Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Consider This Our Christmas Card












Wise men still seek Him
(and some wise guys too)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the joys of living with Papa

My stepfather just drew a mustache on my daughter's face with permanent marker. Now he's calling her Speedy Gonzalez. Ughhhhhhh . . . .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Wonder P

Okay, maybe I don't try to avoid this type of post after all. Here is another video of Little P. In this one she identifies a few basic shapes.
video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Proof

Not that I needed it, because you all trust me implicitly and know I would never lie. . . but I took this video of Paige this evening and thought that I'd post it because, well, it illustrates my previous post so well. Enjoy.
video

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"I show you where Daddy is!"

That is what Paige said to me this morning when we walked past the globe in my parents' room.

Me: What?

Paige: I show you where Daddy is!

Me: Um, okay. . .

Paige squirms out of my arms, runs to the globe, and gives it a good spin. She even winds up as if she's spinning the wheel on the Price is Right. I watch as she stops the globe with both hands, backs it up a little, and then points her little finger right to Afghanistan.

Paige: See, Mama! Daddy right dere (there)!

My mouth hung open for a second before exclaiming, "You're exactly right! Daddy is in Afghanistan. Can you say Afghanistan?"

Paige: AssghanikSTAN!

Okay, I know every parent thinks their kid is exceptional, so I try to refrain from this type of post, but COME ON! That's crazy, right? I have shown her where Afghanistan is on the globe a couple of times, so I guess it's not THAT crazy. But I never expected her to find it all on her own. (And she's found it at least 7 or 8 times since, so I know it wasn't a fluke).

The kid never ceases to amaze me.

I love being her mother.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The One Where Ben Meets the President

When I called Bridget this morning I told her that I had met someone that I had never met before. She asked who, my reply--George W. Bush. Obviously she was surprised. In the military they don't actually tell you who is showing up; it's a VIP, that's all you know. So they told us when to show up where and what to be wearing. Unfortunately for us it was 3 AM on the other side of camp. Afghanistan is not like Iraq; winter is cold here. No snow yet, but it's very cold that early in the morning. So dutifully, we went and waited. It was quite a long wait, but you're used to that in the Army.

They had some military vehicles set up for a backdrop and some sandbags next to the podium; I guess to make it look more "in harm's way". It all looked nice. We cheered thunderously when he finally showed up. For as many times as I've heard "Hail to the Chief" it's quite surreal when it's for the actual President. There were probably only about 300 or so of us in the room when he arrived. He thanked us, wished us well, passed on regards from Laura, and thanked us again. I was less than 10 feet away from him as he spoke. It's also surreal to physically see the face of someone that you recognize so very well. I think it's a bit different for those of us in the military because to us he's not just the President, but our Commander in Chief. It's a whole different level of respect and admiration.

One interesting thing he asked us to do was to call our spouses and families and to thank them from him for their sacrifice in supporting us as we leave them to defend this nation. There was not the slightest hint of patronizing or disingenuousness. We all felt he was truly and deeply concerned for us and our families. He concluded his remarks and began shaking hands with everyone that was within reach. He didn't seem in any hurry to leave and it was obvious that he tried very hard to shake as many hands as he could. He was even giving some of our guys hugs. Which to me seemed a bit unusual, but I think that's just the kind of person he is. I think he understands because he served as well.

As we watched him leave everyone cheered, even the foreign soldiers that were standing next to us. As he left, I felt gratitude for having served under someone as honorable as him, and I wondered when or if America will see another President as dedicated and humble as he was. It was something I won't forget and a fitting way to conclude my time here in Afghanistan.

-Ben

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And the WINNERS are . . .

Wow. Thirty-two comments. That IS a record (for me).

I don't think it's fair to pick winners based on comment content (that's WAY too subjective for me), so to choose my winners I used a random number generator. Here are the winning comment numbers:

18 11 9

So, the lucky winner of the half-dozen little birdie card set is:
Kurt and Jordan
Congratulations!!! Please email me with your address.

The adorable blingy binkie clippie goes to:
Jill Fellow
Yay! Now, aren't you glad you entered?! Please email me and let me know if you'd like a girly binkie holder or one for a boy. I can also personalize it with the baby's name, or a saying like 'oh boy' or 'sweet girl', etc. if you want. Have any other specific requests like colors, themes, etc? Just let me know!

