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Enjoying the Journey Together in 2011

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S: Enjoying the Journey Together, 2011

BC: We {heart} each other!

FC: Enjoying the Journey Together | 2011

1: Journaling Our Lives in 2011 | Tyler - 10 years, Ethan - 9 years, Alayna - 4 & 5 years.

2: Tyler's birthday always makes January fun. For his birthday an especially fun day was planned! Although, at the last minute, Ty opted out of going to a BYU basketball game with Dad, Ethan, and Grandpa. Instead, he choose to be at home with Laney and me and then at Grandma's where we were meeting up with Dad and Ethan. Tyler's biggest want for a birthday present was a pogo stick. And he loved having money, his gift from MomMom, to spend on whatever he wanted. He is definitely turning into such a "tween."

3: This year Tyler wanted a Lego theme for his friend party. He was really involved in the planning of it. He planned four centers for the boys to rotate through. I asked him if he wanted me around helping or upstairs out of his way. He wanted me upstairs (sniff, sniff). He was so excited about his party. It was fun to watch his organizational skills shine through. He is so like his Dad! I only came down to help serve the cake and ice cream. Even then, the help he needed or should I say wanted was minimal. He's growing up so much and really independent! I suspect that this may be the last friend party we do this way.

4: One day Laney found my boots and was walking around in them just laughing and laughing. She really experiences the joy of life.

5: No boy was ever happier to have his birthday on Super Bowl Sunday than Ethan. Even better because his team won bringing home the birthday joy even more. We had a great celebration at Grandma's house with the extended family. Ethan was thrilled with his Colts--his favorite football team--birthday cake. | 9th

6: This is how Dad relaxes. So we see a lot of yoga around our house. Usually it's Laney who jumps in and does it with Dad. Maybe because she is the most flexible one in the house...next to Dad. | yoga

7: Someone brought their microphone to church unbeknowst to Mom and Dad. We thought it was hilarious!

8: The Pass of All Passes This pass provided many hours of fun for our family at Trafalga in Lehi and Orem. Our favorite activity by far was playing Laser Tag, especially the boys. We more than paid for our passes with LaserTag alone. Even Laney, as little as she was, loved it and independently ran around playing. | Laney's favorite was rock climbing. She climbed every wall, hard or easy! She was amazing! | Luckily for us your Hadlock cousins (and their parents) had bought these passes too so we met up with them over Spring break to play.

9: On one of our visits to Trafalga during Spring Break, I was waiting in line with Laney for the rock climbing wall when Ty came rushing over to me. He told me he had dared Ethan to climb through the hole in The Claw vending machine to touch one of the stuffed animals inside. Not really comprehending, because Ethan wouldn't really do what I thought Tyler was saying, because surely I had taught him better than that, I had Ty led me to the machine. And what to my surprise... Ethan was inside the machine just like Ty had said. Immediately, I could tell from his expression that he was nervous about being stuck in the Claw. Natural consequences were teaching him far better than anything I could say. So, all I wanted to do was laugh...out loud. But I didn't. I, instead, gave Ethan the appropriate assurance that he would be out shortly. The workers were there trying to get him out before I had even gotten there with Ty. In the end, Ethan spent no more than 3 minutes in his glass "prison." | Dare Me?

10: Las Vegas Getaway Steve and I took a quick flight over to Vegas for three days and two nights at Caesar's Palace. Las Vegas was all about food and relaxation for us! As soon as we arrived at our hotel, we went to relax by the pool. For our second day, in the morning, we opted for different activities. I think we were both still trying to relieve the stress of learning how to handle Steve's anxiety (which showed itself to us on Christmas day 2010 for the first time) in our own way. Steve opted for a spa package complete with massage and facial and I went shopping. Steve came back so relaxed and happy. I too came back happy, with my hands full of shopping bags. We had two completely different experiences with dinner this time. First we went back to Mesa Grill. Bobby Flay's southwestern cuisine is so rich and flavorful. It was everything we remembered it was. Our second night we went to Iron Chef Mario Batali's B & B Ristorante. His is Italian cuisine and wasn't our favorite. Ordering from the menu was a little challenging because it had terms we weren't familiar with or knew. Still it was great to experience something new. After dinner we had plans to see Phantom of the Opera. We walked hand-in-hand over to the theater only to find to our disappointment that they had canceled the show for the evening because they were adding a performance for Monday, Memorial Day. By the end of the night even our backup plan didn't work out to see La Reve again, so we changed into comfy clothes and walked through the mall to find a "real" dessert. It didn't matter that nothing worked out; this trip was about being together. I loved that every time my hand was reaching for Steve's his hand was already reaching back for mine. While we were there, for some reason, we couldn't get the thermostat in our room to work any higher than 60 degrees. So, it was arctic cold in Vegas. But we loved it. We curled up and cuddled in our room to stay warm any time we were in there.

