Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Definitely Fall!

It has been such a beautiful autumn this year. One thing I have really learned to love about living here is watching the changing of the seasons, especially from summer to fall. A few weekends ago we were feeling cooped up in the house and decided to take the kids to a nearby park that is by the mouth of the canyon. We spent a little time playing at the park and then took a little hike up a trail that leads into the canyon. The kids took bags with them to collect all of their "treasures" from the hike, i.e lots of rocks and leaves. It really was a beautiful day and the kids had a lot of fun. It made me realize how little we get out and take advantage of all the outdoor opportunities that we live by. We really need to learn to be more adventurous!

Looking for cool leaves. . .

and rocks too!

Cute picture of Jon and Brooklyn

If this were a picture of all boys I might wonder what they were doing

Sweet sisters!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We had a pretty fun Halloween this year. The kids really seem to be "getting it" more as they get older, and were counting down the days until they could go out trick-or-treating. Brooklyn had her little Halloween party at preschool on Thursday morning and had a good time. Jacey, unfortunately, came down with a fever early Friday morning and had to miss a good part of school that day, but thanks to the miracle of medicine, we were able to at least get her to her Halloween party in the afternoon and she was able to make it through the last few hours of her school day. It is kind of a bummer because her elementary school principal does not allow the children to dress up on Halloween, so no traditional costume parade, but I guess that she at least lets them have the party.

On Halloween night we went to the ward Halloween party at the church, and then afterwards they had the truck-or-treat in the parking lot. Jacey was kind of feeling under the weather again at the party and was a little bit out of it, but Brooklyn loved going from car to car saying "Trunk-or-treat!" Afterwards we came back to our neighborhood and went around to a few friends and neighbor's houses, and then the kids were pooped so we came home. Now we are up to our ears in candy, but the kids loved it and can't wait until next year!

P.S. As you can see in the pictures below, Jacey was a "nice witch" and Brooklyn was Sleeping Beauty. I must also say that I am quite proud of myself this year with my pumpkin carving abilities!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And Baby Makes 5!

This may not come as a big surprise to many of you, but it's time to officially spill the beans! We are adding one more to our brood sometime around May 10, 2009. Jon and I went to my first prenatal appointment yesterday and were able to hear the heartbeat and even catch a quick glimpse of the baby via ultrasound (picture above), which was neat since I've never seen any of my babies at that early in the pregnancy.

We told the kids last night, and got a pretty funny reaction from Jacey that we should have recorded on video. When we told her that she was going to get a new brother or sister, she said,"Oh no! You're going to have a baby?!?", and then proceeded to bawl. We probably didn't pick the most opportune time to tell her because she was already upset about something else, but I didn't expect that reaction! She didn't really tell us why the news upset her at first, she just said that she didn't expect it. When we showed her the picture of the baby and explained things a little more to her, she got more and more excited and now seems excited at the prospect of having another sibling. Brooklyn is still oblivious to what is going on, although she did come with me to have my blood drawn yesterday and told the nurse "Thank you for fixing my mom!" Pretty cute.

On a side note to all family members who are groaning at the prospect of another baby born so close to June, all I can say is that we tried our best to avoid it! I actually miscarried back in July when I was about 5 1/2 weeks pregnant; that baby would have been born in March. It was a good testimony builder for me to trust in the Lord and know that my timetable isn't always his. We are grateful to have another chance for a hopefully healthy, happy baby, which, based on past results, will likely be another girl!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brooklyn starts Preschool and Dance!

I'm a little bit slow in posting this, but a couple of weeks ago Brooklyn started her little Preschool class and she loves it! The first day that I took her to school she told me that I couldn't stay there and that I needed to leave! It would have been nice if she would have shown just a little apprehension about me leaving, but I'm glad that she at least has fun and feels comfortable there. Her teacher is "Mrs. Whoa-sey" (Mrs. Woolsey, I just love to hear Brookie say her name), and she goes two mornings a week for 2 1/2 hours each, so it is just enough time for me to run a few errands before I go back to get her!

