Friday, October 26, 2012

California 2012

The second the Utah Football Schedule was released, my husband planned a trip to an away game. Luckily, the game of choice was UCLA-which meant DISNEYLAND! We started preparing Ellie early so that she would enjoy the trip as much as possible. We showed her movies, talked to her about the characters (she fell hard for Buzz Lightyear and Captain Hook), and made a countdown chain. After what seemed like forever, the day of departure finally arrived. We broke the drive into two on the way down and were able to stop in Vegas and see Paul's sister and some friends. We drove to Newport the next day and spent the next few days just relaxing, enjoying some pool time, and exploring the city.

Ellie is lucky her dad likes the water as much as she does. They swam every chance they got. 

We borrowed my Grandpa's van for the trip so we would have a little more room. Ellie LOVED everything about the van. 

We then hit Disneyland for the next few days. We thought we were being smart going the week before UEA and that we would miss the crowds. Boy were we wrong. Not only did we share the park with half the state of Utah but the state of Arizona was on fall break and decided to join us as well. Despite the crowds-the weather was great, timing for everything worked out well, and we had a blast! Ellie loved the carousels (seriously? you can ride those at the mall), Monsters Inc., The Little Mermaid ride, the teacups (I have to pat myself on the back for actually going on this one, pregnant, and not losing it), and Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlasters. She would crash every afternoon around 3-which was perfect for us. We would stake out our spot early for the parade, let her nap and either enjoy some ice cream in peace or Paul would sneak off and ride the big rides. Maybe it was the prime seating, maybe it was the music, or maybe it was seeing all of her favorite characters, but Ellie was nuts about the parades. We literally had to hold on to the back of her shirt to prevent her from joining the parade herself. Seeing her wave to all her favorite characters made the trip totally worth it...Priceless.

Now for a picture overload...

Loving the parade

We can't go to Disneyland without snacking on the delicious pickles.

Cars Land is quite impressive...and overly crowded

Monsters Inc. is Ellie's new favorite movie-we rode this ride like 20 times

Ellie loved the characters from afar-but got a little shy up close

We decided to enjoy the Halloween season at Disneyland by getting tickets for 'Mickey's Halloween Party'. I am so glad that Paul took the plunge and bought these tickets for us. It was by far our most favorite day at Disneyland. They keep the park open from 6-11 for those with tickets and have a variety of Halloween festivities. We got to go trick-or-treating, see a special parade, ride the rides, meet the characters, watch a special fireworks show, and dress up in costume. 

They limit the amount of tickets given out, which decreased the wait time for rides...SO NICE!

I think we found a favorite vacation spot!

After four straight days of Disneyland, we were ready for a change of pace. We met up with some friends for a fun beach day. What started out as a rainy, cloudy day quickly turned and we ended up having a beautiful beach day. On the drive home we asked Ellie what she liked better-Disneyland or the beach. Of course, the beach. 

Paul was so good to get down and fully play in the sand with Ellie. Sand and I aren't the best of friends so I limited my play to getting the hands dirty. 

Loved every minute of it

Paul rented a body board and spent half the afternoon catching some "waves"

And last but not least, the game. I had never been to an away game before and had all these concerns in my mind about people yelling at us or throwing food at us. I don't know what I was thinking. Everyone around us was so nice! We ended up scalping tickets and scored big when we wound up in about the only section with shade for the whole game and it wasn't squishy crowded-which kept us sane because Ellie could actually move around. Except for the loss, the game turned out to be best case scenario. 

After the game, we hit the road and decided to power through the night and make the drive in one day. We had such a good time, but there's no place like home!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our Crazy Summer

I am loving the stage that my munchkin is in.  It is so fun to take her out exploring the various hotspots that the valley has to offer. We tried to squeeze in as much as we could this summer and had a grand time doing it.

First up...

Paul and I love going to Bee's games so I was pumped when we decided to take in our first game of the season. I thought I was pulling a genius move by hitting the train first before the line got insane. WRONG. Ellie became so attached to the train that she sobbed the rest of the game for her 'choo-choo'.  Needless to say, we left early. Maybe next year.

My sister lives in an Ivory Development that has a wonderful set of pools for kiddos. Ellie gets progressively more and more comfortable in the water every time we go. Considering that she wasn't nervous to begin with, we are now at the stage where mom can't take her eyes off her kiddo for two seconds or she's jumping in the side of the pool. We have a little fish on our hands. Here she is rocking her pink shades with her cousin, Kaylee and pal, Gavin.


