03 November 2008

Carousel Acres

On Saturday, Natalie went to a really fun birthday party at a farm. Her favorite thing was to ride the pony, and she was disappointed to only get one turn.
As you can see here, she was a little afraid to pet the animals at first, but she warmed up. There were reindeer, wallabys, emus, pigs, horses, geese, sheep, goats, etc. When we left, she said, "Can I have my next birthday party there?"

On Spooky Halloween Night....

These pictures came up in reverse order, but you'll get the idea. Elise is our "Candy" girl. Her new favorite word is "candy". She LOVED trick-or-treating and told everyone "Thanks!" in a deep funny voice. It was really cute! She thought it was very funny on Halloween night when her tongue turned totally green. We had to look in the mirror a lot!
Here is our typical Halloween picture. It was great, because the kids came up with their costumes themselves this year, with the exception of Elise. Ashley was a gypsy, Zach was a patriot and Elise was a ballerina. Natalie was planning on being a princess until one day she came down the stairs wearing all these gold medals. Zach said that she looked like Michael Phelps. Ever since then, she decided that was what she was going to be for Halloween! Her costume was a hit, with her goggles and swim cap and eight gold medals (people were counting them to make sure we got it right!).
We went to the Elementary school to see Zach walk in his Halloween parade. I thought he did a great job with his costume.
We were so excited to have Nana and Pa come up for Halloween! It just made it more fun for them to be here celebrating with us!!
Natalie looked great in her kindergarten Halloween parade! It was a really good day. The kids were so excited by all the fun they had, that when I went to tuck them in, they just couldn't stop talking about it all!

Finally- Not the "Most Boring"!

Every year, the kids complain that we have the "most boring" home in the neighborhood because I don't decorate much for Halloween. This year, Elise and I went to a local greenhouse and bought straw bales, corn stalks and pumpkins to decorate the front porch. When the kids got home from school, they were surprised and excited. Zach thought for a minute that he was at the wrong house. I think that our front porch turned out really cute! Finally- the kids no longer think that we have the "most boring" house in the neighborhood!

Pumpkin Carving

Elise's pumpkin was too little to carve, so she had a great time "coloring" it.
The day after Elise's birthday, we decided to carve our pumpkins. The kids drew out their designs and then we carved them. See if you can decide which design belongs to who. I think it's pretty obvious!
Everyone was very proud of their pumpkin carving efforts. I think that they turned out fantastic and had the most fun I've ever had doing it!
The kids loved pulling out the "guts", all except Elise, who wouldn't touch the inside of the pumpkin. We saved the seeds and roasted them. Yum!

Pre-carving, the kids proudly display the pumpkins they picked from the patch.

15 October 2008

Yay for Number 2!

My sweet little blessing, Elise, turned two years old on October 11th. She spent the day going from soccer game to soccer game. Here she is with her best little friend, Lizzie.
We decided that we needed to do something other than drag her along to everyone's soccer games, so inbetween, we went to Three Cedars Farm. I was so sad that I forgot the camara!!! She had fallen asleep when we got there and so totally missed the hayride out to the pumpkin patch, but did wake up in time to choose the cutest tiny pumpkin. I think that she was totally jostled on the hayride back, but did manage a few smiles in between looks of concern. She loved drinking cider and eating donuts, though, when we were done with our hayride.
After the last soccer game, we went out to Red Robin (kind of a family birthday tradition). She LOVED getting a great big ice cream sundae and put up with the waiters and waitresses singing to her.
Elise loved opening presents, and the kids were so happy with her reaction to the presents they picked out.

That night we went to a friends house to watch the BYU game, and I made her this crayon box cake, since one of her favorite things is to color. It was gone very quickly!

It's hard to believe, two years later, how hard it was to get her here to earth. It was not easy, but so worth the pain and suffering!! She is definitely a light in our life!

12 October 2008

Mommy's little helper

Elise loves to be with Mommy all of the time, but especially when I am cooking. She loves to stir everything, but has had to be taught how to take turns. I love having little helpers (Natalie loves to help me, too.) Elise and Natalie both love their new aprons made by Aunt Larraine!!

One Fine Day

Our Primary sponsored a ward Talent Show. As a primary presidency we performed a lip sync of "One Fine Day". I was the designated hair and make-up person, and we all had coordinating outfits. These pictures were taken after we got home that night, so I look a little worse for wear, but you get the idea. We were a big hit (we had choreographed the whole thing) and lots of people almost didn't recognize the president and the other counselor because they looked so different with the whole sixties hair and make-up thing. My favorite part was wearing false eyelashes!

09 October 2008

Two little buddies

Natalie and Elise have really started to play together. They are little buddies and have so much fun together. Elise loves to wait for Natalie to come off the bus every day. She's so glad that there is still someone in the house who still likes to play babies.
Ashley took this picture of Elise and Natalie showing off their "bracelets".

