Behind... (updated)

So, I woke up this morning and got started on my regular everyday tasks and TOTALLY FORGOT that I had promised myself a blog session! I think I was thrown off by the fact that Coleman actually slept through the night... that's right... a FULL 7 1/2 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep. I was so energized and ready to attack the day that I just got to it. But, BYU basketball game tomorrow night= blogging night for me... yipee!

I am officially painfully behind on my blog. It is literally killing me. Here I sit, on the eve of December, and I haven't even posted Halloween yet. It is almost enough to drive my OCD brain insane. The bad news is that I don't see myself having an opportunity to get caught up for a while because we are gearing up for another crazy week and I have a ton of little projects around the house AND it's time for the busiest time of year to begin... Christmas! There have been a few times when I thought I could squeeze a little blogging in, but responsibility wins the argument in my head and I end up doing the important stuff instead. I have made a deal with myself though... there is a little list of very important things I MUST get done tomorrow and if I do I am going to blog Tuesday morning (instead of waiting until bedtime, which is what I usually do and then I'm too tired). So, I guess you'll know how well I did if you see some new posts on Tuesday. Cross your fingers and wish me luck... I think I'll go get a head start right now!


Baby Signing Time Gift Pack

Afton was thrilled to receive a surprise package in the mail from Two Little Hands Productions especially for her. Inside was a "Baby Signing Time" Gift Pack, including the DVD that she is on and they were even autographed by Rachel Coleman. She was so cute and danced around with them and was so excited to watch them. I would especially like to point out her lovely outfit adjusted ever so slightly to fit her own sense of style and flair... she is quite the fashion maven.

High School Musical 3

Two of our super cute, very talented nephews were dancers in 'High School Musical 3'. Zack (he's the one who competed on and won 'Dance War' last winter) actually learned all of Zac Efron's parts for him while he was in London working on  another project, and then taught him his part when he got to the set. You can actually see him quite a bit if you know where to look. Jaremy (who was a finalist on last seasons SYTYCD but had to back out when they changed the dates of Vegas week and he had a previous commitment... he sooo would have won) was in the final graduation scene. You can see him a lot... he's wearing a green shirt. Anyway, we made a night of it and gathered the family to go see it together. We had a lot of fun and the kids thought it was pretty cool to go see it with their cousins who were actually IN the movie. They got their autographs and everything... you'd think they hadn't known them their whole lives, lived 5 minutes from them and even vacationed with them... they were sufficiently STAR STRUCK!
Zack and Jaremy with Max, Afton and Abby...
who looks like quite the movie star herself!


We love Thanksgiving Point... and we especially love the Dinosaur museum. It is such a cool place. My kids spend a lot of time there in the summer when they participate in their day camps, but we don't really go a ton as a family. Lately, Afton has been pointing to the big dinosaur on the wall outside and asking to go so we decided to head over for some family time and dinner at our favorite place. We took my little sister, Aubrey, along and had a great time.
I cannot believe I have a double stroller!! 
But don't they look super cute in it?
My favorite pose... we take a version of this picture every single time we go! (I love Afton's expression... she is so stinkin' cute)
Pretending to get eaten by dinosaurs. 
No, my kids aren't at all dramatic. Why do you ask?
We weren't able to stay quite long enough but we had a good time anyway and will be back soon for sure... we LOVE our season pass during those cold winter months (let us know if your going... maybe we'll join you).

14th Anniversary

Today is our 14th Anniversary!! It has gone so fast... and also feels like it's been forever. It's been amazing, full of ups and downs and lots of love. We have had so much fun together and I feel lucky and blessed for all that we have. I am so grateful for Chris and for our life together. Words can't even express the love I feel for him so I won't try to do that here. 

I love you, Chris! Thank you for the love you've given me. I can't wait for the next 14 years!

(Can you believe how young we look in that picture... we were BABIES!! ... and what's with the HAIR?)


How lucky am I?

My sister-in-law turned the big 4-0 last month! Her husband decided to surprise her with a weekend retreat at a lovely bed and breakfast/spa in wine country where the only thing on the agenda was to scrapbook. But, she obviously couldn't do this fun activity alone, right? So I was the very lucky person chosen to benefit from her aging! He flew me out there and I had a wonderful weekend scrapbooking, napping, shopping, eating great food and lots of Icee's and visiting with one of my very favorite people! It was a wonderful break in the middle of my crazy month and I am grateful to Traci for getting so old and Rich for including me in the fun!


Max's School Devotional

On October 24th the 6th graders did the school devotional for the month. It was on the Seven Principles of Christian Self Government. Max did a great job and it was an awesome program.

Gardner Village

I flew home from California mid-day on Monday and we went straight from the airport to Gardner Village. We had been planning to go for FHE with Chris' parents for weeks and I didn't want to miss it. It is so cool at Halloween (and Christmas too) and Chris' mom really wanted to share it with our kids. We walked around and enjoyed all the shops while looking for all the witches they have scattered around. Then we ate a lovely dinner at Archibald's. Chris' sister, Leisa, and her family joined us as well and it was a really fun night.
The kids with Grandma Higbee... thanks for thinking to take us!
Cute Afton with a pumpkin... with our crazy schedule this month this is the closest thing we got to a pumpkin patch and I only got a picture of Afton! We didn't even buy any pumpkins this year!
Did you know they have an old fashioned candy store there called 'Sweet Afton's'? We actually call her sweet Afton a lot so, of course, I had to get a picture.
I was so happy to see this face!! I missed him so much and was so grateful for his supportwhile I went to be with my grandpa. He was so great with the kids and really made me feel okay about being gone for so long. What a guy... I love him so much.

