Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Our Month of May

Good afternoon on this hot and sticky day in June. I am excited for the warm days of summer, but it is already so HOT! It just gives us an excuse to play in the water as much as we can I guess. I am so excited for summer this year, which is actually a little unusual for me. If you know me at all then you know that I really hate being hot. Like I become a sweaty rage monster. But despite the promise of the heat, I am truly excited for summer this year because I feel like my little family is in this sweet spot and I intent to take full advantage of it. Gavin is now old enough to really enjoy the things that we take him to. He is easy to take places and is actually fully aware of what is happening around him, which makes outings all the more fun for us as his parents. Also, we still only have one child, which is challenging enough for me, but I realize is not as challenging as say having more than one child. Also, I'm not pregnant or nursing, we didn't just move, we aren't as broke as we were this time last year or anything like that. Gavin sleeps well at night, takes great naps, but our whole day isn't necessarily ruined if he misses a nap. Do you see what I mean? We are in this great sweet spot where I realize that our life is in a pretty good place right now and will probably not be this uncomplicated for a while, so we have a lot planned to make the most of it. Even though I am not teaching and we have no one in school, I still somehow feel this relief when school is out and it is officially summer you know? Also to be fair, I was doing some subbing this school year, so I could somewhat relate to the yearning for the school year to be over.

This past month was a lot less stressful than April was. I think once we got back from Moab and Sam had finished his big project at work, things settled down a little bit. We started off the first week of May with the annual Law Day 5k Run up at the University of Utah that we do with the Millers every year. We actually were not able to do it last year, so it was fun to be able to do it again. Gavin happily rode in the stroller and we actually ran the last mile! Woo hoo for us. The course is actually really hard. It immediately starts uphill by the U's stadium and is uphill for pretty much the first mile, and so for an out of shape couple like ourselves, we were just proud that we ran at all.

One of our favorite things to do is go to the Zoo and we are so lucky to have been gifted a zoo membership from my parents again this year. I kind of randomly noticed in an email about some extended hour nights they were having so we thought we would take advantage of it and try it out. Usually the zoo closes at 6 pm in the summer and 5 pm in the winter, but it was open until I think 9 pm that night. If you ever get a chance to go to this, I highly recommend it. It was like a whole different place. It was basically empty, the animals that are usually just laying around were so active, it was nice and cool there, it was basically awesome and so worth the hour drive for us. Before the zoo we made a whole night of it and ate at one of my high school favorites, Litza's Pizza. The whole night was so fun.

Of course we celebrated Mother's Day in May. We had somewhat of a low key day and after church went to Sam's parents to eat dinner. Sam and his dad took care of us and made a delicious dinner in which I didn't have to do one thing to help. It was a nice day and Sam got me some nice gifts. One thing I noticed though was that because Sam was trying to be so helpful all day I kind of felt like I was alone all day. He was busy prepping dinner or doing dishes and I was kind of just on my own. Next year I want to remember that I would rather spend time with him as well, and he can just do the dishes the next day ;)

I think it is funny how many people complain about the weather in Utah, I always feel like maybe they have never lived outside of Utah... Everyone always complains that we don't get a very long Spring and Fall, but I felt like with having such a mild winter and then such a beautiful Spring that I have zero complaints. We have fully been taking advantage of playing outside and going to the park on the nice sunny days.

Once of my New Year's Resolutions is to go on at least 6 hikes as a family. I realize that sounds like not very many, but really unless it is something you already do a lot as a family, you don't realize that a lot of time can go by without doing the things you really want to do, if that makes sense. Well we want to hike more as a family because Gavin loves it and so do we. We already did two hikes in Moab and we got to cross off another when we did the Green Pond loop trail up at Snowbasin. Technically we didn't do the whole thing because we got such a late start and then it started raining on us. We decided to turn around so Gavin could get a nap and so we weren't soaking wet. We are definitely going to go back up in the next few weeks and try to do the whole thing. The wildflowers were so beautiful and the trees were so lush and green. It was amazing! Gavin loved it. He rode up in the carrier but then walked the entire way down and of course stopped every other minute to look for bugs or to throw rocks into the creek.

Gavin put on this hat and these socks as gloves and said he was ready for the hike! Ha ha, he is so weird. Of course all winter we couldn't get him to wear a hat or keep his gloves on, but in 70 degree weather he has no problem! He wore this hat the entire hike, which was maybe good because of the rain.

In and effort to appreciate the things we have around us and Ogden in general, we decided to get a pass to the Ogden Dinosaur Park. We have already been twice and I love it. I was able to take Gavin myself the first time and it was so fun. He loved the big dinosaurs and of course all the sand they have to play in. We will definitely be back, especially when it cools down after summer. I'm glad we were able to get in a couple of visits before it got too hot.

One of my favorite parts of May is Memorial Day. Yes I love that Sam gets a day off of work, but more so I love going to the cemetery with my Mom. Ever since I was little I always remember going to clean and put flowers on the graves of my Mom's family members at cemeteries in Salt Lake and it has always been special to me. It was even more special to me this year because now my Grandma is buried there. We had a BBQ with Sam's family, which is always so fun for Gavin to play with his Prusse cousins, but I actually snuck away early to get my mom. We met my sister and her family and visited the graves. It has been a very different year without my Grandma. Her passing just felt kind of like the end of an Era. With the selling of their house and my Grandpa moving into an apartment, things just aren't the same. I knew they wouldn't always be the way they had been, but having it actually come to pass has been hard on everyone, especially my Mom. It just makes me want to cherish the moments I have with family even more.

May, you have been good to us. We had lots of fun, time to relax, and we have had time to plan a lot of fun things for summer. Historically June is always a crazy month for us and this month is looking no different. So ready or not here comes summer!

Monday, April 30, 2018

April 2018

Usually when I think of April I think of Easter and flowers and the new life of spring and that's pretty much it. I don't really ever think of it being a busy month, but this year April was packed with busy weekends and long days. Most of it was fun but I feel like I need a vacation from this month.

The very first of April was Easter, which was a great day. This weekend was also General Conference weekend, which I am realizing is becoming quite the busy weekend every month. We stayed home on Saturday and got some things done around the house as well as watching conference. Then Saturday night Sam went to the priesthood session with his dad while I had a little girls night with my mom and some of my sisters. It is always fun for the cousins to get together and play. The next morning Gavin got to find his Easter basket and we watched some more conference. We don't do a ton of gifts and candy for Easter because well, I don't think Gavin needs more candy in his life and I always know he will get a ton from his Grandparents, so we don't need to go crazy with it. We then headed down to Bountiful to finish watching conference at Sam's parent's house. The next half of the day we we had dinner with my side of the family at my sister's house followed by a big Easter egg hunt at a park nearby. It was a busy, but fun weekend.

Gavin loved dying Easter Eggs, and was surprisingly pretty good at it. He didn't even make that big of a mess.

We bought Gavin a balance bike for his 2nd birthday but he really wants nothing to do with it. In an attempt to help him enjoy bikes more we thought we would get him a tricycle or something as a step up to the bike. I wanted to get a classic radio flyer tricycle but Gavin fell in love with this PJ Masks thing, so that's what we ended up with and of course he barely rides this one either. What do you do to help your kid like bikes? 

The next weekend was even busier than the last, if that was possible. We maybe overbooked ourselves, but oh well it was worth it. We headed up north to Cache Valley to go to the Baby Animal Days festival thing at the American West Heritage Center with our friends the Meidells. We were worried it would rain and almost didn't go, but decided to brave it anyways. Well not only did it rain, but it poured the whole time. Everything was soaked and muddy including the animals, but it was still fun and Gavin was in heaven getting to actually hold and pet real animals.

(Pictures by Torrie Meidell)

Gavin was seriously so in love with this baby goat and I am so glad that Torrie was able to snap this adorable picture because I was holding two umbrellas at the time and couldn't get my phone out to take one. So thanks Torrie!

 These baby turtles were probably my favorite (maybe because they were indoors out of the rain) They were so tiny and adorable and even Gavin got to hold one.

