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 Be ready for outdated posts galore!


If You Let the Camera Out of Your Sight...

..... you'll later find several pictures similar to this.

or maybe even a cute one like this.

but, if you're lucky, dozens and dozens and dozens will look like this. :)

happy friday! (oops, thursday!)


Three Years and Good Traditions

mark and chris in a field near tremonton, utah - august 22
i talked to my mom sunday night to see what their plans were for the 22nd.  my mom and mark were going to be driving to yellowstone with hannah and chris, one final hurrah for the summer, so they planned to release balloons somewhere along the way - in memory of dallin, val (mark's wife), and my dad.  dan and i agreed it would be the perfect way to include our girls in the day and keep it light and fun for them. 

the girls picked out balloons, colored pictures and wrote "letters".  dan and i wrote letters as well.  i peeked at his before rolling it up and was quite touched at the depth and sincerity.  i think i sometimes forget that even though it wasn't his immediate family members that died, he still loves them and misses them like i do.   it was a great reminder - one of the best parts of the day for me.

we drove to our favorite park, cosmo, braving the midday heat and humidity.  we found a good spot, snapped a few pictures, counted to three, and let the balloons "float to heaven".  madison asked me earlier in the day if they'd write us back.  that's when your smile holds back the tears. 

we told the girls it was a special day to remember their grandpa and uncle since they are in heaven and can't be here.  i'm grateful for the conversations this experience has allowed us to have with the girls.  they know dallin and my dad are not alive but we haven't ever needed to talk about the crash or the airplane or things like that.  we just talk openly about heaven and living with Heavenly Father and Jesus and that we can still be a family, together forever after we die.  they believe it, accept it, and know its true.  i'm grateful for the simple faith of children.

we had the missionaries over for dinner which is always a treat.  we really enjoy these particular elders and it felt like a good addition to the day.  did you know we stood up and sang "Called To Serve Him" as the closing song at the funeral?  a beautiful, hard thing that seemed to end the program perfectly.

for dessert we had strawberry milkshakes - my dad's favorite.  between the balloon release, missionaries and milkshakes, i think we've founded some pretty good traditions for the day.

strawberry milkshake mustache - making grandpa proud
i'm grateful.  really, really grateful.  for a wonderful family and loving, righteous husband.  for the gospel and the answers it provides and the peace that it gives me.  for a plan that enables us to be eternal families and be with those we love forever.  for the examples of hannah, chris, kamber, mark, and my mom.  and for a life, that despite loss and heartache, is still full and makes me happy.

Dad and Dallin - I love and miss you. 


It's Hard To Put Into Words

April 23, 2010

it's 2 am, utah time, and i can't sleep.
my dad's suitcase from his mission in paraguay. i can't get it out of my head.  i saw it sitting calmly on a shelf in the storage room of my parent's house tonight as i was looking for something. it triggered thoughts and memories. then again, just being in cedar does that.
we have a full house tonight - mom and mark upstairs, with jacob and natalli {my cousin and his wife} in the guest room. hannah, dan, and the girls and i are taking up the three bedrooms downstairs.  chris's bedroom is set up, ready for him to come home next month.{i know, next month. crazy.} dallin's room looks as it did in high school- his grandees hat still pinned to the bulletin.  you would never guess that kamber and porter lived in these two rooms for almost a year.


April 25, 2010

i sang to madison tonight while tucking her into bed, just as she requested.
"i love to see the temple", "i am a child of God", and "families can be together forever".
perfect for the occasion.
we've been in cedar this weekend and tomorrow we'll make the big trek home.
its been hard.


January 16, 2011

december was a hard month - i was stressed and sick and tired and sad.  i think it first started to creep in during thanksgiving weekend.  i remember waking up that friday morning and saying to my mom, "i just feel kind of ornery today.  i don't know why." it felt like being a moody teenager again. after several weeks i started to realize the why.  i alluded to it here but couldn't ever find a way to put into words exactly what i was feeling.  plus, december is saved for holiday cheer and i was like the grinch trying to disguise myself as an elf.

i miss my dad and brother.  i always will, i know that.  but sometimes the swirling strength of those emotions is overwhelming.  unfortunately it impacted me too much this holiday season.

today is august 21, 2011.  tomorrow marks three years since my dad and brother passed away.  three whole years.  can you believe it? i can't.

i've found it's harder to open up about it now.  not them - i love to talk about dallin and my dad.  but about my feelings and thoughts and how much i still miss them.  its almost as if three years later, i'm surprised at how raw it still feels and that i should keep it to myself.  so i mostly do. 

when i do try and write down what i'm thinking, like i did in the months following the crash, it usually results in unfinished posts, like above.  they get saved away, never to be finished.  but that's ok because there is a time and a place for everything.

i'm ready for tomorrow to come and go.  dan has the day off, madison has her first day of real preschool, grace and i will get some quality bonding time, the missionaries are coming over for dinner, jake fits in there somewhere, and on top of that we have some fun things planned to help make the day special. 

because we have some pretty special people to remember.   



august 2011 - kamber's house

i love, love, love living in columbia but one of just the few hard things is being so far from porter. 
the girls miss their cousin! 
(plus, now there's easton and soon-to-be emerson.)
these three ran, played, fought, shared, and rode the carousel together while we were in AZ.  
it was so fun to see them interact and have fun.  
can't wait till Christmas to get them together again! 

and we did happen to get a normal picture of them all looking happy. 
maybe not smiling and looking at the camera, but close enough. :)


One Happy Mister

when this little guy smiles it pushes up his chubby little cheeks and his whole face lights up.  
i swoon.  seriously.

at almost three months he's in the 70% for height and weight so he's a hefty little dude.
i like 'em that way. 

we are crazy about him.



we are busy. work, callings, and little ones. so, so busy.  several weeks ago, before we left on our wonderful vacation to the west and to our families, i was ready to vent. to the blog or whoever would listen.  i felt maxed out and i know dan did as well. 

thankfully, i caught my breath, found a reserve of energy and pushed on. 

then, just days before leaving town, we were asked to meet with a counselor in the stake presidency. we were anxious.

when i heard him say to dan, "we'd like to call you as 2nd counselor in the new bishopric.", all i felt was peace.  i looked at dan and thought of all his many responsibilities, all the things he's trying to balance, and all the things he'd like to do but doesn't have time for.  yet i knew he would say yes and start serving.

we weren't in town for the announcement or the changes but now we're back and the busyness has started right where it left off.  

the day before his new calling was extended, while he was still serving as elder's quorum president, dan found out at the last minute that a family needed help moving and it was super early in the morning.  i tried my darndest to tell him he shouldn't feel obligated but he went anyway.  i was wrong and i'll admit it.  today a letter came in the mail, from the family he helped move that morning.  

"Dear Brother Skinner,
        We cannot express to you how grateful we are to you for helping us move.  Especially knowing how busy you are between family, work, and your hectic calling, we are deeply humbled by the time you sacrificed to lighten our moving burden!  Thanks again."

i feel so humbled by this whole experience - the family's gratitude, the lesson i learned, and by dan's willingness to serve in any way that's asked of him.  i know that the next two years will be even busier than i could have ever imagined.  but they will be wonderful too.  our family will grow stronger and be blessed because of his service. 

i am grateful for an incredible husband who works and loves and serves with everything that he has.  i love you dan!