Our Christmas Trip to Disneyland!

When we went to Disneyland in April in conjunction with our trip to see Skylar’s Mitochondrial specialist, never in a million years did we think that we would be going back for Christmas.  However, when your dad calls and says “I’m taking everyone to Disneyland over Christmas break!” it happens.  We went with my folks and my sister’s family so there were 12 of us in all.  I have some specific pictures and series of pictures from our trip that I will share seperately, but today I’m going to share some of my favorites that were snapped by either me or my sister.

I love this picture of Skylar and my niece, Rebecca as they got off the shuttle on our first day.


The kids were pretty excited to find a short wait to ride the rockets.


Hailey and Ben have always been close and this trip was no different.


I love that my sister was intentional about snapping pictures of my mom.  She often steps out of the pictures.


Our elf, Gracie made the trip with us (more on that in another post) and she hung out with Skylar for the Jingle Cruise, the Christmas version of the Jungle Cruise.


Waiting for our report time for the Finding Nemo Submarine ride.


My parents got suckered into going on the Teacups with my niece, Sam.  The other adults were pretty much adamant about not going on rides that spin!


Peter Pan literally ran right in to Hailey while we were by the teacups so he took lots of time with our family.  He was awesome!  Such a fun personality!


I love that Chris photobombed Skylar and Hailey’s picture with Rafiki.  We went to Goofy’s Kitchen for the character breakfast on Christmas morning.  The kids loved seeing all the different characters.


Rebecca took a selfie with all the characters.  It was hilarious!


My absolute favorite picture from the trip was actually the picture that was snapped as Hailey, Ben, Jenny, Chris, Rebecca, and Emily came down Splash Mountain.  I seriously crack up each time I look at it.  Everyone’s faces are hilarious, but my favorite has to be Rebecca!  I’ll just say that she had the most “expressive” response and to top it off, her hair went crazy!  She actually looks like she is trying to flee from the log ride.


Looking forward to sharing more from our trip to Disneyland along with our experience with the new Disability Access Service Card.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Make it great!



Blogs I’m Loving: January 2014

I’m always looking for good blogs to read!  I don’t look for a specific blog type to read (special needs, craft, christian, photography, etc), instead I look for blogs that inspire me.  Today I am going to share seven blogs that are some of my current favorites!

1)  Sacred Mundane

Kari (rhymes with sorry) is a mom, pastor’s wife, & believer who strives each day to share the beauty of the everyday.  When I first read her blog, I was struck by these words:  There is no ordinary work.  All of life is worship.  Every breath is a prayer.

Kari just released a new e-book called I Will Look Up:  31 Mornings Seeking Him First.  It is currently FREE on Amazon so snag it while you can.  I got mine yesterday and look forward to digging in!

2)  Beauty That Moves

First and foremost, Heather’s photography is AMAZING!  I am totally fascinated by all of her posts about gardening as I have a total black thumb.  She has inspired me to try my hand at a small garden!  I always leave her blog feeling refreshed and very calm, which are two things I really need!

3)  FIMBY (Fun In My Backyard)

I started reading Renee’s blog last spring and just found myself coming back. Renee’s family lives in Canada and they homeschool their 3 kids.  I’ve enjoyed reading her philosophy on homeschooling and learning…very refreshing!  Their family will be hiking through the Appalachian Trail this year.  I can’t wait to follow their adventures!  You can read all about their plans and preparations on her blog.

4)  I Love It All

I recently found Monika through Instagram.  When I went to her blog I instantly fell in love with her projects, printables, and tutorials.  I am looking forward to all the fun things that Monika will share this year!

5)  Steady Mom

I’ve been reading Jamie’s blog for a couple of years and I just love her encouraging style of writing.  She writes about homeschooling, adoption, and intentional parenting!  You are sure to be encouraged as well!

