Well, what do we have here? Two girls on the last day of school:

Here’s Caroline loving her new cousin, Jonah:

Dallas bought these glasses one year when he was dressing up as George McFly for Halloween. The kids have found the glasses and wear them everywhere now:

Madison: “Why does that baby have a roly poly nose?”

Someone has mastered the art of dressing for the job you want:

I made the cover of People magazine this year for Mother’s Day:

This was inside the magazine. Brooke nailed the vignette look:

We watched Moana a million times and Spencer turned himself into (a thankfully non-tattooed) Maui:

We were lucky(?) enough to be able to watch Brooke’s class pet, a bearded dragon named Mr. Sir:

Mr. Sir got a lot of attention from the kids:

Errr….and from Dallas:

We took Mr. Sir out to the backyard to enjoy the great outdoors. Please appreciate Madison’s attempt to give Dallas bunny ears:

We went to the Clark Planetarium. They have improved it since the last time we went and it was so fun! The kids happily played there for hours:

After the planetarium we hit the outdoor water area:

Then we visited the escalators and the kids were once again happy for hours:

Apparently escalators bring out the weirdness in my kids:

Dallas and I get to go to scout Roundtable every month. In uniform.

This was Spencer’s birthday. I was helping in his class and got to be there when they sang to him:

Brooke’s drawing:

Dallas won a photography award:

Madison is kind of a bully:

While running errands I heard Madison say, “Oh! Look at that lovely plant!” I thought it was cute that she so appreciated this little bit of greenery amidst the office buildings:

A Caroline drawing:

Brooke entered an art contest at school and was one of the grade winners:

Brooke made a “kiwi bird”:

Brooke was in the school play, Peter Pan. She was an Indian Brave and Nana, the dog:

Oma came to see the play with us:

She entertained the kids during intermission showing them all of the fun charms on her bracelet. They were a captive audience!

Me: “Madison, what did you learn about in nursery? Are these kids trying to teach you how to be reverent?”

Madison: “No. They’re trying to get their heads attached to their bodies.”

I have hardly done any real blog posts the past year which is a crying shame. I have some semi-strong intentions to become a regular blogger again starting with a picture dump right here, right now.

Brooke’s planner last year was always a treat to look at:

More Brooke artwork:


Brooke wanted the iPad, so she made cute eyes to persuade me to give it to her:

This was Madison getting scared during a movie:

Baby girl had a serious paci addiction. Much to her dismay, we have since gotten rid of them: Spencer’s artwork: Madison attacking her cousin who is years older than she is:
Madison surveying our cookie ingredients: “We need two sandcastles?”  Brooke’s valentine box: Madison turned three!

We’ll end there for now. Until next time.

Allow me to interrupt my months-long blogging hiatus with a special report – Caroline turned eight! We had such a fun time on her birthday.

We started off with presents. Tradition holds that on your eighth birthday you get scriptures:

A scripture tote,

and a scripture marking pencil (which Caroline was apparently highly skeptical of):

I had planned to give her a Lego set, but unfortunately it wasn’t able to get shipped and arrive on her birthday…or so we thought. We left the house to go to swim lessons and gymnastics and Kangaroo Zoo (a bounce house place) and when we got back we saw that there was a package for Caroline! A birthday miracle!

Caroline wanted the Lego girl Olivia for her cake. Kindly ignore all the brown splotches:

Caroline was excited for her birthday, but she was really excited to be baptized. She has been looking forward to this day for months. When it finally arrived, she was ready!

Dallas baptized and confirmed her. We had a luncheon after with our family. It was a wonderful day.


Dallas was able to take some beautiful pictures of our beautiful daughter. Caroline is such a good, sweet, kind girl. She is a friend to everyone, and we love everything about this special girl.


You know what’s fun?


You know what’s even more fun?

Vacations without children.

You know what’s the most fun of all?

Vacations without children where you meet up in California with your parents and all of your siblings (who also left their children behind).

Basically, I recently had the best weekend of my life.

My sister and I left our children in the capable hands of our husbands and flew to California. The main reason was so we could witness Ben and Haley get sealed in the temple. We added a couple of days to our trip to make sure we were really able to live it up. I cannot put into words how glorious this trip was, but here are some highlights.

Our first full day there was spent with Ben and Haley. My parents were off at zone conference for the day, so we were in charge of ourselves. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was rain, rain, and more rain. We decided to see a movie and get some lunch. After lunch we had a friendly game of laser tag.

