Monday, November 22, 2010

Best Prize Ever!

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

TodaysMama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

My holiday wish is that we can feel the true Christmas spirit this hoilday season. While we always strive for that, we need that extra boost this year! What a great end of this year and jump into the next year that would be!

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?

Santa leaves out his "Santa gifts", the stockings are filled, and we open gifts first thing. If we're visiting AZ, we have sausage gravy and biscuits at Grandma Knight's house. If we're in UT, we SLOWLY open ALL the presents.

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

A new house. We're currently renting, and a gorgeous, amazing, lovely home is what I would wish for.

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

My friend shared with me this great tradition where they wrap 25 books and put them under the Christmas tree on Dec. 1st. Then they open one present every night and read that book to their kids.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

We loved Life, Dr. Mario, Tetris, and Pacman!

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

"Mrs. Claus" brings Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve, and when we're out doing something Christmasy (looking at lights, watching a Christmas movie, etc.), she sneaks into the room with the tree and leaves them out for us to wear that night.

7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?

I would love Christmas in New York. I would love to see the tree in Times Square and ice skate in Central Park!

8. Check out GameStop (link to: and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

I would love to give my husband a DS, my daughter the Toy Story 3 game, and Rock Band for our family!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hello Michigan!

That's right, we've moved again! Add another state to our travel log.
Is this the picture I took? No, mine was fuzzy because I was balancing my camera on the steering wheel while driving down the freeway, so I went with this one.

We now live in Brighton, Michigan, which is about 15 miles north of Ann Arbor. We are getting settled, unpacking boxes, and getting back into the swing of everyday life.
Here's how we got here:

Mike took a new position with SAIC, a defense contracting company that was very impressed by his radar skills (or something like that -I'll pretend to know what he actually does...). I'm sure you're asking "wait, didn't he just take a new job in Ohio last year?" Yes, yes he did. However, due to ridiculous wait times for his security clearance to transfer and the lack of contracts the company won, they laid him off in February. Here's something you should know about me - bad news = no desire to blog because I want to wait until I have good news to counter said bad news. That's the excuse I'll use anyways!

Mike started work mid-June. He spent his days working hard and getting caught up to speed on the projects the team is working on, and he spent the evenings house-hunting and playing video games. He was able to come home on the weekends (it is only a 3 1/2 hour drive). We had hoped I could move up as soon as mid-July when I got back from my AZ trip with the kids, but alas, the home we found (and love!) was not available until August 1st, so we were in Ohio until the very last day of our contract.

So what was I doing while Mike was in Michigan? Packing? Eh. Cleaning? Eh. House hunting online so that I had a reason to clean and pack? Yes. The kids and I drove up a couple times to look at some houses that we thought might be possibilities. We weren't loving any of the homes, so a couple nights I spent sending mass amounts of emails to relators who were selling homes to that I liked to see if the homeowners would consider renting. And you know what, 2 weeks later the homeowners of the house we're in now needed renters, and we were on their radar! What a great blessing, for us and them!

So, once we found a place I figured I should probably start packing for real... but I didn't. Lucky for me, I have the most AMAZING mom who flew out for a week to help me clean, pack, and babysit my kids while I cleaned and packed.

One very important lesson I learned during this move: I will NEVER be a truck driver. I had to go pick up the giant moving truck because Mike was not able to get back in town after work on Friday night until after the rental company closed. The entire drive I was thinking "I'm going to hit something... I'm going to hit something..." But I didn't. Which is good. Although I'm sure I annoyed many people while I drove 20 mph down Dorothy Lane. Oh well. At least I didn't hit them, right?

(My mom told me at least twice that we needed a picture by the moving truck before we returned it. Apparently I didn't listen.)

After a full day Saturday of loading up (thanks so much Kettering Ward men and ym! You guys were amazing!), waiting for the carpet cleaners, waiting for the realtor to walk through the house, we finally made it to Michigan. Mike drove the truck, I drove Mike's truck with the kids, and Mom drove the car (note: the real reason Mom came was because Dad made her - he didn't trust us to tow a car behind a giant moving truck! Haha!). We stayed one night in a hotel and then moved in. We had a lot of help from our new Brighton Ward (Thanks guys! You were equally amazing!) on Monday night.

And now we're at the unpacking stage. We're liveable, but still slowly organizing and settling in. We have great neighbors with a little boy just a year younger than Amy. She asks me at least 10 times each day "Is Rowen outside? I'll go check!" She loves having a neighbor her age. She was also happy that this house also had a playset, and I'm happy the slide isn't as gigantic as the last one. I am much less stressed when she stands at the top because it's about half the height. Yeah.

Help! My belly's too big and I can't sit up!

So that's us! I'm going to try and backtrack and get caught up on our happenings back to January (has it really been 6 months! Slacker!).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Magic Show

For our January ward activity, Brother Thurman Smith, a professional magician in our ward, offered to do a Magic Show! Hooray! I love this for many reasons:

1. I love magic shows!
2. It took very little preparation and coordination.
3. It's a great activity for the young and old!

There was a family visiting that used to be in this ward who do magic as well. When Brother Smith had done a show for the ward previously, they had been his opening act, so they offered to do it again.
Then, the main attraction! It was really great, especially when he did his head-cutting off act! FANTASTIC! Now, onto the next activity...

