Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MaryKate's 3rd Birthday

  For over 6 months our little lady has been counting down the days for this spectacular day... and what a fun, great day it was! Following family tradition, we woke her up with breakfast in bed (which she thinks is sooo funny). Her birthday party was on Saturday a few days before, so here real birthday was filled with just family presents & family fun. We went to Jungle Jim Playland for dinner and had pizza & let her ride 3 rides. She also had so much fun climbing around in a free little play castle. That was what she says was the highlight of her day. Isn't it funny how the free things are always the best?! I love that.

Her birthday party was Minnie Mouse themed and 10 of her best friends came. She loves anything pink with polkadots, but for the boys who came we had plain Mickey ears and green Polk-a-dot bow ties. For those old schoolers out there, Minnie is now pink, not red. (Sad, I agree.) I sewed her a birthday Minnie dress that is generic enough that I think it will work for church as well. I made a dozen mouse ears for $3 and a Minnie pinata for 75 cents. I also made/painted Toodles from Mickey Mouse clubhouse out of a pizza box to help the kids on a hunt for the pinata. The Mouse-ka-tools helped them with each step of the treasure hunt. It was a hit. The pinata I made was a little too tough and took a lot of beating to break. But maybe it was because they are 3 years old. Then we had cake, Minnie/Mickey oreo pops, and ice cream & then opened presents. Lastly we played with the parachute & balloons and did the "Hotdog dance".

It was a ton of fun. I always say I am going to keep it simple and it grows into something a little bigger than simple. But I will say it was very cheap and was a lot of good memories. MaryKate's smile was worth the work & in her words as we delivering what I thought to be too many invitations, she said, "Mom, it is important to have lots of nice friends and to share." I agree. I am thankful for all our nice friends and for MaryKate today. She has brought us so much joy. We love you Miss MaryKate!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Europe Trip 2012


Here is a link to a photobook James made me for my birthday. I thought it was a great way for us to share our experiences with everyone.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Yes! We did it. We moved this summer and we are all healthy and well! No more allergies to the house and after some blood, sweat, and tears (literally) it is shaping up to be pretty nice inside and out. What we love the most is having a yard & grass! Definitely a step up from our apt above the dry cleaners. Now time for some before & after shots.
(no fence...other than that little wooden panel on the left... wind blew it all down)
 (Yes.. James is my hero! He put up that vinyl fence all by himself, with a little help from Ryan on the posts)
So now the girls can do a whole lot of this:
 Playing in the backyard is AMAZING! Especially since I am able to look out the kitchen window and watch them while I cook. Love that. 
Amy & I saw this house on one of our morning runs. We looked inside & saw piles of trash, dust & ripped up flooring.I said I would never want to live there. And here we are. There is now our here! And we are happy here... well for the most part. MaryKate still asks if she can go home to her real home, but before she knows it this will feel like home as well.
If you ever need some home improvement help or a fence put up, I know a guy. He may need to be coaxed with cookies, cheesecake, and tomato basil soup.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grace's 1st Birthday!

Little Miss Grace Gardner is officially 1 year old. We had a little Elmo party with her cousins. She doesn't love to watch much of anything... but Elmo. He's the only happy, silly thing that grabs her attention on the screen. So it wasn't much but I made an Elmo dress & cupcakes for the occasion. She is such a delight and loved her balloons, cupcake, and cousins.
She is usually always smiling and laughing and has brought so much joy to our family in the past year. She walks like a champ and goes up and down stairs without a problem. (thankfully!) She loves MK, even with all the lumps she gets from her. They finally are getting to a fun stage where they go off and play together. I love to hear their laughter coming from upstairs. She loves to explore and eat fruit & meat... (not so keen on the carbs. Crazy, I know!) She also is starting to show interest in reading and shoes. Talking isn't her strong point yet. She says: Dada, UhOh!, Look, That, Ruff-Ruff, milk(ilk), shoes, and maybe mama (maaaaaaa). We love Grace & hope she never stops lighting up a room and melting the hearts of everyone she meets. She has an infectious gift.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Long Time No See!

Well friends the Gardner family is still alive and well! I am so sorry that we have not posted in ages... over 5 months to be exact. Blogging is officially much harder with 2 kids. How people do it with a whole gaggle of kids is beyond me! Good job to those who do.

So much has happened since I've last blogged that I'm not exactly sure where to start. Here are the Top 10 milestones or events in our lives:
1- James finished his internship at the U of U hospital and loved working in an outpatient setting.
2- I was called serve in YoungWomen's at church and love the girls!
3- I went with my 3 sisters to San Francisco for our first ever Sister's Trip... we had a blast!
4- James & I went to Paris, London, and Italy for 14 days while the girls stayed with family in AZ. It was beautiful and the best part was being with James. It was the best & longest date we have ever been on & being back in Italy was a dream come true.
5- James graduated from grad school & his parents came to be there for the big day! It was so good to have them in town.
6-We successfully planned & organized his "Pinning Ceremony" which is his responsibility as Class President. It was alot of work... almost like planning a wedding reception all over again.
7-James passed his certification exam and is now officially a licsenced occupational therapist. He took a job offer at the U of U hospital as a Assisted Technology Specialist. He loves it.
8- My Grandma Phyllis Larson passed away in May and it was a lovely funeral and best off all a blast to be with my family and extended family to celebrate her life. We had a pool party & BBQ in honor of her. I now wash my dishes immediately after each meal in honor of her. (a big accomplishment for me)
9- Grace took her first steps and is walking more and more each day!10 months ... just like MK was.
10- We are moving into a new house that we found for rent here in SLC just a few blocks from our apt. It has a huge yard, trees, 3 bedrooms, driveways, storage shed, washer & dryer, dishwasher, and best of all no steps or dangerous buisness parking lot below it... but there is one little problem.

