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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Home Teachers

he sure had madison's attention! she hardly moved a muscle the whole time he gave the lesson. by the end, her foot had ventured far enough to bump his leg. what a brave little girl! :)


It's Been Three Months

time seems to crawl and race by at the same time.

a copy of the funeral program is hanging on the door of my fridge - it's been there since the day i returned to AZ. a constant reminder to me of who we lost, who we love, and who we will see again. it's going to hang there till i get this picture framed and on my wall (this was the picture used on the program). i want it to help motivate me to be better. to be more like them. more diligent, more selfless, and more Christ-like.

it hasn't gotten easier with time, at least not for me. the pain and sense of loss hasn't lessened and at times still seems unbearable. i can't help but wonder why my family is having to endure this test, especially while we are so far apart from each other - az, ut, japan. then i remember i am learning to rely on my faith and on my Savior, and on the Atonement. and that even though this doesn't seem to be getting easier, i know our burden is still being lightened.

i think about chris constantly, being in japan. he is working so hard to be the best missionary he can, but is grieving at the same time. he sends us amazing letters that really strengthen and uplift us. and he put into words, exactly how i feel in his last letter.

"I know we are being blessed so much, even during this time of trial.
I've changed my thinking, actions, and everything as a result, and hope to always strive to be better.
This trial truly is redefining my life, as I think it is all of ours.
We just need to let it, in a good way...
Let us continue, together, to live so that we might be exalted and live together forever."

december 2007

dallin and kamber's wedding - may 2007

4th of july 2008

seeing madison for the first time

my brother

Fall Colors

i walked outside my front door today and thought i should take a picture of our beautiful, 'fall' leaves. (yes, there are a few that are yellow) i am grateful we get to experience a little bit of fall in arizona, even if we have to wait until the end of november! i almost wore long sleeves today but then remembered the high was going to be 80 degrees! but not much longer until sweatshirt weather - hooray!!

and this means christmas is around the corner because the oranges are almost ripe!



i really miss this little guy's dad!

this picture makes me cry.
a lot.
but it also makes me very happy.

what i would give to just see dallin's smile right now.


And I Love It


what have we been up to?

little grace occupies all my 'spare' time. i just want to sit and snuggle with her all day long. she has such a sweet temperment and takes all madison's kisses and luvs without a peep. she is a great eater and usually sleeper, but especially loves to be awake from 10 pm till 1 am. we're working on getting that changed! she has fit into our family perfectly and it seems like she's been with us much longer than 19 days. we love her every bit as much as we love madison!!!

i am not a girly-girl. princesses, bows, flowers, and the color pink, are not my thing. (i am trying to teach madison that blue should be her favorite color!) but with two girls in a row i am slowly coming around. in fact, i happen to think this picture is adorable. but the headband came off shortly after the picture. :)

i put grace's bouncer on the ground so madison could have easier access (i know, that seems crazy) because she kept wanting to kiss her. i glanced over later and noticed madison 'dressed' grace up a bit. she is so good at sharing!

madison is only 21 months but she seems like such a big girl now! we are introducing potty training slowly (she just sits on the toilet before bathtime), she attends nursery at church, and she is trying to talk more every day. we are so proud of her and can't believe how fast time has gone by. it seems like just yesterday it was HER that we were bringing home from the hospital. i am trying to keep madison as involved as possible with grace to make sure she doesn't feel left out or misplaced. so she is quite good at helping (holding the clean diaper and grace's hand, and then throwing the dirty one away) change diapers.

well she bumped it up a notch. yesterday madison decided grace should get to have story time while her diaper was getting changed. she even turned the book around so grace could see the pictures. she is such a good big sister!

just a quick smile and wave for all her fans - while sleeping. so talanted!

ok, so here is a good close up of the cowlicks we have to deal with. notice the multiple directions, on each side of her forehead, her hair is going. and yes that is a completely full circle, front and center.

cute story: i was nursing at my in-laws, in another room, and when i came back in the family room madison ran right for me. cute huh? she loves her mom. actually, she started yelling, "baby...baby...baby" when she was half way to me. apparently she loves her little sister more. but we can't be happier about it.

