Sunday, March 30, 2014

February

Life continues to press on, doesn’t it? Here we are in February, and with a seemingly low-key life, we somehow manage to keep busy enough.

A couple in our ward, the Bairds, invited us and the Gibbs over for a couples game night. After the kids were in bed and babysitters were present, we headed to the Bairds for our fun-filled night. We enjoyed candy, chips and dip, kettle corn, and peach cobbler. We also enjoyed beating them at Ticket to Ride. Okay, okay, we were teaching them the game, so the win is less impressive than it is poor form….but we are way too competitive to hold back even the slightest bit. We had such a good time we decided to make it a monthly tradition. Next month, we will be the hosts. We feel so blessed to have made such close friendships with so many people in our ward...something that we found difficult in the past.

February brought the Winter Olympics! Boy, I just love the Olympics. I couldn’t believe it was that time again...I remember the Summer Olympics blaring every day, all day, when I was home with Charlie as a newborn. I have to admit, I prefer the Summer over the Winter Olympics...but I will take what I can get.

For the opening ceremonies, Charlie and I headed to Draper. Jason would have come too if it hadn’t been for a crazy camping trip he had already planned with his high school friends (more on that in a minute). Our opening ceremonies party included a fun Navajo tacos dinner (with scones galore) and watching the event on the projector downstairs. Marc and Andy Phillips also joined us for the occasion and brought some yummy and healthy appetizers. I know there is a lot of disagreement about the Russian presentation, but I LOVED it! I was totally impressed with the show. I really believe watching it on a huge screen may have played a part in that, and my love of dance, but I was captivated by the presentation. Charlie and I stayed the night at my parents, and the next morning I headed to a baby shower for my high school friend, Kerstin.

At the shower: me, Kerstin, and Alisha
She is having a boy!

While we were enjoying the opening night, Jason was freezing his backside off camping in Grantsville with Rich, Nate, Trevor, and Parker. Okay, he says it wasn’t all that cold...but I am skeptical given it was the beginning of February and snow was on the ground. Rich had a huge tent, complete with an indoor stove, that he was anxious to use with his buddies….hence the camping in extreme conditions. They didn’t end up using the stove though, claiming it didn’t get cold enough. Most of the fun took place the next morning. Jason did some fishing (surprise, surprise), they shot off their guns, and then they all took turns driving around on the snowmobile and four wheelers. They all had a really fun time. Even though the whole thing sounds completely horrible to me, boys will be boys...and I love them for it! Always looking for the next adventure.

The next weekend, Jason did get to take part in some of the Arbon Olympic festivities. We had another family dinner (spaghetti) and then watched one of the USA hockey games. Of course, as soon as the game was done we headed home and played Age of Empires over Steam. We definitely have our priorities straight.

I sadly have to admit, I didn’t see very many of the Olympic events this year. I would have been watching them constantly if it weren’t for the fact that we got rid of our television service. Don’t worry, we still have our TV and watch plenty of it...but it is exclusively Netflix...or the occasional DVD. So with no television channels, it gets difficult watching the Olympics. Oh, we tried watching events of interest through NBC’s online apps and options...but those were awful! I don’t know if anyone else experienced the same thing, but navigating through the site for certain things was very difficult and the amount of advertisements was unreal! My point is, we had some frustrations trying to watch the events we liked...and were not as involved this time around. I will be anxiously awaiting the next Summer Olympics.

For some reason, this year has been the year for crafting! I am not even that big of a crafter! My friend Katie (who invited us to the weekly playgroup) also invited me to join their monthly Girls Night/Craft Night. It has been really fun meeting such a nice and fun group of girls. When Girls Night came this month, I was all Valetine’s Day crafted-out! But I still had a great time munching and chatting. Next time I will step up my game and come with an awesome craft!

The week of Valentine’s Day, Camry and I had our weekly get-together. As mentioned, we were both crafted-out, so we decided to dip strawberries instead. We dipped lots of strawberries, in white and milk chocolate. While the strawberries were setting, we hung out and watched Parenthood.


My Aunt Erin’s birthday is February 14th, so the day before, Charlie and I brought her lunch. Originally, the plan was for me to take her out, but she called me that morning saying she would be down for fast food and a move at her place. That is just my style. She requested In-N-Out, so I picked it up and we watched Austenland.

My Grandma Arbon’s birthday is also the week of Valentine's Day. Since it was her 80th birthday, Erin threw her a big party. I helped by making the invitations through Pixingo. The day of the party was a very busy day. That morning, Charlie and I went to Lily’s two year birthday party (Lily is my cousin’s daughter). Lily also shares her birthday with Valentine’s Day, so her party was that Saturday, as well. After her party, Charlie and I picked up Jason and we met up with the Phillips cousins at Chipotle in Sandy. Next up, was Grandma’s birthday party. (I wish we would have known there was going to be lunch there, otherwise we wouldn’t have filled up so much at Chipotle). It was fun to visit with family and celebrate Grandma’s 80 wonderful years. After the party, we headed to my parents for that dinner and USA hockey game that I mentioned earlier in this post. It was a VERY busy day.

Screen shots of the invites (front and back):



Love using Pixingo!

(p.s. I am appalled at the lack of pictures taken lately. Sorry guys!)


Friday, March 28, 2014

Charlie’s Nineteenth Month


18 Months to 19 Months

For some reason, I didn’t write a whole lot down from Charlie’s nineteenth month. It may have had to do with the holidays taking a big chunk of that time, or the fact that not a lot has changed with Charlie and his development, but I will share what I have.

The week of Christmas, when we were staying with my family, Charlie was really needy and whiney. He was just not himself! He was extremely difficult to feed. He would practically only eat yogurt, cottage cheese, and beans. It was very frustrating! It seemed like he was only happy if I was right there next to him. No one else could really give him the comfort he demanded. Looking back on it now, I really wonder if he was teething at that time. That could explain the difficult behavior.



He had his 18 month doctor appointment, and here are his measurements:
Weight: 23 lbs 12.5 oz - 41%
Length: 33 inches - 65%
Head Circ: 48.5 cm - 78%

While at his appointment, his pediatrician explained that Charlie is slow on his speech development. We knew he was a little behind, but it was a hard pill to swallow to hear the doctor say that he was officially “slow”. Apparently at this age, he should be able to say at least eight words. Charlie doesn’t say any “real” words except for “no”, “mama”, and “dada”...and even those aren’t consistent. He says “no” mostly when he is rejecting food at the table. For a boy who loves to talk and chatter so much, it is surprising that he still isn't saying anything. Because of his slow speech development, the doctor recommended we get help from Kids on the Move. It is a free (depending on income) state program that could help improve his development, so we will give it a try.

As mentioned in a previous post, we started 1:00 PM church. That is right when I usually put him down for a nap, and that has made going to nursery a nightmare! He is not doing well. He just cries and cries at nursery. It takes him a long time to settle down, and he just clings to me. Even having a bottle of milk in his mouth doesn’t help, he will just cry through his teeth. I have started trying to nap him early those days, but that is not always possible with the meetings Jason and I have and with choir practice that I sometimes attend. This is going to be a challenging year...but I know that kids are surprisingly good at adapting.

One positive thing from the past month is Charlie and I were invited to join a weekly playgroup with a new friend from the ward. Katie and her family recently moved into the ward last summer, and we instantly made a connection with them. They are fun, outgoing, strong-spirited, and hardworking people. Katie invited Charlie and I to join a playgroup she does each week with some of her old high school friends, and some other friends she has met along the way. I was thrilled! So now we have something to look forward to each Tuesday morning. It has been great! Charlie gets to get out of the house, practice playing with other kids his age, older, and younger, practice sharing toys, and exploring new places and things. And let’s not forget how great it is for Mommy, too! I am loving it!

Here are some pictures from the month:


Exploring Cabelas

A new portable high chair from Grandma and Grandpa Arbon for Christmas. He was pretty excited...and so were we!

We finally got a new forward-facing car seat! Charlie was way too big for the old one...especially with a coat on. It was time to upgrade!

Loving it!

Much better! But man, he is a big boy!
It is a whole new world facing forward! I love looking back and being able to see his sweet little face!

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He still loves his cars! No surprise there!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jason Turns 28

Man, it really is crazy how each year that number gets closer to 30!


The Sunday before his birthday, we met up with the Gruber clan. This year we went to the Grubers in Riverton for dinner so that Max, April, and Alex could go to Alex’s Baptism Preview (or whatever it is called) and we could be there with Mya, Elsa, and Greta. We had a yummy dinner of lasagna, breadsticks, salad, etc. We had fun dancing around with the kids while Max, April, and Alex were gone. When they got back, we had cake and presents. For cake, Jason requested my mom’s delicious oatmeal cake (always a hit, especially with Karl).

Yeah, my ghetto candle version of "28"...I always forget to buy candles. 







