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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!


I Have the Best Job Ever

a snapshot of our day:

-the girls and i slept in and then laughed and snuggled under the covers for an extra 1/2 hour
-a little playing of playdoh for the girls while i did some pre-breakfast vaccuuming
-my choc/banana slim fast shake gave grace a milk mustache
-we finished breakfast with a starburst
-grace was ecstatic to open her green wrapper and find a green starburst
-she couldn't believe it
-wiped off sticky fingers
-some of us got dressed and some didn't
-grace walked out of the girls room wearing madi's jammies as a toga
-i cleaned to carrie underwood
-madison played my little ponies, in her underwear, on the coffee table, while i made lunch
-grace played on the slide in the backyard with sadie, still wearing her toga
-i cleared off lunch while listening to silly noises and out of control giggling as the girls made faces at each other
-nap time meant grace traded her toga for her owl jammy bottoms and madison tucked her all princesses underneath her pillow
-now i am off to scrub the bathroom, finish the laundry, and mop the kitchen until the girls wake up and the fun starts over

*i really do have the best job ever. no joke.


Cheap Labor At Its Best

our old place.
{trying to keep things modest}


The Latest

{this picture has nothing to do with the post, i just love that sadie looks like she's thinking, "get me outta here!".}

i'm in a bit of a blogging slump lately. i have so many things to write about, document, catch up on and post pictures of but i'm finding there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything i need or want to do. something's got to give.  so i am releasing myself of any and all pressure. :) i won't post about each trip we take, every funny thing the girls do, all the cute pictures, or the numerous projects i hope to complete (not that i documented all of it before).  there's just too many good things going on to spend much of it blogging.  for now, here is a quick update:

DAN - is two months into his residency program and excited to finally be doing derm.  he's learning a lot and really likes it. the program is very family friendly and the girls have had a couple opportunities already to see dad "be a doctor" at work and they especially like the sparkly elmo stickers at the clinic. he's been pretty busy with the house - things to buy and fix here and there and did way more than his share of unpacking and in record time.  dan's diligent about mowing and keeping up with our big yard and it looks great (except for some sort of rodent that keeps digging piles of dirt and leaving trails).  he was called last month to serve as executive secretary and those responsibilities keep him occupied for much of sunday but it's been a great chance to get to know the Bishopric and jump right in.he recently went garage sale hunting with the whole family and scored some great finds.

MARIE - is loving columbia but not the humidity. she's met some great friends already and is looking forward to starting joy school with them and their 3 year olds next week. she was called to work with the YW in the ward (miamaid advisor) after being in MO for 5 days. soon after that she spoke in sacrament meeting and is glad that's behind her. :) she's finally realized, after getting a puppy, that she is definitely a cat person.  she enjoyed feeding the missionaries for the first time ever and hopes to make it a regular occurance.  it seems much of her 'spare' time is spent scouring online ads, craigslist, and consumer reports about all the various things to buy for the house on meager budget. oh, and she got a new oven this week so her next goal is to master making homemade bread 

MADISON - is as full of personality as ever.  she talks ALL the time and keeps us laughing with her stories and facial expressions.  we took the girls to an antique store a few weeks back and every two steps she'd stop and say,"oh, isn't this cool?" , "is this so pretty, mom?", "dad, do you love this one?". she still loves movies but her favorite thing is coloring and tracing. she could spend hours doing if we let her and i'm impressed by how well she stays in the lines.  she is a good helper in the kitchen and her favorite things to make are homemade pizza and tacos, and she recently helped make nutella banana wontons. yum!  madison is a great big sister and is (normally) great at including grace in whatever she's doing.  she loves sadie and calls her sadie lady nash, affectionately after the skinner's dog, nash.  she enjoys skyping with family far away and has actually taken the move quite well.  she gets to be a flower girl for kamber and shane's wedding this fall and starts joy school on tuesday and dance in a few weeks. she is growing up so fast.

GRACE - oh my, this little girl. she is full of movement and energy and opinions.  she has sensitive feelings and tends to obey quickly with just a mention of timeout.  she is as talkative as ever and very polite - saying thank you, please, and excuse me.  her hair gets comments daily and i've tried to tame it with pomade recently which works for about an hour.  she tackles sadie, giggling like crazy. the girls love singing primary songs after turning out the light at night but we limit it to a couple.  one night grace kept asking for another song as i left the room and i was part way down the hall when i heard madison ask her. "do you want ME to sing you a song?". "uh huh!" grace said.  madison sang her three different songs (i am a child of God, families can be together forever, and i love to see the temple). SO SWEET!  i can't believe grace is going to be two this fall - what happened to my baby?

