Archive of ‘Raising Children’ category

Our Baby Boy has Arrived; Henry’s Birth Story


Henry Lyle C. joined us on Wednesday, May 20th around 3:20 pm. Weighing in at 9.1 pounds and 22 inches long.


Here is his birth story. It’s the long version and it’s mostly for me and my records but if you enjoy birth stories, enjoy this one. It’s a good one…

I was mentally trying to gear up for going over my due date (May 22nd). History repeats itself, doesn’t it? But to be honest, I was really feeling done with this whole pregnancy thing. The baby had been dropped for about a week and the pressure on my pelvis and ligaments were making things difficult. 38 weeks, 39 weeks. I was still functioning and taking walks (and even rock climbing) but really… It was getting ridiculous.


I was prepared to say hello and goodbye to my due date but planned on tears being present.

May had also been so stormy that I blaming my handful of daily contractions on the storms. Whether that was true or not I’ll never know but I’d get 4 or so in a row and wonder if I was making in progress or wonder if I was in the beginning stages of labor for about 2 seconds and then they’d peter out.

The morning of the 20th I’d been to the climbing gym and did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 5 routes all in the 5.10 grade. I came home, sent the kids off to school and had some breakfast. I had a couple contractions around the kitchen (which seemed totally normal given the past week) and then I laid down for a morning rest while Sammy watched shows on the ipad. Laying there I had some more contractions and thought about maybe timing them. But really, was this a joke? Maybe if I got up and walked around they’d go away.


I had a play date at the Museum of Natural Curiosity planned with a friend but she’d just text and cancelled. I was thinking it’d be a long day with nothing to do so arranged a lunch date with my cousin and friend.

I started some house work and the contractions seemed consistent so I decided to start timing them around 10:45 am. After about 45 minutes of timing and continued housework the contractions appeared to be 4 to 5 minutes apart but only last 20 to 30 seconds. Hum. I decided to text my husband and sister to give them a heads up. Both said they’d come despite my hesitation because I was still unsure if things were progressing.

I was pretty sure I was in early labor but the question was how long I’d stay there. I’d had 2 slow labors and 1 quick so history did nothing for me in that department. Every labor can be so different. I had labored through a full night with Sam and I didn’t want people coming over to sit with me while nothing happened. So I continued on with my day.

I talked to the midwife on the phone and told her what was happening. She asked me if I wanted her to come over and check me but I told her to wait and see what the next little bit brought. I had a bit of a back ache (suggesting a posterior position) so she told me to do some hands and knees stuff. I did one inversion and spent some time on my knees and it totally worked and took the back ache away.

Jeremy came home and as lunch approached we debated whether I should go out and meet my friend and cousin for lunch. I was still talking, walking and breathing just fine through the contractions. I’d been on a walk around the block and things just seemed the same.

We decided to have my friend and cousin bring lunch to me just to be on the safe side. We sat around the dinning room table eating our turkey avocado sandwiches and timing my contractions. Contractions stayed at 3 to 4 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. Looking back, I think, Duh! 3-4 minutes apart are pretty good contractions. I guess I was waiting for the magical 1 minute long contractions to show up.

By the end of lunch I’d had a handful of contractions that had reached 40-45 seconds long but they’d still drop back to 30 seconds long. We decided to go for a walk around the circle. This time the contractions seemed harder and more serious causing me to stop and breath through them, still only 40-45 seconds long.

By the time we circled around back home my friend and cousin had to go and pick up their kids from school. I was thinking it was time to call the midwife. We gave hugs, snapped a photo and I waddled back inside.


My first contraction back in the house was dousy. Maybe I was finally able to relax with my company gone but more than just controlled breathing came out of my mouth. Some groaning. I had just turned a major corner.

We shewed Leah and Sam out of the house to the neighbors and Jeremy text the midwife at 3:00 telling her it was time to come. She told him she was at home (not the office which is 10 minutes away) and would be here 30 minutes.

I stayed in the family room for 2 contractions and knew I better get back into the bedroom where I wanted to deliver the baby and had waterproofing equipment and a pool set up. I turned on the shower/hose for the pool and knelt by the side to feel the temperature. When the next contraction came I knew I needed to kneel on something water proof so I grabbed one of those big chuck pad rectangular things the midwife had brought over. The following contraction came (I’d stopped timing) and relaxed as much as I could through it. I peed and for a split second thought it was my water. 1 second later came my water. It burst. Then I had no doubt that my water had broke. Nice and clear water.

