Monday, December 1, 2014

Adam is Seven!

Our Adam is seven years old! His birthday is frequently over Thanksgiving break, and he was sad that he didn't take treats in to his class last year. So this year we made sure he took in lots of treats to share for his birthday on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

On the day of his birthday he opened presents in the morning. I think his favorite was the hot-wheels car that changes color in hot and cold water. 

In the afternoon Adam wanted to go bowling. We played two games, and fun was had by all. I'm going to go ahead and say that our children have inherited their sweet bowling skills from Joel and I. Which is to say, none of us are very good. But it was still fun!

Adam was trying to persuade his ball to drift another way. Hence that funny stance. :)

Jenna helped Audrey bowl when it was Jenna's turn a couple of times. What a good big sister.

After dinner (chicken alfredo: Adam's choice) we had Chocolate Lasagna. I've decided it should just be called chocolate layer desert. It was so good! Adam chose very well!

Happy Birthday to our handsome little boy! He is a lot of fun, and likes to keep things interesting. He can't wait for indoor soccer to start in January. It seems like he's always bouncing a ball, throwing a ball, or catching a ball. He does well in school and his teachers love him. We are lucky to have him in our family! We love you, Adam!


We decided to do something a little different for Thanksgiving this year. Since we'd just had a big thanksgiving dinner a few days before with friends, we decided to try something new! Every person got to pick something they wanted to eat for Thanksgiving, and it worked out really well for the whole day! Here's how it all worked out

William- coffee cake for breakfast
Adam- Goldfish and Oreos for a snack
Mom- Sausage bread and sausage dip for lunch
Dad- Bacon cheeseburgers for dinner 
Jenna- Strawberry pretzel jello dessert

I got pictures of everyone with their chosen dish except for Jenna. Darn it!

After breakfast we started the day right with a Mario-cart tournament on the Wii! It was a lot of fun, and nobody was surprised when Will came in first in that tournament. :)

Adrienne was also able to join us, and we were so happy! She was only able to stay for two days, but it was great to have her here for our non-traditional Thanksgiving.

That was Will's genuine reaction to seeing the tray of food. :) The snacks went pretty quickly; luckily we had plenty of fruit to snack on as well!

Adrienne and Jenna put together our lovely platters for lunch. Not pictured is the sausage dip we dipped those delicious veggies into.

After lunch the kids played Life with Adrienne while I made the dessert for later, and Joel watched football.

The burgers were so yummy! Joel did an amazing job. We also had homemade potato chips. Yum!

After dinner we watched a movie and somehow found room for dessert. It was a really fun day, and hopefully something the kids will remember for a long time.


On the Friday before Thanksgiving this year we decided to get together as friends and have a big "Friendsgiving" Dinner! We all brought a bunch of food, and we had the most delicious traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It's great to have good friends who are all amazing cooks. :)  I think my favorite part was the toast at the beginning where we all went around and said what we're thankful for. Also, did I mention that the food was amazing? Seriously, everything was so good. We even had a table full of delicious pies. It was so fun! Hopefully it's the beginning of a long holiday tradition.

The men got to carve the meat. We had a turkey and a ham! They did a great job.

The boys wouldn't leave their food alone long enough to look at me for a picture. I don't know how I managed to miss a picture of Jenna. I promise she was there. :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Joel's Birthday

One year older, and wiser, too! Yep, Joel is another year older. He worked on his birthday, so overall it was probably a pretty normal day for him. But when he got home we ate cheeseburger soup for dinner, opened presents, had caramel brownies (two kinds) and ice cream, and played Jenga. We are very grateful to have Joel in our family. He is one awesome Dad and Husband. Seriously.

I couldn't decide what kind of caramel brownies to make. When I asked Joel he said, "Both." So, both is was. Even after the taste test there was no clear favorite. Some liked one kind more, and vice-versa. They were both tasty!


We kind of left our Halloween planning until the last minute, this year. (That could have something to do with the fact that I don't like Halloween. Perhaps.)  Anyway, we ended up with a tiger, a vampire, a ghost, and a (kind of) pirate. And yes, these are the only pictures I took. I do think Adam makes a cute vampire. The kids got loads of candy trick-or-treating. Jenna helped Audrey since she's too old to trick or treat for her own candy (at least we think so). It was a lot of walking for Audrey's short legs, but she was a trooper, and she had fun. At least the kids like Halloween, right? ;)

Happy Birthday, William!

