Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bryce (barf) Canyon

Allow me a scrapbooking moment my dears. *Warning: This may be one of those painful posts where someone shows you way too many pictures from their vacation.....yep. It's definitely going to be one of those.

Our family just returned from a little jaunt to a place that we now lovingly refer to as Barf Canyon. You may know it as Bryce Canyon.

It was sunny and quite lovely on the day we is a look at the view from our room. Aren't parking lot views the best?

We haven't done a road trip for quite some time. It's not that we haven't wanted to. It's because our kids just don't seem to get along very well, and in the past, Erik and I have found ourselves using phrases with our kids that we never thought we would use. You know, the ones I'm talking about... "Don't make me turn this car around!", etc.

Surprisingly, the kids did really well and it was quite a pleasant drive.

When we got to the hotel, they amazingly still liked each other and decided to play a game. It was so cute. So I took a picture.
The cuteness didn't last long though. A tired Ian got frustrated and threw a fit. I just happened to have my camera out still, so I took another picture. Don't you love the look on Nicole's face? Priceless.
That evening was spent eating (a lot) and playing in the hotel pool. A nice way to end the day.

But then it got ugly. Nicole started feeling ill. Really ill. She spent the next 12 hours kneeling to the porcelain god every hour, on the hour.

That night, we got a nice dusting of fresh snow. The view from our window. :)
The next morning, we debated about what to do with Nicole. Leave her at the hotel while we go explore the canyon? One of us stay with her? Take her with us on a short drive to see a few things? What to do?
We decided to leave her there, run up to the canyon, drive to a view point or two and snap a few photos and then hurry back. Her last words to us were, "Don't be gone too long."
We started at Unset Point. I mean, Sunset Point. He, he.
I forgot to mention that we were traveling with our friends- I'll call the "S family". Here they are...Katie, Rissy-roo, C-dawg, Wendeline, Heady, and La la.
After snapping a few photos, our friends, who had come to hike for the day started on their way. All of a sudden, I had a strong urge to go with them. I really wanted to hike through this beautiful canyon and the hike they had planned for that day was only 3 miles or so. So Isaac and I decided we would go and Erik and Ian would head back to take care of Nicole. Great plan, huh? I thought so.
So off we went, snapping photos right and left! The pictures just don't do it justice. It is so shocking to see the bright orange rocks against the white snow. The touch of green from the trees just adds to the beauty!
And since Isaac was the only family member with me....I got lots of shots of him. Bare with me.

He had the time of his life! The "S's" are so fun to be with and the girls treat Isaac like a little brother. He got thrown in the snow more times than I can count and had lots of fun having snowball fights.
And I had fun using my new camera taking zillions of pictures. The scenery was so amazing!
So much fun for everyone!
Especially Isaac. Here he is sliding down the side of the mountain. It was quite a ride! I would have joined him but that meant that I would have had to climb back up again and man! I just couldn't do it. One time was more work than I had planned to do. I was on vacation, remember?
So back at the hotel, Nicole slept. And slept, and slept. Only Erik couldn't check on her because I had accidentally taken the keys to our vehicle with me....on the HIKE. Ian and Erik ended up being stranded at the top, waiting for us to finish.....which only took THREE hours. Oopsie. They made the best of it though. They did a little hiking and luckily Erik had his cell phone and called to check on Nicole- who was, you guessed it, sleeping.

Poor baby.
The last day of our vacation, Nicole was feeling much better. It snowed a foot or so during the night and was still snowing when we woke up, but Nicole really wanted to see some of the canyon before we drove all the way home. "All I have seen so far is the inside of the toilet and that wasn't so great!" she said.

It was about -7 degrees with the wind chill, but at least she got to see a little of the magnificent canyon before we left.
She is the best big sister!
Man! Can I tell you how great it was to see that smile of hers?
Did I mention it snowed? Take a look at our darling next door neighbors. They were from Japan. Their little boy was all bundled up and looked like an Eskimo. He was too cute!

See how the view from our window changed over the days? Crazy!
So we piled back in the car and headed for home. The weather was a bit sketchy to start off with......

But things soon cleared up and once again, we were treated to magnificent scenery!
Excuse the amount of pictures....but my good heck! Isn't it just gorgeous!

