friday favorites #8 | birthday edition

January 20, 2017


Here we go again with the best of the best of things I’ve found and loved on the www-net and in my life… Today I’m linking up with A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love, and Momfessionals Friday Favorites, as well as with September F A R M for her Oh Hey, Friday run!



Today, this little one turns seven.




I’m not even sure how that is possible, but it has happened already. I have no babies in the house, just big kids that get more and more wonderful each day. I’d enjoy slowing down the growing up – just a little bit – but I’m so proud of who they are becoming.


Campbell Quinn has blessed our lives for seven years. Her entry into this world was fast and furious. She was fiercely wanted and yet a total, remarkable surprise.



In honor Campbell’s big day, I’m writing about five of my favorite things about her.




Her Sense of Humor



Oh my word, Campbell is the funniest kid I know. Likely a learned trait from being the littlest, she crack me up constantly. Her sense of humor far surpasses her age most of the time, often catching me off guard, thinking, “Did she just really say that? That was good.”





Her Fashion Sense


This one walks to the beat of her own drum. I definitely was the mom who picked out clothes for as long as I could, making sure the outfits matched and they were dressed for the occasion.


Campbell has always had a unique and fascinating sense of style. She wears dresses 24/7 and her eye for patterns and color combinations are “amazing.” I finally stopped choosing and suggesting, and the choices she comes up with are a fun surprise each morning as she walks down the stairs.


To be fair, this was Wacky Wednesday at school…




Her Love For Adventure


Campbell is always ready to go. She happy to be a part of whatever is happening around her. She’s easy and content, another likely trait from being the littlest in the family. She has become an amazing skier over the last few years, and cannot wait until next year, when she can join the ski team.


Out in Teo Bowl, a double-black extreme with a 25 minute hike out at the end. She rocked it!


Her gymnastic abilities are growing each day and she can now do handstand push-ups as long as she has a wall or door frame for balance. Seriously.


We had put her in gymnastic this session to help harness her skills that she has learned in her acro dance class and prior aerial classes. I’m hoping to see her able to take what she already knows and loves and run with it in a real gymnastic setting. For now, she’s not sold on the gymnastic class (I think too many boys and not enough of her friends in her actual class), but will stick it out until it’s over and reassess at that time.



She’s a swimmer and a mountain biker, and tries her hardest to keep up with the big kids.





Her Love For Her Brother and Sister


These three just melt my heart. They fight and bicker like typical siblings, but are so very close. Campbell loves them fiercely and I love watching them all together.





Her Strength Through Adversity


Guys, this little one has had so much thrown at her in her short, sweet life.


We’ve gone through sleep studies.



We’ve had surgery.



We’ve had an auto immune disorder scare.



We’ve had EEGs and MRIs. We’ve been marked with diagnoses and are on medication, but have not let it define who she is. She laughs and plays. She skis and bikes. She swims and jumps. She loves and is loved for everything that makes her Campbell Quinn.



Campbell loves animals and her friends. She always wants to paint, and loves to dance. She is as girly as they come, and as tough as nails. She knows what she wants, is determined to get it, and knows who to ask to make sure it happens.


Campbell loves her American Girl dolls and her hundreds of stuffed animals that all have names. She still loves Bear like there’s no tomorrow, and no longer sucks her thumb… her choice on her own time, just like that.


She loves sweets, doesn’t really care for chocolate, and honestly couldn’t care less about yummy meals in general. She enjoys ham and turkey pepperoni for lunch and loves her fruit and vegetables.


Campbell is a terrific little sister and just wants to be included and loved. She can hang with the big kids, can treat little ones extra gently, and is always good for a snuggle and kiss whenever and wherever.


Today everyone has their regularly scheduled after-school activities, but we are planning on dinner of Campbell’s choice and family presents this evening. Her party is on Sunday, and I’m looking forward to sharing that with you next week!


Happy birthday, Campbell Quinn! We love you so very much!



weekend update | new {puppy} edition

January 16, 2017



Meet Franklin.


Oh my, he’s a very welcome little addition to our family.



And yes, we are insane.


Franklin came to live with us last Wednesday, a sudden decision, but yet, a well-planned out idea. We’ve been kicking around getting a new puppy recently since saying goodbye to Wilson a few months ago. I’ve been secretly enjoying having no high-maintenance animals that I am ultimately responsible for. Leaving for the weekend? Make sure the guinea pig’s water bottles are full and the cat’s food is full. Make sure there are enough crickets in the lizard’s cage. Easy. Done. Bam, walk out the door.


However, bring up the idea of getting a new puppy and I’m all over that plan.


Toss more responsibilities my way! I can’t wait to stand out in 9 feet of snow at 2 in the morning! I love cleaning up puppy pee! Puppy breath, remember the puppy breath!


We found out about a new litter of Saint Bernard puppies a couple of hours away from here. That made the plan spring into action a little faster than normal, since there are very few Saint Bernard litters in Colorado. I wanted a Lab, Greg wanted another Saint Bernard.


I tried to compromise and have him pick up one of each.


Due to terrible, horrible, no good very bad weather, and needing to make sure someone was home at the end of the school day, Greg went alone to pick him up Wednesday. We timed it perfectly and they arrived home just in time to surprise the kids when they got home from school.


Rowen was so surprised, he cried.



Seriously, what would be a more perfect surprise than a new, tiny puppy in your house?


