Saturday, January 2, 2016

Baby Colby (Jack)

My beautiful friend Katie was expecting a baby boy in November, and since we were throwing her a shower, I wanted some pictures of her to have on display, so I asked her to meet me at the park and take some pictures. We met pretty early so it wasn't too hot, but her baby girl was suffering from HFM disease (although not diagnosed at the time) so I was really happy that the pictures turned out so cute.

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Katie is seriously one of the most gorgeous people I have ever met, inside & out! Sheesh.

Next up was her shower. I loved planning it with Tracy & Andreia. We had so much fun! It's funny because when I had my last shower, I felt so weird because, it was my THIRD child, and you know, you just feel greedy. And Katie convinced me that it didn't matter, that every baby deserved a party, etc. But when it was her turn, she said almost the exact same things! It was so funny.

Most of the people invited were from her same town so Katie offered to have the shower at her house. I felt horrible doing this to her, but honestly, her house is perfect for parties and it did make the most sense. Still... I hope she got a good nap afterwards! ;)

We started out just wanting to serve desserts but then we knew we had to have some savory items. (Sausage balls = win)

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Katie's mother-in-law made the adorable party favors! She nailed it.

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It was such a great night and I hope Katie knows how loved she is!

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FINALLY, their baby boy was born in early November. I went over to her house when he was a week old and took some more pictures. I seriously love him so much!!

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What baby smiles at a week old? Seriously.

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Katie tried every trick in the book and finally succeeded in getting Big Sister on the bed. I'm starting to take this personally! I love this picture so much though!!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More wedding bells...

My sister Rhonda moved back to Texas fairly recently with her boyfriend, Mike (seriously, another Mike!) and in July, they tied the knot. It was great to be a part of such a happy occasion - they make an amazing couple and I am so ecstatic for her!!

We had a lot of fun putting all the decorations together, and no one was injured! :D

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I loved how casual the wedding was. Everyone could just be relaxed in whatever. Except for the heat of course, but the actual ceremony was nice and quick so everything was fine in that regard as well.

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When two families become one:
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(Spence couldn't wait to change into his swimsuit, haha)

It was a great night! But then Hudson had another near-drowning experience and then it was time for us to go home.

e i g h t


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My darling Maddy is every bit as sweet as she looks. (Most of the time.)

She takes the best care of her brothers and is always wanting to get Brandt out of his crib and hold him... still.

She is doing so well in school and has a lot of friends.

She loves soccer & likes playing defense the best. She's doing pretty well at that too. Not super aggressive still, but definitely has some skill.

Her teacher at church is Sister Treber, who she adores. Often times Maddy is the only one in her class and they've become really good friends. ;)

She loves to write - uses anything she can find for a journal, draw, play with Shopkins, La La Loopsies, Barbies and her new American Girl Doll, Grace that her Gammy got her for her birthday.

She isn't as shy as she used to be and has come even more out of her shell in recent months. I think soccer has really helped with that.

I am so proud of the person she is. I can't believe I love her as much as I do.

HER FAVORITES, AGE 8 (her exact words)

Cereal - Reese's Puffs
Vegetable - Broccoli
Fruit - Apples
Drink - Rootbeer
Toy - Shopkins
TV Show - Jessie
Game - Scrabble, Jr
Book - Whatever After
Restaurant - Chick-fil-A
 Holiday - Christmas
Animal - Cheetah
Song - I Stand All Amazed
Color - Pink
Number - Eighteen

Friday, December 11, 2015

Always my baby

My little Hudson has been going through kind of a rough time lately. He's still the same sweetheart of course, but I'm not sure if he's tired (kindergarten can be brutal) or what... Just throwing random fits, talking & acting like a baby, saying "I don't care" when we say things to him. Ugh. I'm thinking he needs more attention? He's also getting the last of his six-year molars - I just discovered these suckers coming in a couple weeks ago and THEY'RE HUGE - and while the others didn't bother him at all, this one really is. *It's the bottom right one.

