Monday, August 31, 2009

Peter's Wedding

Peter is married! These are some of my favorite pictures from that day...

Congrats, Bro - I'm so happy for you both!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Road Trips

I LOVE road trips. I mean, I really love them. Something happens, about 1/2 hour into almost every road trip we take. I lean back my head, sigh deeply, and get almost teary eyed. There's (almost) nothing better to me than getting in the car and traveling, my whole family all together, excited about the trip ahead. I love that we are together - no distractions of TV, computer, and friends - it's just the people I love most in the world, packed into one space.

This is one great baby - these pictures are from our trip to Canada in June. She was such a trooper - we spent 2 full days in the car getting there, and she was happy almost the entire time.
Here is my right hand girl, Bekah. Long ago, when we decided to move away from family, I decided that it would be important for us to go back and visit a lot, so our kids would have relationships with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And, because Ben's schedule is so busy, he can't come with us as often as we would like, so I make the trip to Utah a lot by myself. I don't know if I could do it without Bekah, though - she's almost as good as an adult (except that she can't drive for 6 more years). She helps distribute snacks, and keeps Sarah happy.
Even though I happily take road trips alone with the kids (and we still love it) - it's always a 1000 times better when Ben can come. I guess I just really like being with him...

Sarah making funny faces.

I love that you can see the boogers in her nose here. No way I was editing those out - just adds to the charm...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A book that changed my life.

My darling friends – it’s been awhile… I hope you will all forgive me.

I’m back.

Not that I’ve gone anywhere (okay, I did go to Utah in June, and Canada in July, and maybe you’ll hear about that later). But, I think my heart had gone out of blogging, and I HAVE missed it. And you.

A year ago, I read a book that changed my life. It’s not very often that I would make such a dramatic statement about a book (although, of course, the Book of Mormon changes me and hopefully my life often). But, outside of scripture, I rarely can say that a book has truly changed the way I live. This informative and thoroughly well written and enjoyable read is called Animal Vegetable Miracle, and it’s written by award winning author Barbara Kingsolver, along with her husband, Steven Hopp and her daughter, Camille Kingsolver. It details their family’s decision to try to live a year eating only what they could buy locally or grow themselves.

At first, the concept seemed fairly radical to me – it definitely was different from the way that I structured our family’s eating, shopping and menus. I had never given a serious thought before to how far my food had traveled to reach me. One of the statistics that Steven Hopp presents is that most of the items on the shelf at a supermarket traveled farther to get there than your family will travel on vacation this year. Once you add up all of those gasoline guzzling groceries, think about how much gasoline we are expending just to eat. The goal is to wring out as much oil from our food chain as possible.

I had already been trying for several years to eat in a healthy way – unprocessed food, organic when possible, and hormone free dairy and meat. After reading the Kingsolver’s book, we started taking a good look at our culinary lives, and how disconnected we were from our food chain, and the farmers who grow the food we eat. I started going to our farmer’s market every week, and buying and eating locally grown, in season produce. The amazing part is how cheap it is, and how much better than anything we can get at the grocery store! We buy our honey at our famer’s market, too, raw and unprocessed.

Some things are definitely more expensive - we started buying our milk from a local, organic dairy. We recently bought half a cow, pasture raised and fed it’s entire life. One of the most satisfying parts of living and eating this way is that I meet the men and women who grow and raise our food. They are good people, and I LOVE giving them my money, and knowing that none of it is going to make some CEO in an office even more ridiculously rich, while the humble and hardworking farmer eeks out a living, barely surviving if they are lucky. While the meat and dairy ARE more expensive than what I could buy at Walmart, we are getting infinitely better quality. I have been to the farms where our food is grown, and they are certainly not getting wealthy on what they charge us – but they are seeking to live in a sustainable, healthy way themselves, and hopefully make enough to live on and pay their own bills. I frequently thank the Lord for these hardworking men and women who are so committed to raising food in a healthy way. I make my food budget stretch farther by doing most of my cooking from scratch, eating out rarely (and fast food almost never), and not buying convenience items.

