for our good

I am thinking tonight about all the people that I know who are struggling right now. Friends and family members who are processing such trials as:

The loss of a child

A miscarriage

Marital separation

Chronic pain and illness

Various addictions

Gossip in the cruelest form

And when I ponder on these different experiences and afflictions, the same thought comes into my mind…

“…if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of Hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son ( or daughter), that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)

I really believe this. In fact, I know it to be true. I have had many a dark moment in my adult life. Some of which I brought on myself, but most were pushed on my by others’ free agency, and given by God. I am better for the low moments. Even if the trials are not desirable, the lessons learned are! They truly are for our good.

girls trip 2011


YEAR FIVE: Cannon Beach, OR

MY GIRLS: Amy and Jessica

HOTEL: Surf Sands Resort

ACTIVITIES: scrapbooking, massages, eating, shopping, storm watching, talking


1. Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches

2. Driving through a flood, literally, to get to the Seaside scrapbook store

3. Watching the waves from our balcony

4. Talking, talking, talking

5. Diet coke and peanut M&M’s….of course

6. Listening to the constant sound of rain

7. Sitting in the hottub

8. Getting a massage

9. Hugging Truxton!



NEXT STOP: Colorado Vacay with the families….summer 2012

auntie amy comes to visit


Auntie Amy was in town for business back in October. As soon as she visited, the mayhem of three more children hit our family, and I forgot to document her visit. How could that happen? :)

While she was with us she spoiled the children, as usual. She purchased and played Operation with the ninos, which is the favorite new game in the family. She read the kids two bedtime stories. And she all around loved on them in her awesome Amy way. We also got some alone time: shopping at Target, eating at PF Chang’s, and bringing home Baskin Robbins.

It was the perfect visit.


Thanks, Auntie Amy. We love and appreciate you. We’ll take whatever time you give us.

just like old times


Lovin’ the new foster rules for our family. We can actually go out now! This date reminded me of our double date just before picking up four little strangers in Bogota, Colombia. Good to know we still have it in us. :)

Check out Jaime’s post for the full scoop.



“gorge us” auntie


Thank you for the gifts, Auntie Jes.

Cards have been made,

Books have been read,

and t-shirts have been worn.

All in the name of Aunt Jessica!

We love you.

looking forward

Summer will quickly be upon us here in the desert. And you all know how cranky I get when summer comes. So I try and make the summer as busy as possible for myself so that I can endure the baking hot sun.

Here is what we are planning:

Zion Nat’l Park, of course. Year six. We leave tomorrow.

Spring Mountain Ranch, Willy Wonka. Planning this outing for months now with friends. So excited to take the kids to their first official play.
Camp Invent. Danny is going to his first invention camp with a buddy. He is totally stoked.
Bear Lake. The kids and I are planning a week at the lake with my mom and sister. (Adam will be in China on business–boo, boo!)
Swim lessons. Hopefully we can squeeze a couple of these in. :)

Grandma Penning Visits. YAY!
Relay for Life. We are going to Oregon to participate in Team Georgie this summer. So Excited!
Washington. Oh how I love escaping the desert heat, trading it in for two weeks in Yakima. I can’t wait to hang with my family, scrap with Jes, camp at Rainier with cousins, and see old friends and their children.

The Beach. Yes! Who love the Oregon Coast? We do. We do. We have been planning this vacation since Thanksgiving with my parents and siblings. One whole week in Seaside with my family. The kids are going to learn to body surf this time around. Can’t wait for vacation with my hubby and kiddos.

the sun was shining


Denver, Finally!!! This friend trip seemed extra-long in the making (due to my canceling the summer). Here are our lovely hosts:
(yeah, we keep him around; great entertainment value!)

A mountain retreat with girlfriends is exactly what this girl needed after the holidays. The massive amount of talking, drinking (purely diet coke), and scrapping was enough to push any husband over the edge–good thing the boys didn’t come along this time. I only finished six scrapbook layouts, but I napped, ate, and lounged in between each layout. It was perfect. I think Jes’s numbers were in the 20’s and Amy’s were in the 30’s. They kick my trash every time–and I am totally okay with that.We also hottubbed in the snow, ate loads of sweet chewy Chex Mix, and walked around Breckenridge. A huge thanks to Grandma Carlson for letting us use the Mountain House.


Other highlights
Amy’s local day spa–I haven’t had a massage in so long. Thanks for the treat, Ames.
Downtown dinner and walking with Steffan–The chicken fajitas were also a treat.
Shopping for scrap supplies–Archivers and Hobby Lobby.
Talking until midnight in the basement–wish we could do it more often.
Spending time with Mya and Peyton–I miss them already. They are growing faster than any auntie would want.

Resolutions Made
Join Weight Watchers
Scrap more often
Drink less diet coke
Plan next girlfriend getaway

And could my friends be any cuter? I think our thirties suit us well. :)


FOURTH annual BFF trip, not third.

I totally spaced 2006 BYU Women’s Conference, which started the whole tradition. Phew….glad I caught myself before Jessica or Amy corrected me. :)

bff trippin’

Six more days and I am on a plane to Denver. It is Amy’s turn to host our third annual bff trip, which I am soooo excited about. My back injury this past summer foiled our original vacation. We had planned a summer vacay with our three families. I know the girls, including myself, were super disappointed.

On the bright side, we get a girls weekend all to ourselves. Massages, scrapping in the mountains, and lots of talking on our short list. I am sure we will throw in a McDonald’s breakfast and a couple of diet coke runs just for good measure. Ladies, I can’t wait to see both of you!!!

Lee Canyon Camping

OK, so we’re a little behind while Rach and the kids are up in Washington and Utah visiting family. I’ll get the ball rolling with our mid-June campout in Lee Canyon’s Dolomite Campground. Dolomite is the highest developed campsite in the Spring Mountains, at 8,500 feet. This was nice, as the daytime temperatures in Las Vegas were starting to get a bit warm.


We had the pleasure of camping with the famLEA (with little Rachel in tow) and the Brummetts. Tio Rob brought little LED flashlights that the kids loved. We got some firewood from the camp hosts to ensure our chocolate and marshmallows stayed warm.

On Saturday morning, we met the DeMarco clans and headed up to Mary Jane Falls (more info here). For those who have visited Washington or Oregon waterfalls (or even turned a faucet on!), you’re not likely to be impressed. For us Southern Nevadans, it’s a raging torrent! The kids all had a blast on the little bit of snow still left at the base of the falls.


Leaving for Mary Jane Falls

At Mary Jane Falls

After saying goodbye to the rest of the group, we had fun with just the McFamily back in the campsite. The kids were learning about shelters that nomads built in earlier times and they built their own shelter from what they could find on the ground. Altogether a great weekend!