Thursday, July 21, 2016


Once upon a time I had a brilliant idea for 'screen free' January, which got temporarily sidelined when we got the stomach flu New Year's Day... but then we were back on it for the rest of the month! We all came up with the list of rules for it, and we all helped enforce it - the kids loved making sure I was only on facebook 2-3 times a day :). The 'phone zone' means that our phones have to stay on the kitchen counter throughout the day - not in our pockets/hands, etc. Honestly, it went SO well. We went to the library more and read more and played more games and one of these days we'll do it again ;).
A few more pictures from our lunchdate with my dad. We joked about my snowsuit looking like an astronaut jumpsuit and then I saw this bear at D.I. an hour later haha!

Jackers went to the dr for his 4 year check-up! Chuck took him and dutifully sent me these pictures :). Jack was healthy and darling!
Oh, just cute Carma pictures. One day she showed up at church wearing hot pink and zebra print just like Mayan and so obviously we had to document that adorableness.

 Just some late night snacking and kisses in the kitchen!
 The library does an animal presentation once a month that we try to get Will to, as part of our continuing effort to help him be around animals but never have to buy him a pet hahaha. And I love the picture that his teacher posted on Class Dojo - apparently second grade is when 'bunny ears' become hilarious??

The Elder's Quorum hosted a ward talent night, and Clyde and Will both showcased their lego-building talents AND at the last minute Clyde played the piano! He kept his hood up the whole time but he did a great job on 'We Three Kings'. It was a fun night!
Oh man, the Sunday before my birthday Lee showed up with cake and I brought ice cream and we had a little party at the end of class. Of course if fell on Ward Conference and of course we had a visitor from the stake in to observe us, but luckily he didn't seem fazed when we pulled out the cake and ushered in the older class to join us :). Thanks Lee! (and actually Stefanie who made it ;) ).

 Once again we used Christmas money from my dad for fun activities to get the boys out of the house and moving in January and February: Jack did a way fun six-week 'Superhero' dance class at the best dance studio ever, Idaho Rhythm. Some weeks he put on the costume, some weeks he didn't, but he loved his teacher and hanging out with Beckam and doing all the fun jumps and spins and tumbling. Willy boy did swimming lessons as a refresher to get ready for the summer. He ended up with just one other little boy in the class which was perfect! And Clyde did basketball again! He got to be on his buddy Jared's team which was a fun aspect of it, and Clyde did great improving some skills and learning more about teamwork/team spirit/etc.
Once upon a time Nicole had a baby boy and then six months and a week later I had a baby boy... and then a couple years later Nicole had a baby girl and then six months and a week later I had a baby girl... and thus you have these four cute kids! We love having Beckam and Myla over and not just because it assuages my guilt about how often Nicole has to trim my bangs ;).

 Carma is obsessed with her Sesame Street sweatshirt... rightfully so, because it's pretty awesome. Is it possibly too big for her? Yes, but it's cool, sleeves were made to roll! And I just love these pictures.
Ohhh my sweetheart Jack. Sister Jensen and Jack used to talk a lot about jack-in-the-boxes in nursery, so when Jack and I found one at D.I. one day it obviously had to come home with us. And yes, it did freak me out EVERY SINGLE TIME it opened.

 One day Carma and I both wore snowflake shirts and it snowed. Right?? I mean, granted it was January and not like July or something but still. The next day we wore shirts with hundred dollar bills on them but alas, money did not fall from the sky .....

 Sometimes I try to take a Sunday afternoon nap on the couch and little children climb on top of me so I take dramatic pictures to send to Chuck in an effort to get sympathy and maybe a wink/kiss emoji back... ;).

Oh, another day that it snowed and Carma was thrilled (her father's child) and Jack was not (his mother's child. Right down to the shorts)
I'm gonna be honest here: I'm not entirely sure why I have this picture from the chalkboard in my Sunday School class, but it looks like it was a pretty great lesson. I actually got released about a month ago (aka in June) so it's kind of fun now to look back at what a joy and privilege it was to teach those youth!

 Speaking of callings (this being one I still have...), we had a court of honor at the end of January and for some reason Chuck and I thought Carma would be super chill and just sit at the back while I stood up front and presented awards... it's like we'd never met our own daughter or something? She definitely insisted that I hold her the entire time, so that was special, grrr! She has been officially uninvited to future Scouting meetings.
Basically it's a good thing she's cute - SO cute! Her peek-a-boo? Kills me.

