Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

It was a lovely holiday this year, especially because we kept it simple by going to the cabin Wednesday in the late afternoon and then staying up there until midday Friday. In the past we've been back and forth a lot trying to see both of our families and make it to special events (like last year's Turkey Trot...) but with Nanny and Neil on a mission we only had Smiths to see.

Everyone gathered at the cabin by about 7:30 Wednesday night including Tye and Stacey and Mason who flew in from Phoenix. Just as we were getting littles to bed, Brigg started throwing up and it was such sad timing for Cec and her family. She was super sick last year (we never even saw her emerge from her bedroom at the cabin on Thanksgiving day) so this was not fun for her at all. She ended up heading home with a few kids and her hubby to ride out the night in their own beds. Not a great way to start off a big family weekend but she did come back up on Thanksgiving day to be here for the feast and to stay the night with all her kids.

Our night was kind of awful up there as Luke was loud in his bed and stirring almost every hour being in a new place. He cried out and whimpered all through the night and I was worried about him waking others so I was up checking on him way too many times. Luckily, my hubby got up with him at 7:00 and let me sleep in a little longer and catch up on some rest. After making breakfast and our pies in the morning, Joseph and I went for a quick hike/run on the mountain roads. They were mostly free of snow until we reached the higher elevation where all was covered in a solid, thick layer of it. It was a beautiful day—probably in the high 40s and clear and sunny. What a little sunshine and sweat can do for my soul! It was just what I needed to feel energized and grateful for such a beautiful world and life and husband and family. I am so very blessed and hope to be more aware and more thankful several times throughout each day.
 A little pre-feast A to Z which Joseph taught these guys how to play

 Pre-feast walk to let wiggles out (thanks to Tye and Stacey for taking these cuties out for a bit!)

The big Thanksgiving dinner that afternoon was amazing (and so pretty! I love all the colors and textures of that meal). And the rest of the evening was pretty laid back and calm as all the kids played together so well and entertained themselves working on the cutest Thanksgiving Day scavenger hunt that Cec had created for each of them (age specific too!) Olivia needed my help and Joseph's help with a lot of it but she was so sweet and totally engaged which made it fun to complete it with her.

 Girls helping my dad set out some hay for the roaming moose and elk. See the white scavenger hunt papers in their hands? Checking off that they helped Grandpa Sherm with a cabin job :)

 Luke the non-stop eating machine!

Another outdoor romp to finish off the hunt (it had gotten colder with the sun about to set—hence the hats and gloves )

Cute snugglers

 And of course there was pie! Our Southern Cream turned out really well this year...yummy!

 All the cousins (minus an already snoozing Luke)

Our second night up there was much better with Luke, we had a good rest and spent Friday morning cleaning up, and getting ready to head home. Tye and Stacey had a great idea to go see Frozen that night (early—5:25 pm) and I decided Luke was finally ready to handle a movie so we did it. I think Joseph and the kids have seen at least 6 or 7 movies without Luke and me in the past year or so because that baby is just really busy and wouldn't be fun in a dark theater, or I am super eager for a break and I send those guys on without me :) But Luke was amazing the whole movie! It helps that Frozen is totally adorable and really fun, there are lots of songs which Luke was totally transfixed by, and there were many laps to snuggle up on including his favorite, Uncle Tye's, which he just had to share with Mason for a good portion of the movie. It was so sweet. Perfect ending to our cabin weekend and we still had a whole Saturday ahead of us.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


 A busy, busy, wonderful and happy month:

Dinner with our old friends the Perkins over in Daybreak (where they live—you'd think we'd see them more often being so close!) My girls had a ball with their daughter Lauren. She has 3 brothers so maybe just the girl factor alone sealed the deal for her :) They have a new tiny babe, Hudson, who is purely delicious. It was fun to reconnect, discuss being parents to so many kiddos and see their brand new home. Reminded me that I have so much stuff...maybe I need to move again just so I can purge!

This pic is actually from October, just before our family pictures but I loved how dolled up my little lady was. Her soft hair didn't the hold curl too well once we were doing pics but she sure looked cute!
Tiago's baptism. We had all the local family together but not all of the cousins in this picture (Leo, Addy and Isabel). Bentley gave a talk and was so prepared—he had great personality and a lots of advice and instruction.
A Hawaiian dinner on a snowy day to tell the kids we're going to Hawaii with my parents in January! They were so surprised and are totally excited. Lucky, lucky, lucky! Last time we were there as a family was in 2008 so Cares hardly remembers how amazing it is. I'm just thrilled we get to play outside every day for 10 days in the middle of January and feel sunshine and warmth on our skin.

