December 30, 2014

Missing Him

So here's a thing about scrapbooking: it can make you incredibly nostalgic and if you've suffered the loss of a loved one, let me warn you - you can get stuck there quite easily.

I have also learned that it's best to allow yourself to stay stuck for a little while, and grieve again, and feel all the feelings that need to come out of your eyeballs. Well, if you're me anyway.

So, Daddy, you've been on my mind all month long. One trip down memory lane for December Daily and I was all-in an emotional rollercoaster from that point on. But I'm glad because it feels nice to have you so close to my heart.

Love you forever,


December 18, 2014

Aujourd'hui, C'est Mon Anniversaire

      I am desperately trying to keep my ass in gear to continue posting on the blog regularly. Scrapbooking and painting have seriously cut into my creativity window, however, and right now those outlets feel more appropriate to me. I have painted paper and canvas stacked up all over the place at home and while it is cluttery, it feels GOOOOOOD. That said, this has always been my place to speak and the spot where Nana comes to see her kin. So in that spirit, how about a birthday update?
     38 years ago, Judy found herself birthing me au natural in a hospital in Utrecht. Which also means that my dad has been in Heaven 18 years now. That part sucks. But overall, a very nice birthday. My husband snuck a birthday card onto my bedside table this morning after kissing me goodbye. It was a fishing card with a sexual innuendo that I totally appreciated. Then Andy presented me with the kids’ card that was very special, signed by all four of my babies. I got a text from my Lulu, my mother-in-law, and my stepdaughter before I’d even left the house. I also managed to send a birthday suit selfie to my husband at work, so yes – good birthday.
     The thing about birthdays for me, is that they make me very introspective. I begin to question my purpose in this life or at the very least look for it and pray about it. I wonder if I’ve made enough of an impact in God’s kingdom, or on the lives of my husband and my kids.  I also spend time thinking about how I’d like to grow and improve over the the next year. I wondered this morning why people don’t begin their new year’s resolutions with each birthday instead of on January 1st. Makes more sense to me.
     This year has truly been a turning point for me. It wasn’t one thing in particular, but a whole mess of things that clicked into place. Some of them have been unexpected, some great, and some tragic (Allie’s death was a sidekick out of nowhere) – but all of them really gave me some perspective and humility this year.
     I love my Savior more than ever. I love that my husband shares this with me and has grown in his own faith this year as well. We really do pray together all the time and it is THE THING that is the gluey-est glue in our marriage. I love that Jesus saved me and God chose me and made me for a unique purpose and as my time on this earth grows on, I am grateful for all of the details in my life (even the bad days) and I am restless in pursuit of His purpose for me. I find myself speaking out more often if the Spirit moves inside of my heart. Just last week a coworker’s friend died and I emailed this woman, who is almost a stranger to me still, and reminded her about HOPE. I felt the urge to tell her that the love she had for her friend was important, I prayed for her, and I wished peace and comfort for her in the season to come. And you know what? She responded with love. It was a God moment that I never could have planned and could easily have dismissed as too risky. But I went for it. Life is short, Guys. Always, always listen to that voice.
     In terms of my health this year, I have worked hard. Another year Paleo and my body is thanking me. The headaches are so rare now, my skin tone has improved, and bellyaches are a thing of the past. This summer I had bloodwork done for my new health plan and my blood chemistry and cholesterol levels were so beautiful the nurse asked me in detail about my diet. Praise God. It feels good to be disciplined and healthy. I still drink 2 liters of water a day and that is THE THING that keeps me healthiest. Adding in hot yoga with weights every week has kicked my ass into the best shape I’ve seen in at least 10 years or more. Probably ever.
     I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to some frustration over the past year, though, mainly because whyhasittaken38dangyearsformetofinallyinvestinmyself?  I mean, I even fell in love with my hair this year. God gave it to me when he knit me in Judy’s womb so, please appreciate my frustration that I hated on it for 37 years before I finally succumbed to its mostly waviness, sometimes straightness. I finally figured out how to style it, keep it healthy, and only tweak it by way of balayage. In fact, I love it so much that I’m already worrying about gray hair – I mean, do I color it and prolong the color I finally fell in love with? Or do I let it go gray and fall in love with that, too? Knowing me that would probably take until age 74. Hmpf. Oh how I just simply need to worry less.
     So this next year, I plan to fall even more in love with my Savior, even more in love with my husband, and even more in love with my children. I want to start running again – to add that into my weekly regimen. I want more days in the living room doing abs because I WANT to (yeah, that weirded me out when it happened, too). The food won’t change (thanks, gluten intolerance!) but I want to learn more ways to cook Paleo for my family. I am going to keep painting and making a mess in our kitchen sink, and Lord help me I'm going to scrap up all the stories and memories and photos I can. Because LIFE IS SHORT. And I want to visit Judy more often. And Lulu. Because you MUST tell your people what they mean to you as often as possible.

