Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Keep Calm...the BIG 17!!!!!

Today marks 17 years of being lucky!  Lucky to have found each other and lucky to still be madly in love with each other!
To celebrate we spent Friday night at the Cameo Heights Mansion, a bed and breakfast in Touchet, WA.  This place was incredible!  It has been rated in the top ten bed and breakfasts in the country which is no surprise after being there.  Last year I had wanted to stay there was it is spendy (also no surprise) and we opted to Priceline a hotel.  This year I found that you can do a same-day booking which was still expensive but made it possible.  What a treat to be hosted by such a fabulous couple and feel like royalty!  The breakfast was outstanding as well.  We had maple pumpkin waffles, glazed bacon, and scrambled eggs paired with juice and fresh fruit.  Next time I would love to go earlier to take full advantage of all the neat things the home has to offer.

I'd love to go during the summer so we could enjoy all the outdoor beauty and spa.

Although the room was a little extra pink for my taste the bed was luxurious (even though I had another rotten night of insomnia) and the view of the orchard and vineyards was beautiful!

Yeah baby...I don't even like baths but I loved this one!  

We're so grateful for Julie Turner staying overnight with the kids.  Alex and Tyler had a campout and so the four younger kids loved being spoiled all night.  Around 3 am everyone received a surprise when all the fire alarms in the house went off and WOULDN'T TURN OFF!  Julie called her husband and he came to the rescue and had to unwire many of them.  Apparently Alysee was freaking out, Nate thought Tyler had left his alarm on and was frustrated that it wouldn't turn off, Coop slept through half of it, and Chloe never woke up.  Needless to say, we just bought ourselves nine new fire alarms after we were advised that ours had aged and were not tastier like wine but rather faulty and dangerous.  Merry Christmas to us!

After a leisure breakfast we went to the temple and kept up our tradition of doing sealings on our anniversary.  What a great reminder of the promises and covenants we have both made to each other and God.

The morning we woke up at the B&B there was a daily newsletter written by the hosts.  The theme was "Living in the Middle of things."  The topic really stood out to me as he wrote about how the beginnings and the endings in life are often celebrated and remembered.  We spend all sorts of time, energy, money, emotion on the beginnings/endings but often the middle goes unnoticed.  He points out though, "the reality is that we live largely in the middle of things."  In the eternal scheme of things we are always in the middle of bigger and better things.  President Uchtdorf shared, "Being in the middle means that the game is never over, hope is never lost, defeat is never final.  For no matter where we are or what our circumstances an eternity of beginnings and an eternity of endings stretch out before us."

As seventeen years of our marriage have gone by we celebrated many beginnings -- babies born, new jobs, new homes, and new callings.  We've also shared many endings -- baby Sara's death, no more diapers, finishing our schooling, death of loved ones, etc...  In the middle though we have found joy and many opportunities for growth.  The middle we are in right now is intense -- intense with our time that is gobbled up so quickly with the kids, our demanding but wonderful church callings, extra activities, etc...

Birch and I have both realized that taking time for each other doesn't just happen.  We are in the middle of a crazy and wonderful time.  And so our weekly date nights become number one (which I admit is so much easier have in-house babysitters).  In the middle, I'm finding that I have to conscientiously remind myself to keep Birch as my number one.  Not that I don't feel that way, it's just that life and stuff seem to get in the way.  Date nights, love notes, yearly trips without the kids, lunches together, late night talks don't just happen when you are in the middle...they have to be planned for and made a priority.   I truly do feel like one lucky girl to have landed such a boy!!!  I'm so lucky to spend an eternity with this hunk!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ami and Poppi In The House!!!

Veteran's Day weekend brought a wonderful surprise of my parents coming up for a quick visit.  We may have not had too much time together but we packed each hour full!  All Saturday morning our family had been participating in a community leaf rake and so when we pulled into our driveway and they kids saw Ami and Poppi's car they were elated!
An afternoon football game with Poppi.
Handsome boys

Ami taught the kids how to make homemade molasses taffy while Birch and I had Sunday meetings.
A hair trim for Alysee with beautician Ami.

Monday morning the kids all scooted off to school and Birch and I had Ami and Poppi all to ourselves.  Birch suggested doing something crazy together...go rappelling at a location near our house that Birch recently found out about.  It all sounded good until we each got ready to go off the side of the edge.
Poppi ended up being the brave one to go first. 