By now Jeremy had text the midwife telling her to come and then quickly realized he better call her saying to hurry as fast as possible. Traffic was bad. He kept her on the phone. Things were happening really fast. Jeremy told me to get up on the bed in a laying position to slow things down. (I had laid down with Leah’s birth for the same reason.) One more hard contraction on the floor and I stood up to help spread the protective plastic cover and sheet over the bed and laid down for one of the most intense contractions known to women kind.

With the next contraction I really wanted to push and I might of just a little bit, naturally. Jeremy and I both realized this baby was coming with or without the midwife.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to slow anything down or wait. In between, with some big deep breaths I said something like, “Ok, ok, we can do this.” and Jeremy said something like “Yup, we’re good. You’re doing good.” or something like that.

I saw him washing his hands in the bathroom and with the next contraction I was pretty sure I was crowning. I reached down to feel and then realized I was more than just crowning. The head was coming. I finished off the contraction with a nice push and the head was out.

The midwife was still on the phone with Jeremy and he told her the head was out. She gave him some instructions on how to catch the baby and with the next contraction we delivered the body.

He was here. He was here and crying. We just delivered a baby!


Jeremy passed him up to my belly and we rubbed him and put a towel over him. He was still a bit blue but continued to cry. We didn’t look at the clock but figured it was around 3:20. The midwife said she was getting close and would be here to deliver the placenta. The pool next to me was looking mighty nice at this point so I asked if I could get up and get in. She said yes and so me and the baby (tethered together) climbed in. It was lovely.


All the after stuff isn’t too exciting. The midwife showed up, we worked on getting baby to breathe a little better, cleared his lungs by suction and hung him upside down. He didn’t spend much time in the birth canal so he didn’t get the usually squeeze that clears some of that fluid out. I delivered the placenta in the pool and eventually climbed back into bed to get dry and warm and cuddly with my new little man.


I’m in love with this picture of Jeremy. (Thanks Jess.)


Again this is mostly for me… but if your curiosity has been peaked or you really are a die hard birth story lover, here are my other kids birth stories. Emma’s story is a footling breech c-section, Isaac was delivered naturally at a hospital with a birthing center midwife, then Leah and Sam have been at home.

Emma’s birth
Isaac’s birth
Leah’s birth
Samuel’s birth

Yes, that’s 5 kids. Ahhh!!

The Past 6 Months

In order to catch you all up on what I’ve been up to I could summarize with one word.



Yes. That is the biggest news I have and probably the main reason things went really quiet over here. We have a new little one on the way. My pregnancies are generally pretty easy but I did have a few rough months in the first trimester of feeling like a piece of poo. I spent many afternoons nauseated and sleeping in bed. Mornings tended to being my best time of day but I just couldn’t function in the late afternoons and evenings.


Along with feeling sick, I’ve had a rough time emotionally. I mean, we wanted this pregnancy, decided together and planned it all out but honestly my heart isn’t 100% into having 5 children. It’s a lot. I’m nervous and scared and, quite plainly, have some pride issues about dragging that many kids around. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kiddos. But 5 is going to stretch me. I’ve had some major down times and battled with a little depression over the whole issue. I think that has contributed to some of the quietness here at Mandagirl.


I’ve just been plum overwhelmed. And trying to prioritize has left Mandagirl on the back burner. I don’t think anyone can blame me.

Family comes first. And I better be ready to deal with 5 kids come May.


I had the idea to update you on what I’ve been up to these past 6/7 months. I looked through all my photos and picked some of my favorites. I uploaded 43 photos to flickr and that is probably too many to put in one post. But looking through them sure was fun. It reminds me how much fun we’ve had (despite my pregnancy) and all the wonderful things we’ve been up to. Pictures are always of the good times and not the bad. My very favorites are of exploring outdoors or having some sort of adventure.


6 months is a long time and it feels like a lot of seasons have gone by.

There are summertime memories.




The school year beginning.



Lots of fun mountain biking rides.


Nerdy pictures of us in helmets.


Memorable climbing trips.




And a whole lot of everyday life photos.





Aren’t the kids growing up so much!

There are beautiful fall pictures (which tend to be my favorites.)



And some winter time fun even though the snow this year has been less than ideal.



