Family Pictures and Milestones

Check out our most recent family pictures!


Hurray for family pictures!  I’m thrilled to finally post all these…my sweet photographer Breanne had a baby right after shooting these and then Christmas and New Year’s so bless her heart for all the editing she’s been catching up on!

I love them all more than words can express and I hope you enjoy them at least a little 🙂

Liam is 11 this year and just the most delightful preteen around.  I seriously had no idea the older kid years would be so stinking much fun.  He has a hilarious sense of humor, is super intelligent and the BEST helper I could ask for.  He thinks nothing of jumping up every time I ask for something and is a fantastic big brother.  I can’t wait to see him as a teen!

Toby is 9 and the class clown of our homeschool – haha.  He is always happy and joking and LOVES little babies…he’s always hanging around Mimi and helping her.  Even at age 4 he loved holding the newborn twins so seeing him all grown up with a newborn (next month!) will be a lot of fun.  It took a while to convince him that reading can be as much fun as jumping on the trampoline but I love seeing him enjoy it now.

Juliet is bubbly, outgoing and can talk your ear off about anything…in other words, a pretty typical 7 year old girl.  She gets so excited about EVERYTHING so it’s kinda hard to keep a straight face when she’s talking to you.  Her latest obsessions are reading (Boxcar Children and Ramona Quimby books), her giant stuffed bear, riding her bike and gymnastics.

Vivan (aka the curly-haired twin) is a boisterous, opinionated and darling 5 year old.  She and Kira are THRILLED to be attending school one day a week and she doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by the fact that she can’t really write anything yet 🙂  Her personality is maddening on bad days and spunky on the good – I couldn’t love it more.

Kira is the most delightful little 5 year old lately!  She’s easy to please, quick to laugh and always obedient.  Kira worships her big sister Juliet and wants to copy everything about her, including her love of fashion, makeup and high heels.  We’re excited to see her get really close to reading independently too!

Finn is your typical, mischevious 3 year old, with a side of sweetness.  I’m really looking forward to seeing him with a new baby…he’s finally learning how to be tender and careful with little ones!  He and Mimi are developing a super cute little friendship as well, now that they share a bedroom (and when Finn’s not teaching her how to lose at sword fighting).  I’m thrilled that potty training has finally taken hold and his obsession with Star Wars knows no bounds!

Mimi (short for Marilyn) has been THE best baby on the planet!  Which just means that I hardly know what to do with the recent toddler curiosity that keeps her emptying 13 cabinets a day.  She is chubby and happy and a super great sleeper…in other words, a gateway baby to the next one! She’s also a girly girl to the extreme, in love with purses and shoes and trying on every lipgloss I own.

The love and adoration I have for this man is neverending.  Luke is the funniest, calmest, most loving man I know and I have never once seen him actually get angry in the 13 years we’ve known each other.  It takes a special guy to be willing to have a whole bunch of kids AND work hard enough to feed and keep them all in clothes, and I’m grateful for him every day.

Check out this post to see how I choose coordinating outfits for all these hooligans!

And these tips will help you succeed at family pictures every time.

Easter & Pattern Updates!


I apologize ahead of time for the ridiculous onslaught of pictures in this post.  Prepare to be bombarded.

Here are all our Easter pics plus more shots of and details about the updated Infinite A-line Dress Pattern!  Check them out!  (Click Read More)

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas jam packed with family, traditions, cozy pjs and hopefully an excited child (or 7) since they make Christmas so much more fun!  I’ve been dying to show you all our family pictures we took on Thanksgiving and now that our Christmas cards are out, here they are!  

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Marilyn’s Birth Story


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My chubby baby Marilyn turns 5 MONTHS tomorrow and in order to keep myself from totally melting down into a puddle of hormonal-overweight-newish-mom-tears, I figure it’s time to post about her birth story.

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Baptism, Blessing and Birthdays


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Out with the old


It’s a new year!!  Welcome to 2015, ya’ll!

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The start of a new year is always so bittersweet for me.  I love the anticipation of new experiences and change is like, my everything.  But at the same time I feel nostalgia for a year already gone.  Did I enjoy it enough?  Did I pay enough attention to the little milestones in my and my kids’ lives that we will never pass through again?  I’m often tempted to give in to my sentimental side and start a bawl-fest over all the little endings that happen regularly in my mom-life.

