Graduation Gift Ideas: College, Trade School, Gap Year, Military or Work

Several years ago, I made the shift away from asking graduates what they were majoring in to, "Where will life lead you after graduation?" The paths are as varied as the young adults taking them. The world is big and bright and in need of their leadership, skills and enthusiasm. To celebrate that next leap, I hope you find these gift ideas helpful for ANY graduate taking the world by storm. Two important gifts that I think are excellent for ...

Happy 8th to the Baby of the Family!

The baby is eight, y'all. Eight. Scott asked me this morning if I was going to dust off the blog and write her a letter. I hemmed and hawed all day long and finally decided to do it. If birth stories are your thing, you might love this one. But, if you're a fan of videos that make you wonder if your allergies are acting up, then this is for you. Enough of that. Let's get to the letter. Dear ...

2021 Holiday Gift Guide

We blinked and it's November. Anybody else feel like that?! As hard as the last couple of years have been, I still see so much good in the world. For the last four years I have loved putting together a small gift guide for y'all (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020). It's my hope that these little ideas spark big love in your gift giving this season. I'm sharing mine a little earlier knowing that many folks are closing shops earlier ...

She’s 14!

Clare is another year into the teenager gig and we're all still alive. Ha! But seriously, with each passing day she looks more and more like her older sister. It's fun to see that budding relationship. Let's get to that birthday letter. It's a busy week around here! Dear Clare Bear, I just can't quit that nickname. Hope that it doesn't make you cringe. This past year, one thing has really stuck out to me: your heart. When your older ...

Happy 47! Another Lap Around the Sun

If you've been around here for a little bit, you know that I write letters to my kids on their birthdays and share them here. A few years ago, a priest friend of the family encouraged me to do the same, for myself. So, at the suggestion of Fr. Tom, here's this year's birthday letter! Happy birthday to me!! I am such a birthday super fan, so enjoying every last minute of today won't be hard for me. Pretty sure ...

Utah and the Big 5 National Parks

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, we did the only reasonable thing... We packed our bags, cooked our food, iced down the beer coolers and hit the road for wide, open spaces and almost no people. It was glorious! So many people have asked about our trip and just how we did it, so buckle up for a serious dish on national parks and roadtripping with a big family. And in about 6 weeks, I'll share this year's ...


... and welcome to the chaos. I know a thing or two about big families (I've got 6 kids), carpool, Catholic converts, the Texas Aggies, prematurity, date nights with Mr. Whitaker, organization and party planning, but I still don't know why it's so hard for my kids to  put up their shoes. My Texas-sized heart is honored to have you here! Contact me at

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