Monday, December 20, 2010

Thanksgiving in Colorado

I am continuing to use my imagination for my third post this morning. So this post was really posted on December 5th, (wink wink).
With our happy 3rd addition set to arrive so close to Christmas this year we decided we should spend our vacation in Colorado over the Thanksgiving holiday instead. The drive went smoothly and the weather was even mild.
We spent all of our time with family. Our parents are friends with each other which makes it easy for us to bounce between homes and activities. Mike's parents even hosted Thanksgiving dinner for all of this year.
Mike's aunt Sue loves to cook and she prepared a lot of the meal. The food was delicious, I only wished this baby would have allowed me to eat more! I guess that is what leftovers are for. Mike's parents set enough tables for all of us to sit in the same room (this picture is missing a few Sherwoods) - I think there were about 25 of us in all. It was quite the group!

My mom was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks before Thanksgiving and I was so grateful this year to be able to go home and spend time with her. We enjoyed working on several projects, decorating the house for Christmas and getting a start on her holiday shopping.
These two pictures are of us assembling stationary with our favorite photos of Mike's. We enlisted the help of some Sherwood cousins and my sister-in-law Kristin.
With my time spent on projects, the kids enjoyed being spoiled by whoever had volunteered to watch them. Asa quickly developed a love for Papa Zeke's truck and tractor. Here he is taking a ride with my Dad on Thanksgiving morning:
And taking a nap with Papa one afternoon:
While Annabelle was usually supervised, she and her cousin Isaac entertained each other pretty well. On Thanksgiving morning while the adults were busy with their own duties these two found Grandma Shauna's supply of scotch tape. THREE rolls of tape later they were discovered.
Annabelle claims looking at this picture that Isaac was Santa Claus and that she was supposed to be Mrs. Claus, even though she is the one with the beard! Grandma teased that without any tape left in the house she wouldn't be able to wrap any of their Christmas presents!

Mike convinced me to stay for the week after Thanksgiving. I am so glad that I did. It gave me more time to spend with our families and knock off a few more 'to do' items with my mom before her surgery on Dec. 7th.
Early that week it snowed so Kristin and I bundled the kids up and took them out to play, despite the bitter cold. - Sorry, no pictures. My photographer was home in Arizona.
Grandma Shauna delighted Annabelle one morning by taking her to get a manicure and pedicure. She said that the women just fussed over Annabelle and one small Asian woman even carried Annabelle out to the car so that she wouldn't mess up her toe nails!
We went off-roading (well, just barely off the road) in Papa's truck before we left. This had quite the impression on Asa, as he still yells "Whoa Papa, whoa!" anytime I go over a speed bump a little too fast.
It was hard to leave Colorado just days before my mom's surgery and knowing that I wouldn't be back for Christmas - but we all missed Mike as well. He made coming home easy with dinner in the crock pot, a clean house and a newly painted toy room to enjoy. What a stud!

November 1st

So today is November 1st and there is nothing else to do on a day like today except record how adorable my kids were for Halloween! Don't check the calendar, just let it go.

We joined our efforts and created just one jack-o-lantern this year. Annabelle was on the design team. I was the de-gunking and seed roasting leader with the assistance of Asa and Mike was trusted with the actual carving.
Asa thought that it was fun for a few minutes, but with Annabelle's influence he soon realized that reaching into the pumpkin for a handful of gunk was gross after all.
I couldn't convince him otherwise.
Annabelle's design this year was a picture of Tinkerbell, which proved a little complicated so we convinced her to rethink it and she liked the idea of a silhouette of a ballerina that her cousin Annica had shown us on her pumpkin over skype.

Dressing up Asa was a synch this year. He had no idea what was going on and we had a dragon costume that fit pretty well, even if it was designed for a Halloween 30+ degrees cooler.
After catching himself in the mirror he caught on and began to touch his head and "ROAR" for us. Trick or treating at the church was fun for him, but I have to say I earned my portion of his candy by carrying him and his bucket around door to door.
After much deliberation Annabelle decided to be a fairy this year. Mike took her shopping and she found wings that matched one of her dress up dresses.

Annabelle at 5

As a mother of small children I often have to use my imagination to get through the day. Sometimes my imagination comes in handy when trying to resolve an issue while avoiding a meltdown. Other times I use my imagination to create games or in other active play with my children. And sometimes, like for this post, I use my imagination to simply imagine that circumstances are different than what they truly are, for my own benefit.
So for the moment, I am pretending that it is November 1st and updating my blog with activities from the end of October is the appropriate activity this morning. So yes, this is for my own record keeping!