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I wanted to share all of our family pictures from this Fall, as a fond farewell to 2014.  And also, kind of like saying, “we successfully dressed and photographed 6 small children last year…BRING it, 2015!!”  But then again, that may be tempting fate 😉

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As much as I loathe endings to great things, there really is something special about beginnings, amiright?  New books, new houses, new babies, new clothes, new city or country, new friendships…the possibilities of what the new things in our life will bring is so exciting!

Of course, not all new things are good or exciting.  Certainly none of us wants to experience the loss of a thing or person we love.  Even some of the new things listed above can be heartbreaking under some circumstances such as divorce, job loss or death.

I guess all that means is that we look forward to the good things with joy and gratitude and pray that we’ll have the strength to endure the bad.  So much of what is good can come from those unanticipated “bad” surprises!

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I also almost forgot to share my favorite Christmas video, “He is the Gift”, on the blog!  Click here to see it or watch below.

This is my reminder that whatever goals or resolutions or buzz words I may have planned for this next year, becoming more like Christ should be at the center of everything I do.

Happy new beginnings!!

Pictures by Red Poppy Photo


The Emerald Isle

Luke smiles demurely at the site of some super cool ruins.   Hundreds of years ago, some Irish people used to protect themselves from invaders by building their own mini-islands.   One way to cross the lake to get there was by memorizing the location of underwater stepping stones and dancing your way across (ala El Macho and his lair in Despicable Me 2).

I’m officially adjusted to life back home now…although the transition was rough.  We’ve got another trip planned without kids in a couple days to celebrate our 10 years of marriage and this one’s gonna be a brute to come back from.  Hint: those pics are gonna have a lot more ocean in them…


The flowers in Ireland were seriously to DIE for.  But then again, flowers in general are kind of a novelty once you’ve lived in the desert for 10 years.  What are these anyway, hydrangeas?  I only know that they made me infinitely dissatisfied with my palo verdes.


We went on a little boat ride on Ireland’s only fjord (and you thought Frozen made those up) and it was spectacular!  Freezing, but spectacular.


So, I’ve got this thing with old doors and gates.  They’re so fabulous, especially fancy European ones.  Luke made fun of me mercilessly on our first couple trips to Europe when I’d stop in front of every doorway I saw but he knows to keep quiet now.  Speaking of doorways, in Ireland, EVERY door is painted a crazy fun accent color.  They say it’s because when the queen died one year (while under British rule), the royals made everyone paint their door black in mourning.  Story goes, when the drunk Irish guys came home late at night to a string of townhouses all with black doors, none of them could tell which house was theirs.  So they began painting them all different vibrant hues.  Hehe.


The main pedestrian shopping street in Galway.  It was our first place to spend the night and absolutely charming!

Tell me I’m not the only person who acts like a child when there’s oodles of green grass around.  Am I right??  Anyone?  Buehler??

At the top of Blarney Castle where we (disgustingly) kissed a stone (with our mouths) that millions of other people have kissed (with their mouths).  I thought it was supposed to bestow the gift of gab (which I already possess and therefore saw no need to participate) but when I learned it actually had the power to make one eloquent, (i.e. no foot in mouth syndrome) I happily queued up.

This was where we had our farewell dinner (delicious) to traditional Irish music played by a local band (hilarious).  It was a load of knee-slapping fun.

In short, Ireland was considerably more awesome than I expected.  Gorgeous place to rent a car and just get lost.  In fact, doing that alone with my lovely husband is now on my bucket list.  Green and gorgeous is an apt description.  This was my first trip to a foreign country where the locals speak my language (Canada doesn’t count) and I loved it.  The accent is so freaking cute that I’m stymied as to how they’ve fought so many wars.  If some farmer tried to come at me with a pitchfork I’d just giggle and ask him to talk some more.

The food was amazing – surprisingly similar to American food and this was the first European country I’ve been to where the people’s body types are most like Americans (ahem, large).  Then again, considering how many Irish immigrated to America, it’s not really that surprising.  Thanks for the food legacy, Ireland!
(and the ghastly English spelling 🙂

Top o’ the marning to yeh!


