Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ups and Downs

This has been an interesting weekend to say the least.  I feel like it has been a weekend of highs and lows.  We spent much of the day Saturday buying a new car which is fun in the end but not exciting when the weather is beautiful and you are spending the entire day at a car dealership.  I also spent a large chunk of the weekend not feeling well, so there were some definite bummer parts of the weekend.

On the other side of the coin, like I said, the weather was beautiful this weekend and we were able to take advantage of our zoo membership we got as a Christmas present from Grandpa and Lollie.  It feels like it has been a long time since we have been to the zoo and it was good to be back.  The animals must have been enjoying the nice weather too because they were all out playing.  I know have posted lots of zoo pictures in the past so I will just share a few of the best.

While the weekend is technically over, the kids and I still get one more day off for Martin Luther King Day.  I am really grateful because I feel like I could use another day of R&R.  Unfortunately for Jeremy though, he is back at it bright and early in the morning and his R&R will have to wait.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Christmas In Arizona

It has been a few weeks and they have been a whirlwind, but given that we are barreling forward into 2018, I think it is time we put 2017 to bed. Our last almost 2 weeks of 2017 were spent in Arizona with the Clifford side of the family and Emily's crew.  We had so much fun and crammed so much into our time that I almost don't even know how or where to start, I am going to have to focus on the highlights.

We spent a good chunk of our time at various parks.  There are several local parks that we have recently been renovated and combine new, fun, parks with 70 degree weather and you have a recipe for a good time.

Of course we saw Santa.  This was quite the story.  We wanted to go see Santa at Bass Pro Shop but apparently that has become the thing to do and we didn't realize we should have gone to the store hours before it opened to stand in line.  Long story short, we shouldn't have gotten to see Santa at all but after two sets of people took pity on this very pregnant lady and said "We really aren't supposed to do this...Don't tell anyone we did this...", we got our time with Santa and came away with an adorable picture.

On Christmas Eve we had the Clifford family Christmas party.  The food was beyond delicious, but the real highlight of the night was the white elephant gift exchange.  Jeremy's gift of a hairy belly fanny pack won the night.

Christmas day was great!  We started early with all the family coming over for presents.  Santa spoiled the kids for sure and Jeremy and I got an amazing baby quilt, handmade by Carolyn.  She actually made gifts for each of the kids and I got to help with some of them after we got to AZ.  It made for some really late nights, but we had a lot of fun together.

After Christmas the fun continued.  We hiked "A" mountain at ASU.

We went to see Star Wars.  Well everyone but Carrigan, Garret and Brianna, and Emily went to see Star Wars.  They went to see Coco and since their movie was a little shorter and started later, Emily took Carrigan to the playground in the mall to play while they waited.

Grandpa and Jeremy took the kids paintball shooting.  Of course Merrick had a blast, but the real surprise was how much Carrigan got into it.  Someone would help her aim and she would rapid fire.  Afterwards she really enjoyed telling people how good she was.

Twice over the time we were there some of the family went to ride go carts.  Merrick enjoys this even more now that he can drive by himself and he was really pleased to find that the cars at this track were really fast.

One of the times that the boys went go cart riding, the girls got to go see Cinderella.  It was a seriously magical night.  Not only did we have amazing seats at 7th row center, but we got a backstage tour after.  Carrigan got treated like a princess. She got to climb the stair to the palace, got an invitation to the royal ball, got to see the glass slippers, and got a poster to take home signed by the entire cast.  There really is no other word to describe the night besides magical.

This is just scratching the surface!  We also made gingerbread houses, had an amazing dinner cooked by Tala, had a graduation celebration party for Savannah, cooked, ate and ate and ate, and laughed more than I can even tell you.  It was the perfect vacation but, just like all good things, it came to an end.

We headed home on New Years Eve and, after two stops on the way home, that was pretty much it for the day.  We had dinner that night at my parents and opened gifts from that side of the family and then went home and went to bed early.  We didn't even try to make it to midnight but that is ok.  We were all so exhausted that we were ok with calling it a wrap on 2017 a few hours early.

So that's it for 2017.  It was a great year for our family and we are so thankful for all our many blessings.  We are now anxiously awaiting what 2018 will bring and can't wait to meet the new member of our family and see what else is in store.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mini Hoopers

Over the last several months Merrick has been playing basketball with the Mini Hoopers league.  We seem to always be playing one sport or another, but this was his first year getting to play basketball (I didn't see the sign up info last year and ended up missing the deadline for sign ups by a day- I was in the dog house).

