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The Stephens Family 2011

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FC: The Stephens Family 2011

1: Happy New Year! If we could sum up 2011 in one word it might be "moving." Moving out of one phase and into another. Moving into a new job. Moving across the country. Moving forward with our family. Moving, moving, moving. It's been an exciting journey and the moves are not finished yet! Here is 2011!

2: On the Monday before we left Provo we were able to have one last Hayden Fest at the home of Chelsea's in-laws. We had a delicious dinner and great conversation, as usual! | Above Left-Michael and co. filling up plates. Above Middle-Charlie had a mid-dinner diaper explosion. Good thing Dad was nearby! Above Right-Hanging out with Grandma. Right-Scott in his element at the kids' table.

3: Grant is the most awesome cousin to Charlie! He wanted to help get Charlie situated in his car seat so he was standing by at the ready with his blanket. . .then off like a flash when the job was done! | We were so grateful to Chelsea for organizing such a fun night! It was difficult to pull ourselves away at the end! We're blessed to have such a wonderful extended family! | Charlie wooing Tiffany and Kimber with his cuteness.

4: Once we were back in Idaho staying at Grandma Halzett's, we spent an afternoon visiting with the Riveras and playing Kinect with them. | The night before we left Provo we got together with Kyle and Jill for a last-minute dinner at our favorite, Los Hermanos. We were so glad they could meet us on such short notice!

5: Charlie loves spending time with his Aunt Kirsten. One afternoon in January he was her assistant in the kitchen. The tablespoon was his favorite toy while we were staying at Grandma's. It kept him entertained while we ate dinner. Well, until he dropped it on the floor. This is what Crystal and Scott were doing while Kirsten slaved away making cookies. Aren't we helpful?

6: 27 was a great birthday for Crystal. It started a few weeks early with a present in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa Stephens which Crystal couldn't wait to open. :) On Crystal's actual birthday Scott was in Denver for a job interview so there was a mini celebration including a piece of pumpkin cake Crystal bought for herself at Geraldine's bakery. It was a great day-Crystal slept in, had Chinese food for lunch, and then read the greatest book (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie), all made possible by Kirsten who watched Charlie, her birthday gift. Then the day was made even better by a phone call from Scott. He had gotten the job! (Leadership Management Coach in Portsmouth, Virginia for RLG International.)

7: On Saturday the birthday extravaganza continued with Scott taking Crystal out for a night on the town. Then on Sunday we finished it all off with a family dinner made by Grandma Hazlett-cheesy chicken fajitas and cheesecake-Crystal's favorite!

8: One night while we were staying with Grandma Hazlett we played a fun trivia game with Brandon and Kirsten. Charlie was sitting next to Scott and it looked just like he was playing the game right along with us.

9: With Scott's new job we were off to Virginia. Before we moved we planned a weekend with Ben, Mary, and Benson. We were so sad when we heard Benson was sick and we wouldn't get to see him and Mary! Ben was still able to drive down for a few days which was great to be able to see him! | Grandma Halzett had to work so we picked up Subway and met her at the library for lunch where we got to eat in the super secret room upstairs (otherwise known as the employee break room). Charlie loved Uncle Ben's face and his knowledge of baby lingo. We had a fun lunch together!

10: Several weeks ago we were present while Kirsten realized a lifelong dream: flying in an airplane. It only took her 22 years. That's okay, Crystal didn't fly in an airplane until she was 20. We didn't forget to mention to her though that her 6-month-old nephew reached this milestone at 4 months. Yes, we are cruel. It all came about when we convinced Kirsten to come with us to Virginia to keep an eye on Charlie for us while we had a mad week of house hunting. Here is the tale. We were supposed to fly out of the Salt Lake City airport on a Saturday at 8:30a.m. Since we didn't want to get up at unearthly hours to drive the 2 hours to SLC from Pocatello, we decided to stay in a hotel near the airport Friday night. We would leave Friday afternoon and spend a relaxed evening before flying out the next day. That plan came to a halt when Crystal came down with a nasty bug of some kind. We had gone to breakfast with everyone late Friday morning and almost immediately after leaving the restaurant she started feeling sick to her stomach. Back at Grandma's, she collapsed on the bed and couldn't move the rest of the day, except to visit the bathroom 3 times for some major upheaval of stomach contents. Gross. She would feel better for a few minutes and then couldn't move again. This was no way to be just hours before we were supposed to leave, and also with a mountain of junk still to pack. Grandma Hazlett was a lifesaver, packing for us while Crystal dictated from bed or the couch. We debated whether we should change Crystal's plane ticket to Sunday or if we should just pray she would make a miraculous recovery. We chose pray. We were so behind in packing that we knew we wouldn't make it to our hotel that night. We slept a few hours and then rose in the black of early morning to head to the airport.

11: Yes. That would be A.M. | Brandon was kind enough to part with his wife for a week. | Kirsten about to walk into the airport for the first time as a passenger. | On the verge of her first flight. | The portal to all her dreams coming true. | Crystal passed out on the floor as soon as she could. It was amazingly comfortable. She tried not to think about its level of cleanliness. | Goodbye West! | Hello Virginia!

12: The week Kirsten was with us we intended to spend house hunting. That didn't quite turn out so we were able to get in a little site-seeing amid all the hecticness of everything else. Our hotel room was right along the Elizabeth River with a gorgeous view!

13: There was a great riverwalk in front of the hotel | which Kirsten, Charlie, and I took advantage of one windy evening.

14: Portsmouth has an extensive old town with incredible houses. We took several walks through the neighborhoods during out stay.

15: Colonial Williamsburg is less than an hour away from Portsmouth so we couldn't pass up the chance for Kirsten to get to see it. We had a great day for it, the weather was beautiful!

