Thursday, July 31, 2008






Another wonderful reason to holiday in Utah. Kellie, thanks for being a "blog fan" and making my day (I'm so vain I love to hear that people read this thing). DeAnne, you are a generous and giving sister to me, loving my kids, listening to me talk about blue walls and white cupboards, and cheering me on even though we'd both like to be neighbors again. Julia, yea we got together! It is like a spring breeze to spend time with you; refreshing and rejuvinating! Not to mention that my kids have fun with their friends too (but I'm too busy talking to their friends' moms to remember to take great pics of their fun, sorry kids!) Friends are extended family to me, I can't help but love them and I love to learn from them.
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one thing I miss terribly about our life in Utah; my sisters. We enjoyed a rare gathering of all of us (sisters-in-law are considered sisters indeed to me) last Saturday with manicures, lunch, and a little second hand shopping (the best kind; photos of our finds to follow another time). Hearing about new houses (my sister and her talented husband are creating one from the little bungalow they've owned for some time and my other sister looks forward to watching her significant other -also very talented-build one of his own west of town somewhere) to new apartments (a sister in law and a sister are both in -or soon to be in- new ones) to stories about kids and schools (two of us are lamenting the emergence of teenage mentality in our households).

Thank you sisters for the time on Saturday. Thank you brothers for babysitting the kids so the sisters could spend time together. Thank you Bryn for being a trooper too, taking your little sisters while I was uplifted by mine.

How lucky I am that my sisters are also my friends.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Our main purpose in these long summer holidays is to bring our kids to their cousins. Somehow, through the providence of heaven, each of our kids has a cousin within 6 months of their age. Usually their cousin isn't of their same gender, but that hasn't mattered much. Mostly they are just a big bunch of crazy friends, who love each other, imagine together, and share a bond of family friendship that is unique and special to their parents.

Hopefully I can bring you a photo or two of our "cousin camp" an annual event that began 6 summers ago, when we also lived in Texas. Locations and activities have varied through the years, but the anticipation for each upcoming camp builds and grows year by year. This annual gathering of friends who share blood will be happening for many years to come.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dear John,

Thank you for the kind phone calls, the "happy birthday medley" and the beautiful flowers. I missed you on my birthday indeed-and more so because you tried so hard to be "attentive by remote". I think of you morning 'til night, no less than when we are residing in the same city, but the thoughts of our life together come more vividly when we are apart. Seeing dear friends, remembering fun date nights, reviewing our long-ago courtship which took place here in this town-it all brings my heart so tenderly to the surface.

I hope my little love notes have begun to trickle into the mailbox. I couldn't leave you to toil and labor for our welfare without some reminder that I'm thankful for the way you so diligently magnify your role as our provider and protector.

Just wanted to thank you for making my birthday sweet. And to remind you that my love for you is ever deeper for our absence from each other. What are the words to the song?

And though I know sometimes you go, to find your way alone,
Ever more I will love you,
you are ever my own.

with all my love,

Monday, July 28, 2008

A couple of pics from the Utah Holiday 2008

Thanks to John for sending a few photos to share with all of you. Family pictures with cousins and grandparents, and Porter earnestly seeking a second popsicle. Life here is good. Especially when one takes into consideration all the heat advisory emails I've been getting for our little town in Texas. Watching my kids scooter in the driveway here at Grandma's house sure beats watching them pull the fuzz out of our throw pillows as they go stir crazy in ours. Even Cooper the dog can't really go outside these days...and outside is the only place we can let him go right now (he's gone a little stir crazy himself!).

More pics all week long, and perhaps I can give you a glimpse of the happy birthday extravaganza my mom put on for me last night, candles and everything...

Happy Monday

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A remote Post

Hi friends and family,
I'm posting from my parents' computer, which cannot download photos from my camera, so you don't get to see all the fun we are having on our month long hiatus from Texas. Two weeks down, two more to go...

hope I can share the fun more consistently during the last half of our trip-now that my better half is slaving away back in TX without us I'd like him to see that we are trying our best to enjoy our time away from the sweltering heat and the daily clipboard chores.