Random bday pictures, Chuck had to work so he left me Reese's because he's the best. Honestly the day was pretty chill, I had plasma and then bought jeans at Savers with my mom because 31 feels adult enough that I shouldn't probably wear shorts alllll winter long. 
 That evening Brooklyn showed up on my doorstep with AMAZING orange cupcakes and I pulled her inside for a picture and she said, "My mom told me you'd do this!" and I laughed so hard. Oh I love this girl!

 My dad came over to babysit my kids one afternoon while I did some visiting teaching and he texted me pictures and encouraged me to stay out longer so I went to Costco by myself and it was heavenly! Thanks Daddy!
Clyde took some time getting used to fourth grade and a new teaching style, but once the new year hit, he suddenly found his groove... and I loved Miss Hill's subtle reminder that our family has a tardiness problem hahaha. Anyhow, Clyde received the 'teamwork' award for January, yay cute boy!

Carma loved the school gym's little water fountain :).
More pictures of my Clyde Monster! At Scouts he earned his... whittling chip? I think? All I know is he has like three pocket knives to his name so he's pretty psyched about that. Clyde is such a good kid; he's really been stepping up at home (pictured making muffins and reading to Carma) and I just love how helpful he can be and how mature he's getting... most of the time :).

Aaaand that's January!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Jack is FOUR! (and a half... and two weeks...)

Once upon I had a snuggly little baby boy and then he grew up to be a snuggly little four-year-old boy :).
Jack's birthday got off to a rough start; an awesome stomach bug had just gone through our house so Jack wasn't feeling 100%, church had just moved to 9am AND it was supposed to be his first day in Sunbeams which was equalling a decent amount of anxiety for Jack, since he couldn't take his beloved nursery teacher Sister Swenson with him to primary. He ended up skipping church and playing legos, all while insisting he was only three.

Luckily he was feeling better later in the day and agreed to be four - we may have used his birthday cake as leverage for that one ;). He dutifully helped me make the 'J' out of sprinkles and chose the pattern for the four candles.
A few presents helped soften the blow of turning the big '4': Star Wars books from Grandma Pam, an alphabet puzzle from Grandma and Grandpa Izatt (which Carma may have stolen as her own...), and a bow/arrow and a Finn costume from Chuck and me.

Carma was thrilled about cake! And Grandma!
And here's Jackers holding up four cute little fingers. Ahhhh I love Jack. He is such a funny kiddo; I love watching his little brain work. He always has the most interesting little questions or insights about life and the world and is genuinely a nice, happy little boy - when he's not shooting everyone with a Star Wars blaster or refusing to hug me or speak... to anyone... He is the sweetest older brother to Carma and we are grateful for his sweet, silly, sensitive spirit in our home!

Later in January we met up with my dad at Pojos to celebrate our three January birthdays - I got to wear an awesome pin all afternoon and Jack was our delegate to spin the birthday wheel :).
Unlimited bumper cars was probably our favorite attraction - Jack figured it out way quicker than I thought he would!

The merry-go-round was another hit, especially since Carma could ride on it :).
The little two had fun in the kiddie section - some vehicles we put money into, some we didn't :).

 And everyone played a game or two:
 I was particularly psyched to get everyone going on my personal favorite, skee-ball!

And of course we ate a million delicious fries and consumed our body weight in fry sauce...
 And Carma possibly had some slight brain freeze issues with her rainbow ice cream cone hahahaha. All in all it was a perfect afternoon, thanks Dad!!

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Once upon a time, I took it upon myself to dedicate an entire month to me and my birthday and getting together with friends and family because, let's face it, January is depressing as all get out! So here is a lengthy recap STOLEN PRETTY MUCH WORD FOR WORD FROM MY INSTAGRAM/FB:

Official caption: Happy New Year! And of equal importance, happy first day of #janasjollyjanuary - that's right, my month-long quest to meet up with friends (both of the long-lost and current varieties) has an official hashtag now! 😎 If I haven't heard from you yet, let me know if you'd like to get together sometime! Happy birth month to me!

It was only fitting to kick off the festivities with my dad, whose birthday is the day after mine (thus another jolly January baby) and also without whom I wouldn't have a birthday ;). One of our favorite haunts is the BK by his house and the little kiddos had a blast!
Official caption: Lunch today with my handsome dad! One highlight: the awesome snowsuit he found for me (that yes I did try on over my clothes in the middle of Burger KingπŸ˜‚) that might double as a ghostbusters costume in a future Halloween!! My dad is caring and interesting and giving and I'm grateful to spend time with him! #janasjollyjanuary