11: I love you to my bones!!

12: 36th | For Dad's birthday, Laney and I took him to Tucanos for lunch to celebrate. I love this sweet picture of them.

13: Alayna was so ready to turn 5. It was going to be a special day for her. I'd been hearing things like: when I turn five, I'll learn to ride a bike, or I'll learn that letter sound, or I'm going to school." As usual we celebrated with a family party on her actual birthday. We had had a party with the extended family the Sunday before her birthday at Grandma's. It was at Grandma's house that she had the heart cake she had so anticipated this year.

15: An Amazing Date in Salt Lake In June, Steve and I participated in the Utah Urban Challenge. My friend's mom was paying the $150 registration fee for 20 teams. We named our team, The Patriot Act. During the day, we had to get signatures on our "passport" by completing a series of challenges; some physical and some mental, like providing the name of a movie from a picture. At the last minute we decided to forgo our bikes, and run around Salt Lake city based on the clues that we received for completing each challenge. We made such a good team and had a great day together while we helped a good cause.

16: Celebrating Independence This year we celebrated the 4th like every other; when you know what you like why change it? This is one of the holidays Ty, Ethan, and Laney look forward to the most. They love the talent show, the games--Red Rover, tug-of-war, Red Light Green Light, and jump rope--in the backyard, the fire pit, the fireworks, and the yummy food.

18: Quiet Waters Park We were so lucky to spend a month with my family this summer. Even though we want to see and stay with everyone at once, it's impossible. Because of scheduling conflicts we stayed with Todd and Michelle first and then Paige. Because I wouldn't stay at Robin's house until later and I wanted to see her, we met her family (minus Torin) at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. What a great day it was to be outside. We first played at the park, but the kids were really too old for it and quickly opted to play soccer for a little bit while the adults visited. | Maryland, My Maryland July 13-Aug 13

19: Afterwards, at Buff's suggestion, we walked along the beautiful path over to the water. Along the way Buff entertained the kids by bouncing a tennis ball for them to catch. They loved it! After skipping rocks, Buff decided the kids needed more activity than that and headed over to the kayaks. Soon enough everyone had their own boat and paddled away. Although Robin and I opted to stay on dry land and visit. It wasn't long before we heard the squeals of delight from the kiddos. Buff had brought the tennis ball along and they were busy throwing it from boat to boat. Amidst all of that, Uncle Buff splashes and everyone was soaked in minutes. Uncles make everything so much more fun! Because they were already soaked it wasn't long before everyone "accidentally on purpose" fell in.

20: Grandparents in NC My children are lucky to have six grandparents who love them. I was so excited we were able to spend a couple of days with my dad, along with Aunt Paige's and Aunt Robin's families. Dad and Marie were great hosts! Because we didn't want to overwhelm them with our brood, we opted to stay at a hotel. Our plan was to wear the kids out in the hotel pool in the morning and be at Dad's by noon. Dad and Marie didn't mind when the kids ate and drank them out of house and home. He cooked dinner for us twice and took us all out to their favorite restaurant another night.

21: While the adults were busy talking, the kids were busy playing in the lake that is part of Dad's backyard. It's amazing how creative they can be. They created a game with a captain in it and jumped off the jet ski ramp. The interesting thing is that with all those boys they designated Brenna as the captain. Is that the influence of their strong mothers? I enjoyed so much spending time talking with Dad, Marie, Dana (my stepsister), and Dana's daughter and husband. They were easy to talk with and the time passed too quickly. We were all teary when it was time to say goodbye after only a few short days.

