Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bailey's Birthday!

My baby turned four! I can't even get started on how that made me feel -- ya'll know by now how it kills me to have my kiddos to grow up so fast. :) We'll just say that my sweet Bailey had a birthday and it was wonderful!  Because her birthday fell during the kids' spring break, we were spoiled and got to celebrate a lot. We spent a few days of spring break down in the big city with family. My cute mom and dad took us out to lunch one afternoon to kick off the birthday week celebration.

After a few days with my parents and my aunt, we headed to my sister's house. Steve had been out of town for a long weekend and was flying back home on Bailey's birthday. Because of flight times and such, we were going to have to spend a good deal of time on the road on our little gal's day, so my sister offered to not only let us stay at her place the night before, but to celebrate Bailey's birthday there as well. (She lives much closer to the airport.) Bailey was in heaven! Having a sleepover and a party at her BFF's house was "a dream come true!"

Now, my Bailey is completely obsessed with Harry Potter. Really. She has only seen the first movie, but she LOVES it! She watches as often as she can and often quotes lines from the show.  Most little girls turning 4 choose princess, fairy, and tea parties...mine was dreaming of a Harry Potter party. Yep, she had been talking about it for months. So, Harry Potter it was.

My very talented sister made this t shirt for Bailey. She loved it!!

Here she is enjoying birthday girl status and watching a little Max and Ruby -- her gift from Rachel.

Bailey was thrilled to have her cousins join her for her party. We started by making magic wands and then dressing up for a photo op.

The kids played "wizard, wizard, muggle" (duck, duck, goose), "wizard, wizard where's your wand?" (doggie, doggie, where's your bone?), and had a Bertie Bott's every flavor beans tasting contest (jelly bellies). It was fun really fun for the little ones and the bigger ones were really good sports.

The kids then all congregated on the lawn for a good, old fashioned, very un-Harry Potterish picnic dinner.

It was a wonderful day that made a huge Harry Potter fan hugely happy!

We are so grateful for this spunky little gal. After waiting 5 years to get our Rachel, we really didn't know whether we would ever have another baby. Bailey was a beautiful surprise and a wonderful finish to our little family. She is a sweet, gentle, silly, and loving little person with a very contagious smile and giggle. She is a strong little girl, but at the same time, so gentle and intuitive. We love our little Bailey with all our hearts!! Happy Birthday, Bailey!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Random catch up stuff

I'm behind. Same story. Let's just get to the gettin'.
Valentines Day. Let's resume there. We are not big fans of Valentines Day. I say "We" and I mean Steve and I. My girls love it. But, like I said, Steve and I don't so much. I really like the idea of having a day to express our love and appreciation to others. That's good. My family knows I love them every day, though. I just think Valentines Day sometimes gets all out of hand. You know, people expecting a lot and being disappointed. Now, I'm really not speaking from experience as a spurned woman or anything. I just see people every single year hoping and being disappointed. Besides, Steve and I decided long ago that we are just really not mature enough to be romantic. Some people try too hard and we just kind of want to giggle. So, we celebrate Valentines Day as a family day. We like do fun things for the kids and have a special dinner -- that usually involves steak. I decorate the house with tons of construction paper hearts with notes on some of them and we generally get the kids a little gift and some treats. This year I was at the DI and found some Cabbage Patch dolls new in their boxes. So cool!  So, the gals got a new (really old) baby and Matt got a game.
I figure the girls will love this picture someday -- with their sweet bedhead. :)

   One Saturday we took an impromptu drive up the canyon. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and we decided to just get away for a little while.

   It was so much fun! Steve was looking for fallen branches and sticks to make something, so the kids just ran and explored. We weren't really dressed for the weather, but they had a blast!

   Bailey, who has a full-blown obsession with Harry Potter, started a game of finding magic wands and doing magic.

  I had to add the following picture. The girls were soaking wet and muddy when we got back to the van, so they stripped off their shoes, socks, and pants and wrapped in blankets. Bailey kept peeking under her blanket and giggling that she was only wearing undies in the car. :)

The elementary school does a little spring song/dance program each year. I remember that Matt's last few years there he didn't so much enjoy said program. Rachel, being a kindergartener, is excited about everything and loves everything about school, so I assumed she'd be happy about the whole dance thing. It was so funny, though, because as they started learning the song and dance/actions to go with it, she kept telling me how "embarrassing" it was. Really?? I asked her why and she proceeded to tell me it was kind of a babyish song and the dance was embarrassing. Little Stinker! She did a great job and the program was really cute, though. I guess she decided it wasn't so bad in the end.

