Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lake Mead

As far as I am concerned, Lake Mead is the happiest place on Earth.  To me it is heaven.  I grew up going there each and every summer with my family for week-long water ski trips.  This year, we were lucky enough to be invited to go with some of our very favorite friends, the Ords, on their boat.  It was the first boating trip for both Elle and Gwen.  Contrary to how Gwen looks in the pictures, she really did have fun.  It just took her a little bit of time to get used to the lifejacket.  Elle loved every minute.  She went tubing and also knee boarding with Jon.  One of the most amazing things she agreed to was rock jumping.  Jon climbed to the top of a rock and while holding her, they both jumped in. I didn't know if she was going to love it or hate it but as soon as she popped her head out of the water, she was all smiles.  A girl after my own heart. We stayed at a hotel at Lake Las Vegas which was so much fun.  One of the highlights for Elle was being able to float in the pool (way after her bed time) and watching the  "dive-in movie", Cars.  We had a fabulous time and feel so fortunate to have such fun and generous friends.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Birthday Girl

Happy 4th Birthday to my Elle!   She was so excited when she woke up.  She kept asking, "am I really 4 years old now"?  The morning started with lots of phone calls for her with singing grandparents and cousins and then she had to get ready for a surprise.  Her favorite friend Brinley came by with balloons and took her to breakfast.  Elle chose to go to the Bagel Shack and had her favorite, a blueberry bagel with cream cheese.  Brinley and Christy then took her to the toy store where she got to choose anything she wanted.  And staying true to her roots, she chose...a baby doll.  Instead of a big party this year I tried something different.  We made the whole day a special Elle Day.  I got a babysitter for Gwen and just the two of us headed out.  I didn't tell her where we were going.  I made her close her eyes and when she opened them, she couldn't believe it.  We were standing in front of Build-A-Bear.  I can't tell you how many times we have passed that store at the mall and she always begs to go in.  Today was her special day, so in we went. Elle chose the hot pink teddy bear (of course) and got to stuff him and and even made a wish on a heart that she put into him right before he was stiched-up.  She washed him and fluffed him and if he wasn't pink enough, she chose a pink outfit to put on him.  She named her bear Patty-Cakes.  The two of us then headed to Ruby's for lunch. It was so nice to just sit and talk with her and not have any other distractions.  I could have all of my attention on Elle.  On our way home we stopped at our favorite flower stand and she got to choose flowers to have at our house for her birthday dinner.  For dinner she was able to choose our menu.  She wanted "basghetti", salad with dippies (dressing) and bread.  There is just ONE thing that she asked for as a gift for her birthday.  One thing.  Not a toy or doll,  just a round chocolate cake with purple frosting and a brown bunny on it.  Random yes, but this is all she wanted.  She even drew it for me to make sure I understood.  Well, I unfortunately left this important detail to the last minute.  Early yesterday  morning I started calling bakeries asking for a cake and of course no one could do it with such short notice.  I was stressed!  The thought of myself making a cake with a brown bunny on top was not pretty and so I kept faithfully calling around.  I finally found a bakery that would do it for me last minute.  And let me say, they are my new favorite bakery.  It was the cutest cake I have ever seen.  Exactly like Ellers had invisioned.  We had basghetti for dinner (Elle got to use the 'happy birthday' plate) and then sang to her and she blew out her candles.  It was just the 4 of us and it was perfect. Elle said the prayer at dinner and said, "thank you that I can have the most special day in the whole world".  Do they come any cuter? Jon had a surprise for her in the front room after we had cake.  He gave her "The Littlest Pet Shop".  She LOVES it and stayed up late playing it with her daddy.  I would say it was a pretty great way to kick-off her year as a big 4 year old.  Happy Birthday to my #1 girl.  I love you forever.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One More Sleep

We have been counting down how many more sleeps until Elle's 4th birthday.  The first thing she said when she woke up this morning was, "only one more sleep 'til my birthday"!  A few months back, I bought a vintage china plate that says 'happy birthday' in the center of it.  I thought it would make birthdays a little more special if every year the girls got to have their birthday meals on this pretty plate.  I showed it to Elle and let me tell you, she has NOT forgotten.  It makes me smile...she tells me how much she LOVES the gold on it and speaks of this special plate with almost a sense of reverence.  For the last two weeks she has gone to the armoire where I keep it a few times a day and just stares at it longingly, asking when it will be her birthday so she can use it.  Today I finally let her get it out.  I am happy to report that we now have it all washed and ready for her birthday breakfast tomorrow morning.  How sweet are the simple pleasures of a 3 (almost 4) year old.   

Friday, July 18, 2008

Little Friends

One of the cutest things for me to see as a mom has been my girls developing little friendships.  Meet Miss Malia.  She is Gwen's partner in crime.  My friend Christy (Malia's mom) has 2 girls that are the same ages as Elle and Gwen.  These little girls do almost everything together.  I had Malia over yesterday and it was so cute to watch the two of them interact.  Whenever they see eachother they run straight into a hug.  Together they are learning to not hit and to share and they laugh at almost anything.  They are learning the art of friendship.  One of my favorite lines from Winnie the Pooh is when Pooh says to Christopher Robbin, "The best part of the day is when you and me become we".  I think that sums-up these two little buddies.   

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mama Elle

We brought home a few treasures from my mom's house last week.  Her rocking chair from when she was a little girl and my great aunt's baby doll.  When my great uncle passed away, it was found in his basement.  The whole family met at his farm in Idaho to "auction" off who wanted what.  We were each given a certain amount of tickets and could use them to "buy" what things meant the most to us.  When I saw that little doll, I knew exactly what I would save all of my tickets for.  I was single at the time and just kept it at my mom's house.  This past trip I rediscovered it and knew that Elle would just love her.  We have been home for almost two weeks now and Elle has not let this little dolly out of her sight.  She sits with her in her carseat, next to her at the dinner table and most importantly snuggles right next to her each night in her bed.  Elle has named her Samantha.  As I was taking these pictures I was talking to Elle about her little dolly.  I asked her, "where did you get this little baby"?  I was expecting to hear from Grammy's house but that was not the case.  Elle looked at me and said, "Mama, she came from my tummy".  Oh of course, how silly of me to question that!  In fact, as I was talking with her, she stopped mid sentence and walked over to the couch.  I told Elle that I wanted to take just a few more pictures and she said, "but mama, I need to change Samantha's diaper".   It is so sweet to see her "mother".  I hear her whispering to her little dolls and stuffed animals and gently kissing them.  She carries our dog Tiger around in a baby blanket and pushes him in her dolly stroller.  The nurturing gene is extra strong in this little one.  I hold Elle like a baby sometimes even though she is getting too big for it.  I tell her that she can't grow-up anymore and has to be my baby forever.   She always reminds me that she HAS to grow-up.  The other night I was telling her this again and rocking her and she said, "mama, I HAVE to grow-up but I promise even when I am a mommy when I visit you, you can still hold me like a baby".  I don't know if she will want me to hold her like a baby when she is a mommy, but one thing I do know is that she will someday be an amazing one.  

Monday, July 14, 2008

W.W. McGee

W.W. McGee.  This is what we call our little Gwenners.  Wild Woman McGee.  I sit and look at these pictures and she seems so mellow and sweet.  Well, the sweet part she is.  For Sure. Mellow though...not so much.  What makes it manageable however is that she has such a happy demeanor about herself as she runs around.  She literally just runs around the house with a big grin on her face, laughing.  I haven't figured out yet where she is running or what she is so happy about but there she goes, whizzing past me.  I took these pictures just moments ago. Right now my little wild child is as-snug-as-a-bug in her crib taking a nap.  One of the most endearing things about Miss Gwenners is that even with as much energy as she has, she is still as sweet as can be.  A complete and total love bug.  The minute I walk into her room, shut the shutters and sit on the rocker with her, she collapses her little head on to my shoulder.  It is our little ritual.  She just snuggles right up onto me and I feel like time stands still.  I lay her in her crib and she blows me kisses with her chubby little hands.  It makes all the wild times well worth it.  

Saturday, July 12, 2008


It's so nice to be back.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Park City, UT

My sister Megan and her husband Roger

Jon and Me

My Mom

My sister Briar, Baby Eden and Ben

My sister Josie's husband Justin and little Dylan

My brother Jake and Hailey

4th of July

We just returned from a week long family vacation to Utah for the 4th of July.  It was so fun to see my mom, my 3 sisters and brother and their families.  Quite the family reunion.  Elle and Gwen had the time of their lives.  I told Jon one night that I missed Elle because I rarely saw her.  She was always running around with one of her cousins.  We had fun activities for the kids planned each day.  My sister Briar graciously let ALL of us go to her house where we rented a huge bouncy waterslide for the day.  This was especially nice of her considering the fact that she had her third little girl, Eden, just 3 weeks ago!!  Baby Eden is the cutest little thing.  Any free moment Elle had, she would ask to hold her.  On the morning of the 4th, we were all registered to run the Provo 10K.  The night before, I fell down the stairs and broke 2 of my toes. I was soo sad!  I was out but everyone else was in!  I didn't get photos, except of Jon and my sister Josie after they finished the race, because I was in charge of walking all 11 grandkids (with my 2 broken toes) from the hotel to our saved portion of curb so we could watch the Provo Parade. Elle and Gwen loved the parade.  Their favorite floats were the ones that had "royalty" on them.  Elle would yell, "The fairies are coming"!  I got a cute picture of one of the "fairies" waving to Gwen.  That night we headed up to the golf course in Park City where we had a pic-nic and the kids played.  The fireworks are set off at the base of the mountain.  It was amazing.  A perfect day, if I do say so myself.  The last night was spent with everyone at my moms for pizza and the #1 hit...a blow-up pool.  Why do we try so hard to please these kids when a $4 blow-up pool makes them soo happy?!  Jon and I drove home which was a LONG trip with two toddlers!  We had to make lots of stops to get their wiggles out.  At each stop, I had Elle and Gwen run up and down the sidewalk, sing me songs, and wiggle to their hearts content.  At the Dairy Queen, I came out and Jon and Elle were hiding in the bushes and bombarded me with the little "popper" firecrackers.  It was pretty funny.  I'd say we had a fabulous week, for sure.  I know it's cliche' but it really is just fun to be together.  I miss everyone already.  Love you guys! XO