31 August 2010

Wedding Eve

The wedding festivities really started the night before the big day. First, Tricia treated all of her bridesmaids (minus one) to a manicure. 4 sisters (or soon-to-be), 2 cousins, and 3 friends equaled 9 bridesmaids in total. Yep, that's a whole slew of bridesmaids.


Then, the groom's family threw a dinner party for close friends and extended family. It was held at the Tanner's cabin which was a really intimate way to celebrate Tricia and Jacob's upcoming nuptials. There were still about 80 people in attendance, but it felt nice and cozy compared to the huge reception the next day.
The bride and groom on their wedding eve.


The plan was to eat outside but the rain was pouring down so we set up the tables in the basement. The food was set up on the ping pong table. Clever, huh?


We may have been a little crammed together but it worked out beautifully and Jacob's parents did a spectacular job hosting this event.


My favorite part was the individual Martinelli's!


The best man gave his toast at this event since there would be hundreds of people coming and going at the reception. This was my last picture with my only sister while she was still single. I felt really privileged to ride in the car from the nail salon to the cabin with Tricia. I got 45 minutes of undivided time with the bride just before her big day. We caught up on all the last minute details and could almost cut through the excitement in the air. Tricia was even sweet enough to give me a beautifully wrapped present since she would be on her honeymoon for my birthday. That's just how she is, always thinking of others even amidst the stress of the final preparations for her wedding.




After dinner we all moved upstairs for the program. Some people sat on the balcony overlooking the festivities and others sat in chairs spread out all over the main floor.


Jacob's mom and her sisters started out the program with a beautifully harmonized and jazzy version of "Love at Home." Aren't they all gorgeous? Their music was just as breathtaking; they should take this act on the road!


Then, each of the parents and a few others shared stories about Tricia and Jacob and expressed feelings about their relationship and upcoming union. The moms didn't make it through their presentations without a lot of tears. We had something similar the night before our wedding and I'm so glad that Tricia and Jacob did too because hearing others' thoughts and feelings was one of my favorite parts of our wedding. It was basically like a sentimental testimony meeting, only focused on the bride and groom.


Jacob's parents and grandparents live in California. His Grandpa Brimhall is the president of the LA temple and received permission to come here to seal them. He was quite the comedian in his speech to them, marvelling at Tricia's beauty and joking about how he used to call Jacob on Friday nights to check if he was out on a date, only to find that he was studying at the library. He expressed beautiful words at the sealing the next day as well. How special for Tricia and Jacob that his Grandpa could play such an important role in the beginning of their marriage.


Troy and I gave a little improv presentation as well. We reminded Tricia about how when she was applying for graduate schools, she stated that she was going to marry someone from the East Coast (hence going to New York City), and she would know within 30 days that he was right for her to marry. Well, neither of those those things happened. She met California surfer Jacob a month before she moved to New York, and it took months and months of deliberation before making the marriage decision. That's usually how those things work out, right? Opposite of what YOU plan. We are so happy that it worked out this way because we love Jacob and are so happy to welcome him into our family.


Tricia and Jacob expressed their affection towards each other and their excitement to spend eternity together. They make an excellent pair. They complement each other so well and they sure are going to accomplish great things together.


We tried to wrap up the evening semi-early to prepare for the grand event in the day ahead!


29 August 2010

Sneak Peek

Tricia and Jacob are happily married! It has been a whirlwind weekend ranging from extreme joy to complete chaos. Before I reveal the beautiful bride and groom and give more details about the whole saga (and sort through a thousand pictures), I am incredibly anxious to share a sneak peek of the little tuxedo men.






25 August 2010

Ya Mon

For the last two years, our brother Todd has been a missionary in the Jamaica Kingston mission. Oh how we missed him! He had a really special bond with Blake before he left.


This is Todd's memory of what Blake looked like two years ago.


He has changed a little bit!


