Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beachin' it up...



After working all morning on Friday, Cameron and Rob wanted to go jump in some water. The beach we normally go to is shut down for the year so we headed out to Atwater beach on Lake Michigan. Steve and I had never been out there but we had a perception that it wasn't water you'd ever want to touch, but they didn't care, they just wanted some water. So we get out there, and it was beautiful. It wasn't really crowded at all. The sand was really fine and soft. And the water quality sign said the water was safe to get in (a very important factor). We had a great time. Hallie played in the sand. The boys raced out in the water, and I was able to enjoy some reading. It was such a nice afternoon we did the same thing on Saturday and it was just as great the second time. Seeing as though this weekend was the big 105th Harley celebration we were able to see a ton of Harleys. Everyone wanted to ride along the lake front I guess. It was entertaining and we saw some great mullets, tattoos and leather pants on people who should've considered something else from their closet that morning.

Basement overhaul...

So, a couple months ago I had the brilliant idea of flying my younger brother Cameron out to help finish our basement. It was just an idea at the time. For sure my brother would have better things to do than help us out, like work, etc...so it sat as an idea. I casually brought the idea to him to see if he would nibble on it...and he did. I was in shock. I then needed to get Steve on the bandwagon which was easier than I thought it was going to be.

So I started doing research, pricing things out, looking at plane tickets and before I knew it, both Cameron and his friend Rob were at our doorstep ready to frame and drywall the basement. I was in awe, I couldn't believe I was really going to pull this off. We were in somewhat of a time crunch, we only had one week, 5 working days. The first two days were killer. They were working from morning until late night. At one point on Tuesday, we had both Cameron and Rob working, as well as the electrician, and the two plumbers, when the carpet guy shows up for measurements. We really packed it in there, but there's no sense drawing it out any longer than we had to right?? We are on a baby time crunch as well!

Steve had the brilliant idea to take them to six flags on Wednesday to break up the working which gave them a much needed break. The next three days were shorter hours but still a lot of work, as well as some play; tennis matches, and the beach both Friday and Saturday. We would take a break during the afternoon until 8 at night (when Hallie went to bed) then we'd hit it hard again until midnight. My body is exhausted, as I'm sure everyone's was.

As we were wrapping up Saturday night I marveled at our finished product. I can't believe how much they got done, they pulled it off. We still have a couple things to wrap up, some mudding and sanding, but I couldn't be happier with all that they accomplished. I'm so grateful for their willing hands, they were amazing. I'm officially giving Cameron "Brother of the Year award" and to Rob, "Friend of Brother of the Year award."This evening after they had flown home we were resting our muscles when Steve says, "I'm going to miss them. They were a lot of fun to have around." And I agree, they were great and entertaining, and Hallie adored them both. She was concerned when she woke up this morning and she ran to the living room to wake them up and they weren't there. I told her we'd have to see them later. She replies, "Like at 5:30?" I wish, I'm afraid it will be much longer than that! We miss them already!

Comment of the day...

I was brushing Hallie's hair after she got out of the bath this morning and I was in awe at how long it is when it's wet (almost touching her diaper!) but because it's so curly you don't notice it being so long. As I brushed her hair I said, "Hallie, you have such long hair." In a matter of fact tone she replies, "It's because I have such a long neck mom." And that was that. She sure put me in my place.

Friday, August 29, 2008

5 weeks to go...

I know I haven't reported the rest of our western states trip...it's been a crazy week. Days after flying home, my brother Cameron and his friend Rob flew out to work on finishing our basement. So we've spent many a late nights working our tales off down stairs. I will eventually get around to all the rest of the cool pics and experiences from our trip. However, I thought I'd throw a quick pic of our pregnancy progress. We are down to the wire...5 weeks to go. My list seems to be getting longer, not shorter of things that need to be done. I could possibly be one of the few pregnant women that wouldn't mind a late baby!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nana and Papa...

So hard to say goodbye after such a fun week together.

Rexburg Temple...