Sweet baby is a solid napper. This day he was watching a little show just before I put him down for a nap and it must have been too lulling for him. Sleeping babies are the best :)

My friend Lindsay and I planned a little girls' escape up at my parents' cabin for a group of friends from our ward. Most of them have served in callings with us at one time or another or are neighbors on our streets or pretty close by. We have the best ward and love them all so we really wanted to invite everyone! Of course that wouldn't work so we did what we could (hoping we didn't hurt anyone's feelings). We sent out the invite to 15 (including us) and ALL of us made it to dinner together that night over at Pizzeria Limone, and then 13 of us stayed over at the cabin. These pictures are from our early afternoon hike/walk. It was such a gorgeous day for November!
L to R: Lindsay (baby Charlotte), Carrie M., Stacy, Amber, Michelle (mama of Charlotte), Jenn, Kristin, Andrea and Jessica
Dinner at Cafe Rio in Kimball Junction Saturday night just before we went home. This was the whole cabin crew (and sadly a blurry picture). I love these women!! We had so much fun together and talked and talked and talked all night long. Some ladies even went to bed at 5 am! I only made it until 2:30 but then slept in until 9:00. It was such a great getaway and we totally bonded. Love strong, beautiful, righteous women in my life who inspire and uplift and help each other. And of course we laughed and shared and passed on lots of great knowledge—love that we felt comfortable and close enough to do so. Good, good times :)

 Beautiful November in the mountains

Right after our girls' getaway we held Young Women in Excellence on a Sunday evening. I asked my articulate, spiritual and world-traveled mom to come speak to us. Our theme was "Your Journey to Happiness" based on Elder Uchtdorf's talk from the YW general meeting last spring. Two of my YW spoke on sections of his talk, my secretary Jessica sang a beautiful song for us, and then my mom spoke on her experiences with travels and journeys and exploring new places which always shed light on Gospel truths and reminded her of her testimony and love of the Lord. She had such good stories and even though I'd heard most of them, they filled my heart that night and I could feel the Spirit bearing witness through her words. A few highlights so I can remember: sacrament with the Navajo branch in Page, AZ, Mary Lou singing I Am a Child of God in Japanese to a young Japanese Woman somewhere in the Alps, making friends with hikers (also in the Alps) and Dad's German giving him the perfect chance to share that he knows the language so well from being a Mormon missionary, and being preserved from harm in a sketchy Taxi in NYC. Cec joined us for the night as did my dad, and Joseph came up just for my mom's talk too (leaving Bean to babysit for 30 minutes) We had a great turnout from our YW and the night was a success. We did some cute decorating with maps and vintage suitcases too, and our YW brought a pair of shoes to show off their talents and displayed them in some cute shoe-boxes they'd wrapped in brown packing paper. I have no pictures of anything else from the night but the one above. At least I got one with my mom and Joseph's awesome chalkboard art he created about an hour before the meeting started! Another big YW event checked off for the year. Now to start plans for New Beginnings (a never-ending cycle :)

 Cutest little vest buddies

 Date night! L to R: Jenny & Russ Emery (used to live across the street from us but moved a few miles away), Chris & Lindsay Barnes, and Brittany & Scott Daw (also neighbors who recently moved to Riverton). We made them try Settebello with us and then they came to our house for games and hanging out. Love these great people.

 Pre-Thanksgiving feast with our LeBaron family about 10 days before the actual holiday. Joseph worked like crazy to make this turkey a delicious success. Wish we'd gotten a picture of all of us together! We are trying to make sure we do Sunday dinner all together once a month while Nanny and Neil are gone on their mission. We've been good so far and have been trading off who hosts all of us (we are only 8 adults and 12 kids but it's still quite a crew!)

 A fun morning downtown with my mom while our car got an oil change. Loved Pottery Barn (as always) but it was a huge sign that Christmas is coming!!

Hunger Games date night with Cec and Chad. Such a good movie! And it was free as our mortgage broker had rented out a theater for his clients. He actually teamed up with the Freiss real estate team so we ended seeing their great family their too.

Lights on the house and kids on the roof. Freaky but adorable and they got the job done. Except that one strand is out on the far side of the house and we still haven't replaced it and now there is a solid layer of snow on the roof. It may just be a little off this year, but I still love my lights! Thanks for putting them up babe!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Favorites of My Family

Had to document these photos because, quite frankly, I am in love. My darling friend Amber (she serves in YW with me and does freelance photography among many other talents :) took these for us at Thanksgiving Point on the last day the gardens were open for the year. It was 3 weeks ago and we loved that there were still so many autumn leaves and that it was a lovely, clear morning for our pictures.


I have a DVD full of more images, all in color and B&W and I could look at them all day. I truly love my sweet children so much. They are crazy fun and wear me out every day, but they are just the most precious souls in all the world. Luckily I have an amazing and very cute hubby to help me along the way. We feel so richly blessed to have this little family of ours, and to have each other too.