Ten Things {That Made my Alaska Trip Awesome}

It was so awesome to get to go home to Alaska this summer.  It’s always hard to leave, but after two months I was ready to come home and resume normal life.  The following are a few of the highlights of my summer.

  • Mocha Moose – Dudes, the ice rages in Fairbanks are incomparable.  I haven’t found anything even close anywhere else.  In fact, I haven’t even seen any coffee carts since I moved away.  You’d think out of the twenty-six thousand in North Pole alone, they could send one or two to Dallas.  Needless to say, coffee stands made a decent amount of money off of me this year. Oh, I made converts of the kids, too.  Check out photographic evidence below.  alaska - mocha moose
    Susannah made me a list one Sunday morning - just in case I forgot what was needed (and she added a muffin for good measure)

    Susannah made me a list one Sunday morning – just in case I forgot what was needed (and she added a muffin for good measure)

    alaska - mocha moose 2 alaska - mocha moose 3

  • Fireweed – I missed the wild roses by a few days and didn’t see any lupine, but I was so happy to see the fireweed again.  Also, birch trees.  If I could grow a birch tree in my backyard I would.  alaska - nature 5
  • the Fairbanks fair – You would think that the Dallas fair would be better, but no, definitely not.  It was fun to get to go one more time and see my girls enjoy it, too.  alaska - fair 2 alaska - fair 4 alaska - fair 8 alaska - fair 10 alaska - fair 15 alaska - fair 16 alaska - fair
  • Unexpected visits with friends – there were several old friends that I had a chance to visit with that I had no idea I would get to see.  It was awesome to get to see Noah and his wife, the Lamberts, Ryan, and Thanh Hickman again.  alaska - fair 23 alaska - ryan and phil
  • Friends I planned to see – It was just as fun to see the people I knew would be in Fairbanks.  I was able to take a trip to Denali and visit Larisa, have lunch with Donna, and visit many, many others during the weeks I was there.  alaska - denali 2 alaska - donna alaska - instagram 7 alaska - denali 9
  • Cousins – I always regretted not getting to grow up with cousins around, so it was super fun to see my girls have so much fun with their cousins during our visit.  I desperately wish we all lived closer. And of course, it was super happiness to see the littlest, squishiest cousin of all. alaska - cousins 2 alaska - cousins 3 alaska - cousins 4 alaska - cousins 8 alaska - instagram 8 alaska - abel 3 alaska - abel 15 alaska - abel
  • Getting to see Phil the Pill – I extended my stay to see my brother and his family and although we didn’t get to visit very long, it was so awesome to see them since I didn’t expect to until they came home from Korea.  Yay for brothers; mine are the best. alaska - phil and bek 2 alaska - phil and bek
  • Sisters – No words needed.  I adore my sisters and the time I get to spend with them. Also, I was so happy to finally meet my newest sister-in-law, Shannon.  About time.  alaska - ang alaska - instagram 2 alaska - instagram 4
    Brother-in-laws are okay, too

    Brother-in-laws are okay, too

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    Especially when they're really weird

    Especially when they’re really weird

  • Getting to visit all the familiar, comforting places that I’ve known and loved for so much of my life.  I took the girls around to see all the places I lived (quite a few, actually) and worked (not as many).  There’s just something about seeing places that remind you of all the good times gone by.
  • Alaska - alaskaland 3 alaska - alaskaland 6 alaska - alaskaland 7
    Farmers Market popcorn guy

    Farmers Market popcorn guy

    alaska - pagoda

    Nothing says “home” quite like Pagoda

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  • Getting to see all the new – So much has changed since I lived there.  Every person in my family has moved and changed jobs so there was an awful lot of new to process, too. It makes me a little sad, but at least now I can picture them in their new homes and jobs and lives.  alaska - dad alaska - instagram 12


It was amazing, seriously.  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go back.

Tuesday Letter

Dear Susannah, please stop with the impossible-to-answer questions like “Is Satan important?”. I don’t know what to say to that.  Dear husband, you really ARE kind of like Dr. House. Not cool. Dear Madeline, Okay, okay, I’m sorry I called you a little barbarian.  I didn’t mean to offend your tiny sensibilities.  No, it doesn’t mean you have to eat your food uncooked and never bathe again.  Yeesh.


Week in Review: August 31 – September 6

Not going to lie, I don’t have tons to share from this week.  It was one of those hair-pulling, just-grit-your-teeth-and-get-through-it kind of weeks, at least school-wise.  Everything is a struggle right now for some reason, but I’m optimistic about the coming week.  I’m not even sure why, but I just feel like it’ll be better.

Let’s see – the girls and I finally, FINALLY planted out fairy garden.  It’s been on the to-do list forever, but I was afraid if we did it before our big trip it would die in our absence.  No photos yet, since there’s nothing growing at this point.  We’ll be sure to share later, failure or success.

I found this adorable little work of art on our chalkboard door this week and thought it would be fun to share. This kid kills me, seriously. She’s always thinking.


I meant to share a video of some of their memorization, but never got around to it, so maybe next week.

