My inspiration for this record of my days:

“The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” -Anna Quindlen

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Simon

 I want to write down a few special things about Simon before I forget them.

Simon is a really special kid.  He is smart and spunky.  Fun-loving and dependable.  Sweet, but with a tough exterior.  And always with a twinkle of mischief in his eye!  And the older he gets, the more I see kindness and an unusual spiritual maturity in him.

He loves singing.  Every night he pulls up his shirt so I can scratch his back while I sing him a song.  And every night he sings along with me.  Last week I had lost my voice, so he sang the lullaby while I scratched his back.

He likes to sit by me in church so we can sing the hymns together.  He can read well enough now that he follows along, and sings every word of every hymn.  A couple of weeks ago at the Sunday dinner table, we were doing "highs."  Simon said his high was singing the songs in sacrament meeting.  Way to melt his mother's heart!

Over Thanksgiving the cousins were all sleeping in Grandma and Grandpa's "rumpus room."  The movie had ended (it was like 11:00pm) and most of the kids were asleep. Grandpa walked through to turn off the TV and saw Simon upside down on the couch.  Thinking he had crashed in an uncomfortable position, he went to help Simon lay down in his bed.  But Simon wasn't asleep. Grandpa had accidentally interrupted his personal prayers.  All on his own, late at night, this sweet boy was praying to his Heavenly Father.

Tonight Jeff was trying to coax the kids into cleaning up the family room, and Simon was the only one cooperating.  After several failed attempts to get the older kids helping,  Jeff went and got a stack of fifty one dollar bills and handed them to Simon as a reward!  (Perhaps a bit over dramatic, but that's not the point.)  Now, to understand the rest of the story, you have to know how much Simon loves money!  He is always trying to get people to pay him for things he has done, or sweet talk them into donating to him.  So fifty dollars was a dream come true for him!!  He had a great time waving it around in front of his incredulous siblings!

But a couple of hours later, he heard Josh lamenting that he didn't have enough money to pay for Christmas presents because he owed money for a broken window.  He quietly went and got his whole stack of money and handed it to Josh.  "Here Josh.  You need this more than I do."  I couldn't believe it!  Just like that, he was willing to part with that money for his brother.  Josh didn't accept the money, but I was so moved by that gesture.  What a pure little heart- to give, without hesitation, everything he had.

As I type this, he keeps getting out of his bed to get "one more drink" or to try to explain why Eli deserves the spit on his bed.  So I guess he's a pretty typical almost-seven-year-old.  Not always an angel.

The scriptures say that Mary "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."  I want to do the same thing with these sweet experiences I have with my children.  The best way I know of to "keep" these things, is to write them down.  And as I ponder them in my heart, I feel that heart swell with gratitude to my Heavenly Father. What a humbling, joyful privilege it is to be the mother of such an amazing little boy.  I can't wait to see the man he will become.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Something about boys

Boys are their own species for sure.  I should know.  I live in a house full of them!

Growing up in a family of mostly girls, I was not prepared for this life.  I have really come to love and embrace their strange world, for the most part.

The super heros and the ninjas; the bugs and lizards; the fireworks; the sound effects; the dirt and the constant food.  It really is quite charming and endearing when you stop trying to understand, and just roll with it.

But there is one thing about boy-ness that I am struggling to embrace.  The never-ending, constant, unrelenting, continual motion!  It's really making me crazy! I know there is a scientific law that says that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.  Boys are proof of that law!

It is really rare to find a moment in my house when all objects and people are at rest.  There are always balls being bounced against the wall.  There are balls and/or NERF bullets flying through the air.  There are rip-sticks or hover boards zipping around corners.  There are hands and feet flashing out to "barely touch" a brother as he walks by.  There are sock skaters and blanket magic carpets.  There are people leaping over couches or jumping to touch every door jam as they pass through... just to see if they can do it.

It's exhausting.  But only for me, apparently.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This girl

I don't even know how to start this post.

This girl...

This girl...

This girl...

This girl...

It wasn't back to school for her.  This year it was off to school.

The last couple of weeks before she left were rough.  When friends would casually ask me if I was ready, my eyes would well up with tears, and we had to change the subject.  Today as I write this, I have to keep blinking fast to keep the tears at bay.  Oh how I miss that girl!

Some of the tears were just because I knew we would miss her.  She is a walking ray of sunshine! She is helpful and has always included me in the details of her life.  She has a ready smile and is kind to everyone.  Especially adoring little brothers.

And sure enough, the house feels empty without her.  The little boys talk about her constantly and always remember her in their prayers.  She came home for a visit this weekend, and she was like a rock star!  Everyone wanted to sit by her and tell her things and show her things.  She handled the suffocation well.