And the super duper awesome interchangeable watch band with watch face goes to:
That Girl in Brazil
WoooWhooo! Here's what I need for you to email to me: your address, whether you'd like a square, oval, or rectangular watch face, your wrist measurement in inches (measure just up your arm from your wrist bone), and which watch band you'd like (or if you have a different color preference I'd be happy to accommodate that and make something totally different for you).

Winners, please get back to me within 48 hours so I can get these to you before Christmas.

Thanks for entering everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

GiveAway Mania!

Okay, so my Giveaway ends Sunday at midnight. You already know that. If you haven't entered yet, DO IT! I mean, why not? If you don't want the prizes for yourself, I'm sure there's someone you know that would!

And just so you know, there are many many more giveaways going on in the blogging world right now.

Check these out (some are big; some are small; all are fun!):

http://seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com/2008/12/on-1rst-day-of-christmas-my-moprah-gave.html

http://giveawaytoday.blogspot.com/

http://cally-cruze.blogspot.com/2008/12/giveaway-not-really-because-its-12th.html

http://justaddcharm.blogspot.com/2008/12/twelfth-day-of-christmas-giveaway.html

http://www.donttrythisathome.typepad.com/bloggy_giveaways/

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Very Own GIVEAWAY!

I feel like Oprah already.

Okay, so ever since I won Smitten Blog Designs' day #4 'Give Oh Giveaway', I've been wanting to spread some Christmas cheer and do a giveaway myself. I know I don't have thousands or hundreds or even tens of followers like others that do giveaways, but hey, why not? I can make some cute stuff, right? Besides, I can't possibly use up all of the stuff I've been crafting all by myself! By the way, thanks for all the nice comments about the stuff I've made this year. It's really just been a fun way to pass the time.

So if you want to win one of the totally awesome prizes below, all handmade by me, then just enter a comment below in response to this post. Only one entry per person, please.

Your chances of winning are AWESOME, because there will be 3 winners, and, let's be honest, the max amount of comments I've ever gotten on a post was like maybe 10. You have until Sunday, December 14th, at midnight to enter; the winners will be announced on Monday, December 15th. Good Luck!

The first lucky winner will be the recipient of a half dozen little birdie cards like these:

A second lucky winner will receive an adorable beaded binkie holder:

And the third lucky winner will get an interchangable watch band with a watch face:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday to Ben!

Today is Ben's 32nd birthday! Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! I hope you are enjoying all that stuff I sent in your package. There's just one more thing; Paige wanted to give you this:

video

(she is usually a little bit more cooperative than this)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Keeping Busy

The best piece of advice I have to give to anyone whose husband may leave for any length of time, be it for a weekend or a year, is to find something fun to do. For me this has meant completing a few projects and picking up a new hobby. Here are a few of the things I've done this year:

I wanted some pictures of Ben that were durable and portable, so Paige would be able to see him wherever we went. My mom helped me to come up with these:We refer to these as our "daddy books", they are simply photos pasted to both sides of chipboard with mod podge. Papa helped by drilling holes through the corners so we could put them on rings. Paige loves them.

This spring while flipping through a pottery barn kids catalog, I fell in love with this, but not with the $279 price tag. So I decided to make it myself. Here is my version:It was so easy and fun that I plan to round out my collection and do Rapunzel and Cinderella (they're for Paige's room).

A couple of times a year my friend Melinda organizes a card exchange. This is where everyone who participates makes a certain amount of cards and then you all get together to exchange them and you end up with the same amount of cards you made, but they're all different. My mom came up with the design and actually did most of the work, but we made these to exchange:The best part about these cards is that we didn't have to buy any new paper. We just used scraps left over from other projects.

I've wanted to learn how to sew from a pattern for awhile, so when I found a cute apron pattern at the Quilt Festival this year, I bought it. With my mom's guidance I made this (using Heather Bailey fabics): It's called a "Friday Night Apron". Oh, la, la.

While at the quilt show we were inspired by these ladies. My sisters, cousins, aunt, mother, niece and I made spiders with felt and glass beads for Halloween. These are the ones I made:Very cute versions of something I HATE in real life.

And then the new hobby I've picked up this year is beading. I've made bracelets,

and more bracelets: The top bracelet is supposed to look like a pumpkin vine, and the bottom bracelet has dangling cherries (I made both of these for my mom and similar ones for my aunt).

