Gotcha Day

We celebrated Gotcha Day last week & this has become one of my favorite traditions that we've started. I love having a day where we celebrate being sealed to our family & we talk to the kids about those special days & all of the things that happened. This year at bedtime I read Ruby & Noah the journal entries I wrote about that day & I'm so glad I have that because I want to be able to remember all the little details & share it with them. As I did, a flood of so many good memories came back to me & I'm reminded all over again what a blessing it is to have these two in our lives. The kids anticipate this day & I can tell they feel special as we celebrate them & their adoptions.

This year for their gift I got them a little craft kit that had various science experiments in them. They're super interested in volcanoes lately so that was definitely their favorite one.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
This year we went to the Mesa Temple where we were sealed to Ruby. The kids call the temples they were sealed in "my temple" & I love that. The Mesa Temple grounds in March just can't be beat. It smells incredible with all the flowers everywhere & the kids loved running around & exploring. We spent the evening in downtown Mesa at our favorite Mexican food restaurant & then got dessert on the way home. This day fills me up with gratitude & always has a way of reminding me that it really is a wonderful life.



California!

We've been planning a trip to Disneyland for a while now & the kids have been so excited to go. We stopped off first at Newport Beach & the kids were in heaven - Noah running & jumping in the sand, & Ruby collecting as many seashells as she could hold & looking for mermaids. This was the first time both of them really loved the beach & seemed to embrace the sand so it was so much fun. We spent a few hours playing & exploring before driving to our hotel. I love to take our kids on vacation anywhere because they think staying in a hotel is the funnest thing. I remember feeling the same way as a kid, &  I love getting to experience it again through their eyes. The hotel didn't have a bathtub, so they took their first shower & they were laughing & screaming & loving every minute of it. I seriously think we could've just booked a hotel with a shower & they would've thought it was the best trip ever.

 
 
 
 
Noah got a hold of my camera for this one.  
 
 
 The much anticipated castle! They didn't really get what Disneyland was, but they knew there was a castle & knew they wanted to go in it.
 
Ruby loved the teacups. And because I'm a team player, I went on them with her.  
 
I can't even look at this picture without laughing! Tyler got fast passes for Splash Mountain & had the idea to not tell Ruby what it was but just take her on it & hopefully she would love it. As soon as we got in line she asked what the name of the ride was. When I told her Splash Mountain she said, "Why is this called Splash Mountain? I don't want to get wet!" I tried to change the subject & as soon as it was our turn, we just put her in the log before she could protest too much. After the first dip Ruby was screaming at the top of her lungs saying that she wanted to get off. I don't know why, but I could not stop laughing the entire time. She was terrified & hated every minute & that final dip just about did her in. But the first thing she told her preschool class when we got back home was, "I went on Splash Mountain!" Pretty sure it'll be a long time before we ever get her on it again but she's pretty proud of herself.
 
California Adventure! Poor Noah was sick on this trip but was such a good sport. Tyler ended up taking him back to the hotel early on our first day at Disney, but thankfully day two he was feeling a little better. He was most excited to see all the Star Wars stuff & got a light saber & is obsessed with it.
 


 
 
The kids were so excited to have lunch with the princesses at Ariel's Grotto. The kids got to meet & talk with the princesses & it was pretty awesome. Noah was really into hugging them & then we would sometimes have to remind him to let go...heaven help me!!
 

 
 
  
 
Tyler's parents came with us which was so much fun!  
 
 I'd never been to Disneyland before & I kind of thought it would be totally overrated, but I actually loved it so much. The kids were so in awe of everything & it was so fun watching them enjoy it all. Ruby kept saying things like, "This is amazing!" &, "I can't believe my eyes!" It was pretty magical. On the drive home Noah said, "Thanks for taking us on that fun vacation. This was the best trip ever!" And that alone made it all so worth it.

Catch Up

It's already over a month into the new year & I'm always grateful for a fresh start. I'm excited for 2017 & all that it will bring. Ruby will be starting kindergarten & Noah seems to follow all too quickly in her footsteps. I know I'll blink & I'm going to have 2 kids in elementary school. This has been on my mind so much lately & has inevitably made our days together all the more precious to me. I love getting to be a mom to these two & I know I'll always look back on these days when I had them all to myself as some of the very best days.
I took this picture before Noah's legs grew seemingly overnight & he could finally pedal his "big boy bike" with training wheels. I used to refer to him as Peter Pan because he wanted to stay little forever & would get so offended if I called him a big boy. But now he rides up & down our street on his big bike & he can't help but smile because he's so proud of himself. He tells me, "I'm a big boy, mom" all the time now.
 

