July 23, 2012

Spencer's Birthday & Baptism

Eight years ago I experienced a whirlwind delivery that necessitated an emergency dose to my epidural, and Dr. Wolsey just about didn't make it back to the hospital for Spencer's arrival.  Those events seem so vivid and recent that it's hard to believe that eight years have already passed since then.

Well, eight years is enough time to get to know a person, and what can I say?  Spencer has a larger than life personality; everything is full-throttle with him.  He plays hard, works hard, studies hard, and sometimes fights hard.  He is charming and charismatic, and he adapts to all situations with ease.  He is a very fluent reader, but loses interest in books quickly, so he often starts a book then moves to another.  He has quite a gift for writing, though.  Journals and notebooks often litter his bedroom, filled with expressive stories and anecdotes, accompanied by quirky illustrations.  When it comes to athletics, Spencer is one of those people who makes any sport look effortless.  He just has a natural grace and way about him.  And with all of his fabulous qualities, it might seem weird that what I love about Spencer is that he consistently makes his own bed every morning without being asked.  Yeah, he's a good kid.

A Birthday Photo Shoot

I wanted to get some photographs of Spencer for his Baptism announcement and birthday invitations.  Bicentennial park in Provo provided the perfect backdrop.  With a newly acquired suit, he looked as though he was eight going on nineteen. Were it not for his boyish grin with a mixed assortment of adult and baby teeth, I might have been convinced that he was ready to leave for a mission.

Birthday Breakfast of Choice 

Spencer requested German pancakes on the morning of his birthday, and to every one's delight, I obliged.  We even pulled out the china to make it a little extra special.

Birthday Activities

Jason met all of us during his lunch hour and we went to the distribution center to allow Spencer to pick out his own set of scriptures and tote bag.  He also really wanted to have a pocket hymn book.  How can you argue with that?

We got some lunch at Coney's and then headed back for work and home.  Jason got off work a little early in the evening so he could stay home with Ella while I took the boys to see the Pixar movie Brave.  We filled up on so much popcorn and soda, that there was little appetite left for a birthday dinner, so we decided to go out the following night, but we did have him open his birthday gifts.

Spencer's Birthday Dinner

Even though he chose to go there last year on his birthday, the Pizza Pie Cafe got Spencer's vote again this year.  Well, how can you resist all-you-can-eat pizza, especially when you have choices like Oreo cookie?  As you can tell from the photo and the chocolatey crumbs on his face, this was not Spencer's first slice.  (It probably wasn't his last, either.) 

Spencer's Baptism

Saturday, June 30th was the special day that Spencer was baptized and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He was well prepared and ready to make that special commitment to Heavenly Father.  It was a lovely service attended by family and friends.  He got to share the experience with his primary teacher's grandson, Isaac.  The two have become friends over the past year or so when Isaac's family has been in town to visit. 

Grandpa Gilliland and Grandpa Park served as witnesses to Spencer's baptism.  Grandma Gilliland said a prayer, Grandma Park directed the music, and Brevin gave a talk on the Holy Ghost.  All of these were at Spencer's request, and all participating added a significant, personal touch to the ordinance performed.

Of course, the sweet events of the day were cause for celebration afterward with food, gifts, a birthday video, and cake.  We sang Happy Birthday and Spencer blew out the candles on his chocolate raspberry cake.  It was a fitting conclusion to all of the celebrating that came with the passing of eight years.

Happy Birthday, Spencer!

This post authored by Amber

Fifteen Years

June 25th marked fifteen years since Jason and I were married.  It also signified the start of our family, and so we celebrated together with our children by taking a hike to Stuart Falls the Saturday before.

We fueled ourselves beforehand with a quick bite to eat at Burgers Supreme, then it was a short jaunt up Provo canyon to the trail head.  The hike was a moderate challenge that was made more difficult with hot, dry temperatures, but we were rewarded with a cooling mist from the falls upon our arrival.

Once again I feel ashamed to admit that I have lived so close to such a lovely destination without having ever been there before.  (I'm thinking I might need to create a "bucket list" of places I need to see that I should have already seen by now.)

After the hike, we stopped and got a shaved ice then it was back home for popcorn and a movie, Thor

On the day of our anniversary, Jason's parents were kind to watch the children so he and I could enjoy an evening alone together.  We ate dinner at Red Lobster then went to University Mall to do a little bit of shopping to pick out some anniversary gifts together.  We splurged and got a Ninja blender, and now we are making fruit and vegetable smoothies to our hearts content. 

