Family, motherhood

Surviving to Thriving

One year ago today we moved into our home in Flagstaff.

It’s hard to accept that it’s only been a year. We’ve made such strides in life and family, and now – in business. Back in early 2016 when we finally decided that we would really do the thing we’d been dreaming of – list our home for sale and move to another state – it seemed overwhelming. Our goal for our family this past year has been to Survive. We hoped to establish ourselves in a new place, and maybe make some friends.

I can say with absolute confidence that we not only survived – but we are exactly where we were meant to be.

A lot has taken place over the past year we’ve lived here. The boys have become taller (how?!) and we’ve all grown in new ways. There’s been days that were long and hard – and days that make us stop and say out loud to each other in amazement, we live here, this is our life.

So, what are some of the highlights?

  • Riley started Preschool 2x a week. It’s the most wonderful place, and he loves it.
  • Charly is walking and talking and so much fun to hang out with.
  • We got a new dog! Barley, the Mini-Australian Shepard joined our family last July.
  • The snowfall in Flagstaff this year was record making – and we made it!
  • Sedona has become one of our happy places, Kelly loves to mountain bike ride there.
  • We joined Calvary Chapel Flagstaff
  • I found Barre3 – and I’m hooked.
  • We have friends and playdates and BBQs; a community we’ve dreamed of.
  • For the first time in any of our lives we experienced a true Fall, and it didn’t disappoint.
  • We’ve logged hours on hikes through the beauty of our new town.
  • I’m learning how to golf – ha! Luckily, Kelly is a patient teacher.

What’s next for our family?

When we first moved here, we were lucky to have family that helped us quickly adjust. We knew the good restaurants and where to get a haircut, and the best Pediatrician in town. But, I didn’t have my best friends, and neither did the boys. So my immediate focus was on finding friends. I went into College Freshman Mode – and joined all.the.things.

I found a local Meetup Group for Moms of young kids. My sister in law put me in touch with our MOPS chapter. I met a new business owner on Instagram who was opening a Barre3 studio in town. We found a church we loved. Over time each of these activities produced friendships for our family. The contacts in my phone started to grow, and we found ourselves more comfortable with life here.

A few months ago Kelly and I revisited our goal of starting a business in Flagstaff. We kicked around ideas and business theories long before we physically moved. But, we really got to thinking and came up with some solid ideas. Some didn’t pan out – and some stuck. We’re well on our way to establishing a small business here in town, and I cannot wait to see what the coming years bring.

My New Venture

That Meetup group I joined? I was invited to help organize. The MOPS Chapter? I was asked to participate in the leadership team. The Barre3 studio? I became a Founding Member. The Church we found? I’m involved in the Children’s Ministry. We belong here – and we’ve found a community we very much want to raise our kids in.

In addition to life and family and volunteer projects, I’ve also started a business. This past week my new business partner, a fellow Mom, and I launched Flagstaff Moms Blog. It’s a Parenting Resource Website. We have several Moms here in Flagstaff that create articles for the site that we publish each week. The goal is to create community both online and offline through content and events hosted by FMB. I personally work behind the scenes on Social Media and Editing Content. 

The years I’ve spent working on Websites and Social Media, combined with my logistics skills from the Film/TV Biz have finally overlapped. I’m excited for this new adventure and I’m passionate about the work we’re doing. It’s also nice to use my brain for something other than making pb+j sandwiches ;)

So here we are. Happy one year Flagstaffiversary to us!


Currently, Family

A Love Letter to My Town

I was sitting on the couch earlier this week, completely spent from a series of hard days. It was 7:00pm and I had put the kids to bed early. Lately, everything with the toddler has been a revolving script of “NO” and “WHY.” I settled into the couch with my dinner at my side, reaching for the remote to scroll through my recorded shows. My phone chimed with a text from a new Mama friend. We chatted for a moment and I felt myself smile. She suggested an activity for us to do the next morning and I happily agreed. I needed something to pull us out of this funk that had taken up residence in the threenager.


Last week was my 31st birthday. Yay. My husband was out of town working, and I was flying solo with kids and dogs and life. I’m not big on MY birthday, but I love celebrating. Anything that brings people together is a win in my eyes. A group of friends I’m affectionally starting to call my “Mom-Gang” offered to take me out to brunch after our favorite Barre3 workout. Brunch is my love language. Brunch with friends at a restaurant is next-level to me. We had just seated and settled when I hear my name over my shoulder. I turn, as I’m shoving puffs into the hands of my toddler, and I see a new Mom I’ve met that recently moved to town from Seattle. We exchange some small talk, she introduces her husband who’s with her, and they wish me a happy birthday. I turn back to my table-mates and they look at me wide-eyed – how long have you lived here? how do you know so many people? I shrug and laugh, as I rip open a bag of fruit snacks for my seemingly still-famished child.


In the Fall I joined MOPS. I was a healthy mix of nerves and excitement at our first meeting. I met all the ladies at my table and we exchanged contact information. After the meeting we all parted ways and I remembered that night we had dinner plans with my sister-in-law to attend the grand-opening of her friend’s new restaurant, a chicken and waffle place, and they were offering free waffles for dinner. I pulled out my phone and plugged the info in my MOPS group text, thinking all moms want a free meal their kids will eat that they don’t have to cook, right? I hit send, and never hear a word back. Later that evening our family is  gathered around a corner booth with our tribe of kids, cutting waffles and managing syrup use – when I hear my name. I turn around to see a MOPS mom and her family finishing their meal, thanking me for telling them about dinner. 15 minuets later another mom from MOPS comes through the door – her husband is out of town, and she’s so relieved to not have to cook another meal. As we’re finishing our dinner the youngest mom of our group arrives with her husband and 3 month old baby. They slide into the booth next to ours with a shy smile and a nod. I wave and thank them for coming. My sister-in-law is laughing and completely flabbergasted, you guys have lived here what, like 2 months, how do YOU know more people in here than ME?!  I smile and shake my head, equally surprised.


I was loading the dishwasher the other night, collecting the last of the kid’s plastic cafeteria style plates to rinse. I suddenly felt so thankful and happy. It hit me in a massive wave, right as I scraped mac n’ cheese into the sink. I like it here. I’m happy. I have friends. It’s working. Last night I told my husband that I haven’t met a single person here that I haven’t liked. From the grocery store cashiers to the preschool teachers to the random fellow sleep-deprived Mom in the Target – I haven’t walked away from a single interaction with anyone, with anything less than positivity.


I got an email last night from a friend that moved to town with her family at the exact same time we did. Just about 8 months ago. She paid me the sweetest compliment and said how thankful she is that we met. And it made my heart burst. I’m equally thankful for having her in my life.


I’m just brimming with gratitude. For everything. Not all day, every second of the day, but it’s the overarching theme in my life right now. And I have my town to thank for that. All this magic, and these people and the friendships. It’s not me. It’s bigger than me. Thank you, Flagstaff.


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.