"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

fall break, seeing colorado like never before

Newel's work schedule this time of year, is jam packed. Between his travel and crowded calendar, he made the time to take us away for our fall break. (Gotta wrangle time with teens somehow!)

We decided to see some of what the south of our state has to offer.

And man o man, it did not disappoint.


Right from the very start of our early morning exodus, Pike's Peak against that blue sky was stunning. As was the disappearing moon ...


Don't let the snow capped mountains fool you. It was the height of perfect weather.


And I was fully in love with the colors at every turn.



Even when we leveled out to the flatter plains, I was amazed at God's handiwork.


Our first stop had us spending the day at these natural Sand Dunes in the foothills of those mountains you can see from a distance here.


But first a little lunch at this completely empty roadside cafe. I just love little places like this.




Then we climbed to the Dunes. Is that stunning or what?


I told these guys I had the theme music from Lawrence of Arabia running through my head. Yeah .. they pretty much rolled their eyes.








We tried our hand at sand boarding and sledding.



Hit that stuff hard enough and it's just a little rougher than snow. Just a little. I wish I'd gotten a picture of the injuries accompanied by smiles of accomplishment. Crazy, I tell you.
















I could hardly take it all in. Simply beautiful. And a beautiful way to begin our fall break together.





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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

sweetness where we look

I've "unplugged" a little bit more lately. I don't know if it's a busy baby that leaves very little time for stopping or the fear of missing a minute with a gal whose nose is definitely pointed out of our nest.

I love keeping our memories here and I miss every sweet comment and cyber relationship built. But, I've loved the sweet moments right in front of me.

We've just returned from our fall break and there's more about that to come, but mostly, I don't want to forget the sweetness in the midst of it all.

Following a very long Saturday of driving, we woke up early Sunday morning to search out the nearest LDS meeting available. For such a busy vacation town, we were surprised to find our options to be hours away. 

The look on Newel's face said he just could not endure another long distance round trip with a baby girl's intensely scream-filled determination to exit the confines of a car seat for a second day in a row. I had to agree.

Together we decided to hold our own meeting of sorts and he assigned each child a topic to speak on and share with the family.

They took those assignments so seriously.


It was such a peaceful Sunday morning listening to them prepare, ask questions, and gather materials, not only for themselves but also in assistance to each other.

At the designated time, following a prayer and a song, they stood to teach us from youngest to oldest with each gospel doctrine carrying to the next.

After about an hour and a half of their confidence in teaching and the depth of their testimonies, I thought my heart would close up my throat. When they were done, Newel took a turn to bring it all together and then turned the time to me for a conclusion and I could hardly speak.

I'm grateful for these beautiful spirits of mine. Words can't say. They're not perfect but they're mine.

And I'm so grateful for a gospel that offers a knowledge that they get to be mine forever and not just for this little time under my wing. That knowledge daily, is the sweetest of all.




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Sunday, September 28, 2014

temple walk

Fairytales end with happily ever after and begin with a once upon a time. They take us down a path, through a life, on a journey. They're full of self discovery, dangers to traverse, obstacles, sidetracks, encouragements and achievements.



This beautiful building inspires awe as well as any castle, by the promises it holds. Ones that extend into a happily forever after.

I'm so grateful for this weekend's opportunity to share in a remarkable journey with so many beautiful women in finding our own strength to mark that journey home, both here:





And HERE.


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

we've been up to a bunch of stuff

Newel and I took a quick weekend to California to attend a wedding.


That place breathes life into that man. I wish you could see his grin into the California sunset de-boarding the plane. He was home.


He'd pack us up in a heartbeat if I'd say yes.  But I'm a country girl and I'm pretty sure he's just in love with the idea of the California of his childhood. A lot has changed.

But I can't help love his love for it all while I'm there. 


He itches to be back surfing those waves. They are so much harsher than the ones I'm used to (unless there's a hurricane).



So much so, that the beach had entirely been washed away. I'd never seen anything like that.


He did his best trying to convince me by touring some really pretty areas.





