Saturday, December 29, 2012


We had a great Christmas and hope you did as well! We spent some time on Christmas Eve sledding at Grandma & Grandpa's - they have SO much snow this year (yay for white Christmases!) and the perfect Landon-size sledding hill. I thought they would get cold or tired, but they had to be persuaded inside for pizza and presents that night!

 We opened up our traditional jammies - lets just say that when they make kid jammies tight to be less of a fire hazard they might have made them a bit too tight for Landon :)! 

Then we headed back home and talked about the Christmas story using the nativity and Landon opened jammies at our house too (with the same problem! Seriously - how tight do clothing companies think they need to be?!). We have a tradition that the first gift we give is to Christ by writing down something we will do that year and putting it in a special box that sits under the tree. Landon ever participated this year and colored Jesus a picture. So cute!

It looks like Santa came that night!
 As excited as he was about his presents, we were really surprised that he didn't tear through them really quickly. Instead he would open one and want to play with it, or read it for a while before we convinced him to open another. And so far he has played with everything about equally - he loves his matchbox cars and puzzles as much as the Kindle (thank goodness!). 

Jeff's favorite present were his new Nike's (surprise, surprise!). But I didn't get a picture of them. My favorite is pretty much unbeatable, though. Jeff took our blog and had compiled the first couple of years' worth of posts into a book!! I know it took him hours - and it was so sweet! I've been saying for more than a year I want to get that project started and haven't. The fact that he took the time to do it for me was so sweet! I love it - what a personal present!
Everyone came to our house for Christmas dinner, which was delicious! We were so excited to spend it in our new home.
 Grandma & Grandpa brought this with them:
Then we just hung out for the rest of the day and enjoyed spending time together. What a great Christmas!
Another favorite present in action!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Lights!

Every year Jeff and I have a tradition of going up to see the lights on Temple Square. It started with our first date, and we've never missed a year.  It's one of the things I look forward to most about our holiday season. This year we happened to pick the coldest day of the year so far to go up ... BRRR!

But as always, the night didn't disappoint - we had a great time!
But it wouldn't be Christmas without taking Landon up as well! We drove to one of the Trax stations and took the train up. Clearly this is one of his favorite parts!
We timed it so we could start in the daylight and be there right as it was getting dark (it was the Saturday before Christmas, so we knew the crowds would be crazy!). 

We love that Trax lets off right at City Creek Mall. They have such pretty fountains - we love watching the water. 
I love it when I catch these two being buddies...
We made our way over to Temple Square and were there the moment they turned the lights all on!
Clearly someone thought it was beautiful!
The view of the temple from the nativity...
Right before we headed home, I needed a picture with my little man
 What an amazing a beautiful place to feel the Christmas spirit and to remember the real reason why we are celebrating at the time of year! We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reflections, Guilt and Gratitude

As a nation we have been hit hard by several tragic events throughout the last few years. My heart aches thinking about each event, the parents and children effected and the lives that will simply never be the same. Whether you or I believe gun control or better mental health options are the answer doesn't really matter right now, because right now we are healing again from a tragedy too big to comprehend and need to focus on that (yes, I have an opinion, and no, it doesn't matter right here or now). Especially at this time of love and joy. 

Christmas is such a magical time of year. But I'll be honest. I haven't felt as magical this year. Call it the stress and my inability to say no to being over-committed, call it reeling from the recent events, call it being 8 (almost 9!) months pregnant. Call it what you will, I've just been a bit bah-humbug for my own taste.  

I've spent some time thinking about it. I have had brilliant moments of sheer Christmas joy, and others of being a total Scrooge about the whole thing and wondered why that is. I think all the things I listed above play into it, honestly. Which has then led to my own guilt over the matter. If you don't know me well I am a guilty person ... meaning I feel guilt easily and heavily. Including mommy-guilt. 

Do you know how sweet my boy is (probably, because I talk about it incessantly :)!)? But do you also know that sometimes I don't appreciate him the way I should? Sometimes I am tired. Or need to work. Or just need a bit of a break. And I know those things are normal. But I feel so guilty over it. These are our last few weeks of it just being us during the day. And as excited as I am, I am sad. I love our time. But if I love it so much why do I sometimes wish the day would go just a bit faster? Or wish I could have a few minutes of a break? Oh the guilt that sets in then! 