There was a moment when we got to hold baby chicks and ducks that Gavin really squeezed a poor chick pretty hard and I thought we were going to have a sad moment on our hands. So sorry little chick! I hope you were okay. Even though we were soaked and covered in mud we were glad we went. It is always fun to see friends and Gavin was just happy to see the animals. We couldn't stay long because we had to leave straight away to our niece Jane's baptism down in Farmington. We literally just drove to the church and changed out of our muddy clothes into some nicer ones. It was a sweet baptism followed by a family gathering at their house. Needless to say, by the end of it all we were pretty pooped.

We have really been enjoying the warmer weather and have been trying to play outside more. This winter I have let Gavin watch way too much TV! I am not against TV or anything and we are definitely TV watchers in our house, but it has gotten out of hand. With not having a real backyard or any friends by us to do anything, I have gotten complacent and we have gotten into the bad habit of letting Gavin watch way too much. There was one moment when I was asking if he wanted to play outside (which he usually says yes to) and he was like "no Mommy, just watch shows." I was like, okay, this needs to be changed. So it's not like we don't watch TV at all anymore, but we have been making more effort to do other things, especially getting outside. So here we are helping Gavin practice his casting with his little fishing pole, One of our goals this summer is to go camping and spend lots of time in this little fishing boat we bought with our tax return. 

We won free tickets to the first home Royal's game at Rio Tinto stadium. If you don't know what that is, it is the new women's soccer team in Salt Lake. Unfortunately they lost, but it was still fun and we are excited to follow this team. We aren't really sports people, but we do like watching RSL games so now we can add the Royals to that.

So one random day I was looking at facebook and saw that one of my facebook friend's who is also a photographer had an opening for these mini sessions she does. I have thought about doing one before but just never have really acted on it. I am terrible at getting family pictures taken, but I have been wanting some more current ones done so I can finally put some up on the wall in our house. Well, in seeing that on facebook I jumped on it and took the open spot. It was a little crazy because it was a weeknight and Sam was still at work, and Gavin was napping. It was originally going to be in Kaysville at an apple orchard, but I guess the blossoms at the orchard had not bloomed so kind of last minute it go changed to the Capitol building in Salt Lake, which is like an hour drive for us. But we made it work as I frantically arranged and ironed outfits for us and did may hair and makeup (which of course I had not done that day). Even though it was totally crazy, it was so worth it. I loved the mini session. It is only 15 minutes, which is perfect for Gavin's attention span and all I wanted was a few good poses to put on my wall. The blossoms were so beautiful and for sure it was not an original idea because there were SO MANY other people there doing the same thing. I loved how they turned out and was glad that I jumped on it. We actually ended up having a really fun night and took Gavin to the dino place at City Creek and ate dinner there. I swear Gavin could play in that place for hours. Here are some of my favorites from the shoot. All pictures by Rachelle Monae Photography.

As if our month were not packed enough, Sam ended up taking on a big project at work along with a coworker that was a great opportunity for him, but also had him working 12+ hour days. Months ago we had planned a trip to Moab with some of my family and we were worried that he wouldn't be able to go because of his work hours. But miraculously he was able to come and we had such a great time! Moab is seriously one of my favorite places and we always have such a good time there. We went up on a Thursday night and stayed the shadiest most falling apart hotel, which was so sketchy and comical at the same time. The next morning we drove into Moab and went biking at the Bar M trails. I went with my two nieces who seriously schooled me on the trail. I could barely keep up with them, granted I have not really ridden a bike since the last time I did this trail about 4 years ago. We spent the rest of the day setting up camp and letting the kids play with rocks and sand around the camp site. The next day we hike to Corona Arch, which is a great hike for kids for anyone interested. We spent the afternoon at the Moab city park and then just Sam, Gavin and I went on a little hike along a creek so that Gavin could play in the water. We love Moab and literally on the drive home I started planning our summer of outdoor adventures.

This last weekend we spent all weekend down in Bountiful because I had plans in Salt Lake with my friend Ashley, who is moving to DC in May, and then a haircut the next morning. So we just stayed in Bountiful at Sam's parents to avoid driving so much. We ended up staying down there all Saturday and finally got to visit our new niece Charlotte, and got to have dinner with my Dad at a new restaurant in Centerville. It was a fun day. I was even able to visit my Grandma's grave on the 27th, which was the year anniversary of her death. To top it all off we had dinner last night at my brother's to celebrate the April and May birthdays in our family. We had to buy 5 presents for the party because we have a lot of birthdays these months.

