Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twas the night before Christmas

Christmas Eve. In pictures.

 Hungry Hungry Hippo - huge success. HUGE.

 Then we went a-wassailing. (If wassailing means going on holiday visits).

 We visited a few other adopted grandparents and everywhere they went, Riley and Joe were treated to snacks, candy canes, drinks and hugs. Well, there was one who wasn't at home and while we were waiting in the car for Dad to knock and see if they were in, Riley said, "But we just want to show them our love, why don't they open their door?" Haha, I'm guessing she heard that phrase from Dad, but I loved her application. We just want to show you our love, gosh! Open the dang door!

Dinner was the traditional tex-mex feista, and we had the missionaries over and tried not to make them too homesick talking about Christmas memories and traditions, and Riley told them her favorite thing about Christmas was that Jesus was born, and also Santa bringing her presents. We watched the Nativity and put out cookies and milk for Santa. And we made a video for Daddy! Surprise, surprise. This is turning into a regular thing! But if he checks the blog before he goes to work then we'll the be first ones to wish him a Merry Christmas! Check it, Dave! Because we luurve you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

10th Day of Christmas

Dear Dave,

    On the 10th day of Christmas your true love gave to you, 10 songs, 10 pictures, and 10 events from the year 2010. The year we fell in love, got married, and started a family together. It was a great year for us!

And for music too - we've got some real gems here :)
  1. Bad Romance
  2. Just the Way You Are
  3. Animal
  4. Misery
  5. Party in the USA
  6. Stuck Like Glue
  7. Use Somebody
  8. Sweet Dreams
  9. The Only Exception
  10. Eenie Meenie

*Aaand anything by Taylor Swift. She just dominated the radio that year, and I still think of our first road trip every time one of her songs come on.

10 Photos from 2010

10 Events from 2010
  1. Spain won the world cup
  2. 33 Chilean miners were rescued after spending over 2 months trapped half a mile underground.
  3. Winter Olympics held in Vancouver. We love the olympics.
  4. Port-au-Prince Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake. Relief when Sabine's family was ok. Excited for the Port-au-Prince temple that is now underway 5 years later.
  5. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal wins Wimbledon
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Pt. 1 comes out
  7. BP leaks 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf Coast. Biggest oil spill ever.
  8. J.D. Salinger passes away
  9. The Giants win the World Cup
  10. Mark Zuckerberg is the Time's person of the year.

Anyway, the number one event on my list that year and always: finding you. You are amazing. Can you believe it's been 5 years???

I love you, Dave.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On The Ninth Day of Christmas

This year the kids and I are spending Christmas in VA, which is awesome. We don't get to see near as much as I would like of this beautiful state and the beautiful loved ones we have here. Too bad Dave had to work (cue sad Charlie Brown music).

So what do you do when your soul mate has to work thousands of miles away at Christmas time? You set up 12 days of Christmas surprises for him! It's fun (a nice change from the usual gift-hunting stress. Dave is the master gifter so I always struggle to think of something equally thoughtful. Not that it's a competition...he knows I love him...where was I going with this...). So it was fun, and I had to get creative as the numbers increased. Sometimes I had to enlist the kids help, and they were more than willing. Care to join us for #9?

Dave: on the 9th day of Christmas your true love(s) gave to you:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Greetings from VA

2 posts in a week - I'm on a roll. The thing is with the time difference and Dave's crazy hours back in UT, we don't get to talk to him as much as I'd like but this is a good way to keep our main man in the loop. And everyone else too - Riley and Joe miss their Zizi and Grandpa in UT, and our family and friends being so spread out, well - you're all in our thoughts.

Last week the kids and boarded a flight bound for Virginia. We were sad to leave our Dave, and Joe broke everyone's heart by yelling back over his shoulder, "Miss you already!" and then, "Say goodbye to the baby!"

