Sunday, August 26, 2012

jesika's wedding

Jesika was one of my roommates from apartment 308-the best group of friends I've ever had.  She's more than a friend to me-a sister, a roommate, someone I'm always going to love.  
And she got married last Saturday.

So Kent and I left the kids with my parents, woke up early early, 
and drove to Rexburg.

It was the strangest feeling--we lived there for four years and haven't been back since we graduated, almost four years ago.  

And holy cow has that place changed!  So many new big and shiny apartment complexes. 

But there were still places we recognized...
like the parking spot across from my apartment complex where we had our first kiss,

the Smith building where both Kent and I spent most of our days in classes,
and the beautiful Rexburg temple.  

She is gorgeous. I just love weddings-such a happy day!

I was so so excited for this wedding.  Jesika was at my house back in January the day before she went on her first date with Blaine,
she came over many times while dating him and we girl-talked,
I was there when she realized she loved him;
it was fun to feel like a small part of this process.  

And of course it was pretty fun to feel young and carefree again-
thank you Mom and Dad for watching our kids!
The roommates--minus Kayla-we sure wished she could have been there too!

We got to attend the beautiful sealing in the Temple, 
then we went to the luncheon---
let me just say,
I have never before
had so much fun at a luncheon.

We sat together at a table, and one of Blaine's friends, from Boston-an employee of Mitt Romney's campaign, sat with us.   
Between my roommate Megan's awesome questions, and this guy's hilarious answers and stories,
we were laughing so hard we were crying.  
So fun.
After the luncheon, Kent and I walked around campus a bit.

BYU-Idaho has changed a ton since we were there--
in just four years there are some parts of campus that we didn't recognize at all!
The new student center was incredible,
and the Spirit there was so strong-

I found myself wishing I could still be there.  I miss that school.  I miss the classes an the teachers. Maybe not the homework part, but everything else.  

Rexburg isn't the most desirable place in the world (cold!) but it was a beautiful time in my life,
full of friends, fun, learning, and spiritual feasting.
I was so glad to have a reason to go back and visit.

We went to Rexburg's dollar theater to see the movie Brave
drove out to Jesika and Blaine's reception, 
and then drove the couple hours back to my parents' house,
watching the sun set in the smoke-filled sky.

Friday, August 24, 2012

and so begins the next chapter

She crawls, you see.
She'd been close, so very close,
for so long.

And then, two Sundays ago, at my parents' house,

she just took off.  Just like that.
Ever since then, she's everywhere.  

This girl is a mover.  

I forgot how weird it is at first to put your baby down, leave the room,

and have them be somewhere different when you come back.

But I love crawling.  It's a happy milestone at our house.  I love that she can get places on her own, find her own toys, 

explore the house, 
come find me,
and it isn't as life-altering as walking is.

She crawls with her left leg straight, pushing off on her toes, and dragging her right knee across the floor.

Nicholas's life has changed too. 

Now Ew-ie can get his stuff.  

But, she can follow him, play with him.  

They follow each other around, and I hear them laughing from somewhere else in the house.
Nicholas actually really likes to play with her,
and that makes this Mama happy.

We have a gate at the top of the stairs, but she'd never even attempted going up from the bottom.  

Today I ran upstairs to put my hair in a ponytail. (which takes like what? maybe a minute?)

Soon Nicholas comes running in the bathroom--"Mom, Ellie's trying to come upstairs."

I was thinking she must be on the bottom step or so, 

I ran out to go down and catch her before she could fall,
and there she was, smiling at me, All The Way Upstairs.  
She climbed the entire staircase on the first try, all by herself.

Let me repeat, 
This girl is a mover.
(and yes, we now have a gate at the bottom of the stairs too.)

I was shocked but a little bit proud too.  She is a determined soul and 

while that might make things difficult for us as she grows,
I am hopeful she will also be good.
and I am filled with awe as I think of the great things a good, determined woman can do.

She's still a baby, but things are changing.
and we are moving on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

the birthday

 I heard him wake up while I was still laying in bed.
"Why did you put these here??" he called.
I found him standing behind the streamers.  "I can't go through them! You need to take them down."
"It's not my birt-day yet. Later.  Not yet. Just later."

But as soon as Kent mentioned the presents waiting downstairs Nicholas changed his mind.
"Oh, it is my birt-day today!"
We let him open one present first thing in the morning.

 $15 tunnel from IKEA.  Best birthday present ever.  It's been a week, and he still plays with this tunnel for hours at a time, every single day.

 Then, while I was in the bathroom I hear him, 
"Oh wow! It's a...."

So we let him open just one more present that morning.  A road rug.

Kent's friend from high school brought her little boy over to play while they went to a wedding that afternoon.  It was crazy boy fun-driving hot wheels cars across the kitchen and filling the tunnel with balloons.

Nicholas loved the streamers I put up on the walls--told me "Those signs mean 'Happy Birthday to Nicholas!"

