Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Date

We were supposed to go snow shoeing in the night but we got un-snowed in. We never would have imagined that there would be NO snow in Minnesota in February. We already had a babysitter lined up though so we decided to go to Barnes and Noble and walk around. RJ needed a book too so it worked out and was actually a lot of fun.

#1 Dad

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. ~Harmon Killebrew

The kids are so lucky to have RJ for a dad. He's so good to them and they know it. When he comes home, they greet him like they haven't seen him in ages. Just in case they forget the extra little things he does (beyond providing for them), I thought I would dedicate this entry to him for:

Sticking surprises like M&M's in their sandwiches

Reading an extra chapter or two at bed time

Lingering for extra "lay by" time at night

Taking them to his basketball games

Giving a hug instead of losing it

Playing babies, house, catch and games all the time

Sewing/darning socks and tights

Leaving special notes for them in the morning

Letting them "help" bake

Being okay with spills, messes and accidents

Coloring beside them

Painting nails

in general, going the extra mile to express and show his love.

RJ painting Reagan and McKenna's nails

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine's Day

RJ warned me well in advance that he would be out of town (Savannah Georgia) on Valentine's Day. I tried to make it a special day for the kids. When I got up to exercise, I filled their envelopes with chocolates, Dora stuff for McKenna and a Star Wars notebook for Hunter. I continued to find love notes in the shape of hearts from RJ in the check book, on the food scale, in my wallet and scriptures etc. (so cute). I had planned to make the kids a nice waffle breakfast but found out that Hunter's lunch at school would be waffles so we did homemade sourdough English muffins, scammbled eggs, sliced strawberries, and hot chocolate. We got Hunter on his bus, went to Once Upon a Child where we got some church clothes for each of the kids, the library for story time and to Hunter's school for lunch. It was really fun to see him so grown up and in charge (the lunch was not as good as the company).

In the afternoon, the UPS man rang the door bell and left a long rectangular box by the door. McKenna helped me open the box and pull out 24 long stemmed roses, a teddy bear and box of chocolates from RJ. The note inside read: "Thinking of you despite the miles between us. Loving you every day of my life. Love you, Me."

So sweet!

McKenna in her cute new dress (minus the little white cardigan).

McKenna has been wanted to eat in the food court at Target and I told her we could when RJ was out of town. Of course she remembered (I wish her memory was as good when it comes to changing her underwear and brushing her teeth). I kept my promise and took the kids to Target before watching McKenna at her dance class. When we got home, it was business as usual with scriptures and bedtime routines.

I got to talk to RJ late that night. He had a very long day so I sent him an email with some cute pictures of the kids to brighten his day. I also packed his bag with my yearly "remember when" list full of funny things that happened throughout the year and our new blurb book. I put a little something special together as well for when he got home.

I love Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Goodbye Helmet!

After just over six months, we finally decided to be done with Reagan's beautiful, pink butterfly life saver of a helmet. Though she did improve to the point that she no longer measured as needing a helmet, it wasn't as much as we had originally hoped. Her overall improvement was 5.2% and she went from class 2's and 3's to 1's and 2's.

We love Reagan so much. We hope she always feels as beautiful as we think she is. I am excited to pull out the hats, headbands, bows etc. and to smell and kiss her head.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Times

Grandma Reeve gave McKenna some magnetic paperdolls with several outfits. As we were dressing them up, we noticed that their clothes were not modest. We decided that together, we could help these girls repsect their bodies by covering their legs with leggings and shoulders with sleeves.

Much better!

The designer herself

We had so much fun, we decided to make a wedding dress.

I caught the raccoon getting into our pantry.

Bundled up and ready to play outside

I signed McKenna up for a jazz, tap, ballet class. She really likes it and I am surprised at how well she listens to the instructor and follows directions.

She loves her tap shoes!

I went to a maze of mirrors with my friend Lisa and her kids. It was soooooo trippy. I had a hard time distinguishing between reality and reflections. The kids had a great time.

