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November Holidays and Happenings

For the first few years of our marriage, Novembers were pretty momentous: a marriage, our first home and all three of our babies came in November. Now we celebrate all month long. This year we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary, the fifth year in our home, Isaac’s fourth birthday and the twins’ third birthday–not to mention birthdays of a grandma, a great-grandpa and an uncle. Oh yeah, and then there’s Turkey Day. This year we also welcomed a new little cousin to the month of festivities. We were sad we could only make his acquaintance via pictures and Google hangout.

The top accomplishment of November 2014 was potty-trained twins!

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This was the third attempt and it finally took. Disney on Ice was coming to Salt Lake on Isaac’s birthday. We decided that would be a good birthday gift for him so about 6 weeks before the event we told the twins we’d take them to see Buzz and Woody too if they learned to go potty. It was a good incentive and the boys caught on much quicker than I expected them to. I was so happy and grateful!

Disney on Ice was SO FUN. The boys helped me decide on having a Toy Story birthday this year so it was very appropriate. We rode the train up from Thanksgiving Point and they were super impressed.

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During the show we got to see Mater and McQueen first—which was awesome (Ariel and Tinkerbell in the middle—which was just ok) and the whole second act was basically Toy Story 3. The boys were in heaven. And of course for dinner there was pizza.  After all that we still got to take the train back home. It was a fun birthday celebration.

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We had a couple of family parties later in the month complete with Toy Story cake, decorations (Isaac insisted), gifts and photo ops.2014-11-16 19.40.32

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After all of the birthdays were over, Derek and I took off for a lovely anniversary weekend in Salt Lake. Every year we pretty much do the same thing: see the newest Hunger Games (it always coincides with our anniversary), eat at Settebellos (the restaurant from our first date), get a massage and do a little shopping. This year I got our movie tickets in the VIP theatre at the Megaplex in Sandy. I had heard about it a few times and thought we’d splurge. I’d probably make sure we got the recliners next time. The seats we got weren’t all that great. The experience was fun though.

We spent Thanksgiving with my family at Grandpa Hitchcock’s new house. It was just a few of us and it was really nice. Plus turkey and mashed potatoes are my favorite. We have a lot to be thankful for. I am grateful for a good husband, a warm home and three beautiful children. I love that we get to celebrate these blessings right before Thanksgiving every year.

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October and Halloween

I love Halloween. I was feeling ambitious this year and the boys were pretty excited about bats and spiders and things so we spent all month making decorations and costumes.

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I should have taken this picture when it was really dark out. Oh well. The witch silhouette was pretty awesome.

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For Fall Break my mom invited us down to Palisades State Park for an overnight trip. We had a fun time playing with cousins and the boys loved the cabins complete with bunk beds. Here’s a picture of the littlest boys playing on the big rock.

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I love coordinating our family’s costumes every year. My kids are still fairly easy to convince young so we’ll see how many years I can indulge in matching attire. The boys are old enough to have somewhat of an opinion so I gave them a few matchy options and let them vote. I thought Toy Story would be fun or Monsters Inc. I was also keeping twinner costumes in mind like Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum and, of course, Things 1 and 2 were options. The boys unanimously voted for Mario Brothers. I don’t know why that was the top of the list (we don’t play it all that much) but I have to admit I was super excited to make a Princess Peach dress.  I was also really lucky to find some awesome tutorials for Mario and Luigi hats and even a Hammer Brothers outfit (adapted from this Bowser costume). Isaac was super insistent on his choice of character.

I was working on costumes until the minute we walked out the door for the ward trunk or treat. I still had finishing touches before Halloween night but I think they turned out pretty cute. At least they were a fun challenge for me to make. (Derek is a good sport to put up with me.)

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We went down to Jaker’s in Springville for a pre-school field trip. I should have gotten a picture with all of the boys but here’s me and my boys at least.

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My friend Anna from high school invited us to go to Cornbelly’s for a family date night one Saturday night. I forgot jackets but it was a beautiful night and we had lots of fun.

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Our friends hosted a Halloween party the week before Halloween. Look at all those boys! We forgot to get a picture of the kids before all of the families with girls left.

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On Halloween night Derek took the boys around the neighborhood trick-or-treating while I stayed home to hand out candy. I should have just gone with them. We only had two groups of kids knock on our door. That happens every year. You’d think I would learn… After trick-or-treating we went down to Springville to show off our costumes to Grandma and Grandpa and the cousins.

