Valentine’s printables…

Here’s a round-up of Valentine’s cards I’ve created over the years for my kids’ classroom parties. Click on any picture below to download a free printable for your favorite Valentine’s Day Card!

DIY Valentines
Free Valentine Printables
Free Valentine Printables
Free Valentine Printables
Kids Valentine's; Free Printables
Kids Non-Candy Valentine's; Free Printables
Kids Non-Candy Valentine's; Free Printables
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The backyard sees everything…

I’m amazed with the things our backyard Ring camera catches. We always have a backyard full of kids and the camera is always running so Bennett will often run inside hoping the camera caught his amazing shot. Or Cannon’s trick on the trampoline.

This particular day, the boys were all taking turns shooting balls on each other. Briggs is always the younger brother and it’s often hard to compete with his older siblings. But this particular day, he was so proud when he got past Cannon and then scored on Bennett.

Without even intending to, Bennett got his revenge…keep an eye on Briggs (orange shirt). And then listen for Bennett’s evil cackle.

They all came running inside wanting to take a look at the camera and the footage wasn’t disappointing…

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Snow much fun…

We had some friends invite us up to their cabin for the day to enjoy a day of sledding and snow. The kids were excited and we had plans to scour the attic to get all their snow stuff ready. And then the night before we got word that it was raining and the snow was quickly disappearing and there was more rain in the forecast. We shifted gears and decided it wasn’t a great time to drive north. It was going to take too much effort and driving and we feared the lack of snow would be a major disappointment.

But teenagers’ brains work differently and they figured what did they have to lose by making the effort or spending the time. So the next morning Hallie and her friends went on adventure and even if the cabin didn’t have snow, they were going to keep driving north until they found snow.

Teenagers may not always make the best decisions but we were the ones that chose poorly that day. Through the night and all day it snowed at the cabin and they enjoyed a winter wonderland. I will admit I was a tad jealous at the pictures she was sending us but it could have just as easily been a slushy mess. You win some, you lose some.

They went sledding and made snow angels and chopped wood for the fireplace and warmed up inside with homemade soup and bread – typical winter activities. They had the best day enjoying snow without having to live in it or shovel it.

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Another round of visitors…

I mentioned our post-Christmas revolving door of visitors…my parents were the last leg of our marathon visitors.

They came to visit and support Bennett as he was ordained a deacon at church and received the priesthood. Steve’s parents were also there for his special day. It happened to be an eventful Sunday for our family as Steve spoke in Church and both Hallie and Hunter were put in leadership positions in their classes – it was a good Sunday to have visitors!

We were also able to sneak away one morning and take Bennett to the temple for the first time – such a tender and emotional experience for us all.

My parents joined Hunter and I at Arizona Brainfood Thursday morning – helping pack food for school children. It’s always one of the highlights of my week but even better when I get to bring people with me.

I like when their trips coincide with my kids’ activities and they were lucky to hit two tennis tournaments (Hallie and Hunter) as well as a soccer game for Cannon. They supported me and my siblings playing sports for so many years and now they’re supporting my kids in their sports.

And because we had some free time, we decided to tackle a massive project and install slat wall throughout the whole garage. (more pictures to come!) I was hopeful to get a single wall done…but my parents are work horses and we got it all installed. Not to mention, my mom switched out all the outlets and lights switches for new pretty ones that match the gray wall.

(I was helpful…until I wasn’t…when I sat icing my head after hitting it on an overhead rack and I was only somewhat useful after for the rest of the evening.)

It was a great visit where my parents were immersed in our family life for a period of time. I’m sure they returned home exhausted and grateful for a slower pace.

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Loyal fan…

We live just one mile down the road from where Steve grew up – and Hallie attends his alma mater high school. So it isn’t surprising that we’ve stayed friends with some of his high school friends because several went to college and came back home. But what is fun is when his high school friends become my friends – and then everyone asks if we went to high school together! And then our kids became friends. And our story just keeps going.

We find ourselves sitting next to each other at football, soccer and basketball games. And although I didn’t attend this high school, I’ve been adopted into the community of loyal fans! And I have the red and blue spirit shoes to prove it. 🙂

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Orphan bagels…

You may be wondering why I have a picture of toasted mini bagels. What you can’t tell from the picture is these toasted bagels are actually cold. Which means they’ve been sitting there for a while and nobody came back for them. If this was a one-time event, it wouldn’t have been picture worthy. Unfortunately, this happens far too frequently. Oddly enough, they don’t seem to belong to anyone.