It was a vacation to remember for sure! We are already planning a return trip for this summer. Hopefully next time we will get to make new memories that don't have anything to do with barf. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The good things of December

Once upon a time.....

There was a mother who was very busy studying for finals. She was stressed to the max (her eye was twitching and everything), but she didn't want to look back on the month of December with only memories of studying and tests. So she made a plan. She would study hard during the day and in the evening she would drag her family out to make some fun memories.

And that is what she did.....

A visit to the Festival of Trees was the first on the list of 'must do's' that month. This was the first time the boys in her family had been to the Festival- and they loved every bit of it from the trees to the treats!

The gingerbread village was a favorite for sure!
Then what to our wondering eyes should appear?

Nicole got asked to go to Snowball by a boy she adores.
Of course she had the time of her life!
Next on the list was a spontaneous visit to Yogurtland! It's a must at least once a month. So tasty!
The night before finals, the family climbed on board Trax and away they flew to downtown Salt Lake to see the lights on Temple Square.
So festive!
So beautiful!
So colorful!
Then right in the middle of the month, Nicole decided to turn another year older. We celebrated with the most delicious chocolate cake ever!
And the BEST birthday party anyone could dream of.

Herod the should seriously book these guys for your Christmas party next year!
So with 25 of Nicole's closes friends, we clapped and tapped our toes and ate lots of sugary treats.
She even got her picture taken with the band. Awwww.
And now with only 10 days left in the month of December, what more fun things can we squeeze in? I can't wait to share it all with you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nicole, Colie, Colie-polie, Cloe, Baby-cakes, My Girl

Seventeen years ago today, I started the journey of motherhood.

A tiny, dark haired, baby girl was placed in my arms and looked right into my eyes. I knew she was counting on me. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Day by day, year by year, I have learned how to be her mother. I have made many mistakes a long the way. She has been so forgiving. (I would never want to be a first child- but someone has to do it right?)

Today, I want to say happy birthday to the sweetest, most thoughtful girl I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Here are seventeen things I love about Nicole:

1- She has a crazy sense of humor.
2- She can laugh at herself.
3- She has such a strong sense of who she is and what she wants out of life.
4- She is the most fun person to be around.
5- She has the. most. beautiful. eyes (don't even get me started on her smile!)
6- She plays the piano almost every day and I love the atmosphere it brings to our home
7- She takes school seriously, but she still has fun
8- She makes me smile every day.
9- She is so willing to help around the house
10- She makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich
11- She loves her room to be tidy
12- She can make seven outfits out of just a few items- I don't think she ever wears the same outfit twice
13- She is a really safe driver
14- She is such a patient and fun big sister
15- She has a darling relationship with her daddy
16- She is always looking for ways to serve others or brighten up their day
17- She is my best friend

Have a very happy birthday my sweet girl! I love you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving past

Here I am just getting around to posting about Thanksgiving when it is now the first of December and our thoughts have turned to all things red and green. This will be the last of it, I promise. But I couldn't resist sharing all about our day.

First of all, my birthday party. It was the best! Balloons, presents, and lots of hugs. What more could I ask for? But it only got better....

I got to prepare my first ever Thanksgiving feast for my own family. I had so much fun ironing the table cloths and napkins, decorating the table, making name tags....because what Thanksgiving table is complete without name tags?
It was like Christmas morning for me, I could hardly sleep in! My mind was racing as soon as my eyes flew open. I learned quickly that there is so much that needs to be coordinated to pull off a meal like Thanksgiving dinner. I had no idea!
Pies to be made (OK, a couple were bought), vegetable platters, cheese and cracker plates (to tide the hungry folks over until the turkey comes out), mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, corn, sweet potatoes, turkey and stuffing. Oh my!

And to end the day (after dashing off to see Megamind- such a cute show!), what else but birthday pie!
This year was truly the best Thanksgiving/birthday ever!

Highlights from the day:

1. I got to decide on what and when to eat- no coordinating with anyone else. :) 2. Leftovers! We have never had Thanksgiving leftovers before! 3. Erik got to watch some football. Something he has not gotten to do on Thanksgiving for many moons. 4. I got a Kindle! Oh ya! and 5. The mini facial I got as I poured the water off the potatoes....the steam did my pores good!

Hope your Thanksgiving was just as pleasant!

Happy December 1st my friends!