Category Archive:Fun Activities

Summer 2016 Odds and Ends

Here are some of the little things that happened over the summer that I don’t want to forget:

Novalie did Up With Kids summer camp again. She got to be Maleficent which she loved playing. All the little kids loved her and she just shines so much when she is on stage.

She was the perfect villain.

She had to wear this dragon costume and a bunch of little kids were following her holding it up. Cutest thing.

Taking a very well deserved bow. She said that playing a villain is her favorite person to play.

Off to Girl’s Camp! It was a short (2 nights) ward camp this year. Her favorite part was canoeing.

Olive got her first ever Bark Box. She is a fan. I am a fan of Bark Box.

Archery practice.


And more archery. Lots of practice hours logged over the summer.

Trips to the park.

All the floats in the Pioneer Days parade were on display for the public to go look at. There were some impressive floats. I was slowly getting out and about by mid July. I could handle small outings like this one. Anytime spent with Novalie was healing.

I mean…..those are some massive shakes. So yummy.

Time for braces! She was nervous in this picture, not quite sure what to expect.

She is just the cutest thing in her braces. We have hit full on teenage mode.

A trip to the State Fair. Always a good time. My kind of place to be.

I saw people walking around with these turkey legs and I was on the hunt to find one before we could leave the fair. I found one. It was huge and delicious! These cute girlies didn’t know what to think of that thing!

This was my view many, many, many days during the summer. Novalie got a season pass to Lagoon with a couple friends and it was a lifesaver with the kind of summer we had. She LOVES the ride Wicked. They once went on it 30 something times in a row and were sick. Funny girls. It is nice to have this option of entertainment so close by.

End of 7th Grade

7th grade came and went so fast. So fast. Novalie had a great year. She made honor roll all four quarters. She has a great group of friends that have managed to stay drama free all year. She joined band and learned to play the flute. She found archery and fell in love with it. She is funny, smart, creative and just a joy to be around. 7th grade was such a great year for her. We were sad to see it end.

End of the year band concert. The beginning band sounded amazing! Novalie looked so pretty and poised. She was nervous, but did great! My heart swells so big watching her in band. It brings me so much joy.

Novalie and two of her best friends, Brooklyn and Faith. They all learned the flute together.


After the band concert. This is Novalie’s group of great friends minus one who didn’t make it to the concert. They have spent their 7th grade year together laughing together each day at lunch, in classes, hanging out after school, texting. They are the sweetest. It is such a blessing for Novalie to have had these good friends during 7th grade. Everything in Novalie’s life goes smoother when she is happy with her friend situations.

Novalie and her BFF, Emily, at the end of 7th grade. It is our tradition to get snow cones the last day of school. Since I was going to be in the hospital on the last day of 7th grade, we went 2 days earlier.

Last day of 7th grade!

This was a stressful time for Novalie with me having cancer, a major surgery and in the hospital. This picture just warmed my heart and let me know that while all this other stuff is going on, she is laughing and happy. On the last day of 7th grade, she went home with Emily and did their tradition of rootbeer floats with her family. Those two are always laughing together and I was so happy to see her laughing on the last day of 7th grade. This picture sums up 7th grade perfectly. It was full of joy and laughter.

She had a fantastic 7th grade year!

Memorial Day in Montana

Your #1 Fan post on December 7th, 2016
Posted in Cousins, Dad, Family, Fun Activities, Hiking, Memorial Day, Montana, Novalie

I found out on May 10th that I had breast cancer. I had to take a leave of absence from work, so I was free to go to Montana for Memorial Day. I was so excited and looking forward to this last minute trip. I needed to draw strength from being home, visiting my dad’s grave and just laughing with my sisters. It was everything I needed and more.  Danielle has dogs so we couldn’t stay with her, so her boss graciously let us stay in her office apartment. She had the best backyard for the kids to play in. Just waking up and going out in the backyard woods, breathing in the clean mountain air, I felt instant peace.

Mountain Montana air and me mesh well.

They had a zipline in the backyard that was fun for the kids to play on.

All the kids ready to hike the M.

Danielle and I half way up. It is a short hike, but it is straight up hill with no breaks. It was a hard, hard hike. We didn’t know if we could do it, but we slowly made our way up and it was such a feeling of accomplishment when we finally made it to the top.

At the M in Missoula.

Sister selfie at the top. We sure laughed A LOT!

After the hike, I made us all go to Noodle’s Express for lunch. It is sooooo good! Everyone loved it. Next to Benihana’s, this is my favorite place to eat and they only have it in Missoula.

Then we went to the carousel which is a tradition every time we visit Montana.

After that, we headed back to Stevensville to visit my 101 year old grandma.

Grandma Ruth with some of her great grandchildren.

It was a special visit. I wanted Novalie to meet her great grandma even though she only speaks in jibberish. Novalie held her hand and told her about herself. Grandma Ruth loved the children around her. Her feet, hands and jibberish were going like crazy. It warmed my heart.

Me and my sisters with Grandma Ruth. I am so glad we went to see her!

The next day we went to sacrament meeting at my old ward. It was good to see a few familiar faces and hug people who are dear to my heart for the years I spent in that ward. We sat in the row we always would sit in every Sunday. It was fun sharing memories with Novalie about that building.

Danielle and I in front of our old church building. A lot of memories in that building.

We then went to visit my Dad’s grave. We spent a good amount of time there. We all had a good cry and I soaked up all the strength I could from being there. We also laughed and told crazy Grandpa stories. My dad was one of a kind.

One of my all time favorite pictures of Novalie and I.

We had a picnic, then drove up to our old ranch. No where feels like home to me more than the ranch. I grew up in Texas, New York and Montana, but Montana will always be home.

