Monday, July 27, 2015

Kaylee's latest skills

Kaylee is changing daily it seems!

I love to see both Kaylee and Isabelle as they grow and change.
You can practically see their little minds working all the time 
and it's so amazing.

She figured out how to open the toy cupboard in my family room.

She was pretty proud of herself and can now pull out all kinds of things for entertainment.
No need to rely on Isabelle sharing...haha

Lately when I go into the apartment
she comes crawling out from wherever she is playing and gives me a big smile.
Sometimes I am just there to bring Isabelle home
or give Amber her mail
and I feel so guilty to for leaving when she seems so happy to see me.

She has also figured out climbing the stairs.

Kaylee isn't walking yet and has some trouble getting up onto her feet still...
but she isn't letting that stop her.
When she climbs the stairs she actually uses her face/head to steady herself before pulling up to the next step.
It looks kind of painful but she makes it work.
And it's so darn cute to see how determined she is!

I am still trying to capture it on video...
Whenever I try, she is distracted by me and doesn't want to go up the stairs anymore.

This morning I was working in the garden and Amber had to help someone carry something out of her apartment
so Isabelle followed her, of course.
And right behind them both was little Kaylee...
I could hear her struggling so I looked down the staircase that leads to the apartment
and there she was climbing the concrete stairs!
Yes, using her face/head!

I went down and saved her from a scratched up noggin
(which she seemed happy about)

She's really a cute and happy girl!

Escape Artist

Isabelle can open the doors now.
So she can escape the apartment and come see me whenever she wants 
(if mom forgets to lock the door)
But she can also escape the house, which has been a problem recently.

She has always loved to come and play in the front room of my house...
she hides behind the curtains,
she opens the drawers of the side tables and arranges the coasters all around the room.
She plays with toys on the coffee table.
We have gotten used to this, so when she goes in the front room we don't think much about it.

A week or so ago I was driving home from a doctor appointment
when I saw Isabelle walking along the sidewalk, pushing her stroller...
by herself.
I pulled over, of course, and put her in the car.
She was perfectly happy going on her walk but was happy to see Grandma drive up.
When I got home I told Amber and Branden where I found her.
They were horrified, of course, but Amber said "I asked Carter to watch her while I packed"
So I told Carter what happened...
"I asked Ryan to watch her while I showered"
So I told Ryan what happened...
"Was I supposed to be watching her?"

Oh geez.

Luckily she was safe but Amber now knows that she can't trust any of us!

Yesterday I was in the kitchen and she went in the front room.
A minute or two later (very short amount of time)
I asked Frank to just check on her...
She had opened the front door and gone outside
and then shut the door behind her.
Frank said, "She's outside knocking on the door!"
I have got to remember to lock that deadbolt.

Later she managed to get out through the garage door...
but this time I was right behind her
and I knew the garage doors were shut.
She still wandered around in there and asked if she could go for a ride in Grandma's car.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Larson Cup and family happiness abounds

*all photos taken by Dion Davidson, photographer extraordinaire *

Today was our annual family reunion/triathlon!
Yes, my family has a triathlon every year, just for fun.

I have only participated twice since I lived clear across the country.
But now that I'm in Utah I don't have an excuse for not participating
(except my lack of physical fitness...which my family doesn't consider to be a valid excuse)

So I formed a team with Amber and Branden.
I knew I couldn't do the whole year, though, I will.
I failed to do any preparation.
I went swimming a total of two times in advance.

Then at the last minute, Branden couldn't go.
So I had to swim AND bike.

I did the swim and it was very tiring.
(note to self: prepare a little next year)
And then I did the first lap, of four, of the bike ride...
and called it a day.
As I went up the big hill, my heart rate was so high that I started seeing spots.
I figured that was a bad sign and that I should probably just call it a day.
I finished that lap but that was it for me.

I'm ok with it considering my lack of preparation.

It was a really fun day overall though.

We call the event "The Larson Cup"
but the full name is the "Anthony Larson Cup" because my cousin Anthony ALWAYS wins the event.
So we named it after him and then whoever comes in second to him is the one who wins the prize.
Seems kind of unfair I realize but somehow it works.
He has been undefeated in 12 consecutive years...
until this year.

Here's Anthony afterwards giving out the prizes.

Here are some pictures from today's event:

First, there is an event for kids.
Here is my adorable niece Kate.

Amber and I were a team.
Before the event, we were feeling confident.

Jenna, another cute niece.

My Uncle David (shown here along with some other family members) 
is awesome and always keeps time for everyone

Beth gets out after her swim and Amber cheers her on.

Cute running nephews.

Ryan starting his bike ride 

Here I am (doing the backstroke at that moment) trying to catch up with Dallin.
My cousin, Delos, on my right, started grabbing my leg to hold me back.

This is my cousin James.
He always does the entire event with a backpack full of red vines.
This year it was twizzlers...which are way heavier!
but he still finished.

Me on my bike

the course has one crazy hill...the one that almost killed me.

Here I am cheering people on after I finished.

My cousin Chad came all the way from Texas!

Dallin (my brother David's son) and Anthony were neck and neck!
It was so exciting.
Here Dallin is in front (shirtless) and Anthony is right behind.

Amber doing the run for our team
She's so cute.

Here is our winner this year!
I wish I had a more exciting picture...he had just gone through the winners tape and is looking kid of introspective. haha!

Ryan finishing

James finishes with a mouthful of twizzlers, of course.

