Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 2015

This year we decided to do a VERY low key Christmas. We have been saving quite ferociously to pay off school loans as quickly as possible, while saving for a down payment. We opted out of a tree, but still put up a single strand of lights in the window. We also put up our few, but loved nativity sets.

We also decided against presents. We got the piano for "Gwen," but it's been our family gift. We found a deal on Legos, and after we bought a small box of those, we were set!

Vonnie and Walter Denham gave us a wonderful gift of the children's hymns on CD! We immediately downloaded them all and have had so much fun listening to the more obscure songs! There are REALLY good songs that I've never heard before, so we are going to learn all the songs this year! We're excited.

Our gifts from Grandma and Grandpa Ellsworth were wonderful as well! We got a DVD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir that we watched as soon as we opened, a new wallet for me, new slippers for Jake, my favorite Arizona calendar, and other surprises as well!

Yesterday, Gwen and I had a bit of an accident. We were leaving on an errand, and I was holding Gwen and a diaper bag. I took a bad step, twisted my ankle, and fell. On my way down, I dropped the bag, and my poor Gwendolyn flat on her back. I've never hurt my ankle before, and I couldn't move. Gwen was feet away from me and crying so hard, so I dragged her to me, pulled her on top of my tummy, and we just laid on our dirt carport crying together!!! It is funny to imagine today, but yesterday it was awful! Gwen got a big goose-egg on her head, and my ankle is huge and nearly impossible to walk on! One thing that was so sweet to me about the incident was that when Gwen was on me and I was crying while comforting her, she looked at me and started to pat me on the head like I was patting her back. It made me cry more, so she started crying more. After another second, I calmed down, went inside for some fruit snacks, and we were off on our errand. Our sweet Gwendolyn is so kind and sensitive. She wants everyone to be happy. We love her so much. 

We were so blessed this year. I graduated from NAU, got my first dental hygiene job, Jake's work took off with his extremely hard work, Gwen learned so much and is almost talking, Fred is almost well-behaved (HAHA!) and we are just happy. We don't know where life is taking us, and we think a lot about where we are going with work and home, but we are loving each other and serving others. We've learned to rely on one another more than ever.

Gwen loves the snow.


Best friends.

Us in our Christmas jammies!


November 2015

November started off with a bang! I had a class in the valley to renew my cosmetology license and it was on my birthday! We went out to lunch at Ah-So, and it was so fun! We love going there! Not only do we love the grill and the teppanyaki, but at the location we go to, a few Korean people run the restaurant and Jake LOVES talking to them!

Since last year, I'd decided and said often that I was going to get Gwendolyn a piano for Christmas. With the help of a good friend, Rachel, we found one at a thrift shop! We went and looked at it, and immediately knew we'd be taking it home. We got it for a steal and we play it every single day. It is one of the best investments I think our family has ever made!
Gwen and her piano!

The piano!!!!! I'm still trying to figure out the decorations behind it.

Gwennie the Penny officially started going to nursery!!! She loved it the first few times, but now she will occasionally cry when we leave her, but she stops nearly immediately. It's so fun to look through the one-way glass and see what she's doing. She loves to play with others, but she also enjoys sitting in the corner and watching everyone play. It's sweet to see her personality grow!

While we were in the valley at the first of the month, we met up with our Udall cousins at Joe's Farm Grill. It was a really cool place and we loved the environment. The weather was perfect for eating outside. They have great milkshakes, and we loved their BBQ. It was beautiful and we took some pictures of Gwen in the green grass! She loved laying in it and rolling around. We don't have grass that is soft here, so it was fun watching her experience that!

This was in October, but we got to go to Happy Jack and help clean up some of Maria's grandmas belongings! It was a total blast because we celebrated Megan's birthday and played on quads and went shooting! I loved it! We often talk about doing that again because it was such a fun family day.

Nothing better than Grandpa kisses!
The cool kids on the quad.
This was so funny! The kids loved rides on the dolly.
Family picture!! Gwen's still too cool for smiling.
Our sweet birthday girl!!
Gwendolyn finally learned to like movies!!!! She binge watched Inside Out, and now we are on a Frozen and Tangled binge. It makes life a little easier to be able to get some time to do my own thing (bathroom, shower. . . those important things!).

We got an excellent snow storm and G didn't know what to think or do! She stared at the snow all morning. When it finally stopped snowing, we went and played in it, and now she's hooked on sledding and sitting in the snow.

