Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Year in Review: 2017

To say I am glad 2017 is over is a major understatement. Cause I am like really, really, REALLY glad this year is over. It was probably our most challenging year ever.... well, so far I should say. I would love to say this will be our hardest ever year, but the realist in me knows this is probably not the case (though the optimist in me hopes it is). And ironically it was financially our best year of our marriage, the year we traveled the most and had a lot of fun opportunities; but the times that were hard were incredible. So much so, it trumped all the things that should have made me look back at this year with only fondness. No year is all good or all bad. This one is no exception. Sure we had fabulous times and a lot of greatness and happiness. But, we had some of the most challenging and trying times ever, and it was incredibly difficult to endure at times. I am grateful that with the help of the gospel and the knowledge I have of why we have certain experiences and a very loving husband who works by my side endlessly we did get through these experiences, just as we will any other trial that comes our way. Without good family and the gospel, life would be so hard and I don't want to experience those years, ever!

But let's just take a look back at 2017, shall we?

-This was the year of the dab. And my girls took advantage of that awesome dance move every chance they got.
-Celebrated 11 years of marriage with a couples massage (Wes' first massage in fact) and Korean BBQ (my first experience).
-Girl's did their first "competitive" run the day I got an eye patch and thought I had blinded myself for life with a massive pupil scratch.
-Had fun bringing in the Chinese New Year!
-Went sledding in Oak Glen and had a fabulous time
-Daddy-daughter 50's dance for Wes and the girls.
-Murder mystery dinner with friends at the McCooks house
-Had one of the weirdest experiences of our life at Salvation Mountain
-Fun at Sea World for a field trip with cousins and grandparents
-Rainy spring made for a beautiful Southern California, we enjoyed a few green hikes and the beautiful poppies that bloomed randomly everywhere
-Jovie learned to talk like a cowboy (our favorite)
-Spring break was endless adventures of parks, hikes, gardens, and the beach
-Jovie started to learn how to read!
-Griffin had a whole bunch of firsts: STEPS (at 11--almost 12 months), the swings, haircut, and BIRTHDAY!!!
-He had a Mickey Mouse birthday party at the park with friends and family
-The girls and Wes experienced their first drive-in movie experience
-I turned 32, and Wes turned 34
-Celebrated Easter 2, Saturday with the Aleman family and Sunday with the Todds
-We ate crickets at the Insect Fair and then again later at the L.A. County Fair!
-Peyton's teeth started falling out left and right
-Our dear friends the McCooks moved to Texas
-Peyton had her last day of 1st grade (small sob, I loved that class and her teacher) and Jovie was all done with Joy school
-Bring on the summer of trips!
-Starting with our whole family chaperoning the youth on their Zion National Park trip. It was awesome, it was like an all paid trip for our family with a few good teenagers thrown in.
-I had a week home and then went to girls camp for a couple of days to help with the youth again.
-Peyton at the same time I was gone had her first "summer camp" experience with Cove Camp A week at the Cove Waterpark while staying the night at my parents house with cousins. Heaven for them all!
-Summer also meant fun dates for Wes and I like the Broad Museum. As well as countless beach trips, movies, water days, annual Nana birthday bike ride, etc with the family!
-Fun 4th of July with both families (3rd with the Todds, 4th with the Alemans)
-Peyton's big summer goal was to eat Macaroni and Cheetos from Burger King (check)
-Next fun Summer trip: Oregon! With a pit stop in Sacramento! The highlight was definitely Crater Lake National Park
-Peyton turned 7!!!!!!
-We found out we were PREGNANT (again)
-Had to move from our beloved Moreno Valley house when the property manager told us the owners were selling. This was a tough thing for me especially and took a lot of prayer and faith to figure out the next step for our family. I struggled with our decision and was unhappy to say the least. Decided to move in with my parents while we paid off some debt and put money into Wes' work. It was a hard choice but one we still feel was right for us and brought some sense of peace to a chaotic time.
-Celebrated Nana and Boppie's 40th anniversary on an adult only harbor cruise
-School started! New school, new house, big changes! 2nd grade for Miss Peyton and home school through Inspire Charter for Miss Jovie!
-Next trip (yes even after school started) was a Utah/Idaho/Wyoming trip for the total solar eclipse! Best trip of the year for sure!!! Cousins wedding (with our cousins too), white water rafting, total solar eclipse, and Yellowstone were the highlights
-Peyton started piano lessons, Jovie started music lessons (Let's Play Music)
-Peyton played soccer again (did really well this year)
-Annual fair day with cousins
-Bought our first brand new car ever! A new Honda Accord... and it's amazing!
-Jovie danced again and loved the spotlight
-Grammy camp with Sandie for Halloween goodies
-Halloween: Peyt was a hot air balloon pilot, Jovie was cotton candy, Griffin Pooh Bear and Wes and I were the Publisher's Clearing House winner and presenter
-Beach camping with the Todds at Carlsbad State Beach
-Griffin started nursery (Hallelujah)
-Welcomed 2 sweet babies into the family: Kai Everett Aleman to Robb and Rhonda, and Jasper Price Aleman to Patrick and Kati
-Trip again to Dallas, Texas (and Fort Worth) to meet little Kai and visit our friends the McCooks. Girl's first time on a plane and it was a great trip!
-Thanksgiving with the Aleman family in St. George
-The most life changing event of our lives happened this year too on Nov. 27, when Wes' dear sweet mother passed away of a brain aneurysm. I still don't even like to write about it or think too much on it because it is so painful. This will forever be a day, a year and a moment in time that will be sorrowful and hated. It changed everything in our lives! We will forever miss Sandie and our lives will never be the same.
-Grand Canyon Trip... not our best, but beautiful and the kids enjoyed the Grand Canyon and Polar Express
-Christmas 2017... hard but beautiful (I had the flu on Christmas Day to rub salt in the wound) Christmas Eve this year was a P.J. party, and Christmas Day still had a lot of Sandie involved since she already started planning things and it was beautiful to have parts of her there with us.
-The whole of December is a blur and was hard but we tried to make the best of it and move forward
-December was a lot of Christmas and birthday celebrations, and piano and dance recitals
-Jovie turned 5! Birthday party year. Due to the complications of the month we opted to do a smallish party with 2 friends and do Build-a-Bear and Chick-Fila which was really easy and really fun!
-Brought in the New Year at the Duncan's house with friends and games!