They are orphan bagels. Everyone points the finger at someone else.

This is motherhood. Asking everyone in the house who toasted the bagels – in which everyone blames somebody else and I never end up getting a real answer! 🙂

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A special (little) visitor…

One of my dearest friends/college roommate (and her little travel buddy) gave me a little birthday surprise after my family had left and they flew in from Washington for a very short visit, less than 48 hours. Would I have taken more time? Of course. But I’m so grateful I had a few moments with her and especially with this little guy because the next time I see him he’ll be huge.

We went to lunch and did a little shopping and that evening invited another roommate over to hang out with us. We laughed and reminisced and recounted so many good times.

We chased the sunset and almost caught it!

As we were getting ready for bed that evening we were standing in the bathroom chatting (just like old times) and we looked in the mirror and started laughing – why do I look like the jolly green giant next to her! I’m not that tall and she’s not that short – but here we stand!

And above all we admired that little boy. It’s been a while since we had a baby in the house and the boys were enamored.

With a face like that, he had all our attention.

My friend mentioned how interesting it is to step into someone else’s life for a period of time to see how their family functions on the daily – not in vacation mode. I had the same privilege last year when I was in their home for a few days without my kids. It’s enlightening.

We both have kids of similar ages (except their caboose baby) and we have so many things in common and yet our daily lives function differently. Both good and deliberate, but different. Goes to show there’s not one right way to raise a family. I adore her and I wish nothing more to be like her when I grow up. Despite our height difference, I still look up to her. 🙂

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Sunday Mornings…

We just moved back to 9am church and it is kicking my booty. It doesn’t help that Hallie and I need to break some bad habits of staying up really late on Saturday nights. (Which was much or reasonable when we had 11:30am church – not so reasonable at 9am).

For years and years, Steve has attended meetings on Sunday mornings which meant the responsibility for getting kids ready and out the door for church fell on me. When the kids were younger this was an overwhelming task and Steve did every thing he could to help me out by prepping the night before.

Last night, he asked if he could help get the younger boys bathed so they were ready for Sunday morning. In the past, I always needed that help.

But last night was different. I recognized for the first time with early church getting kids ready wasn’t the chore it used to be. I could do it without help because the kids were fairly independent: They can shower and get dressed with minimal assistance and it was refreshing to recognize that.

Its one of those things I hadn’t noticed changing and then realized just how far we’ve come! And I am grateful. Just another benefit of kids getting older.

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He’s a runner…

Hunter told me at the beginning of the month when school started after winter break that he was going to run cross country for the school. I am not a runner and I have a hard time understanding anyone who runs for fun. His schedule is full and he’s already participating in soccer and tennis…but he insisted he wanted to do it and it would be good training to keep him in shape for soccer. We had an honest conversation with the coach informing him Hunter wouldn’t be at all the trainings but he wanted him to run for the team anyway. In fact, the coach said he wanted him to run last year but he couldn’t convince him.

Today was his first meet (and our first meet – we had no idea how cross country meets were set up – we’re learning!) He started so strong and fast at the very front of the pack and Steve and I both were convinced he wouldn’t be able to keep that pace. But he stayed at the front the whole race – he didn’t let up. And towards the end he kicked it into high gear – and sprinted across the finish line to first place. Steve and I were looking at each other in disbelief – he’s a runner and we had no idea! We see him run in soccer games after a ball but that’s about it.

Now I understand why the coach was so willing to work with his schedule when he wouldn’t be able to attend all the trainings or meets. Hunter has enough competitive blood running through him he’s now got a personal time he’s working to beat.

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Family Visitors…

While family was visiting we celebrated my birthday, we celebrated New Years and somehow we managed to fit in even more fun despite the weather not fully cooperating with our plans. We had such beautiful weather for the month of December that it only made sense for it to start raining the day family arrived. We adjusted and made the best of it.

It’s always a treat for out-of-staters to take oranges and grapefruit home with them so we had a picking party one afternoon.

We had big plans to take the kids on a fun hike, but the trails were muddy and we weren’t prepared for that so we did a little urban hiking in downtown Tempe.

We visited the Giving Machines and the lights and visitor center at the Mesa Temple.

We ate food. We went shopping. We played games. We stayed up late. We made swig runs. We watched sports. We played sports.

Our time together is never long enough but it always leaves us physically exhausted. 🙂

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