16: Our first stop was a tour through the Governor's mansion.

17: After the mansion we just wandered. We discovered later that we were starving so we went in search of a place to eat. There were a few little taverns but Charlie was reaching meltdown phase which meant he probably wouldn't have survived a sit-down place. Luckily we happened on to a bakery where they were selling Virginia ham biscuits. Doesn't that sound delicious? We thought so. What we ended up buying were not Virginia ham biscuits but blocks of salt disguised as such. So sad. But we did have some delicious root beer to wash it all down. After the biscuit episode there was still much to see but Charlie had had his fill. He was tired, hungry, and he kept losing his socks. So we decided to pack it in and head home. We had hoped to get in a carriage ride and see more buildings, but it will just give us something to do when Brandon and Kirsten come to visit us!

18: The hotel we were staying in had a great pool that overlooked the river. We only took advantage of it once, but it was a fun afternoon. Charlie loved it and probably would have stayed in the water all day! (Top Left) One night we were driving around Norfolk trying to find something else and we found Panera Bread instead. Oh Panera, how Crystal missed you!

19: Old Town Portsmouth has some fun restaurants and one night we headed to a little place called Brutti's for dinner.

20: The day before Kirsten, Charlie, and Crystal flew back to Idaho we made a trip to Virginia Beach. It's only about twenty minutes away and it was a nice 70 degrees outside (in February!) so we had to go. It was quite windy, and we're from Pocatello so we know wind!

21: When we were back in Idaho Charlie had his first experience sitting in a grocery cart. He was so happy to be out of his car seat! | These pictures show Charlie pre-food intro. Sweet, innocent boy. Little did he know what was about to come. Crystal fed him the first bite of pears and he gagged, spit it out, then looked at her as if to say, "Mom, how could you do that to me?" From then on his mouth was sealed shut. We tried sweet potatoes a few days later. Then rice cereal. Nope to both. Then we landed on bananas (he's obsessed with bananas!) and Crystal has now found she can feed him most foods if they are masked with bananas. Using this method he'll now eat sweet potatoes, pears, and apples. Green beans are a no. For now at least. Maybe we'll see how they taste with bananas. | Charlie's Introduction to Solid Food

23: After our week in Virginia with Kirsten, she and Crystal flew back to Idaho with Charlie in tow so Crystal could wrap up some things. Part of that was taking care of our storage unit in Utah. She was able to couple this duty with a great visit to the Frandsens. They let Charlie and Crystal inhabit their basement for a few nights and hang out with them where much fun was had. Grandma Hazlett came down on Friday to see us and eventually take us to the airport, but before that she played babysitter to Grant and Charlie so Chelsea and Crystal could go out and have some much needed respite! We first had lunch at Noodles and Co. (yay!!) and then we went to a beauty school for mani/pedis. It was wonderful. Chelsea in her pregnant state and Crystal in her crazy state were in great need of such relaxation! We ended our great excursion with a trip to Red Mango for the most delicious frozen yogurt! | Grant and Charlie hung out with Grandma Hazlett while we were gone. They're best buds! We were so sad to leave but Grant gave Charlie a big hug goodbye! We stayed the next night with Gayle and had a wonderful time, as always! Her home is so comfortable and she and her family are so loving. We had a great time and were so glad we could see them all before we took off. While we were there, Charlie discovered the exersaucer phenomenon. He loved it! He could stand up (kind of) and play with the toys and look all around.

24: The next day we stopped at Ikea. Grandma Hazlett had never been so of course we had to go! Charlie was in charge of navigation, i.e. eating the map. We had to get a taste of the Swedish meatballs and Princess cake.

25: Charlie had a spoon for lunch.

26: We stayed at a hotel near the airport before we flew out of Salt Lake. Charlie loved the pool!

27: Once we were back in Virginia we tried solid food again, with more success this time.

28: Introducing the "Saturday Adventure!" We have decided that everywhere we live we want to explore and really see the things that surround us. Each Saturday we are going to plan some type of excursion. And Crystal's going to TRY to remember to take pictures of it all. For our first Saturday Adventure we decided to take the ferry to Norfolk. It's a short ride across the Elizabeth river and then a nice walk through Norfolk's downtown to the mall. The river is beautiful and the weather was perfect. We're not sure what Charlie thought. We think he's just happy to be hanging out no matter where he is. Norfolk's downtown is a fun place to walk. The street we found took us past restaurants and shops until we finally made it to the MacArthur Center. Our purpose in going there was mainly to visit the Apple Store, one of Scott's favorite places. :) It just so happened to be across from Pottery Barn, one of Crystal's favorite places. Finally Scott and Charlie came to find Crystal and we headed back. It was a great adventure!

29: Saturday Adventure March 19 This Saturday Adventure found us getting out the door later than usual. We decided to head to the Naval Shipyard Museum in downtown, mostly because it was within walking distance and we were running short on time. We also were interested in seeing what it had to offer, especially since Scott's job has him working at the Naval shipyard. We arrived to find that we were too late to make it in before the museum closed. We were sad we couldn't make it inside, but there's so much to see in Portsmouth's downtown so we changed our Saturday Adventure to a tour through Old Town. There's a beautiful little pocket of a neighborhood about a block away from our apartment right on the outskirts of Old Town called Swimming Point. We walked through it on our way home and I snapped a few pictures that hardly do it justice. It's three peaceful streets of beautiful brick houses and green little yards. It's one of Crystal's favorite neighborhoods. She always wants to knock on the doors of the homes and ask the people if they would like to rent their house for two years to a great little family. She's sure if she held Charlie up for them to see they would definitely agree. Who wouldn't want a kid that cute living in their house? :) Even though we didn't end up in our planned destination, it was another successful Saturday Adventure!

30: This year Scott's birthday fell on a Saturday, which coincided nicely with our Saturday Adventure.

31: Charlie is an excellent alarm clock who sounds every morning around 7:00a.m. There's no way to turn it off on the weekends so Scott and Crystal have the nice arrangement of taking turns with the boy. Scott gets up with him on Saturday while Crystal sleeps in a little and then Crystal takes him on Sundays so Scott can sleep in. (Although sleeping in for Scott is usually getting up at 7:30 rather than 7:00.) Thanks for the idea, Chelsea! Since it was Scott's birthday this particular Saturday Crystal was going to get up and start the day by making him a Birthday Breakfast, but the dear man let her sleep in, took care of Charlie, and cleaned the bathroom, all on his birthday!! Crystal married a great guy! We had birthday brunch instead while Charlie was taking a morning nap and then we headed out for our adventures that afternoon. For Scott's cake Crystal decided to experiment a little this year. She usually makes him a chocolate chocolate cake for his b-day, just in a regular cake pan. But with a $10 bundt pan from Target, she went a little crazy and created her first bundt.

32: Crystal had planned a few excursions, starting at the Apple Store and then Harry and David's The next portion of the excursion/adventure was us heading to Texas Roadhouse. Scott loves eating there and we haven't been since leaving Provo so Crystal was excited to surprise him with this. It was kind of a drive to the outer rims of Chesapeake and when we got to the Roadhouse of Texas there were a billion people there. Probably the whole population of Texas itself. Charlie was reaching meltdown mode and it was only a matter of time before the implosion. After sitting for about 30 minutes waiting for a table we decided to order our stuff to-go. That turned out to be around another 30 minute wait, but we finally had our food and we cruised home to put the bean to bed and eat our birthday dinner in peace. At home we had presents and cake before putting Charlie to bed, then we enjoyed a nice birthday dinner. What the dinner picture doesn't convey is the screaming child in the background. This was still during Charlie's sleep-rebellion phase. Poor boy. We still had a great Birthday!

33: We always have shoes by the front door. Now that Charlie's a mobile man he makes a beeline for them all the time. | Anything with laces, that's his motto!

34: Saturday Adventure-April 9th Our Saturday Adventure for the first week in April was General Conference/Scott being sick, sick, sick. So no pictures were taken to document that. The next week we made a spontaneous trip to see the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Again, no pictures were taken because Crystal forgets sometimes. And the weather was bad so we spent most of our time in the bookstore and driving around campus. We'll blame it on the weather. She did snap a few pics in a McDonald's on the way up. We realized we were starving so we stopped and since Charlie was starving too he had a little sweet potato while we had a little Bic Mac and a little fries. Well, ours weren't so little but whatever.

35: April 16th's Saturday Adventure took us to the American Heritage RV Park in Williamsburg. Scott's Aunt Connie and Uncle Dar go there every year to a bluegrass festival. Dar likes to "mountain" bike and there's a place nearby where he likes to ride so he invited us to come up so Scott could go biking with him. Charlie and Crystal hung out with Connie. There is a small set of outlet shops nearby in Williamsburg so we headed there to spend money, sadly a favorite pastime of Crystal's. What did she spend the big bucks on? A bag of ranch flavored Goldfish crackers and orange Milano cookies from the Pepperidge Farm outlet store. :) Once the men came back we had a late lunch at a diner nearby and then headed home. It was a fun weekend!

36: A few of Charlie

37: Okay, more than a few!

38: In April we flew home for a whirlwind trip to Utah and Idaho. Scott graduated from BYU in December which is a semester without any graduation ceremony, so we went back for Scott to be able to participate in April's festivities. We're glad we did! Not only was it special to be there for all of the pomp and circumstance, but best of all, we were able to see our families! We flew out early, early, early on Thursday morning, arriving just in time to speed down to Provo for convocation events. Elder Richard G. Scott was speaking in the Marriott Center, and we barely made it. | We dropped Charlie and Grandma Hazlett off at the hotel and sped over to the campus. After a wonderful talk from Elder Scott, Crystal waded through the masses of people to meet up with Scott, then we had a much-needed date! It's so nice leaving Charlie with Grandma! We never worry about him! Scott and Crystal went to dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen, and then just wandered around the mall, our current favorite pastime.

39: The next morning we had another early start to make it to campus for the Marriott school's graduation exercises which began at 8:00a.m. We parked down at the Tanner building since that was where we would end the day (at a luncheon with Scott's classmates). Scott ran on ahead, and Grandma Hazlett and Crystal pulled out the baby supplies and the baby. Grandma was a lifesaver and wheeled Charlie around outside for a few hours during speeches until it was time for Scott to walk. | On the way over to the Marriott Center Crystal got her exercise! We were down the hill from the MC, so she ran into the Tanner building thinking she would take the elevator up to the exit. When she got inside she saw the stairs instead and took those. After two flights in knee-high boots and a skirt she was winded and wondering what the heck she had been thinking. After six more flights she was thoroughly exhausted but had made it. Crystal crossed the street, and went to text Scott to find out where we should meet after when she realized her phone was still in her mom's car. Back across the street she went, down the million stairs, frantically searched for her mom to get her keys, went out the door, and realized the phone was in her coat pocket. She had had it all along. Crystal took the elevator this time to go back to the MC. And then she watched Scott graduate as a Master in Public Administration.