Now Blake has a little brother that looks strikingly similar to the baby that Todd left behind.


When Todd left, Blake was close to the same age that Nash is now. I'd say the evidence of not being able to resist those dreads is a true indicator of their developmental similarities.

Last night, we anxiously gathered at the airport to welcome Todd home from Jamaica. Homecomings are the BEST! There is just so much joy that surrounds these occasions. I wish we could celebrate homecomings every week. Of course, what makes them so wonderful is that a family member has been absent for two years. That sacrifice isn't something we would want to endure all the time just to experience the homecoming. But it sure makes the reunion sweet!

Todd's flight was delayed and I have to admit that my stomach was churning as I watched those minutes tick by. It seemed as if he would never come through the walkway! Finally, after two years of anticipation and an extra forty minutes of delay, Todd's bright smile appeared in the distance. It took forever for him to come down the escalator and through the walkway. When he finally got close to us, Mom shouted "Whoooo Hoooo!" and went in for the first hug. We all cheered and teared up a little bit as we witnessed the joy of mother and son reuniting.


Next was Todd's reunion with Blake. Todd was shocked at how big he had gotten and couldn't believe that this little person was the same baby he had left two years ago.




Blake has been so excited for Todd's return. I doubt that he actually remembers him, but he has always been able to point him out in pictures and list him as one of the people he is grateful for in his prayers. In fact, somewhere down the line, he started associating Todd with Jesus. I think it is because when we used to help him list people he was grateful for, we listed Todd and Jesus back to back. Whenever Blake talked about Todd being on a mission, he'd say, "Todd's on a mission with Jesus!" (Which I guess has some truth to it.) When we started telling Blake that Todd was coming home from his mission soon, he responded, "Yeah, Todd and Jesus!" I think he may have been slightly disappointed when Jesus didn't come walking off the airplane alongside Todd.

Blake has been counting down how many naps he had to take before Todd got home for the last week. Each time he woke up from a nap, he'd immediately exclaim, "See Todd after five (four, three, two, etc.) more naps!" Needless to say, he was pretty stoked about his long awaited reunion with Todd!


Todd also met his newest nephew, Nash. It was late so Nash was pretty tired and out of it.


We have so much pride in the work that Todd has been able to do in Jamaica. If he had to be away from us for so long, there is no better reason than for the service he rendered. We are SO glad to have him home safe and sound (especially after hearing some of his crazy stories involving guns, bombs, fires, and corrupt government). Ya mon, welcome home!!


22 August 2010

On the Upswing to Thirty

In the midst of all the wedding hullabaloo (literally, right before another Tanner cousin's reception), we fit in a celebration for Troy's birthday. It's getting scary how close to thirty we are getting. At least I have one year of youth on Troy. I felt bad that we didn't do anything ultra exciting other than going out for dinner to celebrate Troy's advance in age. However, when I asked Troy if he cared that birthdays are just not all that exciting anymore, he responded, "Birthdays are just a reminder that I'm one step closer to the grave." And there you have it.

We had a delightful dinner with some of our favorite people.





Happy Birthday Troy!


21 August 2010

Bachelorette

After seven crazy and stressful weeks of our sister's engagement, things are finally coming together. There are still about a hundred more things to cram in this upcoming week before the big day, including our brother's return from serving a mission in Jamaica, but we are confident that we're going to pull the wedding off. Tricia wanted to take a little planning break and have one last girl's hoorah before she gets married next Saturday. Some of her friends met up for a bachelorette party at the Tanners' cabin. After dinner we hit Main Street in Park City and went to the ice cream shop "Cows."

Is this place really called Cows? Yes.

Is it a total tourist trap? Yes.

Is the cow merchandise that covers every square inch of the store a little weird? Yes.

Is the ice cream incredible? Yes.

Should you visit at least once every time you are in Park City? You Bet!

