Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Uda-Beardsley Bash!

One of the many benefits of being in Utah again was that I not only got to see my siblings, my parents, and my in-laws, but I also got to see tons of cousins and a few old friends as well!

In fact, our visit just happened to coincide perfectly with Melissa's (my new cousin-in-law) bridal shower, and I was lucky enough to attend with my mom and sisters.

And then later on in the week... my mom invited her sister Carol and all their kids over for a Uda-Beardsley Bash. Just for FUN!

Growing up, the Beardsleys were our closest cousins and best friends, so it was a blast having them all jammed into out house again.

In our two families, our ages match up like this: Bruce is the same age as Becca (or right between Becca and I), Mandy is the same age as Sarah, Ashley is the same age as Jake, and Sean is the same age as Liz. This made for instant companionship growing up and as we've gotten older we've found that we ALL like to hang out with each other (even my older siblings), no matter where we fall in line with age.

Anyway, once the party started it was just like old times! We poked fun at each other, laughed, ate, and even played a round of Vroom! (To which Mandy came out VICTORIOUS!)

Then when all was said and done, we gave hugs, said our goodbyes, and all went home to put our little kiddos to bed! (huh... "our little kiddos" ... never thought I'd be saying that when I was growing up!)

The Bean Museum

On July 26th (after a failed attempt the day before) Grandma Uda took me and the girls, as well as Sarah, Tau, Noa and Micah, to the Bean Museum!

The Bean Museum is basically a building that's stuffed to the brim with animals who have undergone a bit of taxidermy. It's a pretty ideal destination if you want to see wild animals up close and not have to worry about them eating you.

At first, Brooklyn was pretty concerned about the whole thing. She was confused about all the animals being dead, and worked up about many of them being on display as if they were eating each other. But after a little explaining, she calmed down and walked around the museum saying, "Look mom! It's a dead animal! But that's OK that it's dead, it was already dead, now we can look at it, but we didn't kill it. It's OK mom!"

As she started to get really in to it, I asked her which animal was her favorite. Of the hundreds to choose from, she picked this guy! The ugliest, meanest one of the bunch! Maybe it has something to do with her strange attraction to scary old biker dudes... who knows!?!

The funniest (and most embarrassing) part of the day for me was when we saw this giant rat thing. Grandma was looking in the case and said, "Wow! that thing has really big eyes!" Then Brooklyn, who had a different view then the rest of us, said "Wow! That thing has really big privates!" I immediately looked up at the elderly couple who were also looking at the rat and said, "Hehe...she doesn't really know what she's talking about." Then Brooklyn looked up at us and said, "He has BOY privates!" I was totally embarrassed, but the couple just laughed and with a wave of the hand, walked away :)

Lily, who has developed a ginormous love for animals lately, really liked this guy. She kept petting him and saying, "Good doggie!" over and over again. It was pretty cute :)

Eventually the kids got tired of looking without touching, so we took them into the Museum playroom and let them go to town until all their wiggles were out.

When they seemed just about ready for naps, we gathered them up to go home. But not before I asked Brooklyn to take a picture with the meerkats. She agreed to, and even decided to pose like them all on her own!

When we got outside to go home, there was a torrential downpour! Not kidding...we couldn't even leave the parking lot. I ran with the girls and hopped in the car, followed by Sarah and her boys. Tau was trying to keep everyone dry but his hat flew away and the wind blew the door shut, leaving him a little flustered and a lot wet! But we all had a blast and it was fun to see rain like that again.

And just for fun, here is a video of the rain storm once it calmed down enough for us to drive:

Swimming the Summer Away!

During our 2 weeks in PG, if the kids weren't splashing around in Grandma's kiddie pool, they could often be found swimming somewhere else!

We took ALL of the cousins (besides Teya, Brinley and Cam who were stuck in New Hampshire) to 7 peaks on one of our swim outings and it was a CRAZY adventure! There were so many people there and it was such a huge park that it was really overwhelming trying to keep tabs on all the kids. In fact, this is the only picture I got because I had to put the camera away to keep Lily from diving in head first!

Although the adults all needed a major nap when we were done, the kids had a blast! Brooklyn and Lily were fearless (much to my dismay) and charged the lazy river and wave pool as if they were dolphins! It took every ounce of my energy to keep Lily from running in till the water was over her head!

Later during our trip we took the kids to a much smaller pool near Grandma's house. It was just the right size for them, and the adults were even able to relax a little.

Not everyone could make it that day, but we still had Joseph and David, as well as Sarah and her two boys, Noa and Micah. (I didn't get any pictures of the older kids because they were off having too much fun to stay still for a camera.)

It was great having my mom there too. You can NEVER underestimate how useful another set of hands can be around large bodies of water when you have little kids!

In fact, she even got brave enough to take the Grand-kids down the water slide! I took Brooklyn and Lily once as well and it was pretty hard. When I popped off the bottom of the slide with Lily I lost my footing and it took me a second to pull her head out from under the water. Luckily, she thought it was funny. Her older sister would have bawled her eyes out!