Next up was Janell, who is one of the coolest people I know. When I explained that I couldn't choose a place to eat because I rarely stray from McDonald's, she upped my cool factor by taking me to a trendy pizza place downtown and even reluctantly took a picture with me - which I told her would get a bazillion likes on fb because everyone loves her and it did!
Official caption: Delicious lunch today with the incomparable Janell. One time soon after we moved into 2nd ward, Janell was offering hugs to a group she described as "her young women" - some past, some present. I jokingly asked if I could be one of her young women and she unjokingly said yes and hugged me and has amazed me ever since with her incredible, God-given capacity to love and care for others. Thanks again for lunch, Janell!! You are GREAT!! πŸ˜‰❤️#janasjollyjanuary 

Not every reunion was scripted:
Official caption: My original plans for #janasjollyjanuary fell through today, so imagine my surprise a couple hours later when I heard my name at Costco and my sweet Jacob, who moved back to Nampa over the summer, ran up to me! And also he's grown like six inches since I saw him in March - I can't handle all my old Cub Scouts now being taller than me!! Yay for impromptu Costco-facilitated reunions!

Maren was one of the people I thought of immediately for this month, because she moved back in... July? August? and we had only seen each other a couple times since then which is RIDICULOUS because I love her. And it was perfect timing because Karlina had just been ruthlessly stolen from me (or just taken off my visiting teaching list...) so we made her come over too!
Original caption: Ack, I'm already behind on posts! 😳 I could had posted this yesterday but I waited to see if my head looked smaller when I pulled the picture up today πŸ˜‚. Anyways, yesterday's #janasjollyjanuary was a fun visiting teaching reunion with Maren and Karlina! We sat and drank hot chocolate and I juggled my yahoo kids while attempting to maintain a conversation so it was just like old times!! Love you ladies!

Oh man, for three people that love each other as much as we do, we are TERRIBLE at getting together, i.e. right now we're attempting to see Andrew's new house and it hasn't happened yet haha.
original caption: Ahhh and here we have the inspiration for #janasjollyjanuary : three high school best friends who hadn't gotten together since before Carma was born, despite the fact that we all live around here 😬😳. Emily and Andrew gave me light and fun and friendship when I needed it 13 years ago and I love that we always pick up right where we left off!

Girls' night! Emily, Nycole, Kara and I are ALL January babies so marked the extra special occasion by crossing the street and going to Applebee's where the food was good, the desserts were discounted, and the entire restaurant staff hid in the kitchen so they wouldn't have to take our picture hahaha. Luckily Kara stepped up and got us all in the shot:
official caption: Honestly, this crew makes every month jollier... But I'm still counting them for #janasjollyjanuary because I need the numbers πŸ˜‚πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ˜

Cassandra and Grace are both awesome, and I loved just sitting on my living room couches and catching up with them one night! They both live within walking distance of me... like very short walking distance... so I'm not sure why we don't do this more often!
official caption: Had a way cool 'girls night in' with these two earlier this week and it was just perfect: comfy clothes, snacks, and girl talk. Grace and I go from seeing each other all the time in my front yard during the summer to hardly EVER during the cold/sick winter months so it was fun to catch up haha! #janasjollyjanuary continues to be such a fun endeavor and I'm genuinely excited and grateful to everyone who's indulged my randomness! (I'm still setting stuff up, so don't worry if you haven't heard from me yet!!)

I decided early on to use my kids for the jolly shenanigans in case not enough people wanted to hang out with me haha! And if it meant that I got some one-on-one time with this rapidly-growing-up mini-me, so be it ;).
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary with Clyde yesterday - errands (I gave him my ATM pin so hopefully that doesn't backfire), a random chess game at the library (I'll let you guess who won) and cashing in his free sundae for earning a Teamwork award at school (ironically he ate it by himself while I watched πŸ‘€). Such a cute, sassy little fellow!

And here's Will!
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary with my sweetheart Will last night- he's been asking for a while about his turn ❤️. We went to swimming lessons and Taco Bell and practiced beatboxing and when he kissed my cheek (completely unprompted, hence me trying not to laugh) I realized again that the future Mrs. Will.i.am is a lucky lucky girl 😍☺️πŸ’•

I'd had good intentions of visiting my dear Sister Walker for a while but hadn't followed through (possibly a recurring theme in my life, working on that...) Now I need to get over there again!
official caption: Possibly the sweetest/most emotional #janasjollyjanuary reunion today with Sister Walker (left and top at my wedding and bridal shower) who was the epitome of light and love and good cheer as one of my Young Women's leaders - she was also the first person to notice and validate orange as my favorite colorπŸ”Ά! (As a bonus I got to see Brother Walker too, who greeted me with "Who let YOU in?" accompanied by the best hug ever ☺️πŸ˜‚) Stephany's example of offering a kind word (and a story!) to those around her impacted me greatly as a teenager and I was grateful for the reminder today πŸ’•.