My Baby's Getting Big!

Matthew is getting SO big! He is now a proficient crawler. He started out just going backwards, backing himself under entertainment units and couches. But eventually he learned to get on his knees and throw his body forward. Now he gets on his hands and knees and just goes!

He doesn't venture too far yet (hasn't attempted the stairs or even the front room or deep into the kitchen for that matter), but he can get wherever he wants to go. He is also a climber. He's still a little bobbly though, so he typically either loses his grip and whacks his face on whatever he's coming on (usually the tv stand), or he gets stuck because he doesn't know how to climb down from whatever he's climbed on (like the side of his walker).
It's so funny to hear Amy whining from the other room because Matthew has crawled over to whatever she was doing (like a puzzle) and is touching her stuff! She hasn't figured out how to pick stuff up fast enough, so she just sits there and cries until we come and move him. I can just imagine the fights in the upcoming years!

But, at the same time, she really likes how active he is. She crawls around on the floor with him or sits down and says "come here buster!" She asks me to bring him downstairs so she can play with him in the basement a lot.

Riker James Grier

At 6:00 AM on Tuesday, January 12th, I got a call from my little sister, Lisa. She was having her baby! Hooray! However, the baby was breach (butt first), and she was going in for a C-section! Boo! So I rushed off to Columbus, since my mom wasn't going to get there until that evening (she changed her flight because she wasn't planning on coming til the end of the month - Lisa was 3 weeks early). I got there about an hour after Riker was born. He's adorable! A full head of hair!
Very flexible after being stuck like this for so long!
Congrats Lisa and TJ! You'll be great!

Snow Day

Remember that pitiful little snow day I blogged about previously? I'll admit, I was afraid that was as much as we were going to get. Boy, was I wrong! It snowed for about a week straight.

Every once and a while I try to do something fun, like when we first moved to Arizona and I cooked hot dogs and set up lawn chairs and towels in the front room of our apartment on the first day of baseball season so we could watch the D-backs on tv. Well, I decided we'd celebrate snow day. I had grand visions of snowmen and snowball fights... until I remembered that snow is really light and powdery on the first day and doesn't pack well. Oh well... we settled for snow angels and throwing snow into the air. After playing in the snow outside, we came in for warm chicken soup and hot chocolate with our snow tablescape. Then we did some skiing on the Wii. Amy was surprisingly good!
I love my family!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Another birthday has come and gone. I'm now 26, and it pretty much feels like 25. I now have 2 kids, I live in a new state, and I'm definitely growing up.

I spent the day relaxing around the house, not cleaning, etc. That night, Mike and I went to Mimi's Cafe (thanks Hansens for watching the kiddos!). Then we came home for cake! Yum - German Chocolate! Actually, half-German chocolate, half chocolate with chocolate frosting, because Amy and Mike don't like coconut.
Mike got me a new saucepan (which I DESPERATELY needed), an organization container for my scrapbooking stuff, and Pride and Prejudice. My mom contributed additional funds to my freezer fund (picture coming soon).

Mike's Christmas Concert

Oops, this one is a little out of order. Mike had an orchestra concert on December 12th-13th. While it was a "Christmas Concert", Mike played in the couple of short Christmas orchestral pieces, then they had a couple longer pieces that were smaller groups (not strings), which was a bummer. But Mike did good nonetheless! Way to go babe!

Christmas Outfits

We had some cute Christmas outfits this year, so here's our holiday ensembles!

Post-Christmastime in Arizona

We did finally make it to the Mesa Temple to see the Christmas lights, but not until after Christmas. It was as beautiful as always!
Mike flew out late Sunday night, taking the red-eye back to Ohio. We were sad to see him go, but glad we got to stay an extra week with my family.

One thing we finally got around to doing was our Christmas craft that my mom got for us. She had my aunt pick up these super cute Noel blocks for us to paint. Mom and Calli and I loaded our stuff up and went to Grandma Knight’s house (we needed some peace from the kids because we knew we’d get nothing done with them there!). By the time we got set up, got lunch, went to Joann’s, and finally got started, we didn’t get very far. While I did get mine MOSTLY painted before I left the next week, I will admit that my mom finished the touch-ups and embellishments for me! Thanks Mom!
My Dad promised Amy months ago that he would heat up the “Little Pool” (meaning the hot tub) for her to swim in when she came to see him in Arizona. So one night, the tub was warmed up and we all got to lounge in the pool! Taylor was even brave enough to jump into the actual pool! Crazy girl! Matthew really loved the water!
Amy spent a lot of time playing with her cousins. Taylor and Amy wore the princess dresses from Grandma’s chest EVERY DAY. We often had to convince Amy to take off the dress so that we could take her pajamas off, put her clothes on, and then put the princess dress back on. They also spent a lot of time playing with Taylor’s play dough set in the backyard. We sure wish they lived closer to them! Amy and Keaton got along MUCH better this time! It was so fun! We of course took the opportunity to go quadding with my Dad one day. We The kids had a lot of fun roaming around, riding the quads, and snacking. It’s always a blast to go out to the desert and ride!