My Reasons

My Reasons

This Is Where It All Begins

This Is Where It All Begins

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

catch up and reset (warning...very, very long post)

I am behind on blogging...again.  I am recommitting to trying to do a post a day, or every other day.  I am committing to TRY to do this.  Life is so, so busy, so all I can do is all I can do right now.

In order to reset with blogging, I first need to catch up.  So, here it goes.  I am not going to do a ton of different posts about everything, instead, I am going to do a recap of the past few months.  Here it goes...

Mary's 13th Birthday
Mary is officially a teenager.  So far, so good.  She is a good kid, and so far, we have a good relationship.  I am trying to keep it that way, and still be a parent. There is a fine line, but I am trying to walk it.
Mary had a really fun party with lots of friends.  They just hung out, watched a movie, ate yummy food, (chocolate fountain) played on their phones, and did things that teens do.  I was a little shocked when Mary asked if Ben and I were going to be "hanging around" during the party. ha!  She was being polite, but I got the hint...and the reality check that yes, she is a teen, and no, parents hanging around isn't cool anymore. It was weird, but I totally understood. 
It was definitely the easiest party I have thrown for one of my kids to date.  No planned games, no theme, and no supervision (at least that she could see).  It was pretty nice.
Mary is becoming such a fun, talented, goofy, deep, athletic, beautiful, spiritual and smart young woman.  It hurts my heart that she is growing up so quickly in my eyes, but it also gives my heart peace and hope that she is such a great kid.  She is one of my very best friends. We sure love our Mary girl.

The months leading up to Christmas this year, were probably some of the most stressful holiday season months I have had in a long time.  I won't go into detail, but it was just really, really stressful.  I usually have the physical part of Christmas done soon after Thanksgiving, so I can focus more on family and on the Savior and the real magic and meaning of Christmas during the month of December.  This year, I was still trying to get shopping done the week of Christmas, which is also the week of Mary's Birthday.
At the same time though, it was on of the best Christmases we have had.  The actual Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas Break were great!  We had a lot of fun, a lot of peace and a lot of good memories made.  Interesting how things work huh.
Christmas Eve was on a Sunday, which was perfect!  It was great to be able to go to church and be reminded what Christmas is truly all about, and to feel the spirit and bring it into the day.  We had a party that evening with the Delory's and the Johnson's.  This is a 4 year tradition, where we play games, eat nachos and do the nativity with the kids.  They are great friends and good people.
After the party, we came home and the kids opened their new pajamas and we had a happy, exciting yet peaceful night.  It was so great, it really was.  It definitely beats last year's Christmas Eve where the kids were over the top hyper, the party was at our house (chaos and mess everywhere), and William drop kicked baby Jesus during the nativity.  I went to bed crying that Christmas Eve and trying to find a way to somehow still give my kids gifts.  This year was obviously WAY better, and I was even more grateful for it because of last year's disaster.

Christmas morning was so much fun also!  The kids were all really excited about everything.  I love having kids at Christmas time.  I always love my kids, but I love the magic and the fun and the excitement they bring into Christmas.  It is worth all of the work.
There was a fun feeling in our home and a peaceful feeling as well that day.  We had a great day together.  I was exhausted from an entire night of "building" some very complicated toys, (literally, an ENTIRE night) but I got in a great nap, so we all got what we wanted.  :)

The day after Christmas (our 14th wedding anniversary!) was a little bonkers.  OK, a LOT bonkers!The weather was beautiful, and I was actually able to run outside.  I ended up running 13.2 miles (a half marathon).  It was one of the most fun runs I have had in a long time.  I LOVE running outside.
When I got home, we all set to work taking down all of the Christmas decorations and organizing, setting up and putting away all of the Christmas gifts.  Taking down the Christmas decorations, including the tree, is a huge undertaking.  So is setting up all of the toys and gifts and finding a place for everything.  We spent hours working pretty hard.  We also had to pack that day for a week long trip to see both of our families.  Not only that, but we left that evening.  Yup, big day.

The reason we put away all of the Christmas decorations, and cleaned and organized all clutter, was because I gave myself a professional house cleaning for Christmas, and the cleaning lady would be coming while we were gone.  Ben gave me this gift a few years ago, and it is the BEST thing ever!!!  I have done it for myself each year since.  It is soooo worth the crazy day of cleaning, packing and traveling.  I get to come home to a spotless, organized home, to start off the new year and to recover from months of holiday craziness.  It seriously helps restore most of the sanity that I lose Oct.-December. 

We headed to Pocatello and spent a few days there.  Kelsey was there this year.  Everyone was pretty exhausted from so much partying and playing over the holidays, so it was a very non-scheduled, easy flowing visit.  Perfect.
My mom and I hosted a baby shower for Kelsey.  Ben and Taylor skied at Targhee one day.  I worked out every day.  The kids went to a trampoline place, a bounce house, and played games and watched movies.
It was a really fun visit.

From Pocatello, we went to Boise.  It was a fun time there too.  We took the kids to a really fun bounce house/trampoline place, JoJo and I took Mary and some of her cousins to the mall, so Mary could use a gift card she got for Christmas, we worked out at the gym there, we hung out at Dan's house, and we welcomed in the New Year watching the ball drop in New York City.  It was a great visit in Boise as well.

We had a great Christmas vacation this year.  I am so grateful for such a neat season, and for my family that I can spend it with.

Due to a very abnormal winter season, I am talking temps in the mid 50's today, and 26 out of 31 days this Month being close to or record breaking warm, Ben hasn't been able to do a ton of deep snow skiing.  He has caught a couple good storms though, and he has been able to get out there and do what he loves.
He has taken the younger three kids several times, and they love it!  It is such a neat thing that he does with our kids, and I know they will always cherish the memories.
Ben is on pace for Presidents Club again this year with Cintas.  He is very good at what he does and he works really hard for our family.  I am very grateful for this.
Ben is currently in the Young Men's organization, and is with the teachers.  He is good with the Young Men and I am sure his lessons are impactful.

I am still working out and eating a ketogenic diet.  I'm not ON a diet, I eat a Ketogenic diet.  Just clarifying there.  :)  Basically, low carb/high fat 6 days a week, (with 1 glorious day a week of not counting carbs at all, in order to re-set my body and metabolism).  My body responds extremely well to this way of eating, and it has reduced inflammation in my hips, and other aches and pains from being an active person, immensely!  It is more than weight loss/maintenance for me.  It actually helps my body feel so much better in general.
I am not training for anything at the moment, but I am keeping a solid base, so if I do want to register for anything, I am already well on my way.  I work out very hard, but I mix it up to keep it fun.  Long run on Monday, Spin class Tuesday, Intervals Wednesday, rest Thursday, 8 mile run Friday, elliptical Saturday, rest Sunday.
My right hip labrum is still torn, and unfortunately, my left labrum tore a few months ago as well.
Just like the ACL in the knee, the Labrum in the hip does not get blood supply, therefore it cannot heal itself.  Surgery is the only option.  For me though, surgery is only required for pain control and management.  If I can keep the pain under control, and be able to do my normally daily life activities without pain, I can put off surgery.
It is a delicate balance for sure.  I have weeks where my hips hurt constantly, and something as simple as sneezing can bring me to my knees, but I also have lots of weeks where I am on top of everything, and I am almost pain free most of the time.
I am learning new tips and tricks all the time for pain management, and it helps so much!

I was just released as the primary secretary a couple weeks ago.  I have had the calling for 3 1/2 years, and I really loved it.  It was VERY busy and demanding, but I got my own system down, and grew to really have fun with it and to love it. The whole presidency spoke in sacrament meeting the week we were released.  It was nice to be able to kind of wrap it up that way, and to speak about all I have learned in that calling, but it was a very bitter/sweet day.
I was just called last night to be the pianist in Relief Society.
I am really excited about this!  I need a little rest from such a busy demanding calling, and I get to play the piano and still go to relief society.  Perfect!

Life is incredibly busy.  Our kids are all involved in school, sports, church, scouts, friends, and everything else.  It is a lot to keep everyone's schedule straight, and to fit all of the important stuff in between as well. (playing with the kids, reading, homework, FHE, scout badges, personal progress, giving them the personal time with me they need, and meeting their physical needs as well.  Just feeding them alone is a project! :)   It is a good phase of life though.  All of the kids are still home and young, but we are out of the infant/baby phase as well.  I miss my babies, but I am also really embracing this phase of everyone being more self sufficient, but not old enough to be out of the house yet.  I know this is a tiny window of time, and I am trying so hard to enjoy it and embrace it.  I love my little tribe so much.  I am pretty sure this is about as busy at it gets for a mother right now, and I definitely feel the effects of it often, but I just do my best to try to keep some kind of balance and trust that the Lord is on my side and will help me as well.