On Jason’s actual birthday, I started the day by making a pancake breakfast (including bacon, eggs, and hash browns). Jason had work during the day, and when he got back I surprised him by taking him out. Since Charlie was going to be with us, we planned on going somewhere for pizza and then coming home with a Redbox. The day before his birthday, my mom called me and surprised me by offering to watch Charlie the next night while we went out. I was thrilled. So we drove to Draper to drop Charlie off. Then we headed for dinner at Pier 49. Man, they have such great pizza! I especially love their Knob Hill pizza. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. Oh well, it is nice for more “special” occasions. After dinner we headed to Sandy Movies 9….classy, I know. But we both wanted to see Enders Game before it left theaters, and so the dollar theater was our only option. We had both read Enders Game, so it was a movie we definitely wanted to see. It was great! A really entertaining movie!

Dropping Charlie off at my parents, before putting him to bed:




Oh no, it's a ghost baby! He loves doing that!

He still loves that blanket from Aunt Annette!


At Pier 49



The next Sunday, we had a birthday celebration with the Arbons. We had a tasty roast beef dinner complete with heavenly potatoes and the works. For cake, I made a delicious boston cream pie. I have made this cake a couple of times, trying to get it just right. I haven’t perfected it yet, but it is getting a lot better...and I think I know what I need to do next time to make it all the better. As expected, Jason got to choose the game we would play. He chose Cashflow, and we had a great time.




Happy Birthday, Jason! Twenty-eight never looked so good!


Monday, March 24, 2014

The New Year and January 2014

For New Years Eve, we were invited to a party at the Reddings with Jason’s high school friends. The Reddings recently built a townhome in Saratoga Springs, so we were all anxious to see all the new developments and decorations. Those who joined us were the Cooks and both Tadje families. The party didn’t start until a little later, and we wanted to stay until midnight, so we brought Charlie with us, along with his pack-n-play. Yes, the plan was to put Charlie down to bed there, and leave after the New Year festivities. This is risky business with a toddler, but it worked! Oh man, we were so relieved. He went down like a champ and stayed down.


We had a great time. We had drinks and lots of goodies. Fun side note, each of us brought a side dish/appetizer to munch on, and three out of the four of us brought cheese balls! What are the odds?!? Luckily, one brought ranch flavored, another brought the sweet peanut butter kind, and another brought shrimp to go with theirs. Too funny, though! When we weren't stuffing ourselves and shooting the breeze, we were playing the celebrity game. That’s right, we couldn’t resist introducing it and playing it with them, too. Luckily, a few had already played before and knew how it worked. Before we knew it, it was midnight! Jason and I brought the sky lantern that I got from Amy from Girls Week. We lit it up and let it fly. There was a slight breeze, and we had a brief moment of panic when it looked like the lantern might head for a house, but it made it safely up into the sky and we watched it fly away. A great end to a great party and a great year, and a great beginning to what is to come!

Trevor, Krista, Rich, Dakota, Kamilla, Alli, Parker, Heidi, Jason, me, Sarah, and Nate


Now, let’s see... we seemed to keep plenty busy in January. We had another Age of Empires game with the Arbons and Phillips cousins. We met up at the Arbons and had another huge battle (and another successful attempt at putting Charlie down while we played, and then took him home when we were done). But, that wasn’t the end of Age of Empires. Tyson introduced Steam to us, which made it possible for us to play together online, without being at the same location. That opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Everybody got a Steam account, and almost every weekend there was talk of another battle. These games take dedication, let me tell you. It is not an odd occurrence for the game to last until 3:00 AM! These games take hours...and if you lose after playing for hours and hours, emotions can run high! But all in all, everyone has fun and vows/threatens to win the next time. Age of Empires really is a strange craving! Jason and I even continued our own private games using Steam when others could not play...usually during the week. Our Netflix account was neglected somewhat, but we couldn’t get enough. I would have dreams about it, and Jason would think about it during the day. It was nuts!


Okay, enough about Age of Empires, and enough with making us look totally pathetic!


With January came a change in church time. We now have 1:00 PM church. I used to love one o’clock church...when I could sleep in. Especially challenging is that is precisely the time that I put Charlie down for a nap. But, we adapt. Charlie was terrible at nursery for the first several weeks! Just an ornery little guy. We still have some trouble here and there, but we have found that he does best if Daddy drops him off. If I drop him off, it takes him a good thirty minutes to relax and venture away from my lap.


