happy holidays

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Our past few days have been very nice, lots of family and tons of food… perfect.

so I have a TON ( i took 289 pictures and forgot my camera on Christmas eve!) of pictures to post from Friday to yesterday. My brother and sister in law are in town too woohooo! i think it’s very cool how the kids do not hesitate around them, proof that family can be very close and live far a part. i hope your ready here comes a lot o pictures…

Friday’s hike in the McDowell’s.

the dad and i have been hiking here for years in fact this is where the dad proposed (don’t tell the kids… they think he rescued my from a tower … seriously!) over the last few years more and MORE folks have started hiking here. but for the first time when we drove up our little secret hiking place had changed… it’s now a state wildlife preserve, with parking spaces, trails, and picnic tables. our hearts sunk. but only momentarily. it’s a beautiful piece of desert and now some that would have never laid eyes on it will wonder the trails the state was kind enough to pave for them. the bear’s wee legs appreciate the paved trails too.

IMG_2773can I just say how much I LOVE that the Monk hikes in pretty skirts…


IMG_2782even Fred came… he knows this spot as well as us if now better

IMG_2803(thank’s Jacob and Isaac for the awesome kicks, 2 of the 4 are wearing them)

Saturday was baking at grandma and grandpa’s house

IMG_2854the Monk loves when grandma puts on her Christmas apron


IMG_2843the kiddos helped make Aunt Dorthy’s noddles this year; they did an amazing job, mixing and rolling and cutting

IMG_2836Grandpa was in charge of keeping an eye on the bear



Christmas Eve…


And Christmas!!!!!


one short little Christmas story I have to share… the monk decided on Sunday that she no longer wanted anything she had previously asked Santa for and instead wanted only a flute. we tried explaining that the elves had probably already filled her previous request and it just might be too late for him to swing a flute. and with out a blink or any hesitation she told us not to worry, Santa was magic and he would bring her a flute and just in case he was confused she left him a note on the tree.

oy…. right?

well my big sis just happened upon a flute in the check out aisle on Sunday night and wouldn’t you know that Santa came through non to the monk’s surprise!  made me think maybe Santa is out there… hummm food for thought.

IMG_2934thank you Aunt Becky for a sock bigger than the boo


IMG_3043look at those happy boys


IMG_3012and perhaps my favorite Christmas moment… the dad teaching RT how to shave.

I hope you all have a great few days…talk to you soon


a new book

I asked my mom for a very special book for my birthday but true to form I couldn’t remember the title, the author, or what the cover looked like. Just that I picked it up at Anthropology and feel in love (like I do with EVERYTHING at Anthropology)… anyways instead of the book I received a gift card so I could get it next time it and I should cross paths.  Unfortunately my daily endeavors don’t lead me anywhere near  Scottsdale these days. however this past Monday the Marshall ladies got together for a savory french dinner at a local restaurant we had never tried before in Scottsdale.

 my tongue and tummy where in a state of pure savory bliss, I was in the company of two woman I love most and I found my book…

it was a  wonderful evening…


so for the next few weeks I’m hoping all my morning start like this.

counting down to Christmas

I feel like I haven’t been writing often enough lately, it would seem that every time I sit down something pulls me away.

but I’m here and although my mind is far from Christmas or  holiday cheer, i will try…

I made a an advent/ count down calender for the kiddos, one of the fun thing about them getting older. the Monk loves opening a gift everyday and her excitement has proven contagious because the boys too seem to love it too.

IMG_2765 (yes it would have made for a better picture if I took it on Dec. 1st but I didn’t…)

the fun thing about said advent calender is every “gift” is either something they have to share like a set of legos or something they do together like a bike ride. it’s really cool because no matter how big or small the gift is they have been excited and happy. most of the joy comes from the monk’s new ability to read the attached note. I would never had thought this would be such a good way to unintentionally build her reading confidence. her little brothers waiting intently and joyously while she sounds out the days  event, it has given her a sense of gracious superiority.

it just goes to show kids really are easily pleased, so much of what brings them joy is just being loved and spending a little extra time together. in light of current events who doesn’t want to spend what ever time their children will give them enjoying each other?