I currently have 8 piano students, and I tend my friends two little boys twice a week.  It is really nice to have my own little income, (which is almost always spent on my family...ha!), but still, it is fun to be able to do the "Extra" things sometimes to keep life fun for all of us,  and to also treat myself every once in a while too.

Cryotherapy and other cool finds
The best thing I have found lately, as far as recovery from my workouts, and pain management for my hips, is cryotherapy.  It is seriously my saving grace with my torn labrums. 
Cryotherapy is a type of therapy that they just brought into our gym, and several gyms all over the country now.
I get into a little chamber thing, where a gas (liquid nitrogen) is used to bring my SKIN temperature down about 50 degrees in 3 minutes.  I am usually around 82 degrees when I get in, and around 31 when I get out.  The extreme cold goes about 5mm deep into the skin.
Image result for cryotherapy
You can only be in the chamber for 3 minutes, no matter who you are, and believe me, I don't want to be in there any longer than that.
I heard about cryotherapy about a year ago when it came to our gym.  I noticed that more and more and more people were doing it.  All ages, all sizes, all walks of life.  From the very old with arthritis, to the young athletes. I was very skeptical, so I didn't try it.  After the marathon in October, my friend bought me a free cryotherapy session, so I tried it, and was immediately sold.
It takes down ALL of the inflammation in my body, specifically, my hips.  It give me more energy, I sleep better, my skin feels better, it is so awesome!  It is freaking cold for those 3 minutes, but it is so worth it. 
If I stay on top of cryotherapy once or twice a week, stay on top of stretching, and take Advil as needed, my hips do really well.  I am thrilled to have a way to function without pain and without surgery quite yet.

After my cryotherapy, I get into the "boots" for 30 minutes.  If I had $900 to spare, I would TOTALLY buy some for myself.  They are basically like deep, deep massagers that work out the lactic acid in your legs, or arms if you wear the arm ones, or your hips, if you wear the hip ones.  I alternate between legs and hips.  They work wonders!!!
Image result for massage boots
So, those are my tips and tricks for staying on top of my labral pain.

As far as nutrition and diet, I am ALWAYS trying to find new things to keep things interesting.  A ketogenic diet can get so boring!
Hydration is key for me, but unfortunately, I really don't like water.  I know, weird, but true.  I just don't like water.
In order to hydrate, I have to flavor my water.  In order to stay in ketosis, I have to flavor it with zero sugar zero carb stuff.

My go to is crystal light, always has been, always will be.
For a pre-workout, I drink crystal light has caffeine.  :)

I also recently tried these.
They are called mstiks.  I got them from a friend who sells them and wanted an honest review.  No sugar no carbs.  Each stick is from completely natural ingredients and fruit.  They taste amazing!!!  They each target different things.  Energy, brain energy, mood boosting, hunger management, and something else I can't remember.

I don't know how well they really help in these areas, but they definitely do help a little for sure.  I love GO and SOUL especially...probably because they have a small amount of caffeine and they taste the best.
All I know is that they taste amazing, they do work at least enough to notice a difference, and they are fun.

I also found this.
I have only been using this on and off for about a month, so the verdict is still out.  It is really hard to find true information about it, so I haven't been sure.  I finally found an honest article about what it does though, and now I think I like it.

It is basically just extra ketones.  It will put you into ketosis within an hour of drinking it, and keep you there for about 4 hours.  For those of us on a ketogenic diet, we use ketones for energy...not carbs.
So this is like carb loading, for people in ketosis.

I would take this before a long run, or a hard workout, when most people carb load for added energy.  I would be keto loading for added energy, since my body uses ketones for energy now.  It is an energy booster for sure, and it is awesome for getting you back into ketosis if you get bumped out of it.  It is not a weight loss supplement though, and your body still has to burn the carbs in it before this kicks in.  It is CRAZY salty, so I did put on water weight and swelled up the first several times I drank it.  Over time my body has adjusted though.  Its a good product for my hard workout days, or for an energy boost when I am in ketosis. It is not the miracle weight loss supplement that allows you to eat whatever you want and get keto diet results, unfortunately, that is how it is advertised.  It tastes awesome though, and it works for what it is actually used for.

