And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring has Sprung...and it's in the form of Tulips!

 So when TJ and I were first married he asked me if I wanted to go to the Tulip Festival...me thinking a field of flowers was a pretty lame thing to look at, said thanks...but no thanks.  This year, I'm all about making family memories (and taking lots of pictures with my awesome camera) and a friend asked me if I wanted to go to a fair.  I was all about that, so I looked it up on line and was very surprised to see that the very "fair" my friend was talking about was actually the Tulip Festival that TJ wanted to go to all those years ago.  Deciding that it looked like a great time, TJ and I headed out on Saturday 04/30 which turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day!!!  62 degrees and nothing but sunny blue sky's!

The Tulip Festival was AMAZING!  There was millions of tulips, cow train rides, lots of food vendors, vintage train cars, huge Dutch wooden shoes, pony rides (next year Dominik...sorry!), and so much more!  It was just a great day to spend with family.  Again I'm so blessed to have such a great family who I can't imagine my life without! 






Dominik loved the Elephant ear we got...and couldn't get enough of it!  He was teasing the little girl across the table with it.  He would offer her a bite, and when she reached for it, he would stick it in his mouth.  

When TJ was carrying Dominik on his shoulders, TJ couldn't figure out why everyone was waving at him.  He looked at Dominik and couldn't stop laughing when he saw that Dominik was waving to anybody and everybody that would look at him.

I finally talked TJ into going down the washboard slide with Dominik. It was funny when he got to the top and realized that to go down the slide he would first have to fit under a bar that was no taller than two feet off the slide.  He squeezed under, and Dominik was nothing but grins from ear to ear all the way down the slide.  Thanks Daddy!!!!
Dominik loved smelling and touching the Tulips!  Unfortunately it was prohibited to pick any, so TJ and I had to keep a close eye on Dominik.  He is not one for rule following...we are hoping that will change in the near future!  


All in all it was a fabulous day!  Lots of fun memories, and definitely the start of a great tradition.  I can't wait for next year when Dominik can walk and go on a pony ride.  He is such an awesome little boy and TJ and I feel so blessed that Heavenly Father saw fit to send him to our family!  We are definitely more complete with him!!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hoppy Easter!

Technically this Easter is Dominik's second Easter, but he was only two weeks old for the first one...so we decided to make this his first "official" Easter celebration!
It started Sunday morning when Dominik and TJ woke up to cute little Easter baskets!  They both had candy and sunglasses, with a few little extras.  TJ made me some stellar garden boxes for our front porch for Easter, and those are definitely not something you can put in an Easter basket.  TJ made a delicious breakfast of eggs and lil' smokies and then it was off to church.


Church was an awesome reminder of the sacrifice made by our Saviour and Heavenly Father which I am eternally grateful for.  While I do believe it's essential to be constantly mindful of the atonement and its impact in our lives, it's nice to have one day dedicated to it!  I can't imagine a life without my family and it was all made possible by the atonement...I just hope that as I raise Dominik, I can stress the real meaning of Easter to him.  After teaching a primary lesson on Easter I see how easy it is to get wrapped up in the comercial aspects of Easter.  I do think that it is fun to celebrate the eggs and Easter bunny, but it is essential to our salvation to focus on the real meaning of Easter and all that it entails. 
After church we headed home for a quick nap and then off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner and festivities.  Dinner was supposed to be at 5, but if you know anything about my family you know that we are always running on "Mormon standard time;"  this translates to dinner around 6.  Dinner was absolutely delicious.  We had ham, Au gratin potatoes, green salad, green bean casserole, jello salad, rolls, and deviled eggs. It was so good, but I think the consensus was that we all ate too much!
Grandma and Grandpa's basket was much bigger than Mom and Dad's!

This dessert looked about as good as it tasted!  So good!
After dinner we dyed Easter eggs (TJ claims that his egg was the coolest), had an Easter egg hunt (indoors thanks to the good ol' Northwest), and had dessert (I made a Skor trifle and a banana cream pie).  It was so much fun just being with family and making memories.  While Dominik will surely forget all that happened, I'm still glad that we were able to spend some quality family time together and start making traditions that will last forever.



Brandi made this egg...I think it's the best!!!
TJ's egg is the polka dotted one in the front...I'm not too sure if it's the "best."

TJ was trying to show Dominik where to put the eggs once he found them...I don't think he ever got it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quick Visit to the Emerald City

This last weekend some of our friends from Vegas were up in Seattle for the Supercross races and we decided to join them.  It was going to be a quick trip, but we hadn't seen our friends in a while and it was only a 3 hour drive.  We left on Saturday around 6 pm and arrived in Seattle around 9:30 or so (traveling with a one year old warrants several stops for stretching).  We promptly put Dominik to bed and then stayed up far too late catching up with our friends. 

