June Joys

June already feels like forever ago, but it was a good month filled with lots of joys.

We spent every Saturday at the soccer field watching this cute kid play soccer. He's becoming quite the little soccer player and loves the sport with a passion. Now he's on to rugby but I'll post about that next month.

His team picture:

This group of cuties came to stay with us for a week.

Bryson and Lilly both loved having four extra friends/cousins around to play and giggle with all day.

Bryson graduated from first grade and earned the "Leader in Me" award.

So proud of this boy.
Here is our reading list for the Summer. We've already read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and are just about finished with Hatchet. Reading together as a family each night is something we all look forward to.
We got to see this fine young man get baptized. Cole is Lilly's half-brother and is such an amazingl kid.
Lilly loved getting to spend time with her Mommy Amber.
Lilly is growing like a weed, but is still such a petite little thing.
If we don't take her pigtails out at night she wakes up with "antenna hair" as we call it. You'll also notice that her pajamas are on inside out in the picture below. That's because she learned how to unzip her jammies, which wasn't such a bad thing until she started taking off her diaper and pooping all over her crib (seriously DISGUSTING!). Fortunately inside out jammies have solved that gag-worthy problem.

We snapped this quick picture of us before heading to church. Even though it doesn't look like it in the picture, Lilly absolutely loves going to Nursery (it took a few weeks) and has some fabulous leaders.

Bryson got to babysit Mike sister's snake for a week, which he thought was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Me?...not so much.
My sister's and I took this handsome man out to dinner for Father's Day. I am seriously so beyond lucky to have been blessed with him as my dad. He's definitely the perfect dad for me.

We ended the month with a fun siblings dinner with all of my siblings & in-laws (minus Ike, Amy & Cali). We decided to start meeting together kid-free once a quarter and talk about business strategies, money management, investing, planning for the future, food storage, couponing, health, nutrition, etc. We rotate who hosts and who's in charge of planning the dinner and topics. We keep minutes and everything and it has really brought our family together and helped us stay more unified as a family.

Favorite quote this week (maybe I should start saying "month" because that's about how often I update this thing...haha):

"Pay bad people with your goodness; fight their hatred with your kindness. Even if you do not achieve a victory over other people, you will conquer yourself."
-Henri Amiel

Life rules.


Catch Up

It's official. I have become a pathetic blogger. I use to update this thing 3-4 times a week and now I'm averaging only about one post a month and that's on a good month! So today you get a months worth of posts all piled into one. Luck you.


This silver beauty has been Mike's commuter car for the past nine years. He's hit a deer in it, the front grill flew off while driving, and he's replaced the entire engine, but it has carried him safely to and from work and has been our little baby. Mike calls it "the silver bullet." I call it his "wind-up car." We have loved having it, dent and all, but we finally felt it was time to say goodbye and let someone else enjoy her in all her glory, so we listed her on KSL and by the end of the day she was gone. It was a sad, sad day, but the 16-year-old girl who bought it was thrilled to have her first car and we know she'll treat our baby well.


Mike and I celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary on May 14th. Mike surprised me with a private airplane ride over the Salt Lake Valley. We got to fly right over our house (middle house in cul-de-sac) which was really cool .
We also flew over or around five beautiful LDS temples. Our bishop has a plane and was kind enough to take us on the flight. Mike's dream is to learn to fly airplanes or helicopters, so he loved having a mini flying lesson along the way.


Both sets of our parents are currently serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mikes parents (left) are serving in Budapest, Hungary (you can follow their blog here) and my parents (right) are serving in the Family History Center in downtown Salt Lake City. They are both doing awesome and we love hearing about all of their amazing experiences.


Mike surprised me with a new beachcomber bike for my birthday and I have been peddling it all around town like the Wicked Witch of the West (as Mike teases) ever since. Lilly loves to be pulled behind in her little trailer. I've been trying to bike everywhere I possibly can and was able to make it an entire week without driving my car. It was fabulous!


