Monday, May 6, 2013

Hannah is 2!

I can’t believe my baby girl turned 2 on Friday!  Unfortunately the poor girl had quite a week.  Tuesday night she went to the dog park with her dad and got clotheslined by some guy’s dog’s leash and when she woke up the next morning her neck was not pretty.  So when she woke up from her nap on Thursday with a 103 degree fever, I thought that maybe there was an infection or something was wrong.  Apparently the incidents were completely unrelated, but she spent her birthday fighting a fever. 

That evening we took her on the merry go round and we were able to crack a few smiles from her, but certainly not the way that anyone should spend their birthday.  At least I was able to spend her birthday with her cradled in my arms and laying on my chest.  I didn’t get one thing done and Taylor was neglected for the day, but I loved every single second I spent cuddled with my baby girl.

Mickey Waffle for her Birthday Breakfast!

Suffering through opening presents (that pic still makes me sad), trying to enjoy her minnie trike and a rocket ride with her sister!

On Saturday, the fever broke and we had some family and friends come over to celebrate.  I don’t think Hannah is big on lots of people in her face, but she handled it well and it was a great evening to remember just all of the love we have around us.

Taking in a big breath before trying to blow out that last candle

My first attempt with using fondant... I definitely have work to do in mastering my skills, but I thought it turned out cute (as long as you don't look at the other side).

This was prior to Hannah being completely engulfed by her cousins while opening presents.  By that time she let them open them for her, but they were happy for that!

As Hannah embarks on this new year, these are just a few things about her at this point in her life and some of her favorite things…

Her best friend is her sister.  She does like hanging out with her friends Lauren and Maci, but she worships the ground her sister walks on.  She plays with her all day and mimics everything she does.  There is nothing that brings me more joy than watching the two of them play together.

Her favorite toy/character is  “Mynee” (Minnie Mouse).  She is completely obsessed.  I would love it if she would watch Sesame Street or something educational when she watches TV (she is a total couch potato), but all she ever wants to watch is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and now she has been inundated with Minnie Mouse toys to feed her obsession.

Her favorite book is the Gingerbread Man.  If you’ve ever read it, it can be a bit repetitive, but she will finish sentences and will request it every night.  Sadly, I’m just a kid at heart because when she talks about the fox, she doesn’t say fox, it sounds like an f word that should not be repeated and I can’t help but point to the fox and have her repeat it multiple times.  I’m the worst!

Her favorite song is “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree” (church song).  We could sing it 100 times and she would still say “gen” (again).  There are a few words and hand actions she will do throughout the song, but she LOVES it!

Her favorite color is green.  I don’t think she actually knows what green is, but she just loves to say it, so at this point, I’ll just assume that it’s her favorite color.

Her favorite treat is M&Ms. She loves chocolate. 

As for food, she used to be such a great eater, but in the last few months, she has lost her love of food.  This is one of our struggles right now.  So I’m going to say maybe a hot dog from Costco or chicken nuggets, but honestly who knows what her favorite food is.  It’s a miracle when I can get her to eat!  AAAAAAHHHH!!!!

All in all, this girl has brought me more joy in the past two years than I ever thought possible.  Before she was born, I never thought that I could ever love another child as much as I love Tay.  I know that sounds crazy, but I couldn’t understand how you could love 2 children the same.  I’ve learned so much in the last two years.  So you parents can laugh at me right now.  But I have learned that I actually don’t love my children the same, I love them differently.  They are two completely different human beings and they are each loved in their own special way, yet each one is loved completely and unconditionally more than words can ever express and that you will only know once you become a parent (as my mom used to tell me). 

I am so grateful for my little Hannah and the miracle that she is and for all of the joy and love she has added to our family.  Happy Birthday my little Banana!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


We just returned from a fabulous 10 year anniversary trip to France. Well actually it was over a week ago, but it always takes me forever to do a blog post.  We planned the trip (aka booked the trip) a year ago, before we bought a lot or planned on building a house. And then even when all of that happened we still thought there would be more breathing room, but we apparently like to make things interesting. So this is the first time I have left on a trip without really having a solid plan of what we're doing and where we're going. We only knew what days we were spending in which city.... Aaaaah!

Despite that, it was an amazing trip! Once again I was proved wrong. Dustin actually had the idea to go to France. I had always wanted to do southern France, but had no desire to do Paris because I had always heard the people were rude and the city wasn't that great. Once again, I was wrong. The people could not have been nicer and the city was much better than I had expected. And in the 4 days we were there, I saw a great deal of it by foot. Because bless Dustin's heart, but I am married to the energizer bunny who doesn't stop and can go strong all day long. I had to insist on a nap in the early evening and by the 4th day in Paris, I just didn't get up and slept through the night!

