Mornings in the hills

I have had a few weeks, where almost every day, I have made time to hike and run in the hills near our home. I feel grateful every morning I get to enjoy nature in the early hours.  I have seen the sun rise, seen the fog and rain in the hills, watched the birds and animals awaken to the day, and have gotten many great workouts.  I feel more peace as I get away from the cars and homes and walk along the pathways up there.  It clears my head, lifts my spirits, and brings me joy.  Truly this is one of my happy places, where I unite with my thoughts and my greatest dreams.

Here are a few pictures of this beloved place.

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We finished the Book of Mormon!

We set a goal of reading the Book of Mormon as a family this year. So we read almost every day for the last 6 months. And yesterday we finished Moroni 10. So tonight we had our pizza and ice cream party to celebrate. It was a good experience to read it together and have some good discussions. Seeing all those check marks and filled in spaces shows how much we read!

I especially wanted the three younger girls to have the chance to read it all the way through for the first time. Camille and I are heading to Girls camp tomorrow, so it was a good way to spend our family night. We also talked about service and how we can do nice things for one another. Good goals.

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Brandon is home and good friends

Today was a busy day. I picked Nancy up from the airport and had a girls camp meeting. We did our Saturday cleaning and got ready for Brandon to come home from Sky Mountain. He made it home and seemed to have a fantastic time up there. He made some friends and did some great activities. We are all glad to have him home. He got home and some of his friends came and surprised him. Nicole and her great friend made a chocolate cake and spent some of the day together. So good to have good friends and to be together again as a family.IMG_2672 IMG_2673 IMG_2674 IMG_2675 IMG_2678

Friends from London

It was great to have the Ashtons come for a visit. We went swimming all afternoon, love how that entertains the kids for hours. And then we had the Jacksons, Edwards, and the Ashtons over for some delicious Cafe Rio dinner with guacamole and pulled pork. It was yummy. I was amazed how much Maren and Madeline and Robin were such great friends. The Ashtons were in our ward for a year but we didn’t do nearly enough things together then. Now we have spent time in London and Palo Alto this summer! I am grateful for their friendship.

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Summer visitors

This week was a great week for visitors. One of my mission companions came by with her family on the way from Oregon to Disneyland. I haven’t seen them since we visited them in Portland on our way from Seattle to California. She was in the hospital after having her fifth child, who is now 3. It was great to catch up with them and see their family thriving and growing up. Our kids are getting so old!

IMG_2541 IMG_2542One of my great friends from study abroad in London stayed with us a couple nights this week. She was in town for a wedding. A few years ago, we also found out that she and Erik are third cousins. It was fun to catch up and have some time with her this week.





Lots of goodbyes today :(

Today was the day that Brandon and Jameson Welch got to fly to Salt Lake. Tomorrow they will start their two weeks at Sky Mountain Ranch. It is fun to see these boys growing up and growing in confidence. It seemed quite normal to be taking them to the airport and sending them off together to board their plane and figure out all the travel on their own. They are 14 and 15 years old now. We will definitely miss them, but I wouldn’t have them go anywhere else or participate in anything better. They will have two weeks of hiking, working, playing, growing, learning, friendships, and fun. Brandon took his guitar with him on his back. They had their backpacks and gear. What great boys!
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Tonight was the send off for the Pearson family. They have been in Palo Alto for three years. I feel like they are members of our family. They are heading off to Colorado for more medical training. It is hard to say goodbye to so many great people. But I am excited for them in their new adventures. We had a bunch of families get together for dinner and goodbyes. Love these ladies!


Happy Birthday Brandon!

We celebrated Brandon’s birthday in three places. First was in Paris, the night before we flew out. We picked up a cake that was really a Father’s Day cake, but it looked delicous, and shared it with the Flanigans before we flew home.

IMG_2491Then we had a birthday breakfast in his honor at the Westerlinds the morning after we got home. We had pancakes in Brandon’s honor.


Then we celebrated at home with a few gifts. We love Brandon, and he is 15!





Last day in Paris! Louvre, Eiffel Tower

Our last full day in Paris! We did some of the biggies. We took the metro to the Louvre.IMG_2430We waited in a bit of a line to get into the Louvre, but it was in an underground mall, so it was tolerable. Then we just decided to head straight for the Mona Lisa and see that section of the Louvre. The building itself is massive and full of amazing art at every turn. The Mona Lisa was definitely a gathering place.

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IMG_0492 IMG_0510 IMG_0509 IMG_0507We went out to the Tuileries gardens for a stroll and to find pastries and lunch. Then we spent some time on the carousel and they even had a trampoline park!IMG_0517 IMG_0518

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There was some rain in the sky, so we had our umbrellas we had borrowed from the Flanigans. We headed over to the Eiffel Tower.IMG_2450 IMG_2466 IMG_2465 IMG_2460 IMG_2454 IMG_2452 IMG_2451IMG_0525 IMG_0521DSC_7302 DSC_7336 DSC_7328 DSC_7307

Robin, Maren, Brandon, and Erik walked up to the first level of the Eiffel Tower. It started to really rain, so Nicole, Camille and I sat underneath and found some souvenirs.

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It was raining and we went toward the metro to find dinner.IMG_2469 IMG_2472 IMG_2471We decided to go to the Champs Elysees and find a restaurant. We found a nice meal and then Nicole, Camille, and I did some shopping while the others headed home.IMG_2473 IMG_2476 IMG_2474DSC_7360 DSC_7368 DSC_7361We walked home and saw this sign calling us home.IMG_2489We had a cake with the Flanigans to say goodbye and celebrate Brandon’s birthday early.DSC_7372 DSC_7377 DSC_7374 DSC_7373We loved these kids and Jennifer and Rob have been so generous to let us stay with them. What a blessing to us! The kids are so cute and fun. And now to pack! Paris was enchanting and delicious and so interesting.