So, with smoothie in hand, I raise a toast to the next fifteen years of marriage. I'm looking forward to it!

This post authored by Amber

Not All Heroes Wear Capes...

...especially if Edna from The Incredibles has anything to do with it ("No capes!").

We have one of those cape-less wonders in our home, so it was nice to spend a day to honor his daily acts of heroism.

You know something special must be going on if I'm up and making breakfast in the morning.  For Jason's Father's day treat, we had pumpkin waffles with buttermilk syrup.  I threw in some fresh fruit so that there would at least be something remotely healthy on the menu.

Once we ate our breakfast, the children couldn't wait to give Jason his gifts which included a hero care package.  I think they just couldn't wait to share his treats with him.

Here is a closer look at the contents of the package.  (Can you believe someone would be generous enough to put all these cute labels online for the printing?  You can find them here.)  I only added the hero and sidekick uniform tag to adorn the box that had every one's matching ties inside.

Here's our hero with his sidekicks, although I think Spencer is making a face that seems more suited to being a crazed villain:

Well, he's off to save the day!

This post authored by Amber

An Overnighter At Strawberry

After making sure our tent trailer was in working condition for the camping season, we took the family for an overnight stay near Strawberry reservoir.  We had the good fortune of sharing a campsite with Jason's family as well, and the children enjoyed themselves immensely while riding Grandpa's four-wheelers and playing with cousins around camp.

Ella managed to get dirtier than dirt in the brief hours that we were there (she also got her first taste of dry dog food), but she was still rockin' the Spiderman sunglasses.

Garrett looked like a bobble-head with the helmet on.  Don't ask me how anyone could fall asleep on a four-wheeler ride, but he managed to do it twice.

We had a BB gun range set up with a string of soda cans,

the kids built puzzles and forts,

a tree swing was discovered and fully utilized,

marshmallows were cooked to perfection over the campfire for s'mores,

wildlife shared our living quarters,

some excavating took place outside our trailer door,

and, as I mentioned earlier, we did some four-wheeling. 

Yep.  We had fun.

This post authored by Amber

July 18, 2012

Celebrating Springville

Each year in June, our city puts on a week-long celebration known as Art City Days.  It is a great way to get involved in community events that foster pride in our hometown.  It is also a great kick-off for summer related activities.

We often go to the dollar night at the carnival and get a scone or two to share from the Kiwanis booth. 

The children love to dress up in costumes for the children's parade and they always garner the most attention for their "get ups."  

A great spot was secured for the Grand parade and we enjoyed two hours in the comfort of our shade canopy, having candy and salt water taffy thrown our way.

And my final commentary on Art City Days will concern the "solo drummer" who is entered in the parade every single year.  We have no association with this person, but it has been a long-standing family joke to take his picture as he goes by.  I have years worth of pictures of this person I do not even know, so I may as well post one on my blog.  What else am I going to do with the photos?

Happy Art City Days!

This post authored by Amber

July 17, 2012

Going, Going, Gone

The title of this post accurately sums up my feelings about the past baseball season.  As a family, we were going, going, going from one game/practice to another all through the month of June.  And then, just like that, the month was gone and the season was over.  It was kind of an abrupt (although welcomed) ending to the sport season.

Jason volunteered to coach Spencer's coach-pitch team, the Rays.  All the practicing at home with Dad seemed to give Spencer a slight advantage when it came to batting.  Jason knew where to put the ball just right for Spencer, and he'd send it into the outfield more often than not.  He's a pretty good little hitter.

Brevin participated in the Mustang league for his first time this year. His team was the Diamond Backs.  It was our first experience as spectators of games where the boys do all the pitching.  The games are more drawn out and the play action is sparse. More often than not, it all came down to whether the pitcher was on target with the catcher and which team managed to steal the most bases.  I will say, I was pleased to see that Brevin would take swings at the balls that looked good, and didn't just wait around for the pitcher to walk him to a base.  He was able to get in a few good hits for the season, too.  During the final practices and games, he even tried his hand at catching.  He really liked that.

And by the end of the season, I was really good at pushing a fully loaded stroller (with baby, camp chairs, diaper bag, camera, snacks, etc.) from the parking lot, through the grass, and to the field.

This post authored by Amber