And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winter Solstice Party 2011

So my sweet husband decided to get the Christmas boxes down the day after Thanksgiving this year because he was so excited to put the Christmas lights up.  Every year our townhouse complex has a Christmas light competition and the winner gets a 2 night stay at a condo on the beach here is Oregon.  Every year since we have lived here we have taken 4th place; so this is our year.  Each year we continue to add things to our decor and this year we have put candy cane red lights up our pillars and a dear with a stream (blue lights) coming down our lawn.  TJ worked so hard with our neighbor Jeff and our houses look AMAZING!!! 

While TJ was busy working on the inside, I decided to decorate the inside of the house too.  I found a lot of cool ideas on Pinterest (which is a website that TJ thoroughly despises) that I thought I might try out, and I think ended up looking great! 

The shutters will be filled with Christmas cards/Seasons Greetings from friends and family and won't always look so barren :)

Since TJ and Jeff worked so hard we wanted to celebrate Griswold style with a mini block party and a lights count down.  We had hot cocoa and lots of good friends to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season.  It felt so festive and was definitely a great way to start the holiday off right! 

A Time for Thanks

What a great year this has been; and what better time to take a second and think about all the things we have to be thankful for. 

To start off we are going to list the things we are each thankful for:

Dominik is thankful for...binkis, soft blankets, cheese puffs, balls, small chairs, juice, pretty girls, his mommy and daddy, grandmas and grandpas, Roxy, the new pillow in his crib, and Sid the Science Kid. 

Roxy is thankful for...mommy and daddy, Dominik, treats, walks, and her pink heart toy.

Breanna is thankful for...Daddy, Dominik, and Roxy, family, the gospel, good friends, the beautiful northwest, temples, and living is a free country.

TJ is thankful for...Mommy and all she does for our family, Dominik and the joy that he brings, and Roxy for being a snuggle pup.  As well as the holiday season we get to spend with friends and family. 

This year for Thanksgiving we decided to do it in two parts.  Since we are moving somewhere (literally "somewhere," we have no idea and it is coming up in July...scary huh!!!) in the world and have little to no chance of being near any family we thought it would be nice to do a Thanksgiving with friends and another one with family.  There is 5 LDS families that live on Aspen Summit and all were staying local and didn't have any family in the area.  The Adairs, the Atkinsons, the Finlinsons, the Williams, and us all got together to enjoy in some good conversation,  and good food (I was in charge of the Turkey).  We feel so blessed to have such great friends the share in this wonderful holiday with!

After our first Thanksgiving we came home and put Dominik down.  He spent the early morning throwing up (from both ends) so he wasn't feeling too hot and definitely needed a good nap.  It was a good thing that he rested too because it gave TJ and I a chance to make dessert for dinner at the fam's.  This year I made a creamy pear pie, a peanut butter and chocolate trifle, a banana cream pie, and a pumpkin and pecan cheesecake. 

As soon as Dominik woke up we headed straight over to my parents house.  My mom is an amazing cook and it was great to get to spend time with some family and eat more delicious food.  We ate, played games and just reminisced about Thanksgivings past.   It was a great way to finish out a near perfect Thanksgiving (cleaning up throw up in the morning definitely threw a wrench in the day).

This year was a big reminder of how blessed TJ and I are.  We have an amazing little family, a beautiful house, and are on the cusp of finally completing the chapter of being students.  We have much to be thankful for and I am so glad there is a whole holiday devoted to showing an attitude of gratitude. 

One more thing...BLACK FRIDAY!!!  This year was really crazy because most stores opened at 9pm or 12am.  In years past you were able to get in a good power nap and be on time for the 4am opening.  The housewives of Aspen Summit (Jessica, Kaci, Ashley, and I) went out at 9pm this year and hit up Toys'R'Us.  The line was out the door and almost completely circled the entire building.  At first glance we decided against the wait and went to Walmart instead.  The line at Walmart was still outrageous, but at least you could wait inside.  We found a lot of cool stuff and GREAT deals, so waiting 3 1/2 hours in line was well worth it.  After Walmart we hit the mall, and then Kohls, Target, and Old Navy.  I almost completed my Christmas shopping, and had a blast doing it!!!!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

If I had a Wish That it Would be...A Happy Happy Birthday to You from Me!

Happy Birthday to my very, very special mom!!!  I feel so blessed to have the world's greatest mom; she never ceases to amaze me with her overwhelming kindness, generosity, optimism, spirituality, and love.  She exhibits a Christ-like attitude in every aspect of her life, and is who I try and model my life after.