Our friends were so great to offer us a few Lagoon tickets, so we thought why not warm Ellie up for our Disneyland trip in October. Ellie LOVED it! She was a little nervous the first time we put her on a ride herself but adjusted quickly and had a blast all night long. She became so attached to the orange boat the first time she went on them that the second she got off the ride she wanted to go again. While waiting in line she had a few choice words for a couple of boys that took her precious orange boat. Funny girl. My parents were so great and came to grab Ellie an hour before the park closed so that Paul and I could sneak in a few adult rides. We had a good time but quickly realized that in our old age, 3 rides is about our max unless we wanted to pay the garbage cans a visit.

After reading somewhere about the benefits you get with a Tracy Aviary membership I decided to take the plunge. Ellie liked seeing all the birds, and loved being able to just walk around and explore outside. I'm excited to check out the other discount places I get into with my new membership.

After the success of Lagoon, Ellie and I followed up with a trip to Jungle Jim's. She was in heaven. I learned the hard way to wait until the end of the visit to ride the roller coaster. I thought I was going to puke!


After having Ellie almost two years ago, I decided it was probably time for me to get back in shape. I signed up for a half marathon and got to work. I am an extremely slow runner but my goal was to run the entire time, not stop for a bathroom break, and to beat my previous half marathon time from two years ago. I accomplished all of those goals so I felt good about the race. It was a lot of fun and a really pretty race. It was great to have my cheering section there with me (they were so great to battle the rain too!) Before heading home we slipped in a quick fishing trip for Ellie. She loved it! Mostly the throwing rocks into the lake part, but was elated when she caught her first fish ever! 

I have gone to Red Butte Gardens with my first graders on a field trip before and enjoyed it but I must admit I was worried about trying it out with Ellie. I thought she would get bored. She ended up loving it! She spent much longer than I had anticipated in the Children's Garden area and was not too thrilled when we had to leave. I am excited to go back in the fall when it is not SO HOT!

Oh the places I have discovered by being a teacher. Another one of our field trips took us up to Silver Lake-which is beautiful and such an easy, doable hike with a toddler so of course I had to take Ellie. Even though Ellie had a puke session right as we pulled up to the parking lot and a blistered foot we had a great time. I recommend going if you haven't gone before. My sister even got lucky when she took her kiddos and saw a moose!

We had a great 4th of July but I didn't take a single picture! We did do a little sparkler/popper action for the 24th though. Ellie was a little hesitant of the sparklers at first but as you can see it didn't last long. 

After an epic boating fail last year, our friends took another chance on us and invited us out to a day on the lake. I was so relieved when Ellie actually put on the life jacket and left it on without screaming. Hooray! She loved the water and kept jumping off the back of the boat to Paul. We decided to try the tube with her and she enjoyed it. Thanks to the Myers for a great time!


My sister won a free year pass to Thanksgiving Point and was generous and brave enough to invite us out for the day. Ellie loves animals and had so much fun-especially when she got to ride the pony! 

For those of you still with us, thanks for catching up with us. We have a busy fall planned with football, festivals, parties, and a trip to DISNEYLAND! Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spring 2012

We have had a wonderfully busy spring! Paul has been incredibly busy with work so thankfully, Ellie and I have been able to get out of the house and enjoy the good weather to make the time pass by faster. What have we been up to?

Ellie was so much fun this year! We dyed easter eggs with the Stringfellow clan and did the egg hunting with the Hogan clan. Eloise loved it all! Perhaps next year she will be able to dye the eggs without throwing them into the cups, cracking them, and actually gather more than one egg before eagerly flinging its contents across the lawn. 


Ellie and I went to the Hee Haw Farm last year and had a blast. This year we decided to involve our cousins. Mom, of course, chose the windiest day of the year! Amidst the giant slide, petting zoo, hay ride, and games we managed to weather the storm quite marvelously.

Such a great petting zoo!

Ellie spent most of the time chasing this duck.

She could give Napoleon a good fight yeah?


Eloise is already a "right brain" girl. She likes to color and draw, but LOVES to paint! Thanks to Pinterest I found the brilliant idea of using sweet and condensed milk as paint. This has now become an almost daily request by our little Picaso.

She looks like a hobo. I know. I get it.


Ellie and I have the wonderful opportunity to spend a few days a week with her pal, Gavin. He is the sweetest little boy and we are having a blast with him. After the claustrophobia of being inside for a few days had set in, I decided to brave two toddlers on a road trip. We hit up a local favorite, Wheeler Farm. We have been here so many times Ellie takes charge and navigates the route for us.