Franklin is a great little puppy. Born on Thanksgiving, he’s currently a 7 1/2 week old ball of fluff. He has been letting us sleep through most of the night, and has had very few accidents in the house, thanks to so many of us me constantly hovering over him, ready to bring him outside at a moment’s notice. He loves the kids, still mouthy with his little needle teeth, and sleeps as much as more than he’s awake.


I though the weather might prove to be a challenge for everyone when it comes to taking him outside for bathroom breaks, but he is loving the snow and beginning to explore a bit while outside.



He came from a loving home outside of Cotopaxi; definitely not a backyard breeder, but not a professional breeder, either. Her female has had a couple of other litters in years past, and this was likely her last, as the breeder just didn’t have the energy needed to be dedicated to the work involved in raising newly born puppies. Franklin’s mom and dad were big, beautiful and incredibly friendly Saint Bernards, just the way we like them. Since welcoming Franklin into our home, we’ve had great memories surface of Bertha, our old Saint that we had many years ago. They are very similar in so many ways, it’s been fun reliving that time when Bertha was brand new!


Most of our puppy Bertha pictures were *gasp* before digital camera. I’ll try and find some soon so everyone can bask in the ridiculous sweetness. I was able to find some grown-up Bertha pictures… which are almost just as sweet.



Obviously, this weekend was filled with puppy, puppy, and more puppy. We have had to keep with our regular schedule, and our new addition hasn’t stopped any of our routine. The kids and Greg skied on Saturday and Rowen had his friend, Jack, overnight on Saturday. Franklin has been a trooper, following us everywhere and just going with our haphazard flow. He has spent time sleeping on the bed while I put laundry away. He has spent time sleeping on the kitchen floor while I made dinner. He has spent time sleeping in my chair while I write up this blog post. He came with me to pick up the kids from school before this weekend and patiently waited in his crate while I ran to the store and went to my PT appointment.


We couldn’t be happier.



So, we have a seventh birthday party to host next weekend, and I have decided we are going to paint our living room today. What else would we be doing four days after bringing a new puppy home?




friday favorites #7 | new year edition

January 13, 2017


First, Happy Friday the 13th!

Here we go with the best of the best of things I’ve found and loved on the www-net and in my life… Make sure to link up with your own Friday Favorites post and share the love! I’m linking up with A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love, and Momfessionals Friday Favorites, as well as with September F A R M for her Oh Hey, Friday run!


Once long, long ago, I also hosted linkups… but the cost right now didn’t make sense for the number of people I had using it. Maybe in the future… but for now, feel free to add your Friday Favorite link in your comment!


Today marks ONE WEEK until Campbell’s SEVENTH BIRTHDAY! I have no babies left in the house. My uterus weeps gently at that thought, but I’m proud of the kids they are growing into, and the people they are becoming.


We have yet to finalize birthday plans yet, and I realized one of my last drafts in this blog was about her 6th birthday party! Yikes.




Reminding myself that one of my last drafts and attempts to post to this blog was about Campbell’s sixth birthday party, diving back into the photo archives was a huge favorite of mine this week. Her Kitty Party was so. much. fun. I always enjoy party planning, even when I tell everyone that will listen how much I hate it. I joke that I’ve set the bar too high in years past, so that now creative parties are just expected.


This isn’t too far from the truth.


Luckily I enjoy most aspects of creating these fun parties from a theme that they choose. Campbell’s are usually my favorite because of her creativity in choosing the theme. She has chosen Rainbow and Umbrella in past years.





Physical therapy. This week I have finally begun active motion (after 1.5 MONTHS of complete immobilization and 1.5 MONTHS of only passive movement by someone else). It feels so good to move my shoulder and I cannot wait until I can start weight bearing exercises and get fully back in the gym.



Too much?







Being out of commission from surgery for so many months, while I’m missing my favorite season and all of the activities that go along with it, has made me find other things that I can do. With one good arm.


I started really using rebate companies and apps to help with our grocery shopping and budgets over these last few months. I’ve always done it, but now that I’ve had a lot of time of my hands, I’ve found ways to get even better at saving, better at earning larger rebates, and better at finding good deals. It’s become a little game for me and the money I have saved makes it even better.


Here are my favorite rebate companies. I usually get a bonus if you signup through my referral  link, but new accounts always get something good, so you’re benefiting, too!