This year for her birthday she had to work :(  TJ always try to tell me that adults don't get to put everything on hold for a birthday, but I still think the world could use a little more celebration in it!  She did have half an hour for lunch, so Chase, Dominik, and I got to take her to Baja Fresh for lunch.  Dinner was at a ward members house and was quite the feast.

A little bit of a back story...for a girls camp fundraiser my parents ward members donate desserts, services, and other goodies that might be of value.  One member family donated a dinner at their house for 10 people.  They are the Quirozs' and are Hawaiian.  My dad ended up buying it, and decided to cash it in for my mom's birthday (convenient that it would be one of the two days a year he is responsible for the cooking right).

Anyways...on Friday night (Mom's birthday) we headed to the Quirozs' house and were joined by the Petersons' who would be our "servers."  The food was out of this world!  We had slow roasted pork (the kind that is typically roasted in the ground all day long), teriyaki chicken and steak, fried rice, potato salad, green salad, rolls, and a pineapple upside down cake for dessert.  It was so delicious, but soooo much food.  What a great way to show/tell my mom how important she is to us; by enjoying the meal of a life time with her! 

We ended the evening by sending the boys home with the babies, and the girls went out shopping.  It was only for a short time, but it was fun to just be out with my mom and my sister!  I'm so grateful for my mom and all that she does for our family!  She deserved to have the best birthday ever!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

While most the world goes to Las Vegas to dabble in a variety of activities on the strip, my family attends Las Vegas for a far different reason.  It is where TJ grew up and it is where a lot of fun family activities take place.  The main reason for this particular trip was to see TJ's childhood friends get married (can I say finally?).  However, while we did attend the wedding and had a great time, we also got to enjoy a lot of much needed family time!

We headed to the airport on Thursday night after TJ got out of school.  TJ and I were a bit apprehensive as to how Dominik would do on the flight, seeing that it was not only the same time as dinner and his usual "ba-ba," but it would also extend his bedtime by a few hours.  Thank goodness for escalators (the flat kind in the airport) that provided hours of endless entertainment and completely wiped every ounce of energy from our hyper and inquisitive little boy.  By the time we took our seats on the plane Dominik was completely content to just sit and watch Toy Story 3 on the I-pod.  The flight was pretty good overall, but then we had a 1 hour car trip to the small town called Overton that TJ's family lives in.  We were exhausted from the day's uneventful and yet still very long day, so we promptly hit the sack. 

I'm pretty sure we rode the escalator about 50 times...down and back...down and back...down and back

So many fun things to look at and touch!

Friday was Veteran's day, and what better way to celebrate than to go to Overton's Veterans Day parade.  It was so cool to see Veterans from wars past, bands playing patriotic songs, and flags flying high; did I mention the pounds of candy that was thrown at us!  It really makes me proud to be an American and even more honored to be privy to all the freedoms we have here in America.  The celebrations continued into Friday night when we were able to celebrate Jeremy and Meressa's recent engagement.  Linda cooked up quite the feast of all different types of meats, homemade tortilla's, and lots of other goodness.  We are very excited to see Meressa join the family and are even more excited to see Jeremy so happy!  He definitely deserves it!!!

Dominik LOVED grandma's Karaoke machine; although every time he stepped up to the microphone all he would say was "yeah, yeah, yeah."

Saturday was a special day because it was the day of the wedding.  Jared and Monica have been together for 10 years so it was rather special to see the two of them take their "common law" marriage and make it official.  The ceremony was beautiful (not nearly as beautiful as Monica), and the reception was amazing.  There was dinner, dancing, and amazing cake from "Nothing Bundt Cakes," which is apparently a Las Vegas delicacy!  It definitely lived up to its legacy!  The evening was spectacular and TJ and I were so happy that we flew down to join the festivities.

Best friends since elementary school!

Sunday was a good day, but it is the start of the flu for our poor little man.  Dominik had been throwing up since Friday, but TJ and I weren't sure if he was choking (the throw up always proceeded some sort of gagging on a food item) or if he was actually sick, so Sunday was definitely the answer.  He had eruptions of mass proportion coming from all ends; definitely not the way I wanted our mini-vacation to end.  I prayed and prayed that he would get better, but unfortunately not only did Dominik not get better, but I too started throwing up later that night.  I hoped that a goods night sleep would do us all some good and we would be better on Monday for our early flight home, but there were other plans for us in store. 

In an effort to tell my family's worst day EVER...I feel that bullet points might do it more here goes nothing:

1. Our flight departed at Portland at 8:15 so we had to wake up 5 am in order to make it to the airport on time...That's precisely 3 1/2 hours before Dominik typically wakes up, and nothing good can result from a 3 1/2 hour shortened slumber, especially when he is sick!

2. During the one hour road trip into Las Vegas I threw up the entire way.  Poor Jeremy had to wake up at an unearthly hour and then listen to me throwing up for an hour.

