Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ashlyn's 5th Birthday

Ashlyn turned 5 on October 1st.  She invited her cousins and some of her new friends to celebrate with her.    It was really important to Ashlyn to take Miss B to her birthday party at Build A Bear because that's what the big kids have done for their birthday's.  Lauren and Maddy helped Ashlyn decorate the bus for her big day.
They also played games with the kids on the 25 minute drive to Build A Bear.  I love having little party helpers!  They were awesome!
Jessica and Austin brought their friend Chloe along to help out and to do some shopping in the mall while the little kids made their bears.
 
 My sister-in-law, Jen, came along to keep us company.
 I love that all the kids love to play with Paige. Even Austin can't resist an opportunity to make Paige smile!
 
When we got to Build A Bear, we were assigned a party leader and the kids picked out theirs bears.   I can't remember our guy's name, but her only had one hand.  The kids were all so respectful!  Nobody asked about it or made any comments. I was so  proud of them and impressed with how well the guy used his arm and what a happy, fun guy he was!
The kids took turns stuffing their bears.
They were each given 2 hearts.  They played some cute games with the hearts while they were waiting for their turn to stuff their bears.

When all the bears were stuffed, they gave lots of love to their hearts and everyone put one of their hearts into Ashlyn's birthday bear!  She felt so loved and was excited to know that everyone put a heart in for her.
The other heart went into their own bears.  Lauren and Maddy were happy to help Paige with her bear.
Then, they gave their bears a bath.
 It was so cute to see how serious the kids were about it.
They picked out a clothes or accessories for their bears and then they were done! 
 
Paige saw the kids taking a picture and dove out of my arms so she could run over to be in it!
Paige was so excited about her "Berrr" and the bear's "home".  She took the box with her everywhere for several days!  The box was sort of a pain so it "disappeared" one day. It was almost as big as her!
Ashlyn opened presents on the way home in the bus.

I love how excited she gets about girly things!  She has so much personality!  We just adore her.  She makes life fun!  We had cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches while we waited for parents.  Easiest party ever and the kids loved it!
 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Rest Of September

Most of September was spent unpacking boxes and trying to find places to put everything.  I don't think I took any real pictures, but I often would take pictures on my phone to text Jason while he was at work to ask his opinion.
So here is the dining room.
 

 The Office.  Trying to decide if we should keep both desks in there.  We did.  It's been a great homework room because we can close the doors.
Getting the playroom set up. Yep Ashlyn is in her pajamas and Paige in diaper.  That's what happens when mom is busy.  The playroom had a trap door with a rope that went down to the rock climbing wall room.  Really fun for the older kids, but we decided it was too dangerous for the little ones.  We took the rope down and put carpet over the entire floor.  Nope, no picture of it finished.
 
This next picture still makes me laugh.  I had sent it asking if I could cover the wires in the basement or if he needed access to them.  My kids don't like that they can see through the walls.  They think it is creepy.  So... I used the packing paper and a staple gun and made walls!  Lol!  The basement has been my fort since we moved in.

This area was floor to ceiling boxes.  I was pretty excited when I was down to just these two things to go through!  Do you like my walls?  :-)
And here is a picture of the back of my house that Lauren took.  Nothing super exciting, but you can see we are right up against the mountain and don't have much of a yard. 
 Ashlyn loves my new tub!  It is so deep!  It has jets and goes to my shoulders when I sit up straight.   For Ashlyn and Paige, it's a small pool. For me, it's heaven!
Paige in a diaper once again.  She loves to be like the big kids. She climbed up on the stool and started brushing her teeth without anyone telling her to.  Her hair is getting longer and her personality is really coming out.  She is just so much fun!
Lauren convinced Ashlyn to be Belle for Halloween and wanted to practice doing "Belle hair".  I love to see them take care of each other.  Ashlyn decided a few weeks before Halloween she wanted to be Supergirl. 
Austin and Lauren made a very quick trip back to Clovis with Janelle.  They loved seeing their friends, but I think it made them homesick.  It made me homesick just to see the pictures!  Miss these kids!


 And that's all I have for September. :-)

A Few Differences

Utah is different than California in a lot of ways besides the obvious mountains and cooler air.   In California, we had a neighborhood cat.  Here, we have the neighborhood deer.  The are 5 of them. It looks like a family.  I don't know anything about deer, but there are three small ones and two larger ones.  One has antlers, so... a family to me it is.  We see them everyday, often in our backyard and sometimes napping under our trampoline. We saw these guys on our way to the bus stop.  I love it!  Our neighbors say we will get sick of them, but I love Paige interrupting dinner conversation with a loud "DEER!" and pointing into our backyard.
One night we woke up to a really loud sound in our backyard.  We looked out and saw what looked like a deer with his antlers stuck in a small tree.  He was thrashing around pretty violently.  Jason ran down stairs and turned on the back lights.  The deer stopped and pulled his antlers out of the tree and just looked at Jason like "What are you looking at?"  They had a stare off for a minute and then slowly the deer turned and walked away, leaving the tree in pieces on the ground.
 
