Penny's Birthday & Christmas


Penelope Rae turned six! I personally believe Penny would qualify for a fantastic perpetual six-year-old. I'm already not looking forward to her turning seven. She's fun, dramatic, charming, kind and determined. We kicked off Christmas vacation with Penelope's birthday party. We always like to go up to Tremonton for a couple of days before Christmas for some good cozy fun. This year we decided to celebrate her while we were there. 













While we were in Tremonton we made some time for play in my parent's winter wonderland. 


We came home a day before Christmas Eve just in time for our viewing of The Christmas Carol in Christmas jammies with some Christmas cocoa. Something I'm thinking of refering to as the 'Triple C Tradition' for future Christmases.

We woke up Christmas Day to presents, cinnamon rolls and a very thick blanket of snow, which only slowed us down mometarily on our way to my sister's for Christmas lunch and fun.

And that along with a relaxing and lazy Christmas break brings our calm and happy 2015 to a close. Something for wich I'm so grateful to our Heavenly Father.

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving was rockin' this year.  Our grateful gathering was graciously hosted by my parents in their beautiful home. AND this was the first holiday in awhile with my entire family. PLUS, my grandpa came. So, as you can see, it was a rockin' good time.



I've always really enjoyed the formula my family follows during Thanksgiving.

A. The Feast. This usually happens in the early afternoon, around a time you would have a late lunch, which is pefect timing for finding everyone in a perfect state of hunger.



B. The Veg. The visit. And unfortunately, the clean-up, along with the one poor soul who decides to take on the mission of strategically finding a location for all the leftovers in the refrigerator and the other poor soul who gets stuck at the sink only to leave with water all over their tummy. This year since we had all our tiny kiddos, we played Bingo where the winners (everyone) got to go shopping at Nana's 'Bingo Botique'. What grandchild doesn't love a Bingo Boutique? I don't know, because I have yet to find one.



C. The Movie. Every Thanksgiving we go see a late afternoon/early evening movie. We take careful time to pick a choice everyone will enjoy. Obviously, the last few years the movie choice has been dictated by our children, so this year we saw The Good Dinosaur. It was entertaining, but my favorite part was during the emotional ending, I turned around to see tears streaming down Penny's face.



D. The Pie. After we get back from the movie, we break out the pie! No need to explain the wonderfulness of this variable.

Oh, how I love Thanksgiving.









Halloween 2015

Halloween was hauntingly wonderful. This year's Halloween fell on a Saturday, which is one of the most ideal days for Halloween to fall upon, wouldn't ya say? 

 In fact, this particular Saturday was filled with more events than just Halloween. Both Ryder and Penny had their final soccer game until the season starts back up in the spring. AND we got to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday, which is a pretty, stinkin' big deal.

First were the soccer games...




Next, was the 60th birthday celebration where my dad was an extra good sport with that hat I made him wear...



And speaking of my dad, aren't my parents the cutest people in the world?


And last, but not least, our little characters ready to trick-or-treat!



Ryder was a vicious vampire...

Penelope was a dazzling witch...

 And Hazel...well, she was a really, really cute Pikachu...

The good dads took this group around the neighborhood to collect candy...


And afterward, our little goblins enjoyed their spoils during our traditional viewing of Incabod and the Headless Horseman.


***As a side note, the Headless Horseman rode through Autumn's neighborhood once again! Although a little too amiable for my taste, he was the spooky cherry on top to our wonderful Halloween sundae!


An Autumn Break

I remember summer coming to an end. I remember thinking a change will be good. Getting back to a schedule will be good. Structure, will be good.


Has it been good? I don't know because getting "back into the swing of things" is still too busy slapping me in the face.

Which is why Fall Break was so nice. A little time to breath and recognize that your kids have actually been in school for two-and-a-half months, even though it's only felt like two-and-a-half weeks.

I'm a gal who enjoys using the occassional "break" to catch up on life. Do a little "fall" cleaning, perhaps. Or maybe get a jump start on the holidays. Not this time. This time, my main prerogative was to veg.

And I--I mean--we, were victorious in this pursuit.

We got in our car and zoomed over to my parents house as quickly as we could. My parents house, for those of you who haven't been, is a like a magical cozy retreat. If I had to describe it with a feeling, it would be "pumpkin spice".

The next day we went to visit my Grandpa in Downey. A pefect way to spend a day if you ask me.





Saturday we headed back home but not without a couple of pit-stops--one, at Grandpa Phil's and the other at my dear friend Brittney's house (who just moved to Utah, wahoo!).  Another day well spent. 


Monday, we made our annual Fall visit to Cornbelly's. The weather stayed nice even though it had been raining that morning and the crowds remained totally managable. It was just all so very enjoyable. And exactly the sort of break I needed.





Now bring on the holidays!

Hazel is 3!

(Written sometime in July:)




Our little Hazel Ane keeps growing and growing and we were so excited for her to turn three! This last year has been pretty monumental when it comes to positive lifestyle changes in the life a toddler. Within this last year, Hazel got potty trained (no more diapers), moved from her crib to a big girl bed (and after weeks and weeks, does a pretty good job staying in that bed after we tell her good night), finally, FINALLY learned to entertain herself and fall asleep in her carseat (this one makes me tear up with joy a little bit), figured out how to buckle the top buckle of her carseat (such a time saver!) and can speak three different languages! No, but she does know enough English to communicate her needs to us. (Again, such a time saver when it comes to diagnosing problems.)



