My Reasons

My Reasons

This Is Where It All Begins

This Is Where It All Begins

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yellow Belt Promotion

Sam had his yellow belt promotion ceremony a few days ago.  He has been so incredibly excited for this!  It is his first new belt.

He, and his class, "Little Ninjas" had a test for about 25 minutes, and then they were presented with their belts.

Ben got to present him with his new belt.  Sam respectfully bowed to him, and Ben placed his new belt around his neck.  It was so cute..I mean, cool. And no, Ben doesn't just wear huge bright orange pants for fun.  He had just gotten back from skiing.

The best part of all, was that Sam got to punch a board in half on his way up to getting his certificate.  He smashed that thing with everything he had, and was so incredibly proud of himself when it burst in half.  I almost burst out laughing because of how proud he was.  It was awesome.
that would be my camera flash.  ;)

The Little Ninjas and their teachers

And so we move on to the next belt.  Go Sam go!  Hi Yah!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


One of my favorite traditions growing up was going to the Nutcracker with my mom, my grandma, and any other women in the family.  We would eat somewhere fancy, and then go to the Nutcracker.  I loved the magic of it all.  The excitement.  Dressing up and being with "the adults."  It was all so memorable for me.

This year, I decided to continue on the tradition, and also go to a "big" version of the Nutcracker in Salt Lake.

I took Mary to the one here in Heber last year, but I wanted to her experience a professional ballet this year.

I called my mom, my, sister, and my sister-in law, we got the tickets and set the date.  Mary and I have been anxiously waiting for weeks now.

The big day came, and Mary and I got all dressed up.  I could feel the excitement coming from Mary, and could remember feeling the same way at her age.  It was pretty special.

Ben came home, snapped a picture of us, and we were off. 

Mary choose the music, and I willingly sang to Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, in my loudest voice, along with Mary, as we made our way down the canyon.

We made a stop at the store in Park City to pick up a Christmas present, and then continued on our way.  During our stop, a random blizzard hit, and it was pretty crazy getting down the canyon.

We met up with my mom and sister at a random exit in the canyon (they got a little lost), and then we all navigated our way through Salt Lake.  It was nuts.  We got lost.  But it was all part of the adventure, and we just laughed our way through it. 

We ran out of time to eat dinner first, so we found this crazy ghetto place and grabbed some sandwiches to hold us over.  It was freaky, but it was warm, so we didn't complain.  Heber has been negative 18 this week.  Salt Lake wasn't much warmer that night.

We then made our way to the Capitol Theatre for the Nutcracker.  The city was so beautiful all lit up everywhere with people hustling about.  It was so fun to be in all of it, with the ladies I love.  Mary was soaking it all in.

We made our way to the Capitol Theatre, and stopped just long enough to get a picture and freeze our snot.

We met up with my sister-in law there, who had a story of her own adventure getting there (she was dropped off by a kind police officer) , and we made our way through the gorgeous, ornate building, and up, up, up, up to our seats.

The ballet was amazing!  Everything about it was just plain awesome! The scenery, the costumes, the dancers, it was definitely the best Nutcracker I have ever seen.

And who wouldn't love watching a ballet through these vintage babies!

It was fun to look down the row and see the generations of girls.  Mary always loves the chance to be with Aunt Kelsey.

After the ballet, we made our way over to the Cheesecake factory for 11:00pm.  I haven't been awake at that time for months.  Eating that late was crazy, but we were all starving, and not ready for the night to end.

Mary ordered a steak.  Yup, a steak at 11:00pm.  She cracks me up! She was falling asleep by the time our food got to us.  It was the best dinner I have ever eaten at midnight.

By the time we found our car in the parking garage and then found my sister-in-laws car, it was late.  Unfortunately, my sister -in -laws car battery had died.  We tried to jump it, but it was too far gone. 

Long story short, we got in to Heber at 3:00am.  It was a little nuts, but it was such a fun night! It wouldn't be us without an adventure.  It makes for great memories. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, and according to Mary, she wants to do it all again tomorrow.

We hung out with my mom and sister for a while the next day, and then they headed home.

We all agreed to keep this tradition alive.  It is a good one.

