Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas in Salt Lake

Sunday morning we drove to Salt Lake to be with all our family up there. We went to church with Steve and Jody and got to hear the amazing sacrament program that Jody had written and put together. After sacrament meeting, we headed over to Christian and Julie's so the kids could have as much time to play together as possible. Kyle and Jansen got started right away with Beyblades.

And who knows what these two were doing!

Julie got all the supplies for some really fun minute to win it games. In this one, the kids had to get a cookie from their forehead into their mouth without using their hands. I wish I had some pictures of the adults trying!

And THIS is one of the reasons we wanted to come to make happy memories with family.

Jansen got UNO for Christmas from Grandpa and Grandma Jody (I think). It was put to use pretty quickly. It's fun to have the kids starting to like games more and learning to be good winners and losers.

We watched some Looney Tunes together as well. It was fun to watch something that had us all laughing.

Christmas Eve we went to Grandma Nye's. I can still remember when Nate and I were dating and he brought me to my first family night. This room in Grandma's house reminds me of our dating years and of when Jansen was a baby. Steve read some scriptures and stories, and we got to catch up with extended family we haven't seen in awhile. We drove back down to Orem that night to sleep at my mom's.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We'll Start Here

Until maybe a month before Christmas, we weren't planning on going to Utah for the holiday. I went back and forth in my head so many times, weighing the pros and was a hard decision to make. We wanted so badly to be with extended family, but it's SO much work. One morning while I was running, a song came on that reminds me of my grandparents, and at that moment I decided I wanted to go to Utah. It was definitely the right decision.

We are back now. And sick. Poor little Addi threw up on Christmas Day (and smiled through it all), and Natalie threw up this morning. Nate came home early from work and is asleep now. Since we are home all day, it's cold (kind of), and the kids have lots of new toys to play with, I am also giving potty training a go. I think this is just round 1 of many. It's not going so well, and I am ready to wait another few months already.

The drive to Utah seems to get easier and easier. I can't believe I am saying this, but in some ways I can't believe how quickly 5 hours goes by. Natalie fell asleep on the way there. :) We got to my mom's house around 11 on Friday night.

On Saturday Nate and Brennon took Natalie and Jansen to Nickel City. They had so much fun and loved earning tickets to trade in for make-your-tongue-green treats. 

On Saturday night we met up with more of my family at Brick Oven. How I love good food with people I adore.

We went to the Riverwoods after dinner and saw the lights and warmed ourselves at the outdoor fires. It was a bustling place, and I actually really enjoyed that part of it. I snuck in a caramel apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

This is right in the middle of their rendition of "Jingle Bells." As always, the kids loved being with their second cousins.

Lexi and Brennon's little girl Addi is a heart melter. 

So that's the start to our Christmas in Utah!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tis the Season

Tis the season for trips to see lights and Christmas parties.

Last week we went to Ethel M Chocolates' display of Christmas lights. It's a cactus garden, so most of the lights were twisted around pointy, poky, hurty things. I don't know how they did it. After a walk around to see the lights, we had a quick tour in the building where the chocolates are made.

Later in the week we went to an ugly sweater/white elephant party at a friend's house. I had bought my sweater last year for a party that we ended up not being able to go to, so I dug around in the garage and found it waiting for me to use this year. The big silver bow is my addition.

There were so many funny gifts. We all wanted the light up baby in a manger.

Nate and I actually went home with useful stuff: some tools and a tie!

I love our friends here. So many great people who love to have fun. 

Here we are being fun. 

Sunday afternoon was the Happy Birthday Jesus party that the Family Medicine Residency does. Dr. Crawford read the story of the birth of Jesus. There were a lot of people and a lot of kids, but it was a great little get together.

Friday, December 14, 2012

San Diego - The Beach

Saturday morning we headed out to spend some time at the beach. It wasn't warm enough to bring swimsuits or anything, and I figured the kids would just walk around on the sand and maybe play collect some shells. I underestimated them! And dressed them completely wrong for time on the beach.

They were so happy playing in the water. Emmy kept yelling, "The ocean!" She stayed away from the water for the most part though. Jansen said it was the best beach day ever.

When I realized the kids were getting much dirtier and wetter than I had anticipated, I headed back to the hotel for beach towels. I felt so bad when I found the cleaning lady already in our room working on the bathroom. Her English wasn't great, but I explained to her that we hadn't checked out and still needed the room. I felt even more awful knowing the sandy mess that was coming to her clean bathroom. She was so sweet though.