First day of school!! 9/2/08

Today was a big day for Ashley. The first day of middle school!!! She was so excited and cute and had a great day. She is just thriving in her new environment.
Natalie and Zach are my elementary school kids. Today was Zach's first day of 4th grade. He told us that his new teacher, Mr. McMaster is pretty strict, but that he thinks he'll be good.
Natalie LOVED kindergarten! She has been so ready for school to start! She came home telling us that her teacher is Mrs. S'more (can you tell we just went camping?). Her real name is Mrs. Moore.
Natalie didn't want to let go of Zach getting on the bus! He was a good protective older brother and showed her the ropes.
Natalie was so happy coming off of the bus. Kindergarten has been so much fun. Natalie is so sad when it is a weekend. She doesn't want to miss a single minute of it. When was the last time you were sad to see the weekend come? (When you were in Kindergarten, maybe?)

Labor Day Vacation 2008!

What a crew! We had a great Labor Day camping trip with Mom and Dad, Michelle and Sarah and Jeremy's family! We especially loved swimming in Rousch Lake. We made a chain of people on floaties. The kids loved it!
Zach and Brayden spent a lot of time on Aunt Michelle's air mattress (who would have thought?) and never wanted to get off.
I had to show proof that I was actually there!!
Natalie and Rachel loved hanging on to Grandpa's toes and dragging him around.
The kids really loved camping! We hadn't gone for many years and after this I'm sure we will be going more than once next summer. They loved our monstrous tent, hanging out with cousins, attempting to light a fire with real flint and steel and carving anything they could get their hands on with pocket knives. One of my favorite memories was going mountain biking with Will and Jeremy, Ashley and Zach, and Brayden and David. I had Elise in the child seat on my bike. It was hard work, but there were really fantastic views!!
Elise loved playing with her big sister, Ashley!
Natalie always has a good time as long as she has someone to play with!
These two boys couldn't be closer if they were blood brothers. They have such a good time hanging out together!
The three cute little girls have a sandy lunch by the beach.
What fun to have Aunt Michelle come play with all of the nieces and nephews and teach us all the most fun camp songs! I think that will be one of my kids favorite memories!
I have such a great family!! Hopefully next time, we'll be able to have more of the family join us!

Elise's first haircut- Sept. 1, 2008

Elise had her big moment! The first few locks cut off of her hair. She sat very patiently while we trimmed the ends and wanted her hair dried like the big girls.
She thought her reflection in the mirror was very pretty!

24 August 2008

Zach's First Race!

Zach has been running this summer. At first it was due to mom's encouragement and the incentive of a Border's gift card, but then he discovered that he really enjoyed it. He would run laps around the neighborhood and I would go with him on my bike with Elise in the child seat on the back.
Will ran along with Zach during his first 5K race in Flint, Michigan. Will was his running partner and cheerleader. They were excited before the race started.
I almost missed getting Will and Zach running by at the start of the race, but we cheered as they passed us by.
They finished!! Zach had hoped to go under 30 minutes, but was still happy with a 31 minute result. It was still his best time and great under the conditions, high 80's and very humid!!
Here are my two favorite boys!! They are all hot and sweaty, but glad to have run in a "real" race! (Is it just me, or does Will look more tired than Zach?) Like Father, like son!

21 August 2008

An "old" friend

Through a somewhat bizarre series of events, I was able to see my best friend from high school after almost 10 years. It was so awesome to see Ryan, pictured here with his little doll of a girl, Lilly, when we met up with his family in Ohio. It was great to spend the day and get all caught up on what's been happening in the last 10 years.
It was so fun to talk to Ryan and Laurel (sorry Laurel, the picture doesn't do you justice--bad angle, but it was the only one I had!) and I felt as comfortable with Ryan as if we'd always kept in touch. I think it's the sign of a true friend. I totally thought that Laurel was someone that I would have been friends with, even without the Ryan connection. It was fun to hear about how they got to know each other, where they've been, great books and Ryan's radiology stories.
Lilly and Elise were so cute playing together. Elise was definitely the more quiet one, while Lilly was the chatty one...but both very squeezable!
I thought that my mom and dad and siblings would love to see Ryan and his kids...Lilly (Elise's age), Tyler(9), Alison(4), and Malia(7). The kids had a great time together, and Zach and Tyler especially got along (much to Tyler's suprise!:)) and liked playing the Wii and talking about books.
Ryan and Laurel were such great hosts and we hope that we are able to return the favor when Ryan can pull himself away from work. Before we left, Zach said a prayer and was grateful we could see my "old" friend. I am, too!

Locks of Love

My totally cute, sweet Ashley is growing up and I have mixed feelings about it. She has been growing her hair out for several years and decided this summer, before middle school started, that she would cut it off and donate it to "Locks of Love".
We decided to take "before" pictures so that we could remember her long blond hair.
I don't know who was more nervous while she got it cut, her or me! Her face went a deep shade of red when she heard the snip, snip of the scissors, and I felt a little sad to see her little girl ponytail being cut off.
Here are her totally cute "after" pictures! The haircut turned out really nice and she and I were both really happy with it. Zach, in his tactful 9 year old boy way, told her that her new haircut made her look "chubby" (Ashley and I were betting he would say "you look wierd", "chubby" was something a little more creative). I completely disagree. She does look a lot more grown up, though, and that leaves me with mixed feelings. I'm excited for her to have new experiences, but a little sad to see my little girl grow up.
She's really becoming a beautiful young lady! I'm proud of her for donating her hair to such a good cause!