THE ANIMALS - the cats still scratch and throw up and the puppy still isn't completely house broken. it's about as fun as it sounds. :) both are getting acclimated to the other. socks and lucy have learned that sadie's barking means she just wants to run around and chase them. sadie has found that being swatted by a cat is worth the all the excitement. mostly we're (I'M) just anxious to put a fence in the backyard because chasing sadie down the neighborhood, zig zagging across the street trying to catch her, while in my pjs, with my two girls standing in the driveway, wearing only their underwear, is overrated.

HOUSE - in all it's old, musty glory - we love it.  we love thinking about what we'd like to do next and what we'd do if money were no object.   we painted the upstairs living room/entry way/hall last weekend and LOVE having the sunshine yellow restricted to just the kitchen. before and after pictures to come in the near future. putting a fence in the backyard is our next big project. we found the house is indeed leak proof after getting 9 inches of rain in a 24 hour period back in june.  we were told if it didn't leak then, it won't ever. (fingers crossed!)  our AC was out for 5 days but it's been cleaned and up and running and we hope things go smoothly from here on out.

so much for a quick update! :)

Utah Trip - April 2010

here is my meager attempt at catchup.
few words, many pictures.

we made a quick weekend trip to cedar to see hannah between her college semesters. (thank you skinners for letting us borrow the tahoe!) four wheeling was the highlight of the trip.  we headed out to my parent's land in new harmony and soaked in the sun despite the chilly wind. 

my girls LOVE four wheeling.  
almost as much as i do.

dan had quite the encounter with mark's big new motorcycle but mastered it after a few tries and a gash to the shin.  
he has the scar to prove it.

not pictured: macy on the back of the four wheeler. 
since she can't run behind them anymore, riding on the back is the next best thing. 
it was awesome.

hannah and kolob.

best buds.

hours spent playing with noah's ark, the same toy we have at home that nevers gets touched. 
everything is better and grandma's house i guess. :)

macy's poor feet.  
here is her walking cast made of pvc pipe.

madison chose the color of her dressings.

macy and her new alpha male. lol. she loves him. and don't tell mark i told you this but i may have seen him carry macy to the bedroom when she was too sore and tired to walk herself. as in, scooped her up and carried her like a baby.

it was a quick, wonderful trip.


Two Years is a Long Time

a lot has happened in the two years they've been gone.

these two were born.

they married.

which means my kids have one more grandpa.

porter gets this guy (said affectionately)  as a dad - after the wedding next month.

first anniversary.

our "first" memorial day.

and our second.

not pictured: birthdays, macy's accident, a move to AZ, a college freshman, a move to MO, a first home, match day, a miscarriage, new callings, graduations, and an elder's safe return - plus all the small things in between.  there have been really, really hard times; that can't be put into words. i think that unless you've lost someone, you can't fully understand how it feels or what it's like. 

i miss their voices, mannerisms, and smiles. i miss them because they lived and loved to serve, both in the church and out, and i want to be more like that.  they valued family and the gospel.  though not perfect, they were continually progressing and trying to do better. to be better.  they loved everyone and looked for the good in people. 

i miss them because i love them.
and i love them more, because i miss them.

despite all the heartache, i am full of joy. (interesting to find both of those words in the same sentence, but it's true.)  i have learned so much.  my testimony, of the plan of salvation, the importance of families, and of my Savior, has grown leaps and bounds. thankfully, i feel stronger because of this. i'm still not grateful for this trial (will i ever be?) but i am grateful for what i have felt and realized and learned.

what matters-
my family
my testimony
my relationship with the Savior
and Heavenly Father
that i obey the commandments
that i am happy
(come what may and love it, right?)
 trusting in the Lord means accepting His will and His timing 

{siblings on cedar mountian- memorial day weekend/chris's homecoming}

 so much has changed. 
so much is different. 
it's been a long and eventful two years.

  but even as much as it hurts not having dallin in this picture with us, it makes me smile because it shows we are happy. life keeps going and we don't want to be left behind. there is so much to enjoy. so much to be happy about. and so much to celebrate.  

life is good. 
and that's all.


