Happenings of April…

My parents were able to visit us in April, thanks to Abigail’s baptism (separate post). We had much nicer weather the week prior and after they were here, but we were still able to get some good outdoor time in.

We played a little wiffle ball. Although the day was windy and a bit on the chilly side, I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

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The next day greeted us with much warmer weather, so we hiked up to Heublein Tower. What’s amazing is that by the next week, everything had bloomed and was green and flowery in the background.

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My dad is a huge fan of basketball, so we thought it would be fun to go to the NBA Hall of Fame in Mass. It was a dreary wet outside, so this was the perfect activity on such a day.
There is a court inside where you can shoot hoops and practice dunking. This cute man was so kind to give Mailie pointers and with just a couple lessons she was successful. You could tell this man had coached many in his lifetime and knows what he’s doing. He seemed like he would be the kind of guy you’d love as your next door neighbor. Friendly, helpful, patient, and just all around kind.

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After church.
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For my birthday we went to Newport, RI. I fell in love with it the moment we entered in and drove through the tiny cobblestone streets. I loved the mixture of colonial architecture, and coastal town feel. It was heavenly and I can’t wait to go back now that it is summer.

Newport is home to the gigantic mansions, including the Vanderbilt home called The Breakers. I don’t know anything about it. Josh wants to go back and tour the mansions, so I imagine we will eventually. Although I would have no desire to live in such a home, I do find them fascinating to check out and love the different designs and architecture. Certain areas scream roaring 20’s. There were a couple of more quaint homes that sat on the cliffs, which I would love to spend my summers in.

There are also little fields of daffodils which are just asking to be frolicked through.

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Roasting hot dogs and s’mores on the final evening of my parents visit.

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I failed to get photos of this, but the night before my birthday the girls spent the night in my parents trailer at their campsite. This was just my second night away from Abigail, and first from Mailie. I am a parent that tends to worry easily and I tried my best not to tear up as they left, especially since they were pretty excited.

Josh and I then had the opportunity to go to the temple, a date afterwards, and an evening all to ourselves. It was bizarre and fun. The fact that we realized we could have done whatever we wanted and not have to think about what time we were getting home felt kind of amazing. After the temple we went to dinner at a french place where Josh tried escargot for the first time. I had only had them one other time, but that was in french class and they were rubbery. This time around I thought they were pretty good.

Waking up without my little humans in the other room was weird. We went to the gym together for the first time in many years. I’ve actually missed being able to workout together, however, we learned that Josh enjoys it more in the evenings whereas I love morning workouts. So those days might be over for us.

We then went to breakfast. Again, this was a first in quite some time where we were able to grab breakfast alone. It was a window in the future, when our girls are in college. I think we’ll enjoy those days.

That being said, I was pretty excited to see my babes again and hear about their little adventure. The years I have with them in this way will continue to fly, so I will enjoy it as much as I can and not try to rush it.

Kissed by a Sea Lion…

We took a trip to Mystic, CT to visit the aquarium, and it turned out more adventurous than we expected, particularly for Miss Abigail.

As we sat waiting for the sea lion show to begin, a girl came up to us and asked if Abigail would like to be a part of it and meet Pyp, the sea lion. She instantly said yes. I felt a bit bad for Mailie since seven years of age is the requirement. Although disappointed, she was a good sport and excited for Abigail. They did makes sure to have Pyp walk by and wave to her as a consolation, which made her happy.

They taught Abigail three signs to give Pyp, the seal, and she would respond with jumping, barking, and a kiss on the cheek. It was cute and I was excited for her to have such a fun opportunity.

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I wish I had Mailie’s face in the video but I was right next to her. She was a happy girl. I like her little giggle at the end.

We told Mailie she could picked what we did next, since she didn’t get to go up with the seal. She immediately said she wanted steamed oysters. I wasn’t expecting that answer, but she was adamant about the idea. So we went to the store and purchased a bag full of oysters, steamed them up, et voila…one delighted five year old.

 

First trip to NYC…

We finally took a trip to NYC, back in March. I was pretty excited about visiting since I had only been to Palmyra, NY, so this was my first time, as well as the girls.

It takes about two hours to get there. I’m from Idaho, so two hours to get someplace relatively exciting doesn’t seem terribly long. We didn’t want to have too much on our list to see, because that can just cause stress. So we’ll check new things off of our list each time we visit. For this visit: 9/11 Memorial, just see Lady Liberty (I’d like to take the ferry to see her closer, but on a different trip), and visit the AMNH.

Grand Central Station
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It was pretty. I loved the color and the astrological signs painted on the ceiling. I do enjoy the variety of architecture and design throughout the whole city.

American Museum of Natural History. Thanks to Josh’s salesmanship skills, we were able to get right in and skip the mega lines. I do not have this skill, but I am grateful to have someone who does.

I have lost the photo of the actual T-Rex fossil, but I loved seeing it. My whole life I have wanted to come to this museum and see the T-Rex, so I was pretty happy getting to do so. The mummy exhibit happened to be going on as well, so we decided to pay for that. Most of the mummies were from Peru, near where Josh served his mission. It was pretty fascinating to see them all, and the girls loved it far more than I expected them to. Pictures weren’t allowed in that exhibit.