I am so excited for this girl! I had way too much fun embarrassing her during her bachelorette party. We told her to make the symbol "10" for being a ten-cow wife. (Yes, two more than even an eight-cow wife.) She got it a little backwards.


There you go.


Later on we relaxed in the jacuzzi and I silently listened and smirked as the single girls shared the woes and hardships of dating, figuring out what qualities are important, and dealing with marriage pressure. I feel so far removed from all of those worries now that it was amusing to be brought back in time to their perspectives. In some ways those days were so carefree, but I am very happy to be at the other end without the relationship stress and drama of finding an eternal companion. Not that marriage is the end of your troubles, but it sure is nice to be in a committed relationship without worrying about playing games, leading him on, letting him in too close, potential break ups, and heartache. I'm so happy that Tricia has found her companion and will soon embark on the marriage journey.


18 August 2010

Snapshot in Words 2010

I write a bunch of feelings and events on this blog, but I don't write a whole lot of the day to day mumbo jumbo.

And when I look back, I want to remember what life was like day-to-day when I was young and carefree (ha ha) with all of my children still relatively small and hugging to my legs. I think it'll give me comfort when they're mouthing off to me some day. Sometimes I just don't capture the day-to-day through my lens. So here's my 2010 snapshot of life in words as it is right now in our family:

The first thing I do every morning is sweep Nash into bed with me, feed him, and snuggle and admire him for a while before getting Blake up.

The first thing that Blake does every morning is climb into my bed where Nash is laying and ask for "milk in mama's room."

Troy's alarm clock goes off at 5:14am every morning. It is so funny to me that he sets it for 5:14, as if that one minute from 5:14 to 5:15 makes a big difference. He has always done it. He hops out of bed and never ever presses the snooze button. I never ever hear his alarm. I have been conditioned to completely sleep through it as well as the noise of the shower running.

When I give Nash a bath and he splashes water on the bathroom floor, Blake immediately runs downstairs and grabs the Swiffer Sweeper to clean up the mess. He also can't stand crumbs under the kitchen table and has gotten pretty good at sweeping those up as well.

I eat toast with peanut butter every day for breakfast. Blake used to have sliced up bananas with peanut butter but now he is on a yogurt and cereal kick. Troy usually skips breakfast. He knows it is unhealthy but he is usually at work for 3 hours before the time he would usually eat breakfast, and at that point he just forgets.

Blake uses about 50 stalling tactics when naptime and bedtime roll around. He is becoming a master manipulator.

I try to do all of our laundry on Mondays. This usually means five or six loads, but I like to do it all in one day and then fold it in one setting while watching TV on Monday nights. I actually enjoy making neat stacks of clean, folded laundry. Folding clothes is probably my favorite "chore," tedious as it may be.

Blake insists on the ritual of singing the baby a song when I put him down for a nap. He always requests "the love one" which is code for "I Love to See the Temple." I sing loud enough for Blake to fill in the word at the end of each phrase. He shouts "temple, someday, spirit, pray, etc." from wherever he is in the house.

I like to get out of the house every day. We have an hour and a half window from 11:30am to 1:00pm where both boys are awake that I try to jam pack errands and outings into.

I get up out of my chair about 12 times during every meal to obtain miscellaneous food items and utensils, refill drinks, get more napkins, adjust Nash, etc.

We rarely keep any beverages in the refrigerator except milk and water. Sometimes Troy sneaks in Dr. Pepper.

I teach two yoga classes every week but rarely find the time to go to my own yoga class. Oh how my body misses it.

Troy has spent 10 weeks in New York this year. He has spent so many nights at Embassy Suites that we are beginning to receive random gifts from them in the mail for being a frequent customer. Yesterday we received a talking BBQ oven thermometer.

I'm trying to learn how to use the manual mode setting on my dSLR camera and really understand aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. Some days I am better at it than others. I really appreciate good photography and I want to be better at capturing the moments.

