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

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!


Memorial Day adventures

We had a wonderful Memorial Day. We didn’t make it to the Golden Gate National Cemetery like we usually do. Brandon went on Saturday and decorated the graves with flags with the Boy Scouts.


So we held a cousins’ piano recital at the Westerlind’s house. It is amazing to see these kids progress and the work and time of practice and lessons.


Then after the piano recital we had a book club with the cousins and adults. We read this book by Lois Lowry. Maren chose this book and resonated with the strong 10 year old girl who was the main character.

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We were invited to attend a barbecue for incoming BYU freshman from our stake. What a great group of kids!



The house had a pool. We didn’t bring swimming suits, but that didn’t stop Robin, Maren and Camille from having a grand old time.

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End of year awards

It was another one of those nights. We did a bit of running to and from two awards evenings at the high school. First, Brandon received an award from his baseball coach for all his hard work and dedication and good playing on the JV team. He went from not making the team to becoming the starting 3rd baseman. It was a great honor.


Nicole had her last French awards evening. She placed in the national test again and also was awarded a scholarship. She got her honor cords for the French Honor society to wear at graduation. She and one of her best friends won the scholarship together. She also performed as Candide’s love interest in a short French play. It was a fun evening.


Last year in high school togetherIMG_1917

With more buddies and awards


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Camille’s serious shot upon arriving at home





Mother’s Day 2013

Every year that passes deepens my love for my children. It was a simple and sweet mother’s day. The greatest gift was having Erik home more, fewer meetings at church. He brought me breakfast in bed. We both had singing and piano assignments that took us to church early. He sang in a beautiful barbershop quartet version of Love at Home in Relief Society. I accompanied the young women singing He Sent His Son in sacrament meeting with a beautiful flute and violin accompaniment.

IMG_1854After church we took a few photos in the back yard.

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Then we headed over to Jammie and Grandpa’s house for dinner and sharing of how our mothers have influenced us. I found these fun photos of my mom and Erik’s mom from our wedding reception in Salt Lake after we were married.


I enjoyed seeing this artichoke, newly picked. I also loved Robin and her cousins frolicking in the backyard.

IMG_1864IMG_1865IMG_1866I felt the love of my husband and my kids. I enjoyed the unity and fun of this relaxing Mother’s Day.


Book Fair and School visits

We have been finding some new books at the book fair. It has been fun for everyone, even Brandon, to find some new books. Robin has been my sidekick most of the week when school is out. And Maren has found some new books that she has been reading.


We went over tonight to the middle school for Camille’s portfolio night. We saw her work in science, math, English, and social studies. They have done lots of work this year.

I loved this sign (created by Camille) that I saw in the window of her social studies class. Good words to live by.


Hard work and determination

I am tired right now. I am going out of town in the morning and so I squeezed all the piano lessons for the rest of the week into today. That was nine piano lessons. I guess I am determined to keep up with these kids weekly. It makes a huge difference to do weekly piano lessons. But I am tired! We also got all the laundry folded and the all the beds changed today. Erik was integral in that process. I couldn’t do it without him.

After all the work, I went to Brandon’s baseball game. Erik came a few innings after I did. Brandon got to come up to bat with the bases loaded. He had his first hit of the season and hit an RBI. The next batter hit a triple and cleared the bases; Brandon scored all the way from first base. It was a bright spot after all his hard work to make the team. And then after making the team, his hard work to earn playing time and batting time. He has been getting some great hits lately, but they have been caught or barely thrown out. So today was the reward for the hard work. I am so glad Erik made it to the game too. I am so proud of Brandon’s work ethic. He gives it his all, works hard all practice, and really listens and responds to the coaches.

He and I were definitely worn out tonight. But there is nothing like the feeling of fatigue after giving it your all. It feels satisfying and rewarding, and sleep is calling me.

Baseball and bread

I went to one of Brandon’s baseball games today. It was extremely windy and cold. It happened to be a very long game, with lots of hits and walks. The boys came back from a large deficit and almost pulled out a victory. This picture is when Brandon fought off an 0-2 count and drew a walk with the bases loaded to get an RBI. He played 3rd base and helped with some of the scorekeeping.

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Erik gave me a Bosch mixer for my birthday, and I have made bread a couple of times. Homemade bread is delicious. I am planning to make it regularly. Scrumptious.


Stake Musical

In honor of Dr. Seuss and the youth theme of the year, the teenagers in our stake put on a fun musical. The narrators were characters from Dr. Seuss’ books, the Cat in the Hat, Sam-I-Am, Thing 1, 2, 3, fish, Horton, and more. It was entitled Oh, the Places you will Stand, stand in holy places. I love how these youth stand for honesty, integrity, modesty, righteousness. I learn from them each day.IMG_1471Camille and MadelineIMG_1472 Having funIMG_1473Cute girlsIMG_1474The Three MusketeersIMG_1475Sinclaire, Miko and NicoleIMG_1476CousinsIMG_1477More cousinsIMG_1478Kyra and Robin, more cousinsIMG_1481Jeslyn and meIMG_1447 Sinclaire, Lena and Nicole narratingIMG_1451 Hannah and AubreyIMG_1459Brandon waiting to go on stage for StompIMG_1463 StompIMG_1466 CamilleIMG_1467Brandon and all the boysIMG_1482Time for fun afterwards

A show is a great way to bond and unite in a different way than just at school or church. I am glad they had the time to Stand together.




Stand in Holy Places

The theme of New Beginnings last night was “Stand Ye in Holy Places”. When I am with these young women who are striving for excellence in their lives, I feel like I am on holy ground. Nicole conducted the meeting. Here she is with Sinclaire — they have known each other their whole lives. They are beautiful in all ways. They shared their leadership and creativity tonight with all the girls.

IMG_1328They are so grown up and getting ready to spread their wings. I love them for their goodness and desire to shine brightly.

The girls each brought things to spotlight their interests. Here is Nicole and Camille’s section, highlighting a love of photography (Nicole) and creating movies (Camille).


Camille is one of the newest girls in the Young Women program. I had the chance to talk about things I love about her. I talked about how much love she brought into our lives when she was born. I mentioned her independent nature and her creativity, creating worlds of fun with her neighborhood friends and siblings. I shared how she loves books and is nurturing. She is a joy and has a wonderful sense of humor, and it comes out in this picture with some of her buddies.

IMG_1329Here is a more traditional photo.

IMG_1330And the playful side.

IMG_1331I love all these girls.

I came home to Brandon, who had made some sugar cookies with all the young men. What a sweet plate of cookies for me.

IMG_1332We gobbled those down.

I love to see my children surrounded by good things, good friends and leaders, and to see their hearts full of love. That is indeed the definition of holy.