax my grip on her. I want her here every day. For the rest of forever. I want to protect her, feed her and take care of her in all the ways it's always been. But that is not the plan.

The plan is to move forward in the journey. And I find myself at an impasse to let her move into her own space. I know it's the right thing to do, but I can't find the will to let it happen. I want to grab on to her with both hands and hold her so tight, she soaks into my skin. But then I remember she's already there. She always has been and always will be.

So I'm preparing my heart in all the ways I know how. To let her walk into her own journey. The one where she mans the boat all on her own. But boy, does my heart hurt just with the idea of it all. I knew this time would come, but I never expected it to be excruciating. How is a mother supposed to let part of her heart live so far away from home? It can be done, I guess. It's just the doing part that tests my limits of bravery.

May we see these children of ours. With eyes that know only their beauty. Because they are a gift. Even on those bad days. Especially on the rough ones. This is what I was made for. Right here, right now. To have these 3 daughters stitched into the very fabric of my soul. To let them light my way in all their extraordinary ways.

We mother on. No matter where they live or how long the distance. They hold our heart right where they are. Forever. That's the truth I'm grasping on to. The hope that let's the future play out as it may. Hold tight to those you love. And they'll hold you right back. Their love will keep you standing.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How To Have A Bad Day

It's been a bad week. Worse than normal. Monday through Wednesday I had a personal pity party. Here's how to have a really crappy day(s):

It first starts with a Jury Summons in the mail. Good grief, that piece of paper is annoying.

You drive downtown, which is always fun. The exit you're supposed to take is under construction, so you find yourself directed onto another freeway. You say lots of prayers. Out loud. And weave around downtown until you find the Courthouse.

You notice a convenient parking lot across the street. So, you pull in to take a look.
A man knocks on your window giving you his parking pass. He's paid for the space for the entire day and he's leaving early. You count your blessings and full uber lucky to this man. You park in his spot.

Jury Evaluation takes for-ev-er. Because, it just does. And count your lucky stars, you get picked to be on the jury. Good gracious, my insides were crying when that happened. You watch all the other lucky humans leave who didn't get picked.

At the end of the long, boring day, you walk to your car.
Only to find a boot on your tire and a Warning sticker that you didn't pay for the parking spot.
Time stands still and you just have a moment. Right there in downtown Houston.

You call the Boot Company and it takes them 25 minutes to get to you.
You explain, "The space was paid for. That gentleman was being so nice. I don't understand."
Boot man is patient, even when I grab his arm and start jumping up and down with dramatics. And then he takes the time to explain why I'm naive. Super.

He then tells me that I owe $133.25 to get the Boot removed. After catching my breath, I told him he'd have to call The Husband to let him know. He declined. And also tells me I should be grateful my car didn't get towed. Awesomeness. I wonder to myself if the $6 a day jury payment will cover this enormous parking charge.

He swipes my card and I'm on my way into the rush hour traffic of Houston.
20 minutes later, each of my kids is calling me with some kind of complaint. By the time Child #2 calls because she's mad at her dad, I lose it. I start crying.
Child #2 gets all sorts of alarmed and can't figure out how to get me to stop. She finally tells me that I probably just need to go to bed.

Dinner and chocolate calmed me down some.
Just slightly.
Because I still had to go back for the next 2 days. It was grueling.
But this time, I made The Husband drive me. My parking days are over.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Something To Make

You know me. I redecorate my mantel often. Sometimes it stays for a while, but rarely. I usually switch it up every few weeks. Here's what we've got for August:

Do you see that clothespin wreath? Isn't it adorable?!
You can find the original and the directions HERE.
You must make it. Really. It took me about 45 minutes. And just an FYI- it's heavy. Hang with care.

Enjoy your weekend.
Be creative :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Stuff On A Wednesday

1. We had Sister's Day. It was August 1st. It's our family tradition we started long ago to celebrate the beauty of having sisters. This is the first time it's fallen on a Saturday, so we let The Dad join us. Sister's Day turned into Family Day. Which is always my favorite way to spend time. We went to lunch and then a movie. Just the 5 of us. Together. The best.

And just an FYI- Child #1 cut off 15 inches of her hair. Now she looks like a preppy college girl.

2. Child #2 is now an official driver. Technically she's been driving for years. Now we just get to pay more for our car insurance.

3. I had one major goal this summer. To create a family art project. It's something I've wanted to do for years, and I finally bribed/threatened/begged everyone to cooperate.

I bought a huge frame from Goodwill and painted it. Then I purchased watercolor poster board/paper from Hobby Lobby and cut it to the size of the frame. I used a ruler to mark off the grid.

Each family member was assigned a time to paint squares. There were no rules, except to use the paint colors I had picked out. Once everyone was finished, I filled in the remaining open spots. It's now my favorite piece of art in the house.

4. I've been walking in the mornings. Every summer I get this idea that I need to get it together and be more active. So, I walk. During the hottest months of the year. It makes no sense.

Every morning I pass this tree.

It's losing it's leaves. In the middle of summer. It's got the seasons all mixed up. Leaves aren't supposed to fall until, you know, Fall.

I can't help but compare myself to this tree. I feel like I'm always doing things in the wrong order, usually at the wrong time. The opposite of normal. Do you ever feel that way? That the world is moving to a rhythm that you just can't seem to match?

Most of the time I count it off as just me being abnormally strange. But every morning when I look at this tree, I wonder if it really even matters. So what if it's losing it's leaves in the wrong season. It's still a beautiful tree doing it's thing right along with all the others.

And so I wonder if doing your own thing, no matter the season, really is what it's all about. Regardless of those around us. We're still our own beauty. Maybe more so because we're going against the grain. Weird is the new normal. At least I believe it is.

Let's learn a lesson from the leaf-falling tree. Be who you are. No matter what surrounds you. Now matter what the world tells you. Do your thing and be uniquely beautiful.

Words to remember.

Happy random Wednesday, friends.

Friday, July 24, 2015

One Of The Best On The List

There are a few traditions we keep on our Summer Bucket List. And this is one of them.

Here's how it works...

You start with awesome friends who dreamed up this awesome tradition. (Myer's whoot whoot!)

You gather your people and drive to IKEA.

You eat meatballs. Because, duh. They're delicious.

Then you unleash the teenagers into the store.

To play hide and seek.

And then you shop.

If you happen to notice any of the children hiding in a cabinet, you ignore them and move on.

Once you're standing at the cash register with all your goods, you text them.

They meet you at the car.

Bam. Best. Summer. Fun. Ever.

P.S. They've only gotten caught by an employee once :)