I also decided a couple of weeks ago to have Brooklyn try out a dance class at the same studio that Jacey goes to. I wasn't sure about her interest level or attention span at first, but after a couple of weeks she has quickly gotten the hang of things and seems to have fun.


There's no doubt that if you live in this house you'd better be a die-hard BYU fan. I'm just glad that at least this year BYU is giving us a lot to cheer about (things are a lot less tense on Saturdays when they are winning their games convincingly).

Last week Brooklyn found Jon's BYU hat on the counter and put it on. She looked so cute I had to post a picture!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Jacey's 6th Birthday!

Jacey had a great 6th birthday today (actually, it was more of a birthday weekend!) "Red Grandma" and "Grandpa Broken Legs" came down to visit us over the weekend and brought down Tara and Jenna, two of Jacey's cousins. The kids had a ball and played all weekend. Since they had to leave to go home earlier today, we had a little family party on Sunday. I made Jacey a cool butterfly cake and we opened up her presents. Her favorite present was definitely a big Disney princess dollhouse (she has been wanting a dollhouse for a long time). After G & G and the cousins left today, we went out shopping to buy Jacey some school clothes, and then we took the kids to a new rec center to go swimming. The kids had a blast there and especially loved going down the water slides. We topped off the day by going out to eat at Golden Corral for dinner (Jon and Jacey's choice, not mine). Jacey had a great birthday weekend and kept saying "Thanks Mom and Dad! This is the best birthday!" Those are the best words a parent can hear, but I hope that we haven't set too high of a standard for next year! Thanks to Cathy and Mike for making the effort to come down and for bringing to cousins with you. It sure made Jacey's day more special!

P.S. I decided to copy Stef's idea of doing baby and old birthday photos as well as the new birthday pics for this year. It's quite touching and amazing to see how fast my little girl has grown up!

Friday, August 22, 2008

7 Things You Will Never Hear From Us. . .

So, awhile ago Amy tagged us to come up with 7 things you would never hear us say. I did mine right away and kept pestering Jon to get on and come up with his 7 things, but he never did so I just did his for him. Here they finally are!

7 Things Nicole would never say:

1. Bedtime is my least favorite time of the day.
2. Sure Jacey and Brooklyn, I would LOVE to play Polly's (or Barbie's) with you!
3. Let's get together at my house for scrapbooking night!
4. No thanks. I'm skipping dessert tonight.
5. It's Conference weekend! Let's go to Ladies Night at Deseret Book!
6. Jon, could we please watch college football all day?
7. Let's go adopt a cat at the animal shelter.

7 Things Jon would never say (from Nicole's perspective):

1. I will not be watching the next BYU football game.
2. Teenagers give me great hope for the next generation.
3. I love early mornings.
4. I am not really sure who BYU is playing this year.
5. I would love to accompany you on your next shopping trip!
6. No, you really don't need to rub my legs tonight.
7. I hate ice cream.

Friday, August 15, 2008

1st Grade Girl!

It's hard to believe, but the summer is already over and school is once again upon us! Jacey started 1st grade yesterday and I am trying to get used to the idea of my sweet girl being gone all day. Since kindergarten was only a few hours a day last year, it just felt like an extension of preschool to me, and now it feels like Jacey is officially growing up. I thought that she might struggle with being gone for such a long day (8:30am-4pm), but she really seems to be enjoying it thus far and says that the day seems to go by fast. Brooklyn is feeling kind of lonely without her "best sister", but preschool starts up in a few weeks so that will give her something of her own to do!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

California Adventure

We took our annual family summer vacation down to Southern California at the end of July and had a great time with my family! It was fun to be able to be down there while my sister Stefani and her family were there, and the kids had tons of fun with their cousins. I just wish that we were able to see them more often! We played at the "castle park", took cousin's pictures, rode the go-carts at the family fun center, went to Wild Rivers Water Park, went to the O.C. Fair, went swimming, and shopped. Jacey was also able to go up to L.A. to the American Girl store, and California Grandma spoiled her with a couple of new outfits for her doll. Jon and I even snuck away one night to go to Knott's Berry Farm, and I discovered that while I still love roller coasters and thrill rides, I am not quite as young as I used to be! The weather was great while we were there and I miss living in a place where there is so much to do! All in all, it was a great trip and the kids can't wait to go back to Grandma's house!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summertime Fun!