I am so thankful that my little girl could experience the same things that I did at her age, and the same joy and excitement of the Nutcracker.  And it is always good to bond and draw closer to family.

Monday, December 2, 2013

thankful for thanksgiving

Thanksgiving break came at a wonderful time for our family this year.

We have been really busy, in a good way, but we were all ready to just, well, to just be.

Due to being far from home for several Thanksgiving's, we came up with our own traditions, and it has actually become one of my favorite holidays because of it.  I can see it in my children as well, and that brings me joy.

We do Thanksgiving with relatives every other year, but on the off year, we just do it with our own family, and we really have a great time.

This year, we really lived it up.  My heart was full, and it has been the past month, as the spirit of the holidays has crept into my heart.  It has more than ever this year.  There are moments, when I feel like my heart could burst as I become overwhelmed with all of my blessings, the joy of the season, and the holiness of it all.

I have been made extremely aware, and extra sensitive to all I am blessed with, and that in turn, has truly made this one of the best holiday seasons for me so far. 

I don't know why this is the case, but it is, and I feel like I need to recognize it and enjoy it.  Enjoy the excitement, the magic, the wonder, the decorations, the music, the light in my Children's eyes, everything. This holiday season just seems so wonderful this year.

OK, back to the original post.

On Thanksgiving Day, Ben and the kids went rock climbing in the morning, and I started working on the food.

Ben helped stuff the turkey and get it ready.  We had the kids watch this year, because I could tell they were curious, and it will go down as one of the most hilarious Thanksgiving memories I have.  William was so grossed out, and just flabbergasted with the whole thing.  I got it all on video.

The kids, for some reason, loved the fact that we pulled out the China, and therefore, decided to act like very sophisticated servers. 
photo bombed by William picking his nose in the background. 

It was hilarious, but I worked my servers, and they did great!

We enjoyed the dinner, and read all of the leaves on our Thankful Tree we've been working on this month as we ate.  It was a precious moment.  Oh, and Luke actually ate!  I have to record that for sure.  Luke ate mashed potatoes, and a lot of them.  It was awesome!

We watched movies, went on a walk, and hung out the rest of the day.

Friday, Ben took Mary and Sam snow skiing, and I cleaned the house, and then shopped.  I had the babies with me, but they behaved really well, and it was really fun!  I absolutely love holiday shopping, and I had some great finds.  We had a good time getting William's hair cut, going to the animal store, buying presents for friends and family, me getting new running shoes (not so pleasant trying on shoes with 2 babies in tow), and singing carols in the car.  William is a great singer.

We met up with Ben and the older kids in Park City at the ski hill, where they were completely frozen, but so happy from "the best ski day yet." 

I am glad Ben initiates skiing with the kids.  It is a special thing for all of them. We hit up a few more stores, got dinner, and then headed back to Heber to get our Christmas tree.  The events of the tree are in the previous post.

Saturday, Ben took the kids to the park, and I went to the gym.  I almost died, due to "feasting" on too many pies the previous days, but it felt great.  Then, I shopped, by myself!  It was bliss.  I found an amazing sell and got some new outfits.  I rarely clothes shop, so this was so fun for me, and I REALLY needed some new clothes. 

When I got home, we hung out, Ben went to the gym, and then we all went swimming at the Kamas pool.  The kids did great, even Luke!  William figured out how to float in a lifejacket, and thought it was amazing.  Mary and Sam did the diving boards and slides, and I soaked in the hot tub ever second I could slip away.

After swimming, we got the kids all settled, and Ben and I went on a date.  I love going on dates with Ben, and the excitement of dates has not faded over time.

Sunday, we finally fixed our tree, and then had some friends over for pie and treats.  I wasn't too excited about hosting, after a big past few days, but I am so glad we did.  It was really fun! 

And now, here we are.  Back to school, sports, schedules, work, church activities and duties, and life.

And we are all refreshed and ready to jump in.

Our Thanksgiving break was wonderful.  It was not perfect.  There are always moments, tantrums, disagreements, frustrations, and stress.  But honestly, it was extremely refreshing, and so wonderful to just be with my family having fun and bonding closer.  The good times definitely outweighed the struggles.