Much to my chagrin, I do all of the grocery shopping and cooking. Troy sometimes makes breakfast on Saturday mornings, which is quite possibly one of Blake's favorite parts of the week.

I still hate to cook. I procrastinate even thinking about dinner until 5pm rolls around. Ugh, moving on.

Nash takes 3 good naps every day and Blake sleeps for about 3 hours every afternoon. I'm still rigid about naps occurring at home. I could probably write a book based on my research of sleep training in infants and young children.

Blake watches the same 25 minutes movie almost every day after breakfast. He loves the Little People claymation movies. I don't mind them too much even though they are a little corny and annoying. I don't really like Blake to watch TV more than that each day. It also gives me a chance to get some things done in the morning, although 25 minutes always flies by.

We haven't transitioned Blake out of his crib yet or started potty training. I want to keep him contained and unable to roam around his room during nap time as long as possible. I'm waiting to tackle potty training until after a few upcoming road trips where bathroom access would be scarce. We're just in no rush for him to grow up too fast.

This is the first summer that I haven't lived in or at least visited Michigan in my entire life. In some ways it makes me ache for home, but in other ways, it forces me to establish firmer roots here.

We still haven't jumped on the bandwagon and gotten texting plans. However, text messages are getting harder and harder to avoid. I especially get annoyed when businesses send us text messages in lieu of calling. So unprofessional.

Blake thinks that immediate kisses on his fresh "owies" are the magic cure-all. He kisses my owies too.

We read a very short amount of scriptures as a family after dinner every night most nights. We never think that Blake is paying much attention, but we have been surprised at the details that he has been able to recall.

Blake has the most keen memory. He recalls and ties memories to events and places that were up to a year ago.

Nash can finally roll the other direction, from front to back. This eliminates so many screaming struggles from getting stuck on his tummy. I'm pretty much elated that he can now roll across an entire room.

Both of our boys suck their thumbs. Blake sucks his right thumb and Nash sucks his left.

Our sprinkler heads are constantly breaking or creating geysers. We've had our sprinkler valves replaced twice this summer, amidst a sea of other water pressure issues.

Troy likes to watch chick flicks with me, but during the especially mushy parts, he immediately starts checking stats and scores on espn.com.

I use writing on our blog and editing pictures as my "reward" for accomplishing other tasks. For example, at the beginning of the day, I tell myself "I can blog only after I sweep, clean the bathrooms, pay the bills, get the boys down for naps, etc." I have to have a little bit of self control for my favorite hobby or nothing else would get done.

We don't like macs. We know that a lot of people are hooked and think that they're easier to use. Even amongst our immediate family. We're still firm in our anti-mac opinions.

Troy is an avid reader. He has read well over 25 books this year, mostly in the fantasy genre. We couldn't be more opposite when it comes to book preferences.

I hardly ever read novels. If I am reading anything, it's "how to" books on parenting and child development. I just don't have the stillness.

I'm still losing hair in the masses. Postnatal hair loss is much worse for me this time around. The awkward regrowth is beginning to occur along my hair line, just in time for our sister's wedding.

We have the best sitter in the world, allowing us to go on more date nights. She is hard to book though, because she is another family's favorite sitter too.

I am the opposite of a pack rat. I throw away anything I can because I hate clutter. I'm not very sentimental about "stuff" (except journals). Less is more. My boys probably won't appreciate that about me when I want to throw away their endless school papers and other junk.

Troy is really good at setting up excel spreadsheets for any possible scenario. He sometimes calls me from work and has me plug in numbers or stock prices in his spreadsheets and give him the generated data.

I have this disease where I have to eat something from the chocolate category after every meal.

Curious George (stuffed animal form) sleeps on Blake's pillow and also folds his arms and says prayers with us before bed.

If I try to skip or shorten any of the steps in Blake's nightly routine, I can expect a total meltdown and the routine taking twice as long while Blake cools down and moves on to the next step. It takes some serious building up of energy to prepare for his rituals (and intermittent stalling) every night.