The reason why I have time to blog today is because I am sitting in a hospital room watching MaryKate, who is hooked to monitors and oxygen. Why you may ask? Because she is allergic to that new house that we are supposed to move into in 3 days! Yep. Awesome Larson genetics! We seriously don't know what to do. Friends are scheduled to move into our apt this month... so what do we do? I will keep you posted. It will all work out in the end. There has to be a solution.

Before I close I want to show you a little movie I made for James for Fathers Day. He really is the best dad ever and knows just how to calm the drama in a house of 3 girls and love us in just the right way. So this is just a little shout out to him. I love you babe. Thank you for all your love and hard work.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gracie Girl!

After skimming over our past posts and pondering how much I blogged about MaryKate over her 2 year lifespan compared to Grace, I have come to the conclusion that she is already being neglected! Ahh! How does this happen when I swore as the 6th child with only 5 baby pictures that I would never do that to my own kids?! Well, this post is all about you, Gracie Girl and only you!

Grace is 5 months & 20 days old and is sooo much fun! She is all smiles... except when something is truly bothering her,
in which case she screams like someone is sawing off her limb with a butter knife.

She loves to:

Jump in her jumper. She was born active! She has no desire to be strapped into a swing like MK did. She wants to be jumping, standing, rolling, & moving.

She also lovers her bouncing exersaucer, especially if Big Sissy will come and play with her while she's in it. I tried to stop MK from climbing on it and bothering her, but I realized how happy it makes Grace to have her playing with her that I no longer intervene.

Grace also loves her kick toy... endless fun. Why don't they make these things for adults? I might burn some calories if they did.

She loves bath time, especially if she gets to take it with MK. Are you noticing a theme? They play so well together! This is a picture of their first bath together over New Years and MK insisted that I should leave them alone so they could have fun without me... umm, No!

Grace loves to giggle. She loved her uncle Todd and cousins Evan & Maddie

She also loves reading. If you recall MK's reading movie when she was an infant, she was crazy about reading too. They both seem to have this passion for books in common.

James' 2 sisters had baby boys right close in age to Grace. All 3 babies look much more like their dads than their moms so we thought it was appropriate to take a Daddy picture. We hope Jasper, Sam, and Grace all become close friends.

MaryKate's Merry Magical Christmas

MK realized that she could see herself in the glass ornaments. Oh, what joy that brought! When I first put up the tree she tried to blow on every light to extinguish them like candles... Moments later she turned to me with deep concern in her face & said, "Oh, no Santa's going to swipe our tree!" (Yes, we've watched alot of Dora & she thought Santa sounded alot like Swiper). She grew so attached to the tree that she cried real tears when I took it down.

Santa brought Dora stuff! Toothpaste in the stocking made her so happy and it made Mommy & Daddy happy. Less candy and better oral hygiene!

Other than Dora all she wanted was a puppy... a small stuffed one like her friend has. He's so soft & barks/pants. After visiting James' sister Dawn, Puppy is now named Molly after their dog that she loved so much. She sobbed when we had to say bye to Molly. So MK named her puppy Molly in her memory.

Of course no Christmas is complete thus far for MK without Elmo. This year she got a TMX Elmo that walks and does tricks... thanks to a $3 garage sale find.

And last but certainly not least, MK got a little Cinderella makeup bag with "lipstuff" in it. She always begs for my chap stick or lip gloss and so I thought this .99 cent gift would rock her world. It did and like all you seasoned parents out there know, it was the gift we soon hated that we gave her. She doesn't eat it. But she rubs it all over her face, pokes her finger in it, and insists on carrying it around everywhere she goes. Bad idea for a gift.

We spent Christmas with my brother and sister's families which was heaven for MK because it meant lots of cousin time! She loves them all. My mom & most of my other siblings came the day after Christmas so we all had a blast! MK's favorite is probably "Benji-Ben" (Benjamin). They loved their baths, especially with Elmo color tablets. (sorry for the immodesty...just too cute to pass up)

Her favorite pass time was playing with Becca's enormous collection of Littlest Pets. Here Ben & MaryKate decided to climb into the Tupperware tub of pets together. Just two peas in a pod.

For New Years we drove to Duncan to visit James family. It was so fun. One day we walked in to see MK doing this. She said, "I'm feeding Molly like Amy!" My friend Amy breast feeds and although I do not, she still picked up on it & wanted to give it a try. Ha!

This is what happens when you let a little girl fall asleep with her barrettes & pigtails. Oh, we love you MaryKate! Thank you for making this Christmas so magical for us all! We can't wait for Gracie to join in the fun next year. We hope everyone had an equally happy, magical holiday season.