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.



We had a full Saturday. After bathrooms were cleaned, rooms vacuumed, windows washed, lawns mowed, bird cage cleaned, laundry put away, piano practicing complete they got the green light for friends/cousins to come over. Today the plan was a lemonade/cookie sale (which they promised to do and clean-up all by themselves.), swimming, making commercials(they reenacted and filmed an Alltel one), and playing with their beloved birds.

The cookie sale was a hit and they sold the first batch within 10 minutes. They were actually disappointed that 2 hungry boys came and bought almost the whole batch. They wanted to keep up the sale, so Tom jumped in and made another batch for them. What a softie.

A week has passed and the love has not waned for Azul,Spaz, and Duke. They perch them on their shoulders while they do their homework or practice the piano. I have put a stop to taking them upstairs and limit the "cage-free" time down from 50 times a day. Hey, for me , it beats getting a puppy.


King Benjamin

This was a great primary activity. Robyn (Tom's niece)& Bonnie (Tom's sister) did a really good job on this one. The kids memorized Mosiah 2:9 and then gathered under tents to listen to King Benjamin.

Brother-in-law, Kevan Gurr, was a great King Benjamin. He spoke for about 8 minutes and the kids didn't hardly move or make a sound. It was perfect.

Summer was excited to invite her non-member friend, Cassidy.

Cousins James and McKay

After King Benjamin talked. Each class decorated flower pots and delivered them, along with a reminder about General Conference, to all the less actives in our ward.

This is Tom's sister, Bonnie, and when she sees this my days are numbered...I will be dead. I think she's cute! We are very close, or at least we were before I did this.



I got to have lunch with a couple of my favorite girls yesterday Julie Williams & Sue Ann Pierce. Julie's little girl takes a nap, so we just met over there for lunch. Its the best way to do it. You can cram much more good convo and laughs in. As I drove away, the song "For Good" from Wicked was playing in my car. I was a bit overwhelmed with gratitude for the good people in my life. Many of you reading this, I feel that way about. I wish I were better about staying connected. I know blogs help, but I really like face time. My all-time favorite thing is a great meaty conversation (stealing a description from Gale). The kind when you feel lifted and better because of it. I wish I were better about just "dropping by," for a visit. I love it when I answer the door and it is the unexpected face of a friend. It is always just what I needed that day.


Stake Exodus

This is what Tom and I did during spring break. Our stake held an Exodus for the youth. Instead of the Pioneer Trek, we were the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. Tom and I were asked to be the "Abim and Emim" (hebrew for mom and dad) of the tribe of Gad. There was actually another couple, Lane and Erin Anderson, that co-parented with us. We felt like we were given the best group to be with. All of the youth were great kids and the other couple was so much fun to be with. If your going to be undergoing miserable conditions, its nice to have people to laugh with. And we did a lot of laughing. Tom and I would just start cracking up as we walked behind the handcarts and took a look at one another. We raised a few eyebrows from passersby. I'm sure we looked like a terrorist training camp.

The tabernacle was by far the best part of the Exodus. It was truly amazing to be able to walk through this construction. I felt like I learned a lot and I hope the youth did too.

1. Witnessing how well Tom leads, teaches, and has fun with the youth. He truly has a gift and now I know why they love him so much.
2. Delirious laughing
3. Tom having a massage set up for me the night we got home
4. The occasional heavenly breeze
5. Interacting with great kids and leaders
6. Appreciating how good we all have it
7. Having the Turks, Ben, and Adam take care of all four of our kids, and showing them such a great time!
(They didn't want to have us come home)

1. Port-a-Potties that reached maximum level by the second day
2. Wearing the wrong size of tennis shoes....and now I'm going to lose my big toe nail right in time for sandal weather. I know better to wear a bigger size of shoe when walking or running long distances.
3. "Hurry up and Stop" style of handcart pushing. You had to speed walk in order to avoid getting your heels clipped. Watch out, I can be a bit grouchy when you don't give me walking room. The boys in the handcart behind us, found that out.
4. Not a chair to be found.
5. Nothing colder than warm water from a communal water jug
6. Every male leader snoring all night long
7. The smell of rancid onion (Teenage boy body odor)

Despite the hot and dusty conditions, we had a good time and this will be a fond memory for Tom and I. I just don't ever want to do it again.



