Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Utah Trip: Summer 2014: Fun with the Kirks!

We loaded up the car in Logan and drove down through SLC so I could drop my rings off at the jeweler for an inspection, replating, and cleaning. We pulled into my mom's and not five minutes later we heard the ice cream truck! Score!

Grandma has a small storage room off the kitchen and it's home to lots of toys. The tea set is a favorite.

The boys were happy to be there over July 24 which means parades and fireworks in Utah! We only got some sparklers but they were pretty happy with those.

My rings were super shiny and sparkly once I got them back!

Childproof cap? Could have fooled me...

Kyan decided on this trip that he was way too big for happy meals and now orders adult-sized meals when we eat out.

I am the least-accomplished seamstress on the planet. I don't even like to sew buttons back on clothing and that's fairly easy. My friend Beca was pregnant with a girl and due at the end of the summer and I was determined to make a receiving blanket....the most daring item in my sewing repertoire. It only turned out this nice because my mom was there every "stitch" of the way!

P.S. Beca said she loved it, but I think she was just being kind.

Kevin and I had been discussing trading in the Tucson for quite awhile. It was a great car, lots of upgrades, and pretty much brand-spanking new, but we were packed in like sardines, especially on long trips like these. We had researched and researched and researched some more, and we were pretty sure we wanted a GMC Yukon XL. We priced a LOT of them up here in ND but it always turned out to be more than we wanted to pay, or we wouldn't get what we needed on our trade, or it was a color we didn't want to settle on....etc. Just for fun I started browsing while I was in Vernal and found one listed at the right price. I took a test drive and just for fun I had the dealership run the numbers for me and was more than pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Kev gave me the go-ahead and I ended up with the car I had been coveting! It is older than the Tucson but still just as nice and we are MUCH more comfortable on the road.

Vernal trips always include a trip to Cafe Rio with awesome friends! I met Jenny and Beca for dinner and then we went to Beca's and chatted for a few hours. I love catching up with old friends!

Getting sick on vacations and trips: the bane of my existence. Jaxon had pneumonia in Vernal a month before, and now Tucker had strep. Again. Really?!

We spent a lot of time at mom's just playing on the trampoline, running through the sprinklers, playing games, and watching movies. It was super duper fun! After a week there, we packed up our things for the third (!) time and headed over the Kev's moms for some more fun!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jessica's Bridal Shower

My mom, sister, and I decided to throw a bridal shower for Jessica, my brother John's fiance. My mom sent out the invitations to the aunts, cousins, and grandmas and basically left the rest of the planning up to me and my sis, Cam! We settled on a "time of day" theme. My mom assigned each guest a time of day to find a gift for; 6 AM, breakfast, 12 PM, lunch, etc. So fun!

My brilliant sister suggested we have an assortment of favors instead of just one so we shopped and shopped and decided on four different items in multiples of five so guests could choose what they liked: hand soap, mini Bath and Body Works candles, cute little magnetic notepads with a pen, and trendy little glass milk jars filled with Hershey's Kisses, Hugs, and Dove Promises; perfect wedding candy! Cam and I made the tags with inexpensive little cardboard tags, Sharpies, and twine from Michael's. What I wouldn't give for a store like that in Williston...

We played a Candy Match game, a "What's in Your Purse?" game, and a questionairre about Jessica.

Game prizes.
We served a light luncheon of fresh fruit salad, homemade chicken salad on croissants, homemade brownies and lemon bars and kept the decor simple...aka...we used Mom's beautiful house and got some balloons. In retrospect, I wish I would have decorated more but oh, well.
This punch was fabulous! The recipe can be found here!

Opening the gift from me. I got 6 AM so I gave her the cutest white espresso cup set for four, a box of her favorite coffee for her Keurig, and a cute little coffee hand towel. Should have taken a pic but forgot!

My Aunt Becky, Aunt Cindy, and my cousin Chelsee

My mom assigned herself 10 PM. She gave Jessica pillows, lovely vintage pillowcases of her grandmother's and lingerie, of course!

My Grandma Huber, Aunt Cristy, my mom, Aunt Paula

That's the shower. It was a simple, fun, and light-hearted way for Jessica to meet more of John's female relatives and vice versa! Totally excited to have another sister!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Utah Trip: Summer 2014: Fun with the Huntings!

My brother John was getting married August 9, so we decided we'd load up a few weeks early and make the most of our summer and spend it with family! The boys and I would head out mid-July and Kev would join us the first of August. We hit the pavement July 17.

Our first stop was Logan, Utah to spend a few days with my sister and her family. We stopped for the night in Bozeman, Montana. Absolutely love it there!

Cool little stream on hotel property.
We checked into our room and unanimously voted for breakfast for dinner. IHOP it was! We also hit Target and did some school shopping.

I love being a mom when they're all sleeping. Just kidding. I love it all the time! They just look particularly innocent at moments like these.

Up and on the road by 8ish. Stopped at the Starbucks for a drink, and was told at the window the lady in front of my paid for my drink! She said it was "coffee karma Friday." I paid it forward and left with the feeling life is good!

Rest stop in Madison Valley, MT

I adore this route through Montana, Idaho, and northern Utah. The route we generally take to Vernal through Wyoming? Not so much! 