IMG_7919Cliffs of Moher
Luke and I are spending the week in Ireland right now, enjoying time with some friends and family members who have traveled with us on previous trips to Europe.  What a treat to relax in the cool air while our poor children sweat to death at home in Phoenix!  Ha ha!  Poor fools.

 Downtown abbey in the background (not really)

Green everywhere, gorgeous castles, beautiful music and surprisingly delicious food.  I haven’t experienced actual hunger in over 7 days now.


Here are just a few of my favorite shots of this amazing Emerald Isle.


Luke’s great-uncle Johnny celebrated his 88th birthday on this trip.  If I’m still hiking all over Europe when I turn 88 then I’m gonna be pretty danged pleased with myself.  He also uses his age as an excuse to get fresh with younger women.  Brilliant!

Galway bay
Luke being photobombed by SIL, Anna.  Ah, good times being had by all.
We’ve got 2 days left in Dublin before we board the plane back to reality.  Time to inhale all the chocolate croissants I can find.

A decade of lovin’

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Luke’s mom let us borrow her convertible VW bug for our weekend away.  Yesssss.
On May 8th Luke and I celebrated 10 years of marriage!  That seems to be simultaneously a ludicrously long amount of time and barely the blink of an eye.  Part of me wonders how the heck I became my mother who now measures time in 10 year increments instead of weeks or months and the other part of me can hardly remember back to when I was a clueless single person desperate for a date with a decent guy.  Wow, flashback!  Dating is brutal.
I talked Luke into going back to San Diego, where we were married, for a quick weekend away and it was THE best.  Remember back when you had no responsibilities and could just lounge around eating and sleeping in and frolicking time away??  Yeah, me neither…but it’s awesome!
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Here we are, our marriage just minutes old.  Man, we had no idea what was about to hit us.  But we’ve loved every bit of it!
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Of course we had to take some pictures in front of the same temple, 10 years later.  Not much the worse for wear, eh?  Luke’s missing some hair and my rear end ain’t as tight as it used to be, but all things considering, not bad at all.
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I sure do love the San Diego temple.  Don’t ask me why we got married here when both of our families live in Arizona.  It was just the first of many times when my sweet husband bowed to my unreasonable whim, with no questions asked.  I sure love him!  And his willingness to bow to my whims. 
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We rode bikes around Coronado island which is the cutest, most picturesque island I’ve ever been to.  And the houses are all gorgeous!
photo 1 (2)The Hotel Del, where Marilyn Monroe filmed “Some Like It Hot”.

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Spent some time on the perfect beach at the Hotel Del Coronado where we spent our wedding night.  Bless Luke’s heart, he even called to see if we could afford to stay there again on this trip (we couldn’t).  Ah well, maybe in another 10 years.
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Also, Extraordinary Desserts.  Um, yeeeeah. 
Sad story: I left the rest of that ganache covered cheesecake (the lightest, fluffiest cheesecake you’ve ever tasted!) in the hotel fridge and realized it as we pulled out of town.  We (er, Luke) decided not to go back for it and if I told you I don’t think about that cheesecake sitting abandoned in that mini bar on a regular basis, I’d be lying.
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I always told myself I wanted to fit back into my wedding dress on my 10 year anniversary and, SUCCESS!  Granted, there was a bit of sucking in involved and this was taken before the previously mentioned dessert episode, but I’m calling it a win.
In all seriousness, I consider myself one of the amazingly lucky ones who found an incredible guy who’s happy working all day to support his little big family.  After work he comes home to grubby fingers wanting piggy back rides and to dish duty and the bedtime routine, but he does it all with pleasure and a laugh.  I’m so grateful for him every. single. day. 

holiday fancies

In my personal opinion, middle class moms never get enough chances to dress up.  So, of course, I like to overdress at every opportunity I get.  Luke’s work party was my occasion this holiday season.  I managed to squeeze all my favorite trends into one outfit this time: peplum, leather accent, metallics and ankle strap heels.  I’m a multi-tasker, what can I say?!

I was really hoping to find a sleek pair of metallic jacquard crops kinda like these but nothing I liked was in my budget.  So luckily I scored this great pencil skirt on sale at Anthropologie instead.  Way impractical due to the fanciness but I couldn’t help it.
Sorry, forgot the red liptsick for this picture.  Criminal.
I could just come up with evening outfits all day long.  Time to start crashing some parties!