Looking back I feel a lot better about these past 6 months then I previously did. Maybe I just need to keep my chin up, keep busy so this pregnancy doesn’t drag on to much and remember my priorities and what makes me happy.


Maybe blogging again will help keep the important things in perspective. We’ll see.

Yosemite National Park Family Vacation

I’ve been itching for a family vacation this summer. We haven’t had any big plans on the calendar this year so I threw out the idea to take a road trip and everyone embraced it with open arms. HOO-RRAY! I’m really excited, can you tell?


We like to throw together last minute trips. Do you? Even though it causes me undue stress, that’s how we roll over here.

So lets take a trip.

How about Yosemite?

What’s there to do at Yosemite?

I dunno. I know there’s a great big granite mountain face named El Capitan that’s famous for rock climbing. Didn’t that one guy free climb it? Isn’t it one of the most awesomest, beautifulest national parks in the US?


Well, lets go.

After much research in the few short days before our trip, I learned that all campgrounds and lodgings fill up months in advanced; like February-advanced; like when-they-first-open-the-camp-sites-for-reservation kind of advance. BUT there are a bunch of camp sites that are first-come-first-serve. That made me a bit nervous not knowing where I was going to lay my sweet babies heads but I set my sights on a couple campgrounds that sounded nice and away from the crowds, hoping there would be a site available.

Boy, did we luck out. We first stopped at White Wolf because it had tap water and I wasn’t too keen on pumping or boiling all our water. It was a fun looking place but it was full so on we went to our next pick.

Tamarack Flat

Love! Love! Love! this campsite. It was 3 miles down a rugged road (which made it all the more quaint) and didn’t have tap water but my goodness, I didn’t care. We packed plenty and could fill up at the gas station later. This place was so dreamy and perfect. We found a cute little site near the end of the campground and near a stream. We had nothing but forest behind us and only one neighboring camper from the way the site was set up. It was perfect for my noisy little family.


One day we explored the trail that ran along the stream leading from camp. It lead to the most delightful set of granite pools and little waterfalls. It was heaven and we didn’t see a soul. (Who said Yosemite was a tourist trap?)



Tuolumne Grove

We didn’t make it down south to Mariposa Grove to see the biggest grove of sequoia trees. Instead we checked out the little one closer to our campsite. We were trying to eliminate the amount of driving we had to do for the littles.

Here is one of the first giant sequoias that you come to, Big Red.


Tuolumne Grove only has about 20 some mature giant sequoia trees, though I counted just 10 or so, but we didn’t mind. All the trees there are big and pretty.


The hike consists of walking a mile down an old road to the actual grove then meandering around the grove for a half mile and then trudging back up the steep-ish old road to the car for a total of 2.5 miles. The kids complained a bit but in the end it really wasn’t that bad.

The kids favorite part was climbing in and around the old fallen giants.


Their centers are hollow and make a cave like tunnel to explore. The roots make for fun bouldering problems.


This old dead tree has been around for years and I can’t imagine the number of people that have walked underneath it. I think I read that they carved it out in the late 1800’s or so to encourage travel through there. There was an old picture of a stagecoach going through it.


We even saw a little troll along the way.


Yosemite Valley

Despite all the reports we’d read about “The Valley” being full of tourists, we didn’t think it was all that bad. Perhaps it was because we were there on a Thursday so if you’re planning a trip, try a weekday instead of a weekend.


Beautiful. Breathtaking. Yosemite valley is all those things and more. No wonder it’s famous. The granite cliffs are towering above your head and too big to fit in your windshield as you drive through. The green meadows and forests are divine and the Merced River is delightfully pretty.

We gave ourselves a full day to explore and ended up going back for another half day to play in the river.

Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall was our first stop. We knew that, being July, that there wouldn’t be much water pouring down. And well, there wasn’t but as you looked up you could see a misty kind of fall catching in the wind and blowing around the cliff and eventually finding its way down. It was late morning and the sun was positioned a few feet from the fall making it difficult to look up and get a good pic.


It was still pretty and as we reached the end of the short walk up to the fall you could see the polished granite rocks in the river bed that were exposed in the summer. They would be completely covered and raging with water in the spring. We, along with quite a few other adventurers, scrambled up the dry but very slippery rocks up to the bottom of the fall. There would be no way to do this in the spring. At the bottom was a deep little pool where some cascading water ended up.