6) Life As Mom

I can not recall how I found Jessica’s blog, but I’m thinking it was through Pinterest. Jessica blogs about a lot of different things, but what really kept me coming back to her blog was her series of posts on frugal living and freezer cooking.  I have tried many of her freezer cooking recipes and my family loves them!  We are looking forward to completing her Pantry Challenge as we prepare for our move this summer.  She is currently doing a 12 Days of Christmas giveaway that you will want to enter!

7)  Lemonade Makin’ Mama

I bought something through Sasha’s shop last year and then started reading her blog.  I love her clean approach to photography and decorating.  Every time I read her blog, I want to start decluttering.  She has an adorable etsy shop with cute prints and towels.  Her heart for Jesus shines through her writing!

There you have it!  I hope that you will check out these blogs and be encouraged and inspired by them like I have been.

What are your favorite blogs?  I’d love to check them out!

Make it great!


Goal Setting for 2014


I love the beginning of a new year!  Yes, I totally realize that each and every day is a new start, but for some reason I love setting goals at the start of a new year.  I try not to make the goals too broad.  I like specific, measurable goals.  This year I picked four specific categories for goal setting:  Marriage, Mothering, Family, and Personal. All of my goals plug into one of these 4 categories.  I am a paper and pen girl.  I know that it drives my computer-loving hubby crazy, but I love to write lists down in a notebook.  Add in some fun-colored markers and I am one happy girl.

I started a new book for my lists.  I’ve been carrying my old book for almost 2 years and it finally just fell apart.  It is a simple graph ruled composition book that I picked up at Staples for a few bucks.  I definitely prefer graph ruled to the traditional composition book.  This is a book that I carry everywhere.  When I think of something that I need to do or think of questions I need to ask a doctor or therapist I write it in this book.  It’s nothing fancy, but it is exactly what I need. Having my list of goals in the front of this book is going to be awesome for me this year!  Here are my goals:


1)  weekly date night (we already get 3 hours of respite care on Monday nights that we absolutely cherish)

2)  read 4 marriage books/devotional books


1)  monthly dates with each of the girls

2)  write monthly letters to the girls & include them in my Project Life pages

3)  pray with the girls each day


1) memorize one Bible verse each week

2)  read at least one chapter of a book out loud together each day

3)  explore Arizona (Sedona, Grand Canyon, Tombstone, Bisbee, etc)


1) exercise 60 min/day 6 days a week (I’m pretty much already doing this)

2)  do a Whole 30 (I’m currently reading this book to prepare)

3)  read the Bible through chronologically (I’m using this Bible)

4)  read 52 books (I’ve already started a list in my trusty red notebook)

5)  continue documenting our everyday life with Project Life

6)  run a 5K race 

7)  declutter & simplify 

I’m excited about the things that I will accomplish in 2014.  It’s going to be a big year for us as we continue our journey of better health & prepare to move this summer (hence the decluttering).  

What are your goals for 2014?

Make them great!


Do Not Fear!

Just had the most precious moment with Skylar as I was in the kitchen making meatballs. 

Sky: Mom, what are you afraid of?
Me: Heights & someone hurting the people that I love! (I also thought to myself that I am afraid that people will never see Skylar for the wonderful soul that she is & that sadly, there will be many people who will just not accept her.)
Sky: Well, you should conquer those fears mom!
Me: I have tried Skylar, but it still scares me!
Sky: Well mom, the Bible clearly says “Do not fear!” It also tells us that we need to trust God and that He will take care of us!
Me: (speechless)
Sky: So even though I am scared of sharks and snakes, I trust God & He takes care of me! You just have to have faith mom! He loves us!
Me: (still speechless, but now crying)

Sometimes I get discouraged because of the things that Skylar has tremendous difficulty doing & I cry out to God and ask Him for encouragement and to soothe my aching heart. I have absolutely NO doubt that God speaks to me and encourages me through sweet Skylar!

I hope that this encourages you today as well!

Make it great!


