Thursday, June 30, 2016

The past few night here in Arizona we have been getting summer storms.  WE LOVE summer desert storms around here.  We had all the kids snuggled in our bed late last night watching the lightning storm.  This morning when I woke up it was cloudy and stormy.  

It has felt quite heavenly!  

This morning it hit me....the 4th of July is coming and nearly here.  It is my responsibility to make memories for may family for the 4th.  Yikes.  Being a parent can feel overwhelming.  The older my kids get, the more I feel like a cruise ship director in the summer time especially.  

We hung a large flag on the front of our house this year!  Every time I drive up to our house....I smile with pride to see our giant flag swaying in the desert breeze.  

WE LOVE red, white, and blue around our house.  Not a hard holiday for us to find some 4th of July gear for this family!  

So a few pictures to capture my favorite little and not so little people in my life. 










I seriously don't have many more years of Cath being able to wear patriotic halters......I am taking full advantage of bows, halters, and rollerskates!  





Friday, June 24, 2016

A recap of the week.  A hodgemapodge of randomness and photos.  

It has been so extremely hot, indoor activities have been the venue of necessity.  Excluding of course swimming which we do at least twice a day.

The week started out with hosting a small lunch here at my house.  Bringing the party inside with a friend who just had a birthday not too long ago.  My friend a decorator extraordinaire showed up with these little arrangements for each of us to take keep.  They were from one of her install/photo days.  It completely made my DAY!  

  

My favorite coffee table book as of late is The Modern Mix by Eddie Ross!



I have been slowly collecting design books for my library (which I currently really don't have).  



I have been on a sewing kick.  Some patriotic clutches are my latest sew choice!  I have a love/hate with sewing.  It actually doesn't come really naturally for me so when I get a project figured out it is exciting for me!  



If I could wear a dress every day....I would.  I LOVE dresses.  The above are some of my favorites actually long enough for a women 6'0.  


I am re-loving old pillows I splurged on 4 years ago.  They were in my family room and just moved to my bedroom. 
Schumacher fabric is definitely my top choice of household fabrics!  

I have been trying to be a diligent summer Mom and took my kids on a field trip to the Butterfly museum in Phoenix.  I was pleasantly surprised how much we all loved it. 




 A big atrium filled with butterflies was beautiful and tropical and felt like a great getaway field trip day!



For some reason the butterflies loved me.  My kids kept laughing at me flocked by butterflies.  It must have been the tropical skirt I was wearing:)  


 Palms everywhere it seems including the atrium and how I love them!




So in a nutshell.....

A whole lot of random tid bits going on around here this past week trying to relish the summer freedom and stay clear from getting heat stroke!  




Saturday, June 18, 2016

Family Reunion

The Edwards side family reunion just ended!  We spent a week at a dude ranch, and wow it was a week worth re living!  I got home just a few hours ago and don't want to let time slide without quickly documenting fresh memories with this amazing crew of mine.  

Let's preface the post with Edwards family reunion at a dude ranch in the middle of nowhere......as a classic moment in life's history thus far.  Thank you to our amazing Father and his wife Sylvia for planning this epic get together. It was an experience we will hopefully never forget.  

Just a preface on our family dynamics.  I come from a family of four children.  I am number three of four.  

The oldest member in our family, Rebecca has 8 children.  Yes EIGHT!  She is running a nation along with her husband.  Each of her children are fun loving and hilarious in their own ways.    Her two oldest sons are serving LDS missions and are great examples for all of the "littles".  Her family is well traveled and have been to many "spots" in their lives.  They LOVE the beach and frequent it often.  The dude ranch is not something this family does quite often aka.....ever..... 

The second oldest member of my family is Dave.  He and his wife have 3 children.  His oldest son is a clone to his father/my brother.  He has a daughter who was traveling abroad and a youngest son who reminds me of my Sammy with his blonde buzz, blue eyes and fair skin.  They love to travel, and have traveled abroad extensively.  Last year they spent a month travelling through Norwegian countries.   His wife Jill has biked through mountains of Italy and read books from A to Z.  The dude ranch is not something their family does quite often aka.....ever....:)

Mike and I .......well from the history of this blog..... we are who we are.  We have basically lived a rural Pennsylvania life for 9 years during Mike's medical training.  Our version over the past 10 years of an exotic vacation has been Chinese take out.  We love the dessert and sunshine....and well, that's us.  The dude ranch is not something our family does quite often aka ......ever:)  

Billy my youngest brother and his wife Abby are newlyweds....so to speak.  They have been married two years and have the most ADORABLE baby boy EVER!  They have traveled A TON!  They are a bit on the understated side (meaning humble in nature not in stature), and I truly would have loved to have been a passenger in both their back pockets viewing their excursions.   The dude ranch is not something their family does quite often...aka....ever. 