The next day we woke up, got ready, and sat around waiting for Dominik to take his nap.  It's amazing how much life changes with kids!  Once Dominik woke up we headed down to Seattle's famous Pikes Place Market.  This market is full of fish vendors, delicious bakeries, and lots of talented pan handlers.  Dominik loved watching the people throw the "fishies," and I loved eating the Carmel apple from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and cheesecake from The Confectional (featured on the Travel Channel). 

Words can't express how delicious this cheesecake was!

It was a rare sunny day in Seattle.

Great friends!

Yummy Salmon!!!

The lady behind the counter kept dropping the fish...when she finally caught it, it ended up hitting her int he face...so funny!

When we got home, Santana and Griz made us some amazing carne asada, lobster tail, and veggies.  It was a delicious meal that was topped off with some more cheesecake.  It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.  We arrived home safely and very tired! We are so grateful for our great friends and for the wonderful memories the Emerald City provided!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cars-Chaos-Conference

A bit of a pre-story...before Dominik was born I thought it would be awesome to get a four generation picture of all the oldest Finlayson boys.  Since TJ, his grandpa, Mike, and Dominik are all the first born Finlayson...it was perfect!  Grandpa Finlayson couldn't make it to Portland for the blessing, so we thought we would head down to Utah and take the picture there.  TJ's spring break fell right during conference weekend so we thought we would stop to hear the prophet as well (blessings right). 

Since Utah is just a 6 hour drive from Las Vegas, TJ's whole family decided to make the trip too!  This was going to be the first time the whole Finlayson family had been together since before Brian left on his mission (about 6 years); and had the makings of an epic and much needed vacation!

TJ got out of school on Friday 03/25 and we packed up our clothes, packed the car and got to bed at a reasonable hour in preparation for our ridiculously long drive the next day.  We headed out at 10am on the 26th and were excited for the next 8 hours to be over (and we prayed that Dominik would sleep).  By noon Dominik still had yet to take his first nap.  We laughed, we sang, we ate, and then we prayed!  Finally at 12:30 he gave in and shut those beautiful little eyes and fell into a light slumber.  About twenty minutes later TJ and I saw those dreary red and blue lights and our hearts sank; partly because of the looming financial burden of a ticket, but mostly because Dominik was sure to wake up and the rest of the trip would be simply miserable with a sleep deprived one year old.  Not one minute after we pulled to the side of the road Dominik was awake and the state trooper was at our window.  TJ was very polite and apologized for going 80 in a 65mph zone.  When I glanced back at Dominik he was smiling and waving at the state trooper (who was very nice).  The cop must have thought it was pretty cute too, because shortly there after he sent us on our merry way with our bank account untouched!  What a great moment to stop and ponder Heavenly Fathers tender mercies!!!!!

McDonalds is a family favorite...Dominik kept eating off TJ's cheeseburger everytime he took a bite :)  It was so funny!

TJ took this while driving...I swear I only slept 30 minutes the whole trip!


Only in Idaho would you see over 100 lbs of potatoes just sitting on the side of the road!

The rest of the trip was pretty great!  Aside from constantly eating, and not getting much sleep, Dominik did GREAT!!!  We finally made it to Boise, ID where we would grab a bite to eat, hit the pool, do a load of laundry (did I fail to mention Mt. Rushmore erupting our of Dominik's rear end...yeah that was a doosey to clean), and hit the sack in preparation for our long day ahead.  Funny side note...TJ and I had heard of going to a restaurant and being pushed to the back because of your kids, but we had never experienced it.  When we picked our restaurant we made sure that it was family friendly, but not fast food.  When we walked in the hostess looked at us and told us she had the perfect table.  I felt like we walked FOREVER and we were in disbelief that there could be more tables. Finally we arrived at what felt like the kitchen when she asked us if it would work for us.  It ended up being great food, but hilarious that we were practically eating our food with the chefs!

The pool at our hotel was AWESOME!  There was a lot for Dominik to see and touch...he LOVES swimming!




This was taken at the restaurant, the "Bone-fish Grill."  Dominik was definitely ready for bed after our long trip though!
The next day we arose, hit the continental breakfast, and were in the car ready to go at around 10am.  We hit Cabela's (a big Bass Pro Shop like store), where Dominik saw Moose, Bears, Fishies, and lots of other wildlife.  It was a good break, and fun to see Dominik be so aware of his surroundings!  About 5 hours later we finally made it to Utah where my Uncle Tim and Aunt Darcy had an amazing spaghetti dinner prepared.  We were very apprecitative of their hospitality and enjoyed spending time with our wonderful family! 




