Friday, December 2, 2016

20 Years of Wedded Bliss

Brian and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on November 29th. We have a big trip planned for just the two of us in March and we're going out tonight to celebrate, but on our actual anniversary, we just had a regular day. Except that I picked up Katy's daughter, Eliza, at the airport and she and I put up all the Christmas decorations (tree and everything!) while the kids were at school. Eliza went to the MTC on Wednesday and she was already set apart as a missionary, so she had to have someone with her all the time. It was nice for Brian and me to wish each other a happy anniversary and reminisce throughout the day. I brought out our wedding photos so we could see how much has changed:
We're kids! Our photographer told us to look at each other, so we did. We were in love and happy. Now for a similar photo 20 years later, taken by my super talented sister, Melissa:
Spot the differences! Obviously we've aged, but I love this photo because of the way we're looking at each other. Unlike on our wedding day, we've now been through 20 years of trials, unbelievable happiness, near-death experiences, becoming parents together, thousands of little acts of love and service to one another. What a beautiful adventure so far.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Crushing Thanksgiving

We had everything at Thanksgiving this year; pie for breakfast, cousins to play with, harvesting carrots from Grandpa's garden, an epic puke during Thanksgiving dinner, a Gilmore Girls Revival marathon, Black Friday shopping and weeping... Everything!

Grandma Peggy insisted on hosting (twist my arm!) in Chubbuck. My brothers and their families were there and Makenzie with her kids. I'm the second oldest of eight in our family and Makenzie, Rob, and Aaron are six, seven and eight. Because Brian and I didn't get children until we'd been married for 10 years, that means my children match up nicely with my youngest siblings' children. (What a terrible sentence! Who is copy-editing this?!) Also, we brought Jennie's son and our favorite, Taylor. It was a FULL house. There were very few incidents with the kids, though. They got along really well. Makenzie's girls, Claire and Ruby, followed Bridget around and all the little boys followed Gabriel around. Somehow Colin and Rob and Aunt Claire's little Moira became inseparable. Colin loves babies and toddlers. As long as we kept giving Aaron and Lori's little Macey a cracker, she was fine. :)

My family arrived on Wednesday night. While the kids played, we had a fun talk around Mom and Dad's dining table. Thanksgiving morning we ate pie for breakfast. The best. The men and children bundled up to play football at the park down the street. I followed them 10 minutes later to get photos.
Brian, Aaron, and Taylor probably doing post game.
Grandpa Bob was the only one dressed appropriately. It was TOO COLD to play football. Also, Claire, Bridget and Ruby holding hands.

We lounged around, ate cheese ball and crackers, went to the park. Then Grandpa Bob took the grandkids out to harvest their carrot crop.
As you see, the kids were STOKED right from the start.
Starting to warm up. Emil and Ruby are my favorites in this photo.
By the time all the carrots were picked, children were laughing and high-fiving. Grandpa cleaned up the carrots and took off the greenery, but left them intact instead of chopping them. They were at our Thanksgiving feast and still recognizable enough for the kids to handpick the ones they'd pulled up. ADORABLE!
Also adorable, having four five-year-old kindergartners at our Thanksgiving celebration. On my side of the family there are five kindergartners right now. Aron and Allyn's Chance is the only one missing from this photo.
Marco in search of dropped candy during the Bingo game.
Aunt Claire helped the kids make hats. They chose what to put on the hat that they were thankful for. Ruby is thankful for Bridget. :)

We finally ate Thanksgiving Dinner at 5:45 PM. It smelled amazing, the first several bites I took were the best. Then Sweet Marco puked ALL OVER his poor Mama, Makenzie. I have a gift for exaggeration, but I am not embellishing this at all. Makenzie was COVERED in puke. I whisked Marco away so Makenzie could get cleaned up and after Grandma Peggy and I gave him a hobo bath, he gestured toward his blanket in his crib, so I wrapped him up and he fell asleep on my shoulder. I continued eating after he'd fallen asleep. It's been a long time since I ate with a sleeping baby in my arms, but I remembered how to do it. :)

The men and children went to the park again Friday morning while the rest of us watched Gilmore Girls on Mom's brand new smart TV. She bought it, and another just like it, just for this occasion. The last time my parents bought a TV is NEVER. Okay, remember my gift. I think they got one almost 10 years ago. Before that, though, it was NEVER. One of our neighbors gave us their old TV so we could watch the Olympics in 1990. Before that we watched TV on a 12" black and white set. Oh, the humanity! We soldiered on and watched a lot of TV anyway. I have no pictures from Friday. I worked on a T-shirt quilt for Brian for the first two episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. During the third episode I went to the mall with Makenzie, Bridget, Claire, and Ruby. I'm not a Black Friday shopper. There were three people standing in front of a shelf I wanted to look at in Deseret Book just talking about their lives. I walked away instead of asking them to pardon me. Bah. Still, always fun to hang out with one of my sisters. I'm pretty sure all I ate on Friday was pie. Inevitable migraine, but that's what I get. After dinner on Friday we had a little program with Makenzie's kids, my kids, Grandpa Bob and Taylor. I accompanied Taylor singing "Anthem" from the musical Chess. We found out our mutual love of that song during a jam session a few Sundays ago. So fun! 