Even Aunty Sarah had lots of playtime with the kids. I'm pretty sure she gave at least a dozen dolphin rides during our short time there :)

But fun can't last forever. Soon the kids started to do pee pee dances and complain of hunger, so we packed up and headed for home.

Anyway, it didn't really matter where we went to get wet and wild, when it was time to come home, every single one of the kids were wasted and ready for naps... and so were we!

Back to the Utah Recap...

Obviously I've been a little unmotivated to finish posting all the pictures we took in Utah! There were over 1,800 on my camera when I got home, so its been a bit of an overwhelming task. That being said, it has to get done! So here I am with some more pictures of my Utah vacation in July.

The day after our Stewart Falls hike, we drove back to Kaysville to say goodbye to Kevin (who had to go back to work...lame!) We spent a few days there just unwinding and relaxing while we waited for my mom and sisters to get back from Virginia. They finally got home and picked us up that following Wednesday and we drove down to Pleasant Grove for some more family fun.

(Since I waited so long to post this, I'm not exactly sure what order everything happened after Kevin left, so I'm just going to post events. Today's event being Grandma Uda's BACKYARD!)

We don't have a backyard at our house...or a front yard for that matter. So walking into Grandma's backyard and jumping into her kiddie pool was a special treat!

The girls were nervous at first, but with the right equipment, they quickly got into it and had fun splashing around with their cousins.

It was really fun to see their imaginations at work while they were watering the fake plants and talking to their imaginary friends!

And if the pool wasn't cool enough, Grandma also had a pretty cool swing set to play on! I think this is the first time Brooklyn ever swung Superman style (thanks to the tutelage of her older cousin Maile)!

Mason (their older cousin) even tried to convince them to combine both things and jump off the swings into the pool. The girls weren't buying it, but Mason had a lot of fun :)

Even Lily and her little cousin Malia had fun playing on the slide together. It was hard to convince them to take turns, but they eventually figured it out!

Throughout the whole trip, both of the girls spent countless hours playing around in the backyard with their cousins. In fact, I hardly said ten words to Brooklyn the whole month because she was having so much fun! It was so neat to see the girls truly enjoying summer the way kids are supposed to and we are grateful for Grandma and Grandpa for letting us crash their backyard!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lily is 18 Months Old!

On August 12th, our sweet little Lily turned 18 months old. No, its not a birthday, but it does mean she can FINALLY go to nursery and she has reached a big milestone in her short life! So to mark the special occasion, I thought I would take a look back at how much she has grown:

Lily was born on February 12th 2010. It was a fast process. The doctor sent me to get induced that day after she discovered that Lily was already on her way out! All 8 lbs and 6 oz of adorable chubby goodness came out after 3 pushes and soon we were able to bring her home.

Because she came out so fast, Lily resembled Jabba the Hutt for a short period of time. I'm sure she'll hate hearing about that when she's older, but it always gives us a good laugh!

And besides, within a week of her birth, her head went back to normal and she turned out to be pretty darn cute after all :)

At 3 months old it was clear to me that I would have another little girl that didn't look that much like her mommy. Lily's hair started to curl up and lighten around that time and her eyes showed definite signs of staying blue!

But by 6 months Lily proved to be more like me than I thought! She was totally goofy and had a fantastic sense of humor, and loved to eat! People even started to say she looked like me by then.

At 9 months she proved to be even more of a character than we thought! She crawled like a bear wherever she went, laughed at everything we did, and started mimicking some of the funniest sounds I've ever heard.

1 year brought walking, and thus, dancing! Also, the ability to joke and tease with big sis and follow mommy around like a little satellite.

By 15 months Lily's sense of adventure came out, as well as her ability to communicate. She started to love swimming, jumping, animals, and bugs, and got pretty good at saying "Daddy, Mommy, Brooko, and Milk".

Now at 18 months old, Lily loves to eat chocolate, cheese, pasta, and fruit. She can say many words and sentences including:
No No Brookie,
Up Please
Down Please
Thank you
Good Girl
Good Doggie
See you guys!
Cookie and Chocolate

She can also sing parts of most of the theme songs on Nick Jr. and parts of the ABC song and Twinkle Little Star. She loves to jump off of things, no matter how high or who is there to catch her. She loves chasing bugs down and talking to them, putting doggies in headlocks (Elmyra style) and kissing them to pieces, snuggling her mommy and daddy, being thrown or spun around repetitively, running free outside, playing dress up with Brookie, taking things in and out of boxes and containers over and over again, (which leaves a pretty big mess in my kitchen) dancing like a mad woman, hug attacking her Daddy when he gets home from work, going to nursery, (thank goodness) ...and she LIVES to pick on her big sister whenever the opportunity presents itself!

As for stats: She is 33 inches tall (90th percentile), 27.7 pounds in weight (75th percentile), right on track with her language skills, and a little above average with her physical skills.

We are so grateful to have our little Lily (aka: Lillers, Lilykabilsters, Lil, Lilly-kins) in our lives. She is a handful of independent hilarity and has brought great joy and great adventures into our home! And now I must end this post so that I can stop her from falling down the stairs in a pair of pink high heels!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy 6th Anniversary Kevin!


