Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finn Turned 5 and started Kindergarten!

Finn has grown up so much this past year, reaching the epic age of 5 and starting kindergarten.  This was the first 'friend' party I have done for him, and it was a success!  Here are some moments from the party:

The awesome invite, courtesy of Megan who did this theme for Milo's last birthday party.  She realized after the fact that we shouldn't really encourage kids to defeat enemies of evil...but I think they got the general idea ;)
Since I am not crafty AT ALL, I was pretty proud of this sign I made.  We moved it to the inside after all the kids got there, but it was originally on the outside of the door with some balloons.  When they came inside, I gave them a name tag with their ninja name (using a key I got from Megan...Finn's name was Lukitoto) and a headband.

This picture of Kate is just hilarious in it's own right, but you can also see the treat boxes that they took home behind her -- Chinese take-out boxes from PF Changs (which they gave me for free)with a Ninjago picture on the front and a few yummy snacks within.

Took this picture of the birthday crew after they all completed their ninja training (sword fighting on the wii, 'don't touch the ground' with balloons and chopsticks, poison ball on the tramp and an obstacle course in the backyard)...can you guess whose nap time it is? :)
What Ninjago party would be complete without Ninjago lego? Thanks Valentine cousins!
 And just a few days later he started kindergarten!  He has adjusted to school really well and loves it.
Look how big that backpack is on his little body, I love it.

Here's a conversation we had just last night:

Me: Finn, I think you're super cute.  And not in a baby way, in a 'girls are gonna have crushes on you cuz you're so handsome and kind' kind of way.
Finn: yeah, I knew what you meant...and I already know a girl at school that does think that actually.
Me: Really, who?
Finn: Heidi (accompanied with a classic Finn shrug/eye-roll combo)
Me: How do you know? Does she giggle a lot and try to chase you on the playground?
Finn: No, she just likes to be around me.

Look at this little guy, turning into such a little man.  We just love him.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

July Highlites

#1: 4th of July
We usually spend the 4th of July with my side of the family, but this year since Matt's family was in town, we switched it up and went to Grammy's. Here are a few gems from the evening, courtesy of a friend with a much better camera than me:

#2: Uncle Ben left on his mission to Mississippi!  He was NINE when I met him for the first time. CA-RAZY!

#3: Mud Run with Megan, Dustin and Aaron.  So much fun!  Well, except for the part where Megan pushed me into a muddy pond and I gashed my leg (check out the streak of blood on my right shin). But that didn't stop me from finishing!  I have a battle scar from it now.  I'm extreme.  I would never do this particular race again because it was so poorly organized (started late, not all the obstacles were assembled, after first lap the mud turned to rocky scraped-knee hell) but I'd do another mud run for sure -- we had a great time! (The first pic is pre-race. Pre-race.  Meg dressed like a hick and wanted Aaron to too, but much to her chagrin and not really to his, the overalls she got him were too small to race in.)

 #4: Finn played T-Ball!  He is the little guy in the middle with the tan hat.

Here is a video of him in action at practice.  Watching him do those 'jumping jacks' just warms my heart:

#5: Finn got a ride on Cool Uncle Tom's motorcycle.  This little man is usually VERY cautious but he loved it!

Kate is 3 she's more like 3 1/2...but anyway...

Kate turned 3 on June 25, just after we returned from Ohio. Both she and Finn were so excited as they helped me make preparations for her party. 

This was the last day she wore this shirt because it kept rolling up and showing her belly. She is just growing up too fast!
Around lunch time, we were invited on a hike with cousins so we called it her "birthday hike" and she loved it!  It was actually a perfect hike for kids, only about 20 minutes long, ending at a tiny waterfall perfect for wading. I can't believe we live minutes away from this stuff, I don't take advantage of it enough.

 McCoy in front, Finn behind pointing in his silly way to the waterfall.  Kate squatting by Gemma and Taj in the background.

