Christmas Eve

Not a lot of time to blog but really wanted to post something, so here we go, lots of pictures… few words.
Yes, decorating the tree the day before Christmas, how terrible!

Arizona doesn’t have snow so we faked it.
What says Christmas like a hike?
Maybe I shouldn’t have been running on the rocky trail…
Turns out Payson’s quite fond of the backpack as long as Allan’s the one wearing it.

My new favorite picture of Allan.

This girl adores hiking!

Christmas Day

Our humble tree that didn’t get put up until Christmas Eve!
Christmas morning.

Anything car related and Payson’s happy.
Grandpa and grandma’s house!

We don’t have a nativity so the kids were loving grandpa and grandma’s.

He loves it!

I think she likes it.

Skyping with Allan’s mom’s family. So cool!

And what better on Christmas day than hiking??

A family picture that I didn’t have to take with the timer thanks to Allan’s dad!
Speaking of Allan’s dad…

And then we went home!


I was having a really bad day today.
I had just finished errands. I was heading home.
Heading home should have cheered me up but it didn’t. It wasn’t enough to snap me out of it.
I was in a bad mood.
But then, as I drove, the heavily-clouded sky grew dark.
And it started to rain.
I know I’m odd with this, but rain, rain, rain. Rain makes me so very happy.

I stopped the car in the driveway. I stepped out of the car, stopped to unbuckle the kids. The girls climbed out as I scooped up Payson. Baby boy on my hip, I paused.

The rain hit my face. I smiled. I felt it, bubbling up from my stomach, the laughter. Nervous, relieved, exhausting laughter. Stress-releasing laughter.
My kids, knowing how rain affects me, knowing how rain is a cue for dancing and skipping, immediately laughed along and started running around the driveway and yard.
Payson was squinty from the drops on his face but seeing his sisters and mom facing the sky and laughing caused the corners of his lips to turn up and his cute gapped teeth showed. He flinched happily. He raised his hand towards the sky with an excited, expectant smile. The drops slipped down his arm and his smile stayed as he turned and looked straight into my eyes. He knew then. He knows now. The joy of rain.

Suddenly life was very good. Life is very good.

Update on Payson’s Tummy Troubles

I got a call from Payson’s doctor with the endoscopy results.
The biopsy came back positive with allergen cells.

The gastroenterologist said the next step is to meet with an allergist. I’m not in a huge hurry to do that since Payson’s 100% improvement on the gluten-free diet tells me very clearly it’s a wheat problem.
I will schedule an appointment after the holidays.

So yep, gluten-free boy it is.

These shots are of Payson enjoying some pot roast. Really gluten-free is not that bad! He can still have all 5 food groups. You just have to choose different grains for the bread category 😉

Oh and as far as what flour combination I use: brown rice flour, tapioca flour and potato starch most often. Almond flour is also used sometimes. I haven’t had much success with quinoa flour in any amount, I guess I don’t like the taste. Payson doesn’t mind though.

I’m not a fan of most pre-made mixes, gluten-free ones are no exception. They’re usually twice the price (or more!) it would cost to make stuff from scratch and not worth that to me.

In Their Bedrooms

Sunday the girls were playing in their rooms while Payson was sleeping in his.

One of my favorite pictures of me as a child is one where I’m playing in my room. I thought I should get some pictures of my kids playing in their rooms.

She was using this diaper insert as Santa’s list. She, of course, was Santa.

She got this framed picture of Jesus with little children from the primary leaders.

She got a candy too.

Even though Sierra’s bright pink curtains were making a really extreme pink color cast, I just had to get some of her playing in her room, too!

Payson woke up right after I left Sierra’s room.

It’s rare that he’s in a good mood when he wakes up but he was today!


As much as I hate giving my kids baths (they splash, they scream, they get crazy hyper) I love the way they look with wet hair and eyelashes and the smell of the soap and the huge grins plastered to their faces the whole time.

Payson’s always been a big fan of baths. When he hears the water turn on he comes sprinting into the room right to the edge of the tub and tries to climb in.

Here he was saying “ball” which he pronounces “bowwwwwww.”

I don’t have many bath toys in my tub so the kids fight over the bath cup.. they’ll fill it and pour it over and over. Payson fills it and drinks it and then pours it over and over.

He’s getting a haircut soon. I’ll miss the way his hair grows in the back.