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Monday, February 25, 2013

Winter vacation: California

From Utah, we made the 10 hour drive to San Diego to spend a long weekend with my family. Because we flew into Salt Lake and would fly out of San Diego, we needed a one way rental car to take us from UT to CA. One way rentals are expensive, and we didn't want to make it more so by getting a minivan or SUV, so we packed our three kids (all in car seats) and 6 bags into a tiny car for the drive. It was tight and we were missing our DVD player, but we made it without too much fuss.

The weather was as opposite as could be from the first half to the second half of our trip. Southern California was experiencing unusual highs for January, and by the end of our trip I was regretting that I hadn't packed more short sleeves. We got to see a lot of our California cousins (i.e., my older brothers' families), which is always a treat. We felt very lucky to see so much of my brother Dustin, his wife, Ashley, and their twin girls. They live in LA and it is often hard for them to come down during our quick trips so we don't see as much of them as we'd like. But this trip we got to spend lots of quality time together and I fell even more in love with my little nieces.


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Savannah loved hanging out with her Aunt Ashley in the kitchen. Savannah is a baker at heart and so she and Ashley combined forces to make pita bread for the whole crew. I do my best to keep Savannah entertained and challenged in the kitchen, but watching her with Ashley made me realize I need to step up my game.

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These two are the darlings of the family right now. Such sweet and special little girls, and doted on by all. They are growing up too fast for my liking, but I'm glad I've gotten to see them as often as I have during their first year.

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The most current grandkid/grandparent picture. Always interesting.

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The highlights of the trip were (a) my friend Danielle's sealing, and (b) a trip to Disneyland. Danielle's sealing and reception were the initial reason for the trip. Danielle and I have been friends since we were 10 and when she told me she was engaged I knew I had to be there for her wedding. Most of our childhood friends were able to be at her sealing, and as I looked down the row in the temple and saw all of my friends sitting there, I knew this was what heaven will be like. In fact, I felt like that was the theme of our entire trip. Between the friends and family we saw in Utah, and then the friends and family we saw in California, I got to see 75% of the people that I love most in a two week period of time. It truly was a blissful, heavenly time.

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The second highlight was Disneyland. Although we are in California 2-3 times a year (sometimes more), we don't often go to the amusement parks. Thanks to Dustin and the perks to his new job, we were able to take our whole family to Disneyland, along with his family and my brother, Matt's family. I'm pretty sure that my kids have decided Disneyland + cousins = heaven on earth.

We decided not to travel with a stroller (thank goodness-- it would have never fit in our rental car) so it was nice of Jen to let us pack our kids into their double (or quadruple?) stroller.
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I think my favorite part of Disneyland is just walking around and enjoying the atmosphere. Whether it is dancing to street performers (top), enjoying the view of Sleeping Beauty's castle (middle), or acting like Tarzan (bottom), that is what Disneyland is all about to me.

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Savannah begged for cotton candy all day long. I hate the stuff so I resisted as long as possible, but eventually gave in. It was a hit with everyone else. I still don't get it.

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I contemplated finding a sitter for the munchkin, but I am so glad we brought her. She won't remember this trip, but she was so good and had so much fun that there was no reason to leave her out of it.

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I can't document Disneyland without sharing one funny/a little scary story. Around noon we decided to find some tables to eat our picnic lunch. We'd been sitting there for a few minutes when my cell phone rang. I didn't recognize the number and almost didn't answer it, but it was an Anaheim area code which struck me as odd so I picked up. At first I couldn't understand the person on the other line, until I caught the name, "Logan." I glanced around and then realized that Logan wasn't with us. A new voice came on the line then, a young man saying he was a Disneyland employee and he had Logan with him at his ice cream stand. I backtracked our route until I found them.

Apparently, Logan had gotten distracted by the castle as we walked past it and none of us had realized he wasn't with us. Luckily, the employee saw that he was lost and helped Logan call me. I'm actually kind of glad I didn't know he was lost until he was already found or I would have been in a total panic, but it is scary to think how long he was gone and none of us knew it. I'm so glad he knew my cell phone number (which really isn't any of my doing... it's written inside his backpack and he memorized it on his bus rides), and I will make it a point to teach my other children my phone number as soon as they are capable of memorizing it. Instead of being one of those experiences that gets funnier with time, the more I think about it, the more I appreciate how lucky we were and how bad it could have been.

Despite that one little hiccup, the day (as well as the entire trip) was a complete success. We loved our post-Christmas vacation and can't wait to see all our family again soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter vacation: Utah

Although our Christmas alone was nice, come January I was really missing our families. When Jeff suggested we come to his winter conference with him, I jumped at the chance. One of the reasons we were willing to move far away is that Jeff's company is headquartered in Provo, so we knew there would be frequent opportunities to visit. This was the first time we had taken advantage of it.

We spent a solid week in Utah, visiting Jeff's parents and siblings and lots of friends. We were lucky to overlap with Jeff's Wyoming sister and her family for a few days, and the cousins had a blast sledding and playing in the snow. We've missed the snow almost as much as we've missed our family and friends, so it was nice to be reunited with all three in the same trip.


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While Jeff went to meetings during the day, the kids and I bounced all around the valley visiting as many people as we could. I saw friends from work, friends from Orem, and friends from Saratoga Springs, even friends that had moved away but were visiting at the same time we were. (Which may or may not have been planned.) I was on cloud nine all week seeing so many faces that are so dear to me.

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We also made sure to stop and see the snowman that was all over the news and Facebook. I still cannot comprehend how they made it.

