I am sitting here in my kitchen, half-way-undecorated from Christmas.

And I am by myself.

I don’t know if I’ve truly been by myself for longer than to take a shower for the almost three weeks since the wedding, and even the week before as we were preparing and a whole slew of family congregated to celebrate with us here in the desert.


We’ve experienced the whole gamete of emotions…these days have been the most magical, foggy, tiring, exhilarating, packed, and beautiful days on record for us and although I’m so sad that Schedule is wrapping it’s firm grip around us once more, I am anxious to try to debrief and articulate in writing all the things that have gone on around here.

I am not ready to pack away Christmas!  Perhaps that’s why it’s still surrounding me in half-packed boxes.  Usually I cannot put it all away fast enough but this year I wish I could hold on just a little longer.  Maybe that’s what happens when you wedge a wedding into the Christmas season.  It’s hard to give equal time to both.  Yet at the same time I loved mixing in that grand celebration…the birth of a new family for my son right along with the celebration of the birth of the One who saves us.  Who makes us whole.  Who was born in that little stable all those years ago filled with forgiveness and love and Godliness to overcome our human-ness.  There were so many beautiful things about weaving those two together.  (But, dear daughters of mine, try not to get any ideas.  Can you guys please plan to aim for a spring wedding?  And can you wait for at least ten years?  Ok, thank you 😉

We had seven of the nine siblings on my side…:

…and seven of the nine on Dave’s side all here for the wedding:

…plus both sets of grandparents, not to mention Abby’s extended family who it was so great to meet and get to know.  My brother and his three kids came from NYC, my sister and her baby came from London (you guys rock!), Dave’s sister and her brand-newly-returned-from-Spain-missionary were here.

It was a giant party.

For a lot of days.

And we were SO grateful for them all as well as the calls and prayers from those who couldn’t make it and all the beautiful support from friends and cousins and so many loved ones who showed up to drop off a meal or pick up Lucy for a playdate or offer their services at the drop of a hat.  We are surrounded by such goodness, including the angels (talked about in the last post HERE) who I felt their presence over and over again.

It was a pretty happy day.

And then, once the wedding wrapped up it was on to Christmas.  With some family who stayed with us to celebrate that as well.  We crammed in all the celebration we could, including two Jerusalem Suppers and all the traditions we could, added to because my family was here.  And then Max and Abby were back from their honeymoon, so happy and glowing.  We had some precious hours together, just our family before Elle took off for Spain and we took off to Utah to help our married kids (!) move into their first apartment and to be with family up there.  Because, you know, you can never get quite enough family time 🙂

Claire and Grace came home from that and Dave, Lucy and I headed to Wisconsin for some doctor appointments.  Lucy is going to be part of phase three of a clinical trial that is encouraging and also a little scary for us…and we were trying to get all situated for that.  That will have to be a another post all of it’s own because there are a lot of details and emotions wrapped up in that whole deal as well.

Meanwhile, Elle’s been in Spain and Portugal (she’s still there), and we’ve loved getting pictures like this popping up in our phones:

And Max and Abby are settled in (as “settled” as you can get with no furniture) in their new apartment in Provo, and school starts for them this week. 

Plus the volleyball season starts on Thursday.  Woo Hoo!

So, when we finally arrived HOME on Friday night it felt so good to be back…although I was still not ready to take down Christmas.  I wish that feeling could last a little longer.

When I was younger my parents instigated an idea where they’d bring out a little lit-up Christmas tree every Sunday.  Or was it one Sunday a month?  I cannot remember, but the idea was to try to keep that velvety Christmas mood going longer than just the month of December.  I don’t think it was a long-lived idea, but maybe we should try it over here.  There’s nothing like those Christmas lights twinkling and the feeling of service and love that weaves it’s way into so much despite the busy-ness.

We are on to New Year’s Resolutions.  (Thoughts on that coming tomorrow.) And finishing the Book of Mormon.  I am still plugging along on that book.  I had a goal (as encouraged by President Nelson) to finish by the new year but I decided to give myself until by birthday in a couple weeks to wrap it up.  It has been a pretty beautiful experience to be speed reading through that book coupled with all the events we’ve had going around here.  My mom started an email chain in the beginning for us all to keep in touch on our thoughts where we were reading and I have loved it.  Then when she was in town all of us girls headed to lunch to talk through our thoughts, my teenagers included.  Here is our discussion before we left:

Here that beautiful mother of mine is in the front of my sister-in-law’s sprinter leading the discussion en route to lunch:

Oh how I love those women and that book.  I’ve gained such a deeper appreciation for it and the stories it holds (and also for the women I love sharing their experiences) .  The acts of courage, the devastation, the bad choices mixed in with the good teach me something new every time I read.

Also, I can’t end without saying that we started our new two-hour church yesterday.  (It was announced in General Conference back in October that our three-hour block would be reduced to give more time for gospel study in the home.)  At first I was a little leary of that idea.  I just really like going to church, all three hours.  But I have to say that I LOVED yesterday. We came right home and had our own little family lesson and the ways the lessons are all set up is just so beautiful and meaningful…such great ways to build Christ more into our lives.  I’m so grateful for continuing revelation.