The girls were also excited to see “Dum Dum”…if you’ve seen The Night at the Museum then you know what I’m talking about.


I’m looking forward to seeing more of Central Park when it’s nice and warm. I know it’s like a city in itself in there, but we happened to walk by the Belvedere Castle and through the woodland area. It was really peaceful, and I can imagine how much prettier it is once everything has bloomed.
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Taking a break from walking.
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I loved that we happened to see a dog walker in NY. It seemed perfect.
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Getting a quick view of the Statue of Liberty. I have no desire to pay to walk up her, but I do want to take the free ferry to just coast by a bit closer.
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Lastly, 9/11 Memorial. I was a bit nervous as to how I would feel here, but it was incredibly peaceful and quiet. They really did a beautiful job. It was a bit surreal, standing there, lightly explaining to the girls what had happened here. We’ve briefly talked about it in the past, but the fact that I am in this place now, talking about a historical moment to my children who weren’t even alive when it happened. It’s just a bit bizarre.

I’m slightly disappointed I didn’t take more photos. However, I was just enjoying soaking it all in with my babes, so that’s a pretty good excuse.

There is clearly a whole lot more to see and do. So, little by little, we will venture out and get to know it a bit more.

An unintentional seven-month hiatus…

Well, I figure it is time to try to catch this puppy up. Josh was out of town last week and again this week, so I need something to occupy my time while the girls are sleeping. Good book recommendations would be fantastic right now.

I will do my best to highlight the randomness.

Our first NE winter was not an intense one, for which I was grateful. It was relatively warm and it really only snowed twice, aside from a few dustings that melted by the afternoon. When it did snow, it dropped 18 inches, both times.

This is from our annual Fancy meal which we do each Christmas season. This year, it was breakfast at a place called Harvest Bakery. It’s fine, nothing like OPH, but it was fun, and that’s what counts. It was a dreary, rainy day, so we opted for an indoor shot.

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Josh’s parents came over for gingerbread house decorating. This year I just didn’t have it in me to make gingerbread, so we settled for graham crackers. I wish I would have taken more photos; I just have the one. Josh’s dad builds houses, so his house turned out awesome. He meticulously carved out “bricks” for his house, had multiple angled roof lines, along with a garage, and clearly knows how to build the structures better than most of us. Josh inherited his talent for that.
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We went to a friends home along with a couple other families. I was excited about being in NE for this game because it’s the first time we’ve spent it with fellow Patriot fans. As I am sure many know, it was a crazy game. It turned out great for us…the last eight minutes.
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It’s not a great shot but I wanted to document Valentines Day. Each Vday since Josh and I dated (barring the two we were in Idaho), we went to Rumbi’s. They don’t have those here, so we have to come up with a new tradition. Josh came up with the idea of us having movie themed Vday dinners. Our first year: Lady & the Tramp. We had a candle-light dinner with spaghetti and meatballs, along with other goodies. We wanted to have the movie to view afterward, but sadly we couldn’t get it on time. We will be better prepared next year, but I’m looking forward to this as our new tradition.
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At the New England Air Museum.
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We visited our dear friends, the Vieira’s, in Mass. Among wonderful conversation and plenty of running around on the farm, we enjoyed walking along the beach, searching for any treasures we can find, and breathing in that fresh sea air.
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We saw Moana, and loved it. This is one of the many times Mailie has dressed up to imitate her.
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We all anticipated Beauty & the Beast coming out, and it did not disappoint! I loved everything about it, but one of my favorite parts is the Beast’s song. I teared up listening to it and it has already become a memorized piece in our home. And now that it is out on Blu-ray, it has been seen multiple times at home.
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We went to the Dinosaur State Park where there are actual fossils found in the area. We discovered cute salamanders while walking the trails.
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The girls and I hiked to the Heublein Tower, which allows for great views of the valley. Mailie tends to want to give up a lot, so it takes lots of encouragement, at times, to keep her going. But she made it, as she does each time, and I hope that each time it proves to her more and more that she is strong and capable. Tiny & Mighty.
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Lastly, before I end this post so they aren’t too lengthy. Animals. They are everywhere here and I love it. I feel like I am in the movie Snow White. We see bunnies hopping around, the toads singing, endless birds and hawks, countless turkeys, along with deer, raccoons, possums/opossums, and the cutest bushy-tailed squirrels scampering all over the place. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is a black bear. I’m really hoping to get to see one soon, just not as I take out the trash.
We found this guy hopping across the parking lot. The girls and I were giddy with joy. I just think they are cute.
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That is it for this post. I have more catching up to do. One day at a time.

2016, you were good to us…

As a new year has approached us, I’m reflecting on the past twelve months and a few of their highlights:

  • Josh and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary.
  • I got to say farewell to sleep apnea/headaches/crankiness thanks to surgery to correct my deviated septum. It’s amazing how much this has improved my day to day life.
  • Josh graduated from BYU-I. First generation graduate!
  • Josh was finally able to come home from work and stay home, rather than leaving to do homework.
  • Our family had our first vacation in five years; a spontaneous road trip to the Oregon Coast.
  • A dream made years ago became a reality as we packed up and moved to the east coast.

