the magic of story

Our house is filled with stories. We read picture books, work our way through chapter books, listen to audiobooks, listen to podcasts. Stories seem to be the thread that connects our day. S is just learning how to read well on his own, and can manage to read a chapter from a simple book on his own. We started Harry Potter together after Christmas and already halfway through book two. A requests the same audiobooks over and over again (right now it's The Gruffalo and Frog and Toad - he has good taste).

my favorite kind of mess

We laugh at silly parts together, about what it means to be a good friend, guess at what is coming next. We're creating shared memories and a shared language.

Here are a few of our favorite audiobooks as of late:

Frog and Toad - just get all of these
Owl at Home
The Gruffalo
Peter and the Wolf
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

And if your kids are into podcasts, you must listen to Circle Round.  Folktales from around the world with sweet morals and amazingly produced. We've listened to all of them multiple times.



I looooove podcasts. And audiobooks. They are just about the only thing that motivates me to clean my house or fold the laundry or do any other of the mind-numbing tasks that often accompany motherhood. One recent favorite discovery is Criminal. Have you listened? It's all about crime, but each episode has a unique spin. Sometimes the story is funny, sometimes horrifying. Sometimes it focuses on big issues like social justice, other times it's about flipping people off. It's current and historical. Anyhow, it's one of my most recent favorites.

Tell me, what are your favorite podcasts and/or audiobooks? I'm always on the hunt for good ones...



Hello! It sure has been awhile. For some reason, I've felt like blogging again. I have no idea how often, or what I'll come to this space with, but hopefully there will be a bit more going on here!

It's a new year! I love any chance to reflect - the new year, new season, a birthday, a big life change. While I've never been a huge resolution person, I do always have a list of goals. I know some people choose a word or theme for the year - and for some reason that has resonated with me this time around.

My word for this year is HOME.  With another baby coming to our family in just six-ish weeks, this will be a year when we will spend a lot of time at home. No vacations are planned and I want to take things easy and do all I can to simplify.

I want to create a home that is joyful, creative, engaging and safe. I want to create a house of learning. I want to be more proactive at teaching my kids about everything - the gospel, money management, life skills, reading, etc. etc. Here are a few concrete goals I have to achieve this:

we brought in the new year among southern utah's beautiful red rock

- Plan family night ahead of time. Usually my alarm goes off on Monday evening reminding me to do FHE and I haven't thought of much. We usually end up watching a video on lds.org, or singing a song and talking about it, or picking a short lesson from the nursery manual. While I'm glad we are somewhat consistent, I want there to be more thought on my end. What do my kids really need to learn? How can we really connect as a family? What principle could we all benefit from? Trevor and I do weekly planning on Sunday nights, and I hope to add FHE prep to that. 

- People before messes. I do best in a clean, organized environment but with two young boys and a new baby I'm going to need to learn to let things go. Reading with them is more important than rinsing the dishes. Making sure they feel loved and safe is more important than tidying up. Those messes will (annoyingly) wait. 

- I want S to have consistent jobs around the house and start earning a small allowance each week. I have yet to find a system yet, but I hope to start that soon. 

- Scripture reading each morning at breakfast. We have worked our way through several of the illustrated scripture books, but I want it to be a more consistent part of our morning routine. 

What about you? Do you have new years resolutions? Goals? A word? I'd love to hear.


Andrew was my next door neighbor growing up. Photographing his senior pictures made me feel really old, since in my mind he's still seven! I can't believe he'll be graduating this year. Congratulations, Andrew!


Jett Larsen

Tawnie and I have been friends since high school. She's one of the best of the best. I happened to move back to Utah just before she had her third baby, Jett. After chatting about her birth story (one of the best I've heard, honestly) we did this photo shoot in about fifteen minutes. I love photographing babies in their homes. I love seeing their nurseries, their siblings hovering over. It's so peaceful. Congratulations, Shane and Tawnie!