Isaac jumped right in after some short encouragement from Jeremy. But he quickly jumped right out because it was freezing cold water. Take you breath away kind of cold but it was too fun to resist and plenty warm for sunning on the rocks afterwards. Isaac jumped in a bunch more times and all of us ended up taking quick dips, clothes and all. It made for a fun memory.

Vernal Fall

Our next stop was Vernal Fall. This waterfall is not seasonal and has enough water rushing down to still make it spectacular year round and thus it continues to draw a crowd. This is one of the busiest trails in the park but the scenery makes it well worth all the people passing. Just nod and smile as they walk pass your whining, screaming, silly kid.


At about 1 mile there is a bridge that goes over the river and gives you the first view of the falls. There is also a drinking fountain to replenish water bottles. I think quite a few people stop here and call it good but getting close up to the falls was worth the uphill for us.


The pounding sound of the fall is amazing. I need to go back in the spring and experience it in all it’s glory. The trail leading up to Vernal Fall is called The Mist Trail but in July we could barely feel the cool refreshing mist blowing over to us. No ponchos needed.

The trail is steep and a bit of a haul for the little ones. But they made it. Even if it took some jolly-rancher-bribing to get them to the top. We counted 667 granite stairs. (You can keep going up more stairs if you want to continue on to the Nevada Fall.)


The hike goes right to the top of the fall for a great view of where you’ve come from.


Thank you for handrails.

At the top, the river is swollen into a pretty little pool called Emerald Pool.


Isaac jumped right in. At the far end of the pool the river comes sliding down a gentle sloping granite slab making for a perfect natural water slide. After watching a few guys slide down, Isaac braved up and went down about a dozen times. I had so much fun watching him. I could just see all the thrill of childhood adventure in him. He’d talk to himself about where to enter the slide and how to land. In the end, Emma decided to join in and loved it too. Big fun.


Including the walk back to our car we went just over 4 miles. The kids did great but were pretty bushed by the end. I felt pretty beat myself.

Yosemite Falls

If you combine the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls it is 2,425 feet tall. That is one tall waterfall. That makes it the tallest in North America and the 5th or 7th tallest in the world. (depending on which site you read) In July there was more water coming down it than it’s neighbor, Bridalveil Fall, across the way but it was still a thin looking thing.

Again- Must. Come. Back. In. The. Spring.


It’s only a quarter mile stroll on flat paved ground to the bottom of the lower fall. It’s a short section (320 feet high) but worth the little walk. You’ll get a great little view of the whole thing along the way. We arrived there right at dark so this is the best shot I have.

Merced River

The Merced River runs right down the Nevada and Vernal Falls into the valley. There it meanders past the forests and granite cliffs and makes for a beautiful river with pleasant beaches and pools for swimming in. (I took some fun videos of the kids jumping in the river and posted one at Instagram.)


The kids were really excited about floating the river (because it didn’t involve hiking!) so we had brought our tubes along. I was weary about the water levels but driving by, we had seen plenty of people floating by. Althought when we set out, we learned that in July there isn’t a whole lot of floating to be done though. It was more like we went for a paddle down the river. The current was SO SLOW and there were several low spots that required getting out for so our bums didn’t drag. We took off our shoes and used them as paddles for steering and maneuvering and getting some momentum. We had to play catch up with the kids a few times. It was still really fun and a nice change from hiking.

We were rewarded by finding a rope swing at the end of our journey. I didn’t note which bridge it was near though and I didn’t get one picture from the float either… I didn’t want to risk my camera getting wet. Boo.

Glacier Point

Just south of the valley is a road that wraps up and around to a point that looks out over Yosemite Valley. Jeremy absolutely loved this place. This is probably my favorite picture from the trip. You can see Nevada Falls right by my back and that’s half dome by Jeremy’s head.


The Views Are Spectacular!

It was fun to go up there near the end of the trip and identify all the places we’d been. There was even a handy map identifying all the major sites, domes and waterfalls. I could point out where we floated the river to the kids. “This bridge to this bridge.” and the kids thought it was pretty interesting.


We arrived near sunset and watched the sun creep up the prominent Half Dome and disappear into the sky.



There had been a lightning strike  earlier in the month so there was a fire near Yosemite Creek. They fireman were managing it but you can see the dark cloud in the picture below is actually smoke. It never bothered us or got in the way. It’s really interesting how fire is important to these trees, helping the new seeds grow.


