30 June 2009

Beach Night

When we visit Michigan, there are always a lot of activities, people, and favorite restaurants to cram into the time we are here. Some of our top priorities usually include Fricano's Thin Crust Pizza and Lake Michigan. We combined the two during this trip and had a picnic dinner at the beautiful lakefront. It was Blake's first visit to the beach and he loved having the sand between his toes. He "helped" Jorden dig a hole and build a sand castle.

He squatted in the sand to make lines with a stick.

His grandpa carried him on his shoulders.

His grandma buried his feet in the sand.

My brother was curious about yoga so I showed him some poses. It turns out that the sand is not the easiest place to balance.

I tried to help him get into a pose called Birds of Paradise.

He got pretty close. He had the arm wrap down pat.

Blake loved the water. He had a hard time understanding why he couldn't go all the way in. He walked up and down the shore and was completely fascinated with the waves washing up against his toes. He did not love, however, when the dry sand clung to his wet feet. That's my little Mr. Clean.

Another beach highlight for Blake was filling up a bucket with twigs, dumping them out and handing them to me, moving the bucket to a new location, and starting the process all over again. He repeated this cycle at least twenty times.

Blake loved to point out and chase the "ducks" (seagulls).

The beach wore us out so my brother and I crashed on Blake's carseat on the way home. It made a good pillow.

Apparently my little non-car sleeper wasn't worn out at all. He jabbered away on his cell phone all the way home.

26 June 2009

The Homecoming

We were so excited to welcome my brother home from his mission in South Korea. We waited two years for Jorden's return and we were all giddy as we waited in the airport with balloons and signs. Upon completing his mission, Jorden traveled around the world for 19 hours to reach his final destination of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His Wednesday lasted about 37 hours as he crossed over 13 time zones. We all pictured several times what it would be like to see him walking down the terminal, smiling in his missionary suit. It was just the homecoming we had imagined. There were smiles, tears, hugs, relief, and a lot of excitement.

Jorden's flight was delayed an additional hour and he was the last one off the plane, making us all even more anxious. It was so good to finally see him.

Blake was pretty excited to give his uncle a bundle of ball(oon)s.

Uncle Jorden met his nephew Blake for the first time. It blows my mind to think that Jorden has been gone for so long that my helpless newborn has turned into a walking, talking 1½ year old who has opinions and preferences, comforts and fears, strengths and quirks, and a little personality that keeps us all on our toes. And he wasn't even born until Jorden was six months out! That makes two years seem like a very long time.

Jorden and Blake were instantly buds when they discovered their mutual love for electronic devices.

We wondered how Jorden would act when he came home and in what ways he would be different. We were glad to find that although he had grown so much, he was still the same ol' Jo. He had quite the culture shock after being out of the country for two years. He marveled at things like sitting in chairs at tables, sleeping on mattresses, seeing neighborhoods with cul-de-sacs and yards, feeling air conditioning, taking heated showers, and hearing everyone speak English. In this picture, Jorden was explaining how he was shaking in the Atlanta airport when he tried to order an American hamburger.

We are so grateful for the dedication, service, and gospel message that Jorden rendered to the people of South Korea. We missed him while he was gone, but can not think of a better reason for him to be away from us for two years. Welcome home, little bro!

24 June 2009

We're All Together Again

Our vacation has already been jam packed with what I love the most; seeing my fellow Michiganders. Blake warmed right back up to his grandma and grandpa. He visited his grandpa at the office and fed the ducks that gather by the pond in the back.

The transition to a new time zone and a new place hasn't been the smoothest this time around. Blake has been running a fever, cutting a tooth, sleeping in disrupted intervals, whining constantly and getting up inconsolably during the night. I thought he would do better this time around but I'm hoping he'll adjust more in the next few days. His grandma, however, has loved the extra cuddling he has been extending because of his condition.
Since Blake was having a rough adjustment, I opted to leave him home with his eager grandparents while I went to girl's night with my besties (and company).

I haven't seen my friend Katie's twins since last summer. They have grown up so much. It's always fun to see what they are doing because I know that Blake will enter the same phases soon.

We haven't all been together in over two years. We've been together in combinations, but not all in the the same place at the same time. We went out to dinner, made fun of a chick flick, and talked and laughed a lot. It was a great equation for an awesome girl's night.

In a few short hours, we will welcome my brother back into the country, and we will really be all together again. Reunions are the best.

20 June 2009

{Almost} Boating Trip

We had high intentions of going boating this morning. Sure, it was overcast and raining as it has been every day for the last 3 weeks, but we didn't want to wait any longer to take the boat out on it's maiden voyage of the season. After a late start to the morning (it always takes triple the amount of time to attach and load the boat than we think it will), we began driving to the lake. 

As we were driving on the freeway, a tire from the boat trailer ripped off. The bolts were completely stripped. The tire kept pace with us for a few minutes at 60 mph. We were in the far right lane of southbound traffic, and we watched as the tire bounced across all four lanes of traffic, over the median, across four more lanes of oncoming northbound traffic, and finally landed over the next median on the frontage road. It was truly a miracle that the tire did not hit anyone or cause an accident.