  • IBOTTA: You get a free $10 added to your new account after submitting your first rebate.
  • CHECKOUT51: This is great to pair with Ibotta as they often have the same rebates. You get to double up the savings!
  • EBATES: I’ve used Ebates for years. Living where I do lends itself to a lot of online shopping. I’ve made over $1000 in rebates since I started using it and recently added an Ebate button to my searchbar so I don’t forget to activate my cash back. By signing up through my link, you get a free $10 added to your new account after your first purchase.
  • TOPCASHBACK: If you loved the cashback percentages that Ebates offered, you must try TopCashBack! I’ve found that their cashback percentages are almost always double that of Ebates!
  • MOBISAVE: Mobisave is another phone app that I use for grocery shopping. It doesn’t have the number of rebates, but is great paired with Ibotta and CO51. Sometimes there are great brands that qualify for high value rebates!
  • SAVINGSTAR: Like Mobiesave, this phone rebate app doesn’t have the volume of items, but is great to pair with the other apps.
  • NATUREBOX: Not a shopping rebate company, but a fantastic snack company that I have been using for quite some time. Following my link will add $20 to your account. Free shipping starts at $25. The snacks are fantastic, creative, and oh, so, yummy. The jerky, the Sriracha cashews and all of the noms are personal favorites! This is a subscription, but signing up under my link will also give you a free month and can be cancelled at any time.
  • INSTAGC: Have you tried survey companies in the past? I have and never stuck with them for very long. They were too confusing or seemed to redirect me to other parts of the internet that made me suspicious. I love Instagc! I can easily make a $20 gift card to Amazon each week by watching videos and taking the occasional survey. I do it in my down time when I need a break from working. It’s a bit overwhelming at first because there is so much to see and check out, but if you stick with it enough, you will find your groove and what works for you. I can always add credit to my well-used Amazon account.
  • RUSHCARD PREPAID VISA: With my new rebate shopping habit, I was wanting a prepaid debit card so that I could try and cycle my grocery costs. I wanted to see if I could keep using the same money to buy my groceries by submitting rebates and reusing that money to buy more groceries. The Rushcard happened at the perfect time. It currently has a promotion going on that if you sign up using someone’s referral link, you will get a $30 credit added to your account after to activate your card. I was able to start my little experiment with an extra $30 in the beginning. If you sign up, you need to make sure to ACTIVATE, SET YOUR PIN, and LOAD YOUR ACTIVATION FEE to the card once it arrives in the mail (3.95-9.95, depending on the card you choose).


What am I missing out on? What other rebates do you like to use?




The fact that we raised our own protein this year.


It’s amazing that we’ve come from being vegetarian for over 20 years to raising and processing our own proteins to fee our family. That in and of itself deserves it’s own blog post, and perhaps one day I’ll revisit how that came to be, but for now, I am thankful and proud that we have filled three freezers with enough turkey and pork to feed our family for this upcoming year.


Pounds and pounds of naturally dry-cured pork belly ready for the smoker!


It was a big learning curve this year, and we are already talking about what we need to do differently next season (which is actually coming up very soon!). I’m in awe of Greg and his dedication to following through with so much and working so hard to make everything happen as smoothly as it could. He spent many early mornings feeding and watering the animals and many sleepless nights processing and packaging our food for the year. We ran into many speed bumps along the way, but after it was all said and done, I couldn’t be happier with what we achieved. Next year will be even more streamlined, I just know it!


Check out The Elliott Homestead for some beautiful and real inspiration into a sustainable lifestyle.





This face. I’m sure the suspense is killing you.


Details later.



January 12, 2017



Over 6 FEET of snow in 7 DAYS.


And up to a couple MORE by the end of the week.


If you haven’t heard of the insane weather we are getting here in Colorado (or those in California), you might be forgetting to log into your social media or turn on your television. You can catch up here. Or here. Or here. Or even here.


Oh, and Angelina Jolie and her kids spent New Year’s here in our little town and on the mountain.



Use mountain folks are a hardy bunch. We thrive in weather that dips below -30°. Our kids wear shorts to school with their snow boots. We actually beg for more snow and don’t blink twice at needing to shovel morning, noon, and night. A few flakes (or half-a-million) on the ground don’t phase us in the least and we make a point to get out and enjoy the snow and all the mountains have to offer while it lasts.


Which can last into early summer and beyond, actually.


But the storm of ’17 has brought snow to a whole new level. It rivals the storm of ’07/’08, and that was a monumental year. I was 6 months pregnant with Finely and Rowen was a year and a half. Greg was a new business own that couldn’t keep up with the snow removal that was necessary to run his company and was spending many sleepless night worried about how he was going to keep his business afloat while supporting his growing family. I always told him he did a great job of hiding his concerns. I was blissfully unaware of his mounting problems as my belly grew and Rowen toddled his way into becoming a big brother.



This storm cycle brought a week of snow followed by one clear albeit freezing bluebird day, followed by another major cycle. It just never let up!



We had our first weather-related school closing in over two decades. The kids had never heard of a snow day and I got to regale them with riveting stories about sitting in front of the TV and watching the ticker on the bottom of the screen, praying that I would see my school named as one that was closed for the day.


The administration was was so excited, they texted me three time in a row, just in case I didn’t believe them…



The college also closed in an unprecedented event, as did all county offices. Monday saw our little town literally shut down while trying to get a handle on all of the snow. The girls looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested going outside. They spent the day in pajamas playing and snuggling into the couch, but did go build a pretty awesome snowman with Greg later in the evening.



Oh, and it rained that day, too.




Another historical moment from this storm was that Crested Butte Mountain Resort closed down in the middle of the day due to not being able to keep up with the snow.


Greg and Rowen had planned a powder day for the school snow day. They were met with lots of closed lifts, lots of confused out-of-towers, and a few epic runs before the mountain ended up closing for the day. It was a wacky day, to say the least, but we always admire our ski patrol and the work they do to keep everyone safe AND getting in ridiculous, amazing runs. It was likely a good call by the resort, Greg and Rowen were worked after the morning runs that they did get in, anyway. Rowen came home, promptly changed into his pajamas, and couldn’t wipe the smile off his face for the rest of the evening.



Recently, A-Basin also closed due to snow and safety concerns. Monarch Ski Resort has closed a number of times within the last week, mostly due to the closing of Monarch Pass because of avalanches and avalanche mitigation. With the only road in or out being closed, it makes getting there impossible and they have no other choice but to not open for the day. Some of our employees are heading there to ski today as they currently have a new 30″ of unskied  powder since they were last open.


