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!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rex Growing Up

Rex turned one year old on August 30th. Whhhaaaaat?! This year has seriously flown by, I can hardly believe it. And since I haven't blogged about the little man since he was born, thought I should post some pics of Rex growing up.
Just one day old

Rex has been a great baby from day one.  He had long crying bouts here and there like a typical newborn, but he has always been a good eater, sleeper and snuggler. I remember feeding him in the hospital thinking, "so this is what it's like to just feed a baby" since it was always SUCH a struggle with my other two.
One month old

7 weeks old -- first smiles and blond hair coming in -- he was born with a head of dark hair that started falling out after his first bath.
Rex started sleeping from 10pm-6am at about 7-8 weeks old.  And he was sleeping 8pm-7am at 3 months old. So awesome! I feel like I have tried to do the same kind of sleep training with all of my kids, but he definitely took to it the best.   Again, best baby ever.
Super interactive at 3 months -- LOVES his big brother

At about 4 months old.  Such a cute, happy baby.

Found his toes!

Rex LOVES his big sister too.  It is so adorable to hear Kate say to him "Is there any baby cuter than you?! I don't think so!"
Almost 6 months old.  I took this one...

And Finn took this one...pretty great shot for a 4-year-old I think!
  Rex had about a week when he was 5 1/2 months old where he cried every night when we put him to sleep -- very uncharacteristic of him.   Then the lightbulb turned on and I realized he was ready for solid foods.  He took to them like a champ and immediately started sleeping well again.
6 months old -- same size as his cousin Pearl who is 7 months older than him.  He's not big, she's just really tiny :)

7 month old smiles with Aunt Andrea.

Pearl LOVES Rex.  She was soooo happy when we put her in the swing behind him.

Kate (the dress-up queen) put this hat on Rex and I just walked into the room and found him playing happily in it.  Cutest thing ever.
Around 6 months old he suddenly forgot how to use a bottle.  Weird.  He would cry and then just chew on the nipple without latching.  So I started teaching him how to use a sippy cup and weaned him right to a cup at 8 months old. Again, best baby ever.
About 8 months old.  He got so good in this jolly jumper and was always winding himself up and spinning around, or taking a few running steps then letting himself fall backwards. 

9 1/2 months old with Gramps.  He was so good-natured on this trip and easy to take care of.  Our trip to Ohio merits its own post which is coming soon.

11 months old.  Yeah, he spends a lot of time in here.
One year old!  Post-cake and pre-bath on his birthday.

We just love our little Rex!  I am so blessed to have such an easy baby because I have been pretty frazzled having 3 kids 4 and under.  It's funny how your first kid seems so old at 1 -- Rex is still my little baby!  Part of that is because he's not interested in walking and does not have a single tooth!  I  just love it though. I want him to stay my little baby forever!   Happy Birthday Rex!

Monday, August 13, 2012


These first Kate-isms come from when Kate was just a little over two years old:
Aaron was playing with Kate by pretending to eat her. She laughed a couple times then stopped and said, “Hey! I’m not lunch!”
Taking a cue from her cousins, Kate liked to play 'little person' by pulling her shirt over her legs and walking around. While she did this she sang “I’m a midgen! I'm a midgen!” (midget)
Kate loved to take her water bottle to bed and when getting tucked in always asked, "where's my wai-ya bai-yo?”

I thought she looked so cute this day eating her yogurt with her crown on.

Kate LOVES dress-ups. She got so excited when she found new dress-ups at her cousin's house.
Kate went through a phase of loving to "lead" while I sang.
Another phase involved her grabbing my hands and saying, "let's marry ourselves!" which meant we danced around in a circle for a minute.
When I took her for bathroom breaks at church, she immediately sensed the acoustics in the bathroom and always sang at the top of her lungs while in the stall. Usually it was the entire theme song from "Jake and the Neverland Pirates."
Once we were playing "Hi-Ho Cherry-O" and when Kate won she exclaimed, "Honey Nut Cheerios!"
Kate LOVES her baby brother Rex.  Whenever he cries, she rushes to him right away and sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and 9 times out of 10 it actually works!

I said she likes dress-ups...right?  She is specifically modelling her earings for me in this shot.