The last thing Troy and I do before we go to bed is say prayers. We used to kneel at our bedside, but after two pregnancies, we got into the habit of just holding hands laying down. Troy asked me to pray the first night of our marriage (the 3rd), so ever since then I have prayed on odd dates and he prays on the evens. That means I do more praying per year taking into account the 31sts of months. Not that I'm keeping track.

So, there you go, future self. Life in 2010 in a nutshell.


13 August 2010

August Adventures

Man oh man am I glad that my mom was here was this week.

Both boys hit rock bottom. I don't know how I would have handled them and the lack of sleep alone with Troy still in New York.

Blake was so sick with a fever, cough, and congestion that he literally never even sat up between nap time and bed time one evening. He woke up multiple times during the night and I could barely keep up with the Tylenol.

Then there was Nash. He had probably the worst week of his life. He wasn't sick, but my sweet baby that has slept through the night since he was two months old all of a sudden started getting up twice a night. He was inconsolable, sometimes screaming his lungs out for an hour and a half. It didn't help that I was his roomie for the week since I let my mom have my room. It's one thing to listen to the cries from across the hall, but to be in the same room with a pillow over my head is another story. Nash is demonstrating all of the signs of teething; interrupted sleep, constant drool (resulting in a terrible rash around his mouth), pulling his ears, gnawing on everything, congestion, and overall fussiness, but there are no signs of swollen gums or tooth buds popping through. Blake didn't get any teeth till 10 months so that is what I am expecting with Nash. I almost wish that he was teething though so that I could at least solve the mystery of his abnormal behavior during this awful week! (Sorry for being such a downer. Just keeping it real on the good ol' blog.)

So, I had a lot of fun outings in mind for my mom and me, but due to the circumstances, we had to skip a few plans. My mom and I didn't even work on any projects which is very unusual for our visits. I sure hope she will want to visit us again after all the uproar.

We did manage to squeeze in a few fun outings. The activities that we left the house for were worth it but they didn't unfold quite as I had hoped. One of the boys had to give a little in order for us to be gone for more than an hour at a time. The day we went to the splash park, Blake was the one who had to sacrifice. We almost gave up on the idea completely when we were faced with windy weather, incoming storm clouds, having to eat our pre-packed picnic lunch at home while waiting for an off-schedule Nash to take a much needed nap, and not being able to arrive at the splash park until the time that Blake usually goes down for a nap. I was bound and determined to make it happen though. I'm glad we went because Blake loved splashing in the water and if we would have tried to go another day, he would have been too sick to enjoy it.




Towards the end of the week when Blake was feeling a little better, we ventured out to Liberty Park which is like the Central Park of Salt Lake City (it pales in size comparison, but is generally the same idea). This time, Nash was the one who had to sacrifice some much needed sleep. I have been wanting to take Blake to the fun little amusement park located within the grounds for a while but have been waiting for another adult to attack this adventure with me. I still haven't quite figured out how to do some outings alone with two little ones. I thought that Blake would absolutely love it. We made the mistake, however, of letting him ride on the Ferris wheel first. He was scared to death. I don't know if he still wasn't feeling that great or if it was just too fast, but he was terrified from then on out.


I kind of forced him (in an encouraging way) to ride on the cars and he had this perplexed expression the whole time:


He was done at that point and wouldn't even consider riding on the carousel despite my creative coaxing. He stood at a safe distance behind the rails with a plastered gaze watching the other children enjoy the carousel. On one hand I liked that he had an opinion and stood up for himself when he didn't want to do something. But on the other hand, I knew he would have loved the rides and I felt like I was letting him down when I didn't know how to help him overcome his fear. At least I got this picture that I L-O-V-E out of the situation.


Nashy isn't always represented at these outings that he can't quite enjoy yet. So, here he is in his cuteness. This was the first time he "sat up" in a stroller versus riding in his carseat. I cannot believe that he is big enough to do that!


