Blogs of Our Friends

Blogs are a great way to keep up with friends and family. We have been collecting links to blogs and other websites owned by people we'd like to keep in touch with. You can click these links to visit the sites themselves …

… or, read them right here (the ones that provide feeds):

Wicked

Posted on September 1, 2014 at 4:18 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

I went to Wicked last week with my sister Kari.  Such an amazing production.  I loved most of the music, the special effects, and Elphaba (the wicked witch) was my favorite character!  Such an interesting take on the Wizard of Oz.  Thanks mom and dad for treating us to an early Christmas/birthday gift.  I’ll never […]

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first day of school 2014

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 4:37 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

That 5:30am alarm came early on Monday morning. But everyone got up, showered, dressed, packed lunches, and even practiced the piano without any nagging by Scott or I. They fell right back into the routine very nicely and that makes me very happy. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast. A chapter of the scriptures. And pictures outside the front door before it was time for the middle school run. When we stepped outside the sun was just coming up, directly down the street. The golden light silhouetting the palm trees was just beautiful! It was a sign that this was going to...

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Summer!

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 4:25 AM by Mark and Karen Ray RSS feed for Mark and Karen Ray

Though we didn't go anywhere this summer, we did have fun.  I actually don't understand why people take vacations and leave this area in the summer.  It is the best time to be here...it's dry and not cold.  To each their own.

We've gone fishing:




Mark's hilariously small catch.  Can you see it?

Harvesting eggs



We hiked to the top of Multnomah Falls for the first time.  This one is bitter sweet as my dear friend Cheryl moved this summer.  We had been talking about hiking Multnomah for a while.  I'm glad we got this in before they moved.




We made it to the tippy-top!

You can kind of see the bridge below and the parking lot.  Man, we are up high!!!


Cheryl is the one on the left.  I cried many hours when she left. Mark came home from work one day to me sobbing away with a red puffy face.  He thought something was seriously wrong, you know, maybe someone had died.  Nope.  Just an amazing friend moving away.  This was the first time I've been so effected by a friend moving.  I think it is because we've been in the area so long (7 years) with no family around (minus some awesome cousins).  We do everything with these friends including spending holidays together.  They truly have become family.

Roses randomly placed along the hike.  Marriage proposal maybe?


Lunch time!






Emily pointing out a salamander.


Saw this cute guy on our hike down.

We went to the fair.  This is the second year we've gone.  Thanks to some friends, we were able to park and get in for free.  We only spent money on wrist bands for the rides and a ice cream snack.  Carley opted to not go and Mark had tweaked his knee the day before so Kenny, Lauren and I went.  This is the second year we've gone. We again chose to go the day they had the demolition derby.  So fun!!!  I got the kids to go on more rides this year but no takers on any rides that go upside down.  Will someone please go with me next year so I can go on the more thrilling rides?!!!

Waiting for demolition!







Kenny had High Adventures this summer.  They did Tree to Tree (zip lining and such), Sand Boarding, and Biking on trails.  No pictures.

That same week the girls had Activity Day Camp.  I got to help out one of the days.


Big group but a super fun group!

Sack game


Amazingly, I didn't get any pictures of Cottonwood Beach this year.  It is always a favorite.  We go every week!!!  I can't believe school starts in a week.  Where has the summer gone?!

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Gray

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 3:55 AM by Where is the Laugh Track? RSS feed for Where is the Laugh Track?

I have gray hair.


There, I said it.

Not that I've been particularly secret about the fact that I dye my hair.  But still, I've been running away from my gray for a long time now.

I saw my first gray hairs start popping up at 16 or 17.  At first there were only a few and I told myself they were "white hairs." I told myself they were like blond hairs mixed in with my brown. I was already experimenting with hair color every now and then, so it wasn't a big deal.  Since there were only a couple, I sometimes just pulled them out if they were too obvious.

Another year or so and then there started to be more grays. I realized I couldn't keep pulling them out. But I was having fun with hair color still every now and then, so most of the time they didn't show.  I mostly had one streak of gray that was getting denser, but it only showed when I pulled all my hair back and when I had gone a long time without coloring. My blond best friend started saving her old dark brown mascaras for me so I could swipe a little on my streak when it started showing too much. Problem solved.

Then my senior project in college happened. It was a bit of a stressful semester. There were some all-nighters. I can't prove it, but it seems like I had quite a few more gray hairs when it was all said and done.  And I wasn't all that okay with that.