Luckily, we were only about a half mile south of a boating store, so we very slowly exited and inched our way to the destination. Going to the lake was out of the question at that point. We had to leave the boat and trailer at the dealer to be repaired. While the boys dealt with business at the boating store, Tricia and I ventured out to find the lost tire. We expected it to be laying somewhere on the frontage road. We were shocked when we found the tire wedged in between the median and a six-foot fence. The fence must have stopped the tire from bouncing any further; another miracle.

I climbed the fence in flip flops (not an easy feat), rescued the tire, and realized that my weak muscles were not strong enough to throw the tire to the other side of the fence. Tricia waved down a passing stranger to help us. Luckily, he happened to be just the type of tall, muscular man we needed for such a task. 

After helping us get the tire over the fence and loaded into the car, the man headed back towards his car while I struggled to climb back over the fence. I attempted to go barefoot because the flip flops did not serve me well on the way up. The wind was blowing the fence so hard that I became quite unstable and nervous as I straddled the top wire (I wonder what the oncoming traffic was thinking). The nice man noticed my difficulty just as he was about to leave, and let me climb onto his shoulders to get down. Unbeknownst to him, Tricia snapped a picture of the comical situation.

In the meantime, the boys played at the boating store. It was probably just as fun for Blake as actually being out on the water.

Here's to having better luck and sunnier weather next time.

18 June 2009

Mr. Clean

Blake started begging and pointing at my napkin holder for no apparent reason yesterday. He couldn't reach it on the counter, which was good, because I figured he would create a shredded napkin disaster. Over the next few minutes, he got more and more hysterical about wanting the napkins. Tears streamed down his little cheeks as he shouted, "uh oh, uh oh, UH OH!"

I finally caved and handed him one napkin, though I knew he would rip it up and I would have to move the napkin holder out of his sight to prevent future outbursts. However, instead of tearing the napkin into a million pieces, Blake rushed across the kitchen to where a tiny droplet of milk had spilled from his sippy cup, and proceeded to wipe it right up. I have no idea where he learned to be tidy and have everything in place. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

15 June 2009

First Day of Nursery

Blake wasn't able to go to nursery last Sunday because his dad and him were both home sick. So, yesterday was our first attempt. Thank you for all of your suggestions to make the transition run smoothly. To endure the afternoon nursery time, I decided to try to get him to nap in the morning before church. I tired him out by letting him play outside for about an hour. Then, I gave him a bath. I thought he would just play in his crib since I put him down 3 hours before his usual nap time, but when we went through the bedtime routine of book, song, and prayer, he knew just what to do. He fell asleep right away, took a normal nap, and I woke him up just before our 1pm church time.

Blake did very well at his first day of nursery. He cried really hard when I left him (which I expected), but he calmed down and was great during the rest of the class. I expected the nursery leaders to come get me, but the two hours went by and I was never retrieved. He seemed perfectly happy when I went to pick him up. All things considered, I couldn't have asked for a better first day. I'm sure that it won't be smooth sailing from here on out. I know we will have rough days here and there, but I couldn't be happier about how the first day went. I'm so proud of Blake. He is such a big boy! He called his grandma after church to tell her all about how well he did in nursery.

Blake loves to lay on the bottom stair and talk on the phone. It's like his teenage chilling out position.

Then, my sweet angel made a huge disaster. He handed the phone over so I could talk to my dad who has been in Ecuador for a month. Meanwhile, he went upstairs to play with his toys, or so I thought. I went up to check on him, and found him sitting in the dark, covered in white. I turned on the light to reveal his mischief. He had unscrewed the cap on his lotion and spread the white cream everywhere!

I mean, everywhere! It was partially my fault, because I accidently left the lotion on the ground while trying to quickly get him down for a nap after his bath. I'm sure he thought he found the jackpot of messiness.

He tried to eat the lotion-covered cap too.

So, I stripped him down, and as if he knew he was in trouble, he put himself in his own little time out. Really, I think he just likes his little booster chair. But, he sure had the "I was busted" look on his face.

12 June 2009

18 Months

Blake is 1½ already! It seems like he was just halfway to one, and now he is halfway to two.