We had to wear gloves to not mark the mirrors.

Celebrity Eclipse Here We Come!

I have been looking forward to blogging our cruise and have ran into a lot of computer difficulties. I ended up splitting my entry into two portions and will have all of my commentary on this one (good luck following it). Without further ado... here our some pics from our fabulous cruise.

When RJ graduated from OSU with his MBA in 2009, he took me on a cruise. Since then, we knew we wanted to go again. Our good friends, Dave and Mila Newcomb have been on several cruises and expressed interest in cruising with us. We decided we would cruise together in 2012. The day to leave actually arrived and I was beside myself with giddiness. Pam and Reed flew to Minnesota to watch the kids and hold down the fort. We flew to Miami early Friday morning and stayed in a hotel that night.

Waiting for the shuttle to our hotel.

We felt a little lost in the hotel that night. It was so quiet and we didn't have a million things to get done. We walked the scary streets of Miami looking for a dinner and breakfast stop (for the next morning). The next morning, we took a shuttle to the port and were anxious to get on the ship.


Jumping for joy with Celebrity Eclipse in the background.

There was a lot of waiting going on inside. We waited to get through security then waited to board the ship. We finally met up with Dave and Mila on the soon-to-be familiar buffet-style deck. It was so great to see them and they looked fantastic. They have been doing a special diet and working out hard.

Dave and Mila with Miami in the background.

We took ourselves on a tour of the ship while we waited for our luggage to arrive.

We finally made it to our stateroom (9164). Here's the bathroom.

RJ showcasing the interior.

Getting ready for some serious pampering.

Mislabeled. The robes are NOT one size fits all.

I don't necessarily have all the pictures in order. There were two formal nights where we got to dress up for dinner. I only brouoght one dress so Mila let me wear one of hers. It was fun to get gussied up. It also felt luxurious to eat dinner at a private table by the window with Dave and Mila in restaurant fashion. Our waiters names were Everton and Jose. It felt amazing to eat out and be able to order appetizers, entrees and desserts every night for 7 days!

Picture Time!

I made this shrug on Monday before the cruise. I am pleased that it actually worked!

Group pictures on a spiral staircase.

The ship was so beautiful with art and wonderful textures and fabrics.

Every night our "housekeeper" would leave an itinerary for the next days' festivities as well as chocolates on our pillows. He tidied our room, made our bed and brought fresh towels twice/day. We tried to take advantage of everything the ship offered. We went to most of the shows and participated in many of the activities.

One of the first activities was a pool volleyball tournament. RJ, Dave and I formed a team and a few strangers joined us. It wasn't until I got to the poolside and watched the other teams that I noticed the depth of the water, 5'9". Just so you know, it's not easy treading water while playing volleyball. RJ pulled his weight at the net but we got killed anyway.

We played bocci ball, ping pong (reigning champ- Dave), putted, shot baskets, played board games (courtesy of Mila), danced, played Family Feud, watched a Not So Newly Wed show, played loaded questions, battle of the sexes, sat in the hot tub, and hung around the karaoke lounge a few nights. Mila even build up the courage to sing "Midnight Train to Georgia" and at the end, Dave, RJ and I made a train out of ourselves and marched around her. I was very proud of her for having the courage to do that. She has a pretty voice.

Each night we went to the main show and some were better than others. They had their main dancers/singers and to be honest, the choreography was rough. We got to hear some Broadway songs, see a circus/type performance (very impressive), a magic show (less impressive), a comedian, and a female impressionist (way fun). Don't forget our cruise director Mike Gibbons. He loved to sing and actually had a good voice. As I sat there many nights, I couldn't believe my luck. I even began to feel like a pleasure glutton. I just tried to take it all in.

We decided to keep our workout regimen even if our dining regimen was slowly going to pot. We hit the gym or track faithfully 5 out of the 7 days. One of our excursions was supposed to be highly strenuous so we counted that for a workout even though it didn't feel like one.

Our first port was San Juan Puerto Rico. There are two forts that look like castles and we toured one of them. It was called Castillo San Cristobal. It was HUGE! The walls were so thick and there were long dark tunnels. I really liked wandering around checking out the dungeon and sleeping quarters.

Our second port was St. Thomas where we went kayaking, snorkeling and hiking. I am happy that I can write to tell about it since we almost lost some arms with some reckless driving on the way there. We used a two man, sit on top kayaks. I was nervous how RJ and I would work as a team (too much Amazing Race watching maybe) and we decided to stay calm and communicate. I worked! We paddled around some mangrove trees and I was struck by the story of the sacrificial leaf. The mangrove trees grow with their roots in the ocean floor. They have built in filters to filter the salt out of the water. It's about 97% efficient. The remaining three percent is soaked up by the yellow sacrificial leaf that absorbs the salt and consequently dies.

We paddled out to an island covered with purple clawed soldier Caribbean hermit crabs. They looked like piles of rocks but upon further inspection, you could see movement. Our instructors names were Travis and Casey. They told us to find the feistiest one and we would race them. Casey drew a circle on the ground and we put our crabs in the middle. On "go", the first hermit crab to get outside the circle was crowned the winner. I guess I'm not a natural when it comes to training hermit crabs because mine never left the circle.

We "hiked" a short distance to a blow hole and took some pictures getting sprayed. Then we went back to the beach to snorkel. RJ was nervous that he wouldn't be able to do it since he had tried once as a kid and was unsuccessful. He put the mask on and took problem. I was the one who struggled at first. I put my face in the water and when I tried to breath I panicked and couldn't get air. I kept trying and told myself to calm down. It worked and we had a lot of fun watching the fish. The biggest one we saw was a puffer. From far away, I wondered if it was a small shark. I would have liked to have seen more and I would definitely do it again. Maybe I won't tighten my mask so much next time though. I felt like I had a bruise on my forehead for a few days. The whole thing was awesome!

Our last port was St. Marten (half Dutch, half French). RJ and I decided to use our on board credit to do another excursion. We went to a butterfly farm and Willie taught us that butterflies are as important as bees for pollinating. I had fun taking pictures of all sorts of butterflies. I really wanted a blue one before we left so RJ made it happen (hopefully he didn't break it's legs).

We went to "The Orient" beach afterward where we got a complementary beach chair and fruit punch. We ran and splashed and rode the waves. It was so fun to feel like a kid again. Not a care in the world. We decided to walk along the beach and enjoy the fine warm sand in our toes. It was then that we saw that some people only packed half of their swimming suits! In all fairness, we were warned that there may be nudity on parts of the beach. I guess I thought there would be a section of "them" and we would avoid that part of the beach. When all was said and done, I wasn't as offended as I thought I would be (none of them were Bay Watch material).

As we approached the end of our cruise, I tried to prepare myself mentally to return to real life. My only concern for an entire week was "what should I wear?" and "how should I do my hair?" I wanted to bring some of my laid-back-ness to my children. I had let myself slip into a rut of grumpiness. How could I bring this calmness I was feeling with me? I didn't know the answer but I thought about it for a good 24 hours. As wonderful as our trip was, one week was enough of "living the life" to remind me that the lives worth living for were in Minnesota.

The kids greeted us like royalty when we finally arrived. I was most concerned with how Reagan did. When she walked around the corner and saw me, she waddled towards me then turned and dropped her face to the ground. When I picked her up, Grandpa approached and she reached for him! Thankfully she did come back to me and she buried her head in my shoulder for a long time without moving.

The house looked great and dinner was ready. I could tell that the kids really enjoyed spending time with their Grandma and Grandpa Reeve (and their i-pads). They did a great job with the kids and we can't thank them enough. We got to spend a few days with them before they headed back to Utah. We went to a Timberwolves/Kings game for our January date on Monday and saw Jimmer play. He didn't stand out like the hot shot he was when he played for BYU. I had a good time nevertheless.