Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nora's Birthday

Towards the end of our trip, Nora had her second birthday. We had a few little presents for her throughout the day, and she was eager to finally be on the receiving end.
When I'd ask what kind of cake she wanted, Nora kept vacillating between "Princess," "Huggo Kitty" (Hello Kitty), and "Dora." So I used my Mom's doll cake mold since I had access to it this year, and tried to recreate Belle.
 My sister Miriam and her husband Marc were kind enough to let us crash their house for the party, and set up the backyard with a fun inflatable pool. We had a nice low-key afternoon, and Nora enjoyed opening a few more presents before a delicious barbeque. One of the presents was this tutu I made with a headband and a few tulle spools.
Dancing in it was just one of its many functions. :)
 Benjamin assisted in blowing out the candles, and we all enjoyed cake and Miriam's awesome homemade strawberry ice cream.
 My Mom made this cute little princess dress for her that has already withstood some washings.
And once we got home, she got to have her big birthday present. I found this wooden Battat doll house with furniture on Craigslist for a steal, and held on to it long enough to decide it needed a little more color.
I wanted to keep some of the natural wood and the cute red roof, so I tried to find something that would complement those colors. I turned to my favorite color palette source to find a fun scheme, using the red as a guide.  I just happened to find one with that natural wood color AND pink in it!  I bought two little color samples for the teal and pink, then used some yellow paint I already had on hand. So other than it being a little more time intensive, it was a pretty cheap and easy project.
 Nora seemed pretty pleased with it, and got right to playing and rearranging furniture.
The boys were equally as excited as I was to give it to her, since they helped me keep the secret for so long. It was fun to watch them all play together, doing something she loved.
We're so glad Nora is a part of our family. She brings a special light with her that is all her own. Love you, sweet girl!

Monday, July 23, 2012


My kids are lucky enough to have four of their eight great-grandparents still living. We had a wonderful time visiting with my Mom's parents and seeing all the ambitious things they've been up to. They still keep up their yard to host lots of wedding receptions for their grandchildren.
 Grandpa seems just as young and spry as he did when I was this small.
 The kids loved him!
 This is my Grandma's studio, where she does portraits and landscapes. She only just got started within the last decade, but has really taken off. She's a talented lady!
 Benjamin doing his thing, playing chess.
 Nora loved the pink flamingos and was trying to get a closer look.
 I think we timed our trip perfectly, because we were able to meet up with two of my Dad's sisters, my Aunt Stephanie and Aunt Karen. I love these women!
 And it was so wonderful seeing my Dad's Mom doing so well. She's had a rough year with her back and hip, but seemed back to her normal self during our visit. She was even jumping for the kids! I made sure to get a four generation picture, but this was the best we could do. Nora wasn't having it.
We are so blessed to have such a great heritage. I hope our kids will always remember who these people are and what they mean to me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


