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.



Tonite Cole's friends Francisco and Fabian Palacio were baptized.
Cole met them in first grade and they have been good friends ever since.
 These are very good boys that we have enjoyed having in our home.
 They are from a great family that is also learning about the gospel.
It was a beautiful baptism.



H-y-s-t-e-r-i-c-a-l   is what won Summer the spelling bee today. This gal can keep her cool under pressure. She was more like number 157 in the picture above.  Of course I wanted Summer to win, but I hated watching those cute competitors make a spelling mistake and have the bell ring. Their crestfallen faces got to me.   The words are so abitrary--some easier than others.
Summer goes on to the district spelling bee in January.  Cole was in the district spelling bee a couple years ago, but  a-u-g-m-e-n-t   got him the dreaded bell ring.  He'll never forget how to spell augment again.


Meg the Reader

It happened....thanks to J.K. Rowling, Meg is a reader.   She finished the Harry Potter series today and is now starting the Rick Riordan series. It makes me happy to see my kids read.


Happy Birthday Ross!

Tom's dad (Papa) turned 78 today.  He has been such a great father and Papa to our family.  I love this man with all my heart.  We hope we have many more birthdays with him.



Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  We switch off families every year and this year was my side.  All my brothers made it Clint, Adam, and Chad.  We missed 2 of my sisters this year....dang it.
My heart was full all day, it was a beautiful warm day.
In the morning,  Isaac and I went on our own little 1 mile run. My 6 year old showed me how stretching every 10 minutes is really helpful to running...
 you should have see the moves we were doing along the roadside.
Tom and Cole went golfing
and the girls helped me make scalloped carrot casserole while we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  Isaac made a book about Turkeys...then we headed over to my mom's in the afternoon.

Here are just a few of my favorite moments from Thanksgiving.

My great help in the kitchen.

Meg comforting Nana after a horrendous throw that nearly took out some grandkids

See what I mean...

Watching Adam play bottle toss with indigestion

Having Chad home

The megaphone King makes bottle toss go from ordinary to extraordinary!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Mr. Peanut

Mr. Peanut, you are adorable and the kids love you like crazy.  I even really like you enough to let you out of the cage and run around, but your constant droppings are making me a mad housewife.

 Also, your going to need to get over the sound of the vacuum.  The sound of a vacuum is common place around here...with dark wood floors (look nice, but dreadful to keep looking clean) and my OCD about it.

You will only get to move upstairs, with Meg, if you start going in your litter box.  That was the deal-- you were house trainable...remember?   I am cutting you some slack because your still a baby and you are so cute when you sit on your hind legs and clean your face with your paws and leap around while kicking your hind legs.  Cuteness will only get you so far.

Sidenote- If my house starts smelling like Mr. Peanut, will someone that really loves me please tell me.



My Birthday Gift

Meg you are the best birthday gift every year!

We were very anxious for your arrival for 2 reasons:

 1.  You were 5 days overdue
 2.  We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl.  Dad and I decided to keep you a surprise.

At 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon you came into this world-- 8 lbs. 3 oz of pink perfection.  I wept when I held you for the first time.  Dad, Nana, and aunt Janet were there to welcome you too.  It was such a happy occasion.  Happy 10th Birthday to our Meggie Pie.  We can't imagine a family without you in it.

Love your:
dolphin noises
big giving heart
compassion for others
deep thoughts
love of reading
not easily offended
quick to forgive
sense of humor
that you know who you are!



 Puzzles always remind me of my sister, Michele.
She loved them and was really fast.   I just never thought to even start interest.
 Now I get it....they are addicting and a fun way to spend an evening.... or two ...or three....

 Tom and I once stayed up, with heavy eyes, too tired to even talk, trying to finish a dumb 750 piece floral teapot puzzle.  I was weak and quit at 1 a.m.....
he couldn't leave it --he had to finish the part he had been working on all night.
We were serious puzzle nerds that weekend.  We thought about framing it.

To the puzzle rookies,
 if your thinking you may try it out-- a few suggestions.

200 piece puzzle = if you want a couple of hours , steady pace (adult and child)
300 piece = good day long puzzle, working at little stretches of time
500 piece = good couple of days, lay it out where it can stay overnight
750 and above = celebrating every puzzle fit

"Melissa & Doug" company makes some good ones.
Isaac loves the 200 piece puzzles...not too frustrating with a little challenge.

Tom cannot walk by a puzzle in progress and not stop and be stuck for a while working it.  I  LOVE  that he is always up for stuff like this.  He made the process all the more fun
 with his trash talkin, puzzle fittin ways.


Gratitude Tree

I totally stole this idea from, my friend, Shawni's blog.
 I saw that they made a gratitude tree and I loved it!

 Of course my little "holiday decorating supervisor"- Isaac
was thrilled to get some sort of Thanksgiving decoration up around the house.
I recruited my girls to help make a great tree trunk.
 Meg was having an off day
 and spent most of the time heading up to her room
 to think about all that she is grateful for.
Grateful for her obedience
We got a good start .....but I think I will keep a pile of leaves and marker close,
 so we can keep adding to our tree.
 It makes you happy when your grateful.
 One thing I am really grateful for is all the
 advice, ideas, recipes, stories that are shared on my friends and familys' blogs.
They help me try to do a little better.

Summer spent a lot of her day off of school helping me out on this project.
I am writing your name down on a leaf!

Happy Thanksgiving


Farewell to Jake

This week our nephew, Jake Collins, leaves to serve a mission in
Ventura, CA. We gathered to honor and say goodbye to Jake 
this weekend. We love you Jake!

Cole missed this little number because a tearful Meg shut his ukulele in the car door and
smashed it up real good. She offered her life savings to replace his.


Brain Food

We are excited about some of the news coverage we are getting for Brain Food.  This morning we did a live segment for Channel 12 News. Check it out here.
It explains BrainFood.
 I am glad I could jump aboard a great cause. For more information visit  

Ruth was a little nervous for the live interview, but she did great.  I think it is admirable how she saw a need and then did something about it.  She started with an idea and worked at making it a reality, over a year ago.  

It looks like we had a "young Oprah" doing the news cast.

I tried to talk them into a synchro-dance like assembly line, but Channel 12 News gave it a thumbs down


My Celiacs.....Update

Last March, Summer was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.   Because it is genetic, we had the other kids tested.  Cole got diagnosed 6 weeks later.   Since then, there have been significant changes.   Summer's stomach aches and constant head aches went away immediately.  Her vision has improved.  Her eye doctor said that she may not need contacts by her next visit.  She has so much more energy to do the things she loves and the mood swings don't creep up so easily.  She is 12 and those won't completely go away (:  Tom and I  are really amazed at the difference we see in both kids.  They have done such a great job of sticking to the perfectly as they can, with hardly a complaint heard.
Because Cole is small for his age, he was hoping for some changes.  This is a boy that has worn a size 10-12 for 3 years.  He just wasn't growing.  It has been 6 months since he has changed the way he eats and he has gained 17 pounds! It is a weekly celebration on the scale.  We all know exactly how much he weighs in the morning and at night.  Pretty exciting for him.   We are hoping that this diet will help his body absorb nutrients and grow.  Being small has been hard for Cole.  He has had to learn to have a sense of humor about it.  Not to say that it doesn't carry a sting sometimes.  But to see some progress on the scale and to go buy a new size of shorts is progress and makes giving up some of your favorite foods worth it.


Try Again

I was under strict instruction to go get more Halloween decorations. The wreath and window shadows were not going to do. So, I thought Ike would be pleased that I got the entry spooked up a bit.......this didn't cut it.
By the way, this week he is going to be a Vampire King for Halloween.


Oh someone is so tickled that Halloween is nigh. He has begun writing halloween books, about 2-3 books a day. He writes... he illustrates.... and colors them with lots of care. Then he binds them with lots and lots of tape. (We have increased our paper and tape budget by ten fold since Ike began picking up a pencil.)
He brings me decorating ideas back from the mailbox. Those decorative magazines make me look bad, a real slacker.
Remember this post last year. Well, not much has changed. Love this little man. Happy Halloween and Fall to all!


Aspen Grove

If I could recommend a great family vacation ...this is it. Aspen Grove Family Camp just above Sundance ski resort up in the Provo, Utah canyon.

This summer we headed there for the 4th time. We love it. It is all about the beautiful outdoors and great activities with your family and friends. Don't go expecting hotel accommodations and great cuisine... that isn't part of the experience. However, there is a great icecream/candy shop and a few good meals in the cafeteria setting.
The kids break off into their age groups and have activities all day with enthusiastic, fun camp counselors. They are happy, your happy and you get plenty of happy together time too.

Tom grew up going to Aspen Grove every summer. I think the Farnsworths went 12+ years in a row. I just think of his mom packing and getting 12 kids ready for a week long trip. They had to eventually drive up 2 cars because they all couldn't fit in the station wagon. So, when my kids were complaining about the long drive to Utah, as they are stretched out and holding portable devices and watching a DVD, I just about went nuts. I have no patience for complaining.

This is where we stayed with the Barneys, Pothiers, Kroffs, Tanners, Brays, and Simas families.
It was nice to have a gathering room and to hear the creek outside your window at night.

We were nicknamed the "80s Ladies" from the girls.
(Left to Right) Jen Tanner, Shawni Pothier, Amy Kroff, Me, Gale Bray, Tracey Simas, Nicole Barney


About Time

I am a bit embarrassed to admit this....this is our first family photo with Isaac. I know....he's 6...ridiculous. Seriously what kind of mom am I. So we were a bit stiff and out of practice for this photo shoot with our friend Shawni. We were all up at Aspen Grove and she was willing to scout out a beautiful place to take the photos and then nice enought to encourage us to go through with the plan. Thank you Shawni. I almost aborted mission prior to, but I am glad we went through with it.

I also just figured out why I couldn't download pictures...K9 software. Weird problem--- solved.


Ashby Homecoming

It has been 3 years and we have all been anxious to have the Ashbys home. Our brother-in-law, Fred Ashby, was the Montevideo, Uruguay mission president. I captured their homecoming for Tom and my two youngest kids who were out of town. I can't describe the feeling it is to witness families reunited.

The Ashbys have 8 children. 13 year old Annie, their youngest, served right along side them. They have had 7 of their 8 children serve missions. In fact, Ben, was called to serve in their mission when they were there. While they were serving, they had 5 grandbabies born, 2 children married, and graduations from High School, College, and Dental School. Their son, Adam, is currently serving in Spain.


The Highlight of the Year!

Musical Theater has been in full swing the past 2 weeks. Their performance is Saturday and boy will they be sad when it ends. This is the highlight of the year. They always look forward to seeing their friends old and new.
We have been involved in school plays and nothing compares to this format. They learn several songs and scenes from a variety of hit musicals and put it all together in a great performance.

Ike got to join in the fun for just today's lunch break. He knows all the words to every song and wishes he could be a part of it, but he has to wait for 2nd grade. He was trying to lose me today at lunch so that I would somehow forget to take him home with me.