The loooong drive way alone holds many many memories.

In front of our old ranch house.

Outside my old bedroom window.

My heart aches for Montana more so now then ever before. I love the country. I love the memories there. It was the perfect place to go to visit before I had to face breast cancer full on. It gave me that extra bit of strength I was looking for to endure such a trial.

We ended our trip with a late night trip to Pizza Hut. I was starving and we were trying to find anywhere open to go eat. We called Pizza Hut and they were open still, so after screams of cheer from me, we loaded up and drove through a wicked rain storm to Hamilton. We laughed so hard at Pizza Hut. So hard. The people in the booth by us told us how nice it was to see a family have so much fun together. We laughed a lot.

Pizza Hut selfie with my selfie stick!

Got a little wild at the Pizza Hut.

Two cute girlie cousins who were sad to be heading home in the morning.

This trip was all about me, but Novalie loves Montana too and made a lot of good memories during our weekend there too.

We love Montana. I loved this trip. Can’t wait to go back again!

~Happy Memorial Day Weekend~

Spring Break 2016

Spring Break has become one of my favorite weeks of the year. Novalie and I get to spend quality time doing fun stuff together we love. Our Spring Break staycation has become a treasured tradition.

Like I have mentioned before, our car rides to and from our activities are my favorite. We talk about anything and everything. History, politics, social situations, what we love, what we don’t love, goals, hopes, dreams, funny stories. I love it all. It is my favorite.

Her traditional Spring Break Build-a-Bear. This year she went with Supergirl since we have been watching the new Supergirl series and love it.

We spent one day at the aquarium. It is definitely Novalie’s happy place. I love the peace and calm that comes from sitting in the shark tank watching them swim by.

Her beloved great white shark. Many people commented on her all shark outfit, it was fun! I hope my unique shark loving girl never changes.

Enjoying her shark tail sucker!

My sister and kids came over one of the days to go skating. They had a sweaty good time.

Our traditional meal at our favorite place, Benihana’s! It was dreamy and delicious like always.

Spring Break Beauty

Our traditional, yearly visit to paint a porcelain figurine. Novalie pained this beautiful angel and I painted a bowl.

We got some walks in with Olive.

It was a fabulous week and we were sad to see it end.

~Happy Spring Break!~

Latest Adventures


We decided it would be fun to go ice skating in the city at the outdoor rink.  It was a warmer day and not crowded at all.  We had fun until Novalie fell in a puddle and was wet, my toes starting cramping every time I tried to skate and Novalie’s BFF fell and hurt her knee.  However, it was a fun adventure to try something new and Novalie always feels fancy when we go into the city.  And how cute is this picture of Novalie? Very. Seriously cute.



They were trying to do all sorts of tricks out there and often ended up on the ground.


Novalie and her BFF skating in the city.


Me and my baby girl.


So in love with this picture!


After ice skating we walked around to find somewhere to have dinner.  We walked by this bakery and Novalie and I were so excited!  It was in a Christmas Hallmark movie where the characters met frequently.  Kevin said he walks by it often, but we kinda felt famous for a second.


In all the pretty city lights.  I love these girls.


We went to see Zootopia which was cute and funny.


 If you look closely at Novalie’s legs, you will see JEANS on them.  We were in the store and she said she wanted to try these jeans, so I practically ran to the register before she could change her mind.  She wore them to school and she said all her friends were screaming…”Novalie, you have jeans on!”  She has not worn jeans since she was five.  It is a big deal y’all.


Our new home away from home.  Novalie got invited to be in a JOAD (junior olympic archery development) program.  The coaches say she has raw talent.  They say she will go far.  They say they have big plans for her.  She LOVES it.  It has been fun to learn all about the sport of archery.  We went to watch our first national competition and it is cool. It is all new and exciting.  I love watching her shoot.



Painting with another great friend.


Painting…another one of Novalie’s talents.  She does it often and always impresses me with what she can do.  She just sits down and creates beautiful things.


A beautiful Sunday walk.  It is so nice to get outside again after the cold snowy winter.


With the snow melted, I get this look everyday.  “Aren’t you going to play with me?”  Which I do.  Because look at that puppy.



These two love walking to my work on Fridays if I am working.  School gets out early on Fridays, so they walk to my work and order fancy drinks and pastries and work on their novels.  They want to be authors and want to be published sooooooooooooooooo badly.  They are working on a series right now and I am kinda in love with that fact.  Archery, art and writing which are not only Novalie’s talents but passions and she is deep into all of them at the moment.


Novalie and her BFF are into all things The Maze Runner series.  They have seen the first two movies countless times and she seems to have one of the 3 books in front of her face these days.  They talk about it all.the.time.  She has her Maze Runner birthday party all planned out with every detail covered… is not for 4 more months.  They are fans.

Besides all these adventures, they volunteer at the local food pantry twice a month. (I mean, how awesome is my daughter!?!)  They go roller blading each week on $1 skating night (her BFF’s mom takes them, so no pics) where they are working on all sorts of tricks on their blades including the karate kick.  Novalie has had a sleep over twice at her BFF’s house.  That is a big deal too.  I always said no sleep overs until someone comes along that reminds me of Britnie (my BFF in high school) and I felt 100% comfortable with her being at their house.  She has found that and her BFF’s family just loves Novalie and I feel safe about her being there.

All this and she has remained on the honor roll at school all year long.  I am so proud of her.

I am so in love with Novalie these days.  Even with her eye rolls and her….I am so annoyed with you, mom, attitude, she is 90% of the time laughing, happy and enjoying life.  I thank God everyday for sending her to me.  She makes my world go round.