Monday, January 5, 2009


Preparing for Christmas was filled with the usual hustle and bustle this year:

Decorate Christmas Tree: Check
Keely was like, “mom, get a picture of me putting ornaments on!” This is her totally natural “I’m putting ornaments on the tree” pose.
Dress your kid up like an Elf: Check
I don’t know why but Ben found this hat and just latched on. He would walk around the house pointing at his head saying, “hat.” He was very proud of himself and I have to say pretty cute too. I know his PJ’s are way too small but don’t judge me. The kid grows like a freaking weed! : )
Fly out to help your sickly sister: Check
Okay this wasn’t originally part of the plan but my sister Arah got her tonsils out and I knew that her husband Steve was there to help her over the weekend and then her mom-in-law was there to help her through Tuesday and then she was on her own. I knew she was sick and miserable and I kept walking around with this completely helpless feeling wishing I could be there to help her. I talked to her mom-in-law on Tuesday morning and she told me how much pain Arah was in and how out of it she was and that did it. I asked Shawn if I could go and he got on board and agreed to take the kids for the next 3 days. Thanks to his frequent flyer miles I was on a plane that night. If you can call taking care of a sick person “fun” well I guess this was. Really, it was so nice to have the helpless feeling gone and feel like I could put myself to use for someone I love. I’m grateful that Shawn let me just jump ship and go.Take the kids sledding: Check
Shawn took the kids out sledding with Kristin and Abram while I was gone. Thanks to Kristin who kind of let (or invited) the family to hole up with her family while I was gone (neither Shawn nor Kristin are people who like to be alone) I always knew the kids (and Shawn) were being well taken care of. I love this picture of Ben because it is so him. He’s almost never without a ball.

Christmas Fun in Utah

After Thanksgiving we all started to get into the Christmas spirit by having breakfast with Santa, taking Trax to see the temple lights and going to Gavin’s preschool Christmas party.

Breakfast With Santa
Probably more expensive than it’s worth but nonetheless Keely and Gavin had a great time.
Sugarplum Fairy
The Grinch (Gavin wouldn't even get close!)
The Gingerbread Man
And of course Mrs. Claus
Ben really didn’t know what was going on but he loved all the colors and lights and ran around like a chicken with his head cut off. Seriously, he couldn’t sit still for a second, this was the only pic we were able to get of him.
Little Ayden wasn’t impressed with the food or the lights.
Trax to the Temple
We decided that the kids would like to take a “train” to see the temple lights. I think the novelty of the train wore off quickly though and we’ll probably take a car next time. It was fun to do it once though. : )The lights. Well, lots of waiting around for we didn’t know what. Was there going to be some kind of show? Would all the lights come on at once? I have to be honest, I’m still a little confused at what we were waiting for but the one thing that no one can deny is that the temple is truly breathtaking when all lit up.Gavin’s Christmas Party
Gavin’s preschool sure knows how to throw a party. The problem, when Keely’s not in a party mood she makes sure that no one else is either! Really, Ben did appreciate the food and Keely ended up being pleased with some “reindeer food” that Gavin made for her at one of the craft centers. This is the closest Ben got to Santa all year. He does look a little scary though, doesn’t he?

Thanksgiving Day

Zeb carving our first deep fried turkey
The spread
The happy hostess
We truly had a great Thanksgiving. Even though it was crowded (and if you look closely at the pictures below you can find a Halloween table cloth being utilized) the people were right and the food was good! What more can you ask for? I truly am thankful for a loving, caring family and especially for Arah and Steve who will let us invade their home and their lives just to have a few moments where we can all be together and create some memories. My favorite part of our trip this year was the late night talks after all the kids had gone to bed. It’s amazing after all these years that you can actually still get to know your family better just by sitting down and taking time to talk.

The Friends We Make

A highlight for me every time I go to Utah is being able to catch up with old friends.I love that with good friends you can go forever without talking and then when you see each other again it’s like you’ve never been apart. You can just pick up where you left off. Here are a few of the dear friends we got to see

Our Michigan Buddies

We got to go out to dinner with a couple of our Michigan abandoning friends. Sure they graduated from U of M and had job offers calling and families to support, but c’mon, where’s the loyalty? Really, having dinner with the Osguthorpes and Boyers just made us miss them all the more. Good conversation and good fun all the time!