Park City, Cousin Camp, Family pictures and the baptism of my adorable niece have been high lights so far, but they pale in comparison to the 15 minute date John and I shared in the church parking lot while snarfing down crown burgers and milkshakes-our only time alone until we reunite in 16 days.

I'm counting down each one. And in the mean time, trying to enjoy my kids and family and the beauty of the mountains I grew up with.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fitting it in

to our suburban, that is. See all this stuff? Has to fit in the back of our car before 10 p.m. tonight so we can leave at 4 a.m. tomorrow for our long trek west. We will enjoy our cousins, grandparents and each other as an intact "traditional" family for a week. The kids and I stay on for three more, and send John home to toil and labor for our welfare while we play in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains and in the watchful care of our "grand family" as our kids have always called them (few kids tell their friends that their aunts and uncles are their favorite people. Few kids are as fiercely loyal to their extended family as ours).

Wish us luck and check in to see how the two day drive treats us. Happy summer holiday!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A thoughtful giver...

Have you ever read that book about the love languages? You know, the one that proposes that different people feel loved in different ways. One of the ways is by spending "quality time" with the person. One way is by proximity (they call this "physical touch", but it isn't so much the kissy face kind of touch as the hold-your-hand-tastefully-in-public kind of touch). One of the languages is the language of giving gifts.

I feel loved that way.

Funny thing-and complicated thing-is, I don't just want to get any old gift. One year John presented a gift to me that he had asked someone else to pick out. That was not a favorite. Last year's birthday gift was, however, like the best gift ever-and it wasn't even that I got this cool Mac, it was the presentation, the thought that went behind the action. John had taken the time to present me with something that showed he knows me, and that he knows me well. That was the best gift John has ever given me, because I felt he'd listened to me all the times I'd told him this or that and then he rolled all that listening into an action, a gift, and that gift was magic to my fact I'm all a twitter just remembering that sweet and wonderful Birthday surprise (John, I've got a kiss waiting for you when you finally get home tonight).

Well, Erin, a neighborhood/church/running buddy friend who I just met last February, has given me just such a thoughtful, caring and considerate gift. An early birthday present (because we are not going to be in Texas on my actual birthday). I would never have expected a gift from Erin, or any other friend for that matter. But, after an exceptionally difficult morning, I came home to see a darling package waiting. Inside were these darling charms-and do you see that?!!! My new montra, how thoughtful is that?!!! How awesome, how cool, how unique---how loving.

Thanks Erin. What a kind, insightful, caring and loving gift to give a girl you've known not too long and who-I'm sure-you could relegate to "acquaintance". But no, you've instead shown me love and friendship beyond belief. A happy birthday to me, early, all because of you!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Miss Photogenic

Lucy has a definite pattern in front of the camera these days. As soon as she sees me pull my little silver elf from its tiny black case she is all smiles-even when she's not all smiles before or even after the camera goes back into its case! "Lemmeee seeee" is one of her favorite phrases, asking to see herself in the view-screen after the shot is taken. Almost always Lucy is looking up at me, and her pictures emphasize her tiny little size as the perspective shows the photographer towering over her. She's such a little flirt with the camera, and it is fun to see this litte elf with the pixie smile staring up in so many of our family's photographs. Keep smiling little Lucy, you are a wonderful site to see!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Images of the Fourth

Hours spent in the swimming pool. More Water fun at the fountains in Highland Village. Grandma spends the weekend with us! Bar-b-que with friends and fireworks at the High School. A little red white and blue bedecks the Graham homestead.

Happy Birthday to America. It astounds me the miracle of the beginnings of our nation. It worries me the attitude of our current situation. One nation, under God, and hopefully with respect and deference to that God, that we may go forward as a nation with more humility and with an attitude of service and respect toward others is my birthday wish for us as a nation this year....

