35, really?

Whenever I picture my childhood, I see my mom in her thirties. I don’t see her younger or older, just that magical thirty-something that most kids remember. And now, after all these years, I am her! How did this happen? And where has the time gone?

I love my thirties so much. I was not sad to see my twenties go. Not even a little bit.  I love being a thirty-something. It is everything I imagined, and I cannot imagine anything better. And yes, I am sure when I get to my forties, it will be better. But this is where I am. And on the eve of my thirty-fifth birthday, I do not want it to end.

I had an entire decade of adulthood (my twenties) to watch others, and learn. I watched marriages and mommies, grandmas and working professionals all around me. I took time, as I worked on developing myself, to find the best parts in others’ lives…especially the wives and mothers…so that I could implement them into my own family one day. I think that is one reason I love being the errand running, minivan driving, mom of seven that I am. I feel like I do a really good job at keeping the house clean and humming. I do a great job at learning time with the kids. I am fairly fanatical about alone time with Adam.

But there are things I am not so good at. I really really suck at sticking to a weekly menu. I really need to hang my own clothes up more. But who wants to do that after folding seven loads of kid clothes every week. :) I could be a better friend to some, and give more space to others. I could be softer in disciplining the children, and myself.

But mostly, I still struggle with the personal pursuits I have tabled to be a mom. They are not sacrifices I resent or even necessarily wish I was doing instead of mommying most days. They are just things that I think about sometimes…like now, as I approach a milestone birthday of sorts.

1. I really want to pursue another degree someday. Maybe a second Bachelor’s in History, or a Masters in Sustainable Development, or even just some extra structured learning opportunities that are just for me.

2. I really really want to write a book. I have so many ideas, and so little time. I suppose this is something I can do w/o compromising my commitment to homeschooling etc. but projects like this are always more consuming than we imagine. I am afraid I would lose myself in it, and neglect the children.

3. I miss traveling so much. And I often fantasize of running away and teaching internationally again. Not because I want to escape my kids, but because it is a passion that is a part of me, and I miss it. Adam and I were millimeters away from committing to teaching overseas a few years ago. Instead, we pursued his MBA, and that decision has blessed our life without question. I still fantasize though.

Maybe one day we will take a trip around the world with our gaggle of children and write a book about it. That would be the best of both worlds. Adam could do the photography. I could do the writing. And the kids would be the meat of the show. Hmm! Now my thoughts are really churning.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a meltdown-free birthday. Best. Present. Ever.


This is to be “The Year of the Cakes” according to Adam. :)



I would say that his first go at a Barbie cake and fondant was pretty spectacular.



Great job, McBaker!!!

happy seventh, juan

June 2, 201085378543We went to Claim Jumper for your birthday dinner this year. You got a new bike from mom and dad. From your siblings you received a kick board and dive sticks for the pool. And of course, you were showered with lots of cards and money love from grandmas and aunties.

I think the best present is the amazing amount of growth we have seen in you the past six month–learning to read, taking responsibility for your actions, responding to directions, relaxing your frustrations, and melting down A LOT less. You chatter on non-stop, asking questions about anything and everything.

Your favorite thing to talk about right now is how things are made.Yesterday, you wanted to know how the ‘machine’ takes the poison out of the river and lake water so that we can drink it. You also used the phrase “welcome to my world” yesterday when your sisters were telling you how hard they had it sitting in the back seat of the car. I wonder from which parent you picked that up?

Love you, little man! It’s almost our two year Famiversary. But to us, it seems like we have known you since you were born. We are grateful for your smile in our home.

it’s great to be eight

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NIKKI!27 February 201078967886Out of all the cake molds she had to choose from, she went with a “cake” because it had “pretty colors!” Adam made the cake per his usual talent. :)Oh, and she named her little stuffed dog “Princess Doggy!”78907899

six years handsome


Juan P. got to make pizza for his birthday. He is a little obsessed with pizza right now, and he rarely gets it. So we thought it would be a fun birthday treat. Aunt Jaime made him a fruit pizza for his cake. Well, Aunt Val helped him decorate it, so it was a joint venture. Regardless, it was the yummiest birthday “cake” I have had in a long time. :)


Womps got the standard birthday hiking poles from us. And his Tios McCracken continued the Build-A-Bear tradition, which is ever so gracious. He LOVES his Girl Rainbow Bear that he picked out. She comes complete with a pink hat and rainbow skateboard. All because he thought she was beautiful, and because his tias are adorable push-overs! He named her Banana Baby. Yeah, I know!