Kent's mom, his brother Mason, and my brother Josh came over for dinner--baked ziti, homemade bread, peas, and watermelon.  We ate dinner outside, then came in for cake and ice cream and presents.

For weeks Nicholas had been asking for a "cake with a pink fish" on it. We substituted an orange fish cake.  He LOVED it.   

And a tip to the future me?  Decorate the cake the day before the birthday.  Trying to decorate a cake (with a three-year-old's help), clean the kitchen, make dinner, babysit another three-year-old, all while trying to make the day special and happy for your three-year-old?  Not such a great idea.  

But we had so much fun that night when everyone came for the party.
 Nicholas with Uncle Mason and Grammer Teresa.  And his very own Taco truck!
 This is what a family picture looks like in real life.
A whole day of "birthday-ing" made for one very tired and very spoiled little boy.

 Uncle Josh kept him smiling, though.

 We drove up to my parents' house the next night to celebrate all over again.  Fish cupcakes, more presents, and another round of "happy birthday to Nicholas!"  (Nicholas sings too, the whole song, then blows out his candles one by one.)

I'm not sure how he's three years old already, 
but oh how I love my boy!

glad to have you

Nicholas turned three on Thursday.

I got my first taste of how birthdays are maybe just a little bit kinda stressful as a mom.  

But as Kent took Nicholas upstairs to go to bed that night, 
Nicholas told him that he had
"The best birthday ever."

And as I tucked him into bed he smiled at me and said,
"I'm so glad you're my mommy."

So yeah, totally worth it.

And I'm glad to have you too, Nicholas.
Happy three years old.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

licorice, peek-a-boo, and a chipmunk

One thing about the way I feed Ellie the same food I'm eating.
If I'm ever eating,
and she's not?
She is NOT happy.  

And when Ellie isn't happy, everyone knows.
She has this pterodactyl screech.

So, she gets lots of vegetables and fruits and grains and meat,
but she also gets to sample treats.
Because if Mommy gets a licorice,
Ellie needs one too!

I know I've told you how much Ellie likes to play peek-a-boo.

But really, this girl loves to cover her head with her blanket,
flap her arms around wildly and breathe really fast for a minute or two,
then pull the blanket off her head and laugh and laugh.  

The best way for me to get her to take a nap while we were camping was for us to strap her into the stroller and take a long slow walk around the campground. Then I'd park the stroller in the shade and let her sleep nearby.  

The morning we were packing up, Ellie was napping in the stroller down by my car.  
I brought a load of blankets down from the tent, and when I got to the stroller there was a chipmunk sitting on Ellie's lap!  She was sound asleep, and she had a chipmunk on her lap.  

I should have taken a picture, 
but my mama-bear instinct was
"Get off my baby, you creature!" and I scared him away.
Maybe next time I'll pull out my camera first.

Friday, August 17, 2012

bear lake top ten

We went to Bear Lake with my family last Saturday.
My ten most memorable things about that trip:

1. Building a drip castle. Err, Kingdom.

complete with castle, cathedral and cemetery, blacksmith shop, stables, stone-laid roads, two motes, outer farmland and duke's chateau, central marketplace, trees, and village homes.

2. Nicholas before Sammy arrived: 
 Sitting in the shade, making us rinse the sand off his toes every few seconds, avoiding the camera, whining, asking for more cheetos, and using his hair and his eyebrows as napkins...  
(oh, and I forgot to bring his swimsuit...)

3. Nicholas after Sammy and his family joined us:

4. My mom finally getting Ellie to take a nap via the same method I napped at bear lake when I was her age.

5. The weather.  So perfect.  The lake water was the warmest I've ever felt it.  The beach was crowded.  As in, they actually closed access and stopped letting people in.  But we lucked out and didn't feel overcrowded in our spot. Oh, and we got to watch someone get married in a shade canopy up by the bathrooms.   Yeah, it was about as glamorous as it gowns and swimsuits and a pavilion and an outhouse in the background...

6. Taking the raft out--Kent, Sarah, Josh, and me.  I was laughing so hard at one point that I thought I might drown.  To sum:  at one point Josh did an unintentionally perfect impression of a seal sliding back into the raft. The seal barking was intentional; the perfection was not.

7. So glad Kent got to come with.  And thank you, thank you, Mom, Dad, Sarah, everyone for helping with our kids so we got to do some playing too!

8.  Raspberry Lime shakes from Quick and Tasty.  Heaven in a paper cup.

9.   A moment of smartness that told me not to leave my keys in my unlocked car while I was sitting in my mom and dad's van while we were waiting for our shakes.  

Followed by a not-so-smart moment.  

Kent ordered a hamburger.  It was taking forever.  So my parents headed home.  Nicholas rode with them.  
Me, Kent, Sarah, and Ellie waited for Kent's food.
Kent's food came.
We got in the car.  
Where are the keys?

In my mom and dad's car. Heading home. In the canyon. No cell phone reception in the canyon.

