Viva Las Vegas
To celebrate knowing each other half of our lives we decided a trip to Vegas was in order.
First day in our apartment soph year, Aug 2001.
I was a bit overwhelmed with selling our current house, building our new house, just getting back from Washington, and dealing with everyday kid (Miles) things. So, these amazing ladies just let me show up.
I planned nothing. I made no choices (other than New York New York roller coaster)
. I didn't get an uber once. I didn't even have to drive or navigate. They pretty much let me be dead weight and it was just what I needed.
These are my people and I am grateful everyday I got to go through college with them. Words can't even express what I feel for these 3 and how I will be forever grateful they were put in my path.
We ate amazing food and did lots of people watching.
We sat poolside.
We choose the strenuous hike for the first time in 11 years, since we didn't have kids with us.
It was a blast. Lots of climbing, slipping, and laughing. We even lost the trail for awhile.
But, we climbed to higher ground and figured it out. We are pretty Bad-A like that.
I never thought Las Vegas could be beautiful. I was wrong.
Never a dull moment with this group.
After our hiking we got thai massages. One of the crazier things I've done. :) We haven't stopped laughing about it and pretty much it just bonded us even more.
We had tickets to see Celine. Sadly, she cancelled her show. Backstreet Boys weren't performing on the night we could go. So, naturally we ended up at Penn and Teller.
I still can't figure out how they did any of those tricks up on stage. It was impressive.
My one requested activity was to ride the New York, New York roller coaster.
So good for the soul to have a little terror mixed in with screaming and laughter with some of your favorite people.
Here's Emily and I riding it back in 2002. We still make the same terrified faces.
Another throw back to mine and Emily's first time to Vegas together in February 2002 when we were 19.
Still BFF's 18 years later.
Another highlight for me was having uninterrupted time to talk with Michelle on our drive to and from Vegas. When we get together we usually have 4-8 children running all around us, so it's hard to get a complete sentence in. We also got to listen to the old CD mixes we burned, on Michelle's beloved CD burner, in college. Best of times.
It's been 18 years. Lots of moves between us. Even more kids. We've had different life experiences and we have a variety of views on a variety of topics. Yet through it all, we have been able to remain close.
It's a privilege to be able to surround myself with these strong women who are passionate about the life they are living. I pray everyday my kids make friends like these when they go to college.
January always seems to have at least 58 days in it. I used to think this was due to the snow and freezing temps. But, nope. It's just January.
January is always
rough for me and this was one seemed a little worse than my norm. One of my main ways to cope with the looming depression, anxiety, and paul's work schedule is to keep busy and get outside as much as possible.
This means we've had lots of friends over (mine and theirs).
There's been lots of park days with friends. Scooter riding, bike riding, sidewalk chalk drawing, hiking, and walks to Target.
We hiked up Grove Creek with the Rensink's.
Not bad for a Saturday in January.
The kids favorite part was the frozen water on the branches in the creek. Every kid had to have one and no one fell in the creek. Big hiking success.
The kids have even started going barefoot in January and I don't even mind. We have had a few days in the 50's, afterall.
Luckily we got one good snowstorm and we got to introduce The Johnson's to our favorite sledding hill.
The girls had to enlist the dad's help to get the snowman put together, they were so heavy!
So happy we got to use our new sled one more time.
Ruby cleared all the snow off the tops of the tables in the backyard for me one day after dance. When it snowed again a few days later she was so annoyed and said "Mom, I need my mittens. The tables have snow again!"
I've been trying to not do TOO much electronic time during the day when M&M are at school.
dot painting was much messier than I planned and much more stressful. Thus, they spent the rest of the afternoon on The Switch.
We took our friends to the Children's Museum. Ruby is getting too giant, it is still weird to me that I am out of the baby phase.
We tend to avoid the library, because I cannot afford to pay for all the books we ruin. Luckily this day, no one complained when we left without checking out a book.
Ruby and Izella both took turns sitting in the rocking chair and reading books aloud for us. It was the cutest thing ever.
One thing I look forward to everyday is picking up Crew from school. Everyday he runs toward the car with the biggest grin on his face and I can't even stand it.