Hello December

Hi there, friends!  December is one of my favorite times of year and I was so excited to say Hello to December this year!  This morning we went to church and I was thrilled to find that it was Communion Sunday!  Seriously…what an AMAZING way to usher in this season of Advent!  It was beautiful!

My friend, Stephanie, posed the question today “What are you doing this Christmas to be intentional in making this a season of joy?”  I shared our family’s plans with her and thought I would share them here with all of you!  First and foremost, I want to keep my focus on the reason for this season, and that is Jesus!

So here are the things that we as a family will be doing to focus on Advent, document our memories, make fun memories together, & serve others this Christmas season.


I searched for devotionals that would be good for both Skylar and Hailey.  I wanted to make sure that they would interest Skylar, but also challenge Hailey.  I found the perfect resource!  We are using the e-book Reasons for the Season by Kathy Hutto. I’m looking forward to all the different activities we will do together as a family.

For my personal devotional time, I’m looking forward to using the Advent devotional videos from Ann Voskamp and also following along with the Advent devotional series from Good Morning Girls.



I’m really looking forward to documenting our December with a simplified version of Ali Edward’s December Daily.  This year I will be using one photo from each day, like the one above, dated with these digital elements.  It’s going to be super easy:  snap photo, print, back on chipboard, & attach all photos with rings.  I’ll be sure to show you as the month goes along.


We have a list of activities that we are going to do as a family.  Each day we will do one activity.  Here are a few examples:

-watch a Christmas movie together (this is one we will do multiple times)

-get cocoa and drive around to see the Christmas lights

-bake cookies for our friends and neighbors

-make a CD of our favorite Christmas music and share it with some of our friends

-go to ZooLights with our cousins

-pick out a new ornament from the Christmas Store

We will also choose different service projects as a family.  Some will be simpler than others, but we want to make sure the girls recognize that helping others is what we are called to do.



This morning marked the return of our friendly elf, Gracie.  The girls absolutely love her!  When Skylar walked into the kitchen and saw Gracie, she read the card and said “Oh Gracie!  I missed you too!”  Pretty sure that Chris and I enjoy this way more than the girls do.  Who would’ve thought?  I seriously used to poke fun at people that did this.  You can see the post of silly things that Gracie did last year, HERE.

We are looking forward to a fabulous December and I hope you are too!

What are you doing to make this December full of joy?

Whatever it is, make it great!


Project Life 2013: Weeks 41 & 42

Hello my friends!  Happy to be sharing a couple of weeks of Project Life pages with you today!  The first week I’m sharing is the week that Skylar was hospitalized for extended EEG monitoring & seizure medication change.  I actually put these pages together the morning after we got home.  I wanted to get my thoughts down before I forgot some of the details.






I put these pages together in about an hour, which included the time I took to edit & print the photos.  I love the simplicity of this week!

The next pages I added a few embellishments, but not many.  Again, I enjoyed the simplicity of my pages and really just wanted the focus to be on my pictures & journaling.





I’ve really enjoyed mixing & matching my Project Life kits.  These two weeks used cards from the following editions:  Blush, Honey, Seafoam, & 5th and Frolic.  If you are interested in seeing how I organized all my Project Life Kits together, CLICK HERE!

That’s it for this week!

Thanks for stopping by, I am also linking up with The Mom Creative.  Check out all the other great Project Life pages shared.

You can see my previous project life posts here.

Make it great!


Project Life was created by Becky Higgins as a simple solution to documenting your memories.  You can learn more about project life here.

5 Essentials For When We Are Feeling Under The Weather

Skylar woke up yesterday with a head full of junk.  When she came upstairs she said “I am totally stuffy”!  She sounded just like Meg Ryan did in You’ve Got Mail when she tells Tom Hanks “I’ve got a temperature!”.  After smiling about the movie voice similarity, I immediately got out my essentials that we use when we are under the weather.  Today, I thought I’d share those items with you.


