Thursday, October 24, 2013


Today is my sister-in-law Ashley's birthday.  I love her so much, and I don't really know where to start with this blog tribute.  I've actually been thinking about it for a week now, and I still feel like I don't know quite how to put Ashley into words.  I guess I will just start writing and see what happens!

Ashley is Ryan's only sister, and she was a junior in high school when Ryan and I got married.  Today she is turning 25 and is a wonderful wife and mother.  It's crazy how time flies, and I have been privileged to watch Ashley become an amazing woman over the last eight years.  I admire her and am so grateful for our relationship.

Ashley is very talented.  Like her mother, she is a great seamstress with an eye for color and an ability to put things together in a beautiful way.  She has put countless hours into developing this skill, and I am always in awe of the lovely things she creates.  (I also love it when we benefit from her skills--she has made Noah tons of adorable ties, and for his second birthday, she made him a little train backpack which he calls his "purse." Hilarious.)  She is also a great cook and enjoys putting together delicious meals.  I really admire her talents in these areas because I have no domestic abilities.  (I must add that I also love that Ashley doesn't judge me for being so inept at homemaking.  Just the other day when I accidentally baked her birthday cake in a 9x13 pan instead of the 12x18 pan that the recipe called for, and the middle caved in a bit and the frosting was messy and ugly, she told me it was perfect.)

Ashley is quiet like Ryan, but she has a lot of spunk and strong opinions under her quiet exterior, and I love it.  She is a great listener and easy to talk to, not just because she will let me talk for hours (which she does) but also because she will give her opinions and advice.  She is very wise, and I'm so glad that we can share our hearts with each other.  She is one of the people with whom I share pretty much everything--she even puts up with me emailing her excerpts from my journal and other deep thoughts when I am feeling sentimental or melancholy.  Ha! I am so glad she is always willing to listen to me.  She is truly one of my best friends.

Ashley is the absolute sweetest aunt to Noah.  I'm not quite sure how to explain it--I've just always sensed the strength of her love and loyalty to him, even from the time he was a tiny baby.  She loves him.  She has taken the time and effort to get to know him--his personality, his likes and dislikes, his quirks.  I know she will always be a huge part of his life, and I consider that to be such a gift.

When Ashley's own baby was born almost a year ago, I felt so nostalgic.  It was the first time that one of my little sisters had a baby.  We were actually in Pocatello for the holidays when we got the news of Kate's birth, and I remember standing in Ashley's childhood room before I put Noah to bed that night (his pack-and-play was in her room), and I looked around at the framed photos and mementos from her high school years.  I marveled at the fact that she was all grown up and had her own baby now. I felt so blessed that I got to be a part of her teen years, and that I got to see her marry and become a mother, and that I will get to be a part of her children's lives.  I adore little Kate, and I love that she is a mini Ashley with her beauty and spunk.

When Ryan and I were on our honeymoon, Ashley sent me the sweetest email--it meant so much to me that to this day I remember where I was when I read it.  She told me that she was grateful that after 16 years of having only brothers, she finally had a sister.  I am so grateful that Ashley has always treated me and loved me as a sister--because I've always felt that way about her as well.  I am so grateful that we get to share our lives and our children with each other.

So happy birthday to an amazing woman who has greatly enriched my life.  Thank you for all of the handmade gifts, delicious meals, long talks, and good laughs.   I love you, Ash, and I am grateful that you are one of my sisters!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this on my blog, but I'm not keeping it a secret from family and friends whom I've spoken with in the past few months, so I figured I might as well let the rest of you into the loop as well.  (Plus, I could really use all the prayers I can get.)

In the next few weeks, I will be undergoing the process of invitro fertilization (IVF) in an attempt to add Nielson Baby #2 to our family.  It's exciting and scary.  Though I have done lots of fertility treatments over the years, I have never done IVF.  It's the most physically invasive and expensive type of fertility treatment, and I think I have been a little afraid to try it before now.  But the chances of IVF working are better when you are in your 20s, and since I turn 30 this year, we figured now is as good a time as any for us to move forward with this.