Tioga Road

Coming from Utah, the shortest route to Yosemite is to enter through the north road. Tioga road was absolutely stunning. The views were amazing! I would recommend to anyone to make time to drive this scenic route. Coming over the pass at 9,945 feet in elevation was stunning. Driving from the dessert of Nevada into that oasis was shocking. Marveling at what a difference water can make is an experience in itself. I’m sounding completely nerdy but I think my jaw was dropped during that whole drive. I was bouncing and giggling over my excitement. Jeremy may have even joined in too. I think we might have shared a high five or two. I was driving so there is a lack of pictures and we only stopped at one pull out though there are plenty. This is Olmsted Point below.


Tenaya Lake

On our last day and on our way out of the park, we stopped at Tenaya Lake for one last hurrah. This may have been my favorite place.

There is a delightful little trail that goes along the whole lake. We didn’t have the time or the umph to walk it but this little section had me breathing in the sweet smell of Lodgepole pines and wishing we didn’t have to go home.


We stopped at the beach with our suits on and washed off the last of our camping grime and basked in the sunshine. That’s Isaac out there. He was such a little fish they whole trip.




We ate lunch and watch the climbers ascend the dome across the road.


Did I mention it was heavenly?


Yes. It was.

This is Mono Lake on our way out. It’s a salty lake but still really pretty. Love the sky, yes?


So that is my full report. Perhaps my mom will read all the way through or perhaps you’re interested in Yosemite for yourself and will decide to plan your own family vacation. Let me know if you do? Maybe you have already been? What was your favorite part?

This wont be my last trip there, for sure!

I’m in love.

What a Sad Sad Blog and a Summer Update

I looked over the other day to my husband who was on his laptop. I noticed he had Mandagirl opened up and I said “Hey, why are you looking at that!” He easily replied, “Just looking to see if you’ve posted anything new.”

Nope. I haven’t.

In fact, I hear crickets over here.

Chirp, Chirp.

So sad.

In fact, I’ve been thinking of reinventing things over here. Total Overhaul, people! Something new and Jazzy! Yes, I just said Jazzy.

My scrapbook templates are just as sad and tired as this old blog. I love digital scrapbooking and will never quit but I’ve run into a bump or two.  No creativity going on here! Plus I don’t have a photoshop program. I never figured out how to transfer it over to this new computer (some mac vs pc problem). So… I either need to buy a new version or continue to dream about fixing it somehow. Sigh.

So while we dream about me actually scrapbooking…

I’ll entertain you with some favorite photos from our rock’n summer.


Actually, a lot of these are photos that didn’t make the Instagram cut. I worry about posting to much on instagram because I don’t want to Overgram anyone. “Oh my gosh, is she climbing AGAIN!” I don’t want to make anyone sick. I personally know most the people on Instagram so I try to hold back a little. Betcha couldn’t tell. Hah! I don’t want people to think I have some strange outdoor problem. Here I either don’t know you or you are my mom or my sister. You probably already know I have a problem.

Hi Mom. Do you like my lavender plant? It’s taking over my front yard.


Addiction? I might in fact… is it possible to spend too much time outdoors? Hah! No way!! I Need More! More, more, more! There’s nothing wrong with choosing to breathe fresh air instead of going to a movie. Is there?

Mom, our next picnic destination is Silver Lake up by Brighton Ski Resort. Purty, eh? I guess there is always a moose or two munching around.


In the rock climbing department I have been working really hard to improve on harder climbs. I discovered a couple new places near by and have been happy to test some of my skills outdoors instead of in the gym. It’s been really fun.

See… I’m making you sick aren’t I? This is some really cool white limestone and it has fun pockets to jam fingers into. This was my birthday climb. Loved it!


Here is pretty view looking down at Alta Ski Resort from the rock.


Sometimes my kids enjoy exploring the great outdoors with me.


And sometimes they don’t. I think she wants to pinch me with those sticks because I’m taking to long.


Rock Climbing hasn’t made my bottom any smaller so for my cardio workouts I have started mountain biking regularly. No thank you to treadmills.


I got a new bike as my Mothers Day/birthday/Christmas and next Valentines gift. I used to hate going up hill and now I still do but I’m faster than I was. I had no idea that a 15 year old bike would slow me down so much. It’s made riding much more enjoyable.

I heart the trails by my house. They are the perfect morning workout even if my legs feel like jelly for the rest of the day.