Saturday morning I finally remembered to go for a walk with my Mom. (She and Makenzie had walked on Thursday and Friday morning because I FORGOT.) We left some stuff at Mom and Dad's (tradition!) and headed home. It was one of my top five Thanksgivings, I think. It was the best to have all the little kids running around together playing with Transformers and trains. I love to hear them call each other by name. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Halloween Bosses

Monday is a terrible day for Halloween! Also every day except Saturday. We still had Senior Choir at the elementary school (I conduct two choirs at the elementary school, Senior Choir on Monday morning and Junior Choir on Thursday morning). I took the boys with me this time, usually I drop them off at Millie's and take Millie with me to the school. On Halloween, though, I had to bring Emil and Colin's costumes and beg them to be good while we were in the auditorium singing. After choir, I got the boys dressed and in make up before I took them to their classrooms to hang out with the morning kindergarten classes before the Grand Costume Parade began. You may recall, I have not been to this event since Bridget was in kindergarten because I know my limits. This year I had Front Row Joe thanks to my being there two hours early. Colin's class came in first, so let's start with him...
Bridget and I tried so hard to get Colin to be a classic monster or character from Hotel Transylvania like Bridget and Emil, but Colin wanted to be Luke Skywalker. I happened to be in the Disney store three-ish weeks before Halloween and all their amazing costumes were 50% off. It was just the Dark Side guys, though. I thought maybe Colin would go for a storm trooper costume - we could put a bloody hand print on the helmet like Finn! I decided to wait, though. When I asked Colin if he could be a storm trooper instead of Luke Skywalker he said, "Mom, I can't be on the Dark Side." He's right! I love him so much. I couldn't find a Luke Skywalker costume, though, so he's wearing the Obi Wan Kenobi costume I found that is a size six. In what universe, I'm not sure. (I had to work really fast on these pictures because we were at Thanksgiving Point and I didn't want someone to bill me for using this background. If I could go back in time, I would fix that stupid boot cover. Not stupid. Sorry. Colin has repeatedly told me that "we don't say 'stupid' in Lehi.")
Right after that first photo Colin started making weird faces. Not on purpose - it was like he forgot what to do with his face. When we put his costume on the first time he said, "I can feel the power." Ha! (I had to hurry and get the costume out of the bag since it had a big picture of Obi Wan Kenobi on it.)
Yeah, that light saber broke a lot. This one makes me laugh - never look into a light saber!

Emil wanted to be Dracula. "I don't say, 'blah blah blah!'" He was into EVERYTHING about this costume - the teeth, the white face paint, the cape, the weird necklace with the medallion on it. Emil even pretended to bite Brian a couple of times. Emil in character is pretty awesome. He came into the auditorium during the parade high-fiving every person he saw and smiling. On the night of our ward party he lost his first tooth! There was real blood coming out of his mouth. He couldn't have been happier.
I shellacked his hair with tons of water, the strongest hair gel known to man, and hairspray and it still wanted to be a mohawk. 
  He does say, "BLAH BLAH BLAH," by the way. :)

I bought this Bride of Frankenstein costume for Bridget from Pottery Barn Kids on October 31, 2015. She's not the kind of kid to change her mind, and she's been looking forward to wearing the white dress and the WIG for a year. Bridget is so shy, but she LOVES dressing up. Everyone who saw her gushed about how awesome she looked, so her shoulders were up around her ears every time she went anywhere in her costume. :) At the Halloween piano recital Grandma and Grandpa Lee didn't even realize it was her for a minute! She played her song memorized like it was no big deal. Bridget is a big deal, though. :)
This is the house next door to the Lehi Free Press office. We passed it on our way back to the van after trick-or-treating on Main Street.

We did trick-or-treating at Daddy's work the Friday before Halloween.

Trick-or-treating on Main Street - we started at the Lehi Bakery.
Here they are at Pioneer Party. This one was in the paper, too. :)

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa for dinner and treats, never tricks. ;)
This is my favorite photo ever. Nate is trying to get a milk dud out of that little box with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask on. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Now they're in character. That's my favorite thing about Halloween - the kids are so good at BECOMING whatever their costume is.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fall Break with Cousins