I also look forward to reading with him before M&M come home from school.
This day he thought it was hilarious that the author thought this pteranodon was a dinosaur. After he read "This is a dinosaur" under a picture of the Pteranodon he said, "This author is so silly. This is not a dinosaur. It is a flying reptile". He is correct. We only raise geniuses around here.
January-March is Paul's extra
busy time, so we have been taking advantage of having him home Saturdays.
We did a BYU day
to see the Titanoboa exhibit, it was actually really cool. The Bean Museum has stepped up their game. Museum of Natural Art
to see the MC Escher exhibit.
And Lunch at the Cougareat.
We finally made it up the Harry Potter exhibit at South Towne
. Everyone loved it and I am glad we waited for the Christmas crowds to clear out.
Ruby started Sunbeams
I almost forgot she was even starting Sunbeams that day because Miles was in a state of freak out. All due to the fact that he would now be going to his class first instead of sharing time. Luckily, I remembered 10 min before we were suppose to leave for church, so I actually combed her hair and snapped the above picture.
She also gave the prayer in sharing time like a champ a few weeks later and looks like a complete giant next to her fellow sunbeams.
An exciting neighborhood happening was Ashley having her baby
I got to stay at her house while she was having him and Roman was not too pleased to wake up and find me there. Luckily he still cuddled with me for a little bit and watched The Crown.
We had the all the O'neal kids over for a pizza and movie party. Kids were in heaven.
And Ashley even let Macey and I borrow Killian one evening to snuggle while she got the rest of her kids to bed. Other Bright Lights in my dark January were: The Kids trip to the Dentist-
1. Ruby cooperated for the first time. She got her xrays, laid in the chair and got her teeth cleaned without any screaming or being held down. Miracle and out of no where.
2. Miles. The dentist (haircut, dr..) with this child can end up being an all out war. I usually have to stand next to him, hold his hand and whisper encouraging words in his ear. They always give him the best hygienist and even then he's difficult and screaming and crying, and rolling around.
This time, he didn't need me at all, I was actually able to check on all the kids. And for the first time ever I wasn't dripping sweat when we were done.
Also notice, he isn't even wearing sweat pants!!!! Guys, those are real pants made out of material that is not jersey. Which makes the fact that he cooperated even more of a miracle. Normally on a day when he is out of sweats we have to dig through the dirty clothes and find the least dirty pair. But, for some reason this morning he just put on real pants. #miracle
Bonus: NO CAVITIES FOR ALL FOUR
I seriously felt like we needed a standing ovation as I walked out of the office with my head held high.
Also, found this game changer for me. "an accommodation is something that helps your child function as close to the level as possible of other children..."
Helped to ease that mom guilt that I am spoiling or giving into Miles, I am just helping him be able to engage better in this amazing world we live in. Somedays I need the reassurance that I am doing what is best for him. Sisters
Ruby is the biggest copy cat around. Normally she is copying the boys, which is not ideal. But, sometimes Macey pays extra attention to her and Ruby starts copying Macey and then my evenings are much calmer. This evening Ruby was wearing her headphones just like Macey and they were having a dance party. Makes a mama heart happy. Family Home Evening
We've been consistently having family time after dinner on Sunday and it has been going shockingly well. This is huge for us. Nice People
As I am sure you can imagine church is rough with this group. Sacrament meeting is usually the worst 1 hour and 15 min of my entire week. After a normal Sunday of trying to keep them entertained and contained while still being nice and feeling like I ran a marathon when it was all over, I found this on my porch. Along with adorable coloring books that my kids have actually liked.
It was a good reminder that we are surrounded by incredible people that are not judging us, but encouraging us. They don't care that Miles often wears old navy flip flops to church or that Ruby is stealing every thing from everyone and then throwing things at them at random intervals during sacrament meeting. Or the fact that we usually get to church with at least 1 child's hair uncombed and 1 child with a dirty face. Love nice people. Glad I get to interact with them and hope I can be one.
Also found this gem of a book Paul made me before we were married.
Love finding things like this.
It's always fun to look back on the month, especially one where I felt like I was drowning, and realize there were so many good things that happened. And those are the moments I hope my kids can remember. Not the crazy in between parts where I was loosing my mind. :)
This was our theme for September.
