Friday, February 27, 2015

The Rest of 2014.... St. George and New Year's!

 Alrighty! I'm smashing everything from the remainder of 2014 into one post just to be done! We had a terrific rest of our year and partied hardy while we were still all out of school. Because we knew as soon as school started up again, it would be awhile before we were able to have some fun since Andy and I would be starting up again as well.

Anyway... Santa gave us a fun trip to St. George for our family gift this year. We stayed at the Sports Village Condos and it was very, very fun. Santa wanted to give us this gift so we could just be together, relax, and enjoy each others company. We had all had a bit of a rough few months with everything going on and we just wanted to get away to be together and focus on our family.

 It snowed almost all the way down and was a beautiful, quick drive. I don't remember if I mentioned that we finally bought a new car in December (an Acura MDX) and sold our Maxima. We couldn't let go of The Beast quite yet, but it's only a matter of time...
 Anyway, it was nice to drive in our comfy, cozy new car that has a dvd player for the kids.

We arrived Sunday evening and headed to Andy's sister, Jenny's house. The cousins were thrilled to see each other and it was fun to hang out and catch up.

We slept in Monday morning while the kids watched a movie. After our late morning brunch we headed to the indoor pool and spent a few hours swimming.

We tried the new donut plant, Fractured Prune. It was pretty good, but I prefer other donuts more.

We cooked all of our meals at the condo and after dinner one night we had a monopoly tournament. Jonah had received it for Christmas and none of them had ever played. It was so much fun. I think it lasted past midnight and went on for almost 5 hours!

Mag played his new Christmas gift and ended up falling asleep on the couch.

The next day we started out with more relaxing and movies.
  And then we needed more treats.

We went to the temple visitor center and had a fun tour about forever families. It was perfect.

We headed back to the condo complex where we played pool, air hockey, mini golf, and ping pong for a couple hours. There is a clubhouse with all sorts of fun things to do. They also have a heated pool, but Andy and I passed. The older four kids went and swam while I made dinner and they said it was so warm.

 That night the kids got invited to spend the night at Jenny's house with their cousins, so we took them over there. Andy and I went shopping and watched a movie.

The next morning we cleaned the condo and headed out to pick up the kids from Jenny's house. They had stayed up until 3 or 4 AM and were simply exhausted. Everyone slept almost all the way home. We made it in only 3.5 hours and didn't even have to stop once!
 We came home on New Year's Eve. We had to get home in time for Andy to work the night shift at work. We were all sad that we wouldn't be spending the holiday with our daddy.

 I snuck in an early little New Year's Kiss.

Our friend's the Heath's had invited us over for a New Year's party. We ate a ton of food, played a ton of funny games, and the kids pretty much ran wild. It was a great night.

Celebrating the New Year! Right after this, they all ran around outside yelling and screaming and banging pots and pans while all of the parents hugged.

I love these ladies so much. They have become such dear friends to me. 

 So, it was a happy New Year indeed.

The next morning (even though this is January 1st, I'm including it!) we were up bright and early for the Dillard's sale. Oh man, between the 4 of us (we each have 5 kids!) we spent about $2000. I think we bought around 25 pairs of shoes too. It was fun and crazy.

And I forgot to post this earlier, but it's the damage Rachel and I did shopping the day after Christmas. I love sales and I love shopping. What can I say?!

It was a fun and happy rest of the year. And we are ready to take on this year! Even though we are already 2 months in... ;)

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I realized as I have been blogging to catch up over the last couple of weeks that I haven't really given an update on what's been going on around here lately. So I wanted to just give a quick update on regular life. It is, surprisingly, very normal. It's surprising to me because 6 months ago I couldn't remember what "normal" was. I thought my life would never be the same again. I mean, sure--I still get lots of questions from friends and strangers alike on how Magnus is doing. But I am happy that I can report he is doing amazingly well. He still has appointments occasionally, and evaluations for various things... But overall things are good at our house. And I hope they stay that way forever.

 I hope I can finish the semester just being stressed because it's hard, not because I'm dealing with a child who has relapsed with cancer. I hope I can take Laylah to her 7th grade registration for jr. high because I made the time instead of passing it off to someone because I'm in the hospital with M for another procedure. I hope I can watch Jonah and Daphne's soccer games all spring and not be worried that my baby is okay without me. I hope I can go to Baron's spring program without having the anxiety of wondering how M is doing. 

Because Magnus scans next month and when I don't think about it, I'm okay. But when I do, I realize just how sick it makes me feel. And I wonder how I'm going to do this for the rest of my life. Because right now I love our normal. I love studying for my crazy, hard classes. I love both of my jobs. I love the fact that I get to still be so involved in my children's lives despite all that I have going on. I am so glad that my husband loves his job. I love our "normal". I sure hope we get to stay normal forever.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Here We Go!

Well, we are driving to Disneyland! Andy and I have been planning this surprise trip for a couple months and now we are finally on our way for some much needed family time. We are currently driving through Mesquite. We spent the night in St. George and we will head to the beach to play in the waves when we arrive later today. I'm excited.

This past week was full of preparations, and trying to get my mile long to-do list finished. I was stressed to the max and cried several times in frustration. It was Valentine's Day, I was helping with Laylah's party/dance, we had to make Valentine's AND Valentine boxes, I had to finish a bunch of homework before we left, I had to do laundry, clean up the house, plus the three older kids have the science fair next week and we had to finish their projects/boards. It truly was a week from hell, all while we were trying to get ready for vacation. But we did it! We are on our way. 

I do have some studying to do while we drive. Speaking of which, I better get on that. More to come!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Christmas Festivities

 I swear Christmas just gets better and better every year. It is just so enjoyable and relaxing and fun and exciting and I love it. I never want the day to end. 

We started out Christmas Eve at my parents with a delicious dinner. We had a little program and let the kids do the nativity. Since this is my side of the family's "Christmas" we also exchanged gifts. It was just the beginning of the absolute magical excitement that fills the air at Christmas time.

The kids were all so excite about their gifts from their grandparents.

Andy and I snuck our kids downstairs to give them their Christmas jammies and so they could change.

We said goodnight to everybody and headed home. We checked out Nordic Santa Tracker while we were driving home to see where Santa was. He was already in the states, so we figured we better hurry to bed!

Once there we put out milk and cookies for Santa Claus, and all jumped around to get our excitement and wiggles out so we could go to sleep.

This is the first year that our kids had trouble sleeping because of excitement. While Andy and I were downstairs watching a movie we heard more than one kid sneak out of bed to see if Santa had come yet. We just kept giggling together and we would both readily admit that we were just as excited. 

Also, something fun that doesn't always happen is that we had a big snowstorm! It was so fun to wake up to a beautiful white Christmas.

Santa did finally make it to our house! He must have taken so long because he brought three bikes along with him. Andy, Daphne, and Baron all got new bikes from Santa Claus.

When we heard the kids around 6:30 AM, we snuck out of our room and ran into their rooms shrieking and jumping around and yelling that it was Christmas. They were so surprised they just stared at us. Then they finally realized that they could get up and head downstairs :)

Stockings first! My favorite, always.

New bikes! I still need to teach Baron to ride his...
Andy's giant-sized bike
We opened our gifts from Santa and he was so good to us. Magnus got a Leap Pad.

Jonah received his longed for Skylanders Swap Force

And Laylah got a karaoke machine with a few cd's.

I got a new laptop. Very exciting. Santa wants me to succeed in school!

Stocking stuff. My very favorite!

My 4 cute boys, all checking out the electronics first thing.

 Laylah was so excited to give me and Andy our gift. She bought it all by herself.
 She had broken our old waffle iron a few weeks before and she felt bad, so she bought us a new one!

 Cute Sadie, giving me some Christmas kisses.

 Just enjoying our morning, playing with our new toys! We had a sing-off in the middle of gift giving.

Andy and I gave all of the kids a new sleeping bag. They had tiny, old ones. These are legit, super warm bags. Now we have no excuses to not go camping, so the kids say. What have I done?!

The sibling gift exchange was my favorite. They all kept hugging each other and they were so grateful to each other. It's the best witnessing these things as a parent, am I right??

 The kids got Andy a Roku. Pretty fun :)

And here is Layah forcing Sadie into her new Christmas sweater. Haha!

Fun, new stuff!

I got Andy a canvas of our kids. He loved it, but joked it was really a gift for me. He knows me well...

After the last gift was unwrapped, all of the kids slowly dispersed to watch new movies, play with new video games and toys, or just eat a bunch of treats from their stocking.... I made our delicious, traditional brunch. Mag helped me with the eggs.


Andy and I went and watched a movie afterwards and both fell asleep. Best Christmas nap ever.

When our movie was over, we all quickly got dressed in our new duds and headed to the theater to see Big Hero 6. It was the cutest, but actually kind of sad. We all loved it. 

After the movie, we headed over to Andy's parent's house where we had Christmas dinner (kind of a random assortment of Asian food, and a roast + potatoes for people who don't like Asian food...)

For some reason, I always stop taking photos when we arrive at this point in the day. I guess maybe I am really tired by now. But we had a fun time exchanging gifts. Kids got traditional jammies made by grandma, of course.

Cousin jammie photo (missing Jenny's kids):

We kind of just hung out the rest of the night while the kids played and watched movies. It was a quiet, perfect end to a pretty perfect day.

 I love how it just gets better and better every year.

Merry Christmas...