Thursday, August 3, 2017

24th Celebration in Cokeville...

the 24th celebration in cokeville, where i eat too much, don't sleep hardly at all, and love every second of it! this year was a little different though in that a lot of our family wasn't there this year. people were on other vacations or had other commitments and it made for the quietest year ever! hopefully it's back to it's chaotic masses of people state next year!

we all started rolling in friday evening. we ate dinner and sat around and visited until all hours of the night. my girls loved it!

saturday morning came way too early! we all got ready and headed down the street for the parade. the best parade in the world because it a. turns around and comes back (in case you missed something!) and b. the people on the floats throw tons and tons of candy! my girls both got a huge bag full. they loved being with cousins and eating the candy as the parade went.

then we headed home for lunch and naps. james and i attempted a stroller ride to the flying j for drinks to get adalyn and kendall asleep. we totally failed and ended up sweaty and tired ourselves. total rookie move.

later that afternoon, the tongas set up the most epic waterslide for the kids (and adults if we're being honest), and they spent hours out there! i seriously bet brooklyn went down at least fifty times. kendall not as many as the hill was a little trickier for her to climb carrying a tube. and i only got video of james going down alone or with one of the girls. the girls loved that too!

it made for such a fun afternoon and totally wiped my girls out!

that night there were fireworks, lots more food, and lots more visiting. so yes, another late night. so late that we opted to attend the 11 o'clock sacrament meeting cause the earlier one wasn't happening. after church we had a delicious roast beef dinner and then said goodbye and hit the road. my girls are always so sad to leave cokeville. they must get it from me!

on the actual 24th, james made a delicious crepe breakfast for us, we watched the days of 47 parade on tv, i went to a high fitness class, we got yard work done, and then headed over the mountain again for bridger bear's birthday party. all while finding out my mother in law broke her leg badly while doing yard work at their house. not a great way to spend utah's birthday. the girls loved being able to see her and give her hugs and know that she was ok.

when the 24th weekend is over i can always feel the summer rapidly coming to a close and i can hardly stand it! we only have about three weeks until school starts and i'm shoving every summer thing into our schedule that we can before we send brooklyn off to all day school! it really has been such a fun summer and we're going to make these last few weeks count!

(can you spot brooklyn's birthday $? she's obsessed.)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

brooklyn's 6th birthday.

the big day finally came! brooklyn has been counting down the days for her birthday since Christmas. that's a long time to hear, "how many more days until my birthday?" i was surprised how emotional i was on the actual day! she's grown up so much over the summer and rightfully, she should be six. but man, i sure would love it if she were four again.

festivities for her birthday started the day before with a trip to the zoo with cousins!

on her actual birthday, she got to open a present (a swim suit! summer birthdays are the best!) and then she wanted to go to target. that's ma girl!

we hit up seven peaks later that morning, auntie googs and auntie hay joined us and brooklyn loved having more people to party with than just her mom and sisters.

we met up with james back at home where we all showered and got ready, then we headed to the disney store at city creek so that brooklyn could get the special birthday treatment like kendall did. i wasn't surprised with how much more shy she was than kendall.

after that, we took our hungry bellies to brooklyn's favorite place to eat, pizza pie cafe. she orders her pasta by herself and gets her own dessert pizza when she's ready for it. seriously, too grown up!

we stopped at the local book shop for their sidewalk sale and snagged some cute children's books for the girls.

boondocks was our next stop! brooklyn got to do everything for free because it was her birthday and she was in heaven! she did the bumper boats three times, bowled, and played arcade games. she was so excited the whole time and just kept saying thank you thank you over and over again.

we grabbed some icy treats at dylan's on our way home and then headed to nana and papa's for an evening swim. the girls thought it was so cool to swim at night! it was a little chilly so they finished off the night with hot cocoa and fireworks by dad. 

brooklyn claims it was the best day of her life! as exhausting as it was for this mom, i'm more than happy to do it for her because she loves it AND she is so grateful for all of it!

the next evening was her birthday party, her beach party to be exact. cousins came in swim suits, we ate pulled pork sandwiches, and brooklyn designed (with auntie googs' help) the donut cake of her dreams. she loved all of it! but not before auntie hay whisked her off for a birthday shopping spree. again, she just thought that was the coolest!