Afterwards there is a big family lunch and prizes.

The winner gets his name on this awesome winners belt! haha! I love it.
This year the winners also got cool embroidered towels.

Male and Female winners pose with their belts.
Note that both winners are from the younger generation...
The female winner was Anthony's daughter, Emma!

And the whole crowd after lunch.

My family is awesome.
It was a great day together.

We missed my sister Doneen and her family
(and last years winner, my niece, Jaime)
but they were in California for a very good reason...

Her daughter, Chelsie, got married today!!

Family Happiness.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fourth of July weekend

We had a fun filled weekend, with lots of guests here.
Frank's parents were visiting all week
and our niece, Emily, came down from Idaho on a whim on Friday.

Thursday night we were out running some errands and Amber mentioned that she and her siblings were meeting at the "Food Truck Roundup" in Provo.
We were nearby so we went there for dinner.

It really isn't the perfect place to take your 80-something-year-old parents...
but they were good sports about it.

We might have to go back and do it again sometime!

Friday my bestest friend Polly came by with her kids just to visit me.
She hasn't changed a bit and her beauty makes me want to smack her...
but lucky for her she is super nice and funny as well as beautiful, so we get to stay friends.

her kids are also adorable.

I've been spending lots of time everyday with Isabelle.
Just hanging out.
swinging, going for walks, emptying the dishwasher (she is really go at sorting the silverware),
and eating food her mom probably wouldn't give her.
(Grandma's prerogative, right?)

Frank and I had fun swinging with both Isabelle and Kaylee.

My niece Emily got a ride to our house for the holiday weekend which was awesome!
She had to sleep on the couch but she didn't seem to mind.
I'm hoping she (and her sister Hannah) come back soon!

On the fourth, we went to a family barbecue in Provo.
I had no idea we had so many Hill relatives living around here!

Here you can see Emily, Grandma Janice, Grandaddy Frank and Carter at the barbecue.

Isabelle and Kaylee sort of enjoyed it.  
Kaylee had a bad rash and didn't seem to feel well.
But we made sure to get some pictures of them in their Fourth of July outfits.

I saw this "patriotic potato salad" on Facebook and decided to make it for the family bbq.
It turned out pretty darn good.
(I did use store-bought potato salad because it was a last minute decision to make this)

And since we weren't busy enough with several house guests and visitors and barbecues to attend,
we also started a construction project in the house!

They came on the 3rd and tore out the wall where the downstairs laundry is...
we are turning it around to face into the apartment so that the future renters don't have to come into our house to do their laundry.
It wasn't a big deal when the renters were our kids but we figure in the future we will want the apartment to be totally separate.

Here is Isabelle just being cute as we played in the backyard one day...

She's recently decided that slides are fun.
She liked them before but wanted someone to hold her (on big ones) or hold her hand (on little ones).
Now she just goes down all by herself.

Everyday she seems older to me.
Amber and I regularly comment on it.
She's a kid now...not a toddler.
It's amazing and wonderful and sad all at once.

On the night of the fourth we opted to stay local rather than brave the traffic to go to a real show.
We walked to a local park and watched all of the neighbors who were shooting off all kinds of amazing fireworks.
It was way better than we expected.

Sunday, before his parents left, Frank made a cherry pie.
His mom couldn't leave without trying some of his famous cherry pie.

It was, as usual, delicious.

I forgot to get a picture of the finished pie.

Then our guests all left and we were alone again.
But it was a super fun week and weekend.

We like that we get more visitors here in Utah than we did in Mass.
Frank figures that we are the "fun" house now since we have Amber, Branden, Ryan and Carter here...along with the grandkids.
Soon enough, Branden and Amber will move.  Ryan will want to move out (he says it will be so boring here once they leave), and Carter will graduate and leave.
Then we will be the "boring" or possibly "old folks" house.
That will be a sad day.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Night Night

Amber (talking to Isabelle): Say night night
Grandma (me): Night Night Isabelle, I love you!
Isabelle: Night Night!
Amber: Say "night night, I love you"...
Isabelle: Night Night
Amber: Say "I love you"
Isabelle: Night Night (hides her face)


Friday, July 3, 2015


It's been a crazy week here.
Good but crazy.

And today was the craziest of all.
Let's list the things happening at my house today:

1. I have a horrible cold/sore throat/ear ache. 
I know this isn't an "event" but it sort of affects how well I handle mayhem.

2. A contractor is coming today to begin work we are having done on the basement apartment

3. My in-laws are here visiting.  
They are staying in the "guest" room upstairs.  Ryan usually uses this room.

4. Ryan is sleeping in the family room in the basement.
(right by where the contractor will be working)

5.  Amber and Branden have had to rearrange their whole apartment because of the work being done.
They are sleeping in their living room and a lot of their stuff is in our basement family room.

6.  Today, two nieces and one boyfriend are coming to stay for a couple of days.
Boyfriend will share messy crowded basement family room with Ryan.
Girls will sleep in living room upstairs.

7. My bestest buddy Polly is stopping by to visit since she's in Utah.
She'll only be here a couple of hours to visit...she's coming here since I'm sick...trying to make it easy for me.  She will have her 6 kids, ranging in age from late teen to baby.

8. My sister Danielle is still in town.  
I haven't done much with her because I've been sick.  But today we are going to get together and do something! So she'll be coming over at some point.

9. Tomorrow is the 4th of July and we are invited to a family barbecue.
So today I have to make a salad