Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas festivities

It was a fairly quiet Christmas here this year. This was the "off" year for Ethan's family which meant most of the brother's and sisters were at the other side of the family for the holidays. That left us with our little family and Dwayne and Sarah, and it was intimate, and I really liked that.

For me, Christmas Eve means Mexican food. Since I'm no help with making a ham or turkey, I told Sarah I would take care of Christmas Eve dinner. But if I was going to make dinner, I wanted to go all out, which meant we needed to invite some people over to help tackle the food! We invited some of our friends, the Taggarts, from our ward over. I did chicken fajitas with all sorts of fixings, pan roasted corn, McKenzie brought over a couple different types of rice, and to top it all of, homemade white-chocolate puffcorn and caramel puffcorn. It was delicious!

After dinner, just as my family always did growing up, we did a little Christmas program that I put together, but Dwayne moderated. The kids got dressed up, and Sarah helped the little kids with the nativity during the reading. Nixon was a little young to keep interested, but the Taggarts have a 6-year-old boy, 3-year-old girl, and a little girl under 1, and they were great sports!

It was time for children to go to sleep, so we said our goodbyes and sent them off with some holiday cheer. We got Nixon ready for bed, and put him to bed, but not before we were able to read The Night Before Christmas by the tree lights.
With Nixon in bed it was time to start a new tradition we wanted to start for our family. Ethan and I made cinnamon rolls that we could enjoy the next morning. We finished up some last minute wrapping and then landed ourselves in our bed, exhausted, but ready for visions of sugar plums in our head!

Christmas morning, we were in no rush. We woke up around nine or so. Nixon was sill sleeping, so I pulled out the cinnamon rolls from the fridge to raise. We made sure the scene was set so it was perfect for Nixon when he came in.
We ended up having to wake him up. Ethan was the one to get him and I was set up with the camera to take some video. He walked through the door, and went straight to his toys.. the ones he plays with everyday (face palm). He had no interest in his stocking until I finally convinced him by pulling out a car! I had tied them altogether on one string, so the cars just kept coming!
Probably my favorite gift out of all of them.. Tickets to a Hornets basketball game!
We had a wonderful rest of our Christmas. I love that we're always reminded how blessed we are and how grateful we are to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year was intimate, but was great as always. No family came into town so it was Ethan's parents, Jessica and Eric, and us. We all pitched in for dinner and it was a success! Eric was in charge of the turkey this year, and it was probably the first time I've ever liked the turkey! The flavor was great, and it was not dry at all. I was in charge of the rolls and they were well loved by everyone! I was also in charge of the finger Jell-O and vegetables.

After dinner, we enjoyed the beautiful weather.
We have a ridiculous amount of leaves that fall here.
Little miss Ruby
My favorite person, whom I love dearly.
Pa is definitely their favorite person.
We were throwing leaves and letting the boys play, and I think we captured some true joy in these boys!
I love Thanksgiving and for the spirit of gratitude it brings with it. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is decided what I'm most grateful for. This year I've decided it's my relationship I have with my Heavenly Father, who knows me and understands exactly what I need, and is always there to comfort me when I need it the most. And of course, I'm always thankful for my little family. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Moncks Corner, South Carolina

We took a weekend trip down to the outskirts of Moncks Corner to see Ethan's grandma. I had never been down there before, so I was excited to see how much of the boonies it really is. Every time I've heard stories about this place, I envision living in the middle of nowhere surrounded by swamps and gators. I was right in thinking it was the middle of nowhere, and there were some swampy areas nearby, but I never did see any gators.

We got in pretty on Friday night and left after church, so the only full day we had to do anything was on Saturday, so we made sure to pack it full. We started off by going to Dwayne's cousin Mark's house. We shot some guns, saw some horses, and Nixon had a grand ole' time having land as far as he could see to run around and push his little car.
I think he may have been most excited about getting on a real horse. In fact he was so excited, he was mad when we tried to get him off.
He wasn't even coerced into giving the horse hugs and loves.
On our way home, we stopped by the Francis Marion National Forest and saw a natural flowing well. Dwayne said it has been running for as long as he can remember. You can literally drink right from it and it's great!