I have so many emotions as we head into this procedure.  I'm somewhat hesitant to share what I'm feeling because I may come off as overly dramatic--but the truth is, the past few weeks have been tough and the next few will be as well.  Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about my fears--my fear of the physical and emotional side effects of the hormones and medications that they are putting into my body; my fear of the injections, which will be several shots a day by the end of the process; my fear of being away from Ryan during most of this, as there is no fertility doctor in Twin Falls and thus I will have to stay in Utah for a week or two while they are monitoring me and completing the multiple steps of the process; and most of all, my fear that, at the end of all of this, I will not be pregnant.  I have had several dear friends undergo IVF, and many of them did not get pregnant as a result (at least not the first time that they tried it).  One of my very best friends did IVF several times while I was living in Buffalo, and watching her endure months of physical and emotional trial and disappointments made me slightly terrified to ever try IVF.  (Interestingly, she felt the same way about adoption as a result of watching our struggles and disappointments.)  I've heard that the success rate for IVF throughout the nation is about 40%, which means that it doesn't work more often than it does.  I know there is no point in worrying about the possible heartache at the end of this journey, but sometimes it's hard to keep my mind from going there.

But on the other hand, sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about a new baby.  I can't sleep because I am giddy thinking, "In one month, I could be pregnant!" "By next August, we could have a new baby!" I think about Noah as a big brother and Ryan as a father to a new baby again.  I think about what it would be like to feel a baby kick inside of me.  I let my mind wander to the little details, such as how we will need to turn our guest room into a nursery.  I know this is getting way ahead of myself...I know I probably shouldn't let myself think this way...and yet I feel like it's much better to lie awake feeling hopeful and excited rather than scared and discouraged, right?

There was some question as to whether or not I would even be able to pursue IVF right now because my ovarian cysts have been out-of-control this past year, and they can't stimulate my ovaries if they already have dangerously large cysts on them.  I've been on birth control the past two months to try to calm down my ovaries, and today was the deadline for me to be cyst-free if I was going to do IVF before the holidays.  It seemed like the doctor was skeptical that my cysts would be controlled by this point, but I had an ultrasound this morning, and for the first time in six months, I have no ginormous cysts!  Hallelujah!  I feel so grateful and happy today.

And that's what I am going to try to hold on to and focus on this next month: my gratitude.  Gratitude for modern medicine that makes it possible for women like me to even try to get pregnant.  Gratitude for Ryan's job that makes it possible for us to pay for this type of procedure.  Gratitude for my doctors and nurses who devote so much time and energy to their high-stress job.  Gratitude for my body that it doesn't give out during all of these procedures and under the stress of all of these medications.  Gratitude for family and friends who have always supported me and who are praying for me now.  And most of all, gratitude for my Father in Heaven who I know is aware of me.  This past Sunday, I taught a lesson to the teenage girls at my church about patience and trusting in the timing and will of the Lord.  (This just happened to be my assigned topic--crazy, huh?)  I read them the letter that I wrote to Noah on his second birthday about how he is "the best thing I ever had to wait for."  It reminded me all over again that God "has a plan for our lives and for our families."  So important to remember that.

My dear friend in Buffalo who went through many failed IVF attempts and years of heartache...she has her perfect baby boy now, conceived during her fourth IVF procedure.  And Ryan and I got our perfect baby boy as well, placed in our arms by the eighth birthmother who contacted us about adoption.  Though our journeys took a little longer than we had anticipated, both of us agree that our boys were worth every moment of the heartache.  I am going to try to remember that in the coming months.

I may periodically write an update during the next six weeks about how the process is going...or I may not.  (I have no idea how I will be feeling or what I will want to share).  But I just wanted to let all of you know now what is going on and ask for your prayers.

Thanks for reading and for caring about us.  xoxo

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This Boy...

Is he the cutest or what??  Oh I just want to eat him right up.

I was reading through old blog posts, and I found this one that I wrote only four months ago, "A Love Letter to my Tantruming Twenty-Two Month Old."  As humorous as that post is, and as true as it may have been during that moment in time, it's not true of Noah's personality now--and I realized that I need to set the record straight so Noah doesn't go down in history as a terrible, terrorizing two-year old.  The truth is, he is incredibly sweet and well-behaved, and though of course he has his moments and his meltdowns (believe me, he's not immune to tantrums on occasion), I know how lucky I am to have such a sweetheart on my hands.  I am so grateful.

And so I want to record for posterity some of the moments from the past few months that have made me thankful for my happy, loving, content little boy.  He is such a gift.

*Whenever I ask "May I have a kiss-kiss?" he runs over and plants one on my lips.  He is always willing to give a hug, a squeeze, or a kiss when I need one.

