Friday, January 3, 2014

Flashback Friday - Winter of 2011-2012

This winter was great, a literal winter wonderland!  From my journal:
We kicked winter off with a two day stay at The Montelucia Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley.  It was frigid, for the desert, and rainy.  Under the beautiful wintry sun's rays, the kids played at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.  We also took a ride on the train and then the carousel, I joined them too.  It was super fun to do something out of the ordinary, even if we were shivering!  We then checked into the fanciest hotel I have ever been to.  The Montelucia is gorgeous.  Located directly under the famous Camelback Mountain, the resort is a perfect respite from the city.  Since we visited in December, it was decorated for Christmas.  The room we stayed in was basic, but had nice finishing touches and gives me ideas for our home's future.  We took the kids out to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner and they loved that place!  I guess you can't go wrong with all you can eat!  In the morning, Todd and I traded working out and watching the kids swim in the hot tub.  We then came back to our side of town for a delicious brunch at Cracker's and Harrison's last soccer game of the season.  Brennan joined us at the resort later that afternoon, sadly the drizzling rain wasn't going away, so we went to the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall and then Goodwill - mismatched shopping trip if I say so.  We finally braved the cold air and went to the hot tub in the pitch dark night!  We played "Would You Rather" and had a good time.  The next morning we checked out and drove back to Gilbert through fog, a true rarity here. 
The rest of December was filled with festivities large and small.  We had lots Cub Scout Christmas parties - a den one where we painted ornaments, another where we decorated cookies and watched Mr. Krueger's Christmas, and then a pack meeting where we sang carols.  For Daisies, we painted ornaments too.  For Smith family home evening we watched part of the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.  Alyssa had a fun class party and I got to volunteer.   I love volunteering in her class!  We invited our friends, the Monroe's over for dinner and a little Play Station Move.  December 23rd my family got together for yummy Mexican food and Christmas gifts with Gavin and Karly, since they went to California for Christmas this year.  Christmas Eve we had our usual party with Dad's side of the family and a Christmas Eve brunch with Todd's family.  Christmas morning was just the four of us, then church, which was great, and then opening gifts at my mom and dad's.  Later on, the Monroe's joined us for a baked ziti feast.  It was a crazy couple of days!  Even though I was so tired, I do realize how lucky I am to have so many people to celebrate with.  Honestly, all I remember about New Year's is that the kids and I were in my bed and Todd stayed up late and came to kiss us at midnight!  New Year's Eve, we spent with Gavin, Karly, and Tanner, and Karly's brother's family at the park.   The weather was perfect, the kids and adults had fun, and Gavin let us play with his helicopter!  Then we came back to our house and played four-square with Brennan in our drive way.  I remember lots of teasing and laughing.

These pictures were taken Christmas morning.  My mom made Alyssa's dress.

January came too soon and the kids had to start school again.  Some great things are happening this new year.  We are being more diligent than ever in reading scriptures as a family.  As a result, I have noticed Alyssa has become a better reader and Harrison is soaking the words right up.  He makes connections between the ancient prophets and how their words pertain to our day.  He doesn't care for the Isaiah chapters though.  We are also doing Family Night better.  Todd makes it a point to come home earlier on Mondays and plans the meetings.  Our kids really like it.  Harrison smiles when we get together.  He likes to get his agenda out when we calendar our week so that he can write our schedule in his agenda.  Alyssa loves to lead the music.  They are learning the Articles of Faith too - and we are relearning them!  I credit this to Todd's influence.  I am so happy and proud of him for taking initiative.  The spirit in our home is sweeter than before.

Alyssa's Daisy Girl Scout Troop joined a World's Fair.  We represented Germany.

All smiles after getting her ears pierced

Alyssa received "The Secret Garden" for Christmas and the two of us read it together.  We then watched the movie.  It was so awesome to read with Alyssa.  She reads with such cute intonations.  It was even better to watch her watch the movie.  It is a slower movie, less flashy than anything on Disney or Nickelodeon, but she was enthralled.  She really knew the story.  This is so exciting to me.  I love seeing her relationship with literature blossom. 

We went "hiking" on President's Day.  We visited Hole in the Rock and "A" Mountain.

Harrison is a great helper.  He makes lunch for himself and Alyssa nearly every school day.  I don't even have to remind him anymore.  He is also so smart!  He is getting straight A's.  He still loves Legos.  He does his best to choose the right.  He goes home from Cubs with Zach Berrett until I am done with my den.  I am so glad that he can make friends and be a friend.  I still can't believe that he is 9.  When did that sweet, tiny baby turn into this brainy boy who loves to listen to Coldplay?  In the blink of an eye, that's when.
Sibling love
Todd is doing very well at work.  He is the 1st Counselor in the Elder's Quorum and is doing a good job.  He is ever studious in the scriptures and is currently in The Old Testament.  He is a good example to me, I need to be better!  He is starting to get into biking, which is fun.  We went to a Suns Game VIP style and met Jerry Coanglo.  Sometimes I can't believe that we are experiencing the things we are!  We still go out once a week for lunch.  There is a blond girl that works there and is always so happy to see us!  Todd took me to see "Wicked", which was fabulous.  He got us 10th row tickets!  Super fun, even though we were both getting over the stomach flu!  I feel very content in my relationship with Todd, it just keeps getting better.
I am a work in progress.  Admittedly, I see my family through rose colored glasses and/or forgive them for their flaws more easily than I do mine.  I see me needing to eat better, run faster and stronger, read my Sunday lessons every week, be a better mother, wife, etc.....BUT, I have made progression these past few months.  I have been doing better at Weight Watchers and am 5 pounds from goal.  I am running longer distances, even if slow, and I really enjoy my runs.  I am biking long distances and am loving those bike rides too.  The endorphins can not be replicated any other way!  I have attended the temple.  I have read some of my lessons.  I am making it to church on time.  I genuinely love my cub scouts and girl scouts.  We sold cookies for girl scouts.  We are doing more fun family activities, like hikes, games, Superbowl parties, and Astronomy Nights at the Planetarium.  I am trying my best to really listen to my kids.  I am so in love with my kids.  I miss them when they go to school.  I think they are so great and I am trying to find ways to help them develop into what their Heavenly Father wants them to become.  I have a great partner in Todd who balances me out.  I will use the word content again, that is how I feel most of the time with my life.

Nothing spectacular happened this winter, but it was a spectacular winter!  We enjoyed each other.  We have learned with and from each other.  We have loved each other.  As this season ends, another is beginning, and with it are a multitude of opportunities for growth, learning, fun, and love.  Good-bye winter.  We will miss you!

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