My kids look forward to the big Easter hunt at Jack and Nana's every year. I was especially appreciative this year. Easter kind of snuck up on me. Tom and I just got back from being "mom and dad" for our Stake Youth's Exodus (like the pioneer trek, but instead the Israelites). I was busy getting ready for the Exodus and didn't think about Easter. I never do the fun Easter stuff, but I do like to get my kids new dresses and ties... it didn't happen this year.

Every year we gather to hear instructions and the theme of this year's hunt: "The eggs are great in 2008!" Jack could make just about anything more fun than it really is.

The megaphone gives play by play commentary.

This is my sis Shelley. Can you believe she is having a baby in July? I'd like to know where she is hiding it.

Cole was a force to be reckoned with. He wasn't too thrilled to stop for a picture..he had trees to climb, bushes to search, money to find.

Bridgette kept boxing out the kids and stealing their eggs. Being a poor college student is no excuse for her behavior.

The traditional coin flip for " all or nothing " Egg hunt loot. It is a great "object lesson" for the children.

Love having these college kids home for a quick visit.

Congrats to Chad, Clint and Meghan for doing great in the Lake Havasu triathalon on Saturday. Check out the pics on my mom's blog. Of course we missed Sampsons and the Philadelphia Bunkers. Hope everyone had a nice Easter!


I Caved In

I finally caved in, or maybe its just spring fever. I took the kids to the pet store this morning. They beg, almost on a daily basis, for pets. Tom and I allow "contained pets." We have done biting hamsters, boring fish, frogs nobody would touch, and hermit crabs that just sat there. Last summer Cole bought Snicker the guinea pig and I have to say that Snicker has been delightful. Cole has taken full responsibility of cleaning the cage out, feeding, and caring for it. He pays for all the food and bedding. He'll tell me when he needs to buy new supplies, and I'll drive him to the pet store. He always remembers to bring his little "frequent shopper" card that will save him money.

For the past 2-3 years the kids have been begging for a dog or a bird. A dog is not happening, they can ride their bikes to Nana's and play with Gucci (she's lonely.) So today we piled in the car (with a few extra friends) and stormed the pet store. We priced out a large cage, seed, cuttle bone, and a few shiny bird toys. Cole, Summer, and Meg agreed to split the cost 3-ways. However, Meg pulled out her wallet with 2 tightly folded dollars and a few coins and tokens.....she came up $38 short. Her eyes filled with tears. As we stood in the bird seed aisle, Cole and Summer came up with a plan. They would cover her cost and she could pay them back with her next few months of allowance. She offered to do their chores too. They just told her to pay them back when she could. They worked it out better than I would of. Everyone was happy.
It seems to be really important to my kids that I love their birds too. "Mom, don't you want to hold my bird?" "Here, Mom lets take a picture with you and the bird." I do admit, I like them more than I thought I would. I'll tell you what I don't like, the mess they already are making of my laundry room.

Oh and you can bet everyone that came over or called the house today, got told ALL about our parakeets. They want to shout it from the roof tops. We set up the cage in the laundry room and that is where they and their friends have spent the day. When it gets a little too crowded, they go in and out in shifts. So, we'll see how long the thrill will last. I hope it carries us through spring break.


Happy Birthday Bridgette!

My baby sister, Bridgette, turns 19 tomorrow! I was in the delivery room welcoming her into the world, right before the close of St. Patrick's Day. (My mom invited me into the delivery room for both Chad and Bridgette). What a great experience that was.
The next day, was our high school sadie-hawkins dance. A big group of us, headed straight to the hospital after the horseback riding portion of the date, so I could show her off (It was one of those dumb, all-day dates.) I hated leaving to go back on the rest of the date. I couldn't get enough of her. Unfortunately, I only got to enjoy her for a short time. Right after she turned one, I left for BYU.

Sisters with mom. You gotta love the sailor dresses. I think I had three sailor Sunday dresses and of course I wore them with hot suntan pantyhose.

I just found this picture a couple of weeks ago. It was taken up at BYU, freshman year (Mel, Kim , Me w/ Bridge, Shari ). The tables have now turned and now the baby that was on my lap is now at BYU. The only difference is that you don't get to wear sweet shoulder pads and get a tight spiral perm every 3 months.

