Friday, January 2, 2015


Zach and I both agreed, this Christmas was THE BEST Christmas we have ever had as a little family!!

It was spent in our little basement apartment, with pretty much no decorations except a little picture of baby Jesus and 2 little Christmas trees (which all came from my in-laws! ;)), not tons of presents or anything super exciting…but it was magical nonetheless.

Both Zach and I have been overwhelmingly filled with gratitude and happiness for the many blessings, peace, and joy that fills our lives and hearts lately.

As I looked back at some old pictures and came across this one…1 month after the accident, still in the hospital, devastated at what had happened, scared and unsure of what lied ahead…I’m pretty certain this was my worst Christmas.
You can see the sadness in my face behind that fake smile! :/

Now to see how far we have come in 4 years!!! I realize fully that where we are at today, the happiness and gratitude in our hearts….doesn’t have anything to do with anything we have personally done, but EVERYTHING to do with Christ. With his healing power. He truly is The Prince of Peace!!!

So as we celebrated Christmas this year, my heart was FILLED with thoughts of the Christ child.
baby jesus
What a PERFECT gift that truly was. That gift that came SO long ago, it is THE GREATEST gift in my life. There is no gift we could ever buy, no matter the price that could even compare! I will FOREVER be grateful for this gift and the power and role it has played in my life!!

The best part about it is…it’s not a gift just for me or you…but for EVERYONE!!!

So as I chose my Christmas card this year…this scripture perfectly put what was in my heart!
And those 2 cute kids on it really topped it off! ;) 

Since I never got a baby announcement done for Navy…our card served as a dual purpose…because the birth of any baby comes from above and is a perfect gift as well! ;)

We still had all of our fun Christmas celebrations and traditions which added to the magic this season. Mostly just the time spent with our amazing family and friends is what really does it for me!!
Friend party!
Thanks Larsens for hosting such a fun night…filled with food, laughter, and LOTS of fun!!

Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Friend Party!
Good lookin group right there! ;) Thanks Gorders for hosting this crazy bunch!

Nativity story with Grammy and Poppy

We also watched He Is the Gift short video clip. TOTALLY made me cry. I know Christmas is over but if you haven’t watched it you should!! Here is the link.

We went up for our 2nd Annual Christmas Tree Pickin! Such a fun, magical place and experience!
The Wagon Ride to see the Elk and get to the trees!
2014-12-05 15.25.10
Our family is so big we had to split up on 2 wagons this year for the weight! ;)

2014-12-05 15.26.39
 2014-12-05 15.30.41
Just some cute cargo on the wagon! ;)

The whole family!!

 2014-12-05 15.46.39
Navy’s first experience touching a real Christmas tree!

IMG_20141205_154350051_HDR IMG_20141205_154355395_HDR
Me and my girl in our matching scarfs from Seriously SOOO comfy, cute, and warm!! I realize it might be totally nerdy to match your daughter…BUT my problem is…if I see something I like for me…and they make ones for little girls…then I HAVE to get one for her too! ;)

Playin with daddy!

Dakota man and his horses!

2014-12-05 15.41.01
Our little fam! Love these 3 sooo much!!

2014-12-05 16.10.49
The 4 babes going on a sleigh ride!!

2014-12-05 16.12.26

ALL the cousins!!!
2014-12-05 16.15.32
Wow baby! Can they all fit? ;)

2014-12-05 16.20.43
The Hadleys

2014-12-05 16.21.31
The Laroses

2014-12-05 16.56.02
Navy and Grammy twinning it!

  2014-12-05 18.05.06
Navy and Cruize

We did our annual Friedli jammy parade in the kids new jammies.
All lined up and ready to move!!

Dakota LOVED dancing with his mom…not that you can tell from the picture! ;) And Navy danced the night away with Uncle Ryan! (Zach was behind the camera)
We opened Christmas presents with the Friedlis early so that families could do whatever they wanted on Christmas day. Of course the grandkids were spoiled rotten as usual!!

Grandma and Grandpa helped Navy open her presents! So fun to have them there with us!

IMG_20141221_184428765 IMG_20141221_184608733 IMG_20141221_185020479
She liked the bows and paper best! I loved her “All I want is ice cream” jammies! ;) Girl after my own heart! Her favorite gift was a baby jumper. This girl LOVES to jump!!

IMG_20141221_185356055  IMG_20141221_185702450IMG_20141221_185755463
Dakota got some sweet things himself! Tractor flashlight, my favorite…Ladies Man shirt!

His favorite was a minion blanket! Score!!!

Dakota got his very own play mat since he liked Navy’s so much!
2014-12-22 08.27.03
It’s a lot of work to grab that little thing!

2014-12-22 08.37.43
What happened?!
Christmas morning was pretty low key as it always is in our house. Dakota was pretty excited about Christmas this year. I felt like this was the first year he was really getting and understanding it all. When we would read stories about Santa and Christmas he would smile.

He got to sit on Santa’s lap at school and he really liked that!
I just wondered what he asked for???

