***I'm determined to catch up on cataloging our family's events this year. Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Preview - Funeral Pictures

jaelyn from complexions photography took these pictures for us and we LOVE them. she really captured the day. i am in the process of putting them in a slide show. in the meantime, here's a few.

Call 911!

"madison, let's go!"

this entails getting shoes on, finding her baby, putting it in the baby stroller, and then hanging her purse on the handle - then we are ready to go... take the trash out. as our little entourage walked outside to the garbage i was distracted by flashing lights and a man yelling at the top of his lungs.

i grabbed madison and headed out to the street where we saw several police cars, a firetruck, ambulance, and police SUV. neighbors were congregating across the street and as i made my way towards them i saw many officers (8?) fighting to constrain the source of the yelling. i find out this man is a "druggie" and had been wandering through our quiet little neighborhood through people's yards. apparently 911 was called and they came and picked him up.

i don't know what he was on but he screamed the whole time it took the officers to strap him to a gurney and the whole way to the ambulance. "these skinheads are taking me to medical! somebody please help me! call 911! my name is ____ ____ ____!"

i had to laugh. we live in a crazy world.


Red Lobster

i am not a biscuit person. occasionally i will go for homemade biscuits and gravy for breakfast but even still, i can't handle the crumbly baking soda taste or dry cotton mouth afterward. except for those above! red lobster has the most delicious biscuits. i had forgotten because it had been so long since i had eaten there. i don't like seafood so of course red lobster has been on the bottom of my restaurant list, but not anymore! i could frequent the place and be happy with their mediocre chicken dishes, just to get a few bites of one of their garlic cheddar bay biscuits. i have seen many wanna-be recipes online and will definitely be trying some of them in the near future but if anyone has a good recipe please share!!

madison and i went with my 87 year old grandparents and uncle mark. so fun! ordering was kind of an ordeal but it was so fun to be out and about with them. plus any chance i can get to learn more about my dad is wonderful. i am so glad we live so close to them!


One Month... 31 Days...

that's how long it's been since the crash. it feels like just yesterday and an eternity ago at the same time.

"how are you doing?" didn't used to be a hard question to answer. i don't know what to say now. i am good, considering all that has happened, losing my dad and brother, but that doesn't mean everything is fine. i still panic inside when i see a picture of them because i still can't believe this happened. i cringe when i am scrolling through contacts on my phone and i see my dad and brother's names but i just can't bear to delete them yet. it seems too final. i know that sounds crazy. sometimes the reality of what lies ahead, life without my dad and dallin, just makes me cry and cry till there aren't any tears left.

but in a lot of ways my family is doing well. my brother who is in Japan on a mission seems to be doing great. he is in a good area, with a great companion and even though he is trying to sort this all out with the rest of us, he sounds up beat and encouraged. what a blessing! my mom was able to sell a big farm that my parents owned part of which frees up finances to be allocated other places - another tender mercy. kamber had a couple baby showers and i think has just about everything she needs for her little boy when he gets here. it is wonderful to know that our family is being provided for.

the more i study and read, the more understanding i have of this gospel and of the plan of salvation and the spirit world, which is wonderful and brings peace. but there is still a deep hurt that just aches when i think of my dad and brother. that hasn't started to go away. i don't know if it ever will. being in AZ, i feel so disconnected. they were in cedar, my family is in cedar, i felt close to them in cedar.

"how am i doing?" - as good as can be expected, but not 'good'. i am so grateful for the things that make me smile, like madison and every cute little thing she does. what a blessing she is! i am grateful for the memories i have as my family spent more time together over the past couple of years than we had previously. i really feel like Heavenly Father was preparing us for this trial. i am grateful for that. i am grateful once again that families are forever. i can't wait for that day!


Derm Rotations - Missouri and Texas

dan is almost done with his second away rotation and has really liked both programs. he spent 4 weeks at Mizzou in Columbia, Missouri (technically 3 because they let him come home for a week for the funerals), and he's starting his 4th week at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. i got to visit him in both cities and it was fun to see our potential "future homes".

i went to missouri about a month ago, and we did so much in such a short amount of time. we ate at the flat branch twice which was SO good! we walked the katy trail, visited rock bridge state park, and had a nice little picnic at a local winery overlooking the missouri river. we had planned to go to a popular farmer's market and then church sites on the way to the airport but found out about the plane crash and changed our plans. all in all it was beautiful, so green!

texas was a lot of fun also, because madison was able to come and we were a whole family again! we were told there is nothing to do in lubbock so everyone goes out to eat and the wait is always really long. we ate at texas roadhouse - after a 1 1/2 hour wait! we tried out another restaurant called abuelos and it was sooo good! luckily they have one in chandler so we can eat there in az now.

we went to the science spectrum, a kids museum and it was so fun! they had kid's zone with lots of stuff perfect for madison's age - she had a blast! my cousin annie lives in lubbock with her husband and kids and we got together with them a couple of times. madison LOVED playing with conor and taylor. thanks annie! we went to the mall one evening and dan let madison ride one of those little electronic cars and she got so MAD when it stopped (see pics below). it was a fun trip - and madison got to sleep in mom and dad's bed EVERY night. fun for her, not so much for us. she rolls all over, all night long!

madison was excited to see our cats when we got home to az and even shared her blocks with socks! she's growing up too fast!


The Name Game

we are just fresh out of ideas.

GRACE is looking like the winner right now, i have loved it from the beginning. but what about middle names? normally i am a fan of something meaningful, like from past generations in the family. but nothing is fitting quite right. so if you have any suggestions let us know! it can't be super out there, i won't use my own name, but other than that......

ideas please! grace ______ skinner


LONG and Random Photo Update!

i had the best college roomates anyone could ask for. everyone that was able, drove down to be with us for the funeral, and my sister-in-law, stephanie is in the pic also, and she came with all my in-laws. again, we felt so supported!

taking chris to the airport to return to japan. it was sad, but we weren't emotional! 2 years seems like such a short separation now! :)

another airport shot - it's an awful picture of us since we just rolled out of bed to drop him off. mom - don't get mad about this picture!

my sweet mom gave me a pedicure before all the craziness began, since it gets harder everyday to paint my toes with my stomach getting bigger. she massaged my feet and everything! it was wonderful!

madison and "Na Na" playing in the box - my mom said later that day madison wanted my mom to get in the box with her and she tried to explain to her that they wouldn't fit!

watch out for the pregnant ladies! of course i am due last but was definitely the biggest. christine was actually in labor during the funeral, as she played a musical number! but she and baby rachel are doing well!

my dad's dad, grandpa ellsworth and my mom. doesn't she look beautiful! this is at the funeral luncheon. she is amazing!

all the kids of my parent's "Rocky Point" friends from Tucson. i felt so old because i used to babysit all of them. the oldest just got married!

the beautiful "Rocky Point" moms! if only we all looked that good!

this is what we came home to after taking chris to the airport bright and early. madison and dan had some quality time together - look at her 'breakfast' of goldfish! they both crashed right out in the living room on the floor after having to get up so early.

sleeping position number two on the living room floor

the ellsworth girl's minus kamber at hannah's cross country meet

my wonderful roommates who helped support hannah at her cross country race, and then we went to brick oven for lunch.

madison's hair grows SO slow so i have been hesitant about getting it cut. but the back just goes crazy and she was starting to get the dreaded mullet so i took her to summer shirley in cedar and she trimmed it for me. i was too nervous! this is before

and this is after! not a huge difference, but now it has some shape and will hopefully look better as it keeps growing in.