Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Outdoors of May

During the month of May we FINALLY hiked R Mountain!

We had been trying to go on a family hike for months, but with all the crazy random thunder and snow storms here in Spring, we ran into bad weather every time Jon had a day off work. Then miraculously on May 21st the stars aligned and we headed to the Buttes.

Margo was really excited to get out of the house.

The trailhead is about a 10 minute drive from where we live in Rexburg. Because the sunsets are around 9:30pm these days, we started our hike in the early evening (around 5pm) and still had plenty of sunshine. We brought snacks and water, and took the trail at a slow pace (about an hour up and an hour down).

Kate really enjoyed checking out the plants on the side of the trail, and picking up fists full of dirt to sprinkle on Margo.

Margo and Kate both did an excellent job considering how steep the trail gets. I only held Margo for a few minutes to give her little paws a break.

Jon and Kate stopped occasionally to check out some of the historic trail markers. It was fun to learn about the old school volcanic activity in the area that created the buttes we were hiking.

Parts of the trail were a bit slippery as we crossed over large rocks and at the end there is a section with chain railing to hold. Edwin was especially helpful at this part to make sure I didn't lose my footing.

The views were beautiful! Idaho is really gorgeous, and God's creations are incredible.

Checking out some rain to the West:

And we made it to the top!

Each day that we spend outside brings so many smiles! The Summertime sun has felt so nice, and we can really tell a difference in our whole day when we spend a little time enjoying it together as a family.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Being a Grown Up

Today a friend posted a status update on FB about wanting to visit family, but having to stay in town to be a grown up.
Someone she knows made this comment: "How is staying in Idaho being a grownup. Being a grownup typically means doing what you want to do after making sure you have your ducks in a row."
I also made a comment, and although I was somewhat replying to the person above, I did not tag them. I said, "I know it's hard not to see them! I'm sure what you mean is that your family is close, and that should mean that you're able to visit them a lot, but sometimes responsibilities and other duties get in the way of that. Being a grown up and realizing that you have to sacrifice things that you want to do for things that you're supposed to do does stink sometimes. But we hope that it's for a good reason and lots of blessings :) You're a good example to me!"
Basically I wanted to say, BEING A GROWN UP IS HARD, but sometimes people don't appreciate the details. People can say, "that sucks!" and "boo!" at being a grown up being all day long, but there should be an understanding that this person trying to make real life adult decisions is much harder than it looks, and they should be praised for that!
Even WITH all your ducks in a row, it often does not typically mean "doing what you want."
Being a grown up means budgeting your money and realizing that some weeks at the grocery store are a decision between toilet paper and milk. (I've been there many times. You have to decide between what you need, and what you need MORE.)
Being a grown up means making the right decisions, even when they're not the popular ones.
Being a grown up means that sometimes you have to protect your family, even when people hate you for it.
And yes, being a grown up means that sometimes you have to forgo driving a few hours to visit your family because you just can't afford the gas, or you can't take time off work, or because you have responsibilities (church, or school, or otherwise).

I hope that we can teach our children to have realistic expectations of adulthood. It is not always negative. Many times it is GREAT! But it is not me getting my way all the time and doing whatever I want.

When I was younger I thought that I would be able to drive wherever I wanted, go wherever I wanted, EAT whatever I wanted, and have endless amounts of money for toys.
man, I'd love to sit on the floor and eat pizza every day!

But now I'm torn between what I want and what I need and sometimes what I know is better for me. There are many times at the grocery store where I drool over certain foods or desserts, but put them back because I want to eat healthy and set good examples for my children, and also not spend needlessly. Sometimes I want to drive somewhere, but I bike with the kids instead because I know that we need to save the gas money and the mileage on the car.
Are there trade-offs for these decisions? Definitely. Sometimes I give up taste-bud happiness, but I gain self-control and joy for knowing that I overcame a tiny temptation and am eating the way that makes my body feel good and work at its best. Sometimes the kids and I share a nice day outside biking around for an hour, and I get some exercise, and we all enjoy it, instead of being stuck in the car while we rush to run errands. Sometimes I give up my fierce pride and independence to ask for help and realize that I can't do it all on my own, and that gives me love for my neighbor, and better perspective and empathy. Sometimes I cut friendships out of my life, even though I want to be around these people SO much! Because I know that in the end some influences are better than others on my mind and heart, and that my family and marriage is worth protecting more than anything else. Sometimes we sell a second car, move out of a home we love, help people even when it is a big sacrifice of money, time, and sanity, or give away furniture that we really like, or clothes that we haven't worn in a while (but are super pretty!) because we know deep down that we don't NEED those things, and being a grown up means making hard, serious, soul-searching decisions that will have better long term effects than short term triumphs.
Being a grown up means being strong. It means giving up the sometimes good for the better, and ultimately the best. It means coming clean, owning up to our mistakes, and showing people that we are genuine. It means that sometimes people won't like what you say, they will take things out of context and think you're a hypocrite, but you say it anyway, because it is important, and we're all human, and we all have to exist together.
Being a grown up means buckling down to change habits.

Being a grown up means striving for your best self.

Being a grown up is hard.

But as we refine ourselves and find the deeper conviction within us to be kinder, more honest, more clean, and solidly awesome--it is worth it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Easter Sunday

In all the latest excitement, I totally neglected to post about our Easter Sunday!