Some of the tears were sadness that this phase of my life has come to an end.  The phase of having all of my sweet little children together under one roof is over.  It went so fast!  It has been an exhausting and demanding phase for sure, but deeply rewarding.  I never could have imagined how intense or fulfilling motherhood could be.

Some of my tears, thankfully, were tears of happiness and optimism.  Rebecca is so ready for this step!  She is wise beyond her years and full of faith.  I have complete confidence in her.  I already love the growth that I can see in her.  She told me the other day, "I didn't realize that I needed independence until I had it!"  She was content at home, and nervous about assuming adult responsibilities.  She has been pleasantly surprised at how much she loves being on her own.

We dropped her off at EAC a couple weeks before school started.  The plan was for her to ride a bike or a scooter around.  But as we pulled away from town, Jeff couldn't stand it.  He decided then and there that he was going to buy her a car.  So she is now set up with an apartment full of roommates that she loves, a job at the Safford feed store, and an old clunker of a car to get her around.

This girl is off to a great start as an adult!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Melted my heart

Not long ago Eli crawled in bed with me early in the morning. He snuggled in with me, and I wrapped an arm around him with my eyes still closed in hopes of conveying the message that it was still time to be sleeping.

He was staring at me, and started stroking my face. He have a big, morning-breath sigh and said quietly "I like dis kind of mom."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to school

I'm not finished with the vacation log, but I need to take a break to document the first days of school this year! I say dayS because my kids never all have the same start date.  Or end date.  Or vacation days.  Grrr...

First to head back are these two high schoolers!  Aren't they the cutest??  I can't believe how tall Caleb has gotten in the last few months!  He's 6 feet, and still growing fast!

Savannah got her license this summer and gets to drive herself to school this year.  Thank goodness for that license, cuz she is one busy girl!  I could never keep up with her.  Unfortunately, Caleb starts and ends school later than Savannah, so he is stuck with the school bus.

Favorite Caleb quote from the first day.  Becca asked if he saw any cute girls there.  "Ya, there were lots of cute girls, but most of them weren't wearing any pants!"  It's his first year in a public school without uniforms.  I think it was a bit of a rude awakening.

Two long weeks later, these guys finally started back to school.
Josh in 8th grade, Jonah in 5th, Simon in 1st.

They didn't know it, but they were REALLY READY for summer to be over.  These last couple of weeks have been mostly TV, video games, or fighting and teasing.  The silence in the house today is soothing to my soul!

And finally... two LONG hours after we dropped the big boys off, Eli had his first day of "boy school."  It's really just a rotating play group, but he loves to tell everyone that he gets to go to school.  He wanted to pack a backpack and a lunch, like the big kids.  These are his friends Clayton and Calvin.

Sweet little Eli- he had been talking about boy school for DAYS, he was so excited!  Then this morning about an hour before it was time, he knocked on the bathroom door.

"Mom, if I go to boy school, you will be so lonely at this house by yourself!"  And after a pause, "Maybe I don't want to go to boy school."

Bless his little heart!  He was willing to give up something he wanted so badly so that his mom wouldn't be lonely at home!  Melted my heart.  Luckily it didn't take much to convince him that it was ok to go... Mommy will be just fine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I LOVED Philadelphia!

We stayed across the river in New Jersey, and got to take the train into the city in the morning.  That was the highlight for a couple of the kids!

Our first stop was the Liberty Bell.  Before the trip, I had assigned each kid two subjects for reports.  I was hoping that they would get excited about some of the sights before we got to see them, and that they would be more meaningful.  Simon did one of his on the Liberty Bell.  In this case, my plan really worked!  He was so excited to see the bell and get his picture taken with it. He even spent his own money on a Liberty bell keychain!

We went to the US Mint, which was really cool.  They had a great interactive setup for kids, and we got to see coins being made.  They didn't allow pictures, but we did get this one of Eli's chin.  He tripped and fell while we were there.  Poor guy!

It was a pretty long wait for our turn to tour Independence Hall.

It was pretty hot, and Simon was mad about something or other.

But so worth it!  We had a very entertaining tour guide, so even the kids enjoyed the long tour.  It felt almost like a holy place to me.  The place where those men prayed and sought Heaven's guidance as they laid the foundation for this great nation.

We visited the Cemetery where Benjamin Franklin is buried, as well as several other signers of the Constitution.

 Then we headed over to Elphreth's alley.  It's a well-preserved colonial style street. SO CUTE!


The campground where we stayed in Lancaster county had a neat covered bridge and an old museum.  Sunday morning we toured those while we waited for church to start.  

After church we headed over to Hershey, PA where we took the free tour to learn how chocolate is made.  I'm sad that we didn't get a picture of our souvenirs from that!  We got Jeff a GIANT Hershey's Peanut Butter Cup in honor of Father's day.

Then it was off to our RV park in New Jersey.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Amish country

Next stop was Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.  Home to several Amish communities.