The next day we headed down to South Jordan, UT and stayed with my Uncle Barry and Aunt Laurie.  We spent a lot of time with family, ate more delicious food, did a little shopping (much to TJ's dismay), and got to see my cousin Dillon whoop it up in his volleyball game.  I sure love my family!!!!!

On Wednesday TJ's parents met us in Salt Lake, and Jana and Andy flew into Salt Lake from Detroit (they were visiting Andy's brother who lives there).  We all rendezvoused at the Temple where we hoped to do a live endowment session.  Unfortunately we were 3 minutes late and would have to wait an hour if we wanted to join the next session.  It would be too late for Dominik, so we had to opt out and do sealings instead.  While I was sad we missed out on the live session, it was really cool to do sealings with family.  We also got a personal tour of part of the temple by the temple recorder...how cool is that!  What a blessing the temples our in our lives and those who have passed on before us!  I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be sealed to my family, and I love that I can being a part of making it possible for other families too!

While this picture looks upside down, it was taken in the cool reflection pool!  Pretty cool right!
After the temple we enjoyed a delicious meal in the Joseph Smith Memorial building, picked up Dominik in South Jordan, and headed down to Provo where we would spend the rest of our trip with the Finlayson family.  I tried to soak up the peace and quiet while I could because on Thursday quiet time would be really scarce.  TJ's sisters and brothers drove in early Thursday morning and spent a good part of the day trying to catch up on some much needed sleep.  It was pretty crazy in Grandma Mecham's house, but SOOO much fun!  I sure love my in-laws!  TJ has a lot of cousins going to BYU, or living in Utah so it was a blast spending time with them.  One of his cousins has a son that is a couple months younger than Dominik so it was nice for him to have someone to play with.

Dominik played with Trevor and Kat's son Jackson.  They are still too young to play together, but they had fun trying!
On Friday we took family pictures, and boy was that a crazy day!  The photographer did great and was hopefully able to capture some good shots.  I also got the four generation picture so I was VERY excited about that!  We spent the rest of the day hanging out, eating good food, and enjoying some good conversation. 



Saturday was conference day and boy was I excited.  We spent the morning watching conference with Barry, Laurie and Family and enjoying some breakfastey goodness.  We spent the afternoon eating at Cafe Rio with Tim, Darcy, and family (I am starting to realize that we did a LOT of eating!!! No wonder we both gained three pounds!), which is a restaurant that definitely lived up to the hype.  After lunch we headed down to conference to hear the words of the prophet.  When we were walking to the conference center I looked around and saw hundreds of people flocking to hear counsel from the Lord's anointed.  The spirit really hit me hard about living a modern day King Benjamin's address.  It reminded me that I am not alone and that the church is SOOO true!  I'm so grateful for a prophet and hope that I can constantly remind myself of the importance of living my life according to the gospel so I can continue to enjoy the blessings that go along with that.  Conference was soooooo uplifting, and much needed!  The day ended with the boys going to the priesthood session and Kellie, Stephanie, and I enjoying some fun girl time!  I wasn't raised with sisters so it was great to be able sit down and visit with my sister's-in-law. 


The plan for the trip home was to have Dominik fly with Andy and Jana, and TJ and I would drive straight through.  While this may seem easy to most, I had the HARDEST time with it.  There was no question that Dominik would be in capable hands, but for some reason I became a blubbering fool over the thought of parting with my child for a mere 12 hours (I will be a basket case when he goes on a mission!).  TJ and I made the drive in good time, and I actually stayed awake for the majority of it!  It was a good time to visit and reminisce about old times; TJ even let me drive for two hours!  We pulled in to the driveway at about 9pm and TJ left to the airport to pickup Dominik, Andy, and Jana at about 9:25pm.  I was elated to see Dominik again, but he was exhausted from the days travels so he went straight to bed...as did TJ and I!
This picture was taken in Utah on our way home!  The weather there was CRAZY!!! It snowed the first few days, then was in the 60's for the next few days, then it rained, and then it was 32 degrees and snowed 6 inches on our last day!  How do you pack for a vacation like that!!!
Overall the trip was amazing, but I'm glad to be home and back into the routine.  Looking back I realize what an awesome family I have and what a blessing they are in my life.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity we had to go to conference and I hope and pray that I will be able to remember the words I heard and continue to be more like my saviour Jesus Christ, so I can live with my family for eternity!