But today I decided to just let it be. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I just won't be perfect. And that is just how it is. And I will focus more on all the moments I am grateful for and forget about the hard mom-moments, because, you know what? At least I have them. I might not love seeing a tantrum, but I'm so grateful he is here in front of me to tantrum. And subsequently for us to talk about it later (once he is again rational).

Instead, I'm going to focus on the moments I have been really grateful for lately ... and the things that have made me laugh. Because our days are also filled with funny, cute things I never want to forget.

On Sunday we did a little playing in the fresh snow. (BTW, did you know I bought adorable snow boots this year ... so I can really be the fun, stylish mom who plays in the snow. Admittedly I really just took pictures and Jeff played in the snow, but I think not doing snow angels this pregnant is excusable :)!) When we asked Landon if he wanted to make snow angels he said "no, I want to make a snow baby Jesus!" We laughed pretty hard. He did end up making several snow angels when we explained it to him.

We were invited over to our friend's home for dinner. While we were there Landon was helping Scott figure out their pilot light situation in their fireplace. It was so cute to watch!

Monday we got to celebrate my awesome mom's birthday! Landon was SO excited to help make her cake. And to blow out her candles (multiple times over). We're so lucky to have grandparents so close to us and so involved in our lives. 

Jeff has this bad habit of jokingly asking me what I got him for Christmas (b-days, etc.). Well, the other day he asked Landon (jokingly) "What did you get dad for Christmas?" I reminded Landon "It's a secret!!" and Landon ran toward Jeff yelling out "It's a secret, Dad, I got you GLOVES!" 

Jeff and I about died laughing. It was just so cute and innocent. 

Then I had the opportunity to take Landon to his art class, which is pretty much his favorite day of the month. During it the kids did a parade. Landon was a reindeer. He was really unsure about the fact that the antlers had a bow on them (he couldn't quite figure it out) and the fact that they didn't give him a red nose to wear. How can you be a reindeer without a red nose?!

See? When I look at just the last few days, I am filled with gratitude. And ultimately love and the Christmas spirit. Since I needed this little boost and challenge, I'm going to challenge each of you to do a little reflecting and focus a little more on what you're grateful for this holiday season. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Landon & Dad's Big 'Adbenture'

This last weekend Landon and Dad went on a big 'adbenture' (as Landon calls it). I had committed to speak at a Relief Society event so they decided to head down to St. George to a family gingerbread-making party. They left Friday and got McDonalds (very cool to Landon) to eat in the car. 

They got there really late, but bedtimes don't count on adventures, you know.

The next day Landon was in heaven playing with his cousins, and seeing Grandma and Grandpa.
Trying out his musical talents in Emily & Gracie's room
Then they got around to making the ginger bread houses. Here he and Grandma are hard at work. Pretty sure this is the most he focused :)!
 Because then he discovered the marshmallows. (Yes, he is eating them off the counter. Classy.)
 But his finished house looks awfully cute!! 
My brother in law and nephew went hunting that morning and brought home a doe. Which they then skinned outside. Landon, thought this was fascinating! He did, however, think it was a donkey - which he reminded everyone that Mary rode :)! 

After getting thoroughly hyped on sugar and worn out by cousins they headed home. Jeff and I had to speak in church on Sunday, so their adventure was only an overnight one this time. 

And what did mom do with her men gone? I went to the temple with Ale on Friday night - she went through before her upcoming wedding. Then I slept in. And spoke at a really beautiful Relief Society Christmas Brunch (I'm telling you ... this ward goes all out for these things. The theme was "Angels Among Us" and they even served angel food cake French toast!), and then Jeff scheduled me a prenatal massage. Heaven, I tell you! Heaven.

But honestly, as fun as my little "time" was, I really missed them. A lot. And I'm so glad they are home!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Week of Adventures

This last week was a whirlwind! And officially the last one I knew would be insane before Christmas. We don't seem to slow down well around here (probably my fault ...). 

The first big activity of the week was last Wednesday - Ale's bridal shower. The day started off with a bang. I needed to get an in-home exam done for some life insurance stuff we've been updating. The medical assistant showed up late (she forgot her bag and had to turn around to go get it) only to have locked her keys in her car (along with her medical supplies bag and phone)! She called her husband from my phone to tell him where to come get her with extra keys. Only, they share a car, so he also had to track down a vehicle.