We found a tourist stop that had an old Amish house and grounds.  Our guide had grown up Amish, so we really learned a lot about them. I really felt a lot of respect for their commitment to their way of life.  

At the little one room school house we got to talk to an actual teacher from an Amish school.  The kids were jealous when they learned that Amish kids only have to attend school through 8th grade!

We stopped for dinner at an Amish restaurant that didn't feel very authentic at all.  Just over priced.  But they had Mac-n-cheese, so we were happy!  In this picture you can see a couple of Jonah's souvenirs.  He had lots of money to start off with, and accumulated some real treasures from the gift shops!

 We spent some time driving around just enjoying the well kept farms and beautiful countryside.  And we really did see several horse drawn buggies driving down the road.  Fascinating!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Speaking of needing more time in a place!  I could have spent a couple days here, and we only had a few hours.  We started off at the museum, where we watched a really great movie about the Civil War.  It held the kids' attention, and really gave them a feel for why the war was such a big deal.

The museum had some fascinating stories and artifacts. 

Simon found a picture of a Davis who served in the war.

I would like to think that Eli developed a deep respect for Abraham Lincoln, but I think he just loved the big head!

We walked through the National Cemetery, but the most interesting part of that for me was the massive, beautiful trees.  I need to figure out how to get some of those to grow in AZ!

 We were all wishing we could stay for a nighttime "ghost tour" of the battlefields, but we were on a deadline. On to the next sight!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


The original plan got thrown off by our delayed flights, so we ended up with Kirtland being our first church history sight.  As we drove into that valley, I instantly fell in love with it.  The luscious green everywhere, the rolling hills.  There was just such a peaceful feeling there.  What a beautiful gathering place for the saints!

Our first stop was the Newel K. Whitney store.  Much of the building is still original, and gave us a great idea what life was like in the early days of the church.  We even found the name of one of our Webb ancestors in the log of sales!

We went upstairs and heard stories of some of the important things that happened in that building.   It was so neat to be in the very place where the Prophet Joseph Smith had received some of his revelations!  The missionaries also gave us a guided tour of several other buildings in the restored "town."  We loved it, but by the end the kids were getting antsy.  We found out that we have a limit when it comes to guided tours!

We took a picture in front of the house where our good friend Nettie had lived as a missionary.

Then it was on to the Kirkland temple, hurrying to make it in time for the last tour. (A guided tour was our only option, much to our dismay.)  The temple is no longer owned by the LDS church, and I actually loved having a tour guide that wasn't a Mormon.  She told stories that were familiar to me, but in a slightly different way.  She didn't use the standard "Mormon terminology" that I am so used to, and it helped me see things in a slightly different light.

The highlight of our temple tour was at the end.  She asked for volunteers to play the piano and lead the group in singing The Spirit of God.  Naturally, I volunteered to lead.  I wished my "choir" could use the great, split choir lofts, but it was still amazing.  At the original dedication, that song was led by someone with the last name of Davis, so it was even more special!  

On our way out of town we stopped and saw the quarry where the stone was cut for the building of the temple.  We waded in the creek and made all the noise we wanted.

I felt like I could have used several more hours in Kirtland, but the kids were done.  That was kind of a recurring theme.  But if we took as much time as I needed in each place... we would still be traveling!

Skipping rocks

I don't know how we didn't get more pictures of Lake Erie State Park!  It was one of the most magical places we found!

On our way from Niagra Falls to Kirtland, we spent a night here.  There were hardly any other campers, and the park was so beautiful!  We parked right by the lake, which was perfectly calm.  The shore was covered with thin, flat rocks that were PERFECT for skipping!  Eli could skip these rocks.  Heck, even I could skip these rocks!  The older kids could send rocks skipping so far that they would disappear on the horizon before they sank.  Seriously magical!

There were more fireflies and a nice nighttime rain.  We wished we could stay longer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Niagra Falls

Ever since Superman II, Niagra Falls has been on my list of places to visit.  And it was everything I imagined!

We parked on the NY side of the border, and got bracelets that let us ride the trolley all around the park.  I had stepped on a nail a few days before our trip, so that trolley was worth every penny of the $3 per person!

We had brought our passports, so we walked across the bridge to Canada.  We ate lunch while enjoying the beautiful view, and bought some souvenirs.  One of which was a Canada frisbee, which ended up being a huge part of our entertainment on the trip!

Back on the NY side, we went to the Cave of the Winds.  We rode an elevator down to the bottom of one of the falls, and got to feel the power of the wind and the mist down there. It was exhilarating!  We all got soaked, and loved every minute of it!

The stylish shoes they gave us ended up coming in handy for all the lakes and rivers we encountered.

After a great day at the falls, we made a stop at Dairy Queen, and then it was on the road headed west!