I polled Insta the other day asking which affects mommas most...when their oldest hits milestones or when the youngest does.  I was surprised that most of the responses said the oldest!  Milestones such as....oh I don't know, TURNING THIRTEEN!  With all the crazy in our family/life right now, I wasn't preparing myself for our oldest becoming a teenager.  I mean, we planned how she wanted to celebrate and stuff, but my mind and heart didn't really go to that place of "how the heck do we have a thirteen-year-old!?" or "why is my baby growing up so fast?!?"  It kind of took me by surprise.  Truthfully, I'm of the camp that gets way more emotional when my youngest hits whenever his thirteenth birthday comes around, forget about it!  But for our oldest, it definitely was one of those big birthdays and caused us to reflect on all the blessings and experiences she's brought to us as parents.

We started the day with her requested breakfast of cinnamon rolls, and later went into the mountain for a requested lunch of Shepherd's Pie.  We found the perfect little creekside picnic area, but as soon as we began eating, bees swarmed us and didn't let up.  So her birthday lunch in the mountains was cut reeeeeaaaaally short, but we continued up into the canyon to Tibble Fork...a beautiful reservoir for swimming, paddle boarding, etc.  She ended her birthday by having a few new friends over for cake (Unicorn cake, of course) and discussing how life will be TOTALLY different now as a teenager. ;)

Dear Time, 
Please slow down.  Just sloooooow your roll down, won't ya.  No need to rush...we don't have to be anywhere.  We're good right here at 13.  Got that?  K, thanks.
Sentimental Momma

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Our Moving Story...So Far

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I would share the story of our BIG MOVE from Texas to Utah.  As many of you know, we are deeply rooted in Texas.  I'm at least a 6th generation Texan and Blake's family came straight over from Germany to clearly, we know no other way but the Texas way.

Blake had been looking for a new job this past year.  Earlier this summer, a law firm in Utah reached out to him and things moved quickly.  We had put our house on the market in April because we wanted to possibly downsize or just get a bit more land space...but once we learned of the new job offer, things became more clear as to selling our house and moving our family.

After months on the market (and having to cut our price waaaay down because of a stalled out market), our home in Texas FINALLY went under contract.  Blake and I booked a trip to Utah to house hunt and to find a rental for my mom, who was also moving to Utah.  After looking at 20+ homes, putting in 3 offers, and going under contract twice (crazy hot home market in Utah)...we left our house hunting trip with a home we planned to close on around the same time our home in Texas was set to close.  I didn't love the house (at all), but we were out of time and out of options.  It seemed like our only choice.

We planned out our move in a kind of crazy, disjointed way.  We felt it best for our two littles to get started in school up here in Utah, so I made the drive with them from Texas to Utah and stayed in an Airbnb the first week of school.  On the second day of our two-day road trip, we found out that our buyers backed out days before closing.  NOT good.  The sale of our house falling through had a trickle effect, which caused us to break our contract on the house in Utah....yeah, the one I didn't like in the first place.  Not meant to be, I guess. ;)

But because so many of our moving plans were already in motion, it was too late to turn back...meaning, stay in our Texas home until another buyer came along.  A week later, the whole family (including my mom) all moved up to Utah in one big caravan, and thankfully, my mother's rental home is large enough for us to stay until our house in Texas sells...again.  We really need it to sell as soon as possible.  Other details include having to board our dogs, living out of boxes and a storage unit, and not being able to get quite settled knowing that it's all temporary.  

However, we have felt an underlying purpose behind all of this madness.  Although it's difficult, expensive, and stressful, we know the Lord has a plan for our family.  Whether that plan is growth (as we all need from time to time) or to test our faith, the challenges are easier to swallow keeping that in mind.  As one of my dear friends puts it, "It will work out how it SHOULD."  I love that word should.  Not how we want. (clearly). Not how we think it will.  Not how it might with all the millions of possibilities.  But how it SHOULD.  How the Lord wants it to work out and how it will be best for our family in the long run.  I feel like we will look back on this time in our lives and see clearly the lessons learned and the sequence of meaningful events that took place.  

Of course, this is all easier said than done.  I try reeeeeaaaaaally hard to stay patient, but I definitely have those moments of panic and "what ifs".  But in the end, it won't be the end.  Even if all things don't work out, it still won't be the end of the world.  It will be okay.  It will be as it should.  

Alas, our story isn't over.  I'll be sure to share any exciting updates and will continue sharing our new experiences here in Utah!

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Fall Home & Style Wish List

Fall is ALLLLLLLMOST upon us up here in Utah and it's glorious!!!!  Seriously, I cannot wait for layers and booties and hot chocolate and open windows!  A true fall season!  Something we aren't used to and I personally feel giddy just thinking of it!  I put together a few things that I've either had my eye on (that camel sweater) or that just give me all the warm-fuzzies about our soon-to-be autumn.  Bring IT ON!!!

*hover over to see details

American Fork Canyon - Family Camping

Headed into the mountains with our take-out dinner, flashlights, tent, and 2 sleeping bags...we were not as prepared as we would've liked.  Still being in transition from the move, much of our stuff is "somewhere in storage"...meaning, who knows exactly where it was placed.  Thus, we found all the blankets we could to add to our measly 2 sleeping bags (for a family of 6, mind you) and hoped for the best.  Our best was quite chilly and uncomfortable, but hey, it was fun!

Camping in the mountains was definitely a treat for us!  One that we hadn't experienced as a family.  Not only was the weather cool (down right cold at night), but being amongst the forest adds an authentic feel to camping that you just don't get in good ol' Texas.  We stayed at a place called Mutual Dell in the American Fork Canyon.  It's owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and available for families to camp during certain parts of the year when it's not used for girls camp or scouting.  We didn't do anything amazing while there...pretty much just hung out, froze our butts off trying to sleep, and then packed up first thing in the morning.  But I think we all had a memorable time and would like to do it again...with proper sleeping gear of course.  Side note:  My lucky mom went home early and slept in her own bed.  I'm sure she won that night!

*All photos taken with our GoPro Hero 5

Where do YOU like to go camping?

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Hiking Donut Falls

We've been in our house in Utah for a little over a week now.  My brother came down from Oregon to help my mother move and stayed with us until his flight this morning.  After days of being knee-high in boxes, moving paper, and a general mess of stuff...on Labor Day morning, we decided to take a break from unpacking and head to the mountains.  

We decided upon the Donut Falls hike and wanted to get out there as early as possible, with donuts in hand, of course.  Our family motto has become something to the effect of "get an early start to beat the crowds...always".  We have enjoyed the rewards (or avoidance of crowds/waiting) by sticking to this way of planing/thinking in most things we do as a family.  This was no different.  In fact, there were tons of cars parked all over the canyon road at 8am!  Eager beavers!

Our hike was easy but fun.  I wasn't prepared for the VERY cool morning and regretted not bringing a hoodie along.  Hiking is one of our favorite things to do and I am excited about all of the trails so close by!  If you're from around these parts, do you have any great hikes you'd recommend?

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We Moved...Texas to Utah!

The past several months have been a whirlwind.  I'll maybe devote a separate blog post for the longer version of the story, but suffice it to say, we moved from Texas to Utah last week.  I came up early to get the two littles in school in Utah and then flew back home to get the rest of the kids, dogs, and other vehicle (Blake drove the moving truck). 

The week in Utah with just me and my two little ones staying in an Airbnb was both laid back and eventful at the same time.  We tried to stay busy after school and on the weekend...and I think we had some pretty great times together!  These two are besties and just adore each other...most of the time.  I'm thankful for the week we had exploring and getting used to our new surroundings.

***Discovery Park:  They wanted to come back to this place multiple times...such a cool, exploratory kids park!

***Bridal Veil Falls:  They took off their shoes and explored around the base of the falls.  Another place they've asked repeatedly if we could visit again.

***Temple Square:  I was surprised at how long they wanted to spend here.  They loved listening and reading every single thing in both of the visitors centers.  Always such a beautiful place to visit!

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Our 6th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Break-Down

I haven't blogged all that much in the last few months...due to a number of things, but one of the biggest was time I instead dedicated to homeschooling my oldest for her 6th grade year.  Now that we're in summer and have wrapped up her schooling for the year, it's nice to look back and see all that we accomplished and learned together.  I might share in a later post how we decided to homeschool and all that the story entails...but suffice it to say, we've been blessed.

I've been asked countless times why we decided to homeschool her, which curricula we used, etc. etc. etc.  My mother, a former educator and curriculum consultant, helped tremendously when piecing together which curricula we wanted to use...and in fact, we chose a different one for each subject.  I know some homeschoolers stick with one curriculum program for all subjects, however, we felt this way of doing things (piecemeal) worked best for her/us.  I did find myself supplementing quite a bit with various online resources, but for the most part, I was very pleased with the quality of what was covered and taught.

In the event others may be interested in what we used (and where to find them), I've created a little round up of the main subjects, what we bought/used, and linked everything I could find (below).  This break-down does not include projects, field trips, or other special activities we did (such as science experiments), but it's a solid high-level summary of what our 6th grade year entailed.  If you or someone you know might find this helpful, please feel free to share it.  One of my friends kindly gave me many resources and ideas, and I'm hopeful I can pass on the favor...especially to a family who is new to middle-school homeschooling like we were and might not know where to start.

*links under infographic

MATH:  Connected Math (multiple books) // Mathematics in Context // Math Antics

SCIENCE:  Earth & Space iScience // Middle School Biology Textbook // Mineral Science Kit // Rock Science Kit

LANGUAGE ARTS & READING:  Membeam // No Red Ink // Teachers Pay Teachers
Books & Reading Guides - 
A Wrinkle in Time / AWIT Guide
Esperanza Rising / Guide 
A Long Walk to Water
A Single Shard / Guide
Summer of the Monkeys / Guide
Pay It Forward
Tuck Everlasting
First Test (with local library book club)
Caddie Woodlawn
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Percy Jackson Lightning Thief

SOCIAL STUDIES & HISTORY:  The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia // National Geographic Student Atlas of the World // YouTube // Teachers Pay Teachers

SPANISH:  BYU Independent Studies

MUSIC & THEORY:  Suzuki Violin School // I Can Read Music Violin // Theory Time


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