family date night | 03

Monday, August 31, 2015

We were recently introduced to a really neat place. It's a man-made beach in a tiny town by the mountains. The sand is super soft. There are ducks. It's not too far away. Best part? It's free!  We spent a whole afternoon there and the kids entertained themselves 99% of the time.

We left with sand all over us - Cameron even ingested a few sand covered Cheetos (boys.... #sigh) and it was totally worth it. If you're a Utah resident and feeling a little beach hungry, this little nook will cure all your cravings - it's just perfect. Plus, look at these tiny, happy faces and sandy Saltwater sandals. I always appreciate a break from the norm and this was just that!  

Here to beaches in landlocked states!!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's official, we have a preschooler in da house! She tells me constantly, "I big mom!" Yeah, yeah... I know. You're big. I'm still going to do your hair for a few more years, sorry kiddo. I'm not ready to release that much control.  Sheesh, threenagers are a real thing peeps - sassy, independent, strong-willed. 

We've been trying to see what she's been enjoying about school. I even encouraged her to find one new friend and remember their name so she could tell us at home. So far, her answer to, "What did you do at school today?" was, "I'm not allowed to tell you." Ha! Okay.... She's all about the drama (as you can see).  

My heart was pounding as I dropped her off that first day. She hopped out of the car like it was her job and pranced inside like a pro. I'll forever admire her adventurous spirit, bravery and ability to make friends anywhere she goes. When one of the preschool assistants came to get her out of the car, Cam started crying because he thought they were taking him out of the car. Thankfully, he was the only one that cried. Kindergarten might be a different story.

Happy first day of school to all (and to all a good night)!

independence day

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.  What's not to love?  BBQ's, dressing up in red, white & blue, fireworks, warm summer nights -- It's wonderful!  This year was a bit more unique since we had a family reunion on the 3rd and 4th.  Most everyone had a long weekend, so it was the perfect time to gather everyone.

Friday, July 3 we started off our celebrating at Kowabunga Bay.  We had never been which made me a little worried.  You know... crowded pools, long lines.  After being there for 2 seconds, there was nothing to worry about.  Not only did hubs and I have a great time, so did our kids... for 4 WHOLE HOURS!!!!  We even had a chance to go down the bigger water slides since the lines weren't overly long.  That evening we had a potluck dinner with all of our family and the food was divine.  It's easy to forget how fun family can be when you don't see them often.

Saturday, July 4 we started by having a BBQ (again, with all the family).  Kids played on the park, adults chatted and everyone sweat a little too.  My aunt had a reptile guy come (do they have an official title?) who did a little show for the kids -- snakes, lizards, turtles galore!  Pretty sure that all of my peeps loved them, but I was happy standing as far away as possible.  Ewww.  We finished up by playing carnival games and choosing prizes.  My kids were left on a mega sugar buzz after gorging on snow cones and cotton candy, but we headed home happy and ready for naps.  Later that evening we joined in our annual Driveway of Fire with our closest friends and neighbors (and about 8 million other friends and neighbors of those people).  We piled on my Playground mat eating Taco Bell and spent the night watching huge fireworks and being showered by ash.  Cameron got to go home early with dad.  He wasn't so sure about all the noise.

I know there are many problems in the United States that make people feel less than proud to be an American.  The Fourth of July brings back some sense of unity, and I appreciate that.  Living in America truly is a blessing.  As my children grow, I hope to develop strong family traditions that allow them to feel the excitement and importance of each holiday.  Even if those traditions create simple memories like being covered in sticky watermelon juice or feeling the cold grass as they watch the sky come to life or falling asleep on the floor from running around all day.

Here's to next year -- traditions, memories and happiness!

summerfest carnival & parade

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

One of my favorite activities during the summer is the Summerfest. It's a big carnival our city has each June, complete with funnel cakes, corn dogs and a ferris wheel. Every year it's fun to watch Sadee get so excited. This year she kept asking, "Are we going to the printstable??" Printstable is the word she uses when she can't remember another work, like carnival. Her favorite ride is always the mini roller coaster. Daredevil... sheesh! The boats and motorcycle rides are always a hit too.  Plus, riding all of that with cousins, it doesn't get better!

This year we skipped the overpriced carnival food (except the Texas Twister drink) and that ended up being a great decision -- no lines, less expensive, more choices. 