1.  NutriFeron by Shaklee

We’ve been taking this as a family for several years.  My mom sent me a bottle and swore that it helped her feel better faster when she had been sick.  The next time I had a cold I started taking this and I was surprised when I was completely over it in a day or two.  We always make sure that we have plenty of this on hand.  Skylar actually takes this every day because she is so much more susceptible to illness because of her mitochondrial disorder.  When she starts coming down with something we increase how much she gets.

This morning when Chris pulled Skylar’s medications and our daily vitamins/supplements he came to tell me that he had pulled NutriFeron for all of us. This stuff is truly amazing!


2.  Greens by It Works!

All four of us take Greens on a daily basis, but when we are feeling under the weather, we take it twice a day.  Chris and I are distributors for It Works, but I would only recommend something if I truly believe in it!  The girls take the Citrus Flavor in apple juice, but Chris and I really like the Berry Flavor in water.  If you want to read more about what Greens does, click HERE.  We take multiple It Works vitamins and supplements, but if we could only take 1, Greens would be it!  (Full Disclosure:  these links are to my own personal It Works website.   Any purchases made through my website helps our family continue to provide the best possible care for Skylar!  Thank you so much!)


3. Thieves Oil from Young Living

I am always searching for great, natural products to help us with healthier living. Thieves is one of those products.  I was introduced to Young Living by a friend of mine.  When I asked what oils she would recommend, Thieves was the oil she said she is never without.  I use it multiple ways, but I love to diffuse it my diffuser.  It makes the house smell like Christmas!  You can also put Thieves in a capsule and take it orally or put it directly on your skin.  I also love to put a drop on my toothbrush when I brush my teeth.  It makes my mouth feel amazing!  You can read more about Thieves on the Young Living Website HERE.


4.  Simply Saline by Arm & Hammer

One things that Skylar has always struggled with is blowing her nose.  We help her as much as we can, but it isn’t the same.  Using a saline mist was recommended to us this past year by her pediatrician as he knows this is something she struggles with.  I can tell you that the first time we did it, she freaked out as she wasn’t sure what to expect, but ever since then, she has done a lot better.  The saline spray really helps clear her nasal pasages so that all that junk doesn’t just fester and go into a secondary infection.  We have used several different saline sprays, but this is the one we like the best.  Each of the girls have their own labeled bottle.  You can get them at any local pharmacy, I think that we got ours at WalMart.


5. Cool Touch Tissues by Kleenex

Last January when the girls got sinus infections and bronchitis, Chris ran to the store to stock up on tissues.  We usually use Puffs Plus with lotion, but they didn’t have those and Chris said these looked like the next best thing.  Hailey used one, exclaimed “Oh my!  These are amazingly cool!” and we have used them ever since. They are, just like they advertise, cool to the touch.

You might think it is silly that these are a part of our essentials, but when you have kids that are super particular about what they use, you just go with it!  If purchasing these tissues make them feel even a little better, then it is totally worth it!

So there you have it…our top 5 essentials for when we feel under the weather!  I’m so very thankful for these products, especially the NutriFeron and the Greens. Thanks to these items, our girls have not been on antibiotics since January. For two girls that each have immunity issues, this is amazing!  Of course, we also drink lots of fluids, rest, and watch lots of movies while cuddled in quilts.  That is sure to make you feel better as well!

What items are essential to you or your family when you are sick?  I’d love for you to share them!

Whatever you do today, make it great!




Lately…this is what I have looked like.  Workout clothes, a hat, & no make-up. Focusing on a healthier lifestyle, growing my hair out, & not wanting to fuss with make-up.


Lately…I’ve been freezer cooking.  I’m trying to reduce the stress of the “what’s for dinner?” worry each night.


Lately…I’ve been enjoying weekly trips to the library with Skylar.  There is just something about being surrounded by all those books that brings us joy!


