Monday, December 9, 2013

falling, falling, fall

we had a most eventful autumn season, and in my mind it was one for the history books.

we made an exceptional effort to show my ute pride the weekend of the holy war between the university of utah and bypoo.  and when i say "we," i mean that richard helped me to vandalize the bowman's property in spirit of the game at hand.  spencer is quite possibly the biggest cougar fan i've ever met, and before i knew what was happening he'd convinced richard to cheer for the y.  i wasn't pleased when i found out, but i then convinced richard into helping me take this rivalry to the next level.  something we all learned in this experience is that richard makes a great double agent, and is also easily persuaded to do things for/to people he cares about.  richard took care of the driveway...

and i took care of the walkway.  and also wore head-to-toe crimson to support the winning team.  sara made a great spread of tasty cougar-blue treats to eat while we watched the game, and even though i left pretty early to put marty to bed, it was a really fun night!

we had a special visit from our bff's, sam and melissa (and jenna!) bates, for a quick overnighter one weekend when they came up for a wedding reception.  it was so fun to stay up late talking and laughing, and then to have richard make breakfast for everyone the next morning.

it's always fun hanging out with these guys, and it's fun to move through the same stages of life with them, too.  we met in the married student ward (that i will never stop mourning the loss of) and had lots of fun serving on the activities committee together and going on double dates when either of us could find a good deal on sushi.  we loved visiting them in hawaii, and now we're so glad they're back on the mainland, in a place (st. george) where we'll get to see them at least a couple of times each year!  little jenna is the most darling little girl, and i feel blessed to have all three of the bates in our lives!

one weekend in october, i went to the general relief society broadcast in salt lake with my mom, and it happened to fall on the night that richard and his friends from work do their monthly "fight night."  so marty got to be one of the big guys and went to fight night with daddy.  he mostly hung out eating snacks and playing with his toys...

but he also made the rounds and hung with most of the guys man-to-man.  it looks like he even decided to take his shirt off to show them his muscles.  he can hang with the best of 'em.

we'd been wanting to take marty to the zoo for a long time, but didn't know if he was too little to be interested at all.  when he had a day off, we decided just to go for it, and we weren't sorry even a little bit!

he may not be able to speak english, but he does speak his own little language.  part of that language are the faces that he makes.  his expressions are priceless.  and this was a day FULL of really fun faces and sounds from our boy.  i know that we had way more fun watching him watching the animals than we did seeing the animals ourselves.  

even though it was a really cold day, it was one of the best family outings we've had so far.

another outing i'd put on that list (if there was one) is our trip to black island farms in syracuse.  i bought a groupon for the hayride and corn maze, and we cashed it in on my birthday weekend.  unlike the day we went to the zoo, this day we had perfect jacket weather.  my favorite kind of autumn day.

there was a little animal farm that was a riot.  tina was our favorite.

and richard took marty down a few slides.  we couldn't tell if he cared one way or another about the experience because his face was completely expressionless on the trip down, but he always smiled once they were walking away.

after walking around to see the animals and other kids' activities they had, we wrangled someone to take a family photo.  classic.  marty looks miserable, sad face, pouty lips and all.  we really were having a great time!

the last thing we did before we headed home (because the corn maze sounded fun at the beginning, but it was getting close to nap time, and we were all kinda tired) was take a hay ride to the pumpkin patch.

where we got to pick our very own pumpkins.  it felt very festive and seasonal, and i loved every minute!

that night, after we got the boy to sleep, richard gave me some beautiful flowers for my birthday (which was the next morning).  we had a pizza for dinner, and watched some netflix.  a nice, relaxing at-home date.

and he also had our friends, the bowmans, show up to surprise me with a cake.

the next morning, not wanting to wake up quite yet, i brought marty boy back to bed with me after feeding him, and he kindly fell right back to sleep and snuggled with me for a little while longer.  the PERFECT way to start my 28th year of life.

