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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!



az passed a new immigration bill recently and there's been some drama.
{i could give you my opinion, but that's beside the point.}
apparently the US consulate in nogales issued a travel warning, today, for those heading to rocky point.
{thank you for the heads up lindsay!!}

which is where we are right now!!

something about fake police checkpoints.
read about it here.

luckily, we were already planning on driving home during the morning hours, later this week.
and we don't foresee having any problems.

 *fingers crossed*

wish us luck!


300th Post

 {6:30 am this morning - puerto penasco, mexico}

we made it safely to mexico.
and it's good to be here.
we're taking advantage of every minute since it'll be three long years before we come back.

church was in spanish, but good nonetheless.
now it's time for quesadillas,
and games.

we're enjoying ourselves.
and chris.

**300 posts... does that mean i can call myself a blogger?


Almost Home

{ elder ellsworth, hard at work}

my mom and mark are in japan right now with elder ellsworth. i'm a little jealous but since i don't know how to eat with chopsticks and can't handle seafood so it's probably for the best.  in four days he'll be here in az - to meet his niece and nephew for the first time, grace and porter. i hope chris will be able to see some of dallin in porter, when his face lights up and he cracks that big smile.  and i hope porter will grow to see some of dallin and my dad, in chris.  

we've felt the blessings of having a full time missionary in the family for the past two years. it will be hard to go without. they are real. i have witnessed them.

i'll miss madison praying for him in "pajan" though i guess it's about time we teach her the right way to say it {i thought it was too cute to correct her this whole time}.  i'll miss the weekly letters where i'd tell chris the funny things the girls did and what dan and i were trying to accomplish. i'll miss the stories, the experiences, and the investigators. his insight came at much needed times, and his perspective, well beyond his years, buoyed me up.

elder ellsworth is that one who said "our souls have an endless capacity to love". what great timing he had- in a period of hard transitions, that statement made perfect and complete sense and brought me peaceful acceptance.

 to say i'm nervous for him to come home would be quite an understatement. he's returning to everything so completely different than when he left.  the same family, but some are gone and some are new. even macy is different and limps quite badly. but it will all work out.

i'm going to worry about chris. i'm his big sister so its my job. but even though this is going to be a huge transition for him, in more ways than even i can imagine, he'll do it. and i'm excited to be on the sideline cheering him on. learning from him - from his perspective and attitude and willingness to press on.

mostly, i'm just excited to have one of my brothers back. close to home. safe and sound.  the next chapter in our new normal. 


Easter 2010

 {easter morning at g&g skinner's}

i know we're out of order,
but it feels like easter was just last week.
time is flying these days.

{mesa easter pageant}

{tired-eyed girls on easter morning}

{decorating eggs between general conference sessions - love grace's little hand trying to sneak an egg}

{easter egg hunt at g&g lebaron's- grace loved squeezing them till they broke}

{madison counting her eggs to make sure she still had them all.}



we all need a little more sleep around here.


Hidden Pictures

today i deleted all my half drafted posts that i've been meaning to finish one day. i feel so much better!  most were stories i never finished, feelings i decided not to publish on the world wide web, or posts just waiting for pictures to be added.  this one just had pictures and it whisked me back to last spring in cedar city.  it was a hard but healing time, filled with lots of fun and good reasons for celebrating. so i'm posting. even if it's 11 1/2 months outdated. i can't believe how much porter and grace have grown!!



{august 2003 - taken by StudioWest}

have i mentioned how excited i am for elder ellsworth to come home, next week

there's just nothing quite like family.


Swimming Season

it has begun.

madison just started week three of swimming lessons today. {she goes to the same teacher who taught dan swimming lessons when he was young - jennifer hall. she also catered our wedding reception }. after getting past her nervous first day, madison has done really well. i've been amazed at her willingness to do everything they're teaching her.

there ARE kind of heart-topping moments though where she's kicking her little legs as fast as they'll go and still can't quite reach the edge of the pool and i wonder how she has any air left. kind of like this...

but every time, she pops up{sometimes with a little nudge from her teacher}, proud of herself and willing to do it again. she's even jumped off the diving board a couple times.

swimming lessons are making madison starving though, which is kind of funny.  she's asking for food constantly and when we tell her, "ok, that's enough food for now," she responds with, "but mom, i'm just a hungry girl!"

we can't wait till it warms up a little bit more so we can get some sun and serious swimming time squeezed in before moving next month!


Mom's Day

mother's day was wonderful.
breakfast made by dan {whole grain pancakes- yum}.
sweet cards, doodled on by two little girls.
lots of hugs and kisses and twenty 'happy mother's day's' from madison.
and oriental lilies that make my house smell incredible.

great church meetings - with some chocolate thrown in.
a rousing game of monopoly deal during naptime - my new favorite game.
delicious dinner with the skinners {thank you lindsay!}.
chocolate covered strawberries delivered to all the grandmas.
and phone calls with two brothers on missions.
it was good.

i am grateful for motherhood.

for the divine role i know i am filling.
i love being a mom.

to all the woman in my life who have influenced me - THANK YOU!
i am blessed to have grandmothers, aunts, and inlaws,
who are incredible examples to me and that i love so much.

to my mom especially-
you taught me what was important.
to look for gospel principles in every experience.
you have taught me perspective, and how to persevere,
and to enjoy life despite our trials, not just endure it.
you taught me the importance of being a mother - the sacredness of that calling.
i am, who i am, because of you {and dad}.

i wish more than just one of the four of us had been with you today.
but we will see you soon.

i love you mom.


Growing Up, Literally

{disneyland with grandma skinner - march 2010}

18 months old.
28th percentile for weight.
and 97th percentile for height {up from 88th three months ago}.

we've got a long and lean one on our hands!
{madison and grace are a mere 3 inches apart.}

this little toddler is a busy, stubborn, independent, but affectionate little girl.
she loves to be outside, color, play play-do, blow bubbles, and read books.
her favorite word is a toss up between kitty, tractor, and no.
she has to do everything her sister does.
her ability to communicate surprises us on a daily basis.
and she loves, loves, loves her grandparents.

where, oh where did my baby go?


Seriously, So Blessed

i was quite the blog stalker back in the day and when i saw the button advertising the blog, seriously, so blessed,  i decided to check it out. that was a couple years ago. it was kind of funny, though i didn't get most of the humor - i was new to the whole blogging thing and it was over my head.

but yesterday i stumbled upon this post and had a good laugh.

{even though the blog mocks everything i write about.}


What She Says

me: "make sure you put your gum in the grabage when you're done. don't swallow it!"
madison: "i chew it. then swallow it. it's gum, mom. thats how it goes."

madison: "NO, grace doesn't want to get down!" {from breakfast}
me: "why not?"
madison: "i don't know. she's not done eating she breakfast." {used to get her pronouns mixed up}
me: "well it looks like she's done. i think she's ready to get down."
madison: "i don't THINK so, mom!"
{she didn't want grace to come touch her my little ponies}

{waiting for me to peel her orange}
madison: "lets share turns. i'm waiting so patiently."

me: "madi - lets find your other shoe so we can go!"
madison: "mom, my prince will find it!!!"

{i just explained that macy, my parent's dog, was hit by a car}
madison: "but if someone runs ME over, there would be no more madison."
me: "noone is going to run you over. i won't let them."
madison: "what if they don't see me?"
{we had this conversation many, many times}

madison: "can you put my string cheese back together?"
me: "i can't, i'm sorry. once it's broken you just have to eat it like that."
madison: "but mom, i LOVE it back on!"

madison: "landon, you know why my owie hurts?"
landon {her second cousin}: "no"
madison: "i was running too fast."
landon: {laughs}
madison: "IT'S NOT FUNNY!"

 madison: {praying}: "thank you for jesus. and thank you for snow white."

me: "i love you to the moon and back!" {in reference to the book 'how much i love you'}
madison: "mom! i'm not a cow!!"
{she confused it with 'goodnight moon', in which the cow jumps over the moon}

madison: "i want little birds to help me with MY blanket."
{we were driving somewhere in the car and it took me a few minutes to figure rhis one out since it was so random. she meant like the little birds help cinderella make her bed at the beginning of the movie}

***i've kept a piece of paper in the kitchen so i could try and keep track of the funny things madison says every so often. these are just a sample of what i recorded. most recently, was this...

me: "madison, can you say tyrannosaurus rex?"
madison: {without hesitation} "maybe when i'm a mom."

life with a three old that loves to talk, never gets boring!!


My Dream Car

i was in tears today. over a car.
seriously? yep.
it surprised me too.
totally caught me off guard.
that happens sometimes.

10 1/2 years is a long time.
it was the first brand new car my parents ever purchased.
only 15 miles on the odometer when my dad drove it off the lot.
i remember smelling the new leather.
it looked magnificent and felt luxurious.

it made me proud of my parents - all their hard work to get through school while raising a family.
now being rewarded for their efforts.
my dad bought my mom the car she'd always wanted.

several years ago it broke down just this side of the mexico border.
dan and i rescued my family with a different car and the suburban became an arizona resident from that point on.
we unofficially inherited it as our second vehicle and it served as a shuttle to and from mexico for my parents and their occasional entourage.

i loved it.
the size, the power, and the cargo space.
i love what it represented - hard work, sacrifice, dreams, and family.

in time, we officially inherited the suburban.
it was our very own car.
and it felt like i was already living the dream.

but with old cars, come repairs.
with repairs comes uncertainty.
and uncertainty, when you're trying to get through school on a budget, creates worry and stress.
worry and stress when you need to drive across the country leads to...

long story short, {or not so short,} we sold it today.
the suburban.
we decided to cut our losses and go with reliability.
it was a good decision. the right one.
and i am excited to get a "new to us" vehicle in the near future.

thats why when my emotions flared up out of control as the suburban backed out of the driveway, driven away by someone else, and i was explaining to madison how it wouldn't be "out turn to drive it next" like she was thinking, i was surprised.
surprised at how much that car {or probably just the memories surrounding it} meant to me.
who knew you could be so sentimental about a vehicle?

thankfully i get to keep all the memories, AND get a different, newer, and more reliable car.
the best of both worlds.
and i have a good feeling i'll be driving one of these again someday.
like mother, like daughter.


Our Blustery Sabbath Day

{still recovering from a month of only night shifts}

our day thus far:
kamber and porter attended our ward
the three cousins all went to nursery together
gracie, exhuasted from her second day of nursery, fell asleep without eating lunch
madi and i took a walk to a neighbor's  house
i held her hand so she "wouldn't blow away like piglet" in winnie the pooh. her words. loved it.
wrote elder ellsworth {he'll be home at the end of the month!!}

yet to come:
trip to lindsay's  - see her cute house and eat a yummy dinner
make the rounds to visit family
weigh in for biggest loser :(
to bed early

{my helper as we wrote chris - smile for the camera}


Speaking of Faces

can i say, hilarious!?!

this is madison, about 10 months old, making "the face".
it started at four months and it was a classic.
the first time she pulled it was at my grandma ellsworth's house.
i thought my dad was going to cry because he was laughing so hard.

a big thanks to aunt elise who captured it 2 1/2 years ago on her camera phone and sent it to me today.