Here’s a video of our handsome little guys:

she’s eight, she’s eight


Ezzy’s birthday was on 17 May…I know, I am a little behind. Her tias, tio, and grandma picked her up in the afternoon to go to Build-a-Bear for her present. It was so nice of them to treat her. I think she made an excellent choice in choosing her Panda. Look at how grown up she is. After her afternoon escapade, we–mom and dad–treated her to dinner at Claim Jumper. Grandma graciously watched the other three children so we could have a special Ezzy date.


She helped scarf down the ever popular pretzels with cheese sauce. She also helped daddy devour the chocolate chip calzone. It was so nice to have some one-on-one with Ez. It is really nice to actually be able to communicate with her a little more too. She is definitely the jokester of the family. She has the most infectious goofy/dorky/uninhibited laugh. We love to tease her. She is by nature good-spirited and joyful. We are so proud of our newest eight year old. Our family would not be the same without her.


happy 31st, babe

31 reasons I love being married to you:

1. you are loyal.

2. you are kind.

3. you are honorable.

4. you play with our kids.

5. you take our kids wherever you go, whenever you can, because you want to.

6. you scratch my back every night.

7. you download my shows even though you have little interest in them.

8. you are handsome.

9. you never complain when I cut your hair a little crooked.

10. you do your duty.

11. you love try very hard to follow the Savior in word and deed.

12. you get all giddy about Scouting!

13. you are tenacious, but not uptight.

14. you allow me to see you vulnerable.

15. you do not like to watch ESPN.

16. you push me to do things that I think I can’t.

17. you never say a word about my scrapbooking piles.

18. you kept your buckets of legos for your future boys.

19. you love to travel.

20. you love me despite my failed attempts at producing offspring.

21. you are the quintessential “phone-a-friend.”

22. you talk to people when I don’t want to.

23. you don’t take my ice cream anymore.

24. you let me have your extra fries.

25. you don’t have a lazy bone in your body.

26. you are a really great best friend.

27. you can see both sides of an argument.

28. you are fair and honest.

29. you keep this house technologically sound.

30. you are a friend to everyone.

31. you just love me!

happy 33rd to me

6350YUMMY peanut butter cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory.  My mom and dad were in town on business during the week of my birthday so Adam and I were lucky enough to spend the evening out with both sets of our parents. I had the Luau salad, as usual. And we ordered the Factory Nachos as a starter. Does food get any better? Thanks again, mom and dad, for treating us. And Thank You–Angelina and Emily–for watching the kids–and for the scrumptious cupcakes. They were so cute, I didn’t want to eat them.


So becoming a mother is the only goal I wasn’t able to reach in my 25-30 five year plan. Instead of one healthy baby, I mourned three losses. Somehow, even at 33, I am still insanely jealous of those who reach that same goal. I think it is simply because I am used to doing whatever I say I am going to do. In that respect, not bearing children has been a completely humbling experience for me. And yet, I am still jealous. I guess I have a ways to go in the perfection department.

There were some momentous positives to my before 30 plan. I got married, traveled to five more countries, and finished my masters degree. All things I am extremely proud of, and grateful for. So at 33 I am left wondering, why didn’t I make a new five year plan at 30? I am all about goal-making and attaining. I think fertility and adoption took over my life for awhile, and it was difficult to focus on anything else. I am now resolved to have a two year plan. I will post the results when I am finished contemplating.

helluva lucky girl

A simple card….

“Once there was this guy. A nice guy, really. And he met this girl. An incredible girl-truly amazing. So naturally the guy falls head over heels in love with her, and pretty soon they’re picking out china patterns and rings and there’s a wedding and the starry-eyed couple rides off into what will surely be a rosy future.

Okay, so now some time has passed and the guy is living in that future. He’s still married to this girl, but now their life includes a lot of stuff–appliances and bills and loads of laundry and home repair projects. But between all the to-dos and have-tos, there are these moments when the guy stops for a minute and looks around him.

He looks at his wife, who is still truly amazing, he looks at their life together, all the ways and different directions it’s grown, he looks at all the responsibilities he’s got, and he thinks to himself, so, this is my life.

And then he thinks, I am one helluva lucky guy.”

A perfect reminder.