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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Breaking News

"International cancer experts have moved tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category, deeming both to be as deadly as arsenic and mustard gas."

"...the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30."

"Previous studies found younger people who regularly use tanning beds are eight times more likely to get melanoma than people who have never used them."

dang it. i don't think i ever used them regularly.... but i should have listened to my dad!

right now he'd be saying, "i told you so!"

for the full article, go here.

and for yet another backdated blog post, this time about our 4th of july, click here


Grandpa Owie

some of our grandpa's ('great' to madison) have had a rough couple of months.

grandpa lebaron: has diabetes, had an infection on his foot, needed surgery to clean it up, it got worse, needed his toe amputated, his blood sugar went crazy, was hospitalized, is now home and doing better, but has to watch his diet carefully to keep his diabetes in check.

grandpa ellsworth: had dental work done that didn't heal, had it checked, was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the jaw, had surgery to take out part of his jaw and reinforce it with a metal plate, and was healing well until he ate something and the remaining part of his jaw fractured, and had to go back into surgery to have a bigger plate put in and his lymph nodes removed.

both grandpas are doing much better now and we've been SO grateful to live close enough to stop by and check to see how they're doing. for awhile, every time we told madison we were going to grandma's house she'd say, "Bapa, owie," in a very sad, and concerned voice. hopefully that is in the past and our grandpas will continue to get better and be healthy!.that's a lot to ask for when it comes to old age but we enjoy having them around too much to be ready for anything else to happen right now!

{grandpa ellsworth was supposed to gain weight before his surgery so we took dinner over and had pumpkin pie for dessert. yum. i had two good helpers: madison and elmo}


The Great Outdoors

a couple days after we returned from heber, we headed back near there to go camping with the skinners and huishs (dan's aunt and uncle and family). dan started working so he could only come for the last night but i went up a day earlier and his family helped me SO MUCH with the girls. i don't know if it was brave and or just crazy for me to try camping for the first time with kids, without dan! it was a lot of work and not a lot of sleep, but so much fun. plus it was my kind of camping - a toilet, (even though it was basically a seat on top of a big pit of you-know-what but still WAY better than squatting), a shower tent with warm water (AWESOME), and the 'kitchen', pictured below, plus a 20 foot EZ-UP among a bunch of other stuff.

i like nature but i sure do like my modern conveniences as well!

gracie in grandpa's hat

making homemade ice cream by hand (madison is holding it). how? combine ice cream ingredients in a ziplock bag (one servings worth), inserted into a bigger ziplock bag with ice and rock salt, wrapped in layers of newspaper and taped shut, and then shake it until it's hard.
so easy, so fun.

madison and brayden were buddies the whole weekend and he taught her some new tricks. madison, who hates getting dirty, was running around the campsite bare foot by the time we left, covered in dirt.

we walked to the fish hatchery nearby and saw all different sizes of fish scheduled to be released at all different times in the future. you can barely see it but there was a little electric wire running across the top on the concrete - i was SO nervous about madison getting close!

steve wouldn't hold brett's hand for some reason....

grace was SO tired and fell asleep drinking the water bottle

on the way home from the hatchery we stopped at the creek, where the road crosses it, and got our feet wet. it was FREEZING but didn't even phase madison. she ran back and forth, splashing, kicking, and laughing.

brett trying to blend in while we played a game of bad mitten.

the top of a nearby hill - madison was helping grace be 'king of the world'. or queen i guess.

napping with grandma and grandpa.

we had fun.
looking back, i could do it again.
that is, if the toilet and shower were included.


Weekend Getaway - Heber, AZ

right before dan started his internship we decided to get out of the heat and take a quick trip. we stayed in heber at a little cabin that my in-laws own that gets rented out by the night. it was the perfect thing for us: with a loft upstairs for madison (i was so nervous that she'd fall down the stairs in the middle of the night, trying to get to our bed, but she slept up there all by herself!), a fully stocked kitchen, a BBQ and a deck with a hot tub, we loved every minute! we rented movies, went to the park, got ice cream from a little parlor across the street, and had BBQ, and went hot tubbing.

do you remember these awesome carousels that used to be at playgrounds? i loved them when i was little but it made me dizzy just watching madison ride on it.

this is what grace got to eat while we had our ice cream

i love a good grilled hot dog!
madison was not too happy to be photographed though.

it was a fun relaxing weekend and the perfect family outing for the four of us.


our bedroom set of furniture was given to us by my parents when we got married - it's the same pieces of furniture i had in my room at home during high school. they have served us well and are sturdy enough to last forever. but i was ready for a change so we tossed around the idea of refinishing the set and dan took it on as his project. he loaded everything, took them to his parent's house, sanded them down, painted them, and brought everything back (a bed, dresser, nightstand, and desk - which is in the girl's room as a changing table). it took him less than four days and everything turned out beautifully. i feel like we got a whole new set of furniture and i love walking into our room!
check it out:





the final result:

i love it! i love it! i love it!


11 months

i've thought long and hard today, trying to decide what to write about and couldn't think of anything specific. so here are some random thoughts:

i can't seem to get enough of utah. i've spent 11 weeks out of the last 11 months there. kind of a lot! i don't like going home without knowing when my next trip will be, and leaving always makes me feel homesick - maybe because 'life goes on' in AZ and sometimes thats hard when you feel like your world has changed. but my home is in AZ

as it gets closer to the one year mark, i can remember things we were doing then and conversations we had. like how excited Dallin was to be a dad and telling me how he was going to sand and stain a dresser to go in their nursery. he finished the dresser, 2 days before the crash; its beautiful. it is in Porter's room at my mom's house.

i'm worried about forgetting things, like their voices and little mannerisms, or the way they walked and carried themselves. like Dallin reaching his arms above his head, trying to stretch and compact his stomach to make room for the rest of the food he had ambitiously piled on his plate. or the way they phrased things, like my dad, when he was rounding us up for family prayer, "let's say prayers!" i don't want to let go of those little things, as silly as that may seem.

i'm desperate to get to cedar for sat, august 22. i'm not sure why - there is nothing big going on but i just feel a need to be there. partly for me, partly for my family? i want to plan the day around my dad and brother, favorite foods, restaurants, activities, places... everything to celebrate and remember them. i want to go to the cemetery. and just sit and think. i really hope i can make it up there.

sometimes i wonder, because we are doing 'well' and have continued to live our lives and move forward, if people assume we have finished grieving. we haven't. i think we will always grieve. maybe not as frequently, but always as deep. and thats ok; it's because we love them so much. there has been healing and will continue to be, but there is room for both.

lastly, i was struck by these words in a way i hadn't been before as i sang to madison tonight before bed:

"I am a child of God;
Rich blessings are in store.
If I but learn to so His will,
I'll live with Him once more.

Lead me, guide me,
Walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do,
To live with Him someday. "

i am blessed.

despite what has happened to our family, i have much to be grateful for. i have been led and guided throughout my life by 'parents kind and dear' and will always cherish that. since the crash, i have continued to be led and guided and supported, through my family, the Spirit, continual tender mercies, the love and prayers of others, and my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. i need to 'learn to do His will'. if so, then i can look forward to multiple great reunions that day.


A Hard Day of Work and a Hard Day of Play

{time - 6:00 pm}

and what you can't see is the big pile of books they read together
before drifting off to sleep



*i love that madison and grace look so different - light and dark.
*i love when madison says "gacie" in her little voice.
*and how grace watches everything madison does with fascination.
*i love walking into a room to find madison giving grace a blowfish on her tummy, hearing grace giggle like crazy, and madison giggle right back.
*i love when madison scoots behind grace, wraps her arms around her and yells, "mom, pictures!" (practically the only time she smiles at the camera willingly is when she's next to grace)
*i love when madison makes grace give her a high five
*i love that they both tolerate and even enjoy being mauled at times by each other.

*i could go on forever, but most of all,
i love having two little girls who love each other so much.

{no, madison wasn't blinking. when we ask her to smile bigger she squints her eyes tighter. and yes, sometimes she is smiling SO big, her eyes are all the way shut.}


If You Haven't Smelled The Desert

...right before it rains -


today was a little of this and that:

golfing with the elders quorum
moving stephanie and robert into their house
date night for us
dinner at pf changs thanks to a graduation present from g&g farnsworth
quick game of skipbo at the skinners on the way home
2 cute girls to come home to
and to top it off, a storm seemed to be blowing in.

we have yet to see any rain but that smell... it gets me every time. i love it. almost enough to make up being 115 degrees today.

i love monsoon season!


Me Sad. Brett Mission.

dan's youngest brother brett left 2 1/2 weeks ago for the MTC in Brazil. he and madison are really close. this picture was taken the night of his 'farewell' and it was too cute because they were both pretending to be asleep. you can tell who the better actor was!

i was nervous for brett to leave because i wasn't sure what madison's reaction would be. we kept telling her brett was going on a mission like uncle chris, he'd be gone for a long time, but he'd come back. then every time we mentioned brett's mission she'd say, "brett. back!" {tug on the heart strings} if only she knew how long 2 years was! my mother and father in-law dropped brett off at the airport, to fly straight to Brazil but we went to to say our good byes before they left that morning.

grace will be older than madison is right now, when he gets home. crazy!

as we left the skinners house, just after they left for the airport, madison started saying, "brett stay with me," over and over. oh how i wished she could understand! sometimes we'll say "who are we going to see at grandma's house?" and she'll say "BRETT!" and then we have to remind her he's in brazil on a mission. and every so often she says, "me sad. brett mission." i makes me sad to think that she misses him but don't we all. she's done pretty well though.

we are so proud of brett and his choice to serve a mission. he was prepared and so ready to go; his excitement was visible. we've already heard from him twice and he sounds great, already fulfilling the roles he was called to. i am grateful for him and especially the role he has played in madison's and grace's lives. they are lucky to have him as their uncle!