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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!


It's Beginning

yesterday, dan so graciously watched grace while i got to spend some one-on-one time with madison. it's such a treat when i get to do that! we went on a walk and found this at our neighbor's house ('the farm" as we affectionately say)...

the first foal of the year and just 24 hours old (there will be lots more to come)! i don't know who was more excited, me or madison. but i refrained from blowing kisses and left that to her.


What Makes My World Go Round

{oh, how i love those cheeks!}


Happy Birthday Dallin!

dallin and i used to report to each other, who we liked, who we thought liked us, if we held hands, all that fun stuff. we had the same curfew so we'd get home about the same time, and we'd sit in the hallway or on the floor of my bedroom and stay up talking. after school we would show each other the cute note we had recieved from that special someone, or share the drama of the day. he always gave me good advice and was such an example to me.

i remember when dallin found out our younger siblings, hannah and chris, had held hands for the first time (with other people, obviously). he couldn't believe that he hadn't known; that they hadn't come to tell him. he called me up and said, "marie, did you know they've been holding hands and didn't tell us? can you believe it?"

his relationship with each of his siblings was really important to him and i think thats why he was so surprised to find out about these tidbits of information he didn't know hannah and chris.

i am missing dallin a lot today. but it's fun to reflect on everything i've learned from him and all our fun memories. he loved life and his excitement always rubbed off on us - he kept us laughing.

a lot of people who read our blog have never met dallin. for those that have, i have a favor to ask - would you be willing to share a memory you have of dallin? stories we've never heard about him and my dad are treasures to us now. funny, embarrasing, uplifting.... it doesn't matter. you can leave it as a comment or email me at mells7@hotmail.com. i will share them with kamber, and keep them for when porter gets older. thank you, thank you, thank you!!


Uncle "Bett"

my brother in-law, "bett" skinner, got his mission call on thursday. and he's going to...drum roll please.....the Brazil Porto Alegre South Mission and leaves May 20th! we are so proud and excited that "bett" has prepared and chosen to go on a mission. the only sad part is that madison is going to miss him so much! she wakes up from her naps and repeats, "bett, bett, bett....".

there were tons of people there to watch "bett" open his call and right in the middle of it, madison jumped off someone's lap and ran to "bett" and gave him a big hug.

maybe by the time he gets home she'll be able to say brett!!


The Clock is Ticking

i told someone that i don't want to dread the 22nd of every month, being the 'anniversary' date of the crash. nor do i always want to measure time by how long its been since it happened. they said after the first year, that will change. i probably won't measure time like that anymore, and the monthly 22nd's that come around can be a chance to reflect on my blessings, fun memories, and my love for my dad and brother. outstanding advice!

i am already trying to do the latter and it is wonderful. so many fun times, so many memories, so fun to think about. sad sometimes? yes. but mostly happy! a big change for me.

in a couple weeks it will have been 5 years since dallin entered the mtc, pictured a little blurry, above. he left shortly after dan and i got married. we went through the temple for the first time together - an amazing experience that i will never forget! we went to einstein bros. for a bagel breakfast (a family favorite) and then took him to the mtc. i remember crying. a lot!! much like now, that was a time when our family was separated but we made it through. we were blessed immensely through his service, diligence and testimony. he was an amazing missionary. he followed my dad's incredible example. what a companionship they must be right now!! and now my brother chris, is following in their footsteps.

i have so much fun looking through all the pictures we have of my dad and dallin. they are all in one file now so i can scroll through them easily - thanks dan! someone took this of my parents in mexico and i love it. my mom is dressed very appropriately for a trip to the beach. then you have my dad, fully clothed in jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, and tennis shoes... in the shade! thats a dermatologist for you. even has his trusty straw hat by his side. cracks me up every time i see it.

somehow, i love them even more today,
than i did 5 months ago


Sad Day For America

out with the old...

in with the new...



Miracle of Life

there's a picture i can't get out of my head. we were driving home from Albuquerque on saturday and we passed an accident on the freeway. debris was scattered all over the the road going the other direction and the little mangled truck had come to a rest facing oncoming traffic. i could see EMT's working on a man, helping him breathe, as they scrambled to get him on a board and loaded in an ambulance. we had almost passed the scene of the accident when something caught my eye. without any details (so you ALSO don't have it stuck in your heads), we saw someone who had been killed in the accident.

it was a shocking realization to me, that i had never seen the body of someone who has passed away. before the week of the crash, i had only ever attended one funeral. ours was obviously closed casket.

i couldn't stop thinking about what we had seen. i was overwhelmed by sadness and grief as i thought of that poor person's family. the loss of a loved one is almost unbearable.

life is fragile- i have learned that the hard way.

but as we continued to drive home, i looked down at grace and caught her smiling in her sleep. once again i was humbled and my perspective was changed.

what a blessing it is that we chose to come to this earth and receive our physical bodies! the phrase 'miracle of life' is so true. it is an amazing process to be able to bring children into this world, and so many things have to happen perfectly for it to be physically possible. our bodies are incredible and i know that we were created in the image of our Father in Heaven.

i am grateful for my body. there are things i would change, and things i need to work on- but i am grateful to be healthy. i am grateful for my two little girls and their adorable little bodies. i don't take it for granted that i am able to be pregnant and carry babies to full term. it has been the most rewarding experience to have children and watch them grow and develop. they truly are miracles to me.

life is a miracle. but it will end, it's inevitable.

in the meantime, i hope to live every day to the fullest.


