On the Road Again

We are heading to California tomorrow morning to attend the funeral of my sweet grandpa. We get back Thursday, Friday is Halloween, Saturday is a memorial service here in Utah, and Sunday we are blessing Coleman at church. I'm looking forward to a week with family and friends and honoring someone I love very much, Halloween is sure to be a blast, and the weekend will be great! Next Monday I'll really start the blog catch-up... after a big long nap. It's been a very interesting month (to say the least) and I can't wait to share pictures and stories with you all. See you then and have a GREAT week!


Nightmare Express

I highly recommend this very fun FREE Haunted Halloween Train ride that my brother does each year. Great for kids... you won't be disappointed!

Stringtown Nightmare Express
Join us for a haunting good time on the Stringtown Nightmare Express. There will be ghosts, goblins, spiders, bats, skeletons, graveyards, dragons, ring wrathes, Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory, and Dracula's castle. You will also enjoy music, movies, popcorn, candy, and lots of fun!
Wed to Fri, Oct 29th to 31st
5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Stringtown Railroad
455 East 200 North
Lindon, UT 84042
Nightmare Express is open free of charge to anyone who wants to ride. It is designed to be fun, and is appropriate for children and parents of all ages. To enjoy a less scary ride, come before sunset, between 5:00 pm and 6:30 pm. You can read more about the Nightmare Express on the Stringtown Website: http://www.stringtown.us/railroad/nightmareexpress  To add to the fun, please come dressed in your Halloween costume, even if you come on a night other than Halloween.



Life is crazy right now. I flew in yesterday from Southern California where I spent 5 days helping to care for my terminally ill grandfather. After being home less than 48 hours I fly to Northern California tomorrow to help my sister-in-law (and one of my favorite people) celebrate her 40th birthday. AND there may or may not be a funeral this weekend. In between I'm trying to stay on top of life here at home and do as much as I can to make things smoother for Chris, who will have played "single dad" for almost 2 weeks by the time this is all done. So... no blogging for now. When things calm down next week I'll play catch-up. Check back then for lots of fun stuff!


Happy 37th Birthday!!

Today Chris turns 37 years old! Instead of listing 10 things about him I am going to ask each member of our family why they love him...

Max-"I love my dad because he's awesome and he teaches me stuff and he helps me to make the right choices and he supports me."

Abby-"My dad is the best dad ever because he cares for me and loves me. I am glad for my blessings and it's all because of my dad and Heavenly Father. He plays with me and has fun with me and loves me."

Afton is a true daddy's girl. She loves to be with him, cuddle with him, talk to him on the phone... everything! She loves it when he gets home and is the first one to greet him with a huge smile and a hug.

Coleman is just happy to be on earth and knows he wouldn't be with out his dad! (hee hee)

Katie- "I just love Chris a ton. The reason 37 sounds so old to me is because he was 22 when we started dating. That's a long time together! I have loved being with him. I love everything about him (almost- you know, no one's perfect- unless you ask his parents!). I am so grateful for who he is and for my life with him. Happy Birthday, Babe. Thank you for everything you bring to my life! XOXO!!"



Max is so happy to finally have a little brother. Even though they are 11 years apart I know they are going to be great friends. Max is a great kid and I am grateful Coleman has such a wonderful example to look up to and follow. I caught the boys doing a little bonding the other day and just had to take a few pics of them together. Max is already trying to teach him things like "high fives" and "pound" and always greets him with "what's up, dude". I see the beginning of a beautiful friendship here... I love it.

The big boys hit Cornbelly's

Every year our family heads over to Thanksgiving Point to enjoy Cornbelly's Corn Maze and all the other activities. For months Max has been begging us to take him on a haunted night (we usually go on family friendly non-scary nights) with a bunch of his friends (just one more sign that he's growing up *sigh*). So, he invited his cousin, Alec, and a friend from our neighborhood, Collin. It turned out to be a freezing cold night but they bundled up and braved the weather and the monsters. Chris was a true sport to be willing to go out and freeze his butt off with all the kids and I know Max was really grateful.
Alec, Collin and Max
Alec (I love this picture)
In the corn maze.
Enjoying some hot chocolate in a really big chair.

Funny story. They get to the corn maze and Alec and Collin run in. Max takes a step toward the entrance and then says "I don't think I can do this". It took Chris about 10 minutes of coaxing to finally get Max to go in and he says it wasn't easy. Apparently Max was laying on the ground in the fetal position and when Chris tried to carry him in he flailed his body and tried to rip off Chris' hat and scarf. I can SOOO picture this. I guess he's not growing up as fast as I though *sigh, again*. He DID finally go in and was very brave. The rest of the night was a huge success and they all had fun getting scared and enjoying some guy time!

The joys of having a 2 year old

Cleaning up blueberry yogurt after lunch. She enjoys using it as a facial cream and hair gel. She actually calls it "lotion" as she eats it. PS. about an hour later she threw all the yogurt up all over the car while I had all of our carpool kids in the car. Needless to say, we drove home with a naked 2 year old and all the windows rolled down and I will probably never eat blueberry yogurt again! The "bug" lasted about 3 days and we are glad she is healthy and happy again.