I mean, I wanted to be confident about my natural hair. Really I did. But I was 21 years old. I was single. I was already the 5'10" electrical engineering major who talked too loud. I already stuck out like a sore thumb. It was already hard enough feeling attractive and getting dates. I just wasn't ready to add "...with the premature gray hair" to the list. Sometimes I wished I could rock a "gray streak." But I wasn't sure if my gray streak (or my self-confidence) was strong enough to make the gray interesting instead of just vaguely "off" and dorky.

So I decided that I would just dye my hair a little more frequently, at least while I was still part of the singles/dating scene.

Fast forward a little and I was married and still in my early-to-mid 20's. M knew I dyed my hair and we chatted about it a bit and I decided that I still wasn't ready to stop dyeing my hair. Someday maybe... but not yet. I decided that I just didn't want to be in my 20's with gray hair, so I would keep dyeing it at least until I turned 30. Then I'd re-evaluate.

Fast forward some more and I was 30. I still didn't feel ready to be gray. Now the problem was that everyone already thought I was so much older than I was. Having gray hair would only make it worse! Plus the transition was going to be so hard!

But the more I chewed on the thought in the back of my mind, the more I knew the time was coming. Eventually I would stop dyeing my hair. I just had to figure out when. It was never going to be easy. There would always be an excuse not to. So I started focusing on the reasons to do it.

There are a lot of reasons I want to stop dyeing my gray:

#1 - This is the hair God gave me. I don't want to be fake. It was so freeing a few years ago when I finally accepted that my hair was wavy/curly. I stopped trying to pretend to have straight hair and I finally learned to love the hair texture I had. I want the same thing to happen with my hair color.

#2 - I'm tired of all the money I'm dumping into maintaining an illusion. It's one thing to spend money to do something "fun" with your hair, but spending money just to make your hair unremarkable is so lame.

#3 - Also, the time. I'm sick of the TIME I spend getting my hair dyed. I'd much rather spend it doing something worthwhile. Or even just sleeping.

#4 - I want variations in my color without having to highlight. I look at the amazing red highlights the sun gives my mother's natural hair color and the blonde highlights in my sister's natural hair color and I envy all that gorgeous variation. Maybe I would get highlights from the sun too if I wasn't so busy covering my gray?

#5 - I want to remember what the natural color and texture of my hair is when it hasn't been dyed. Because honestly I'm not sure.

#6 - I want to see what my gray looks like. Where are my "silver highlights"? Is it everywhere? Is it just framing my face? How uniform or how chunky is it? The suspense is killing me! It's not often to we get to surprise ourselves! ;)

#7 - I am blessed to not have to convince anyone that I'm young. I'm happily married and I'm not competing in the workplace. If I look older than I am, why would it really matter? (Still working on believing this one.)

#8 - I'm not a granola or something, but I kinda don't love the idea of pouring all those chemicals onto my head all the time.

#9 - I'm not ready to burn my bra or anything, but I do like the idea of taking a stand against the false standards of beauty and youth that our society is enslaved to. And one of those standards is hair color. What's wrong with gray hair?

#10 - The longer I wait, the harder it will be. The more gray I have, the more often I will have to get it dyed if I want to hide it. (More money, more time, more chemicals, etc.) And the more obvious it will be when I stop dyeing it.

#11 - There's no reason not to transition right now. I'm not interviewing for jobs. I'm not talking to teachers about my grades. There's no weddings on the horizon for me to worry about how I'll look in the family pictures. It's as good a time as any to have funny-looking transition hair. It will never be an EASY transition, but there could definitely be worse times to do this.

#12 - In the end, I've got a bit of rebel in me. Just a tiny little benign bit, but it's there. And having gray is a whole lot more rebel than buying into the "norm" of women hiding their gray.

----------------------------------------------------------------


Today my youngest child entered full-day Kindergarten.

Today is my 34th birthday.

I have gray hair.

Am I young? Am I old?

Who cares!  I'm me.

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everyday browns // vol. 4

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 1:47 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

We just wrapped up the last week of summer vacation. Classes start on Monday and I am ready. Last night after a particularly hairy post-dinner clean up I called it, "ok! it's time for everyone to go back to school!" While they won't admit it, I think the kids are ready to go back to school as well. Here are some of the bits and pieces of what we have been up to . . . . I made some Utah-style scones with honey butter for dinner on Sunday night and they were ah-mazing. Recipe from Our Best Bites. Anna...