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Summer Activities

We have had a really fun summer so far. It has been really BUSY! Up until this year the summers haven’t really felt any different than the rest of the year since our kids aren’t in school or anything yet. Also, the boys weren’t quite big enough to fully enjoy (or, let’s be honest, for ME to fully enjoy) more than a trip to the park or a play date.

This year we have been to the Springville splash pad with our Nevada friends.

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We went to the Tracy Aviary with cousins.

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We ran in the irrigation water at Grandma’s.
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We have been to the Ogden Dinosaur Park.

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(Had to document this rare photo of Uncle Nate with his tongue IN his mouth)

We enjoyed Lagoon. Twice. (Thanks Great-Grandpa Hitchcock AND rain-out day!)

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We have been utilizing our Seven Peaks Pass of all Passes at the water park.2014-07-09 10.27.39

We went to the newly refurbished Bean Museum. (Happy Birthday cousin Otto!) Apparently I don’t have any photos of this event. 😦

We have been camping. Isaac and Derek went for Father and Sons’ Outing.2014-06-27 20.40.462014-06-27 18.57.55

We went to a parade with Grandma and Grandpa Christensen. (It was hot and sunny…)

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We went camping with Great-Grandpa Merrill at Schofield and he took us fishing on the boat.

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We have been to the aquarium.

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We rode the Dinosaur Train and ate at the “train restaurant” in Heber.2014-06-28 15.02.162014-06-28 15.52.13

We made popsicles and ate them on the front porch.2014-07-16 15.39.38

We have played in the pool in the yard.

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We still have plans to go to the zoo to see the new African Safari exhibit, a rodeo, a REAL game (Pass of all Passes!) and we’d also like to go camping as a family.

I love summer with my cute family!

 

**When did those boys get so big??

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Basement Remodel: Paint and Carpet

We spent every spare minute in May getting ready for carpet. We painted and painted and painted and put up trim and painted some more. We spent a few late, late nights and recruited some family help. We had to leave a few things undone but we got the important things hung and painted before Blackhurst brought us the carpet.

Game Room (Benjamin Moore Gray Cloud)

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Den (Benjamin Moore Sweatshirt Grey) Furniture on loan from Brad and Teri

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Boys’ Room (Benjamin Moore Banana Yellow)2014-06-03 21.31.32

And…. we haven’t done a single bit of work since the carpet was installed on June 2nd. I refuse to put furniture in (besides the borrowed stuff) until we finish all of the details. I know we’ll never finish if we really start living down there. But we’re almost there and it’s feeling like a house again! We have doors to paint and hang, window sills and a little more trim to paint/caulk but that’s all! Hopefully in the next month we can find time (and motivation) to get the final pieces put together and call it a wrap.

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How to Be a Decent Mom: Forget the What

We mommas focus a lot on the “what” part of parenting. That’s where all of the Mommy Wars come from. Anti or pro vaccines? Co-sleeping or crib sleeping? Home, private or charter school? Breast or bottle feeding?

We should focus on the how. How are you a good momma? Like most of you, I’m pretty proud of what I do with my kids most days. We are all pretty committed and even defensive of our rules, expectations and family culture that we have established.  I’m no different. I love that we go to church, read scriptures and pray as a family. I love that my boys can communicate in two languages. I love teaching them their letters. I love going to the library with them. I love being home together.

What it all boils down to though, is that my kids will remember how they felt when I was with them. They will remember if I was loving or critical; patient or in a hurry; interested or distracted; genuine or annoyed. How do I enforce the rules? How do I teach? How do I interact with them moment to moment?

We all know how we should treat our children. I think we all would like to show them kindness and consideration and love all of the time. I just think we forget when we get caught up in what we need to get done. Sometimes we even forget when we have something really “fun” or “educational” or “special” planned for the kids. We are so focused on the activity (and, let’s be honest, on how awesome of a momma we are for planning said activity) that we tend to be less than patient/kind/loving as we should be.

There’s a chance that I’m alone in this but I have a feeling there are a few more moms out there who can relate to what I’m saying. My goal this summer is to be more patient and genuinely loving with my kids. I hope the feeling in my home can be one of love and joy and fun and safety.