Star! Another friend that I'm trying to reconnect with again, but life keeps thwarting us. Soon!!!
official caption: Ohhhh I was so overdue for a visit with this cute girlie!! Once upon a time (like 14/15 years ago...) I was Star's homework tutor and we've stayed in touch and she faithfully visited me (with gifts!!) in the hospital every time I've had a baby and now we've graduated to Starbucks dates where I show up late and she has my hot chocolate and brownie waiting for me 😍 and then we sit for almost two hours and talk and talk and talk. #janasjollyjanuary continues to be so fun and humbling as I realize how many beautiful friendships I've been blessed with throughout my life. Love you Star!!

Oh Jayna! Despite our best resolve, we don't see each other very often... but when we do, we make it count ;).
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary with my ebff Jayna - she introduced me to delicious PaneraπŸ΄πŸ‘πŸΌ, I taught her how to up her selfie gameπŸ˜‰πŸ“², two darling toddlers merrily ran circles around us πŸ‘«, I marveled at her adorable chunk of a baby EJπŸ‘ΆπŸΌ, and we resolved to bring our primarily virtual friendship into the real world more often πŸ’»➡️πŸ‘―. Thanks so much Jayna, love you! 😘

Ohh I just love Wendy! Our temple date was really wonderful :).
official caption: Lovely morning at the temple with my dear, forced-to-be-my-friend Wendy πŸ˜‰ (and Charlotte was there too, in a happy coincidence/tender mercy). Wendy is thoughtful and generous and patient and we had such a great discussion about how the Lord uses each of us to bless others, and so often we don't really know how we've helped but it's humbling and gratifying to know that we serve a purpose. And also Wendy showed up on my bday last week with Shaynie and hot chocolate so she's clearly amazing!! 😍😘#janasjollyjanuary

This picture makes me happy because I've seen both of these girls in the last two days!
official caption: Sometimes I show up for #janasjollyjanuary and Paulina gives me a selfie stick and Kautri treats me to dinner and I'm so touched that my friends know my two main interests: myself and food that I have no part in preparing. And as a bonus I got to talk and laugh and bond with two amazing girls!! It alllllmost makes me miss running with them multiple times a week haha- not quite enough to start again though πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ’ƒ

Ohhh this was so fun:
official caption: Once upon a time I went to BYU freshman year and stumbled upon the coolest group of friends and I love that I'm still in touch with so many of them (I ❤️ fb/blogs/Instagram). I FaceTimed yesterday with Jaime for #janasjollyjanuary and it was soooo fun to catch up and laugh and simultaneously nurse babies while we talked. My favorite memory of Jaime is how I used to make her pluck my eyebrows for me πŸ˜‚. Those six girls were the closest I came to a stereotypical college/roommate experience and they made it the best! Love you Jaime!

Holly was not given an option re: participating in jolly January, but luckily she was on board anyways!
official caption: #janasjollyjanuary FaceTime with Holly the other night = two hours of awesomeness. Holly and I became friends four years ago when we both overlooked our first impressions of each other (I thought she was a pregnant teenager, she thought I was a crazy lady who wears Halloween striped tights to church... OH wAIT) and she moved away like four months later but our friendship has blessedly endured and I'm so glad bc I don't know what I would do without her πŸ‘­❤️

My mama! Love her.
official caption: Super behind on #janasjollyjanuary posts but never fear, I'll keep going until I catch up ... Starting with the amazing woman who went to the edge of death to give me life, my mom!! We spent my birthday afternoon together at DI and Savers (where else?) and she helped me buy jeans and we both bought books and possibly other things we didn't need πŸ˜‰. My mom is spunky and fun and kind and friendly and devout and I don't tell her enough but I really really love her! πŸ’—πŸ’šπŸ’—πŸ’šπŸ’—πŸ’šπŸ’—

More fun:
official caption: A collection of #janasjollyjanuary with super cool girls from church! Emilie (top left) surprised me one night with a beautiful orange bag (from DI - I don't know how I missed it!!), Sharon (top right) and I finally got together to chat one morning and had a great time and three of us January birthdays combined forces and generously shared our fries with some friends for a girls night (bottom, Dee, Tasha, Tawny, Esther, me, Shelly). These ladies all brighten my Sundays and seeing them during the week is always an awesome bonus!