5 Whole Years!!

December 27, 2003

five years ago i married this man.
and he is making all my dreams come true

in our 5 years together, we have:
lived in 4 states
moved 7 times
had 2 cats
graduated college
(and almost med school)
and have two beautiful girls

we've experienced many tears, trials, and heartaches
but we've laughed, celebrated, lived and loved through it all

5 dozen roses surprised me that morning!

and he got me one of these!!!


Families Helping Families

we left the day after christmas for mexico, to help build a house down in rocky point. a family in dan's parent's ward was in charge of organizing the build and it was part of a bigger organization called families helping families. (it's been happening for years - this is just our first year participating) money and time is donated to help build houses for families who otherwise couldn't afford it. three houses were built this year. apparently it's nearly impossible to get home mortgages so this is an opportunity for these families to help build and then pay back just the cost of the house, to FHF. it was neat to see two of the finished houses from last year, right next door, and know that three more families would have the same opportunity.

the foundation and corners were already laid when we got there. volunteers made cement, cut rebar, laid mortar and cinder blocks and did various other jobs. i stayed back at the condo with the girls while everyone else worked but it was fun to go to the work site and see the progress each day. the block walls, roof, and inside framing were finished in just 3 1/2 days, 2 days ahead of schedule. locals will finish the dry wall, wiring and stucco. it was so fun to be a part of! (even though all i contributed was a little mortar on a block or two)

we had a fiesta one night at the princessa club house with really good homemade mexican food and really, really, loud mariachi music. we also sang some christmas songs in spanish. i took the above picture, right outside the club house windows. it was beautiful!!!

the picture above, is the view from our condo and it was low tide at the beach. can you see why rocky point is one of my favorite places to vacation? right before we headed home i got to stop in and visit with the welsh family who were staying practically next door to us. it was great to see them and get to catch up for a minute. i only wish we had gotten together sooner! and christine - grace and i got the laryngitis/cough/miserable cold bug that your family had as well. no fun!

thank you to the skinners who made the trip possible! it was a blast and we would love to do it next year.

Christmas x 2

christmas eve came on dec 19th for everyone in the ellsworth house. we packed everything up so we could drive back to az the next day and then watched Elf. madison laughed everytime anyone else laughed. sat, dec 20th, we celebrated chrismas morning with cinnamon rolls and arizona oranges for breakfast, after we opened our presents - a long standing tradition. and there was sooo much snow outside! a white christmas for sure. it was fun to do one last thing together before leaving town. we loaded up the car (actually DAN loaded the car!) and headed to AZ with kamber and porter in tow. she spent christmas with her family in tucson. i was so nervous about such a long drive with two nursing babies and a toddler - but all 3 did wonderfully!

madison and grace wore their matching christmas dresses to church on sunday and they were so cute! i should start buying more matching outfits. the only picture we got was after church, of both of them in their tights. that night we attended the lebaron christmas/nativity party. ever had a grilled cheese sandwich with pepperjack cheese? LOVE IT! our girls were both sheep - madison wouldn't put the ears on and made dan wear them. it's always fun to get together at g & g lebaron's with all the aunts, uncles and cousins, even when it gets pretty crazy with that many people. (i never knew what i was missing until we moved close to dan's extended family - wish all mine was closer!)

for the real christmas eve we had a delicious dinner at the skinners and then made lots of cookies - chocolate crackle, ginger snaps, and the best sugar cookies ever. i even made homemade cinnamon rolls to start carrying on the ellsworth tradition for our little family. my-inlaws were so nice and agreed to go caroling to my grandparents, the ellsworths. i hadn't been caroling in forever - it was great! dan and his brother brett spent a couple hours putting together a kitchen for madison and then we went home to get some sleep before christmas day.

we videotaped madison's reaction when she saw her kitchen the next morning and she was sooo excited. her favorite part was the hand-me-down dishes my mother in-law gave us that are probably 15+ years old. thanks laura! she loves to set the table. next year will be even more fun because she will be anticipating christmas and know who santa is. the rest of the day was spent sleeping, eating, and playing games.

i love christmas time because i love the good music, the spirit of giving, all the time to spend with people you love, and the time to think about our Savior and all He has done for us. i am so grateful for everything i have!

christmas LAST year



i headed to utah with my family and my girls (i LOVE saying that!) after thanksgiving, and for having so many women, babies, and suitcases, on one of the busiest days of the year for flying, it was pretty uneventful. thank goodness! it was hard being in cedar to visit, with everything being so different but i am so glad i was able to be up there for those 3 weeks! it was girl power at the ellsworth house, with porter being the only testosterone until dan drove up the next week.

