Monday, June 06, 2022


with only ten more days of middle school left for THE REST OF THIER LIVES, it was time for this crew to celebrate and dance the night away with their eighth-grade class. they cleaned up, dolled up, showed up, and showed out. 

and only one of them got to go home with two blisters on her heels (take a look at that footwear, and i'll let you guess who).

worth it.

Sunday, May 08, 2022

mama bones

my joints crack when i walk: my toes, ankles, hips, wrists, knees, back, and neck. it's a rather loud and abrupt pop-popping sound that accompanies me wherever i go. and i honestly hadn't given it much thought until my children brought it up. 

they brought it up because it's one of the sounds by which they identify me. 

by which they know i'm there. 

it's a sound of their childhood. of their home. 

of their mother.

to the keepers of the sounds.
of the sights and the smells and the feelings. 
(and to the listeners, too.)

happy mother's day.

Monday, April 25, 2022


on our way up to visit the grand canyon, we made a pit stop in sedona to fit in a quick five mile loop amidst the breath-taking red rock there. we hiked the soldier pass trail to soldier pass cave, and good news, only three of the six of us were pricked with cactus spines. 

10/10 would recommend (the hike, not the cactus spines).

you can't really tell how high up afton is here (probably twenty feet), but she and bryan shimmied up a tight claustrophobia-inducing tunnel and popped up at this windy overlook in solider pass cave.

Friday, April 22, 2022

first hike in the desert

this is the treasure loop trail in the superstition mountains. great hike, great trail, really proud of my mom (accompanied by my dad) for making it to the top, really, really sorry they were attacked by bees on the way back down.

the kids were also excited (and a wee bit frightened) to see their first--and only--arizona rattlesnake on this little jaunt. not coiled up and hissing (whew!), but lazily making its way across a sunny boulder that we were all standing on. shout out to afton and her eagle eye for spotting the snake before it got too close.

but first! all good hikes begin fresh with donuts. these ones hail from hurts donut, courtesy of opa d:

good morning from our little snake friend:


Thursday, April 21, 2022

turning ten


caleb celebrated the big one-oh by enjoying over-the-top milkshakes in the desert (and a diamondacks game later that evening). his dad took him to an arcade to live his best life playing hours of video games and laser tag with his sibs and opa d. enormous monkie kid lego sets and advance copies (all they way from the uk) of the new minecraft zombie books were waiting for him at home, and a special collector's edition of fortnite monopoly showed up at the house in scottsdale. 

it was a great day to turn ten.

first things first, caleb loves fortnite. now, i don't know a lot about video games since my glory years yonder--may they rest in peace--but apparently in video games these days, basically, you use real money to buy fake stuff (outfits, maybe?), and it turns out, said fake stuff is very, very important to the emotional well-being of those who love these video games. so bryan came up with this ingenious idea (now stay with me here) that our kids would not be allowed to use real money (USD) to purchase fake money (v-bucks) to buy fake stuff in fortnite, but instead, they have to earn fake money (dad-bucks or d-bucks) in real life by accomplishing real goals, and then exchange the fake money (d-bucks) for real money (USD) to buy other fake money (v-bucks) to use in fake life (fortnite). trust me, it works. and bryan is killing it on the exchange rate arbitrage. 

all this is to say that caleb is an ever-motivated goal-crushing machine. (dallin, on the other hand, gets distracted by a lot of side quests...)

caleb's most recent sphere of goal-crushing domination is solving speed cubes. after reaching his initial goal of learning to solve one in the first place, he upgraded to a magnetic cube and slashed his solve time in half. he's currently learning a new algorithmic strategy to solve it even faster AND has taught afton how to solve it. 

caleb still loves hot food and hates going to bed. he's very much socially fueled and is the most extroverted person in the family (edging out bryan and summer, who are hard to beat). being bored is his absolute kryptonite. he's very particular about his hair and his shoes. he loves cats and kiwi birds. is confident. capable. quiet. constantly soaking everything in. caleb loves to be on time.

he is eager to make his way in the world, and i love discovering the vastness of his capabilities. caleb is our heavy weight: tall, sturdy, stoic.

happy, happy birthday, bobby! may ten treat you right. 

and on! on to victory! on to victory royale!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

somebunny grows up

summer picked out her favorite yellow sweater to wear for her "probably final" easter egg hunt. 

when i saw her, i thought to myself: she totally wore that same shade of yellow on her first easter egg hunt. of course, it's the age of the internet, so not having to wonder for long, i checked the blog to confirm that yes, she did indeed wear that same shade of yellow on her very first easter egg hunt.

“you know what's weird? day by day, nothing seems to change, but pretty soon...everything's different.”
--bill watterson

egg hunt duvall: back in the rabbit

after missing one of our favorite community activities the past two years, the wheelers were pumped to join their neighbors for the annual easter egg hunt once again. summer tried to convince me that maybe she was too old this year, but i got out my big, sad, mama eyes and pleaded with her for just one more year.

i need pictures! pastels! monogrammed baskets! and maybe some inkling of knowledge in the back of my mind that this, this might be the last year my babies do the duvall egg hunt all together. a mama needs those kinds of things, you know.

plus, the chocolate. 

on their marks:

get set: