Sunday, December 29, 2013

wheelers 2013

summer, emily (plus one), bryan, caleb, and afton

looking forward to our growing family and all its wild and craziness in 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

chess in chinatown


this is our 1,001st blog post.

thanks for sharing the ride.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

season of light

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12

merry christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013


but wait! there's more!

as a general rule, bryan and i avoid winter travel like the plague. like the plague, i tell you!

but given the short window of availability into which we were able to fit our little romantic rendezvous, we took the risk anyway.

never. again.

so we were supposed to fly back to washington from utah on thursday morning. a storm was coming in wednesday night. we left the hotel in park city a night early, came down the canyon, and stayed with my grandma to avoid delays (and potential accidents) on I-80.

my uncle john drove us through the snow and sleet and rain and ice, and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time.

and by "plenty of time" i do mean plenty of time. like three days worth.

don't let that sign fool you or give you false hope: every. single. flight. was cancelled. 

and what happens when an airline tries to fit hundreds and hundreds of displaced people on flights that are already full of hundreds and hundreds of people during the busiest travel weekend of the year?

well, for the wheelers, it meant not getting booked out of utah until sunday afternoon.

now, you guys haven't forgotten about those three little people bryan and i left at home, right? 

well, my mom had already left washington early thursday morning. the plan was to cross paths in the seattle airport but a few hours from one another. and matto had been left in charge of the chillens.

now really, at this point, matto could probably take care of the children blindfolded, but he had no car and no food and no emotional preparation for an extra seventy-two hours of full-time *times three* (three-and-a-half if you fairly account for caleb) childcare.

i broke into hysterics. (yes, if you were there at the airport thursday afternoon, that was me). i had "rationally" decided that we needed to rent a car and drive (through two snow storms and several mountain passes) home. 

but as we were leaving the airport to go forward with this hare-brained scheme, bryan noticed that while no southwest flights were getting out, some other airlines had flights that were leaving. as a last-ditch effort, he called around to see the soonest something else might be available.

delta. friday night. first class. one seat left.

i took it.

and bryan came home on sunday.


last week, bryan and i took a much-needed and last minute vacation alone. we headed to park city, utah for some skiing (him) and some spa-ing (her) and lots of eating, relaxing, movie watching, and good old fashioned hanging out for the both of them.

our many thanks and much gratitude to mere and matt for taking such good care of the littles whilst we were away.

...sleeping in, stuffing ourselves, and snapping selfies:

psst: remember our last solo vaycay, here?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

holly jolly

yep, that pretty much sums it up.
merry christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

a wheeler family pic

back in august, the extended wheelers were all able to get together in utah to celebrate grandma janna's birthday. towards the end of our stay, the lovely heidi henderson came up to take family pics:

(can you believe that there are seven children five and under in the above photo and they are *all* looking in the general direction of the camera?!)

august 31, 2013 in eden, UT
photos by heidi henderson

Sunday, December 08, 2013

out of the mouths of babes

so if you know caleb, then you know he is not a man of many words.

i mean, he chatters all the time: constantly going on and on about this or that or the other, making various demands, and questioning the world around him.

but with the words? not so much.

i'm fairly certain he views our "language" as unnecessarily overwrought and time consuming. (no doubt reading him his first dickens novel is going to blow his little baby mind).

so instead of using a different word for every-single-little-tiny-thing, he prefers to shorten various -- and even simple -- words to single syllables and then to use each single syllable "word" multifunctionally.

his favorite syllable so far is "ba," which he uses to indicate any one of the following: book, bus, buckle, bowl, diaper (don't hate me, but i call it a "biaper"), bye, ball, balloon, belly, block and bear. (he's got a thing for "b" words, obviously).

unfortunately, his lack of specificity will only work for so long with so many people (and believe me, it's already starting to wear on his parents a little). so it's likely caleb will ultimately have to swallow his pride and concede to speaking like the rest of us.

we'll keep you updated on how long he holds out.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

summer writes

summer's first "official" piece of writing as shared with her class and turned in to her kindergarten teacher today:

"We did Christmas. Caleb is crying. I am with my family. He can't get down because he will ruin the Christmas tree."

a future investigative journalist on our hands, perhaps?

also, who else is totally loving how much bigger i am than bryan in her family pic?

Saturday, November 30, 2013


after not decorating our pumpkins for, like, the third year in a row, the wheelers are at least on the ball with their christmas tree:

generally, christmas tree cutting is one of my favorite family outings to photograph; however, above is the only decent shot i got of this year's experience. we had about ten minutes of daylight remaining, and crazy cay decided to spend those ten minutes running out to the parking lot (which wasn't even that close) again and again.

anyway, if on future family adventures you either don't see caleb or you see him strapped to something sturdy, now you know why.

pictionary and pie returns

from a thanksgiving tradition to a day-after-thanksgiving tradition:


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


ten years ago today, bryan and i became engaged to be married. 

ten *years.* who else can totally not believe that i'm old enough to say that? mom??

where has the time run off to, you crazy kids?

twenty-three-year-old bryan: so smart and stoic, with his pants too short and his glasses too small. twenty-year-old emily: so naive and aggressive, with her dozens of bangles and her mismatched clothes.

you crazy, crazy kids.

