Sunday, December 14, 2014

So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2003

Brother & Sister In-Law::Christmas::Boston::2003
 
Sadly, I don't have very many pictures (two, to be exact) of our Christmas in 2003.
I actually don't even have any of Husband and I :(
But those were the days before we owned a digital camera, so we 1) didn't take very many pictures, and 2) have probably lost a lot of the pictures we actually have.  In fact, this picture may have even been taken with a disposable camera (remember those???)
 
Christmas in 2003 was at my parents' home in Needham, MA.  It was our first Christmas as a married couple, and the first Christmas for my brother and sister in-law (shown in the picture) as a married couple too.  We both were married in 2003 - them in May (right?) and us in October.  Christmas that year we all gathered together in MA.  This is the last (and only) Christmas we have all spent together.
 
My mom got us all Christmas jammies like she did when we were kids.  It was fun :)  My other brother and sister in-law had just had their second baby only three weeks before.  Now that I'm a mom, I understand how amazing, and probably difficult, that was for them.  My sister was living there with her family and she had one daughter that was 1 1/2.  My younger brother was 13, but didn't look like it - only months before he was mistaken to be my fiancĂ© :) 
 
I can hardly remember our family like this.  It really seems like a lifetime ago.  All of our families have grown so much - sister::2 kids, brother::5 kids, brother::6 kids, me::5 kids, brother::married - we've dispersed across the country, and have had many different life experiences. 
 
Our extended family was so new at this Christmas.  We were still getting to know each other and still trying to adjust to our new family members - four of us got married in three years, and Husband and I had just been married 1 1/2 months before this Christmas.  Everything was still new. 
 
Thinking back to this time and our family experiences through the years since, I wish that I had done better to connect with my in-laws and establish a better foundation for our relationships.  11 years later we could all be a lot more close than we are.  We could have loved and tried to understand each other better as we made different life decisions and had different experiences and trials.  But - we were all very young when we got mashed together in one big family, and I can't speak for everyone but I sure know that I have learned a whole lot and grown up a lot in those 11 years.  Back then I really didn't know much and was really still a kid and was pretty selfish.  I have learned a lot (and am still learning) about family relationships and how to love and accept people for who they are no matter what.  Sometimes I think I am doing this, but I have learned that actions/words can be interpreted very differently by different people and family relationships are the most sensitive and the most important relationships.  And I am learning how to say sorry and how to forgive.
 
Family is all about showing love - no matter what - and forgiving each other for being imperfect - and being there for each other no matter how far away you live and no matter how long its been since you last saw or spoke to each other.  Family is family.  Always.
 
I love my family so much.
It has been a very long time since we've celebrated Christmas with anyone in my family, and every year I miss them.  All of them. 
 
This year my parents will be here with us and we are very excited about that.
And thanks to online shopping and Facetime, we can feel a little closer to the rest of the family even though we are thousands of miles apart.
 
 
 
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

So...12 Days of Christmas Past::2002

Me & Husband::Boston::2002


This year marks 12 years of Christmases together, Husband and I.  This first one, we weren't engaged yet, but we were a short 1 1/2 months later.


That Christmas marked the end of a long 7 months living apart from each other.  We dated for 4 months, I went home to Boston for the summer, he went home to San Jose for the fall semester, then we were reunited in Boston for Christmas and headed back to Provo together.


This was a very interesting/trying time in my life and in our relationship.  I knew that I was in love with Husband and wanted to spend the rest of my life and eternity with him, but not everyone was as enthusiastic as we were about the idea.  That fall semester, I knew that we were getting close to getting engaged and was desperately seeking a confirmation that marrying him was the right thing to do.  I knew I wanted it to be the right thing, but I wanted some divine confirmation.  That holiday season - Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine - was when I received my answer.


It wasn't anything grand and glorious or even really that obvious.  It was just a peaceful feeling of being at home when I was with him.  Even though I didn't have a whole lot of support from my family, I knew that it was right because I felt that he was now my family and I couldn't imagine a life without him.


This picture was taken in downtown Boston.  Our whole family went into the city together on the T.  Mom made matching red fleece scarves for all of us.  Husband had given me that winter hat for Christmas (and the Harry Potter box set!!)  I don't exactly remember what we did in the city - probably went out to eat and probably shopped - but I do remember it being ridiculously cold.  And I remember not caring one bit because I was so happy to be reunited with my man and having fun holding his hand and strolling through the city. 


My other memory of that Christmas was staying up late with Husband, cuddling on my parents' living room love seat, looking at a Christmas version of an "I Spy" book.  We did the entire book, which I think is the only time in my life that I've completed one of those books in one sitting.  It was easy because I loved every second with him, especially being close to him, and I was so happy to be with him again.  It really didn't matter what we did as long as we were together.


I loved the end of that trip because we didn't have to say goodbye to each other.  We got to fly back to Utah together!  We had had our fair share of weepy goodbyes at airports that year, and I loved that this visit didn't end the same.  In fact, we didn't ever have to say goodbye again because we were engaged the following February and married the October after that, without any time apart in between.