So April has really kept us on our twos. We got a new niece and a new nephew. Gavin is getting his two year old molars and is growing like crazy. Sam is luckily done with his new project at work. We are planning new adventures for summer. And we are just glad to be done with this crazy month!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

And we are back! Aka picture overload

It has been almost a year since I have done a blog post! But it is not without good reason and definitely not because we haven't had anything going on in our lives. The main and simple reason that I have not done a blog post is well, because we haven't had a computer for a good 9 months. It was a strange time in our lives, ha ha. When we moved at the end of May our computer pooped out on us about the same time. Since we had just spent our lives away on buying a home, plus some unexpected expenses on things like car repairs, home improvement, etc, we just kept putting it off. We are not the most money smart people, but we don't use a credit card and we refuse to finance most things, so that's how we went a good 9 months with no computer. We both have smart phones, so it wasn't like we had no internet connection or anything. But here we are, with a new computer and now I can pick up my blog.

It really is a shame that our computer died because I use this blog mostly just for myself as a sort of record keeping kind of thing and I am pretty sure only maybe 3 people read this. But for you 3 people, and for myself, here are some things that happened in the last year. Ready for an overload?

Almost a year ago, my sweet Grandmas passed away at 93 years old. I think I will do a separate blog post on this next month, but it was very hard on me and my family. My Grandma was old and in often in pain and I know she is at rest and free now, but it doesn't make me miss her any less. She had a beautiful funeral and graveside service. I am just grateful to have had her as long as I did and to be as close to her as I was. I am grateful that Gavin got to meet his Great Grandma Haney, and I am grateful to have her as my guardian angel now.

Even though my Grandma Haney is gone, we are so grateful that we can still enjoy visits from Grandpa Haney. My Grandma's passing has been so hard on my Grandpa. He moved to a senior residency in Twin Falls and we are going to visit him this weekend actually. I wish we could go up more because I want to cherish my time with my Grandpa while I can.

This past year we had all these grand plans of camping all summer long, but instead we decided to move! So that ate up a lot of our money and time, but right before we moved (like a week before because we are crazy) we still got to sneak in a trip to Moab with some of my siblings. Moab is and will always be one of my favorite places and I think we have gone every year since being married. This trip was particularly fun because Gavin had so many cousins to play with and he just loves being outside. Everything with kids is just more fun.

This picture cracks me up! Snot and sand.

Even though we were pretty busy and were pretty broke last summer, we still made time for all the fun stuff. We went to lots of parades and had a lot of BBQs with family. 

 Centerville City 4th of July Parade

 4th of July at the Miller's annual party

 Provo Falls/Mirror lake day trip

 Bountiful Handcart Days Parade

One of the cooler things we did this summer was make the drive up to Idaho to see the total solar eclipse. We had planned to do it months in advance and had arranged an overnight babysitter for Gavin and everything. We had planned to drive up and sleep in the back of our Subaru (to avoid crazy hotel prices) and then just drive home the next day. Well, just before we were going to leave our Subaru ended up needing car repairs that we couldn't immediately do, so we ended up driving up and coming home in the same day in our other car. It kind of felt like everything was telling us to not go, but we were spontaneous and went anyways and it was so worth it! The drive up was not bad at all but the drive down took maybe 8 hours for what is normally a 3 hour drive. It was the most awe inspiring, amazing, beautiful experience of my life. It felt unreal, and yet it was such a memorable moment that I will never forget it in all my life. It 100% exceeded my expectations and I hope to see one again in my life. 