41: Scott in the Tanner Building | Becca, Kyle, Scott, Charlie | Lash, Lauralee, Scott, Charlie, Grandma Hazlett, Crystal, Becca, Kyle (Kent taking pic) | Scott and Cory Riley

42: After Scott's graduation and luncheon we immediately cruised our way up to Idaho Falls. We wanted to see Tracy and James and also go to Matt Landon's wedding reception. It was a lot of driving, but Charlie needed a good nap and this ended up being the perfect opportunity for him. Charlie loved visiting with his aunt & uncle, and cousin. Ashley was at a friend's house so we missed seeing her! Then it was on to the wedding reception. It was so good to see everyone. To see the Rivera family and then the Landons was definitely worth the trip up! We stayed at Grandma Hazlett's that night and then Saturday morning headed back down to Utah.

43: We made it back a little late but were still in time for pizza and swimming with the Gardners and Frandsens at our hotel. | The pool was freezing! We weren't sure Charlie would last, but after bobbing around for awhile with Jill he was fine. We all had to pile the hot tub after though! | Kyle, Becca, and Jill (with Baby Paul in Jill's tummy!) | Chelsea, Grant, and Jake (with Baby Girl in Chels's tummy!) | At 4:30 am the next morning Kyle took us to the airport and we made our way back to Virginia.

44: Charlie has this wonderful huge purple towel that was made for him by his Great-Aunt Doris. Scott gives Charlie a bath every night and then wraps him up in the towel. The first night he did this Crystal was in the kitchen and when they popped out of the bathroom with Charlie wrapped up in the huge purple towel he looked just like a little grape seed so of course I yelled, "It's the grape seed!" and ran over to give him a kiss. Charlie thought it was hilarious so it's become something of a nightly tradition now.

45: He's discovered the pots and pans!

46: A little while ago Scott bought a bike trailer so he can take Charlie for rides. We bought a helmet for the little guy too but it was slightly too big so we improvised a little by putting one of Charlie's knit hats underneath it. Probably not the greatest of ideas, but it worked for a short ride around the parking lot.

47: Saturday Adventure-April 30 It's kind of amazing how many of our Saturday Adventures turn into us going to the mall. Or Sam's Club. We never really buy anything, but we like to wander for some reason. We do contemplate buying things, but then we always say "Let's wait" and end up never buying anything, which is probably a good thing. April 30th found us at the Chesapeake Mall. We wandered, had Chinese food, and bought Scott some jeans. Okay, so sometimes we buy stuff. In the end, we were wandered-out, Charlie was strollered-out, and his stroller ended up as a cart for Crystal's purse.

48: Saturday Adventure-May 21 We went to see the Norfolk tides, a AAA baseball team across the water from us. It was a fun night, beautiful weather and of course included a delicious hot dog. Charlie did really well (we discovered he loves popcorn which confirms he came to the right family), until the loud cheering started and then Crystal spent the rest of the game searching for a quieter spot for him. | Some families from our ward had tickets too, and one family we sat by has a son who is a month younger than Charlie. They have the same duck-fuzzy hair and enjoy poking each other's noses. We had a great time at the game and are excited to take Charlie back when he's a little older!

49: This was Crystal's first official Mother's Day, and it was the best she's ever had! :) Scott made it a great day! Crystal woke up (after sleeping in) to a delicious breakfast of eggs and cinnamon rolls Scott had made . It was all laid out on the placemats which were Crystal's Mom's Day gift to herself. She found them the night before at the Kitchen Koop when we were taking a stroll through Olde Towne. Before breakfast Scott led Crystal into the kitchen where she saw sitting on the stove top a set of Rachael Ray cookware which she's been coveting for years. All she has to say is good nonstick cookware is like a revelation! Charlie did a great job picking out this present! From Scott Crystal received a charm for her Pandora bracelet that is a small circle that represents a mother wrapping a child in her arms. It's very sweet. After church we had the missionaries over. They called their moms on our phones while Crystal made dinner. Then, in honor of Mother's Day Scott put together a delicious strawberry shortcake dessert for us. This was an especially great present since making dessert isn't really Crystal's thing. It was a great Mother's Day, and Crystal looks forward to many more to come!

50: In May we were lucky enough to have our first visitors come through. Megan, Jordan, Finn, and Madden have moved East from Idaho and made their way past our house as they toured a few spots along the coast. They were able to stay and hang out with us for a few days. One of my favorite things to do here is walk through Olde Towne so we made sure to do that while they were here. We ended up at a little playground on Middle Street and had fun there for the afternoon.

51: The next day we went to Virginia Beach for a quick stop-by. It was great to have Meg and Jordan come visit us!

52: In July we finally moved out of our apartment and into a home on 1522 Barron St in Portsmouth. It's a beautiful, open home built in 1901 and fully updated. We're directly across the street from a nice park, and had the best neighbors! (The Langes and the Cousins.) We're lucky to have wonderful landlords in the Stroup family who moved to Italy with the Navy. The house has an open floor plan and the kitchen has massive amounts of cupboards which Charlie loves to crawl in out of.

53: The Children's Museum Portsmouth, VA

54: Charlie's 1st Birthday! Charlie's birthday started with a balloon. He LOVES balloons. We got this one for free from Toys R' Us the night before. They handed it to us as we were leaving and it ended up being his favorite thing. It floated around the house for quite awhile and Charlie pointed at it every morning when we came downstairs. Grandma Hazlett was able to be with us for the b-day weekend. She had planned to visit in October but came on a rescue mission in August to help out while Crystal was sick during her first trimester with Baby #2. It was so great to have her with us! CCharlie's

55: Charlie loves animals too so we spent the afternoon at the zoo in Norfolk.

56: We came home from the zoo in time for Charlie to take a nap while Mom and Dad wrapped his presents. Then we set up Skype so Grandma and Grandpa Stephens could be part of the birthday fun all the way from their mission in Roseville, CA!