The other thing I am still getting used to is that you can get church books or materials just about anywhere.  On a quick trip to Ace Hardware we saw the Visiting Teaching Message for sale at the register for $2.50!  So funny to me!  There are signs near neighborhood entrances reminding you about an upcoming ward activity or welcoming home a missionary. 
Another thing we have loved, is the freedom to ride our quads and go cart around. 



 The girls love to go for a ride when ever they can.

 Austin and Jessica ride the go cart or their quads to friends houses.  Jessica was out riding her quad one day when we say a helicopter circling around the neighborhood.  It was black and had a gold star on it.  We assumed it was a police helicopter.  We were concerned and called Jessica to have her come home.  We watched as the helicopter landed just behind our house over the hill.  There are some very nice homes behind us and we were concerned that maybe there was a break in or something.  One of Jessica's good friends lives near where the helicopter landed so she called to see if everything was okay.  Her friend said,  "Oh that's just (I can't remember the name).  They live there."  Jason and I started cracking up.  We are not in California anymore.

In The Kitchen

It seems like we have been spending more time in the kitchen.  I think not having anything very close has forced me to be more organized.  There isn't such a thing as a "quick trip" to the grocery store or to Target.   I've been trying to make a week menu and use the extra time I have from not driving around so much to try out new recipes.
 
Everybody loves to help!  Even Paige.  I decided to try to keep her busy one day by letter her wash potatoes.
Just testing.
 
Jessica is such a crack up.  I left her to chop onions and came back in to her wearing motorcycle goggles!  She has been spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  She can make spaghetti all by herself using a recipe and she has been making cupcakes pretty regularly so she can practice frosting them using different tips.
 
 Jason is the best egg maker in our family.  A few Sundays ago, Lauren asked Jason if he would teach her how to make scambled eggs.  I love moments like thses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Point

We are loving all of the family time we are having here in Utah!  One Saturday, after watching Tyler's (my nephew) football game, we went with Billy and his kids to Thanksgiving Point for ice cream and to wander around.  We got ice cream for our whole family for less than five bucks!

 We had such a good time, that Jason and I took the little ones back about a week later and bought a membership.  We loved the Dinosaur Museum! (and I'm not a huge dinosaur fan.)  It was amazing!  Really cool place.
 Paige and Ashlyn loved the farm!
 Paige calls most of the animals by the sound that they make.  The Moos were her favorite.  She was very excited when she say the Neighs, but practically scrambled out of my arms when we got too close!  She was happy watching from a safe distance while Ashlyn went for a ride.

I've actually been terrible about pulling out my camera since we moved. 95% of the picture I have are from my cell phone, but it's better than nothing!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Like Rain Drops

The weather here is so different. 
 It rained a couple weeks after we got here.  In August.  While we were wearing shorts and t-shirts. 
 

It happened to match my mood perfectly. 

I love the view from my front porch.  The mountains are majestic and beautiful and somehow comforting.  Most days, the blue sky outlines them perfectly.  But on this day, I could barely make out the tops of the mountains.  The grey clouds hung low and on and off, throughout the day, were just too heavy and the rain would begin to fall.

Before we moved, we had talked all about how the move would effect everyone.  Jason asked what about me?  Would I be okay?  I told him I thought I would be.  I knew I would miss my friends, but most of my life was lived within the walls of my home.  I have babies.  I do laundry, naps, and play taxi driver most of the day.  I told him as long as we were all together, I would be fine.

And I am.  But my heart had been heavy.  I really missed my sister.  We have been close for as long as I can remember.  There is a connection there, that I just can't explain.   We are totally opposite in a lot of ways, but we get each other and are always there for each other.  One of the ways we are different is how we deal with things that are hard.  For both of us, me moving was going to be hard.  For Jen, it was easier if we didn't talk about it.  I think she hoped if she could pretend it wasn't going to happen, it would go away.  

It was tough to do because my life was consumed with the move.  As I was getting settled in my new house or would have a funny neighbor come by, I would want to call her to tell her about it because I know she would know where I should put the desk or laugh with me about my new experiences. But I didn't call.  I didn't know if she was ready to hear about Utah.  I didn't know if she was ready to accept that I really did move and I really was in Utah.  So, there was just a hole where she was supposed to be and my heart ached for my sister.  I didn't know if I could make such a big change without her.    

Throughout the day, the tears would escape, just like the rain drops.  I would see the boys (my nephews) post on Instagram and suddenly my cheeks were wet.  I missed seeing them everyday, even if it was just when I was picking up my kids or in passing.  Wes would still text me occasionally just to chat and I loved it.  It made me feel like I wasn't so far away, but I still missed them tremendously.  I missed little Brynne and her giant monkey hugs!  I started to worry that we wouldn't be close anymore.  I worried what I would miss...

On the way to Home Depot with Jason that night, he asked me how I was doing with everything. I let the tears flow.  I told him I really missed Jen.  He told me I needed to just tell her.  I  had been trying to be there for her by letting her deal with it in her time, but I needed her now and she would want to know.  He was right.

I sent her a text so she could process it on her time.  I told her I loved her and missed her and that I moved, but I still needed her.  I gave her the heads up that I was going to call her the next time I felt like it.  

She said she wasn't in denial anymore and slowly, order has been restored to my universe once again.  I still miss the day to day, but regular phone calls help fill the gap. 

Definitely the hardest part of the move for me so far.