Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Micke Grove

This week we got to meet up with our awesome friends, the Jacksons, at Micke Grove park in Lodi. :)

Rexburg is a really cool place where you make friends, and then college spits them out and they all move away. We met Jason and Lara our first semester at BYUI in the fall of 2014. They have been married just a few months longer than us, and the guys instantly bonded over their love of film and storytelling. By the next summer, Jason transferred to a school in PA (boo!) and so they took 3-week old Brighton and moved across the country. :( It has been a year and a half since we last saw them, and now they have little Sawyer too! Thank goodness for the California sunshine bringing us back together. ;)

The kids hit it off instantly and really enjoyed playing together. Brighton is very skilled at giving hugs. :D

We had a beautiful day at the park!

that moment when you realize the bumpy slide was not a good idea...

Kate LOVES catching bugs and inspecting them closely. She just watches them walk around and asks questions about how they move. She is very gentle and always puts them back in a safe place. It is one of my favorite things to watch her watching them.

One of my favorite pictures from the day was of Lara and Sawyer laughing together:

As soon as I took it I remembered I had one almost exactly like it of Lara and Edwin from years ago :) I'm so glad I found it!

It's awesome to see Lara now with her own babies. She is such a great mom :)

Even though we only got to hang out for a couple hours, it was awesome to reconnect with our families! I doubt Jason and Lara will ever be able to convince us to move down to St. George, but maybe our Northern California beauty will bring them back up here and closer to us again someday. At least we'll always have Micke Grove. ;)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Edwin's Birthday Weekend

Our family had the best time this weekend celebrating Edwin as he turned 3!

Jon and I worked together to make Edwin's vest and bowtie for this birthday. Edwin and Kate have been talking about Winnie the Pooh a lot the last couple months, especially since we got to meet Pooh Bear at Disneyland! (more on that later). So everything came together wonderfully for a Winnie the Pooh themed birthday celebration! :)

Between General Conference sessions on Sunday we went up to the temple and took some pictures. Even with the super cheesy smile, this one below was one of my favorites! We took one like it of Kate on her 3rd birthday, and I wanted to see them at the same age side-by-side. :)

Edwin at the gates of the Sacramento, California temple - age 3

Katherine at the gates of the Rexburg, Idaho temple - age 3

Back at home we enjoyed the afternoon session of conference, had naps, and a family birthday dinner!

Complete with individual Winnie-the-Pooh cakes :D

The food was picnic style and so much fun!

Edwin insisted on having all his presents on the table during dinner :D

We are so thankful to our family and friends for making Edwin's birthday so special! I felt extremely grateful this weekend that we could celebrate Edwin in such a fun way. Focusing on, and making a big deal of birthdays is one of my most important goals in life ;)

Melissa and Doug fishing game from Uncle Mike, Aunt Amanda and AnnMarie

Edwin was incredibly generous and let Kate open every present along with him. :) When she asked after dinner if she could open his presents with him, he immediately replied, "Of course!"

Nonna and Papa made it back from Utah earlier in the evening and were able to be home with us for Edwin's dinner celebration. They got him this really cool Mater truck complete with little tires and barrels to tow!

Gram gave Edwin a new camping chair! (which is perfect because he had outgrown his baby one last year) This new one has an awesome pattern, a water bottle holder, and even glows in the dark! We are definitely ready now for summer adventures :D

Kate made Edwin a Jungle Book fleece tie blanket (with the help of daddy). It's so fun to see the kids getting older and wanting to do one-of-a-kind things for each other :)

Edwin also got a Lego Batman set from Aunt Beth and Uncle Derek, a Power Tool set from Grandpa, birthday money for his Disneyland savings jar, a Lightning McQueen beach towel, new clip-on ties for Sunday, and his very own Build-a-Bear teddy (that he gave extra fluff and named Cheeto). :D

Between a Winnie-the-Pooh family Sunday dinner, and his actual birthday on Friday full of mini golf and Sunsplash arcade with Grandpa and Aunt Michelle, Build-a-Bear workshop with our little family, and getting to pick out a movie for us to rent (The Secret Life of Pets), Edwin has had quite the first few days of being 3!


The only picture I've been able to catch so far of Edwin with his Cheeto bear ;)

Happy Birthday, Little Man! We love having you in our forever family :)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Family Updates

Kate and Edwin are growing up so fast! Kate is 4 years and 9 months old, while Edwin will be turning 3 in just five days :) Having them close in age has helped them be great buddies. I love seeing them giggle and play together.

Kate: 4yrs 9mo & Edwin: 2yrs 11mo

We went to the Sacramento Zoo to celebrate Jon's dad's 65th birthday this weekend, and the weather was spectacular!

The kids had a blast, eating ice cream and popcorn, riding the train, and seeing fantastic rescue animals: lions, red pandas, flamingos, zebras, giraffes, lemurs, apes, monkeys, reptiles, an anteater, and even a tortoise that they could pet. :)

Kate and Edwin's cousin AnnMarie got to come with us too. She loves helping the kids, and they think she is just the greatest!