i got madison all dressed up for a girls day out with her aunt lindsay (thank you AGAIN for taking her and giving me a break - plus madison loved it!) and wanted a picture. she refused to look at the camera. notice all the BLUE...my favorite color! and thats the first time she has kept a bow or a bracelet on all day long!

we were worried about madison and bringing home a new baby so i bought this set at costco (LOVE that store!) for $35. best purchase ever! it came with a stroller, carseat, bassinet/moses basket combo, diaper bag and all the supplies - bottle, pacifyer, etc. madison LOVES it and anytime i am nursing grace, madison takes care of 'her baby'. sometimes she wants grace to drink the plastic bottle and nurse at the same time though. we're working on that.

our first excursion with the good ol' double stroller. luckily madison can't reach grace's face from where she is sitting, or else she would have been giving kisses the whole time.

another potentially cute pic, again refusing to look at the camera.

i feel like i am just boasting left and right today. must be the mom in me. look at this tower! developmentally, madison should be able to stack objects four high (says the book). well folks, her tower has FIVE blocks. but the coolest part is she stacked them VERTICALLY. apparently she likes a challenge!

now to sum up the rest. dan started a sub-internal medicine rotation in phoenix last week so instead of flying down right when grace was born, my mom waited until dan had to go back to work - which worked out perfectly! it was so fun to see her and hopefully it gave her somewhat of a break from everything going on in cedar. madison was so excited to see her and so sad to see her go. when my grandparents drove away to take my mom to the airport, they honked several times. the rest of the day madison would point to the door and say, "beep, beep, beep?". so sad.

chillin' with grandpa

"grandma ellsworth" with her two granddaughters. i still can't believe she is a grandma - she looks like she could be their mom. we are going to have to get a cousins photo with porter in the mix next week.

thank you for all your help mom! it was so great to see you. and i owe a big thanks to everyone else who has helped us the past several weeks - our ward for arranging meals and all our friends who brought them in, the phone calls, comments, emails, cards, and presents from everyone, my in-laws for watching madison while grace and i were in the hospital, and finally dan who is an amazing husband and father. he has taken on more responsibility at home and is great with both girls. madison now prefers HIM putting her to bed instead of ME.

i feel so blessed, even though we are still going through a hard and emotional time. i know we are being watched over and provided for. i am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mom. i love hearing madison say,"mom", whether she is laughing, crying or screaming.

i am a mother.
it is my divine role.
my full time job.
and i love it.


My Rock

thank you for being so strongly anchored,
that when life throws much more at me than i can handle,
{like currently}
i can lean on you!

plus we make cute kids ;)


Loves Of My Life!!

does it get any better than this?

we have had our hands full the last two weeks but it has been so much fun! having two kids changes everything - but i love it. having a new baby is so much fun this time around because we know what to do. grace is a great eater and sleeper which is such a blessing. she looks VERY different than madison did so we are excited to see her grow. check out the picture of her hairline below - major cowlicks going on! doing her hair will be an adventure. i love this stage when babies are just so tiny and they eat and sleep and snuggle.

i have to give a shout out to dan, who has been amazing. he is the best diaper changer, baby burper, and lullaby singer i know. except maybe my mom. but it's close. thank you dan for all of your help. i love our family of four!

poor madison was really sick while grace and i were in the hospital and was on antibiotics the first week we were home. but after day 3 she had adjusted pretty well and now she absolutely adores grace. the first thing she says every morning and after every nap is "baby", in her cute little voice and then she wants to go see grace. she is a great helper, even when she is trying to wrestle a pacifyer into grace's closed mouth. my favorite is when madison is playing and stops, walks over, gives grace a big slobbery, open-mouthed kiss, and then continues playing as if nothing happened. i feel so lucky!

can i just tell you how much i love this little girl! and her little sister of course!!

my mom came down and we spent time at my dad's parent's house. (more pics of her visit later - can't work our new camera!)



grace lynn skinner

7 lbs 10 oz
21 inches

4:26 am
Nov 1, 2008

more to come later...