I was a little nervous about flying with the kids alone - the last time I did it was a year and a half ago and it still gives me shutters just thinking about it - it was traumatic. But this time could not have gone better! Having no diapers or breast feeding to deal with makes a difference. Also we got to the airport 2 hours early (and I must say, the airport 3 weeks before Christmas compared to 2 is just night and day - none of our flights were full and our luggage and car seats were waiting for us upon arrival). And Riley and Joe were just angels. I have been praying about this flight literally for weeks and see it as a divine Christmas present that everything went smoothly!

These kids studied the safety manual more thoroughly than anyone ever has, I'm sure of it. Riley asked lots of questions about the breathing masks, the life vests, exiting the plane...She mulled over the information for a few minutes and then told me we should have brought our swimsuits. You know, just in case we had to jump out of the plane and into the sea. Joe's main concern was whether we would see any giants while we were up in the clouds. Adorbs.
The rare Munion kid nap! All the excitement and early wake-up caught up to them.
 Once we landed we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us but it was fun to catch up with Ang, our gracious driver, and Riley and Joe serenaded us for about half of the drive. Mom had candles lighting the windows when we finally pulled up, the tree was lit and the house was aglow and oh so welcoming. Sweet sigh of relief. It's good to be back!

In the valley the air is fresh and clean and unseasonably warm (till now - I think there will be snow tonight, and that is okay too). We have had foggy, misty Virginia days and breezy sunny days and been walking in all of it. Getting my Lizzy Bennett on. Mom's cooking never disappoints. She has some killer recipes for uber-healthy meals too that are delicious and make me feel stronger and healthier by the bite...who knew lentils and kale could be so freaking amazing.

Out on Grandpa McClure's swing:
 Celebrating Angie's birthday:
Fog on the mountains:

 Lots of Christmas crafting: Grandma's stash is ridiculous! The kids get so much more excited about real craft stuff than if I, say, punch circles out of paper and have them glue them to more construction paper.
 Walking Mister. Or Mister walking us.

We've also been to visit a couple of our Virginia "grandparents," played at the playground, dug out the toys of my childhood, performed little secret service acts - so fun that they are old enough to get into that now - enjoyed the trickle of family coming into town and pretty much just have spent a lot of time together and relaxing. Andrea became the first to feel this baby kick - one big whomp, just for her.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Delights of the Season.

Heller. Heidi here. This is my favorite time of year and so busy! Let's ketchup. (Joe's in a big ketchup phase right now. Sometimes we don't have anything ketchup-appropriate, and he'll ask for another condiment, and then pretend it's ketchup. "Joe, that's ranch." "NO! It's ketchup and I love it because. I. DO!")

Utah finally got with the program and we played in the leaves. No, no: this is a big deal. Riley and Joe have been talking about this activity since summer. Why? I don't know, maybe they saw it on TV.

A week after the leaf pile day this happened:
"Snow ball!"
The weather is exciting! Almost as volatile as a 4-year-old's moods! (Or a 3 year-old's, for that matter...they are lovely, though, no denying it.)

In the way of events people might actually care about, Tim had his senior recital and my nephew had his baby blessing and they both did us proud. Tim! The 10th and final bachelor's degree in our family! Matthew! Got dressed all in silky white, blessed and stressed, but didn't puke on the exquisite hand-made outfit from Grandma! Well done, you!

Mom and Dad flew out for the blessed events and we had a wonderful long weekend. 
(We were a tad late to Tim's recital so we listened to the first number from the comfort of the hallway. Dave.)
We're so proud of you Tim! Even if you did say you made mistakes on the one that was our favorite, we obviously thought it was all pretty fantastic.
 Mom made little Matthew's blessing outfit and somehow I find little boy dress clothes so much more impressive than little girls. I'm sure they both take skill, but fitting pants and the baby onsie snaps on the bottom and the masculine bonnet and shoes, it's just impressive. And he was a gem. A vocal gem, during the blessing itself, but precious nonetheless.