Highlights in Paris: of course the Louvre is amazing. The building itself is absolutely incredible and the architecture was breathtaking. As for the art, I am probably more of a Museum D'Orsay gal. I loved the impressionist painters and preferred the art there, but it's still fantastic. The Notre Dame was beautiful. I'm not much of a stained glass window person myself, however the stained glass windows in the Notre Dame are by far the most beautiful I've ever seen. I'm sorry my pics don't do them justice. We stayed a little out of the way in Montmartre so we went up to the Sacre Coeur Basilica a few times. The church is beautiful and the view over the city is fantastic as well. Random highlights, brie for like $3-4 and patisseries (bakeries) everywhere. You couldn't go more than a block without seeing another one and sometimes even next door to each other. We did a river tour on the Seine which was a nice rest and great way to see the city after going up 43 stories on the Eiffel Tower. But we were the first ones up for the day at least for a few minutes which was kind of cool! And then the Eiffel tower at night is a must! 

Beautiful view from our river tour along the Seine

The Louvre - Pic doesn't do it justice

It really is soooo big!

Notre Dame

One of the amazing stained glass windows in the Notre Dame

The original Mouline Rouge - just like the movie, don't you think? 

Sacre Coeur Basillica - Offered the most beautiful views because it sits on a hill over the city

But as much as I really did enjoy the city, to my surprise, my favorite was our day trip to Versaille. I started reading "To Dance with Kings" on the flight out. It's a historical novel that starts during the time of King Louis XIV and goes through King Louis XVI but it's during the time that Versailles was transformed and really utilized and so although I was only halfway through the book when we went there it just came alive for me. I could envision the parties in the various rooms, and where the town folk were selling their goods, it was an amazing experience for me where my senses were heightened. Not to mention that I enjoyed the book immensely. That palace is a masterpiece of art and I highly recommend going there if you're going to Paris and to read the book too!

The GOLD gates of Versailles!

Through the gates... WOW!

Hall of Mirrors - where a lot of the parties and gatherings took place - All of the gold is either 18k or 24K - craaaazy huh?  King Louis XIV may have been over the top, but all for our enjoyment now..

Bike ride throughout the extensive grounds of Versaille - so fun and a must if you go!

The Hamlet - the peasant farm that Marie Antoinette had built

One of my favorite pics that Dustin took.  Yes, the bird is real!

Another one of my favorites a la Dustin

There are over 300 fountains on the grounds, used to be thousands

We then went down to Avignon for a few days. The train ride down made me want to stop along the way, but I loved Avignon. There's a wall around the inner part of the city and a beautiful palace. It's also a great central place for day trips. We hit Aix en Provence one day. It was expensive to get there and I wasn't that impressed so I don't think I'd go back there although many like it, which is why I wanted to go. Another day we went to Arles. Another fantastic city! Home of a mini coliseum where gladiators would fight and now bull fights take place. In fact Van Gogh who spent two years in this little town was so moved by it, he did 300 paintings in 2 years. Some of your favorites were painted there...

Ponte d'Avingon (aka Avingon Bridge)

 Van Gogh's Le Jardin de La Maison de SAnte a Arles.  This is the hospital he stayed at after cutting off his ear.  No longer a hospital, but if you're all cooped up, why not paint your surroundings.  

Coliseum in Arles

Our favorite meal was in Avignon. I don't think they get many Americans so we were even greeted at the door by the owner/chef when we arrived asking us how we heard about his restaurant. 

 Dustin's favorite pastry he found in Avignon, it was this light bready meringue with this praline cream filling... so good.  Dustin thought he'd died and gone to heaven!

 Beef Tartare with Wasabi ice cream, Braised Turkey with Tandoori Sauce, Peanut Cake with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and my Molten Chocolate Cake with caramel and rose ice cream (not pictured) - Instagramers saw how awesome it looked though... yum!

We ended the trip in Nice which could not have been more perfect. The sound of the ocean and the view of the blue Mediterranean. One day we took a bus ride that goes right along the coast to Monaco which was picturesque the entire way. Monaco was just like in the movies. The money just in the cars in Monte Carlo is crazy! On the way back to Nice, we stopped in one of the most charming towns up on a hill called Eze. I couldn't capture the little alleyways of the town in a picture, but it was beautiful and the views were breathtaking. 

Brie on a baguette and a Coca Light sitting by the ocean... life was pretty awesome!