22: Cape Charles, VA On the way home from Dad's house we, along with Aunt Paige's family were invited to Cape Charles where the Colchagoff's had rented a beach house. It was a perfect resort town. Cape Charles opts for quaint over the commercialness of nearby Virgina beach, and I love it. It is so small that most people get around by golf cart. The kids spent at lot of time swimming and playing on the beach. I really felt like Ty, Ethan, and Laney were getting | Fun on the Beach

23: a very similar vacation experience to what I had when I was growing up. I have so many pictures like these on the beach at Oak Island from when I was little. To add to the fun, Buff rented a jet ski and the kids were excited. As Ty told Aunt Paige, "Brenna drove safe, I drove fast!" I don't think he knew Ethan drove the fastest! We were able to enjoy a delicious dinner at their upscale restaurant, Aqua while we were there. They had the most delicious cantaloupe and nectarine salad with a mint vinaigrette dressing! | Little Cuties

24: On our second day in Cape Charles, Laney got a permanent souvenir! I was at the house making lunch for everyone at the beach when I heard an incessant pounding on the door. I went downstairs to open the glass door and saw Brenna. I could tell from her face something was wrong. When I opened it she told me that Ty had accidentally dropped Laney on the jetty and she said Robin thought Laney probably needed stitches. I felt badly for both Ty and Laney. Ty's hands were pretty scraped where he had tried to catch them from falling. And, Laney's knee was pretty banged up too. I gave myself a pep talk to stay calm and not get emotional. So, we calmly loaded Laney in the car. Robin, had done a good job of bandaging her knee with what we had. I was really happy when the doctor said he thought he could super glue her cut although it would give her a wider scar. After some hesitation, I made the decision to go with it and not do the stitches. Now Laney will always have something to remind her of our trip.

25: Aunt Paige was so excited to provide this new experience for you guys! Having been a fan of Miranda Cosgrove's show, icarly, you loved being at her concert. You were out of your seats "dancing crazy". Laney loved being on Ty's shoulders and he loved her being there. I loved watching you. We ate at Olive Garden before the concert. I loved listening to the tween conversation; and maybe, just maybe, I got a small glimpse of what Ty and Ethan will be like as young men. | Dancing Crazy with Miranda Cosgrove

26: I | We were so lucky to be able to spend the night with Aunt Robin and her family in their new house on the Chesapeake Bay! It is their dream house on the water and it is beautiful! The kids had the best time playing in the pool in their backyard. With so many boys around you can be sure it involved throwing a ball to each other as they jumped off the diving board into the water. Robin and Buff were so sweet, knowing my love of hard shell crabs they took us to get some that night for dinner! And it was a feast! You guys weren't sure what to think of them. Tyler would eat the crab meat if I picked it for him. Old Bay and crabs remind my of the many summers I spent at the beach growing up! | Aunt Paige treated Alayna to her first mani! She loved it and has wanted another one ever since!

27: I was so excited when it was finally time to see MomMom. She had been traveling and wasn't home when we first arrived in Maryland. We stayed a few nights at her house in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the greatest host for us! She always has gifts waiting on our beds with the towels she puts there for us to use. She took us everywhere! She is a fun grandma! I love the history in the East. So, at my request MomMom took us to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home on the Potomac. I think the kids enjoyed it and I loved it! The day before we had been to the National Zoo and seen a panda up close! We also went to the Air & Space Museum. You guys talked MomMom into taking you to see an IMAX and Planetarium show. Laney and I missed the Planetarium show because she is still too little to sit through a whole movie and we had already seen one. Instead, we went outside and people watched as we ate an ice cream. We had a great time wit MomMom! The visit was too short! Luckily we still had Deep Creek to look forward to.

31: Deep Creek Fun We had so much fun on the lake skiing, tubing and wake boarding.

34: Big Jim's as seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives | Once we decided we were flying out of PIttsburgh, Dad started planning a fun, family day for us to fill our time while we waited to go to the airport. One of the places he knew we should try was Big Jim's. Luckily with a GPS, it made this detour off the beaten path an easy adventure. And boy was it off the beaten path. But the food was worth the drive. The Reuben and Veal Parmigiana sandwiches were huge and our mouth watered just looking at them.

35: Alayna's First Day of Kindergarten | I can't believe it's Laney's turn to start school! She is so excited and ready in every way. She is so social. I am excited for her to meet new friends and have new experiences. I am going to miss my Little Miss Sunshine while she is gone, but she is exactly where she is suppose to be. I had so much fun shopping for her school uniform and thought the argyle knee highs were the prefect finishing touch.

