+ the end +

It is after much thought and introspection on my current life situation, that I have decided to end my contributions to the blogging world.  Or in other words, this blog that I started nearly 9 years ago is coming to an end.

I started this blog on April 7, 2007

Posted 1,038 posts

In the 9 years our family has grown from 1.5 kids to 4

It has been a wonderful journaling tool, but no longer fits into my fast-paced life.  It took me years to join FaceBook and then even longer to join Instagram (and of course I haven’t even attempted SnapChat and such), but I can see how the ease of posting there fits in better with my life right now.  I’m just not feeling the blogosphere anymore, so I will be using another journaling app along with Instagram (not a huge Facebook fan) to document the happenings of Amber & her little fam.

the beginning:


the end:

• Thanks for following along •



– december in photos –

December was obviously a busy, beautiful, family-filled month!  There are so many pictures to share and memories made!

The month started with Conner earning his Life rank in Boy Scouts, he also earned the most merit badges that night.  Grateful I have a husband who has a testimony of scouting and pushes Conner along in this effort.

Dave’s work party was also the first weekend of December.  In the 4 years Dave has been with Adobe they have tried different venues and activities for their Christmas party.  This year we were excited because it was closer to home at the Natural History Museum on the U campus.  Dave had some concerns over parking for that many people, but we trusted they had worked out any kinks and headed out.  We arrived to Wakara Way about 30 minutes after the start time and as quickly as we turned onto the road, Dave turned us right back around.  The street was jam-packed and not moving.  We later found out it took at least 45 minutes to park, 45 minutes to coat check and then another 45 minutes to get food so we made the right choice in not attending.  Instead we went out to dinner and enjoyed being together, just the two of us — definitely a better way to spend the evening!

One of the first and best parts of the Christmas season is getting a Christmas tree!  This year I had the best time decorating.  Even though this was our 2nd Christmas in this house, I didn’t really get to decorate last year since Dave and I were leaving on our trip down under right after Christmas.  I had the best time decking the hall this year!  And we even had 3 Christmas trees up — 2 real, 1 fake.

We also always participate in as many service opportunities as we can during December.  One that we have done for a few years is to make food kits for students who are in Title 1 schools.  We provide all the food they will need over the Christmas break.  My kids love picking out cereals, crackers, granola bars, and everything else for these kids.  It is a great reminder to them of how blessed they are.

I’ve been trying to have to kids help me more around the house, as a possible perfectionist and control-freak, it is hard for me to have things take longer or not be up to my level :-).  But I know this is the only way they will learn to work so I’m getting better.  Audra could not have been more excited to cut beans for dinner.  Seriously, she was thrilled and told everyone!  She is a great little su chef.

One of the highlights of December was our trip to the North Pole via the Polar Express, thanks to G&G Tanner.  The kids loved every minute; from the singing, to the cookies & hot chocolate, to Santa’s visit.  It really was a fun 5+ hour 🙂 family activity!
polar express

This year, Dave and I were asked to be on the Ward Christmas Party committee.  Dave managed to have a work conference that weekend, so it was me & the kiddos one of which was throwing up.  Luckily, I had Conner’s help and we survived the breakfast.  Cute little Logan played the part of Joseph in the very short nativity we did – thanks to Conner for getting him dressed.

And then the snow came! And came! And came! The first snow of the season was so heavy and so wet it created quite a mess.  Not only did it take Dave hours to plow the driveway, but we lost many, many branches from our trees :(.  The kids were beyond excited!  The day after the big storm our school district started school 2 hours late; we opted to let everyone have an early Christmas present and stay home from school.  They spent the day in the snow and loved every second!

As is tradition, we took a family picture in front of the Christmas tree!  And that reminded Dave that he owns a nice camera so he proceeded to snap a few more pics of the kids!


Christmas break from school started awfully early, in my opinion 😉 and we started the break at the dentist.  I mean why not?  This was Eli’s 2nd visit to the dentist and the last one was quite dramatic…..me holding him while 3 hygenists held his arms so the dentist could glance in his mouth.  He assured me that this time he was not going to cry and would sit all by himself.  He did great . . . . until she started using the “buzzer” to clean his teeth, then it was all over.  Maybe next time….

And finally the chocolate countdown calendars were empty, which meant it was Christmas Eve!  The kids were so excited to make their gingerbread houses at G&G Tanner’s.  We also had a visit from “Nephi” who told us about the Savior’s birth in the Americas and then the kids got to open their first present:  their new p.j.s and their ornament.  They were all excited about their ornaments and it was fun to see the boys in all striped p.j.s.   After we left the grandparents, it was time to put out cookies for Santa and then try to calm down enough to go to bed so Santa could come.