Sent a text to Mom, Dad, and Josh.  "MY KEYS ARE IN YOUR CAR!  Cause I'm an idiot."
Knew it would be about 45 minutes before they saw the text and another hour after that before they could come back for us.

10.  SO, we walked. We tried to help a man driving a semi cab find a house named "3D."  We stood in line to get a taco and then changed our minds. We sampled fudge. Ellie was happy as a clam in the moby wrap. We read a sign about fish that are androgynous to Bear Lake. (six species!)  We found a  place that sold a survival tent, a pink sleeping bag, an air mattress, gas station food, ice cream, chandeliers, and cabin furniture (all in one place).  

And Dad came and rescued us. We bought him a brisket sandwich, got one more raspberry lime shake, and called it a day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

my boy and his best friend

I have a cousin who is just two weeks older than Nicholas.
Sammy is the reason Nicholas had so. much. fun. while we were camping.
These two boys are inseparable, always get along, and are just plain cute.

Sammy gives Nicholas some bravery (which my tender boy sure needs at times!) and Nicholas plays leader and they play and play and play.

We shared a campsite with my aunt and uncle last week, and these two boys hardly even stopped playing long enough to eat.
 You have no idea what it means to have Nicholas so willing to give me a real smile for the camera.  (Teresa and Heidi, you really do know what it means.) 
He did this readily every single time I turned my lens towards him the entire week.
He was having the time of his life.  

They insisted on holding hands while we walked around the lake.

 Tonka trucks are a long-standing tradition for the Murray family camping trip.  The kids sit in the back and slide down the hills in them. Crazy, dusty, fast, and maybe a little dangerous.
Sammy and Nicholas pushed those trucks around hour after hour after hour, filling them up with dirt and rocks and pinecones and dumping them out somewhere else.  

Only, Nicholas, because he is Kent's son,
was convinced they were actually called "taco trucks."
Of course.

They also spent equal time pulling toy boats with strings around in the dirt, pretending to shoot off fireworks by throwing pinecones into the air, making their own "parades" around the campsites and requiring us to throw pretend candy at them,
riding the bike (and taking turns with no problem at all!) and hunting for "mice" (chipmunks).

A conversation from the first day we were there:

The two boys ran up the hillside in the weeds, then came back very excited.

"We saw a mouse!  We found a mouse!"
Sammy:  "It was gray!"
Nicholas: "It was purple!"
Sammy: "It had a tail."
Nicholas: "It had a bandaid."

Nicholas: (with his fists in the air) "I'M SO LUCKY!!!"

I think I know which boy I'll be listening to when they come to report some trouble-making they've done...Nicholas just didn't quite get those facts straight.

Although, I didn't see the squirrel/mouse, so who knows?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

something about that y chromosome

Boys and dirt. You just can't keep them apart.  
Nicholas had the time of his little life while we were camping last week.

Kent wasn't able to come with us because he's pretty tight on paid time off at his new job so far.  I was a little worried about camping with just me and the kids, but I knew I'd have plenty of help from all my family.

And it turned out that my kids were awesome.  Seriously.  Happy the whole time.  
They slept great at night.  They played and ate and Ellie even napped as long as she was either in the stroller or in the moby wrap. 
 Throwing rocks into the lake. Always a favorite for boys of all ages.

The Murray family camping trip is basically a family reunion.  Everyone who can make it comes.  We've been camping there every year for as long as I can remember. 
We had four connecting campsites this year, and it was perfect-the kids just ran from camp to camp and we all visited and played. 
At our dutch oven dinner on Tuesday night, we had 66 family members there.  We were only missing 8 or 9 out of the whole family!  My grandma came up for the dinner that night,
and she came again the next day with Aggie ice cream, of course!

 Carrying my sleeping girl as we hiked around the lake.  
It got pretty warm by the end, and I had to strip Ellie down to her undershirt because she was so sweaty.
Oh, and my brother Josh pointed out to me that I had a huge hole in the seat of my pants...
Us Andersen girls hike in style.

 My mom and dad have perfected camping.  Seriously.
I have a theory that the reason most people (women particularly) don't like camping is because they've never been camping with the Murray family.  We eat like kings when we camp, my mom knows exactly what to pack to make things just right and comfortable, and she always brings an entire rubbermaid tote full of goodies like homemade snickerdoodles and banana bread and licorice.
Always licorice and cinnamon bears.
They've got camping all figured out, and we're almost as comfortable camping as we are at home.  
That is, if our air mattresses stay inflated...Mom and Dad didn't have quite as comfortable an experience as some of the rest of us.
Such a fun week. I'm so grateful I live close enough to come camping with my family.

A few memorable quotes:

"But Batman doesn't have wings..."
"Does he look like Andre the Giant did? 'Cause that's a disease."
"We're camping, right??"  
"But, I'm not clean!"  (Nicholas after falling in the if he just noticed)
"It was like a tri-tone ethereal weedwhacker."
"This water cooler needs new batteries."

And seriously, next year we've got to try the walking-around-with-the-screen-tent idea.  It would be Epic. With a capital E.