IMG_2372new play doe (day 8)

IMG_2755making ornaments (day 14)


let the day begin

good morning everyone… it is a beautiful wet morning here. something that is rare an quite appreciated.

our day is starting off slow, the coffee is not even started…

some weeks i like to end the week with a bang but today i think we’ll go out slow and quiet.

i started writing that Friday morning before i heard the terrible news…

Since friday my mind like all of your I’m sure, has been on  the children and families in Connecticut. there are so many parts of that event that make me feel physically and emotionally broken. the fear those babies must have felt  bothers me most of all. the ages of the victims  hit way to close to home. It was hard for me to hold back my tears when I picked them up from school Friday afternoon. what all those parents are enduring this morning seems unbearable to me. the tragic event was a sad reminder that as  parents we are limited by the world we live in to protect our children from what ever evil may cross their tiny paths. it is a terribly helpless feeling. I want to wrap my arms around all those kids and tell them how brave they are, that the world is a good and beautiful place, that we all love them, that I’m so sorry.

beadazzling the tree


Every year i tell myself next year will be easier…but it would seem that every year we have a toddler in the house. always exciting still not very fun. i’m sure in time it will be one of my favorite parts of the holidays, as for now we just except ornaments are going to break, kids will fall off the chairs, and one side of the tree will be bare…







IMG_2690it was Boo’s turn to put the star on the tree, this has become a very exciting moment for one lucky kiddo. and from the expression on his wee little mug it did not disappoint.

13 days left oh my my my!


IMG_2560D-Land the most magical place on Earth… yep pretty much!

we (as in 17 of us) went to Disney Land/ California Adventure over the weekend. it was super fun, beautiful weather, killer rides, lots o food, and family. it is so cool how much fun the kids have with their cousins. the way they watch each other and pair up, it’s like a group of best friends. the kids were always holding one of 16 helping hands, and that makes all the difference in the world. there is constant head counting when we are all together but this time was by far the easiest yet. the big kids (10 and above) are so helpful with the little ones, they just step up without being asked or anything. then there are the grandparents…. God love them! taking the kids back to the hotel, holding them when their tired, always taking one for the team.

it was a great time… we were all exhausted and sore!

IMG_2433the kiddos mapping out their attack. note the Monk wiggling her tooth? it feel out at school today!

IMG_2571the fearless bear up in Tarzan’s tree house. she was the handful we expected her to be… it’s tough she wants to do everything the other kids do, and believe me she kept up until she didn’t. go go go then out! kids are so funny they go like mad men then just a quick they are tired and done.

IMG_2602boo driving with Mr. Toad… it was a wild ride

IMG_2547under the sea

IMG_2643astro blast’in!!!

IMG_2550this was pretty much her face on all the rides… except Pirates… that one scared her until Papa held her then all was right in the world again

IMG_2510look at all those kiddos! i just love them (sorry it’s blurry the ground was a bit unsteady)

IMG_2499this one is my favorite! there was so much waiting in line…the kids were awesome, this particular line said 35 minutes which turned in to 90+ minutes of waiting for 5 minutes of sheer joy.

there aren’t very many pictures of RT because he was always by his cousin’s side… not ours! It’s cool that he wanted to ride everything with his cousins… he knows they will protect him from what ever any ride can dish out. and what mama doesn’t love that their kid knows he loved?

the first night home after vacation is always hard on them… they miss ALL the family time; the sleeping in the same room, 9 other kids to play with, 5 other parents to answer their calls, and falling asleep after a full day of sheer fun and joy. i on the other hand could not wait to use the bano (bathroom) alone and pick the Fred up from grandma’s house!


at least once a day i find my self feeling short patience (is that a term?) like short tempered but with patience, usually around 4:30 when the bear hasn’t napped, the monk is in need of help with her homework, the boys are fighting with each other, dinner is half made and all of us are suddenly starving. but those moments pass as our bellies get filled, the homework gets done, the boys begin to play, and the bear becomes interested in a simple toy. I am then reminded how much I have and how much i get to do. often i wonder if I should be doing more; working more, concentrating on finishing my education, trying to afford more…i question if we are going about all of this the right way. i question what the right way is. my friend told me the other day i have what can’t be earned; a beautiful family and a happy marriage. that no one can go to school to fall in love or make a family or to be happy. She ‘s right. I have happiness, true happiness with all its worries and joys included. it’s ridiculous for us as people to feel we don’t have enough or feel like we are missing something, when really most of us have enough of what we need. if only we could throw the norms of society out the window for just an hour and look at our lives with fresh eyes, like those of a child. then maybe we would be blind to everything but love and kindness, just long enough to get a grip back on our everyday.