This is why it was the perfect spot for us to all be TOGETHER!  We all were out of our element, so to speak, and ready for some good old fashion family bonding.  I surely love this family of mine.  We don't get to spend nearly enough time together because of our schedules and being as spread out as we are!

My family including Mike the kids and I left Sunday after church.  We drove 8 hours and spent the night at the Butch Cassidy Inn in Circleville.  Circleville is a bigger town outside of Antimony where the ranch was located.  There are 500 people in the town of Circleville versus 168 .......hah!


When we got to the ranch the next day I was convinced I was prepared.  I showed up with ranch hat in hand and cowboy boots ready.  Problem was.....my "cowboy" boots were perforated and not made for riding....and my ranch hat....well it definitely looked better on the free people website than at the Rockin R Ranch.  Really I needed my wranglers and the real deal cowboy boots for what was to lie ahead.  

We were not in charge of meals, and we had very limited phone/internet service.  It was the perfect escape to just be together and bond as a family with cousins.  We had the best time!  Life was simple at the ranch just the way it was suppose to be. 

We were all so impressed with the people that worked at the ranch full time.  We got to know some of the locals and were all inspired at how hard working, and sincere they were.  At the end of the trip we felt a bond and attached to many who worked at the ranch. 

The first day that we were there it was quite windy and a bit on the cooler side than expected.  They had our family scheduled for tubing down a lazy river after a trail ride.  The kids were game for tubing and Dave took one for the team and volunteered.  I offered to go but at the last minute backed out.  When they got back from tubing they were frozen.  The water had been freezing and boy I was happy I backed out at the last minute.  Dave and Billy often will "take one for the team" in the family.  We were all grateful.  The kids were a tad on the scarred side, but it was an experience I know they will remember and all laugh about.

One of our favorite days....was a day spent  3 miles from the Rockin R Ranch where we camped at a place they call "south mountain".  It was amazingly gorgeous.   At south mountain we went rock climbing, repelling, fishing, tomahak throwing, wading through rivers, and just enjoyed the vast open air.  The mountains surrounding were majestic.  There were absolutely no distractions from nature and it was quite heavenly.  Mountains on each side of us and vast fields with a stream running through was the setting.   There was an eagles nest directly above our "campsite".  We spent most of the day and well into the evening at South Mountain.  We enjoyed a dutch oven dinner made by the ranch crew, and sat around a camp fire and roasted marshmellows. Mike even caught a large trout and showed the kids how to gut and cook the fish over the campfire. (I think he surprised himself, but enjoyed teaching the kids an anatomy lesson).

My Dad turned 70 this year.....so we had an opportunity thanks to Dave's planning to sing him happy birthday and play a Grandpa Edwards trivia game.  We were divided into teams and it was a competitive match on who knew Grandpa/Dad the best.....
And we were competitive!!!

I was reminded this trip of my heritage and the past from where I come.  I am so grateful for good examples of family in my life.  They influence me always for the good and truly inspire me to want to be a better person.  My brothers and sisters are interesting, positive, smart and hard working.  When asked how everyone slept it was always a "great"  when asked how the food was it was always "great".  In hindsight my back kind of hurt, but the food really was good.  

 My family works hard, gets their hands dirty, and has a genuinely positive 98 percent of the time.  Those qualities sustain me on a daily basis.  The example of not just my immediate family  (brothers and sisters), but from my ancestors sustain me day to day.  I can not express the amount of times in my life when I have I thought....what would my Grandma and Grandpa Edwards do in this situation.  Or what would my Grandma or Grandpa Harrington encourage me to do.  I have felt of their love and support vividly in my life both when they were living, and since they have passed.  The same with my own mother.  Daily, and many times even this past trip, I thought about what my own Mom would say or how she would act.  She would definitely be happy and interested and encouraging to all!  