And beautiful areas, they truly are.
We took the ferry across to the island. I'd never done that before.



AND … when in Rome, one must indulge.


Stopped for a frozen banana at the original banana stand spoofed in the comedy Arrested Development which we sometimes watch for it's So Cal inside humor.


The highlight of my weekend, was attending church in his home ward where he grew up and seeing so many men (and women) who had been leaders to him in his youth.

He'd been a trial of a teen and as they grinned and told story after story, I was so grateful for their patience and diligence to serve just one obnoxious kid.

A drive-by of his childhood home mades me wonder at a young man growing up completely on the other side of the country in what feels like a foreign life to me.



I love to picture him here. All the decisions that made him. All the paths that brought him my way.


Melts my heart to check in with the kids holding down the fort before boarding a plane home and finding that they choose good things without us.



These two couldn't have been happier to have a dad back.


Enthralled with every place we visit, we always come home so grateful for the place we've chosen to raise our family.

Took a family hike in the canyon near our house for Labor Day.




Found a stream the kids were certain, could be panned for gold.








Good day for a water fight.





Or to observe one cautiously.












Then a day or two later, this happened. It was an early morning in the first week of September with fat flakes falling. Nearly broke my heart. Too soon.


Didn't last long, though. This has been the view out my kitchen window after kindergarten each day. Round and round and round to peals of laughter.


Charlotte watched her seed she planted in nursery at church, turn into a real bean plant. She was pretty darn excited about that.


We've spent most of our after school hours watching Christian play on the high school tennis team. He won both of his matches against the best school in the district.

I'm not great at understanding the rules of sports so after each meet, I'm just so thrilled at how much he and his teammate can volley, how hard they hit the ball, how good their control is to keep it within the court boundaries at such speed, how quick they move to slam it back, their ability to gain points on a slick serve ….

I wouldn't understand the score anyway.

Christian says it's funny to have a mother who sees "color and detail" in everything when most are in it for the win. ;) I'm gonna take that as a compliment.


Speaking of color and detail. We found this guy and had some fun with him for a bit. Isn't he pretty?




This is happening:









And this is how a little sister feels to be sitting on the sidelines.


We suddenly live for Wednesday afternoons. Can't you tell?


My calling at church changed and now I'm working more directly with these beautiful girls as an advisor in their young women class. I'm in love, too.



I just hope they know how absolutely beautiful they are inside and out.


A Saturday night youth activity reached it's conclusion ... then reconvened all over my tiny kitchen. 

Turns out, it wasn't isn't the size of the kitchen that matters, moreover, if the floors are clean cuz they'll just lay on them and tell you how many cheerios are lost under your fridge.

Or eat them as snacks ;)


I'll admit, Mormon's do some funny stuff. Like build a supply as a safety net against disasters or economy & job loss so as to be self reliant and avoid unnecessary debt.

We've been adding to ours a bit. 

I sent this picture to Newel one day from Costco asking him how many cans of nacho cheese sauce he would like to add to our food storage to make all those cans of wheat and beans actually taste "Que Bueno!"

He thinks I'm funny.

We asked the kids over dinner one night what kind of simple skills we could enhance to be useful in a disaster. They suggested we practice learning to suture on bananas.

Those kids are funny.


These guys have really gotten into researching family history. One Sunday evening they even had some friends over for cookies and family search.

It has been so great to watch them connect with my mom to learn where they came from. She has sent story after story and scanned numerous pictures and documents and I'm working on putting those together in a book.


Newel's family pushed handcarts across the frozen United States with diligence and determination to escape religious persecutions. Inspirational stories abound.

My fourth great grandfather killed his brother in cold blood over a alcohol still and was judged and hung by his friends. Basically renegades and thieves.

We balance each other out ;)

The discoveries are so contagious, I sometimes can't get kids to go to bed.


Making dinner one night this week, I observed big brothers either teaching little girls to separate laundry for washing … or conning them into doing it for them.

Either way, it was a sweet moment.

Because that means without prompting, Chapter 2 of our family textbook is well underway!


And that's the stuff the fills the gaps.
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