I know that I’m super silly… so when I say that I not only wanted to go climbing for my birthday but I also wanted to go for a nice long beautiful bike ride for my birthday, I give you permission to laugh at me (or roll your eyes.) My good friend’s birthday is the day after mine so we always declare a Birthday Ride.

Wasatch Crest, baby, here we come!


When it’s mommy time and I still want to be outdoors we plan little fun picnics by the river and try to convince someone to join us. Wanna come? I know some cool places.

This one didn’t make the Insta cut because I have some salad in between my teeth. Gaafaah.


We occasionally try to hike but it more often than not, it turns into playing by the river. There are a “whole lot a” trails that we’ve only seen the first half mile of.


This next one didn’t make the Instagram cut because Isaac’s arm is growing out of Leah’s side. I still love it though, bare feet and all. Leah was so brave and wanted to cross the log all by herself.


Love this one too. Sam can be a real stinker but makes up for it in cuteness. I’m biased, of course. Note his dirty feet.

Silver Lake

That’s it for now. I will make no promises for my next post.

Good Things

Just look at this sweet face.


We had a really special day this last Saturday. My second child was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was an amazingly special day. When I watched my son come out of the water I felt a rush of the spirit come into my heart and whisper to me that this was true and good.

Afterwards my sweet boy stood up in front of all the family and friends there to support him and bore his testimony about baptism. He said a few things but the one quote to remember is when he said “I know that baptism is… (slight pause and then a smile crept across his face) …the gateway to awesomeness.” How true that is. It was so cute and funny and sweet and totally Isaac.

I was also able to take a day off from being Mom and headed down to BYU Women’s Conference with my in-laws. For some crazy reason I was possessed while shopping the other day and bought these wide leg pants pictured below. They are comfy and flowy and I even got a compliment from a college student on them but looking at the picture I can’t help regret them. Is it because I’m comparing them to my sister in laws leggings? Maybe I needed to bend my leg in the picture so that I don’t look like a balloon. But really… perhaps I should never wear them again.


I didn’t find my scrapbooking mojo at Women’s Conference but was inspired in so many other ways. It was a great spiritual boost listening to speakers and music. Gosh, we can always be just a little bit better, right? I walked around campus in the most amazing spring weather and had all kinds of college day memories come back to me.

Ah, good times. It would be nice if there were more days off like that.

Good times in April

I hope you all had a happy Easter. We had a nice little Easter. I don’t go crazy with lots of candy and eggs but I put together a little basket for them to find and we had a family gathering with an Easter egg hunt.


I’m struggling to come up with a clever title for this post. This is really just a hello to let you know I’m still around.



April has been a busy month. As the weather warms up we have managed to have lots of fun.


This little darling had a birthday and turned 5. Is she really that big?


She wanted a Disney Frozen party like the rest of all the 5 year old girls in the world. Luckily her big sister got all excited about it and wanted to plan and host the party. Phew for me. I have a love/hate relationship with parties. We built snowmen out of marshmallows, had a paper snowball fight, had a treasure hunt and makeovers. Fun times for the little kiddos.


This stud muffin also had his 8th birthday while we were on our spring break trip (pictures coming next.) We’ve yet to celebrate it fully but we will.


For his birthday dinner we went to a restaurant on our trip and Isaac ordered a 2/3 pound burger. He ate the whole thing. Then they gave him a free chocolate cake with ice cream. It was huge! We each had a few bites of the cake but I couldn’t believe how fast Isaac ate most of it. Wowzers I would have been sick.


Before we left for our spring break trip I invited some friends down to Maple Canyon for a climbing trip. All these little monkeys had a great time. Can’t help wish for more days off from school.


I have spent a little bit of time scrapbooking. I’m working on some vacation templates. I’m getting a little frustrated with it… hopefully it will come together soon.

Up and Running

Computer desk

Hello friends.

I’m typing away on my new computer and it’s sooo lovely. It took a few day to decide what we really wanted for our family. We did lots of research, talked to lots of people and browsed the web way to much. Making decisions in this household can take a while, especially when they involve a chunk of moolah, if you know what I mean. What my husband wanted and what I wanted was a little different which made the process a little longer but I think we found a nice comfortable compromise in the end.

We decided on on a refurbished Mac Mini. I surprised myself by picking a mac because I’ve been a PC girl up to this point but it came down to getting the best (meaning fastest, largest, awesomest etc.) computer at our price point. I didn’t even know the mini existed until we started searching around for options. I was really, really loathing the idea of a great big black menacing PC tower so when I found the mini I did a little jig of happiness. Whoo hoot!

