Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Second Birthday, Charlie!

Charlie turned two! I can’t believe it! The time has gone quickly, as they say, but it is hard to imagine life without him. We had his party the weekend after his actual birthday, so it was pretty low-key the day of his birthday. Before Dad left for work, we picked up some donuts. He sure loves donuts...and so do we! That afternoon, we met up with Grandma Gruber, Uncle Karl, and the Riverton Grubers to check out the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. Again, you have got to love having family with a season pass! Despite the huge, crazy crowd, I was so impressed with the museum! The place was so awesome...I may have even enjoyed it more than Charlie. Charlie is content just walking (or running) around the room. It gets a little stressful when there are so many people around, but I definitely had some help from Karl and Nancy. I can’t wait to go back and take Jason. I just know that he will love it! They did such a good job on the place! After exploring the museum and spending a little time at the splash pad there, we had lunch at Zupas (Alex’s request). It is so funny that an eight-year-old boy would choose Zupas over burgers and fries. Can I also just mention how much I love all of the new restaurants that are popping up by Thanksgiving Point. Ah, it is so convenient having so many yummy choices there! Love it!

Later that night, I experimented and made some Navajo Tacos (thank you, Pinterest). They turned out so tasty (too bad Charlie wouldn't even try it, of course)! It was the week of Strawberry Days, so after dinner, we went to the carnival. We walked around, got some treats, and picked up a birthday present for Charlie. We found an Usborne booth and really loved a lot of the books they had to offer.

The only other thing worth mentioning from that day was our Amazon packages being stolen! We were so excited for a tricycle to arrive that day, and when I checked the delivery status, it said it had been delivered that morning. Yet, there was no package on our porch. I asked the neighbors if they had seen anything, and Katina did mention she saw a guy in a white truck come and pick up the packages. I was hoping that meant Jason, but had already talked to him about the missing packages. I was also confused that she would say packages (plural) since we were expecting one package. Anyways, turns out that they were legitimately stolen! We found out a couple of days later that the Tuttles had also ordered and sent an Amazon package to us that should have arrived that day, as well. So, yes, there were packages (plural)! Can I just say how much I love Amazon?!? They are so great. I called them the day I noticed it was missing and they immediately sent out a new was like a five minute conversation, tops! I expected to have to wait a few days or send some kind of proof, but they ordered a new one right away and it arrived two days later, in time for his party! The Tuttles were able to do the same and have their gift re-sent. Amazon rocks! I am just glad that Charlie is at an age that he has no idea what a birthday he wasn’t heartbroken when no gifts arrived on his birthday (even though I may have been).

The day of his party arrived, and we were so excited to celebrate with the family. We wanted to keep it small this year and at a more convenient location. As much as we would have loved to have another party up the canyon, we just didn’t want to ask everyone to drive all the way up there. We wanted to settle for a BBQ in one of the nearby parks (either Discovery in Pleasant Grove or Draper City Park). Neither of those worked because Discovery was already booked, and Draper didn’t have a BBQ grill. As we kept looking at different parks, the results proved the same...booked or no grill. Ah, I have learned my lesson. When it comes to parks and summertime, you have to reserve well in advance! We ended up having the party at the Grubers in Alpine, and it was perfect! We had no reservation fee, and the set up and food storage was so much easier than it would have been.

Here is the invitation I made using Pixingo. I love how it turned out! The photography on the front was done by my friend, Amy Stallings (more of her two year are pictures towards the end of the post). Check her out!



As I mentioned, we kept the party small this year...only immediate family. Those who attended were George, Nancy, Karl, the Riverton Grubers, my parents, and Bryan. The food included grilled hamburgers, potato salad, pasta salad, fruit, chips, drinks, vanilla cupcakes, and homemade peppermint ice cream. The family was so great to contribute and bring food. It made it so nice! It was such a fun and pleasant evening (even with my stressed-out hostess brain on). The weather was perfect and we couldn’t have been happier. Another birthday party down...countless more to go!

