Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Adventure in Serving: Joining the Creating a Family Board

Spoiler alert: I tend to stay busy. Very busy. Arguably too busy. I have a wonderful hubby and four exuberant kids. I enjoy a full-time job at an aggressively growing company. I lead an annual orphanage work trip to Mexico. I'm a committed and active member of the CenterPoint Church family. I write for Cycling Utah and help lead Team Cycle4Cure. I cycle, camp, and ski as much as I can. Life is full and grand.

And I'm proud to announce that I'll begin 2017 serving the adoption and infertility community on the Board of Directors for Creating a Family!

Creating a Family is the most popular and prolific foundation in the U.S. for adoption and infertility education. The resources found on have made a difference to countless thousands of families - and especially to my own! There aren't many organizations I am invested enough in to make a step like this (I can only think of two - church and Creating a Family!), so you know this must be a big deal to me.

My journey with Creating a Family started when Steve and I read the director, Dawn Davenport's, wonderful book, The Complete Book of International Adoption as we were taking our first baby steps toward Sasha's adoption. We jived well with Dawn's approach and learned so much from the book that it became our Bible throughout both girls' adoption processes and our gateway into the amazing resources on Creating a Family strives to provide a well-balanced and education-focused voice in adoption, celebrating the joys of the journey and acknowledging the complexities and difficulties and yuck that often arise. It's an amazing resource.

I then had the joy of getting to know Dawn personally five years ago on our first trip to the Hogar de Amor orphanage in Colima, Mexico. As I was looking for a way that Sam, Ben, and I could serve together, I reached out on the Creating a Family Facebook group to see if anybody had a good experience with a similar trip. Dawn responded back and after several conversations offered to help me lead a trip!

Five years later the trip is still going strong and my love and respect for Dawn grows every year. She is a wise and compassionate woman who is deeply committed to the adoption and infertility community and I am grateful for her friendship and mentorship.

And now I get to serve in a whole new way as a member of the Creating a Family board! I'm so excited to see how I'll learn and grow in this new position and, at the same time, give back to an organization that has given me so much.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Our White Christmas

We had a simply beautiful white Christmas this year, complete with our traditional Christmas Eve present opening and Christmas Day skiing. I'm thinking that Baby Jesus approves, since this is our second powder day Christmas in a row!

ChenXing wasn't sure what to make of the train, let alone the tree. Many ornaments have fallen victim to her overactive tail.
WanYing dresses Mandy up for the occasion.
Christmas Eve Eve dinner with good friends - it was so fun to have the old gang back together again for amazing food and very good times.
Our Christmas Eve started, as always, with our creative retelling of the Christmas Story. See this video for details.
And then we moved on to presents! WanYing was thrilled to surprise Sasha with Best Friends necklaces.
Sam was way into his graphics card.
And Sasha was beyond exuberant to get a phone!
This year's family tie dyes add a special Morningstar flair to the day.
And then it was off to church for our annual Acoustic Christmas Eve service! I played banjo, as usual.
Christmas Morning we were blessed with 9 inches of powder at Sundance. It was a cold but perfect day for skiing!
Ben shows off his style in the steep and deep.

And we warmed up with nachos and cocoa in Bearclaw Cabin!

We hope your Christmas was equally beautiful and equally blessed!

For in Christ all the fullness of the Diety lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.
Colossians 2:9-10

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Big Saturday!

When I look back on yesterday, well, I don't feel so bad that our tree isn't up, no cookies are made, and half our Christmas cards still need to bet addressed. Because our lives these last few weeks have been crazy. Fabulous, fun, and really really hectic.

Here's our Saturday in summary:

Outing 1: The first Nordic race of the year!

Ben and I braved the cold and had a darn fine time at Saturday's classic race in Park City. We were proud finishers :)

Outing 2: Time to decorate the church!

Every year we decorate the church with hundreds of poinsettias. It's our main fundraiser for our annual orphanage work trip to Mexico and a wonderful chance to increase awareness of the trip, make the auditorium look super festive, and raise a bunch of money for Hogar de Amor.

Outing 3: Company Party!

This year the theme of the Qualtrics holiday party was Masquerade and Steve and I went all out with our outfits. We had a blast and looked darn fine doing it! Black tie events sure are fun... once a year.

Thank goodness I'm off all next week because I've got a whole lot of Christmas to get ready for!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Family Portraits!

I had a fantastic plan. Since it had been a few years since our last set of family portraits that included parents (generally once I get 4 kids color-coordinated and presentable, the last thing I have the energy for is to do the same for Steve and me!), I knew the time had come for party of six photos. And since we love snow and since I'm always looking for an excuse to buy more winter gear, I thought, "Let's take snow pictures in coordinating puffy jackets!"

It was a fantastic plan.

Except that it stubbornly refused to snow.

But our fabulous photographer, Sarah Arnoff, was patient, flexible, and worked with us. And finally, when the snow came, boy, did it come!

So we proudly present the 2016 Morningstar Portraits: A Study in Snowballs.

Yeah. I really love these. And I really, really love my family.

Monday, December 5, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like ski season!

Wahoo! It's finally beginning to look a lot like ski season! After a tragically dry Thanksgiving we were super excited to hit the slopes this weekend. Finally!

Step 1 - make sure everybody has boots to wear! Yes, we own somewhere between a terrifying and astoundingly grand number of boots. I'm very proud.

Step 2 - hit the slopes!

Step 3 - try out new birthday skis. That's right, the bestest wife in the world got her husband new skis for his 39th birthday and we were all super excited for him to try them out!

We had a fabulous first day on the slopes. One day down, a hundred to go :)


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