So we have officially #buriedthebutte with more snow arriving throughout the rest of the week. I’m cozy in my house, slippers on, coffee ready and waiting. Greg is driving over Monarch now, heading to go get a surprise… more on that later. The kids are as bundled as mountain kids get, ready to go play in the snow at school, while others are trying to dig themselves out of the mess we are all in. We always work hard for our play and these last two weeks are no exception. Living here isn’t always easy, but it sure is amazing!




workin’ it wednesdays | new year’s goals

January 11, 2017


Today is the first Workin’ It Wednesdays link up with Shay and Erika.  I’m determined to try and keep up with some of these link up topics, mostly to keep me focused and accountable. The planning and scheduling will teach me the discipline that I need to make sure there are more than a New Year’s post and nothing more in the year 2017. Too often, it seems, I have good ideas that never bloom into anything published.


So what more appropriate topic this month than how I’m keeping those New Year’s goals together.




The Gym



Usually, the New Year brings a snicker from our 6am gym rat group about the newbies that will fill the gym for a month. Two if they’re really determined. We sometimes welcome a few new members into our classes, knowing that most will fade away by the time the snow melts.


The end of 2016 brought a pretty rough patch into my life; physically and emotionally. I had major shoulder surgery in the beginning on November which has put a temporary stop to most everything that I do. The SLAP tear, Bankart Tear, AND bicep split that I had repaired was much more serious than was initially thought. The surgery itself took about 4 times longer than planned and my recovery – as typical as it could be – has been rough.


Two and a half months later, I am now just beginning slight active movement. Yeah! My sling is off and I have been back to the gym once since I left the hospital.




My schedule has flipped completely and the 9:00-bedtime-so-that-can-get-up-at-4:00am-to-be-at-the-gym-by-5:00am-so-that-I-can-lift-and-run-and-be-home-by-7:00 is a thing of the past. I sleep late, Greg walks the kids to school (I’m still a little hesitant of walking on the ice and snow, especially without the sling to protect my shoulder) while I’m still drinking coffee in my pajamas. After dinner, I thoroughly enjoy vegging out on the couch to Top Chef or Shameless until midnight before heading off to bed.


I was still in the sling when I went to the gym that one time, and decided my shoulder just wasn’t up for the movement of the treadmill, no matter how gentle I was. Now that I’m starting regular movement, strength training will be next and I’m trying to mentally prepare to get myself back on my regular gym schedule. I was deadlifting #225 before heading into the hospital, so this has been a shock to my entire system. I’m enjoying the respite, but the scale and my clothes are not enjoying the outcome of this new routine. The thought of being so far behind where I was with lifting is pretty scary. The thought of now running 6 miles takes my breath away, knowing how difficult it is going to be for now.


So for the beginning of 2017, I will soon be joining the rush of gym goers (san matchy-matchy new spandex and sequins) that set their resolution to get healthy. My goal is to get back into the gym on my regular schedule, reset my nocturnal clock to where it was before surgery, and get a handle on my eating. Not being able to use two hands makes a salad about the last think you would want to prepare at lunch time.


More like a bowlful handful of yogurt-covered pretzels, a Larabar or two, and some M&Ms.


How do I manage two-hour sessions at the gym, four/five days a week? Making the gym a priority is important. I love my sleep and I love my couch, but knowing that the early morning is the only time that mentally and physically works for me to be at the gym makes it easier to stick with my schedule. I usually crawl into bed right after the kids go to sleep. I am a voracious reader, but reading makes me fall asleep, usually pretty fast. I read on my Kindle for as long as I can and fall asleep, usually around 9:30-10:00.


My alarm is set for 4:00am. I’ve played around with different times and this is what was working for me recently. It gives me enough time to hit snooze at least twice (sorry, Greg), get my gym clothes on (that I put out in the hallway the night before) and brush my teeth. It also gives me enough time to warm up my car (we’ve been at -26° recently here, people), check my email and even a few Facebook minutes if I feel it’s necessary.



Waking up so early, just to have some downtime before leaving for the gym might seem silly to most, especially if those precious few minutes could be spent snuggled under the covers. Lately, I’ve found that I like the extra time to wake up a bit and putter around before heading off. If not, I would find myself doing it anyway and getting to the gym late.


I usually open the gym, although there are a few other early birds like myself, and sometimes the doors are already unlocked before I make it into the parking lot. Before surgery, I lifted heavy three times a week for an hour and then ran for the other hour. On off-lifting days, I would either incline walk on the treadmill while watching a TV show on my phone (currently Prison Break) for the whole two hours or run for an hour and then join in whatever 6am class was being offered that day.


My crazy gym schedule doesn’t work for everyone. Heck, it’s not even working for me right now, but before my shoulder work, it was working for me great. Once you wake up early, you’re ready to get to sleep early, so it evens itself out after awhile.


The Blog.


My other main goal for the year is to really keep up with this blog. I recently went through my Bloglovin’ feed and deleted long-lost blogs that I grew up with but that are no longer posting. It was bittersweet. I felt good cleaning up the list of people who wrote their last words on that specific platform over 3 years ago and adding new blogs that have caught my eye. However, the years leading up to that were ones where I fell in love with blogging, watched people’s families grow, read how their words developed. I was engrossed with their view of photography, the feelings they were able to evoke, the inspirations that they created. I watched bellies grow, babies blossom into toddlers, and countrysides outside of my own, from one coast to the other.



