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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Wondering How the Wedding Went?

we are back in mesa enjoying some heat and lots of family.
blogging won't be priority (is it ever?) till we return to missouri.
in the meantime go here to see pictures of the happy couple.

**alexa, you are an incredible photographer!



i don't know if this blog has been as boring to read lately as it has been to write but i need to get out of this funk.  something about "catching up" just ruins it for me. so here is a little post of spontaneity before we go on a big trip to AZ and UT tomorrow.

-my gracie girl looked pretty adorable picking raspberries, if i do say so myself.

-6:45 am found dan and i sitting on our back stoop cutting off a clump of poo stuck in the hair on sadie's behind. I AM SO NOT A DOG PERSON!!! i just had to get that off my chest.

-i love red vines, and starburts, and pretzal m&m's which is a problem since i had a bunch leftover from our yw's fall camp last weekend. note the word had.  they disappeared quickly.

-our $300 bill to fix our AC this morning puts a damper on things since we're trying to save up for new carpet.

-i found a beautiful piano at a garage sale a few weeks ago.  it was orange and i loved it but didn't buy it. we're saving up for new carpet, remember?

-i'm not very happy with mr. stork because he is taking way too long in my opinion.

-i went camping this weekend and participated in a high ropes adventure coarse and it was awesome.

-i can't wait to see what happens to grace's hair when we leave MO for the next 12 days.  will it lay flat? thats the million dollar question.

-i bought a $1 black witches hat at target. grace wears it around the house saying "glinda" and "witch songs".  the wicked soundtrack is the girls choice of music these days.  i train them well.

-and last but not least, i am SO bummed (and that doesn't even begin to describe it) that dan won't be at kamber and shane's wedding this weekend. he's going to miss madison walking through the meadow, in her beautiful red dress, dropping rose petals down the aisle as a flower girl.  kind of a once in a lifetime thing. but thats what pictures are for, right? i'll have to take a few.

thats all for now.  tomorrow we are flying west. AZ and UT, here we come.


The Drive

two cars. two kids. two cats. two helpers. two walkie talkies.
three days.

stopped for dinner just outside denver.

no explanation needed.

windmills! i thought it was just a california thing.
I-70 for hours and hours of flat farming and then rolling hills.

quick stop on the way to drop our help off at the airport.

saying goodbye to uncle chris.

day one: mesa to cedar.
day two: cedar to denver
day three: denver to columbia
= a lot of driving.

we ate too many pretzel m&ms, jammed to fun music, enjoyed good company, opened surprise bags from grandma, stayed with friends in denver, received a toll booth ticket, ate too much fast food and made good time.  thankfully the drive was largely uneventful. hannah and chris - we owe you big time.  thank you!!!

Moving and Goodbyes

we moved out of our apartment three months ago. (has it been that long already?)  i totally underestimated the amount of time it would take to pack. after stacking this pile of boxes in the hall i thought we were doing pretty good but it was only the beginning. thankfully we had plenty of help watching the girls so we could get stuff done and lindsay (dan's sister) came and packed up my dishes. they are my least favorite thing to pack so i was VERY grateful. and not a single one broke!

can i just tell you how hard dan worked? it was insane. he never stopped. it was SO hot - az in the middle of the summer - and we had so much stuff but he just kept going. incredible. that's what he is. anyway...we decided to use ABF, a moving company that drops off a trailer and lets you load and secure it. then they drive it across the country for you. well, they charge per linear foot and we ended up taking much more space than we anticipated. dan spent 8 hours (into the middle of the night) unpacking a portion of the trailer, taking apart everything that could come apart, and repacking it all to save some money. he did an awesome job.

friends from our ward helped pack the truck one evening (our stuff took up 19 feet in that big ol' truck!) and more friends watched the girls later that week while dan and i cleaned. all too soon we were moved out and saying farewell to our little apartment in lehi.

our view out the living room window will be dearly missed. our neighbors walking across the pasture to milk our landlord's cow, annabelle. the irrigation and all the birds and ducks that came with it. the ancient red tractor being used on some home improvement project.  so many memories. 

i was a little emotional when i looked at the girls' empty room - so many precious hours spent nursing, rocking, reading, and playing in that room with both of my little girls.

one last look down lockwood st. oh how we loved this quiet, rural "suburb" of mesa.  we had dear neighbors and friends and felt so loved and taken care of as we started rasing our girls here. it truly felt like home and one day we might end up back there. 

for me, the hardest part of this move was saying good bye to these two because i wasn't sure if/when i'd see them again.   i'm grateful that we lived close to my grandparents and had countless opportunities to just sit and visit.  we shared many sunday dinners and late night canasta games.

we spent our last week in az staying with dan's family. it was great to be done with the packing/cleaning/loading and just enjoy our limited time with them. grandpa skinner was the first one to say goodbye since he was leaving on a business trip. our last night in mesa we had a bbq and played games. and then in the morning we were off.

we miss family and friends - mine and his, old and young. and it has been an adjustment being so far away and on our own. but we'd been waiting for this move for so long, knowing where we'd be going and making preparations. surprisingly, i wasn't nervous, just excited. and so far it's turned out to be everything we hoped.