we played games, watched movies, ate good food, and lots of junk. the future holds a lot of change for us so it was great to be able to talk and talk and talk - about memories, heartache, and anxiousness and anticipation for whats ahead. i wish i lived closer so we could do that more often.

this was kind of funny: i tried to help my mom pick out some cattle. yes, cattle - to breed, and eventually she will have a little herd. :) tried is the key word. and my mom wanted to choose based on their looks. she likes pretty cows. so we ended leaving it up to pres. whittier. he knows what he's doing. what were we thinking?

dan and i took the girls up to provo because dan had an interview a U of U. (plus we had to show them where they will go to college one day. go BYU!!) we were able to see college roommates and remember the good ol' days. very nostalgic. it was great. of course we stopped at brick oven as well. a trip to provo would not be complete without one. i think about what i am going to order, for days before we go. i am serious, it is embarrassing. i worked there for too long apparently. thanks go out to kate and jordan and milo and mandee for hosting us.

we got together with a few high school friends and their spouses in cedar city as well. very last minute, but so fun - sorry to those of you we didn't see. i found out mario cart is just as fun on the wii as it used to be on an N64. and dan got to hear about some of the crazy stories from our high school days. good times, good food, good friends. thanks dallin and mckell!

what else? trip to st george, the cabin, pioneer pizza (the cow patties and cow pies are amazing), storybook festival parade, 5 buck pizza burning to the ground, and crazy amounts of snow... it was so fun!! i was sad to leave, but ready to get home after three weeks of living in a suitcase with a toddler and an infant. thank you mom, hannah and kamber for letting us interrupt your busy lives for that long.

this ended up much longer than a summary but oh well, it's part of our family history.

*we went on a walk and the neighbor's cat followed us the whole way. we could be in Homeward Bound #6 or whatever number they are on these days.
*hannah was getting ready for a date and tried on a beanie and madison wanted to wear the beanie from that moment on - see the top picture
*putting poinsettas on the graves after digging to find the markers
*one of the few pics of all four of us
*madison and the babies(can't get it to flip around for some reason)

My Favorite Store - Costco!!

we picked up various goods for the brunch after grace's baby blessing and madison had a blast (even though she doesn't look it. we are working on getting her to smile for the camera). why take her to a playground when costco does just fine?

Baby Blessings x 2

porter and grace were both blessed thanksgiving weekend, since my family was already here, and kamber's came up from tucson. porter was blessed on sat, november 28th by his great-grandfather ellsworth, since dallin and my dad weren't able to. it was a bittersweet night as we keenly felt the loss of not having them there, but i felt peace and reassurance, once again, that we will be with them again. my grandpa is 87 years old and most likely will not live long enough for porter to really know him. so i can't wait for a time down the road, when porter is curious, to be able to tell him about the three men who's legacy he is carrying on.

sunday morning we blessed grace
at our ward. i couldn't help but be proud of dan as he humbly carried her to the front of the chapel. i am grateful for his worthiness and for his willingness to do what is right in leading our family. i don't thank him enough. afterward we had a little brunch at our house and i finished packing things up for the girls and i to go back to utah with my family. (madison DID NOT want to get dressed for church as you can see. she stopped crying when she got her pacifyer but kept her dress on her head.)

thanksgiving weekend was only four days long but we got to see so many people and do so many things. i am truly amazed, even now, as i reflect on everything i have to be grateful for.

Thanks for Waiting

let's go back to november 2008. my mom and hannah down for thanksgiving. we had a wonderful meal hosted by my farnsworth granparents and i was in charge of bringing the pumpkin pies. i hadn't made one before but thanks to marie calendar pie crusts and my incredible cooking skills (dumping the canned pumpkin in with the rest of the stuff and stirring exceptionally well), they turned out wonderfully.

my birthday fell on thanksgiving day this year and i got exactly what i wanted, plus a few other great things. isn't it nice when that happens! i got photoshop - which i am so excited about. haven't used it yet but i am still excited. and the other thing was this picture.

we spent black friday with a lot of my parent's good friends. some live here in mesa, others came from tucson and utah. we met up at Bounce U and it was a blast, except for madison, who wanted to be held the whole time. i got trashed by dan while we were boxing (notice madison being held of course), but then took hannah out when it was my turn. it was so fun to see everyone and feel, once again, of the continued love and support. we are so blessed!


Our Day

you're about as shocked as i am that there is a new post on our blog. i've been quite the slacker. the amount of pictures i have taken and want to blog about is intimidating, plus all of our holiday festivities. so instead of playing catch up (that might happen tomorrow), here was our day, today.

my girls slept in
which called for a late breakfast
then a snuggling session
interrupted by a knock at the door
from a much needed visitor
some chatting, a trip to the 'farm', and a shower (for me) later,
it was Rosa's Taqueria for lunch
and an ice cream sandwich for dessert (pictured below)

we headed home for a nap
a cute movie for me
wrote my missionary-chris
more snuggling (w/ grace)
and madison woke up with this

next on our list:

we miss you dan/dad-
good luck in missouri!!