*I have a very loud sneeze, and whenever I let out an "Ahhh-chooo!" that rattles the house, Noah exclaims, "HOLY SHNIKEY!" (He learned that saying from his dad.)

*When we were leaving the parking lot at church not too long ago, Noah said out-of-the-blue, "Bye, Jesus!" :)

*Whenever Noah spills something and looks at me with teary eyes and a frown, I always say, "It's okay--everybody makes mistakes."  And then I show him how to wipe up the mess and spot mop or whatever needs to be done. Well the other day, I accidentally dropped a bowl of ranch dressing on the floor, and it splattered everywhere.  I let out a discouraged sigh (it had been a long day) and just stared at the mess in dismay.  Noah was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at me with big, concerned eyes, and after a few moments of silence, he piped up, "It's okay, Mommy--everybody makes mistakes.  Let's just clean it up."  I think my heart melted on the spot.

*Sometimes when Noah is playing in his room, and I am working in the kitchen, I will randomly yell, "I love you, Baby!" And he yells back, "I love you, Mommy!"  Then I'll add, "You're my best friend!"  And he responds, "You're my best friend too, Mommy!"  We'll continue this yelling game across the house for several minutes.  "You're my favorite!"  "You're my favorite too, Mommy!" "I love you so much!"  "I love you so much!" :)

*Whenever I ask him if he wants something, he will respond, "Yes, sir!" or "Yes, sireee!"  And if he doesn't want it, he will respond, "No, fank you."  His good manners make me smile (again, his dad taught him these phrases).

*He loves trains, buses, airplanes...pretty much anything to do with transportation.  So he was in heaven during our flight to Denver last week.  He loved the bus from long-term parking, the moving walkways and escalators in the airport, the trains to the different concourses, and of course the airplane itself.  He was so good on the flight that I even got to sit and read a book while he stared out the window.  Unheard of.

Don't mind the bedhead.
*When we were in Denver, my four-year-old nephew Callum wanted to show Noah an episode of the cartoon Tom and Jerry.  Cal loves this show and laughs hysterically every time the villianous cat gets an anvil dropped on his head or falls off a cliff or whatever.  Noah had quite a different reaction.  At first, he just seemed utterly baffled by it and kept saying, "Oh no!" and "Uh oh!" when something bad happened to the cat.  But then his dismay escalated, and he started shouting, "He needs help!  He needs help!" when the cat was in trouble.  We turned off the TV in a hurry when poor Noah let out a shriek of terror as a tree was falling on top of the naughty cat.  What a sweetheart.  I had never thought about how odd that cartoon is until I watched it with an innocent two-year-old who just wants to help when people (or cats) are in trouble.  We'll see if he finds that show funny in a couple of years... :)

*Noah sings constantly.  He sings songs from his nursery class at church, such as "I Am a Child of God," "Popcorn Popping," and "Give Said the Little Stream."  He also makes up songs about whatever toy he is playing with or situation he is in.  His imagination has totally blossomed since he turned two, and it is fun to hear him playing with toys and making up their conversations or singing to them.  With Noah in our home, there is a constant hum of chatter and song. I love it.

*Noah is smart and constantly surprises me with what he remembers or how he applies knowledge from one situation to another.  When we went to a historic farm with his cousins last week, he was sitting in a wheel barrow and kicked Jade over when she tried to climb in with him.  (That was a terrible twos moment.)  I put him in time-out on a bench nearby, and when I came over to talk to him about it a few minutes later, I asked, "Do you know why you are in time-out?"  He said, "Because I kicked my cousin.  We never kick cousins; we only kick a ball!"  I'm sorry--how could I not burst out laughing?  I loved that he not only knew that he isn't supposed to kick Jade, but he also knew that he is supposed to kick a ball.  (Again, his father's influence.)

Isn't he just the sweetest little boy?  Don't you just love him and his fun personality?  I simply cannot get enough of him, and I don't want these years to end.  He was such a difficult baby, but he has been an incredibly delightful toddler, and I am trying to savor every moment.  I've heard from several people that three is actually the year that a lot of children get defiant and sassy, so I am soaking up the twos.  And whenever he does have a terrible moment (like the other day when I spent 30 minutes getting him and his cousins ready for a walk, and then within two minutes Noah fell over--not hard, might I add--and screamed so loudly and for so long that we had to turn around and go home), I try to stay patient and give him the benefit of the doubt.  I think every two year old (and every person, for that matter) is allowed to have a meltdown once in a while.  I know I certainly have them on occasion.

