Thursday, January 22, 2015

Snow Drift: Lake Arrowhead

Peyton's hearts desire as of late has been to build a snowman. And to make snow angels. So we made it happen. That little girl (and obviously Jovie) have never touched snow if their lives, and I was feeling like a failure as a mom because of it. Not really, but it did seem like something that needed to be rectified. So... we made the hour long trip to the snow. Come on now, you can't tell me Southern California is not awesome in that you can drive an hour any one way and be at the snow, desert, beach or big major city. One week I would love to do these activities in consecutive days just because I can.

Anyway back to the fabulous snow day we just did. We actually chose to do a place that rents tubes and has built in stairs just for ease of enjoyment although it was more expensive than just finding a random place to do it ourselves. We were not sad we did, we ALL had a blast! The kids loved it and were fearless. Yes, my kids! I know I am still in shock too. Both girls rode their own tubes, and we held onto Jovie's just in case. They did the biggest hills solo, built a snowman in the wilderness. We played for a couple hours and left as it got darker and colder. It was such a warm day we did not need gloves or jackets, which I think helped a ton for our enjoyment. We are California kids for goodness sake.

It was a good fun day.

The place we went is in Arrowhead called Snow Drift.
 Jovie kicked and happy screamed at the bottom of every ride. And Wes knocked over a few people coming down. I blame them for not paying more attention and standing at the bottom of the hill.
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 We ended our day with hot chocolate in the car on the ride home. As you can see, maybe not the best idea with a 2 year old. Oh yeah and we picked up In N Out to eat at home, in case you were wondering about the accessories. We looked a little too tore up to eat inside as you can see.

A New Fun Year

I have to say that so far 2015 has been the bomb! I have decided I will continue to use that phrase until I die, just cuz' it's so awesomely awful and I love it so. But seriously, 2015! I am going to pretend life won't change too much for us this coming year due to school because that will only make me sad and depressed; but rather that life will always be so easy and carefree as it is now. Work has been going well for Wes. The girls are so independent and sweet lately it is incredible. And well, because of the aforementioned I cannot help but be happy. And then I started PMSing this week, so I guess there is that.

One of these days soon I will write a regular day down just so I can remember what exactly life is for us now, so that when I am stuck in the hustle and bustle of taxiing, school, homework, etc. I can remember it better. Because I am sure this life will be a distant memory that I can barely recall. But, that day is not today. Today I will write a little about the fun we've been having now. The big fun, not the everyday ease. Because everyday is not typically big fun for us, although it may seem so the last few busy weeks.

The first of my fun posts begins on Jan. 1st. As it is a new year we try to start it off "right" if you will. A little exercise and fresh air seems to always be the "right" way. So we headed to old trusty for a Mt. Rubidoux hike... Or as my girls insist we all call it, Mt. Rudiboux. You might also notice I have very few "friends" and seem to spend my time with my family a lot. I love my friends, but am so blessed to call both mine and Wes' family some of my all time favorite people to hang out with. We are a fun group in my humble opinion. I will also say this, we do not go unnoticed places. We got many a stare and comment on the amount of kids in our group as we passed people. Apparently that many kids in one group is gawk worthy. 3 full double strollers and many other walkers is pretty impressive.

Peyton is also becoming my adventure girl and it is so cute to watch her explore and take risks. I still need to work on holding my tongue and letting her be, but I guess we are always a work in progress I suppose. She just became one of the big kids and hung with the big boys once the hiking up part was done. Walking is still a struggle for my little lazy.

Jovie is still a big eater and will take any snack offered to her or from another kids hand. And heck, if there is a paci to be had, hers or otherwise, that too is free game. Sorry Emmett. She can also become filthy anywhere we go in about 2 seconds. She LOVES dirt and playing in it. I figure clothes can be washed and have learned to just let her have at it. I always tease my sand box at home is the best and worst thing... best for entertainment, worst because of the amount of sand I am always attempting  to clean. Oh and she also really loves Tate in case you can't tell.

More fun from January coming your way soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Remembering 2014

2014 was a good year. Nay, 2014 was a great year. In all of my 29 year old wisdom I have really come to one big conclusion... and it is that The Lord is aware of me and my family and all of us. So many things have happened in my short life, which have sent me into a tizzy or have left me gasping for air and understanding and yet, when I step back and look at these times, trials, and moments in life, they have all led me to greater places, more empathy, and to a life that seems on the right track. Sure, some of the trials given the choice, I would still rather have passed me, yet without them I know without a shadow of a doubt I would be a lesser person. This past year brought major changes to our family, which seemed terribly scary and so unsure at the time, but now looking back I see them as great growth and opportunities being presented. I am eternally grateful for Heavenly Father's wisdom and hand in my life, leading me onward and forward to where I am meant to be.

I love looking back and seeing what has transpired in just 1 short year. Let's look back together shall we?

-Wes and I celebrated our 8th anniversary on beautiful Catalina Island with an overnight stay.
-Peyton and I had the wonderful opportunity of taking a few days to go away with my dad to Arizona for the Gilbert Temple open house.
- Had a pretty crappy Valentines Day (our 9th) with some of the most fabulous people... it just was a bust.
-Gee, we went places a lot at the beginning of the year. Our little family did a small staycation in lovely San Diego, with free zoo passes and a heated hotel pool. Peyton was utterly in Heaven.
-The year of babies brought us 6 new nieces and nephews. The first to grace us with his presence on Feb. 6th was sweet baby Chubby: Emmett Griffith Broberg.
-Jovie Noel, my little late walker, took her first steps on St. Patricks Day at the ripe age of 14.5 months.
-Peyton showed us her skillz by performing in the ward talent show with her cousin Asher and friend Kyler.
-She also learned how to ride a 2-wheeler bike before her 4th b-day. I know impressive!!!
-After a lot of stress, anxiety and concern we left our Perris house and moved to a wonderful home in Moreno Valley. This in particular is one of those incredibly scary decisions that once all was said and done has been nothing but a HUGE blessing to us.
-Next to join the family on April 1st was baby Cookie Dough, or Jane Carole Todd. She came with a head full of hair that has continued to bring happiness everyday... that hair is incredible!
-I celebrated my //gulp// 29th birthday! Last year in my 20s... heaven help me!
-Wes celebrated his 31st b-day, which after 30 just seemed like old news. :)
-We had the best Easter: celebrating with both families on different days this year.
-May 12th, Miss Smiley Jo joined our happy fam. Miss Avery Jo Moore was born and has proved to be the sweetest little baby... thank goodness for Ashleigh's sake.
-And just days after sweet Avery was born we got to meet our first set of twins in the family on May 25th. Easton Leigh and Cody Michael Aleman were born to the happiest of parents.
-June was a fun month as we started off with a camping trip to Zion with a lot of my extended family.
-And can you believe it the day we left to camp (June 6) Brody Kenneth Huefner was born. Finishing off our year of babies. Phew!
-4th of July is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite holidays. Swimming, firework shows, family and food... it just can't be beat. With all the new babies we had to bypass the beach this year, which for me (the only non-babied mom) was quite a bummer.
-Jovie girl turned 18 months, which means one big thing.... NURSERY!!!!
-My baby Peyton who seems like was just born, turned 4, which is just too old if you ask me. We celebrated with the mother of all gifts.... Disneyland passes!!!
-Bringing me to the fun of summer: Beach days, pool days, sporting events, hikes, water parks, slurpees every Friday, Disneyland, ice-cream, fishing, paddle boats, movies, and date nights. I love summer! I love having kids in the summer! I am not looking forward to school starting this year!
-Our summer had a brief pause when Peyton broke her wrist (both bones) on the trampoline at her cousin's house.
-Wes and I had a fun trip to Utah to see my old friend Lindsay Pennington marry Michael Luthy in the Salt Lake Temple. It was a short but very fun trip with our friends the Duncans.
-Peyton (and me) started Joy School this year with some new friends, and have loved it!
-She also got to be part of her first primary program. My heart about melted watching her on the stage.
-The "Todd" women held our 14th annual girl's weekend in Hermosa Beach. Awesome doesn't even describe it.
-Spent a day at the L.A. County Fair! Good food, good fun!
-Gee I guess turning 4 turns you into a doer because Peyton also started her first dance class, and enjoyed it so much more than I thought she would. She killed it at the winter recital.
-We prepped for Fall and Halloween with multiple trips to the pumpkin patch, decorating and getting awesome pumpkin costumes for dogs.
-Spent our Thanksgiving in sunny/hot California with the Todds, playing soccer and of course drinking a Polar Pop with our dinner.
-Peyton cut a good chunk of her own hair off... it was bound to happen I suppose.
-Christmas time came with: 5 visits to Santa, 3 Christmas parties, 1 trip to a tree farm, caroling, the Mission Inn, light viewing with friends, and a lot of love and happiness. It really is a special time of year!!!
-Jovie turned 2!!!! We celebrated her b-day, Christmas and NYE with a fun dinner and show at Medieval times, followed with games and more celebrating!

 One might think there is something other than sparkling cider in those glasses based on the quality of these photos, but it's all I have from our NYE. Kids were sleeping so we along with Heidi and Ned and if you can believe it my mom and dad stayed up, played games, toasted in 2015 and then went home to sleep.


2014 almost makes me sad to look back on. We are gearing up to start a new chapter of life, one that involves school. Uggggh! Is it weird I dread Peyton starting as much if not more than any year I went?! I have so enjoyed our free life, and feel so blessed with what we have had these last 4.5 years. The time we as a family have had together and experiences we have enjoyed will remain a sweet memory and time for me as long as I live.

One if not the biggest blessing of our whole year and life really was Wes finding a job that supports us, he not only likes but LOVES, and gives us the freedom and time together we crave! Real Estate is awesome and I am glad to have found our path in life.

Best of luck and well wishes from us to you in 2015!!!!



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jovie Turns 2!!!!!!!!!