who tried hard to make right choices. who, with faith and hope, stepped out together into the darkness, because really, they had no idea what they were doing. who, with fortitude and dedication, remained steadfast in the face of some difficult circumstances. who chose to choose love and marriage and family and happiness and each other.

shortcomings and personality quirks and fashion sense aside, bryan and i owe a lot to those two love birds. 

so while i'm glad we're not that twenty-year-old girl and that twenty-three-year-old boy anymore. while i'm glad we now have stretch marks and (faintly!) receding hairlines and sleep-deprived eyes. while i'm so, so glad bryan and emily of today have the deep and abiding love born from spending the past decade serving one another, that bryan and emily of today have the commitment and understanding born from raising our sweet, beautiful, and sometimes difficult children together.

yes, while i'm glad for the passage of time and all the wonderfulness it brings, i'll always hold a special place in my heart for the bryan and emily of yesteryear. who sat quietly on the couch that thanksgiving morning and without pomp or circumstance (besides the ring, of course), decided to link destinies and go for it.

you guys rock:

and, thankfully (what's up with that hair, bryan?), one day, if you're *really* lucky, you'll grow up to be these guys:

bryan and emily, august 2013, eden, utah
photo by heidi henderson

this one is dedicated to all the love birds out there (but especially, to my very own):

Sunday, November 24, 2013

t minus


how many wheeler children does it take to put away the silverware?

all of them.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

coco nut

so one of the gifts summer really wanted for her birthday -- and specifically from her aunt anna (purveyor of all exotic foods) -- was a coconut.


using various tools (and eventually, the concrete floor in the garage) to open el coco.
later on, taking a tentative first bite of coconut meat.

but first, tasting the coconut water. c'mon afton: tell us how you really feel.

however, after opening the coconut and examining its contents, it turns out, what summer *really* wanted was that delicious, sugary shredded coconut anna had put in her trail mix for our camp out to alta lake back in july, which i guess is what she supposed came inside the coconut.

another one of life's important lessons learned.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

caleb makes a friend

while we were out having lunch at the american girl doll store on wednesday, the waitress brought a doll for caleb to sit with.

caleb was thrilled.

he poked the doll's eyes, pulled the doll's hair, chatted happily in the doll's general direction, and eventually worked up the courage to put his arm around the doll in an awkward attempt at a side hug (see above).

by the time lunch was served, caleb and his new friend were old pals.

except, then lunch was served, and caleb forgot his "old pal" entirely, in favor of stuffing his face with fistfuls of macaroni and cheese.

epic doll sigh: one minute you're the sun and moon and stars in an awkward embrace, and the next, you're all but forgotten at the hands of delicious pasta smothered in cheese.

Friday, November 08, 2013

shorn no more

seven and a half months later.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

summer is six

yesterday, baby girl turned six years old:

summer is as warm and sweet and easily distracted as her name suggests.

to her, the world is sunshine and rainbows and butterflies and unicorns with sprinkles on top. (except when it's not, and then she throws herself into her room and down into a pit of dramatic despair, flailing about and wondering aloud how she could ever go on).

she is a perfectionist (a characteristic that often leads to the aforementioned flailing about in the pit of despair). she is a lover, an inquisitor, a rememberer. she carefully watches out for her little siblings and (almost) always shares.

summer wants to do what's right. she accidentally cut in line the other day at school, and when the little boys behind her chided her for the injustice, she was just in tears about it because she a) hates to make mistakes and b) *really* hates to be chastised publicly. (i told her that, nonetheless, she did learn an important lesson about the sacredness of "the line.")

she dislikes bringing attention to herself and was anxious for weeks before the primary program where she would have to speak (for thirty seconds with a group) in public. 

she is not very picky about what she wears or how she does her hair except when she thinks she'll stand out too much. i bought her the cutest little button-down shirt a few days ago, and she refused to wear it because it was a "worker" shirt (like the ones her dad wears, i guess), and she insisted all the kids would make fun of her (are kids really that desperate for mockery material these days?) and when i wore a tie to church last week, as i'm apt to do occasionally, she nearly flipped out at the audacity.

summer is our straight arrow. our anchor. our optimist. our sugar in the sugar and spice. the kind of child who may confuse folks into thinking we know some secret about parenting that we don't.

happy birthday, sweet summer elyse. may this year bring you all the happiness, joy, and excitement your little six year old heart can handle. and ps, please do your parents a favor and stop growing out of all your clothes. xo

Monday, November 04, 2013

Sunday, November 03, 2013


it's been an exciting month of firsts for summer: a few weeks ago, she lost her first tooth, and on thursday, october 24th at 11:00am, she broke her first bone.

here she is standing below the culprit:

when i went with her to the school to have her show me what she fell off (expecting something at least as high as the monkey bars), i have to admit my first reaction was "really?" 

here she is receiving her first x-ray and the results: a salter ii fracture on her distal radius:

luckily, after a followup with seattle children's orthopedics, no cast was needed, just a brace for four weeks and then, wham-o! it's back to the monkey bars:

Saturday, November 02, 2013

a haircut for aft

i have to admit to getting a little bit carried away with the scissors, but luckily, she handles her new cropped 'do like a champ:

saturday morning cartoons

starlite flies right before your eyes and rainbow colors will cheer you up.

it's love that makes her garden grow with lots of pretty berries in a row.


happy halloween from some of your favorite childhood memories!