We took advantage of having Mom and Dad here to have an early Thanksgiving with the McClure side at Jon's house. It was deee-licious, and Riley and Joe loved the turkey crafts Grandma and Grandpa brought to do with them. We sat around a visited and ate too much visited some more.
 For actual Thanksgiving the Harrelds hosted, Em and Chris and Tim and Tim's friend Tyler joined us. Suzette did a very tasty spiced turkey and she and Tim had a pecan pie competition (everyone wins in a pecan pie competition). Riley and Joe got to do another turkey craft, this time with Grandpa Don. They made marshmallow cookie turkeys, a tradition passed down from Don's father:
After dinner we went for a very chilly walk (a McClure tradition. "They are excellent walkers, I suppose...") and Em taught Riley and Joe about animal footprints and they loved that. "It's a MYS-tery!" They are super into mysteries. Mysteries and knocka-knocka jokes. Bad at them, yes, but entertained all the same, most definitely.
And then we ushered in the Christmas season. Decorations were hung, Santa was visited, and a Christmas advent calendar whipped up. I did the calendar more for myself, on account of feeling like the holidays were here way to fast and I wasn't ready or in the right mindset or mood or something. We do a scripture a day plus and activity. Mostly service-oriented, involving crafts frequently.
Bird seed ornaments were a huge hit. With the birds, but also Riley and Joe got a kick out of watching for birds out the window, and refilling birdseed when needed. Little ones don't get to take care of others so much, but their hearts thrive on it.

They also appreciate hot cocoa out of doors.
We celebrated Christian's birthday. The kids love to play basketball with Uncle Chris and so Riley wanted to get him a new basketball for his birthday, but the Dollar Store doesn't have basketballs so we got him a desk game instead which turned out to be way harder and more impossible than any real basketball game. But they had a lot of fun trying to win together.

We made mason jar snow globes with Aunt Em:

 And 3 cheers for the big guy!
A much-anticipated visit with Santa. FYI, Springville Library is the place to be: they are #1 in the state of UT and have awesome activities (Star Wars Day anyone??). Santa Story Time was so fun: He read a dinosaur book that Joe was mesmerized by, then we sang songs and watched the Grinch, made a craft and got pictures taken. Stayed up way too late  doing all that, but Riley and Joe were over the moon. Joe jumped on his lap and yelled, "HAPPY CHRISTMAS, SANTA!" while I took this picture and Riley pretended to be shy till he asked her what she wanted for Christmas and then you better believe she found her voice. (The pink My Little Pony was the main thing. Joe wanted "a gun that shoots and 3 things." 3 things...hmm.)
Speaking of Santa: how 'bout that belly! I have crossed the half-way mark in this pregnancy - 22 weeks down! (Picture is at 20 weeks).
I feel pretty big, but with my short waist that belly just grows outward. I remember in past pregnancies people asking if I was having twins, to which I replied no and almost never punched them in the face. But that's not important. What's important is these fun baby kicks I'm feeling in there these days! I really notice him kicking around when I lay down at night. Funny, Riley and Joe like to go crazy when they see me lay down, "oh, you want to rest now, Mom? Let me just blow on your cheek and stick my finger in your nose." Haha. You should see how tender Joe gets about the baby. He is always rubbing my belly and kissing it and making sweet comments. "I wuve you, baby. Because I do." Of course, he also kissed Riley's rear end tonight. When he's making the bedtime rounds, he'll kiss whatever area is closest, so Riley was leaning on the couch with her bum out... Didn't think she noticed, actually, but we were tucking her in and she suddenly burst out laughing about it. 

They really are the coolest. One last thing: The Bibbity Bobbity Magic show: completely designed and executed by the children. It brings me a ridiculous amount of joy when they get creative and find their own way for things. Oh, and Joe's Despicable Me dance - that brings all kinds of joy too :)

Well and then the kids and I flew to VA and are having a valley Christmas vacation, which is all kinds of peaceful and nostalgia, but it's time to put this post, and myself, to bed, and leave some ketchup for later.


