Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Blogging has become a thing of my past and that makes me sad.  Maybe with the upcoming changes in our future, I’ll acquire motivation to document our lives more online.  For now, I’m still at the one day at a time stage in life.  This blog has taken second fiddle to things like school, homework, projects, basketball and church when we can manage to show up. 

I miss my blog.  I miss documenting our lives more online.  I miss documenting our lives period!


I do know that I am and will be forever grateful for the time I spent blogging when my family consisted of four people.  There is so much history and many memories that I recorded during the (approximately) four years I was blogging before.  Thank goodness I had the option to transfer that all to print.  I made four books … one for each year.  Then I deleted the blog.


While I completely understand our experiences in life make us the people we are today and will become tomorrow, I do not want to live in my past.  I refer to it randomly to celebrate wonderful memories and teach the boys as best I can.  I love looking at old photos and remembering fun and happy times.  I’m thankful that I wrote things down as I did … hopefully there is enough information in those words that the boys will understand how much they were loved by their father.


Thinking too often about what is no more is painful.  I can’t imagine those feelings ever get easier to ponder.  The fact that we are making no further memories as a four person family is almost unbearable at times.  I try not to think of it.  Being sad does not help anyone. Releasing that sadness is good … but only occasionally.


And so we continue this journey of life.  We look forward to the future and all of its amazing potential, yet strive to enjoy the present.  Each and every moment is precious.  It is very easy to get caught up in daily life and forget to savor the moments.  They are small.  They are fleeting.  But they are the stuff that make life “life”.  Moments are life.


Little things like this make me happy:

what we do

No, not the use of the iTouch (although his knowledge is pretty amazing), but his choice in music. 

Okay so maybe he shouldn’t be singing those songs in school, but so much of that music helped form both of his parents younger years.  I want him to understand where we’ve come from … and in turn where he comes from.  AC/DC is part of it … simple as that.


The past week found us traveling to Oklahoma to visit family in Tulsa for the Thanksgiving holiday.  As it turned out, Grandpa Lee had a big birthday right around the same time, so it was a great time for us to visit.  Lee always spends this holiday with Aunt Joyce, and this year Grandma Lori joined him.

We traveled to Tahlequah and Scraper as well as other nearby places to see where the Gages lived and grew up.  We met with other friends and shared meals and conversation.  There was much talk of memories, past experiences, and current topics, as well as hunting.  Still the daily part of life of many in our family.

Our trip was a good time to relax and simply enjoy each others company.  We visited many different places, saw so many people and put faces with names (finally), ate at the river, skipped rocks, threw some balls, swam in the pool, tasted squirrel, wrestled with cousins, shared video game secrets, and even enjoyed birthday cake.

Wonderful memories were made.  New memories despite the fact that we are simply a three person family now.  We are still living our lives.  Our fate will not be determined by our past circumstances, but how we choose to live each day.


Act as if everything depended upon you and pray as if everything depended upon God.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There is beauty if we choose to see


This was the sky over my back yard last week.  It has been raining quite a bit in the past month – or past few months truth be told.  When I take the time to just look up, I am reminded that there is beauty in the world.  What we choose to see is up to each one of us.

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Things to Smile About


This boy is almost 8 years old … and although I want to pull my hair out some days, he makes me genuinely happy every single day. He has many friends and is so happy!  He really is a lot of fun to be around.


This boy is crazy as ever and keeps me on my toes!!  He climbs like a monkey and doesn’t sit still unless he’s asleep.  Thank goodness his kindergarten teacher has got his number – she rocks!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My baby is in Kindergarten!

This boy started kindergarten this year:


I could not be more proud of him!!  During the first few days there was a little joke among some of the parents (and even teachers) – myself included – about the fact that he had not met the Principal yet!  (We had actually met our new principal, but only in a positive good happy way. )

This one loves school just like his older brother.  He loves to learn and try new things … and he loves it when he makes good choices. (Okay, well maybe it’s me who loves when he makes good choices …)


And I am so grateful for all of these things!  But especially for him.

My boys make me proud every day.  I’m blessed to be their mom.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Beautiful Explanation

I just stumbled upon this blog post (thanks to Becky Higgins on Facebook!!) and smiled because I was so eloquently reminded of WHY I enjoy scrapping.  And I was reminded that it's time for me to find my joy again:

Why I Scrapbook on One-Happy-Mama

I hope you are inspired to do something crafty and fun for you as well!!

happy scrappin'!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Needing a new routine

This time of year has always been fun for me … the beginning of a new school year!  It doesn’t matter that I haven’t been in school for over twenty … ahem … well, just a very long time.  It just doesn’t matter!

This time of year is always when I order a new Franklin planner system for the coming calendar year.

This is a time when there is serious learning going on all around the country.  It is a new season – fall is one of my favorites! It is truly a time to begin again.

And here I am.  Wondering how to begin?  I need a new routine.  I have entirely too many ideas of things I would like to do with a little time I have now that both boys are in school.  So far I have been sick since school started, then we had a pretty good storm hit, and I have a few projects that still need to be finished before winter.

BUT – I am still going to start a new routine.

And tomorrow it begins with exercise.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


This morning I am thankful for family and friends.



I will enjoy this day and keep in mind how easy it is to just smile.
(or, in Jarrett’s case, not …)


Today will be a great day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My 2nd Grader


This year I have a child in second grade.  WOW!!  This makes me shake my head and wonder “where has the time gone?” and then I remember … “the days may be long, but the years are short”. 

It really was just a short time ago that I was changing this boys diaper – watching him pull himself up on the couch before learning to walk – helping him learn to get dressed all by himself.

Those days of slow but continuous practice are over, and now we are in the midst of him figuring out so  many things for himself.  This will last many years I am sure, and I am so proud of what he has learned and accomplished this far!  He loves to learn so that helps a great deal. Smile

Next week the baby in the family begins Kindergarten.  I will not be crying as I leave him in the classroom on the first day of school.  I may actually be jumping for joy!  But then I head to work, so the reality of this event will not sink in for a few days.  When it does, I may shed a few tears.

I gladly look forward to that time to grieve.  And I smile just thinking of how I will enjoy this opportunity!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sunday Brunch

On Sunday I had a few friends over just to visit and do some crafty things – some of us had our laptops on and worked with photos, some played on their phones, one person worked a bit, we all shared food, and one person even read the paper! It was a nice time to just be together. We shared ideas, interests, websites and helped each other learn how we navigate various information highways on the internet. Fun stuff!


These were yummy little numbers I made from a new book I’m trying out called “Just Tasting” – I found it here online:

Libbey – Just Tasting

Since not everyone scraps the same way, I figure this is still a way to gather now and then and share ideas.

It was fun. Smile

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time … We All Have the Same

We really do all have the same amount of time in each day.  We have the same number of hours, the same number of minutes, the same number of seconds. Obviously our time on earth varies for each of us, but when is comes to scheduling and planning, we really do all have the “same”.

What matters is how we choose to use that time.


Sitting and soaking up the calm in life is something I do very seldom. With my camera for some reason I do it a little more … so here’s to more scheduled calm in life!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our Final Camping Day

This was written earlier as we didn’t have internet on the trip.


This is our last morning in the RV – we leave today to head home – what a wonderful weekend we have enjoyed!

The boys love camping as much as I do – just as long as we have electricity and plenty of room for all of us to spread out a bit. Not having internet is a pain for me because I like to post pictures … and I read a lot online.  It’s good to slow down a bit and get away from those things too.

Our friends Michele and Ian came to join us for one night, although I couldn’t get them to sleep in the camper with us.  They woke early because it was a bit cold in their car.  It was cold in the camper too, but we turned on the heat.

This may have been our last camping trip of the season.  School starts soon and then homework and sports … oh how crazy life can be sometimes.  But weekends like this help us slow down.  For these, I am grateful.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Memories Made


Yesterday we spent time together and celebrated not only where we have been, but where we’re going.  Cherished memories – took time to remember and share – enjoyed food and drink – and made a few more memories.

We are eternally grateful for amazing friendships!!!!!!!

Make sure to tell those in your life that you love them. Red heart

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Note from the Universe

I received this message from "the Universe" this week and thought it was a good one to share:

Options multiply when insistence lessens.

Powerful stuff.
Want to receive your very own messages?
Contact TUT to subscribe.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Beautiful Start

Today is going to be a beautiful day!!!


The back yard is already full of sun – and the view from my office is simply amazing:


The quiet in the house while the boys sleep is so relaxing – I still love to take photos of the two of them asleep:


Well, that was short-lived.  I believe I had about seven whole minutes to myself before the wild rumpus began. Smile

Now we’re ready for the world!!!!
Enjoy your day – and be thankful for life.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One Thing I Miss

As I reflect every now and then and think back on my life "before" ... the life I lived when Alan was still alive ... I remember being thankful in my everyday living.  I was happy.  I thought about my happiness.  I wrote about it.  I took pictures documenting this happiness.  Because I took so many photos of our lives, of the boys, of the things we did, I was constantly reminded how blessed we all were.

Funny thing is that we are still so very blessed.  I have just not paid much attention to these blessings.  For too long I have spent time trying to "keep up" and to make sure I'm taking care of all the little things that we encounter in life.  However I'm not taking good care of me and that includes being thankful.  This is such a powerful thing!!  It's also something I definitely want to teach the boys, but I can't teach it if I don't live it.

One thing I have tried to do recently is say "no" more.  There is no way that I or we can participate in everything we are invited to, or take on all the work I learn about, or get the kids involved in all opportunities available to them.  I cannot possibly keep the house as clean as I would like or scrap all the great photos I capture.  There is just no way I or we can do it all.

But if I do take the time to reflect on what we have - what we are blessed with - the amazing life we have been granted here in this great United States of America - I am reminded how wonderful and truly amazing my life has been and is becoming.

And I smile.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fishin Alaska Style


Payton went on his first halibut adventure with Grandpa Lee last week and look what he caught!  This fish was about 24 pounds (about half his weight). 

What a great experience.
I’m so proud of him!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Where is my Project 365???

My big goal for this year was to take one photo every day for the entire year – at least one photo.  If I took more than that, great!  But I wanted to take at least one so that I could easily review my week, month, year, etc.

Well … ahem … that lofty goal is not something I have been diligently working on and as I look at the photo folders on my computer, I frown.  Just a little.

I have been taking photos – just very randomly – I have skipped many days.  Do I still have sufficient photography to document our lives so far this year?  Of course.  Is it anything near what I can call “Project 365”?


Not at all.


But I’m not going to let that stop me from trying to do better. Smile

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The sun is coming!!!

Today is going to be a BEAUTIFUL day!!!!!!!


I can even see the mountains from my office this morning.


While the heat may be kicking on in the house (because looks can be deceiving, it really is just about 50 degrees outside), there’s nothing better than seeing the sunshine outside.

Have a GORGEOUS day everyone!!!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

thoughts on travel and expectations

Before I started typing this post, I came up with the title.  Now I feel a bit obligated to explain where that came from, but not quite yet.

Recently we visited Auntie in Homer and had a wonderful time.  The drive was only about four hours, but with stopping it took five hours to get there and six hours to get home.  I was certainly tired of sitting.  And the boys were even more tired of being cooped up in the truck for so long.

After we arrived, we stopped at the top of the hill to take photos of the amazing view.  Mountains all around … the ocean … trees and plants and flowers … it’s simply breathtaking.


Yes, even children fighting were captured in the lens!

Janel came to see us at the hotel after we checked in.  The boys tossed a football while Grandpa and I unloaded a few things.  It was great to be out of the truck.  It was so nice to see Auntie!

We ate great food, played outside and explored the area, did a little shopping, got completely wet and dirty, explored the beach, counted eagles and sea otters, took photos and played at the park, drank coffee and enjoyed time with family and friends.

It was a wonderful weekend.


When I step back and remind myself to live in the moment and enjoy what is right in front of me – when I take the time to breath and inhale all the goodness around me and recognize that life is not good or bad, it is just life – I experience so much more joy in living.  I realize how blessed we truly are and I am thankful.

I realize that any expectations or plans of how things might or should go do not really matter … what matters if life.  And truly living.  And wow this is a wonderful beautiful amazing world we live in!!!

Those expectations I might have had really don’t matter at all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Weather and Crazy Hair

Last night it started raining – sprinkling mostly – and of course it started before we went to baseball.  The game turned out fine – we didn’t get very wet – it only sprinkled a little bit.  Thank goodness!

After getting home and (finally) getting ready for bed, I heard it coming.  The noise of water – more rain.  REAL rain.  This is what I call “Valdez style” rain!


The sound was SO loud!  The neighbor’s gutter was overflowing.  Rain was bouncing off the street.  It was pounding on the roof.  And it smelled so delicious!

There is something about rain that makes me smile and exhale.  It brings about a calm for me.  Not every time I see it of course, but I believe it takes me back to younger days.

My Grandma Ethel would open her kitchen door when it rained and let the fresh smell in her apartment.  I took naps in the kitchen on a day bed, and loved it.  I always slept good there.  (I was looking for a photo of that kitchen and I’m sure I have one somewhere … just can’t put my fingers on it right now.)


Crazy Hair Day in Jarrett’s class …


I took Jarrett to school with his hair pulled up with wax in the form of a mohawk this morning … however they got a little more crazy at school today.  He had a great time with hairspray!!!

I guess the blue color was almost out, so he used his other favorite colors.  Let me tell you how much fun that was to wash out this evening!  Okay, maybe I’ll save that story for another day.


Since we have created a little more space in the office, we now have room to nap here – or read – or visit – or just sit together on the floor.


We were doing all three things on Monday afternoon.  It was so nice to have a “down day” at home.  No big plans – nothing we had to do – time for just us – and room to enjoy ourselves.

Here’s to more sunshine and smiles this week!!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Clutter and Space

Just read this article on Yahoo about clutter and it made me tilt my head.  I can relate to everything the author writes about.  I encourage you to read this and think about how it might apply in your own life:

Why Clutter Matters and De-cluttering is Difficult

In the past couple of years, I have removed quite a bit of clutter from our home, however there is much more that could be done.  In time … one day at a time.

The feeling of calm that came over me once I made it through one closet, or one room, or even one section of space was truly amazing!

There are many things I will hold on to for of various reasons.  I have saved quite a few tubs of things for the boys when they get older … things that used to belong to their dad.  I will always save photos.  Those cannot be replaced.  I will save things of the boys as they grow up and when they get older, they can determine what to do with the mementos.

Think about what not only clean and organized space does for your sanity, but a clutter free living space.  Does it make you smile?  Does it sound like an unreachable goal?  Get a partner – ask a friend for help – take a few steps to make your life a little more simple and test how it feels.  You may not ever go back to the way life was before!! Smile

Monday, June 25, 2012

Payton lost another tooth!!!

There he goes again … making another milestone!  It has been a few months since his last tooth fell out.  Or should I say “since he pulled it out” …

IMG_9646 (2)

But it seems every time I turn around, this boy is doing something to surprise me … make me take note … remind me that he is growing every single moment.

Sometimes it scares me how fast this thing we know as childhood is passing us by.  We are living … we truly are living and experiencing the moments. 

But as I think back on the week – the month – the year – the past few years – it makes me shake my head to think about how fast the time has gone.

It really wasn’t so long ago that our family consisted of 4 people instead of just 3.  It really wasn’t that long ago that little man was born, and before that his big brother.  And before that, it wasn’t so long ago that we bought this house and before that Alan and I married.

And before that we played and were young and free!


Time sure flies …



Yesterday was my birthday and it was a BEAUTIFUL day! I was blessed with many Facebook messages and texts and phone calls from friends.  We were outside most of the day and had dinner with friends.

I am blessed to be able to say that I can count on more than one hand – more than two hands! – all of the real good friends in my life.  Life is amazing.  I am thankful.

Each year that I get older I am reminded that my birthday is a special and fun day, BUT the entire week before and after are also pretty darn fun and amazing.



This little visitor has been hanging out in our back yard:


We left him a carrot this evening, but he seems to prefer the clover.  It’s a good thing because we have a LOT of clover that he (or she) is more than welcome to eat!


Have you had the creative bug you lately?  While I have been hit and bit and scratched and clawed at by said bug, I have not followed through on these messages UNTIL this evening when I slammed some pages into Payton’s activity binder.  He went to camp a couple weeks ago, and thankfully I remembered to take some photos.


Documenting life … writing down our stories so we remember as much as we can … this I truly enjoy. Smile


Hope you’re enjoying the summer!!!

siggy (2)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Leo Buscaglia ... {smile}

my good friend Becca Dodge turned me on to Leo Buscaglia years and years ago - thanks Bec!!!!!

today I stumbled upon this photo and quote because of my good friend Tara Havard - can you see a pattern?  I have amazing friends!!!

this is a good reminder that we all need people ... we all need each other!  we all need love ...

life is pretty simple :-)

go check out this site on Facebook, or the website:

a beautiful mess inside

Sunday, April 1, 2012

just one more photo please?

yes boys … we’ll take just ONE more photo …
okay, let’s try that again …
eyes closed …
goofing off …
just ONE more …


we might have to try this again … tomorrow

(don’t mind the laundry we tried to cut out of the background …)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

the little things

The boys and I took a vacation over Spring Break.  We had a wonderful time!  We flew to Seattle and traveled up and down the west side of the state just playing and visiting a few friends.  The boys ate pancakes almost every day (even for dinner) and swam almost daily as well.  Nothing but fun!

This was on my nightstand the evening before our trip:



“tomorrow is a super day – we get to fly – we get to go to the Space Needle! love Payton – to mom”

I love this boy!!!

these are my reasons

why do I …
try to keep the house clean?
make sure there is good food in the house to eat?
keep up with laundry almost daily?
try to make every moment a teaching moment?
play more than read?
stay at home a lot?
(fill in the blank … there are so many things I could ask here)

these are my reasons:


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

weekend time with family

we went to the cabin over the weekend
a good time with family
nice to unplug and get away from the city
the boys had a blast!






got to spend some time at Uncle B’s as well
great weather
watched a few movies
time in the hot tub
this really does NOT suck


getting away from home is good sometimes
away from all the normal daily chores
away from the unending “to do” list
time with family is priceless


thanks for joining us dad Smile