July 30, 2008

San Clemente California

During the week of July 24th, we packed up our boys and headed for the west coast. To make the trip bearable, we stopped off in St. George for an evening at Grandma and Grandpa Gilliland's home. Early Saturday morning, we left in a caravan with all of my other siblings and their families, and after a stop in Barstow for lunch at the train station McDonald's, we arrived to our campsite mid-afternoon.

Once we made camp, it was off to the beach! Brevin and Spencer loved running up and down the shore, trying to escape from the tide. They would only venture out into the water when accompanied by Mom or Dad. Garrett did what he does best--slept the day away--but we did manage to put his feet in the ocean for the first time in his life. I'm not terribly sure what he thought about that. Jason and I tried out the boogie board, and I discovered that my teenage nephews (Braxton and Dallin) made skim-boarding look a whole lot easier than it really was. We also learned a painful lesson in inadequate sunblock coverage mixed with three days of nonstop sun exposure. But even nasty sunburns could not diminish our fun!

Back at camp, the children were well entertained with all of their cousins. Between games of badminton, tree climbing, and forming a stuffed animal club (complete with three clubhouses), the boys could do nothing but have a great time. As for the parents, we got to visit, be entertained by the children's antics, and eat wonderfully prepared meals (thanks to the meal planning and organizational efforts of my sister, Cheryl).

We had an awesome time and we have the pictures (and peeling sunburns) to prove it! You can see additional pictures here.

This post authored by Amber

July 17, 2008

What a Blessing Garrett Is!

We blessed Garrett on July 6, 2008. Garrett has been such a sweet little addition to our family and his blessing was a fitting opportunity to celebrate his birth. It was a perfect day with close family gathered, pleasant weather, and lots of really good food! Our camera is quite old and has started to show its age by acting in a bizarre manner. Whenever photographs are taken outside, anything that reflects a lot of light becomes hazy and intensified in glowing brightness. I guess it seems appropriate for this occasion because it gives Garrett (dressed in his silky 90's vintage tuxedo) a look of being angelic...which, did I mention, he absolutely is! It seems like he's been a part of our boys club forever, because I can't imagine our family without him anymore.
By the way, Garrett also turned two months old. At his appointment he checked out great and has made a perfect recovery from his surgery. He is in the 58th percentile for weight (11 lbs. 15 oz.), the 80th percentile for heighth (23 and 3/4 in.), and the 12th percentile for head circumference. What can I say? The kid has a little head!
He is also smiling and talking a lot, but you wouldn't guess that from any pictures because, wouldn't you know it, he's camera shy! Every time we pull the camera out, he gets so serious. Oohh... but you could still kiss those chubby cheeks off!

The most distinguishing fact about Garrett's personality has been his sleeping habits. While he has become more alert and his awake periods have lengthened a little, he still sleeps most of the day away. When he wakes up, I know he wants to eat. He is given a diaper change and fed and within a few minutes he's dozing off until his next meal. I must say, this calm behavior totally adds to the cuddly, snuggle-bug factor. I just adore my little Gare-bear! How could you not?!
This post authored by Amber

July 10, 2008

Independence Day

This July fourth, I have been feeling more patriotic than ever. My father served in the United States Air Force when I was growing up, so I've always had a deep respect and love for my country. However, having witnessed the response of the military personnel to my brother's recent death, I have gained a renewed sense of pride and love for those who valiantly serve our country in defense of our liberties. I do not think many realize what a privilege it is to participate in festivities like parades, fireworks, and barbecues, all of which are intended to help us reflect upon the good that comes from living in the United States of America. I fear that for most people, the activities on July 4th have been reduced to mere traditions and the enjoyment of a day off from work. I hope to inspire within my sons a passion for their country that will be recognizable to others as they devote their lives in serving and promoting the cause of freedom, and I thank God for those dedicated men and women who have done so in the past and who do so now. God bless America!