(she drew the palm trees all by herself! she had this planned out for months!) 

at the end of the party, we had to surprise guests show up: great-grandma carol and great aunt barb. i was so darn excited to see them! they didn't come empty handed either. they got brooklyn the cutest outfit for school. i just loved having them there!

it has to be documented that adalyn is straight up obsessed with her baby cousin hayven! obsessed! they will be best friends next summer!

james did some more sparklers and fireworks to end the night and brooklyn went to bed exhausted after two days of celebrating. she got a day to relax and then aunt toria took her to classic skating where she got to try out her new roller skates. she had a blast! she loved her birthday and loved being able to have family there to celebrate with her! being with people is her jam and she wouldn't have had it any other way.

i love you brooklyn jayde and i'm so proud of the girl you are!

My dearest Brooklyn Jayde,

I honestly cannot believe how old you are! I can't believe you're 6! It feels like yesterday that we went in early in the morning for you to be delivered at LDS hospital. What an amazing day that was!!! As I sit here at the kitchen table, reflecting on our past 6 years together, you came up to me to ask me if we had any more crepes. You said you just love them so much because they're so good. You are such a cute girl. Even when you were born, you were darling. You had our hearts the moment you joined our family. I can't even describe the joy and happiness welling up inside my soul just remembering that special day. Every year, as we celebrate your birthday, I'm reminded of that day and it's such a great cause for celebration. All our family on both sides just couldn't wait to meet you! We had to go through a lot, especially your Mom, just to get you here and we couldn't have been more excited. You've been so blessed to be the first grandchild on both sides of your family and have had the fortune to get to know your relatives in a way some of your siblings and cousins may never know. It will be your blessing and opportunity to help them and be an example.

Growing up, I always imagined that I would have sons first and then daughters. From the first time I held you and heard your tiny little cry, I couldn't have imagined it any other way. You were the beginning of the special place in my heart for my daughters and you always will be. You have grown and learned so much already and I'm so excited to get to teach you more about the world, how to work, and how to be kind to others. You are a great example to me and to your little sisters. They love and look up to you so much. I'm so proud of you and the testimony that you have. I can see it in your eyes when we talk about our Savior, Jesus Christ, that you know that the gospel is truth and that He loves you. There is so much we can do in this world to make it a better place and there is so much joy and happiness in taking advantage of these many opportunities. 

You remind me so much of myself. You are passionate and fun loving. You are also kind and energetic, However, you are also very thoughtful, smart, athletic, and talented. Your friends are drawn to you and your personality because you are a leader. Heavenly Father has blessed you with so much privilege and potential because He trusts that you will develop your talents and abiliities to find joy in blessing the lives of so many of our brothers and sisters. You will be tempted at times in your life to be discouraged and depressed but I challenge you to remember clearly in these trying times just how much I Love You. In those moments, as your dealing with life's challenges, please think about how much our Savior, Jesus Christ, must love you to have suffered and died for you and for all of us. Given how much you know I love you, you'll understand that He must have loved you even more. Being your father has taught me more about His love and sacrifice for me than perhaps any other experience in my life because I know I would gladly die for you. I'm so far from perfect Brooklyn. Please forgive me for my mistakes and impatience as you've been growing up and help me to be a better man and a better Dad. I'm confident that Heavenly Father sent you to me because He knew how special you are and that you could teach me so much. 

By the time you read this you'll probably already know very clearly that I'm far from perfect and nowhere near the smartest or kindest person that you've ever met. You'll likely understand that I make a lot of mistakes and that I'm very emotional. But what I hope you'll know more than anything else, is that in spite of my flaws and weaknesses, that I truly and sincerely love you. That I ALWAYS will, no matter what! You'll make mistakes. You'll learn some lessons the hard way. You'll be faced with temptation and have the opportunity to seek forgiveness and mercy, and I'll always be there to love and hold and forgive and praise you. I pray you'll always be able to do the same for me. Work hard. You've had great opportunities and experiences in your life but the greatest is yet to come. We have to earn it. I promise you it will be worth it. I know without a doubt that Jesus Christ lives and that He walked this Earth nearly 2000 years ago to fulfill the will of the Father in enabling the Eternal Plan of Happiness. He died for you and He died for me! I have felt the powerful confirmation of these truths through indescribable peace and joy as fruits of the Holy Ghost. I have had incredible and miraculous experiences. Doubt not Brookie Jayde! Believe!