I love this season.  I love my family.  I love that for whatever reason it is, I have been blessed this year to feel it all on a deeper level, and enjoy it so much.  I feel that I need to savor it, and that is exactly what I am doing.

oh christamas tree

Well, we finally got all of our lights up outside.  It was quite the ordeal, but wow, does it look so pretty!  I grin every time I pull into our driveway at night.  Hooray for lights!

Just in case the light saga wasn't enough, lets move on to the Christmas tree.

It all started out fine and dandy.  We found a gorgeous tree!  I was so excited to get a tree without worrying about the height.  The taller the better this year.

We pulled up to the store, and there she was.  In all of her pine smelling, ever-green, perfectly trimmed majesty.  I could swear angels were singing when I saw her there. 

Ben, like the pro that he is now in Christmas tree tying on the car techniques, had the tree up on the car in no time, we all commented on his superman like strength (especially the boys) as he picked up the tree over his head and placed it on the car, and we were off.  Christmas music blaring, excited kids wiggling, and one happy momma with her perfect tree.

We got the tree home, drug her through the door and across the floor where Ben placed her in the stand.  We leaned her a little to the right, a drop to the left, scooted her up a bit, turned her around and around, and then she was all set.  Ben screwed in the stand, and we all stood back to admire....our crooked tree!

Yes, the tree was leaning like there was no tomorrow.  This picture was actually one of the better times. So, Ben unscrewed the stand, we scooted her to the right, a pinch to the left, a hair to the right, turned her a bit, and screwed her back in.  Then, we all stepped back to admire....our crooked tree!  Seriously!

Once again, we unscrewed, turned, leaned and checked from every angle.  Finally, we got her all snug in and standing up straight!

Time to decorate!

I pulled out the lights, turned on the music, gathered the kids, and prepared for tree decorating bliss.  Everyone smiling, happily placing the ornaments, reflecting on each one, and gently placing them on the tree.  


First of all, we were too short on lights.  The ones we did have, only had half of the strand working.  So, the kids and I wound the lights around and around the tree, shoving chunks of not working lights deep into the tree, trying to hide them.  We got sap on our fingers, pine needles in our eyes, and knots in the lights.  Oh, it was so joyous.  Did I mention that Luke was crying and the cat was freaking out.  Bliss.

Finally, we got the lights on.  They looked horrible, and the star didn't fit, but I figured we would just hide it all with the ornaments.

I summoned up my last bit of Christmas spirit, smiled, gathered the kids again, and pulled out the ornaments. 

William ended up bawling and refusing to hang anything.  Luke was tired.  Mary and Sam were ok, but soon began fighting over where to hang everything.  We finally got the tree decorated.

We stepped back to look at our gorgeous, pine smelling, perfectly trimmed, beautifully decorated tree.  I barely gave a sigh of relief and happiness, when,


The entire tree fell the ground, and then rolled a bit, which only broke more ornaments and our spirits.  Ornaments broke, lights fell off, water went everywhere, and I let out one of those half crying half hysterical laughs that really scare people. 

Mary and Sam didn't move a muscle, but I did see a one tiny tear silently roll down Mary's cheek, and my heart almost split in half.  Ben informed us all that we were done for the night.  No one argued.

I sulked my way through our bedtime routine with the kids, sadly bid our fallen tree goodnight, and went to bed.

It took a few days to get over it, buy new lights, a new star, pick up the tree and the fallen decorations, and get the drive to start over.

This time, however, it all came to pass.  Lights worked, music was playing, ALL of the kids were happy and helping, and the tree was straight.

Now, as I sit here alone, in the quiet dark room, lit by the glow of the tree lights, as has been my favorite Christmas thing to do since I was a small child, I feel all excited and happy and peaceful, as I stare at our beautiful tree.  I think I love doing this so much, because in the quiet peace, and the magical glow of the lights, the true spirit of Christmas has a moment to fill my heart, and I feel close to the Christ child on that blessed holy night.

She is a hodge-podge tree, full of character, stories, 5 gold ornaments hung in a clump by William (in several spots), the nutcrackers sword fighting each other, hung by Sam, Mary's ornaments hung with her amazing artistic flare, and a few broken ornaments, hanging by their last thread, thanks to Luke.

It is the perfect tree to me.