They only live in West Jordan but it took him almost TWO hours to get to our house. Keep in mind I am expecting about 20 women later in the day and had to clean and make food (with a two year old "helper") ... Finally he calls because he is getting off on our exit. Then he gets lost between there and our house for the next 30 minutes. I kept asking if we should just go meet him where he was and lead him to our (very easy to find) house. Finally she took me up on it. So I loaded us all in the car and drove until we located him and brought him back. It was quite the morning for a tiny little medical exam. Luckily it all was done by noon and I had plenty of time to finish up before Ale's big night!! And she was really sweet, so it wasn't (completely) awkward.

I chose an "All Around the House" theme for the shower because they need a lot of those essentials ... and because I could decorate/have invites and food that reflected a 1950's housewife theme. I heart themes :)! Every guest was assigned a "room" they were supposed to bring their gift for. 

We played a game, ate delicious food and then Ale opened her presents. The best line of the night had to be when she opened my mom's gift:

"Oh look! She gave me cooking things!!"

Those 'cooking things' would be pots and pans. Oh to be 23 again :)!

The invites ... done by my talented friend Kristen at  Sage Digital Designs
One party down ... two to go!

Jeff and I were on our ward party committee for the Christmas party. It was really fun to have something to get involved in. The theme was "The Grinch" and we created Whoville and everything. We were the publicity part of the committee (wish I could take credit for these invites ... but alas, it was Kristen again). 
Place Settings
Another night, another Santa
 The night was a huge success and I wish I could say we had more to do with it - but it was a pretty amazing committee. Landon even sat on Santa's lap again and told him the EXACT same things he wanted for Christmas! We walked away tired but starting to actually feel like we're part of the ward - you know, for real. And that we really might make some good friends here. It's a good feeling. 

Saturday morning we braved the free Frontrunner day to let Landon ride the train. Biggest mistake EVER. Everyone else was doing the same thing and it was SO cold out (finally). And the train was running super late because of the unexpected crowds (if something is free in Utah how were they not expecting huge crowds?!). We pretty much regretted it. I would have rather just paid for the ride! Landon did take this adorable self portrait on the train though ... 

Saturday night was a fun night for just Jeff and I. Five years ago I started to work with my current company - and through that have made some very dear friends. We were able to all get together and have a little dinner party, and it was just what the month of craziness ordered! We've seen each other through six (soon to be eight) new babies and all their phases, we've each bought a new house and moved (one out of the area and she was back - reason enough to celebrate!!), new positions in our careers, new motherhood, and life in general. And through it our husbands have also become close friends. Just having them all in the same room makes me so happy!
I don't do much half way. Also, if you have fancy dishes they must be used!
It has been one CRAZY December around here so far. I'm thinking we should just coast into the holidays and take it easy from here on out. But I know us better than that! It might not be a three-event week, but I doubt we'll slow down too much :)! Happy December!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Super Awesome Grandparents

Sometimes I take a step back and realize how lucky Landon is because he has super awesome grandparents.

My dad works really close to us now. One day this week he stopped by just to have lunch with Landon and take the time to play with him.

On Friday I had a work meeting that lasted most of the day. My mom met me in north Orem and took Landon to a special Grandma breakfast (McDonalds), then they went to a couple of her stores. After that she asked him where he wanted to go ... and took him there (a good lesson for mom and dad, since I feel like sometimes we get caught up in what we need to do instead of what he might want to do). They went to the "fish store" and hung out ... for an HOUR. Then she bought him three new fish for his fish tank. They named them after the three stooges. After the fish store they went to Barnes and Noble, ate lunch at the cafe and hung out in the kid section for another hour. Seriously, she has the patience of a saint. He was glowing when I picked him up - he was so, so happy. He was so excited to show the fish to me when I met up with them I was afraid they would die of shaken fishy syndrome :)! It was so cute, and I was so grateful to know that he was having a fun time. 

Then the last time Jeff's parents were in town they left a present for Landon to open on December 1. Landon totally gets the idea of presents now and was delighted. It included a Christmas pillow case so he can sleep on snowmen - loves it! And it had a Fisher Price Nativity in it. He was SUPER excited about baby Jesus and all the animals. He promptly got down and set it up on his night stand. I would have included a picture, but he brought them all in this morning to our room to say good morning to us and rearrange them on the floor. He definitely understands that the baby Jesus is the most important part of the nativity - but next to that it goes camel, donkey, cow and sheep. Then the angel. The other people fall somewhere below that :)!

We are lucky to have them both close enough to see often. I have a feeling their attention will help ease the new baby transition. It makes Jeff and I so happy that he feels so loved.