We have some wonderful neighbors. Truly, we are so fortunate to live by such good people and have such good friends. One very cute little friend decided she wanted to have a tea party and started to invite other children to her party -- without her mom knowing. :) Cute mom decided to go ahead and let cute little gal have a tea party. My girls were so excited to attend and thought long and hard about the perfect outfits to wear. So lovely.

This year for Saint Patricks Day, the girls decided to try to trap a Leprechaun. Rachel somehow got the idea and was planning it for about a week before ST Patty's.  She had it all worked out in her head and sketched up some plans. When I asked her what she was going to use as bait to lure the Leprechaun into her trap, she thought for a minute, then announced, "A girl Leprechaun!" So, we found a box and spray painted it gold -- because a Leprechaun can't resist gold. Then we let them go to work with paint, sequins, and feathers. Last, but not least, They colored a very attractive Lady Leprechaun.

That tricky Leprechaun worked his magic and outsmarted their trap! He did leave a nice stack of golden chocolate coins, though. He also left those gold beauties spread all over the living room floor. He left them a box of Lucky Charms and a big rainbow made out of Skittles. By that night Rachel was already planning how to improve the trap for next year.

    Spring has been a very, VERY busy time for Matt. He had some really cool opportunities and they sure kept us running. He was chosen to participate in Honor Band at the school. Students are chosen from schools in a handful of districts throughout Utah and Idaho. They spend several days with musicians and professors from the community and Utah State University -- kind of doing workshops and learning new music. Then, at the end of their experience, they performed a concert for the families. It was kind of crazy for about 4 days, but it was a neat thing for Matt to take part in. They did a super job -- and I was amazed that they'd learned so much in less than a week.
    At about the same time, he had the chance to be the stage manager for stage crew for the Spring musical. He had a lot of fun learning new things and meeting new people. Steve and I both went a night and saw the musical which was really fun.

     Bailey started Speech Therapy this winter/spring. She is very proudly sporting her new backpack in this picture. It's been a wonderful thing for her and she is a super hard little worker. We love her teacher and Bailey's doing awesome!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Matthew's Birthday!

        In January we officially became the parents of a teenager. Can you believe that? I certainly can't. I promise, I just blinked... for real this time.
       Matt's birthday, as always, was super fun to celebrate. We kicked off the celebration by meeting Nana for dinner. Matt chose Red Robin because he had a hankering for a big burger. Got it. :)

             Matt and cute Nana.

     His birthday was a school day and he also had jazz band practice after school, so it felt like we waited all day long for the "birthday man" (as Bailey called him all week). I decorated his room the night before with a whole lot of balloons and birthday confetti, so he'd be surprised when he woke up. Apparently it was still so dark when he woke up and without his glasses (and in his tired stupor) he couldn't see well and the balloons kind of freaked him out for a minute. Tee hee.
    I had asked him what he wanted for dinner on his day -- whether he wanted to choose something special for me to make or we could go out. He thought for a few minutes then presented the plan. Since it was a school night he opted for homemade tiny spicy chicken, THEN he figured we could go out to dinner the next night since it would be Friday night. Now, that's my kind of thinking. We're total suckers, so that's what we did.

  This year Rachel bought Matt a birthday gift with her own money. It was very sweet. She took her little baggie of change and tooth fairy money to the store with her. We had a close call because she set it down at one point, but thanks to an honest and kind mom who was in the store, Rachel and her baggie were reunited.   She picked the gift all by herself - she chose a Webkinz 'Mazing hamster. :) Matt was very sweet and almost over-appreciative of her gift.

   So here's the 13 year old and his homemade chocolate birthday cake of choice. He sure is a great kid. I've spent about 13 years being a little apprehensive of this whole teenage thing, but I think we're going to be okay.

