This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.


This was a fun filled weekend. It was so fun to meet Carolyn and Corey and to have my sister Aryn, Nate, Ava, Sophie, and baby Luke, down from Idaho. I miss having them close.
We decided to head up to Nana and Jack's cabin for a quick get-away and hike.

These are the girl cousins with Bridgette and Corey. The boys were off hunting for monsters

Clint organized a hike to Fossil Springs on Friday.
The hike was a little more than I bargained for. The hike down was great fun, but the 4-mile uphill, in 90 degree weather, was a bit much for Cole and I. I was feeling every bit my age with all these 20- somethings and triathletes. I hate being out of shape. Cole hung in there like a champ and when the cloud cover hit, he got a second wind and finished strong.

It was fun and weird to see Chad and Bridgette all a flutter.

This was our hike's destination. It was absolutely beautiful. As we hiked along the river, I kept thinking of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. It was lush green and the water was clear blue.
Cole is pretty cautious and it took a little coaxing from Clint and Chad, but he jumped in and did the swim through. My brothers were so great with him the whole time. Chad was a great motivator and Clint makes everyone always feel safe and secure.


Happy Birthday Grandpa

My grandpa Ray celebrated his 90th birthday this week. What a great example he has been to me and my family. When I think of my grandfather I think of his great example of missionary work. He's served full-time missions in Missouri, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Arizona.

High School Musical

We went to see High School Musical last night. My kids were all excited to see it. I have yet to watch one of the High School Musical shows all the way through. But I sure know the music. Unfortunately, Summer missed out because of some "Love and Logic" parenting. It was killing me to leave her home. But, she received her consequence really well and I was proud of the superb attitude change and acceptance. So, Meg's buddy Clare came in her place.
Cole and Tom had to attend a court of honor. Cole received 11 merit badges and first class rank advancement....just 7 more merit badges and a project until he gets his eagle. Yeah!

The kids all loved it. I would give it a B. Ike wasn't sure what to think at first. He was bothered that it wasn't the original people and the music sounded different. But by the end, he was bouncing and singing along. He didn't care for the flamboyant character, Ryan. "I really don't want to grow up and be a boy like that, Mom." I think it was kind of confusing for him to see a boy that was acting so much like a girl. His favorite part, that brought out the great Ike belly laugh was the Wildcat mascot dancing. He is still talking about it, the next day.

I have said this before: I love listening to my kid's conversations in the car. It is like being a fly on the wall. They half forget that I am there and listening.
Meg and Clare's was one continuous flow of talking and a lot of it over each other. It jumped from the high cost of gas, the Miley Cyrus backlash, a show they watched on conjoined twins, their own birth stories, and then Meg very matter- of- factly asks,
" Mom....tell us again how babies are made...I forget."

An awkward pause from me.

Then Meg pipes up " Oh, yeah a lot of S- E- X- Y, right?!"

Oh my!I don't mind explaining the elementary things to Meg (once again), but not with her friend in the car. She sure keeps me on my toes..all the time.


Chad and Brigette are both bringing their "special friends" to meet the family this weekend. We have been tossing all sorts of ideas and plans out via e-mail. We don't want to overwhelm them. We are planning an outing to the cabin, a good hike to Fossil Springs, and some competitive wally-ball. The Sampsons (my sister Aryn's family) are making it down for the big meet and greet. Can't wait to see our new nephew, Luke.


Visit from Matt

Every once in a while we will get a visit from Tom's buddy Matt. Tom and Matt were in the same MTC group and served in Illinois together. Matt is a cowboy---the real deal. He is the most clever, quick witted person I know. I always look forward to seeing he and his wife, Kathryn. We have yet to meet their kids, but they did name their youngest after Tom. They are currently living in Oregon.
On this last visit, he came in late and left early. The kids were so worried they'd miss him. They asked me to take a picture so they could see that he really stayed at our house. So I snapped the above picture of Tom half-awake and in bad lighting.


This past week the kids and I escaped the heat wave and headed up north. It was a great week in the mountains. We wish our dad could of joined us.
Cole went to basketball camp in Prescott. He went with the Shill, Pothier, and Denham boys. This year we let them stay in the dorms and they had a blast. We made sure they got in adjoining rooms. When they first arrived they set some rules, so everyone would stay happy and safe. They couldn't go anywhere alone, must keep their area clean, and go to bed when it was lights out. From what Cole has told me it went really well. He won two awards: 3 on 3 competition and the Hustle award. The Hustle award is given to 3 boys at camp (High school, Junior High, and Elementary division). The coaches watch to see how well they follow instructions, keep a good attitude, and hustle. They nominate and then vote on the players at the end of the week. Cole also won it last year in the elementary school division.