Mary is in the middle of cheer competition season.  She is a great athlete, and just nailed her double full twist.  She is learning a lot about teamwork, and about being a positive leader.  It has been a great sport for her!
She has a good group of friends right now.  Her closest friend is Alina Posaki.  She is a sweetheart, and I could not have wished for a better friend for Mary.  She has numerous other friends as well, and is very social without getting into all of the middle school drama and craziness. 
She does have her on a couple boys, and just recently felt her first pangs of jealousy.  She didn't quite know how to navigate that one, but she handled it with grace, and eventually, found out the boy liked her anyway.  ha!  Oh the life of middle school. 
She is a beehive in Young Women's, and has a great group of friends in our ward too.  She is very social and is really enjoying the activities that they get to do.  She was so nervous and anxious going in to Young Womens.  She was terrified of being asked to say a prayer or to talk at all.  Now, she has already spoken in Sacrament meeting, attended girls camp, and has actually been talked to, along with her friends, for being TOO social and giggly during class.  She has grown and learned so much already!
She recently told us that she had a pretty strong temptation to do something she knew was wrong and against her values.  All of her friends were doing it.  She stayed strong, and did not partake.  My momma heart soared!  Just hang on Mary..survive middle school! 
She's a great girl.  She is an awesome sister to Molly, and has been having more and more fun hanging out with Sam lately.  It is fun to see those two and their friends hanging out and talking in the kitchen or wherever.  Mary is definitely in a lot of leader positions in our family, in church and socially.  I am proud of how she handles it, and hope she always leads with kindness, faith, strength and poise.

Sam is just finishing up his Weblos in Scouts.  He has been blessed with some really fun and active scout leaders this year.  He has a HUGE group of boys/friends his age, so he really loves scouts.  It has been fun to see him progress with the program.
Sam has some really good buddies, and about a million other friends as well.  He is such a great friend, and loves to just play and have fun.
He is REALLY into physical fitness right now.  He and his buddy Blake wrote up a work out program this morning (probably their 10th one) and left early for school so they could do pull ups and push ups out on the playground in our back yard.  I find Sam doing sit ups and push ups all the time, and doing all sorts of "Challenges" with his buddies.  He just recently taught himself how to do a standing back flip!!  Seriously!  He is very athletic.
He just started up soccer practices again last night with his STORM team, and he was so excited to be doing soccer again!  If his head is in the game, he is a very good athlete.  It is up to him though, if he is in it or not at the moment.
I just went to SSP's with Sam last week with is school teacher.  Sam is above average in every subject, and tested out of his grade level in Math and science.  He LOVES math, and actually does math problems at home for fun?!?!  He is an awesome teacher, who totally understands this age group.  Instead of complaining that Sam never sits down (as with previous teachers), she gave him a desk at the back of the room, so he can stand all day, and not bother anyone.  She also has "work out" breaks for the class, where they can do push ups and sit ups if they want to.  She is a phenominal teacher who works with each child's personality.  She has done that with Sam, and I am so grateful to her.  Sam is a smarty pants, but he is so humble about it.  I think that it what I am the most proud of.  He is a great kid, who just likes to play and have fun.  He is a very good, loyal friend to all of his buddies, and he is a pretty good buddy to his siblings.

William has been snow skiing a lot this winter and he is also finishing up his second session of wrestling. Ben said he is doing great with skiing!
He is definitely all about trying anything right now, and he is excited about all of it.  He just told me the other day that he wants to try basketball, but still wants to do flag football in the spring and baseball too.  He also just started taking piano lessons from me.  It has been so fun to teach him and to have that time with him.  He sits and smiles during his lessons and is so proud. 
He also had SSP's with his teacher last week.  His teachers love him.  He is a very cuddly, loveable, happy guy.  He loves to read (FINALLY! I have a bookworm) and it has shot him up with his scores in all of his subjects.  His Spanish teacher said he is doing great in Spanish as well.  The only issue is his handwriting...same with Sam.  Poor kids, they get it from me.  My handwriting was so bad as a kid that I had to do extra handwriting homework, just so my teachers could read what I was writing.   Even now, my handwriting is that of a kindergartener.  Yikes.  Good thing typing is the norm. now.
He is learning and growing so quickly, and he is quickly transforming from little boy to bigger boy.  It is crazy.  To me, he is just my squishy, cuddly, warm, twinkly eyed William.  He is tender hearted and is quick to compliment me or ask how I am doing.  He does eat us out of house and home though, and I have a feeling that when these three boys are all about 3 years older, our food budget is going to triple.  Hello Costco!

Luke has also been skiing quite a few times with Ben this winter.  According to Ben, he is fast, and he is picking up on it all very quickly.  He is a very good athlete, and is the spitting image of Mary at his age, as far as athleticism and determination.  He is very small, but he has the makings to be very good at whatever he decides he wants to do.