We had a very low key Thanksgiving. I got the flu the week before, so I was on the mend for the holiday. I signed up for a turkey trot and didn't even participate because I was so weak and exhausted. Luckily, we had a great lunch and spent time with Jake's side of the family. We needed low key for me, and it was wonderful.
Gwen, post Thanksgiving celebrations!
Me being a sicko with my caretaker.


Watching a game, I'm sure.

Gwen is such a great addition to our family. She is so peaceful, but also so energetic and fun! She is kind, and she is patient. She loves looking at helicopters. If she hears one, she runs to the front door laughing! I'll scoop her up and we'll look for the helicopter and it is one of her favorite things.

Gwennie loves taking off her shoes. We recently started removing her shoes before nursery or she'd put them on and off the entire time! She loves playing the piano. She loves to sing, and loves praying before bed and meals.

We have a great new babysitter named Becky. Gwen LOVES Miss Becky and we are so thankful to have found her!

Gwendolyn loves balloons. She gets a balloon after going with me to the grocery store, and she picks anyone she'd like. Usually it's a "Get Well Soon!" balloon, but she did pick a "It's a Boy!" one, and after explaining a few times to multiple people that we weren't expecting, I just decided to nix picking gender reveal balloons! HA!

We love our girl :)

Halloween 2015

Our Halloween costume this year was a little bit of a flop. We planned on doing a "Monster's, Inc" theme, and like last year, I made myself a tutu. It didn't turn out the way I wanted, but it was okay, because Jake and Gwen looked excellent!!! We went to our ward party, and ate lots of soup and breads.

On the actual day of Halloween, we were thrilled to be able to go to Mesa and stay with my parents. Jake decided he didn't want to walk around for candy, so he would hand it out at the house, and my mom walked around with Gwen and I! Because of Gwen's "costume", people assumed she was in her jammies, and I just went with it!

It was a great evening, and we walked and walked and walked! My mom was such a trooper. I have weird anxiety and didn't want to take Gwen up to doors, and with my mother's nudging, we got a ton of candy and it was very worth it!

Gwen would go up to doors, hold out her pumpkin, say "thank you!" and then give them a piece of candy from her bucket. It was cute because the people would always gives us the piece back, and them more candy for her being polite!

We had G in a little stroller, and at each house, she would get up and walk straight to the door. It was hilarious! She was constantly eating suckers, and it was a battle for my mom and I!

Overall, my parents neighborhood was amazing for trick or treating, and I think we'd like to make that a new tradition!

I'm so bummed about this, but I only have two pictures and they're both from the church party. I thought I took more, but nope! Oh well. 

Boo, Mike Wazowski, and Sully at the ward party

After the party we were a bit tired!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lake Roosevelt

I've never been to the lake before.

Don't misunderstand; I've been to A lake, but not the types of lake where specific lake activities happen.

 I've been on a paddle boat, and I've gone fishing by tying a nasty piece of string I found near the shore to a stick, and then putting my chewed up piece of Big Red gum on the end to watch the fish come near the gum and leave immediately.

I've for sure gone playing in creeks and rivers and things like that, but lakes are on my irrational fears list, no lie. Check here and here for proof. Lakes freak me out. In addition to the reasons I listed in 2014, I have watched too many episodes of shows with weird underwater fish that can swallow a human whole. . . so no. No, thank you.

One time, Jake and I were dating a million years ago and our single's ward went to the lake. I lied and said I had work so I wouldn't have to go, and Jake was upset that I didn't try to get that imaginary work day off for the lake trip. When he got home, he showed me all these pictures of him doing lake activities (wake boarding, wake surfing, tanning, eating) and I was like, "Cool. I mowed the lawn and cleaned the bathroom for my chores." And he was like, "I thought you had work. . . " and I said ". . . OH YEAH. I forgot. . ." It was a weird and awkward thing.

We've since moved on from that day because, lucky for me, the male brain tends to not remember as much as the female brain when it comes to past arguments.

Flash forward to now, my sister and her husband bought a boat. They'd invited us a few times to go to the lake a few times, but school and previous engagements always prevented us from going. They invited us again, and Jake and I knew this was the time we would finally go to the lake together.

We got our sunblock ready, extra shoes (to avoid being touched by fishes) and we were off.

I kid you not: the terror I felt in the car was so thick you could've cut it with a knife. Jake told me multiple times that I needed to chill out because "the lake is so fun!" And I'd tell him under my breath, "It'll be fun until I get my arm cut open by a propeller. It'll be fun when I get bit by a mysterious breed of lake shark." And so on, and so on. 

So we get to the lake. And Gwen immediately runs to the water. My first thought was, "This is my end. Gwen is going to try and kill me at the lake." I hurled my body towards her, and shoved her fat body into a life jacket. From then on, my fears had no time to consume me.