Love Always,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

the 4th of july!

the 4th of july! one of my favorite holidays! one i look forward to all year with much anticipation... almost as much as christmas!

the festivities for the 4th start the day before for us as of the last couple of years. we go to a bbq at my friend's parents' home and then we trek up to the golf course for fireworks. it's become one of my favorite traditions! my girls were excited about it this, but loved it even more because my friend's mom (who is an excellent painter!) did face painting. you better believe they stood in line for that first thing!

they usually have bounce houses and slides and this year, this is the only picture we got of that. but the girls love that too! right along with the snow cones and endless cotton candy.

only a couple of us were able to make it this year which was a little sad, but we had a great time being able to visit with just 3 of us! i love these girls and we hope this tradition continues forever!!!

no picture of the fireworks but it should be noted that literally five minutes before the fireworks started kendall had to go to the bathroom. not just number one either... so i picked her up and literally ran down hill of the golf course (in 100 degree weather) and we barely made it to the porta potties by the time the fireworks started going off. she went quickly and then i carried her and ran back up the hill. i was exhausted by the time we got back to the group. adi was sad and tired so i tried comforting her until the fireworks were over. kendall then let us know she needed to go potty again! holy cow. what?! we told her she had to hold it, which she's very good at doing. well, apparently all the fresca she drank right before the fireworks was catching up to her very quickly and she wet her pants in the stroller. poor girl! she was so sad about it, but turned immediately happy as soon as i let her know we had a fresh pair of undies back at the van for her. she was thrilled! i was just flat out tired. next year, we'll be better prepared for that!

we had the kids in pjs and in their beds by 11pm and we were getting them up at 7am the next morning to head down to our neighborhood flag raising and breakfast. a new tradition to us and one that we fell hard for and plan on doing again and again! the girls loved it! the getting up early didn't phase them one bit. james and i loved starting the 4th out in such a patriotic way.

the home where the breakfast takes place is in the heart of bountiful and is like the perfect backdrop for something patriotic like this as well. the playlist in the background was a world war two station and it seriously felt like something straight out of a movie. charmingly quaint and beautiful! the pancakes and other food was delicious and we left full and ready for the next event on the docket.

brunch/swimming at our house mid day on the 4th has also become a tradition. it's so nice to be able to let the kids cool off and play in the water, eat some more good food, visit, and do it all without the crowds! we love it and definitely plan on sticking to this tradition. this year i did blueberry muffins and a stove top mac and cheese (from martha stewart, look it up! so good!). we had watermelon, drinks, licorice, and the like. the other plus to this activity is it wears the kids out early for a good nap, allows us adults to nap, and then everyone's ready and refreshed to stay up for fireworks.

so we parted ways, napped, showered, got all ready, chels and i made a swig run, and then we all met up at my in laws for a delicious bbq. 

we ended up with so much food we literally did a repeat meal the next meal. so yummy!

i bought my girls' coordinating dresses clear back in february and i was so excited to finally get them all dressed up in them! adalyn's is my personal favorite!

after dinner was cleaned up we caravan-ed up to kaysville for what we think are the best fireworks of the summer. the kids get to go play in bounce houses with their daddies, while us mommies watch the babies and eat all the treats we bring.

as it starts to get dark, we pull out all the glow in the dark stuff and snuggle up for the fireworks. this year, brooklyn and kendall couldn't help but get up and dance for the first little bit. james has cute video of this but i can't get it to load. by the end, everyone was snuggled up together and it was seriously just the best! it's all so magical for me, and i'm the mom, and also 31 years old. i hope i'm creating magical memories for my girls too. these summer nights spent together watching fireworks, sweating to death, and then tiredly making our way back to the van are really some of my most treasured memories. i think about them all winter long and get teary eyed! not even kidding.

we had the best 4th and i'm so glad we did. it's such a great day to celebrate and remember how great this country is that we live. i know i'm proud to be an american and i want my girls to feel the same. i say it every year, and i'll say it again, i don't know if next year's 4th can top this one. but i'd love to see it try!