Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 is one for the books.  It is already a favorite memory of our time thus far in Arizona. We had the chance to spend time with family on my side this year down here, and I was able to see both my darling brothers.  My younger brother Billy and Abby completed our Thanksgiving this year with there presence.  I can't imagine having people I love more stay with us.  

We started the Thanksgiving day off with a hike to the wind caves.....nearby.  It was a family/friend affair.  We have such great friends and can't quite imagine our life without ALL of them!  

It takes a village to raise a family.....and I am surely glad these people are part of that village.  

A favorite memory of my childhood growing up was my Dad waking us up for a family hike up the canyon.  It is a tradition must with my own little family.  I have done it our entire married life with the kids.  Many times Mike hasn't been able to join because of his work schedule....but this year felt complete with Mike, Billy and Abby.  

There are a lot of great hikes in the area that we live, but this was just the right speed for the entire family.  

Chris Powell happened to be hiking right in front of us with his darling family.  I am such a fan, and have watched his extreme weight loss shows for a few years.  He has the most beautiful family, and I don't think he could have been any nicer.  

Abby over 20 weeks pregnant is glowing and adorable beyond.

We rushed home around noon just in time to get the Turkey in the oven.  
We invited some of our good friends and their parents to join us for dinner.  

While the adults were busy preparing you can see there was a lot of silliness and goofiness happening  throughout the day.  Just how it should be.  

I LOVE eating Thanksgiving outside.  It is an entirely new concept for me with years of living in colder winter climates.  I have adjusted quite well. The ambiance of Thanksgiving outside puts me in just the right holiday spirit.  

We had the pleasure of having our friends parents also join us for dinner. 

We ate and talked and ate some more.....

A highlight was definitely seeing both of my brothers and having Billy and Abby stay with us.  They are genuine, loving, loyal and simply amazing.  We felt blessed to have them stay with us for the weekend.  We were festive in our plaid and ALWAYS think of our sweet Mom and family that we are so extremely grateful for.  As my kids would say "plaid is from the Edwards side".  We LOVE IT!  

The weekend was filled with favorite things:


It was a success and will go down in history as a favorite memory with my family and my two darling brothers!  


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Preparations....and family comes to town!

It has been a busy day preparing for Thanksgiving.....

First things first.....the flowers....

We had a fun visit from family!  We loved seeing my brother Dave and his beautiful adorable, and might I had hilarious/darling family....

I love all these little- getting big people and all their expressions including Sammy's pickleface....literally!

Darling Amanda......Cath adores....

these boys...

This evening....we had a "brineing" party of sorts.  Mike has been refining his scientific method he swears by.  He recruited a few friends and neighbors who came to our house for a lesson in how to brine the perfect turkey.

It was a first to use the pool as part of his "cooling method".  We will taste the results tomorrow. Billy and Abby arrive tonight and we can't wait for a house full of family!  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

  I have learned something over time.  It is something that I am reminded of daily.

 EMBRACE the life in which you are living.  

At certain times in my life I have found this to be a bit of a challenge (an understatement).  However, as soon as I embrace the challenge and feel gratitude for the things in my life that are good.....happiness and peace are felt.  When I embrace the surroundings in which I live, I am able to find a love and a passion for my surroundings.  

Arizona has not been a difficult place to embrace unlike others I have lived and had to learn to love and embrace.  However, I never really imagined myself living in the desert.  That is why it is so incredibly amazing and remarkable how much I LOVE it!  It feels like home.  The sun, the sand, the desert landscape.....the crisp dry air.  I remember vividly crossing the state line driving with my kids in the backseat and Mike in the car following.  We had driven for 3 days cross country from the East leaving a life behind.  It was hearth wrenching to say goodbye to the past and to Pennsylvania.  It was also relieving to recognize a hard path we had completed with Mike's long drawn out training.  

I will never forget passing the sign that said "Welcome to Arizona".  Tears filled my eyes, and I just knew.  I just knew this was a place filled with new beginnings, hopes in horizons and satisfaction found in sunsets.  I know ....cheesy.  But just know things.  Holidays are times of reflection.  As much as I miss and love the memories of past holiday traditions....I love the traditions that we are beginning to make here in Arizona.

Our Holiday's consist of 

citrus orchards.....

and blowing sand....not snow in the desert for the Holiday's!

Cutie Cath  as my desert girl......


Monday, November 23, 2015

Mike and I met this family 10 years ago in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Little did we know when our paths first crossed Deanne would be a cohort in crime the rest of my hopeful very long life.:)    

My first memory of Deanne was her speaking at a stake women's conference meeting.  She somehow managed to tie in spiritual concepts while demonstrating a fashion show what not to wear.  I knew immediately I needed her in my life.  She has charisma a plenty and whit to boot.

We have laughed a lot.....daily, cried a....LOT, laughed some more, shopped, shopped some more, and eaten quite well along the way.  She has shared her secret recipes (she has some good ones), and solves many of my problems.  She helps keep me focused on tasks at hand, and we remind each of other of what truly is important.  Our conversations can be quite hilarious really.  We can be talking about what mascara works best one minute, crying about how life is terrible the next, and wrap up the conversation with a motivational scripture at the end.

We are opposites in some ways.  Best friends often are.  I think that's why we get along so well.
She is blunt and direct, my nature is more private and discreet.  She is organized and efficient, I tend to be chaotically organized and creatively distracted (I am trying to be nice to myself).  She says what I often think, and I say what she often wants to hear.  We are a good duo the two of us.  kind of yin and yang.... of sorts.    

Those are the best kind of friends.  I am grateful for good friends!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I just took some pictures of some of our really good friends who are moving....and I think they turned out to just right to fit their personality!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I am swimming in photos right now.  My editing list is growing a bit out of control.  

These are a few of my favorites the last few days.....