There were several log bridges which were not too hard to manage...but when I wasn't looking Kate tried to run across one and she fell right off the side into the creek!  Luckily, the water was not deep at all, just deep enough to get her nice and wet and a little scared.  But in true Kate fashion she took a few deep breaths and quickly got over it.  (Being carried the rest of the way by Aunt Andrea may have helped.)

In the evening we had family over for a low-maintenence party in the backyard.  Cake and ice cream were devoured.  Presents were opened.  Sunshine was enjoyed.


...And Post. She loved the dollar bill and flowers that Aunt Lesli gave her. This pic cracks me up.

Rex was a wonderfully happy party guest. Try to look at the cute Grammy-grandchild moment and not all the dead grass in our backyard!

McCoy makin' himself at home in a dessert carriage built for one

No, this is not a glamor shot of Brody's abs, it's of the dress that Kate got from Grammy, Kimmy and Jenn.  Whenever she wore it to church after that, people would always compliment her on it and she would say. "Thanks!  Yeah!  I YUV it!  My Grammy gave it to me for my bird-day!"
I guess you can't have a birthday post without one of these:

And just for fun we'll end this post with a couple kate-isms. Here is an exchange between her and Aaron last night at dinner:

Kate: (setting her stuffed dog beside her at the table) Vio-wet is gonna watch me eat
Aaron: Wow, lucky Violet
Kate: (scoffs) She's not real dad!

And this morning while her and Finn were playing:

Finn: (fighting sounds) We killed Loki!  Let's tell Thor he's dead!
Kate: Yeah! Now we can dwink his blood!  That will make Heavenly Father sooo happy because he tells us that it's good to dwink blood! (Mistaken and grossly misdirected reference to the sacrament.)  Guess I need to talk to her more about symbolism. ;)

This little 3-year-old brings so much personality to our home.  We just love her.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ohio Ho!

During the summer, we were able to fly to Ohio and visit Gramps and Nana Lana a.k.a Terry and Lana, Aaron's dad and step-mom.  What a great vacation!  Seriously, I cannot believe how much stuff we did.  They live in a beautiful area of Columbus -- so many trees! Lana was saying it wasn't very green compared to normal, but it looked pretty green to me!

They met us at the airport waving happy meal bags out of the window for the kids.  Needless to say, the kids had a wonderful time.

Had a waterfight right after arriving.  Perfect way for the kids to wind down after a day of travel!  Kate loved watering (drowning?) all of Gramp's plants while we were there all week long.

Love this shot -- what cool grandparents my kids have!  
Our second night there, Lana sent Aaron and I on a date. We went out to dinner and saw a movie.  It was so fun to be out together alone in a new city!  In our absence, Kate got to have an ice cream party with Lana and Terry took Finn fishing.  He sent us a text just after we sat down in the theatre with a picture of Finn and his first catch. SO GREAT. 

Sunday was Father's Day and the kids gave Aaron and Gramps matching ties.  Kate also made a felt tie for Aaron in nursery.  We ate delicious steaks for dinner which were great...until they made Lana sick through the night and the next day :( While Lana was recovering Aaron and I took the kids to the local pool which they loved.  That night Finn wanted to go fishing again so we took the whole fam.  The fishing pond was so picturesque, I'm sad I didn't get any snapshots or video there.  It was straight out of a feel-good 1950's movie: little hidden valley with a fishing pond, boardwalk surround, playground, lots of green, setting sun, train passing by on a trestle bridge...the cast from Sandlot would have fit right in.

Tuesday it was time for the Columbus Zoo!  Saw a lot of active animals, especially the gorillas which were Kate's favorite.  Got a train ride, boat ride, carousel ride, and left before we got grumpy...who could ask for anything more?
Finn LOVES maps.  It was so cute to see him stop to consult his map over and over again at the zoo.

Gramps and Kate on the boat ride.

Sea turlte came right up to the glass! 

Our old friends the Despains from student-ward days are living in Columbus right now.  We met up with them at the downtown splash pad for a pic-nic dinner and a great visit. (Finn looks grumpy here but he really has a playful smirk on his's a phase)
 The next day, Terry and Lana stayed with the kids and sent Aaron and I off on our own to Kirtland! Once again, they are awesome.  It was a couple hour drive and I was feeling grumpy for some reason or another but that was quickly remedied when Aaron strategically pulled into a gas station with a Tim Horton's.  Oh he knows me so well.  (Yummy donut shop found everywhere in Canada...didn't even know they had them in the States!) One Boston Cream and a chocolate milk later and it was the best road trip ever. 

We went over to Johnson Farm first, which is actually out of the way but SO WORTH IT.  I was not prepared for the spirit I would feel there.
Johnson Farm outside of Hiram, Ohio.  Joseph Smith preached from these very steps!

Kirtland Temple
 We were gone most of the day and saw many sights around Kirtland.  On our way there, we stopped for lunch and were about to eat at the "Quaker Steak and Lube" (which had a corvette on a rotating pedestal out front, among other things) but went for the safer Chipotle across the street.  It is one of my greater regrets in life.  Don't get me wrong, Chipotle was delish, but what adventures awaited us in the Quaker Steak and Lube we will never know.

Thursday we took the kids to a splash pad for lunch...which actually wasn't splashing at the time...but it was still fun.  The rest of the day was filled with more back-yard water fights and playing in the kid-paradise basement.  Then we capped off the day at the local ice cream parlor.
Papa Smurf Icecream! In the end, Finn buckled under the pressure and stuck with his standby -- chocolate.  Didn't stop him from happily posing with Papa and Kate in this picture though ;)  Oh yeah, he got a black eye ealier this day from a little something we like to call the "my-mom-wouldn't-let-me-do-this-if-she-were-here" playground incident.

This picture makes me smile -- isn't it moments like these that you just wish you could hang on to forever?  That night when we got home there were fireflies in the backyard.  We never get those at the home and the kids LOVED it.  Terry and Lana helped them catch a couple to put in jars and take to bed as 'night lights'.
 The next morning, Aaron and I got yet another getaway -- kayaking!  Terry was kind enough to chauffeur us and let us use his kayaks.  It only took a few minutes to get to this river in Delaware.  We saw tons of wildlife including herons, fish and a turtle that we whacked with our oars a few times...gently of course.
The morning was overcast and the perfect temperature. Great exercise and great fun!

Couldn't resist this picture taken right where we loaded up the kayaks.  The sign says "Please help us keep the Parks clean, thank you." Ha!
 Later that day Aaron, Terry and I took off for a loooooong scenic drive.  We drove around Mojave National Park, then up through Amish country and back home.
Loved this covered bridge!

In case you can't tell, they're related.  Besides their looks, they have SOOO much in common which is really interesting to me since Aaron lived with his mom most of his childhood. Both just really great guys.

Genu-ine Amish man workin' the land! 

Sampled HUNDREDS of cheeses here.  Loved it at the beginning, and even the middle, but not at the end so much.  Whoa, that was a lot of cheese.  I made Terry take us back for a picture after we'd already left because I thought the building was so cool.  We also stopped at a few other gifts shops and drove around the Amish neighborhoods before heading back to Columbus.

Lana was so nice to give Kate a little birthday celebration that night.  She got some polly pockets and a care bear and was in heaven. Finn even got some Pokemon cards.  Did I mention these grandparents rule?
The next morning it was time to pack up and head home.  We were so sad to leave but so happy to have made so many great memories.
This encapsulates Rex's demeanor the entire trip. He was so happy on the plane, super easy-going and even napped/slept well in the pac-n-play which is historically a struggle for my kids.  Terry and Lana were both amazed at how much he ate!  Look at that smile -- he's just so easy to love.
  Kate and Finn also LOVED the plane rides and were great little travellers. "Whoa, we're higher than the cars, we're higher than the trees, we're higher than the CLOUDS!" They also LAUGHED right from their guts every time we hit turbulance. It was awesome

SUCH a great vacation! It seriously could not have been any better. We are so thankful we got to visit these great people and see their beautiful home!