Luke also had SSP's last week.  We did not have him come, instead, I went alone.  I needed to talk with his teachers and help make a plan for Luke at school.
Luke has a form of social anxiety that has quickly manifested itself and quickly gotten worse over the past several months.  It has been heart breaking to watch my little blue eyed, white haired, sweet little guy suffer and struggle so much.  It has brought Ben and I to tears a few times, as we see him suffer and feel so bad for our little guy. We haven't really been able to nail it down, but just in the past month or so, with guidance from the Lord, and some friends strategically placed in our path with resources, we have been able to slowly figure out what is going on, and we have been able to start him with therapy the past couple weeks.  We are also awaiting a psychological assessment, to really narrow down his exact form of anxiety, but until then, the therapist is working with him the best she can.  He is such a fun loving, sweet, smart, athletic little guy.  He is insanely good with mechanics, building, creating and math. 
He has been very clingy to me for the past few months.  I am his source of comfort lately, as well as routine and consistency.  It helps him a ton to have a routine that we follow consistently, even down to the little things.  He deeply needs to feel in control and comfort.  He heavily leans on me for these things.  At times, it can be exhausting for me, but then I realize how confused he must be with all of this too, and my heart just yearns to help him in any way I can.
He is currently working with the therapist to try to start talking in school.  He has selective mutism, which means that his anxiety is so bad that he has stopped talking in certain situations where he doesn't feel that he has complete control or comfort.  He has completely stopped talking in school.
I have a constant prayer in my heart for Luke lately, and I know that he will learn how to handle this, and become better for it.  He is such a great kid, with such a fun personality. I am excited to see that blossom.

Molly has also been snow skiing a couple times.  She LOVES it!  She is a total daddy's girl, and she loves spending time with her daddy doing something so fun.  She is a natural at it, and is picking it up very quickly.
She also started taking gymnastics classes at Black Diamond in Park City.  She has a blast for the entire hour!  It is so cute to watch.  She just smiles and laughs through the whole thing.  She is very, very good on the balance beam.  She got to go up on the high beam the other day, and she was totally solid and fine. She marched across that thing like nobody's business.
She is REALLY into containers, pockets, bags, backpacks, and organizing "picnics". A picnic is where she spreads out a blanket, and then brings loads of clutter from all over the house, and spreads it everywhere on the blanket.  This is a daily occurrence, and it does wonders for my sanity.
 She used an entire box of sandwich bags the other day, just stuffing different toys and food items in all of them.  She is always "organizing" toys, gadgets, food, paper, water and anything and everything into containers.  It drives the clutter hater in me absolutely nuts, but I try my hardest to let her go, for at least half the day, before I clean it all up, and she starts all over again.
She is incredibly social with pretty much anyone, and she loves to play.  She is happy, silly, sassy at times, very huggy and snuggly.  She really likes to do cheerleading with Mary and her friends.  They throw her all over the place and she just smiles.  She loves to torment Luke, but at the same time, when they do get along, they have a blast together.  She is my little buddy all day long, and she is happy to go anywhere and do pretty much anything.  She is definitely the youngest child.  She melts my heart every day, and I still thank the Lord each and every night that we finally have her here with us. She was more than worth the wait.
This happened because her pants did not have pockets. She invented them herself.  Where there's a will, there's a way with this one.

dress ups.  She did not know I took this.

She loves these fake glasses!  hahaha!  Nerd alert!
And that's a wrap.  For all of our sakes, lets hope I can get back to daily posting, or even once a week would be great.  Here's to hoping....


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

little wasp tournament

William had his Little Wasp wrestling tournament on Monday evening.  The tournament is the last match of the season, and the only one where they weigh in the boys, so it was pretty cool!

We were excited to see William put his practice to the test on boys that would actually be his size, and therefore competition for him.

He did awesome!!!  They don't have "pins" at this level, but if they did, I think William would have won 3 of his 4 matches.  He did so well.

He loves wrestling, and has had so much fun with it this season.  We are waiting to see if he wants to continue on practicing with the club team.  We are letting William decide.

At the end of the tournament, the boys got a medal.  William was thrilled!  He has always wanted a medal for something, and he was so proud of it!  He actually wore it all night, and all day the next day when he got home from school.  It was pretty awesome.

Way to go William!

first cheer comp.

Mary had her first Cheerleading competition with Tumble Central All Stars on Saturday.  Her team is awesome, and they definitely are a team to contend with.