We pulled into Cache Valley around 3 and the party was on! Cam and the kids had the pool filled up and the kids dove right in. Cousin fun galore!
Hanna, Cameron, Kyan, Micah, Tucker, and Jaxon
Movie night! I wanna say we watched The Lego Movie, but we had a lot of movie nights.

After a yummy breakfast of fried mush and bacon, my brother in law literally begged to wash my filthy car. Ok, he didn't beg but asked. He likes to wash cars, who ever hear of such a thing?! You can bet I jumped all over that offer!
The end result! 

After the car was shiny, we went to a matinee of How to Train Your Dragon 2. We all loved it and two of us may have cried right around the middle but will remain nameless. We ran home for lunch and then made tracks for the Aquatic Center. It was super hot and the perfect day for some water fun!
Jax fell in the parking lot and and needed a dad, so Uncle Mark had to stand in.

Cam taking the kids down the waterslide.
We've hit the Aquatic Center together three years running, and it's probably one of our favorite cousin activities. Can't wait for next year when more of them can swim on their own!
Jax, Cameron, Micah, Kyan, Hanna, and Tucker

We went back to Cam's and gave everyone baths while Mark grabbed Little Caesar's pizza. We gobbled that down since we are deprived of that delicacy here in Williston; but will be getting one in January! Yippee! I think we watched Frozen or something that night. The next day was church just right around the corner from Cam's house. I was sitting in sacrament meeting and realized I didn't have my rings on and I just knew I had put them on before we left. I was super worried the band broke on my engagement ring because there's a spot on it that has thinned out quite a bit. Cam gave me the house key and I ran back to search for it. Thankfully, they were sitting on her window seat. Whew! We went back to church and Jaxon absolutely refused to go to nursery even though he totally loves it back home. Crazy kid. So we roamed the hall for a bit and then joined Cam in Relief Society. Jaxon was pretty good with my phone on silent. I happened to glance down to see he was taking selfies; so cute!

After Sunday lunch, we just kind of lounged around and the kids played. Cam and I did some bridal shower planning for the shower we were hosting for Jessica. By then, I had a massive headache so I broke out the Pepsi. Cameron walked by and very seriously asked, "Aunt Liv, why do  you have that Satan drink?" Hahaha! Because it's delicious and makes up 69.9% of my blood, that's why!

We also had some girl time with Hanna and got a manicure from the cutest manicurist in the biz!

 After dinner, we went to First Dam to feed the ducks, walk around, and play. It was so fun!

Tried to take some group photos and we could never get Jaxon to pay attention.

My sis and her hubby Mark

My water child was in heaven!

Cameron and Kyan
Cam trying to get Jax to actually look at the camera
We counted this as a success!
Rolling down the hill together
The boys were already missing their daddy, so it's a good thing we had Uncle Mark there!

Caught some boys being silly instead of getting ready for bed.

Mark had to work the next day so we fed the kids breakfast and let them play a bit. Then we braved the mall with all of them (yikes). Hanna decided she wanted her ears pierced while we were there and Cam was so sure she would change her mind in the chair but she followed through! Super cute.

We grabbed lunch at the McDonald's drive-thru and headed to the park next to the kids' school. We ate and played for awhile but the equipment was in full sun and pretty hot by then. We went back to Cam's to mix up some ice cream and put on Frozen (again) while we waited for it to freeze. Tucker was really the only one who was interested in being the special helper and he had so much fun making ice cream with Aunt Camie!

The finished product! It was so good and super rich and creamy thanks to all the heavy cream. Mmmm!

Mark came home around 4:30 or 5 so Cam and I could take off to finalize bridal shower shopping and to get some sister time. We finally decided on what the favors would be and bought the items for those. Cam found the PERFECT dress for me to wear to the wedding at Kohl's. I found the cutest gift for the shower at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for my scheduled time of 6 AM: a set of espresso cups and plates with a nifty little holder and a tea towel with a coffee theme. I miss "real" stores! After we had shopped ourselves to the max, we went to dinner at Kneader's where we saw the biggest spider ever and I made my ravenous sister wait to touch her food until after I'd taken a photo for Instagram. I'm so mean. Mark had the kids ready for bed and one of them even asleep when we got back. Thanks, Mark! We put the rest of them to bed and set about making the tags for the shower. Our cute little favors can be found in this blog post. Of course, we treated ourselves to some of the homemade ice cream. I never eat ice cream because I generally don't care for it, but this recipe was SO GOOD! Just thinking about it makes me want to whip up a batch right now.

Fresh vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries and peaches
We had a great night just talking and being silly. Cam's my only sister (that's why we're so excited to be getting Jess!) and we really miss one another!

The next morning, Cam fed my kids and let me run around town grabbing a few things at Sam's Club, DownEast Basics, and Bath and Body Works. You know, the basics! I also ran into Smith's Marketplace for a sweet deal on shoes and just had to snap this photo of milk since I paid $5.99 for a gallon not one week before. I miss Utah prices...

I packed up our stuff and jammed it into the car and then we took the kids to Pizza Pie Cafe, another Logan tradition we love. The kids adore that place and tell everyone about it every chance they get.

Our little vacations may not be fancy but we sure have a great time! There's nothing better than family, in my humble opinion. Jaxon has been asking to go to Camie's pretty much every week since we left! We went back to the house, made sure we had all our things, filled up the water bottles, told the cousins we would see them in two weeks at the wedding and made tracks for SLC to drop off my rings to be replated and cleaned. Next stop, Grandma Kirk's!