We had a couple setbacks and disappointments; Graduation was postponed twice due to unavailability with required classes. Our beloved small Ward of six years was annihilated due to the Stakes being combined. We then found ourselves a part of a mega Ward and found it quite difficult to feel at home in.

However, as a whole, this year was filled with anticipation, joy, excitement, goals reached, and dreams made. Thanks to a surgery, I was blessed with the gift of breathing, therefore sleeping, therefore feeling happier and energized. Josh became a first generation graduate and obtained a job just two months post graduation. Our dream of moving to the east coast became a reality as we trekked it to Connecticut. We’ve found a Ward that instantly felt like home, the members being extremely welcoming and gracious. To add to that, we have multiple homeschooling families as well! Something I did not expect but am extremely grateful for.

With this new year ahead, I am anxious to see what it has in store. One of our highlights will be that of Abigail’s baptism! She’s been very patient in waiting, in order for family to attend, and we are all looking forward to her special day.

New year, fresh beginnings.

Mailie’s 5th Birthday & Interview…

For Dimples’ birthday, she had asked to go to the beach. Although it was a brisk day of 41 degrees with plenty of that sea breeze, it was beautiful and we had fun exploring, collecting shells, finding jellyfish and crabs, and digging our fingers in that soft beach sand while admiring the beautiful scenery.

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We then headed to Gillette Castle, which was built by William Gillette, best known for portraying Sherlock Holmes on stage. Personally, I think it’s a pretty unattractive castle, but I’m sure he loved it, and the girls thought it was fun to see. We’ll have to take an actual tour of it during the summer.

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Mailie had asked for a wicked witch cake. Originally, she asked for this:

Witch for Cake & Bake Show 2014 - Cake by Janette MacPherson Cake Craft | CakesDecor.com:

However, I am not sure I have the talent to make that, nor the time, or quite honestly, the desire. Thankfully, when going through some other options she was very happy with this:

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Much easier, much quicker, and much easier on the eyes.

Mailie is goofy, feisty, into superheroes and antagonists. She loves to make people laugh and she is constantly reminding us of her love for us, accompanied with many hugs and kisses. She’s pretty great.

Below is her birthday interview. There is one question where I asked her about a place she would like to go and I think she is thinking of Hawaii, even though she is talking about going where Jesus was born. So either she thinks Jesus was born in Hawaii, or just can’t remember the name, Bethlehem. Either way, I wouldn’t mind going to both.

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Abigail’s 8th Birthday & Interview…

Abigail’s birthday was just three days after arriving in Connecticut, and although things had been a bit hectic we made sure to just have fun and relax on her day.

The morning of we skyped with my parents in Hong Kong. My parents make sure to call everyone on their birthday and sing to them which makes the girls smile.

From there we were off to Westport, MA to meet up with our friends/penpals/homeschool buddies. Abigail asked to go to a pumpkin patch and the beach, and I am extremely grateful to Kim and her family for helping us get that accomplished. With the move, I didn’t really have the time to research and discover where would be good, but she planned it all out for me and it was perfect.

We were all excited to get to spend some time with the Viera’s and just have some fun. The parents got to have good conversation, and the kids got to run wild and enjoy nature.

Mailie is all about superheroes, ninjas, and saving the world. So she was excited to borrow this cape and fly around the farm.
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Found the perfect pumpkin
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Next up, the ocean. We were all excited to return. The kids found tons of shells, periwinkles, and of course, seaweed and dead crabs.
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She was one happy birthday girl. I am happy we were able to make her feel special amongst all the chaos of the move. I find kids don’t expect as much as we sometimes think they do and are pretty happy with the simple things, which is just the way we like it.
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I am still in awe that I have an eight-year-old.
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These kids made Abigail’s day. They made Happy Birthday signs, cards, and were so sweet to get her her very own mug. We collect mugs on our trips, so she was excited to have her own and add to the bunch. We are grateful for these awesome kiddos in our babes lives.
And Mailie’s face, she is always making us laugh.

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Abigail had been asking for a music box for quite some time, so she was pretty happy. I’m happy for her, though I have grown slightly tired of hearing it playing over and over. Sacrifices.
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We ended our evening with a dance party and cupcakes. Due to our things still on a moving truck I was unable to make a cake. However, Abigail was happy to oblige when I asked if we could just buy something and then I could make a cake later. We’ve been here a month and I am still needing to make that cake, so I am thankful for her patience.

And now for one of my favorite parts, the birthday interview. I started this tradition last year and I look forward to seeing the changes and similarities as the years go by. Abigail was definitely less talkative this year and seemed a bit more reserved or shy about it. At the beginning, I asked her to just give an introduction like “Hi, I’m Abigail, and I’m 8”, or something along those lines. But as you’ll see she had more to say for her intro, and I loved it.

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