As I was visiting each blog for the last time, it was a nice reminder of those people who invited me into a little glimpse of their world when blogging just started becoming a thing. I wanted to be a part of that, to provide someone the feeling I got when reading someone’s blog. I tried when my babies were little. I failed.


I tried when my babies got bigger. I failed then, too.


However, I’m okay with continuing to try. I’m okay with maybe not making all of my planned posts in a month. I’m also okay with not trying to be perfect.


My goal for this year is to really keep up with documenting my family’s daily life.  I’m going to attempt to keep up with the Link Ups through a few select bloggers that I have really found interesting. Pre-planning my posts were something that I never did find my groove in, and these Link Ups will hopefully get me to pre-write a majority of my ideas. Instead of trying to remember and plan as many as I can find, I am going to participate with the ones from my favorite bloggers for now.


Before cleaning out my Bloglovin’ list, I also cleaned and organized my blog files on my computer. This was another area that was too cluttered and in terrible disarray.  I was never able to find a good workflow for gathering pictures and thoughts and my process often stopped after trying to process days and days of photos. I also never took my photos off of my cameras, so current events were never easily accessible to add to a post while it was still fresh.


This year, I am trying to process and edit a select few pictures that will be posted. Those will go immediately to the blog post folder. I am trying to remember to get my pictures onto my computer at least one a week, but am also trying out Amazon Prime Photos to help facilitate getting my iPhone pictures onto my computer. Amazon Prime Photos creates a backup of my iPhone photos so they can be instantly retrieved on my computer while I’m writing or gathering items for a blog post.


I’m trying not to get too hung up on photo editing at all times. Many of my day-to-day pictures are just that – our day-to-day life. It’s okay for those to be imperfect. That’s the story of my life. Some special occasions were taken for that reason, and I’ll make sure to spend the time editing those as needed.


The release of some of the pressure I felt in year’s past will hopefully allow me to spend more time adding content and creating the posts I want to create instead of getting hung up on making sure it’s just so.


My best writing is done in the day, when everyone is at work or school. I’m not the typical blogger night-owl (Hello, gym at 5am! Bedtime 9pm!) that stays up well after everyone else goes to sleep tidying up the kitchen and packing lunches and blogging. If I’m going to stay up late, it’s to sit on the couch and binge watch Project Runway or The Last Alaskans. Currently it’s 10:23pm and the toddler inside my brain is whining about wanting to quit because they’re tired.


So there you have it. I don’t know if I showed anyone my special powers to Work It Out. I don’t know if I made it seem like I’ve got my act together in this crazy world. I don’t know if this is what the Workin’ It Wednesday crowd is all about. This certainly isn’t titled Five Things To Make The Perfect New Year’s Resolutions.


But these are my top two goals for the year. And for someone who’s main goal in the beginning of Physical Therapy was to be able to actually put a bra on, I’d day this is progress.



If you’d like to join in the fun, there are some great topics to cover throughout the year. Come and talk about some or all, it’s a great way to have an advanced plan for some interesting posts.


let it snow, let it snow, let it {snow}

January 6, 2017



Seriously. We have received over 48″ of glorious snow over the last few days and a new storm heading this way by the end of the weekend. Honestly, I’m loving it, although many here are appalled that the school won’t call a school day. By my understanding, there hasn’t been a snow day here in over 40 years. Once they called school off after the morning – but not because of snow – because the heater broke and it was freezing in the school. Us mountain folks are hardy and for the most part will drive through any CONDITIONS.


Someone reminded me that a few years ago the heat broke again. They never cancelled school, however, they just had all of the kids bundle up in their snow gear for the rest of the day.


Yesterday’s whiteout conditions forced a lot of business to close for the evening, and in turn, the school sent out a message that late arrivals today, as well as absences, would be excused if it has in the family’s best interest and safety to stay home or come in later than usual. My kids were excited about staying home, but seeing as that we live two blocks away from school, they begrudgingly trudged off to school this morning, joined by all of the rest of the kids that live in the Northwest quadrant of town.


Besides, Rowen already took the day of at the beginning of the storm cycle to ski with Greg. They all ski tomorrow, and today was a beautiful bluebird day. It would have made sense to call it yesterday – during the worst of the storm – instead of the day after.


There are lots of families having a snow day today, just for the heck of it. And a lot of families driving the drive to the mountain instead of the drive to the school parking lot.



I drove the whole two blocks to pick the kids up from school yesterday. My shoulder lends me to be terrified of slipping on the ice, and seriously, it was near whiteout conditions that I really DIDN’T want to be in. But it was nice and warm in the car.



I was determined to have the kids clean their rooms after school. This is the last day before winter activity sessions begin, and the last day that they really didn’t have anything to do after school. But it was so beautiful out, I let Rowen and Finley head outside to play in the street. Rowen decided that he needed his rock skis on to do some whirlybirds in the median.


A girl after my own heart, Campbell changed into pjs and cleaned her room.



After making the kids come in before it got too dark, we ended the evening with Campbell showing off her Kiwi Crate! Grandma and Grandpa D got subscriptions for all three kids this Christmas! It has been the hit of the month, to say the least. Rowen is subscribed to the Tinker Crate, Finley is getting the Doodle Crate, and Campbell is signed up for the Kiwi Crate. They couldn’t be more perfectly suited for each of them. The Kiwi Crate is a little bit of everything for kiddos ages 5-8. I could see Finley being interested in this as well after receiving the first box, but some of the activities might be a little too easy for her. This month’s Kiwi Crate box was a magic set. Campbell is completely and utterly infatuated with her magic tricks right now thanks to Kiwi Crate!. She carries her box around with her, asks repeatedly to show us her magic tricks, and is getting better and better with actually performing them. She doesn’t like to talk so much while she performs – we told her she could be the Magic Mime!


