Sunday, October 25, 2015
I felt like the theme to our testimony meeting (next week is stake conference, so we did fast&testimony meeting this week) was to always be prepared to bear your testimony... to a friend, in a conference, in public, in your heart. Always know that God gives you gentle nudges to touch others and enrich your own life. I'm feeling more involved and less blah at church, which gives me some peace. I met another new sister in relief society and loved learning about her and her children. Leta sat next to us and of course made us laugh the entire meeting. Our lesson was on one of President Monson's talks-- on always being kind and Christlike.
Scheel's had a fun Halloween event including pumpkin decorating, Halloween safety tips, and free Ferris wheel ride. They only had 80 pumpkins to give out to decorate, and the last ones were given away to the family in front of us. I was heartbroken when I had to tell Amelia she could only decorate a paper pumpkin, but apparently I successfully convinced her it was going to be just as great because she was excited! And then somehow they had an extra pumpkin, so Amelia got to paint her pumpkin with allllllll the colors. Win-win! We ended up waiting a few days for the Ferris wheel since the line was so long, but we made another family night out of the ride and pumpkin hunting at Pumpkin Point Farms! The girls each picked out a mini white pumpkin-- we are planning to hunt for our carving pumpkins the week of Halloween. (Jeremy is paranoid about the pumpkins rotting before we get to carve them..............)
Saturday, October 24, 2015
it was as fun as the pictures look! yes, even through the crowd! amelia had the TIME of her life trick-or-treating and said, "thank you!" to all the vendors! (she's a bit shy and it's tricky to convince her to say thank you to strangers) (oh ps. since we started the month of October, she has been very into "smelling her feet." I can't stop laughing about this.) Daddy was with us, so we rode the merry-go-round for the first time this year-- Amelia kept waving and Scarlett would grin her giant grin and wave back. I love this little family, and I love how the costumes look on these ladies! I just want to squish them!
it might seem strange, but I've been getting a little down with my birthday each year. it's probably the aging and not really feeling growth, or perhaps enough growth? or maybe just not materialistic growth that is measurable. anyway, it doesn't make a whole love of sense and I try really hard to ignore it.
my birthday week made me so happy this year. i felt a great amount of love from the people i love and it has just been perfect. it started with my haircut on tuesday, and then my friend Michelle took me out for dinner at The Porch. it was our first time hanging out without our kiddos-- after almost 4 years of friendship. my parents brought me a their traditional cheesecake and a box of ferrero rochers on wednesday. Jeremy made me breakfast on my birthday, i was able to shower and paint my toenails while Amelia was at school and Scarlett was napping, Jessica left me a sweet gift of Dr. Pepper, ferrero rocher, and crochet hooks and a case to store them too because she knows just how to make me smile, Collette and Remy brought over a frosted lemonade from Chik-fil-A, I got sunflowers and a sweet card from Jeremy and the girls, food trucks with the Bodtchers for dinner, Jer and I snuck away to watch The Martian, and I just received so many birthday wishes from all the people I love!
and just when I thought it was over: on Friday, the girls and I headed out for a picnic at the park with my visiting teaching companion and the sisters we visit-teach and their kiddos. boy, we were a huge bunch! the girls surprised me with birthday doughnuts from Dunkin' Donuts complete with candles, matches, and singing. guys, I barely held it together, but I had to laugh with how excited the kids were about the doughnuts. especially Amelia (it's probably been the best week of her life since she has partaken in all my treats...). These ladies are newer friends of mine since so many have moved away-- and they are so sweet and so thoughtful. I'm not friends of any of them on Facebook, so the only reminder of my birthday they might have gotten was during relief society announcement. With 4-5 kids (each) of their own, this surprise was definitely not easy to pull off. I was so touched.
I feel so blessed and loved. My heart feels so full these days, like maybe I'm finally getting it together or something. I'm grateful for such a huge and dedicated support system. I'm excited for this newest chapter.
oh, I forgot to mention that Herriman Library turned 5 this same week, so the storytime themes were all related to birthdays. It was a perfect coincidence. Scarlett loved the birthday hats, as you can tell... Amelia learned a lot about surprise parties and presents-- she would wrap up presents (play veggies) for me and yell "SURPRISE!" as I opened them. (Also, Amelia writes her own name on her name tag, and she's working on her penmanship!)