Tyler taught Ruby some knock-knock jokes & she basically thinks it's the most hilarious thing ever. She loves to tell them to anyone who will listen & she's gotten really good at her timing. She & Tyler will go back & forth telling knock-knock jokes & then laughing hysterically (so loud). It's pretty funny, & then sometimes I just sneak up to my bedroom & breathe in the silence for a few minutes. I do love her little sense of humor.
 
Cousins! This is from a fun camping trip that we took together & it's always so fun to get these 3 together & watch as they play so well & just love each other. Only wish they didn't live so far away.
 
That face! Noah is still into taking pictures & will grab my camera any chance he gets. He's getting better! 
 
Obsessed with his dad. Noah adores Tyler & wants to do anything he's doing. They love to talk about all the backpacking & mountain biking they're going to do when Noah gets older. And Noah loves to pretend to "go to work" like daddy.
 
Ruby has learned so much this year in Pre-K. I love this little focused face she always has when she works on her homework. She's writing so well & learning to read & it's all just really fun to get to watch. She's a little mama to Noah & is the biggest help to me. 5 year olds are awesome.  
 


 Angel face. This boy is definitely a harder 3 year old than 2 year old. With that being said, he's still really mild as far as toddlers go. He's wanting to be more independent, potty-trained in 24 hours (that's what happens when you put it off foreverrr), loves preschool, & recently when he was throwing a fit told me, "I just want to do whatever I want, mom!" And then last Sunday in the middle of Sacrament meeting he whispered in my ear, "I love you sweet girl. You're an angel." Which almost makes me want to let him do whatever he wants. Almost.

Christmas

December 2016 was one for the books. It was a rough month & I have never been so sick in all my life. Enough trips to the ER to last a lifetime. I spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve in the Urgent Care with Noah who had strep throat, & then at 2:30 am on Christmas morning Ruby started throwing up. Life is like that sometimes - the hard coming all at once. But we survived, & in spite of all that was going on, it was still a really wonderful Christmas with much to be thankful for. Holidays are simply the best with little kids & Christmas just can't be topped. I love the anticipation & the excitement & getting to see the joy my children experience.
Our annual nativity - Ruby always takes her role as Mary so seriously.
 
Noah was insistent that he be the angel this year & he was so serious about his part. He must have sung "Glory to God" a thousand times that night. I love the way kids are naturally so interested in the story of Christ's birth.
 
Christmas Eve! They got to open their jammies that their elf brings them every year & then we let them open their gifts to each other as well. It was so cute to see them so excited about giving to each other & so pleased with the presents they had picked.
 
Christmas morning!
 
Noah's smile makes me laugh in this picture. It was the best I could get & all he wanted to do was open that big present behind him. It was his train table & he couldn't have been more excited to open it.
 
Ruby was thrilled with her dollhouse. This turned out to be the biggest labor of love. I thought I had got an amazing deal on it & when Tyler & I took it out of the box 2 weeks before Christmas we just about died - everything had to be painted & assembled - I'm talking every single one of those shingles on the roof had to be painted & glued on one at a time. My little brother saved the day & put in a ton of time on it while I was so sick. I'm just glad the paint dried in time to wrap it!
 
Ruby especially got into the spirit of giving gifts this year & had a present for everyone. It was mostly various toys & jewelry that she had taken out of her room & stuffed in bags & then somehow mysteriously ended up back in her room after Christmas was over. But it was a really cute start & she was so proud of herself & everyone's reactions. And I loved how she came up with the idea entirely on her own - she's always so thoughtful. 
 
Noah playing with some of his trains - this boy could not have been more fun this year at Christmas. He was so into all of it & especially loved waking up each morning & running downstairs to see where the elf was hiding. And he had endless questions about baby Jesus, & angels, & Santa & reindeer etc. etc.


Sunday

 
 

Feeling grateful for the Sabbath day & for these people that I get to spend it with. I've been in need of some rest, renewal, & refuge & church today was just that for me. I'm grateful to have a place to go each week that feeds my spirit & reminds me of eternal truths. And grateful that my children are being given that gift at such a young age. I love that Sunday is a day of the week where life slows down & it feels different from the rest of the week. 
 

"Keeping the Sabbath day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life."
- Quentin L. Cook
 
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