Sunday, December 30, 2012

Four Years Old

This cute girl turned FOUR on December 30th while we were in Utah. Brynlee is my little buddy every day and I love being her mom. Bryn is so smart, so silly, so imaginative, so creative, and so sweet. Poor Bryn has been our little guinea pig as we've tried to figure out the best way to raise children....(we still haven't figured it out yet. Any tips?) Bryn is full of energy and ideas and stories and songs from morning until night. She keeps us laughing all day... sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. We couldn't love Bryn more and we're so grateful  she's a part of our family.
 Bryn requested a "Jessie" (from Toy Story) cake and she was pretty excited when she saw it. She's still at a young enough age to be happy with a simple, homemade cake and an even simpler family birthday party. On her birthday we had a Hawkins family party at Jason and Brandi's house and it was so fun for Bryn to spend her birthday with cousins. 

Those who were too young for birthday cake just munched on their own chubby hands. Mya fell into that category.
 Happy Birthday to our very favorite four year old! We love you, Bryn!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas: At the Farm

 Most of the time in Utah we stayed at my parent's home in Sandy, but we also had some fun time staying down at Josh's parent's home in Spanish Fork. I wish I had taken more pictures, but here are a few...
Bryn loved kicking back on Grandpa's rocker and watching morning cartoons with her cousins.
(Uncle Brandon also looks like he's really enjoying himself!)
 I'm not really a pet person and we'll probably never have pets, but Bryn loves getting her pet fix at her Grandma Hawkins house. "Tag" is usually an outdoor cat, so Bryn thought it was so hilarious when he got to come inside a few times for the kids to pet him.
It's also really fun for Bryn to see the horses out back and the sheep, cows, and horses in neighboring fields.

My mom in law is the baby whisperer and both my girls love her!
 There's nothing better than grandma time!
Bryn's always liked her cousins, but this year she just loved running around with them, dressing up, playing make believe, dancing and giggling and doing all the fun cousin stuff. 
Thanks Mom and Dad Hawkins for letting us stay and have so much fun in your home!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas: Tuellers and Clarkes

I have a lot of extended family in Utah, so one of the perks of going to Utah is seeing my four grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who I miss the rest of the year. We got together with my Clarke and Tueller extended families a handful times during our trip, though I've only got a few pictures to show for it:


On the way to the Hawkins party on Christmas Eve we stopped at my Tueller grandparents home for the morning. Brynlee loves Grandpa and Grandma Tueller...and their awesome toy room with all the old Little People sets my mom grew up with.
We also got to spend time with my Uncle Mark who was in town from California. When we lived in Huntington Beach Mark lived just down the street from us, so we saw him all the time. It was so fun to see him at Christmas because we have missed him! Bryn was thrilled to see him, which was cute. We used to walk to the beach a few times a week and she loved watching Mark play sand volleyball. Mark and Bryn were good buddies! We miss you, Mark and it was wonderful to see you!
 And now for a few pictures of Mya enjoying herself at grandma's house

This year nearly everyone (all the cousins except one) from the Tueller family was in town for Christmas...even those of us who live back east and out of the country. So we took advantage of it and had family pictures taken with our big crew. The pictures were taken by Jylare Smith and I can't wait to see them! The last time we had Tueller family pictures was probably 15-20 years ago!
The hardest picture to arrange was all the great-grandkids with Grandma and Grandpa! Trying to wrangle seven busy, squirmy kids is no easy task, but I think we got a few good shots :)
 Afterwards, we had Brick Oven pizza at Dave and Margaret's home in Provo and had a little devotional from Grandma and Grandpa. 
Mya with Rich and Patti
 (I think Mya's wearing this outfit in about all my Christmas pictures! We packed light!)

 We also had a great party with all my dad's siblings. Mya loves Aunt Marilee and cute Sarah!
 No Clarke family party would be complete without a little basketball. The best part of the night was Ashley beating out all the men/boys and winning Lightning! That's something I could never do, but Ashley representied the rest of the women!
 Another success of the night was catching a picture of Bryn (kind of) smiling! She just ran laps around the gym with her second-cousins all night. She ended the night in a full sweat from all of her shenanigans. 

I am really grateful to be so close to all my extended family and it was such a treat to be with them all. It's always hard missing out on all the reunions, family dinners, bridal and baby showers, and things, but it makes us really appreciate our time with the family while we're in Utah.

