Monday, January 4, 2016

Our Holiday

Having been super busy with the holiday, I haven't posted for a while. This weekend I finally had a chance to go through some of my photos!

Our holiday started off a bit rocky because the Friday before Christmas, Dallas's Dad was in a car accident. Thankfully he was/is ok, but it is a scary thing and something that makes you feel totally hopeless. But the good news is that he is going to be fine and despite it being scary and at the worst time of the year, it was some comfort to know that it could have been a lot worse. He is ok and that is really the most important thing and we were able to go into our holiday with this peace of mind.

Every year we have Christmas Eve with Dallas's side of the family. Its about a hundred people! Christmas Eve with them is one of the highlights of my entire year. So much so that I get this crazy anxiety before it every year. I don't fully understand why. I guess feel so lucky to have this huge loving family, I genuinely like everyone who is there and I feel like it is a childhood tradition/milestone for my own kids. I don't take that for granted for a second.

Winnie and Arch with Santa.

All the cousins, aunts, uncles (actually this is only about a third of them).

Last year these cousin cutie pies all took a dance class together and someone had the amazing idea for them to put on a mini performance at Christmas Eve. It was so cute to see them in their sparkly red twirly dresses at christmas time dancing away. It epitomized the occasion.

Here they are playing the piano together.

"You better be good for goodness sake!"

Then they all gathered around GG (Great grandma) while she opened her present.

There is so much I could say about this amazing woman (GG). I will start by saying that all of these kiddos below are her great grand children and actually there are about fifteen more who are not in this picture.

She had eight kids herself and managed to be a loving mother to all of them. She has come to all of Archie and Winnie's birthdays and makes time to be in all of their lives and even has time for me.

Recently Archie did a school project on Senior Citizens and he chose to interview her. She is 92 years old. To make a long story short, they both were shy and didn't elaborate on the questions and answers as much as they would have liked to. So she took her time to write him a long letter about how she used to pick berries when she was little in order to pay for her school clothes and how she would ice skate to school when she lived in Michigan and so many wonderful details. My plan for this new year is to have them write letters to each other so he can ask her everything he wants to know. Her stories are something we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

One thing that I've heard from all of Dallas's Aunts and Uncles is that when they were little, despite being poor, GG would always take in neighbor kids who had nowhere else to go or who were no longer welcome at their own homes. A tiny part of me feels like I have something in common with one of those neighbor kids or at least I did 10 years ago when I first left Scientology. GG and this big huge family that she has created has taken me in and love me and I am so grateful.

Christmas morning at my house! My Dad came to visit and my brother Sterling and of course my mom was there!

Santa has spoiled my children rotten.

So did grandma!!

Having my immediate family together was super special. I feel like we have come so far in the past few years and they are the people who are always there for me who I can call anytime, who truly understand me and who love me unconditionally as I do them.

Archie got an etch-a-sketch. Not sure why but he really wanted one.

Lots of legos!

My new sweater!

My mom had the kids pick out their own presents for Dallas and I which they were excited for us to open. Daddy got a lightsaber and a flute! I got a giant tootsie roll lol!

The kiddos sure love their Uncle Sterling.

This is probably my favorite Christmas pic.

We had lemon brioche french toast and quiche.

Mysteriously and despite being technically challenged, my mom as it turns out is some kind of etch-a-sketch prodigy.

Sterling likes Archie's legos (so do I!)

I made some tiramisu the day after xmas using this wonderful recipe. It was delicious! Thankfully we all had a chance to have a piece before I dropped it into the road outside my moms house :(

One of my presents from my mom was this beautiful hibiscus plants, plus a few more and a gift card to the local nursery! Best present ever!

I couldn't wait to go use it! So we went!

Nurseries are at the top of my list of favorite things in life. Its so much fun to go with my mom and the kiddos love running between the trees and smelling all the pretty flowers.

Everything is so colorful and beautiful.

Winnie chose her own outfit lol. The days when I could dress her up like my own personal doll are officially gone and she now has a mind of her own and I feel sorry for anyone (mostly myself) who dares to cross her.

We wound up adding three hibiscus plants, two natal plums, a blood orange, another lemon tree and an apple tree to our orchard/garden! New beginnings.

The next day (or maybe it was the same day, I don't remember!) we made a trip to the pier.

Had fish tacos.

Saw this guy.

Waited around awhile for a guy who caught a giant fish but then wound up losing it ;(

The kiddos had a great time!

Our days were filled with dinners with old friends, new friends, visits to the trampoline park, movies, music, good food and lots of love.

As a special  bonus, right at the end of the year, I don't know exactly how or why, but my book reached the number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for nonfiction e-book! Its been number two a few times and other placements but this is the first time ever for number one! I am proud of this because every time someone buys my book, a little more truth goes out there into the world! I am also extremely grateful to all of the people in my life who have made this possible.

We had a wonderful holiday. I'm so thankful for all of the genuine and special people in my life and I am excited for everything the new year has in store!


  1. It sounds like an AMAZING holiday!!! I read every word here and enjoyed it thoroughly. You are a very special person. Your beauty and gratitude for all of the joys in your life really shines through!!

    1. That is really sweet, thank you so much for saying such nice things!!!

  2. Sounds like a perfect holiday :) Happy New Year to you, your family and loved ones! What a beautiful idea for Archie to 'penpal' with his great-grandma - I'm sure he will treasure all the letters (if not now then certainly later).
    And congrats on the number one on ebooks! I guess 'Going Clear', 'Troublemaker' (finally read it, too) etc are raising interest in other books.....

  3. Jenna, you are, by far, my favorite blogger. I feel so happy when I see your photos and read your words. You had a rough time as a child but you seem to belong to the perfect families now. There is so much beauty, creativity and joy in your life. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    1. Aw thanks!! Sorry it took me so long to respond! Thanks for being kind enough to care and to read what I have to say! Happy (belated) New Year to you and yours!

  4. Jenna, I love that you share with us. Yes, the truth is getting out. S is toxic and it's well known in the English speaking world. I'm so happy to see your life doing so extremely well. When I finished your book I sent it on to my daughter in SLC. She read it and passed it on. It meant a lot to her as she was raised also in the SO but in PAC during the same time as you. She is 34 now and the glue that is holding my family together with 1/2 disconnected. She is doing very well and has her importance's in order as I see you do also :) Here is hope all the guys still stuck in get out soon. Thx again for sharing.

  5. Oh and Yes on the nurseries! I only have a flower box bolted on to the end of my 5th wheel Home but I fill it up with lots of flowers regularly :) Very therapeutic.

    1. Thanks so much for reading my book (and my blog) and for passing it along :) I'm glad your daughter is out and doing well and I'm so sorry that you have to deal with the disconnection. I think we are all trying to figure out how to get on in life after what we've been through. Love to both of you!