June 2012

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Eve turns 3!

December 23rd my little Eve turned 3! It's hard to believe that she is already that old! I do feel a little bad that her birthday is so close to Christmas, but she does share the day with an amazing person - Joseph Smith. So, she is in good company. Plus, she was the best Christmas present we have ever received. It is also nice that since it is so close to Christmas, out-of-town family is usually in-town and everyone can take time to celebrate with us. 

Eve is such a sweet little girl with an amazing imagination. 
She and Reed play all sorts of games together and she is physically just as tough as the boys (if not tougher). Emotionally, she is very much a girl. Hurt feelings make her cry. 
She is actually a super funny person. She has an infectious laugh and comes up with some of the funniest lines. She loves doing things that make people laugh (Reed has already commented, "Mom, Eve really is funny!"). 
Her favorite church song is "I am a Child of God" and her favorite non-church song is "Call Me, Maybe." Her favorite colors are pink and purple. 
I think she is going to be very artistic - she will color for an hour and loves to paint. She is specific about which colors she wants where, which I find amazing for someone her age. 
She loves being a 'mom.' 

Since it was a Sunday, Eve even got wear her birthday dress to church! She was super excited about her dress (I'm glad because I bought it a while ago since I loved it so much and have been saving it for her birthday). We decorated the hallway and her door with balloons and such - the usual :). We headed to Grandma Walker's house after naps for the birthday dinner, cake, and presents. 

Everyone in Tyson's family was able to be there, including the out-of-towners Jared and Beckie! Shauntelle and John and the kids were able to come as well. It's nice to be surrounded by so much family. It really helped make Eve's day super special. 

Just love doing this - and love that I don't have to pay for helium!

Reed is always so excited to give other people presents and watch them open it. Eve's birthday was no exception! 

The hallway
This year Eve wanted a Barbie doll cake that was pink and purple. Mission accepted and completed. Plus, I had some leftover cake and made a little cake with her name on it.  She absolutely loved it!

The finished product

She even has a bow in the back. Plus, an accidental but gorgeous up do to make her look fancy!

Pretty good, right?!

The beautiful birthday girl in her birthday dress by her birthday cake! 
Singing "Happy Birthday" to Eve

Blowing out the candles 
After dinner and cake and ice cream, it was present time and Eve really lucked out! She got a little timid when opening presents, since everyone was watching her, but Reed made the perfect side comments, "Look at that! How cute!" and "Hey, she's opening another one. Everyone watch!" - Such a supportive older brother.
The presents 

Piggie and Elephant books - a personal favorite of mine and my kids

Princess play dolls 
 After that, the kids just played and had a good time. Eve got some fairy wings and a wand from Aunt Tifani and spent the rest of the night with them (almost) permanently attached. We all enjoyed each other's company and the rest of the evening. I love you, Eve! Happy 3rd birthday :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More December Fun

December 7, 2012 - We were invited to our old ward's Christmas party and loved seeing everyone. It seems amazing to me how many people we got to know in such a short time in the ward (about 8 months). I also went to a cookie exchange party with Reed's preschool teacher. Way too many cookies were sampled and brought home, but it was a good time.

December 8, 2012 - We went to our ward Christmas party. It was a little weird just because we were brand new. We had only been to the ward the previous Sunday, so didn't really know anyone. But, we all had a good time. I loved the pjs and breakfast theme. Plus the kids got to ride on the "Polar Express." Pretty cool. Plus, Reed actually sat on Santa's lap this year! He really is growing up! Eve talked big, but when it came down to it, it was not going to happen. Aria just started screaming when we tried to hand her over.

First time without crying :) 

The "Polar Express"

As you can see, they were going pretty fast. I wanted a turn, but it was for kids only. 

After the party, we went to the live Nativity. I remember going with my parents a lot (not sure if it was yearly, but I recall at least a few times) and loved it. I wanted my kids to get the same experience. So, we went, froze a little, but enjoyed the presentation. The kids LOVED the live animals and Eve could not keep quiet - she had so many questions and thoughts. I was truly touched with how they presented the birth of our Savior. Afterwards, we got to see the baby Jesus and pet all the animals (sheep, horses, goats) and Aria was ecstatic about touching the sheep! She really is my animal-lover. Now, every time she sees a sheep (usually it's a pretend one), she just gets so excited and yells what she thinks is the word for sheep and points. So cute :) The kids even got to sit on a horse. Tyson's uncle, Mark, is in charge of all the animals, so he let the kids sit on a horse. They all did it - way to be brave!