Bridgette is all grown up now. Thanks for being such a good example and a kind aunt to my kids. We love you and hope you have a terrific birthday!


Spring has Arrived

Soaking it up, while we can. The window and doors stay open, the kids are outside, and the first hint of orange blossoms are in the air. Spring is here for a very short visit.
Track & Field
I got to cheer on my kids in track and field this week. Cole brought home a blue ribbon for the 50 yard dash. Don't you just love a good foot race. Cole is quick on his feet, you should see him round the bases in baseball. I just love the great smile his competitor gave my camera.
Cole's grade has a lot of really good boys (the teachers have made mention of it since the 3rd grade). Unfortunately, Cole's best bud is going to a different junior-high and high school. That is one big bummer about not going to your neighborhood school.

Summer had a great day too. A couple weeks ago she received a small rib fracture and separated her AC joint (shoulder)in gymnastics. Despite the injuries, she toughed it out and grinned almost the entire time.

Cheering section. Meg, Jaydee, and Gwen came out during recess to watch.
This is Isaac with the Denham kids. These little ones sit through many events, games, performances that our older kids are in together. Good thing we like eachother.


A Little Trickery

With April Fools Day approaching, I thought I would share this little trick we played on our kids. A while back, were up at the cabin with the Pothier and Zaharis families. It is so fun to be altogether under the same roof. With all this togetherness, the girl group and boy group usually end up plotting to get the other while they sleep. Ideas start circulating: underwear in the freezer, shaving cream on the hand, creating an appearance of wetting the bed, etc.....all discussed in hushed tones throughout the day. And of course the planning is always more fun than the execution. After long days of playing outdoors, they are exhausted and the resolve wanes.
Well, after the kids were all asleep we, parents, came up with a plan of our own. We got out the markers and drew mustaches and goatees on them. Shawni, Amy, and I laughed until we cried. Watching our kids confused faces the next morning was priceless!


Out of Focus

I think I have great kids, but I don't express it to them enough. Sure we have our ups and downs, good days and not-so super days, but one thing I am really grateful for is that they take their responsibilities and own them. Like school work, Monday thru Thursday, these three walk through the door, plop down their backpacks and start in on their homework until its done. Not once have I had to tell them to get it done or remind them about an upcoming test or poem recitation.
Tom and I have never had to go up and wake them up for school or church. We get them an alarm clock, when they are 8, and show them how to use it. They are dressed, showered, beds made, ready for the day. Never a reminder.
This morning, while I was curling Meg's hair, I wasn't telling her how great it was that she got herself up, fixed her own oatmeal, was to scripture on time.....No, I was listing off the little misteps she'd taken this morning. She finally sobbed, "Mom, your not hurting my hair or my head, your hurting my heart." That gave me a good shock. It woke me up and I heard what I was saying through her little ears. I take for granted so much of the good and focus too much on the trivial. Children can be the best teachers. I helped her dry her tears and told her I would try harder to do better.


Basketball Champions

This was a nail biter season ender! Last year this team beat us in the championship. This year we squeezed out a win by one point 30-29. It was such a fun/nervous game to watch. I'm not a real competitive person, but I turn into one when I'm watching Cole's team play.
These two teams will be rivals until they all reach Mountain View H.S., most of our team will go to Poston Jr. High and the other team to Stapley. You gotta love a good rivalry.

Today Ike was having a "naughty day." He did everything in his power to distract me and everyone around us, from watching the game. My mother-in-law was sitting with me. She even tried to help entertain him with "I spy"----to no avail. When I was videotaping, he would throw his fingers and face in front of the lens. He would even go sit by aunt Bonnie and do it to her camera. Finally, I convinced him to give out back rubs and that seemed to work. Tom took quite a back pounding, but it helped Isaac release some tension.


Table Topics

About 2 years ago, Tom came back from a golf trip with this little gift of "family table topics." This little clear cube sits on our dinner table and has been a fun way to get the conversations flowing. The kids know that when we sit down to dinner, we pick a card. Some of the cards we just laugh at and put aside. However, most questions I am really interested in hearing everybody answer. They require some thought and more than a yes or no answer. Oh, and Tom and I can also sneak in a little teaching moment, undetected. You can find this same family topic cube at