there was another federal employee furlough (lucky, us!), so on one of the days that richard wasn't allowed to go in to work, he came with us to the tree house museum.  it was fun to let him see one of the things that we do every week, and watch him experience those fun things with our boy.

this fall was also a season of change.  after a year (or more) of planning and preparing to move to l.a. for college, my little chelsa chow finally did it.  in october, she packed it up and moved it out to hollywood to be a big kid.  marty and i went over the morning she left and said our goodbyes.  we both miss her a lot, but we love facetiming with her, and we're pretty stoked to see her over the christmas break.  i'm so proud of this girl for following her dreams.

so, yes, there were a lot of big things that happened during my favorite season of the year.  but there were also some little things that felt like big moments, too.  like when our friends, the lakey's, gave us this humongous banana squash.  it was bigger than marty, and we had fun playing with it before we ate it (almost every meal for a week!).

sarah and shae came up to visit.  they brought their dog-kids, and marty loved it.  i loved it, too.

richard gave marty his very first bubble bath.  it was a big, big hit!

my dad helped richard replace our front and side doors.  i'm pretty lucky to have such handy men in my life.

while they worked away, we played in the back of grandpa's truck.

we had a picnic dinner, just as it was getting dark, one night at beus park.  i'd taken marty there for lunch that day, and i knew richard would love it, so we picked up some food and hurried back before it got too cold.  we had fun stuffing our faces and horsing around.

halloween is one of the reasons that autumn is my favorite season.  it's the funnest holiday, and this year i'd say it was the best ever.  i was really excited to plan a family costume, and i think that it turned out pretty great.  richard and i were pirates, and marty was our parrot.  we dressed up for our ward party, and we ended up winning best family costume.  marty also won "best baby."  i'm sure they meant "best baby costume," but the award just said "best baby."  i whole-heartedly agree.

last year for my birthday i made my whole family do the zombie crawl on 25th street in ogden.  this year, with plenty of notice, more than one of them told me that they would not be participating in it again this year, just in case i was getting any crazy ideas.  so instead, i asked them to take me to dinner on 25th street where we could watch the fun-loving freaks who did do the crawling.  i chose roosters.  marty tasted his first french fry, and we all had a great time.

we finished up with dinner just in time to be a small part of the festivities.

i normally don't love carving pumpkins, but i was looking forward to it this year, just to see marty's reaction to the experience.   this is how it went down:

he started out as interested...

thought about what was actually happening...

and decided he hated it.

he may look more like richard, but it's moments like these when it is obvious that he is my son, too.

i carved marty's baby pumpkin (because it was all i could force myself to do), and richard did the big one.  he also toasted the seeds, and i think that this was his most successful batch yet.

we ended the halloween season by attending our stake's trunk-or-treat.  earlier that day, we dressed up and went in to richard's office to trick-or-treat, and show off our cute little parrot.  by the time this even rolled around, however, marty had had quite enough of his parrot costume, so we just bundled up and headed out.  jeremy and samantha met us there, and richard carried marty around to collect his/our candy.

i can't remember an autumn that i haven't loved, but i have to say that this was my favorite by far.  they say "it's different when it's you," for a lot of different things.  i'm mostly referring to it when they say it about having kids.  everything is more fun when we're experiencing it with marty boy.  i love halloween, but i love it more with him as our parrot.  i love my birthday, but i love it more with him eating french fries next to me.  i love hayrides and pumpkin patches, but i love them more with both of my boys by my side.  i love life, and i love it like i do because those boys are mine.