I’ll get into more detail about each as the months go by, but I highly recommend checking them out! Using my Kiwi Crate, Inc. link not only helps extend their subscriptions for a longer period, but also gives you a $10 credit to your first box!




{christmas} 2016: part 1

January 6, 2017


I’m just jumping right back into it, people. No apologies (I say this every year), no excuses (I also say this every year). To say 2016 was a bust would be the understatement of the century.

I been dealing with surgery.

I’ve been dealing with death.

I’ve been dealing with death (again).

I’ve actually been dealing with all of the above within days of each other.

I’ve been dealing with best friends and cancer.

I’ve been dealing with other best friends and ambulance rides to other towns from surgery complications.

Seriously… see, why I’ve been a little wrapped up with things? I’m terribly happy to see 2016 go away, but have actually been longing to restart this blog. I have a few blogs that I have fallen deep in love with, and look forward to settling in and seeing what they’ve been up to. I used to read tons and tons of blogs, but now, I’ve settled on a few that really speak to me. And while they’ve spoken to me, they really have made me want to keep up with my own. I doubt anyone out there will feel the same about mine, but I’m really going to try.

I’m keeping it simple – I’m keeping it real. I’ll revisit some of the lows of last year, but really want to focus on what is in front of me.

The beginning of winter break for us usually involves lots of enjoying pajama days and getting ready for Christmas. Rowen usually attend his ski team ski camp and this year was no exception. Finley was invited, but declined and instead spent some ski days with her sister and daddy while Rowen was at his camp.

We had been visited by a very secret Secret Santa for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. It was amazing to think that someone out there loved us enough to put the effort into something like this for 12 days straight. We initially suspected Lynna and her family, but she quickly shot down that idea when confronted, reminding us that she never would be able to pull off something like that! She was right…

Finley sported one of the day’s gifts… so many handmade goodies!



We made total use out of big boxes that came in the mail! These were everywhere underfoot for days and days until I could no longer stand it. They migrated into the playroom for a week until they moved out to recycling very quietly one afternoon…




Christmas Eve was spent at Lynna’s house. Her mom and dad were in town and it was fabulous to get to spend a holiday with them as well. Nana made her annual Christmas Eve lasagna and it was as good at it sounds. I’ve never had real, Italian lasagna before!

We brought over reindeer food, because, well, Christmas Eve. It’s one of my favorite activities for the kids, and this year didn’t disappoint. The Frymoyer kids might not have as strong belief in the Christmas magic as my kids do, but they love their reindeer food! We brought ours home to sprinkle out on the front walk before heading off to bed.




Like all Christmas Eve pasts, Greg and I stayed up late moving presents to the tree and half-watching some random reality show on the Discovery Channel until we decide that it’s getting late and we should head to bed since it will be an early morning. I do always like to be the last one asleep, savoring the quiet and the magical view of the presents under the tree and soft glow of the lights. This year, wrapping present with one good arm proved to be a challenge, but like most things this year, I just did my best and tried not to get hung up on the perfection and technicalities. The presents were wrapped a little haphazardly, but they got finished. The cookies left out for Santa were made by someone else, but they made it to the plate with the reindeer’s carrots. The tree is a little heavy on the decorations in some spots, but the kids had fun and since I couldn’t use one arm, I say it was still a success. I took in the scene one last time, breathed a sigh of thanks for what I have in my life and crept quietly up the stairs. Christmas always comes early in our house, and the heavy steps of the kids would soon be pounding across the floor.


On a side note: Rowen and Finley both made Christmas cards for their ski team coaches and included some yummy snacks that would be perfect for stashing in their jackets on a ski day. I just love Rowen’s card with all of the little stick men jumping and spinning! These truly are all of the things he has learned how to do so far on MST ski team this season!



So I’m back. Hopefully to stay. I’m promising myself I won’t get too hung up on the planning and perfection that I find myself caught in before publishing a page. I truly want to document and inspire and connect.


five friday favorites. #6 {links}

January 29, 2016

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Here we go with the best of the best of things I’ve found and loved on the www-net and in my life… Make sure to link up with your own Five Friday Favorties post and share the love! I’m linking up with A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love, and Momfessionals as well for their Friday Favorites run as well as with September F A R M for her Oh Hey, Friday run!

Make sure to link up below with your favorites!


  1. This sweater.


I love this sweater. I happened to find it on a great Amazon sale, so keep your eye out. The material is soft, mid-weight, and hangs beautifully. I love a bright tank peeking out from underneath, and would wear it daily if I didn’t think people would start to notice…


2. My Fitness Pal.


I’m back on the wagon, and when I can get in a good groove for logging my exercise and meals, it really helps keep my on track. I have it linked with Map My Fitness and UA Record apps on my phone to make it very easy to keep track of lots of things in one place. I like Map My Fitness to track my running miles, and the UA Record app is just a nice visual of your overall day. I really try and streamline how I keep all of my data together so it doesn’t get overwhelming, but I’ve learned that you figure out what works best for you.