After the campout, many of us went up to my cousins, Wendy's and Angela's baby shower. It was so fun seeing my Mom's family again and catching up with a few of my closest cousins. Wendy and I are the same age, and she was married about a year before me. She and her husband Brian have been trying for years to have kids, and finally started the adoption process- which is when they found out they were expecting! I'm beyond thrilled for them. Just wish I could have taken ANY pictures. :(
The next night, we had family night with most everyone who was around. My little niece in Germany had been hospitalized that morning for appendicitis, and so we were making cards to send her via our family's blog. 
It was wonderful being around my sisters again. It would be so fun to live closer to them!
 The next night, Grandma and Grandpa brought out UNO Attack, which was a hit!
The kids thought the cards spitting randomly out at them were hilarious.
Afterwards, we had to go out for "brown toppers." So fun!
Jeannine wasted no time in becoming Nora's favorite aunt. Nora had her Auntie wrapped around her little finger, getting pushed on swings, picking flowers together and reading stories on end.
The boys loved having Grandpa and so many others who were willing to read stories with them, too.
And they were thrilled to have a seemingly endless supply of Legos and Bionicles to play with all week. Paul enjoyed having this one on one time with his boys.
We took the kids up to the Book of Mormon Interactive Exhibit at the Church History Museum, which was a hit. They had fun fishing, building towers and knocking them down, and playing in the kitchen/garden area. By the time they were done playing, we didn't have the energy to go through the Church's International Art Competition that was there too. I saw this piece on our way through, and instantly fell in love with it (There was a group standing nearby when we took this pic, and Paul was trying to be stealth with his phone, hence the terrible quality). So I convinced Paul to go back with me so we could spend some more time just looking around. While we were gone, my Mom took all three kids and took them on a scavenger hunt, which they loved.
 We were so glad we went back! So much amazing talent, and some really beautiful testimonies shared.
I'd really like to enter the competition someday. I think it would be cool if I could do it this year, but realistically, it may not be my time yet.
Another day, we spent splashing around at the community center pool near my parent's house. With the higher altitude, we were all feeling a bit closer to the sun, so it was nice to be able to go indoors or out.
 Nora took a little warming up, but soon was the bravest of them all.
 Miriam and her two kids joined us. Anna and Johnny also made great strides in their bravery around the splashy water. 
 Benjamin on the pirate ship. It was a pretty impressive pool! I think I still have about two more posts from the trip. We really packed a lot in!

Friday, July 20, 2012


To kick off the week with my family, we started with a campout near Jordanelle. In true vacation form, our little family essentially showed up, and had tents, sleeping bags and meals waiting for us. Thanks again, Mom for making it happen!
Jon was on his way to Japan for a business trip the next day, but we caught some time with him before he left. He and Jeannine are really special together. :)
Nora was most excited about the fresh corn. She kept saying "Piggies eating corn," and would pretend to be a pig.
Miriam and Marc were there too. Miriam is expecting their third child this Fall, but you wouldn't know it by how tiny and chipper she is all the time. Especially after a LONG night in their tent!
Johnny had a good time bonding with two of his three male cousins. I guess we were just missing Isaac here, and the set would have been complete. :)
Nora and Johnny are only a week or two apart in age, and had a great time playing together.
My parents brought up what they termed to be "anemic homemade root beer." It looked like cream soda, but was definitely not. Despite its off-putting appearance, it was dubbed the "best tasting" root beer by all the in-law skeptics. :)
Nathan broke out his guitar which made him the most popular guy at the party. Miraculously, his guitar remained unstathed from sticky s'mores hands, and everyone had a great time.
Grandma was dubbed the favorite story teller as moms were off putting younger kids to bed. Our kids must have been exhausted because they slept the whole night in that unfamiliar, exciting tent.   
In the morning, we drove down to the Reservoir and had some fun playing in the sand rocks and water. Some took turns on a jet ski, others paddled around in boats and we all had a great time just being together.
Later that day when we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's from the dirty campout, I promptly put our new camera through the washing machine and destroyed it (I never think to check Paul's shirt pockets, which is where it was. Luckily the memory card was still in tact!). So the rest of our trip pictures were caught either on Paul's phone or with my Mom's camera, which will come shortly. Anyways, hopefully we can replace our camera again soon! I miss it already.

A Few More...

Before moving on to the last part of the trip at my parents house, I thought I'd add a few more of the good ones at Paul's.
Paul's friend Andy and his wife came by a few times. That's him behind Josephine and Nora. We had a good time playing Rook and going out to eat together.
 Nora was obsessed with their "Baby Tom."
The kids enjoyed playing on the Springdom Kingdom a few different times.
And we got one last little trip to the Zoo before parting ways. Nora loved riding with Grandma on the train.
 Petting an iguana.
 Watching the baby elephant run laps.
Paul made sure to snap a few pictures of the new Polar Bear there. Our Zoo doesn't have any, and they're his favorite animal.
Paul had a nice visit with his Grandma, interviewing her and digitally recording it to help compile her history. He even made ebelskivers for breakfast. We joined them later that day with my Mom and shared lunch all together.  She is an incredible lady!