He’s home!


The day is here!  

Ribbons are hanging in the trees, the house is clean inside and out, we are all presentable and I feel ready.  

Its time to go and get him.

My heart pounds as we drive to the airport and as we wait at the gate.

Is the plane on time? *check flight tracker* They’re 8 minutes early!

Will the photographer be able to find us?

Instagram of the kids waiting.

How’s my lipstick?

The plane landed.

The news crew is here.

He’s at the gate!

Be calm and answer their questions.

Don’t say “um”.

He’s getting off the plane.

“No, I don’t want to wear the mic.”

Where is he?

Are these people from his flight?

I can’t see up the ramp!

Dan, how far do you think you could make it up the ramp before the TSA lady tackles you?

That’s him!  Those are his boots!  That’s his smile!

I run.

The TSA lady warns me not to cross the line.

I stop and then Paul gestures to run anyway.

He’s home!  He’s safe!  I can touch him!  He’s real!  I don’t want to let go!  Its over!

Hugs all around, happy tears, relief.  The relief is unbelievable.

Paul says a few words to the news crew.

It can’t stop looking at him, touching him.  Is this real?  Am I going to wake up?

We head to baggage claim and finally home.

Photo by Terry Hurst Photography

Survival Mode and Beyond


For me, survival mode means just trying to get through the day.  There is no looking to the future a month, a week or even a day ahead.  Do what has to be done now and just make it to bed time.  It means buffet style dinner because setting the table it too much.

It means I can’t worry about the project due next week, we will just focus on the the homework due tomorrow.  It means Dan needs a haircut and there isn’t any bread for lunches, and it means someone doesn’t have the right t-shirt for the field trip and I feel like a failure.  At the end of some of these days I wonder why I even try.

The worst part of it for me is that my children are the ones who are most effected.  Grades have slipped.  Opportunities have been lost.  Any self-improvement this year has been sporadic if it has happened at all.

These are the subtle consequences of war that nobody sees; nobody talks about.

Happily, that part is behind us now and we are looking forward.

Finishing up Christmas, being at the threshold of a hopeful new year and realizing that I am solidly in phase four, has given me an energy I haven’t had in a very long time.

The number one change made?  Lists!  I have a list of things the kids need to do before they get any screen time.  Among other things, Dan needs to practice the horn, Gloria needs to knit a square for a blanket, Sara will finish one lesson of code.  We were all spending way too much time in front of one screen or another and now that time, is just a little more measured.  I feel like we’re all back on track.

Adding to that energy, is the excitement  that Paul will be home soon.  My mind is racing constantly with errands and projects that need to be finished before he gets home.  I’m cleaning out closets and organizing drawers and making lots of trips to the Goodwill.  There’s weeding and planting and cleaning up to be done in the yard.  The carpets need to be cleaned and the baseboards need to be washed and if I showed you my “to do” list you would make fun of me.

Regina said, “Rachel, I didn’t think that Paul cares if all the cupboards are cleaned out.  I think he’ll just be glad to be home.”  “I know, it is mostly for me so that when he comes home I can relax and just focus on him and won’t be worried about all the little chores that need to be done.”

The funnest project I’ve started is redecorating our bedroom so that Paul will have a comfortable, peaceful place to retreat as he reintegrates with the family.  He didn’t have that last time and I think it would have helped a great deal.  I am working with Decorist and they have given me the best ideas and insights!  I just order the print above (that they found) as part of that project.  It is by Kimberly Blok and it perfectly sets the tone for the room I want.

What do you think?


Because Jan. 1st was on a Wednesday and the kids don’t go back to school until Monday, I feel like I have a few extra days to finish up a a couple of things from 2013 before our year really starts tomorrow.

The last thing I was determined to finish before the year was up was to get these darn photographs scanned and saved to an external hard drive.  I sorted and began scanning them last summer but they were put on the back burner again and again.  And that box sat here mocking me every time I walked into the family room.

I have about 3/4 of them done and I am going to try and finish them up today.  I will be so glad to have them all safely on a hard drive and out of my family room!

Once that is done I get to start on this year’s quilts!  I have several quilts I want to work on this year:


1.This skill builder Block of the Month project  by Alyssa aka:Pile O Fabric looks so good to me.

2. A snowflake quilt, isn’t this one pretty?

3. A pixelated quilt, there are some great ones out there but I think I want to start simple.

4. A video game 8 bit quilt, Mario is the best.  I like this Tetris one too.

5, 6, 7, 8.  These quilts are inspiring me right now as far as baby quilts.  We have quite a few friends having babies this year and our very first great niece or nephew is expected in June!!

9. I would also like to try batik fabric dying.

Whew!  Wish me luck!

Some scattered thoughts about the new year.

I know it is extremely wasteful to have wished a year of my life away but that is definitely what I did in 2013.  If I accomplished anything it was because I was trying to nudge time along and get it to move a little quicker.  Doesn’t time move faster when we’re busy?


On New Year’s Eve I played with Flipogram and iPhoto for hours and made several slideshows highlighting different things that happened this year.  I found it very satisfying to see my year laid out in front of me like that.

I have always taken pictures of our family and things we are doing but it was sporadic.  Because I always have my phone with me now, I take a lot more pictures, as I’m sure is the case with everyone.  It’s so useful to be able to take pictures so easily and I love that I have several platforms (Instagram is my favorite.) to share moments of our life with friends and family who are far from us.

Not only do I get to share my life, even better is the fact that I get to see their lives too.  I love knowing that my brother and sis in law are always hiking the cliffs around the beaches near San Francisco and it warms my heart to see their new baby snuggled close to one of their chests on those outings.  I adored getting a peek at my sisters’ lives as they moved into new houses this year.  Jordan has a chocolate brown wall in her bedroom and a swinging reading chair.  Gabby has whitewashed hardwood floors and her kids love to climb the trees around their house.

In years past we would all gather and talk, we’re a pretty close family, but I never got those kinds of details.  I think it is magical!

Have I said lately how much I love social media and technology?

Now I turn to 2014 and this morning my head is full of nothing but Paul’s return.  When will he be here?  Will he fly into SLC or PHX?  How will we all adjust?  I need to order more yellow ribbon. Will he want solitude or will he want our attention?  I need to get the treadmill tuned up.  Will he want to eat all the foods he’s missed or will he want to eat like he’s been eating?  Will I be able to balance Paul’s needs and the children’s?  I need a new calendar.  How soon can I get him into the ocean?

I am looking forward to a year of lovely moments, challenges to be overcome, creative projects and facing fears.  I hope that you are looking at the same kind of year and wish you the very best.

Happy 2014!

Photo by Photography By Design


I love this painting.  I just got off the phone with a man in Guam to ask about buying it.


I’m thinking of ways to translate it into a quilt.  What do you think?

23 Reasons 2013 Rocked for Robin

Robin started the year with a bang when she was chosen to do an internship in NYC for the New York Daily News. While she was there she saw lots of cool NYC things . . .


. . . and she ate lots of NYC pizza . . .


. . . and she only slept with a few bed bugs.


When she finished her internship, she hopped on a plan with Pauly and flew to Europe where they visited 11 countries in 9 weeks . . .


. . .  and only got lost a little bit.


After nine weeks together, their relationship became a little strained.


Okay, maybe more than a little.


But don’t worry, they are friends again.


She sold her car to pay for her trip to Europe so she was very relieved when she finally got a new one.  Robin, knock that off.


Robin loves TV and movies and 2013 did not disappoint.  She wished a heartbreaking farewell to Liz Lemon but not before Liz bestowed upon her a parting life lesson.


After observing a proper period of mourning, she was thrilled when the 4th season of Arrested Development was released.


Then Iron Man 3 was released so that Robin could watch this guy.


Then, Star Trek was released she could watch this guy . . .


. . . and this guy . . .


. . . and this guy . . .


. . . and this guy some more.


Robin moved in with Salem and Megan to act as both freeloader . . .


. . . and slave labor . . .


But that ended up working out well because Salem got to see some of Robin’s talents up close . . .


. . . and hired her for do PR and social media for his race company, Vacation Races.


being gainfully employed and feeling confident Robin walked off the BYU campus for the last time, degree in hand, ready to face the world!


As Robin heads out into the world we are excited to see what she does with the rest of her life!


Good luck Robin!  We love you to the sky!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas


It was day or two after Thanksgiving 2005, Paul was going to deploy to Iraq within the week.  We had done all the paperwork.  We had prepared the children.  We had discussed what  would happen if . . .    We had done everything we could think of.  I was sad, anxious and scared.  I started clenching my jaw.  I clenched so tightly and for so many weeks that by the time Paul was leaving, I couldn’t open my mouth wide enough to eat a peanut butter sandwich.

That day we were headed to Ft. Hood for something, a last minute errand.  We were at the the train tracks on Ft. Hood Street and Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard watching a train go by.  The DJ on the radio talked about the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  

He told us that Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was written for the movie Meet Me in St. Louis, in the 1940’s.  The lyrics were really dark, reflecting the war weary mood of America at the time.  Judy Garland was supposed to sing the song in the movie, and she did, but she thought the lyrics were too dismal for the scene to which the song belonged.  She asked the composers to change a few of the lines; they did and the version we most recognize is the one we she sings in the movie.

The DJ was going to play a different version.  It was recorded by Frank Sinatra for troops who were still fighting in WWII with a mix of the original lyrics and alternate lyrics. When Frank sang, ” . . . Next year all our troubles will be out of site . . . “, it reflected  the mood in the car and I cried and we both wished for “next year” to arrive quickly.

Although I never really liked that song before, it holds bittersweet significance for us now.

These are the lyrics, Frank Sinatra sang and they are the ones I like the best.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

Once again as in olden days, happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us, will be near to us once more.

Someday soon, we all will be together, if the Fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

These are the original lyrics.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
It may be your last
Next year we may all be living in the past

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Pop that champagne cork
Next year we may all be living in New York

No good times like the olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us no more

But at least we all will be together
If the Lord allows
From now on, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Judy was right, kinda dark wouldn’t you agree?  The photo at the top was taken when I dropped Paul off for OIF 05-06.    I’ve had all these memories running around my brain as we decorate and try to have fun with our traditions without our Dad and wanted to get them written down.  Thanks for indulging me.


Quiet Thanksgiving


This is a short week.  The kids are out of school on Wednesday.  We had plans to go to San Diego again and then to go to St. George but in the end I decided to stay here. We’ve been traveling so much and I’m ready to have a few days where we don’t do anything.  Robin and Paul are staying in No. Utah so it will just be the four of us.  When I tell people that, I see a look of pity cross their faces, but a small Thanksgiving dinner with my kids, no visitors, no traveling. no making arraignments for the dog, is just what the doctor ordered for this weary girl.

I do have a few things to do though before I can relax:

  • Mail Paul’s birthday box
  • Put finishing touches on Christmas list
  • Buy any decorations still needed for our ‘blue’ Christmas
  • Giant wreath (I’m sort of losing steam on this one, we’ll see)
  • Piece the tops of the two Christmas quilts
  • Find a place where I can buy a flocked tree.

The picture above is from my friend Laura’s home.  It is the first flocked tree that looked good to me.  I can easily picture it with blue and silver decorations.

If I can get all or most of these things done I will be able to chill and enjoy the holiday with my kids.  Wish me luck.

My Week in Checklists

My list on Monday and what I accomplished:

  • Finish and mail unit quilt to Monique
  • Make quilt for baby shower this weekend
  • Make cake rolls for baby shower this weekend
  • Get Paul’s birthday box together
  • Do last of the Thanksgiving shopping
  • Start two Christmas quilts
  • Go to lunch with Karla
  • Make giant wreath with Sue

I got a lot done.  I’ll make the rolls tomorrow so they are warm for the shower.  I have about half of Paul’s box together, I’ll finish that this weekend.  Whether or not the wreath is going to get done is still in question.  We’ll see.

Done Gif

Besides the baby shower, I think I will take my girls to see Catching Fire.

One more week down and one more week closer to Paul’s return.

Fun Family Weekend

We attended my cousin Scott’s wedding last weekend and I’m still processing all of it.  It was such a good trip.

We left early Thursday morning and got there just before lunch.  When we go to San Diego we usually drive into town and head straight to the beach to check out the surf conditions but on this trip we just went to the hotel to meet Robin and Paul who had arrived the night before.

After being separated, there is just nothing that compares to what I feel when my kids are all together again.  We tease and laugh and tell private jokes and I feel whole (well almost).  I couldn’t get them to stop being silly long enough to take a good picture so this is what I ended up with.


We had lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Mac and then just hung out in the lobby visiting with everyone as they arrived.

That evening we walked to a restaurant just a couple of blocks from the hotel for an evening of drinks and appetizers with friends and family who had arrived that day.

It was so gratifying to be in a room where everyone adored Robin and Scott as much as our family does.  I loved being able to put faces with some of the names I’ve heard over the years as well as meet people who have played important parts in both Robin and Scott’s lives.  Besides loving the Kendall’s every single person I talked with was doing something interesting and creative.

It was such a lovely night and the food was great too.  Gloria is still talking about the shrimp.

My kids and I left and drove to Coronado Island.  We sat on the beach near the surf, in the fog.  We watched the empty waves and talked about Paul, about how he’s The Man, about his return, about our expectations, and about how lucky we are to get to share our lives with him.

I went to bed happy, it was a great start to the weekend.

The next morning, I took my kids to see San Elijo, a beach where my family camped when I was a girl.   A few others in our party came with us.  It was fun to share something like that with my kids and play tag on the beach with cousins and aunts and uncles as well as my parents.

We wrote a note to Paul in the sand.


We ate fish tacos from Bull Taco at the top of the cliffs.  My mom and I traded memories.  She laughed about how quickly she ran up and down the stairs when Josh was lost. I remembered being with Sara, waking up and watching the surfers through the fog from our campsite at the top of the cliffs.

It was especially fun to get to know Jordan’s two beautiful boys whom none of us had met in person until this trip.  I am telling you, they could not be cuter!


I don’t think Roman’s feet ever touched the sand.  He was either on Paul’s shoulders or Dan’s the whole time.

That evening was the wedding and it was gorgeous.  I only cried a little bit when Robin walked in with Scott.  She looked so happy.


I stole this picture from my Aunt Joan’s facebook page.  It is my favorite.

We all sat at our tables during the ceremony.   I thought the minister was just the right mix of humorous and serious.

Scott, my cousin, looked so handsome and confident.  His bride, Diana (who we already consider our cousin) looked enchanting and unlike me when I was a bride, she was relaxed.

And holy cow! The food was amazing.  Do you guys try the polenta?!

There were toasts.  Robin said a few words.  It meant so much to me when she mentioned Paul.  I texted him while she was still talking and he sent his love.

There was more food and dancing and the cake!  The cake!  I could have eaten six more pieces. The best part though, was spending the evening with funny interesting people who all love Robin and Scott and Diana and wish them the very very best.

I thought the whole evening was perfect from beginning to end.


Sigh!  Weddings are the best.

If all of that wasn’t enough, I took kids to Disneyland, the next day.  We went there often when I was growing up and I have a zillion happy memories from Disneyland.

I loved getting to show my kids around and tell them about how Sara and I would run down Main Street giggling so we could be first in line at the Matterhorn.  And about that time Josh kicked the lady in front of us when we were in line for It’s A Small World.  And how disappointed we were when we walked forever to see the Seven Mile Saloon (I think that was the name) when it turned out to be a tiny soda bar with two mirrors on each end, facing each other.


Paul and I went to Disneyland on our honeymoon too.  Anytime I started a sentence with, “When dad and I were here on our honeymoon . . .” My kids all yelled, “Eeewwww!”

We spent most of the day with Salem and Megan and their kids, Disneyland was great, California Adventure was fantastic and the fireworks blew my mind.  What a fun day!!

We got home Sunday night with heads full of happy memories.