Monday, October 19, 2015
I adore all things Halloween! I happened upon a Mega List of Halloween Events a while back and marked our calendar for an exciting month! Last weekend was Wee Little Witches at Gardner Village, and we made our way down! We usually "hunt" for witches every year, so we were excited to see the special events for this weekend. There was a huge crowd of course, and crowds and young families don't mix well. Amelia was a bit nervous with the witches (even the pink witch!) The face painting and the bubbles and the market were fun, but I'm not sure we felt it was worth fighting a crowd. Oh well, we'll know for next year... In the end, I can't complain about a fun Saturday morning these three babes!
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
This was a good Sunday for us. Primary program Sunday is always sweet, especially in our ward with Allison Clark as the primary chorister. Scarlett has been sooooooo great ever since she got her crawling down, she's just happy to crawl around us and pull herself up as she pleases. Amelia sang 'Gethsemane' with the kiddos and Lori told me afterwards that she was totally fine throughout the whole program, and then she heard Amelia singing and totally lost it. Those sweet voices, I tell ya! I spent most of relief society running around handing out personalized invitations to each sister for our activity on Tuesday. This new calling strangely fits the parts of me that loves parties and loves making new friends, but the introvert part and the exhausted mom part? Well, I guess we're still trying to win those parts over.
We loved coming home to the girls. I wanted to do something special right away because we missed them so much! I can't believe we missed a whole week in October with them, but I guess it'll be all pumpkin patches and October festivities from here on out!
Jeremy and I boarded the Carnival Elation through the New Orleans port for a western Caribbean cruise on Saturday afternoon. We had a day at sea on Sunday, arrived at the port of Cozumel and had an excursion at the secluded beach of Passion Island on Monday, hiked to the Mayan Temple at Chichen Itza from the port of Progresso on Tuesday, another day at sea and my 75 minute long massage on Wednesday. Here are my favorite memories of the cruise:
-pizza and creme brulee for late night snacks.
-our waiters in the lining up to dance in the middle of dinner to Gangam Style. I cheered so loud, Jeremy said, "geez, I'd hate to see you at a male strip club!" bah!
-we watched the "love and marriage" game hosted by our cruise director, Ben. The wives answered questions while the husbands were offstage, and then the husbands would come back on to see how closely their answers matched their wives. One of the questions was, "When you step out of the shower, what kind of car would you describe is parked in the garage?" One of the husbands answered, "well, was it a hot shower or a cold shower?" and Ben says, "Okay, Let's not make it any harder than it is..." Jeremy and I were dying through this entire show.
-reading books, you know, a hobby I use to have. I finished Divergent in a few days (in between all our cruise activities).
-laying out at Passion Island + swaying in a hammock in the ocean.
-3 course meals every meal, with as many appetizers and entrees as we wanted. Jeremy tried alligator fritters and crab cakes, but drew the line at frog legs. They had amazing vegetarian dishes as well!
-we somehow got Priority status-- checking in was a breeze (like NO line, with drinks waiting for us), and we got "any time" meals for the whole cruise.
-had little fruity (non-alcoholic?) drinks.
-pumped (and dumped) like 30-40 ounces everyday.
-loved the animals folded up by towels by our housekeeper Ian.
-loved that the WHOLE crew always knew us by name.
-watched a lot of gambling.
-loved the comedy shows way past our usual bedtime. Allyn Ball made so many inappropriate jokes that had Jer and I peeing our pants.
-taking a nap everyday.
-used my selfie stick a lot, but then it broke in the middle of an excursion.
-we played a giant game of chess on Lido deck. I got Jeremy's queen on my second move, but he still beat me.
-dressed up for formal night, went to take formal pictures, and the photographer posed us in all these AWKWARD poses (like almost kissing, and me pushing Jeremy back). We had a good laugh.