36: end of... | Grandma and Grandpa are so great to share their boat with everyone. They love taking each family for a day on the boat. You guys love it too! Each of you were able to try the knee board and skis. The smiles show it all. Laney wasn't able to stay up for long, but it was amazing that she got up...she's barley five. What courage!

37: Pinewood Derby I love the scouting program and all that it teaches Tyler and Ethan. And the Derby is just such an opportunity. The boys had a fun time making their car designs with Dad. I really like seeing the thought that goes into it. The boys had their cars cut and sanded a few weeks before and then painted them the week of the Derby. I let the boys have carte blanche on creativity while painting their cars. Tyler's car came in 1st place this year.

38: Ethan's Special Trip with Dad | When I was in Maryland over the summer, while Dad and I were talking on the phone, he told me that he wanted to start a new tradition with the kids. He wanted to take them on a mini trip to have special one-on-one time. I was all for the idea (although I won't take Laney until she's older). Dad already had the perfect trip idea for Ethan. Tyler was instructed to put his thinking cap on and let us know what adventure he wants for his special trip. Dad knew he wanted to take Ethan to a Colts game because they are Ethan's favorite NFL team and his favorite player, Peyton Manning, probably won't be playing for much longer due to injury. What a great trip they had!

39: Dad packed so much fun into such a short amount of time. He planned activities like mini golf, feeding alligators, flow riding, playing on the beach, and a trip to a "dive" for Dad. Unfortunately, the night before they left Ethan got sick with a really high fever. It continued on their first day. Dad was pretty worried but Ethan was such a brave little guy! Once Dad managed to get the fever in control with medicine Ethan was able to have fun! And, boy did they!

48: Happy Halloween | a dead zoo keeper | a spy | a witch

49: I had a great day celebrating me! Opting against the family tradition of going out to eat on the weekend closest to our birthday, I asked Dad if he would make his delicious scones for me! I made a delicious breakfast casserole in the crockpot to go along with the scones. Through a comedy of errors we all ended up at the gym playing in the swimming pool. I didn't mind getting distracted from my laps by a little blond fish and her handsome daddy. It was amazing to think that we were inside swimming while snowflakes were swirling in the air outside. While Grandma and Grandpa tended the kiddos, Steve and I went to lunch and a movie. Movies are rare treats for me so I enjoyed our date a lot! We continued the celebration with pizza at Grandma's house. For dessert, I wanted a Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle. I was amazed by everyones kindness and so appreciative of my birthday gifts! | Celebrating Another Birthday | I loved Steve's Facebook status that day: To that someone who has patiently and lovingly stood beside me , lifted me in my lowest hours and has been my friend when being my friend wasn't the easiest thing to be. I pray my sons can be as lucky as I and someday marry women like their mom. Happy Birthday.!

50: Tyler and Ethan on Stage Tyler and Ethan loved being in their school play, TheDragon Queen. This was such a demanding experience for them. It required many, many days of after school practice and sacrifice. They handled it like champs, never complaining once. Watching them in the play was so fun for Dad and me. Ethan's dance scene of the wolf fight was one of our favorites. And, Ty did a fabulous job with his lines and was really the only leading actor who projected his voice so we clearly understood what he was saying. I think he's caught the acting bug.

51: turkey bowl

52: This year, we decided make Thanksgiving a fun day centered around our family. We started a new tradition: Dad bought a new game that we could all play together as a family. After we ate a delicious turkey and all the trimmings cooked by Dad, the kids "unwrapped" the present (we forgot to wrap it so it was in a towel) and we played the game. It was a game that Laney could play too because all she had to know how to write were numbers. Sometimes her numbers were so silly in comparison to the question that we would dissolved into giggles with Ethan leading the way. I love his laugh. After playing, we ate too many delicious desserts and watched a movie together (our second one of the day). The day was perfect. I just read a quote that describes it: When you look back at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. | Steve's funny FB status the day before Thanksgiving: Our turkey is grateful for its 2 day flavor bath, it's compound butter massage tomorrow, followed by it's 2 hour sauna treatment

53: Scott and Alyssa November 26, 2011

56: I'll go inside someday...