We got the boat onto the water and hooked up a tube. I decided I needed to go first or I never would. I learned that when I fell into the water, a red flag would be held up so no one would run me over. I was also ensured that no sharks would be in the water. And finally, Jake told me the ride would be short because I'd fall off pretty quickly.

He lied.

I think I was being pulled on that tube for an eternity. After I realized the people on the boat couldn't hear me yelling "I'm done!!!!",  I started praying aloud to please not break my legs, hands or neck when I let go of the tube. And then I thought that the motor was too loud, so my prayer probably wasn't being heard, so I started shouting my prayer instead. In my defense, it seemed logical at the time. I finally mustered the courage to let go after the 5 hour long tube ride, and when I did, I didn't break anything. I got water in my mouth and nose, but I did it. I did lake activities.

It was a really great time. I was in charge of lunch and I failed miserably, but everyone was nice about it.

Overall, I was scared to death. I swallowed water which means I probably swallowed human flesh and other disgusting things. But it was so fun, and I loved spending the terrifying time with Jake and Gwen, and being in the company of Meredith, Tyler and Ridge was excellent!

The lake was so beautiful! I love AZ scenery.
Gwen looks thrilled, and this is my terrified face.

Meredith and Ridge


Captains Ridge and Gwendolyn

This was 100 minutes into my tube ride. I was probably mid prayer.

Me. You can't tell, but I'm kicking my legs furiously to avoid fish and sharks.

Gwen hated the bumps, but I liked holding her anyway.

Tyler, Jake and Gwendolyn


Cap'n Tyler

No one on this whole trip was ever dehydrated. WIN!

Moms and babies turn. This was really fun because we went so slow. Gwen hated it, but whatevers.

Gwen pretending to be asleep!
Gotcha!! Ridge promptly fell asleep when he got his milk.

September 2015

In September, we got to host my VERY favorite brother and sister-in-law, plus their three kids. We went out to pizza, and came home to look for the water heater. . . which I still cannot find.

Jake and I went on a date to a stupid movie and I'm still mad about it. One of my favorite book series is The Maze Runner! It's written by an LDS author, and it's seriously incredible. So when I found out the second book's movie was coming out, I NEARLY hyperventilated. So we got a sitter and saw it. . . it. was. awful. I wanted to leave so many times. It didn't follow the book AT ALL, and all the swearing made me soooo mad! Ugh. I just hated it. I HATED it. If you have read that series, please do not see the second film. It will make your skin hurt. I've learned my lesson and will just rewatch the first movie to calm myself. . . because the first one was AWESOME. Stupid Hollywood.

We celebrated Labor Day with a hike. I discovered that Jake hates family pictures, so I guess that's a torture tool for the future.

I've been making this quinoa dish that is SO yummy! I make it once a week, Gwen and I inhale as much as we can, and then I pack it into containers for the rest of the week. WE LOVE IT. Jake hates it. He is positive it's because there is not meat, but I digress.


We got to spend the morning with Gwen's best friend, Laila! And I got to spend the morning with Elia, who is the kindest person you'd ever meet! We roamed around Sam's Club. It was magical.

On the last Monday of September, we got to go to a ward Family Home Evening night at Bishop and Sister West's home! It was so fun! Gwen and J rode a horse, jumped on the trampoline, played cornhole, and finished the night off with a BBQ. It was so much fun!

In other news, Gwen doesn't think she is little. She'll see kids who are her size and say "Baby! Babyyy!" It makes me laugh because I'm thinking "YOU are the baby!" HA! She's funny.

At her 18 month appointment, she weighed 24 pounds, and is average for height, weight, and head circumference.

Gwen's vocabulary includes phrases like,  "Look up!" for the airplanes and helicopters. "Awwww, puppy!" for anything that is on four legs. . . when Gwen saw the horses, she screamed puppy over and over! She says "GO GO GO!" to anyone running or biking, and she says, "I love you" and "K" like the shortened okay. That's from me. I say "K" all the time and didn't realize it until she started it!


After the worst movie ever, we got shakes.

The new favorite recipe we make every week!

Labor Day Hike

G loved drinking from the water straw thing.

Grayson, Emma, and Gwen playing in the fort.

Fred and his cone!

Silly G.

She helps in mysterious ways.

This is her favorite thing. Sitting in her green chair with the cat piano.

Laila and Gwen forever!


Gwen helping me on our jog. She keeps Fred in check.

We moved a bookcase into the living room, and Gwen got stuck wedged between these!

They love each other.

We love that ladybug car thing.

G carries this cooler with her everywhere.