Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Everyday

Last February I decided to post a blog entry every single day to help me focus on happy things during my least favorite month. Well I did it again. I didn't make a big deal about it because, honestly, I didn't know if I'd remember to do it. There have been several nights where I've been ready for bed before I remembered I still needed to post something. Argh! But somehow I pulled it off and it helped me find joy in the little things. I hope you've found many happy moments in your February, too. 

For this last day, I've got something that's sure to make you smile. This little donut was made entirely by Sadie. She got a little stitching kit for Christmas with patterns and supplies to make all sorts of mini food items. She hand stitched this adorable donut and made it entirely from scratch. Isn't it the cutest? 

On that note, I'll sign off and see you next month!

You know, February really isn't all that bad. ;)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Seussical Jr.

The middle school spring musical is coming up this weekend! Soren is in Seussical Jr. and we can't wait to see it. There are plenty of catchy tunes and many favorite Seuss characters. It's bound to be an hour well spent.

If you live in my little corner of the world, bring the fam! The show is this Friday and Saturday, March 3rd and 4th at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Tickets will be available at the door or you can buy them from the middle school or high school office all week. $4 for students and seniors, $7 for adults.

(Sterling said I should have written this post in rhyme, to fit the Seuss theme. It's a great idea, but I'm just not feeling it. Feel free to leave your rhyme ideas in the comments. lol)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Daddy's Girl

I'm on my way to bed, but I wanted to post this sweet photo before I forget. This was taken a few days before Christmas and it shows just how much Sadie loves her dad. These two are fast friends. Jeff tucks her in every night and wakes her up every morning. Sadie is 100% daddy's girl. Don't get me wrong, she tolerates me just fine and we play a lot of games and make a lot of crafts together. But when she has the choice, it's daddy all the way. I'm okay with that. :)

Sweet Dreams!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Can of Worms

I've never been bitten by the genealogy bug... until now.

I just finished a four-day community course on the basics of genealogy. A lot of the material was review. I don't know a lot, but know just enough to be dangerous. I was given some good tips on narrowing down searches and various websites for getting information. On the last day of class, we had some time left at the end so I just started going through my family tree on FamilySearch.org. Oh boy. I had no idea when I identified my great grandma's youngest brother as a good place to start that I would end up so entrenched in his wife's family.

The Flynn Family, ca. 1921
I dove in last night and ended up at times with way-too-many tabs open on my computer and a web of documents, dates and people. At first, there was really nothing to go by except a few census records, but from there I identified her parents and brother. Her dad was a pretty fascinating fellow who was born in Scotland and worked as a hairdresser on 5th Avenue in New York City. There are multiple source documents for her dad and it's so cool to piece his life together and learn parts of his life story from these pieces of paper. Her mom was born in Illinois so I feel a connection on both sides.

It's still in a mess and I have to sort through a lot of things to fill in some gaps in my information, but it's so fascinating! Every new discovery is so satisfying.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Drive Your Tractor To School Day

Today's the day! It's "Drive your tractor to school" day. This is what I saw when I dropped my boys off at the high school this morning. 

Ag classes are a big thing at the high school and many of these kids have been raised on the surrounding farms. It's in their blood, so it's nice that they let them bring their vehicle of choice to school once a year.

This phenomenon is new for me. I didn't see many, if any, tractors in my suburban Utah upbringing. But in Small Town, Illinois they are everywhere. This is where my kids come from and that makes me smile.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Top Down

February is usually a pretty grim month here in the Midwest. If it's not snowing, it's gray and dreary and cold. There isn't nearly enough sunshine and it's hard to put on a happy face. Just look at this picture from February 2014:

This year it's a different story. We've had the most amazing weather! It's been sunny and mild like a beautiful spring. This week the temperatures got up into the high 60's several times. We may have even hit 70º. I don't know that we've ever had a February where I could ride around in my little car with the top down before. I could get used to this!

Tomorrow should be nice, but then we're in for a week of cooler weather. I won't complain. February is almost over and it's been great!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My Wish

Maybe it's because Sam and Savannah are away at school, forging ahead toward a (hopefully) bright future. Maybe it's because Spencer will graduate from high school in 3 months. Maybe it's because life can be tricky at times and I want the best for my kids. Or maybe it's just because I'm feeling sentimental...