A lot of December was taken up by the kids play kitchen that I made (Pictures to come). It was made from Tyson's Grandma's old entertainment unit. It got sanded, then prepped, then painted white. For the doors, I chose an orange color because I ended up making little valences out of Tyson's Grandma Zobrist's old tablecloth (plus some aprons!) that was an orange and white checker. So, the fridge doors had to be orange, along with the stovetop knobs. The handles for everything did not actually come until after Christmas (a long and frustrating process...I should have just not special ordered it - even though it was cheaper) and have not been put on because a tragedy happened on Christmas Eve. As it was being transported from Tyson's parents to our house, one of the doors flew open and broke! They tried to fix it with glue - it lasted for a few days, but then broke again. So, I have to do the doors again. Thus, I do not have a proper picture of the kitchen as of yet. But, it will be coming. Oh, I also put number and a start and stop on the microwave, plus spray-painted some old cds black and then painted them with mod podge for the stove top burners. It really did turn out awesome! Thank you, Pinterest for getting me to try new things or at least making me think I can do it. I am usually surprised at how not hard it is or how good it turns out.

Another big thing we did in December was helping a family. The Walker kids all contributed how ever much $ they could and then Kimber, Tifani, and I went shopping for presents and food for a family. This was what we did in lieu of presents to Grandma and Grandpa Walker (and in our case Grandma and Grandpa Rowberry as well). The family had fallen on hard times, especially when their new baby (#3) had to be in the hospital NICU for a few weeks. Plus, the husband has had a rough time finding a job. Just a lot to handle for a young family. We ended up really brigthening their Christmas. I helped pick out all the presents, but I was most excited about doing a fruit/veggie/nuts basket. I just really felt that it needed to happen. So, I filled a large basket and here is how it turned out:

It just makes me want to eat it! It looked so good. Here is everything we were able to get together for the family (presents, plus lots of stuff to stock a pantry, along with laundry detergent, and the fresh produce basket): 

We went to deliver the basket on Friday, December 14th and it was truly amazing. I was a bit nervous because I didn't know the family that well, but that did not matter. We brought everything to the door and I rang the door bell. The 9-year-old came to the door and said, "Mom, there is like 300 pounds of food here! I don't know what to do with it!" The mom was a bit confused and asked if there were people at the door as well. We were still there. She came to the door, saw everything, and burst into tears. You could see the shock, awe, relief, and thankfulness written all over her face in about a second . She gave me the most giant hug and it was all I could do to not break down and cry as well. We all went in and chatted for a few minutes. She was just very grateful and the true spirit of Christmas was really made clear. We all left on such a high. I love the feeling of giving - it is just amazing. Best Christmas present of the year! 

December 20th we went to the Shark Reef with Reed's preschool class. I had never been, so was as excited as the kids. Reed, Eve, and Aria all loved it! Aria got so excited about all the fish, she could have stayed all day! I think Reed's favorite part was seeing the divers clean the tank. It really had the attention of most of the kids. He also told me, "Mom, I bet daddy would love that job!" You are right, Reed - at least as a 6-month job, it would be awesome! He already knows how to scuba dive. Eve was brave and stuck her hand in the water where the sting rays were swimming. All-in-all a great field trip! Plus, we got the extra bonus of going to lunch with daddy after it was over. He is at Mandalay Bay right now, which is where the Shark Reef is located. Yahoo! We were all excited about that! 

Playing before we went inside. 

Captivated by the fish 

The Gila Monster (I think) 

Sting rays

The sea life was just amazing! 
December 21st Jared and Beckie got to town, which is always exciting. My kids simply love them - especially Aunt Beckie. :) I mean, they love Jared as well, but they always ask when Aunt Beckie is coming to visit again. Beckie, you have truly wrapped my kids around your finger - way to go!

So, we had planned a few fun outings - the first of which was going to the Ethel M cactus garden to see the Christmas lights. I had been to the garden many times in high school (mostly because I could go and get a piece of chocolate from the factory as well) and loved it. Seeing the Christmas lights was amazing! They were so colorful and bright. It just makes me wonder who had to put all those lights on the various cacti in the garden and how they avoided being permanently punctured. Despite the cold (it is December, so it does get cold - just not as cold as other places), a good time was had by all. Plus, we all sampled some chocolate and toffee. Yum!

Reed had to stand by the green lights. They were his favorite. 

The crew - plus, we met up with Shauntelle and John and the girls

December 22nd we went to the Bellagio to see the flower garden and the water show. Those are my favorite things to do on the strip. I think it would be pretty awesome to be in charge of designing the flower gardens. They change fairly frequently and it always amazes me! This Christmas was no different - just amazing!

The entrance - I loved the giant bells!

The most talented xylophone players I have ever seen . They had 2 mallets in each hand! 

Aria attempting to pose. 

My kids loved the ice skating penguins. What's not to love about penguins, right? They are always dressed up, slide around on their bellies, and live in families. Love it! 
By the giant Christmas tree. 