And for a new start to weave it all into my life.


  1. Hundreds of millions keep the Christmas stuff up until little Christmas. You are not late.

    Why do you think they are more adult now that they are married than when they turned 18, or went away to college, or came back from a mission? Almost half of seniors at BYU are married and all of Provo generally has this reputation. The city is set up for people married and in college, sometimes even with a baby or two. They will be fine.

    1. Epiphany. Irish sometimes call little Christmas. When the wise men visited the baby Jesus. It is a custom of some to leave up the Christmas stuff until then. Also the orthodox Christmas is in January. Lots of people keep the stuff through the first week of January on purpose.

    2. Interesting! I'll have to think about little Christmas next year:)

      I'm not sure what I said about kids being "more adult," but marriage is a pretty big step into a different phase of adulthood. To me it instigates an even bigger shift in parenting. Each phase of "adult life" for my kids is sure different!

  2. As your kids get older has your thoughts on finances changed? Like, you had them pay for their own clothes and entertainment etc from being 12.. now that you have a married kid, and Elle is moved away do you still help them financially & pay for trips and school etc ? It’s tricky to navigate those waters as they get older. After we were married our families have not helped financially at all ( for school, housing etc) and though it was hard we were adults, but the thought of me not helping my kids makes me worried for them lol

    1. In my opinion, it's the parents' job to provide one education for their children so that they can take care of themselves. A student should have the time and energy to focus on his studies. This means giving them the money they need for the basics. Whether the children are married, doesn't change my opinion.

      That being said, I think it's odd being married and not being able to provide for oneself (because you need to focus on your studies). Which is why I would have never married in college. It's interesting how different people do things!

    2. And though it was difficult, I'm thankful I learned to balance work and school, even though I didn't always have enough time to fully focus on schooling. I don't plan on paying for college for my children either, though I will give them the told to help themselves by teaching them how/helping them with scholarships,resumes, etc. To each their own! There's no right answer, except the one that as a parent you feel for your children.

    3. You're right, it is SO tricky to navigate these waters! We have worked hard on figuring out what works for our family and are still working! This probably deserves a post all on it's own because I'd love to hear the thoughts of others, and I have a LOT of thoughts to share. For now, I'll just say that we never want to take away the beauty of independence, yet we want to encourage education in any way we can. So we've found some answers that work for us. But I think another commenter here said it best: what's "right" is what works for your family, and there's a lot of prayer and thoughts and work that goes into figuring that out!

    4. It is tricky!! I don't understand the suggestion from some commenters that a young adult's martial status would determine if parents pay for college or not. Married or un-married they still need an education. If parents are up for paying (or helping to pay) tuition of a single young adult why wouldn't they want to do the same for a married one? By parents allowed me to graduate with an excellent education debt free and I am grateful for that. I married 7ish years after graduation but I assume/hope they would have done the same if I married earlier.

    5. I love all these thoughts. I knew from the time that I was young that I was expected to pay for college, and that I was expected to go. I worked hard and saved money. And then when I left her school my dad surprised me by informing me that he would pay for housing and books. After I got married, right before my senior year of college, my dad sent a rent check like usual (he would deposit money in my account and then I pay rent) and my husband sent it back 😂. Which greatly impressed my dad. So we were on our own after we got married, two years of school for my husband and one for me. But honestly I likes it that way. It made it so I felt free to make my own decisions and not have to ask for somebody else's input. Not that my parents were over bearing or asked what classes I was taking excetera… It was just nice to do it on our own… But make everyone else says everyone's situation is different.

    6. Love these comments. Love that everyone figures out their own way to make these transitions work. I love hearing all the varying views because everyone is coming from such different places, such different circumstances, so many different ideas. Love to learn from all of them.

  3. About 40% of seniors at BYU are married. I would imagine other Provo schools and other BYU schools have similar stats. The tuition is half that of state schools and there is married housing. He probably has a deal with playing volleyball. Charity married while he husband was a student in one of the most expensive areas in the country living in a studio. They had a baby in a one bedroom apartment in an expensive city. Max and Abby are as set up as that, probably in a better position actually. The couple already has credits under their belt. They will not be leaving school with hundreds of thousands in loans.

  4. That’s how my mindset is, if I can help my kids as they are in school, I certainly will. If it means less debt & loans for them. I told my friend that recently and she thought it was absurd that I would help at all, in any situation once they were married, and said “ and this is why we are creating an entitled & expectant society” .. I was almost embarrassed that I’d said it lol

    1. My parents paid for my college and continued to after I was married. My parents had 4 daughters and it was VERY important to them that we had a degree. I don't ask my parents for money, they don't help us financially, we are independent adults with 4 children of our own now. I am forever grateful my parents helped with my school because it was hard paying for my husband's. We were taught to work hard and I didn't want to waste their money so I worked extra hard. I did apply for different things and because of good grades had a academic scholarship for a year. You do what you feel is best for your kids!

  5. Yes, please do a post! I loooove hearing people’s different takes and ideas on paying for college. My parents paid for everything for me and my husband’s parents paid for nothing (and he went to school for 8 years!). We don’t know exactly how we want to set up paying for the college years for our kids yet. Luckily, they’re young still.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *