Christmas Morning {A Special Video!}

12.28.2014

This year Christmas morning couldn't have been more magical.  Playing the part of Santa's elves at midnight is so much fun.  I laid awake for almost an hour on Christmas morning just waiting for a tiny knock on the door!  Jed was sooo excited.  He and Levi were showered with all sorts of new toys.  The best part about little kids is that even the simple and cheap toys make their faces light up!  We enjoyed a slow leisurely morning opening presents and eating a rich breakfast of bacon and cinnamon rolls.  Yummm!  Then that evening found us at the Young's home across the street for a fancy feast that left us rolling in laughter while the kids ran around.  Perfection, if I may say so.  

On Christmas day, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with the abundance of love I feel for this little family and life of mine.  Everything I have is because of my Heavenly Father, and I have been blessed richly.  I am so grateful for this special season when we get to reflect on our Savior Jesus Christ, his birth and ministry.  And the opportunity I have to reflect on the last year, on what I've been given and how I can give back.  How can anything possibly be more magical or special than Christmas?!  I love, love, love it.   


I also love how this sweet video captures so well our Christmas morning, from little chocolate faces to bed heads to the boys' pajamas bottoms falling off their hips... and of course, the feelings of the happiest most magical morning of the year.  I hope you enjoy!  (I should mention, most of this video was shot BEFORE we opened the presents under the tree and the living room looked like an elf vomited Christmas spirit.)

And yes, a handful of pictures too...

^^The boys each received an Imaginext set from Santa.  Army men and Legos were also a big hit.  They haven't left their hot little hands since!^^
^^Danny Macaskill's Imaginate video explains these little bikes and riders perfectly.  It's one of the boys' favorite things to watch... and now to play with!^^
^^Bron's smiles as he realized he was getting a Garmin heart-rate and cadence monitor for his bike!^^
^^So funny, their little bums hanging out from their pajama bottoms.^^
^^I cried.  Yes, I seriously cried when I opened up my box from Bron.  He went above and beyond with a new hybrid camera bag/purse, a new blue camera strap, and an 85mm f/1.8 lens.  I couldn't believe it.  I am officially spoiled to the very core.^^

This year will definitely go down in memory as one of my all-time favorites.  
Merry Christmas Every One!

The North Pole Express

12.22.2014

Last week our little family of four took a quick trip down to Utah to visit my Grandma (the boys' Great Grandma!) and to ride the North Pole Express.  Bron and I have been giddy with excitement since booking this special Christmas train trip over a month ago.  We knew Jed and Levi would love it, we just didn't expect how much the delighted looks on their faces would mean to us!

The train slowly crept along the tracks as an elf and the car's chef passed out chocolate chip cookies and cups of hot chocolate to everyone.  Then we all belted out Christmas carols as the sun set and we approached the "North Pole".  I will never forget the priceless look on Levi's face when he saw lights outside and Santa Clause waving at him.  He's a true believer!  However, the most magical moment occurred when Santa actually stepped onto our train car.  He shook the boys' hands, called them by name (thank goodness for name tags!) and gave each of us a silver bell.  What a magical night for us all!  I sure enjoy making special memories like these with the folks I love most.  

^^Jed and Levi anxious with excitement!^^
^^Grandma spoiled the boys with popcorn to eat and toy trains to play with.^^
^^Our surprisingly warm and posh (seriously, those seats were squishy and comfy) train car we rode, built in 1910.^^
^^Keepers.  Both of them.  Grandma has an extraordinary talent for making people feel special, us included!  We can't help but love her.  She really is a neat woman for so many reasons.^^
^^Staring out the window and singing the Twelve Days of Christmas on the train ride.^^
^^Arriving at the "North Pole"!^^
^^I want to print and frame this picture.  These are the happy expressions on my boys' faces as Santa was coming to talk to them!^^

Wishing you a very
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Happy 31-Derful Years to Bron!

12.21.2014

Happy Birthday to Bron!!!  Yesterday he turned 31-derful years old.  (Haha.  I crack myself up!)  Every year I feel like I drop the ball somewhat because Bron's birthday is just 5 days before Christmas.  I usually go fishing under the tree for his present.  And this year I scheduled caroling (What?  Bron doesn't enjoy singing obnoxious carols door to door?!) with our friends on his big day.  Fortunately, Bron's birthday can go down in history as a success this year anyway.  

We began the day with a big breakfast of crepes with berries and then took the boys sledding in the South Hills.  There was about six inches of fresh powder!  Better yet, we were the first ones on the hill.  It was so much fun watching Jed and Levi careen down the slope on their brand new sleds, crashing and coming up with giant grins.  Then following hot showers and some gourmet pizza take-out for dinner, we did go caroling (to a whopping four houses) and spent the rest of the evening with friends eating too many sugary Christmas goodies and playing games.  An overall great day!  I kind of wish we could repeat it all over again.

 ^^Levi is so funny and fearless.  Head first!^^
 ^^Jed careened down the hill with his eyes closed.^^
 ^^Trudging back up the hill for another run^^

Happy Birthday, Bron!  I love you.  I'm so happy to have you in my life and feel lucky to call you mine.  So in honor of my studly husband and because this is our family journal, here are...

31 Wonderful Things I Love About Bron:

1. Gentle and kind

2. Dreamer

3. Patient

4. Slow to anger

5. Sensitive.  Though Bron may put up a tough front, he's actually a cuddly teddy bear and holds his feelings close.

6. The best listener and late night pillow talker there ever was.  We sometimes talk into the wee hours of the morning.

7. Outdoor adventure seeker

8. Mountain bike enthusiast

9. Spoils me rotten and says "I love you" like it's going out of style.

10. Logical.  (Thank heavens one of us can think straight!)

11. Fix it man.  Bron knows just what to do or say when I'm upset.  He comes to the rescue when the garage door won't shut or I can't quite reeeach up high enough.  The little boys ask him to fix their broken toys.  He changes light bulbs, unclogs toilets, replaces shower heads, and meets all the other mundane household maintenance needs.  Yes, Bron is our fix it guy and he does it all.

12. Tall.  With a height of 6'2", I can wear any pair of heels I please and still have to stand on tip-toe to kiss him.

13. Handsome: contagious smile, perfect nose, thick auburn hair.

14. Selfless.  This is one of my favorite attributes.  He comes home from long work road trips with ideas about what he'd like to do for other people.  It's amazing to me that those are the things he thinks about in his spare time.

15. Excellent chef in the kitchen, especially with meat.

16. Hard worker

17. Financially Savvy

18. My supportive rock.

19. Grateful.  Bron says "thank you" often.  This lets me know he notices what I do for him and for our family.
   
20. Determined.  From finishing his Master's degree to conquering a grueling bike race, whatever Bron puts his mind to, he WILL do. 

21. Aware of others' feelings.  He knows when to hold his tongue and how to say things in a way that doesn't hurt someone else.

22. Best hand-holder and cuddler on the planet!  Bron has a big beating heart that keeps his temperature running like a hot furnace.  (This makes him an excellent target for my icy toes at bedtime.)

23. A gentleman.  He opens doors for me, walks on the outside, and does other chivalrous deeds regularly.  Bron takes care of me.  And I absolutely LOVE it.

24. Keen sense for women's fashion.  Not for what is necessarily in style but what looks fantastic.  The outfits he has personally picked out for me are the ones I get the most compliments on.  Those clothes always make me feel like a million dollars.

25. Smart.  The man talks circles around me about pH balances and amino acids. 
 
26. Dependable.  Whenever I need him, he's there.  If ever you need him, he will be there.

27. Caring father.  He does everything from changing diapers, to bathing, to feeding our boys breakfast and so much more.  The little boys really love it when he wrestles them on the living room floor and reads them bedtime stories.

 28. Has a green thumb.  If it weren't for him, our yard would be dead.

29. Amazing memory.  Those history facts stick in his head like super glue sticks to my skin.

30. Kisses my forehead every morning while I lay in bed and whispers, "I love you."

Last but not least...