We also made our way to Mepkin Abbey. It's a Roman Catholic monastery and the area is beautiful! People hold weddings there, families take pictures there and others come to enjoy the carvings there. This is the driveway in. These trees are some of my favorite things here in the south.
This carving is of Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. All of it was done with a chainsaw. Isn't it incredible? 
We decided to get a couple pictures as well. Four generations: Eunice, Dwayne, Ethan, Nixon
The lighting was beautiful! I could have took pictures there forever!
We had such a great time in South Carolina, and I hope to be able to go again!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Park date

There are some awesome little parks around our area, so we took one afternoon and took Nixon out to play at the park. He LOVED it! His favorite part? Throwing the acorns into the water. We literally had to pull him away from the water.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A sweet moment

Last night Nixon was having a hard time going to sleep. I was at a choir practice and didn't get home until after Ethan had put Nixon down. I decided to go in and sing to him for a couple minutes. He wasn't calming down like he usually does, so I decided to climb into his crib with him to cuddle him. He settled a bit, but was still a little fussy. I took my finger to try and feel around for his molars to see if maybe one was coming through, (he had been gnawing on his fingers most of the night). All of a sudden, he started sucking on my finger, like he used to do when he was a baby. But he realized if he just barely sucked on it and then pulled it out, it made a funny suction sound. He would start giggling, then I would start. He'd do it again, giggle even harder and louder, which made me laugh even more. This went on for a good 5 minutes, and I soaked up every second I spent with him. I know these moments will get fewer and further between, and I want to make sure that I take them all in, because these are kind of moments that remind me why I love being a mother.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

18 Months

Nixon is 18 months, which is a big deal for us!
Those who don't know, in our church, 18 months old is when kids can finally go to the nursery for the second and third hour! He had a rough start, but he made it through without having the nursery leaders bring him to me. That's a success in my book!
At 18 months, Nixon is becoming more and more independent. He get more silly all the time, and it quite the ham. If he can get an audience to watch, he's happy to perform. He had a check-up, which means we have some new stats. He made quite a jump in height and head circumference. We've just come to the conclusion that we'll probably have a tall boy on our hands.

Here are his stats:
Height: 33.5 in (84th percentile)
Weight: 25 lbs (62nd percentile)
Head circumference: 48 cm (68th percentile)

He says a few more words: Bye (he LOVES to say bye with an adorable little wave), shoes, cheeks and I'm sure a few more I can't think of right now. He also knows the actions to Books of Mormon Stories, Popcorn Popping, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. He favorite songs, the ones we sing while he's in his crib every night, are Que Sera and Nixon Hardy, (a song my mom made up for me when I was little (Kaytlin Hannah), but have substituted his name since we have the same syllables. He loves cars and the Mavel Little People that we have. He still loves Curious George, and still gives the best kisses in the world.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Birthday weekend in Florida

I was blessed enough to be able to go on an AMAZING trip over my birthday weekend. About a week before my birthday, my friend Rylee asked what I was doing the following weekend. At that point she didn't know it was my birthday. I told her I didn't really have any plans, but that it was my birthday. She informed me that she was planning a weekend down to her parents house in Florida to visit her mom while her dad was out of town. Instantly I was on board, but I had to work out a few details like, if it was even possible, and what would I do with my child for 5 days? The stars aligned, and I was able to spend a quiet, beach filled, trip with one of my best friends and it was the best gift I could ever get!

We drove down Thursday morning. The drive seem to blow by, and before we knew it, we were in sunny Florida! I'll let the pictures do most of the talking, because I am not kidding when I say we literally spent our time on the beach or hanging out at the house. Just for memory's sake, we did happen to watch the movie The Longest Ride 3 times.. That has to be a record right?
On Saturday, my actual birthday, I woke up to these beauties. I'm pretty sure the last time I got balloons on my birthday was in high school, so it was kind of fun to have them again!
We also went to the beach for a few hours to tan and do a little boogie boarding (which we didn't get any pictures of.. of course..) But we did get some jumping pictures!
Rylee's mom is seriously one of the cutest ladies. I seriously hope that not my last time hanging out with her. (Please excuse the belly shots!)
We also went down to St. Augustine like we did on our last trip down. We ate at a pizza place called Pizza Time, which is the #2 pizza restaurant in the country. Not gonna lie, it was pretty good, but I don't know if I could say it's the #2 in the country. There was however, an amazing gelato place connected to Pizza Time that I would say is in my top 5 of gelato places. We stopped by the fort in St. Augustine and looked out on the water. It was beautiful, especially at sunset. 
Sunday we went to church and then drove around Rylee's parent's neighborhood. It's a fairly new area, so there's not a whole lot developed yet, but by the looks of all the development in progress, it's going to be huge!
Monday morning, it was back to the beach for the last time. We soaked up as much sun as we possible could. 
 We even created our own hashtag on Instagram for our trip- #kaytlinandryleetakeflorida
The time came for us to leave, but I left with such a grateful heart for an amazing husband and mother-in-law who made it possible for me to go on this trip sans toddler, and for one of the best friends a girl could ask for who made the trip perfect.