Weekend in Payson

This past weekend we ventured up to Payson to camp with family. It was hotter than we thought, which meant no campfires. Even though we sweat by day, it was freezing by bedtime! I think my favorite part of camping is bedtime in the tent with the boys. When it’s cold at night we have to cuddle extra close in the blankets to stay warm. I can snuggle their faces and wrap my arms around them and stare at their eye lashes in the morning sun. I can kiss their cheeks and listen to the crickets (or coyotes, depending on the time of night). It’s also a lot of fun to see them use the air mattresses as trampolines. This trip we spent a lot of time at the nearby creeks and water wells, and devoted much planning around meal time. The creeks were full of crawdads and tadpoles, we even found a sandy shore and swing at one place. I don’t remember sitting down but I think the boys had a blast which is all that matters. I’ll save the hammock for a later day. I don’t think June is the best time to go up north so maybe we’ll save the camping for the Fall, when we can have a campfire and roast s’mores! I love this family of mine, and am thankful for this body I can make tired.

Cher Joy

Once upon a time.

I had a blog. It’s been over a year since I’ve written here. And I miss it. After all, this place was really for me. It never went anywhere. No one sponsored my posts. It’s just a place I’ve used to remember my feelings, and thoughts. To document special moments I don’t want to forget. And maybe one day a place my children can come back to to read and remember as well. Walker just turned 4. Callen just turned 3. And my first, Jace turned 7 this year too. They are shooting up like beanstalks. Jace literally looks like one. He’s so tall and skinny, and how his face melts my heart. Walker is taller and still stalky but oh so perfectly proportionate. Callen is tall too, but small. We’re still waiting for his weight to catch up with his height. Right now Walker likes to pretend that he’s going somewhere, driving in the power wheel, cozy coup, or his bike with training wheels. He says he’s going to “get donuts.” Callen is Mr. stealth. Always grabbing for something. Escaping out the front door. Hiding in a corner. Always scheming. Yesterday he threw our Apple Game remote in the blow up pool. Jace is 7 going on 17. He loves his after school show, Henry Danger. The lead character is also named Jace (in real life) and is a teenage super hero, who fights bullies and is ridiculously goofy but kind. I can see why he’s starting to idolize him. Jace graduates from 1st grade tomorrow. Rob and I are in a new place in our marriage. Cats out of the bag. But we’re healing and growing, finding grace. And more importantly trying to communicate better. More on that another time. Tonight as I watched the boys in their bath, Jace and Walk brushed each other’s hair to style it, and were so pleasant with each other. They smiled and wanted to care for the other. It was so sweet, their giggles and embrace. A moment like this is worth all the fretting I put into this mothering thing. I so pray and hope to support them in becoming kind and independent and content adults, with all the right life tools, faith included. So instead of opening up my social apps, like Instagram, I’m going to attempt to blog more .. we’ll see how this goes. Full time working momma over here. Bare with me. Also. One more memory for the blog memory book. Jace looked at me tonight and said, “what’s going on with your hair?”, I said “they’re called ‘curtain bangs’, see, sort of like long bangs”; (mind you this is a week after I did the cut), then he told me he wanted to whisper something to me. He leaned in and said, “you’re pretty.” How was sweet was that. Dead. OK, well again, I’m trying to sign off here. Let’s see how I do with this blogging thing again.

Callen, Jace, Walker

My little boy band

Get ready for the newest boy band around. The Johannes Brothers. You might need to wait another 10-12 years for their music to hit the air waves, but it’s going to happen. If I can help it. But seriously, these pictures from our Christmas card melt my heart. I just want to smushy kiss their faces. And lick their blonde locks. And squeeze the air out of them. hahahaha

Activities for Kids, Flagstaff


People. I’m coming back to life. I just made an iMovie! Us Johannes (and Joy) folk went up to Flagstaff for the 3-day weekend and had a grand ol’ time. But to be a little serious and sentimental here .. it was more than that. It was everything. It was like time stood still. I didn’t post on social media. I just soaked in every minute I could with my boys and only took my phone out to video when I remembered or had it nearby. Or asked my Dad to run the video button! There was a lot of built up anticipation for this trip, mostly on Jace’s part to see the snow and play in it. And play in it he did! We could barely get the kid to come inside. What a joy it was to see him put on all the gear and go trekking through the snow. Building snowmen and snow forts and throwing snow balls. We went all out. And the cottage I rented didn’t disappoint. The most perfect layer of snow surrounded the cottage and even beyond the fence of the property. I guess I don’t really know who had more fun, Jace or Tacoma. They were like two peas in a pod. Walker and Callen were a little skeptical of the snow. They ventured out occasionally, and rallied at the snow park. I felt like a kid again myself, out there crunching in the snow in my borrowed snow boots. Rolling huge balls of snow into a snowman body (I forgot how much work it is!) .. packing little snowballs and hitting my son over the head with them. I even made him cry. Not a proud Mom moment, I admit. But come on!? It’s called a snowball FIGHT for a reason! I felt bad, sure.  But he got over it and demanded a rematch the next day. That boy has to toughen up! Our AirBnB was located right down the road from the Deer Farm. A little place full of baby deer starving for attention and $4 cups of food. We kissed a camel, fed the deer, talked to a porcupine, and admired the llamas and wallabys. Walker even got an unexpected KISS from a reindeer, causing him to fall back on his buttocks! Aside from playing in the snow non stop, playing scrabble with my Mom, hot chocolate in the morning, watching Top Gun after the boys went to bed, we didn’t do much else.  The wood burning stove was marvelous … the sleeping arrangements quite tight .. the wild Elk galloping in the fields ..  the sound of the train .. pretty spot on perfect if you ask me.  And then, by the end of the weekend, 2 out of the 3 boys were sick, ha. Pretty typical of a trip up north, I’d say?! We are definitely going to have to make this snow trip an annual thing with the boys. More downtime, and more slower days, please! And don’t hate me. I’m a sucker for these face in the hole pictures every where I go, lol!

Flagstaff, Halloween, Holidays

Viola’s Flower Garden

After our morning at Bearizona and afternoon naps, we decided to find a pumpkin patch, and my Google search and review stalking did not disappoint. I found Viola’s Flower Garden. A local nursery turned pumpkin patch. It was from something out of a movie. Ridiculously picture perfect in every way and decorated to a T. Beautiful pumpkins of every variety, games for the kids, a straw maze and even a pumpkin painting station. Every little nook and cranny was carefully crafted for the holiday, and there were fabulous photo ops everywhere we turned. We especially liked the sleeping skeletons in the casket. Walker made sure to shhh us as to not wake them. The colors were the perfect shade of Fall all around us and we found a few pumpkins to take home. Mine was $26 (omg!), but worth it for the little Hocus Pocus feels we got from strolling through the garden. Loved all the charm throughout. And loved the smiles and delight my boys got out of it.

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