Wednesday, February 21, 2018

December 2017

We kicked off December with our ward Christmas party. We had a delicious french toast breakfast, heard a story about the true meaning of Christmas, and then forced our child to sit on a stranger's lap. It was an all around lovely morning! I must be a terrible mother, because this picture of Rory makes me laugh every time. She's not even reaching for us, just pleading for Stephen to save her with her eyes. 
Stephen has been working out his best grilling methods and I rarely buy him anything but hot dogs to grill because I am so cheap, but he finally had some real meat to cook and he killed it. 
I turned 26 on the 6th and had one of my best birthdays ever. Rory and I had cookies for breakfast, and then proceeded to shop and collect free food all day long. My sweet in-laws sent me a gorgeous bouquet and chocolates and Stephen came home with more chocolate after a long day of work. It was awesome. 
We got to have a fun night out with a group of friends to go see the temple lights. After checking them out, we put the kids to bed and decorated gingerbread houses at our house. I was particularly proud of my gingerbread rendition of our house. 

 Stephen also had his holiday work party at the new aquarium. There was tons of delicious food, a photo booth, a little bit of dancing, and a live, tiny penguin just walking around like he owned the place. I sat around and laughed at his coworkers who abused the open bar, while I did the equivalent with the never-ending dinner entree options. And then they brought out a whole cart of donuts and flavored milk and it was game over. It is a wonder that Stephen ever brings me anywhere at all.

Stephen took an extra long break from work, so we would have from December 14- January 2 to just hang out and celebrate the holidays. I was so excited, but since we were traveling the whole time it meant that I had to have everything ready for Christmas by the 13th. You should have seen our neighbors faces when we delivered Christmas treats on December 4th (so yay, they think we are friendly but they probably also think we are a little insane...) These are the gifts I made for the Marsh grandkids this year. For all the babies (Rory, Siena, Samara, and Tanner) I made these matching headbands/ bowties. I was SO proud of how they turned out. I found the idea for these unicorn sleeping masks on pinterest and went back and forth about whether Sydney, Madi, and Kenz would love them or think they were lame... so I paired them with tons of Skittles and these cupcake bath bombs I found at Wal Mart for $1. They were a total success and turned out SO cute. Probably my best gift was the fluffy Santa slime I made for Jackson and Cooper, but I had to make that the night before Christmas and totally forgot to take a picture. The boys LOVED it and it was actually really cool to make.
Besides that we just spent a lot of time hanging out with Rory to get ready to leave her with the Nielsens for two whole days!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

For Thanksgiving this year Stephen got to take the whole week off. It was an Earl Thanksgiving, but my parents would be getting back from two weeks in Italy a few days before the holiday so they told us they wouldn't be traveling anywhere. At some point, Kacey offered her house for the meal and since it was much closer for most of us we all ran with the idea. My parents couldn't get over the idea of ALL of their children hanging out together without them and so at the last minute they bought a flight to Las Vegas that would get them there Thursday morning. 

With the whole week off, Stephen, Rory, and I headed up first to St George to spend time with his parents and Nate's family. There was a lot of golfing for Stephen and Rory and I got to hang out and relax. We took Rory to the new puppy store and I'm not sure who loved it more- Rory or Poppap. For some reason I took zero pictures, but needless to say, we had a great couple of days. 

On Wednesday morning we drove back to Las Vegas to join my family. Kacey had found an Air BNB just a few streets down from her house and between the two houses there were plenty of places for people to sleep. Stephen and I got the bunk bed room, and I think Stephen would have actually been genuinely excited about the arrangement if the beds had just been a tad bigger. 

In preparation for everyone being together, I had spent hours making matching headbands for the girl cousins because, once again, I have zero chill. They were adorable and it was time well spent. I was in charge of dinner on Wednesday night with Courtney and we made Lasagna and homemade french bread. And yes, I felt like a big freaking deal when that bread actually turned out. We spent Wednesday night baking, totaling 19 pies, just enough for one per person. 

Thursday was all a hazy blur of a crowded kitchen, needing pans and utensils faster than we can wash them, and trying to organize baby nap schedules. Kacey killed it with TWO turkeys, two different kinds of sweet potatoes (both incredible), delicious Charla rolls, and... I'm sure there were vegetables there too but I can't say that I paid them much attention. I was put in charge of the mashed potatoes and in all honesty I did just ok. But they were passable and, when paired with Kacey's gravy, even delicious. It was an awesome meal and Rory enjoyed everything she ate. Oh stuffing! How could I forget? The stuffing was spot on. And pomegranate salad of course. What Thanksgiving is complete without pomegranate salad?

That night we got the Anderson girls from Kacey's ward - who had also eaten with us earlier in the day- to come over and watch all the babies while we all went out for some good ole puzzle-rooming. Yes, my family has an addiction. Can't stop, won't stop. Stephen and I were at the other house putting Rory down when team captains were chosen (the singles- Kendall, Bryan, and Scarlet) and the teams were picked from there. Stephen and I ended up on the dream team with Kristy and Kendall. And then Trevor insisted on coming along and things got instantly lamer. In all actuality Trevor is a genius and I secretly think they should make a show where they put Trevor in a puzzle room by himself, make him talk through his thinking process, and record the whole thing. Kendall, Kristy, and I were way too casual with our handling of the clues for Stephen and Trevor's liking, but we made it out alive in the end anyways. It was a murder mystery on a train and it was super fun. The other teams each did a different room and a joyous time was had by all. 

