Tennis season has begun…

Although Hallie plays tennis year-round – she looks most forward to her high school tennis season which started yesterday with tryouts lasting the whole week. For the first time in high school tennis, she’s walking into tryouts confident.

We lost 5 seniors last year and she’s the only returning varsity player but we’ve got four girls who are all pretty equal in their level of play which will make for a fun season. She plays both singles and doubles but is really hoping to go far with her doubles partner and best friend – it will be the first time they’ve been able to compete together.

So for the time being she’ll take a break from her clinics and tournaments while she focuses on high school play and in no time my camera will be filled with court shots. Until then here’s shots from her latest tournament.

Ski day…

We spent a day on the slopes with the boys – Hallie was invited but opted out since tennis tryouts were just around the corner and she didn’t want to risk an injury.

Briggs and Cannon just learned to ski last year and only skied two days, so Steve and I were gearing up for a potentially long day of reteaching. The half hour it took to get everyone situated in their gear and the first half hour of skiing was painful. It made me question our grand plan. But the snow was plentiful, the weather beautiful and the slopes were empty. At least some things were going our way.

Bennett and Hunter immediately took off on their own adventure and Steve and I each took a kid and slowly made our way down the small hill, rode the two seat chair lift up and went back down again. I was concerned this was our fate for the day, but the kids picked it up much faster than I anticipated and after just a few runs we were ready for the green hill. This is where Briggs and Cannon were thriving. They never tired and they improved every time they made it to the bottom of the hill.

After lunch Steve, Hunter and Bennett peeled off to go on more challenging runs and then joined back up with us for the last hour of the day and the little ones were excited to ski with their older brothers.

I didn’t grow up skiing so I still feel like I’m learning right along side the kids, but Hunter reminded me at the end of the day that because I didn’t ever fall, I probably wasn’t pushing it hard enough. Great advice from my teenage son! 🙂

It was a successful day. The downfall is we live in the desert so we have to drive three hours to ski which required a really early wake up call. Then, when we were tired and ready to nap we had to hop back in the car and drive home.

Even then – it was worth it.


Hunter has surprised us with his desire to run (in an effort to condition for soccer). He’s taken first place in two of his three cross country meets and 3rd in his last meet. A while back, our bishop put out a challenge for everyone to join the Mesa Marathon 10K in a “Beat the Bishop” challenge. Hunter has never run more than 3 miles consecutively but he figured 6.2 miles was totally doable without training – oh to be young and athletic again. 🙂

Saturday, he woke up at the crack of dawn to start the race at 6:30am and we were tracking him on the app ready to cheer him on at the finish line. He was hoping to finish in under 50 minutes, but without any watch or way to determine his pace, he came in at 52 minutes – the first to cross the finish line from his challenge group (without realizing he was leading his pack).

He did it – just like he assured me he could! He said it was hard and I believe him. (Truth is I couldn’t run a mile right now if my life depended it!) His body was a little sore but tomorrow he’ll show up to cross country and tennis and forget he ran a 10K over the weekend – he’s got mental toughness down!

Here’s a good portion of our “Beat the Bishop” 10K group. We had so many more from our neighborhood who took on the larger challenge of the half or full marathon.

Congrats to everyone who was disciplined enough to train and prepare and then had the courage to show up the morning of the race knowing how hard it was going to be. They all won in my book!

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…

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.

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.