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hope and kindness

Posted on August 24, 2014 at 1:18 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Earlier this month I received an email from "an overwhelmed wife and mom". I have been thinking about her ever since. And other women (and men) who feel like her. At different moments & seasons in our life I think we are all susceptible to feeling under-appreciated & ignored, wondering where to find purpose in the monotony of life, wishing there was more spark in our relationships, and burdened by influences out of our control. And beyond all that, sometimes we just have really, really hard things on our plates. I worry for, and my heart saddens when people begin...

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kids' craft fair

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Kids love to create. Right?! Give Anna a box of paper, fabric scraps, pipe cleaners, ribbon, and bells and she will create a masterpiece. My friend Danielle came up with this fabulous idea to put on a kids' craft fair. This was actually the second time that she pulled one off. The first was held in December (think handmade Christmas gifts) but I wasn't able to go. The idea is very simple: Kids work on crafty creations at home -- rubberband bracelets, clay art, magnets, paper airplanes, bath salts, bookmarks, homemade treats, bean bags, perler bead creations, manicure/massage station, etc....

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First day 2014

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 10:37 PM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

We’re slowly getting back into a school routine.  My husband is back to teaching high school math and my oldest daughter is in 9th grade at the local junior high.  I can’t believe she is a freshman!  It is going to be a year of growth for her taking harder classes like Biology, honors classes […]

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heading to college and the 10 year plan

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 6:28 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

I love my friends. And I love that I can easily say they are family. We often comment that our kids are like cousins and I do feel an aunt-like love and watch-care over their kids. So it only makes sense that we watch out for one another, text each other late at night for parenting advice, play the cheerleader, the sounding board, and help each other during transitions. Last week I felt so lucky - SO LUCKY! - to be able to help out Jenn with one of these transitions. Her oldest daughter Alyna just graduated from high school...

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25 hours in San Diego

Posted on August 19, 2014 at 12:58 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Thursday afternoon the kids swam while Scott and I sat by the pool. I began going through my calendar for the upcoming week -- just trying to be mentally aware of what is going on during our last week of summer vacation and making sure that Scott is on the same page. I realized that we had nothing scheduled for Friday. And Saturday. Just saying it out loud gave me little butterflies of excitement - two whole days with nothing on the calendar? Yes! Then Scott said, "You want to go to the beach?" And 30 minutes later we had...

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back to school shopping

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Last week I took my TWO middle-schoolers back to school shopping. Yep. This year I am going to have two kids in middle school - 6th and 8th grades! Craziness. After a lunch date we made our way over to the outlets. At one store I walked up to the register with my purchase and the sales girl's eyes went big, "Oh my gosh you look just like Rachel! She works here. Ya, you could totally be her mom!" Ouch. Her mom? Really? Thankfully, the sales girl at the next register who had been pulled into the conversation back-pedaled to...

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hike big trees

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 1:38 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

I remember hiking at Big Trees when I was in high school. My mom had taken all 5 of us kids camping in the state park. By herself. All in the name of making memories. This park is absolutely beautiful and I was really looking forward to this part of our cabin stay. The North Grove trail is perfect - an easy 1.5 mile loop. These trees are just so big you can hardly wrap your head around it. It is an amazing thing to look up, up, up, and still not see the very top of the tree! Though,...

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End of summer and school curriculum

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 1:48 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

Inspiration Station is mostly a place to record our homeschool days and since I take a summer break, this blog gets awfully quiet.  Now it’s time to start up again.  In little over a week, we’ll be back to more of a schedule.  We’ve had a great summer full of house projects, day trips, a […]

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A look at Joy school

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 12:47 AM by Inspiration Station RSS feed for Inspiration Station

Before we start the new school year, I wanted to post about Joy School.  I’ve really enjoyed teaching Joy School to all 4 of my children.  It is a preschool program with a focus on teaching the values and “joys” of life.  Some years we did Joy school as a mom’s co-op and other years […]

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the cabin

Posted on August 10, 2014 at 1:17 AM by Life in General RSS feed for Life in General

Last summer, after cousin camp, my parents went on the hunt for a cabin of their own and found one. For the past year they have been decorating, roofing, chopping, remodeling, building, hot-tubbing, and doing so much to make it a comfortable place for family and friends (but mostly family) to gather and just get away from the world. I was so glad to finally see the cabin on this trip! I thought the antique doorbell was fantastic. It is from an old firehouse in San Francisco. Notice what's at the end of the chain? A cable car! So cute....

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