I don't remember all of our activities over the next couple of days, but I do know there was a lot of Codename playing. On Friday we went out to the red rocks to film an adoption video for Kristy and Trevor. The outfits were varying degrees of appropriate and the children were varying degrees of cooperative. 

It was fun to watch Rory with the other babies, but I was surprised by how much she wanted to be off doing her own thing. I had pictured her wanting to be in the vicinity of the older kids the entire time so she could watch them play, like she does in public places. But instead, all the kids would be jumping on the trampoline and Rory would be wandering the empty side of the backyard, roaming and discovering on her own. She is definitely part Stephen. But the other half of the time she was hug/tackle/kiss/biting her cousins till they cried, so she is definitely part me as well. 

On Sunday, this champion of a baby made the drive back to Gilbert with a stylish 'do and all! We were all happy to have had such a wonderful break together!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

I have lived my entire life awaiting the day when I would get to do a family theme costume. Couple costumes were appealing to me to a certain degree, but nothing can beat the utter adorable-ness that comes from a family all dressed up together.
Last year, Rory was just three weeks old when Halloween rolled around and we didn't get her a costume, (because that would be crazy to dress up our brand new baby, right? Totally crazy, yes? Only an insane person would do that? I asked Stephen multiple times a day) but it was mostly because we were new to the area and didn't have any sort of costume party to go to that year. Plus Stephen ended up working till 9:00 on Halloween and I sat in my living room hiding from trick or treaters while I nursed my new baby. Overall, it was a major let down and I made Stephen promise that night that I would have full control over a family costume for 2017 and he would dress up in whatever I asked him to, and he agreed. So naturally, I began planning our costumes that night.

I made the tutu, the bow collar, and the cat ear headband myself. I became obsessed with both going all out for this costume and also making sure that I kept myself on a tight budget so that the whole thing was only mildly insane. That meant a lot of spread out months collecting materials so that I could use my 40% off coupons for every item. Every time I finished a new piece and tried it on Rory I would cry a little bit because I was so excited. I would make Rory walk around in her tutu or her headband around the house sometimes because I knew that if she wouldn't keep the costume on the night of Halloween all of my hopes and dreams would be dashed. I really shouldn't be admitting all of this... someone is going to come take my child away.

These are the cupcakes I made for the ward party with leftover frosting from Stephen's birthday cake and things I had at home. I thought they turned out pretty cute for such a last minute project. 

Now, may I present... The Aristocats!
*Most people did not get our costumes, and I felt sad for them.
**One girl even asked me if Rory was a unicorn-ballerina-kitty.
*** Stephen cam straight from work, changed into his costume, and met us at the ward party. He was willing to wear cat ears, but that seemed a little gay to me so I didn't make him do that. All night he was asked, "Where are your whiskers and ears?" with one person even adding, "Are you dressed up, or did you come straight from work?" 
**** I still think we totally nailed it. 

 Side story: While I was in New York I got a video from Lucina of Rory walking across the living room like it was no big deal. This was the first time she'd walked more than three or four steps in a row and I was SO PROUD! Of course, she had to wait till the one week I left to do it, but whatever, still proud. Since I had gotten back she'd walk along the walls or the furniture and get herself from place to place, but she hadn't done any walking like I'd seen in the video.

Well as soon as Stephen got to the party, Rory suddenly was dying to get down out of my arms, even though she had wanted to be held all night. I set her down and she immediately took off, once again, like it was no big thing. She walked right down the aisle to Sister Morgan who had her phone hanging out of her back pocket. Turns out she just needed the right motivation. Because I am slightly insane I had hoped, hoped, hoped that Rory would be walking by Halloween because I knew it would make her costume just that much cuter and IT DID. This girl never disappoints.

After having one of my young women snap the picture of us in the dark parking lot, I was really worried that I would have put all this work into the costumes and then we wouldn't have a single clear one of all of us, so after the party I insisted that we try to take more pictures at home. After several minutes trying to figure out my self-timer on my camera while Rory screamed, it was clear that Stephen was DONE and he had already gone above and beyond the call of duty tonight. This is is him smiling even though he would rather not be. He's a good man, that Stephen.

On Halloween night, Rory took a late nap so that she was able to come sit outside with me and wait for trick or treaters. I debated whether I should put her in her costume again or just let her stay in Pajamas, but I just couldn't resist. While I miss getting a true fall in Arizona, I LOVE having warm Halloweens. We sat out on the front porch and ate candy, visited with some of our neighbors, played with rocks, and waited for the small groups of trick or treaters to show up. 

Stephen finally got home from work around 9:00 that night. He rushed inside and then treated us to this:

 Did I say good man? I obviously meant great. Stephen is just so great. My favorite part of the evening was when our neighbor/friends down the street brought their twins by and Stephen was still in this cat getup. Man, I just LOVE HALLOWEEN. I told Stephen he gets to pick our theme for next year, so we will see how he does.