He's Back!

My little brother, Joel, is back from serving with the Navy in Afghanistan! He left last November, trained in California for a couple months, was in Afghanistan for about 8 months, and then back in California for a couple weeks of debriefing and stuff like that. We are so glad he is actually back in Utah where we can see him and give him hugs! Yeah!! We are so grateful for his safe return and for his service to our country. I know his sweet little family is happy to be together again, too (although his little girl calls him mom). Welcome home, Joel!!

Conference at the Cabin

Last weekend we went to the cabin to enjoy conference surrounded by the beauty of the mountains in the fall and away from the distractions of the world. As we drove up the mountain I was so excited... the fall colors were amazing and I was thinking of the great pictures I would be able to take of the kids frolicking in the fall leaves. But, it wasn't meant to be. As soon as we got the car unloaded it started raining... and it literally didn't stop all weekend. Oh wait, it did stop, as we were driving away to head home the rain stopped and the sun began to shine. Oh well... another time. We still had a blast. It was so nice to be cuddled up and warm inside with the rain pouring down outside.
Even with the rain the fall colors were absolutely beautiful.
During a brief moment of sunshine I captured this picture of Afton on the front porch.
I tried to do the same with Abby, but it started 
pouring again and the sun hid behind the clouds.
Max out back in the rain.

We tried not to let the rain stop us from having fun. One of our kids favorite things to do at the cabin is going exploring. Chris is such a great dad... in between Saturday sessions he took the kids out in the pouring rain and went exploring. I could tell he really didn't want to, but he didn't let the kids know. He was just as excited as they were and they had so much fun together. They came back dripping wet and covered in mud. I made them all strip on the back porch and wrap themselves in a towel before they could come inside (thanks goodness the cabin is in a secluded area). They all took warm showers and got bundled up in their pajamas to enjoy the second session.
Soaking wet after their hike.
Watching Conference... the kids thought it was funny to get up and sing with the primary choir.
While at the cabin we did a lot of laying around...
watching conference and movies...
and sleeping (especially Coleman)...

... we also played games, ate lots of yummy treats, and worked on our laptops (photo editing for me... I don't know what Chris was doing). It really was an awesome weekend and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together. Thanks to our sweet friends, Kathy and Carolyn, for sharing their treasure with us.


Calling all Jason Mraz fans!

I love Jason Mraz! In fact, I loved him before he was cool. I'm a long time fan. Well, he's coming to the E Center! Yay for me. Cassidy and I want to go and are inviting any of you to join us. The more the merrier. And, get this, the tickets are only 32.50! What a steal for what's sure to be a great show. Tickets have been on sale for a while though (we're a little slow... new baby... you know) so we have to act fast. If you're in let me know by this Sunday night and we're gonna get tickets first thing Monday morning. Hope you can join us! (In honor of him coming... and hopefully to inspire you to join us... I am playing only Jason Mraz songs on my blog for your listening pleasure!)

Why I love BYU Football...

It gives me time to do what I want... like catching up on my blog, editing pics online, taking a nap, or getting a pedicure... while the rest of the family goes to grandma and grandpa's house to watch the game! Tomorrow my goal is to post some cute new pics of Coleman and all the birthday celebrations we've had the past couple weeks, burn back up CD's of my digital photos, and organize my pile of papers in the office (see previous post). If you don't see a new post tomorrow it's because I took a nap instead =D! GO COUGARS!!!


Just thinking out loud...

Today Coleman is 4 weeks old and I can hardly believe how the time has flown. We have enjoyed him so much and love getting to know his little personality. I loved conference this past weekend. You know how they always seem to focus on 1 thing and sometimes that 1 thing is different for different people depending on what they need to hear? Well, for me the message was to slow down, enjoy each day, live in the moment... I tend to be a list maker, always planning days, weeks, months, even years (yes years!) ahead, I freak out if the house isn't perfectly organized (which it never is... so I'm freaked out A LOT... just ask my husband), and I get extremely down on myself if I don't accomplish what I meant to for that day. Today I looked around my house and noticed how messy it is, you know, new baby and all. My kitchen floor seriously needs to be mopped, my toilets are in desperate need of scrubbing, my office is piled sooo high with papers, and it's taking me 3 days to do the amount of laundry I used to do in one... and it's been sitting folded on my bedroom floor pretty much since Coleman was born! Then I looked at my sweet baby. And I laid down and took a nap with him. Heaven.

Thanks to my sweet, very patient husband for not pointing out the messes and instead pointing out the conference talk that said the piles of laundry and fingerprints on the wall will be gone too soon and to enjoy my children now. For giving me the opportunity to stay at home with my children. For loving me even though I don't always get it all done. For allowing me to live in this moment with this new baby every day and truly enjoy him.

