Happiness · Holiday · Kids · Picture Post

Merry Christmas

We have had the most lovely Christmas yet. Yesterday, Christmas Eve, was a Sabbath and we attended sacrament which was full of beautiful words and joyous Christmas music. The congregation sang Joy to the World and I felt so happy, and everything was right and wonderful.


We made  peanut butter cookies and fudge for Santa Christmas Eve afternoon, we read a story, and attended our traditional Christmas Eve nativity at the A’s house, we had a pile of cousins all running around merrily shouting in anticipation of Christmas. eventually they were organized and we listened to Grandpa Atwater read the story of Christ’s birth.

There were Grandma PJs waiting us under the tree, our first Christmas present, and the NORAD tracker was eagerly watched.

When Katie, Alice, and Felicity were toddlers and we could not get them to sleep on Christmas Eve we began the tradition of all piling into the girls room for a Christmas Eve camp out. I threaten every year to quit and sleep in my own bed as the children never sleep, and I spend Christmas in (happy) exhaustion.

I gave in and as per usual the children were awake ALL NIGHT!


But today was fabulous, the children are happy, and I spent time curled in front of my fire watching the blizzard outside.

Christmas is almost over.  Bittersweet.

Merry Christmas.


I LOVE the view from my dining room
It is small and simple but the little Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus here are my favorite nativity that I put up.


52 week challenge · Happiness · Kids · Photography · Picture Post

52 Weeks


Last year I made a conscious decision to be happy. Life is freaking hard and I was wallowing in misery.

It was pretty bad.

Whose life is the worst.



So. Not. True.

This mental switch wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Get up, be happy.

Example, one day we were driving along, our car started having trouble, of course the sensible thing to do is worry, I could feel it, the anxiety blooming in my chest. Instead of letting the worry monster run rampant, I sat back and thought, wow, so glad we have added a tow package to our insurance, I am glad we are not far from home, we have a cellphone. And most of all, I saw what I had not been previously paying attention too, the rising sun. It was stunning. How could I be unhappy, how could I let my anxiety out when I was witnessing such beauty?

Our car did break down.

But it was okay. Frustrating, oh yes. But okay, life is full of frustrating experiences, hard times, and sometimes trauma.

But attitude is everything.

No, it doesn’t make it better, but neither does being miserable.

I have started a few 52 week challenges, I intend to share them here.

One is 52 weeks of gratitude, this weeks challenge (because I am just now starting) is Why start this challenge. I explained that above, I am doing this because I had a gratitude journal last year and I would say that it was a roaring success. I want to keep going.

I am  grateful to have so many things to be grateful for!

Anther challenge I started at the beginning of the year is a 52 week photography challenge, the idea behind this is that my equipment is only a tool. Right now I have a little compact, it is a Panasonic LX7. It isn’t a lot of things and it has its limits, but I am determined to find them and push them!

I started this challenge at the beginning of the year, but here is week 3 (red) and week 4 (portrait, headshot), this photo I did not share with the group but is my favorite:)





Happiness · Picture Post

….It goes on…..


It does not matter what happens, how wonderful….how wretched….how heartbreaking  this moment is, the moment moves on, times goes on.

Is this blinding truth?

Not at all.

But if you are an insanely impatient person, as I am, then reminding yourself of that everything works out, someway or another and tomorrow is a bright new beautiful day, well then, it helps.

This winter has been an amazing lesson, in patience, hope and even faith.

That last one is important as faith and I have been on the outs.

I feel sometimes like karma must have me mistaken for someone who kicks puppies and steals candies from infants.

It wasn’t me, I swear.

But until then….

I have learned to really sit back and appreciate what I DO have going for me, to appreciate the breathtaking scenery, to “stop and smell the roses”.

Might as well because wallowing in the misery of “why me” sucks after the first couple of hours.

I feel like a broken record. Is this my third post on the glories of winter?


We had an epic snow storm the other day(s), winters last little “you’re going to miss me when I am gone” solo number.

It was fierce-some, unexpected and held little back, Felicity and I were out shoveling out the mailbox, it took us a while to even find it, then we went on a wee little walk down the road to return the shovels we had borrowed.

The sky was bright blue, the sun bright and shining, the snow cold,wet and heavy, coated everything.

The world was one giant sparkling diamond.

Life would have been so much easier if we had not had that snowstorm, but what an insanely gorgeous day we would have missed!



Life is, as always, a beautiful, spectacular wonder.


Happiness · Kids

Being a mom

I have a ratty green robe that I love and adore, it is currently in the washing machine and like a five year old concerned for her beloved blankie, I am feeling rather impatient for it to be done.

Before I threw it in the machine I had to check my pockets,  because it doesn’t matter if I am dressed up to go out, if I am still in, I am wearing my robe, and that means that I get handed stuff and I pick up stuff and it all accumulates over the day and into a pocket it goes.

I take it all out  fondly, I find a marble and a purple gel pen, a  tiny dress that belongs to Blythe from LPS,  there is a Gormiti, two legos, a small runner ball and  a small little drawing that was carefully folded and given to me right at lunch time, it is a picture of a cow, the words “mommy, Elli” carefully written out.

I love being a mom.

Given who I am, my own strange personality, it sometimes strikes me as a little humorous that I love being a mom so very much.

This is on my mind right now, as I wait for the washer to finish up, because it is snowing out and we have a few pretty cold days ahead of us.

But Spring is right around the corner, next week actually, but soon, sooner then I think it will be warm sunshine and green all around. And my children will escape to spend the next six months outside at every possible moment, it will be beautiful, amazing, but a little sad too.

The winter forces us close, I can hear them all from where I am now, I type away and they talk and giggle and play.

We read together, all snuggled up in front of the fire, and I listen to them talk, to me, to each other. They are here and they Wonderful.

Every summer they slip away a little more.

Winter brings them back to me for just a little while….

Until summer takes them once again, farther away, older still.

I love this snowstorm.



Happiness · Holiday · Kids


Thanksgiving was awesome, like really, really awesome. I feel that Thanksgiving is the one holiday where it is essential that as many people attend as possible, pack them in! Especially children, I cannot imagine a holiday without children.

And my children had a marvelous time, it has been a long year with, frankly, strained family relationships and I wanted, for my children’s sake, something normal and fun and completely drama-less. And for the most part I got that and I am grateful. I am grateful for my husband and many nephews and and Nate for coming over and helping to insulate our living room floor Thanksgiving day, I am grateful for the feast that was slaved over by Sis. A, and my sister in-laws. I am grateful for Pie. Yummy, yummy pie.I am grateful for piles of cousins and that Brindle survived all the love and attention that was showered on her.

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

Me, after eating way too much and then eating more.
Me, after eating way too much and then eating more.


Everyday · Happiness · Kids · Picture Post · Trips to somewhere

We will swing and swing higher, higher, until our toes touch the sky.

And when are toes scrape the blue,

When the clouds are below

Then we jump

We jump

and we



We went to the park today



to 60’s rock
P1120055-001 P1120058-001

laughter and grass stains


 trees that must be climbed.

slides and swings and tunnels

again and higher and

climbing up

instead of sliding down


basketball courts and the thump, thump of

the ball

and yes,

the woosh of the net.


PB&J and crusts for the


wood chips and laughter


we went to the park today

and kissed summer goodbye