Friday, October 22, 2010

Surprise getaway

I am such a lucky woman!!!

A few weeks ago Jared shocked me with a surprised getaway. He gave me three days notice and then off we went to New York City.

Jared had a work conference that he had to attend during the day Monday and part of the day Tuesday and had decided to take me along. I thought it was so great that he planned the whole trip and even lined up sitters for the kids.

Monday while Jared was at his conference I headed out to go and see ground zero. It was a really neat experience for me and I really enjoyed walking the block and taking some time to ponder on the events of 9/11 and the lives lost and families affected. It was really touching and I was glad to have devoted some of my day to being down there. After that I spent quite a few hours wandering around the city and shopping. It was surprisingly fun to shop on my own, take my own pace, take no extra potty or snack breaks than needed, and have to deal with no tantrums. :) Monday evening we enjoyed delicious Indian food and spent time walking around Time Square and visiting the M&M & Hersheys stores - they're quite a sight to see.
Tuesday morning was spent with more city exploration. I really am amazed when I walk through cities where you can't see anything beyond the vast see of skyscrapers. It's pretty awe inspiring and also makes me grateful for our beautiful mountains here at home. Jared joined me that afternoon and we headed out to Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty. What an inspiring site to see. I absolutely loved it and was touched as I thought about the experience that so many immigrants had coming to America and seeing Lady Liberty. So cool!
Later that afternoon we did a little shopping for the kiddos, and got ready for our incredible evening ahead. After freshening up we headed to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse - Yummy! - and then on to see Wicked on Broadway. I LOVED the show and was so touched by the music and message of the story. I highly recommend this show to anyone who hasn't yet seen it! We talked about it for days and bought the cd which we've listened to over and over again.
After the show we headed to the Empire State Building. We hadn't yet visited there because of cloud cover and storminess and were thrilled that it had cleared up. The view from the top of the building of all the city lights amazed me. It was totally worth staying up late to see that site!
Jared took Wednesday and Thursday off work so Wednesday morning we rented a car and took a drive up to Palmyra. We only had one afternoon to do Palmyra in so we started with what was most important to us - the Smith family homestead and Sacred Grove. We had such a spiritual experience together in the grove both individually and as a couple. I was so touched by my time there and will never forget the spirit that I felt there. I was also thrilled that we missed the summer crowds - it gave us a wonderful opportunity to experience the grove in total serenity and have time for meditation and prayer. The grove was also still all leafed out and thankfully dry from the previously rainy days. It was beautiful! After our time there we were also able to visit the printing press that printed the first copies of the Book of Mormon and also the Hill Cumorah. Our experiences in Palmyra, although short, made for a very precious part of our getaway.
Thursday morning after breakfast we jumped back in the car to drive on to Niagara Falls. We took the ride on the Maid of the Mist boat to get an up close view. I never realized that the falls were in a horseshoe shape - it really felt like we were in the center of an almost complete circle of falling water and was so awe inspiring. I loved it! I also loved doing the Tunnel of the Winds. After paying your fees you receive a rain poncho and the most utterly stylish sandles you've ever seen. ;) Then you take a ride down an elevator carved out of the cliff on the island between the American falls and Niagara Falls. Once at the bottom you can walk along platforms at the base of the side of the American falls. The water runs over portions of the platforms and presents an up close view of the falls which was awesome! Jared & I especially loved the "hurricane" platform. I've never felt so much force coming down from water falling - it was amazing and so much fun to do with Jared. I felt like we were back in high school just hanging out and being goofy! If you walk all the way forward to the railing on that platform, you pretty much end up under the edge of one of the falls. The force of the water was so strong that I couldn't even look up. We thought it was so much fun that we went back to that platform multiple times and braved it over and over. I was shocked at how many people opted to skip that platform. It was definitely a highlight for me. (Note: It's definitely a good idea to wear their fancy sandles and to roll up your pant legs. I still got soaked part way up my thighs even with my pants rolled up to my knees and a poncho on on top. :))
That afternoon we headed to Rochester and caught our flights home. It was a rush of a trip, but one I'll never forget. I love that Jared went to so much work to surprise me and take me somewhere I've never been before.

Thanks, Baby! I love you!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quarterly update

Well, it looks like it's time for a quarterly update again. It's been a fantastic summer and has kept us on our toes hopping from one event to another.