  I really can't fathom how the last 13 years have passed so quickly, but I do know one thing - and that's that I sure love being this kid's mom. Matthew is a fantastic boy. He was such a sweet baby and a blast as a little boy. I love that his favorite toy as a one year old was a shopping cart that he put EVERYTHING in - like a homeless man. I love that as a two year old his favorite outfit was shorts, cowboy boots, and a tool belt. I love that at four he opened his own America First Credit Union in his bedroom. No joke, he had "coming soon" countdown signs and everything. When we realized he was totally serious, Steve brought home balloons on that day and a toy ATM machine. I love that he could count to 100 forward and backward before he went into Kindergarten - because he loved counting money. I love that he was so strong and brave during a frightening year and a half of a blood disorder. He became a favorite patient of the lab workers at the hospital. They knew our boy so well, that they had special jobs for him and sent him home with bags of goodies.  I love that he prayed for over 4 years for a sibling. He never once doubted nor wondered why it was taking so long for his prayers to be answered. I love that he proved to be such a kind and tender brother to both of his baby sisters. I love that he is such a good student and loves to learn. I love that he has a sharp mind and an awesome sense of humor. I love that he is such a whiz on the computer and is always willing to help his mom catch up to speed. I love that he is a kind, smart, fun, friendly, strong, and good kid.
   Happy Birthday, Matthew! I am so proud of who you are and who you are becoming. I am so grateful you are ours!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


First item of business on Christmas morning was making sure that Santa got his milk and cookies. He sure did, and he must have liked them because he sure left these kids some nice gifts. They were a tad worried since they knew that the Elf had been watching all month long... :)

Every year the kids love it when I take them shopping to get gifts for each other. It's usually pretty cute, because they pick the most random things for each other. This year Rachel got a stuffed monkey from Bailey and really liked it. :)

Bailey and Rachel both asked for a Baby Alive this year, and happily, they both got one. Who doesn't love feeding a baby doll and changing its greeny poop diapers?? The good thing is that the "food" only lasts so long and then it's just bottles of water.

I am also happy to report that Matt got yet another version of Monopoly this year. He's been the world's biggest Monopoly fan since he was seriously like 4 years old.

The ONE good thing about having 1:30 Church time last year was that we had a fun, full Christmas morning before we had to get ready for Church. It was actually a perfect way to spend Christmas afternoon. Our ward had a nice program and we were so happy to have Grandpa with us.

What a perfect Christmas!!


Perhaps this post should really be called, "A quick recap of Christmas stuff in a few pictures."
As always, the holiday came and went far too quickly. We had a fantastic Christmas filled with friends and family.
We made our annual trek down to Temple Square to see the Christmas lights. Always amazing.

We also had our Family Christmas party at my brother's house. So much fun!

My brother in law read a Cajun version of the Night Before Christmas.

I really don't know how much Bailey understood with the Cajun words and accent :), but she was seriously laughing her head off!

My cute dad would not be too pleased if he knew I took this picture -- and then posted it! You've got to check out his drink, though. It's kind of hard to see, but there is ice in his punch and it's shaped like dentures. Awesome, huh?! I'm not really certain how it all started, but years ago someone started a tradition? No, more like a friendly competition? Not sure what to call it, but we try to find the most unusual gifts we can and then regift them to each other. We often forget who has which gift, and then they pop back up when you least expect it. There is a humming bird figurine, a plastic mold to make a trout-shaped ice centerpiece, etc. (Shhhhh, don't tell, but I think I still have the Hotdogger hiding in the garage waiting to surprise the next birthday girl or boy..)
So, my sister totally won some notariety this year when she found an ice mold that makes denture shaped ice and gave it to my brother for his b-day. Sweet find!

A few days before Christmas, we met Steve's brother and his cute family for dinner. Buffet with awesome cousins -- my kids were in heaven!

Steve's dad had come from Arizona to visit us all for Christmas (yay!), so both of Steve's folks joined us for dinner.

Rachel's Kindergarten class did a super fun activity in the month of December to help them learn basic mapping skills. They made a big Gingerbread man in class one day for a treat, but when they sent him to the cafeteria to be baked, he escaped and ran away. During the whole month they tracked his travels and adventures. (All of us families had been informed ahead of time and had requested help from our family and friends from all over the globe. They sent postcards detailing their "Gingerbread Man sightings.") It was so cool. Right before the holiday break, they received some postcards saying he'd been seen locally, so they set a gingerbread man trap and caught him right back in their classroom.
This is a picture of the map and postcards that had been sent from literally all over the world.

On Christmas Eve my sister and her family came here to join us for our traditional Christmas Eve fiesta. We stuffed ourselves with amazing Mexican food and played all evening.

I'm not sure what they were scheming, but I love this cute little jammied cousin huddle. :)

Rachel and Bailey put our the magic reindeer food and all of the kids put our cookies and milk for Santa.