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

Happy 4th of July!

We had a ward 4th of July breakfast with a short program and good conversation with friends and food. IMG_2635It was hot, but we enjoyed getting our red, white, and blue on and hearing some patriotic talks and music and pledge allegiance to the flag.

Erik and Robin won the water balloon toss game. Very fun!

We went to Stanford campus to hear Jim and Nicholas Welch play the carillon bells. It was fun to listen and see lots of friends from the played in this fountain for a long time. It is fun to see her in pure bliss enjoying the water and the free play.IMG_2638IMG_2642 IMG_2641 IMG_2640She splashed me a bit and had me come in and play with her for awhile.

We came home and rested and went out to dinner. Then headed to Shoreline for fireworks and met up with the Sweats and saw other friends from the ward too.IMG_2669IMG_2649IMG_2654IMG_2668

It was nice to be out and go for a long walk together. The walking reminded us of our Europe trip. The weather has been hot, so it is still warm at night which isn’t usual. It felt great. We are so blessed to have the freedoms that we do in this country.



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!