And boy did Santa come; actually this year Santa brought each of the kids their stocking goodies and ONE gift.  I had called him and asked him to simplify this year, so they each had their gift from Santa, a few from Mom & Dad and one from the sibling who drew their name.  I really liked that it was simpler this year.  We have so much and certainly don’t need more.
Plus, we kind of had a big surprise…..After a scavenger hunt written by Dave, we all found ourselves in our boots and coats headed out to the shop to find Dave’s favorite gift.  Looking forward to lots of fun family times in this thing.
Just when we thought the surprises were over, the last clue in the scavenger hunt was included with the Ranger and instructed us to all pile in and drive over to the neighbors as a surprise for Mom awaited (what the???).  I didn’t get a picture that morning, but here is what we found (can’t wait for it to warm up so I can scoot-scoot around town):

It was a really nice, relaxing Christmas!  And we still had a week until school started, so G&G Mac headed on up and stayed with us for the week.  We took them to see Star Wars (it was the second time for us), played lots of games, did some shopping, hung out and had a nice time together.  Since Dave had nearly 2 weeks off from work, he also tackled a project that we’ve been dreading since we moved in: painting the boys bedroom.  It’s a big room with lots of angles, things to paint around.  It took him 2 days but looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g – he did a phenomenal job (and I of course have no pictures).  It is so nice to continue to make this place ours.

To end the year, Conner had a party on the 30th.  He had a bunch of cute friends over (no girls, yet) and G&G were troopers and stayed up so they could party in the basement.  Dave was finally done painting on the 31st so he joined us for a fun dinner, games, and a night of watching “Twilight Zone” before an amazing neighborhood fireworks show started.  I’m happy to say I made it to 12.  And it was fun to have Dave’s parents here to ring in the New Year because last year we were with them in New Zealand ringing in the New Year — maybe it will become a tradition!

2015 was a truly wonderful year. I feel beyond blessed.  I know Heavenly Father is aware of me and my family and has provided us opportunities to grow and has also blessed us to be able to give so much.  Yes, 2015 was good to the McNamee Fam and speaking of which, the mcnameefam blog will see some changes in 2016, so stay tuned!

– November in pictures –

November is going to be pretty easy to wrap up in pictures because I didn’t take very many — oops.

One night while Dave and I were relaxing after everyone had been put to bed we heard some giggling and commotion from upstairs.  A few minutes later these 2 cute brothers appeared to show off their creation.  They had dressed the giant stuffed snowman in Logan’s Colts jersey and helmet.  They were pretty proud of it.

Reading in bed!!

In mid-November the weather started to change, finally, and brought with it a house of sickness.  After a week of everyone else being sick I thought I had made it free and clear…..nope I ended up with pneumonia and can’t remember when I’ve felt so awful.  Dave postponed a business trip one day to help me out and thank goodness, because Eli ended up covered in hives and had to be taken to the InstaCare.  We’re still not sure what caused it.

Of course November includes one of our favorite holidays:  Thanksgiving.  We were so excited to have G&G Mac home from their mission so we could continue the tradition of heading South to their house for an amazing weekend and meal.  Sadly the weather wasn’t nearly as warm as we had hoped, but that didn’t stop the kids from wanting to climb their favorite rocks.  We also went to a movie, did some shopping, played lots of games and enjoyed being with family.  Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was going with Conner to the St. George temple and doing baptisms with him – he, Dave, and I being baptized.


That about sums up the month which is pretty pathetic, but I’m so grateful for the month of November.  I got to go to Audra’s class and share a holiday tradition with them.  Audra and I decided to share our Thanksgiving traditions.  We started by telling the class that we don’t decorate for Christmas or listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving . . . some of the kids thought that was weird :).  It is important to our family to truly embrace Thanksgiving and our blessings before getting hammered with Christmas.  Some of our other traditions include our “Thankful Jar” where we all write something we’re thankful for every day.  And then we always have holiday appropriate books out to read, so we brought a book to read.  It was fun to share these traditions!
And now that November is over, it’s onto Christmastime.

– October in photos –

October marks one year since we moved into our home – crazy!  And this October was even more mild and beautiful than last year.  I was able to spend A LOT of time in my yard deciding what plants I no longer wanted, moving plants, planting bulbs and cleaning up.  I can’t wait to have more time to spend out there, even though it’s hard work I really enjoy it!  Yard work wasn’t all October consisted of:


We were lucky enough to spend Conference weekend  at Bear Lake in a beautiful cabin with the Tanner family.  Even though the weather wasn’t quite as nice as we had hoped we had a wonderful time together!  It was a phenomenal conference and it made it even better to be able to hold Olivia all day, watch the cousins play, go on nice long walks!