I wasn't going to let Blake's lack of participation hold me back from the giant swings. I may have been the only adult person over the age of 10 on the ride, but I didn't care. I am seriously a roller coaster maniac and I love rides with high speed. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to fly above the ground and whip around in circles with the fresh wind blowing through my hair.


Unfortunately, the ride made me super nauseous. I had to close my eyes during the second half of the ride and I thought I was going to lose it. I'm hoping the nausea was due to my empty stomach and not because getting older is making me have a weak stomach. I get car sick like nobody's business but I have never been affected by outdoor rides before. I have this urge now to go ride on some roller coasters to prove that I can still stomach it.


We finished our adventures (or lack thereof) at Liberty Park with a picnic and playground play. I was happy when Blake ran right to the swings and slides because I was worried that his fear of rides would transfer into play structures.

Thanks, mom, for putting up with the mayhem. I think, amidst the blur of crying, fevers, and lack of sleep, we may have had some fun?


08 August 2010

Let the Spoon Feeding Begin

spoon-feed
transitive verb
To feed another with a spoon.
To treat another in a way that discourages independent thought or action, as by overindulgence.
To provide knowledge or information in an oversimplified way.

There's a reason why the phrase "spoon-feed" is usually derogatory. Let's face it, spoon-feeding is not the most fun thing in the world. Maybe some people enjoy it. I am not one of them.

It makes a mess.

It takes forever.

It is so much more convenient to just stick him on me.

I have boycotted spoon-feeding for the maximum amount of time. But alas, we cannot avoid solids forever. So, this week my six-month old graduated to the rice cereal phase.

He loved it, go figure.


06 August 2010

Imagination

When I was student teaching, we rotated between teachers which station we would serve in each day. I loved to be assigned to the art station, the reading station, and even the science station. But getting stationed in the pretend play area was my least favorite.

I thought it was so boring to play with pretend food, dress up clothes, and dolls. I had to become animated and think of how to scaffold each child's imagination. Professors sat hidden on the other side of the two-way mirrors, scrutinizing every phrase of positive reinforcement that I used with the children. I could have cared less what the children invented, much less get down on my hands and knees and play make-believe with them.

Now that I have a preschool-aged child of my own, his imagination fascinates me. To think that this once helpless little newborn now connects ideas and reality with creativity just blows my mind. I know what I have taught him, and whenever he creates a new concept, game, or activity without my encouragement, I am completely in awe.

I love how pretend play stimulates a child's mind. When Blake is engaged in dramatic play, he can be anyone that he wants and he can do anything that he wants. I love how there are no limits to creativity.

Blake is learning from his real life experiences. He learns from what happens around him, what he sees and hears. To absorb these experiences and make sense of everything, he engages in pretend play.

A recent bout of creativity occurred when I enlisted Blake's help to wash all of our mini-blinds. He started out by helping me scrub the rows and rows of blinds. That got boring even to me after the second set or so, and when I turned around I noticed that Blake was washing all of our cement stairs. He diligently covered every inch of concrete with suds. He related the experience to going through the car wash, where our entire vehicle gets covered with soap. How clever.

Blake has also transformed our entire living room into a tent, which just fascinates me. We have never taught him that putting blankets on furniture creates small crawl spaces for pretending. Now, Blake spends almost every waking moment constructing and reconstructing his tent creations. On his cue, we crawl inside his tents and have pretend picnics with pretend hamburgers and ice cream.  The other day after his nap, I asked him if he wanted to help me make dinner (which he always does), and he responded "No, build a tent!" (I'm not sure why he doesn't have a shirt on here, but I'm loving that farmer's tan.)

Pretending is one of the many ways that Blake learns about life and himself. He imagines what he would do in certain situations and considers a variety of scenarios. I feel as if we are just tapping into the world of pretend play, and I can't wait to see what else his little brain comes up with!