Anyway, the other night he was just so exhausted and was freaking out when he got out of the bath (he was cold!) so we decided to put him to bed early, which he was fine with, surprisingly. So I tucked him in bed and snuggled with him for a bit and then I asked him if I could say the prayer, which he agreed.

I prayed that he would know how much he means to our family, and that he would know how important he is to us, and to Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ. I prayed that he would realize how special he is, and how blessed our family is because he is in it, and that he would be comforted when he wasn't feeling good.

When I got done with the prayer he was crying softly and when I asked him what was wrong, he said they were happy tears. I asked him why and he said "Because of what you said about me in your prayer."

This kid has such a tender heart. I have loved him from the second I laid eyes on him and I can't imagine my life without him.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Great to be EIGHT

My Madster decided she wanted to be baptized when she turned eight. Although it was something I had just always expected, to one night have her tell me that she wanted to... It made me a little teary. When I asked her why, she said "Because Jesus was." Even in whatever way she understands, she is trying to be like Jesus, and that is pretty incredible to me. She is a wonderful example for her mother!

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The baptism went fine and I DIDN'T EVEN CRY. I seriously couldn't believe it. I really didn't even want to cry, and actually, I tear up at most baptisms. But this time, I was just so happy, and I was more worried about if Maddy was nervous or whatever. Side note: I actually couldn't even see her be baptized, there were too many kids in the way, but there wasn't really anything I could do about it. I went in and helped her get changed after and it was kinda weird. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was being baptized. I remember being freezing and smiling a lot. Maddy was the same.

When Mike confirmed her a member of our church, I am shocked to say... HE CRIED!!! He got totally choked up and teary! It took all of us by surprise, but in a really sweet way. They have such a great relationship & I'm so thankful for that.

I wanted to get as many pictures as I could of everyone, but when it came down to it, to try and coordinate all the friends with all their little kids - HOLY MOLY. I was lucky to get what I did. Mostly I just wanted Maddy to have some way to remember all of the people that showed up. With how busy everyone is, especially on Saturdays, we were honored that they came to support her. We are SO blessed to have the friends & family that we do. Stacie & Mike and their family even came up from Houston! {Well, they really came for the Eldredge Halloween party, but still, they squoze (it's a word!) us in.}

Not pictured are Rhonda & Mike, Kaitlyn & Antonio, Sister Treber (Maddy's teacher in Primary), the Crumptons, and the Meadors, who had to leave right after the baptism.

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Afterwards most of us met at our house for sandwiches and Swig cookies. (There was more than that there, but those are the highlights.) Again, our friends & family stepped it up and brought a ton of food for us. What a blessing.

Our house isn't small and it was packed. We put tables outside and it was a beautiful day. Maddy had a great time with all her little pals and I hope she'll remember how good she felt that day. She did so wonderfully, still a little shy, but not paralyzed when groups of people stare at her. I'm just so proud!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Summer baseball - 2015

Hudson has been wanting to try baseball. Mike and I have been wanting to put him in baseball. But really, when it comes to actual physical activity at this stage in the game, there's really no comparison between soccer and baseball, and there's been no way to do both. This summer, we finally pulled the trigger and Hudson LOVED it. Some of the kids had been on a team together before, but one of his old soccer buddies was on the team, so at least there was a familiar face. With all the rain we got this spring, soccer went late, and then more rain in June pushed an already late baseball season even later. I missed the first game because Brandt was sick and I was so mad that I had to stay home! I mean, I love the little guy, but Hud's very first game? :( But Mike was awesome and took a ton of pictures for me.

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I didn't take pictures at every game - keeping Brandt out of danger consumed most of my time - but most of them would look like this:

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The last practice was held at the Rangers Youth Ballpark in Arlington thanks to a connection one of Hud's coaches had. It was so cool, they had an announcer come in and play cool music and announce the kids when they were up to bat. We also had concessions, which Hud's coach generously covered for each of the players, and then once practice was over, we all got to go on the field. I loved this team because they were very cool about including siblings, which meant a lot to Maddy. She was a bat girl at all of the games and got to bat and field a bit at practices. Very neat.