Okay. Getting these sandy wet skinny pants off Natalie when we were finished almost caused me to have a breakdown. Being the smart man that he is, Nate just told me to walk away and that he would take care of it. 

I keep thinking about a friend that said the best memories are made at the beach. It's so true! After we got cleaned up we met Pete again for some delicious Mexican food. We also fed some ducks and played at a park and then made the 5 1/2 hour drive home. It's always nice to be in your own bed, but I sure do love San Diego!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

San Diego - Legoland

About a week ago, we met Nate's childhood buddy Pete along with his wife and kids in San Diego. We have been trying to meet up with them for a long time, and this turned out to be a perfect opportunity. We stayed at a nice hotel on the Navy base out there. It has it's own beach right behind it.

We arrived at the hotel around 11:30 pm on a Thursday night. It was a little crazy. The kids had slept just long enough in the car that they got their second wind. It took a while to settle everyone down, decide who got the top bunk, explain to Emmy why she couldn't sleep on the bunk beds, etc.

I had a headache the next morning from lack of sleep, but thankfully a couple ibuprofens is all it took to knock it out. We were so excited to go to Legoland! We get asked occasionally if Jansen and Natalie are twins...a man in the elevator with us that morning thought they were.

 We met Pete, his wife Ashley, their 3 kids, and Pete's parents at about 10 that morning at Legoland. We think it's a perfect place for our kids. There are virtually no lines, and even little ones like Emmy can go on a lot of the rides. 

They could have played in this little area for hours even though we have the same blocks at home. No crane though...we don't have the crane.

This was voted the favorite place in Legoland by the kids. Just one huge play area.

They had scenes from Star Wars made out of Legos. It's pretty incredible.

Nate and friends growing up in Seattle. I'm sad I don't have any pictures of his awesome wife Ashley. We had fun chatting and catching up.

Amazing right?

We did everything we wanted to at the park, and the weather was great. We ate a delicious dinner at a Thai restaurant that evening. Couldn't have asked for a better day! Bedtime was easy that night because the kids were so exhausted.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An Oink Oink Here

Dinnertime is pretty much always crazy over here. There's the dinner prep craziness, the get it on everyone's plates before it gets cold craziness, the actual eating craziness, and of course crazy clean up. And apparently it's my responsibility to teach my kids table manners. It's bad enough when they are eating with their hands and licking their plates at home, but then I really panic when we go to someone's house and I see it displayed there too. I saw this idea on a blog where you have a pig that gets passed around at dinner whenever someone uses bad manners. Whoever ends up with it has to clear the table. One night we had a quick lesson about some table manners and then brought the pig out. The first time Natalie got the pig she burst into tears. 

Long story short, the pig is basically Emmy's new toy at the table. The kids love to bring her out and the most common violation is dad talking with his mouth full...usually on purpose so the kids can catch him. Our pig is well fed. Tonight Emmy counted her teats loudly while we ate. I forgot to include that in the "things we don't do at the table" lesson. We have a long way to go with our manners.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Samaritan's Purse Family Night

Last Monday night Nate was at a Sports Medicine lecture, and I really didn't feel like trying to wrangle the kids through family home evening. We had to pass the hours till bedtime in some way though, so I decided to go for it. It ended up being a really special night.

I showed the kids some scenes from a documentary Nate and I had watched the other night called God Grew Tired of Us. We had really been moved by the show, and I could tell it made an impact on the kids to see the poor conditions in which some of God's children live. I got out the Samaritan's Purse catalog I had received earlier in the month and we went through it and talked about ways we can help others.

I really like using this "catalog" with the kids because it has pictures and descriptions with a dollar amount you can contribute. The kids went through and circled some things we could "buy" for less fortunate people.

At one point Natalie wasn't too keen on the idea of contributing money. She finally told me the reason...she was saving up to buy a picture of Jesus. It was so sweet, and I told her I actually had several in the garage she could choose from. (They were left over from a Relief Society gift last year.) The kids each chose one. Natalie melted my heart again when this weekend we were going to San Diego and she packed her picture.

Like I said, it ended up being a really special night and not as difficult as most family nights are. Emmy just had fun being a part of it all and dressing up. We love our Savior Jesus Christ so much, and all I want in life is for my children to follow Him.