Macey did not think it was funny. :) #truth
The reality is it's pretty much chaos around here all the time, but usually it is the good chaos. Well, until 5:00 rolls around, then it's usually the bad kind.
Crew and Ruby are my constant companions and I am just trying to remind myself that they will never love me more than they do right now. So, I try to enjoy being constantly climbed on and talked to and followed. Luckily I still enforce quiet time to give me some time to recover.
And reading with this kindergartner is one of my favorite parts of my day.
The highlight of the month for Ruby was starting dance class
with Hailey and Izella.
She's been dying to have a teacher of her own ever since the kids went back to school. She was always asking me "What my teacher name? My teacher going to like me?" Her long awaited day came and she now has a teacher of her own, Miss Jenn.
She loves dance and I love watching her. I am also shocked by how calm she is in class, not what I expected. And after her first class she fell asleep on the way home (11:00 am), obviously there was a lot of pent up excitement.
One of the best parts though, is Ashley, Traci and I actually get to workout for 45 min during their class. It's one of the highlights of my week. September was full of friends.
Cora came to town to visit, so Macey got to spend almost 2 days with the Rensinks and we borrowed Peter for a late night.
bottom left pic: The Everett kids were locked out one afternoon and my kids were overjoyed to find them sitting on the grass out front. They instantly tackled them and forced them to play until Gina got home. :)
Funny story with this picture:
Ruby was napping, so I decided I'd take a nap. I told the kids they could play Wii and to stay inside. I woke up to 4 O'Neal kids playing the Wii with my 3 kids. One of the many reasons I have learned not to nap.
Trips to Thanksgiving Point
Paul always has to make a Ninja Warrior course on the playground for them and then has to be the announcer as they run it. #iseeyouBYU games
We got football season tickets this year. The season has been extremely disappointing, but the games are still fun.
And enjoying every moment of the cooler temps, before the cold actually comes.
face painting, balloon animals, carnival games, unlimited food trucks, blowups, train, unlimited popcorn & cotton candy
aka the best day of their lives
and they had a photographer there that captured some pretty awesome shots.
Chalk the Block
Macey had a blast helping out Emmie and Julianne with their Harry Potter themed spot, until they got rained out. She made me promise to sign up with them next year.
These were our 2 favorite entries. Link and Batman...no surprise there.
I could never get a picture of Ruby because she never stopped.
For one of our Activity Days this month I planned a little back to school party.
Love these cute girls.
And lastly, we replaced Macey's full bed with a twin.
It's been amazing, she had no floor space before and now she's been having non stop dance parties with her new found square footage. And she's loving the more tween look. Now to just get the walls decorated.
September was a great month. lots of warm sunshine to enjoy, friends to play with, and finally being back on a schedule!
May was a whirl of fun and chaos.
Macey finished up the last of her Scera Performances.
She had her dance recital with The Emmie's
And then her Showteam Showcase, where all the acting classes performed 2 of their pieces.
Sunny, but not hot weather, was perfect for hitting up a few of our favorite spots before school was out.
We love this part of the Provo River Trail. It is usually pretty empty and there's a bunch of cool places to stop and explore.
We had so much fun, we decided to go after school the next week, so all the kids could enjoy it.
Didn't take into account how much higher the river would be!! It was crazy stressful, but our scare tactics worked (we told the kids they would most likely die if they fell in...which was the truth), so they kept their distance.
At least the outing ended on a peaceful note feeding the horses in the parking lot, a safe distance from the raging river. Thanksgiving Point Gardens
We missed the tulip festival this year, but I didn't mind too much.
There were still a lot of tulips in bloom and barely any people. Farm Country
It was crazy busy with preschool field trips, so after 30 min we walked up to get some icecream.
Crew was not pleased to walk one block and pretty much screamed and whined the whole way.
Until we got to the little gardens where he told me, "mom, I forgot how beautiful it was here." No more crying after that. BYU
campus is one of my happy places.