Another factor that went into our decision was that we wanted the safest, most family friendly computer we could get and had hear really great things about macs outscoring PCs in this area. My brother and sister both swear by them and they are super computer nerds (wink, wink) with a lot of experience. I certainly trust them with my computer purchases. As my kiddos get older and learn to hop on the computer all by their wee little selves, I like the added safety that a mac can provide- less garbage to accidentally download and there are some awesome parental controls (if I can figure them out.)

Do any of you have add-ons or software you use for parental controls that you’ve liked? I’d love to hear some recommendations.

There is a little bit of a learning curve on macs but I’m already well on my way since I’ve been using Jeremy’s old Macbook for a few months now. With the mac mini being a desktop I think I will like it a lot better for digital scrapbooking than I did his laptop. I’m dreaming of a nicer screen but I’m going to have to make this acer monitor work for now. It certainly is better than the laptop. I’m still working on getting my photoshop set up and looking forward to diving back in.

I’m really hoping I end up loving it all.

Part of our lengthy decision had to do with where to put the computer. So far the computer has dwelt in the basement near the tv and my crafting corner but again, as the kids get older and use the computer more, I found myself having a hard monitoring their usage. I had tried passwords and time restrictions but different schedules everyday made it hard with our set up. Jeremy had the idea to move the computer upstairs where it is more public. It’s a super great idea and I completely 100% agree with it but… I didn’t love the idea for one vain reason. I don’t have anywhere to put a computer upstairs. There isn’t a cute little office anywhere to tuck it in. I hate all the cords (note the picture above) and dust computers create so I don’t really want it all up in my face all the time.

But alas. Here I sit in my kitchen. I do have this nice white desk I purchased a while back for this corner. (Seems like the builders forgot to add the last of the cabinets or something.) I’ve been using the desk for papers, school supplies and school clutter. It keeps every thing off of the kitchen counters. The bulletin above and the calendar to the side help keep family stuff sorted and on the the calendar. It really is the hub of the home. I guess it’s a logical place for a computer… I just. Dunno. I worry the kids will hop on it more then they usually do because it’s so out in the open. The Mac also has parental controls that allow you to set how much time a user can be on the computer, like 30 minutes throughout the day as opposed to a set time like 3:00 to 4:00.  So… we’ll see how it goes. Maybe it’ll work.

It’s a trial run, really. I could possibly move it to the front room. Where do you keep your computer?

I also worry about keeping it clutter free. Hello dumping zone! I don’t want my computer area to be cluttery. It makes my mind feel crazy and a Mommy with a crazy mind isn’t a good thing.

Plus where am I going to pile sort all my papers?

A Cover Page Template just for you

Hi friends,

Do you ever feel completely and utterly bored? Do you stare at the walls of your house like it’s some sort of prison? Do you long for an errand to pop into your head? The phone to ring?

Is is really just me?

I have plenty of housework to do but nothing on the calendar today. I’m sure there are people that long for these sort of days but for me… they drive me crazy. I need to get out of the house at least once a day. If not… I go INSANE. You might think I’m joking or exaggerating but it’s true.

Ask my mom.

Yesterday was packed full of things to do. Boring days tend to follow right after busy ones. I wake up rearing to go but then I falter… There is nothing to rear for. (ok, I know that made no sense.)

I spent the morning on the computer but that drives Sammy mad. He must get bored like me. We are a terrible combination. He needed some entertainment too so I bucked up (what am I, a horse today?) and took the littles on a walk to the playground. We are enjoying a little bit of a warm snap. It’s one of those February days where you start singing that song As I Lay Me down to Sleep.

It felt like spring time
On this February morning
In the courtyard
Birds were singing your praise
I’m still recalling things you said
To make me feel alright
I carried them with me today

As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That you will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your name
Into the sky
And I will wake up happy

I remember telling my mom once a long, long time ago that for once- I wanted to wake up happy.

Anyhoo, I’ve really strayed from my topic.

I’m feeling a little better now that I’ve been out and I’ve put Sam down for a nap. Finally I have some quiet time to enjoy.

Guess what that means…

Template time!