I don't remember many details about that Christmas.  I really only remember all the excitement, anticipation, and twitterpated-ness I felt that year being so in love with my husband-to-be.  This picture brings back some hard memories, but mostly the wonderful, giddy feelings and memories. 


I love being in love with Husband.
He's my favorite.






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Saturday, October 25, 2014

So...Let Me Catch You Up

So...obviously I haven't been doing a whole lot of blogging lately.
But a whole lot has been going on.
In August the kiddos started school.
First Daughter - 4th, Second Daughter - 2nd, Third Daughter - Kindergarten.
They love school and are doing great. 
In September I celebrated my 31st birthday.
I went out to breakfast with a bunch of friends, had lunch with my sister in-law, and had Red Mango with my family for dinner.  It was perfect!  I felt very loved and loved all the yummy food and wonderful people.
We completed another busy soccer season.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather throughout the season.  I sure love watching my kiddos run around that soccer field.
A new daily activity for us is to go watch the trains.  Son#1 absolutely loves trains and we have found a few spots where we can get an up close view of the trains going by.  It really is a highlight to our days.
The girls are taking piano lessons from me this year.
I was really nervous about how that would go, but luckily it is going amazingly!  So much better than I expected.  We really enjoy the one-on-one time together, and they all are doing really well practicing and progressing.  This is the first year for Third Daughter and she is doing great!
At the end of September, Husband and I broke away for a couple nights to go to CA for one of Husband's friend's wedding.  We were able to go to the temple with his family that lives out there and that was wonderful.  Even though it was a very quick trip, it was very nice to be kid free for a little while and enjoy family and friends (and beautiful CA weather) together.
The day we got back from CA was the Ogden Temple dedication.
It was a special day for First Daughter because she is now old enough to attend the dedication.  I really loved going with her and our cousin Andrea.
We have been having the most amazing weather, and the most amazing sunsets and sunrises!
I really love the view every night and can't help but take pictures.  I send them to my mom because she loves clouds. :)
Speaking of beautiful weather, the kids have been spending most of their afternoons outside with friends.  First Daughter loves to ride her ripstick and the others love to ride their bikes.  This weather won't last for much longer, so we're soaking it all up while we can.
 We really love fall.  Son#1 has discovered leaf piles and he just loves to lay in them.
Two weeks ago I ran my fifth half marathon.  It was the Pink Series half in Park City.  The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful.  As for the course - not my favorite.  It was pretty hard.  But the company was fantastic.  I have loved training with these ladies and so proud of how our little team did!
This fall park season has been really fun for Son#2.  He can climb up the stairs, walk around the park, and he loves going down slides.  Playing at the park is one of my favorite things to do with my family.
Last Saturday Husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary.  Things didn't exactly go as planned, but we were able to spend the evening together anyway and that's all that matters.  We spent some time talking about what we love about our marriage.  It really made me so grateful looking back on our life together, how we've grown, and what makes our marriage so incredible.  I love this guys more than ever and still feel like he is my greatest blessing ever.  I stand by that statement.
And last but not least...
Third Daughter lost her first tooth!  And as a matter of fact, she lost her second one just today!  She was so excited to get a visit from the tooth fairy, even though our tooth fairy is pretty forgetful and almost always doesn't come the first night.  Oh well...we forgive her :)
 
Well, now I've pretty much caught you up on all that's going on around here.
Life feels pretty good.
I am loving being mom to these kids and wife to my husband.
Which is good, because I spend a whole lot of time doing those two things :)
 
 
 
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So...Two More Kid Dates

For Third Daughter's kid date in September she chose Chuck-E-Cheese - of course!
It was such a blast being there with just her.  She couldn't believe that all the token were just for her!  Although, she was very sweet and shared with us.  She would hand us a token or two and tell us which game we could play.  It was very thoughtful of her. 
 
It was so fun to watch her move from game to game, totally independent and in child-gaming heaven.  Her favorites were playing air hockey with mom, and playing ski-ball with both mom and dad.  She also won over 200 tickets so she got some pretty sweet prizes. 
 
The absolute best part of the night was when she said, "this is the best night of my life!"
These kid dates are truly the best.

Last night we took First Daughter on a date to a local corn maze.  It was kind of spooky going through that corn maze in the dark.  I'm not gonna lie - I was pretty nervous.  I kept thinking that people (or animals) were going to jump out of the corn.  It was too quiet, too dark, and we were too alone.  But thankfully Husband was the navigator and got us safely out.  First Daughter thought the whole thing was hilarious and kept trying to spook me.  It worked.
 
We also got to do zombie paintball!  It was so fun and so hilarious!  I couldn't stop laughing.  It was perfect for First Daughter's age.  We rode in the back of a tractor, through the farm, and shot florescent glow-in-the-dark paint at lots of targets and goofy "zombies" (really just kids covered with padding - not very zombie-esque) that would run at us and get shot down.  We thought that would be a pretty fun job. 
 
