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Back to School!

Aug 24, 2017

Our oldest is back to school and excited for a new year and a new teacher! I take back-to-school pictures every year. It's only been a couple of days, but I forgot how much more I'm able to get done in a day with even just one kiddo in school! But I miss her when she's gone. I've been walking her to the bus stop every day even though it's just around the corner, because I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental!

Bryce Canyon Trip

Jul 20, 2017

We recently celebrated our wedding anniversary by taking a quick weekend trip south for a bike race and trip to Bryce Canyon. I hadn't been there since I was young and Ryan was only 3 when his family went last, so he had no memory of it. It's pretty incredible, really unique, and breathtaking. It's a red rock valley filled with rock towers called "hoodoos" that have formed because of water freezing and melting repeatedly, which breaks apart the rocks and erodes them. If you turn around from where this picture is taken, you'll see a green valley covered in pine trees. The contrast is crazy. And there is a white waterfall running right through the middle of all this red rock. We hiked around a little and made plans to come back with our kids in the future!

Baby Ssssnake

Jul 10, 2017

For Ryan's mom's birthday we celebrated as a family, and someone found a Mama snake and a baby snake. Ryan has a brother (and nephew) who love snakes, so everyone took turns holding them. Except me (Christy). I don't do snakes. I'm not terrified, but I'm certainly not going to voluntarily hold one of my own free will! Spiders on the other hand, I'm terrified. And bees. I run and they chase me, no joke. They must be able to smell the fear!

Ziplining with the Cooks

Jul 10, 2017

For her birthday, Ryan's mom wanted to go zip-lining and invited any of us to join her. Ryan doesn't do heights, so he declined, but I (Christy) decided to join in the fun! Ryan's dad is also afraid of heights but likes the thrill of forcing himself to do something like this anyway, ha ha. As for me, I figure it can't be too terribly dangerous if hundreds (maybe thousands) of people do it every year and we've never heard any local news reports of any accidents or deaths. So off we went! My take on it is that I was expecting it to be a big rush, but it wasn't. It WAS fun though! But no adrenaline rush for me, just fun.

Summer Cooking Lessons

Jun 18, 2017

In an attempt to keep summer interesting and encourage bonding as well as education, I am teaching Ava a little about cooking. In our last neighborhood we had this wonderful neighbor who did cooking classes for kids aged 5-11. Ava loved them. And since she is somewhat of a picky eater, I thought it might help encourage her to try new things. Which it has! Her pickiness is funny because she loves things like potstickers and sushi, yet she is afraid to try most new foods! All in good time. 

Our first cooking lesson was chocolate chip cookies (we had a friend over for that one). Next was breadsticks. And most recently she learned how to make quesadillas. Today she actually made lunch for the whole family and put a sign on the door for Ava's Restaurant. She was all formal about it, pretending like she was our server (and chef too)! It was pretty cute!

A trip to the zoo

Jun 18, 2017

A friend of mine invited us to join her at the zoo for 2-for-1 day, along with a few other friends. The weather wasn't as hot so it was a great day to be there with the monkeys, giraffes, and seals. By the end the other 3-year olds had fallen asleep in their strollers, but not Ruby! Oh no. She wasn't even IN her stroller. Just running around still excited about all the animals!

Camping & Hiking to Hot Springs

Jun 07, 2017

A few weeks ago we decided to take on a remodel project. I (Christy) have always dreamed of remodeling something. I love taking anything that is seemingly old and outdated and flipping it to something fresh and beautiful. I've watched too much HGTV, clearly. We bought an old, used, outdated camper trailer, and are beginning the process of the remodel. We hope to sell it by labor day and make a profit.

Now that school's out, we took it out for a test run! We camped at a local canyon about an hour from home, and the girls were so excited they could hardly sleep. We walked along a nature trail to explore. Then the next morning we hiked to some hot springs up the canyon. The girls were troopers and had lots of fun. It was a great, simple, mini vacation.

False Appearances & Optimism

Feb 19, 2017

Whenever I post pictures and blog posts on here, I have a little bit of hesitation. Social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, have a way of making everyone else's lives look enviable and perfect. We see pictures of everyone else on vacation, having parties, creating amazing things, and it can be dangerous to our own self-perceptions. I feel like these adoption profiles are somewhat the same. As prospective adoptive parents, we all want to present ourselves the best we can. We want to look good for the birth moms, we hope it will make us more desirable for being chosen. So we put up all our best pictures, where we are all smiling and happy and having fun. And we see everyone else's best moments too.