Emily is another Michigan deserter who now lives in Washington but was in Utah for Thanksgiving. We got in some good time with Emily, her husband Teem and the kids but fortunately her daughter’s shirt was “misplaced” and left at Arah’s house so she was forced to stop by one more time before saying goodbye. Emily and I used to have a tradition of meeting at the mall every Thursday. We’d buy the kids a pretzel and a smoothie and just enjoy some good conversation together while the kids ran around the play area. I miss those days.

The girls

Once again I got to meet up with my girlfriends from high school. I think that I need regular visits with these girls because every time I see them I feel like I’m 16 again. I’m convinced that this is the secret to reclaiming my youth. I could just feel my wrinkles melting away. Seriously, I always have such a fun time with these girls and I’m forever thankful that I was surrounded by such good friends in high school. I truly hope that my kids will be able to find friends this good.
(This was me trying to look skinny next to Autumn and everyone laughing because it was totally not working)

The People We Meet

Our trip was also filled with new faces and old favorites.

New Faces


Meeting new little Siarah was a dream. Siarah is my sister Julee’s new little baby and when I tell you she’s the easiest, sweetest, best baby in the world I am not exaggerating. She mostly slept, but even when she was awake she was a content little thing. The couple of times I did hear her cry it was almost apologetic. Like, “sorry to bother you but I could use a diaper change or maybe a little food.” This precious baby just really has a sweet little spirit and all of us (especially Ben who kept insisting that he cuddle and kiss her) had fun getting to “know” her.


Travis (Shawn’s little bro) finally let us meet his girlfriend Jessica, I felt like we were being let into some sort of special secret society or something very important. In all seriousness, it was great to meet her and we liked her so much. Jessica is especially good with kids and gained a lifelong fan in Keely.

Old Favorites

Grandma Gibby

My dear grandma made the trip from CA to UT to spend Thanksgiving with us. This lady is someone who just loves you and never stops expressing her love and gratitude once you’ve earned it (or even if you haven’t). Keely loves when she gets to spend time with her Great Grandma. She always know she’ll come out with some treat or important treasure. This year it was a fun advent calendar. I love this woman!

Uncle Mike

My brother Mike has some serious fans in his nieces and nephews. They seriously celebrate whenever he shows up and incessantly ask for him when he’s not around. There’s good reason for this. One night Mike babysat for my sister Arah and I while we went out. When we got home Keely and Gavin were still up. When I asked Keely why she wasn’t in bed she replied, “’cause you never have to go to sleep when Uncle Mikey’s babysitting!” It’s true. The kids know that Uncle Mike will let you eat, have or do almost anything you want when he’s in charge. Hey, he’s the Uncle, right?! They are lucky to have him; he loves them to death and they know it!

Oh the Places We Go

Don’t you just hate when someone doesn’t post for a long time and then they throw up a bunch of junk all at once? Well, me too. But that’s not going to stop me! I still haven’t documented our trip out to Utah for Thanksgiving so I wanted to throw up a few pictures for posterity sake.

The Dinosaur Museum

One of Keely’s “must visit” places every time we go to Utah is Thanksgiving Point’s Dinosaur Museum. I have to say, I would be fine seeing it just once but for Keely and her cousin Gavin this place just never gets old!

Kangaroo Zoo

Kangaroo Zoo is also a popular choice for our Utah visits. I can see why they love this place so much. Who doesn’t want to climb, jump and slide around on big bouncy toys!

Jump On It

I would have got way more photos of this place had my camera not died. It’s just a place with a bunch of trampolines all connected together. Dangerous? Dirty? Maybe, but I loved it and we had to drag the kids away after 2 hours. I think I’d be a regular attendee if we lived here. Ben especially loved to test out the tramps and ever since we got home (and he figured out he can jump) you can see him trying to jump into the air at almost any given time of day. This place actually inspired Ben’s Christmas present from Santa. That’s coming later!