When we're not having exciting adventures like going to the zoo, we keep pretty busy at home:

Kate is super spunky and into BRIGHT colors. She mixes and matches her outfits and definitely knows what she likes :)

She is a little sponge, learning more and more each day. Kate knows all her letters and can count well. She has been pretending a lot lately that she is writing stories and letters to people, and we have begun to sound out words together as we write.

Kate is also becoming more independent and sassy each day. It's crazy to me how strong willed and determined she can be.

Striking a pose for the camera!

She is very thoughtful, but almost demanding in her insistence that she gets to help others in the way that she has pre-decided they need to be helped. Kate always wants to serve food to people at dinner, butter their toast at breakfast, and pour their juice. She likes to pick out my shoes, and put the toilet seat covers down for me in public restrooms, and wants to turn the lights on for me when I enter a room. She doesn't always seem to understand why others occasionally want to do something for themselves, when she is right there volunteering! haha. But we are working on better communication and helping her see that while she has GREAT ideas, she also needs to respect others' ideas and personal space. We can't read her mind, after all, so we help her see that she needs to share her plans if she wants us to all be in on it with her ;)

Edwin is such a dear little man. He is very articulate and absolutely hilarious! He is also very sensitive and emotional.

He still needs a good solid nap each day, but we feel like he'll be cutting back soon. Right now he naps a good two hours around 2-4pm. If he skips a nap occasionally, he gets REALLY grumpy by 5pm. Although he will be 3 years old next week, I am still very grateful for his naptimes, and that I can occasionally share them with him ;)

Edwin loves to help out around the house, especially with cleaning.

He also enjoys seeing how things work, and definitely has a little engineering brain.

Having big kid bunk beds has been going great! (or, as great as it could be with two rambunctious children under 5.) They pretty much stay in their beds once we say prayers and give hugs and kisses goodnight. A few days a week they ask if they can have a "sleepover" and either Edwin will climb up into Kate's bed, or she will climb down into Edwin's and they will lay there reading books and laughing wildly together until they either pass out, or get super cranky and have to be separated again, haha! :)

I'm really enjoying their room lately.

It is full of fun things to play with (like a mini trampoline, reading tee-pee, tons of legos and stuffed animals, and a play kitchen), as well as personal artwork, and glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. The big kid beds give them room to grow while still having lots of extra floor room that we didn't have when there were two cribs in the room. I love that Edwin's mattress is on the floor, because he is all over the place and rolling around constantly when he sleeps. Kate seems to enjoy her private loft, and the bed is designed great so we have no worries about her falling out. I like that it isn't a full, tall bunk-bed height. The toddler height is perfect so that I can stand at the edge of Kate's bed and talk to her and give her hugs without even having to stand on a step stool. ;)

Kate and Edwin have also both figured out how to use our Google Home and love to talk to her about everything. "Hey, Google! Do you like me?" "Hey, Google, what's a shamrock?" They will have her set timers, play music, and answer questions all over the place. Their most requested soundtracks are Toy Story, and Mary Poppins. :)

Kate and Edwin's biggest obsession right now, though, is MOANA. We saw it in theaters a couple months ago, and then got it on DVD the day it came out... we have now seen it at least 12 times. HAHA Good thing it is such a fun movie! They have never been so into anything before, so this is a new stage for us. They love the music, and pretend play that they are characters from Moana all the time. They like to talk to their friends about Moana and ask me constantly how things relate back to the story... "Is this like Maui's fish hook??" "Is it being silly like the ocean??" "I have a flower in my hair like Moana!" "Look, we run into things like Hei-Hei!"

So far it's been pretty cute, and I think I like the movie and music just about as much as they do. ;) It's a win-win. (for now)

The last time that I asked Edwin what his favorite dinner food was, he said lollipops... but I actually think he is partial to potstickers, burritos, and pizza. Kate still speaks highly of spaghetti and meatballs, although any food we eat is very much devoured based on her mood at the time. We can definitely count on her stating that she doesn't like whatever xyz we are eating before she ever tries it. AND she is not very interested in sweets. Kate always seems to like the idea of desserts, but will typically take one bite of something and then say she is done. Yeah, I don't get it either ;)

The kids continue to have a few words and phrases that they say incorrectly, and I love it! Banalalas (bananas), and Chimera Flag (American Flag), for example.

Meanwhile our family is loving the California sunshine and the taste of Springtime. While winter brought a TON of rain this year, we have had a few days in the 70's recently, which has made for some nice bike riding and empty-field exploring. :) We were even able to have a Family Home Evening picnic up at the temple with some great friends a couple weeks ago:

We're hoping that the warm weather will continue to stick around! Right now we're toggling back and forth between long sleeves and wool socks, and t-shirts and flip flops.

One thing's for sure: more adventures from the Alston family, coming up!