More + Less

A few weeks ago I wrestled the Christmas decoration boxes down from their newfound perch in our storage shed. It was a crisp and clear fall day. The sky was a brilliant blue, the air chilly but the sun was warm. It took me three trips back and forth into the house to get everything inside. Lastly, our artificial tree still in its original box from purchase. After several seasons the tree sort of haphazardly resided in the box – mostly stuffed in askew, contained in large part due to the odd cable my husband had wrapped around it to create a carrying handle.


We purchased that tree the year we got married. We had a gift card and a 20% coupon to the almighty Bed Bath & Beyond. It was pre-lit with white twinkly lights and had various pine cones and sticks glued onto the branches. In a word, it was ugly. But we were thrilled. As newlyweds we had very little expendable income, and we walked out of the store that night with our tree and a box of plastic multicolored ornaments for $12. We excitedly drove home, our shoppers-high in full effect from getting such a steal of a deal. We immediately assembled and decorated the tree, our first as husband and wife.


Once adorned the tree transformed. It was no longer wispy and sparse. The tree proudly glowed from its perch in our small living room, and all at once our home felt warm and cozy and magical. As we admired our work I told my husband I wanted to start a new tradition. Each Christmas I wanted to add a new keepsake ornament to our little tree. Something to commemorate the year, that we could build over our time as our family grew. That year it would be a simple handmade circle, etched with The Murphy Family 2012 – Our First Christmas as Mr. & Mrs.


On Christmas Day that year, we told our families that we were pregnant with our first Son. I immediately viewed the Nativity and Mary in a brand new light. Christmas would never be the same once having children. Nothing is ever the same, truthfully. And each year we’ve added a new unique ornament to our bargain tree. A First Christmas for each of our Sons. And this year, a new memory to mark in time.


This will be our first Christmas in our new home. In our new town. In our new state. A year ago this was a dream. 2 years ago it was a conversation. 3 years ago it wasn’t even a thought. How did we get here?


I’m often asked, why did you come here? What made you choose Flagstaff? And after almost 6 months I still don’t have it wrapped into a cute little answer – but most of the time I reply, we just wanted to do it. It’s with wide eyes starting back at me that I elaborate – We wanted more and less of everything at the same time. 



Riley is 3



Riley is 3. We have a 3 year old. A Pre-Schooler.

He’s fun and silly and chatty and full of energy and spunk.


Waffles. Paw Patrol. His Dogs. Helping Daddy. Cinnamon Rolls. In N Out. Watching Movies. Playing with Cars. Construction Trucks. Playing Hide and Seek. Fruit. Happy Cake (Birthday Cake). Talking on the Phone. Nonny and Grandpa and Gran. Popcorn. His Best Friend Leon. Rescue Bots. Playing on his Swing Set. Being chased. Jumping in Rain Puddles. Digging holes. Doing Laundry. Sarah + Duck. Baking cookies. Hot Wheels. Cutting papers. Carrying his favorite toys to and from his room for naps and bedtime. Taking pictures. Green Smoothies. Pointing out any trash trucks or construction trucks he sees. Telling long stories.


Favorite phrases:

“Mom, you pop the horn.”


“Daddy be home in four minuets.”

“Pelescope” = “Telescope”

“Nulk” = “Milk”

“Tee-Show” = “TV Show”

“God Bless You.”

“Careful ____!” Dad, Charly, Mom.

“Oh, hi Charly.”

“Wake up early, early.”

“Thanks, Mom.”










Happy 3rd Birthday, Riley P. We love you and your enthusiasm for life. You wake up each day full of ideas, and plans and possibilities. I hope you never lose your energy and joy for life. Love you, dude.


Charly is 1 Year



Weight: 25+lbs and I can’t remember how tall he is. I feel like he’s a bit shorter than Riley was, but weighs more. He’s 98% on the scale for both.

Health: No new teeth, but I’m thinking any day! We’ve all had some winter cold’s recently. And allergies due to all the new Mountain things! He got a 12 hour stomach bug a few weeks ago, which was no fun, but thankfully brief!
Sleep:  Restless sleeping lately, and some crying before naps and bedtime. He’s also standing in the crib and moving around much more. I feel like he’s on the verge of walking and more talking so his little mind is on overload. He’s had a few time where’s he’s woken up panicked and screaming and nothing will comfort him until he’s laid back into bed. It’s so sad, and breaks my heart that I can’t make him feel better – but he’s really comfortable self-soothing and will stop immediately after we lay him back down.
Nursing: WE MADE IT TO A YEAR! All the feels about this. It was hard in so many ways. Pumping 3x a day for 5 months is no joke, I could write a whole post about our experience. Especially with a 3 year old and a baby that needed me. I was so ready to be done, but also felt guilty about stopping. Mom guilt is real and serious. He’s transitioned to whole milk after some diluting and he’s taking one bottle in the morning, and just a few sips before bedtime. We’ll cut that at 15 months, that’s when Riley weaned so I think it’ll be a good time.

What Charly is up to: Not yet walking. Loves music, clapping and dancing. Daddy is his favorite – he lights up when he sees him. Thinks Riley is cool, but doesn’t like that he takes stuff he’s playing with. Still hanging out in the Ergo. Took his first shopping cart ride! Says, “Ma-ma,” “more” and “hello/hi.” LOVES reading. He would have me read books to him all day if I could. Waves “bye” by opening and closing his fingers to his palm, normally behind my back if I’m holding him, after the person has walked away. Nods “yes” and “no” to almost any question. Loves to eat. Favorite foods are any kind of fruit, mac n cheese, peas, yogurt.









PostPartum: After weaning I’m starting to feel more like myself. Doing my yearly Whole 30 in October. Trying to find the motivation to work out more.

Baby Gear: Ergo. $5 walker from the thrift store – which he loves playing with more than walking with. Play food. High Chair. Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat. Size 4 diapers. 18mo,24mo, 2T Clothing. Fresh Picked Moccasins. His baby swing on his birthday swing set.

Thoughts: We love our little Charly Bear so much. His personality is so easy going and laid back – a lot like Dad. He’s happy and content much of the time, and I’m looking forward to him walking and really playing with Riley. I hope they grow to be really great friends. Love you, Char – happy first.