Monday, September 5, 2016


In the last couple of months, we've reached a few milestones with our kids. The first being that Kayla turned 5 in August.  I can't believe it! We had a party at the Scera pool in Orem. It was a lot of fun, and it looked like everyone had a good time. Kayla wanted a heart shaped cake with strawberries, so that's what she got.  It turned out pretty good I thought!

Soon after her birthday bash, she started Kindergarten. Here's the first day of school:

It was a rough first week.  It's something new, and sometimes she has a hard time adjusting. But I think once she gets used to it, she'll learn to love it. And then there were a couple days that I wasn't at the school right when she got out (I was late maybe a minute), and she was crying when I got there.  I understand it's a little frightening not seeing mommy, and for some reason she feels like I'm abandoning her if I'm not there.  I talked with her about it and reassured her that even if I wasn't right there when she got out, that I WOULD BE THERE. She felt a little better and promised to try and wait a minute before starting to freak out. Such a brave girl!

Since Grayson is about 17 months now, I decided to make a list of all the things he can do now. First, the words he can say relatively well (some better than others):

  • Bubble
  • Uh-oh
  • Dada
  • Bye-bye (also the same word for night-night)
  • Hi
  • Bock-bock
I'm really sad that despite all the time I spend with him, and the work I put into raising him, he still has yet to call me Mama or any other variation of that word.  I think he thinks that to get my attention, all he has to do is scream at an eardrum throbbing volume.  Unfortunately, his method works.  But I'm still working on that.  I keep hearing from everyone that he will grow out of it.

Now for the list of all the funny things he does at this age.  I feel like I need to make this list so I'm reminded that he can be very very cute when he's not being a tiny monster (tiny as in his actual size, not the ability of this guy to make a disaster happen in a short span of time, hence, MONSTER is the perfect word to describe him). So at 17 months Grayson likes:
  • Putting on shoes
  • Climbing
  • Playing in water
  • Light switches
  • Making car sounds with his toy cars
  • Pushing chairs/strollers
  • Mimicking Kayla
  • Pointing at things for us to say the word for them (especially a wall art piece that Grandma gave us from Hawaii)
  • Shoving his whole hand into daddy's stomach through his mouth (only a slight exaggeration) 
  • Helping mommy cook (or just take the spoon to try and stir the pot of food himself)
  • Cuddling stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets (especially the fuzzy kind)
  • Hugging babies and small animals
  • Jumping and running
  • Being outside
  • Making the biggest mess he can with his food



In other news, Brandon is almost done filming his web series, Unsung Heroes. Yay! We're expecting to have his first episode out on Oct 10. So be on the lookout for these two goofballs. It's been really fun watching them put it all together.

Monday, July 18, 2016

And I Thought Last Year Was Crazy

Ever since I quit my job in an accounting department for a small business and became a full-time, stay-at-home mom, I have not found the time to write on here.  It's been over a year, and I'm still trying to work out a good schedule so I can have Kayla time, Grayson time, Brandon time, cooking time, cleaning time, finance time, gardening time, and finally me time. But I'm here now, and I'm determined to finish this post.  Since there's too much for me to try to catch up on, I'll just talk about our most recent adventures.

I don't think life will ever stop being crazy. And when you own a home, that craziness likes to stop by and visit a lot more often just to make sure you remember it exists. It decided to stay and get really comfy during Memorial Day weekend for us.  We had my brother and his family (which included a 3 month old baby) stay with us that weekend when our main sewer line began backing up in the basement.  Where were our guests staying? The basement, of course.  For 3 days it wouldn't completely drain, and everyone except for the two girls had to sleep upstairs.  Needless to say it got a bit crowded and pretty stressful, but they were great sports about it and helped out as much as they could.  That's what family does, and I love them for it.  

We called in a plumber and they couldn't drain it with their auger.  They said that it was a break in the line and would cost about $6,000 to fix.  We got another plumber's opinion and it was a good thing we did.  He found the blockage (tree roots) and was able to clear it out for $200. I liked that number a whole lot better.  We called our home insurance and got an approved claim to clean and restore our basement. Everything downstairs except for the guest bedroom was affected. We had been planning on redoing the basement at some point, we just weren't expecting it this early.  And through this disaster, we were blessed with having insurance pay for most of the renovations.  So enough words.  Here are the pictures. Warning, some home-owners may cringe when seeing a gutted basement, but please hold out until the end; you will be rewarded. We did not take any pictures of the gross tile or carpet that became infected by all the sewage.  I do not want to remember that ever again. *shiver*

So a company called Complete Restoration came in and took out all the grossness and set up fans and dehumidifiers to dry everything out. They also sprayed everything down to kill any bacteria down there.  Very comforting.  Fun fact: if left alone, water can wick up your drywall up to 18 inches.  That's why everything was cut out 2 feet up from the floor.  

After that delightful time only having half a house to live in, the real fun began.  We wanted the whole basement to get re-carpeted, but insurance would only cover the space that was contaminated, so to cut on personal costs, we decided to paint the walls ourselves.  We also decided to get a bigger vanity in the bathroom because the one in there was too small. So here's the finished product! It's all done.  It took 6 weeks, but now we have a basement to enjoy for the rest of the summer. We also decided to switch the kids rooms and the guest room. I think it's all worked out for the best.