Easter had great timing this year, being right in between Edwin's 1st birthday and Jon's 30th birthday. Because of this, and a well timed mission reunion in SLC, Jon's parents were able to come visit us for a few days and spend Easter Sunday at our home in Idaho :)

We also went to the Museum of Idaho with them and drove up to the Targhee National Forest. I guess we should have taken a few more group pictures! haha

Kate's Easter basket
(98% non-candy!)

Jon's Easter basket
(100% total candy)

Edwin's Easter basket:

Coloring pages for Kate:

Edwin had a blast playing with leftover balloons from his birthday lunch the day before:

Kate reading "The Littlest Bunny in Idaho"

Kate got to color Easter eggs with Papa!

Showing off Easter eggs to Nonna:

I was busy the week prior to Easter sewing up outfits for the kids, and since I didn't get a new Easter dress this year (but we had leftover fabric) Jon made me this skirt!!
Yes. He 100% made this all by himself:

Dress I made for Kate
(Jon picked out the owl buttons)

Jon got a matching bowtie, and I also made a matching vest and bowtie for Wynn
(buttons were saved from an old cardigan of mine that died years ago)

Oh my gosh, he looked SO handsome!!!

Together, I just can't even handle the cuteness. Kate picked out her own hair flower:

We had General Conference that day instead of regular church, so we all wore our outfits again the week after.

Edwin crawled around the house like a fiend while we listened to the conference talks and Jon and I worked in the kitchen. Then he crashed HARD.

but like, SO cute.

Kate helped me make deviled eggs to go with dinner (hence the EXTRA paprika)

Nonna brought her famous homemade sugar cookies all the way from California for our whole family!

Edwin was THRILLED

Our family on Easter Sunday
(it was SUPER windy)

Well, after a fantastic dinner, carrot cake, and watching Big Hero 6, we were wiped out!

The best part of it all was spending this incredible holy celebration at home together. While Christmas has so much build up and hype, it almost seems sometimes like Easter is skipped over. We celebrate spring, and dress up all fancy, but the real reason we do it all is for the love and appreciation of our Savior.

image from

I am so thankful for the atonement, and that we can teach our children about the real love our Savior has for us. The suffering he went through so that we all can return to our Father in Heaven was a REAL experience.

Our family celebrates this day and testifies of Jesus Christ, that he lives!

We are part of the most incredible plan the universe has to offer, and Easter Sunday marks the most significant day in human history: Christ's resurrection. His overcoming death made it possible for us all to do the same, a blessing for which I am eternally grateful.

To learn more about Jesus Christ, his ministry, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, check out

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Kate @ 2 years 10 months

Kate is moving fast through her toddler years.

She loves to sing primary songs, go to church, and story time at the library.

She keeps us cracking up with the funny things she says. This morning I was making breakfast and she said (referring to herself and Edwin), "Mom! Look at all the guys! They are laughing!" I must call her and Edwin "you guys" a lot, because she also tells me, "Mom, the guys need a bath!" almost every day. Bath time is a favorite for both of them :)

Kate is not yet potty trained, but gets really excited about sitting on the toilet and wearing big girl underwear. I'm not in a rush as I just want it to be a good experience for her. I know that she'll get it figured out when she's ready. In the meantime she runs around naked whenever she can.

Kate enjoys talking to people and will say hi to strangers everywhere we go. She really loves other kids and always wants to play with them. While we were on a walk last week she saw a few people from our ward sitting out on the grass in front of the building next to ours. She said, "Mom, look at those kids! They are all playing! I want to say hi to them."

Kate's favorite activities are coloring with sidewalk chalk, painting with water colors, coloring with markers (she is getting REALLY good at smiley faces), reading books, and listening to music.

We have been working on shapes and letters, and Kate can recognize her name when we write it.

Kate likes to hold hands and give hugs.

Kate and Avey at BYUI

Kate and Macie

Sharing is still hard for her a lot of the time, but every now and again I'll see her randomly give toys to Edwin, like when he is sad. One day Edwin crawled up to a blanket on the floor and put his head down in defeat. Kate, who was sitting on the couch, opened her arms wide and said, "Oh Edwin, you are sad! Come here, I will hold you."

Kate is starting to use past/present/future tenses in her speech. She is very curious and will ask all sorts of questions about where people are, what they are doing, and about objects she sees. Yesterday Jon's phone was sitting on the edge of the couch and Kate said, "Where is daddy's phone?" and I asked her to show me where it was. She pointed and said, "He left it on the couch!"

One of the newest things Kate says is "sure, sure" in response to me asking her if she would like to do something. For instance, I'll say, "Kate, would you like to go on a walk?" And she'll say, "Oh yeah, sure! Sure, sure, Mommy. Sure. I like to go on walks."

Kate is devious and sly. She tries to find ways to do what she wants, even when she knows it isn't what I would like her to do. She hides toys in odd places, throws crayons across the room, unravels thread from my sewing machine, and sneaks around the side of the clubhouse when we are outside playing so that she is just out of the range of my vision. She did this just yesterday and proceeded to pull about 50 doggy potty bags out of the cubby by the dog park. Oy. My good friend Lara helped me bunch them all up and we had Kate carry them ALL back to the apartment.

Kate enjoys helping us sew,

and also likes to help me cook and bake. She always asks to sit on the counter and help while I'm making dinner.

She also likes to pick at the bread dough when it rises and gets very excited about ice cream and desserts.

We love this girl and her sweet hugs, her snuggles, and her love for her brother. She always wants to be the one to get Edwin when he wakes up from his naps, or she will hug him when he is sad and tell him, "I love you". Kate is a great light in our family, and we can't wait to see what this fireball does next!