-We got all our souvenirs at Progresso. All I wanted to bring back from our cruise was a pair of matching dresses for the girls... until they asked for $43 per dress. I guess I'm a good barterer(?) and ended up getting both dresses for $30 (still way higher than I really wanted to pay, but I was feeling really guilty...) We also got a dragon whistle for Amelia, maracas for Scarlett, a Mayan Temple magnet for our collection, and a mask with the "Healing God." (The guy was lucky we were both nurses...). The markets are INSANE, they are all asking you to buy their items and you can pretty much set the price.
-found my first (and second and third) grey hair, and a few freckles too.
-Loved the Harry Potter trivia with so many questions I couldn't remember, which confirmed that I need to reread the series again.
-Jeremy treated me to a 75 minute full body massage (from a professional, haha).
-slept in everyday, slowly ate hot food every meal, stayed up late, napped often SHOWERED EVERYDAY.
-no social media at all, perfect alone time with my hubby.
-loved our balcony and seeing sunrises and watching the blue blue water.
-mini-golfing in the dark. Me, getting a hole in 1 and Jeremy struggling A LOT because the boat was so rocky! Bah!
-chess and chinese checkers on our balcony, just for fun.
We docked on Thursday morning in New Orleans and spent our anniversary in the city. Jeremy and I visited the National World War 2 Museum, and it was incredible. They gave each person a dog tag, to which we checked in with a soldier at the "train station" and would follow up on his journey throughout the displays of the progression of the war. The documentaries and displays of the battles were extraordinary, detailed, moving. There were hands on presentations of battle invasions, libraries of live interviews, displays of planes, tanks, uniforms, etc. We spent four hours inside (had to add money to our parking meter) and could have easily returned a second day. We love our history! After checking into our hotel room, we walked down Bourbon Street to the French Quarter, Jackson Square, and then along the Mississippi River. It was such a nice walk, although Bourbon Street reminded us we were definitely NOT in Utah (a lady tried to pull us into her bar, offering us free shots). In case you didn't know, Jackson Square is dedicated to Andrew Jackson. I sure felt ignorant and ridiculous and had a good laugh as I read the sign to discover this fact. The music was beautiful and soulful in this square, and we watched a couple get married right before sunset. Jeremy treated me to dinner at the Hard Rock cafe, and apologized it wasn't more fancy. I was just happy to be with my sweetheart on such a sweet night. (Plus, I'm just so impressed that the south has such amazing vegetarian dishes. I was a little nervous I would be stuck on salad.) We rode "Daniel Tiger's Trolley" back to our hotel room because our legs hurt. We ended the night by watching Titanic and being grateful we didn't watch it before or during our cruise.
People say it all the time: that you need to keep dating your spouse, especially after you have kids. It's such a tricky thing, and there's all sorts of excuses that keep you busy. Often, the alone time we do get together is time we just want to sleep after an exhausting day. I'm so glad we spent a week by ourselves and remembered why we fell in love. I think I slept the first couple of days straight! But it was so lovely to do "trivial" things like play chess and remember how smart my husband is; and have him grab my hand tight in crowds and remember how protective he is; and visit the Mayan ruins, and remember what a history lover he is; and kiss, when we're not tired and not rushed, and just remember how wonderful that is. It was Heavenly to spend the entire week thinking about my honey, without interruptions. I feel so blessed that our parents were willing and happy to watch our babies for us. It truly was the best vacation we've ever had, and such a perfect way to celebrate five years of marriage.
I posted a picture on social media with the caption: "1 home of our own, 2 baby girls, 3 collegiate degrees, 4 totally different vehicles + 5 years later-- it's been the most wild + most lovely adventure of my whole life. happy anniversary to my best friend for eternity. #october08"
I realize, now, that the 4 different vehicles probably didn't seem too relevant. Jeremy and I brought our own vehicles depicting our own personalities into our marriage: he had his tacoma, and I, my lancer. We replaced the lancer for a prius when our nursing careers required a large amount of miles to commute and we replaced the tacoma for a terrain to support our growing family. Our totally different vehicles have been relevant in our growth and accomplishments. I'm so proud and grateful for the family and home we've made in our marriage. It definitely has not been perfect or easy, but it certainly has been the best five years of my life.
I love you forever, Jeremy Ray!