This Is Really Happening

Twas the night before I take my oldest daughter to college…

car is packed for college

The car is packed.  Yep!  I’m so exhausted.  I need to head to bed and get some shut eye before arising early in the morning to drive for 11 hours.  I’ve been wanting to sneak some time to blog about this important milestone in our family’s life and it just didn’t happen.  The only reason I am typing this up now is because I’m waiting on some cd’s to burn.  I’ve been writing letters to her.  These letters include a playlist of songs about the subject of each letter.  I plan on sharing this on the blog sometime.  Anyway, it is taking an eternity to burn these playlists for some reason.  So I decided I would hop on and capture what I’m feeling.

Earlier when we were in my oldest’s room packing, I glanced over at my youngest to find her crying.  She had just said before, “I can’t believe she’s leaving.  I don’t want her to go.”  She ran into my arms and sobbed causing a chain reaction…as I then began to cry.  I honestly didn’t realize how much this was going to effect my 2 younger children…the oldest leaving.  They both adore her.

It is going to be weird for all of us not having her here.  So many people have asked me recently, “how are you holding up?”  “Are you ready, mom.”  I think I am ready.  I am really excited for her.  I know she’s ready and I know she will have a wonderful time.  It will all be in God’s hands.  I recently told a friend of mine… to be a mom, you have to be willing to have faith.  Otherwise, you will be a nervous wreck and stressed out all the time.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity she has to go to BYU in Idaho.  I went there and received my associates degree when it was called Ricks College.  It will be so fun to go back and see how the campus has changed over the 20+ years since I was there.

Getting everything into her car was no small feat.  I have to admit we ended up leaving a few items here, but they are easily able to be purchased there.  We made 2 trips to the store for more space bags today, but we did it!  You should have seen my 2 girls and I as we very carefully shoved her memory foam mattress topper into a space bag.  It took a while before we were able to seal the bag shut so we could suck the air out of it. {I put a video on Instagram today of us using a space bag.}  We took turns sitting on it and punching it.  I’m sure it would be a funny sight to behold, but I was not backing down.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

My disks are done so I’m headed off to dream land.  I hope to plop a few photos on here tomorrow and keep in touch with our travels.  I really do appreciate all of you who have expressed support of me during this monumental time in a mother’s life.  Some of my dear friends on Instagram, who also have kids going to college, have been so sweet and we help each other.  That means a lot.

Kids bring joy,

Wordfilled Wednesday’s First Day Smiles

First Day of School 2013

Our family tradition on the first day of school is taking the kids to the doughnut shop for breakfast.  Today is my 5th & 9th grader’s first day of school.  So here we are outside the doughnut shop.  I’m grateful my oldest could take this photo of us together.  Interesting tidbit…my 5th grader will be having 5th grade at a local college in town.  A water pipe busted yesterday at her school and it flooded. 🙁  Fortunately, they are still having classes.  A, my youngest, was teasing my oldest daughter saying, “I’m going to college before you!”  It is quite funny because it’s sort of true.  K, my oldest, will be headed to college in 4 weeks.  The countdown has begun!

my three kids 2013

K didn’t want to miss out on our family tradition of doughnut breakfast, though.  Here she is with her arm proudly wrapped around her sister and brother.  I think the huge grin on her face is her happiness at knowing she wasn’t going to school today.  Or maybe it was the sugar high from her 2 doughnuts?  True story…she is sacked out asleep on the recliner in the living room right now.  That sugar low hit quick.  Doughnuts always do that to me too.  I was a good girl today and didn’t eat any doughnuts.  I woke up at 5AM so I could run.  I didn’t want to cancel out all my hard work of running 3 miles this morning.  It was a nice cool morning in the 70’s so I was able to run all 3 miles without walking.  Yippee!

I want to give a little shout out to one of my oldest daughter’s besties who is going to college today.  We love you C and are super excited for you!  We will come and visit before we take K to college.

How about your family?  When do your kids begin school?

I’m determined to finish my over due Haven recap post today and will publish tomorrow.

Have a beautiful day friends!  Thanks again for visiting and you are always welcome to leave comments.  They make my day! 😀

School Brings Joy,

Jumping For JOY

Vertigo…I’m not talking about the song by one of my favorite bands ever, U2.  I’ve been suffering from vertigo for the past couple of weeks.  Normally this might mean I have an ear infection or a UTI.  Both were ruled out, so it’s been unexplained.  Hopefully, {knock on wood} it is finally subsiding.  It’s quite difficult to sit at the computer when your head is spinning.

In any case, I decided to post a few family photos we took after my daughter’s graduation for Wordless Wednesday.

family jumping

I love this jumping pose my kids did with their aunt and uncle, my sis and bro.  This is also a sneak peek of our new pergola and outdoor living area. 😉


It’s not often I’m able to be with both my sister and brother at the same time.  Even more so, get a photo.  I love them both very much.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful time with their families this summer.

Take photos of your family,

The Dancer And The Graduate

Last night was my daughter’s dress rehearsal for her dance recital.  I always love to go and be able to take close up photos.  We don’t normally get there early enough to get seats this close for the actual recital, which is tonight.  Oh how I love the dance recital.  I look forward to it all year.  I was about to post some photos for some friends on Facebook and decided I would put this photo on the blog.

Dance Recital

I adore how she is set apart in the middle and is making a beautiful pose.  I’m a pretty proud Mom seeing her toe pointed and great form.

