summer recap

This little blog has taken a backseat this summer.  I'm just going to recap the BIG events so you know why I've been absent, but trust me when I say there were a million and one little events too.  All pictures taken with the iphone.  My apologies.

This summer I:

Went on a big road trip with Mia and our three little boys.  We traveled just shy of 2,500 miles.  She is going to fill you in on the high-lights and low-lights soon.  Spoiler alert.... we traveled through four states.  On accident.

Two days after I got back, my daughter Jaci and I left for a big pioneer trek.  In our church, we go to great lengths to try to teach the kids all about sacrifice and being grateful.  One way we do this is to recreate a very small portion of what the pioneers endured as they traveled from Illinois to Salt Lake City by handcart.  We pushed and pulled a very large and loaded handcart for 22 miles over 2.5 days, slept on the ground, ate sub-par food and dealt with blisters, lots of dust and rain.  Altogether, we had over 500 people traveling together, 400 of which were between the ages of 14-18.  We dressed in full pioneer clothes which was almost my very favorite part, except that I look hideous in a bonnet.  I know the experience was mostly for the kids, but I came home much more grateful for the ease of my life.  Even though my foot looked like this when I got home, I wouldn't trade the time I spent on the trek for anything.  It was completely awesome.

We got home on a Saturday and my little family headed for the mountains the very next morning to take part in a farewell service at church for my parents.  I haven't said anything about their mission because I have been in denial for the past several months, but reality has set in, in a big way!  My parents will be serving a mission for our church in the Philippines for the next 18 months.  They have waited 40 years to do this, and I'm so very happy for them.  On the same day as their farewell, my brother Nate got home from Afghanistan on a two week leave, so the day was truly special, spent with our whole family.

Another big event was my 20 year high school reunion, which was an absolute blast.  Seeing old friends that I haven't seen for two decades was a treat.  We even got to ride on a float through the streets of our hometown (Snowflake, AZ) at the Pioneer Days Parade and throw candy to the spectators.  It was thrilling.  I led our class in some cheers for old times sake, and a good time was had by all.  It's weird to think that 20 years have passed since I spent every day with my fun classmates.  I had a super fun high school experience and it was great to reminisce with so many people that were such a big part of my life.

A couple months ago I got together with some of the great girls I graduated with because not all of us were going to make it to the reunion.

Me and Andrew, on our way to the reunion, outside my parent's home.

The parade was on Saturday, and my darling parents left on Sunday morning.  Andrew and I took them to the airport, and things got really sad right after this picture.

In fact, my eyes still look like tiny slits on my face from all the crying.  The best way I might sum up what kind of people my parents are is with a comment my friend G made a few years ago when I took a group of girlfriends to their house for dinner.  After we left that night, G said to me, "I have never felt so much love in a home before in my life."  I have thought about that so much, and am beyond blessed to never have known anything else.  One of the hardest things for me was pulling away from my childhood home as we were leaving.  I have always known I was loved there.  G, once again said it perfectly when I was so sad this week..... "They are going to open so many doors and heal so many hearts." 

As if I hadn't cried enough that day, I had to say goodbye to Nate that night as well because he was going back to Afghanistan the next day.  He has another 8 months to serve.

Sometime during the summer I found a little treasure on the side of the road for bulk trash pickup.  Actually, it wasn't that little and thank goodness a kind man who was driving by saw me struggling and helped me get it loaded.  He even followed me home and helped me unload it!

I saw a glimmer of potential and decided it could be saved and used as a potting bench on my back porch.  Jake and I pulled the pressed board off the top to reveal some perfectly weathered planks.  The little boys painted the bottom gray with some leftover paint, and I added a shelf with some boards cut from old fencing I had found the month before in another pile of bulk trash.

I sound trashy but I'm really not.

The shelf supports a big basket I picked up at St. Vincent de Paul for $3.  It will be used to corral all the balls and shoes left on the porch on a regular basis.  The transformation was simple, quick and free, and I am quite enjoying it!

Jake and Carter started school yesterday, which always causes me a little angst.  I'm so hopeful each year that they will have a wonderful experience.  We have a family prayer and hug every morning and I remind them how much I love them and how important it is to show kindness to everyone they see that day.

The last weekend of my summer will be spent enjoying my husband's Benefit for Brittany concert on Friday, so here's your last reminder local readers.  Here is the {original post} about it.  I promise you will be completely entertained, and remember, Mia and I will be there with treats!  If the paypal thing is freaking you out, just pay at the door that night.  We won't be turning anyone away as long as there are still seats available.  Janae, one of our most loyal followers from the beginning, we are so excited to meet you at long last!

What did you do this summer?  Walk in the wilderness for 3 days and jack your feet up with blisters?  Say goodbye to your parents who will be on the other side of the world for 18 months?  Drive 2,500 miles with three stinky little boys?

Just building character around here. 


  1. What a great post! In retrospect, my summer was completely uneventful and devoid of anything that could be called character-building. I missed your big "Craft Wars" party, the van broke down in Utah while I was alone with 4 teenagers, and my home project score is Projects Started:5, Projects Worked on since January: 11, and Projects Finished: 0. Big Woo.

    Of course what I love about you is your ability to see the lesson in the day-to-day, and your perennial sunny attitude. You do your parents proud Every single day. I am honored to be your friend!


  2. 4 states by accident??!! I am laughing SO hard! Can't wait to read that one :) Hooray! We'll meet on Friday. I invited 60 friends with your blog post! Thanks for all your help on this -Amazing!! Your imaginary friend, Janae

  3. Sounds like you are building LIFETIME memories, strength & character... don't think ANY T.V. show, movie
    or book could do that. Way to go..


  4. WOW. You were one busy lady. If I attempted half that much I'd be done in for a month or so. Thanks for sharing. I thoroughly enjoyed.


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Mia & Jilly

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