57: Charlie LOVED opening presents! His favorite part was ripping the paper. He would tear a little and then laugh and laugh. He thought it was hilarious! (Top Right: "Bathketball" from Dad; Bottom Right: puzzle from G. Hazlett; Bottom Left: Missionary Pic from G&G Stephens)

59: Interview with Charlie (What He Would Say) Charlie Stephens 1 Year Old, August 20, 2011 How old are you? Blank stare. What was your favorite birthday present? Balloon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is your favorite thing to do with Mom? Hold on to her legs. What is Mom's favorite thing to do with you? Kiss my cheeks. A lot. What is your favorite thing to do with Dad? Watch football and have him throw pillows at me while I'm on the couch. What is Dad's favorite thing to do with you? Squish me and hold me upside down. | What is your favorite book? Balloonia. And Mars Needs Moms. And that pop-up one. And Baby Night-Night. And Lambchops. Just all books are my favorite. What is your favorite food? Bananas and apple sauce. And noodles. Food makes me really excited. What is your favorite stuffed animal? Red Panda! Do you like watching TV? Not really. What is the hardest thing you have to do? Sit still. And ride in the car seat. What is your favorite toy? Ball!! How old will you be next year? Blank stare.

60: Escape from the Hurricane: A Weekend in Lexington, VA In August we ran away from a hurricane and found ourselves in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We had debated for quite some time as to whether or not we should leave or stay and brave the storm. The reports that kept coming sounded pretty bad, and with our neighbors telling us that the creek at the end of our street always floods we decided to get out of town. | We were soooo glad we did! Not necessarily because the storm did too much damage. We came home to a few tree limbs in our backyard and no power for several hours, but that was all. We felt so blessed to have avoided the catastrophes many faced and prayed a lot for those who who were severely affected by Irene. Even though it was a hurricane that took us to Lexington, we were so happy to be there and had such a nice weekend! It was beautiful, scenic, slow paced and extremely restful, exactly what we needed. And driving through the mountains even reminded us a little bit of home. Since moving to Portsmouth things have been pretty stressful and this weekend was the rejuvenation we needed!

61: In September we took the first real vacation Scott and Crystal have had in own married lives. We took twelve days and spent it all relaxing and having fun with our families in Idaho. Charlie and Mom flew out a few days early so we could see Ben and Mary, and celebrate Bensons's birthday with them. Charlie did fairly well on the plane, only a few meltdowns, and almost survived the entire car ride home. Grandma and Grandpa Stephens came to pick us up at the Salt Lake airport. It was the first time they had seen Charlie since we visited them on their mission last Thanksgiving. We had a fun lunch at a little deli in Salt Lake and then drove up to Pocatello. We stayed with Grandma Hazlett the first few days. There are few things Charlie loves more than farm animals right now and he was in love with the barn Grandma had for him to play with. (Crystal remembers playing with that when she was a kid!) He couldn't get enough of taking the animals out and putting them back in. Of course we asked him over and over, "What do the chickens say?" ("Bah, bah, bah." He can't quite get the "ck" sound on the end yet.)

62: Ben and Mary drove down from Meridian the first weekend we were in Idaho. This happened to be Benson's 2nd birthday so we were lucky enough to share in the celebration. Benson wanted a bowling party so we went to the lanes at ISU and had a great time! Charlie loves spherical objects of any kind and was so excited by all of the bowling balls! He also had a great time walking up and down the stairs with Uncle Brandon.

63: Charlie loved the balloons Aunt Mary blew up for Benson's party and the little bread Grandma June brought. Aunt Kirsten and Uncle Brandon had a late b-day present for Charlie and then we enjoyed watching Benson open gifts.

64: SUNDAY | On Sunday we didn't have church until 1:00 so we went up to the playground across the street at Indian Hills and let the kids run around. We had a great time! It's amazing how much fun a playground can be again when you have little ones of your own!

65: FUN | That afternoon we went to church where we were able to hear Grandma and Grandpa Stephens share their experiences from their mission in Roseville, CA. After church we had a family gathering at G&G's. The Riveras had a late b-day present for Charlie which he LOVED!

66: While we were in Pocatello we took Charlie to the petting zoo at McKee's Pet Shop in Chubbuck. | He was able to feed the goats. He wasn't sure what to think of their tongues licking his hand, but he loved looking at all the animals, including the chicken that followed us around.

67: On Tuesday of our vacation we took Charlie to see Grandma Hazlett at the library. We listened to story time and then Charlie met the dinosaurs. One of his favorite things to do while we were at G&G Stephens was to play by their fish pond in the front yard.

68: The rest of our vacation was spent in St. Charles at Bear Lake for the Laker family reunion. We headed down on Thursday evening so that Grandpa Stephens and Scott could get up bright and early on Friday to ride the lake. Our best laid plans of getting down there in the early evening had a few hiccups. G&G Stephens were traveling in their camper and we were in the truck. Unfortunately, the camper only made it just past Inkom before it died on the side of the road. We had made it to McCammon so we turned around to see what we could do to help. We ended up driving back into Pocatello for a part for the camper and some dinner we could bring back to the starving travelers. It turned out the part wasn't what was needed so the camper was towed and we headed back to Pocatello with G&G Stephens to get their truck. Two hours later, after unloading the camper's goods into G&G's truck, we were back on our way. Luckily Charlie slept most of the way, since we didn't arrive until almost 10:00p.m. | We found we were staying in great little cabins so we were able to get Charlie set up and stick him in bed. We were excited to be at Bear Lake! Our little cabin had a loft that Charlie was fascinated with. Well, he was fascinated with the ladder. He loved going up the ladder with his dad and hanging out in the loft. The excitement increased because of the light switch up there at just his height! | BEAR LAKE

69: On Friday afternoon Grandpa Stephens and Scott rode their bikes around Bear Lake. Grandma Hazlett had come down to stay the night so she stayed back with Charlie while he napped, and Grandma Stephens and Crystal followed the cyclists in the truck. Scott finished in just under three hours, and Grandpa Stephens came in at just under five. We were so impressed that they kept going, especially Grandpa!