3. When we got to the airport, walked the incredibly long distance (curse Las Vegas for having such an enormous airport) we were informed that our flight did not leave at 8:15am, but instead at 8:15 pm!!!  Back in the car we go.

4.  About 5 minutes into our hour long car ride (in addition to me throwing up again), Dominik has a Mt. St. Helens like explosion come out of his backside that is luckily the consistency of a completely melted milk shake (unfortunately it did not smell nearly as pleasant).  TJ pulled over into a side parking lot and together (TJ really stepped up to the plate here!) we cleaned this very nasty mess. 

5.  Once the mess was semi-cleaned (the smell was beyond repair with what minor supplies we had on hand), and we resumed our journey that was still about 50 minutes long.  We were enjoying the few moments of silence when all of a sudden Dominik starts choking/coughing.  TJ and I both glance backwards when all of a sudden projectile vomit sprays out of Dominik's mouth.  TJ and I completely depleted our wipes supply during our last clean-up project, so we wiped him down as best we could and drove as fast as we could home.

6.  When we arrived back at TJ's parents' house TJ threw the clothes, car seat cover, and jacket covered in Dominik's fluids in the washing machine, and I headed straight to bed.  I slept for about 4 hours, and the greatest husband in the world tended to our very sick little boy.  TJ's mom was also there to help and was definitely the silver lining to our otherwise very awful day.

7.  At about 5 o'clock we headed back to the airport.  Dominik and I were still very sick, and at this point TJ starts to feel rather nauseous (could this day get any worse?).  We skipped dinner and headed straight to the airport, only to be told that our flight is delayed 45 minutes.  Holy this point I completely lost it.  I called my mom and started crying..."I just want to come home." 

8. The flight actually ended up okay.  Dominik fell asleep about 20 minutes into it so TJ and I were able to sleep too.  My mom picked us up at the airport and we all crashed as soon as we got home. 

While the trip ended on a very low note, overall it was a pretty great trip.  We are all still a bit sick, but are on the downhill slope towards recovery.  All-in-all I feel very lucky to have married into such an awesome family, and even more lucky to have my son have such great cousins to play with and learn from.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween...From our Family to Yours!!!

What a great Halloween we had!  It seems like everyday was filled with festivities that really helped ring in the spirit of the holidays.  Since it was our families last year in Portland for a while we decided to party it up with all the friends and family that we could.

It started off with some pumpkin patch fun at the Roloff Farms in Helvatia Oregon.  For more information on this outing, see the post below.  Once we had our pumpkins it just wouldn't be fun without carving them.  Putting a knife into Dominik's hands is NOT a good idea, so TJ and I tag teamed carving his while he ran around and played in pumpkin guts.  Since Halloween fell so closely to Dominik's girlfriend Lorenzi's birthday, the Finlinson's decided that for a party they would do pumpkin carving.  We all brought our pumpkins and celebrated Lorenzi's first birthday.  It was so much fun!  TJ and Dominik carved a smiley face and I carved an owl.

Since Halloween was on a Monday we had all weekend to party it up.  Friday night we went to our ward Halloween party that was complete chaos...Fun chaos.  TJ went as "Mayhem" from the Allstate commercials, I went as "Flo" from the Progressive commercials, and Dominik was "Lightning McQueen" from the movie Cars.  At the party there was way more kids than anticipated and we had to do it indoors since it was raining outside.  This led to huge jams in the hallways and a complete and utter shortage of candy!  It was fun none-the-less and it was great to celebrate the harvest season with our ward family.

Saturday night was the Adair's Halloween party.  It was a no kids party, so luckily my parents opted to take Dominik to their ward Halloween party.  Dominik loved the attention from grandma and grandpa, and TJ and I enjoyed a night off.  The party was SOOO much fun.  We had spooky decorations and food (spooky yet delicious!), great costumes, and awesome minute-to-win-it games.  TJ got his groove thing on and shook that booty for the win (see below for more info).  TJ and I took second place overall!

Monday was the night of Halloween and it all started with some delicious sloppy joes at our house.  The Atkinsons and the Adairs came over and we ate quickly so we could head out for some good ol' trick-or-treating.  Dominik loved knocking on the doors, in fact, at one door he was so disappointed they were not home that he tried to open the door; unfortunately they were just a bit slow getting to the door and when they opened it Dominik went tumbling inside.  The neighbors were all so gracious and Dominik got a lot of good candy.  Although, he never could quite understand why he couldn't just stop and eat the candy at each door.  The evening ended with some pumpkin pie and checking out the loot we came home with. 

Overall a pretty great Halloween I would say! Definitely going out with a bang!