While Mom's Away...

The family will play! The timing wasn't great... I took off for California right when we had a little vacation planned because the kids had Fall break. Or maybe the timing was perfect! Chris went ahead without me and enjoyed the weekend at the cabin with my parents and siblings to help out with the kids, and he didn't have to worry about getting them to school and all that involves (lunches, homework, etc). I can't say much about the weekend because I wasn't there, but from looking at the pictures (courtesy of my dad and Chris): 

Afton spent a lot of time with her favorite uncle Peter. I'm pretty sure she followed him around all the time and I can just hear her little voice saying "Peter". He probably carried her around most of the time!
Max and Abby repaired the old tree house. It looks like they got a long at least long enough to take a picture.
They all did a little 4-wheeling. (I'm glad I wasn't there to watch that... it freaks me out!)
And they cut wood...
Lots of wood...
To make warm fires in the winter.
I hear they also did a little fishing, visiting of old friends in Ephraim, movie watching, and enjoying each others company. Chris did pretty well without me... perhaps I should leave more often?



On Monday, Oct. 13th my mom called me and told me that my sweet grandpa had been told that he was dying of kidney failure and had about 4 months to live. Because of his age (he would be 86 in early November) they chose not to do anything because it would really just be prolonging things and would be very uncomfortable. My grandpa lived a very long and full life, was very healthy right to the end, and had been saying for years that he was ready to go when it was time. We all knew his decision was a good one and agreed with him. That doesn't seem to make the fact that he would be leaving us any easier. When I first heard I cried almost non-stop for days. Even though I was totally fine with the fact that I knew this was how he wanted it to be it was still so hard to face the fact that he would soon not be with us. I was also very worried about my grammy and what the next few months would be like for grandpa. I can not imagine knowing that you are going to die soon. Plans were made... he was taken off all medications except for the ones to help him be comfortable, hospice was called and started coming to the house to help care for him and clean, and all the family was called. I checked in with my mom multiple times each day and she kept telling me that he was going fast. It was like once he had "permission" to die he started going much faster than everyone anticipated. By Tuesday night they were saying it could be as fast as 24-48 hours. Most of the family made plans to get there as quickly as possible. I was able to make arrangements to fly down on Wednesday. I took Coleman with me and am so grateful to everyone who helped with my other kids (Chris was out of town, but hurried home to get the kids when I had to leave. I literally left them with family and no suitcases or anything without even knowing when Chris would be able to get back in town) By the time I got there Wednesday evening they had set a spare room up like a hospital room. It was crazy... from the time he got the news on Friday, when he actually walked in and out of the doctors office, to Wednesday night he had gotten to the point where he wouldn't get out of bed again and was very weak. I feel like I'm rambling. It was truly an amazing experience to be there and help take care of my grandpa. I had so many experiences that week that are a little too personal share here so I won't, but I am so grateful I was able to be a part of this time of his life and say good bye to him... and to have him meet Coleman. We also had a lot of fun, believe it or not. There were so many people there and it was a really joyous time together as a family. Grandpa has lived in the same place forever and the endless parade of friends was amazing to watch. I took a ton of pictures. Here are a few of my favorite.
This is Grandpa meeting Coleman for the first time. It was so sweet. Grandpa could barely talk but said "AAAW" when we showed him Coleman and held him up for him to see.
Grammy kissing Coleman... her newest great grandchild. I think it was actually good for everyone to have Coleman there... almost healing. To have this sweet new life there while we were helping prepare my grandpa to die sort of kept things in balance and reminded us all about the cycle of things.  
My aunt Melanie (she took care of us all and kept us well fed), Uncle Joel, Mom and Cassidy. We were getting ready to song hymns for grandpa. We stayed up really late every night and one of the things we loved to do was sit in his room and reminisce and sing.
Throughout the week grandpa would often ask to see the baby. It was really touching to me because he would ask at random times when Coleman wasn't even around. It meant a lot to me because he was fading so quickly and that was sort of a sign that he was still there mentally and aware of things. This is my mom and 3 of my cousins, Haylie, Brittany, and Cassidy.
Dallas Sophie, Brittany (with Cole) and Aunt Melanie.
My mom, Aunt Melanie and Uncles Dallas and Joel. Four of my grandpa's 5 children were there to help along with 5 grand daughters. A lot of other family and friends stopped by to visit and called to talk to grandpa throughout the week.
My beautiful grammy... she's a rock. She was my buddy all week. Coleman and I slept in her bed with her and it was so nice to wake up early in the morning... I would lay there nursing Coleman and she and I would talk for about an hour about everything... then go back to sleep. It was our little secret time and it meant so much to me to talk to her about grandpa and their life together.
Visiting with grandpa. It was nice to just sit in there with him as he slept. It was quiet and peaceful and the perfect opportunity to think about my life with him and what a great man he was. 
Trying to keep up on things... my uncles thought it was funny how I would balance Coleman on my knee while I caught up on my email and read a few blogs so they took this picture. They should see me type while I nurse!
I mentioned before how grandpa was always asking to see Coleman. We would lay him in the bed next to him and they would sit there together for a while. I loved this shot of Cole looking up at him. We would say that because Coleman was so fresh from God and grandpa was on his way home they were probably exchanging secrets and kind of passing on the way in and on the way out. 