This post authored by Amber

July 8, 2008

Our 11th Anniversary

On June 25th, we celebrated our 11th Anniversary. It is amazing how quickly the time has gone by, but at the same time, it feels like Jason and I have know each other forever. Add three precious boys into the mix, and you have all the makings for a truly charmed life. I couldn't ask for more, except for dinner at a favorite restaurant, perhaps. Here are some photos of us at Tepanyaki Steak House. Brevin snapped the photo of Jason and I together. I knew we brought the kids along for a reason!

This post authored by Amber

July 4, 2008

Spencer is 4!

Last week we celebrated Spencer's 4th B-day by first going to see Disney's newest film Wall-E. Afterward, Spencer got to choose where to eat for his B-day lunch. We all knew where we were going before he even said McDonald's. Later that evening we celebrated with family at our house with some ice cream and cake. Spencer's cake this year was a sand castle. The kids then got to have a water party outside and had a blast running through the sprinkler and jumping in the pool.

July 2, 2008

Springville Art City Days

Well, publishing that last post reminded me that we never posted about Art City Days. It's just like in the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie where doing one thing reminds you that you need to do something else. So....

What do you do for fun in a small town like Springville, Utah? Well, you get involved in the annual Art City Days festivities. For the first week or two in June, we small town folks are given the opportunity to participate in a number of events, but our family traditionally chooses the following activities:

Jason wakes up early to take the boys to the hot air balloon launch. I did not accompany them this year due to my need to get all the sleep I could possibly get, which isn't much when you have a newborn.

A city block is closed off to facilitate a Children's Parade where any child can come and ride their bikes, scooters, wagons, etc. around and get an Air Head candy at the finish. Most people take the time to decorate their bikes with balloons, streamers, and other such things, but we are lazy. We decorate our kids by pulling a costume out of the storage bin and slapping on a little face paint. As it turns out, Brevin and Spencer got quite a bit of attention--which you would normally expect for a couple of clowns.

A Survivor competition was held as a new event this year. It was inspired by my favorite reality TV show Survivor. You can imagine my bliss when I got up close and personal with the likes of Todd (the million $ winner), Frosti, Jamie, and Courtney--competitors from Survivor:China. And yes, I was sure to get pointers on how to best be selected for the show.

We always make sure to go to the Grand Parade. It serves as a suitable substitute if we decide not to do the parade in Provo on the fourth of July (which happens to be a madhouse)! Here's Garrett at his first parade. Oh...and here's another picture of the Survivors.

It wouldn't be Art City Days if we didn't brave the crowds on half-priced night at the traveling carnival and eat a scone from the Kiwanis booth. We don't have pictures for that, but we made sure to carry on that tradition as well.

This post authored by Amber

Father's Day

Realizing that a Father's day post was lacking from our blog, I decided it was time to make my first ever contribution to the site. Up until now, Jason has been the sole provider of commentary on these posts. I have to admit, it has been so nice that he has taken on that responsibility, as it has freed me from the pressure of coming up with something brilliantly witty to say (heaven forbid I should be dull and uninspiring in my posts)! I have been able to focus all of my time and energy, instead, to the perusing and reading of other blogs--an activity that has turned into quite an addiction lately.

Anyway, it would have been a shame to have neglected to get this adorable picture on here. Aren't my boys (all four of them) just darling! It was fun to be entertained by Brevin and Spencer during their Primary musical performance in Sacrament meeting. We especially got a kick out of Spencer's hand gesture during the line of the song "put my arms around his neck. Hug him tight like this." He placed his hands tight around his neck in a choke hold. As all the children were dismissed to sit down, Spencer (who apparently enjoyed basking in the limelight) remained up at the front. His cousin had to go up to retrieve him and usher him off the stand.

Jason, I am so blessed to have you in my life, as are our boys. You are a remarkable individual and an incredible father. If our boys grow up to become half the man you are, I will have done my job well. Of course a motherly job well done would be impossible without your continued love and support. Kimi ga suki da!

This post authored by Amber