Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Richard

You would have been 25 today. I still remember how amazing the Christmas of 1988 was. We got a new baby brother for Christmas--born at home, nonetheless!! Now, a piece of Christmas always seems like it's missing. Every song I hear that I know you'd love, every funny thing Kyan says that I know you'd laugh over, every milestone my boys achieve, I always find myself wishing I could call you to tell you.

Richard, I know you haven't forgotten us, and we haven't forgotten you.

When I'm Gone

When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile.

Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done,
Forget that I ever had a heartache
And remember I've had loads of fun.

Forget that I have stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way.
Remember I have fought
Some hard battles and won,
Ere the close of the day,

Then forget to grieve for my going,
I would not have you sad for a day,
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay

And come in the evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west,
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.

I miss and love you with all of my heart, Richard, until we meet again.

Richard Gene Kirk 12/25/1988-7/9/2008

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December Fun 2013

I was hoping our first December in North Dakota would be a good one, and so far, it has!! Aside from the horribly cold weather, that is!

Really, I could live without the wind chill.

We decided to put up the Christmas tree the night of December 2, a perfect family home evening activity! My Christmas-loving middle child was in heaven and Jaxon was so excited he could hardly stand it!

My dad indignantly asked why I let my kids run around naked in -40 degree weather...well, it's warm inside my house...

 This is the first Christmas Jaxon has really noticed what's going on and I am loving it. My mom had labeled a few wrapped gifts to be opened when we decorated the tree, and as it turns out there were three, one for each boy. My mom is smart like that. :)

A key for Santa since we don't have a chimney.

A Christmas pickle

I love this plaque!

I wasn't paying much attention while handing out ornaments and applying hooks to those that needed them. When we ran out of items to hang, this was the result I got:

Thanks, Tucker and Jaxon. It's beautiful...but Mommy secretly evened out the result after bedtime!

Our tree 2013. Williston, North Dakota

We started a new tradition this year. The boys each received a chocolate Advent calendar. We had purchased a cute little Christmas countdown radio ornament last year from Hallmark. You turn the dial according to the date and an awesome update from the North Pole plays.

The boys pop out the daily chocolate and chomp down while the update plays.

With the lack of extracurricular activities here plus the cold weather and Pinterest, I have become a little craftier than I have claimed to be in the past. I enlisted the help of my little elves for this snowflake popsicle stick project:

Final results:

Not the straightest, but good for a first try!

Next up was the ward Christmas party. The committee went all out!! The decor was gorgeous, the Santa's workshop/crafts for the kids was super fun, the food was fabulous, and everyone had a great time!
Of course, Jaxon crashed right before dinner was served...

Cute little candy train from Santa's workshop

Enjoying his cocoa from the fab hot cocoa bar!

Tucker lives for his carb-centric diet of bread and sweets.

The only child I managed to snap a photo with Santa was Kyan. Tucker was too quick for me and Jaxon wanted nothing to do with him!

Next up was a quick trip to Minot to finish up the Christmas shopping, treat the boys to a showing of the awesome movie, Frozen, and dinner out. It was a great family day!

Jaxon was the only one who made it back from Minot awake. :)

Happy 9th anniversary to us!
December 11, 2004

We had picked up an Elf on the Shelf in Minot and I had originally planned to keep him til next year, but Kevin talked me into bringing him out on our anniversary. Tucker had been talking about the elf they have at preschool, so the boys were thrilled.

The elf has been dubbed "Pickles" in honor of our new ornament.

Pickles dyed the milk green.

He likes to chill in the Christmas tree.

Pickles needed a midnight snack!

Pickles got stuck trying to steal M&Ms!

Did he think the Keurig is a hot tub??

Pickles got thirsty for his favorite beverage...

Pickles' role model!

There is a tradition of the annual Cookie Party in my family. Usually one of the aunts makes an untold number of sugar and gingerbread cookies for everyone to decorate, and each family also brings one..or two...or six different kinds of cookies to share. The result is everyone ends up with more cookies and treats than they can handle. I love it and wanted to continue the tradition here. I have a great group of women friends who get together monthly for Make and Eat (ME) Nites. We usually make something, always eat something, and have a great time! I suggested the cookie swap for December's ME and also hosted.

Around 150 sugar cookies ready to decorate!

Clockwise: Alyssa, Emily, Carissa, Maggie, me, Nikki, and Karena

Some finished product!

Everyone brought yummy cookies and treats!

I let the boys finish decorating the leftovers and they had a ball.

One day maybe he will smile without closing his eyes...

I decided it would be cute to take the Christmas card photos the night of the ward party since the boys were going in their pjs (it was a Polar Express request.)





Loves to ham for the camera.

Overall, we have had a beautiful time as a family this holiday season. I was worried the kids would be sad without their cousins and grandparents, but I have kept them busy and tried to make these moments into lasting memories. I cannot wait to see what the next week brings us. I will never tire of experiencing the joy and magic of Christmas through my children's eyes!

Hiatt boys 2013
From our house to yours, we hope you have a truly peaceful, joyous Christmas. May we all remember the true meaning for the season:

"....And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
                   -Luke 2: 7-14

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Long Trip That Was Thanksgiving 2013

We decided to travel to our hometown of Vernal, Utah for Thanksgiving this year. We knew it would be hard to get home for Christmas due to weather, road conditions, and the many miles separating us so this seemed the best choice to get a little family time in before winter really set in. Kevin didn't get to leave the office as early as planned, so we started our 800 mile trek Tuesday night at 6 pm. The plan was to drive all night. That plan fizzled and died about 4 and 1/2 hours into a 14 hour+ trip. Kevin and I were both exhausted and Jaxon wasn't handling the car ride very well so we stopped for the night in Sheridan, Wyoming.

