Category Archive:Cousins

Camping at Tony Grove

Your #1 Fan post on February 20th, 2017
Posted in Camping, Cousins, Family, Hiking, Sunshine, Swimming

My older sister and I decided to take our kids on an overnight camping trip. I was feeling great and ready to get out and LIVE. Having cancer and being out of commission for 6 weeks sure makes you motivated to get out and feel alive. I love camping. I love just sitting and soaking up God’s beautiful earth. It was healing. Anytime Novalie can hang out with her cousins, she is a happy girl. We went to Tony Grove, which I camped at with my Grandma and Grandpa when I was a kid and Kevin and I camped there once in our early years. It felt familiar and I was happy to make new memories there. We went to the lake, played games, walked the campsite, ate yummy food and treats.

Novalie loves camping and the outdoors just as much as I do. We feel at home.

Started out being careful on rocks…

To being drenched. 

So happy to be in the sunshine in the mountains.


The morning after. I did not sleep. Maybe 30 mins total in 5 minute increments here and there. I was convinced that bears were going to attack us….”did we put all the food away good enough” went through my head every 5 seconds. Sleeping on a hard ground 7 weeks after having a double mastectomy was not a brilliant idea. I later learned that my tissue expander that was in for temporary reconstruction work turned 90 degrees that night. Whoops. I don’t regret it though. One night in the mountain air did wonders for my soul.

A goodbye selfie with Novalie and Sophie.

~Happy Tony Grove Camping Trip!~

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!~

Recap of November 2015

November came and went so quickly, I had to look at pictures to even remember what happened…….

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Novalie started taking archery lessons.  Her coach is ranked something (I can’t remember) and won a bunch of stuff (I can’t remember) and has sent and currently has junior olympians.  After her first lesson, he said Novalie was a natural and was a good listener which is what it takes to succeed.  He wanted to put her in the 12 year old girl junior olympian training group and I was like whoa…hold your horseys.  Her second lesson he said, “just let me know and we will talk specifics.” I don’t know a thing about archery, but it sure it cool watching her shoot.  She loves it and wants to do it, so I think our future will have quite a bit of archery in it.

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Fred the turkey got brought out.  He is my most favorite holiday decoration I have. Novalie and I made Fred 4 years ago and I just love it when he comes out!

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Novalie got the new Build-a-Bear catalog (dang those catalogs!) with all the new holiday animals in it.  We had 2 coupons from our frequent buyer habits, so this cute green brachiosaurus was pennies.  She named her Spruce.  And we HAD to have a Build-a-Bear stuffed Christmas ornament to commence her years of obsession and collection.

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Novalie asked me everyday several times a day if we could decorate for Christmas.  I kept telling her it was way too early, but I did finally let her decorate her room.

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Who needs holiday window clings when you have an artist in the house?  I love my artistic cutie!

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I got strep throat.  What the heck?  It was m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e with a capital M.  Years of Novalie getting strep throat every other month and I never got it once.  No clue where I picked it up from, but it was horrible.  The last time and only other time I have had strep throat was when I was a teenager on a family vacation on a yacht off the coast of Florida. We had to go to shore where my dad took me to a clinic and I got a shot of penicillin in my butt. I do not remember a thing from that yacht vacation except I can see my room vividly and me sitting on the side of the bed wishing the rocking would stop and crying from pain.  This time around the Dr. asked me if I wanted to do the 10 days of medicine or get a shot of penicillin and be done with it.  I practically screamed shot thinking it would work faster.  Nope. When Novalie used to get strep, she would feel better in 4 hours after her first dose of medicine.  It took 2 days, TWO! for my pain to start to ease.  Four days until the throat pain was gone all together.  I am a pretty tough cookie, but throat pain does me in.  Sure hope it is another 25 years before I experience that again.

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We woke up Thanksgiving morning to snow!  Novalie and Olive were both pretty excited about that.

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Olive LOVES the snow!

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Playing fetch was a little difficult.

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I love everything about this picture!

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This is one of my favorite all time photos!

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After playing in the snow, we got busy making rolls for our Thanksgiving feast at my brother’s.

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Novalie is getting to be a good roll maker.  We love homemade rolls!

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Our feast was super yummy.  We played Scattergories which is one of my most favorite games with some of my favorite people.  Then we had pie and Thanksgiving 2015 was a wrap.

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Some of my family members at a brunch for my niece’s missionary farewell.  My niece, Ashley Doré, got called to serve in the San Diego mission and her farewell was so nice.  She is a fantastic missionary and I love reading about her experiences.

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Novalie with two of her cousins, miss Sophie and Tristan.

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Me and my nephew, Austin.  (he’s my favorite, but don’t tell!!)

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Novalie does a lot of chillin’ like this in her room.  Cracks me up.  She is such a tween, but such a little girl as evident in this photo with pigtails vs. headphones.  Wouldn’t have it any other way…I love my unique beauty.

This November, we had so much to be thankful for.  For Novalie, I was most thankful for her humor to keep me laughing when life just didn’t seem funny.  I am so thankful that she has found a nice group of friends that she really likes and are just nice.  She went through a rough, rough, rough heartbreaking breakup with her best friend of 4 years, so I am so grateful she has bounced back and found friends to laugh with again.  I am thankful that she is healthy and stayed healthy during my two bad illnesses within weeks of each other.  I am thankful for her energy and spirit.  I am thankful for her testimony is the gospel and how simple, pure and perfect it is.  She continues to be my bright shining star and I am so thankful for her every single day.  Even with her preteen attitude of eye rolls, door slams and talking back.  I love my sassy energetic Sunshine T-Rex!

~Happy November 2015!~

Danielle and Boys Came to Visit

Your #1 Fan post on January 1st, 2016
Posted in Cousins, Family, Fun Activities, Novalie

My sister was able to tag along with her boss when they were coming down to visit family in the area.  Novalie was so excited to see them!  I was excited/nervous and had to do a lot of praying/forgiving to let the past be the past before they arrived.  It turned out so good and we had such a fun weekend.  I miss my sister everyday and this time was golden.

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They were so excited to see each other again!  Man alive, I missed those boys.

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These boys adore their cousin, Alyssa!

First up on their to do list was eating at Crown Burger. Zane got to come this time which was awesome and he wanted Crown Burger because Grandpa always took him there.  Then we went roller skating/blading and the 2 younger boys scootered.  They loved those things!  Danielle and I tried skating despite the sign saying, “we recommend you do not skate if over the age of 21.”  Danielle fell hard the first time out and she was done.  I picked it up and I loved it.  It was so fun.  I want to be in the roller derby…for reals.

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The roller skating stars.

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The next day we went to the movies courtesy of my brother Jeff who had a bunch of movie vouchers.  We saw Hotel Transylvania 2 which was cute.  The boys don’t get to go to movies very often, so it sure was a treat!

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Zane had never been to an In-N-Out burger before, so that was on his to do list.  We were happy to take him because we love that place!

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That night all the family came over for dinner and visiting.  Sure love all these kids!

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Always laughing when she is around.

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I think this was my mom’s first selfie!

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Uncle Jeff hooked them up with Grizz hats.

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Watching Jurassic World.

The morning they left, I took them to Kneaders and introduced them to Kneaders french toast.  They were glad about that little fact as that french toast is super duper yummy.  We sure loved having them here and were sad to see them go!

Come back again soon!