Eli attends Preschool two mornings a week, Audra attends afternoon Kindergarten.  That means that three mornings a week these two have each other to hang out with.  They play SO well together which makes me glad I went ahead with their alternating school schedules.  One of their favorite places to play is the pantry (I don’t blame them, it’s one of my favorite rooms too).  Sometimes they’ll build a fort and play in there and sometimes they’ll fill it with pillows and blankets and play on the iPad.  Does it get any cuter?


In September we had Logan’s 8th birthday and this month we had his baptism.  It was a beautiful day!!  Not just because of the weather.  We had a lot of our family in attendance, Logan’s little group of friends came, and the spirit was incredible.  I think I’d been so wrapped up in the details of the day that I had forgotten why we were there, but the spirit made sure I remembered.  Both Dave and I were choking up before the baptism and once Dave started speaking the spirit in the room was thick.  Dave also gave Logan a beautiful confirmation.  Grandpa Mac’s talk on the Holy Ghost was beautiful and MaKenna & Aubree sang a very sweet song.  I am so grateful for the gospel and am happy my children are making the right choices.


As bedtime nears we can all often be found in Conner & Logan’s room.  It’s a big room and there are places for everyone to sit while we read scriptures and just spend time together.  Not only is it a fun room to be in, but Conner’s bed is everyone’s favorite place.  He greatly discourages anyone from climbing up there, especially his younger siblings (he keeps his Lego sets up there and naturally they want to touch them) but sometimes he will bend and let them come play under his supervision.  He’s such an awesome older brother!


Fall Break happens in October and this year the weather was so great – more Summer like!  We’ve had season passes to Lagoon this year and Halloween is the official last day of the season.  We went quite a bit as a family in the Summer and Conner has gone A LOT with his friends so it has been a good thing.  We decided we needed to get one more day in together as a family.  After spending the first day of Fall Break cleaning and organizing bedrooms, Dave took Friday off and we headed to Frightmares.  Conner has wanted me to ride on Cannibal all year – I had no desire, but I gave in and told him I’d go with him this time.  Plus, I’m trying to have less regret in my life and I thought I might regret not riding it the first year it was opened.  Yeah, so I rode it and never will again!!!  Wow!  Not a fan of heights and that pushed me to my limits.  Conner got a kick out of my nervousness so we have the memory at least.


After a thrilling day at Lagoon, we held what we hope will become a tradition, a neighborhood outdoor movie night!  Our backyard is really perfect for such a thing and we’ve talked about doing it for a long time.  Unfortunately it doesn’t get dark until quite late in the Summer so we were so glad the weather was so nice this late in the year.  The kids had all their friends there and loved running around, laying on the tramp, eating popcorn, candy and homemade hot scones with hot chocolate.  It was such a fun night and the perfect ending to our stay-at-home Fall Break!

It was that same weekend that something very tragic happened in our family.  My 31 year-old cousin had a stroke and ended up passing away.  Leaving behind 3 very young children and a 26 year-old wife.  His death, beyond being very sad, served to remind me that life is fragile and can change in an instant.  After attending his funeral in Idaho a week later, I definitely hugged Dave and all the kiddos a little more.  I continue to think of his wife and wish her burden could be lifted – all I can really do is pray for her.  I’m so grateful for the knowledge I have that they will be reunited and, more importantly at the moment, that she can have her pain lifted from her through the Savior.

Even with an eternal perspective, life here in the world continues.  And Conner had his first orchestra concert.  He has started playing the bass this year and absolutely loves it!!  I have to admit that I was kinda dreading this concert – seemed like it had the potential to be a little painful with a bunch of beginner players.  Turns out it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.  His teacher kept it under an hour and the kids did a great job!!  So fun seeing Conner up there playing along.

As if one Halloween concert wasn’t enough, the boys also had their Halloween piano recital.  It was one of many opportunities the kids had to dress up in their costumes that week, and the boys did great on their songs.  Dave was lucky enough to be out of town and now owes me a piano recital where he takes all the kids :-).