Our beloved Hannah is leaving next week for Honduras, so we had a girls day out.  We went to an awesomely huge discount jewelry/purse/girly-stuff store and had an amazing Mediterranean lunch.  It was fun and the perfect solution to soothe the wounds of the week. (A little melodramatic?  Maybe.)  Here’s my sole photo of the day, not counting those I snapped of products that I decided I could probably make myself and save the $30 price tag.

photo 2

Pretty awesome, right?  I wore the horse head, but I don’t have a photo of that.  Bummer.

I feel like I could hang a ton of these up in my house and they would make me happy…not sure how Jerm would feel about them, though.

photo 1


Your turn.  Anything fun or exciting happen this week?

Is anyone else already feeling the crazy due to school or am I alone in this boat?


Loving Right Now: Summer 2014 Product Picks

It seems like just yesterday I was making my spring list, but no, it was an entire season ago.  And although summer is technically taking its last gasping breath, it sure doesn’t feel like it’s over down here.  Jerm swears it’s going to cool down any day now, but I’m not so sure. I distinctly remember suffering through plenty of 90 degree October days, so I’ll believe it when I feel that cool breeze.

Here’s what I’ve been loving this hot, hot season (except for the two months I spent in Alaska; those were tolerably cool).

Bracelet sets, like this one from Kohls.  Ooooooh….aaaaahhhh.   It’s weird too, because I’ve never been a bracelet-wearer until this summer and all of a sudden I must have all the bracelets.  Also weird, I like gold tones.  I’ve never, ever, in my entire life, as far as I can remember, ever liked gold.  But now I do and I have to remedy my entirely silver jewelry collection.


Also making the list – anything Heidi Swapp.  I love her line of crafting supplies, but you guys. She has her own Project Life collection.  And I’m attempting to do the whole Project Life journaling thing.  So OF COURSE I needed it.  Check out the pretties. PicMonkey Collage

Next up, because any list I make would be incomplete without notebooks or journals added in, I was totally smitten with these tiny journals in the dollar section at Michaels.  I showed restraint by only buying two of the 3-packs, instead of every variety.  But don’t worry, I’ll probably go back. Notebooks

And check it out, I’m already using one of them (for the dreaded food journal).  Go me. photo 2


I know I already posted about this one on Facebook, but I’m in looooooove with my new necklace from The Vintage Pearl.  Adore.

photo 1

Check out these cool books full of ready-to-hang wall art.  Awesome for those gallery walls that I’m eventually going to get around to.  (These bad boys are also from Michaels.  Yay Michaels.)

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And finally, last, but certainly not least, check out this journaling Bible that Jerm got me.  I’ve been searching for a truly wide-margin Bible for as long as I can remember so when I saw this on Amazon it was pretty exciting.  And since my Bible was actually being held together by packing tape it was kind of good timing, too.

photo 3 (2) photo 4 (2)

Not pictured, but also making the list: water (who knew?), Lypsyl lip balm (I seriously might die if they stopped making it), and homemade hot sauce (except not hot; I prefer it to be really mild).

So what are you loving these days?  Any similarities?  What can you not live without (and yes, I realize that I can live without most of these things)?



Ten Things {On Friendship}

For the last few years I’ve thought a lot about friendship.  To be honest, they’ve been kind of rough times, friend-wise.  I tend to be a little compulsive too, so it’s not surprising that my mind’s been stuck on this subject for a while.  So here are some of my conclusions.

  • Childhood friends – I never made friends easily as a kid.  I was shy, introverted, quiet.  I preferred the company of books over people most of the time.  Still, I always had at least one close friend at any given time that I could do normal kid stuff with.  You know, play, confide in, make stupid decisions with, etc.  None of my childhood friends stuck, though.  I’ve always been a little jealous of people who have friends they’ve known their whole life, but it’s not something I can really relate to.  And I’ve learned that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Kids grow up and become totally different people, so I think it’s probably more natural to grow apart than to stick together.  Still, if you have a friend you’ve grown up with, I think you’re lucky.  Cherish those friendships.  Not everybody has them.
  • Friends for seasons – Sometimes I think God directs people into our life for specific seasons.  They’re important and maybe they help you through something or you have similar circumstances for a while – and then they move on.  This is a hard one for me, sometimes.  I’ve had to accept that just because I’m close to someone for a while, doesn’t mean we’ll be close forever, and to be grateful for the time we did have.
  • Sometimes friends are inherited.  My mom has this amazing, funny, awesome friend that I’ve known all of my life.  As I’ve grown older she’s kind of become my friend by default.  I love her so much, partly because she’s stuck by my mom (who deserves all the friends in the whole world) for all these years, and party just because I don’t know how anyone would NOT love her.  I know I could go to her for advice and receive wisdom and guidance and I love her for that, too.

    I stole this photo from her Facebook.  I hope she doesn't sue me.