A Must

i'm LOVING this wreath. 
is it just me or is it super cute?


two cow licks in back, one in the front, plus humidity - 
that combo makes quite the hairdo.

**post edit - {fyi} this is grace's 24/7 do, not a bad hair day. 
but we love it and think it matches her personality perfectly.


If I Could Be Anywhere

i would be doing this-
four wheeling in new harmony, utah. 
with family. 
madison hanging on for dear life because she likes me to drive "fast". 
and grace sneakily reaching for the gas. 
not only does she reach, but she pushes. 
and then i'm the one hanging on as she guns it forward.
good times.

the view of kolob, on the edge of zions national park (april 2010).
and look at what grace is doing.
i told you she was sneaky.


There Was This One Time...

...when i had the {not so} brilliant idea to take madison with me to the cemetery and talk to her about 'things'. it kind of backfired. as in, i had to use bribery with a sucker to even get her out of the car. and she wanted to run around everyone's headstones to play tag. i don't know what i had in mind or what i thought i'd say. i don't know what i expected her to do or why i even thought she was ready for something like that in the first place.  it just didn't go as planned.

so i let my expectations go.

what we did end up doing was laugh, smile, and be happy. plus take pictures. 
i told madison it was a special place.  that was simple and enough. i could tell she felt it.

then i let her run {around all the headstones}, because i was IT, back to the car as she finished her sucker.

**happened during a quick trip to utah last april



madison took a little tumbling class in mesa this spring and loved it. but it didn't start out that way. at the end of the class on the first day, she scooted off my lap and would barely touch the edge of the mat with her toes. i wasn't about to pay money for her to sit and watch the other kids so i decided to give her until the end of the month to warm up and then we'd reevaluate.  turns out all we had to do was teach her how to play duck, duck, goose!  {they played it at the end of the first class and so we went to grandma skinner's house after and she learned it.} madison was SO excited to go back the next week, wearing her leotard and leggings, to play duck, duck, goose.  it was pretty cute and funny to see all these 3 and 4 year olds trying to figure out how to follow instructions and move their bodies as the teachers were showing them.

madison really concentrated and did very well, despite being one of the youngest in the class.  she loved it. today i signed her up for a beginning class at a local dance academy here in MO,  for the "fall semester".  it all sounds so official but i'm excited to see madison have fun and progress if she wants to stick with it.  (even though i never got into dance myself and can't wait till she can start soccer. :)  i can't believe how big she is getting.

{mmnastics - as madison would say}


Engagement Pics

want to see something that will make you happy?
check out these pictures of kamber, shane, and porter.
i smiled.
and i cried.
i really love them - the people and the pictures.


Disneyland Day 3

our last day in disneyland. 
the girls devoured these tigger tails.

attacking aunt lindsay with their bubble gun souvenirs from grandma and grandpa.

madison riding the roller coaster with dad, one last time. 
{far left}

one last group shot on our way out.

do the girls look worn out or what?

misc day 3:
*funnel cake
*madison being 'measured' for the ride she's already been on 10 times {had to be there}
*really tired and sore feet
*thunder mountain railroad malfunction
*grandpa skinner had a sore back and was quite the trooper!
*great priced hotel within walking distance
* five adults to two kids is the perfect ratio

it was a wonderful trip! we had great weather, short wait times, and got to see and ride everything we wanted to.  we put in 30+ hours at disneyland in 2 1/2 days.  thank you dan/laura/linsday for coming with us - it wouldn't have been the same without you. 

it was the perfect trip and worth every penny.

***congrats to anyone who didn't go on the trip and actually made it through all 3 posts of pictures.  :)

Disneyland Day 2

more carouseling.
and madison chose everyone's horses.

toon town - minnie and mickey.
grace wasn't a fan.

winnie the pooh ride with grandma and grandpa while waiting for us to ride splash mountain.

lunch in ariel's grotto and this was the dessert plate.  everything was edible, down to the white chocolate conch shell. {i am SO my mother's daughter - taking pictures of the food.}  the princesses wandered around and mingled with the kids at each table.  madison was in heaven. 

madison's absolute most favorite ride of the whole trip. 
she rode it over and over and over. 

misc for day two:
*a 10-12 hour day {it's been too long for me to remember much else. the day's ran together.}
*delicious dinner at Fire & Ice
*lindsay's phone was lost and then found/returned
*grace loved the carousel and madison loved the roller coaster
*{pics from the princess lunch to be added later}

stay tuned for day 3...