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!