By far the biggest thing this year has been our move. A little backstory will help understand the significance and amount of work it took. In almost all of our marriage we have lived in someone else's house. We lived in a little apartment for the first 6 months, then one year house sitting for my sister and her husband, and then the last 3 years with my parents in my brothers house. Yes it is a little confusing and strange. We were grateful for the opportunity to live in nice homes and all the help it brought us but we soon became very eager to just live on our own. We were very ready to just live in a space that was ours only and that didn't have anyone else's stuff in it. Finally it was time for us to look for houses and we were so excited! But our excitement quickly diminished when the financial reality of buying a home hit us hard. When Sam and I first started dreaming of buying a home we were both working full time and did not have Gavin yet. Also, the housing market was still definitely a buyer's market and homes were pretty affordable. In only about 18 months from the time I quit working and we had Gavin the housing market totally changed. Home prices jumped and we had a lot less money to work with being on one income. Despite all of that we were able to find something that worked for us. It was a bit of a stretch but we felt right about buying instead of renting. Unfortunately that meant that we needed to look at places that we never thought we would end up, which took us to good old Harrisville. About a month before our move we moved my parents out of the Centerville house into a condo and to make a long story short it was a very long and epic move. By the time it was our turn to move we were already kind of burned out. We did a lot of painting before we moved in because the ceilings were brown and everything needed new paint. We are so close to being done painting but we still haven't finished! We have the stairwell and upstairs hallway to go and we just haven't been able to bring ourselves to finish.

It has been hard to be further than I am used to from my family because we do so much with them, but it also has been so good for Sam and I to be totally on our own again and focus on our little family without being quite so involved in everyone else's. We ended up in a town home, which was not my first choice, but was the best thing for us in what we could afford. I love having our own space. I like that where we live is newer, which means bigger closets and bedrooms. I like that we don't have a basement that will flood and that we don't have yard up keep and stuff like that. But on the flip side I am so sad that we don't have a yard to play in anymore. We were so spoiled before to always have nice backyards and a vegetable garden and patios for entertaining. So while we are liking our new home it is definitely not where we want to be forever but for now we are happy. 

Last night at the Centerville house, Gavin has an orange in his mouth :)

We spend a lot of time at the Ogden Treehouse Museum, at least we did this past summer.

We finally got to visit Grandpa Haney at his new apartment for his 96th birthday in July.

Pioneer Day part at Ben and Melodie's house, it was so fun and reminded me of the parties we had at my house growing up complete with street fireworks and everything.

In attempt to check out more things by our house we went to the Weber County Fair and had a blast, we will for sure go back next year and maybe get something more exciting to eat than these giant corn dogs.

Fall finally came after a long, hot, somewhat stressful, summer. And those who know me know that I love everything about Fall. It also helps that Gavin's birthday is in October so that makes it all the more fun. We had our annual trip to Logan to watch the USU Homecoming came. Fun fact, Gavin really could not have cared less about the football game (we aren't really football people) but he absolutely loved the marching band at half time, which made Sam's band nerd heart so proud.

Our future Aggie!

Grandma Pam's Ward Halloween Party

We had a pretty great Fall and basically celebrated Halloween 200 times will all the trunk or treats that occur now days. Seriously, why are there so many trunk or treats? We had like 50 pounds of candy that our 2 year old acquired before Halloween, not to mention the actual candy that he got on the actual holiday.

On October 28th Gavin turned 2 years old! I am so sad that I didn't get to do a whole blog post on its own for his birthday. We has such a fun day (aside from me and Gavin both being a little sick) with our family. We had a farm party at Wheeler Farm where we ate lunch, played with cousins, ate cupcakes, opened presents, played games, hit open a pinata, and of course looked at all the farm animals. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and such a fun birthday. We love our little man so much and he is so much fun. He is crazy, rambunctious, sweet, smart, and literally the light of my life.

Then just 3 days later  we got to actually celebrate Halloween (as opposed to the 200 times we had already celebrated it). The start of the day was great. I had put my full mom skills to use and made Gavin the most adorable, if I do say so myself, cow costume. Gavin loves cows and used to talk about an allusive baby cow all the time. So I thought that a baby cow would be the perfect costume and I was pretty happy with how it ended up. Gavin looked crazy adorable and had the time of his life. Unfortunately I developed a terrible case of the stomach flu as the night went on. Of course we had overbooked ourselves and went to 4 different places in order to see as much of our family as possible on top of already taking Gavin to Sam's work earlier in the day. By the time we made it to my parents at the end of the night I was feverish and ready to puke. It was a fun night but I learned the lesson that now that we live further away, we might have to start doing some holiday things without our families, especially when one of us is sick.