31. MY BEST FRIEND

 ^^Tyke had a blast playing in the snow too!^^
^^My current favorite picture.  The interaction between these two melts me.^^

Life Lately in a Few Funny Short Stories and Pictures

12.18.2014
 
:: "Where do eggs come from?" I asked Levi one morning, curious about his answer.
"The store!" he responded enthusiastically.
I laughed and Jed joyfully corrected him.  "Eggs come from chickens!"
I tried again.  "Levi, where does milk come from?"
"The fridge!"
Uhhh, oh.  We're going to have to work on this.

:: The boys were buckled up in the back seat of the truck when Levi suddenly called out, "I have a idea, Jed!  I have a idea."

:: "You're getting so tall, Jed," I marveled at his long legs in the back seat.
"That means I can drive the truck!" he responded enthusiastically.
Hahaha. Haha.  No.  Nice try!

:: Levi and I ran errands one afternoon while Jed was at preschool.  On our list of places to visit was good 'ol Costco.
"Mmmm.  My tummy is feeling hungry," Levi said rubbing his belly as I placed him in his seat.
"You just ate lunch," I chuckled.
Just then Levi spied a sample cart.  "Over there, Mom!  Over there!"
Costco, you've created a miniature monster.

 
:: I was getting ready one afternoon and pulled out the blow-dryer to do my hair.  Levi saw what I was doing and chimed in.  "You can put da dryer in over there or over there," he explained pointing to two separate outlets.  "Those are your choices."  Hmmm, the mini boss knows what's going on and sounds just like me!

:: I took Jed into a gas station for a quick road trip pit stop in Utah this week.  He sat on the toilet and warned, "Hold your nose on tight, Mom!"   

:: I was getting ready to draw a bath for the boys one morning when I heard water in the shower.  I walked over to see Jed peeing a steady golden stream onto the tile and down the drain--just six feet from the toilet!  Then Levi suddenly (and very quickly I might add) stuck his toy car into Jed's pee stream.  GROSS!  Gross, gross, gross.  They just giggled and thought I was being funny.  So this is life with boys, eh?!

:: Sometimes Levi comes wandering into our room in the middle of the night.  "Cuddle Mommy," he whispers.  So I groggily scoop him up and we silently snuggle together in my bed or on the couch until he drifts off to sleep again.  It's such a peaceful feeling, holding my sleeping two year old and listening to his soft breaths as his chests rises and falls.  Those are precious, personal, and beautiful moments that I truly cherish.  Oh, how I love that little boy with all my heart!

^^"Hunting" bears and deer outside on their faithful steeds, using my vacuum attachment as a gun and a plastic shovel for a sword.  Levi insisted on wearing cowboy boots too.  They've got all their stories mixed up and meshed into one great fantasy.  And I love it.^^

Thank you, Jed and Levi, for keeping my life so full of fun and mischief and laughter.  I love you!

P.S.  How is Christmas exactly one week away already?!  Hooray!

The Heiskell Holiday Party

12.16.2014

Saturday was the evening of the annual J.D. Heiskell Christmas party held in Jackpot, Nevada.  All was exactly like years past, except this time there was no goofy photo booth.  *Gasp!*  I felt a little sad about that.  But it wound up being a memorable evening out with my main squeeze anyhow.  We ate too many cream filled desserts (Forget the salad and the meat.  Feed me chocolate filled cannolies!), played a card game that was essentially the adult version of Apples to Apples (Perhaps slightly crude but hilarious all the same), and twirled till we were too dizzy to see straight on the dance floor.  In other words, we did some fun stuff!

I am so grateful for Bron's great job and successful career that affords us the comfortable lifestyle we enjoy today.  Compared to our reality just a short three and half years ago when we were struggling dirt poor college students, our lives now are literally our dreams come true.  And I couldn't be more amazed, feel more blessed, or be more happy about it. 

*Click here for past years' party reviews: 2013, 2012, 2011