While Cole was in Prescott, I took the other kids up to Pinetop. Summer and some of her cousins and a friend did a volleyball camp at Blue Ridge High school in Pinetop. I think Summer has found a new love. She has been carrying her purple and white volleyball, they gave her at the end of camp, everywhere she goes.

Meg was too young to join in volleyball, so she got to hunt for lizards, catepillars, ride a horse named Cherokee, and just be one of the boys. That was just fine with her. She informed the boys that she was 1/2 boy anyway so she is just fine with whatever they had planned.
Another goal---to learn how to master the spin ball. Mission accomplished in one afternoon of practice.
Tom's sister, Carol, arranged for the kids to perform a medley of songs for Camp Tatiyee. It is a camp for kids with special needs. They performed a few numbers from the Musical Theater that they all just completed. We just had to do some small adjustments and practice for a couple of days.
You couldn't of asked for a better crowd to perform for. They had the audience up dancing and singing along with them.

It was a great week at the cabin, but we were excited to pick up Cole in Prescott and head home to see dad. Thanks to my great SILs Carol, Bonnie, and Sheri. I really love being up there with them and their kids. They all made it such a fun week. Thanks Carol for organizing the nightly devotionals, games, reading, & Camp Tatiyee performance.

Sheri did a great FHE lesson on Lehi's Dream. She strung rope through the trees and blind folded the kids. They had to feel their way, without any help, to find the end the tree of life. It made a lasting impression on Isaac. That night when I was tucking Isaac in, he said with a very serious expression, "I learned a lot about the gospel today."
Thanks to my cabin mate Bonnie for being a great walking partner & for the late night conversations. Despite a teeny bit of pre-teen drama and a few tired tears, everyone got along well and we made some great memories.


A Hard Day Just Got A Little Better

The past week has been a difficult one for Meg. Her very very best friend is moving to Illinois tomorrow. In fact, they are moving to the same area Tom served his mission. She has had some pretty good cries over the past few weeks. However, the past couple of days she has been really down. This is not like our Meg.
I came home from running errands, today, to find Summer giving her a little TLC. I think it helped lift her mood. At least we got a thumbs up for the picture.


He's home. After 8 long days, Cole returned from Camp Geronimo. Other than one phone call (because he was a bit homesick 2 days into it), he had a great time and stayed strong. We have loved hearing all the stories. He always does a great job filling us in on the details.
He earned 8 merit badges while at Geronimo, one of them being photography. Here are some of the pictures he took with his disposable camera. I loved seeing what he wanted to capture. There were a lot of fun goofy scout shots, but they came out too blurry. My favorite is the one of the Book of Mormon on his sleeping bag. He said he liked how the colors looked together and he wanted to remember doing the STOMP challenge.

Cole was pretty excited about the purchase of this "make your own moccasins" kit. It was his one souvenir he bought at the Geronimo trading post. He convinced his dad to help him put them together. 2 hours later they were ready to wear. Tom is good about doing projects with the kids.

From 11:00 on Saturday, Ike has not left Cole's side. He counted down the days for his homecoming. We had a copy of his camp schedule, and Ike would ask periodically "What's Cole doing RIGHT now at camp?" So we would look it up.
How can you not miss a big brother like this?

I am grateful to such great leaders that are working with Cole in scouts right now. It made all the difference knowing that he was up at camp with these good men.


A First

I got my very first speeding ticket today. I had just dropped off the carpool for their musical theater workshop. Ike and I were jammin to Radio Disney going a cool 41 mph. I glanced to my right and saw the barrel of a radar gun pointed my way.
" Oh I'm glad I wasn't speeding," was my first thought.

"OK, wait what is the speed limit?," was my second thought.

"That speed limit sign did not just say 25 mph!"

"Don't start following me, turning on those stupid lights!," was my last thought.
Motorcycle cop was all business. Please spare me the over-used insincere salutations, Officer Cox. It was immediately apparent that no charm of mine was going to work on this guy. Dang!

My perfect record is now tarnished. Sorry honey, call me(: