Reconnecting with Family

There is an interconnectedness among members that bonds the family, much like mountain climbers who rope themselves together when climbing a mountain, so that if someone should slip or need support, he’s held up by the others until he regains his footing. – Phil McGraw

A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle and Oregon to visit family and explore new places. It was such a blessing to be connected with family again. I don’t know about you, but I have a very special connection with my parents and siblings. It feels like a part of me is missing ever since they moved away and the pain of missing them is nearly a constant. However, getting to spend a few days with them has filled me back up again and I feel like I get to carry their spirit with me wherever I go.

We spent a casual day in Seattle and Puyallup. We had a large family dinner with my nana, aunts, cousins, second cousins, etc. and spent the evening playing cards. There is something deliciously nostalgic about playing card games or dominos. It is a reminder of the childhood summers spent in my grandparents’ living room in Texas, laughing hysterically as my feisty nana (who is now 94-years-old) would curse us for laying down canasta or me getting into trouble to talking too much instead of playing the game. Puzzles, pecans, and miniature figurines have this affect on me also. I always relish any moment to reconnect with that part of my past.

Oh! Did I mention we went to a Harry Potter party?
Oh! Did I mention we went to a Harry Potter party?

Saturday, we drove down to Oregon to visit my mother, step dad, and youngest siblings. My step dad has done an incredible job remodeling their gorgeous home in an adorable small town an hour outside of Portland. Brea, 6, and Andrea, 4, were quite eager to show their older siblings all about their new life including a large garden in the backyard, daddy’s work shop, and mama’s art room. The kids were sure excited we were there but honestly, my favorite part of the trip was the glow on my mom’s face. Talk about gorgeous (and happy)!

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The thing I loved most about Oregon was the wonderful outdoors. We spent time walking along the trails to Silver Falls, at awe with nature. I’m so thrilled that my siblings are growing up with an appreciation for the outdoors, nature, and gardening. It takes very special parents to take the time to teach their children about how to plant a seed or how to fish when it is much easier to just sit them in front of a TV or X-box. Plus, how can you not want to be outside when it looks like this?!

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The trip was everything I could have hoped for. I got to enjoy tickle fights on the trampoline, late night drinks on the porch with my mom and the big kids, and satisfied a hunger for the wild (only temporarily, of course). There was great food, incredible wine/beer, and some of the greatest people on the planet to share it with. The best part of my entire trip was seeing how happy everyone seems to be in their new homes. My sister, Cheyanne, and her boy friend are settling in incredibly well in Seattle (oh wait… I mean FIANCE! See photos below) and my mother is glowing with so much pride and joy. I wonder if perhaps I have ever seen her that happy before.

See? Look how gorgeous she is! She glows!
See? Look how gorgeous she is! She glows!

It is always hard for me to say goodbye, but I am incredibly grateful that I got to witness and experience their happiness. It makes the distance between us just a little easier to manage. I love them all like crazy.

Thanks for reading, Taryn xoxo

OH WAIT!!! I AM SUPER HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE I WILL SOON HAVE A NEW BROTHER IN THE FAMILY! MY SISTER IS ENGAGED! I AM SO HAPPY FOR THEM!

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(Sorry for the caps, I’m excited. Also, Josh has practically been my brother for years anyways)

A week of gratitude

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” – W.T. Purkiser

Whoa! Has the end of November has been a blur! Thankfully, we have gotten so much done in the past two weeks and I have been very eager to share everything with you.

Check! Holiday photos are done and holiday postcards have been ordered.

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Thanksgiving was awesome! I have been working really hard lately on expressing gratitude and appreciating everything I have, so I went a little over the top this year with favors and gifting and what not. I brought my in-laws some mulled wine for hosting. I woke Tanner to a fun list of reasons why I am grateful for him and brought my gratitude cork board to dinner for everyone to get involved. My favorite thing I did was make everyone some spiced maple nuts in little treat bags with a note that said: “I am so thankful for you.” The nuts were a hit! I highly suggest the recipe by Table for Two blog and I found the free printable tags here.

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I had to share another incredible recipe I used this year: Melted Brie with Cranberry sauce by The Kitchn. This was delicious! I used the cranberry sauce recipe which they had suggested, but exchanged the hazelnuts for pecans. I will definitely be adding this to my Christmas party appetizers this year. Here are some more fun pictures of Thanksgiving:

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My favorite way I enjoyed showing Thanksgiving this weekend was spending a lot of time doing things for and with my husband. Friday, we spent time together watching the ASU vs UofA game (the only game we care about all year) and Tanner enjoyed my company in the garage with him. He even taught me how to reload shot gun shells with him. On Saturday, I surprised him while he was out fishing with a friend by organizing and cleaning his garage (something that had been on the top of his to-do list for months). His appreciation made me very happy, but I was already so joyous I was able to do something nice for him. To top it off, I went out hunting with him and a friend Sunday morning which turned into a 6.5 hour event which left me by myself quite often. It was a struggle, but I didn’t complain once about being bored or cold or uncomfortable. He told me after getting home that he was very impressed with me for not complaining and he was thankful for everything I had done.
I often forget how much it means to Tanner when I spend time with him doing the things he enjoys. Sometimes, I do not even need to participate, but just sit and watch him do his thing. It energizes him and makes him feel adored and worthy of my time, something I look forward to doing more often.

How do you show gratitude to those you love most?

xoxo Taryn