From Henry David Thoreau:  What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when you bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.

December 15, 2014

Just Kiki

It's her tree, you know.

Every year before I can get the bottom section erected into the base, she is down there, waiting. It's like her natural habitat or something.

She lays beneath it almost all day, popping out for belly rubs and food. At night, she cries and howls and runs around the tree in circles. We imagine she must be chanting prayers of thanks to God for sending tuna and salmon and chicken here for her to eat alla time.

Kiki says hello!

December 8, 2014


I love this time of year! Merry Christmas, friends.

This year I got the tree up before Thanksgiving. I know, right?  So grateful to finally have a tree-topper that holds so much meaning. This gorgeous angel was handpainted by Bryon's late grandma Darlene.

I love decorating for the holidays, but I also love keeping it simple.

Love the warm glow from the tree in the evenings. Andrew used it to finish his art sketchbook assignment.

It's perfect for watching Love Actually.

And it's perfect for posing.

The tree belongs to Kiki, in case you're curious. This is her permanent spot until it comes down. She comes out from beneath only to eat and beg for belly rubbing. At night, she lays on her back and howls under the tree. It's bizarre - I think she prefers the lights on. Ha!

Here's to making more memories this year, and to celebrating the traditions we've established as a family. We ask that God comfort everyone this time of year, especially those who lost loved ones and mourn during the holidays - may they find peace among the sadness, and hope when feeling hopeless.

December 2, 2014

Roo + Glasses

Happy December, yo!

We had a terrific Thanksgiving. It was absolutely wonderful. I had planned to host our entire family so I prepared a 20 lb turkey. Which, as it turns out, takes roughly 5 hours in the oven. In the end, it was only us plus our favorite bachelor neighbor - and it was AMAZEBALLS. 

I suppose since this is my blog I'm allowed to brag, so, yes. I rocked that feast. The men - and kids - had seconds and thirds! I soaked up every compliment, too. I can admit it. I sent our neighbor home with two days worth of meals, make turkey vegetable soup two days later, and still had 1/4 of the bird to freeze for another meal. I have since decided that I will probably get 20 lb turkeys from now on. It wasn't wasted! 

December is in full swing. Our house was decorated before Thanksgiving (say whaaaaaat?) and I've already got my December Daily on (that's a scrapbooking project, by the way). Almost done with Christmas shopping, too.

Our first snow fell more than a week ago, so yes. Full swing.

But I have news to share!  My little Roo got glasses yesterday.  We took this selfie a couple of weeks ago after Bryon and I surprised him with a new Neff beanie. He hasn't taken it off since, but that's another story for another time.

He was excited, actually. Hayley has glasses, see - so it's only fitting that Andrew need them as well. As a matter of fact, Andrew has astigmatism, just like Hayley. He let me be the first to call him "four eyes" and then called Bryon to say, "Hello, Four Eyes, this is Four Eyes as well calling."  Too cute.

I took him to his appointment downtown and his little tail was wagging. (Well, Andy loves one on one time more than anything in the world.) He'd already picked out a pair of frames, so the second half of the appointment went really fast.

Then I made him mug for the camera because he was so cute I wanted to eat him up.

I also made him promise to learn guitar for Weezer's Buddy Holly for me.

Love this kid to pieces. I am SO blessed. He is such a rockstar to me.

November 26, 2014

Oh Yes, She Did

I am quickly coming to the realization that my daughter is capable of just about anything. She is kind to animals and not keen to start a fire, thank God, but everything else is a distinct possibility.

For Halloween, Mabel wanted to be a zombie. Not just any zombie (and definitely not a prissy Barbie-style zombie), but a bloody, gory zombie. She also wanted a homemade costume, so I obliged. Her costume contained a healthy amount of makeup to make her look, you know, dead - so she was super excited.  Her 1st grade class encouraged costumes that Halloween Friday for their party, however makeup was strictly prohibited. That meant we needed to move to plan B for the party.