Camry started her final semester at BYU. Technically, she could have graduated in December, but she decided to continue for another semester and take a couple of fun classes. She was able to continue her scholarship and continue her employment. For her final semester she is taking two classes: Photography and Dutch Oven Cooking. I am so jealous! How fun is that? She is still only working part time (may I add, at the easiest job ever), so she has some free time during the week. We decided we would get together each week to take advantage of this time. With Valentine’s Day coming up, and tons of cute Pinterest ideas, our first couple “playdates” were craft days. We met up at my mom’s house and had her join in, too. We brought Charlie along, but got most of our crafting done while he was napping. By the time he would wake up, usually Bryan was home from school and was able to play with him.

Craft day #1:

Oh yeah, I got a hair cut....had enough hair to donate to Locks of Love



Mom didn't need Pinterest to create her own craft

Some pics of Charlie during our craft day:





Craft day #2:





Speaking of crafts, I guess I really crafted it up in January. We had another playdate/craft day at Kylie’s house. Stacee and her kids joined in, and we had some yummy lunch, and Kylie helped us make some Valentine’s Day blocks. Love our play dates with these guys!



Also worth mentioning, we had some fun “real dates” with some other friends. Charlie came along to all of these, but we had fun dinner dates with the Johansens (at their home), the Wingers (at Buffalo Wild Wings), and the Pacadas (at Spicy Thai).

Here are a few more pictures from the month:



Branching out - made a Garlic Rosemary Rib Roast


Beauty from our doorstep

Homemade banana ice cream from our new ice cream maker (my Anniversary gift to Jason)

The Auto Show with the Arbons
(The iPad saved us with Charlie)

Visiting Great-Grandma Gruber

The only thing missing from January is Jason's birthday....coming up next.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Christmas 2013

Sunday evening before Christmas, we had our special Christmas party with the Grubers. We had a festive dinner, of course, and then did our gift exchange. Charlie was really excited about a toy plane from Grandma and Grandpa Gruber, and a set of hot wheels tracks and cars from the Tuttles. Jason and I were really surprised when we opened our gift from his parents...they gave us a large amount of cash to go towards our Disneyland trip we have been trying to do for a really long time! We couldn’t believe it. All of the sudden, our trip actually seemed possible and we knew we could finally make it happen. We were thrilled (and we cashed in on the Disneyland trip in February...that post to come later….once I make it to February)!






That night, after we got home and put Charlie to bed, we finally wrapped up our presents. We didn’t want to have too many wrapped presents under the tree tempting Charlie to rip them open during the season, so we waited until the evening before we left for the holiday. Jason and I also exchanged all of our gifts to each other (except for one each) so we wouldn’t have to do that in front of my family. It was really fun being able to do some present opening early and privately!




Monday night, we headed to my parents. We were there from Monday night to Saturday night. We really jammed the week full of fun and leisurely things. Monday night, as planned, we had a family Age of Empires game. As always, it took awhile to set up and to figure out how to get the network working, but thanks to the patience and efforts of Tyson, we were able to figure it out and get it working. We had a blast. That game is definitely addicting. And, thanks to a couple weeks of practice, Jason and I were able to surprise everyone with our skills. Also impressive was Bryan’s skills. He actually did pretty well...totally unexpected. After the game, we stayed up even later and watched Elf. We had to get in at least one Christmas movie before the season was over!



Love seeing Charlie in this candy cane onesie

I do want to take a minute and say that we were "well-prepped" for this Christmas holiday with the Arbons. What I mean by that is Bryan had every little thing planned out and detailed for us. He spent a lot of time making many Google Docs and sharing them with us. Some of the outlines included parking spots, shopping lists, chores lists, a description of those chores and what the abbreviations stood for, etc. I wish I could adequately explain to you the amazement that Jason and I felt upon reading and looking over these documents. It was hilarious and impressive at the same time! I'm sure my mom was loving it!

Tuesday was Christmas Eve. As I mentioned before, this Christmas my parents wanted us to focus on service (with the 12 Days of Service idea). This focus was also put in place since our Christmas was going to a little bit different this year….we had already received our Christmas gifts from my parents and Santa….the Disney cruise back in July. So for our final act of service we had the sister missionaries over for breakfast Christmas Eve morning. The siblings took on the responsibility of making breakfast: we made cinnamon rolls and an egg casserole. Everything was really tasty, and I could tell the sisters really appreciated us having them over. It was especially nice for us, because it almost felt like Kimberly was with us as a sister missionary. We hope Kimberly was treated well over Christmas Eve as well.



Oh, and we also had one of Kimberly's friends over for breakfast, too....Brooke.