I have already posted about Annabelle's 5th birthday celebrations. But I wanted to record a little bit about Annabelle at this age.
At 5 Annabelle has learned to rhyme. Often times if you ask her to make a rhyme she won't simply answer "dog" with "fog" - She'll say "Dog, fog, gog, whoop-alley nog". Perhaps the influence of Dr. Suess? I'm not sure, but it is pretty amusing.
At 5 Annabelle is starting to learn how to read. At school she memorizes sight words and is learning to sound out other 3 and 4 letter words. Often while driving around she recognizes logos and shouts out that she can read that that sign or truck says "Sears" or "Macy's".
At 5 Annabelle has developed a more nurturing role with her peers. She has always been ready to boss them around but now she seems to want to help them and care for hurt feelings and fingers. Her teacher told me that after accidentally stepping on another child's fingers, that Annabelle burst into tears herself because she felt so bad about it.
At 5 Annabelle is still chatty. When comfortable with other adults she will talk and talk and talk. Her voice is still a little louder than most, but she has informed that she just has a loud voice and that she is not yelling. She is still helpful with Asa, when we are running late she will even dress him while I get ready myself. She is still snugly, but only at bedtime or when watching a show. She is still girly and loves accessorizing and wearing skirts and dresses.
At 5 this girl still has our hearts.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Happy Weekend!

We have grass for the FIRST time ever.
Grass courtesy of: Brother Isaacson tilling, my mom picking out all the rocks and Mike seeding, watering and mowing.
Hurray for grass and hurray weekends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sherwood Reunion

Photo Credit to Travis Hoban
Last month we had the pleasure of spending a long weekend in Utah with the Sherwoods (meaning: Mom & Dad, siblings and their families). It was the first time we had all been together in one place at the same time since before Jake's mission. This could be considered quite the feat now that we live in 5 different states!
Sherwood vacations are always relaxing; allowing for lots of cousin playtime, fun game nights and at least one manly hike/photography adventure. This reunion proved the rule and was great for quality togetherness time.
We stayed up near the Powder Mountain Ski Resort which allowed for a real 'get away' feeling. The cousins played and played. One afternoon they went for a hike up the old ski runs and two other afternoons we drove into Huntsville to play at the perfect little city park.
This is my nephew Isaac
Grandma and Papa Zeke took full advantage of having their 6 grandkids around and seemed to be endlessly playing, coloring or going outside for a walk together. Asa perfected his "Papa" and is now enthralled by the moon and often points out the moon, exclaiming "MOON! MOON!" whenever it is visible.
One thing that really got the ball rolling for me for this reunion was the opportunity meet my newest little nephew, Tanner. Since he lives on the other side of the country I was excited to finally be able to snuggle him! He is right between my boys in age - so I imagine in a few years they'll be the rascals that we'll be needing to keep an eye on! Not to mention the older 2 boy cousins that will be leading the way.
Look at those cheeks!
It was a fantastic weekend and we were sad to go home. If you don't believe me just take a look at my kids the moment we got outside at the Phoenix airport:
Yeah, there were tears shed, a 2 hour flight delay and a dead car battery to deal with at 1 am - but that's not why Annabelle is passed out in a wheelchair while Asa bawled. We really just wanted to stay in Utah forever :)

P.S. Mike and Sam's photography can be perused in the October archives of the Photo Blog: here

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The TRIPLE Crown

The Triple Crown is a family holiday in which we celebrate my mom, mine and Annabelle's birthdays. We all three share the same birthday.
This year my parents and younger brother Jake came down for a long weekend. We were lucky enough to have a little bit of a cool down from the summer heat that still exists in mid October here - so we enjoyed a day at the zoo, a pumpkin patch and the morning at the park.
As far as pumpkin patches this far south go . . . the pumpkins don't grow there, but they make sure that there are still plenty of attractions. We raced around on the pedal carts, went on a 'who done it' mystery search in the corn maze, rode a barrel cart train and on and on.
Asa was too little to reach the pedals but he was happy to sit on Grandma's lap and let her do all the work of racing around!
Annabelle got a bike for her birthday this year and so that of course called for an outing to the park to try it out. With my brother Jake in town that meant long boarding . . .
. . . which brought me back to my more carefree days, so I got to take a cruise for my birthday as well! Luckily being 6 months pregnant didn't affect my center of gravity too much :D
(here is my Dad, Jake and Asa relaxing in the shade at the park)
Annabelle was also surprised by a quilt my mom had sewn for her - between that and a pillow pet she was actually pretty excited about going to bed!
We enjoyed a birthday lunch at Abuelo's - my favorite mexican restaurant and of course ate our traditional cheesecake. Yum!
Thanks for coming down!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Polka Dot Party

Annabelle turned FIVE in October and so we decided that we should throw a real birthday party for her. This was our first 'friends' party. Annabelle was fairly involved in planning the theme, games and so on.
She chose the polka dot theme, helped make polka dot invitations and of course dressed for the occasion in ALL poka dots! We kicked off the party with a wild and extended game of Twister.

We also played 'Pin the Curl on Annabelle', Musical Pillows (safer than chairs, right?), Hot Potato and a Carnival styled ball toss game. In the end the 5 games and refreshments that I had planned went rather quickly and we were left with a good 45 minutes left of the party! Luckily the kids entertained themselves by re-playing their favorites and eventually playing a rather silly game of hide-and-go-seek.

The kids seemed to all have fun and get into the games. I learned how competitive musical pillows can get. It was hilarious to see these 4-6 year olds develop their own strategies.

The food went over well. We let the kids pick flowers from our rice crispy treat planters and pull some grass if they wanted.
While I was tending to the crowd control of refilling drinks and popcorn . . .
. . . I turned to find Asa sitting on top of the table with a rice crispy treat in each hand and a trough full of green licorice at his disposal.
Yeah, he thought he was pretty clever!
After the party was over and cleaned up Annabelle decided to look through all her silly bandz and silly rings. She looked at the shape, wether or not they glow in the dark and so on. Then she proceeded to wear ALL of them for a good portion of the next several days!
Asa on the other hand was EXHAUSTED! He had gone the entire day without a nap and was falling asleep on the counter as I was trying to feed him some oatmeal (you know, to combat all the sugar).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


About a month ago we met up with Mike's older (but much younger looking) brother Sam and his sweet family at Zion National Park. This was our second time camping in Zion. The weather was beautiful. The company even better and the kids slept under the Watchmen Tower like rocks.
Sam shares the Sherwood trait of loving photography
{his Zion pictures can be seen here and here}
and the love of being outdoors but he has a special love of taking pictures of people taking pictures.
{as seen here}
In a way he makes up for me not ever remembering to take pictures of Mike. Thanks Sam!
My favorite hike this time around, was to the mouth of the narrows. Last time the water was too high and the temperatures too low for us to enjoy it much. This time my sis, Kristin, and I supervised the cousins playing in the water for about an hour and eventually had to defend our territory against some fairly aggressive squirrels that had noticed Asa's tendency to drop his popcorn as he ate it. Don't worry - Sam showed up just in time to save us by chasing them off with a stick!
Annabelle and her cousin Isaac are pretty close in age and get along really well. Isaac supplied their conversations and games with plenty of ideas as he has one of the best imaginations and Annabelle of course gave direction to their activities with her sass and 'nurturing' side :D
This is Isaac in front of the rock formation that is also named Isaac.
Asa loved all the time outside, he was frequently dirty and almost as frequently in search of dogs. He couldn't quite figure out how to communicate "squirrel" so those became dogs as well.

I loved chatting with Kristin and watching the kids play. One of my favorite places to go camping!

You can check out Mike's picture from the trip here if you are interested.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Woods and the Sherwoods

. . . in the woods. Sorry, I just couldn't resist! At the beginning of September we went camping with our friends, the Woods. They invited us up to an area a couple of hours away - 'up on the rim'. Yeah, I'm not so great with geography - - so that meant pine trees and cooler temperatures.
We enjoyed dinner (thanks Rebecca!), s'mores, chatting and of course the husband photographers had their fun as well.
Mike and Ty both love mountain adventures as well as photography - (a previous adventure to Salome Jug can be seen here and here on their photography blogs). So naturally they played with their cameras this time around as well. Mike blogged his photos a few weeks ago, you can see them here if you want.
Annabelle always sleeps like a rock when we go camping, although I noticed this time around she seemed to talk in her sleep quite a bit. Asa slept pretty well until about 4:30 and then decided that he was ready to get up and play. After about an hour of him flopping around on us in the tent, Mike generously decided to take him for a sunrise hike. What a wonderful husband I have!
Annabelle, Jack and Asa pretty much just soaked up being able to play outside. Annabelle and Jack played really well together - which could very well translate that Jack is sweet with Anna even though she would constantly tell him what to do.
We all enjoyed a little dip into the river/reservoir. The highlight for me was a cooler weather picnic in a wide meadow with plenty of space for the kids to play in.
Asa tried to keep up with the big kids some of the time and picked up sticks and pine cones at other times. Either way he was determined to be dirty and eventually he sat in an old fire pit and scratched at the ash and soot with a stick.
He did come clean - but take a look at that face!
Wish you had come along?