That basically sums up the year. It was truly the best of the best and worst all at the same time. Tis life I suppose.

Random December Haps

Okay, okay, okay I know I mentioned I wouldn't keep posting pictures of Peyton's lost teeth. But, this one was too good. This time with her tooth gone she became the anti vampire. And she finally got the awkward look I knew was a'comin. 
 After Sandie passed away we received a lot of love and concern from good people. We received two "boxes of sunshine" from family members. And while it didn't completely take the pain away, it was amazing and uplifting to know we are loved and thought of. It really meant a lot.
 Griffin is such a funny boy. He loves wearing glasses. The good thing is, if he had to wear glasses he would be the cutest.
 I got a new calling at church. I am the Primary Secretary. In fact the whole presidency was changed and I love the new women I am working with.
 I seriously love these two brothers and the bond they have.
 One of my favorite ornaments we bought this year was in Yellowstone (Jackson Hole). They are Moose poops painted all sparkly. The girls thought they were hilarious. I couldn't resist.
 Just a silly picture.
 We went to the library for story time. It was great because it was the last one before Christmas break. They also had crafts and snacks.
 Wes played in a basketball league. The kids kept themselves very busy during the game playing this funny little game. Griffin laughed and laughed and laughed every time the girls would run up to him.
 I was taking a photo... I don't even remember why, but Griffin ran in and started smiling next to the girls to be in the picture too.
 We hit up the dinosaur park one day. The kids love it as do I as long as we lay low.
 And the annual Hull Christmas party. The theme was to dress like your favorite Christmas movie character. There were three categories. No one was going to beat our friend Nephi who came as Kermit the Frog from A Muppet Christmas Carol.
 We came as Yukon Cornelius and Rudolph. We literally couldn't think of anything and had no energy to try. Most of the this we had already so it was all pretty easy.
My little lover boy gives kisses to EVERYTHING. But he especially loved the nativity baby Jesus. 
These two... always cuddling while Peyton is at school.
Rub-a-dub-dub, 3 Alemans in a tub.
 Watching Jovie at her dance recital.
 Cactus garden... which looked pretty cool actually.
 Some say this was a satellite launch, others said it was Santa testing out a new sled.

Party On

We kept the party going the next day which just happened to be Jovie's actual birthday and New Year's Eve.

It also happened to be Sunday so we woke up and took some photos. Got ready and headed to church. We had to wait until after church to do presents due to time constraints. But, that was okay because it just made the party keep going all day long.

 After church partying....

Then we were off to celebrate the New Year with our friends.
And during the New Year celebration we threw in Jovie's birthday too! It was a good day!

The boys looked like this most of the time.
 We rang in the East Coast New Year with the kids. But of course they stayed up until true midnight to celebrate with us... they were pooped by the time we left.
 In fact, almost every single kid there stayed up until midnight. I think maybe one or two pooped out, but they shocked us all with their endless energy.
 I LOVED celebrating with my main man another year.
 And I loved being with some of my favorite friends too.

 It was a good way to end a crazy year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

B-A-B for 5

Jovie girl turned the big 5 this year! What a wonderful, special little girl she is. And she was soooo excited to turn 5 years old and have a party. With the past few weeks I just didn't know how I was going to find the energy to throw a party. So I came up with the idea to do Build-a-Bear and Chick-Fila with a few of her friends the day before her birthday. She went along with it and I think it was a hit! Plus, it was the easiest party I have ever done in my life. I am so glad we went this route but worry it may not have been enough. Wes always gets annoyed with my double guessing things like that, but I can't help myself.

Jovie is a ball of energy and happiness. I think I have said this before but she lives life with LOTS of enthusiasm and lives with her emotions on the cusp at all times. Jovie is also a lover. She loves hugs and kisses and can never get enough cuddles. She tells me all the time how pretty I am, and how I am the best mom in the whole world. How cute Wes is, and how much she loves her brother and that Peyton is her B.F.F. I love having her home with me, and will truly miss her when she goes to kindergarten next year. She loves to learn and I cannot give her enough "homework" and read to her enough each and every day. She is sharp as a whip and surprises me with her questions and how much she retains in our conversations. And my favorite is that she ALWAYS has a smile on her face! I love love love this little girl and am glad she is mine!

What a great girl to celebrate!

Happy 5th b-day my darling!
 "Heavy, heavy hangover"
 At the mall... the kids liked the exterior of The Rainforest Cafe almost as much as Build a Bear.


 Griffin was not as pleased with it all. Well, he was not pleased that we made him stay in the stroller. He is crazy lately I tell ya!

 Then it was on to Chick-Fil-A. Wes and I decorated the table while the kids played. It was again a great way to partay!!!

 But, this was only the beginning. :)