Since I am just now getting around to posting our 4th of July pics, I just decided to add a few more to the mix from the past few weeks. We had a fairly uneventful 4th this year, which is why I am just now garnering up the motivation to post anything. All of our friends either went out of town or have other family in town that they spent the 4th with, so we were on our own. We made the most of it and did do a few fun activities with our own little family. In the morning we took the kids to the city parade down Main Street. Of course, their favorite part of that was all the candy that was thrown to them! Afterwards we went to a little carnival at the park and let them play on the inflatables. When we came home the kids swam in their little pool and ran around in the sprinklers. That night, we barbecued and did our own little fireworks display in front of our house, and then watched the city fireworks from our front yard. Pretty traditional, not too exciting, but the kids seemed to have a good time.

We have also been keeping quite busy with swim lessons this summer. Jacey took two sessions of lessons and has become quite the little swimmer. I am amazed at how much she has improved and am proud of her for having the courage to conquer her fears in the water.

Lastly, the not-so-fun summertime activity that has plagued us lately has been the yard work. Every day we go out there is a whole new crop of weeds that need pulling. And we haven't even started our backyard yet! Although it is a pain, there is something strangely therapeutic about going out and weeding the yard. The kids have been trying to help us out too, and they especially like to help Jon push the lawn mower around. Hey, if we can't have any boys, we may as well teach our girls to work outside!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Goin' Fishin'!

Last Tuesday the YW 2nd Counselor and I took the Beehive class from our ward up the canyon to Woods Ranch to the Kid's Fishing Pond. It has become an annual tradition for us to take the girls up there for a summer picnic and fishing trip, and they love it! Last year we caught quite a few fish, but sadly, this year we didn't catch any. My kids love it too because they get to come along! Jacey and Brooklyn loved to hold the fishing poles and the Beehives were very cute and helpful with them. Here are a few pics of our time there:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Some things about me. . .

After reading Jeff's blog I thought that this would be fun to try:

10 years ago:
I was living the relatively easy, carefree life of a newlywed. We were living in a circa-1950's cinderblock-walled apartment in downtown Provo and I was working two jobs while we were off school for the summer, one of which was a telemarketing job that I absolutely hated. Oh, and I was enjoying my 21-year old body.

5 years ago:
I was working part-time at the bank and staying at home with 10-month old Jacey. I'm pretty sure that I thought that life was busy back then.

5 months ago:
Not so much different from 5 years ago, besides the fact that now I have two kids. Starting the soccer mom phase of being 30, owning a minivan, and taking kids to their various activities.

5 things on my to-do list:
1. Catch up with my bank work.
2. Mop my awful kitchen floor.
3. Tackle the major catastrophe that is my basement.
4. Weed the yard.
5. Get the millions of pictures off my hard drive, print them up, and scrapbook them.

5 snacks:
1. Apple-cinnamon Flat Earth chips
2. Cashews
3. String cheese
4. Cool Ranch Doritos
5. Crackers and Easy Cheese (a shout-out to my bro Jeff)

5 billionaire things:
1. A Gulfstream jet
2. Vacation homes
3. A garage that it bigger than most people's houses, filled up with vintage cars
4. Having a rare, miniature dog that sits in your purse and wears designer clothes
5. To will your estate to your pets

5 places I have lived:
1. Everyone who knows me knows where I live now
2. St. George, UT
3. Auburn, AL
4. Provo, UT
5. Tustin, CA

5 things you may not know about me:
1. I am left-handed and double-jointed.
2. I was a major tomboy growing up.
3. I used to model for Nordstrom's.
4. I used to work at In-N-Out Burger.
5. I played tennis and soccer in high school, but was never really that good at either.