The Rexburg temple was announced while we were still attending BYU-Idaho, unfortunately we left before we really saw much progress. We were so excited to come back and have a temple so close (a block away from Steve's parents) and we were ready to take full advantage of it. We found out a week before we left that it would be shut down starting the day we got there. What are the odds! We just wanted to be do a couple sessions, and if nothing else just walk through it. But we got nothing, it was a major bummer! One night after I got Hallie to bed and Steve was out with his dad, I walked around the grounds, with the sun barely setting. It was perfect. So peaceful and lovely. I wished more than anything Steve could've experienced it with me as well. Hopefully the next time we come around it'll be open!

Marshmallows and Ducks...


One evening while in Rexburg we went to a park with Steve's family, including his aunt, uncle and cousin. We had a little bbq and then topped it off with a few smores. Hallie wasn't so much a fan of the smores, but she sure liked those marshmallows (having been the second item we introduced to her this trip which coats your teeth with sugar as it somewhat melts in your mouth!) She was in heaven. We then went to feed the ducks. This was pretty cool until they pecked at Hallie's toes a little bit. This wasn't by any means happen chance, Steve kept throwing bread on Hallie's feet so the ducks would come close to her. She would get a little nervous and then scoot back, Steve continued to throw bread on her feet each time she moved. Hallie just couldn't figure out why these ducks kept trying to eat her feet!

Next Stop, Rexburg...

Our next stop in our western states vacation was good ol' Rexburg, Idaho to visit Steve's parents who are serving a mission on the BYU-Idaho campus. It was a little weird to drive back into Rexburg after leaving it two years ago. We of course drove by our old condo and marveled at how awesome it was to have a new place to live in and never worry about yard work. We didn't realize how nice it really was until we moved away. So much has changed in two years, but at the same time it seemed all too familiar. We went to campus one day...so different. So much construction, so much change. Yet I walked into the Spori building where both Steve and I worked and I had all my classes and it was as if nothing changed. I was ready to walk back into the Scroll and plop down in front of one of the computers and start designing ads!

It was so good to see all the changes taking place, it made it that much more real the growth we keep hearing of from Steve's parents. It really is amazing all that they're doing there, it made me wish I could be a part of it again. I loved being a student. I loved where we lived, the friends we had. I know Rexburg isn't a thriving metropolis, but I have so many great memories of that town. At the time I moved two years ago, I had spent over 20% of my life living there. That was considerable, especially at the time. It was really fun to be back there.

It was also a treat to spend some one-on-one time with Steve's parents. That's not an opportunity we've had very often and I'm glad we could take advantage of it, especially for Hallie. I felt as though they were able to connect with her and come to understand her personality a little better. We took Hallie to the Rexburg splash park and carousel one afternoon. She enjoyed the water but she really took to the carousel. She went on it multiple times, and would've gone an additional 10 times if it were up to her. We also introduced her to cotton candy- she will never be the same. I've always been a huge fan of cotton candy...I'm not sure why, it's just coats your teeth with sugar, but I enjoy eating it, I like how it melts in your mouth. Hallie felt the same way!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cousins...

Because Hallie doesn't really grasp the concept of what a cousin is, we kept telling her we were going to see our "friends". That's how Hallie referred to them the whole time we were visiting family. Not one of them was a cousin, they were all just friends, which is just the way it should be!

Allie and McKenna

Allie and McKenna in Utah. Allie flew up from Arizona to spend a week with her cousin McKenna, and the following week McKenna was flying down to Arizona to spend the week at her house. I hope my children have a relationship so close with their cousins they would want to spend two weeks straight with them!! They both seem to be growing up too fast-

First stop, Utah...

Our first leg of the trip was Layton, Utah with Steve's sisters. This was the first time that Hallie had been with cousins, and was old enough to enjoy them and play with them. It was great because she was so entertained and because they were a little older they took care of her and they weren't fighting over the same toy. That gave us a chance to enjoy time with Steve's siblings. We hit up Cafe Rio just an hour and a half after the plane landed and it was just as good as I remember a couple years ago! We timed our visit just right in Utah because we were also able to see Steve's brother and wife passing through to Arizona. We all made it to dinner one night including his parents who came down from Rexburg to pick us up. We had over half the family there. That's pretty impressive with nine children!

