Thursday, May 5, 2016

Spring Break in SD - Haircuts and Cousins

I commissioned Paige to cut everyone's hair while we were in town, and on top of that, to teach me how to cut the boys'. She willingly agreed, and over three days we got them all in. Both girls took off a lot of length. Isabelle had begged for a pixie cut, but we compromised at a bob. I actually love her new length so much we may never go back!

Note the length of Savannah's hair in the background. This was pre-cut.

This looks like Izzy (below), but it's actually Savannah (they were wearing matching pjs and when her hair is wet, it looks brown). She cut off probably 8 inches! I can't tell you how much easier it is to do her hair in the mornings. No more braids for days! Savannah took off more length than Izzy, but she had more to spare so hers isn't nearly as short. Savannah actually didn't want to lose any length at all, but it had gotten so long that it had become unmanageable. Luckily cousin Reese had just cut hers, so we convinced Savannah to have a twinner haircut.

Not that Reese and Savannah needed haircuts to look like twins. These two have shared a strong resemblance since birth, and now they even have matching glasses. And thanks to Reese's small stature, they are even the same size despite a two year age difference!

A few more from an afternoon of fun in the Mackay backyard.

Spring Break in SD - Baseball

A few weeks before spring break, we were enjoying a warm Sunday afternoon with some whiffle ball on the driveway. I had a moment of inspiration right then and knew I wanted to play baseball with my extended family. I figured they would go for the idea, since Matt's boys pretty much live and breath baseball. I ran the idea by Jen and she was totally on board. We picked a night, brought BBQ fixings, and played a totally unorganized but super relaxed and incredibly fun game of baseball.

Dallin (8 years old) was our pitcher. I am so impressed. I mean, aside from the fact that he's amazing, check out his uniform! This kid is legit.

Sawyer was in awe as well. Dallin was less impressed that he got put on Sawyer duty at short stop.

Sawyer loved playing outfield so he could retrieve the balls and walked them in. Yes, walked. There would be no throwing, no matter how we begged and hollered and pleaded. Not even running. He calmly walked them in and placed them in the pitcher's mitt.

Gavin is just as, if not more, serious about baseball than his older brother. He likewise donned his uniform for the game, and shocked us all with his mad skills.

What beautiful memories I have from this evening. Being outside and active together is my love language. And I sure love these people.

Spring Break in SD - Jumping for Joy

In typical San Diego fashion, we had gorgeous weather while we were there. I was able to get three glorious runs in thanks to the extra hands to watch kids in the morning. One morning while I went for a run, my mom and Paige walked the kids down to a nearby park on the cliffs. My camera and I met up with them after my run where we had way too much fun taking jumping (plus a few roundabout kicking) pictures. I can't get enough of these! We were laughing so hard while taking them... all the joy you see is genuine, the real deal.

Spring Break in SD - LA Mackays

We had considered several options for Spring Break this year. Prior to our move, when I had thought we'd be still be in Arkansas, we considered Destin or Gulf Shores. Our friends from Maryland even talked of making the long drive to come visit us. After we moved to Utah, we adjusted our search radius and thought of camping in Southern Utah or Arizona. But ultimately, I couldn't resist the temptation to visit my family in California. It had been over 18 months since Jeff and the kids had been there, and a trip was long overdue. Besides, we could drive there in just ten hours! A single day! I will never take that for granted again.

We had the most blissful week in San Diego. Jeff had lots of work visits to make so we rented him a car and sent him on his way while the kids and I played with Grandma, Paige, Calvin, and the rest of our California family. We started off with a trip to LA to see Dustin and company. Ashley was generous enough to host us for dinner, especially considering she was very pregnant and planning a birthday for soon-to-be 4-year-old Penny and Addy. After dinner we walked to a nearby park and played on the skate ramps. Aside from one accident due to too much excitement on these "slides," it was a perfect evening.

The next day we met up and Ashley introduced us to the coolest park I've ever seen. I am already scheming ways to get my city to build one.

The whole park was built to look like a 1700's colonial village, which was cool in and of itself, but every building hid a jungle gym, a slide, or all sorts of other fun features. You can see the tube slide coming out of the church.

It was huge! An explorer's paradise. And the buildings made for lots of shade which was great because it was warm that day. Since it was a Boston village, of course there was a little harbor with a boat (carrying tea, I'm sure) and ducks.

It was a gorgeous day and we had so much fun getting to play with our cute cousins. I felt like I got to know their personalities a lot better on this trip and see what sweet little girls they are growing into.

That evening we tried to hit up a deep dish pizza place that Dustin was raving about, but we when we were greeted with an hour and a half wait (on a Monday!) we made an about face. Instead we tried another recommended restaurant with a unique menu that you would only find in California. The kids devoured their flank steak kids meals (seriously!) and I loved my salad. There is no shortage of amazing places to eat in California and is one of the many reasons I love going home.

Talent Show 2016

The kids' school held a talent show, so naturally, we threw together some talents in less than a week so they could participate. We considered many different options (Lego building, comedy, rapping), but ultimately settled on their default talents from last year. Logan pulled his Star Wars piano solo out of his back pocket and brushed it up, while Savannah refreshed her Tomorrow performance.

The performances were organized by grade level, so Logan's performance was on a different day than Savannah's. Isabelle was with me at Logan's and helped with the filming (hence the wobbly first bit) so I could use my camera, but for Savannah's day I only had Sawyer as wingman. I thought that I could hit record on my phone, hand it off to him for 10 seconds while I took some still shots, then take it back from him and finish the recording. But unfortunately, I somehow hit the stop button when I took my phone back from Sawyer-- and cut the entire recording off! Luckily, she was asked to perform again at the school-wide talent show, so I got a second chance at that recording.

They both did so great and seemed far more comfortable up there than I expected. Although it was kind of a headache getting them ready, I am grateful for opportunities like this to get up in front of a crowd and perform something they've worked hard on.

Oh, and as an extra surprise for making it to the end, check out the whole fourth grade performing "Something Big." Logan is towards the back left in his grey and orange coat. That's their principal on the front left. Isn't she adorable?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Girls Night at the Conference Center

Also on Easter weekend (but distinct enough to deserve it's own entry), we attended the General Women's Session of conference at the conference center in Salt Lake City. My stake had received a small number of tickets, so I hesitantly asked the stake Relief Society president if I could have seven. She said she had only allocated three or four per ward, but last year they had tickets go unused, so she didn't mind giving me that many. I was so excited! Not only would I get to attend the women's session with family (I've been going alone for the last several years) but we would be in the conference center, which is always cool. I knew it would be a neat experience for Amy, Emma, and Madi, too, who are rarely in town over conference and able to attend. I also decided that since this was a special occasion that wouldn't likely be repeated soon, I would take Savannah as well. She is still a few months shy of her 8th birthday (the minimum age to attend), but I didn't think anyone would mind that she was there.

She had a great time being one of the "big girls" and did pretty well through the session. I brought her a notebook to keep her quiet, but it actually had the opposite effect as she was constantly writing notes to us and whispering loudly as she passed them down the row. Despite her distractions, it was still a lovely conference with a service-centered focus and some really touching video presentations.

Afterwards we went to Leatherby's for a late dinner and ice cream. Madi and Savannah shared a huge banana split. It wouldn't be a true girl's night out without some ice cream!

I know it sounds cliche, but I am so incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful examples in the mothers, sisters, and nieces of my Pendleton family. It was such a treat to get to spend this perfect evening with them.