5 pet peeves:
1. Gas prices that keep going up with no end in sight.
2. Congress, Pres. Bush, environmentalists, or whoever is responsible for the fact that we are sitting on billions of barrels of oil but can't drill any of it, thus feeding the terrorist countries that we are trying to fight.
3. Ignorance
4. Nepotism
5. Parents who are clueless when it comes to raising (and disciplining) their children.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Play Ball!

Jon has been playing on a co-ed city league softball team over the past couple of months with several of his co-workers and a couple of kids from his school. Unlike the past couple of years when his team hasn't done so well, this year the team was really good and they actually won every regular season game and finished in first place! The past couple of weeks they have been in the tournament, and they played 5 games in only two nights last weekend. The kids and I went out to support the team, but unfortunately they lost the last game in a heartbreaker. I forgot the camera so I couldn't get any pictures to put up. Jon has really enjoyed getting back out on the field to play and is reliving his "glory days" as a baseball player.

On a side note, during one of the games last week the kids were getting quite bored and restless so I took them over to a little park by the softball fields to play. Jacey made quick friends with a couple of little boys at the park and started chasing them around. I watched her run around and was quite amused at their interactions. At one point Jacey stopped chasing them, put her hands on her hips, and called out "Hey Boys! You can run but you can't hide!" A sign of things to come? Oh, I hope not!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brooklyn Turns 3!

Okay, so Brooklyn's birthday was really 2 weeks ago now (June 4), but I am just now finally getting around to posting the pictures from her little party that we had for her, which also happened to be late (we were in Cancun on her actual birthday--isn't that mean? Thankfully she isn't old enough to know any better!)

Brooklyn loved her little party, which was complete with balloons, party games that Jacey made up, presents, and a Starburst cake. Her big presents were a little Dora bike and a Dora scooter, so now she can keep up with big sister Jacey! It was fun to have California Grandma and Grandpa, as well as Uncle Michael at her party.

It's hard to believe that our baby girl has now turned into a little girl, complete with her own personality. She loves to sing songs, play outside, and has somehow already mastered the computer and the internet--she loves to play! Brooklyn is full of life and energy and is always making us laugh. We love her a lot and she is such a great part of our family!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Vacaciones de Cancun!

As many of you already know, Jon and I had the opportunity to take a "real" trip (i.e. one that involves flying in a plane and DOES NOT involve taking the kids) to Cancun, Mexico last week. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary earlier this year and decided that we had better commemorate the occasion in proper fashion. Up to this point, we had never really left the kids overnight before, and I had never been outside the U.S., so it was a pretty exciting event.

Jon and I decided to splurge and stayed at a beautiful, new 5-star resort on Playa Mujeres, just north of Cancun. It was an all-inclusive resort right on the beach with 8 restaurants and beautiful gardens and pools all over the place. We ate like kings (we even tried sushi for the first time), ordered virgin drinks in everything, laid in the hammocks over the pool, played tennis, ping-pong, water polo and pool volleyball, and, of course, relaxed on the beach. It was awesome! The service was amazing with people always getting you drinks and 24-hour room service, all included! The only regret we had was in not trying out the amazing on-site spa that they had there. It was expensive but we heard from many people that it was well worth it. Below are some pics of the resort:

The highlight of our trip was probably the "Jungle Tour" we went on, which was an excursion where we rode a waverunner-type of boat out across a lagoon to a live coral reef, and then went snorkeling. It was amazing and there were tons of tropical fish and sea life at the reef. We took pictures with an underwater camera, if we got some good pics I will post them later.