And thanks to my wonderful kids for being who they are, loving me even though I'm still trying to figure out this whole "mom" thing (do we ever really figure it out), and for being so helpful as we adjust to having another person in the family.

I love you all. You are my greatest treasures!


11 years old!

(Photo taken 10/2/97 right after he was born)

Today is Max's 11th Birthday! I seriously cannot believe it. I still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. It was definitely my most difficult labor and delivery! Max was always such a good baby and an even better toddler. He was always like an adult trapped in a little body. People loved to talk to him and they would laugh at the things that came out of his mouth. As he grew he was always very curious and learned quickly. When he was 2 1/2 we moved to San Francisco and Chris was gone a lot so it was just me and Max. He was truly my little buddy and I loved doing things with him because he was so fun to be with. It has been a pleasure to be his mom and watch him grow. I am excited about what his future holds. He has so much potential to do great things and I hope he makes those great things happen. I am really looking forward to the wonderful things the next 11 years will bring! So, in honor of his birthday, here are 10 things you may or may not know about Max (in no particular order):

1. Max is always prepared. In fact, he "packs" no matter where we are going. He always brings along a change of clothes, things to entertain himself and a snack... even if we are just headed to grandmas for dinner!

2. Max LOVES to read. He is always reading a big thick book and has always read above his grade level. He read Harry Potter in kindergarten and read the Twilight Series over the summer. People usually see his book lying around and ask me if I'm reading it.

3. Max is an excellent big brother when he wants to be... we just wish he wanted to be one more often!

4. Max almost never stops talking... literally. When driving in the car, sitting at dinner, or just hanging out he goes on and on about his latest obsession. We usually love hearing what his has to share with us and admire his love of learning, but every once in a while we have to FORCE him to stop talking!

5. Max knows almost everything about almost everything. He has such a thirst for knowledge that something in a movie, book, or that he is learning at school will spark an interest and he dives into the subject, learning everything he can any way he can.

6. Max is very musically talented. He plays the piano and guitar and has lovely voice. He learns very quickly and already plays the piano better than me (which isn't really saying much). He also wants to learn to play the cello and hopes to start a band someday.

7. Max doesn't like to do work around the house and yard, but he does it anyway... usually with a smile... and tries to do the best he can.

8. Max loves Europe and hopes to travel there soon. He even wants to serve his mission there. When he was about 6 he started to teach himself French from some language CD's Chris had and he still works on it!

9. Max is a loyal friend and family member. He really LOVES the people closest to him and cares about them a lot.

10. Max is a lot like his dad... he looks like him (we get the "mini-me" comment a lot), they have a lot of the same interests (movies, sports, random trivia) and there is no one he would rather spend time with.

Happy Birthday, Christopher Maxwell... We love you tons!

(Photo taken last Sunday in his Birthday Suit. 
No, not THAT Birthday Suit! 
The Suit we got him for his Birthday.)



It's amazing how quickly time flies. I cannot believe that Coleman is 3 weeks old today. We are enjoying him so much. He is such a sweet little baby and has already brought so much joy into our lives. We couldn't be happier that he is here. So, I posted some pictures the day he was born, but that's all you've seen of him. I'm sure you've all just been dying to see more and you're about to have all your dreams come true! In fact, you are probably about to have way more Coleman than you ever could have wished for. Enjoy!

Labor and Delivery

As I mentioned before, the labor and delivery went great. I have really easy deliveries and, for that, I am very grateful. Yes, we did have all our kids there. I never thought I would be "that" person, you know, that would have all her kids watch her deliver a child, but it was great. We actually had them all there when Afton was born too. I am really glad we let them be a part of it all and feel like it made it a lot more special for them. It does have its challenges... the wait can get a little boring and it is not fun dealing with bickering children while also dealing with labor pains, but we all made it through. I love some of the expressions on their faces in these pictures... priceless. At one point I had to ask Cassidy to stop making "disgusted" faces because it was too much for me to watch and Max chose the "G-rated" version and hung out by my head. Abby loved every minute of it (she wants to be a "baby doctor" someday- the kind that delivers babies) and actually coached me through some of it, cheering me on and telling me how great I was. Afton was the sweetest and was so concerned about little Coleman. Anyway, it was a great day and I'm glad we were all together.

The rest of his life... so far
Believe it or not I haven't taken that many pictures of Coleman (other than 1 planned "photo Shoot" I did a few days ago- look for those to be posted in the next day or so)... this is pretty much all of it. It starts about 30 minutes after he was born with the first sets of visitors, and goes through all the pics I have. I really didn't cut that much out. Must be that 4th child thing! It is interesting to watch them in order and see how much he has changed in the first weeks of life. He almost looks like a different baby from the beginning picture to the end. It's been fun to watch him change and wonder what he'll look like and what kind of personality he'll have. It's been a great 3 weeks and I'm looking forward to the next 3, and the next 3, and the next 3.... and taking LOTS of pictures!