57: One day on Instant Messenger Dad told me he wanted to plan a night for the boys and me (Laney wasn't old enough); Dad asked if I could arrange for Laney to have her first sleep over! I knew just the friend and she was happy! During that IM conversation. I told Dad that I didn't want to know what he had planned. I wanted him to surprise us. He took us to dinner, and then to see the Blue Man Group at the U of U. The Blue Man Group was a unique theatrical performance of music, comedy, and media. We loved it and so did the boys! They were totally enthralled by the whole show! Afterwards, we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert. We had such an amazing night...even though we missed our little Miss Sunshine! | Blue Man Group | On a funny side note, our little night owl, Tyler, was so tired at the Cheesecake factory. His body language said it all; all, he wanted was to go home. Dad and I were so surprised at this! It wasn't even his "bed time" yet!

58: As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us. ~President Monson | Inside the Visitor Center trying to get warm.

59: Temple Square | Our friends, the Glass' invited us to go to Temple Square with their family in the middle of December. We thought it would be a fun family activity, so we packed up our car and headed into the traffic and the throng of people also at Temple Square. Although it was freezing and extremely crowded, I enjoyed visiting with our friends. We ended up leaving before we saw everything because it was really cold. In fact, thanks to Tyler being such a tween (he wouldn't wear his extra hoodie) I was quite warm in it. I had not brought the right coat either. I opted for cute over comfort. I won't make that mistake again. On our way home our family stopped by JCWs for shakes, fries, and onion rings. Oh they hit the spot. I love being out at Christmas time--not shopping--but enjoying evenings like this. Being out there because we want to be.

60: Believe in the Magic of...

61: I loved this quote from the night we decorated the tree. It was Dad's response to Ethan when he asked why we didn't have mistletoe : Mom and Dad don't need mistletoe. | Dad took the week before Christmas off from work. Yea! Things are always more fun with Dad around. We kept it low key but did fit a few fun things into our Christmas holidays. Baking cookies was one of them! Eating them was even better! | After decorating the cookies you all again asked if you could sleep by the tree. We finally gave in. But going to sleep proved to be the most difficult task for Laney. She soon ended up in her room throwing her very first tantrum. Boy was it a doozy!

62: I Spy with My Little Eye... | Back in the fall, Ethan put it into Laney's head that she wanted to get her ears pierced. It didn't take much, she is a girly girl and would have wanted it eventually. Ever since she has asked regularly enough that I knew this idea wasn't going away. So, one day while she and I were shopping at Walmart for our Christmas Eve dinner, we noticed another girl getting her ears done. That was all it took. Laney wanted to get hers done too. So we did. She was amazingly brave. I can't believe her courage. She sat on my lap while two people did them at the same time. I just felt her body flinch a little. She was so happy! And she has been so good at reminding me to help keep them clean three times a day. | Earrings!

63: We love having Grandma and Grandpa over on Christmas Eve. It's our special time with them! And Mom and Dad love to cook the yummy dinner that we have. This year we actually went simple and had turkey, and a festive hot chocolate bar. Because it was a Saturday we had them over earlier and they left a little earlier than normal, about 6:45ish. Jokingly Dad said it was now bedtime. To our astonishment, you all went to bed! Even more to our astonishment, Ethan was sound asleep when I went to check on him at 7:20. To make the night even more crazy, Dad and I were also in bed by 8:00 and I was the only one wide awake at 8:30. Although, I too was having visions of sugar plums dancing in my head by 9:00 p.m.

65: I love the anticipation in the air on Christmas morning as the children wait for Mom and Dad to set things up and to make sure Santa came. Dad and I love to make everything perfect in the family room with the lights on, Christmas music on, and the fireplace on to bring in the Christmas magic. I also love that moment when the kids rush into the family room and they recognize what Santa brought for them. I baked our traditional homemade cinnamon rolls and we ate them warm from the oven. They were gooey and delicious! Afterwards, we headed to church for Sacrament meeting. The kids managed to sit through the meeting, but were anxious to get home and open the rest of the presents. There were plenty of presents to open between our house and Grandmas!

67: ...at the Utah Natural History Museum | Skyler, Alayna, Cameron, Tyler, Grant, Ethan, and Reed. | My Cousins and their cousins... | Aunt Beth | Liesel | Emilie | Tiercy

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