Monaco - the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino behind us


We went back to Nice and ended the night with a fabulous meal of stuffed rabbit with sausage, Parmesan rissotto with scallops, fish mullet and chocolate fondant with pistachio ice-cream. Which is almost like this rich chocolate batter of sorts. Simply divine! A lot of Italian influences when you're so close to the border.

So, as if this post isn't long enough, I'm going to finish it up with just a couple pros and cons that I think anyone who has traveled to Europe can appreciate....


To all of my Diet Coke loving friends, I am sorry to say that I would pick a coca cola light over a diet come any day... Why don't they have those around here?

It is truly awe inspiring to walk down streets and visit sites that are far older than the country we live in.

Patisseries on every block and cheese stores. No wonder the French are skinny, they walk everywhere. I ate whatever I wanted and still lost weight on this trip. Although I was exhausted when I got home. I would love to know how many miles we walked.

It took only a couple of days or so removed for me to truly re-appreciate my life as a mother to my beautiful girls and wife to my husband of now 10 years of now 10 years. I get so caught up in my daily life that it takes me missing my girls and being one on one with DT to just remember how truly great my life really is. Apparently I forget that sometimes. How selfish am I?


However.... I don't want to pay 2 or 3 euros for a coca light and I much prefer it cold with a tall glass with ice and LOTS of it. 

Now that I'm home, it is so nice to see bathrooms everywhere, and to not have to pay every time I use one of them. 

I'll be happy to eat my meals without smelling smoke or just to not to smell body odor... Gross!

This next one probably goes in both categories. Pro - Dustin loved Paris. Con - He's ready to move there. I told him slow down cowboy, I'm not raising our two little kids in Paris. So I think with his current employment, we're in the clear. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ode to Our Home

So, today we officially sold our home.  We've kept it on the down-low for the most part, but we are moving. And like last time we moved, we're pretty much moving within the same neighborhood.  It appears that our little family probably doesn't like to leave our comfort zone very much.

The whole thing has been an adventure.  We've loved this house.  We bought it right at the peak of the housing bubble:  October 2006.  And we've done a lot to the home:  we immediately remodeled the kitchen and installed new flooring and painted.  We eventually updated the exterior, added a deck, replaced carpet, and remodeled the bathroom.  I think it's a beautiful house.  The problem is, once we had our second miracle daughter, the house became a little less practical.  Tay and Hannah are sharing a room because the third bedroom is downstairs.

Last September, we put our house on the market, just to see what we could get.  We weren't in a hurry to leave, because we loved the neighborhood and area and our home.  But we couldn't find anything that we liked on the market.  But in December, we came across a flaglot in a nearby neighborhood that we loved and we decided to build a house, which we'll be moving into next month.

So, here we are.  It's a little bitter-sweet right now.  A bit unhappy with the fact that our house didn't sell for a price that we had thought it was worth, yet very grateful for this home for giving us so many great memories and amazing friendships.  And we're also excited for our next house to have more wonderful memories.

So, I've decided to share some of my favorite memories of the house. And I'm only putting the positive memories, partly because I'm never in the frame of mind to take pictures during the bad moments (like the basement floodings, huge trees falling in our yard, pesky rodents, etc.).

So, here are some pics of our favorite memories of this house:

First three pics are before (right when we bought the house)

The next three pics are the same pictures, but after our work:

And this is the deck that we added, along with my favorite backyard get together:

We weren't the best gardeners, but we did enjoy having a garden . . .

Our sweetest memory of this house is probably the day that we picked up Taylor from the hospital.  Most of you know our story, but we found out about Taylor pretty much the day that she was given to us.
One reason that we have felt such a need to stay in our neighborhood is because of the amazing friends and neighbors here.  When we got home from the hospital, not only was our house and yard decorated with congratulations, but a new crib was set up and our kitchen was filled with groceries.  What amazing friends!  

Then watching Taylor go from the tiniest baby to a fat little toddler and into a little princess: 

And of course, the adoption and sealing . . . 

And of course, our next miracle took place while living in this house.  The miracle of Hannah's arrival:

And watching her turn into our little happy 'butt-scooter'.  Since she scoots and doesn't crawl, it's been nice living in a rambler without stairs.  But she better learn how to crawl up and down stairs soon . . .  

 And Utah's Sugar Bowl season.  It kind of fits into my good memories.  But really, it's almost football season and I had to throw that in somehow.

Thanks, Tate 2nd home, for the amazing memories and friendships we've shared while living here.  You've been a great home - just a lousy financial investment.
But I do hope the new young couple that's moving in can have as many wonderful memories in this home as we have . . .