Monday, July 07, 2008

Happy Belated...

Dear John,
Happy Birthday, again! I'm hoping today that our quiet celebrations this weekend were communication enough of the central place you have as the rock of our family, and the center of my happiness. As we worshiped yesterday at church and I heard you bear testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ, it felt so good to know that you stand beside Him as the center of my universe. I love you John Graham. New sunglasses and birthday cake don't say that well enough. Trying to keep the house together and the kids on track while you toil and labor for our welfare seems a small effort when it is an expression of my love and support for you.

Thanks for standing next to me. Thanks for putting your arm around me at the bar-b-que and for letting me lean up against you as we stood in the crowd. It was your birthday weekend and yet I felt you were always trying to give the gifts to me.

I look forward to a long drive in the car with you and our kids this weekend. As confined as those long desert hours may be, I can't wait for the moments when your blackberry lacks any reception and we are truly alone-just the 8 of us on the road with the eyes of a loving God watching over us as we bring our family to the comfort and fun of Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Sounds a bit like heaven to me right now. The world has crowded into our lives a little more than could ever be to my liking, and I am eager for the seclusion of life on vacation.

So happy to be yours, so thankful you are mine. Happy belated to my love, my rock and my friend. Happy Birthday to my John...


Thursday, July 03, 2008

A new theme

A much needed daily reminder for me to push ahead even when raising a crew feels a bit, well, less than calm. In a prominent place of the house, right above where I sit to share my thoughts here with you. Hopefully it will help me press forward on those days when the chaos and noise of this world and its problems pushes in on me and my family. It reminds me a lot of this scripture, which I have always loved

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

On the Road

to his eagle scout, Mason is using this summer (or should I more appropriately say, Mason's parents are using this summer) to earn the required merit badges so he can be ever so close to completing that very monumental task. This week he had to complete a project for our family. We used that requirement to get needed fencing around our back yard so Cooper the cocker would stop hanging out with the horses in the vast pasture behind us. It took him about 41/2 hours to complete,including two trips to Home Depot to have the right materials, and cost the family around $100. Money well spent to keep Cooper safe and keep Mason on the road to Eagle.

That memory I have of my mother jumping for joy when her sons completed their eagle? Now I get it. She was relieved to have an extra few hours each week, since it takes about that to push those sons through these projects. Especially in this day of immediate gratification for things that we want, this eagle earning is slow in coming to these boys, and hard for them to see it as even complete-able (Mason said this morning, "even after I spend this whole summer working on this thing I still have more to do! Is it really worth it?")

It is worth it Mason! You are learning that things worth while take a long time, and a lot of work. You are learning to serve and help others, and to work toward being a leader among your family and friends. You are putting stuff you want now (like video time and a dip in the pool) for what you want more (like being a little more like your dad, his brothers and my brothers too. Those men you look up to? Yep, pretty much all of them Eagle Scouts, like you are going to be). You are learning that sometimes we have to do stuff we'd rather not (like tie chicken wire to the back fence) in order to finish things that are important to us and beneficial to others. Good stuff my boy. Good stuff...

Follow us along this road as Mason continues to work toward this worthy goal. I'll try to post his scout accomplishments here as they happen, to let the world know that I am very proud to have a son who is working to become an Eagle Scout.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Finishing School

A few of the many wonderful and dedicated mothers in our church congregation have kindly allowed my girls and I to "hang with them" and learn some wonderful "finishing" skills like sewing. Last week the girls chose fabric, and together over just a few hours we (the girls really did actually do a bit of the sewing) created darling twirly skirts with very fun fabric. Look for finished photos at the end of the day once I've been able to sew on the finishing touch-ric rac trim. Thanks moms Jessica and Mindy for letting us learn from you-as a result I'm thinking a serger is definitely a must for our family of many girls...can't wait to make bread with you soon and finally to enjoy a lesson in table manners and etiquette. How fun to "finish ourselves" this summer!