I have been very slowly working on getting our new home decorated. I'll share pictures as I get things finished, but today I'll just share a quick photo of the numbered baskets I added to our mud room lockers.


Lilly is growing like a weed. She now weighs 22 pounds and has finally upgraded to a front-facing carseat. She loves to read (she especially loves David books) and is always bringing us books to read to her.

Lilly looks slightly freaky in this picture (even so she's still stinkin' cute), but it shows her sitting like a big girl up at the counter. She absolutely refuses to sit in her high chair and insists on sitting at the counter next to Bryson. She is also walking up and down stairs now and can put on her own socks and shoes.


I have been volunteering at Bryson's school a ton this year. I give his class their spelling test each week and I also teach Art Masterpiece twice a month. The eight prints below are the ones I've shared with Bryson's class this year. I have loved teaching the kids about each of the different artists as well as the different principles and elements of design (ie: line, shape, form, space, value, texture, color, balance, contrast, movement, pattern, etc). Art, like music, is such a powerful form of expression and I have loved sharing my love of it with Bryson and his class.

My beautiful and amazing little sister Rachel was diagnosed with uterine cancer last month and had to have a hysterectomy in order to remove the cancer. Luckily the cancer was contained to just the uterus and she is now cancer free, but it was definitely a huge scare. Our prayers were answered and we feel so blessed she is still with us. My other amazing little sister Taylor created this beautiful video of Rachel's experience.


Bryson spends every free moment he possibly can playing outside with the neighborhood kids. I had to snap a picture of how cute they looked playing "school" in a box.


Now that we finally have a yard, we've been spending a lot of time enjoying it. For Mother's Day Mike gave me some yard games (Bocce & Croquet) that we've enjoyed playing out in the yard as a family.


After a hard day of working in the yard there's nothing better than to end the day with dancing. Ever since Lilly joined our family, we've been doing a lot of this lately because she just loves it and can't get enough of it.

Mike cracks me up...

Favorite quote this week:

"If you don't accept excuses, then people will stop giving them and will start looking for solutions."

Life rules.


The Big 7

This awesome kid just turned seven! Man, we sure love this boy and can't imagine our lives without him. I tell him every morning when he wakes up that my day just got happier because he woke up and I truly mean that. He brings so much happiness to our lives and we feel so blessed to have him in our family. I'll start this post by giving you a little update on his life and then I'll tell you about his birthday.

We call Bryson "Volcano Boy" because he is always hot--or so he claims. The second he walks in the door from school, he strips down to his undies (he sometimes adds his robe) and that's pretty much how he stays the rest of the day. I do make him put clothes on if he wants to play outside, if we have company, or if we go anywhere, but whenever he's home, he's usually in just his undies. He sleeps in his undies, does his chores in his undies, cooks in his undies, eats in his undies, etc.

We buy Bryson his needs (clothes, food, etc), but if there is anything Bryson "wants" he has to earn the money to buy it himself. So he works like a mad man each week to earn all of his X's on his chart (see Our Money System) so he can earn his weekly allowance (now $7 since he just turned 7). He is such a go-getter and refuses to play with his friends until he gets all of his X's for the day even though they usually keep knocking and begging for him to come out an play. Sometimes we even have to beg him to go out and play, but he insists on getting all of his X's for the day first. He is one determined little boy.

Bryson LOVES Lego's. Lately he's been spending the money he earns on new Lego sets. He's especially a fan of Star Wars Lego sets and Ninjago Lego sets.
Here's a clip of a fun little experiment we did with Bryson last night. We topped four pieces of celery with four different toppings (almond butter, hummus, Nutella & peanut butter) and had him close his eyes and guess which was which. I'm mad I missed his reaction to the hummus because it was classic!

Bryson took a fun field trip the other day to the Texas Roadhouse. They took a tour of the kitchen, got to make their own rolls, they learned a line dance and got to eat a free meal complete with a free drink.