To sum up the trip, we spent a wonderful, relaxing 6 days mostly in paradise, with the exception of one day when we ventured out to Tulum and Chichen Itza (one of the new 7 Wonders of the World) to see the Mayan ruins. While the ruins were awesome to see, it was a lot of driving, very hot, and probably one of the longest days of my life. We definitely felt like we were in Mexico that day as we drove through all of the little Mexican villages on a little two lane road, complete with random dogs running all over and trash lining the roadways. Here are some pics of our day there:

Lastly, thanks to all of our family who helped us out with the kids while we were gone! Mom and Dad, Michael, Jeff and Amy, Cathy, Arryn and fam--we could not have gone without your help! The kids had a great time with all of you!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Jacey's Kindergarten Graduation and Dance Recital

Okay, so after being a big slacker over the past few weeks I am finally posting an update! Things have been pretty busy around here lately so I will try to catch everyone up without boring you all too much.

The biggest news as of late is that Jacey finished up her first year of school this past Thursday. It is weird to think that our little girl is growing up so fast! I think that the whole school thing will really hit home next year when she is gone all day instead of just a few hours. Jacey had a fun week that started out on Monday with her kindergarten graduation program. She did great with her parts and afterwards we went out to dinner with her good friend and their family. Tuesday was her "Field Day" where the kids participated in various outdoor activities. On Wednesday they had a "pajama day" where the kids could (you guessed it!) wear their pajamas to school. Thursday was her last day of school and they had a little end-of-year party. Jacey brought home her journal that they worked on in class throughout the year and here is one of my favorite entries:

"Maddrs day is kumen up. I am gonig to get my mom sum flawrs
win mudrs day is kumen up!"

Here are some pictures of her graduation program and field day:

Jacey's spring dance recital was the Friday before her graduation and she did great there too! She definitely has the "performer" gene in her blood. Unfortunately Jon was out of town during that weekend so I left Brooklyn with a babysitter and went to see it by myself (I did get video of it so at least daddy could watch it later!) Jacey has given me a guilt trip many times in the past about not bringing her flowers for her dance recitals, so this time I repented and got her some roses. Below are yet more pics of Jacey:

After Jacey's recital we got Brooklyn and I took the girls to McDonald's for dinner--yum yum! Since Jon was still out of town, the next day the girls came with me to work at the bank for a few hours, and then we went to a little kids carnival in town afterwards. The kids had a great time there sliding down and jumping on the inflatables, and eating hot dogs and cotton candy. My "mom moment" of the weekend was when Brooklyn was jumping in the bounce house and refused to get out when her time was up. I sent Jacey in to get her out and Brooklyn kept getting away when Jacey would get her close to the front where I could reach her. With millions of kids and parents watching, I had to crawl through the tiny hole to get into the bounce house, and then crawl around it trying to grab Brooklyn as she shrieked and laughed and ran around like it was all fun and games. The crowning moment was when I finally got her out and all the parents and kids started clapping for me! It was a relief when Jon got home that night, ready to help me with the kids again.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Jon had a conference in Las Vegas last weekend, so we decided to tag along with him and make a mini-vacation out of it. Jon's colleague Scott was going down for the conference also, so him and Jon went down together early Thursday morning, and me and the girls went down later that afternoon with Scott's wife and their two boys.

We had a great time and the kids didn't want to leave! We went to Caesar's Palace to eat at our favorite restaurant (The Cheesecake Factory), and while we were there we showed the kids the cool aquariums and played around at FAO Schwartz. While the guys were at the conference, we took the kids to Bounce U (an indoor playzone with inflatable slides and bounce houses) and I took Jacey and Brooklyn swimming at the hotel pool. I think that swimming was their favorite part of the trip! They did great and didn't want to get out of the water. We also did a little shopping at the outlets and of course had to sneak in a couple of trips to In-N-Out for lunch!

The kids had such a good time that we definitely want to take them back sometime when we can have more family time together and see some of the sites that we didn't have time to see. The weather was also really nice while we were there--definitely a nice break from the cold and the wind!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Park Day and Fitting in With the Locals!

It was finally a nice weather day today so we ventured out to the park with some friends of ours and spent a couple of hours there letting the kids run around. I realized how much my kids felt caged up when Brooklyn took off a few times on her own just running and running down the sidewalk. One time she even took off on her own up the trail leading into the canyon and laughed as I tried to chase her down. She definitely keeps me on my toes!