    I stole this photo from her Facebook. I hope she doesn’t sue me. ;)

  • Friends who aren’t really friends at all – I’ve had my fair share of “friends” who just want something from me or are just fair-weather friends that leave when life isn’t perfect.  Maybe they really were friends at one point but something happened along the line that ruin the friendship.  Sometimes you just have to cut those people loose instead of hanging on. I’ve had a few who try to creep back into my life just to hurt me all over again.  And seriously, the only thing I can think of to do about those people is to just not let them in.  There are plenty of good people out there; there’s no point in wasting your time and energy on those who will just drag you down and try to stuff their bitterness inside you.  It’s not a happy road to travel down.
  • Mentor friends – some friends teach you stuff.  Maybe they’re older, maybe they’re not.  I’ve had a few.  Some have only been in my life for a season and some are still around.  Here is a photo of my favorite mentor friend.  I stole it from her Facebook page, too, because I’m too lazy to go dig out all my 50-lb photo albums right now.  I hope she forgives me for being a thief.   10173522_770431002989754_2993359036575429769_n
  • Friends of necessity – Okay, these are probably mostly extended family members.  So. I had this sister-in-law that I’d never gotten along with before she married my brother.  But after they got married I realized there was no point in continuing to have a bad relationship with her so I started hanging out with her.  And then I moved in with her.  Seriously, I probably wouldn’t recommend that, but it worked out for us at the time. ;)  And guess what – she became one of my closest friends.  So maybe that friend of necessity will surprise you after all.  :)
  • Sadly, some friends will just break your heart for no good reason.  I’ve had a few of these, too, and they’ve been the hardest to let go.  I’ve (finallllllllly) had to decide that if I know I didn’t do anything to cause a rift and they’ve still decided to cut me out of their life, well, the only thing to do is let them go.  There’s not much else to do, ya know?  It’ll still hurt, but not forever.  I try really hard to remember the good times with them and leave it at that.
  • Online friends – the cool thing about friends that you only know online is that usually you’re brought together by a common interest.  I have a few friends I’ve met through blogging that I just love.  I’ll probably never meet them in real life, but it’s nice to have someone to talk to about the things that interest me and have them GET IT.  :)
  • Family friends – the very best kind of friend, if you ask me.  I adore my siblings.  I love my parents and my in-laws and my sibling-in-laws.  My brothers and sisters were my first and truest friends.  I value them above all other friendships.
  • Faithful friends – And then, every once in a great while you’ll actually find someone who just sticks.  They don’t run when things get rough, they stay for different seasons, they stick around when you both grow and change.  I may not have hordes of people who fall into that faithful friend category, but the ones that do – well, I treasure them.  It makes them just that much more special.


Week(s) in Review: August 17-30

So we’re home, I think we’ve finally kicked the sinus infections we came back with, and things are starting to seem normal again.  I don’t know if it was being sick or what but it took me forevvvvver to get over the jet lag this time around.  Maybe I’m just not as young as I once was…

We jumped right back into school and finished up the remainder of our school year on Friday, so we’re ready to jump straight into our next grades starting Tuesday.  The year-round thing worked really well for us this past year so we’re sticking with that for now. To celebrate the end of our first-grade history we partied Roman-style.  Interpretation: we ate while reclining.  The girls had a blast and nobody even spilled their drinks so it was a win all around.

We had meat, cheese, bread, grapes, dates, and sparkling grape juice. Oh, and raspberry rolls.  We may have broken the authenticity with that, but Susannah wanted them.  (Don’t mock our “couches.”)

Roman Party

We told Mad she had to be the barbarian due to her golden locks.  She wasn’t too thrilled with that, but it fits well enough. Roman Party 2


I walked into the living room the other day to this:

Susannah and "block Susannah"

Susannah and “block Susannah”

I came home to a gigantic stack of mail; some of it was even interesting.  ;)  My favorites:

  • The DohVinci kits, courtesy of BzzAgent
  •  eSalon box of products (also thanks to a Bzzagent program) – my hairs really needed this one!
  • A stack of books from Paperbackswap - I seriously love trading books on this website, check it out if you haven’t already.  Just do it.
  • My complimentary necklace/earring set from the Tiny Bluebird Boutique – I won a contest a few weeks ago and they let me pick what I wanted from their shop.  Isn’t it pretty?!
  • This envelope that wins the prize for prettiest mail, ever.

PicMonkey Collage

Last weekend Aunt Tammy hosted a tea party for the little girls and they had a blast dressing up, eating cupcakes, and posing for pictures.  Little girls are so much fun. And Aunt Tammy is awesome.

Tea Party 2 Tea Party 4 Tea Party 6 Tea party 10 Tea Party 15 Tea Party 20

What have you been up to lately?

Celebrated anything, even for a silly occasion like finishing Roman history?



Tuesday Letter

Dear Susannah, I know I told you that cars whose tops rolled down cost a lot of money, but no, Uncle Josh’s Subaru with the sunroof wasn’t exactly what I meant.  He’ll probably appreciate the compliment, though.   Dear Madeline, I honestly don’t know if we’re going to survive this learning to read thing.   Dear Route 44 diet cranberry limeade, when you committed suicide in the driver side floorboard I was tempted to be grouchy about it.  Instead, I decided to be happy that it wasn’t on the passenger side where the 40 library books I’d just checked out were sitting.  Nice try, though, nice try.