Love you, my sweet little Noah Bug.  You really are my favorite.

Ice cream with Dad!  Don't worry, we didn't let him eat that entire thing!
Watching the lawnmower across the street
Trains are his favorite
Ready for church.  "Cheeeeeese!"
Our attempt at a sassy "selfie" for our friend, Laney
Making pumpkin waffles with "Mummy" on October 1st

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Could We Have Supposed?" Part 2

It has been three months since we moved to Twin Falls, Idaho.  We really like it here.  Things were so crazy this summer that I've hardly blogged about our new life--what the city is like, how Ryan is liking his job, whom we've met, etc.  I will do that soon.

Today, however, I am looking back.  I took a quick trip to Denver last week to be at my little sister's baby shower, and my trip made me pause and reflect.  It made me realize just how grateful I am that we ended up in Denver for Ryan's residency, even though that was never in our "plan."   It also made me realize that I need to write a follow up to the blog post I wrote back in June 2011 entitled "Could We Have Supposed?"  Here is what I wrote 2.5 years ago:

"Today was a down day.  I cried actual real tears (a big deal for me) because I miss Buffalo so much.  We had a magical four years living there.  So many wonderful people and experiences.  I treasure the friendships that we made, and I miss it with all of my heart.

Interestingly, when Ryan was interviewing for dental school, we almost took Buffalo off of the list.  He had several interviews around the country, and it was getting expensive to fly him to all of them, so we looked at the list and said, 'Where is the least likely place that we will go?'  Buffalo seemed so far away--and so expensive for a plane ticket--and so cold in the winter.  We decided to take it off the list.  But then we got a call from Ryan's mom saying that she was going to use some of her credit card miles to buy his ticket to New York.  If it hadn't been for Sally's gift, we never would've ended up in Buffalo. 

I have written before about the experience of driving into Buffalo for the first time, alone in a strange city so far from home.  Little did we know then the good things that were to come.

In the Book of Mormon, Ammon is reflecting back on his years as a missionary, and he says, '...behold I say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?' (Alma 26:1).

This is how I feel.  Could we have supposed when we left our comfortable life in Provo, Utah that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? Then 'how great reason have [I] to rejoice.' 

But I didn't feel like rejoicing today.  I felt a deep ache inside, knowing that a season of my life that I loved is over, and I can't ever rewind time and relive it.

In spite of this ache in my heart, my mind is telling me that everything is going to be okay--that God has not forgotten us--and if He lead us to Buffalo, then He surely lead us to Denver as well.

Ryan felt that his residency interview in Denver was one of his worst.  He didn't think there was a chance under heaven that he would get accepted here, and I was okay with that because I wasn't quite ready to move back to my hometown.  I wanted another 'adventure' in a totally different part of the country.  Consequently, Ryan did not rank the program in Denver very high on his 'match list.'

And yet here we are.

Just as we didn't intend to go to Buffalo for dental school, we didn't intend to come to Denver for residency.  So I am hoping that the parallel experiences will continue, and, in two years, I will reflect back on this time and say 'could we have supposed' when we left our home in Buffalo that God would grant unto us such great blessings in our home in Denver?

I know that there are good things to come."

Today, I am smiling as I realize that God did indeed grant unto us many great blessings when He lead us to Denver for Ryan's residency.  It feels so good to look back and realize that He knew best.  He always knows best.

Could we have supposed, when Ryan was (shockingly) accepted to the program in Denver, that I would desperately need the support of my family when I had a very colicky baby?  If we had been in Hawaii, which was #1 on Ryan's match list for residency, I wouldn't have had people to give me breaks, make me dinner, and console me that things would get better.  Though Noah cried through much of his first six months of life, my family loved him fiercely, and I always knew that I could trust him with them when I needed a rest.  Now seeing the relationship that he has with his "Bapa" and "Naunt Sarah" fills me with gratitude for the time that we lived close to them.

Could we have supposed that we would end up living just a mile or so from my grandparents, and that they would develop such an incredible bond with our son?  Could we have foreseen the joy that it would bring to our hearts to see the three of them together?