Yuuuup, life is easy breezy, folks.

Now, for year number three, we just have to deal with that whole "testing boundaries" situation. And it may be a bit of a situation.




For her actual day, we celebrated with our typical pizza party, doughnut cake and fabulous family guests. And in the evening we went to see the Minion movie with cousins. A pretty fun day, if I do say so myself!



To Seattle, Oregon and Back Again

Our main vacation for the year entailed a car voyage up to the Pacific North West. Easily one of my favorite places on earth. Our first destination was Seattle where we were able to visit Phil's family and enjoy all that the Emerald City has to offer and then we drove south down to Lincoln City, Oregon where we met my family for a little Fourth of July on the coast. 

Seattle

We were fortunate to see both of Phil's sisters while we were there. Jaimie was there the whole time we were and we overlapped with Carly just a couple of days, so we made sure pack in lots of fun! The whole day we were all together, we went to Lake Sammamish to go tubing, waterskiing and picnicing.

Hazel happily strutted her stuff while playing in the sand. Ryder, Penny and Hazel had a blast with their cousins Elsie and Owen. There is something so fun about seeing your kids play with their cousins. 

Oh, and Ryder experienced a couple of firsts. He attempted his first time waterskiing, where he did great. He got up on his third try--albeit, only for a second or two--but I say it totally counts! He also fell off the tube for the first time and even though both events almost gave my mommy heart a heart attack, Ryder on the other hand kept his cool and had fun.


And what's a trip to Seattle without a friend visit? It is always a pleasure see these wonderful people and see how all our families are growing. And thanks to Grandpa Steve and Grandma Laurie, we even got away one night with the adults for a little dinner date. Which was pretty, stinkin' wonderful. 




We also took our sweet time lying around and relaxing in the humid heat. :) And we all made sure to take advantage of our time with Aunt Jaimie.


It had been awhile since we'd been downtown, so we decided to hit the big city for another one of our big outings. We checked out the Space Needle, ate lunch at Dick's, rode the monorail and hung out at Pike Place Market where we watched fish being thrown, ate fresh, hot doughnuts for dessert and danced to the street performers. We also visited Seattle's iconic gum wall, which I must admit on a 90 degree day is more gross than cool. A couple of us got literally stuck to the ground. Ew. But it was a cool 'ew', right? And we may have added our own ABC gum to the mix. I mean, how can you not? So there you have it, the cliche stops that are necessary to impart on the younger generation.






The last day we were there, Phil along with his parents took the kids on a hike to Rattlesnake Ridge, while I stayed back to do laundry and pack. They all had quite a bit of fun. Hazel may have charmed her way into Grandpa Steve's arms so she got carried AND full and complete access to his Camelback. A perfect way to end this portion of our trip. Quality time, while getting them nice and worn out for the long car ride the next day. 





Oregon

Oregon was breezy and beautiful. We met my parents and my sister's family there on a Thursday afternoon and after checking out our hotel room, ran right over to the beach. We told all of them to not wear their swimsuits because the water was too cold, but luckily, they didn't listen to us because they were stripping down to their suits faster than I could say, "Look, there are seals over there!" We then headed over to Mo's for some fish and chips for dinner. I mean, Mo's + plus the Oregon beach? I mean, it's just so apropos.
 

 The next day, we (along with everyone else in the state of Oregon) took a little field trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Where I totally ate my weight in dairy. And enjoyed every second. We ate at their restaurant that served a variety of grilled cheese, and then of course, got some ice cream. Delish. And I may have had a bit of a tummy ache later. But hey, go big or go home, is what I always say. Actually, I don't say that. Hardly, ever.... unless it has to do with dairy.


The next day was the Fourth of July. We bought some sandwiches and headed to a place down the coast a few miles to look for whales. You guys. You'd think we were watching the World Cup finals or something. We saw the whale watching expedition boats and using them for a point of reference, spotted a few spouts a ways out. Which in itself was pretty fun. But we kept watching and felt we had two behemoth friends on the radar, one of which kept inching it's way closer to us. And the closer the spouts got, the louder our cheers got. There was one point we got incredibly bashful because we were beginning to cause a scene. Don't worry, we got over it quickly. And then--I mean it's hard to describe because were overlooking a cliff, but I'm pretty sure that whale couldn't have gotten more closely if it had tried. One of two things happened. It heard our cheers and wanted to give us a show, or Heavenly Father blessed us in our over-eagar, pathetic state with a really awesome memory. It was pretty amazing. He came out of the water in waves because he was so huge. Or "she", excuse me. Of course, when this happened we were yelling and cheering. Honestly, whoever was there that day did not leave wanting for entertainment. Sadly, we have not one picture to document our outing that day. Because we were tos busy peeling our eyes, dang it!

That night we grilled hot dogs, walked the beach long enough to see how insanely crowed it was and walked straight back to the hotel room to put our kids in their jammies and watched all the crazy people while we waited for the fireworks to start. Which we did, from our window, all snuggled up so our kids were able to crawl into bed right after the last boom. The most perfect way to do fireworks with small children, if you ask me. 

The next day, we decided to forgo our usual bee line home to take a stop in Boise to see my Aunt Lancy, my cousin Bethany and her cute family. It was such a wonderful treat to spend time with them and eat the yummy dinner they made for us. Another thing I wish I had taken a picture of! It was surely the cherry on top to a wonderful vacation!