The next day was the last day of school for the week and our new elementary school does a Halloween Parade so the kids get to wear their costumes to school.  They then parade through the school and the parents get to come.  After the parade, the second grade does a short but super fun Halloween program!!  And as if one parade wasn’t enough, because Audra is in afternoon kindergarten, I got to go back for yet another parade of just the kindergarten classes.  And our cute little cheerleader was the leader of the parade right behind the principal.
There just happens to be a story behind this cheerleader costume.  Audra really wanted to be Elsa for Halloween; I really didn’t want her to be Elsa – boring!  I tried to talk her into being Snow White because I think she looks like Snow White with her short curly hair.  I almost had her convinced until she somewhere got the idea to be a cat.  My rule for this year was that we were not spending a penny on costumes since we have dress-ups coming out of our eyeballs.  Well, we don’t have a cat costume so I had to talk her out of that.  After much, much drama and tears we came across our cheerleader outfit and she was convinced.  Sadly the drama didn’t stop there!  We had issues with shoes, hair, and socks.  Oh that girl nearly sent me over the edge, but when all was said and done she looked adorbs!

In October, by some miracle, Dave only traveled once.  It was during the last week of the month and that just happened to be the busiest week.  We were surviving just fine running from thing to thing without him when BOOM…..my phone ended up in the toilet.  Ahhhhh!!!  My phone that I’ve had for like 4 months and had the worst karma with.  I was beyond stressed.  So after leaving it off for 24 hours, setting it in a bag of puffed rice, and saying countless prayers (even though I felt silly praying for such a thing) a miracle occurred – I took the phone to the apple store and had them open it up to see what damage was done.  The guy brought it back out to me in total awe.  He said it looked like a brand new phone.  I may have squealed right there in the store!!  I was beyond relieved.
One disaster averted.  Just in time for the next one . . ..  you see we have this running joke that whenever Dave goes out of town something breaks.  It’s actually not a joke, it is a real thing – sometimes it’s a big thing that breaks and sometimes it’s small.  We figured my phone incident was the incident.  We were wrong.  The next day while I was out visiting teaching, my car battery died.  Yeah, that was fun – NOT!!  So I got that taken care of and just in time.

Our sweet new niece, Olivia, is now 2 months old and she has had what we thought was a clogged tear duct for most of her life.  Megan finally took her to a pediatric eye doctor because the drops the pediatrician had prescribed weren’t helping and Olivia’s eye was hazy and she never wanted to open her eyes.  This eye doctor thought it was most likely glaucoma and wanted her to get into a specialist at Primary’s ASAP.  They knew they were going to have to put her out to be able to look at the eye and then the plan was perform the surgery if needed right then as well.  The big day came and so while Megan, Tyler and baby headed to the hospital, I took Kade & Chloe. Turns out it wasn’t glaucoma so that was good, but it also turned into nearly 3 days in the hospital while they waited for test results to come back.  Olivia has the herpes virus in her eye, sounds weird I know, but that’s what it is.  She is on a pretty intense at-home injection treatment which should clear it up.  We are just glad to know what it is and are all hopeful her eye will be just fine.  So while Megan was having some of the most stressful and exhausting days, we were able to play with the other kids.  I’m glad we were able to help out a little bit!

Having the Thueson kids here coincided with Halloween, so they got to join in on a few festivities before Megan and Tyler and Olivia made it home just in time for trick-or-treating.  This was Conner’s last year trick-or-treating, but his cute group of friends had worked out quite a route and plan for the evening.  They had discussed all dressing up as Star Wars characters, but remember my rule about not buying anything and Conner wasn’t too keen on my homemade suggestions, so it seems appropriate that his swan song Halloween costume was a clown – a pretty traditional costume.  He was excited about it and looked great.  He also had a fabulous time going out that night and then coming back here to hang out.
Logan also headed out with his friends and ended up coming back before the rest of them because his legs were tired.  Seems crazy that the thought of getting more candy wasn’t enough for him to keep going.
Audra went with her friends and their dad, so that left little Eli (our treat monster).  Dave took him up our street and then Ali and Josh arrived so we decided to all walk down and get the famous neighbor doughnuts.  It was a beautiful, warm night!  I’m glad it’s over and that everyone had fun!

If I had to sum up October it would be that it was beautiful, busy, and bursting with life.  And now it’s done and according to every store Christmas is just around the corner ;), I’m looking forward to enjoying November!

– photos tell the story –

Time —- it is literally zooming by.  I never feel like I have enough of it during the day/week.  Lots of it is spent on PTA, my calling with the scouts, being a mom of 4 kiddos with busy schedules, keeping up in the yard, spending time with friends and family, and a cagillion other things.  I’ve decided the only way to keep this blog going is to simplify – drastically!  I am going to commit to posting once a month.  This monthly posting will include our life through the photos I have taken.  If time allows then other details will also be included, but that is what I can commit to right now.  It will still be a record of sorts on our family so I won’t let myself feel guilty.

And here we go . . . . . September in Photos:


It wouldn’t be late Summer/early Fall without soccer.  This was Audra’s first year playing and even though it was super cute to watch her run around and rarely go near the ball, I’m not sure soccer is for her.  Dave was her coach and she loved that!!  Logan also played another year of soccer and he is just like his sister – great at running around and avoiding the ball.  He is a much better individual sports player, rather than team sports so this may be his last year of soccer as well!