I've been meaning to make a list of words he says so that I can remember in years to come what he was saying at this age. Here is what Blake has to say at 18 months:
  • uh oh
  • ball
  • mama
  • dada
  • bye-bye
  • no
  • yeah
  • apple (Everything these days is an apple - including peaches, tomatoes, and other fruits. Also, whenever we drive by Target, he points and shouts excitedly, "apple, apple!" when he sees the red Target symbol. At least he's not too far off with his overgeneralizations.)
  • purple
  • shoes (Whenever I say, "Blake, do you want to go bye-bye?" he immediately responds with "shoes!" and runs to the door to put them on.)
  • cheese
  • yum yum
  • nie-nie (Nie-night - This is mostly the term he uses for his lovey, it's his nie-night, and yes, he still carries it everywhere with him.)
  • hi
  • love you (It melts my heart to hear this whenever I put him to bed.)
  • (ba)nana
  • duck
  • light
  • what's that?
  • woof woof (Our neighbors that live behind us have a dog that is often fenced in outside. Blake can see the dog through the window and exclaims, "woof, woof!" He also labels dogs in books as "woof, woof.")
  • amen (He learned this one during a church testimony meeting, where there was a lot of "amening" going on.)
  • hi, George (This refers to Curious George, his new second lovey that he carries around in addition to the mini bumper pad. He also loves Curious George books where he can point out George on every page.)
One of the most fun parts about language development is not only what Blake is saying, but how he suddenly seems to understand everything I say. I'll announce lunchtime and he'll be waiting by his highchair. I'll tell him I've lost my shoe and he'll find it. I'll ask him if he wants to brush his teeth and he is in the correct bathroom, opening the drawer with the toothbrush in it. I'll tell him to bring something to his dad and he'll respond immediately. I'll ask him where his nose, mouth, eyes, hair, toes, ears, and belly are and he'll point to the correct body part. I'll ask him to show me what he wants, and he'll do the sign language for "more," "all done," and "help me."

Blake surprises me every day with the amount of language he comprehends. Children definitely vary in their development of speech and language (and in all areas of development for that matter), but it blows my mind to think that in the next year, his vocabulary will jump from these 20 or so words to 150-300 words! He will be able to combine words into sentences and respond even more to my communication. Isn't child development fascinating?

08 June 2009

The Concert and Soccer Real Game

The Tanners invited me to go to the dedication of Salt Lake's new Rio Tinto Stadium to watch the Soccer Real game. We've all been a little under the weather over the last few weeks, and Troy was in the prime of not feeling well, so he stayed home with Blake while I partied it up. It didn't take much convincing for me to go, because the one and only David Archuleta was performing at the game. So, I did my David 'do again of course, just like when I went to his concert. Am I the coolest teeny-bopper in the world or what?

The new stadium holds 20,000 people and was filled to capacity.

Archie sang the National Anthem after a super long dedicatory prayer.

Tricia and I spent most of the first half standing in front of this Super Fan section. It was crazy. These die-hards had drums beating, chanting, confetti, flags, and fog mists for the entire game. No one sat down, and no one stopped cheering, clapping, and dancing for the whole 90 minutes.

We learned some of their chants and songs, thanks to Tricia's super Spanish skills. She has been to soccer games in Europe and South America where the entire stadium has had this much extreme energy. I can't even imagine - it was nuts!

As the end of the game was nearing, a crowd started gathering near where we were sitting. Some of our cousins happened to be in the crowd, so we asked them what was going on. They all had special wristband passes to go onto the field for David's concert. I was so jealous! After they started filtering down the stairs into the holding area, I leaped over our seats and ran up to the security guard to ask if he had any more wristbands. He flipped open his suit jacket and pulled out two passes for Tricia and me. We ran down the stairs screaming. There was no time to think, we just ran! We called Troy from the blaring holding area to share our excitement, and I'm sure he was at home rolling his eyes in embarrassment.

We wore our magic Golden Archie Passes with pride.

We ran onto the field, maneuvering around the little kids, and we seriously got this close to him. Can you believe it? We were only feet away, and I'm sure our luck was because of my David 'do!

He sang four songs, and put on a great live concert as usual.

Our first picture together.

As if it could get any better from that point, it did! Tricia and I were at the edge of the roped off pathway that David walked through when he finished the concert. We stretched out our hands, hoping to make contact. David must have noticed my 'do because we clasped hands as he walked through! I'm not talking about a slap or a hit, but a full-on clasped two-second hold! He didn't even try to let go until his arm was behind him because he liked the clasp so much. Tricia also got some brief hand action from Archie. Can you believe our immense luck?

We will never wash our magic holding hands again.

06 June 2009

Anniversary Party Day

Troy volunteered several weeks ago to plan our anniversary date and surprise me. We decided to celebrate over the weekend since our anniversary was on a Wednesday this year. We dropped Blake off at his grandparents' house on Friday evening, and then Troy drove downtown. We pulled up into the drive of the Grand America Hotel, where I was amazed that we were going to be having dinner. The Valet asked us if we would be checking in, and Troy said "yes" as he lifted an overnight bag from the trunk! Dinner alone at the Five-Star Grand America would be astonishing, not to mention an overnight suite. Troy doesn't go all out very often or plan frequent dates, but when he does, he really goes above and beyond. He found a great deal because it is the hotel's off-season, and our stay included a credit for dinner and breakfast.

Our 17th floor room had a beautiful balcony view of the city and mountains.

It also overlooked the courtyard.

We had dinner at the Garden Cafe. It was quite nice to not be cutting up small portions for my hungry little one. We enjoyed conversation with just the two of us.

We thought it would be fun to ride on public transportation instead of driving. We took the train to the Gateway shopping center.

We walked around the Gateway, got some ice cream, and then saw the movie "Up."

In the morning, we used our credit to have room service delivered and also spent some time poolside. Talk about luxury! And talk about an amazing husband. He loves to plan occasional fun surprises. That's what meant the most to me; not that we stayed at a fancy hotel (although that was a perk), but that he took the initiative to plan something and show that he cared.