Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sleepy Head

Hailey has always slept when she is tired, regardless of where we are at. When she was a baby I would lay her on the floor in Relief Society, put a blanket over her head, and pat her back for a minute or two and she would sleep the rest of the meeting.

This week she put herself to sleep on the floor during Sacrament meeting. McKayla was curious what Hailey was doing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hailey climbed in the crib to "help McKayla be happy" during the night.
That look, grin, run combination McKayla flashes just before she runs into the street.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our Simple Joys

I was recently in a church meeting and was reminded that there is a lot of love in this world. The Lord has blessed each of us with little moments of joy, and before they are forgotten I'll record a few of them here.

Hailey and McKayla running around the living laughing, for reasons unknown to me.

Reading books on the couch.

Breakfast as a family.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

We celebrate Valentine's Day with a Valentine Volcano, Valentine card and gift exchange, and a busy disjointed candle lit dinner complete with non-alcoholic red drinks, or "special drinks," as they are called at our house.

 Hailey and McKayla at the volcano

Hailey with her Valentine balloon- the only thing she wants for any holiday is a balloon.

Special Drinks

Sunday, February 10, 2013

An Extended Vaction...

We enjoyed a long holiday season... or should I say we continue to enjoy a long holiday season. Scott, Lisa, and John Sommerfeldt flew to Houston for Thanksgiving. We enjoyed the company, a trip to Brazo Bend State Park (though we didn't see as many alligators as we did last time we went), built the bar for the backyard and feasted.

A few weeks later, we purchased a 2001 Honda Odyssey, and long story short, it's been a big headache ever since. On December 11, I loaded the girls into the van and we set out for Colorado. Fifty miles later we were stranded on the side of the road with a failed transmission. Kevin rescued us, I got the car from Bruce, and we again set out for Colorado. We took a day longer than we wanted but still arrived in Colorado in time for Jaron and Adalia's wedding.

We enjoyed our visit in Colorado. Congratulations to Jaron and Adalia! Hailey and McKayla loved time with all of their cousins- the Merritt's and the Mower's. It is fun to have Bruce's sister in Denvr and my spread across Colorado because when we visit my family we are also able to see Michelle and Ben.

Bruce had a training in Denver the week after the wedding, so it was great to see him some while I visited my family for a few extra days. If he didn't have training he would have returned to Houston to work while the girls and I stayed in Colorado. As it was, Bruce stayed at Michelle's most of the time, and the girls and I stayed the beginning of the week at my parents and the end of the week with Michelle. We enjoyed a morning with the Merritt girls and Madeline at City Park. A Christmas Exchange with my family. An afternoon at Brent's Place, the little apartment where Ben Merritt lives while he is undergoing chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Shopping and laminating paper dolls at with Mom. It was really fun to see everyone, and a little weird to know that our life happens somewhere so far from them.

The drive home was (thankfully), uneventful and we were glad to get home, or more importantly, to get out of the car after 17 hours.

When we got back from Colorado we made arrangements to have the transmission repaired and by early January the van was up and running. Bruce returned to work as usual and we attempted normal life for a week or two. Mid January we interrupted "life as normal" to attend John and McKenzie's wedding in Utah. We used frequent flyer miles (mostly) and I took the two girls on a flight to Memphis, TN, then on to Salt Lake. Bruce flew after work on the same flight as Kevin's family. The travels went well in general. The girls did great on the first flight and enjoyed the 3 hour layover, for the most part. There was one episode of trauma when Hailey was bouncing her bouncy ball and it went down a restricted flight of stairs. She went to retrieve it and the airport attendant grabbed her. It shook her up pretty bad, in part because she was quite attached to the ball, but in part because we had been down similar stairs earlier, so she couldn't understand why this grumpy airport attendant wouldn't let her go get her ball. I'm sure we were quite the sight- I was pulling an overstuffed carry on with a duffel bag stacked on top, and a car seat stacked on top of that, I had McKayla either in the front pack, or trotting along beside and Hailey is running down the corridor crying inconsolably. It was a really awesome moment for all of us, but she did eventually calm down and we played on the moving walkway.

The stay is Utah was fun. The house was noisy and crowded for a few days with all the family gathered and it was great to be withe everyone. Sunday night the crowd dispersed- Bruce flew to Jackson, MS to begin "busy season." Kevin and Laurel wen to see her family, and Monday Ben and Michelle drove back to CO. Since Bruce was traveling and we were already in Utah we spent some time with Scott and Lisa.

Highlights of the visit included Hailey vomiting red cherry sours at the Brick Oven (Madeline reported that they had a candy party... one can only guess how many Hailey ate); getting sick and laying in bed all day for one day; playing at McDonald's play place with Joe; attending Les Miserable at BYU; night skiing with Ryan and Jen; a Dora the Explorer Party that Hailey planned (it consisted of everyone going in the living room with a blanket and watching Dora. I think Scott's Spanish has really improved because of that party); devotional and devotional lunch; visiting the Dinosaur Museum at BYU; going to story time at the Provo Library (Hailey still talks about how much she loved it. I think she might be disappointed by our library's version of story time); babysitting the Cox (better know as Coxen) girls while Stephanie was induced; and more stuff that I can't remember.

After the vacation, the girls and I were once again glad to be home. But it was not to be. Bruce had to stay in Jackson to work through the weekend, and since I hadn't seen him in 2 weeks, and since company policy is to fly a spouse out if they travel for the weekend, I was home for 3 days and then flew to Jackson, MS. Thanks to Kevin and Laurel who gave up their weekend to watch the kids! It was fun being in Jackson. Bruce had to work full days both Saturday and Sunday while I was there, so while he worked I walked around the city. It's a cute little place. Downtown is like a ghost town- the building are damaged (from hurricanes) and many are abandoned. There are only a half a dozen building with more than 3 stories. We tried to get lunch from both Chick-a-fil and Subway but they were closed all day Saturday and Sunday (really, a fast food chain can close... I know it's in a business area but still...). The mall in one of the suburbs (if you can call it that) closes all it's shops at 8pm on Friday night. But, there were lots of historic buildings to see. I didn't tour any of them but saw the outside of the Capitol, the Old Capitol, an art museum, some churches, etc. I walked to the farmers market and saw the area where Dixie National was begin held. I also went in a local attraction, and the busiest store there- a boot shop. :) I walked a lot, had one creepy encounter (shouldn't be too surprising since Jackson ranks in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the country, or something like that, remember figures accurately is not my strong point and I'm too lazy to verify that now, but feel free to do it yourself) but made it back to the hotel safely, and then took a nap. It was fun to have an all expense paid weekend with Bruce (sort of with him- I was with him when he wasn't working). Thankfully the weekend hours were not as long as week hours (8am- sometime between 9 and 11 pm), so we were able to spend time together in the evenings. Monday I flew home and returned to real life, a little more refreshed. And thus I become and advocate for a weekend away, even in slightly less than ideal circumstances.

And so, the months of vacation came to an end.