» Blog

Masthead header

Lessons Learned: Creating Childhood

Moving has allowed me some moments of reflection, especially since we weren’t planning on it.  It feels a little bit like an unplanned pregnancy, there is no doubt you’re happy & excited about it, but there is also this gap where you mentally have to catch up to the change.  I’m pretty well caught up to it now, but its come with some reflection & deep gratitude for these 4 walls that we’ve called home.  I look back to the person I was when we moved in & the person I am now & there has been a lot of growth.  This week, while I’m packing boxes, I’m also going to be sharing some of the better lessons I’ve learned while here.  While I was learning them, it wasn’t always pretty or easy or what I wanted to be learning…but I usually learned it.

My ‘favorite’ thing I learned while living here is how to create.  I love that word & the possibility it holds.  Initially it took some doing, but like most things, as you practice, you get better.  Here’s my post from over 2 years ago about ‘creating childhood’ — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referenced these thoughts as I embark on creating a home & family life.

originally published 4.12.13

Early in the year I decided to have my focus be to ‘choose happy.’  It’s a phrase I have used before to focus on for a year — and it was a good year.  Not perfect.  Not easy.  But happy.  This year, as I embarked on my goal I found myself reflecting a lot on the previous year in which I chose that phrase.  Marking the difference in time, in babies & in stages.  In short, I am so much busier than I was 4 years ago. 4 years ago it was just Zack.  I’ve increased that 300% and yet my hours in the day are the same.  I think most mom’s in my stage of life start to feel the pull & the stretch as we balance napping babies with homework & potty training toddlers…and then don’t forget, there is a husband in the mix of that too.

I started to think about being more deliberate in my mothering & evaluating what that meant.  First, I had to determine what kind of mom I wanted to be & what kind of childhood I wanted my children to have.  Quickly, I reverted to my own childhood.  Drawing on favorite memories & then picking them apart to determine what made them, ‘favorite.’  While there were so many memories of my home growing up, there were an overabundance of memories from our family vacations.  Weeks in Durango where my sister rolled down what felt like an entire mountain on her mountain bike.  Trips to the beach where I spent all day in the water…with no re-application of sunscreen, which resulted in a blistered back.  Literally, it blistered.  And then there was Bear Lake.  So many memories, but even more emotions attached to that rickety old cabin in the woods where we would gather with my mom’s 5 sisters & her parents every summer.

I let my mind get caught up in the recollection of those memories.  Reliving shoot-outs & making caramel popcorn with my great-grandma.  Fireworks & rodeos on Pioneer Day.  Getting shakes at LeBeau’s and cousins daring each other to ride up Snake Mountain.  Motorcycle rides to the candy store & volleyball games in the yard.  Sitting around the fire pit & lounging on the lawn. Eating every meal on the patio & building tree houses.  Riding behind my grandpa on the cattle drive, who is really the heart beat of the place.

Now that I am taking my own kids to Bear Lake, I understand the amount of time & work it takes to get us there.  It is not an easy feat for us Arizonians.  A 12 hour drive to Salt Lake City.  A 2 or 3 day stop there to grocery shop {there aren’t any good stores close to the cabin} and then another 3 hour drive to the cabin…with another stop at a grocery store on the way there.  It involves coolers & to-do list after to-do list to make sure you have everything you might possibly need that week.

But then you arrive in Laketown & hit a little dirt road & turn into the entrance & suddenly all those tears & pit stops, fights & tantrums, luggage & groceries seem like a piece of cake.

(guys…I just had a baby & let me tell you, baby 3 is harder to loose than baby 1)

And suddenly time just slooooows.  There are no distractions but each other.  Everyday is a blank slate.  You might shower.  You might not.  You might fall asleep on the lawn.  You might mow the lawn.  The only certainties are that you will eat on the porch, visit Dee’s for a treat & go to sleep with dirt in your fingernails.

At Bear Lake my kids just roam.  They run.  They dig.  They hunt for bugs.  They walk in the stream. They play with sticks, build forts & swing in a tire swing….and I get to re-live the magic of it all over again.

After letting myself get lost in all those memories, I told Scot we need to buy a cabin…immediately.  Because then I could have all of that…anytime I wanted!  You can guess how quickly he got that done.

And so I thought some more.  I thought about Bear Lake.  I thought about the mechanics of it.  I thought about the what, why & who of my emotions attached to the place & the logistics of replicating it…because it always feels happy.  Not because it is grandiose — the bathroom is over 30 years old! — but because it feels tranquil.  It feels easy.  It feels good.

And so I’ve set out to re-create that same feeling.  Not at a cabin in the woods…although someday…but in my own home.  So much of what encapsulates Bear Lake is those classic childhood memories & I feel like we live in a day where we prevent so many of those thing from happening.  And frankly, I find myself being my own worst enemy.  I tell myself that my yard needs to be perfect & my house always clean…and trust me, I like it that way!  And I also like the teamwork it takes for us to accomplish that.  But I’ve decided on most days, I like ‘lived in’ better.  This is where my kids are growing up & I want them to live it…with a little bit of Bear Lake.

Some days, having Bear Lake at home means painting & building forts with palettes…on the front porch, naturally.  White trash?  Yes.  But you wouldn’t believe the stories & snacks & pride that came along with it.

Other days, I have to have a slide & kiddie pool in my front yard.  Again…white trash?  Yes.  But look at her.  The smile on her face.  The sunshine on her hair.

And the tree swing…you know how much I love that rickety old tree swing.

Someday we’ll live on a farm, or have a cabin with another tree swing that Zack built.  But for now childhood is happening here.

Meet Me at the Track


One of our new hobbies this summer has found us at the local high school track.  It all started on an evening when Scot was late getting home & not only were my kids climbing the walls, but I was too.  I’m not sure what it is, but there are days where I just have to be doing something physical.

On a whim, I told my kids to lace up their shoes & we were heading out.  They had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, but they are always up for an adventure.  Even if it’s a sweaty one.  All I knew was that I needed to get a run in of some sort & since my jogging stroller days are just about behind me, the track was the next best thing.


We ran a few laps, a few races, a few bleachers & a few more races.


In high school I ran track & cross country & it didn’t take long for some of those workouts to come back to mind.  With all the ‘distance’ running I tend to do, I forgot how good a sprint felt…that and I can still handily beat Zack.  I realize my days are numbered, so I figure I will glory in them now.


After all that, these two could not wait to take their shoes off & test out those sprinklers…


they didn’t have any fun at all.

Poolside Dreams

If I had an unlimited budget, this would be my starting point…but since I don’t & since I’ve already bought a different umbrella, there are going to be lots of changes to this idea board.  But it was my starting point & is how I want it to function, which is most important.  Thought I’d share it, since now a lot of these things are on sale.


Find them here:

sectional // rug // umbrella // towel // planters // chaises // pillow1 //  pillow2 // side table

Meet Me at the Carwash

With a new house on the horizon, I’ve committed to cutting back my lifestyle, like a lot.  Scot & I have some big, big goals & I actually think we can meet them relatively quickly, but it means seriously cutting back.  I’m positive it will be worth it in the long run & I’m positive I can actually enjoy the process.  But I’m learning to re-think my thought processes on a lot of things and this is probably another post for another day.  In that thought process, I decided I’m not paying for car washes anymore.  My kids are old enough now that they can actually be of help…and this is like the biggest treat for them.  So why deny them the opportunity.


Was it the best carwash I’ve ever received?  No.  But did it get the job done?  Yes.  It was the perfect thing for a summer day & we all had fun.  Calling that a win on all fronts.

July 24, 2015 - 11:22 am

Katie Zaharis - How did I not know you had a shop and a blog for so long? Love it all! Good luck with the upcoming move!

Book Club


Summer library days always rank at the top of my list.  Growing up a book worm and hoping to become one again someday, I can’t help but try to continually convince my kids to get lost in a book.  Little do they know, that I would never interrupt them to clean or run errands if I found their noses buried in a book.  Zack is getting to a really fun age where he can get through a good chapter book without a problem.

Last week after returning from a trip, one of our first stops was the library to get stocked up on good books.  After an early morning lawn mow, I came out to the patio to find Zack like this:


You can bet it set my heart aflutter…especially with his toes poking out of his socks there.  We had started reading it together with Liv & Max the night before & this one held a lot of promise, so naturally I had to convince him to let me read it aloud, mostly because I didn’t want to miss any parts!  With disconnected parents who were too lazy to name both their twins, so they go by Barneby A and Barneby B, and kids that are scheming to get rid of them…we can’t help but laugh at all of their silly attempts, rules, games & misfortunes.


Meanwhile the other two kept busy, post yard work, making waterslides.

If you’re looking for a good book to read, try The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry.  It has had us in stitches & we can’t wait to read it each night…or morning…or whenever.

July 28, 2015 - 10:29 pm

Nancy Nielsen - hello! while looking up this book (the willoughbys) i found it interesting that the author uses large words and then gives the definition of the word and an example. She mentions the mormon missionaries as, “affable.” too funny! what a compliment to the missionaries! :)