It was just so fun to be with everyone. It's so hard in such a large family to really get one on one time with very many siblings. Sure we have reunions, but even then you don't have that one on one relationship building. We're fortunate enough to live by Bob and Virginia (Steve's brother) which has been amazing. But it would be impossible to have that same relationship with every sibling, it's a lot of work maintaining that; Survivor, and the Office every Thursday night!! However, when we planned this trip we wanted to make sure we got that time with different families. And both Steve and I agreed we accomplished that. We got passed the, "How's the family, job, home, etc....questions" and we felt we came to know our family better. Mission accomplished. Hopefully it doesn't take a year and half to do it again!!

We're back...

After being gone for 18 days, Hallie and I have returned home. Steve was with us for the first 10 days which was great, and then Hallie I finished the trip off on our own with my family. We started the trip out visiting Steve's family in Utah, made our way up to Rexburg to see his parents, over to Payette to see my family and then up to Montana to visit my grandma and attend a family reunion...wow. Planning a vacation like that always sounds good in theory- but when it comes down to it, it was a whole lot of traveling, especially being so pregnant. It's so hard when we live so far away, anytime we travel west, we feel like we need to see everyone which is a little difficult. We usually manage to get all the family in, but that doesn't leave time for friends- definitely a hard balance. One day we'll be rich and be able to fly where ever and whenever we want...hopefully! These pictures are from day 1. We bribed her with a sucker (which is the bribe of choice these days, she falls for it every time) to be good in the airport and it worked like a charm. She was putting on a show for all those around us, and they just thought she was so fun, she can turn it on when she wants to!Hallie enjoying a banana, while holding Banana the Monkey and watching the DVD player. We tend to use the DVD player as a last resort of entertainment on trips and I'm happy to report on this whole trip including countless hours in the car we only used it a couple of times!! In moments of weakness when the book, food, and monkey just didn't cut it! (It's not that we don't believe in TV as entertainment, because we do! It's just Hallie has such a short attention span when it comes to watching TV, when we have the DVD player, she's asking to change the DVD every 10 minutes. We get so frustrated changing the movies, we refuse...Hallie has a melt down worse than the one she experienced 10 minutes prior to this, the whole reason we pulled out the player in the first place! Not worth it)

Hallie really was a trooper throughout the trip. She didn't get too difficult until the 8 hour drive home from Montana. She had had it. She was tired of being in her carseat. She was tired of the toys and books we had. She was tired of the snacks being offered. She was done. Fortunately that was just one day of the trip so it was at least manageable.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beach Time...

Last year we lived at the beach...and this year sadly enough we have neglected it! I always have good intentions to make it there, but then it's cloudy and chilly or Hallie could really use a nap, or any other excuse I seem to make up! But with the help of some friends, I made it, for my first time of the summer.

Although I love the beach, I quickly remembered I hate sand, I loathe sand. I hate the feeling of sand, I hate out it gets everywhere...everywhere. I hate walking with flip flops that have sand on them. It's like fingers running down a chalkboard to me. So I tend to sit in the grassy area (I know you're probably thinking- since when have beaches had grassy areas, but this one does!) and then I get the best of both worlds. But I was with a group of friends so I thought it would be awkward to sit in the grass by myself. So I buried my feet in the sand with the rest of them and pretended I liked the feeling!! Despite the sand issue, we had a great time. Hallie was inseparable from her friend Paige and I had a great time with friends. I always enjoy myself once I'm there, it's the getting there I have difficulties with. Now that I remember how cool it is I want to go back every day- unfortunately it closes next week. Maybe next year we will show more affection to our wonderful friend the beach.

Bubble Oodles...

Hallie is in love with bubbles - she can't get enough of them. Shortly before we left on vacation I was mentioning to someone how much she liked bubbles and they suggested I try Gymboree bubble oodles. Oddly enough I never thought to look for bubbles at Gymboree. Sure enough I found myself at Gymboree that evening purchasing the bubbles. They were unlike any bubble I had seen. We were using them in a gym and they just seemed to suspend in the air. Not really popping or floating away. I was quickly taken back to a scene in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where they're in the bubble room. Because we left shortly after this on vacation we never opened them. We then find ourselves at Steve's sister's house and I was telling her how amazing I thought these bubbles were. She just laughed and said she had recently bought them, but never opened them. So sure enough we opened those suckers up and started blowin'. Hallie was in heaven...so was Steve!
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