70: G&G Stephens bought Charlie this ball and he carried it with him everywhere while we were there! He had a great time being outside so much, wandering around in the grass and trying to track down the dog that lives at the RV park. Then, what's a camping trip without s'mores? Scott makes the best s'mores!!

71: Saturday morning we took Charlie to a little swing set near where we were camping. He didn't want to get out, but breakfast called all of us. The rest of the day we spent with the Laker family, eating great food, hearing about everyone's families, and playing games. It was a great reunion! We decided to stay Sunday night so Scott and Kyle could watch the BYU-Utah game. The game was a bit of a disappointment (actually a HUGE disappointment), but we survived. We packed up and made it home in time to have one more family dinner at Grandma Hazlett's before we left the next day. On Monday we drove down to Salt Lake where Crystal was able to visit with Chelsea and Grant and see new baby Sophie while Scott and his parents checked out our storage unit. It was so fun to catch up with Chels and for Charlie and Grant to be able to play for a little while. And Sophie is sooo cute! It was a quick visit, but we were glad to have been able to make it. We stayed Monday night in Salt Lake and then flew back to Virginia bright and early Tuesday morning. Charlie survived the first flight and we thought we were going to make it through the second without any major mishaps. That was until Charlie ate a little cheese cracker that didn't agree with him. I'm pretty sure everything he had eaten that entire week came up and landed in my lap. It was gross, but Charlie seemed fine afterward. It was good to get home and take a shower. We had a wonderful vacation! We wish we could have seen more people while we were there, but hopefully next time! Thanks to everyone who made our visit so great!!

72: A few weeks ago Charlie and Mom decided to make cookies. Charlie is a boy who likes to be up and doing wherever we are up and doing. He's only content for so long to wander around at his own level while Mom's working in the kitchen. She was keeping him entertained by letting him stand on a chair and pull the spices out of the spice drawer, but he now knows how to open the lids (Mom found this out one spilled jar of chili powder later), so that's no longer an option for entertainment. This time Mom let him stand next to her while she mixed up the cookies. He got to hold the measuring cups, and the whisk, and measuring spoons. Mom's pretty sure he put everything in his mouth before and during the whole process, but germs bake out, right? Either way we had a fun afternoon!

73: We love General Conference weekend! We have delicious food and listen to the Prophet. There are always exciting announcements, like this year-a second temple in Provo, and in the old Tabernacle! The weather here was beautiful-in the 60s, sometimes a little overcast, very cozy. It was definitely a welcome break from the heat and humidity! On Sunday we took an afternoon walk to a cemetery down the street from our house. It was extremely pleasant and we all loved the chance to be outside. The cemetery was filled with geese and Charlie wanted to go make friends with them. He also wanted to eat the rocks he kept finding on the road. He's a curious boy!

74: Charlie's 1st Haircut! | A little while ago Charlie's hair was getting pretty bushy and slightly mulletish. We kept telling each other that he needed a haircut, but he has such great hair neither of us had the heart to cut it. Finally, we became brave, watched a YouTube video on how to cut hair, and gave it a try. We pretty much butchered it and poor Charlie cried the whole time. A few weeks later we decided to give it a second try. This time we bought some clippers to try and even out the A-line bowl cut we had accidentally given him the first go around. The haircut turned out much better, although poor Charlie still cried through it all. At least now he doesn't look like Rod Stewart anymore.

75: The first week of October found Scott on a work retreat in Virginia Beach. On Wednesday night Charlie and Mom drove out to the beach house where they were staying to have dinner and spend the night. It was beautiful in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach and the beach house they were in was beautiful! Charlie charmed the members of RLG, especially a few of the single ladies who walked all around the house with him and wanted to hold him all night. In the morning Charlie had us up bright and early so we walked down to the beach and watched the sun rise. A little later while Scott was in his meetings and Charlie was napping Mom sat on the deck and read while listening to the ocean. It was a fun opportunity and we were glad we could join Scott for the last part of his work retreat!

76: Last Saturday we had a picnic at Mount Trashmore. This is a spot in Virginia Beach that was once a landfill and has now been turned into a park. It's a great place with playground toys for kids, a nice walking path around a small lake, and a hill (the once-landfill portion) where people were flying kites and more than one child was covering their pants in grass stains rolling down the hill. We sat in some shade and ate our sandwiches while Charlie pointed out all of the dogs people were walking, saying "Whooo, whooo, whooo" as they went. (That's his dog noise.) It was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Of course then we had to hurry back for the BYU game!

77: Last week Charlie and Mom were playing with his toys as we usually do when we're waiting for Dad to come home in the evening. Mom stuck one of his wooden blocks down his onesie just to tease him but he thought it was a great idea and wanted the rest of the blocks in there too. He wouldn't let Mom take them out so for about thirty minutes he walked around the house with a belly full of blocks!

78: October 25~Updates Scott- Work is going well. The hours are long (up at 4:00a.m., leave by 6:00a.m., home by 5:00/5:30p.m.) but we keep reminding ourselves that to have a job is a good thing! Scott feels like he's making headway with some of his clients which has been encouraging for him. In our ward, Scott stays busy in the Elders Quorum presidency and spends the third hour of church keeping Charlie contained while Crystal goes to Young Womens. Scott's the greatest dad ever! When he comes home from work probably the first thing he wants to do is collapse in a chair and watch ESPN, but he never does. He grabs Charlie (who usually is in need of a diaper change) so Crystal can make dinner and the two of them run around the house or outside together. It's great for Charlie who always needs a good dose of being tossed in the air! Crystal- Crystal's hard at work trying to figure out this Mom business. Luckily Charlie's pretty patient with her. We have a little routine that consists mainly of naps and eating with a lot of reading books in between. We try to get out of the house each day, even if it's just to Walmart, and Crystal's always looking for creative ways to help him learn new things. Crystal was writing for whattoexpect.com, but they're revamping their program right now so it's on hold until the first of the year. Her goal is to get a good number of articles written during this break so that when the program starts again and the baby comes in February she can still make her quota. She's serving in the Young Women presidency in our ward so Tuesday nights find her at the church helping with activities.

79: Charlie- Charlie is growing quickly and learning so much! Some of his favorite things right now are: Books (especially a book called My First Book of the Latter-day Prophets and an intellectually stimulating board book called Bow-Wow Orders Lunch) Stuffed animals-red panda and white bear in particular Puzzle box (the kind where you fit shapes into their corresponding holes) Balls!! He LOVES balls and gets so excited to play with his orange ball that has a pumpkin face on it. Balloons!! Whenever he sees a picture of a balloon he gets so excited. Animals Food (Teddy Grahams, yogurt, bananas, apple sauce, noodles would all make the top 10 list) Words he can say: "Dada," "Go, go, go!" "Hi," "Shoes," "Ball," "Bowl," "Apple" (he just says "pple"), "Cheese" Animal sounds: Tiger/Lion-"Ahhhhh!" (He loves doing this one-he opens his mouth as wide as he can and lets out a raspy "ahhh") Dog-"Whoooo, whooo" Chicken-"Babababab" Monkey-"Ooo, ahh, ooo, ahh" Cow-"M" He can almost do cow. He'll put his lips together as if he's about to say "mooo" but he doesn't quite get the sound out. He's not a huge fan of his car seat and sitting still is a bit of a challenge for him, unless we're reading a book about balloons, but he's doing so well and is so much fun! Baby- Our little boy on the way is getting bigger and thus, so am I. He kicks around a little here and there, doesn't seem to favor a side, and so far hasn't had the trouble with hiccups that his big brother did. We'll see on Tuesday what other news the doctor can tell us. That's our update for now. We're excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas and are loving this time of year!

80: Halloween is getting more fun each year as Charlie grows. He has shown a great love for pumpkins this season, so in honor of that we dressed him up like one. His first opportunity to wear his costume came at our ward trunk or treat on the Thursday before Halloween. Crystal wasn't sure how interested Charlie would be in it all, and while he didn't take too much interest in the candy, (Be assured we did collect candy. We needed something to eat on the way home.) he loved walking around the parking lot. It was all Scott and Crystal could do to keep up with him. He's fast!

81: Charlie loves pumpkins. Last month our next door neighbors spent a Saturday at a pumpkin patch in Virginia Beach, coming home with the biggest pumpkins Charlie had ever seen. Every time we go outside we have to visit the pumpkins. Charlie gives them a pat and then we can go about our business. Our pumpkins aren't quite as excitingly huge, but they still entertained Charlie for a good twenty minutes one afternoon. Our pumpkins have now been retired to the garbage (the elements got to them and they were somewhat rotten by the end of Halloween) but we're okay with that because now it's on to Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie, our favorite form of pumpkin!

82: The saga of our move to Portsmouth has been a long one, and may not be over yet, but more on that to come. When we first arrived here we lived in a hotel for two weeks, another hotel for one more week, temporary furnished housing for four months, and then on to the house we currently live in. In between all that we would occasionally have our family ship us some of our things. We even made a trek out to Utah to UPS huge boxes of stuff from our storage unit out to ourselves. It wasn't until just before Thanksgiving that, after almost 2 years, we were finally reunited with all of our stuff. Wally and Sherry unloaded our storage unit in Utah onto a UHaul and drove it out to us. We were so excited!

83: One of the best things Wally and Sherry brought with them was their piano. They've been asking us since we got married if we wanted it. Apartment living and moving every three to six months hasn't been too conducive to owning a piano, but now that we're in a house we finally felt like we could take it. It's been so wonderful to finally have a piano again!!

84: After the meal | Uncle Dar came and had dinner with us since Connie was in Texas. | Happy Thanksgiving!

85: This year we had Thanksgiving at our house. After all of the moving in of our stuff (and being rather pregnant) Crystal was pretty overwhelmed and ordering pizza for the feast was looking really good. Lucky for us, we had Wally and Sherry so we didn't have to miss out on a turkey dinner. They put everything together and helped make it a fantastic Thanksgiving! Charlie LOVES reading and will sit for as long as anyone will read to him. Right now he's very into a Clifford ABC book, Little Critter books, and Goodnight Gorilla. Charlie also LOVES football! (And every other sport involving a ball.) Here he is catching some football with his dad on Thanksgiving morning.

86: The weekend after Thanksgiving we joined Wally and Sherry for a little trip up to DC. We stayed at a fun hotel and the next day Scott and Crystal went to the temple while Grandma and Grandpa took Charlie to tour the Capitol Building.