It shouldn't really be a surprise given his height, but Merrick is a natural at basketball.  When it is time to go for a rebound, his fingers are a good foot above everyone else's and same for blocking shots (which they aren't really supposed to do at this level, but he just can't help it).  The only real problem he had sometimes was getting his shots to fall because they played on 8ft rims this years rather than the 10ft rims he is is used to.  Luckily that problem will be corrected next year and he will hopefully be even better.

I try to support my kids no matter what it is that they are wanting to take on, but with his natural talent and the fact that basketball is played indoors, out of the elements, it is a sport that I can really get behind.  Hopefully we have a long basketball career ahead.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Second Grade Struggles

This week has been a challenge for Merrick.  He has been having difficulty with a friend at school and the situation has monopolized a large portion of our week.  I spent this afternoon writing a lengthy blog discussing the situation and my feelings about what has happened.  Prior to publishing I had Jeremy read it over and, because he is always much more level headed then me, he reminded me that at the end of the day this is a public space and I should be cautious of what I posted.  After some thought I decided not to publish the original post.  Instead you are getting a lengthy explanation from me as to why there really is no post for this week.  I will be back next week though and I promise to bring lots of public space appropriate material.

Ok so on second thought I do actually have something to share.  Friday night was our church Christmas party.  We had a Hawaiian luau themed party that our Bishop and his wife put on almost single-handedly.  They did a fantastic job and how could I not share the cuteness that is my children.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

One Last Time

Last year for Christmas, Grandpa and Lollie gave us a membership to OMSI.  We have been countless times over the year and honestly I was starting to feel a little tired of it, so when the topic of this year's Christmas came up, I told them we would rather have a zoo membership this time.  Anyway, all of that to say that our days of being OMSI members are numbered.  I was feeling like before it was official, we should make one last visit so yesterday we made that happen.

There were a couple of new and different things this time than on past visits.  The traveling exhibit was all about optical illusions and there was another temporary exhibit, Gingerbread Adventures.  Both of these were favorites of the day.  Actually, I was surprised by how much fun we all had at each of the exhibits we went to.   I particularly liked going into the fetal development room and seeing just exactly how big baby sister is kicking around in my tummy.  Maybe we weren't as burned out on OMSI as I thought or maybe it was just a little bit nostalgic being the last visit.  I don't know, I just know we had fun and OSMI will be missed in the coming year.

After a long day at the museum, we came home and put the kids in the bath.  I was giving them a few minutes to play before I started to wash them and went to lay down.  Just then the phone rang and Jeremy came to tell me it was someone from church offering his season tickets to that night's Blazers game that started in 5 minutes.  As I laid in bed the prospect of heading back out didn't seem too inviting, but when I heard that the seats were in the 10th row, I decided it was worth it.  I called my parents and, like the angels they are, they agreed and came right over, and Jeremy and I headed to the game.  By the time we drove down there, parked and got to the stadium we missed the first half of the game, but the seats definitely still made it worth it.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Shenanigans

I think I mentioned last week that the kids and I were off all this week for Thanksgiving break.  My sister, Emily, her boyfriend, Tala, and my nephew, Kai, all came into town on Monday night.  What followed was a week long party.  We cooked, cooked, and cooked for Thanksgiving, painted each other's nails, watched movies, shopped, played games, and Merrick and Kai had sleep over after sleep over.

They say that time flies when you are having fun and that is certainly true for this week.  Jeremy had to work most of the week, but has been off since Thursday and has been able to join in some of the fun.  I didn't get too many pictures from the week because we were too busy playing and I really didn't get any pictures of Merrick because I rarely saw him.  He and Kai spent the week off playing basketball, playing football on the Xbox, and riding bikes.

Emily, Kai, and Tala will be in town until Wednesday afternoon, but the party kinda has to end tonight.  The Cliffords are back to business as usual tomorrow with school and work but we have had a great week of shenanigans.  Oh, and as this week was Thanksgiving, please know how truly grateful I am from my many, many blessings.  We have been so richly blessed this year!

A few notes about the pictures.  The first two are Carrigan in her "nice and shining armor" made out of boxes she found in the recycling bin.  The third picture is the aftermath of "Auntie Minty" giving Carrigan a chocolate covered strawberry right before we got in the car.  The last picture are this kids helping Nana and Papa pick out and cut their Christmas tree.