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Thankfully my mom came with us this time - she was a HUGE help, as always.

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Nothing like a ballpark hot dog!

Their last game:
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Grandpa was so sweet to come entertain Brandt too!

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Coach Todd & Coach Chad

Hudson learned a lot and loved playing baseball. We're so proud of him for his willingness to try new things and be SO brave.

Hawaii!

On our anniversary, Mike surprised me with tickets to the Big Island! I was in total shock. Luckily I had a couple months to get used to the idea. (Our anniversary is in August and we didn't go until the end of September.)

This would not have been possible without the help of my mom & Mike's sister (Kirsten) and her husband (Brian). Seriously. They coordinated taking the kids to school, soccer practice & games, naps for Brandt, church, EVERYTHING. We are so blessed.

Our flight left on a Thursday around 10 AM. We went to San Diego, then to LAX, and then to Kilo - all stops had a significant layover, which made for a long day to say the least. We landed in Kilo and rented our car, getting to our hotel about 10 PM (which was really 3 AM, Texas time). We went to bed and of course didn't sleep in very late, but headed out to get some breakfast on the beach.

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Then we went back to the hotel and swam on their little beach & the pool - the pool was better than the beach - and then I was lucky enough to catch a nap. Zzzzzz. Heavenly. Then we headed out to find dinner. The place we had originally planned on ended up being in a strip mall, which, maybe it was really delicious, but the atmosphere was l-a-m-e. So we drove around some more and settled on Habaneros Grill. Oh my goodness, it was amazing! I was actually surprised, being used to all the delicious Mexican food offerings down here... But I highly recommend it!

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After dinner we hurried to the temple to try and catch the sunset.

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(Taken with Mike's cell phone, he caught it just in time!)

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Saturday we woke up early and headed to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

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(On the drive south, about the southwest edge of the island)

Of course the higher in elevation we got, the lower the temperature got. I didn't anticipate this AT ALL. Maybe I should have. Haha. It's been awhile since I've been on a mountain, and a mountain in Hawaii? Come on. It also started raining pretty steadily on the way there and didn't stop the whole time we were there.

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At times it was more of a mist, but we were definitely wet when we left. We had to brave the "cold" though, just to see what everything was all about. And it turned out to be National Park Day or something, so it was free. WIN. It was such a cool place, so much information and stuff to learn! Looking out from the highest lookout point, we couldn't see too much because of the rain and clouds, which was kind of a bummer.

On the way back, we stopped at Black Sands Beach. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.

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The water was so amazing and seriously, black sand? What? There were quite a few people swimming, although everything we'd read said not to swim there. We didn't have our swim suits, and the waves were pretty rough anyway, but it was still cool to see. After the beach, we stopped at Annie's Burgers, thanks to a recommendation from a friend of mine. The best burger I've ever had, no kidding. I can still remember it, two months later.

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*drool*

We got back to the hotel and vegged out for awhile and then walked around through the shops close to our hotel and had dinner at the Kona Inn. Mike and I had a little disagreement right before we went to dinner so it wasn't my favorite. But still a nice view and a good dinner.

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Sunday was Mike's birthday!! Our hotel room didn't have the Cowboys game on, so we headed across the street to Quinn's Almost by the Sea to eat some breakfast and watch the game. They finally got the game on and after about ten minutes, the satellite went out. The waitress was like, "There's nothing we can do, it comes back on when it wants to." Uhhhh. Okay?

I went back to the hotel to sleep and relax and Mike came back awhile later. We watched football in the hotel room, hung out down by the beach, ate some amazing poolside nachos and sandwiches, and got tore up by mosquitoes. Well, I did. Mike was fine. :/

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Monday I woke up at 1:30 AM and couldn't go back to sleep!! I was IRATE. But it all ended up being okay because after getting snorkeling gear from the little place outside our hotel -

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we went to Kua Bay where I fell completely in love.