My month so far in distance is 34 miles with an average speed of 9.77. That’s pretty good for only running before and/or after my regular weekly classes. I’ve been getting in one long-ish run (6-7 miles) one day a week and then some smaller runs on the other days. I’m NOT a runner so I’m pretty proud of this. I used to dread even having to run a mile and now I can knock out 3 miles as a warm up or cool down. Hooray, me!


3. Wentworth.


I already said it on my What’s Up Wednesday post, but I am loving the Australian drama, Wentworth. You can stream it on Netflix. If you like OITNB, you’ll love Wentworth. There are currently four seasons, so I’m late to the party, but it’s been great to watch! I feel like I’ve been missing some important parts while I watch it AND try and get other things accomplished. I might start Season 2 all over again to really get what’s going on.


4. Mix and Match Family blog.


Sometimes I randomly come across a blog that speaks to me. I find myself checking in daily to see what’s new; I find myself reading back in the archives to see what had happened. For some reason, Mix and Match Family really has gotten my attention. Perhaps I appreciate that she is just pouring her day-to-day life out, without stressing about her image or the perfectness of her posts. I’m drawn to blogs that invite you in in a very personable way and this one does that for me. I was originally interested in her recent adoption story and now enjoy following their story.


5. What Alice Forgot.


What a fantastic book! This was a gateway book into Liane Moriarty, and I recently finished every book that she wrote. I felt a little lost afterwards because I was enjoying her words and style so much. Any similar authors you recommend?

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what’s up {wednesday} | link-up

January 27, 2016




What’s up, Wednesday?


Happy mid-week, everyone. This week got the best of me, but I decided to try and get my act together to play along.


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{what we’re eating}

I’m back on track this week with my ‘get-your-act-together-and-stop-eating-like-shit-so-you-don’t-weigh-8,000-pounds-anymore’ diet. I’ve struggled for years forever with my weight, had a really good period of getting back down to a respectable weight for my body type and athletic build, but let that all go by the wayside, and now am back at it, trying to shed all that I regained. Portions and calories in/out don’t work for me… likely due to years of treating my body pretty badly. A trainer I had a couple of years ago was amazed at how my weight wouldn’t budge with consistent exercise and moderate healthy eating. But once I eliminated most everything, the weight came off fairly steadily.

I fall off the wagon easily. I’m an all-or-nothing sort of girl, as I have no self-control. It’s easier to just avoid most everything than to use moderation. I have some bad reactions to many food groups, and I try to remind myself that I feel so much better when I DON’T eat certain things. They sure feel good at the first bite, but I feel absolutely lousy once I eat it. I often allow the taste to outweigh the after-effects, but I’m trying.

Our kid activities are starting back up after the holidays, and so I’m always looking for easy meals that are either simple to prepare or can be crock-potted. While I stick with baked chicken, cucumbers, and lettuce, my family still enjoys kid-friendly semi-Paleo meals, with a huge emphasis on clean-eating.

Tonight, we are having crock-pot beef stew – a variation on this.



{what I’m reminiscing about}

This little peanut…


… who celebrated her SIXTH birthday last Wednesday. I miss that newborn smell, those little hands snuggling on my chest. She’s grown into an amazing little girl, but I’d have another baby in a heartbeat…



{what I’m loving}

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These two girlies rocking the mountain this year! These 6- and 8-year olds are killing it on the single black diamond runs. We’ve been taking one or two family runs after Cruisers is over for the day and have been pushing Finley and Campbell a bit out of their comfort zones. Campbell doesn’t exactly LOVE IT, and the steepness of the beginning of run has made her pretty nervous, but her turns are beautiful and solid. Finley is a bump girl after my own heart, and I’m having so much fun watching them progress!



{what we’ve been up to}

Winding down the Christmas holiday and gearing up for Campbell’s birthday! I’m so thankful that I have about a month between them; I can’t imagine what it takes to prepare for those kiddos who have birthdays super close or on Christmas! I’ve learned that I have to switch gears the week after Christmas and get my act together to start planning and ordering stuff.

Campbell’s party was held over the long weekend, on Martin Luther King Day. We rented out the community room lovingly known as ‘the rubber room.’ It was a kitty theme with an ice cream sundae bar. I’ll hopefully get a full post on that special day soon, but here’s a sneak peak.

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{what I’m dreading}


Another month of bitter cold. Usually making it through January helps us realize that we might actually survive the winter. February often provides some great snowstorms, which not only gives us some awesome powder days, but warms up the valley.

I don’t really mind the cold, but I’ll take a lot more snow!



{what I’m working on}



My 365 project. Actually, it’ll be a 366 this year, but that just sounds so odd, doesn’t it? Anyway, I’ve never actually completed a full 365 project, and I’m kind of determined to see it through. I’m looking forward to making a photo book at the end of the year that showcases just those photos.


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You can follow my year here and here. They are terribly outdated as of today, but I have lots of photos to download!



{what I’m excited about}

This might be a cop-out, but I really excited about my focus and plan for my blog and my photo organization. I’m hoping to see an increase in my weekly blogging, and each month, I am determined to get photos uploaded to a yearly photo book to make printing it out at the end of the year less overwhelming. I’m actually feeling pretty ready to get January ready to go!



{what I’m watching\reading}

Oh. My.

I’m not a big television person, mostly due to the fact that I am lame and have the same bedtime as my kiddos because I wake up early to get to the gym around 5am. On the two days per week that I do stay up past 9pm late, I usually never make it past turning it from TLC, Discovery, or my DVRd Top Chef episode. Lazy.

However, I am a fan of lots of tv series, although I’m usually late to the game. The good thing about jumping on the bandwagon is that there are lots of episodes to get through, without having to watch one a week. The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and American Horror Story are four of my top favorites that we have really gotten into. I am waiting patiently for the new season of TWD (we are currently caught up and watch it episode by episode now as it comes out), and for AHS to get the last season (Hotel) on Amazon instant streaming (so we can binge watch it).

I also love Orange is the New Black (and waiting patiently as well for the new season) and for some reason started watching a similar series, based in Australia. I started streaming it on a whim, needing something to listen to while I was cooking for Campbell’s birthday party. I now bring my kid’s iPads around the house with me, so I can keep watching the episodes, no matter what I’m doing. Like now, I’m blogging AND watching…





I’m completely and totally hooked.

A little more drama than OITNB, but the same sort of setting. Why do we love women prison shows so much? I’m streaming it on Netflix and an very thankful that there are 4 seasons so far!! I’m in the early stages of season 2, so my anxiety won’t have to spike while feeling as though I’m nearing the end.

So good.

Moving on to reading…





While I might head to bed around 8pm, I snuggle up and read until I fall asleep. Luckily that gives me time to get my reading in. I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and try and limit myself to their books… otherwise I can’t imagine the amount of money I would spend on books, especially ones from my favorite authors. I do splurge once in awhile, but try and even out my reading material with my $9.99 montly “unlimited” charge.

I read The Good Neighbor recently, and Broken Grace ended up as a recommendation for me from Kindle after I finished. I really enjoyed that one, and ended up choosing her other book, The Green Line. I’m not so much a book reviewer, but I will say that I recommend both of these! I was a bit nervous about diving into The Short Drop, as it has more of a political storyline than I usually choose, but a few chapters in and I’m connected with the characters, excited about the story line, and happy to pick it up each night.


{what I’m listening to}






Lately I’ve been stuck on MMLP2, but Slim Shady is all that is on my playlist at the gym… in my car… while I’m cooking dinner…

{what I’m wearing}

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. I live in gym capris and hoodies. A fashion blogger I. Am. Not.


{what I’m doing this weekend}

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What we do everyone weekend from November through April… ski.



{what I’m looking forward to next month}
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We love Valentine’s Day around here! (Look at that snaggle-toothed Finley from last year!) It’s also the month of my 39th 25th birthday, but I try and let that slip by a silently as possible…


{what else is new}

The fact that I’m actually posting something on my blog?

No, January pretty much is all about Campbell and skiing, and I think I posted enough about those.

We did get to enjoy some time with Greg’s family since they came to join us for Campbell’s birthday celebration weekend.

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Dinner at Donita’s with Uncle Andrew and Aunt Rebecca after a full day of skiing.


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Dinner at Blue Table Grill with Uncle Andrew, Aunt Debra, Grandma D, and Grandpa D after Jim and Donna arrived the night before Campbell’s party. Campbell was treated to her special Six-Year-Old-Birthday-Trip-With-Grandma-and-Grandpa-D present while we were there. Each grandkiddo gets to take a special trip with Jim and Donna during the summer they are six. Campbell got her Disneyland invitation and now let the count-down begin!



Spending the morning relaxing while I got the birthday party room ready to go!



Family photo after the birthday guests left the party!



Dinner at High Alpine Brewery. Greg has a tab there from doing some work during their build. We hadn’t found the time to actually go eat there until just now. Their pizzas are super yummy!!



Fourth tooth lost!


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Sunday play dates with friends and hot chocolate.



The fourth graders began their ski days up at the mountain during school. This lucky guy gets to ski one day a week for a month. His smile is totally infectious while getting to do this on the walk to school. His thoughts after the first day of skiing? “It was my best day of school. Ever.”



The bug had hit our house this month. First Finley (who got the worst of it), then Rowen, and then Campbell. We are thankful it was relatively quick and everyone seems to be on the mend!



We’re back at the goat ranch. Kit is due with her baby (babies?) mid-February. I’m excited to snuggle with some baby goats!


{happy} new year | 2016

January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!


Happy 2016!


No look back at my top posts of 2015. No spectacular images of our wild New Years Eve party (which, by the way, didn’t exist). No well-thought-out post of my 2016 goals.


I didn’t do so well keeping up with my blog after resurrecting it in 2015. I had good intentions, but life got in the way.


Life gets in the way of a lot of things.


But that’s the thing… life getting in the way is a GOOD thing.


A thing that focuses my time.


A thing that envelopes my energy.


My kids are my thing.


My family is my thing.


I’m learning to be present in the moment and not think about taking pictures for a blog post.


I’m learning to take full advantage of the time the kids are in school to finish chores around the house, to be present when they get home, instead of working on editing pictures and scheduling posts.


But at the same time, I’m a bit sad that I can’t seem to find the balance to do both. I long for a blog that I have pictured in me head. I yearn for a project goal to be seen through completion. I imagine falling into bed at night, feeling accomplished at the mommy part… and the self parts of my life.


I’m enjoying so many things, but still working and refining on documenting it in some way that works for me.


I have great things planned for 2016. I hope to journal the story and the process, and allow someone else the pleasure of discovering someone else’s blog that becomes like a little piece of their home; a joy to look forward to, and a bit of anticipation at what lies ahead.


I hope I’m able to invite you along on the journey…