Lately…I’ve been dreaming about selling most of our belongings, buying an RV, and travelling.  Totally not kidding!  It’s definitely on my bucket list! (This is the RV that Skylar thinks we should get.)

What have you been doing lately?

Make it great!


Skylar’s 1st Swim Meet

Skylar swam in her 1st swim meet with her Special Olympics team this past Saturday.  I was so nervous as I had no idea what to expect.  Even though she practices each week with her team, I wasn’t sure how she would do when we were at the actual meet. I prayed fervently for her to just enjoy herself!  


Shortly after we arrived, I snapped this picture of her next to the pool.  I could hear her talking to herself realized she was repeating the things that her coaches and I have been telling her the past few months:

“Don’t come off your back until you’ve touched the wall!”

“Make sure you don’t push off the lane line!”

At this moment, more than anything, I wished that “Have fun! I’m proud of you, no matter what!” would have been one of the phrases she kept repeating.  You see, in all of my nervousness and hoping that she would have a legal stroke and finish the race strong, I forgot to impart to her the most important advice of all:  Have fun! I’m proud of you, no matter what!

As her teammates began to arrive, I could see that she was relaxing a bit more. Getting excited for the day.  She was excited when they passed out her team t-shirts.


Shortly before the meet began, one of her coaches walked over and Skylar blurted out “I’m going to FAIL!”  I held my breath as I waited for her coach’s response.


“You aren’t going to fail!  You are going to do great!”  (Thank you Coach Patty!)


Skylar was so quiet while waiting for her event.  I stayed close, but tried not to hover (I’m really working on that!).  She did a great job following the instructions of the group that was helping get them all lined up.  I did manage to capture a bit of a smile right before she got into the water.  


And then it was time!  Into the water she went.


Her first event was the 25M Freestyle.  I can’t even begin to describe to you the improvement we have seen in this stroke the past 4 months.  



And you better believe that we screamed like fools!  


As she reached for the wall, I said to Chris “I can’t believe it!  She’s going to get 2nd place!  How awesome is that?”

And then, when I didn’t think I could be any more emotional, I saw Coach Patty. She was clapping, encouraging her, giving her high-fives, and congratulating her on a great swim!


Skylar got out of the water, huge smile on her face and went right back to the staging area where she got ready for her next swim.  She only had a matter of minutes between events and I was wondering how she would do with that little rest, but she did great!  She swam the 25M Backstroke, which is actually her favorite stroke.  She struggled with the sun being in her eyes so she was all over the lane, but thankfully everyone else had the same problem.  I’m pretty sure she swam the entire race with her eyes closed! And believe it or not, she came in 2nd place again!


She got out of the water and said “Mom, I think I’m done swimming for the day. Can we go back to the timeshare?”  I laughed and told her we had to wait for the awards ceremony.  Right about that time, one of the workers walked by and said that they were having pizza delivered for the swimmers right after the meet.  Skylar whipped her head around and said “Excuse me!  Did you just say pizza?  Mom!  We are totally staying!”

As Skylar waited for her name to be called out during the awards ceremony, she had a little smirk on her face.  She fought back a huge smile.  You could tell that she was really proud of herself!  As she should be!

So proud of our girl!


And Skylar’s favorite part of the day?  You guessed it!


Thanks for celebrating our girl with us!  We think she is all kinds of awesome!

Make it great!


































Links I Loved This Week


(Love this picture!  Click HERE to see how it was made!)

Mom Has Biggest Impact on Girls’ Body Image ::  USA Today

10 Year Old Boy With Autism Sings Open the Eyes of My Heart :: Godvine

Cat in a Shark Costume Riding a Roomba Vacuum :: Laughing Squid

The Dirty Little Secret Behind “Pure Squeezed” Orange Juice ::  Body Unburdened

Why “Did You Have Fun?” is the Wrong Question ::  Laura Parker

Enjoy your weekend!

Make it great!