I always pick my favorite brother based on who contacts me first on my birthday, and this year Quinner won when he facetimed me that morning:
official caption: My dedicated little brother took my birthday off work so he could FaceTime me that morning... or maybe there was no school because of a federal holiday- we may never know for sure. Either way, I'm the best sister Quinn could ever ask for and I'm glad he knows it πŸ˜‰. Quinner is thoughtful and a good listener and fun and practical and a stellar friend and seeing his cute family was an excellent/jolly way to start being 31! #janasjollyjanuary

Courtney. Aka the reason I'm blogging right now. Girl is PERSUASIVE. I should have remembered this based on the time our families celebrated her (June) birthday in April. Complete with cake.
official caption: I've known Courtney since the early 90's and I'm so, so lucky to count her as one of my best friends(/sister/cousinsπŸ˜‰). Like, we're texting as I post this haha. Courtney is smart and resourceful and an excellent sounding board and gorgeous and loyal and a convincing liar- no matter how boring and rambling my emails/texts/blogs are, she assures me she was captivated. I saw Court at the end of December in person (joined by my niece Courtney too! I ❤️ Courtneys!!) and then we FaceTimed for our official #janasjollyjanuary date and the other picture is circa 2003 in our young, carefree days πŸ˜πŸ‘―. Love you Court!!

This was such a fun morning! Charlene and I have been in the same ward forever but never really spent time like this together - I'm so glad we finally did!
official caption: One of my last #janasjollyjanuary was a way fun date with Charlene to watch our ward Young Women in one of their volleyball games- we set aside our personal complete lack of understanding of the game and yelled random, supportive-sounding cheers at the girls and we must have not been a total distraction because the Red Pandas played amazingly well and won! Then we crashed their post-game team meeting/mini-devotional and the whole thing was just awesome! Charlene and I had a great time talking and discovering random things in common πŸ˜‰. Also I may have developed an addiction to salted caramel peanuts πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚.

I love my two little jolly friends:
official caption: Sooo I didn't specifically spend time with Jack or Carma for #janasjollyjanuary ... Mostly because the three of us already spend every waking moment and 95% of our sleeping moments together πŸ˜¬πŸ‘€πŸ˜©. They really are the cutest little yahoos and between Jack's current why?how?why?how? phase and Carmas's current "ain't nothin' gonna break my stride" (aka run away from mom constantly) phase, they keep me busy and I wouldn't have it any other way ☺️ UNLESS THEY WANTED TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIgHT IN tHEIR OWN BEDs; I could get on board with that πŸ˜‰πŸ˜œπŸ˜΄πŸ™‹πŸ»πŸ‘€πŸ‘πŸΌ

Oh my heck I love the Murphys! Miss you Kiska!
official caption: Kiska!! I was so thrilled when I found out Kiska was coming to town for her parents' 50th anniversary party and could therefore participate in #janasjollyjanuary - I've yet to meet a member of the Murphy family who isn't kind and generous and funny and Kiska is no exception, plus her name is fun to say and she gives me cookies πŸ˜πŸ˜‚. AND I'm so in love with the picture of Rich and Dee from their wedding day so I obviously had to include it as well πŸ˜‰. See you again someday Kiska!! 😘

Just found out I will be in the same state as this girl in two weeks and suddenly all is right in the world...
official caption: I have known Heidi lit'rally (pronunciation courtesy of Chris Traeger) her entire life and the joy she has brought to my life is hard to explain. We probably spend 97% of our time together laughing (the other 3% is her doing my makeup and baking me cookies). Heidi is witty and smart and generous and aware and gorgeous and either supports me unconditionally or has the best poker face ever because regardless of what I say/do/confide in her, she still loves me and I am so so grateful to have her as a best friend(/sister/cousin) and FaceTiming with her was the perfect send-off to #janasjollyjanuary πŸ’ƒπŸ‘―πŸ˜πŸͺπŸ’•☺️😎

Ohhh my sweet husband! And what do you know, I'm going to the temple with him tomorrow!
official caption: Saved the best #janasjollyjanuary for last: going to the temple with Chuck! We are living proof that a marriage can survive/thrive! on dates solely to the temple and Costco πŸ‘©πŸ»❤️πŸ‘¨πŸ». Chuck is my hero, he's the perfect calm, logical balance to my crazy, emotional self and when I say to him, "Hey, I'm devoting an entire month to gadding about with friends!" he sweetly responds, "Awesome, have fun!" and sends me on my wayπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ’ƒ. AND THUS CONCLUDES my jolly month! I actually didn't do a complete count but I know I surpassed my goal and had so much fun with all y'all! Thanks for making my 31st birthday so memorable πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™…πŸ»πŸ’•.