We unfortunately have very little yard for Ellie to run around on so we tend to hit the park a lot. We have a collection of favorite parks and rotate them almost daily. Ellie loves to swing; like throw-a-massive-fit-when-mom-suggests-it's-time-to-get-off kind of love. She likes to explore all of the available swings and goes back and forth between the two for hours!

Ellie is super adventurous and before she could even walk would find her way to the slides, no matter the size. By 21 months she is already starting to become bored with them.

Eloise and Gavin.


Ellie got Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. The spots were generous enough to not limit themselves to these places however. They were everywhere! Being the dramatic girl that she is, every time she saw a spot (so pretty much nonstop) she would shout ow-ee and sob. Made for a long week. Good news though, taking her to the doctor we discovered that after only 21 short months our little munchkin has finally hit the 20 lb. mark. Way to go Ellie!

I painted my toenails one day while Ellie was napping. One of the first things she noticed when she woke up was mom's bright pink toes. She was very determined to be just like mom and abruptly found her crayons to try to paint her own toenails too. Resourceful.

Catch you this summer...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Playing catch-up

So I'm a little behind on the blog...of course. I'm falling into the pattern of playing catching up and then posting massively long posts so I'll try to keep this one a little shorter.

First up, Valentine's day...we gathered the cousins together for a mini party. We had pizza, decorated cookies, finger painted, exchanged valentines, and played a game. Eloise always has a blast with her cousins! 

Nursery is amazing! I am almost as big of a fan as Ellie. She loves it! The second the prayer is said in Sacrament meeting she bolts for the door and heads straight to the nursery room. Hallelujah!

With much urging on my end, Paul took his girls out for a night of bowling. Ellie was so perplexed and angry at the fact that she couldn't chase the ball down the lane after she pushed it. Needless to say, she lasted about three frames before she got bored and we took over bowling most of her frames. She did however, find immense joy in dancing on the glowing tables to Rihanna. Should I be concerned?

Eloise and I are both thrilled be to able to get outside and enjoy the spring weather. We visit the park rather often and try to throw in some of our favorite spots from time to time to mix it up. Mom is discovering quickly that we are both much happier with each other when we get out of the house. We even got to see a Real game thanks to Chris and Jaime Glauser.

Wheeler Farm

Finally caught up, just in time for Easter. Thanks for catching up with us!

Monday, February 20, 2012

January Happenings...

When I think of January, I usually think of a boring, slow, dreary month. This year, however, I am wondering where January went. We stayed so busy and with the weather being so mild it seemed to fly by. Here is what we've been up to...

Eloise is becoming more and more independent by the second. She insists upon doing EVERYTHING herself, from feeding herself to getting dressed to drinking from a cup. It has made for some fun temper tantrums. 

Bath time with dad is always an adventure. He is the fun one; mom is all business. Get in, soap up, rinse, get out. But Paul always teaches Ellie something new when he bathes her. They blow bubbles with straws, splash until all the water comes out, put their face in the water until fully submerged. Sometimes they apparently don't feel the need to get undressed.

Ellie and I went to see the new Otter exhibit at the aquarium. She loved it! She would have followed them back and forth on the glass all afternoon. As a promotional measure, they were giving out free otter pops on the way out. Crazy mom here thought my 'oh so independent' daughter could handle an otter pop by herself....Guess I was wrong.

Ellie also took her first major spill this month. We were on our way out to the car and she turfed it on the concrete. I took her to the doctor, but luckily, no stitches needed. They just glued her up and sent us on our way.

Paul finished the bookshelf! Isn't it GLORIOUS?!? He did a fantastic job and I am loving having it in our home. Ellie is also loving pulling out all the books!

Who flipped the TV loving switch on in my girl? Ellie is nuts about Barney and Tangled. Here she is with her cousins watching Tangled.

And last but not least the Annual German Hofest. I have been going to this every year for as long as I can remember. My sweet grandpa loves polka music. He and my grandma discovered the Hofest years ago and started attending annually and its stuck. One of the staple dances of the Hofest is the chicken dance. Years ago my mom made chicken hats for all of us kiddos to wear during the dance. You better believe we still have the wonderful opportunity to sport those hats. One thing that Ellie got from her mama is she loves to dance like a goofball. She was in her element at the Hofest...such a ham! She boogied on the dance floor all afternoon.