Monday, February 18, 2013

Love, Love, Love

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Abbey is a kid with big plans and the initiative to make it happen.  I can't let her 'pretend' to plan parties.  At least not without being prepared.  Because she will make invitations, deliver them, and people will show up.  Wednesday night she asked me if I could go to bed early and she would get Hayden and Bennett to bed.  I hung out in my room for a while and she came in with the biggest smile on her face.  She had put together a whole night of activities for me.  She had a platter full of ideas--treasure hunts, dancing games, clues to find my presents.  She talked J into running her to Target on the way home from the bus stop to grab me some Valentine's presents.  Some were spot on:

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 (I still think her cross-eyed face is hilarious every time.)

 Others were suspiciously self serving:

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 "Hey mom, you know, WE could put together the super sparkly bracelets with accompanying fish and butterfly stickers.  What's that?  Not your style?  Well...I guess we could keep them..."

In the meantime, the little dude kept himself busy bumping into stuff:

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 Her cards were THE best:

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 The girls woke up the next morning and were dressed head to toe in red and pink before I got out of bed.  I decorated the table the night before with a few little things I found on clearance last year, made some muffins, and stuck a bird on it.  They were ridiculously excited to see it in the morning.  I love that it is so easy to please them.  Although, to be fair, at first glance they thought they were getting cupcakes for breakfast...

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I wanted to do a nice dinner but didn't expect Justin home so bagged the idea.  Just as I was headed out with all three kids, pumping myself up to handle them at diving practice, he pulled in the driveway.  He whisked all of them away to conquer diving practice so I could make the dinner I wanted.  It is such a pleasure to cook uninterrupted.  I was down one ingredient and our friend, Jim, happened to be at the store and saved the day.  I got a kick out of answering the door to him saying, "Happy Valentine's Day!" and handing me my green onions like a flower delivery man. 
My hero and kiddos walked in the door just as everything was coming together and we had a beautiful, lovely meal together.  Just kidding.  The kids were ridiculous.  But I was so happy to share the evening with my family and my wonderful hubby who knows that I honestly don't need or want flowers or chocolates today (for some reason I found Valentine gifts and advertisements particularly obnoxious this year).  Just a good Dad and husband who happily and seemingly effortlessly helps make this family run.  He and Abbey were totally talking my love language this year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Christmas 2012

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Collin's wedding gave us the chance to spend the Christmas with Justin's family.  We haven't all been together since 2006!  There were three nieces and nephews I had yet to meet and I was completely charmed by all the kids this trip.  Everyone had a buddy and I found myself hanging out with the oldest ones much of the day.  Sadie can totally take my brand of teasing (and dish it right back) and Lena still has the sweetest, kindest heart I've ever seen.  The only downside was Bennett was so sick the whole trip--more sick than any of my kids have been.  One evening, we left him sleeping with my father-in-law and took the girls down to see the Lights at Temple Square.  I expected to see him awake when we got back since he had slept almost all day but when I walked in, he was totally passed out on the couch. My stomach dropped as soon as I saw him.  Poor baby--I am so grateful it didn't head down a road it was looking likely to head.  It was nice to have the extra hands to always hold him this week and the extra eyes to constantly monitor him.

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{ryan's son, devan}

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{tahna's oldest, mason, and hayden}

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{andi, cade, and amber's thea}

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{amber's daughter, izzy; grandma pace, justin lee, & rosie}

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{ryan's william, eli's ashton & cameron, & amber's boston}

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The pack of 4 year olds ran the roost.  Rosie and Hayden were attached at the hip and Izzy would jump in the fun wearing this hilarious zebra costume Justin had as a kid.  At some point they just helped themselves to rolls and an entire cube of butter: 

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{Lena reading the girls stories on Christmas Eve}

Christmas morning was pretty low key and pretty perfect.  Tahna and Justin had done Christmas the week before so they didn't have to pack presents from Colorado, so her kids were prepared for no gifts. I don't think anyone knew Kathy had picked up a present or two for each grandchild.  Benson (Tahna's son who is 6) sleepily wandered down to watch the other kids open theirs and noticed a small pile for him.  My heart melted into a puddle on the floor when his face lit up, looking around, quietly asking "Are these for me?!??"  Perfect.  Christmas.  Nobody spent a lot of money this year, but the kids were so happy with the little treasures they received and so happy to play with and enjoy each other.  And the adults may have had a few hours of perfect volleyball time Christmas afternoon against the Richins Family down the road...

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Cade called up one afternoon and said to load the kids and meet him at a hill.  They had a blast being pulled behind the 4-wheeler.  He went gentle on the young ones but let loose on the older ones.  Abbey would die laughing every time they toppled over.

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Justin's buddies from high school put together a dinner night in Park City so we could meet up and see everyone.  So glad they did.  Those Coalville boys have the best stories!

Then it was back to Ogden to help my family get ready for the reception.  We ended up going to a church so Justin could get in his volleyball fix before flying back home.  We called up my cousin, Justin Barlow, who played with J in college, and they had a great time playing together.  Until we realized nobody stood a chance against them and had to split them up :)  My forever friend, Erica, stopped by with her kiddos and helped my mom dip chocolates.  So.  Many.  Chocolates.

After the reception, Megan dodged a bullet by hitching a ride down to Koryn's house with the Knudsens.  It saved her a good extra two hours of driving she would have had with us.  One of my little ones had...some digestive issues.  We had to stop at every little freezing rest stop along the way.  Throw in some missed turns and you have yourself a car full of grouchy, grouchy travelers.  But we made it and had some good R&R in the tiny town of Monticello (it's like you drive as far into the middle of nowhere as you think you can go and you're halfway there). 

Koryn can whip together a meal like it's nobody's business.  My mom has endless energy and patience with my kids.  Megan is the most pleasant human being in the history of mankind.  My girls disappeared into Whitney's room for most of the trip and my baby was feeling much better.  Life is good, I love that I got to see 38 out of 39 members of my family this week (yup.  that's you, dad.  see you this summer!).

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(I need to keep this picture in my bag for the dozen times I hear each week, "How did you and Justin end up with such BLONDE kids?!"  Isn't my mom the cutest?)