The best part of eating this way is that our family is healthier than we have ever been. We rarely get sick (seriously – the flu bug will go around our entire primary, and our kids don’t get it). Ben and I may feel the beginnings of a cold setting in, a tickle in the back of our throat or something, and it’s gone in a day. My interstitial cystitis (a painful bladder disease) has been in complete remission for the last year. Our immune systems are thriving!

We also have our own garden. We have had our successes and failures this year, but I am hopeful that I will continue to learn and get better at growing my own food. I even hope to have chickens someday. I think that I am truly a farm girl at heart – I find a lot of peace digging in the dirt.

I was talking to a friend about this process the other day, and I realized that, while all of this sounds difficult and strange, the hardest part is taking the first step. I think the easiest place to begin is by looking up your local farmer’s market. Google your town and “farmers market” and see what you can find. Go. Meet a farmer. Ask them questions about what they grow (I’ve found most farmers are really passionate about the food they raise, and they love to tell you about it). Talking to our farmers has given me a lot of good ideas for combating the hornworms that decimated the tomatoes in my garden last year.

And, yes, I DO occasionally shop at the grocery store still. We even buy bananas (the hummer of the produce section) because it’s one of the few fruits Sam will eat. But, I try to plan our menus about what is locally in season, what is growing in our garden and I can find at the Farmer’s Market. Wring a little bit of oil out of your food chain… since we have, we have become healthier, and I can honestly say that we eat the most savory, scrumptious fare possible. Eating local isn’t just healthy and good for the farmers – it’s delicious!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Guess who is 1 (okay, she's 13 months, since I'm so late!)

It's really hard to believe that Sarah is already 13 months old. These are her 1 year shots, taken on her birthday. I love this age - something new and increasingly adorable every day.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dreaming of Gardens...

Lately, I dream of gardens. Vegetable gardens. Ones that overflow with tomatoes and cucumbers and melons, and yes, even squash. As spring approaches, my heart yearns to be outside, working in the soil, preparing for that abundance we'll see in July, August and September, when the labors of March and April come to fruition. In a world of instant gratification, I find growing my own food immensely satisfying - it's my own personal connection to my food chain, and a remembrance of the process of creation. There is little in life as satisfying as eating a tomato in late summer that came from a seed I planted in March.

How about you? Are you growing a garden this year?

Monday, February 02, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I'd be astonished if ANYONE ever reads my blog anymore, since I am so bad about posting regularly. Just in case anyone is, though, I thought I'd post this tag I did on Facebook, since I don't think anyone read it there.

1. I LOVE yoga - I took it up this summer, and do a program from BYUTV called Total Body Fitness. The instructor is Deni Preston, and she's amazing. If you don't have BYUTV, you can still find it on the website on the internet. It's on MWF at 5 am, and 10 am, but you can watch any program that's been on in the past 2 weeks anytime.

2. I gave birth without any painkillers to all four of my children. And even though I DID ask for the epidural with Sarah, I can still say I did it without painkillers, since they didn't have time to get the medicine in before she decided to pop out. Also, if I have to be put on pitocin and have another posterior baby, I will ask for the epidural earlier!!!

3. Each of my labors has been longer than the last - Bekah's was 3 hours, Sam was 4, Bethany was 11, and Sarah was 21.

4. I sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for 2 1/2 years, and I miss it so much I cry about it (still).

5. I LOVE babies - holding them, smelling them, watching them, mmmm...

6. I love to learn - picking up a new hobby or interest is one of my favorite things to do.

7. I'm a self-taught graphic-design artist.

8. Growing up, my hair was bone straight, but with each pregnancy, it goes curly, and it gets curlier with each pregnancy. Aren't hormones weird?

9. One of my biggest weaknesses is my organizational ability. I think that I've had the New Year's Resolution of becoming more organized for about 10 years running. I'm still working on it...

10. My absolute favorite thing to eat are strawberries. I can eat a flat all by myself in about 24 hours.

11. I grew up in Southern California and never once went tanning.

12. I lived in Utah for 10 years, and now live in Colorado, and have never been skiing.

13. I love to read, but don't have a lot of time for it, so I have become a huge fan of audiobooks. I probably listen to 5-10 audiobooks a month (usually while I clean, fold laundry, make dinner, walk on the treadmill, etc.)