I offered to give her some crazy hair and told her she could wear anything wacky that she wanted. The child came upstairs in an outfit I have seen her in before - which basically means Mabel dresses like Punky Brewster at all times. Moving on. I gave her 8 precious looped ponies, which we call "polar bear ears" in our house. She giggled and was super excited to go to school and show them off. I reminded her how to pull them out (super easy, by the way), but asked her NOT TO.  She let me snap a quick picture before she got on the bus.

At some point during her morning, and well before their party, Mabel became keenly aware of those 8 polar bear ears atop her head, and she also became very worried that someone would laugh at her for having them. Embarrassment is a new feeling for Mabel, but certainly what little girls worry about at that age (have you heard, school kids can be MEAN?), so she asked her teacher to take out her ponies. Her teacher refused and told her that she looked darling.

Once she realized Mrs. S wasn't going to help her out, Mabel took matters into her own hands, and grabbed a pair of scissors on her way to the bathroom. Once she had some privacy, she worked at those polar bear ears and got 7 of them out.  The 8th one - the one with the blue rubber band at the front, by her face - it gave her some trouble. So she made a chop.

1/2" from her scalp.

Oh yes, she did.

When I got home that day, I observed my daughter giggling and bouncing (she is always giggling and bouncing) while we got ready to go out trick-or-treating and I noticed that something was a little... off.  Upon closer inspection, I thought my daughter resembled Billy Ray Cyrus. And I realized that she had half-mulletted herself that day.

(next morning photo)

We had no time to spare and there really wasn't much to do anyway - so I gooped up her zombie in the bathroom. I sprayed her hair with black hairspray in spots, added the white and green makeup, and gave her dead eyes, by request. Oh, and the bloody mouth from where she was eating brains. I also teased up her hair - which the neighborhood loved by the way.

She really wasn't too concerned about the loss of TEN INCHES of hair from the front of her head, so I figured I shouldn't be either. Can't make it grow any faster anyway.

Sigh. This child.

November 19, 2014

So Busy

Things are crazy for me right now, yo.  I hardly have time to blog (sorry, Mom).  Work is GREAT. Kids are GREAT. Husband is GREAT. God is our King and always GREAT.

I have millions of ideas to blog, but scrapbooking them out sort of steals some thunder. I'm okay with that for now, though. And painting. Lord, love me some painting. I'll have more on that soon, I hope.

In other news, I found out yesterday that my tattoo artist is moving to Florida to take a HUGE tattoo job. I'm super proud of him (he's a young'n), but he was really hard for my picky ass to find so I am sad as well. Also this means I have a week to meet with him to finish my arm...

November 11, 2014

More pages

One of the scrap projects I've been doing is weekly Project Life. That's a two page layout (usually) per week in 2014.  I haven't been working in particular order, which is why a planner comes in so handy for PL. I plan to go back and (using my blog, Facebook, Instagram, and calendar) reconstruct 2013 as well. It was a big year for us and deserves to be documented.

One of the techniques that I enjoy using is transparency printing. I love the texture it provides to pages.

And paint. Have I mentioned paint? I lovvvvvveee me some paint.

Always and forever paint.

November 7, 2014

They Are Not Tiny

A couple of weekends go, I was hard up to scrap, yo.  I was filled up with love from both husband and children which put me squarely in the please-leave-me-alone-to-create-for-hours mode.  I love that mode. I make a total mess with paint and paper and don't clean my house for hours. It comes rarely! So my husband took off with the kiddos and went to a local state park to play in the leaves so that I could stay home and let the creative beast out of my brain. I stayed in my jammies, drank coffee, and put Grey's Anatomy on.

They went to the same state park that we got married in - which is also the same park we took them to even longer ago, when we created some spectacular photos that still hang in our home.

Bryon is an amazing husband. There are a lot of reasons he is, but he really topped himself that day. Not only did he take the kids out of the house to play for hours - happily... but he also took photos and sent them to me.

My husband artfully recreated several of the images we took years ago, and made me fall in love with our family all over again.

Wow. Our girls are so beautiful. I love how they love each other. Even if sometimes that love is tolerance.

My mini man. He thought it would be hilarious to climb up in that tree. Can't wait to show this one to his future wife.

Did I mention that Bryon packed them a lunch, too? Eat your heart out, ladies. He's the bomb diddly.

They were all so tiny.

Now, not tiny.

This one made me tear up.  What a kind and loving husband I have!

God is amazing.