Here's a brief run-down of the goings on in our neck of the woods:

Our 10 year anniversary trip to Costa Rica

Jared & I spent just over a week in the beautiful country of Costa Rica to celebrate our anniversary this year. The first half was spent in an area called Arenal and the second in a beach town called Tamarindo. Both were fantastic in their own very different kind of ways.

The highlights were hiking, swimming at the base of waterfalls and in rivers, doing an awesome zipline tour, taking surfing lessons, and relaxing at the beach.

It was an incredibly relaxing vacation and some of the finest time I've ever spent with my sweetheart!

Brigham's 3rd birthday!

Brig begged for a dinosaur themed birthday party this year. He loved his dinosaur balloons and his dinosaur birthday cake and had so much fun with his cousins who came to celebrate with him that evening.

What a handsome three-year-old! We love you, Brig!

Island Park with my family

In June we headed up to Island Park for a good part of a week. It was fun to hang out together with the family. Brigham loved going on adventures with Nanny, seeing all of the animals in Yellowstone, running through some of the old towns nearby, and going fishing with Daddy.
Brigham was especially excited about this "gigantic" catch that he helped reel in. Love that look of excitement!

Badger Creek with Jared's family

We also had an awesome family reunion with Jared's family in July. We headed up to Idaho to a place called Badger Creek. We slept in cabins, did ropes courses and other activities during the day, and enjoyed games and a testimony meeting with the youth and adults.

This is Jared at the top of the "Power Pole" right before jumping off - thank heaven for good belay teams down below!
This is me at the beginning of the first fall on the "giant swing". Talk about taking your breath away.
Brigham also got in on a little of the fun up high. After TONS of begging and pleading to have a turn the counselors consented to strapping him up and having Jared swing him around for a few minutes. Brigham was in HEAVEN!

Jessa's 1st birthday!

It was amazing when Jessa's birthday came around. I can't believe that she's already one year old! She is such a doll and we loved celebrating with her. She loved her flower cake and went straight for it with her mouth - who cares about hands anyway?
Our beautiful little one year old princess!

and lots of other fun stuff like...

Camping trips and nail pounding at the ward campout,

Fourth of July fun and fireworks,

coloring in the car (this boy loves to draw!),

swimming at Nanny & Poppy's house,

flying paper airplanes with Dad,

and just hanging out in the yard.

We've had so much fun this last few months and are excited for fall, nicer temperatures, playgroup/preschool, and more good times.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

10 years!Today Jared & I celebrate ten years of marriage and I can't help
feeling like I'm the luckiest girl on the planet.

Thank you, Babe, for the best ten years and for the blessing you are in my life!

Just for fun...

Just a few of my favorite memories from the last ten years:

- Living simply the first few years of marriage
- Playing games together
- Finishing two bachelors and one masters degree
- Building our first home together
- Hiking slot canyons and bamboo forests
-Traveling through Europe together
- Learning to scuba dive and going Lobster hunting
- Becoming parents for the first time as Brig joined our family
- Camping trips, family reunions, and cabin trips
- Laughing together
- Laying out under the stars and chatting together
- Welcoming Jessa into our family
- Tickling our two little munchkins
- Traveling just the two of us to Costa Rica

I love you more than ever, Jared!
Thanks for sharing these ten years with me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jessa's big week!

It's now been a month since I should have done this post, but I didn't want to completely neglect posting about Jessa's big week last month.

We are happy to announce that as of last month, Jessa is officially ours legally and eternally! Hooray!

We had a great experience last month finalizing Jessa's adoption. The judge was great and obviously happy to be taking a pleasant case. :) It's a very cool experience to be able to speak under oath about how you feel about your child. It was a wonderful experience and we were super happy to have the legal technicalities completely behind us.

The following weekend we were able to take both of the kids to the temple. The kids looked like angels and it was such a sweet and spiritual experience! It really is such a miracle and gigantic blessing that the Lord has provided a way for us to have families eternally. I'm so grateful that we've been able to have both of our little ones sealed to us for eternity!

The following day - Valentine's Day - Jared was able to bless Jessa. He gave her such a tender blessing. Jessa's a lucky girl to have such a wonderful daddy and we're all so happy to have Jessa as part of our family.
We love you, sweet Jessa Rose!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guys vs. Gals

The other day Jared & I sat down with Brigham for a fun coloring with markers activity. We weren't planning on sharing our artistic talent with anyone so prepare yourselves for our lack thereof. These pictures just say something about the difference between a guy and a gal.

Brig's picture: (standard 2-year-old coloring)

Allyson's picture: (happy sunshiny day)

Jared's picture: (shoot 'em up by land & air scene)Hmmm? Should I be letting my husband draw stuff like this in front of our son?

I guess you've gotta appreciate yet another difference between guys and gals. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A few more cute ones...

Probably my last blog post for awhile, but I just wanted to include a few more that I love!

Jessa turned 5 months a couple weeks ago! She is getting so big (has been wearing 9 mo. clothes for awhile now), gives darling smiles, loves her big brother, and rolled over just today for the first time. Yipee! We love our little Jessa Rose!About a month or two ago Brigham started asking to wear a tie like Daddy to church. We didn't have one for him at the time, but decided we'd jump on the opportunity since he was so enthusiastic about the idea. Here's a picture of my two handsome boys all ready for church and loving their ties!And a cute picture with sister after church. . .
We get told all the time that Brigham and Jessa look so much alike. We also agree that there are a lot of similarities. Before Christmas I did a photo shoot of the kids, so that we'd have some pictures of them to use for a gift we were making for Daddy. When I picked out my two favorites and had them printed and mounted side-by-side I was again reminded how much these two little ones really look like each other.It's just another testimony to me that these sweet spirits were meant to be in our family and with each other as siblings. What a wonderful tender mercy from the Lord.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Hello, Flexi-girl!

Jessa hasn't figured out how to roll over yet, but she sure has a flexible little body and twists like crazy to try to reach whatever it is that she wants.

Hmmm. . . I wonder how that got there?!?!?!
We love the little mind of our two-year-old!

After being told that he needed his shoes and a jacket on because it was cold outside, we found him like this:
Brigham talks really well for his age (at least that's what everyone tells us). The other day he turned to me in the kitchen and here's the conversation that unfolded:

Brig: "You a princess, Mom?"
Mom: (after a short pause) "uh, yes!"
Brig: "Do a princess dance."

I happily pranced around for him while he and Jared laughed up a gut! I love this boy!

Life is GREAT with this little guy (and his sister too). He has such a fun personality and is so amazing when it comes to making people laugh.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quarterly highlights:

Since I generally blog about quarterly (though I aspire to do better, but seldom do), I thought I'd briefly review some of the highlights of the last few months.
  • Brigham's Club House: Mom and Dad made this surprise - and super extravagant ;- clubhouse one evening while the kids were asleep. The next morning Brigham was so excited to learn of this new play area and help paint and color it to his hearts content. It's amazing how exciting something as simple as a home-made cardboard play area can be! Love the simplicity of kids!

  • Halloween! We had two little indians hanging around for Halloween this year. Brigham was thrilled to dress up and totally understood the trick-or-treating part this year. It was fun to see how much he got into the holiday and all that it had to offer & Jessa was a good sport too.
  • Jessa getting bigger and interacting so much more - She's about 3 1/2 months here and looked so cute in her Sunday dress that Mom just couldn't resist taking a picture. :)
  • Festival of Trees! I was so thrilled to be able to help a dear friend with her Festival of Trees entry and then take my family to go and see how it turned out. The entry was in honor of my friends sweet baby girl, Bridget, who passed away a couple years ago. It turned out so beautiful and was a marvelous experience for me. I felt so blessed to have been included in the preparations and set up.
  • Arizona trip and family reunions. Our family headed down to Arizona for two family reunions. It was wonderful to see Grandpa and Grandma Jane again and to visit with extended family members!We stayed with Jared's cousin and his family. Brigham loved playing with his cousin, Gunner, and still talks about him often. We enjoyed hanging out with them at home, going to the zoo, and attending a Christmas party along with them.We also enjoyed following Jared's mom and dad on a walk down memory lane. They took us to visit various sites from their youth, courtship, and early marriage. We started at the Mesa temple and visited childhood homes and also their first few homes as a married couple. It was fun to hear the stories and a great experience as a family!
  • Christmas parties galore! We loved being together with both sides of our family, our friends, and our ward members while attending all the parties that the Christmas season had to offer. Of course, Santa was one of the many highlights!
  • Christmas morning was also a big hit! It's so much more fun now that we have little ones who get excited about everything. The best part was when we asked Brigham who he thought had come in the night. His response, "Jesus!" Good job, Brigham! That's the perfect response!
  • A few more highlights have included fort building with Dad, sledding with cousins, and going to Classic Fun Center to play on the bouncy toys with Grandma & Grandpa as a Christmas present to the kids.
There's the quick summary for ya'll. We'll try to post a couple other posts of funnies, etc. soon.