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We snorkeled and got absolutely ROCKED by the waves. I couldn't stop laughing at how idiotic I must have looked, but it was too much fun. And a little scary. I'm sure to experts, they were nothing, but man. I felt like someone put me in the washing machine and it took me forever to get out. And yet I kept going back for more... I seriously could have spent all day there, but we were hungry so we had to leave after four hours. We grabbed Subway on the way back to the hotel and then fell asleep, read, and got up to go to dinner. I couldn't stop thinking, Is this real life? It was so relaxing. We ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, which I'd never had before. It was good!! And I loved eating right on the beach. I almost didn't care where I ate, as long as it was on the beach.

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On Tuesday, we went up north around the top of the island and stopped in Waimea for a bit. I had to get some new sunglasses since I lost mine in the waves the day before. (Still laughing to myself about that experience.) After walking around some of the shops there, we headed over towards Hilo. Mike really wanted to check out the waterfalls on the way there (I felt meh about those, but it was fine), and we wanted to see what Hilo was all about. The waterfalls ended up being beautiful.

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With every step, I felt like I was either in Jurassic Park or looking at a postcard. It was so incredible. And humid. And the little walk around there was no joke.

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I kept telling myself it was just because the air was thicker though, haha.

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After the waterfalls, we headed to Hilo and checked out the Pacific Tsunami Museum. The sweet old man giving the tour was the best! I could have listened to him speak for hours. Really. I loved this place. I learned a TON! Very interesting.

We had a really long drive home, but cut through the middle of the island which saved some time.

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When we got back to town, we stopped and got some shaved ice. Pretty good. But ya know, I'd rather have guacamole. :)

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We went down to the pool and had those poolside nachos again. Mmmmm. We went to bed fairly early and then I woke up at 11:30 PM. I seriously could not believe it. I finally fell back asleep at 5 AM and was heartbroken to only get a couple more hours of sleep. I didn't want to sleep in though, because it was our last day there and we still wanted to check out Mauna Kea Beach, especially because we'd read there were a lot of turtles there and we hadn't seen one yet. We got there and because it's right next to a {nice} hotel, there was a looong walk down to the beach.

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We stayed there as long as we could, but the wind was INSANE and it was pretty crowded.

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We went home, hung out at our pool, and of course the day became super cloudy so no sun = no bueno for my tan. We drove up to Lava Lava Beach Club for dinner (another recommendation from Kim) and sat on the beach again and watched the sun set while we ate. They also had two guys (a father + son duo) singing - they were amazing. I wanted to buy their CD but by the last day, spending $20 on a CD seemed like overkill. We did give them a tip though - they were great. They also had a lady (hula) dancing in front of them for a bit - awesome place.

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After our dinner (and dessert!) we went to the Kings' Shops and walked around, got some knick knacks for our family and then headed back to the airport. We checked our car back in and began the long wait before our flight took off (10 PM)!

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Then we made the same trip back home. Kilo - LAX - San Diego - DFW, only this time we didn't have the vacation to look forward to. Also, we had a four-hour layover in LAX and a five-hour layover in San Diego. Ugggggh. We got home on Thursday at 9 PM. We were very tired. Because we had gate-checked our bag in Kona (and they had assured us it would get to our destination with us...), of course it wasn't on the baggage carousel when we got to DFW. We were filing a report with the appropriate people when Mike looked around a corner and saw it sitting there. *sigh* Oh well.

I can honestly say it was the most relaxing time of my life. The first couple days I was so anxious, I kept thinking we needed to be on the move, we needed to see ALL THE THINGS and Mike kept reminding me, "We can go wherever we want, WHENEVER we want." Ahhh, the voice of reason. I have been wanting to go to Hawaii my entire life and I cannot believe I finally made it. We had the best time. I read SEVEN books. (Mostly because I had a couple nights of no sleep, but still!) We ate a ton of food, laughed, and just did whatever we wanted to. It was heaven. I am so thankful for Mike for making this a reality for me. I love you, Mikey!!