Mary and her friend Alina got ready at our place.  Getting ready for these things is quite the undertaking.  It requires A LOT of makeup, A LOT of curling irons, and A TON of hairspray.  It was no joke.  Molly was mesmerized by it all, and loved that Mary and Alina let her wear some make-up and be a part of it.

Unfortunately, on the day of the competition, one girl had a broken foot and could not compete, two girls had Influenza Type B, and 4 girls had Strep throat. 

The team looked like death warmed over during warm-ups.  We were all just holding our breath.

Aside from a pretty significant drop of a stunt, the team nailed everything else!  All of Mary's stunts held strong.  They got hit hard with the scoring for dropping a stunt, but for how sick they all were, we were VERY proud of them.  It was obvious to everyone, that they are a really good team.

These were taped to the windows of the Building about every 10 feet.  haha!!!

Mary is on the left.  Ah yeah!
The girls were happy that they at least pulled off the performance with no one passing out.  They could care less that they dropped a stunt.  It was so proud of how positive and supportive the team and the coaches were of everyone.
Mary and Alina


Laynee, Mary and Alina
This has been such an awesome experience for Mary so far.  She is learning a ton with teamwork, stunting, dancing, flexibility, flying and her tumbling is still improving too!

Go TCA!!!!


A few weeks ago, My mom, Kelsey, Mary and I had our first ever girls trip!!  It was so much fun it was ridiculous!

My mom, Mary and I flew to Seattle, where Kelsey picked us up at the airport.  She had the cutest little basket in her car set up for us.  It had treats, chocolates and matching bracelets in it for each of us.  How cool is that!

We grabbed lunch and drove straight to Leavenworth.  It was a good 2.5 hour drive, but TOTALLY worth it.  I have never seen such a magical town in my life.  It was unbelievable!  I felt like I was inside a snow globe.  To top it off, it was lightly snowing the whole time we were there.  Everything has a Swiss feel to it, and EVERYTHING has lights.  It felt like a whole different world!  The shops are adorable, the town is adorable, and everything is magical.  We had a blast there.

We drove back to our Hotel after that, and ate ourselves silly and crashed.  The hotel was awesome too!  The theme of the hotel was pineapple, and the décor was so cute, bright, and fun.  The blankets on the beds were the best I have ever felt.  We all snuggled into the beds and vowed to never get out.  We fell asleep watching Hallmark Christmas movies and eating chocolate.
The next morning we ate at this cute little breakfast café; in down town Seattle.  It was old, quaint, and perfect. It was so freaking good!  Best crepes ever!!

nutella hot chocolate, with a cute little leaf design in the cream

After breakfast, we headed to the Space Needle.  It was so cool to be able to look at Seattle from being up above it all.  It was absolutely freezing, but totally worth it. It is gorgeous City.

After the space needle, we headed to my Pikes Street Market.  I immediately fell in love with this place too.  WOW!  Best fruit, calamari, flowers, market, EVER!  It was so much fun.  We even visited the gum wall.  So gross, but cool at the same time.

Home of the best cheese curds and tomato soup ever!!!

Pikes Market was so fun.  We shopped, ate, watched the dudes throw fish, put gum on the gum wall, and ate the best fruit we have ever had.  It was so cool.

After the market, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker was put on by a Professional Ballet Company, right in downtown Seattle.  I have never, ever, seen anything like it.  The costumes, the set, the live orchestra, the beyond talented dancers.  It was unreal.  Truly unreal.  We all had our jaws on the floor the whole time.  It was so cool!!!

My mom surprised us with bracelets too!  They were the same brand that Kelsey got for us!  How cool is that! 

We crashed that night after the nutcracker.

The next morning, we rode bikes to breakfast.  It was so fun!  It finally stopped raining, so it was perfect.  Riding Pineapple bikes through Seattle to breakfast...doesn't get much better than that.  Except for a little incident, where my mom fell.  :(

A big reason we did this trip, was to celebrate Mary's 13th Birthday.  Yup, she will officially be a teenager next week!
She was so much fun on this trip.  I love her fun-loving personality.  She kept us laughing and on our toes the whole trip. I am so glad I have such a great kid to share trips and experiences like this with. 

In the elevator
After Breakfast, we headed to the airport, and made our way home.

It was definitely a trip none of us will forget.  It was special and fun and magical in so many ways.  I am hoping that it will be the first of many Belnap girls trips to come.
Happy Birthday Mary girl!