Ice cream with Grampy
Tracks with Granny
Couldn't possibly love the three of them more
Just last week, Noah, who usually doesn't sit still for a moment, laid his head on my grandpa's chest and  rested there so contentedly for several minutes.  He knows how his great grandparents love and cherish him, and they have a connection that might never have developed if we hadn't lived so close to them for the first two years of Noah's life.

Could we have supposed that Noah would forge a special relationship with his cousins, Callum and Jade, and they would become the best of friends?  I know these friendships are going to last a lifetime.

Could we have supposed that I would reconnect with old friends who enriched my life as a child and continue to enrich my life as an adult?  Or that I would make new friends who became true kindred spirits and talked me through the ups and downs of my first two years of motherhood?

Could we have supposed that one of those awesome new friends would lead me to seek help for an eating disorder, and that I would find an amazing counseling center that completely changed my outlook on myself and my life?  Could I have supposed that at the end of my time in Denver, I would feel free of my eating disorder for the first time in many years?

Could we have supposed that living closer to Utah would give us the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with Noah's birthparents, as we were able to see them more frequently than we ever would have if we'd been living across the country or ocean?  We and Noah have been so blessed by their love.

Could we have supposed that Ryan would get exceptional training that prepared him for his career as a pediatric dentist?  Although his program was incredibly intense and his boss was overly demanding, the education that he received was invaluable and the friends that he made in his program were a huge support and joy for him.

So many blessings.  So many reasons to be grateful.  Though it is hard to be away from my family, I do not feel the ache leaving Denver that I felt leaving Buffalo because I've learned that the relationships I have with my family and friends will last forever, no matter where I am.  I've also learned that I can never foresee the amazing things that God has in store for me, and all of His children, when we simply trust in Him and follow where He leads.  Through Him, we can bloom wherever we are planted.

We love Idaho already, and we can't wait to witness all of the blessings that unfold here.  Truly, "how great reason we have to rejoice."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Aunt Kelly

My Aunt Kelly had a birthday last week.  You know what that means...birthday tribute!

I was in elementary school when my dad's youngest brother, Lewis, brought his girlfriend Kelly home to meet the family.  My sisters and I were so excited to meet her.  My parents' other siblings had married either before we were born or when we were babies, so this was a new experience to be meeting a prospective aunt.  Kelly was much younger than our other aunts, and she seemed so fashionable, pretty, and "hip." I remember that she jumped with us on the trampoline in my grandparents' backyard and then we laid on our backs and looked up at the stars and giggled and talked with her.  She was so friendly and fun, and she definitely won over the three little Westover girls during her visit.  I think we were a little starstruck.

Obviously, we were thrilled when she married my uncle and so excited when they moved to Colorado for a few years.  When their daughter Emily was about one and I was about nine, I wrote a story called "Emily The Bubble Girl" and gave it to Kelly as a gift.  If I recall correctly, it was the story of a baby who accidentally swallowed soap and ended up burping out bubbles which floated all over the house.  This masterpiece was scrawled on construction paper, illustrated with crayons, and crudely stapled together, but Kelly acted like I was going to win a Newbery Honor with that little story.  She praised my creativity and my writing, and she made me feel so good about myself.  A few weeks later, she gave me a little plastic bubble that she had bought at a Hallmark type of store.  It was like a snow globe with glitter, confetti, and a note inside: "A bubble of love for you."  It meant so much to me that I put it on the shelf in my room.  As I got older and redecorated, I couldn't get rid of that little token of love, so I put it in my childhood memory box, and it is still there.  I will always have that memento of an aunt who expressed interest in me and faith in my talents.

In the years since, every time she sees me, she asks if I am still writing and praises and encourages me.  It is such a blessing to have family members who believe in me.  I am so grateful that Kelly joined our family when she did--I admire her warmth, easy laugh, and openness with the people around her.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Kelly, and thank you for the love and encouragement you have always given me.  Love you!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


First of all, I want to thank all of you wise women who responded to my post last week asking for advice.  As a result of your words of wisdom, I learned about the blogger app (thanks, Lacey!) and used it to upload a photo quickly from my phone in my post about my Aunt Jackie--so convenient!!  I also got great advice about simplifying, lowering expectations, giving myself deadlines, mothering, and prioritizing.  This is another reason why I love blogging and don't want to give it up: I love reading the responses and advice of my friends regarding the ups and downs of life.  The comments on my post really helped me, and it's made me more committed to leaving comments on other people's blogs when I have a thought or reaction to what they've written.  (This is another thing I've noticed about a change in blogging these past few years--we rarely comment anymore!  Why is that?  I am going to start commenting again!)

