Well, today marks the first day of official on-line school here in the desert. Everyone at this moment is nestled in front of their chrome books and laptops (college kids), working hard, trying to figure out this strange new mode of life.

Every once in a while I stop in my tracks and the heaviness of all that is going on through the whole world hits. It is a both ashes and beauty all at once. So many tough things going on in the world. My heart aches for it all. But also so much beauty as time slows and we grasp out to remember what is most important.

I have much more to say on this. It seems that a whole lifetime has passed since I have sat down to work on this little corner of the Internet. But for today I’m going to go back to January.

Back when the world was a normal place where we hugged our neighbors and we gathered for celebrations. Because although I have to admit I adore being “stuck” with the people I love most in the whole world, I also miss the “gift of an ordinary day.” So many ordinary things back in January that have become even more golden and precious in the wake of the last few weeks.

The beginning of January found us in Utah, surrounded by all this beauty:

We got to ski and hang with family and hike, and we got to meet Carson’s family (they are so awesome) and Elle tried on a million wedding dresses.

And we loved it. I wrote all about Utah back HERE.

We left Max & Abby in Utah (boo!) and had a little more time with these college girls when we got home. They got right to work helping Claire ask a cute boy to her first ever dance since it would be happening right after she turned sixteen.

Nothing like some good sisters to help you though those big steps of life.

And also to be at your volleyball games cheering you on.

I wrote some feelings about sisters back HERE…seriously, love them so much and so grateful they have each other!

…and that we get to have them.

It’s always sad to let them go back to their island…

Wanted to hold onto them forever. (Little did we know they’d be back a little over a month later…).

But after all, their sisters are the real workers, so we let the big girls go…ha!:

But seriously, check out those cute little workers up there. Love them.

Dave and I snuck away on a little date to watch a BYU volleyball game…as well as a track meet and some work meetings…

That trip was worth it’s weight in gold looking back. Little did we know it would be one of the last home games of the season. Little did we know how strange that flight (below) would look a couple months later:

All about that trip back HERE.

Took advantage of some great hiking weather.

Falling more in love with the desert every time.

January is a big birthday month for us over here. First comes my brother who we took to dinner to celebrate:

And continued the celebration back at home.

Sure love that guy so much! We are so lucky to live close to him.

A little lunch in this sun drenched favorite sandwich place with friends I love:

Some screenshot about parenting I kept because I think it’s so good:

Bo Jangles living her best life:

I love trying out new recipes so much. My kitchen is for sure a work place, and I love that it’s the heart of the home so I can be busy with these things all the while being with everyone:

That picture was to commemorate my first purchase of my whole lifetime of mushrooms. Yep, I bought them…and cooked them:

(Thanks to great recipes from Lillie Eats and Tells…she’s pretty great cooking inspiration!)

Dave went shooting with the boys:

We had a “sunset alert” on our group family message and everyone sent pictures from different places where they were:

Finally took down the Christmas cards…loved all those faces of people we love surrounding the kitchen all the holiday season:

Spent some good time here:

(I am missing that place right about now!)

Claire and her friend decided to spray brown hair spray on as a trial to see if they should really dye their hair brown. Ha!

Lucy is forever and always my favorite chess opponent:

My friend gave me this pot of bulb flowers (from Trader Joes) and I LOVED watching them bloom more each day. Seriously, mother earth has the most gorgeous creations.

My sister’s husband came for a little visit from London. His mom lives here and it was so fun to have a little visit from both of them.

Claire had volleyball galore.

Our neighborhood went from this:

To this:

…and I can (obviously) never get enough of it.

My Hawaii girls with their valentines package I sent (as well as some laundry 🙂

Abby is the best at sending pictures:

And maybe I already posted this picture somewhere, but Grace sure had a lot of fun in Hawaii.

Bo got a haircut:

Lu continues to be defiant about Braille, but is getting so good at it if she will do it!

Speaking of Lu, I never posted the Christmas gift she gave to me and Dave, framed and all:

How sweet is that girl?

We cleaned out some things and found this too:

Love how her mind and spirit work. She has a good light inside.

In January the oranges are ripe. And they are my FAVORITE.

Claire had a birthday, she turned SIXTEEN!