Overall, I think everything turned out really well.  Our house finally feels like our home. And this wouldn't have been possible without the help of all our friends and family who gave their time, talents, and money.  You guys are amazing! You have truly blessed our lives.

Partway through this renovation, I took the kids on a two week vacation to South Carolina to visit Grandma and Grandpa Mike. We bought the tickets before the sewer backed up, so I wasn't about to waste the money and not go.  So I tried to get as much stuff done before we left.  The walls and the carpet were done, so all that was left was the furniture, the bathroom, and laundry room.  Brandon said he'd take care of everything, so off I went with the kids.  This was Grayson's first time on a plane, so it was a new adventure for him.

We left SLC airport early Tuesday morning.  Grayson was very fascinated by the view in the plane

...until the plane took off, and he was not a very happy flyer.  The boy sitting next to us was a good sport, but I'm sure no one liked having a crying baby next to them the whole time. Poor thing. While I was occupied with Grayson, Kayla had my phone and took a bunch of pictures. I was impressed by some of them.  Here's one I really liked.

Luckily we stopped in Dallas for a connecting flight, so it was only for 2 hours instead of 4 that we were miserable...he calmed down once we landed. We had a good long layover so that gave us time to eat lunch and get all the wiggles out and look at the planes taking off.

The plane was delayed taking off, so we had to sit in a hot, confined space for longer than I would have liked. But during that time, I was able to get Grayson to sleep, and he slept all during take off and a good portion of the flight.  When he woke up he was his normal, happy self.

Then finally we got to the humid South! Mom picked us up and for two weeks we had a blast! Here are some fun random pictures.

I wore this dress for my Kindergarten graduation

The kids were curios about Mom's sewing machine.
Future drummers!
These two are definitely siblings

Kayla swam in the pool practically every day (except for Sunday) and became more confident in the pool.  Still not really swimming yet, but I think with some good lessons (not from me because I've learned that she doesn't listen to me) she'll be a pro before we know it. 

We picked blackberries and made cobbler with them. So yummy! The girls all got pedicures. It was Kayla's first time and she had a blast! 

We saw lots of new things happening in Aiken but saw a lot of things that were still the same.  It brought back many memories. I went to lunch with my old friend, Toni, and got to catch up with her. Going to church and seeing people I grew up with was really fun.  I was surprised with how many people I recognized. We went to the movies and saw Finding Dory.  Kayla and I had already seen it, but it was fun to watch it again with Grandma. The theater looked exactly the same as it did 12 years ago.  

Grayson got his first haircut, so now he looks like the cutest little man. 

We went to Hunting Island Beach where the kids got to experience the Atlantic ocean for the first time.  At first Grayson was afraid of the waves, but soon we were having to drag him out because it was time to go and he still wanted to play. Kayla learned how to jump over the waves and hunt for sea shells. I caught my first sand dollar. Vanessa didn't get stung by any jellyfish, and no one got sunburned.  I'd say that was a successful trip. Then we went to Gilligan's in Beaufort for dinner.  I got fresh-off-the-boat shrimp.  You can't get that in Utah!

On our way back we stopped at a really old church ruin and I got to take a lot of fun pictures there.

We went to the Aiken library for story time and read a few fun books to the kids. Then later we went to the cemetery to visit my dad's grave. It was really hot, so the kids were kind of miserable, but I'm still glad we went. Kayla's so smart and wants to learn about everything. I'm grateful to be able to teach her about what happens to a person after they die. She never met my dad in this life, but she told us several times that she missed him and couldn't wait to see him again. I know that families are forever, and that brings so much peace and joy in my life.


On the way home, Kayla used my phone to take some more pictures. I think she's getting better!

We got to hear the Parris Island Marine Band perform for the Hopelands Summer Concert Series.  Fortunately, they decided to change the venue from outside in the heat to inside the big, airconditioned Millbrook Baptist Church. Grayson was fascinated for the first third of the performance which was surprising. As we got to the end though, he became more of his restless self.  After one of the songs and before they started the next one, Grayson gave out this very loud exclamation.  EVERYONE heard it. Even the conductor.  They all laughed at his cuteness. He did it again after another song.  Silly boy, but at least he had good manners to wait to do that until after the song was over.

We also visited Hopeland Gardens. A beautiful place that I highly recommend everyone to see if they're in the area.  It's also where Brandon proposed to me almost 10 years ago. Right by the pond in the gazebo. That brought back many happy memories.

We scheduled a time for Vanessa to watch the kids while Mike, Mom, and I went to the Columbia Temple. I had only been there as a youth, so it was fun to go back as an adult.

It was also fun to see Kayla make new friends with some of my friend's children. Here's one with Kayla and Bella.

One of the things I missed most about the South are the thunderstorms, so I'm glad I got to see one while we were there.

As great as this vacation was, there was something very important missing.  Brandon had to stay home to work, and though we knew it was necessary, it doesn't mean I had to like it. I couldn't wait to see him again.  I don't think I'll be able to go two weeks without him again. 

The flight home was mostly uneventful.  We had some traffic and construction to deal with on the way to Atlanta, but we made it just in time to board the plane.  It was a direct flight and I think I kept Grayson occupied most of the time. And finally, we made it home. Brandon showed off all the stuff he put in the basement and the bathroom and then we put the kids to bed in their new room.

Now it's back to our normal routine and finding new things to do for the summer.  It's almost over and I'm getting excited about getting Kayla ready for Kindergarten. My kids are growing up so fast!