It truly was a wonderful, emotional, fun, exhausting, fulfilling week. I will never forget the experiences, joy and love from this week. My uncles and my mom are my heros. I have a whole knew level of respect and love for my extended family. I so admire my grammy and her strength through this whole thing. I left on Monday, exactly one week after I first heard the news. He had deteriorated a lot just in the 5 days I was there. I said good bye to him that morning before I went to the airport. It was hard, but this is exactly how my grandpa wanted to go and I am happy for him. He was able to live a full, healthy life right up to the end. My mom said that by Monday night he was pretty much gone... no more communication. He hung on for a couple more days and died peacefully early in the morning on Thursday, October 23rd. From start to finish it was only 10 days. 

"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away..."

Boy Scout

Max is so excited to be a Boy Scout. He loved his experience in Cub Scouts and is thrilled to advance to the next level. He is really looking forward to all the fun activities and camp outs that are part of being a Boy Scout and is ready to work hard and learn a lot. He has set some really great goals and I know he can reach them! I can hardly believe how grown up he looks in his uniform... it actually makes me a little crazy to think of him as a Boy Scout!!


Do you remember a while back when we had a ton of birthdays? Well, here's how we celebrated:

On the actual day of Afton's birthday (Monday, 9/29) we didn't do much. ALL day we kept telling her it was her birthday and singing to her in the hopes that she would understand  that it was her special day. After dinner we had ice cream with peaches and put some candles on top and sang to her and she was happy as could be!
Here she is showing you how old she is now.
Who needs a spoon? Fingers are much faster.
Let's just skip the fingers and get right to it!

The next day (Tuesday, 9/30) we did our traditional birthday dinner out for both Afton and Max combined. Cassidy joined us and even came bearing gifts.
Afton loved the adorable bows Cass brought her and put them BOTH on right away.
Max giving Cass a thank you kiss for the yummy treats and cash she gave him.

On Max's actual birthday (Thursday, 10/2) we took treats to school for him to celebrate with his class.

On Sunday evening (10/5) we had our traditional "Invite EVERYONE from both sides of the family for Afton's, Max's AND Chris' birthdays" for cake and ice cream at our house. It was quite a crowd and we really appreciated everyone coming to be with us and celebrate.
Last, but definitely not least, the Saturday before Chris' birthday (10/11) we went to his very favorite restaurant and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner with our family and his parents.

Happy birthday to 3 of my very favorite people!! I hope you had a great year and wish you all another awesome year. I wish I could have posted more pictures... but that would make for a very long post so they'll have to wait for the scrapbook. It was an very fun couple of weeks with lots of celebrating. It is both exhausting and exciting to have all these birthdays so close together... and next year we'll need to add Coleman's to the mix! Whew!


Afton's Cute Mug...

...can be seen here on the 'Seriously, So Blessed' blog, and here and here on the new 'Baby Signing Time' Website (she got to do these pics with her super cute dad). All of the images are rotating so you may have to wait a second before she actually pops up. Let me know if you see her on any ads anywhere else! Thanks!

(Disclaimer: If you've never read 'Seriously, So Blessed' I'll let you in on a secret.... it is a FAKE blog and it is really funny but a little irreverent. So if you don't like irreverent don't read it.)


Coleman, 2 1/2 weeks old

FINALLY!! Brace yourselves for a TON of pictures. I took these pics of Coleman waaaay back on Sep. 28th when he was about 2 1/2 weeks old. It was a little challenging because I was all by myself try to keep him content and balanced in the different set ups, get my camera settings right, hold the reflector and take the picture. It was pretty exhausting. I was inspired by the adorable pictures my cute cousin Shannon (an actual real life photographer) took of her adorable son, who is just a few weeks older than Coleman. Hers are much better than mine and you can see them here. Chris finally showed up and I was able to get some great shots of him with Coleman and he got a few of me. 
This isn't the greatest shot... his hand is blurry, but I was so excited to catch one of his first little smiles!
Father and Son.
Check out this awesome blanket my super talented and crafty Aunt Melanie made for Coleman. Can you believe it? It is made from Cashmere sweaters she got a DI! I seriously LOVE it!
Here I am... I love the profile shots so you can't see the huge "lack of sleep" bags under my eyes!
Precious little parts...
I just LOVE that sweet little face. He always has this really alert, knowing look in his eyes. 
Well, there they are! (How'd I do, Shannon?) It feels so good to finally have them posted. You won't believe how much he's changed since then and I'm glad to finally be back to blogging so you can see!