Monday, November 25, 2013

summer sun kisses

summer just seemed to fly this year.  i loved it, though.  and like any whirlwind romance, there were very special moments that are burned into my memory and heart that i will always remember.  they include, but are not limited to:

meeting friends for picnics in the park.  i should say parks, because we went to quite a few different parks for our little play dates.  some were with friends who also have kids, and others were with my kidless friends, but i think were still good for marty because he got to see faces other than mine, and we got to enjoy being outside.  there is just nothing better than laying on a blanket outside with my baby!

we went out to my mom's house quite a bit.  she had thursdays and fridays off of work, so we'd go out at least one of those days to play with grandma.  sometimes there were other family members out there, too.  this particular time granny and gramps were there, and some quality bonding took place.

we went to the roy aquatic center a handful of times, and it was heavenly!  i think that we only met chelsa and my mom there once, and every other time it was just me and marty.  we saw some friendly faces a few times, but overall it was just the two of us.  at first i thought that might be awkward, but i talk to marty as much as i talk to any adult or friend so it was just as fun (more so, probably) as going with someone else.  it may have been awkward for people watching me talk my baby's ear off, but who cares about them?

richard's band played some good gigs this summer, and one of them was at south ogden days on this humongous stage.  it was very loud, and very fun.

grandma and grandpa come to pretty much every event that marty will be at, and i have no complaints about that.  he'll never question whether he's loved, that's for sure.

auntie rachel joined us for that gig, too.  she took some video and photos for the band, but i think she mostly just wanted to hang with marty, too.  he's very popular.

the summer of 2013 was also the summer of the government sequestration.  this meant that richard was "furloughed" (forced to take unpaid leave) for 6 fridays in a row.  it was originally supposed to be 22, then they cut it to 11, and finally 6.  at first we were very upset and stressed out about it, but then furlough friday turned into our favorite day of the week because it meant some quality family time.  the only trick was making sure that we didn't spend money that richard wasn't making.  thanks to our local splash pads, that trick didn't turn out to be as tricky as we thought it would be.

we got to celebrate the blessing of the newest little parker, and catch up with some of our favorite friends.  it's funny (and sad) how you don't really appreciate the friends you have until they move to nebraska.  luckily they're back already.  but we still haven't seen them since this day.  we're winners, and obviously really good friends to have.

i really don't think that i've been swimming as much as i did this summer since i was in high school.  it was wonderful.  we even got to sneak into the ogden country club, thanks to chelsa's bf austin (whose dad is the manager there).  we soaked up some sun, and then we scarfed some fries.  when i say "we," i mean me.

i also got to spend a little quality time with the original man in my life when we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  we each took a day to plan a fun surprise.  mine was a day at the spa, which was a surprise to no one.

and richard pulled off an actual (and fabulous) surprise when he took me to see the utah symphony at deer valley.  they were playing the music of the rolling stones that night, and it was a blast!

it was so fun to do something that neither of us had ever done before.  we sang, and danced, and cuddled when it got cold.  and we both missed marty when we saw how many people had taken their kids with them.  but it was so nice to have quality one-on-one time with the guy who still spins my head and gives me butterflies.

he's my very best friend, and he's scratching all of my itches.

another best friend came to town on her way to a wedding, and i was so happy to have marty boy meet my katie kate.  the best college roomie a girl could ask for, the best email pen-pal in the world (we still write each other weekly!), and one of the best friends i've ever had in my life.  hopefully one day our kids will be making sweet music videos together like we have (and will continue to do).  

it was a fun surprise for the third amigo, one mrs. crayk, to join us for lunch, too!  i can't believe it's been almost ten years!

i got to meet the new man in katie's life, too.  i'd heard so much about kyle, and had basically made up my mind about him already, but meeting in person sealed the deal.  he's a keeper.

one of richard's favorite highlights from the summer was playing paul bunyan.

one of our friends knows how to cut down trees, and he offered to help richard cut down a big tree in our neighbor's yard that was threatening our foundation and roof.  he enlisted spencer, and the rest is history.

it was a busy summer full of swimming, play dates, family visits, home projects, big trips, no air-conditioning, and trying to find balance with all of the things we usually do during the summer, but learning how to do them with a baby.  not all of it was easy, but i can easily say that this was one of the very best summers of my life.  maybe even the best.