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The weather was chilly (below 0 most mornings). In one short year we have already become acclimated to Oklahoma's mild winters and had to remember how to get around in cold weather. Luckily, after our cold week in Utah we were able to spend the second half of our trip visiting the other side of our family in sunny San Diego...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A post about Gizzard

Isabelle (affectionately known as Gizzard) has us all rolling with her daily discoveries and accomplishments. She is constantly demanding, "Look at me!" as she comes running with something to show us. Such as this doll jumper turned hat.


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She also likes to show us new dance moves, funny sounds, how she has dressed herself, and block creations. After months of wishing she would sit still for a few minutes in front of a movie, she now has become a movie/ipad obsessed toddler and I am backpedaling as fast as I can to reduce her screen time. She loves Barbie movies and takes a nap to one every day. She also loves watching Imagine Island (Jeff's business product) and Blue's Clues. Both are interactive shows and Izzy has no qualms about talking back to them. Every time Steve asks, "Can you see a clue?" Izzy yells out, "Right there! I see it!"

Isabelle is a talker. She communicates well, which is great, but she also never stops talking. She wants you to look her in the eye when she is telling you something and will grab your face if necessary to make sure you are paying attention. Bedtime has become a nightly battle because she will lie in bed and talk for an hour while Savannah moans and complains that Izzy is keeping her awake. Speaking of beds, Isabelle decided awhile ago that she did not want to sleep in her crib anymore. After 3 months of playing musical beds, we finally took her crib down and moved the trundle bed into the girls' room. Now if we could just keep her from spending the second half of the night on our floor...

Friday, February 22, 2013

A post about Savannah

A few months ago Savannah was chosen to be the flag girl at her school. For that week, she helped walk the flag out to the flag pole and raise it up each morning. I was invited to come and take pictures since this was an honor given to her for exemplary behavior. (I never was told exactly what she did to deserve it, though I am convinced she must behave much better at school than she does at home based on glowing reviews from her teachers.) The flag raising ritual was short and simple, but I could tell Savannah was so proud and excited to be a part of it.


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Savannah loves school and is definitely learning something (I had my doubts about what could be accomplished with 4-year-olds). We realized the other day that before Savannah is 6, she will have 2 full years of school under her belt. Compare this to Jeff, who had an early birthday and turned 6 just one month into his first year of school. I am still conflicted every day about whether I am glad Savannah has this opportunity or distraught that I could have had 2 extra years with her and I gave them up. It's a good thing her teachers are doing such a good job with her at school, because I have essentially no time to work with her from the time she gets home from school at 4 until she goes to bed at 8. It's all I can do to manage dinner, after school activities, and bedtime in those short hours.

Savannah is becoming more capable and responsible every day. She still has an iron will and uses it to battle with me on most things, but when she finally gives in and does things on her own, she does them really well. This morning I sent her to make her bed, then came in to find it made (perfectly) and two stuffed animals sitting on it with a book opened in front of them. Contrast that to Logan's sloppily made bed with blankets thrown on top. Every time I try to modify something that Logan does to her level, she balks at it and insists on doing it the same way he does. I often forget there is an age difference at all. They share all the chores evenly and are responsible for getting themselves ready for school in the morning and for bed at night. I love my kids at each and every stage but there are definitely perks to having them grow up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A post about Logan

It's time to dedicate a post to each of my kids and some of the noteworthy and/or funny things they have done and said lately. I'll start with Logan.

In December, I got a phone call from Logan's principal. "Here we go," I thought, "my first disciplinary chat with a principal." Actually, she was calling to tell me that Logan had fallen on the playground and had a pretty bad bump on his head. He wasn't crying and said it didn't hurt, but it was big enough to attract his teacher's attention and they wanted to let me know about it. I almost laughed aloud on the phone. Knowing my son and his LOW tolerance for pain, I knew that he was fine. If he was hurt, they would know. In their defense, it was a pretty nasty looking bump.

Well, a few weeks later I got another call from the school. Again, Logan had fallen on the playground and this time he had scraped up his face pretty badly. The staff at his school were split on whether he would need stitches or not. I was already in the car so I drove straight to his school to take a look.

I found him in the office, red eyed and distraught. As soon as he saw me, his brave face disappeared and I decided right then to take him home since there was no way he was going to get anything out of school the rest of the day. The disputed "stitch-requiring" wound was not really that deep at all, so we just kept a butterfly band-aid and an ice pack on it the rest of the day. By dinnertime, Logan was proud of his battle wound and couldn't wait to show it off to his friends the next day.


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A while ago we had explained to Logan that, as husband and wife, we are of "one heart and one mind," particularly when it comes to parenting decisions. I had forgotten about the conversation, until we were wrapping Christmas gifts and he asked why I had put two names (Aunt Katy and Uncle James) on one gift. I told him it was because they were married so I was giving them a gift together. "Oh," Logan said, understanding dawning on him, "they have one heart and one mind so they only get one gift?" I paused, chuckling inwardly, then looked at him seriously and said, "Yes." Then Logan thought a bit more and stated, "I have my own heart and mind so I get my own gift."

Not long afterwards we were driving to deliver Christmas goodies and Logan asked why Jeff and I liked different things since we are of one heart and mind. (Seriously, I had no idea he would get so hung up on this.) We explained that we like some things that are different, but we agree on most things, especially those things that are important. Then we started listing things we both agreed on.

Jeff: "We both love each other."
Carly: "And we both love you guys."
Jeff: "And we both love Jesus and Heavenly Father."
Carly: "And Christmas."
Jeff: "And movies."
Logan: "And you both believe in Santa Claus!"

Long awkward pause.

Carly: "Yes, we both believe in Santa Claus."

I love this boy.