Sunday, November 30, 2014

California trip: Grammer and Papa love

We went to California to see Grammer and Papa. 
Kent's parents are super busy in the fall. Kent's dad owns a nut-packing company, and this is "nut season." 
We're so grateful they were able to squeeze in a little time with us that weekend.

Grammer met us at the cabin, and she was the kids' playmate of choice.  Game after game after game. 

And some silliness here and there: 

 Kent, Ellie, and his parents at what Ellie calls "the funnest park!" 

Nicholas and Ellie ready for Church on Sunday.
The ward we went to up there in the mountains was unbelievably friendly (I think every single member came up to greet us before Sacrament meeting started) and also incredibly...old. 
Which meant that my children were the only kids there.
Which meant that every single little noise they made echoed through the room and everyone could hear them.
They were actually pretty good, but we had to take them out in the hallway probably seven or eight times, simply because they were being, well, children.

At Grammer's house they got to go to the park, hide things in her plantation shutters (Ellie...), and play with this awesome moon sand.

Before we left we visited Papa at the company.

And on our way to the airport, Nicholas got to be the first grandchild to stand where Grammer and Papa's new house will be. 
Ellie was asleep in the car, but Grammer made sure to give her a great big Grandma kiss to wear home.

Thanks again for the fantastic weekend! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November date: a day in Salt Lake City

 The Year of Dates that I gifted to Kent for Christmas last year has been awesome.
Sure, most months things haven't worked out exactly the way I'd planned, but that's just the way it is when you have kids who still need a babysitter. 
The important thing is, these dates have gotten us out of the house, on a real date, doing something other than dinner and a movie, nearly every month this year.

I think I'm going to make this something we do every year.
Although next year, maybe I'll just give him January and February dates....things are going to get a little crazy in March.

Like I said, we've learned that for us, this has to be a flexible thing.

Anyway, for November's date, we enlisted my brother to watch the kids, and Kent and I drove up to Salt Lake to spend the day. 
We got to go through the temple there (I'd never been inside this one!) and oh wow, it blew me away. The details and craftsmanship are incredible, especially considering they were all carved by hand, roughly 150 years ago! 
It really is little wonder this temple took the early saints forty years to complete. 
And I'm grateful they did. Seeing the sacrifice they made for the Church they loved-it's inspiring.

After the temple, we headed over to the famous Red Iguana. Had to try "Utah's best Mexican" out for ourselves.
Oh yeah, it's good. Really really good. Definitely worth waiting outside for half an hour just to get in and get a table.

And because we just weren't quite stuffed enough, (and because we had a babysitter who'd told us to stay out as long as we wanted--what a chance!)
we found a gelato shop.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

California trip: the hot tub

One of the best parts of the cabin is the hot tub on the back porch. 
There's almost nothing better than settling in and watching the steam rise into a starry night sky peeking between the pines. 

Being pregnant, however, I wasn't able to use the hot tub this time around. Swimsuit doesn't fit, plus it's not really encouraged. (Next time!)
But the kids got their full share of hot tub time.

You have no idea how long it took us to convince Nick to get in.
I think he was afraid it was going to be too hot and burn him.
But we encouraged and encouraged (a great exercise in patience for me!)
until he finally reached his hand in and 
"Oh wow, it is really nice! You were right, Dad! Mom, I like it!"

I wonder if these kids will ever realize that Mom and Dad are indeed a little bit smarter than they are.
 Ellie made this awesome pirate face every time she'd get splashed.

 Teresa, Heidi, and I wrapped up in blankets and sat on the porch while the kids and Kent "swam." More splashing was done than swimming, I think.

 Kent was super dad, putting up with the wiggly bodies and mega splashing.
 Super cool "cheese" face, Ellie.

And steaming-skinned children wrapped in fluffy white towels? Delicious.

Monday, November 24, 2014

California trip: cousin time

Once we knew we were going to make a trip to the cabin, we invited Heidi and her kids to join us. (Kent's brother, Sam, works at the nut company with Kent's dad, and this time of year they're putting in crazy long hours, 7 days a week, so it was just Heidi and the kids.)

Nicholas and Ellie love their cousins, 
and we do too. These are some fantastic, adorable, creative, and kind children. 

Once again, just like our reunion back in June, there wasn't a single cousin-to-cousin argument. (sibling-to-sibling is a bit of different story....but that's the way it is sometimes.)

These kids ran, imagined, stomped through the forest, and got very creative. 

They made snowflakes with Grammer,

 Concentration! Snowflakes are serious business.

Went to eat at Giant Burger (the cabin is located in the cutest woodsy teeny little mountain town.)
Nicholas and Preston decided that theirs was "The Boy Table" and only boys could sit there.
Ellie has now told me several times that "Carlee is mine best friend!"
She even sat happily while Carlee played with and braided her hair one night.
This is huge, people. Ellie generally freaks when I even try to comb her hair, let alone attempt to braid it or put it in a pony tail.
If we lived closer, I'd be tempted to drive Ellie to Sam and Heidi's house every morning so Carlee could do her hair for me.

We went to an awesome park/lake/beach
 (Quick side note: Nicholas never wants to be pushed high in the swings. He's always yelling at me that I pushed too hard. "Not so fast!"
Ellie? She yells at me for not doing underdogs and for not pushing her high enough.
Kids are awesome.)

 And tried really hard to not get too wet. Most of them were surprisingly careful and obedient.
The little one, Cole....well, he would have swam to the other side if we'd let him.
 Drew pictures in the sand,

Ellie even surprised us by writing the letter "E" for the first time.
We'll work on that.

And the kids later added their own decorative touches to the cabin.
Here's Ellie dressing up the little Welcome Bear:

And Nicholas and Carlee created this awesome leaf garland all on their own!
They were so proud. It was adorable.

I helped Heidi make pizza for lunch on Saturday. 

The Sunday we were there we drove down to Sam and Heidi's house to have dinner with the rest of the family. It was so great to see everyone!

This is the best group shot we could get of all the little cousins. 
And it pretty much sums up our weekend:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

California trip: traveling to the cabin

After Kent got back from his last-minute, two-week long, twenty-hour work days trip to Romania, he suggested escaping to his parents' cabin for a weekend.

Oh yeah, I was totally on board with that idea.
The cabin is one of our family's "happy places." So perfect. Cozy, nostalgic, warm, and all about just being there together as a family. 
Plus, I was really really wanting to spend some time with Kent's family before I get too pregnant to travel anymore.

And the kids? They were delighted, to put it mildly.

 We opted to fly, since car travel is not comfortable for me anymore,
plus, two hours on a plane vs. twelve hours in the car with our kiddos? No brainer.
 Ellie was a little nervous during takeoff. She held on tight,
and I pretty much loved it.

The kids were great.
Until Nicholas's new crayons broke. (cheapo coloring pack.)
 Aiy. Five is kind of a tiring year. Not anywhere near as hard as three was, but for a pregnant lady with plenty of her own mood swings, I just don't have much left in me to deal with his emotional roller coaster.

Thanks to the joys of modern technology and a dvd player, I was able to sneak in a few minutes of reading.
 Our biggest take-home lesson from this trip? Three-year-olds are not old enough to not need a stroller.
She was a trooper, but those little legs get mighty tired.

 Entertaining ourselves with silly faces while waiting for Daddy to get the rental car.

But, just a few hours after leaving home, we were cozied up in front of the wood-burning stove, roasting marshmallows and drinking nutella hot chocolate.

Yep, I'm ready to go back again.