Of course Labor Day is in September and we took advantage of the amazing weather by heading up to PineView with the sailboat.  Even after forgetting sunscreen and having to stop and buy some, and not having cash to get into the park and having to go get some . . . . we persevered and had a great day!  Turns out the kids just wanted to play in the sand on the beach all day so Dave headed out to do some sailing while the rest of us enjoyed the sun, sand and surf!!  It was a wonderful day and I’m so grateful we have such a beautiful and fun place so close to home.  It was also our last sailboat voyage.  We love the idea of sailing as a family, but this is not the time of life for such a boat so it has found a new home.

IMG_7812 2

Our neighbor.  He lives in the rocks off our patio and we all love watching him come out and run around.  He’s not the only squirrel friend we have.  Audra has lovingly named our favorite furry friend Junior.  He runs back and forth on the telephone lines in our backyard.  It’s actually really fun to watch!  This house definitely includes more nature and animals.


Eli’s Preschool class had a field trip to the fire station and oh boy was he excited!!!  Not sure I can even express the excitement.  He loved every second and the firemen made it a very fun experience for the kids.  Audra was thrilled to tag along with all the little kids.  And now every time we drive by the fire station (which is almost every day) Eli makes sure he tells us that he wants to go again.


We introduced our family theme for this school year, which we took from the scriptures.
D&C 64:33 – Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.  And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.  We had the theme engraved on a large glass star and then gave each of the children their own tiny glass star with their initials.  We talked to them about how they are like small stars but have the power to do great things especially through living the gospel!  We love our window of stars.


Of course no September is complete without celebrating Mr. Logan’s birthday!  This year was a big year as he turned 8 and as is tradition in our family there are no friend parties on even-numbered years, but we always go out and celebrate as a family. Logan wanted to go bowling so off we went and we had a great time – I even got a strike!  Sunday was his actual birthday and we celebrated with G&G Tanner and opened presents.  When I asked him what he wanted for presents he said whatever I wanted to pick so I guessed what I thought he might like and according to him I did a great job!!  Love that kid and am proud to be his mom.


With it being the end of Summer there was produce to pick from gardens and salsa to make.  I’m not sure it is worth all the time and effort it takes me, but everyone else says it is so we’ll see next year!


And Dave and I had so much fun at our concert in July we decided to head back out for another one:  Brandon Flowers.  It was fun even though I couldn’t see a dang thing (darn this being short biz).

September was a great month as we got settled into the school routine and figured out the PTA.  The weather was amazing and we enjoyed playing outside and tried to eat outside as much as possible to stretch out summer.  As the month ended, we could feel the chill in the evening air and prepared for a wonderful October . . .

– it’s great to be 8 –


8 years ago yesterday I had spent the morning canning peaches with a group of friends.  Then I had my weekly midwife appointment.  I wasn’t due for another 2 1/2 weeks and she checked me and said there wasn’t much happening.  That must have been the motivation Logan needed to hear because for the rest of the day as I ran errands I felt a lot of pressure and mild contractions.  By 10:00 that night we knew baby was on his way.  I labored at home for a few hours and then we headed to Davis Hospital around 2:30 am, 8 years ago today ….. 2 hours later we welcomed a screaming Logan into the world!  He screamed almost constantly for the next year and a half until we figured out his food allergies.  He has spent the last 6 1/2 years making up for those first horrible months and he is the happiest, most friendly, hilarious kid around.



Having Logan in our family is such a treat, as well as an honor!  He has the best personality and everyone wants to be around him.  He has made so many friends in the new neighborhood and everywhere we go we see kids he knows who say “Hi Logan!”  He likes to try new things and doesn’t care if he’s not the best at it.  He’s our sports player which makes him sort of a genetic fluke for us :).  He has better handwriting than Conner and is a flourishing 2nd grader and reader.  He is such an example to me as he doesn’t want anyone to feel left out and is very concerned about others feelings.  He is definitely my child because he loves himself some treats and good food . . . in fact he is always thinking about the next thing he will eat and may or may not be hungry all the time ;).



This is an extra special birthday for him since he’s turning 8!!  He is very excited to be baptized and we know he is ready for this commitment.  Turning 8 also means he is now “officially” my Wolf Scout.  I’m so excited to get to relearn all this cub scout stuff with him.  People say Audra looks the most like me, but I think Logan is the most like me personality wise which makes it really fun to be his mom.



Happy Birthday to our favorite 8-year-old LOGAN!!