Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The aquarium outing with G and H

 We took the cute little Golden boys out for a fun outing to the SeaLife Aquarium for their birthdays.  I think they loved it.




























Sunday, December 27, 2015

Kiker



Monday, December 21, 2015

Baby girl




Thursday, December 17, 2015

November 2015 ccording to my iPhone/ipad

 Elder Argyle's November care package had a superhero theme.  Only six more of these as of today and this boy will be home in his Momma's arms.

He got a new companion that he is really enjoying.


These crazy girls did their YW in Excellence projects all about the fact that they do their own laundry.  Much to their chagrin.  
We spent Thanksgiving break in Grapevine working on getting my dad's house ready for sale so we booked a room at the Great wolf lodge and went to dinner one night at our FAVORITE joint, Joe's crab shack.  We love that place.  It was a nice distraction from an emotionally heart wrenching week. Selling your late father's house isn't my favorite thing in the world.





 These cute girls went to dinner before the November Stake Dance.

 Celebrated a certain someone's 15th birthday.


Sometimes my heart is just filled with gratitude for sweet girls who are good friends to my daughters.

The Caboose



Man I love this kid.  But he is growing up a little too fast for my liking.  I look at him and I marvel at how much he looks like his older brother.  I hope he turns out as fantastic of a kid as Tanner.  So far my chances look good.  He makes my heart smile.

Thanks Kim Christensen photography for the pictures.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Guest Post: Brooke from Mercy River, "Reclaiming a Silent Night"

My friend Whitney is part of Mercy River and this is their blog.
http://www.mercyrivermusic.com/about/
Brooke posted this earlier this month and I just loved it.  I, too, have struggled with loving Christmas as I should and not getting caught up in the busyness of it all.

If you’re a mom, chances are good you don’t see a lot of “silent nights” during the holidays.
After all, YOU are the one responsible for creating most of the magic. There are parties, dinners, concerts, presents, food, neighbor gifts, Christmas cards…not to mention the normal demands of sports, recitals, homework, sick kids, and laundry. You’re up later than usual to get it all done, when what you really want to do is eat fudge, watch the Hallmark channel, and feel jolly.
But, can I be super honest? Some years all I feel is numb. 
Numb from the busyness. And sad – even a little guilty – that I don’t really “feel” Christmas (other than feeling “rage” because my Amazon Prime package took 3 days to arrive, or feeling “panicked” because I can’t find the Lego set I strategically hid 5 weeks ago).
We’re so worried about everyone else around us soaking in the spirit of Christ - but what about US? Do we let Christmas “act upon” us and miss an important connection? Do we just expect that Christmas will bring the feelings we long for? Just like every other part of the holidays, these moments (often) need to be CREATED. Because of a busy December schedule, we need to intentionally act and create space for ourselves to have worshipful, reflective moments. 
As a semi-expert of Christmas cray cray, I’d like to share a personal suggestion for reclaiming your connection to Christ- your inner peace- during the holiday season. Your own “silent night,” if you will.
The magic of Christmas is often tied to traditions, which include our family or friends. Which ALSO includes running to the store, organizing schedules, baking extra treats, and coordinating chaos. Oftentimes traditions- although joyful and/or necessary- are draining for the one orchestrating it all (raise your hand *here*).
But what if you create a tradition just for YOU? Something that fills your bucket. Something that doesn’t include other schedules or uncooperative kids. There are no parties, no extra baking, no surfing Pinterest for ideas. This tradition is just yours. Something that you know will bring you peace and help you reflect when you need it most.
I discovered the power of a personal tradition a few years ago, during a particularly busy Christmas season. It was two days before Christmas and I realized I hadn’t really felt at peace that entire month. So that night I sent everyone to bed (including my husband) and I grabbed my favorite Christmas book and a hot chocolate, and I curled up by my tree and read. That night became so special to me, completely changing the way I felt that season. I decided to repeat it each year. No matter how busy or chaotic the holidays get, I know I’ll get my time. Come Christmas Eve-Eve, I know I’ll have MY MOMENT to ponder, feel, reflect, and cry by the tree. It’s one of my favorite parts about Christmas. My own tradition.
During the chaos of the season, I look forward to that peaceful, private time. I know it’s coming, and that helps fuel me through the month.
Your personal tradition might look different than mine. You might gather special Christmas songs, stick them on a playlist, and go for a bundled walk. You might jump in the car and take a solitary drive as you listen to the Christmas story or a devotional. Maybe there’s a certain movie, or book that you know will bring the spirit. This is just about you and Jesus. Find what brings you peace, and stick with that tradition each year.
Creating a personal “come to Jesus” tradition for yourself will GREATLY enhance the peace of your Christmas season. We could all use less chaos and more inner stillness as we run around like frantic elves. Try to intentionally create space for few more reflective, quiet moments. Even if your “silent nights” are few and far between.
(As a tribute to mothers who often don’t see many (but desperately need more) silent nights, we created this music video. Moms, in the words of Elder Holland, “You are doing better than you think you are!” Enjoy! xo)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

missing

I have really been missing this kid a lot more lately.  I'm not sure what has brought it on.
Maybe it is because he called last month when he was in urgent care and I heard his voice.
 Maybe it is because he gets to call next month for Christmas!
 Maybe it is because the older McKinley gets, the more she reminds me of him.  (She is a female version of Tanner- all that sarcasm and sass and absolutely no filter yet really really cute)

 It might be because we are starting to make summer plans and I realized that we would need to work around his homecoming at the end of July.  We only have 8.5 more months before he comes home.
 Maybe it is because I have been finding pictures of him on the "missionary Mamas" Facebook page every once in awhile.
 I think it might have something to do with the fact that his birthday is this month.
 And that I have been thinking about what I could put in his Christmas care package.
 I am so incredibly proud of the work he is doing and the man he is becoming.
 And that he is still my same old Tanner.
 I feel so blessed to call him "Son".  He will always be one of my dearest friends.  Tanner, I hope you get to read this.  Love, Mom.