I was impressed with my Dad and his calm presence along with his wife and her loving him and supporting him daily.  She is kind and loyal and am grateful that she loves him.  She recognizes the importance of families.....and that is a huge blessing!

We love family....and we surely felt grateful for the experience at the ranch this past week.  It is people and moments not things that truly make us happy!  I had many conversations this past week with each of my brothers and sisters.  We had lots of discussions about raising kids in the day that we live.  It is so different with technology and social media.  Values for most Americans are different and more liberal than in times when we were young.

There is a lot of gray areas in life.  I am grateful for the good values I was taught in my life from my family and from their examples.  There was no gray in my family.  It was clear what was expected and what brought true happiness.  We were always taught that true happiness comes from living true principles.   Principles that were based on teachings from church and from scriptures.

27 years ago we had a family reunion at this same ranch with my cousins on my Dad's side of the family.  It was planned by my Grandpa and Grandma Edwards.   I was 13 years old at the time and have memories of time spent there.  My Grandpa Edwards was a professor in his later years after retirement at Brigham Young University.  He taught a class Economics of the Gospel Plan.  My Dad gave each of us an outline of the class.  I have been reading and re-reading his outline and objectives taught.  He noted that all of his experiences, studies, and observations convinced him that success as a Church member was dominated by how well one mastered the art of applying to everyday situations the principles and philosophy of the gospel.

He taught basic principles in his class that are part of who I am today.  The outline my Grandpa wrote resonates with me because it is part of my heritage and history.  They are principles taught through his writings and stories gathered.

I am so grateful for family that has taught me through example more than through words.  They are wise and whisper to my soul daily.



This darling crew just waiting to ride horses.  Trail rides were my personal favorite part of the ranch!




These two LOVED the pony rides.  I am quite sure Sam may have the record for times in a row for the pony ride.


These two......my sister and her daughter are HILARIOUS!  LOVE them BOTH!


My cowgirl.....She was in full cowgirl character the entire trip.


Sam's favorite thing in the entire world is horses.  He has carried stuffed horses and ponies around EVERYWHERE since the time he could walk.  He was in HEAVEN this trip.  His face was proud as punch on the "big" horse.


Cute Steven.....we know which college team this guy roots for...:) 



A memory of Dave was his love of horses when he was young.  He was a natural on this one!



Mike....always game and makes me laugh.


We love this cute Lizzy!


This was in preparation for the real rodeo our family put on.  We were all trying to learn the art of staying on......

he didn't quite make it 8 seconds...



My roping girl....



This picture could be used for blackmail.  This is about as close to riding a real bucking bronco as I get.


Roped.....



by this guy!  The determination....





Love these spectators.  Don't let this picture fool you...they were high on action!


Cute picture of a darling boy!  Matthew was seriously the first to try everything difficult and dangerous.  At only 11 years old he is brave and tough beyond his years.
A gentle giant!


These two looked a lot alike in baby photos....


Bec as a diligent Mom working the phone cam.



Yep....it was high....and scaaaaaraaay especially for those of us afraid of heights.




This is one of my all time favorite Rachel pictures....EVER!




Mike made repelling look way to easy.


I took the plunge and actually loved it!



The scenery was seriously gorgeous out in the wide open air.



These two silly girls were inseparable the entire trip.




Doesn't he just look like a scout master....and he is!


The cutest fishermen I ever did see.


Rodeo time....





Proud as punch with all of us cheering him on as her made his rodeo debut.  They rode him around like the king of the rodeo.


Determined Cath who never let go.  They finally just had to stop because she just was determined to stay on.



One of the funniest sights of the trip....He's not falling off here...he actually rode and held on for dear life for at least a minute...until the sheep tired and had to sit down...:)


But not as funny and AMAZING as BILLY riding a bucking calf!


He was too cool for school!



Tom and his rodeo skills were impressive as well.


She just makes me smile!


We were all praying for no broken bones.  Football season is not too far off.  And this boy LOVES football.


Both 11 and both the tallest in their class.
We know there was a rider on this one, but he's been devoured by this bucking calf!


Family First!



He was the longest time on the calf ....this 11 year old Matthew.





  It was an epic week with favorite people!