Okay, the edge was seriously scary.  There was no way to slowly let yourself off the top.  I don't mind rappelling but through this experience I think we all (maybe not Birch) learned that we prefer a slow lip off the top so you can slowly lower yourself.  Since that wasn't an option we all relied on Birch slowly "pushing" us off the edge (okay, he didn't push but tried to lower us down with his hands).
By this time I was content to keep my rock warm and just sit and look pretty.
But no, we all had a turn.
Trying to act like it really didn't hurt when I slammed by body into the rock all the while trying to keep my grip tight behind my bum so I didn't go plummeting to the bottom.
Birch loved every minute (even his not so graceful start his first time down -- wish we had a picture of that!!!).
Show off!!!
Ahhh...on level ground with three of my favorite people!
Just about 42 years of marriage!!
Love this shot!

Almost hitting our 17th Anniversary mark!

Loved having the weekend together!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sistas from anodar Mother

I'm a lucky girl...I love my mother and sister-in-laws!  We just got together for our annual AGW weekend -- All Girls Weekend. 

Love these ladies!  Our numbers grew by one this year with Andrew's marriage to Jenna.  It was such a treat to get to know Jenna better.  Each of these ladies made this weekend a priority.  A big shout out to our hubbies for holding down the fort while we were out shopping, eating, going to movies, and talking to the wee hours of the morning.
 Pedicures at the Paul Mitchell Beauty School -- I think we each came home with a good story and so so toes.  It was a memorable experience!
 Perdy toes!

 Mostly we just laid around, read, talked, or played games when we were at home.  Debbie did have all the supplies for us to make a scrumptious caramel apple for our hubbies.
 For my Lover!
We packed in some shopping, ate out more than my body could handle, and saw a great movie at the theater -- "Captain Phillips."
The last day Blayre had come up with a cute little craft that most of us made -- my kids were sure happy to indulge themselves with the treats when I got home. I ended up leaving a bit earlier than planned as my insomnia kicked in the last night and I only got on two hours of sleep and had a three hour drive home.  That was the only bummer part of the trip.

I love these ladies and I'm so glad that no matter what our physical distance is from each other that when we get together we can laugh, cry, and giggle.  Our friendships are eternal and sure does make the hard parts of life more bearable!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Districts and State Baby!!!!!

It's a wrap!  X-Country Season is officially over.  Alex had an AWESOME season and is super excited about his potential for next year. 
At the starting line for Districts.  Alex ran on the JV team.
It was WAY windy and I'm not sure how all these runners could breathe.
Check out this guy!  He honestly didn't even look tired at the end.  Alex reminded me of a gazelle as he galloped to the finish line.  Many other runners looked they were going to keel over and die once they made it through the finish line but Alex had a smile on his face and said that he felt great.
17:29.9 -- Alex is especially all smiles because he beat his Daddy's personal best from when Birch was a Senior in High School and went to State finishing with 17:30.
2nd Place Overall for JV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Alex is also holds the 8th spot for on the Varsity Team so he got to stand on the stands with when Varsity finished 2nd place overall at Districts -- earning them a spot at State.

Next Stop STATE:

 Seven runners run at State but they always take the top eight runners just in case someone gets sick or hurt.  Alex warmed up with the team and was right there to the end -- he didn't end up needing to run but had a great experience.  The team won 4th Place at State -- SWEET!!!
Alex was awarded several awards for his hard work this season at the awards dessert night.
Most exciting of all was earning his first letter and pin.  This is earned through accruing so many points each meet by being a top eight runner on Varsity.

Way to go Alex!!!  Can't wait to see what you can do next year!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Goblins, Ghosts, and Pumpkins

 Halloween was packed full of fun.  Chloe had a field trip to a local nursing home and was so cute as she recited all her memorized poems and songs.  The other kids had school parties and Alex...well, Alex got to go to school.  Not so much fun after you start growing up :)  I spent the afternoon setting up for our Ward Halloween Party. The party turned out great and we all came home exhausted!
 Alex (as himself), Coop (Beat Boxes), Tyler (Hillbilly), Nate (the Lobster Bisque guy from Studio C), Alysee (angel), Chloe (fairy), Birch (Clark Kent), Mom (Lois Lane)

Love my Super Hero!
 Birch's office really went all out this year in their costumes!
Great last minute costume!!