I’m ready to dive into my 2012 pictures. I really want to crank them out and make some major head way. I’m starting off with my very first page as a cover page. Is that what you call it? Opening page? Title page? Well either way, here it is.

smiths coverpage

My last name really isn’t Smith. Did I fool you? If you know it for reals keep it to yourself, Okay? I’m trying to fool those creepy internet stockers that haunt blogging dreams and make us want to put masks on all of our faces.

Moving on… would you like a template just like this. It’s your lucky day. Here you go. Download it here for a limited time.

Cover-Page-Preview--Mandag copy

All of the fonts are editable. In case you would like to use the exact same fonts I’ll tell you what and where they are. I’ve downloaded them all for free. Hurray for free.

OUR is Perpetus Titling MT
FAMILY is Archistico
ADVENTURES is Admiration Pains
all dingbats including THE and the banner are Bergamot Ornaments
SMITHS is Desdemona

Happy scrapbooking.

Fall Break in Capitol Reef National Park


My kids had a couple day off for Fall break and I was itching to get away and have an adventure. After a little debate on where to go we settled on Capitol Reef National Park. None of us had been there and with the time restraint on us we realized it was the perfect spot. The drive was only a few hours from our house and because the nights were a wee bit too chilly for camping we booked an affordable motel in a small town outside of the park.

Wow, were we pleasantly surprised. The drive down was gorgeous, the motel nice and comfortable with an amazing view and the park absolutely breath taking.

We drove down Friday morning, had a quick lunch break and headed out on our first adventure. We went to hike Grand Wash. We drove down to the lower trail head on a dirt road and started getting super excited as the cliffs rose up around us. At one point the kids begged to get out of the car and explore the rocks because they looked so fun.




We parked at the trail head and headed up the flat bottomed wash. I knew right away the kids were going to love it because they immediately ran up ahead and hid in some sandstone holes to surprise us.

Peek a boo!


Sam wanted to get up there too.

The wash was so family friendly. It was just a couple miles from one end to the other and there are other variations if you have an older crowd. It was so mellow and pleasant. At the narrowest point the cliffs were about 15 feet apart. It kind of reminds me of the Narrows in Zions but without the river.

But the holes…

Oh the holes!!


There was something around every corner to explore.


And always something beautiful to look at.



Here is my little mountain goat that didn’t stop for one minute.


Sam wanted to get off my back and hike like the big boys.


We hiked out before the sun set and before it started to get cold. The opening picture at the very top of this post is along the road back to the motel at a look out point called Panorama Point. Pretty eh? We got a bite to eat in the cute little town of Torrey, hit the swimming pool and slept like babies.

The next day we enjoyed free breakfast, packed up and headed out for one more adventure. I had Sulphur Creek planned out but I was unsure how family friendly it was really going to be for my little ones. It was 5 miles (although the page I just linked to said 6.25 and my gps on the hike said 5.6) down a river that required a little bit of down climbing involving 3 waterfall features (but I counted 4) and lots of wading in ankle deep water. I wasn’t sure how my kids were going to hold up.

The first mile and 1/2 is down a dry wash. It felt boring, hot and long to the kids after all the fun holes from yesterday. I started to worry but when we reached the river smiles started popping back up. The trail follows the river down stream and you are forced to cross several times due to the cliffs on the sides.


The kids wadded right in and did a great job. It was so beautiful and we had the whole place to ourselves. We stopped by a gorgeous yellow tree to let the kids climb and take some pictures.


We caught up to a small family at the first waterfall. This was the first real feature that required down climbing. We were able to watch them climb down and it gave some peace knowing it wasn’t technical or anything.


Once you get down on the ground you can tell how mild it was. From the top it’s hard to tell what’s down there. Nothing we couldn’t handle though.


After the first waterfall, the canyon closes in and you feel like you are in a real slot canyon. At times there is no where to walk but right in the river. Way to go Emma!




Here is Isaac feeling really cool about himself. He really was a tough guy and hiked super well.


Near the end the girls started getting cold and tired. Jeremy was a great and carried them when needed. I posted a couple pictures on instagram of my super hero.


I packed Sam the whole way so I wasn’t much help. Despite the cold and the length of the hike I was so proud of my kids. They did an amazing job and complained very little.IMG_20131019_142831_470

At the end, Emma especially, was blown away at what we had done. She wanted to tell everyone she had just hike 5 miles and climbed down waterfalls all by herself. I told her that she can do hard things and it feels really good to accomplish something like that.

We made such great memories. Be sure and check out Capitol Reef if you are ever in the area.