And of course we ended the night with a treat - blizzards. 
First Daughter was in heaven.
We had so much fun with her.  She is an amazing kid and really makes us laugh.
 
 
 
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

So...Zoo Date

This month was Second Daughter's turn to go on a date with mom & dad, and she got to go with her best friend too!  It was so much fun to double with our friends and their daughter to the zoo and out to dinner.  Second Daughter was so excited and the night ended up being all she imagined it would be :)  This time with her was so great.  It's important to break away from all the craziness and have a chance to reconnect and remember all the things we love about each other.  Dating (including my kids) is awesome.
Best buddies.
I love these two.
Best monkey buddies - look how their tails are braided together!  So sweet.
 I found this hilarious.  As if a sloth isn't lazy enough, let's give him a hammock.
 
We decided to throw kid dates into the rotation of our date nights and it has been fantastic.  Some friends of ours have been doing this with their kids for years and we always knew we wanted to do something like it too.  We used to use date nights as incentive to encourage our kids to do good things, complete chores, etc., but we decided we didn't want our kids to have to earn time with us.  We want to just give it to them.  We want them to know they are important to us and that dating isn't only an opportunity for mom & dad to get away from the kids.  Dating is a way that we can strengthen our relationships by having fun together and creating great memories. 
 
Since our Sons have come into our lives, we have noticed some of our children needing a little extra attention and reassurance, and we haven't always been able to meet those needs as often and consistently as we want (and need) to.  These dates have been such a great thing for them and a way to fill their "love tanks."
 
Second Daughter still talks about how much fun she had, and has already started making plans for her next date.  Actually, she started planning the next before this one even happened :)  Love that girl.
 
Speaking of date night...
Husband and I get to go out tomorrow night just the two of us.
It seems like it's been a very long time since we've had a date night to ourselves.
We've had a blast going out with friends, family, and our kids, going to the temple (and sitting far away from each other), but we are excited to have some one-on-one time tomorrow night.
 
I really love dating my husband.
I really like him.  :)
 



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Thursday, July 17, 2014

So...Our New Catch Phrase

"Are you thinking of the sucker?  Or the rock?"

We've been working a lot on our attitudes over here (myself included) and practicing looking for the good in each situation.  Our family has a whole lot to be grateful for.  There's not really any reason for any of us to be discontent, unsatisfied, or to whine and complain, yet it still happens. 

A couple weeks ago we used family home evening as an opportunity to try and teach the concept of positive thinking.  I repeated an activity I saw at Pack Night a while back, that I knew my kids would think was fun.  So we tried it out.

Each kid (and Husband) put a pretty good size rock in their shoe.  Then I put a sucker in each of their mouths.  I instructed them to walk all around our yard - around the mailbox, to the tree and back, run a little, etc.  I heard a lot of "ow!" and "this rock hurts!"  When they were all done (Third Daughter eventually just took her shoe off) I asked them how their walk was.  Each one of them explained how much it hurt and how hard it was because of the rock in their shoe.  My reply was, "but what about the sucker in your mouth?"

The idea was to show them that even though there was something hard and painful about their walk (the rock) there was also something sweet and fun (the sucker).  They could choose what to focus on - the rock or the sucker.  Focusing on the sucker wouldn't make the rock go away, but it would help them keep a positive attitude and could make the walk more enjoyable and bearable. 

This clicked with them.  They got it.  It was pretty cool to see the light bulbs go off as they gave me example after example of how to look on the bright side, how to think of the "sucker," in different, hard situations.

They've been practicing keeping a positive attitude.  They've been trying not to complain.  I'm very proud of them for remembering and trying to apply this lesson in their lives.  It can be a tough thing to learn, but an important one.  I'm still working on it too!



It may not be Friday yet, but Husband and I get a date night tonight and I can't wait.
He's taking me on his motorcycle :)
Happy Thursday everyone!



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So...Kid Date

me, First Daughter, Husband at the movies
 
For one of First Daughter's Faith in God requirements, she planned an entire date for us to go on.  She planned it all out, including the cost of dinner, movie, movie treats, and a babysitter.  We gave her a budget and she figured out how much to spend on each thing to stay within that budget.  She did a great job!
 
We went to the Provo Towne Center and had dinner at Panda Express.  She figured if the three of us shared two meals we would be able to save money and still have enough to eat :).  She was right!  We saw Earth to Echo at 7:05, because we wanted to make sure to be home by 10:00 for the babysitter.  She also decided it was better to buy them at the theater rather than online cause we could save $3.  She decided we only needed popcorn and a drink, because she saw how much concessions cost at the movies and thought we didn't need candy after all.  Little did she know I snuck candy in my purse :)
 
It was a pretty awesome night and we were proud of her for planning so well.  We had a great time spending some time with just her and laughing together.  Earth to Echo was a great movie and really funny!  We loved it!
 
She kept saying that it was the best night of her life.
Mission accomplished :)
It was a pretty great night and I can't wait to go out with this little lady again.
 
 
 
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