The Summerfest parade is held that Saturday. Since we live close to the parade route, we always walk to meet up at our spot with friends and family. 90% of the kids keep their ears covered with their hands the whole time, which is hysterical. The candy has also been getting better for the past couple years. When did parades stop throwing candy? Sure, I get that it can be liability... but, parades have thrown candy since the beginning of time, it should be expected by now.  Needless to say, all the kids walked away with a hefty stash of sweets.  After that, the little babe went home with daddy for bed while Sadee and I went with friends to eat ice cream and watch the fireworks.  Sadee was elated by the whole experience and fell asleep in .2 seconds when we arrived home.

Again, why does summer ever have to end?

june in review

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sometimes I like to pretend that summer is supposed to be carefree and easy, like it used to be -- you know, back when I was a kid, in high school or heck, even in college. The reality is, summer with children and responsibilities is hard work. I've kept wondering when summer is going to feel real and it's almost over! Ahhh!

June started out with my husband finishing his last week of teaching while I headed to girls camp and our kiddos stayed with my mom. Thank heavens for mothers! Life savers. I'm not sure if I can speak for how that first week of June was for AJ, but Girl's Camp was a sweet experience. Spending 5 days with the young women in our Ward was rewarding, funny and peaceful. I will forever admire their spiritual strength and willingness to strive for righteousness. My family survived and we immediately jumped into enjoying the summer by buying snow cones 4 times the following week.

The week after getting back from camp, we also moved into our new (old) house. Best day of my life. Or worst. Moving stinks, but being in a home that YOU own is great. We worked from sun-up to sun-down everyday for 2 weeks -- packing, unpacking, cleaning, organizing. It was craziness! Every night we were exhausted and somehow woke up with enough energy to start again the next day. How we survived I'll never know! Truthfully, I can't even complain because of the work that AJ, his dad and brother did for the previous 7 weeks. My grandma told me that if a marriage can survive a remodel, it can survive anything. Well, we're still married, so that's good news.

It's been amazing how quickly the last few months have gone. It feels like they existed somewhere long ago in a different world. I mean really, how does time move so quickly and so slowly all at the same time? Mind boggling.

may in review

Thursday, July 9, 2015

It's not in the norm for me to do monthly recaps.  Typically it's far too much information for one to handle and a large amount of pictures that take up far too much Google storage.  The truth is, I'm so far behind to feel like I can pick up from anywhere - so, recap it is.  Bear with me... or skip it entirely.  Your choice.

May is a big birthday month for our family.  We started out with my little sister turing 8 and being baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I was given the assignment of playing the piano and giving a talk on the Holy Ghost.  We were 10 minutes late... #facepalm.  All ended well and we gorged ourselves on food, as always. In the middle of the month, Sadee turned 3. We opted to only have birthday parties on even birthdays (instead of every year) to avoid going bankrupt on "Pinterest" parties that I can't help myself from throwing.  She had specific requests for cake and the color of the candles, which we easily pulled off.  Three-year-olds are easily impressed! At the end of the month, I turned 25.  The day was beyond perfect and could have lived that day a million times over.  We spent the whole day outside in the garden, I wore a new dress, ate at my favorite restaurant and stuffed myself with my favorite ice cream.  Pretty sure I'll choose the exact same things next year.  I like plans and predictability, it's kind of my thing.

On top of that, we celebrated my sister-in-law graduating from Nursing School and celebrated by eating at a fabulous Mexican restaurant, we (meaning my husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law) painted the heck out of our new house, cut my hair, played in the rain and mud, celebrated Mother's Day, ate lollipops, played in the warm sun, graduated from Joy School, went to swimming lessons, attended the Payson Temple Open House, prepared for Girls Camp, bought furniture, welcomed a new baby into the family (our niece) and pulled weeds.  I'm telling you, it was busy, busy, busy!

Looking back on that month, I can feel immense gratitude for the flexibility and patience of both my husband and my children.  We were pushed harder than we thought possible and came out stronger because of it.  It's true when the scriptures tell us that we must taste the bitter to enjoy the sweet and feel sorrow to appreciate the joy.  Earlier this week AJ and I FINALLY sat down and watched a movie after the kiddos went to sleep.  It was such an enjoyable privilege that I forgot how to enjoy. We even went out to an outdoor play the next night.  It was nice to feel normalcy in our lives once again and to soak in a little bit of husband/wife time.

Life sure has a funny way of working itself out.