I told Zach we needed to pick up our game this year since he is seeming like he is starting to understand it! ;) But it is so hard to buy things for him because you truly never know what he will like. He can’t physically play by himself with toys so obviously that creates a challenge. As I talked to other moms of 6 year old boys and heard what they were getting I was shocked!! Batman bots or something like that? Legos?? These things never crossed my mind since my 6 year old can’t talk and tell me about these sorts of things. Are those things Dakota would really want??? Who knows?? So we did our best and crossed our fingers he would like it! :/

When he woke up he smiled when I told him Santa had come.
 2014-12-25 07.47.14

But as he looked at all his presents I didn’t get one reaction out of him. Not one!
So…not sure how to take that. Either he didn’t care for the presents we picked out for him or he was just hungry and wanted his breakfast (he likes to eat right when he gets up). Not sure!

2014-12-25 00.50.10
Our humble little tree! ;) As you can see Santa knew we didn’t need too much! ;)
He got some sweet drums though!

2014-12-25 08.08.19
He LOVES playing the drums at music class at school so I thought he would love these. Maybe he will grow to love them! ;)

We got a surprise gift from an anonymous person left at our door and I think this singing, dancing dog may have been his MOST favorite gift of all…at least it got the most smiles…so that’s how I know! I never would have guessed!
Thank you to whoever left those sweet gifts at our door! Your unselfish generosity brought my sweet boy his smile!!!

Navy of course was just happy with wrapping paper and boxes…although Santa did bring her some real gifts! ;)
  2014-12-25 07.46.11

We spent the rest of our Christmas day down with Zach’s family, just hanging out together! Couldn’t have been better!
Captured these pics of the babies!
IMG_20141225_173255618 IMG_20141225_173331344 IMG_20141225_173356914 IMG_20141225_173406177
Navy and Cruize’s faces crack me up!

Zach surprised me for Christmas with a last minute weekend trip to AZ…THE BEST present EVER!!!

My sweet niece Trai was getting baptized and my sister Katie had just found out she had some blood clots in her leg and couldn’t go with her family on vacation and was feeling kinda down. Zach knew how badly I wanted to be down there so he said…GO!

It was such a quick trip but was SOOOO fun, and as always does my heart good to spend time with my family. I love each and every one of them SO much so to not see them very often is hard!

2014-12-26 10.22.50
Navy’s 2nd airplane ride in her short 7 months of life! She was SUCH a wiggly little thing this time. Up, down, forward, backward! But so smiley to everyone on the plane!!

Since I was planning everything last minute I decided to surprise everyone. I told my cute dad so that way I would have a ride from the airport. We went to my mom’s first and her reaction was THE BEST!!!
2014-12-26 12.44.20

Then I stopped by my sister Annie’s house and surprised her as she was decorating for the baptism. She even shed a few tears for me! ;) Navy got to play with cousins while I helped her out for a bit!
2014-12-26 15.37.16
Navy and Trai

2014-12-26 16.11.20
Navy and Cord. She thought he was pretty fun to follow around!

2014-12-26 16.49.51

Then I surprised my sister Katie’s family at dinner where they were celebrating my niece Shea’s birthday. Her husband knew so he was helping me time it to meet up with them. The shock and surprise on my sister and her kids faces was priceless!! It was so fun to see all of them before they left on vacation.
2014-12-26 17.45.50
I think they were most excited to see Navy. Can you blame them??

Happy Birthday Shea!!!

I didn’t make it to my other sister Shana’s that day but got to surprise her at the baptism the next morning! ;)

My sweet Trai! It brought tears to my eyes to watch her make this important step in her life!! I don’t know where I would be without the gospel in my life! I definitely would not be where I’m at or who I am today!I look forward to watching her sweet testimony and knowledge of the gospel and her Savior grow and fill her life with true happiness!!

Unfortunately my sister Dawn (I know there are so many of us! ;)) was on vacation with her family in Flagstaff so I didn’t get to see them! :/

But my other 3 sisters and I had a sleepover my last night at my mom’s house. Mom sleepover…I know that is just crazy right?! But it was SOOOO fun to just relax, talk, reminisce, and laugh together until 1:30 in the morning!! They are so awesome to spend so much time with me!!
Went out for dinner and dessert first of course! ;)

I topped my trip off by seeing my best friend Abbeys new, sweet baby Emma!!!
20141227_164342 20141227_173417
So darling! So fun to get to see Abbey as a mom now!! No words can describe what a great gift and joy it really is. You have to experience it to believe it!!

Zach kept Dakota while I was gone and had a boys weekend. They had 1 VERY scary accident while I was gone which I will hopefully share about soon. There were definitely angels among them protecting them!! Besides that they had some fun…dog sledding at grammies! ;)

Go Ruby!!!! (She didn’t really pull him!) ;) I love that Dakota is in a beach chair on the sled! So creative!

Hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas too!!!


  1. Tessie, I must tell you that your blog always warms my heart. You and your husband are obviously wonderful parents and its inspiring to see a devoted young couple, so rare nowadays. Your children are adorable; the photo of Dakota and his doggie actually brought tears to my eyes because he looks so happy! God bless you, sweetheart.

  2. Tessie, I am so happy that you got to go home for a visit. SO happy you had such an amazing Christmas, and happy that you are all safe and sound! I think accidents shouldn't be allowed in your lives anymore! Good heavens.
    But --- now the compression socks make sense:) That is too scary! love you all!

  3. Tessie, you and your family are completely and utterly amazing. The way you grab life by the horns is so awesome. Many blessings to you all! xoxo

  4. I love to read your blog. The pictures and words are all full of love. Thanks for sharing your tremendous love of family and friends with all of us.