Whatever the reason, I've been listening to "My Wish," by Rascal Flatts on repeat. It's one of my favorites and does a great job expressing what I wish for my kids. If you're not familiar with it, listen to the lyrics. You'll see what I mean!

(I'd hoped to find an official music video by Rascal Flatts, but there isn't one. This one isn't bad--)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In For Repairs

It was bound to happen. After almost 22 years of marriage and 6 kids, Spencer has been awarded the "First Broken Bone" medal. We're feeling pretty blessed that we made it this far without prior visits to the Orthopedic Surgeon. That's not counting Jeff, of course, who broke the rod in his leg 11 years ago and had to endure several surgeries to make it right. His was a pre-existing condition from before our life together.


Spencer's break happened last Thursday in P.E. when he was shoved during indoor soccer and went down hard on his hand. He broke his radius. He was in a temporary cast over the long weekend and received his real cast this morning. The good news is that this should be a quick fix. The doctor informed Spencer that, surprisingly, his growth plates haven't closed yet. His exact words were, "You have the growth plates of a 15-year old." Usually, by age 17, they would expect to see the growth plates closing. Bones heal faster in kids who are still growing so the doctor said he could graduate to a splint in less than 3 weeks if all goes well. :) Of course, Spencer was thrilled to know that he's still got some growing to do!

Fortunately, Spencer broke his right arm and he's left handed. There are many reasons why this could have been a lot worse. We're still counting our blessings!

Monday, February 20, 2017


Images are from Amazon.com

Hands down, our game of choice these days is Ligretto. My brother introduced us to it last spring. It's similar to Solitaire, but you can have up to 12 players and it gets crazy!

A few things I love about it:

  • Everyone in our family can play. It's fun with two players and it's fun with eight players - and every number in between. (We have eight decks so that's our limit, but another box set would add four more decks.)
  • Anyone in our family can win. I used to win pretty consistently, but Sadie has gotten so good that I have gotten plenty of losing practice. Spencer beat me the other day and he has a broken arm. (I still haven't figured that one out. Having two hands is pretty crucial!)
  • It's fast. You can play one round in about 5 minutes. Or keep score and play to 100 which might take 30-45 minutes.
  • Every player is engaged the entire game. There is no waiting your turn. Get rid of your cards as fast as you can for the win.

Each box set contains four decks -- one player per deck. If you buy the Blue, Green and Red sets, you'll have 12 decks which would be total madness, but a really great time! We love it! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

On Failing and Finishing

BYU has a devotional each Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. mountain time. They are always worthwhile, but this past Tuesday's devotional was especially good. It was given by Cassy Budd, a faculty member in the School of Accountancy within BYU's Marriott School of Management.

I listened to the devotional after Sam recommended it. I listened again with Jeff as we drove to Indianapolis on Friday. Then I listened for a third time tonight with the kids. I could listen to it again. If you can take the time, you won't regret it. 

If you'd rather read it, the text will eventually be posted here. You can also access audio and video from the same site. This is definitely one I'll bookmark and keep for future reference. I loved it!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pixelated Ponys

What can you make with a shoebox full of pony beads, some wooden skewers and floral foam blocks? Pixelated pony bead art! Soren and Sadie made good use of their supplies this afternoon as they put them together to make these fun pictures. Sadie sketched out her design on graph paper first. Soren relied more on trial and error. I think they both did a great job and had a lot of fun in the process. 

Soren's mushroom and Sadie's emoji

Friday, February 17, 2017

Beauty Before Dark

We've had so many beautiful sunsets recently. Every night is a stunning display of color that fades from orange to pink to purple to a darker and darker blue until the light fades completely away. Breathtaking!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tulip Hearts

It's super early for tulips, but the weather here has been so mild that ours are starting to come up. Sadie has her own little bed of tulips. Today she pointed out how the unfolding leaves look like hearts. Aren't they cute? 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Have A Nice Life

I attended my writing group again last night. What a great group of people! We laugh a lot and have a great time as we encourage each other and share our stories.

Each month, we bring a piece that we've written based on a prompt given to us at the previous meeting. But before we read those aloud, we are given a new prompt at the start of the meeting and we write for about 20 minutes. Then, if we choose, we share what we've written. Last night the prompt was a very general "gifts." That could mean a favorite or least favorite gift we've received or given. It could be a card or letter. It could be a birthday or Christmas or any other occasion. Whatever we thought of, we had twenty minutes to write. It took me a few minutes to get started, but here's what I came up with in the end.
It was 1988, my freshman year of college. I was at Ricks, a junior college in Idaho about 4 hours from my Utah home. I was still homesick when my 18th birthday rolled around just a few weeks after the start of the semester, so I was excited when a postcard arrived from my dad. I went to my room to read his note. 
"Dear Missy, Happy Birthday to you. ... Hope you have a great day, weekend, year, life, etc. I love you. Love, Dad"
As silly as it sounds, I sat down on my bed and cried. My dad had just told me to have a nice life. It sounded so...final
I've always been a daddy's girl, and his card reminded me that I was far from home, but I knew that my dad simply wanted me to be happy, not only on my birthday but always.
I still have that postcard, but I no longer have my dad. It's okay. Throughout my life he always made it clear that he wants the best for me.
He wants me to have a nice life.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Be Mine, Valentine

While the drawing for this clever Valentine is my own, the cute idea is not. I love turtles so when I saw this idea on the internet, I knew it would be the perfect valentine for my kids.

Happy Valentine's Day! XO

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Private Showing

Our family enjoyed our own private screening of The Lego Batman Movie tonight. The kids have been super excited to see it, but we were worried it might be busy just three days after the opening. We decided to chance it and were pleasantly surprised to find that we had the theater all to ourselves. I don't know whether to chalk that up to life in a small town or the fact that it's a school night. ;)

The movie has several laugh-out-loud funny moments and references. There are even a few 80's music clips. (Gotta love 80's music!) The kids didn't love the show as much as they love The Lego Movie, but that's one of their favorites so it'll be hard to beat.

I had a hard time staying awake (it's been a LONG day!), but it was fun to see Batman as a family, on a school night, just for fun. I'm glad we went!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Seek Sunlight

This quote came up in one of our lessons today at church. It's a great way to live and a good reminder to look for the good things in life. Good or bad, you find what you are looking for!

Saturday, February 11, 2017


Sadie is a funny girl. I know this picture isn't great, but can you see her "sunburn?" I put that in quotes because she's not sunburned. It's makeup. She was just playing around with her collected stash of makeup and gave herself a pretty convincing sunburn. For the record, it was almost 70º today - which is crazy for February, by the way - and she spent a good chunk of time outside so she could have convinced us the sunburn was real.

It immediately reminded me of another picture of my Sadie after she gave herself a little makeover several years ago. It's not so different from the first with a little red makeup smeared on the bridge of her nose. :) Of course, this one looks less like a sunburn and more like attack of the killer lipstick.

We've come a long way. :)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Funny

SCENE: A teenage daughter and her dad in the car.

Lauren: Dad, do you know what the most commonly used letter in a girl's name is?

Me: Hmm, is it a consonant or a vowel? (Silence.) Please tell me you know what consonants and vowels are.

Lauren: You're no fun, Dad. Forget it.

Me: What is a vowel?

Lauren: OK, OK. A vowel is ... ahh ... eh ... well, oh ... uh ...

Me: Close enough.

--by Robert Alvarez, author of Blonde Moments: Life with a Blonde Teenage Daughter.
Found in the Reader's Digest.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Boy Soprano

Three years ago, while in the sixth grade, Sterling sang a solo with the Eastern Symphony Orchestra. Usually he's sitting in the violin section with the orchestra, but his sweet voice was just right for the "boy soprano" solo. Something reminded me about this the other day and it took a few minutes to find it so I wanted to post it here for safekeeping. :)

Sterling is like a little angel with his innocent face and pure sound. He'd probably be embarrassed that I'm posting this because he was way more nervous than he expected so there were a few hiccups near the start. Overall, it was beautiful with the choir and orchestra. What a great opportunity for my sweet Sterling.

The video below is the entire symphony program that night. Forward to 52:50 to get to Sterling's part. It goes through 59:00.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Let People Repent

I've been thinking about this quote a lot this week. I said something I shouldn't have said. I really thought it would help a situation, but it had the exact opposite effect. Now I feel like the people involved have forgotten every good thing I've ever done and define me by this one unfortunate moment. I'd go back and erase the whole thing if I could, but what's done is done. I may have permanently damaged some relationships despite my quick and sincere apology. I hope I'm wrong and it all blows over quickly. But it's the what if I'm not wrong that worries me. 