14. I've worked in the scrapbooking industry for over 5 years, and have designed 3 different paper/product lines.

15. I love to take road trips.

16. My husband is my absolutely best friend and he and I go on a date almost every Friday night.

17. I really hate calling people on the phone that I don't know.

18. I am the oldest of 7 children.

19. Besides listening to audiobooks, I also love to listen to BYU devotionals, General Conference and Women's Conference talks. Most of them I download off of

20. Mexican food is my favorite.

21. I cook a lot, and only use a recipe about 30% of the time.

22. We have couches with white slipcovers, and I will never buy white slipcovers again.

23. Our yard isn't landscaped yet (except the vegetable garden), and we have a whole acre of tumbleweeds.

24. We have seen jackrabbits, prairie dogs, snakes, hawks, and even a coyote on our property.

25. I don't like to make people feel obligated to do anything, so I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you feel like doing this- go for it!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sing, Choir of Angels...

It has been one of the busiest Christmas seasons on record for us. That is saying a lot, since I had two Christmas seasons in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. So, a Merry Christmas to all of you. We're back home in Colorado from a whirlwind trip, involving my baby-sister's wedding, Christmas, and one really nasty stomach/intestinal virus, which we spread with Christmas cheer to ALL of our extended family. (Can I just apologize for the 827th time - I'm so, so sorry.) If you'd like to hear my little sister's hilarious and witty account, click here.

The best day of the trip, for me, was the Sunday before Christmas. (After the wedding stress, and before the stomach bug). My most amazing and talented mother-in-law made dozens of costumes a few years ago for a children's nativity. She brought them to church that Sunday and since I'm the wielder of the ridiculously large and expensive camera, I tagged along to take some pictures.

This is one of the most angelic faces I know... Rebekah turned 10 the next day.

Three angel cousins...

Sam the Shepherd. He looks a little like Linus from
"Charlie Brown Christmas" to me.

And, I don't know these children. But they really spread my message today. The little Mary was so sweet and maternal as she held the little baby Jesus. And Joseph was so solemn and careful.

And most of all, I'm feeling so thankful that all the stress and craziness and throwing up and fevers and snow of our trip, and the way that so little went as planned are all okay. Because the Savior Jesus Christ really WAS born, and because of his Atoning Sacrifice, we may overcome all, and all hurts and wrongs and illness will be done away. One of my favorite scriptures from Isaiah chapter 41 says:

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

So, Merry Christmas to all of you, late though my wishes are.

The Spirit of Christmas is the Spirit of Christ!

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Post for Grammy...

So, this next sequence of pictures aren't the best photos I've ever taken. But - they are pretty cute, so I'm posting them anyway.

When we went to Utah recently, Sarah got to meet her cousin Eli for the first time. Eli is half her age, and probably outweighs her - he's a real hunk, and cute as all get-out.

At this point, Sarah was just barely able to sit on her own for a few moments, so we propped up Eli, and sat Sarah down next to him. She thought his shoe was a great toy.

"Look, Mom - a shoe" - I don't think she'd noticed Eli yet - just his shoe.

"Can I eat this shoe, Mom?"

And then, Sarah's balancing prowess came to an end. Or maybe she decided to show a little love to cousin Eli.

Eli looks a little surprised, don't you think?

"I've fallen and I can't get up!"

"Eli's pulling my hair!"
"Serves you right for eating my shoe!"

I remember many family gatherings where 3 boy cousins my same age loved to torment the heck out of me. Looks like they start young...

Monday, November 03, 2008


Some invitations I've designed for a friend. If you know Julie - don't tell!!!

My Baby Sister... getting married! It's hard to believe - seems like just yesterday that she was a darling little baby running around the house! She was such a cute baby... sniff, sniff...

When we were in Utah for Fall break, I took these pictures of her and her cute fiance. They are so in love - brings back all sorts of fond memories...