Our typical Arbon Christmas Eve routine was a little different this year since we had the missionaries over. We didn’t take a blanket to the hospital, much to the relief of the siblings….but we did still go see a movie. We went and saw Saving Mr. Banks at Jordan Commons. It was really good! Disney always does such an amazing job. We have been on a Disney kick lately...with the cruise over the summer, all of the Disney movies that Charlie likes to watch, and our Disneyland trip in the near future. Oh, Disney! We love you! Anyways, with it being Christmas Eve we decided we needed to take Charlie to the movies with us. This was his first movie theater experience. Yes, I realize it is not the ideal kind of movie to keep a toddler entertained, but he stayed glued to my lap for the first whole hour. We are lucky he loves watching TV, and I am sure he was captivated by the big screen. For the rest of the movie it was kind of up and down with him. We took turns trying to entertain him, walking him outside, in the hallway of the theater, and up and down the stairs. It was getting more difficult near the end, but we made it!


Next up, was the Arbon Christmas Party at my grandparents house. We had dinner, a white elephant exchange, and a short and sweet Christmas program. An Arbon Christmas just isn’t complete without the party at Grandma and Grandpa’s.


It was kind of late once we got home from the party, but we still wanted to wake Charlie up so he could participate in the fun pajama opening and pictures. As usual, we took lots and lots of pictures. After pictures and putting Charlie down, we had fun playing and introducing the celebrity game that we learned over Thanksgiving. There are always lots of laughs! Such a great game.

Waking up a baby for presents




Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the adorable Christmas pajamas! So soft and comfy!


A tired boy...zoned looking at the Christmas tree







But he was a trooper and loved playing in the wrapping paper.
  




With Sister Arbon




Christmas morning, much to my displeasure, we followed tradition and still woke up at 6 AM. This seemed absurd since there was to be no expectation from Santa Claus (except for Charlie...and he likes to wake up at 8:30 AM). However, I couldn’t win the debate and we all woke up at 6. We went to my parents room, as is tradition, and instead of doing the Jesus box, we talked about the service that we had done in December and how we felt about it and what we had learned. After the discussion, we woke up Charlie and headed to the basement. We loved seeing Charlie find his presents from Santa, and were surprised to see a few items for us as well. He is such a kind fellow! After seeing what Santa brought, we opened our Christmas cereal and had breakfast

Headed downstairs



Breakfast time Christmas morning
.
Next up, talking to Sister Arbon! We are so lucky nowadays, being able to Skype with the missionaries. We had some technical difficulties at the beginning, but we were finally able to see and talk to her on the big projector and on one of the computers. It was so great to see her. She is just loving her mission. You can just feel her energy and her spirit in her letters, and especially getting to see her on Skype. She was emotional talking with us, missing us, and really expressing how much she took family for granted. She couldn’t wait to be back with us and spending more time with us. She will be back before we know it, but in the meantime, she is doing an awesome job and is growing and learning so much!


Once we said goodbye to Kim, it was time to open the presents under the tree. We were all a little confused by the number of presents under the tree. There were presents to and from the siblings and to Mom and Dad, but why were there so many more presents under the tree? We quickly realized that most of the gifts were items that Mom picked out from Grandma and Grandpa Rich. They were special hand me down items such as an ironing board or holiday decoration. It was fun to see who would get what item and if we recognized or remembered it.




Later that day, the sister missionaries came again, this time to Skype with their families. My parents offered to have them come to do that. We gave them their privacy and enjoyed some of the new games that my parents got for Christmas (like Cashflow, the India version of Ticket to Ride, What Did You Say?, and Farkle). These games pretty much consumed the next few days of the holiday. We also played more Age of Empires and the celebrity game. And we played Telestrations. When we weren’t playing games or eating, we were watching movies like Monsters University, Man of Steel, and The Host. The days are just one big blur because we just hung out together doing whatever we wanted. I don’t think I even saw the light of day those few days. We were just so consumed by the games and movies...and tons and tons of good food! I wouldn't have it any other way!


Cashflow...very fun and frustrating! Make sure you have a big chunk of time to put into the game.



video
This is the kind of attention you get as the only grand-baby


On Saturday, we were planning on leaving in the afternoon, but word came that Marc, Danny, and John were coming over to play some Age of Empires. So we stayed later so we could play with them. We put Charlie to bed, and after the game was over, we got him up and drove home.

Man, what a very fun, different, and memorable Christmas! Thanks, Mom and Dad, for everything you did to make it such a fun Christmas! Thanks for the amazing Disney cruise over the summer, and for the fun montage you created in memory of the trip. It was fun to watch and relive all of the fun moments!