Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: Portland

Chad was in Portland for the month of January doing a rotation.  My plan was going to stay in Utah for the whole month, then fly back to California at the end.  Halfway through the month, however, the boys and I missed him too much so we booked flights and headed up there, instead.

The night before we left I got together with my friend, Annie, whose husband has also done several rotations away.  She asked how long we'd been apart and I told her "only 3 weeks"  She replied "oh, that's not too bad" and I agreed.  It was quiet for a few seconds then we both said, "Isn't it horrible that we consider 3 weeks away not too bad?!"  

It was so good to see Chad.  The first thing Caden said was, "Dad?  Are we going to wrestle tonight?"  Both the boys kept hugging Chad.  It's such a relief to be back with him.  Our family in Utah is always so helpful with the boys--but it's just not like having Chad.

We took advantage of the sunny day and headed to a tram that you ride to see all over the city.  Portland is beautiful, that's for sure.  I couldn't get over how green it is. 

During the week Chad worked every day at the clinic.  My cousin, Jenny, lives in Portland and we got together one day.  Jenny and I are only 6 weeks apart in age and we grew up together as "best cousins" having sleep overs our entire lives.  We drove around downtown Portland while they told me all about life as an Oregonian.  

The next night, we got together again so Chad could get the tour.  It was so much fun to pile into their suburban and hang out.  They took us to the food carts where there is a huge variety of food to choose from.   

The next stop was VooDoo doughnuts.
Chad and Eli

Jenny and I

Chad got the maple bacon and I got the cookies and cream.  Caden went all out with the plain doughnut and chocolate frosting.  Seriously with all the options, he went with that one.

The 17 hour ride home was so beautiful.  Bryce was so tired and I expected him to sleep a majority of the time.  Wrong.  We stopped at a hotel that night and I thought "Bryce is so tired, he'll go right to sleep."  Wrong.  He and Caden figured it was party time to be all together! During the night I knew that Bryce was so tired, I figured he'd sleep in late the next morning.  Wrong.  He was our early wake-up alarm around 5:00.

I knew one of us had to be ready to drive that day so I grabbed Bryce and our swim suits and took him out.  He and I sat in the hot tub until 7:30 when Chad and Caden woke-up and we went to breakfast.  I think Bryce was just wired from the new schedule and so excited to have us all sleep together in the same room.  Other than the no-sleeping, both boys were pretty good in the car--as long as the fruit snacks and crackers were handy, of course.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Christmas 2012

Both of our families celebrated Christmas Eve with dinners and such before the actual day. This left that day and night up to the four of us.  We watched Christmas movies all afternoon, then had pizza and wings for dinner.  That night we played games before an early bed to wait for Santa.

For this game, you and a partner had to wrap a present together.  Caden and I did a lot better than on this one than Chad and Bryce:

There are few things more exciting as a parent than Christmas morning.  It is so magical to see that Santa really did come.  Caden had specifically asked for Boba Fett slippers, little Star Wars toys and a hero watch.  I tried to talk to him beforehand about how sometimes Santa also brings other things that he thinks you might like, such as legos or a Batman cave, but Caden was pretty determined on his list.  

Bryce in his Chewbacca slippers:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: December 2012

Chad took his board exams December 4th and then had a three and a half week break.  Yea!  It was such a stress free month.  I wish I could go back and re-live those days again and again.  I will definitely miss long breaks like this when real life hits.

We packed in as many Christmas-related activities as we could.  One of my favorites was the “Candlelight Celebration” at Disneyland. It was an event that you had to enter a sort of lottery to get tickets, and Chad was drawn out.   I didn’t really know what to expect before we went.  I knew it was a large choir and orchestra concert, all lit in candlelight, focusing on the nativity, but that was it. 

We had to check-in early and get our wristbands, then wait a while to be seated.  It was held outside in front of the main square. When it started, the singers all walked in, up the aisles, and to the stage holding candles. I was blown away by how beautiful the music was.  The narrator did a great job.  It was pretty much just the nativity story read straight from the Bible, with a few added points.  One of my favorite points was that a humble baby, born in a poor carpenter home has had more of an impact on the human race than all the kings, rulers, armies, philosophers, and presidents in the world. 

At the end, when the choir sang the Hallelujah chorus, I was so touched as the entire audience stood.  There was just something about being in Disneyland, which is not considered a very reverent place, as everybody of different cultures and faiths, stood together to worship the Savior.  It was a very beautiful moment for me.

Lights at Los Angeles Temple:

Caden at his preschool pajama party:

Salt Lake Temple lights:

Sledding in the back field.  The kids did this for hours.  Playing with cousins never gets old for my boys.

One happy camper found the sucker stash:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Novemer 2012

Chad spent most of November studying for his national board exams.  The boys and I kept busy playing at parks and getting things ready for Chris' wedding.  

LOVE the self-portraits:

Bryce also got his first haircut (as documented by Caden).

 I'm so sad I didn't get any pictures of Thanksgiving.  Because Chad was studying for his exams, we did not go home and no family came down to us.  I was really nervous about being homesick.  We were planning something easy (and probably boring) for the day, but the Browns saved the day and invited us over.  Besides the deep-fried turkey and delicious pumpkin roll, the best part was spending the holiday with such great people.  Tyler's parents and grandparents joined us for dinner. Tyler's mom and my mom went to high school together, and my mom dated Tyler's uncle.  Also, his aunt lives in Pleasant Grove and taught both my twin brothers in elementary we had a lot of connections to talk about over dinner.  It was a relaxing, fun day and I can proudly say I held my own at Just Dance against Kristi, the former cougarette (though there's a strong possibility she was just being nice).

We sure have a lot to be thankful for!