I wrote all about what I love about her back HERE. We threw a surprise party for her, which was pretty fun and which I wrote all about back HERE. But I never posted this sweet gift worked on forever by her little sister Lu.

Then it was on to my birthday which I told all about back HERE, and which Dave and the kids “hacked” into this blog to write nice things back HERE (so sweet of them), but I never posted this note which deserves to be posted because of the spelling of her middle name. I mean, sometimes it’s just tough to remember how to spell that name, you know??

I dropped Claire’s birthday cake fresh out of the oven (on the left below) and Claire made that same bday cake for me and rocked it (on the right below):

(That’s our favorite bday cake recipe, and I posted it back HERE.)

We went out to dinner for my birthday too.

I picked a place in the city because I love that stuff. And I love when everyone just wants to do what you want to do. That doesn’t happen that much! I decided while we were at it, we should go to my fav. art museum, but those plans were thwarted by an extra volleyball practice for Claire, darn it. Still the best bday!

The next night, Dave had invited a bunch of friends over for dinner and game night to continue the celebration:

Sweetest husband and also sweetest friends who I love.

(and love that we got to hug back then!)

As per family tradition, following the sixteenth birthday we take our kids to get “real” bank accounts. I was a little nervous watching Claire’s little dot coming to meet me at the bank on “find my friends,” since she had just received her license the day before and was meeting me after tennis tryouts, but she did it with flying colors:

Lu and I went on another date to Wisconsin:

That and other updates on Lucy and her scoliosis back HERE.

Claire got “answered” for her first ever school dance.

Dave got to meet up with my sister Saydi and her family at another volleyball since he was up there in Utah for work:


Our soon-to-be son-in-law had a birthday. Elle and her roommates made a big game night out of the whole ordeal and it looked like it was pretty fun!

Our kitchen turned into Valentine’s central with our traditional kitchen “heart attack,” and also was always filled up with citrus from our trees. This picture was taken while Josh and I were working with some focus things with a camera but still, shows that moment in time. And also reminds me how awesome Josh is.

And also how awesome Claire and her cousin were to just break out in a little dance for us so Josh and I could check on the focus points while people were moving.

So strange that this cousin used to tower over Claire.

Life just continues to meld and change, especially right now.

I don’t want to take anything for granted.

Life is so beautiful and precious.

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  1. I low the line “ the gift of an ordinary day” I don’t think I’ll even see the ordinary day the same!!! Thank you for sharing !!! How’s Elle doing?

  2. May I ask a question without people giving rude comments? I know Claire wasn’t allowed to date boys because she was not 16, and that is against church rules, but I also thought gambling was against your church rules too, even for fun. Is there rules that can be bent and rules that are more strict?

    1. You are correct, gambling is against Church “rules”. However, everyone decides for themselves how strictly obedient they will be to each standard and policy. For example, I drive over the speed limit sometimes, even knowing full well my Church admonishes me to obey all laws.

      1. OK, so I can have a tiny cup of coffee and smoke a half a cigarette once a week if that’s how strictly I can obey?

        1. Gambling is risking money or possessions on a game, which can become a behavioral addiction. “Casino night” is a theme/decoration. Have you not seen how this population celebrates birthdays, graduations and invites each other and accepts or rejects invites to dances? Can they have a gathering without some sort of banner or decorated poster or graphic?

    2. We are encouraged not to gamble as it can lead to serious financial losses and even addiction. They very well could have played with fake money or even just used silly currency like jolly ranchers.

  3. Thank you so much for this. I also miss my “ordinary days” but this time is an opportunity to reflect and be grateful for what we do have. xx

  4. Oh how I long for the “gift of an ordinary day!” It seems so surreal just looking back on how things were just a short time ago. Thinking of y’all during this time as I have a cousin whose daughter had to postpone her wedding that was supposed to take place on April 17th.

  5. I really miss the “ordinary day” ! I’d love to know ya’lls situation currently. All the college kids homes, etc? I’ve got a good friend who’s sister has just postponed her wedding, and it made me think of Elle.

  6. Beautiful words. Everyone looks good. Stay healthy and safe. Hoping soon we all get back to our “ordinary days”.💚🙏🏻

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