But the reality of life for every single person on the planet is that we also have challenges. There is no one who glides through life easily without challenges. Usually these times come in waves, so while we might be struggling, someone else is getting a break and having some good times. When we are low, seeing someone else's high can feel depressing and we can start to feel like our life sucks and everyone else's is rainbows and unicorns all the time. But we have to remember to keep the big picture in mind. We've each had good moments too. And when we are having a good moment, someone else is sure to be struggling. I've learned to not envy anyone else's life, and to just be grateful for what I have, because everyone has struggles. However difficult our lives become, there is always something to be thankful for. 

Years ago I read the book, The Hiding Place. It's incredible. It's written by a lady who helped hide Jews in Europe during Hitler's reign, and was caught and sent to a concentration camp with her sister. Of course it was horrific, everything happening there. You'd think there could be nothing but misery. Yet these two sisters chose to seek out the positive. They were miraculously able to sneak a small Bible into their sleeping quarters (which was a large room with bunks up the walls, filled with fleas). They were able to read the Bible to the other women who shared their room, giving them all strength to survive and carry on. But their beds were full of fleas, that bit them, making sleep even harder than it already was. But one day her sister was praying and thanked God for the fleas. She said "How can you thank God for the fleas?!!" Her sister responded that the fleas were the only reason they were able to read the Bible without being discovered. The fleas were so bad that none of the guards would ever enter their room. They stayed away, and that allowed the women to pray and read the Bible regularly. 

What an incredible example of an attitude of gratitude. Being able to find something (that was also a curse) to be thankful for in such vile circumstances... it makes me never ever want to complain about anything ever again. There is always someone worse off than us. There is always someone that could use a kind word, a friend, some love. I've found that turning my thoughts away from myself and looking for ways to lift and help someone else, makes my own burdens lighter.

One of my favorite quotes (well this is actually a bunch of quotes compiled together) is from Gordon B. Hinckley. He said:

"There is a terrible ailment of pessimism in the land. It’s almost endemic. We’re constantly fed a steady and sour diet of character assassination, faultfinding, evil speaking of one another. …

I come … with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I’m suggesting that we accentuate the positive. I’m asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.

I am not asking that all criticism be silent. Growth comes with correction. Strength comes with repentance. Wise is the man or woman who, committing mistakes pointed out by others, changes his or her course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all honey. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated. What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism. Let our faith replace our fears.

We have every reason to be optimistic in this world. Tragedy is around, yes. Problems everywhere, yes. But … you can’t, you don’t, build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen.

Do not despair. Do not give up. Look for the sunlight through the clouds. Opportunities will eventually open to you. Do not let the prophets of gloom endanger your possibilities."

 

We have had our own share of tragedies, and plenty of problems. And so have you, I'm sure. But there is still joy to be found, and peace to be had in our hearts. Do not despair, do not give up. Look for the sunlight through the clouds. Things will work out.

with love,

Christy

Turning 3

Feb 19, 2017

Months ago I saw this amazing unicorn cake on social media, and Ruby fell in love with it. Since then she has been asking for a "unicorn birthday". The actual cake was made by a local girl, but was so expensive it was out of the question. So I decided to try and make it myself. Since I'm a fairly crafty person I sometimes think I can do certain things. And some times that is true. And sometimes it is not. Sometimes I fail miserably. But I decided to give it a go, and this time I got lucky and it worked out! 

Two layers of strawberry cake and two layers of rainbow sprinkle cake = one happy three year old.

Family photos turned fishing

Dec 29, 2016

We went out to our brother-in-law's family's place to get some extended family photos taken. Uncle H. decided to go fishing in the little fish pond on the property and Ava was super excited! (She had asked for a fishing rod for her birthday even though we don't fish. Good thing she has some uncles and great uncles that do!) He caught the biggest rainbow trout I've seen, and sent it home with us for dinner. It was like Christmas all over again for her. Trout has a pretty fishy taste to it, and if I'd bought it at the store, I doubt she would have eaten it. But since this was HER fish, she ate her whole dinner.

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