Six Months

Mya had her half birthday while we were in Utah, and I still can't believe she is six months old! We just love this little girl! She really is such a dream baby, just happy and smiley and slobbery all day. She really doesn't fuss and she is totally low-key and flexible with our busy schedules. She has changed a lot this month and is much more active and quick to move around and grab onto anything. She prefers being on her stomach and rolls over every time she's laid on her back. She's getting better at sitting without help, but we still have to sit next to her because she bucks herself backwards when she gets too excited. Or she lunges for toys and flops onto her belly. She's loves kicking wildly in the bathtub and loves babbling all day...mostly "Da da da da da"
 We just cut out one of her naps, so now she naps from 9:30 am -1 pm and 3 -5 pm. And then she sleeps at night from 9 pm to 8 am. She nurses 4 times a day and has baby food twice a day. She got a little off her routine in Utah and got sick, so she had some fussy times, but now that we're home and back on our normal routine she's back to her smiley self. She doesn't spit up like Brynlee did, but she goes through a lot more diapers and soils a lot more outfits! (Diaper suggestions anyone?? I've been using Pampers Swaddlers like I did with Bryn, but they're not working as well with Mya.)
 Her official 6-month stats:
Height: 2' 4" (98th percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs. 10 oz. (82nd percentile)
Head: 17" (60th percentile)
 She stills seems chubby as ever, but her weight percentile is a lot lower than her other weigh-ins. I hope she doesn't lose her chub anytime soon because we can't get enough of her rolls!
Bryn at 6 months, Mya at 6 months
I love these girls and I really love this 6-month stage!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Christmas is wonderful every year, but I'll tell you what- it just gets more and more wonderful as Bryn gets older. Christmas is so much fun as parents, and Josh and I had so much fun planning what to get Bryn and Mya. We're on a lovely grad-school budget, but luckily our kids are young and content with simple Christmas gifts. Actually, Bryn didn't even open all her presents because she got too busy playing with the first few things.
Bryn's main gift was a Jessie costume from Toy Story. It was a hit! We had a really late night on Christmas Eves, so Bryn woke up on Christmas pretty grumpy and tired. I thought it was going to be a disaster of a day, but as soon as she saw this Jessie costume she squealed with excitement and from then on the day was wonderful! Oh my goodness, I can't help but smile when I think of her excitement about this gift. Who knew a post-Halloween clearance costume could bring someone so much happiness!? Thank you Disney store.
We really went all out on Mya's gift this year and gave her this ball. Actually, she loved it, so three cheers for Josh for picking it out.
I'll probably regret posting this cheesy picture of myself, but one of our Christmas traditions is reciting memorized poems or quotes to my Mom. She always puts "memorize something" on her Christmas list, so each year my siblings recite something. Not all of us do it every year, but there are always a couple of us that prepare something, so it's kind of fun. This year I recited "Take Time to be Holy" by William Longstaff, Jordan recited "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley, and Logan recited a scripture passage. 
Bryn was totally in character for Jessie until she opened a Belle costume from grandma. Then in a matter of seconds the Jessie costume was thrown to the ground and she was fully in character for Belle. I don't know how long this dress-up, theatrical stage with last, but it is sure cracking us up.
 The closest thing to a family picture we took on Christmas. Bryn never smiles for photos, but she was just too happy from Christmas to refuse a smile.
 Look how sweet my new nephew Braden was on Christmas...just two weeks old. We were lucky to spend a few weeks with them since they were also staying at my parents house. He's a cutie and Marie is a super mom.
 Mya napped for most of the present opening, but she woke up at the tail end of things and entertained herself with a ribbon.
 After Christmas dinner we played games, and maybe the best part was Josh's acting in Charades. 
 Braden was getting most of the attention since he was the new kid on the block, so Mya had to go to great lengths to get noticed. The scarf and sunglasses did the trick and then she finally got everyone's attention :)
I know we won't always be able to fly home for Christmas, so we were grateful to be with family this year. Christmas is also my Dad's birthday, so it was a treat to be with him on his big day. It was also neat to be with every one of my siblings and even Jae's fiance Amy. I know we won't all be able to be together for every Christmas in the future, so we really soaked it in and enjoyed our time with everyone. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve with the Hawkins

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is celebrating Christmas Eve with Josh's family. Most of Josh's siblings live out of state now so not everyone was in Utah this year, but it was still so great to be with some of the Hawkins fam. I've probably mentioned this before, but Josh's parents live out in Spanish Fork, surrounded by acres of farmland. It's so quiet and beautiful and removed from the busyness of the world. We spent the afternoon hanging out with Josh's parents all to ourselves, and then two of Josh's siblings joined us that evening.
Bryn and Mya love their Grandma Hawkins
 I'm one of those mean wives who won't let their husband have nintendo, so Josh loves pulling out his childhood nintendo set when he's at his parents house.
 Nothing brings a dad and daughter closer together than a little Super Mario Brothers......or so Josh claims :)
 Halle is like the little mother figure to all the little nieces and nephews. My girls love her!
 I love this picture!
Jason and Brandi have two girls who are about the same age apart as Bryn and Mya so it's always fun to look at Hunter and Halle and see what my girls will be like down the road.
 Normally we act out the nativity with all the cousins, but we were small in numbers this year so the nativity was replaced with a cousin dance party. 

We opened a few presents and did our annual gift exchange. Brandi made these darling blocks and Bryn has loved playing with them! Cute, right!?
 Let's zoom in for a closer look! Thanks Brandi!!
 Aww....some sweet time with Grandpa
Bryn had so much fun with these cute cousins! I wish she got to see them more, but it just makes us appreciate these times when she has such a blast with them.
More Christmas pictures to come, of course! :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial

Yesterday Josh finished his last exam of the semester, so we wanted to do something fun to celebrate. We ended up checking out the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial in Vermont. It's only half an hour away, but we had never been there as a family yet. The grounds were lit up beautifully with Christmas lights and they had some fun Christmas displays and treats. 

When we told Bryn we were going to see a Nativity she said "Oh good! I've always wanted to go to Bethlehem!" 
Fun night!