That's why this quote has been on my mind. It's caused me to reflect on how I treat others. Do I let others repent? Do I define people by their worst moments? Or do I give people the benefit of the doubt? Do I let people change and become better? Believe me, after seeing it from the side I'm on right now, I'll be much more gentle toward others in the future. It has helped me to see charity in a new and needed light.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Missing Scotland

One of Sam's friends got home from his mission tonight. He's been in Italy for the past 2 years. He looks great and we had a nice visit with his family.

Talking with them got me thinking about my mission and so many of the things I miss: Horlicks, the hills purple with heather, the Scottish accent (I watched a documentary the other day that was filmed in Scotland and I LOVED listening to them!), so many yummy and unique sweets, bagpipes.... I could go on and on.

It is one of the most beautiful places. I've said for the past 23 years that someday I'll go back, but I've never been. It's about time, don't you think?


Monday, February 6, 2017


It's been that kind of a Monday. Somehow, this cute saying in fun lettering makes it laughable.

I stumbled upon the blog radandhappy.com a couple days ago and I'm in love. Her lettering and her style are inspiring.

Monday is all but over for me. Tomorrow will be better! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Isn't this just the best news you've heard all day? :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rebecca Burdick Winters

Jeff's fourth great grandma was Rebecca Burdick Winters. She passed away in 1852 during her westward journey with the Mormon pioneers. The historical marker shown below tells a little bit about her, including how the railroad was rerouted so that this pioneer mother's grave wouldn't be disturbed. 

We stopped to see the tribute marker last summer on our way through Nebraska. It's located on a little sort-of-street off the beaten path, appropriately named "Rebecca Winters Drive." 

In front of the granite marker is the original iron wagon tire
that marked Rebecca's initial resting place. 
Rebecca's father, Gideon Burdick, was a 14-year old drummer boy in George Washington's Army during the American Revolution. Gideon also joined the Mormon church and settled in Illinois, but he passed away a few years before Rebecca and her family began their trek west. 

We've driven across Nebraska so many times, just plowing through on our way to Utah or Idaho. I'm glad we finally took the time to visit Rebecca's resting place. It was worth the trip.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Lego Files

I know it doesn't look like much, but welcome to the Lego files. (Maybe I'll replace this with a better photo someday or maybe I won't. You get the idea.)

We have a LOT of Legos. Many of them are various colored bricks in buckets that the kids can use to build whatever their imaginations come up with. It was the sets that had me baffled. What do you do with the sets? The boys wanted to display them, fully assembled, on shelves, but we ran out of shelf space long ago. So we disassembled many of them and put them in big ziplock bags and stored them in tubs, but the tubs took up so much space and then it was "out of sight, out of mind" so they were basically forgotten.

One day, after the kids got some free pizza "kits" as a prize from our local library, I was looking at the small pizza boxes they came in and had an aha moment.

I ordered a bunch of 10" craft "pizza" boxes and a 9-cube storage shelf and put the kids to work. Each lego set was broken down and put in boxes. The biggest sets fill up two boxes each while some boxes contain 2 or 3 of the smaller sets. We labeled each box and indicated who it belongs to and stacked them up on the shelves. Now it's easy for the kids to find specific sets, plus they get the fun of rebuilding them whenever they want. The "Lego Room" stays cleaner and mom stays happier. It's a win/win. :)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cheer Up

I was hoping for an early spring, but if the groundhog's prediction proves correct, we're in for a long winter. (I hope he's wrong. We're just coming off of an unseasonably warm January and my tulips think it's time to wake up...)

If you need a little cheering up, this might help. It's a great sketch that brought lots of laughs from my crowd. Enjoy!

(Happy Groundhog Day!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Friends on Display

About half of our Christmas card wall.
I love our Christmas card display. In the weeks after Thanksgiving, it makes me so happy to check the mail and clip all the incoming Christmas cards to a wire that stretches the width of our dining room. While I don't really keep track from year to year, it feels like we got more cards than ever in 2016. Rather than overlapping and trying to fit them all in a row, this year after a row was full we just clipped additional cards in new rows beneath the first so they are all visible at once.

I know it's February, but I'm not ready to take the cards down quite yet. These are family and friends - most of them far away - and I like having them close to remind me how blessed we are!