The boys love this hotel because it has a waterfall inside and we had stayed here previously when we were moving up to ND.

Waiting for waffles

Wondered why he climbed off his chair and hid under the table...turns out, he was filling a diaper for Mommy...
Back on the road not so early Wednesday morning, fueled with caffeine and snacks, of course!
I swear, this drive gets longer every time!!

We all found ways to occupy our time. :)
After numerous potty/snack stops, we FINALLY saw this:

First things first: hair cuts for all the boys from Kevin's brother. We met up with my brother, John, and his fiancé, Jessica, and decided on Chinese for dinner, then crashed at my in-laws.
Thanksgiving dinner was totally awesome! We convinced our parents to have one big dinner since we had driven so far. Kevin's mom hosted and my parents and brothers came along with Kevin's siblings and their kids, and a pair of sister missionaries. We had 2 turkeys, a ham, and all the requisite sides. My mom made enough pie for an army in the form of pumpkin, apple, peach, coconut cream, and chocolate cream. Of course, the only food photo I managed to snap was the homemade cranberry sauce courtesy of yours truly. :)
After the post-turkey coma, football, and games came SHOPPING!! There was only one item I was interested in--a Disney Infinity starter set for Kyan-- and, of course, Walmart had 6 of them in the game system we had--SIX!! Guess who was 7th in line?? Yep. So we settled for picking up some pjs for the boys and some video games for Kevin, and initiating Jessica into the Black Friday (or Grey Thursday, as she called it) tradition.
Friday in Vernal, Utah means Holly Days!!! My little hometown has been hosting this tradition for 10 years now. Games, rides, free movie showings, contests, a light parade, marshmallow roasting, hot cocoa, Trees for Charity...the list goes on!! It's freezing cold but I love it!
Waiting for my sis to show up with her kids!

John and Jessica with their niece and nephews.

Riding the train

Train ride

My future sis in law, Jessica; my sister, Camille; and me


Jaxon trying to stay warm with Daddy

Bounce rodeo!

Pony rides!

Tucker loved it!

Waiting for the pony ride

Horse drawn carriage rides

I dropped my phone while on the landed on the bottom-most runner and was teetering when I managed to lean far over and grab it before it became on dust on North Vernal Avenue!

My carriage ride buddy!

After two kids were reduced to tears because they could no longer feel their feet, we called it quits and decided to chill at my mom's. We brought along a great movie collection so the kids watched The Croods, Monsters University, and Turbo. We picked up cheap, yummy Little Caesar's pizza for dinner as Williston is lacking this establishment, and made some super yummy gluten-free pizza for my sis.
Ham, pineapple, and cheese; turkey, pineapple, and cheese with BBQ sauce; GF. Yum!
Hungry Hippos with Grandma

John and Jess with the kids

Story time with Grandma
Saturday we loaded up the car with little room to spare. We had some time to kill so we decided to check out Trees for Charity. You can sponsor a tree for a specific cause/charity, decorate it to the hilt, and the community walks through the beautiful display Thanksgiving weekend and votes on their favorites. The charity auction is held the following Monday and people bid on the tree they want. These were a few of my favorites:

My personal favorite

Obvious children's choice winner here!

Kids loved this one, too.

We lunched at the perennial favorite, Café Rio, with Kevin's parents, brother, and Jessica before we hit the road.
Chicken burrito, enchilada style with extra cheese, you sure hit the spot!
We said our goodbyes and took off. The roads were clear and the weather was good. Café Rio ran right through Jaxon right after it got dark and caused a major explosion. We are pulled over in somewhere Wyoming in the cold wind, trying to change the poor, shivering child and clean up the car seat. We had booked a room in advance in Casper, Wyoming, grabbed some Wendy's (another missing link in Williston), and crashed for the night.
At their most precious when they're sleeping.
We overslept slightly on Sunday so didn't get quite the early start we wanted. Final stop for food and fuel in Miles City, Montana, only 3 hours from Williston. We hit Fairview, Montana; a mere ONE hour from home when Kyan says he doesn't feel well. I ask if he needs us to pull over; no answer. Then a torrent of vomit follows. Ugh. Next time, we will be pulling over, no questions asked. He managed to aim for some blankets so we balled those up and stuffed them in the back. We proceed to the Montana-North Dakota state line before pulling over again. And again not 10 minutes later. Finally, I empty a soda cup and tell him to hold that. Then Jaxon starts grunting suspiciously. Seriously, child, you couldn't wait 17 miles to poop??!! We decide he can wait and make it to the house. We open the door and the smell of death slaps us in the face. We had found evidence of a mouse a few days before we left and set a trap. Apparently, this mouse decided to get caught the night we left and then proceed to decay. I will take the smell of poopy diapers and vomit in my small car over the dead mouse any day!
All in all, it was a great trip albeit very quick. I'm glad we went because the snow is swirling about outside as I type this. My mom loaded us up with Christmas gifts.
Now I just need to find a way to keep Jaxon from opening them until Christmas...