And these are a little more recent:
Kate LOVES nursery, and always asks if it’s time to go there after every discernable pause in sacrament meeting. I feel so bad when she gets excited after the opening song and I know she still has such a long way to go.
Everyone comments on Kate's 'little' voice. It is so high-pitched, scratchy and cute. When she started speaking, she learned very quickly and has always been quite the little conversationalist. She is super friendly and talks to anyone and everyone. Her latest exchange with a library employee is an example of a typical conversation with a stranger (when Aaron or I are present of course):
Kate: Hi! I'm Kate! What's your name?
Employee: My name's Darren.
Kate: Oh! Where's your sister? (meaning the other employee that does story time)
Employee: My sister? Well, she lives in Michigan. (meaning his actual sister of course)
Kate: Oh! ... My mom calls me Snugglebug.
Kate has always been very expressive. She was trying to look tough for Tom while showing him her pirate tatoo.

Kate loves to sit in Rex's infant car seat.  One late night at Megan's, I found her like this in front of the TV. Made putting her in the car super easy!

Darth Kate.   I love how it looks like she is trying to use the force to squish our heads.
Kate loves the part at the end of "Gnomeo and Juliette" where a gnome pops out of a pile of rubble and says, "It's OK! I'm OK!" and if she is reminded of it, she says that phrase like a broken record

Kate CAN NOT get enough ranch dressing and would eat it with every meal if we let her. Seriously. The other day she asked me for ranch for her fries. I said yes.

Kate can often be heard exclaiming, "What the?!"
It's so nice when your kids exchange compliments with you. That happened just a few days ago after dinner:
Me: Hey, great job eating your dinner Kate! You did such a good job!
Kate: Yeah! Thanks! Sometimes I call you stupid.
It is not uncommon for Kate to roll around for an hour+ before she falls asleep at night. One night Aaron went to check on her, again: Aaron: You still awake sweetie?
Kate: Yeah, my barbies are snuggling...Tiana's naked.
Yep, she was naked all right. Just her. I guess that's better than all of them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Worst Day of Aaron's Life

Anyone that knows Aaron knows he is no stranger to spicy food. I used to get annoyed every time he pulled the hot sauce put on his supper, but now I've just accepted that his palate is burned off.

Enter "Sean's BBQ Ghost Pepper Challenge" in Saratoga Springs.  Aaron had been wanting to try it for a long time, and back in March he got his chance.  He had to make it through 8 wings that were covered in a ghost pepper sauce and then coated in a ghost pepper powder.  We'd heard stories of others that merely got one wing to their lips and had to quit, but they must have been total wimps...right?  If he made it through them all, we got our money back, and Aaron's picture would be posted in the restaurant's Hall of Fame.  Andrea's fam joined us for the show, and Aaron was pumped up and ready for the challenge.  Here's how the whole thing went down:

The beginning.
The gloves are on.
Wing #1.
No big thang! Checking to make sure he ate enough meat off the bone.

Wing #2. Time to get serious.

That was rough.

Wing #3. Hunkering down.

Starting to feel nauseated.
Tears ahoy.

Wing #4

Trying to rally, not sure he can handle anymore.
More tears
Really feeling sick now.
Seriously...he almost threw up right here.

Thumbs down.

Where's the exit?!
So, turns out, ghost peppers are known as the hottest peppers in the world.  We're talking a thousand times hotter than a habanero.  Aaron also went into the challenge with an empty stomach, which we think greatly contributed to the nausea and aftermath later.  As soon as they took the "Wall of Shame" photo, he took off like a shot and left the restaurant for some fresh air.  I followed him to make sure he was ok, but he was nowhere to be seen.  He told me later that he sprinted away as fast as he could, it was the only thing he could do to get his mind off the pain!! When he came back, they gave him two giant cups of milk and we got some ice cream at a nearby shop. Little did we know the worst part was yet to come.

Aaron describes the next few hours as the worst pain he has ever felt in his life.  Seriously. No exageration. That chicken worked it's way through his system like a school of piranhas swimming in hot lava.  He chugged two whole bottles of Maalox. He was pacing the floor one minute, crawling on all fours the next, writhing in absolute agony.  We almost went to the emergency room.  He was in and out of the bathroom all night long, where the piranhas dove out from both ends.  When it was finally over, he was utterly exhausted. He took the next day off work and was a slug all day long. 

He has vowed to never do extreme food challenges again. I think the wings cost $13.75, and I was complaining about how we paid real money for food that nearly killed him.  He said $13.75 was a small price to pay for a valuable life lesson. He has since said he wouldn't do that again, even if someone offered him ten thousand dollars.  A million dollars?  He might consider it.