California

California

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Memorial Day

It was a great Memorial Day weekend! On Saturday, we met up with Grandma and Grandpa to go to the Orem and Pleasant Grove cemeteries and lunch. The kids were pills, but I couldn't be too mad, it was really hot
 I have always loved  the tradition of going to the cemeteries with Grandma and Grandpa. It is one of the hidden blessing I never thought I would get from being married to Spencer

On Monday, we went with the Mark and Julie up to the Veteran's cemetery to decorate Grandma Keele's gave
 Look at these two goobers I have for children
After the cemetery we went to the Titas for a BBQ that was the BOMB!!!! Seriously, there are no pictures because it was SO GOOD! I was way too busy eating to take pictures

The Yearly Payoff

Okay... calling this post "the yearly payoff" may be a bit of a stretch... can we really consider a day when we celebrate mothers a payoff for all the hard work they do all year? Of course not... Did I think that was a super clever title for a post about Mother's Day? Of course I did... let's move on

There was nothing I really wanted for Mother's Day this year except having a fun relax day, and that is just what I got. I have felt kind of bad that in the past years when what I wanted for Mother's Day was a day to not be a mom and relax so I didn't want to do that this year. Instead, I tried to enjoy the day by looking at everything I love about being a mom. Look at these two... I mean.. there are no words
I also got to rock my super cute dress from Lularoe. I won it in a giveaway and could not be happier
...and we got to talk to Nate for the last time before he comes home... see perfect day
SIDE NOTE: Adam somehow was not able to be here for all four of Nate skyping with us. He always had something going on that made it impossible for him to be here. That is 2 Christmases and 2 Mother's Day! Lucky for us technology is the best and we were all able to be together... if not in the same place

Below is what we gave Laura, Abuela Alicia (my grandma) and Grandma Swenson.
They are all natural soy candles that I made. That's RIGHT... I made them!!!! I'm pretty proud of them. They smell super good (lavender and lemon) and I had a blast looking at DI for different containers that I thought would fit each of them

I woke on the Saturday before Mother's Day to find this waiting for ME!!!! I'm one lucky girl!
The Little Guy also had a letter he had written me in preschool
Me and my cute Mami!

Month Update: April/General Conference

The only extra random thing in April was General Conference. Wasn't it amazing?!!!! I actually got to listened to all 4 sessions at the time they were happening for the first time since I don't even remember when!
 All I had to do was watch it on my laptop with headphones as the kids watched Peppa Pig in the background... although Katelyn would have me call her so she could come listen to the choir with me
 oh... and Katelyn also spent the entire weekend wearing her Elsa wig that I made last General Conference

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Bunny making it rain

It is so much fun when all your kids understand and can be active participants of holidays! We had so much fun for Easter this year with egg dying, hunts and eating candy (seriously, I think I ate through 6 bags of Cadberry Mini Eggs by myself)

Julianna and I have been dying eggs together since Spencer and I stared dating, but his this year she had too many "teenager" activities to do and was too busy so the kids and I got to do it by ourselves. Not going to lie, I thought I had made a terrible mistake to try to take on the egg dying with the kids by myself, but it was actually great. Not to mention the kids loved it so MUCH!
 On Easter Sunday, the kids woke up to a note from the Easter bunny giving clues as to where he had hidden their Easter baskets (pictured below on the left). When we got home from church, the Easter bunny had come again for Spencer, Julianna and I leaving eggs all over the backyard (pictured on the right)
 As it turns out, our eggs had candy and MONEY in them!
 We had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Swenson and then did an egg hunt for the kids
I (obviously) don't have pictures but I just wanted to talk about a little about the Easter program at Sacrament Meeting. It was so wonderful. The choir was in charged and they did such a wonderful job. Spencer sang a duet with a sister in the ward and Julianna sang a solo. It was just a perfect reminder what Easter is actually about. Not to mention the Prince Of Peace campaign was just beautiful

PS you may have noticed that the kids are wearing different clothes than they were at the Easter photo shoot. I accidentally left all of our Easter clothes in St. George like an idiot. Thankfully the kids had cute clothes that totally worked

Because I apparently like torture/Easter Pictures

I guess it's a tradition now for us to do our own Easter pictures. This year, we had a family trip to St. George planned so we decided to take everything and do them there. Seriously, I do not even know who we got a single good picture this year. The kids decided they didn't want to do it at the last second and refused to smile.... we were loosing sunlight... the kids would not sit still for a second. The fact that we a couple of good pictures is nothing short of an Easter miracle
my favorite picture!
 And no... we did not get a single good picture of the kids and I. Every sing one was blurry as one of the kids would move.

Our Superbowl shirts came in right before we left, so we took the opportunity to take a picture with those as well
Can I just say... there are few things in life I like better than when we are all matching! It is so much fun for me. If I could get Spencer to agree to it, we would probably match every single day

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Did somebody say St. George?

After having left the kids for almost two weeks in March, we wanted to do a mini vacation with them; so at the first of April, we packed up and headed down to St. George. We were only there about three days but we packed them full and had a blast.

On the way down, we stopped to see Adam in Cedar City. The kids were so exited to see him (and he was probably even more exited to see them). We decided to just have dinner there but Adam didn't fit in our car so Spencer and him walked to a nearby dinner while the kids and I got there by car and waited for them at the city center park (you can see videos at the end of the post)

Look at the size of the burger Spencer ate!
Back in our favorite place!
We were really exited to try Thunder Junction. It is an all abilities park that was recently opened. We were pretty sad back in February when it was still under construction so we immediately jumped at the chance to check it out
Boy was it cool! and PACKED. Seriously... so busy! But is was still a blast and a half. The splash pad wasn't opened yet so we can't wait to go back and try it

After lunch and a nap (and a quick trip to the outlets while the kids slept) we hit up our favorite place... The Children's Museum. We have been there so many times but the kids do not get bored. They love it so much!!!

The Little Guy played on the light up floor for 40 minutes! The only reason he stopped playing was because they were closing. Spencer took Katelyn around to the other rooms she wanted to go and I sat with the Little Guy the entire time
It gave me time to look at the system that runs it. It turns out it is actually a projector above that runs the whole thing, the floor doesn't do anything. I was able to find the website for the program online and the system is $10,000! Yeah, we won't get one in our house anytime soon
As if we had not had an awesome day already, after the Children's Museum, it was time for the splash pad!
We were there for another two hours

Needless to say we were exhausted on Sunday. We had originally planned to go to Church but we slept in. We decided to just take it easy and just played games at home most of the day. Around 4, I gave the kids a bath and got them all cute for our Easter pictures
I'll do our Easter Pictures on their own post
Movie night!
Before we left on Monday we all got dressed in our Superbowl shirts (that actually came right before we left on the trip)

I made a video of all the Snaps I took during the weekend

Month Update: March

Obviously the big thing in March was the cruise; after that, it was a pretty calm month with a lot of little gems.

The night when we got back, Katelyn fell asleep on me as we were watching the first episode of Survivor... it pretty much made me never want to leave her again. PS she was all covered in the ridiculous amount of chocolate that I had let her have so I was also covered in that chocolate
Bachelor finale! (I'm still not over the heartbreak of Nick picking Vanessa... I think she's terrible)
 Green pancakes for St. Patrick's day
 Spencer had the day off so we took the kids to the Rock Show at the fairgrounds. They loved it
 Happy Birthday Grandpa Mark! (yeah, I don't know what's going on in this picture)
 The Little Guy is obsessed with "Survivor". I caught him playing outside by himself, practicing his fire building skills
 Relief Society birthday party... and I was actually in the ward this year instead of just crashing the party like I usually do
 The kids and I finished listening to the entire Harry Potter series. We love listening to audio books in the car. It was seriously the best to be able to talk about "the Potter" with the Little Guy. Once we finished the last book, it was time for the movies
 I think their favorite was "Prisoner of Askaban", for some reason, both of my kids LOVE the dementors.
and that's it for March. Like I said, it was very calm after the craziness of the begging of the month

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cake by the Ocean

One thing I didn't talk about in the Christmas post was the AMAZING present Spencer and I from the Keeles... A CRUISE!!!!! (Yeah, I really have the best in-laws ever)

You know when you are feeling pretty and everyone is being nice to you and everything seems to be going your way?... Now imagine that for 7 straight days and add the most delicious food and non stop beautiful view!!!!! That was the cruise for me. It was just absolutely perfect.

Also... HUGE shout out of the Titas who took care of the kids for 10 days!!!!

We started the trip on March 3rd with our ceremonial pre-road-trip trip to Walmart. On top of having a awesome cruise to look forward to, I also got to go on a super fun road trip with with my best friend
We stopped to see Grandma and Grandpa on the way there and back
We got to Long Beach at around 8 PM, took a shower and went straight to bed. We were exhausted from the long road trip. Mark, Julie, Julianna and Aubri got there around 10 (did I mention they were coming yet?)
The next morning we got free breakfast at the hotel, lunch at an awesome Mexican restaurant across the street (pictured above) and then settled to wait for our time to be able to get on the boat with a game of Cloud 9
We had order one car taxi and one van taxi but the car came over 15 minutes before the van. Since Spencer and I didn't know what to do once we got to the pier, Julie and I took the car and Spencer stayed with Mark and the girls to wait for the van
Man! This was a full blown taxi experience like you see in the movies! Our taxi driver was going way too fast and swerving in and out of traffic like it was nothing... so fun.

First look at the ship! We were on the Carnival Miracle
Look at that super cute guy getting on the boat while carrying his wife's coke (you are allowed twelve cans per person so we obviously took advantage of that)
First look at our balcony
I guess I should take this opportunity to mention... Spencer and I had our own balcony room while Mark, Julie, Julianna and Aubri shared the balcony room next door. Julie and Mark decided to share the room with the girls instead of getting them their own room to be able to keep a better eye on them. As it turns out, it was a great decision since we only ever saw the girls at dinner time. Other than that, they were hanging out with other kids their age the whole time

Here we are enjoying our first meal! I (no lie) ate a hamburger and fries every day for lunch except two of the days at port when we were off the boat. So good!
Front of the ship with the love of my life!
First night at dinner.
We were really worried that I was going to get sick (as I get sick just in the car most of the time) so Julie specifically got rooms at the exact middle of the ship where she read the sea sickness is less, and I got a prescription of sea sick patches from Dr. McBride before we left. It was great, I was never even nauseous although I would always get a little light headed around dinner time.

Sitting with my awesome mother-in-law on her balcony. She spent a lot of time out here
Mark, Spencer, Julie and I got to played so many games together
but my favorite things were the trivia challenges. I did really well for the most part and actually ended up winning two of them... Harry Potter and The Hunger Games
Mini golf... yeah, they have mini golf on the ship... that's and actually thing
I think the best part about the cruise is how relaxed everything was. Spencer and I didn't feel like we had to do everything together all the time. Spencer actually took a nap every day and while he did, I would go out and sit on the deck and get my tan on (complete an audio book and amazing views... I even saw a whale one of the days)
Spencer at the basketball contest
Trivia... I didn't know he was taking this picture
The first elegant night. I was so fun to see everyone on the ship dressed up for dinner
This is Chloe, she was the cruise director. On the first day, she set a challenge for people to take selfies with her (I got a medal out of it)
This was my first cruise so I can not be an authority on it, but Mark and Julie have been on a lot of cruises (at least once a year) and they both said that she was the BEST cruise director they had ever had! She was really amazing. It was so much fun to talk to her and go to the activities. Not only with her but the entire "Fun Squad" was just the bomb. SIDE NOTE: I feel like I missed my calling in life to work on a cruise ship

These were two of our three waiters. Mark and Julie like having the same time for dinner every night because you get to know your waiters and these guys did not disappoint. They were hilarious super attentive and by the second night, they already knew our preferences with food etc.
Look at us all fancy
The Captian's toast
Spencer and I had "date night" every single night. We would get dressed up, enjoy a fancy dinner and then head to some sort of entertainment. We saw all of the comedians on the ship and I even talked him into going to a couple of shows with me (although, he really did not enjoy those)
Towel animals! When we came back from dinner every night, we would came back to a clean room and a cute towel animal waiting for us.
We got the social media plan on my phone so that we could talk to the kids by Facebook messenger. Every night before we headed out to the entertainment for the night, we would call them and send them the picture of our towel animal. They loved looking at those

Port one: Cabo San Lucas!

Cabo was the only port where the ship didn't dock in the pier and in order to get off, you had to take a tender (small boat). With so many people waiting to get off, we decided to wait and get off later while spending the morning at the adult only deck (which was usually crazy packed)
I hung out in the cabana for about two hours!
on the tender on our way to Cabo
The glass bottom boat is my in-laws favorite. They do it every time they can. Really the glass bottom thing is a non factor as it is actually really small and you can't really see anything but that is not the fun part. It is the actual tour of Los Arcos that's really cool, and we had the best tour guide/boat driver. He knew so much and took us so many places
The "Window to the Pacific" it connects both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes
The stinkiest sea lions ever! and they were so loud!
Seriously the best boat guide we could have ever asked for
Lover's beach was closed because of how bad the waves were but it was fine, we weren't planning on getting off there anyway. Look at that sexy guy I married!
That pelican behind Spencer is sitting on the most southern point of Baja... we laughed at his "king of the rock" attitude
So every time the Keeles go to Cabo, they pay a visit to the Cabo Wabo. This is Mark's biggest request of the whole trip and the only souvenir he gets is a t-shirt from there.
It is owned by Sammy Hagar from Van Halen and it has a really cool rocker vibe and always has live music playing
not to mention the guacamole was out of this world!
Look at that sexy guy!
Okay let's talk about Mexico for a second. I pretty much killed it in Mexico. This is going to sound braggy but people are usually pretty nice to me for the most part. They see me as really little, maybe a little bit dumb and they are just nice... well... Mexico was like that times a BILLION! People were SO NICE to me... especially when they would find out I could speak Spanish. You are probably thinking "Dang, that's probably because they were completely ripping you off" but NO! As it turns out I am extremely good at haggling. EXTREMLY GOOD! With everything we got at all three ports in Mexico if we would have taken the first price they said it would have been $265... we paid (drum roll please).... $75!!!!! That's right I talked everything down to $75! Here's is Spencer with some of the things we got in Cabo
Ice cream. Sunset. Cabo... enough said
Port number two Mazatlan!
Ready for beach
For our port day in Mazatlan we spent the day at Hotel Mazatlan. It is an all inclusive resort with a private beach that Julie used to go to when she was in high school. It had all day day buffet, waiters at the beach and TWO snack bars... yeah, it's pretty much the perfect place
Except when Spencer and I spent about an hour relaxing in the huge infinity hot tub, I spent the day sitting on the beach drinking virgin piña coladas.
I (no joke) drank 8 of them. The best part was that I didn't even have to get up, the waiter would just be going around asking/bringing them to me

Julianna and Aubri also got to do parasailing while we were there and they LOVED IT
"Ah ya ya ya ya I keep on hoping we'll eat cake by the ocean"
We wrote the kids names in the sand and they loved it
The hotel had WiFi so we were able to video chat with the kids while we were there. Sad story time: for a while the Little Guy has been talking about going to the beach and I finally told him one day that we couldn't go because we didn't have any money. Well... when we got on the video chat and he saw where we were he immediately said "Mom, do you have money now?" It took me a second to figure out what he was talking about and I felt pretty guilty, but he got over it quickly

These are the docks in Mazatlan those white things in the corner are cars... hundreds and hundred of white Toyotas
For some reason our waiters thought it was Mark's birthday that night and brought him a mini cake so celebrate

Port three: Puerto Vallarta!

Spencer and I spent the day zip-lining... it was such a blast! We had a small group of only 12 people so we really got to talk to everyone and enjoy it
It was an hour drive up to the the place were we zip-linned  and we got to drive through all of Puerto Vallarta including the really run down areas. It was my first time being a place that was so third-world.
The craziest part was when we got to the most run-down part and all of the houses were small cinder block boxes without even a door just a curtain and EVERY SINGLE ONE had a satellite dish. I am dead serious EVERY ONE! We were moving too fast, I really wish I could have taken a picture of it

They have a photographer going with you to take pictures as you zip-line so they do not allow personal photography. Originally we were going to buy the pictures but in the end we decided we were fine without them (although there were some really good ones)
The drive back down was awesome. We went down with some of the staff that worked at the camp where we zip-lined and it was cool to talk to them and learn a little about them. Also on the way up, we all noticed a lot of people (usually young women) selling something that looked like nuts on the side of the road and when we asked what they were, they actually pulled over and bought some for us to try
It is the fruit of a tree called guamuchil. It is white and has a black center but not a pit inside. It is hard to explain the flavor, the closest I can think of is a dry apple, but it's still pretty juicy once it's in your mouth
That night after dinner we went to "Battle of the Sexes" I actually got to be the captain of the women's team and we WON!
another selfie with Chloe
are you tired of seeing pictures of my feet and the ocean yet?
and Chloe a third time
This was Spencer's favorite Fun Squad member so he wanted a picture with her too
Karaoke!
Spencer had actually been looking forward to the karaoke the entire time and he was so exited to get up there and sing. He sang "Waking in Memphis" and I was pretty much drooling the entire time
I even got up there to sing. Mark and I sang "Love Shack" (secretly one of my favorite songs of all time)
taking a break from the piña coladas with a Miami vice
Frog legs! I was not brave enough to try them. He said they were okay but not his favorite
I ended up getting three trophies and a medal. It was hilarious because everyone get referring to the trophies as "24 carat plastic piece of SHIP on a a stick"
The closest we have been to Nathan in almost two years
The hot tub inside the gym was our favorite. It was always empty, the temperature was perfect and the jets were so strong. It was super relaxing
The last night on the cruise was super windy and foggy. Enough that no one was allowed on the decks at all and the captain had to turn the fog horn on. This was outside our balcony the morning we got back to Long Beach.
Crazy right?! It was even thicker at night but I was not able to capture it with my camera. It was by far the thickest fog I have ever seen.

All packed and waiting to get off
Here's a funny story: everywhere in the entire ship, if there is a place to sit, there is a table to place your drink on (no matter where you are) and within 30 seconds there will be someone asking you if you would like something to drink. Well... when you are waiting to get off, that is definitely not the case. It is pretty much a ghost ship at that point. All of the staff is no where to be found. We got a chuckle out of that
We had gone back an forth as to whether we wanted to drive all the way home or spend the night in St. George. In the end, we decided to just drive but Spencer and I did stop in St. George and had dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. Julie, Mark and the girls decided to stop in Cedar City had have dinner with Adam and Alaynah instead

The drive was super fun for Spencer and I. We got to talk, listened to music and just enjoy each other's company. I was unpacking some stuff when I walked in the room and saw that Spencer had attempted a towel animal for me. It was just the sweetest most thoughtful thing... of course I took a picture.
Thank you so much Mark and Julie for what was really a DREAM vacation and thank you Abuelo and Abuela for watching the kids so that Spencer and I could enjoy it knowing that the kids were being perfectly looked after

So I realize this has been a crazy long post and if you are done with reading, now would be a good time to stop. I actually kept all the activity guides and circled everything we did on them so that I could remember and add it to the post. So here is a list of everything we did while on board the ship... this does not included the naps, laying out on the deck, exploring the ship or eating.... it is just the scheduled actives we took part in

  • Mandatory Safety breifing
  • Trivia: fact or fiction
  • Trivia: Harry Potter (which I won)
  • Trivia: Hunger Games (which I won)
  • Comedy: Carl Strong
  • Showtime: 88 keys
  • Comedy: Larry Omaha
  • Showtime: Getaway Island
  • Mega Deck Party (in which I was actually in a conga line! both cliche and perfect!)
  • Gender Showdown (which I won)
  • Trivia: Movie Music Quiz
  • The very hairy chest contests (we just watched this one)
  • Beer Pong (just watched)
  • Trivia: Guess that song
  • Comedy: Ken Rogerson
  • Showtime: 80's Pop to the Max
  • Comedy: Lenny Schmidt (our favorite of the comedians)
  • 80's Rock-n-glow Party
  • Q and A-wesome with Chloe (and the selfie finals... which I won)
  • Karaoke
  • Trivia: slogans (which I was just about to win when some suddenly got one more question than me... it was extremely fishy
  • Showtime: Heart of Soul
  • Dancing with Latidos
  • Dr. Frankenstein's Nightclub (although we were only there for a little bit, it was really packed and not really our scene)
  • Spencer also did the daily Sudoku puzzle every single day

BEST VACATION EVER!

PS the only thing I regret on this trip was not taking a picture of myself in my 80's outfit. I pulled from things I had actually packed and looked perfectly the part! I swear I was born in the wrong decade (although maybe being able to pull an 80's look from your suitcase may not be something to brag about)