Before I go, I survived graduation.  I’m in the middle of packing for our special family trip to celebrate our oldest graduating from high school.  This is our gift to her and it’s one we’ve been planning for many years.  The destination is very special and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when we return.

My graduate

I probably shouldn’t leave out my son.  He began summer baseball this week.  However, I have no photos to share yet. {He doesn’t usually let me take many photos of him anyway. :(}  So, I’ll see you in a week! Until then…oh and thanks for stopping by! 😀  You’re awesome!

Daughters bring joy,

Celebrating Life’s Milestones With Minted

What’s on your agenda for the next few months?

I’ve seen several friends on Instagram preparing for summer weddings.  Have you received any wedding announcements in the mail?  My friends at have the most beautiful wedding invitations and announcements.

EX2A wedding is not on our family’s immediate agenda.  Instead, we are preparing for our oldest daughter’s high school graduation.  It is rapidly approaching and with it are many deadlines.  We recently sent out the majority of our graduation invitations.  Addressing Graduation announcements familybringsjoy.comMy daughter was happy to address each and every envelope…made me very happy.  She warned me her hand writing was not as ‘pretty’ as mine.  I told her what mattered was that the recipients would recognize she addressed them.  I try to teach our children etiquette the way I was taught from my parents.  I remember addressing my own high school and college graduation announcements.  I feel like it’s sort of a “right of passage.”  This also helped her know and understand who was sent an announcement.

I know we live in the digital age, but I still feel honored to receive an actual announcement/invitation in the mail…one I can hold and touch.  I prefer the paper ones to the digital ones.  Sometimes I forget if I receive one online.  If I have a paper announcement, I tack it to our cork board to admire every day and use it as a reminder to send a gift or card to the recipient. has some special designs for graduation.  I had fun playing around & making these 3 examples:

3 Graduation Announcements

I was surprised to find some cool graduation gift ideas at as well:

Art Prints

print minted

They have several appropriate prints for the graduate in your life.


note pad minted

This note pad would be a lovely gift to celebrate this milestone.  They have several CUTE styles to choose from.  Personalized stationery is another perfect gift.


I am glad journaling has made a come back.  I LOVE to journal.  I couldn’t believe the variety of personalized journals has available.  You have to check out the MANY cool designs they have to offer.

journals by minted

What a great gift!  Every high school graduate will love pulling this baby out and documenting all of their college memories.  Every college graduate will love writing about their new adventures in life.

Personalized Congratulations Cards

Or maybe you just want to send some money to your grad with a special card like this one:

graduation card minted

Now that I’ve talked you into the greatness of…how about a deal for you…my fabulous readers!


Click HERE and Minted will give you $25

toward your first purchase of $50 or more!

senior collage

Have fun shopping,

Sharing BB’s

homemade firing range familybringsjoy.comFirst up, this post is not about guns.

To be honest, I went a long time without buying a toy gun for my son because I’m not a huge fan of “encouraging” violence.  My view has changed somewhat, but I don’t want to focus on whether guns are good or not.

No, this post is about a red letter day…yesterday.  It was a Tuesday.  It was March 19th.  If you look on the calendar you will not see a holiday typed there.  {The kids are home for Spring Break this week.}  Yet, it was a special day.  Why is that?  My kids, my two youngest, played together.  Your thinking, “so what? what’s the big deal?”  Well let me tell you, it IS a big deal.

There is 5 years difference between my son and daughter…14 and 9 (almost 15 and 10.)  Our son, I will call him J, was the baby for a long time.  He has quite the animosity against his little sis, A.  It’s quite sad indeed that J would hold this feeling well into his teen years.  He constantly wishes A was a boy, that he had a brother.  It’s understandable being he’s the only boy besides his dad in the house (dad works a lot so he’s not here all that much.)  It’s also understandable that he wished for a brother being that he doesn’t have many friends here.  I’ve mentioned before in earlier posts about him being bullied and told he looks like a monkey.  Oh how it makes my heart hurt.

Back to J & A.  They constantly fight.  I’ve touched on this in earlier posts as well.  Dinner time, prayer and scripture time are not always super enjoyable as we have to constantly referee the 2.  Many days I am grateful I can spread the kids out into different areas of the house so I can have a break from the bickering.

Hopefully, you have somewhat of a picture of what life is like with my 2 youngest kids.  It’s not all happily ever after in this family.  However, yesterday was heavenly.  J asked A if she wanted to shoot his BB gun {actually his dad’s} with him.  I thought to myself, “Oh no. Do I really want to allow this?”  Yesterday I was super tired.  We had gotten in from our trip to visit my Mom from the weekend at about 1 AM.  I was just grateful they wanted to be outside and hoped I had about 2 minutes of respite before one of them came in and told me of how the other had done this or that to them.  Next thing I know, several minutes had passed and J came in asking if I would take a photo of how they set up their shooting range in the back yard.  I immediately grabbed my camera and said a prayer of thanks in my mind to God.

BB loading

BB shooting range2

Even though J is not pictured here, these photos represent true love on his part.  The fact that he shared the gun and let his sister shoot it is a miracle.  Not only did they do this together, they also played on the plasma cars and we all played catch with the baseball together.  The other reason it was a red letter day is because the TV was not turned on ALL DAY!  Oh how I love that!  I am very grateful for this special day.

Unfortunately, today it’s back to normal.  Lord, help me.

Happy First Day of Spring,