We were privileged to be part of Aunt Melissa's Fall Break Tour 2016. She took photos of our family, the kids played on the trampoline, Chloe and Bridget made up a dance, and we even played hooky from school to join them at This Is The Place Monument Park. Taylor joined us for the Sunday parts of the visit. He is our Pokemon Expert in Residence and no one is better at Capture the Flag. Every Sunday since Taylor has been at BYU one of my kids asks when we're going to go pick him up. :)
Every time someone from my family is staying at our house, the piano is in use. I love it! Memories.
Poor kids - their Moms are forever taking pictures and telling them where to look. My favorite was Melissa telling Miles how much he would regret his facial expression in this photo. "I should have listened to my mother!" This is the porch of the "pink house" where one of Brigham Young's families lived. The inside of the house was fascinating and I'm super jealous of that wrap-around porch.
The dining room at Brigham's.
They had pony rides for the kids, but Chloe was too tall. She fought back some tears. Bridget didn't ride a pony either, even though she's way under the height limit. I love those two cousins/friends.
Emil was all over milking this fake cow.
 Tee he he! Melissa is milk maid material for sure.
We spent a lot of time in the little play village. It was kinda the perfect day.
The petting zoo was very up close and personal.
Lunch on the balcony of the Huntsman Hotel.
Bridget really needed this shave!
Emil is such a beautiful boy. :)
We found the donuts!

We had four hours at the park, but it flew by. After the donuts, Melissa helped her kids find a statue of one of their ancestors (we'd already been in his home). Fun and educational! We won that day.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

These Are the Sporting Days of Our Lives

Brian and I coached the boys in T-ball several months ago and had our fill. "Never again!" we said. Then we got emails from the recreation league that they needed a coach for the flag football team we'd signed the boys up for. It took a couple of weeks, but Brian asked me to volunteer us to coach. I'm so glad we did! It was the most fun 90% of the time. The other 10% was rough, but what else? It was worth it. We had games every Wednesday night and Saturday morning in September. Bridget had volleyball games on Saturdays in September as well. It was a month of The Amazing Parenting Race, but we did it and it was pretty awesome. Because it was temporary. YouknowwhatI'msayin'.
There's Colin running with the ball like a champion! He was so much fun to watch. The first couple of games he was nervous to pull flags, but he got over that in the end and he could almost always catch the ball carrier and take his flag. Colin instinctively knows how to move with the ball. And he is FAST, y'all!
This ended up being a touchdown. :)
Little five year-old boys in a huddle is pretty irresistible. Some of the boys from the team ended up being in either Colin's or Emil's school class. New friends! And Tate's Dad is now one of Brian's friends. He volunteered to help during the second game and Brian almost hugged him. Coaching Kindergarten kids means physically placing them where they need to be and then having them wander back to the coach to ask where they're supposed to stand. They definitely needed two coaches on the field. (I was in charge of substitutions and cheering. And photos. What? It was a lot.)
Colin often gave me a thumbs-up after he'd stolen a guy's flag. He loved every second! During a Family Home Evening in September we played a game where we had to say something nice about everyone in the family. Colin's nice thing about his Dad was that he coached the football team. You guys! It's making me cry again.
This was a touchdown as well. Emil loved winning! He never let anyone get by him without taking their flag. DEFENSE! Sometimes when he was running with the ball, he'd turn around and head toward the wrong goal. What? No one was over there, therefore no one could take his flag. Duh. When his flag got taken, Emil would cry. So hard! (Like Aunt Jennie said, it's a rude game.) We need to work on sportsmanship, but Emil did some great stuff this season.
The highlight of the last game was Emil and Colin finally executing the reverse play. Emil ran toward Colin and handed the ball off to him and Colin kept going. The sidelines erupted! Not because they made a touchdown, but because they did the reverse play! So funny.
We had so much fun with the whole team. The big guy, Breyer, was a sweet bear of a kid. By the last two games he was throwing and completing passes to Tate. Brian would try to call plays so that each of the boys got a chance to run the ball. He'd tell Austin that he was going to run that way after someone handed him the ball and Austin would just shake his head "no." AHAHAHAHA! Just adorable.

As I mentioned, Bridget was doing volleyball in September. When we could, Brian and I would be to both (and Brian went to all her practices, which were on Friday nights at 7:00pm - boooo). Sometimes the Saturday games overlapped, so I'd go to Bridget's and Brian would go with the boys.
Once again we made sure Bridget and Kodi were on the same team (they called themselves "Storm"). I think Bridget has candy in her mouth in this picture. Trust me - she loves volleyball.
Bridget improved her volleying skills a lot this season. She's pretty polite in real life, so if it looks like someone else might be closer, she backs off. This season, Bridget would call it and go after it more.
Her team made it pretty far in the tournament. Those tournament games were intense! No one was thinking about my nerves. They move the line back every year, so Bridget's overhand serve only made it over the net a few times, but her underhand serve saved the day many times. She looks like she is going to choke to the other team - really small, glasses?! Come on. Then she would CRUSH them. Her serve would just drop as soon as it had crossed over the net. No one could touch it!
Can you see Bridget's pink knee pads? :) Kodi had a play in one of the last tournament games that makes me Olympic Cry to think about it. It was the third hit for our side and she just tipped it to the other side where they couldn't get it. She is so good and it has been a highlight to get to watch her play and be on the same teams with Bridget.