Today was also Western Day at Jacey's school and so we tried to make her look the part as much as possible. I dug up a cowboy hat that I had been given a while back and she wore it to school along with the most "cowgirl-like" clothes that she had in her closet. I thought it was especially appropriate that she was missing one of her teeth in this picture!

Dancing Queen

We went to get Jacey's dance pictures taken last week and she looked so cute in her costume, that I couldn't resist taking my own pictures of her. She definitely is a girl through and through and loves to get all glammed up. Jacey loves to dance and I am trying to decide whether I am going to keep her in it or make her try something new, like sports! Her spring recital is coming up soon (May 16) in case anyone is interested in coming!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Sweet Jacey

Jacey has been full of questions lately, especially when I am trying to get her to bed. In the past week or so she has asked me many difficult questions, about topics from outer space to heaven. Yesterday she was asking me how we were going to get all of our things to heaven, like our beds, toys and clothes. When I explained to her that we couldn't take anything but ourselves to heaven, she got very sad and said,"But I really like my Bitty Twin and wish I could take her with me!" Her Bitty Twin was a present from "California Grandma" that she has grown quite attached to lately, and she likes to take her around anywhere that I will let her. Here is a picture of Jacey taking her doll for a bike ride.

Jacey also writes up many sweet notes that she gives to us. Her kindergarten teacher has taught her how to sound out the words and to write what she hears. The other night Jon had to stay very late at work and didn't get home until after the kid's bedtime. Jacey wanted to leave a note for him on his pillow to read when he got home, and this is what she wrote:

"Dad I mist you to day! I love you.
I am gald youe hom
Love Jacey

Playing Dress-Up and Starting a Band!

Being that we live in a semi-rural area, our poor kids have to get really creative when it comes to playtime. One of their favorite things to do is to play dress-up, and they are always tearing off their regular clothes and undoing their hair that I have just barely done to create their own unique styles. Here are a couple of their latest creations!

Our girls also love their new Barbie guitar and keyboard that they got from Santa this year. It plays a few real songs from artists like Britney Spears (ugh!) that they have unfortunately already learned. Again, being the creative kids that they are, they love to pretend that they are rock stars playing together in a band. Here is a cute picture that I caught of one of their "concerts".

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Easter Time!

We spent a long weekend up at Jon's parent's house for Easter this year since Jacey had a couple of days off of school and we wanted to "get out of Dodge" for awhile. Jon had to go to San Francisco on a business trip for a couple of the days leading up to Easter, so me and the girls packed up and headed north. We spent a couple of days playing with "Red Grandma" and the Pendleton cousins, and the day before Easter we went to the annual Larsen extended family Easter Egg Hunt at Grandma Larsen's old house (now owned by Jon's aunt Carolyn). Even after getting plenty of candy at that party, the Easter Bunny still decided to come and bring more! The girls enjoyed finding their hidden baskets on Easter morning, and were delighted to find that in addition to candy, they received the "Enchanted" DVD and the Dr. Seuss book "Horton Hears a Who!" It was an especially fun morning for Jacey since both the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy left her surprises! Brooklyn just wanted to start downing the candy right away. We dressed the girls in their pretty new green Easter dresses and headed to church with Jon's parents. After church we had a big Easter feast at Jon's parent's house with a few of his siblings and their families, my brother Jeff and his wife Amy, and also a girl from Kyle's mission who attends BYU (who ironically is from Tustin and went to Tustin High--my hometown and high school!). After dinner, we had yet another Easter Egg Hunt with the kids. Needless to say, we are still working on the Easter candy two weeks later! I have decided that between Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's and Easter, the holidays are coming too fast and I am getting tired of all the candy in the house. At times, I have taken some of the "less desirable" candy and just thrown it away or taken it to my work to put in the candy bowls for the customers. I know, I am a mean mom! Overall, we had a great Easter and enjoyed seeing a lot of our extended family members.