*I am such a movie geek. Quotes make their way into my conversation waaahahay too easily; in this post alone we hit Sense and Sensibility, Madea, and Pride and Prejudice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Baby #3 is a...

We had an ultrasound today. Last time we did this Riley was in tow, but she was only 8 months old and didn't really understand...she tried to eat the sonogram picture. This time we had two kids and both were super excited to see their new sibling. Dave's face was pretty delightful too. Seeing your baby for the first time is a strange experience, in the best way - makes me go all gushy inside and start murmuring things like, "Hi, sweetie" at the screen. How cool is it that they are now making 3D printouts of sonogram pictures for blind parents?? Anyways, we were happy to see that the baby was healthy and had all its parts, and hopefully I won't wake up at 3am anymore wondering if it has spina bifida, which is what I did last night.

And yes, we found out the gender. Dave and I were at odds - I thought girl, he thought boy, and it was the only way to settle things. And good thing we did too! I like having about 70% of our baby names crossed off the list. Plus, I'll be honest: I kind of got rid of most of our baby clothes in our last move, so thought it wouldn't hurt to do some shopping.

And now: Riley and Joe's announcement and thoughts on their new little sibling:

*Note - I like the name Elsa, we know some very sweet little Elsa's. I'm just tired of Frozen.
**Due date is still April 18th! Ultrasound confirmed!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

This Day Rockwells!

Norman. Rockwell, that is. I might have to name my child after him. I've always liked his stuff. Like to think of my life as a Norman Rockwell painting. Romanticizes the messiness, maybe? Anyway, BYU Museum of Art is featuring a collection of his - free through February 13th! Reserve your tickets! Of course we had to go, and Em and Chris joined us and we had a blast. I don't know if you are supposed to have a blast, per se, in a museum, but we did!

Some pieces were familiar but most were new to me. And art snobs who think Rockwells are too simplisstic or something be darned, his art captures the beauty and meaning of everyday human life, relationship and emotions. And I'm going to name my baby after him. You know, maybe.

 And behold: the faces of Norman Rockwell, as interpreted by us.

 Things got a little silly. What can I say, I was excited!

An hour and a half later, after a double walk-through the gallery as well as a documentary about Norman Rockwell, I was pretty high on life. When I saw a new ice cream place called Rockwell in downtown Provo I was even higher. It was their grand opening! Who can resist a theme day?? And, I've said it before and I'll say it again, the s'more icecream was the best, creamiest ice cream I've ever eaten. Ever! And I've eaten so much ice cream!

Deep breaths.

We also had lunch at Guru's and took a little walk around the almost-finished Provo city temple.

 If you don't watch out, Joe will dump a bunch of water on his head to "make his hair awesome." He was so proud of this one, he took a picture of it.

After that we drove over a nail and Dave got to change our tire, and then I went out for a girl's night out on the town, i.e. dinner with missionary companions and mission president. Bri and Ashley and I worked together...9 years ago (!!!) in Barrow-in-Furness (seriously that is ridiculous, it doesn't seem nearly that long). It's still so fun to hang out though - catch up and reminisce. And President and Sis. Jacobsen are still just as awesome. We got to see pictures and hear tales of their latest adventures white water rafting and touring Petra and the pyramids, and I just think they have discovered the fountain of youth, because I don't know a lot of people, of any age, as adventurous as they. Also they were able to give us lots of updates on the missionaries I haven't seen in ages. Many thanks to the husbands who stayed home with the kids, Sis. Jacobsen whose cooking is to die for, and just the universe for cooperating and granting a girl so many wishes in one day.
 (did I mention the ice cream?? :)

I don't always have the best days, but when I do, they are freaking awesome.

* I tell the kids that they get to choose what kind of day they have, and it's up to them to make it awesome or not, but I forget that too. I know I'm super blessed but negative thoughts can get to you nonetheless. I loved this video of the prophet's words on gratitude and following the Savior's example, and if Thanksgiving week isn't the time to focus on living gratefully and making every day awesome, I don't know when would be.