Read it and weep but my baby turned 2 December 31st! Yes, this little party animal turned 2 and I am still in shock. She is so smart! She is quite the talker, entertainer, sweet cuddle bug, who loves to laugh, sing and dance. She is full of spunk and has a stubborn gene I didn't know could exist in my children. But, she is more often obedient, sweet, loves to give kisses and is a good good girl... and a good sleeper, bless her little heart. One of my favorite things is that she loves her Mama. She loves to "hold you" and even when playing and being a stinker with her sister she can't resist coming back and giving me kisses. She is full of personality and I can't imagine my life without her. Everyone loves them some Jovie and once you are with her for any amount of time, it's not hard to see why. She is the happiest love-bug, whose dimpled smile will make any day better!

We did a number of celebrations for this girl's birthday.

Celebration #1: Since Christmas had just passed we decided to do a little Sunday celebration with Wes' family. Sadly some of our cousins were sick and couldn't make it last minute. Bummer! But, we had a fabulous night and Jovie seriously loved the attention of being sung to, and being given presents.
You remember cousin Wyatt who was born 28 days before Jovie right?! Well, let me show you the difference between dainty little girls and ruff and tough little boys.

Celebration #2: Her actual birthday! We turned her b-day into a combo New Years Eve party, Christmas gift and birthday. My parents got most of the younger kids Medieval Times tickets, so a lot of the siblings and parents opted in. It was a BLAST! And after the show we came back and played games.

Celebration #3: Night with the Todd family. This was a very favorite moment of mine. When it came time to be sung to and get cake, which she loves, she honestly shook with happiness. She mouthed the words and had the world's happiest expression on her face. Man, if only the video could truly capture the moment, which is just couldn't do. It was everything I love about that girl.
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On her special day every time someone wished her a happy birthday she would tell them happy birthday in return. She would sing to whoever sung to her. And, to this day, she still talks about her birthday and the cake, which she says, "I like cake."

This girl is such a sweet blessing. She is sunshine and happiness personified. I am grateful to be her mother!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas Afternoon

After the nicest, most relaxing morning of present opening, breakfast and naps we headed over to the Aleman household for more fun with family. Peyton adores all of her playful cousins, but maybe even more the baby ones. Jovie feels the same. Cousins are the absolute best. I love them all like they are my own, and they keep my kids entertained with sweetness for hours and hours. In case you can't tell, we love being with family, and Christmas was absolutely no exception. It was such a wonderful afternoon. Full of more family, presents, food, games, and fun!!! If only the Texas group was there it would have been perfect!

Jovie opening her present surrounded by cousins.
 And even though her it's fuzzy, her face is..... my favorite!
 Taking a break to pet Remi... he's the nicest little dog.
 Peyton opening her giant present...... she's been so excited to open the big present from Grammy.
 And Matt planned this all on his own. We did the $5 favorites with the siblings.... boys bought for boys, and girls for girls. Apparently Matt came up with this all on his own.
 All the grandkids (minus Texas) with our beloved Grandpa Gubler. He is Jovie's favorite person.
 And I wish I would have gotten more action shots from this game. We took turns throwing darts to win a plethora of funny random prizes (and some really awesome ones) in this fun game.
 
Thank you Aleman family for the wonderful, wonderful day!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Christmas Morn

One of my favorite parts about Christmas growing up was 'the great morning reveal'. In our family we designed a way for all to be surprised at the same time, have no peeking and a whole lotta fun! It is a tradition we have adopted in our family now too. Christmas Eve we color a big piece of paper, hang it up at night and bust through in the morning. As you can see the magic has not been lost on my children either.
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Christmas morning at our home is so sweet. It is simple, loving and wonderful. I try so hard to not go over board, but half way through presents I realize I could do even less and my children would still be so happy. It is so much fun to be a parent on Christmas morning and watch the excitement of your kids and feel joy in the moment. This year was just super duper fabulous!!!
 We took the girls to the dollar store before Christmas to pick gifts for each other. Jovie is still a bit too young to truly comprehend it all and wanted to pick everything and wasn't entirely aware none of it was for her. Peyton however really got excited for Jovie to open her gift she picked for her. She wrapped it herself and we found this cute note on the present too. Sweet sisters.----BTW, the sign before her name is a heart... I think.
 And this is her face opening Jovie's gift. She is seriously the best!
 Her "flashlight". I think Santa was trying to be creative since she has about 5 flashlights from all previous Christmases and birthdays... because she always asks for one. Always.
 And she was so so so so so excited for Daddy to open his gift from us girls too. She was with me when I bought it and kept it such a good secret. Going as far as creating a fake gift she would talk about to throw him off the scent.... a Christmas CD, lol. Daddy may have already known what he was getting but he did a great job playing along.
 This girl was just excited about candy. That's all she wanted and she got quite frantic if I couldn't open it fast enough. Peyton asked specifically for a swirly sucker, so that was what they got.
 The end result of the morning. Those smiles say it all. It was just great!!!
 But even after all their gifts, they ended up playing with the box. //slaps forehead//
 And wanting to watch pictures on the computer. At least she has on her new slippers.

Chri