Of course, all the other kids were more interested in his trike than he was

I wanted to conclude this post with my observations from Charlie’s 24th month of life. Charlie has gotten a lot better at consistently signing “more”. This especially picked up when Kids on the Move introduced the Learning Box. This is our “work box” designed to help encourage interaction, listening/obeying skills, and lengthening attention span. Justine (our Kids on the Move representative) really got him interested in signing “more” as he had to do the sign before being able to move on to the next activity in the box. By now, he uses that sign for practically anything and thinks it will get him whatever he wants. It did for a bit, but now we are encouraging actual words...not that we are getting any. But it has been a breath of fresh air seeing him communicate in some legitimate way other than just pointing or whining.

Speaking of Learning Box, he just loved that thing! Everyday, sometimes twice a day, he would go the the closet door where he knew it was kept. It was usually the first place he would go in the morning after breakfast. I loved it because he kept getting better and better at it. I realized how smart he really is, even though he isn’t talking. He is great at matching colors and objects, and loves doing the little technical activities, like sliding a rope through beads. He would spend a good thirty to forty minutes doing the activities in the box, which is the ultimate goal of the box. I was thrilled! Justine warned me that the excitement of the box would probably fade with time, but to continue to try to push him for more attention.

Charlie has become obsessed with carrying things around with him. Sippy cups, cups, spoons, cars, whatever it is, he carries it around forever and demands to take it with him in the car if we leave, in the store, to bed, etc. He definitely likes things a certain way.

He also loves to clean up, especially when he hears the “clean up song”. For example, at nursery one day, he was really upset. He was crying and needing to be held and cuddled by one of the leaders. As soon as they started singing the clean up song for the blocks, he immediately stopped pouting, hurried over to clean up, and was just fine after that. I really like this “clean up” obsession he has. We’ll keep that one!

I have switched to using the iPad to distract him while changing him. It has been nice to just leave it there, and he almost seems eager to be changed...which has been a nice change! But, he has definitely had days where he doesn’t want to part from it, so sadly we will need to wean him from it. I figure if he is going to cry for a half hour after changing him, it is not worth it. The purpose has been lost! I would rather deal with a crying, cranky boy for a few minutes while changing him than create a monster who demands his iPad for every little thing. Oh how my parenting choices are ever-changing!

As you can see, most of the still (non-blurry) pictures I can get of Charlie are when he is watching TV.

And here are Amy's amazing shots from his Two Year Photo Shoot:
(the focus was capturing what Charlie loves best...playing with cars)

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

June - Part I

For Sister Arbon’s birthday, one of the sisters in her ward wanted to make it extra special for her. She was having them over for dinner that night, so in advance, she had our family call and leave a message for her on her answering machine. Bryan orchestrated a large three or four way call, and so Kimberly had a nice “Happy Birthday” song waiting for her that night. After hearing back from Kim, she told us she was overwhelmed with feelings of love and the nice things that were done for her on her birthday. I hope I can go above and beyond like that sister did for someone else on their special day.

In June, we continued to take advantage of the hot weather, especially doing things that would cool us down with water. We continued to have weekly play dates, going to the park, going to the nearby splash pads (our favorite being the one in Highland), playing in our friends’ mini-pools, and we even went a few times to Seven Peaks before our passes expired. It seemed like every morning was filled with fun possibilities.

Highland Splash Pad:
(impossible to get a still, smiling shot)

Jason took a fishing trip to the Boulders again this year. He went with Trevor Cook and one of T’s friends. Sadly, Parker could not attend this year due to a business trip. Perhaps Jason will write more about his trip later. But, while Jason was gone, Charlie and I had a grand old time. Not only did he leave us fun surprise bags for each day and not only did we spend our time doing fun outdoor activities, but my friend Amy came and kept me company. She came Thursday evening and we went to dinner at Koi, ate treats, rented a movie, and painted our toenails. She even stayed the night with me! That was very thoughtful of her. We were able to spend the morning together at the Highland Splash Pad before she had to head to work. It was such a fun time and helped the time go quickly while Jason was away. I also spent some time in Draper with my family, and Sunday night we celebrated my mom's birthday.