Bryson got to do a report on an animal of his choice and chose to do it on crocodiles. He really enjoyed learning about crocodiles and can now tell you anything you want to know about them. Here's the poster he made for his class presentation.
And here's a very random clip of Bryson demonstrating how to run like a monkey.

Now onto Bryson's big day. Bryson celebrated his 7th birthday on March 24th. Since we went to Disneyland for his birthday, he didn't get a party this year. He was a little bummed about that because he knew it meant he wouldn't get very many presents but he understood and was a good sport about it.

Grandpa & Granny stopped by and were waiting on the porch for him with a present when he got home from school. They gave him this very cool projector and a book about President Monson.
Then they took him to his cousin Zyan's soccer game and then we met up with them at Red Robin (Bryson's choice) for dinner. He loved the free birthday dessert they gave him.
When we got home, all of the little neighbor girls from our cul-de-sac had the cutest little birthday party all prepared and waiting for him complete with a birthday sign, toy cake and pretend presents! They worked on it for hours and just couldn't wait to surprise Bryson with it when he got home. Bryson was just beaming from ear to ear and was so excited that he ended up with a birthday party after all! It was seriously so sweet and thoughtful of them and completely made Bryson's day.

We bought Bryson a little cake and decided to take it outside to share it with the girls for being so sweet and planning such a cute party for him.

Then we went inside and opened the couple of presents we got for him--he got a small Lego set, some new clothes and these homemade math books with dry erase markers.
And here's our traditional video of Bryson telling about his life right now.

Favorite quote this week (Bryson shared this with me from one of his Ninjago movies and I just loved it):

"The best way to defeat your enemy is by making him your friend."
- Sensei Wu

We love you Bryson!

Life rules.


18 Months Old

Lady Lilly is 18 months old! She is seriously such a joy to have in our family and we can't get enough of her. She absolutely adores her big brother and loves to play with him and follow him around like a little puppy. I'm pretty sure Bryson would say Lilly has mastered the art of being an annoying little sister, but boy does he love her and dotes over her like you wouldn't believe.

This girl is all over the place! Upstairs, downstairs, to the pantry, back upstairs, back downstairs, to the bathroom, back to the pantry and over and over again! Her eagerness to explore is endless and she usually leaves a trail of messes wherever she goes.
Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, she has been enjoying playing outside in our front yard with the neighbor girls and at the park.

Lilly LOVES when daddy comes home. When she hears the garage door open, she runs to the back door and starts babbling "dada" and pointing until he walks in. Then she darts into his arms and gives him the biggest love. Mike looks forward to it every day. It is seriously the most adorable thing so I had to capture it on video.

By golly this girl can eat! She is constantly eating! She will eat anything we give her, but some of her favorite foods are mandarin oranges, pickles, bread, cooked carrots, cheese, blueberry muffins, apples, minestrone soup, popcorn, yogurt and anything she can manage to steal from the pantry. She had her 18 month doctor's appointment the other day and is 31 inches tall (50%tile) and weighs 20 lbs. 3 oz (25%tile). She's still a tiny little thing but is growing and developing like a champ.

She loves when her Granny Goose and Grandpa Hink come to visit. She loves climbing up onto their laps and having them read her a story.
Lilly loves to sing songs, read books, color, and she still especially LOVES to dance!!! She's learned how to turn the radio on all by herself just so she has music to dance to. We have several killer dance sessions a day.
Here's another little clip of Lilly doing patty-cake. Apparently Bryson and I both need to learn the words a little better...ha!

Favorite quote this week:
"Be with someone that makes you happy."

We sure love you Lilly!

Life rules.


Disneyland Trip

We set off for sunny California this past week because Bryson is off track and we thought Disneyland would be a fun place to celebrate his 7th birthday.

Bryson has been DYING to go to the Jedi Training Academy in Disneyland ever since he first heard about it. Since that's pretty much the main reason we chose Disneyland, I'll tell you all about it first.

Actually, I'll just let this video of the experience do the talking (the scream you hear at the end is Mommy Kim getting the daylights scared out of her by Darth Maul)...

Not everyone gets picked, so we were excited that Bryson was. He pretty much thought it was the coolest thing ever and he was excited he got to fight Darth Maul.
He also got to create his own light saber, which he thought was just as cool as fighting Darth Maul.
And he created his own droid. He picked an Indiana Jones hat for his droid (because he loved the Indiana Jones ride) and named it "Indiana Droid R7526."
Okay, now that I've gotten the most important part of the trip out of the way, let's rewind a bit.

We decided to road trip it to California and had a great drive. Mike always makes the time pass fast because he is a very entertaining driver. At one point I glanced over and found him casually wearing three pairs of sunglasses. I'm not sure he could even see, but it's just one of the many silly things he did to make the trip fun.

Rather than driving the whole way in one day, we stopped in Vegas for the night. We walked up and down the strip and that was quite the cultural experience--enough said. We especially loved watching the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel and visiting the M&M store.
Disneyland was a blast. It was just as magical as I remember.

Mommy Kim was already planning on spending her Spring break in California so we invited her to Disneyland with us. We always love spending time with her.
Bryson loved all of the rides except Mickey's Fun Wheel (the giant Ferris Wheel in the pic above & below). For some reason he especially hated that one. He was tall enough to ride on every ride except California Screamin' (the roller coaster in the pic below).

But that didn't stop Mommy Kim and I from enjoying it! We loved that ride...yeah buddy!

Here's a short clip of Mike and Bryson on two of the kiddie rides...

Bryson's favorite ride was the Tower of Terror. I hated that ride with a passion but he made me go on it TWICE! He thought it was so funny but I was not at all happy about it.
Mike and Bryson about to get on.

 Here's a shot of us on the ride (not quite sure what Mike is doing).
Toontown was brand new the last time I was at Disneyland almost 25 years ago (sheesh, I'm getting old!). It was fun to show it to Bryson.

Innoventions was cool. Bryson got to virtually pretend he was Iron Man.
We also learned about Honda's most advanced humanoid robot Asimo. He can walk up and down stairs and even run. It was pretty amazing to watch.

There was a lot of line waiting, but we made the best of it and found ways to make it fun...
On the super fun Cars ride...
Bryson loved the parades and we had a fabulous time.
We broke up our three days of Disneyland with a day at the beach. We went to Huntington beach and it was so beautiful and relaxing.
Of course we had to follow tradition and bury Bryson in the sand.
Mike was feeling left out so we buried him too.
We rented a four man bicycle cruiser thing and enjoyed riding up and down the beach.
Bryson's school teacher, who is very aware of Bryson's love of Lego's, told us there was a Lego store at Downtown Disney, so of course we had to check it out. Bryson bought himself a little Lego set which kept him busy back at the hotel.
On the way home we detoured through Mesa, Arizona so we could visit some of Mike's family who lives down there. We got there just in time to see Mike's niece Grace in her school play. She was so cute and did such a great job.

Bryson loved hanging out with his cousins Audrey, Jenna & Claire. They loved chasing him around and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed all of the girl attention he got.

We stopped by to visit Mike's sweet Grammy Miller.

And we also got to spend time with his Grandad and Grandma Jones. He is so sweet with his grandparents and loves them so much.

As you can tell from the pics above, we left our little Lilly at home. Her aunt Cali & cousin Oakland watched her and she had such a great time. They played dress up, painted their nails, fixed their hair, played Barbies and danced all week long!
Cali texted us the cutest pics of Lilly all throughout the week. We loved getting her cute updates.
We missed Lilly SOOOO much and couldn't wait to see her by the end of the week. Here's a video of her seeing us for the first time in eight days. I was so happy she still remembered us. Thank you so much Josh & Cali for watching her!

Favorite quote this week:
"Being rich isn't about how much you have, but it's about how much you can give."
-from this amazing story

Life rules!

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