In case things are starting to blur a little after 6 years of marriage... we met on your birthday in October of 2004 when your cousin and I dropped off a present to you (I believe it was a giant bag of gummy bears). We went on a couple of double dates after that... just not together :) And then I invited you to dance in the BYU luau with me.


You said yes (about the BYU luau thing). We danced our hearts out. Things didn't work out with your cousin and I. You and I started to date. And then a few months later, I said YES!

We got married on August 13th, 2005 and it was a party to remember! We spent our honeymoon in Yellowstone National Park, moved in to our first place at the Lilac Apartments in Provo, UT, and then had a crazy remainder of the year with new jobs and classes, some crazy sicknesses, my first experience with cockroaches, and a lot of things to laugh about!


2006 Brought us to the basement of my parents house for a short month, then to Becca and Taber's apartment behind the Wal-mart in Orem for another 2 months, and finally, to a little duplex near UVRMC and the DI in Provo. I got an awesome new job at the BYU WSR Center, you were working in the Bookstore, and we were both still in classes (you at BYU and me at UVSC).


2007 Brought baby news...not an entire baby, just a big belly. We were still living in our duplex, I finished my Associates degree, and you were almost done with your Bachelors in Engineering.


2008 gave us a run for our money...literally! We had our beautiful little Brooklyn in January, you went to China in May for a study abroad while we...

Moved to Chicago for your summer internship! We subleased Brian and Natalie's apartment in Schaumburg and had a great time exploring our new diggs.

In late August we were back in Utah living in my parents basement in Pleasant Grove while you finished your degree. You graduated at the end of December and then we packed up again to move back to Chicago.


We lived in Downers Grove for our first year in Chicago and had fun making new friends and figuring out how to get around without being stuck in traffic for hours at a time! Then somewhere in the middle of the year we found out we were pregnant again with another baby girl!


Which meant we got to ring in 2010 with a new apartment in Lisle, Illinois and the addition of little Lily to our family!


6 years, 2 children, 8 apartments, and 1,392 miles later, we are still happily married. We've had our rough patches, but each one has brought us closer together, taught us how to serve and forgive one another, and miraculously forced us to grow a little maturity along the way! Thank you for sticking it out with me Kev. I love you (and your amazing pecs) more than you will ever know. Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Stewart Falls, July 2011!

After our 5K mud run, Jennie and I went home and showered, and then collected some family members to hike Stewart Falls with us. We were both surprised and happy that so many people could come. We ended up with Josh, Erin and the boys, Jacob and Scar, Jennie, Me, Kevin, and the girls, and Grandpa Uda and Gizmo!

And might I just say, it was a BEAUTIFUL day for a hike!

We went into the hike knowing that Lily would have to be carried the whole way, and Brooklyn would need some help here and there. It was a 4 mile hike after all and that's a long way for a 1 and 3 year old! But Kevin was a good sport and did his fatherly duty like a pro!

Although the girls spent most of their time on Kevin's shoulders, they were lucky (as was Kevin) to have so many other people around who didn't mind shouldering them for a while :)

Jennie took her turn with Lily at the beginning of the hike. I thought they looked really cute together in their matching orange clothing.

I took Lily for a while as well, and she did her very best to make sure my hair was a disaster by the time she got down :)

Even Grandpa Uda got in on the action. He handed Gizmo (who also got carried the whole way) over to me and took Lily for a while. She LOVED all the attention!

Grandpa also spent some time carrying Brooklyn, or just walking with her and listening to her jabber on about unicorns and fairies.

Brooklyn actually managed to walk the entire 2 miles up ALL by herself! And most of the way down for that matter. But it helped that Grandpa was willing to take it slow and stop for some Gizmo-petting-breaks.

We also stopped a few times for photo-ops...obviously. After all, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a picture of this little guy. Kevin and I spotted this tree about 5 years ago, right after it was plowed over by an avalanche. We've managed to take a picture of it almost every year and in every season since then.

Finally we reached the waterfall (along with about 30 other hikers) and were able to sit, relax, and enjoy the view together.

Brooklyn and Josh were both very deep in thought about that view as you can see here!

We took some time to play around while we were at the falls too. Lily probably had the most fun though since she was the only one small enough to go on the Daddy ride!

I was pretty tired by the time we got there because of our early morning race, but I was SO glad that we went. ESPECIALLY since there are no mountains to be seen in Illinois, and thus, no where to hike.

Kevin wasn't tired though (he never really is) so he spent some time playing with the boys!

And then he and Jake took off to practice being irresponsible and dangerous...

Which of course meant they hiked up the steep cliff to get a better view of the falls.

And possibly drove their wives to tears when they were spotted on the side of the mountain. :)

But despite the craziness, we all had a fantastic time together and I felt SO lucky to have a family who loves me and who were willing to spend the afternoon hiking Stewart Falls with us! Thanks guys, we had a BLAST!