And if I enter the Cougareat, I cannot leave without a hot loaf of bread with honey butter. Takes me back. :)
It's pretty much just constant friends and playing around here when the sun is out.
lots of bug catching
. bike ridingpark playing. eating
And I've even been allowing children inside! This is not normal for me, but it's gone fairly well.
We've even attempted a few art projects.
and bug drawing (for a bug club meeting)
And just random shenanigans with our best neighbors.
Sometimes though we hideout and have lazy mornings and pretend we don't hear the knocks on our door.
And this would be a typical Saturday morning around here. These 2 playing video games in their underware. Living the dream.
Speaking of underware...Ruby earned a trip to Chuck E. Cheese for being potty trained.
And we squeezed in our last few errands together before everyone was out of school.
She seems so sweet and content in the shopping cart here, but not 5 min. later she determined I was taking too long and started throwing items out of my cart, biting my hands, throwing her shoes. It's always an exciting time with Ruby.
I actually had a great mother's day this year. Thanks to these 4 and Paul.
Got my picture. Got to read. And got to eat good food that I didn't make.
We invited ourselves on the Rensink's date to "Me First and The Gimmie Gimmies".
So fun!! Good music and good company. But, it reminded me how much I hate mosh pits and I am grateful for the security guard that Julianne and I spent much of our time cowering behind.
And we've been trying to adopt a fairly minimalistic lifestyle around here, but I cannot get this girl on board!
here's hoping we can get it figured out this summer.
MARCH MADNESS ADVENTURES
We switched up our routine this month and found some new places to have adventures and explore.UTAH LAKE
While we have of course been to Utah Lake State Park before, we've always gone for some sort of event, so we hadn't actually explored.
So, exploring we did.
The highlight was finding some very cool rocks.
Ashley then introduced us to an area of Utah Lake that we had not been to before.
It was kid heaven. Mud, water, tall grass to hide in, a plank bridge and rocks.
And does anyone else's kids play The 3 Billy Goat Gruff every single time they cross a bridge on foot? Well, mine do. And I was a billy goat and the troll more times than I can count.
We loved this new place so much, we took Paul and M&M there the next Saturday.
I foresee many more explorations taking place here. HANGTIME
Michelle and I took the little kids to toddler time at Hangtime.
It was awesome. Michelle and I impressed our children with our skills. I was completely worn out. And it proved to me why I don't go when it's open to the public. YOGA WITH THE SHARKS
A highlight of the month for me was doing Yoga at the aquarium.
It was one of the best girls nights I have ever had. We got to do yoga outside the shark tank, then explore the entire aquarium kid free, and then dinner afterwards. DOUBLE DATE ANIMAL RIDING
Now, we have taken the kids to ride these animals at the mall, but this time it was an adult only double date.
It was amazing. We got some sweet video. We got lots of laughing in. And it's always nice to have a reminder to not take yourself too seriously. :) SCHOOL PROGRAMS
The 4th grade put on an awesome program about Utah's history.
Macey sang her little heart out and did a great job memorizing her lines. Love me a good elementary program.
We of course also frequented some of our favorite spring locations:BYUFARM COUNTRYTHE POND
loved all the snow on the mountains and these kids shocked us by actually playing and swimming in the freezing water.
Like every March, I also got myself a sweet tan/burn line from the many hours I spent sitting at the park with some of my favorite ladies.
I have also been sporting this sweet accessory at the park from time to time. Fanny Packs
are extremely useful. I've got all my necessities front and center while being hands free and not worrying about my phone falling out of my pocket. Plus, it's a good exercise for not worrying about what the other very stylish moms think. :) SOCCER
Spring soccer has started up again. Thus far we have not been lucky in the weather department. But Miles hasn't minded one bit.
We ventured out to Antelope Island before the bugs hit, that's 3 years in a row for us without any nightmarish bug stories.
We brought the O'Neals with us and the kids loved having friends to explore with.
Buffalo Point is one of my kids absolute favorite places to hike to.
There are few things they love more than rocks to climb and hide in.
Crew was quite happy this year that he could climb to all the same places as the big kids.
It was a bit stressful for me though. :)
And how cute are these little bffs?!?
Nailed another group selfie.
Then we ventured down to the Great Salt Lake.
I'd say it was a very successful month around here.