Well, before we get too far into the month of October, I thought I should blog about our month of August. :) Better late than never!

We started the month of August with Noah's second birthday celebration (see full report here), and Grandma took him home with her after the party and babysat him for the weekend.  Ryan and I went to my cousin's fancy smancy wedding in Malibu, California and had a great time.  It was so fun to get all dressed up, spend time with my sisters and crazy extended family, and dance the night away under the twinkle lights.

Meanwhile, back in Idaho, Noah had a blast with his grandparents. They went swimming, lounged at the pool eating french fries, played at the park, hunted lady bugs, and stayed up late reading storybooks.  Doesn't get much better than that.  Noah didn't even miss his parents.

When we picked Noah up from Pocatello on Monday, Sally hosted a small family picnic in the backyard to celebrate Ryan's thirty-first birthday.  Thank goodness someone made Ryan a cake!  (You can always count on Sal.)  Noah helped him blow out the candles.

The next night, as Ryan's birthday date, I took him twilight golfing at a course down in the Twin Falls canyon.  I didn't golf, but I sat in the cart, kept score, and cat-called my cute hubby as he putted (that's not distracting or anything).   Twin Falls is really beautiful in the summer, and the weather was perfect for an evening golf game.  Funnest.

For his birthday gift, I got Ryan a hammock.  We are thoroughly enjoying having a backyard, and for the first few weeks that we lived in Twin, Ryan was taking a lawn chair out there every evening to enjoy the sunset--I thought a hammock would be even more relaxing.  I was right. Noah likes it's his favorite place for bedtime stories.

A few weeks later, we went down to Pocatello again for Ryan's little brother's missionary farewell.  Tanner is serving a two-year mission for our church in San Fernando, California.  We went to hear him speak in church and celebrate with family and friends at a going-away party.  After the party, we got together for some impromptu family photos, and most of them turned out great.  Others didn't turn out too great because Derek was harassing Tanner and grabbing his butt, which Tanner wasn't too fond of (so hilarious).  We love Tanner and will miss him these next few years.  His niece and nephew are going to be so big when he gets home...and there will likely be several more nieces and nephews for him to meet (definitely the two that are due this November, at least!).

Cute uncle
The fam minus Cole and Sara, who are in Missouri...we missed them.
Love the expressions
That's more like it.
Those Nielsons are good looking!
Between our trips and events, we found some adventures right here in Twin Falls.  A highlight was taking Noah to the drive-in movie for the first time.  We borrowed the Nielsons' pick-up truck and went to see Planes.  Noah loved the movie, and we loved snuggling him.

And as if all of that's not enough fun for one month, my dad came to visit over Labor Day weekend.  It had been six weeks since he had seen Noah, and he was missing him.  It was so fun to have my dad in town.  We took him swimming and hiking at Dierkes Lake, showed him Shoshone Falls, went to the county fair, and of course enjoyed some relaxation time in the backyard and hammock.  Noah loves his Bapa, and we miss living close to him.

Not likely! 

In the midst of all that fun, I was getting some work done too. :)  As I mentioned in a previous post, I got a bit consumed with unpacking, organizing, and decorating our house.  I'll include a couple of photos of the living room area, for those who have been asking (and for those of you who don't care, enjoy the little model in the photos).  I'm so glad this job is almost over, and I'm sure my sisters and mother-in-law are too, since they've been bombarded with texts and photos asking for input for the past two months. :) Decorating is not my forte, but with their help, I do love the way it all turned out.  

One of the big jobs I tackled while I was unpacking was organizing my journals.  I have always been a fairly obsessive journaler, and I've had boxes of journals in my dad's basement for the past eight years since I got married.  When we moved, I took the boxes with me, and now I need to get it all organized.  I went through my boxes of journals and sorted them into categories: childhood, high school, college (pre-Ryan), college (with Ryan), and Buffalo to present.  I hope to organize the journals a bit more from here, but at least I have a starting place now!  Will my children ever read these thousands of pages of journals?  Probably not, but I hope so!

Outrageous, huh?  All journals!
A close-up
My very first journal
My spelling abilities improved over the years;
my drawing abilities did not
(which is probably why I stopped illustrating my journals).
So that's it.  That's August--the highlights, anyway.  It was a big month and a fun month!  Life is good, and we are blessed.