87: On our way to meet Grandma and Grandpa Stephens at the Capitol from the temple Scott and Crystal were commenting on how DC is a lovely city. We said we were sure there were bad parts, but we hadn't seen them yet. Then we put the address for the Capitol into our GPS and were on our way. As we drove we noticed that the neighborhoods we were driving through were quickly deteriorating until we were pretty sure we had found the bad part of DC. | It didn't make sense that the area around the Capitol building would be in such a state. Finally our GPS told us we were at the destination as we passed an empty lot on one side and a decrepit building on the other. Crystal then realized she had put in the address for the Capitol Street Post Office. Ooops. In her defense it was impossible to find the address on the Capitol's website. Try it some time. So there we were, driving aimlessly through the city. Finally we figured it out thanks to Google Maps and made our way safely back. Scott has been kind enough not to tease Crystal too much about her error. She's blaming it all on pregnancy brain!

88: While Grandma and Grandpa Stephens were here we took Charlie to one of his favorite places-the zoo! He loves it there. There are paths he can walk freely, and of course lots of animals to look at. We started the day at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Norfolk and then we were off to the zoo.

89: Charlie likes to push the stroller.

91: Charlie has a thing for sports balls. He gets so excited over anything resembling a ball. He can pick them out of the smallest scene, from the farthest spot away, and he knows where they're kept once he sees them there. This is the case in the gym at church. There are always a pile of basketballs left in the corner of the gym or up the stage. He spied them in there once and now every time we go to church he points at the closed doors of the gym and says urgently, "Ball! Ball! Ball!" After church one Sunday he escaped from us and found his way to the balls. These cement balls were the object of his affection one day while we were waiting at the Children's Museum for some people we were meeting up with and down the way Charlie spied these. It was hard to tear him away from them to go inside the museum.

92: This year for Christmas we made a last-minute decision to fly to Idaho. The best tickets we could find were for Christmas day so we had our Christmas celebration the day before. On our Christmas Eve we read Luke 2 and The Polar Express and watched a short Nativity. Then we opened our Christmas Eve presents-a book and pajamas!

93: On our Christmas morning we were up at the usual time, around 5:30a.m. Charlie is a great alarm clock! | Charlie received a basketball from G&G Stephens and an "Old McDonald" truck from G. Hazlett. Mom and Dad gave him a basketball hoop that now keeps him busy for hours! | It was so much fun watching Charlie open his presents and get so excited over the things he had found. | He wanted to stop and play with each item.

94: On Christmas Eve, after we opened presents, Scott went to help with an event he and one of his clients at the shipyard had organized. His client, "Bone," frequents a thrift shop near the shipyard and had gathered up a huge collection of coats. He and Scott, with the help of Scott's coworker Chuck, put together a coat/hot dog giveaway for some of the homeless people in the area. They parked their trucks and grills and set up shop under a pavilion on a lot in town and people poured in. Charlie and Mom stopped by to see how things were going.

95: Elder, ?. E. Richardson, Scott, Chuck, Catherine, Caroline, Sudds | It was a great morning and a wonderful opportunity to serve!

96: We didn't tell G&G Stephens we were coming home for Christmas and surprised them at their house. We stayed the night with them and Scott found an old Nerf hoop of his which Charlie played with to his heart's content. He went to bed saying "hoop, hoop" and woke up in the morning saying "hoop, hoop."

97: We had a great week with our family! Towards the end of our stay we went to Arbon to meet up with the cousins. Of course Charlie found the hoop and Grant shot some baskets with him. We visited Grandma June and Aunt Vera too. Grandma let Charlie have a ride on her scooter. It was such a wonderful visit with everyone!

98: We flew back on New Years Eve. Well, we started to fly back then. We booked tickets out of Idaho Falls, thinking it would be easier than having to drive down to Salt Lake the night before and stay since our flight was leaving at 7:00a.m. We had a somewhat tight connection in Salt Lake, but 40 minutes in the SLC airport should have left us plenty of time to catch our connector to Atlanta. Should have. We ended up sitting on the plane in Idaho Falls for over an hour while they shifted luggage and reweighed the plane, had passengers exit, and shifted things again, then de-iced the plane and reweighed yet again. We knew after 20 minutes we'd missed our flight out of Salt Lake and volunteered to get off and fly the next day but the flight attendant said that wasn't necessary. We ended up arriving in Salt Lake to be told that there were no more flights that would get us to Virginia that day. We would have to stay the night in Atlanta. We told them it would be easier for us to stay in Salt Lake and so they booked us a flight for the next day. They assured Crystal that our luggage was being pulled and we could pick it up at the baggage claim in about 20 minutes. Frustrated, but feeling like it would all be okay (we honestly weren't that excited about getting back to VA anyway), we headed to the baggage claim. Crystal double checked with the baggage office that our things had indeed been pulled and they said they had, but to give it about 15 minutes. An hour and a half later, after chasing around an exhausted little boy, our luggage still hadn't come up. Ooops, the baggage people said, it's on the 11:00 flight to Atlanta. Sorry. | Crystal almost started crying. She wanted to say, do you realize I'm 7 months pregnant, my legs are really swollen, and now we're stranded at the airport with an 18 month old, and you're telling me that his carseat and bed are on their way to Georgia?!! She held it together somehow and we were able to track down a loaner carseat, rent a car, and make our way to Ogden to stay with Kent and Lauralee. Poor Charlie was so tired. He fell asleep as soon as we started driving. We stayed the night in Ogden and then headed to the airport again the next day. After what felt like a bajillion hours in airports and on planes, we were delayed for over an hour in Atlanta. Eventually we made it to Newport News, thus ending an impromptu Christmas vacation and the adventures of our flight back.

99: And there we have 2011. It was an adventurous year with many moves, a sweet little boy, and another one on the way! We look forward to the New Year, another move, and a growing family!

100: Randoms of Charlie

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  • By: Crystal S.
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  • Title: The Stephens Family 2011
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  • Started: about 7 years ago
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