Misc AZ Pictures

here are some pictures depicting random moments of our last few whirlwind months in mesa:

quality time at g&g skinners house. 

squeezing in some P90X.

building a barrier of strollers to stay safe from the vacuum.

cupcakes at huishs after spending the morning swimming with the wagstaffs.

swimming and dinner at g&g farnsworths.

grace found a "hat" while we shopped at kohls.

driving to dan's awards banquet at a marriot resort in scottsdale. somehow i failed to get a picture of the man of honor. the one of me will have to do.
(sidenote: wearing black or gray would have been a better choice... a little less noticable. :)

madison finished swimming lessons and learned to dive....

mostly. i was so impressed with her and she swam most of the length of the pool on her own.

this last string of photos made me laugh and want to cry at the same time.    

(yes, she is asleep. i promise i laid her down and tucked her in once the picture was taken.)

we were SO busy but the girls were such troopers through it all.  poor little grace had to get sleep whenever the chance came. :)


Gila Valley Temple Open House

madison absolutely LOVES the temple.  she wants to get married there one day, one of her favorite primary songs is I Love to See the Temple and she used to say, "bryce (one of her friends) is going to take me to the temple and put a ring on my finger." because of this, we made a last minute decision to drive 2 1/2 hours to pima, az and attend the gila valley temple open house a few days before it was dedicated last spring.  i know madison might not remember much of the trip as she gets older but we wanted to give her the chance to see the inside of a temple since the opportunity doesn't come very often.

stephanie and robert, dan's sister and her husband, happened to be going down the same day and we met up in the parking lot to walk through the temple together. she blogged about it here, in a much more timely fashion.  it was fun to be there with them and we needed their help to keep our girls under control (i think the perfect ratio of adults to children is 2:1). thank you for your help and for the pictures!

at the end of the tour we were all gathered in a sealing room with a few quiet minutes to think. i was by the door in case i needed to make a quick exit and grace was super fidgety so i turned out the door and shut it behind me. apparently at that same moment, madison left dan's lap across the room and came running towards me but i didn't see her since my back was turned. a total meltdown ensued and dan joined me in the hall with madison hugging his neck. i kind of chuckled - it wasn't being quite the experience i had hoped but sometimes thats just what life with kids is all about. thankfully, another guide saw our predicament and asked if we'd like to take madison in the neighboring sealing room. i was all over that! i took her from dan and carried her in.

all of a sudden, i felt the Spirit so strongly. i held my little girl and showed her where she will kneel one day with her "prince" in a temple of her choice. i showed her where we'd be sitting, as her family and friends. and then we looked into the mirrors. her and i. our reflections going on forever. i thought of all our ancestors, mine and dan's, who were sealed before us. i thought of the importance of the temple, the significance of the priesthood and the sealing power and how real it is to me, especially after everything i've experienced in life thus far. i thought of dan and i and how much i hope we will all be together as a family. forever. and lastly, i thought of madison all dressed in white in the temple one day. it was a sacred, sweet, humbling experience and i left with a greater love and appreciation for the temple.

after the tour we ate dinner at casa manana in safford and got ice cream cones at taylor freeze in pima. on our way out of town we stopped in ft. thomas and saw one of my very best friends, janae and her family, who happened to be visiting az for the temple open house as well. it had been WAY too long. it was so fun to see them and watch our kids laugh and play even for just a quick visit. it was such a great day and even though we pulled into the driveway late that night, exhausted and two girls asleep in the back seat we decided it was a much needed quick getaway and such a wonderful trip.


Family Night

so much for a typical FHE.

ours went a little like this:

grace had to be threatened with time out to sit on the couch with us.
madison was ariel and would only refer to dan as "prince eric". (the little mermaid)
occasionally she was odette and that made dan "prince derick". (swan princess)
we tried a bajillion times to tell grace that the scriptures are called the book of mormon.
she adamantly responded, book of woman.
and we died laughing every time.
we started singing "i'm trying to be like Jesus" octaves too high and were squeaking by the end.
then we played the dr. suess matching game
and skipped treats.

the truth of the matter is... this IS our typical FHE.

feeling the Spirit.

that's the goal, right? minus the chaos...



our attempt to capture them on camera...

...didn't go as well as hoped. but we love 'em anyway.