After spending almost the entire month of November with the terrible stomach flu that went around we were finally mostly better by the time Thanksgiving came around. I was glad because we had multiple rounds of throw up nights. It felt like it was either me, Sam, or Gavin that was sick all night long and we just kept cycling through being sick. So we were happy to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving feast without worrying about it coming back up after. We had Thanksgiving at my brother Matt's new house in Farmington. He smoked the turkey and I must say it was the best tasting turkey I have ever had.

Then came the Holidays. December has become kind of a double edged sword for me. I love Christmas and all the family time but sometimes it can be a lot and pretty stressful. I have tried to scale back on the time commitments and unnecessary things in order to actually enjoy Christmas. This year I think I did a pretty good job of that. This year I also felt like I went full on mom for the holidays in sending out Christmas cards and doing neighbor gifts. For the last 3 years I had lived with my Mom and kind of let her take on that role, but this year it was all me and I kind of liked it. We ended up having a great month and were able to do the things we wanted without overdoing it.

My Mom has started a party where Santa is always a surprise visitor at the end of the night and the kids love it! He is the real deal ;) Another fun fact, my child loves Santa Claus and is totally that kid that calls every man with a beard Santa. He loves pretty much anything in character like mascots and things like that. He still talks about Big Blue from the USU football game 6 months ago.

On the Prusse side we have an annual bingo party where Sam's mom Julie buys a billion tiny presents and we all get to unwrap one every time we get bingo. It is one of our favorite traditions. Of course we also have a little nativity dress up and this year Gavin was the cutest little shepherd.

Utah had such a mild winter this year, but we had a Christmas miracle and it snowed a few days before Christmas. We made the most of it and took Gavin out to play.

First Snowman

Lights at Temple Square

We actually celebrated Christmas at our own house on Christmas Eve and chose to spend the night at Sam's parents for Christmas morning. Even though we only live about 40 minutes away, it can be a lot of driving on Holidays and we really wanted to just enjoy the day and not worry about weather or being late to anything.

So Gavin was lucky and got two Christmas mornings and between us and both our families he was sure spoiled. We are always spoiled each Christmas. It was fun to wake up at Sam's parents and I think they liked having a grand child at their house in the morning. We spent the morning at the Prusses, then we drove to Sandy to visit my Mom's cousin Shirley, and then spent the evening at my sister's to eat our annual Bethlehem dinner.

When we were growing up my family used to visit my great Aunt June and her daughter Shirley every Christmas. June passed away when I was in high school, but we kept on visiting Shirley. It is one of my most vivid childhood memories and sadly I have never taken Sam there on Christmas. She has the most amazing collection of Christmas things and so it was really fun and special to finally take Sam and Gavin there. Gavin was in Christmas heaven and ate a lot of candy.

My birthday was on December 31st and I turned 31. People kept saying "It's you golden birthday!" and I was like yeah... because I had no idea what that meant until the end of the day. Ha ha ha, I felt like an idiot. If I had realized that was special I would have planned something bigger. Honestly it was a pretty great birthday. The day before Sam and I went to dinner and a movie and just enjoyed a child free night. My birthday was actually on a Sunday so we went to church and at first I thought that would suck the fun out of it but actually it made it great. Everyone was telling me happy birthday which made me feel pretty special. After church I got to snuggle Gavin for his nap and he fell asleep in my arms which was sweet because he almost never does that anymore. Then we had my parents and my sister an her family over for just a low key night. We had noise makers and sparklers for the kids, which we did at like 9 pm. We just spent the night eating shrimp and other good food and fit a giant and impossible puzzle that we didn't end up finishing until like 2 weeks later. Everyone went home around 10 and we rang in the new year quietly just the two of us and I kind of liked it that way. Unfortunately we did not take any pictures, but oh well. That's how simple and low key the day and night was.

Valentine's Day

Gavin snuggling his stuffed ice cream cone that he got for Valentine's Day

February is always a busy month for us because in one week we have 4 birthdays. But this year I felt like I was really prepared and it ended up not being too stressful. For Sam's birthday we had a great day just spending time as a family. We saw the movie Black Panther (not with Gavin) and ate dinner at Maddox which is always delicious!

So now we are all caught up. We are ready and excited for spring! So goodbye winter, you have been great to us but now we are ready for some new warm weather adventures!