Then we went back to my parents’ place to play some games. We wanted to play Rook but didn’t have any cards so we got creative and used Rummikub tiles:

My parents made it home just in time to cook us a delicious dinner. Sarah suggested we eat outside on their patio. In the cold. And the rain. I kind of thought she was kidding, but she started carrying food outside, so we braved the California cold and enjoyed a damp meal. We made Sarah sit in the spot where water kept dripping and didn’t allow her to be in the picture to teach her a lesson:

The next day Sarah decided to drag me and Ben out on a hike. We hiked a volcano apparently, but there was no sign of volcanic activity. We did finally see some blue skies, though!

Later that day Jacob and Abe joined the party. Sibling reunion!

Jacob was dying to see the tide pools, so we headed down south to see some sea creatures.

It was so nice to be able to roam around on slick rocks and not have to worry about children falling all over and jumping into the ocean. We didn’t realize we should have been worrying about Sarah who stepped right into a pool of water. Jacob started laughing mercilessly at her and in so doing didn’t watch where he was going and landed a tennis shoe-clad foot right in the same puddle. Karma.

We didn’t have a long time to spend at the tide pools because we had to head over to Escape Game SD where we had booked an escape room.

An escape room means you get locked into a room and you have to figure out clues and puzzles to unlock doors to free yourselves. The site said to arrive 30 minutes early. Being the obedient people we are, we did just that…only to stand around outside for 30 minutes until our actual scheduled time arrived.

That gave us plenty of time to take some pictures. We were doing the superhero room, so Abe practiced his superhero poses:

Then we all adopted our superhero alter egos:

We saw the picture and wondered what superhero my mom was channeling, so naturally we all took a picture to tease her:

Hulk Ben caused a small earthquake:

We finally entered our escape room. We had 60 minutes to solve all the puzzles.

We escaped victorious and it only took us 33 minutes. This means the next time you find yourself locked in a strange room, you should hope we are all locked in there with you…though really the only scenario in which I can think of that you would find yourself locked in a room with all of us would be if we purposely locked you in that room just to prove how quickly we could get you out…in which case you would probably be wishing you weren’t with us.

We ended the evening laughing and laughing over a steak dinner:

Most evenings we played games late into the night. Quirkle is my Mom’s new favorite game: 

Saturday was temple day! The girls decided to get up early and get a blow out at Drybar:

Then we met up with everyone for doughnuts before making our way to the temple. The temple was beautiful. I hadn’t been inside the San Diego temple before, so I was excited to see it. The ceremony was very nice, and we were all glad to be able to be there:


My parents have told us that they love to take their missionaries to the Tequila Factory (of all places) for meals. We wanted to experience this, so we went there for lunch. Each meal came with unlimited champagne! Just the thing to entice Mormons to eat there right after attending a temple session!

The boys were going to a BYU game that evening, but we still had the afternoon to kill. Someone suggested we take advantage of the beautiful weather and go play a little frisbee golf. I think throwing a frisbee is so frustrating, so I doubted we would have fun. Oh, me of little faith.

Frisbee golf was definitely a highlight. Most of us were predictably horrible at it, but what we hadn’t anticipated was the diehard frolfers that we encountered on the course. Nothing could have prepared us for the seriousness that some people have for this “sport.”

These people have equipment. They have pre-throw stretches. They have wind ups. They have good luck stances. They kiss their frisbees before each throw, for crying out loud. There is a whole frisbee culture I had no idea even existed. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved anything as much as these guys love this game. I’m dying to go back just to sit on a bench and people watch for an afternoon.

After golf the boys went to the game and Sarah, my Mom, and I went out for ice cream:

Ben made the mistake of telling us that at his job at Amazon he has to lead morning meetings. The meetings include stretches, goal setting, and cheers. Ben led us in one cheer and everyday after that we begged him to lead us in more. He rarely submitted to our demands.

Our last day there we took some pictures outside:

We hadn’t yet made it to the beach and it seemed criminal to be one mile away and not visit, so we went there before we left.

Then we had a delicious lunch at Gregorio’s:

All too soon our trip was over. Dallas was our designated driver home from the airport. I was expecting a curbside pickup but got something much better:

I was glad to see my babies and a slightly frazzled Dallas who I think came to appreciate all I do a bit more while I was gone.

This trip was so much fun. I was able to eat in peace. I could get ready in the morning uninterrupted. I slept in! I stayed up later than was prudent, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t need any patience the next day because I didn’t have to deal with children! Also, it’s amazing how perky you are at the end of the day when you haven’t spent all your mental energy reminding little people to stop licking the grocery store floor or some other such nonsense. We’re already trying to figure out how we can swing another trip like this…and invite spouses.

I was remarking to Sarah about how we just have a great family. We all get along and love being together. I so hope my kids will come to view their siblings (and parents!) as some of the greatest blessings in their lives.

I know I have.