A pretty floral bracelet for me:


And several bracelets for Paige:


I've made beaded binkie clips like these for quite a few babies:
And my latest beading project has been interchangeable watch bands:

As you can see, having your husband deploy leaves you with a little extra time on your hands. Especially if you live with your parents and they like your kid :)

It's a MIRACLE. . .

I WON a blog giveaway!!! I was so excited this morning to check my google reader and see MY name listed as the #4 day winner on smittenblogdesigns.blogspot.com's 12 days of Christmas 'Give oh Giveaway'! WooooWhooo!

Click here to see what I won
.

And everyday the prize is something different. There are 8 days of giveaways left and you can still enter for all 8 to win! All you have to do is comment on each day of the giveaway (and they are already all up so you can to it all at once) and put a link to their site on your blog or subscribe to their blog. SO easy and your chances of winning are good because there are 8 left and only like 30 comments per giveaway. Do it now :)

Maybe I shouldn't have told all you all that, 'cause if you take my advice then my chances of winning again will go down. Hmmmm . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Girls

Paige was introduced to the Disney princesses on our September trip to Disneyland and has since familiarized herself with all 7 of them. She plays with the little beauty queens quite frequently and if you ask her what her princesses are doing, she will wave them about through the air and shout, "DANCING!". Some other less frequent answers to this question include, "singing", and, although rare, my personal favorite, "looking pretty".

I didn't plan on being one of those moms whose 21 - month - old owns 7 princess figurines, a princess crown, a princess wand, is potty training on a princess potty seat, and knows all 7 of the princesses names. But, it happened, and you know what? I think it's pretty dang cute.*

So sometimes when Paige is playing with Aurora, I'll sing the words to my favorite song from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty: "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream..." And now, of course, being the little sponge that she is, Paige has picked up these words.

This morning, on Skype, she sang the words for her daddy while vigorously waving Aurora through the air, making her "dance". However, Paige's version of the song is a little different: "I know you . . . I walk you . . . I know you . . . I walk you . . . ", you get the picture. Ben, to my surprise, didn't roll his eyes, sigh, berate me for doing this to Paige, or anything like it. He smiled, laughed, and, like me, thought it was the cutest thing ever.

Tonight, Ben called me while he was taking a break during his work shift (there's an 11 1/2 hour time difference) and we had the following conversation:

Ben: That was really cute when Paige was singing with the princesses this morning.

Me: Yeah, she's so funny.

Ben: I guess I'm going to get to know a lot about princesses since I have all girls.

Me: Um, you have one girl.

Ben: Yeah, but you know we're probably gonna have all girls . . . at least 4 more. And you know, I don't think I'd mind.

I was speechless.

Those of you in my family and those who know Ben well, will probably find this as amazing as I did. Hey, maybe this is amazing to those of you who don't know Ben well, since, you know, he doesn't usually try to conceal his opinions. And let's just say that before we had Paige, his opinions on having girls vs. boys were, um, strong.

Oh yeah, and please notice the poll at the top. I'd love to see what you think.

*Lest you think I am ruining my daughter with all this princess stuff, the only princess movie she's actually seen is Cinderella, and her favorite toy right now is in fact Thomas the Tank Engine. But that's another topic for another day to be addressed in it's own post. It definitely deserves it; she's obsessed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Conversations with a 20 month old

Everyday I put Paige's hair in pigtails. We have a little routine where she sits on the edge of my bathroom countertop with her feet in the sink facing the mirror. I stand behind her and she watches me through the mirror while playing with the makeup/bottles/toothbrushes that are out on the counter.

Paige and I had the following exchange while I styled her hair today:

Me: Paige, please stop. (I was refering to her rubbing a comb in bar soap and then smearing the comb across the mirror)

Paige: (doesn't stop)

Me: I told you to stop and you didn't, now I have to take it away (I remove the soap dish from the counter and take the comb out of her hand). You need to listen to Mommy.

Paige: (leans forward stretching out her arms, trying to reach the mirror so she can smear the soap with her hands)

Me: (much more firmly than before while holding her arms down at her side) Paige! STOP! Sit still!

Paige: (while glaring at my reflection in the mirror) Briiiiidget! Knock. It. Off. Time out!

Me: Oh, don't talk to me like that; and my name is Mommy. Who needs time out? You?

Paige: No.

Me: Then who? Me?

Paige: (still glaring) Yes. Mama. Trouble. Trouuuuuuble.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy 7 Year Proposal Anniversary

Seven years ago today, Ben proposed. It was the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving, I knew he'd had the ring for awhile, and I was getting REALLY impatient to get it because I wanted to go shopping for a dress over the holiday weekend when my mom was coming to town (Mom said, "Can't make wedding plans until you have a ring on your finger!"). Nevertheless, he managed to catch me by surprise and propose in an unforgettable way. I had planned to type here what I wrote in my journal from that night, but after just going back and reading the entry from November 18th, 2001, I can't bring myself to do it. It is just WAY too embarrassing. How many exclamation points can you use before it gets ridiculous? Let me just say that before I married Ben I was well on my way to becoming TAMN . . . well, maybe kind of like tamn . . . a version of tamn? Anyway, Ben has a way of keeping life real and keeping me grounded. Thanks, Sweetheart, for giving me so many reasons to say, "YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" when you popped the question all those years ago.

The picture at the top is from the night we went to see Les Mis at Tuacahn when Ben was home on leave in September. Oh yeah, and that blurry white spot?, that's the result of the camera lens having a stupid scratch right in the middle of it; same scratch that ruined our dland pics :( . I would have scanned in a picture from the night he proposed, but sadly all of those pictures are in storage; something to look forward to for next year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Game Day

Paige has a message for all college football fans:

video

GO COUGARS!

Friday, November 14, 2008

2 Weeks Ago. . .

. . . we made it a whole block around my sister's neighborhood dressed in costumes and begging for candy. All of my parents' grandchildren were there (however, only the 4 youngest are pictured). Paige really liked the dressing up part, knew exactly what we were doing (having practiced at trunk or treat the week before), and did not complain once. It was an awesome Halloween.

Me and the little monkey.

Paige's cousin Maggie was "Monkey See"; Paige was "Monkey Do".

Paige's cousin Andrew was a banana. "Hey, Banana! Is your sucker as good as mine?"

And Paige's other cousin Anna was a penguin. A chocolate eating penguin.

Hmmm, That's a New One

This morning Paige woke up calling my name. No, not the usual, "Mommmaaaaa!", but my actual given name.

"Bridget! Bridgeeeeeeeeeet! Briiiiiidgeeeeeeeet!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vizi(N)o


Last summer when my sister moved back from England forcing me to give her back her tv, Ben and I went out and bought a new one. A 32" Vizio from Costco. It was great at first. But then every once in awhile it would get vertical red lines through the picture. They wouldn't last very long and they really only appeared about once a week at first. We ignored it for awhile thinking the lines would go away or thinking maybe it was actually the satellite causing the problem. But then the lines became more frequent and included green along with the original red. And on occassion a horizontal break with the top half faded out would appear on screen. So a couple of weeks before Ben's deployment we gave in and called Vizio's Tech Support (the 90 day Costco return window had ended a few weeks before the appearance of the first of the vertical lines). After describing the problem in detail, a transfer to a "level 2" support person, more agnozingly painful explanations of the problem, a couple of more transfers, an hour on hold, and instructions to unplug, wait 45 seconds, and then plug the tv back in, the geniuses at Vizio deduced since they had "never" encountered this problem before, there was in fact no problem with our television and the issue most likely lie with our satellite receiver. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. Oh, but we were instructed to call back if the problem persisted.

So since the problem continued to be intermittant (although becoming more and more frequent) we put up with it. However, by this September the screen never went back to normal. So while Ben was home on leave, he got to call Vizio again, and go through the whole infuriating tech support rigamaroll AGAIN. This time Vizio decides to send a tech support person to repair our tv. A week later tech support comes, spends an hour and a half fiddling with the set and decides he has NO idea what is wrong with the stupid tv. He reports to Vizio, they send a box for us to ship the tv back to them in, and then we wait for them to receive and process the shipment before they send us a new one. No wait, not a new one, a REFURBISHED one. So approximately 2 weeks after shipping off the original (7 months after our first complaint to tech support; 5 weeks after our second complaint to tech support; 1 year since our original purchase) we get a replacement television that someone else has already sent back because it didn't work properly. Great.

So guess what people! Approximately 16 days ago I hooked up the replacement tv and it took a whole TEN DAYS before IT went on the fritz. What a record of excellence.

I called Vizio today. Ugh. They are going to take this replacement back and send me a new replacement. An actual NEW replacement, thank goodness. But at this point, I just want my money back.

Long story, short: Don't go with Vizio; fork over the extra $150+ for a better (read different) brand.

A Soldier's Christmas

For any of you who want to send Ben something for his birthday (Dec. 9th) or for Christmas, here is his shipping information:

SSG Benjamin Reed
D.Co. 142nd MI BN / TF Wasatch
Bagram AF
APO AE 09354

If you are planning to send a package, the cheapest way is to get a priority mail box from the post office that looks like this:The box itself is free and then you pay a flat fee of $10.95 to ship it, no matter what the weight.

The shipping deadline for letters and packages to arrive by Dec. 25th is Dec. 4th!

FYI you'll have to fill out a customs form at the post office.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Football for the Ladies

So my older sister Noelle started her own business this year. If you are a girl and you like sports, then you should definitely check it out. If you don't like sports check it out anyway - you never know what might happen after taking a look at this site (I joined my first fantasy football league this year).

The main site firstandgirl.com is still in beta testing so keep that in mind. The boutique is fully functional and can be accessed through the ad below and through the ad on the side bar.


You can also see this add on seriouslysoblessed , and the jewelry will be featured in TAMN's November and December giveaways. If you don't already know what seriouslysoblessed is, you should definitely take a look - just remember to take your sense of humor with you.

FYI the jewelry'd make a great birthday or Christmas gift - especially with playoffs and bowl games just around the corner. And it doesn't have to be just for football. The number jewelry is great for ANY sport and the initial jewelry is obviously versatile as well.

PS I have both the beaded necklace chain and the silver logo charm and I love them. Also, the bracelet and necklace chains can be used with any charms you may already have.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's all happening so fast . . .

Like all typical toddlers, Paige is learning new things at an alarming rate. Today she did this all by herself:

video

Papa is the one that let her go down without help for the first time. When he called me outside to show me, I, of course, frantically ran to catch her at the bottom. Little did I know that she no longer needed me for yet one more thing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Papa & the Princesses

Paige found out what princesses were on our recent trip to Disneyland. While she didn't really enjoy having her picture taken with them, she LOVES playing with the 7 plastic princess figurines we brought home. One day I found her doing this:


She was estatic to find "Papa" in Honey's closet and add him to the mix.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

heartburst

What could possibly be better than hearing your toddler say "I love you" (unprompted and without you saying it first) for the first time? Not much.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Unfriended

Have you ever been 'unfriended' on facebook? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I just was. I'm not positive why, but I have a pretty good idea it was because of this:



At first I was a little hurt - we became friends in middle school! - but we haven't spoken since high school and our lives have taken very different paths. Then again, that's what facebook is all about - keeping in touch with people you haven't seen in forever.

I must have really ticked him off when I started inviting people on facebook to join the cause Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman. But I didn't invite him (I'm not that insensitive) . . . he must have read about it on the news feed . . .

Oh well. This isn't the first time I've lost friends for my beliefs. And even though I can't really call California 'home' any more, this cause means too much to me to stay quiet. If any of my readers do live in California and are registered to vote there, I encourage you to VOTE YES ON PROP 8! If you need more incentive than that, or you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are a few websites you should take a look at:

www.protectmarriage.com

http://preservingmarriage.blogspot.com

www.yesonproposition8.com

and an article that applies to my particular situation:

Disagree but don't be unkind

Orson Scott Card said it way better than I could have. Shocker.

Quick Trip "Home"

Over the weekend, Paige, Papa, my sister Chelsea, and her son Andrew and I took a quick 2 1/2 day trip to Palos Verdes. I went for a cheerleading reunion (wow! it's been 10 years since I last cheered during a football season); Ruben went to pick up a chopper (new project!) from his brother; and Chelsea went just for fun and to be my date at the cheer reunion/cocktail party.

On Friday afternoon we went to Peninsula High School's homecoming game against Leuzinger. The Panthers lost (I guess we were the Leuzers this time, hee hee), but it was so fun to catch up with friends, watch the current pep squad do the same cheers I did 10 years ago, and visit with one of my favorite ladies - my high school cheer coach.

That night my co-captain, Priscilla, threw a cocktail party at her apartment in Santa Monica. Only about 9 girls out of the ~30 members of our cheer/song squad were able to make it, but oh what fun we had! It was really great to see those girls, uh. . . I guess they're women now. Many memories game flooding back when Darcy showed up in her varsity uniform!

On Saturday, Chelsea and I took the babies to RAT beach. Paige and Andrew had a great time playing in and eating the sand. Paige like to smear sand all over both of us mommies, even insisting on painting my face with it. Surprisingly neither baby was scared of the water, and since the tide was low we took a little walk collecting shells. Here's a short video of the cuties playing: (WARNING! Turn down the volume, otherwise my voice is shrill - it will hurt your ears!)
video


Saturday afternoon we swam at my grandparents' and then had a nice long nap. That night we went to Crestridge Ward's trunk or treat. Paige and Andrew quickly caught on that people were just GIVING away candy; I don't think we are going to have any problems trick or treating this Friday.

Sunday morning we started back for St. George, stopping in Las Vegas to watch my sister Amber's kids' primary program in church. Amber and her husband even had a part when they sang a song with their kids. They did such a great job. We had dinner that night at Amber's - YUM.

It was a pretty short trip, and we had a great time. I always love going home, even though it's not "home" anymore.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

where to begin?

I guess I'll start where I left off . . . with Disneyland!

I wanted to take a picture of Paige walking through the turnstile by herself on her first trip to Disneyland. She looked up, was afraid she'd hit her head on the bar, and decided to crawl.


Not the clearest picture (there is a scratch on the camera lens; right in the middle, dang it!) But you have to include the traditional entrance picture, right?


Paige's first encounter with a real princess. As you can tell, she took this very seriously.


The end of our first day at Disneyland. Paige actually enjoyed wearing her "ears", and if she had them on, then we better all be wearing them!

Unfortunately, she recently developed an aversion to smiling when taking a picture. Even though you may not be able to tell, she really did have a good time.


On our second day, Paige got a special outfit to wear at the big Disney store in Downtown Disney.


She wasn't so sure about the princesses we met the second day at the Princess Fantasy Faire. But Ben didn't seem to mind :)


Riding the teacups.


Riding Dumbo. The Dumbo line was the longest line we had to wait in and that was only 15 minutes! Talk about a perfect 2 days to be at Disneyland.


Yay! Finally a smile! Trying to pull the sword out of the stone. I actually accomplished this feat as a little girl and became queen of Disneyland for the day. No joke.


We had a GREAT! time at Disneyland. And Paige smiled A LOT more than is evidenced by the pictures. We also went to California Adventure but somehow ended up with ZERO pictures of our time there. Probably because Paige fell asleep in her stroller for most of the time we were there and I got really ill riding the roller coaster and had to sit in one place for like a half hour while I recovered. I must be getting old because I never used to get sick on rides. And no, I am not pregnant.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Leave

Ben got home for his ~2 week leave from Afghanistan on Wednesday, Sept. 17th. We had a wonderful 15 days together before he had to fly back this morning to finish his deployment. We expect to see each other again in about 5 months.

We spent the first 5 days of our "vacation" at a ski resort condo in Park City where we mostly just enjoyed being together as a family again. One of those evenings we went to the Alpine Slides/Coaster with some family and friends (we highly recommend the coaster!) and we went to the BYU vs UCLA football game on my birthday. GO COUGS! For those who may not know we beat them 59-0. It was awesome. Paige spent that day with Jill and Quinn and had a blast while Ben and I went to the game and then out to birthday dinner at Bombay House in Provo and birthday dessert at Red Mango. I had never left Paige with someone else for that long before (8 hours) and was so relieved that it went well. Thanks, Jill!

After that we headed down to St. George for a couple of days where we stayed at my parents' house. Paige got an ear infection so we spent some time at the doctor on Tuesday and that night we saw Les Miserables at Tuacahn. It was so great. If you get the chance, go see it before it's too late!

The next day we went to Vegas and stayed at the MGM Grand. We took Paige to dinner at Rainforest Cafe the first night (over priced, yucky food, but kind of fun - Paige liked the animals) . The next day we shopped at the outlets and that night Paige stayed overnight at my sister's while Ben and I ate at Emeril's, saw Ka (a cirque du soleil show) and walked down the strip to the Bellagio to see the water show and the blown glass ceiling in the lobby. Paige didn't even notice we weren't around; she had so much fun playing with her cousins and their dog. Thanks, Amber!
We had a really good time - Vegas is enjoyable in small doses like that.

After that it was off to my Grandparents' in Palos Verdes. They were out of town, but we stayed at their house anyway (thanks grandma and grandpa!). We went to the beach, the Crestridge Ward (my ward growing up), swimming, shopping, and ate (in no particular order) at Cheescake Factory, Ruby's, Lisa's Bon Appetit, Mayer's Bakery, Lox of Bagels, Red Onion, and Yummy Yogurt. We didn't make it to the Appetizer (AGAIN!), but that just means I'll have something else to look forward to next time.

Then we spent two full days at Disneyland and Californa Adventure! Yay!!! It was a blast. Even Paige enjoyed it more than I had expected. While there we met up with old Wymount friends that now live in the vicinity of Disneyland for either dinner at the House of Blues or fun at the park. Thanks for coming to see us! I'll post more about d-land later; it deserves it's own post.

After our second day at Disneyland ended (~9pm) we hopped in the car and drove the 6 1/2 hours to St. George where we stopped for less than 12 hours before we drove the rest of the way to Heber yesterday afternoon. It was kind of a downer way to finish up a great 2 weeks, but we had to hurry because Ben's plane left from SLC this morning at 6 am :( At least he got to eat lunch at Cafe Rio (for the third time in 2 weeks) on our way through St. George yesterday.

Well, that was just the brief low down on our time together. Though I'd be surprised if any of you are still reading this. I don't have the camera with me in Heber, so I won't be able to post pictures for a while, but I should be able to get some video from my flip up soon.

Paige (and honestly, I did too) basked in the all of the attention she got while daddy was home; she's asked for him today at least 3 times and it breaks my heart to see the disappointment on her face when I tell her he's not here. We'll look forward to seeing him on Skype again soon when he's made it back. Until then we probably won't hear from him for a couple of days.

Thanks for reading! And for my friends/family who are around (I'll be in the Utah County area for at least the next 10 days); I look forward to seeing you ladies soon - I could use the company!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ah, Heber . . .

We're still at my grandparents' place basking in the beauty of Heber Valley in late Summer. Warm days, cool evenings, frigid mornings, gorgeous scenery . . . the leaves have begun to change in the mountains . . . it's practically heaven.

I grew up coming here every summer for at least a week, often a month. And I am so glad that it hasn't changed that much and that Paige can have some similar experiences that I had in my childhood (the farm hasn't changed that much; the town/valley has changed A LOT).

Papa and Honey were here for a few weeks too, and while they were here Paige and Papa were constant buddies, riding the tractor, feeding the horses, picking apples, chasing cows and foxes on the 4-wheeler, and exploring the garden. Papa and Honey left about 5 days ago, but still, several times a day, I have to explain where Papa is. Paige asks me , "Where Papa?", whenever we step foot outside, she hears a loud engine (like a tractor or motorcycle), or she sees a horse or cow. She misses her buddy.

Here is a video clip of the two of them with the horses. The Paint's name is Jasmine and the Arabian's is Magleby. Paige frequently runs to the window and calls out, "Maggie!" and she always looks for him if we're outside. She loves to feed him apples and likes to collect stray pieces of hay for him too.

video

We will be up here for about another week. Ben is coming home on leave for 2 weeks and is due to arrive this Thursday. He's flying into SLC. We'll spend a few days in Park City, go to the BYU v. UCLA football game on the 13th, my birthday ;-), and then head south, spending a couple days in St. George, Vegas, and then finish up in California at Disneyland.

We can hardly wait!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Paige Sampler

We're in Heber, UT for the next few weeks just relaxing with my grandparents (my life is one long vacation these days - so not fair as Ben suffers in Afghanistan), and I am without a camera:( Luckily I've been hanging out with my sister, Noelle, and she has taken quite a few pictures of the babies. So, I stole the following images off of our extended family blog.


Andrew, Paige & Anna. The girls are more interested in Andrew than he is in them.

Paige, Anna & Andrew at the waterpark in Provo. A miracle they are all looking in a similar direction - towards the camera!

Paige enjoying some watermelon. My sister, Chelsea posted some more really cute waterpark pictures on her blog.

Paige decided to pull out her bows on the way home from a shopping trip.

Noelle and I bought matching tutus at the Gymboree outlet. The girls loved them.

My niece Anna. She's 6 weeks younger than Paige. She is a sweetheart.

"Some day my prince will come. . ."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In Honor of Ben . . .

I have changed the look of our blog! Actually a friend from our Wymount days, Heather, and a friend of hers started a new blog design site. I was browsing through her SUPER cute templates and stumbled across this one. Not the 'cutest' but fitting nevertheless. I decided to give it a try. If you're interested in changing up your blog, look here. They have great templates and great instructions. So easy! Oh yeah, and they're free.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sister's Weekend in California

I've been back from our trip to California for a week and am finally sitting down to blog about it. I haven't been very motivated because I hardly have any pictures! Ben took our camera to Afghanistan with him. I was supposed to get a new one, but have delayed the purchase because more often than not I am with my mom, so I just use hers. But I didn't have control of the camera in California which is why we ended up with 83 pictures of quilts and only one picture of any people (a picture of the ladies from sisters weekend holding our purchases from the quilt show in Long Beach - the quilt show where my mom took 83 quilt pictures).

So for your viewing pleasure, here is one of many quilt pictures and us with all of our loot:















From left to right back row: Honey, Marci (cousin), Amber (sister), Lily (first cousin once removed?), Ann (aunt), Beth (cousin, mother of Lily).
Front row: Jen (sister), Me, Grandma, Loreen (Grandma's friend and walking buddy).

Noelle (sister) came to sister's weekend but showed up after the quilt show (brat), and Emily (cousin) and Chelsea (sister) couldn't make it. We missed them.

So this sister's weekend thing has become kind of an annual tradition. My grandparents, Marvin and Margaret Miller, have two daughters who combined have 8 daughters (there are also some boys, but this isn't about them). We all grew up within in a few miles of each other in Southern California but have since scattered, so it is fun to get together for one weekend a year just to do fun things, like eat at our favorite restaurants, shop, see a show, talk, etc.

This year we met up at Grandma & Grandpa's in California and did the following:
1) Attended the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, CA
2) Ate lunch at PF Chang's
3) Ate dinner at Red Onion
4) Shopped at Fashion Island in Newport Beach
5) Ate lunch at Cheesecake Factory
6) Attended a Dodger Game! (Dodger's won 6-0)
7) Ate Dodger dogs, peanuts, cinnamon sugar pretzels, chocolate malt ice cream . . .
8) Attended Malaga Cove Ward (Grandparents ward)
9) Ate at Admiral Risty :)
10) Went in the hot tub ~3 times
11) Ate donuts from Mayer's Bakery OR bagels from Lox of Bagels every morning
12) Walked down PV Drive E with Grandma & Grandpa at 7 am for exercise
13) Ate apples off Grandma's trees, homemade applesauce from those apples, and apple cobbler made from those apples; all lovingly made by grandma. Yum!!!
14) Tried not to cry when we left

Notice how half of the list has something to do with eating :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Drink Stealers and Scared of Mice

Both phrases describe Paige and my niece Maggie at the river. Watch the video below of what happens when Papa catches a mouse at the beach. video

Tousin Fwends at the River

Well, we are home from the River a week earlier than originally planned and in just a couple of days we will be heading off to Grandma & Grandpa Miller's in California, so I better get these river pictures uploaded now (before the end of the month when there will be too many to sort through).

'Tousin Fwends' is my cousin Marci's son Porter's term for 'cousin friends' and it has now become a regular part of our vocabulary as we often look forward to getting the kids together. Out of the 5 girls in my family, 4 of us had babies between August '06 and April '07. And my mother's sister's daughters are having them even faster than we are, in fact the 20th Great Grandchild is on his/her way. So yes, there are a lot of babies around.

Here are a few pictures of Andrew and Maggie and Paige at the river this month. Sadly, Anna, the fourth Tousin Fwend was unable to make it.

The babies loved riding in the boat; doing so often led to a nap, as you can see Andrew is snoozing in his dad's arms. They all enjoyed toddling around in the mini splash park. And Paige enjoyed doing anything Maggie was doing; here's the both of them with a morning Capri Sun.

Fountain Fun


My parents have this fountain in their front courtyard that Paige just loves. The morning before we left for the River, we wet down the patio, put up the umbrella, and slathered on the sunscreen before we let her loose. She tries to climb in but can only get one leg over the edge, and then she doesn't really know what to do next. This particular morning she had an especially good time spraying herself and drinking from the hose.