William has hit double digits! That's right, he is ten years old. I was in New York for his birthday and I was sad to miss it, but Joel took care of things. :) They opened presents in the morning, went to Arctic Circle for ice cream, played games, and Joel made brownies (specifically requested by Will). I think he had a good day. We are very lucky to have William in our family. He's so smart and funny, a good big brother, and a lot of fun. We love you, William!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New York City!

I had the chance to go to New York with some friends, so how could I pass that up!?! We planned it for a couple of months, so when the time came to actually go it felt a little unreal. I hadn't been farther East than South Dakota, so this was a bit of a change for me. :) I was so excited to go, and it was definitely an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I've thought about the best way to blog about this trip, but I think it's going to be pretty convoluted. I don't think there's any way I'm going to be able to get my pictures on here in any sort of real order, so I'll just have to describe any pictures that I think need explanation.

We left on Tuesday evening, the 14th of October. We drove to the SLC airport for our red eye flight. Four of us were on one flight, and two girls were on a different flight. After our long, sleepless flight (sleepless for me, anyway) we waited at JFK for the other girls' flight to arrive, and then it was off to our hotel in Queens.

We dropped our bags at the hotel and headed to the Statue of Liberty. I decided that walking on a moving Ferry must be what it feels like to walk drunk. You think you're moving in a straight line, and then the ground just moves beneath your feet. The ferry was actually quite soothing, and just about rocked some of us to sleep. After the Statue of Liberty we went to Ellis Island, which was pretty cool.

That evening we went to the 911 memorial. The memorial fountains were beautiful. We also went through the new museum. It had some amazing things, it was very moving, and I think we all got choked up a few times.

After some quick pizza for dinner we headed back to the hotel for an early night, since we were all pretty exhausted from lack of sleep the night before.

Thursday morning we tried to go to the Empire State Building, but it was cloudy and raining so there was no visibility from the observation deck. We headed to Times Square instead. It was pretty empty because of the rain, so it was kind of nice to get to see it that way. Joel was able to look us up on the times square cam and we waved and I blew him a kiss. :)

Next was FAO Schwartz, Halal guys for lunch, then back to the Empire State Building because the skies had cleared. It was an amazing view from the top (obviously). The sounds of the city were muted, and I decided all I needed was a chair and a drink and I could spend all day up there. It was one of my favorite places.

That evening we went to the Broadway show A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. I really enjoyed it! Our seats were in the balcony, and it wasn't the greatest balcony seats I've ever seen, but it actually wasn't bad. The show was great, the music was great, and I would see it again!

Next we headed to the Jekyll and Hyde Chamber of Horrors Haunted House. Yikes! Erin and Rachel opted to sit that one out, so it was Sheri, Holly, Jackie and I. It was quite the experience! I think it was the best cardio workout I'd had all month. By the time we made it out of there I was sweating profusely and just trying to catch my breath. Believe it or not it was a lot of fun!!

After that is was a (very) late dinner (and frozen hot chocolate!) at Serendipity!

Friday we went to the American Museum of Natural History. We didn't get to see much of it, but we did get to go to a show at the planetarium, which was really cool. The Manhattan Temple was next, and that was so nice to get to do. It truly is as quiet as any temple, even though it's in the middle of the city. It was a great experience.

We went to Rockefeller Center after that, and ate at an amazing bakery. Bouchon Bakery; get the macaroons if you ever get the chance to go.

There was a small pop-up "Friends" museum open in Soho, appropriately named Central Perk, that we tried to go to, but we didn't know you had to get there early for tickets. So by the time we got there they weren't letting anyone else in. I was disappointed, to say the least, but I got over it.

We went to Washington Square Park that evening, and I liked it there a lot. I could have just sat there watching the fountain all night.

Saturday morning we up super early to catch the train to Rochester. Jackie's sister got married that evening (the whole reason for this trip), so while she was at the wedding we saw some of the church sites in Palmyra. We went to the Grandin Press, where the first printing of the Book of Mormon was done. We also went to the Smith Farm, which was very interesting. We had dinner at a bbq place called Sticky Lips, then went back to the hotel and played some cards.

Sunday morning we got to walk around the Sacred Grove. I collected a few leaves that had fallen, and now they're in a frame on my piano. :) We also stopped by the Hill Cumorah and the Martin Harris Farm. Then it was time to get back on the train for the long ride back to the City.

Monday we saw the Shakespeare Garden and Belvedere Tower in Central Park. The Park was beautiful and there was a lovely view from the tower. I wish we had been able to spend a little more time in the Park; there is just so much there.

We went to the MET next, which was another of my favorites. We saw some of the Egyptian exhibit, and the artifacts they have are just amazing. We went through European art, and some of the contemporary art section. It is so big there's no real way to see it all in such a short amount of time, but I do wish I could have seen more of the MET, as well.

After lunch at the Shake Shack we decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a lovely walk, I thought! We decided to ride the train back over to Manhattan, and we did eventually, after walking all over Brooklyn looking for the subway. (Okay, maybe not ALL over Brooklyn) :)

We ate dinner at Butter that night, which was our one big food splurge. It's a swanky, pricey place. I wondered if the food could really be as good as they claim, for those prices, and it WAS! The whole experience was fun, and I thought it was worth the price tag. And it was delicious!

Tuesday morning we had to say goodbye to Jackie and Rachel because they had an earlier flight than the rest of us. We headed out for an early lunch at Ray's Pizza, tried to get a Conut at Dominique Ansel Bakery (of course you have to get in line by 7 am to get one) then went to China town for a spot of shopping. (I bought two scarves)

After picking up our bags at the hotel, it was time to head back to the airport and home! The flight wasn't bad, and the drive home wasn't terrible. It was great to be home and see my family again. Joel had taken off the whole week from work to stay home with the kids. He did a great job and managed everything just fine. I missed him and the kids a lot, so it was definitely great to get home and give hugs.

The entire trip was really so much fun, and I'm so glad I was able to go. I'm lucky to have fun friends to do fun things with! Like I said, it's something I will always remember!

 On the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty

 On the Red Stairs in Times Square

At the MET

If you've ever seen the movie Big you might recognize the big piano in FAO Schwartz. I tried to play the song, but some of the keys didn't work! It was still fun.

If you look behind the guy yawning hugely you'll see Jackie and I. :)

 All of us at the top of the Empire Statue building

In Rockefeller Center, eating our lunch from Bouchon bakery

At the Smith farm, Palmyra Temple in the background

 Sheri missed her calling as a model. She's so chic.

At Belvedere Tower in Central Park

Palmyra Temple

 On the steps in front of the MET

A lovely woman in Times Square :)

This was a fountain by FAO Schwartz, also by the Plaza Hotel

At Butter

 In front of the fountain at Washington Square Park

 Manhattan Temple

I believe this is in the taxi as we left the airport the first day

 Times Square!

 I was just trying to get some sleep on the train. :)

 This was right after we did the Haunted House. The phone booth was right outside. That is real terror in my eyes, leftover from the haunted house.

 Waiting for a subway. I don't know why I look like a creeper.

 This made me laugh. Sheri is taking a picture of Holly taking a picture of Erin and I, getting photo bombed by Jackie and Rachel. :)
In front of a replica of the first house Joseph Smith lived in on the Smith Farm, in the exact place the original was in.

Before the haunted house.

 The picture Holly was taking. :)

 The rest of the crew at Butter

 There's a good reason my water bottle was in a sock. (don't worry, it was a clean sock)

 In the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park

 We spent a lot of time riding the Subway.

 After the Broadway Show

 That tiny thing behind me is the Statue of Liberty

 Manhattan from the Ferry

 The One World Tower

 911 Memorial

 And that's why we didn't go the Statue of Liberty when it was raining.

Panorama of lower Manhattan from the Empire State Building

 Lunch from Halal Guys

 Different views from the top of the Empire State Building

This was the view of the stage from our seats, but I was leaning over the edge. :)

 Bagpiper in the Subway

 Frozen hot chocolate!

Drummers in the subway

 Central Perk :(

I tried to get a picture of the beautiful Fall colors from the train, but it didn't work out too well.

In front of the Grandin Press

 Replica of the first house Joseph Smith lived in on the Smith Farm

The actual frame house the Smith's built on the farm.

 the Sacred Grove

 The monument at the top of the Hill Cumorah

 At the bottom of the hill

 View from the top of Belvedere Tower

 Also Belvedere Tower

 A statue in the Egyptian section of the MET, over 4000 years old.

I had to take this picture of Jackie and Sheri in Brooklyn, trying to figure out how to get to the train.

 Ray's Pizza


Hey, I can see the top!

p.s. I warned you they were terribly out of order. :)