They all loved the water show, but I think Reed may have loved it the most. He kept mentioning how cool and amazing it was. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My First Christmas Tree

Growing up we always had a fake Christmas tree -- sometimes 2 (a kids tree and a mom tree). I recall that my mom loved having a Blue Spruce in our house. I never thought anything of having a fake tree, that's just what we had. I still loved decorating the tree and it was almost easier since the branches could be folded what ever way I wanted them to be. 

Fast forward to getting married to Tyson - someone who had always had a real tree at Christmas time. He was disappointed that we had to get a fake tree due to money constraints. But, h e was happy that we only had to buy that tree one time and it lasted 2006 - 2011 - much more economical.

This year was the year that we finally bought a real (meaning fresh) Christmas tree. I was excited and a little nervous because the decision was up to me, pretty much. Which tree did I like? I had no idea what to look for in a live tree - having never had one before. But, I think we did a pretty good job picking one out. 

December 1st - When we pulled into the lot on, Reed saw this huge tree (at least 20 feet - if not taller) and said, "That's the tree I want. It can go in our room with the tall ceiling." Yes, it would have fit, but, no, we didn't get that tree. Reed was a little disappointed, but not enough for it to dampen the mood of buying a live tree that actually smelled like Christmas instead of having Christmas sprayed on it from a bottle (to this day - I can'[t stand the fake Christmas smell that tries to be real). 

Eve wanted every single tree we saw - especially the ones they had frosted to make it look like snow. No, we did not go with that either. 

Aria was just enjoying walking in the trees getting lost. Don't worry, we found her. 

We ended up with about a 7 foot tree and it looked awesome! The guy cut it for us, which was a whole new adventures as well and then, we were off to put it up in our house. We have basically an entire room just for the Christmas tree (since we are lacking in the furniture department right now), so it was fun to be able to fill that room with something so green and lovely. It also made the house smell amazing - like Christmas :)

What a great day with my family. I think Reed might actually remember picking out the tree. He was so excited! Merry Christmas (even if it is February). 

My first live Christmas tree

We had to get a close-up. 

Getting a fresh cut on the stump. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

November 2012

November 2012 was one of the busiest months of this year. It all started actually at the end of October.

I was doing my normal morning run (in preparation for half marathon #3 on November 3rd). After about 3 or so miles my knee started killing me and I stopped running. I walked the rest of the way home, very frustrated. I had not tripped, I had not fallen.....ugh. Would I be able to run? The next week I went to the chiropractor and he helped me out a lot. I told him the race was that weekend and asked if I could run. He said to see him everyday and it should be possible. He also said that it would not hurt my knee to run on it, although it may be painful. Yuck, tendonitis is not fun. I also failed to remember that I have been using the same running shoes since the last month of my training for my first half marathon. So, yes, new shoes need to be purchased (I still have not done it - life is just so busy). So, needless to say, I spent a lot of time in the chiropractor's office right before the half marathon.

November 2nd, we signed the papers for our house! It was a little overwhelming, but so exciting. Just another step taken into true adulthood. I also wired away most of our savings into escrow and went into shock for a short while. It was just a lot of $.

November 3rd I did end up running my half marathon (The big free half marathon). I taped  my knee, took some ibuprofen and went on my way. My tape came off about halfway through the race, and I spent a good 2 minutes trying to get the other piece of tape to stick to my sweaty leg, but to no avail. So, I continued on and finished the race. I finished in 2:01:30 which was just a little over what my goal was. The goal was 2 hours. But, I cannot complain considering that I was not even sure I would be able to run it and took 2 minutes trying to get the tape to stick. So, not bad. Half marathon #3 -- check!

On Monday, November 5th, we officially got the keys to our new house and I started cleaning the almost 3,500 square feet monster. What was I thinking? This house is huge?! It will take forever to clean. But, it was definitely the house we were meant to get (not quite sure why still) though I am already longing for the day when we can put carpet into some more of the downstairs. Tile is a beast.

November 6th I got to see Kristy and James who were doing some canvassing for the Romney presidential campaign. They had stopped for lunch and we got to chat for a little bit, then they were back to work.

Much of my November was spent at the new house cleaning every inch (other people's dirt is scary and gross to me - my own dirt, still not great, but I handle it a lot better) with a lot of help from family.

Oh, did I mention that someone (I am guessing the previous owner) took one side of the door knob (we have a double door entry)  and the knobs that were one there are out of stock? Yeah, so this picture is fitting because I spent a lot of time looking for replacements. I ended up having to get an entire new set. Door knobs are expensive!

November 10th was the Rainbow ward temple day and also the best day to finish cleaning and tape the house in preparation for painting. We did all of the above. Another busy day.

November 11th we ate dinner at Grandma and Grandpa Walker's house. It was a nice little break from the crazy house stuff!

Found these cute kids looking at books on the stairs together. So sweet!

We also decided to paint the house before moving in so there would be no furniture to move and "it would be nice to move in with everything freshly painted - then it would really be ours," was what I said. In reality, I am still glad we did it, but it took a lot longer than we thought and it took a whole lot more paint. Our walls were previously a super light cream and flat paint (yuck!). I was not going to have that again - cleaning the walls is impossible with flat paint. So we went with sandstone (Sherwin-Williams) and semi-gloss. Such an awesome choice! I love it! It is definitely a neutral color, but a warm tone. Again, we had a lot of help from lots of family, but it would not have been possible without Grandma and Grandpa Walker. They are the pros. Thanks to all the Walkers in Las Vegas, my mom and dad, and Shauntelle....it was a huge help!

November 12th I went to Sherwin-Williams to pick out the paint color. I got stuck on the last 2, so got a quart sample of each to see which one I liked better. I was afraid of making the house too dark, so I chose a lighter and darker option. In the end, I went with the darker (Sandstone) and it looks awesome! But, I am still glad that I had the choice and got to see it on the walls before completely making up my mind. The kids came with us for the painting adventure in our new house. They were stoked! Reed took a lot of these photos. 

Yeah, Reed took that one. I am so glad I didn't see that. 

Trying out the colors - the lighter color ended up almost completely matching the old color - that's why you almost can't see it in this photo. 

Hmmm - wonder how Reed got this shot?!

Our high wall.....

Yes, it's super high! It will never be painted again, unless I can hire someone to do it. 

The kids enjoying the stairs. 

Front stairway

Downstairs bathroom

One side of the kitchen (just happens to be my favorite room in the house) 

November 15th was a field trip day for Reed's preschool. We went down to the railroad tunnels by Lake Mead and walked all 5 of them. Turns out, you can go all the way into Lake Mead, but it's a few more miles each way. The tunnels used to be railroad tunnels (as is obvious by the name), but after everything was completed. they took the railroad tracks out. Now, it is a nice dirt trail for walkers and bikers. It was a lot of fun! (I actually had to hurry home after it was all done because the guy to look at our oven was coming by - since it was not working - it was a big rush, but we made it just in time)

Random fun thing that we did during the craziness (November 16th): We saw 2 of my cousins play for the BYU volleyball team. There was some sort of exhibition games pre-season in Las Vegas. So, my Uncle Elmer and Aunt Amy came from San Diego to see 2 of their boys play on BYU volleyball. Yes, there is height in my family, I just did not get very much of it. The guys did awesome! It was a nice break. Photos courtesy of Reed.

My Aunt Amy and my dad 

Go cougars!

November 18th (Sunday) was Isla's 3rd birthday! We went over for dinner, cookies & ice cream, and some fun games! Can't believe that she is already 3! That means Eve is almost 3! Time certainly flies when you are having fun and being busy. :)

We also decided to move just before Thanksgiving since we were planning on doing Thanksgiving at my house (my parents and sisters were coming). Besides the cleaning and painting stuff, I also packed our house - intermittently. I was like a chicken with my head cut off. Oh, and I was still teaching the Beehives on Sunday all November and was in charge of an activity. Yeah, busy. So, on Tuesday, November 20th, all our stuff was packed and moved to the new house. We did do some moving on Monday, but the bulk was done Tuesday. By Tuesday night, we had all our beds set-up and some kitchen stuff unpacked. I have not been that tired in a long time.

Wednesday was spent unpacking and also celebrating my dad's birthday at Shauntelle's house! Before going over, however, Joe and Jana stopped by on their way to St. George for Thanksgiving. Reed and Taryn spent time playing and acted like they had never been apart - no shyness or anything. They did great. Always nice to see friends! James and Kristy also came by and helped a ton in the unpacking process. Wednesday night my parents came to stay at our house and we discovered that the start button on our oven was not working (are you kidding me?!) - it had worked on Tuesday. We thought it was weird, but decided to see if it worked in the morning. We reset the oven breaker and went to bed.

Sure enough, it did not work on Thursday morning, so all our plans changed. We went to Tyson's parents' house (they were in California) and had Thanksgiving there. It was a last minute switch, but everything ended up being just fine. We ate a bunch of good food, played games, chatted, and the kids even got naps. We also did some "black Friday" shopping on Thursday night at 9 p.m.

My mom left on Friday morning, but my dad stayed until Monday morning. They were looking for a house since they are moving out here Summer 2013 after my dad retires. They did not have any luck finding a house, but the market right now is really weird - at least in Las Vegas.

Saturday, November 24th we went to Exploration Peak Park at Mountain's Edge. We played at the play ground and hiked the little mountain right by the park. The kids all had a blast! It was a beautiful view of Las Vegas! Afterwards, we went and ate at Cafe Rio :) Yummy! Then we went back to my house to play some games and relax. Ah, family time is fun :)

So, that about sums up my November. Whew! Just typing it reminded me of how busy and tired I was. Busy month, but really a great month. I can't believe we own a house!