Sushi at Koi:
(yes, I realize I am pregnant)

Car time at Arbons

Mom's Birthday

Among the many birthdays celebrated in June, we had a very unique birthday celebration for Elsa. She woke up with some kind of virus that was hurting her neck quite terribly. After a scare and a visit to the ER, Elsa was still set on having her birthday party that night. Max and April were troopers, and granted the birthday girl’s wishes. Even after a crazy day, they still had all of us over, and we had a delicious dinner of quesadillas (Elsa’s request). I would have to say they were the best quesadillas I have ever had! The Grubers sure know how to make a comprehensive quesadilla spread!

Elsa doing everything laying down due to the pain in her neck

We had our first ultrasound appointment! We were so excited to finally take a look inside at this growing baby and find out the gender. To my shock, we found out it is a boy! I really had a feeling we were having a girl, especially with the pregnancy being so different. Besides a few weeks of feeling on and off nausea and extreme fatigue (only throwing up twice, I think), I have felt awesome! I haven’t even really felt like I am pregnant. I hardly think about it, that is how well I have felt! So I was very surprised to learn it is a boy! But we couldn’t be more excited! We think a little brother is exactly what Charlie needs. It just feels right! We are definitely going to be saving a lot of money, too, since I won’t be splurging on all the cute girl clothes and accessories. I think Heavenly Father really knows us and knows what we need.

During the ultrasound, everything looked good. The only area of concern was they did find some fluid in his kidneys, so that will just be something we look for in upcoming appointments. Other than that, everything seemed to be growing right on track. We can’t wait to meet him!

I had another big day of crafting with different friends in the ward. My focus for both was 4th of July decor. I had a great time at Kylie’s painting mason jars to look like an American flag, and I had a great time at Katie’s putting together framed glitter letters of “USA”. Pinterest can be such a wonderful thing!

We had a couple of dinner dates with friends (babies included). The Wingers invited us over to be spoiled by their new smoker. They made us Tri-Tip Steak. It was fabulous! After dinner, we went for a walk with the little ones, ending up at a school and climbing a massive hill. Another dinner night was with the Provosts. They invited us over for dinner and a movie. It was a “bring your own meat” kind of grilling night, and it sure was tasty. The movie was “Monuments Men”. I had been excited to see this movie, but I think I anticipated a different kind of film. I expected the humor of an “Ocean’s Eleven” type it wasn’t as funny as I was hoping for. And for that reason, for me, it was kind of boring. But I realize the significance of it, being based on a true story. That part is pretty cool. Regardless, Charlie wasn’t as excited to sleep in the pack-n-play that never know how it is going to go, but we hope for the best. We ended up having to get him out and let him watch the rest of the movie with us. (That also could have added to my feelings of the movie.)

June means Strawberry Days! After last year, we were excited to participate again. We attended the Tuesday night Concert in the Park...but due to a large rainstorm, it was relocated to the Rec Center Gym. We still had a great time devouring our free strawberries and cream. I even returned to the Rec Center later that night for a free Zumba class. That was really fun, complete with glow in the dark sticks/bracelets. This year we even attended the rodeo! Our “game night ward friends" had a great idea of attending the rodeo rather than doing a game night for June. We all agreed and got babysitters. My parents were kind enough to come and tend Charlie (even though our swamp cooler decided to break and they were sweating in the heat). The rodeo proved to be a real entertainer! We had a great time people watching, chatting it up, and staring in amazement at the crazy things that cowboys do!

Jason, Me, Mike, Katie, Candice, and Shawn
The guys got a lot more into the dressing up thing than the girls

Back at home, Grandma taking Charlie on a walk 
(or more like Charlie taking Grandma on a walk)

And who can forget about Father’s Day! I made a nice pancake breakfast that morning, complete with the eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns. After our 1:00pm church, we stopped off a gift to George and then headed to Draper. Dinner was very good, as always! Since Charlie’s birthday was coming up that week, my parents surprised us with an early gift for Charlie. He got a swing and a bucket and shovel. He wasn’t too sure about the swing, crying non-stop as we tried to get him to swing in it, but he loved his digging time in the sandbox. Eventually, Charlie will come to love the swing...but if not, I am sure our next baby will.

Chatting it up with the garden squirrels

And here is a glance at our garden at the beginning of June: