Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vegas Birthday

Gavin had a business trip in Vegas over his 43rd Birthday so we decided to follow along and put to good use his suite at The Venetian while he was busy doing other important, business-related things.  Gavin and Griffin flew down and the girls (Hadley, Sylvie, Morgan, Mia and I) drove down and met them in Vegas.

We were only there for a few days and loved our big suite.  We stayed busy swimming, eating at the food courts, sightseeing on the Strip and hanging out in The Venetian.

We didn’t see Gavin at all on his birthday until late that night.  We met up for some gelato in St. Marks square and then Gavin and I joined up with his birthday twin, Adam and his wife, Cammi (and his brother Kipp and his wife, Chelsea) for a limo ride to The Paris buffet for dinner.

It was such a great, relaxing weekend.  We really should try to do it more often with Vegas being so close.  The kids had a great time and I loved the extra time I got to spend with them.

We felt pretty lucky that we all got to go on a trip to celebrate Gavin’s birthday even if we only did see him for a few hours the whole weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Killing For The Crown

Hadley is officially a teenager!  She’s known for quite awhile what she wanted to do to celebrate her 13th birthday. . . a Murder Mystery birthday party just like her cousins did when they turned 13.  The premise for her party was a pre-pageant Miss America party.  All of the contestants, judges, father of a beauty queen, private investigator and the pageant hostess made up the guest list.  Hadley played the reigning Miss America.

The girls were the perfect age for this party.  They loved getting all dressed up and acting as their new character. I was worried they may be too shy but was wrong.  They were up for the challenge of being a beauty queen-- gossiping, black mail and even killing.

Hadley decided she wanted to have a chocolate fountain instead of a cake which worked out perfectly because the guests could all mingle around the table while working on their objectives and eat lots of chocolate coated treats.

And it’s no surprise that Gavin got completely into character, accent and all, as “Daddy Big Bucks”.

Unfortunately, Miss Texas (Sylvie) didn’t make it through the pre-pageant party without being murdered.  That is when the investigation started and the clues were given.

The former Miss America (Brinley) did her best to help us figure out who murdered Miss Texas with clues and hints.  Unfortunately, no one really looked at the right hints on the clues and were unable to solve the murder of Miss Texas.

We eventually found out who did it . . . Miss Arizona (Rilee) and even she was surprised.  She didn’t know she had it in her.  Apparently she really wanted to win the pageant this year and Miss Texas was her biggest threat.

Then it was time to vote for the Drama Queen and Best Dressed Awards.  Misha won the coveted “Dressed To Kill” Award and Hadley won the “Drama Queen” and “Miss Money Bags” awards.

Each girl took home a fun and easy parting gift...framed beauty pageant picture in their dress and sash. 

The girls ended the night with one more big group photo and then they took selfies and videos as they walked the red carpet and sang, “Here she comes, Miss America.”

Hadley loved every minute of her party and said it was definitely one of her favorites.  It wasn’t too hard to put together with this kit that came with the invitations, parts, clues and awards.

In honor of her 13th birthday, here are 13 things that we love about Hadley:

1.  She is now in 7th grade.

2.  She insisted that her locker needed to be decorated and wanted shelves, rug, mirror, chandelier, etc.  I surprised her and decorated her locker while she was at camp.  She was so happy when she opened her locker and it was all decorated.  I think she soon realized that she actually didn’t need all of that stuff and it really just got in the way of being able to use the locker for her books and backpack.

3.  She still loves to babysit!  Most of her pictures and videos on her iPod are of the cute kids she is babysitting.  Ryan decided to surprise her with a babysitting iPod cover for Christmas.  She loved it!

4.  Hadley LOVES to read and the Hunger Games series is still her favorite.

5.  She made a beautiful pirate for Halloween!    

 6.  She is definitely a teenager and has mastered the art of selfies and snapchat.

7.  Loves to be busy and involved and ran for 7th grade SBO and made it!  The SBOs got to be on the news and break the ground for the new soccer field that is going in.

8.  She is the BEST big sister and is always looking for fun things to do with Morgan, Griffin and Mia.  She takes them on bike rides, bakes cookies, gets them surprises from the store, babysits, crafts.  She is the ultimate sister and we are all so lucky to have her!

9.  Hadley and her friends love to do photo shoots together.  Some of my favorite pictures are from them being silly and documenting it on their iPods.  This generation is so lucky to have so many pictures from their childhood and with their friends.

10.  She finally got her own room and got to decorate it with new (and not-so-new) furnishings.  We painted Grandma Norma’s waterfall dresser and vanity in white and added some fun Anthropologie knobs.  And decorated her room in gray, yellow and turquoise.  

11.  She still plays the piano and is starting to learn some of the Hymns.

12.  She read the Book of Mormon in a day with her Young Women’s group up at an over night cabin activity last summer.

13.  Her 13th birthday celebration consisted of a new iPod (with a camera on the front), Beats headphones and Hunger Games collector Barbies.  She wasn’t very good at hiding her disappointment of not getting an iPhone.  Just a few more years, cute girl!

Happy 13th birthday to an amazing, talented, caring, giving, beautiful girl! xo

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Big Sister

It was one of those nights . . . I couldn’t wait to have all of the kids in bed, a quiet house, and finally have a minute to sit down on the couch and relax while I watched some mindless show like The Bachelor.  Mia loves to read a story, sing a song and say a prayer before bed.  I was having a hard time thinking about tucking her in let alone spending 30 minutes to do it.  As I was walking Mia and Morgan upstairs for bed, Morgan grabbed her Pinkalicious book to read in bed.  Only Morgan doesn’t have any light in her room (we took the light bulbs out years ago so she couldn’t wake up and play in her room in the middle of the night) so I told her she could read her book in Mia’s room instead.  They climbed into Mia’s bed together and I realized I didn’t have to be the one reading the story to Mia-- Morgan and Mia could read the book together with Morgan’s help.

I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of having them do this before.  I was honestly filled with love and overwhelming gratitude that I get to be a mother as I sat on the end of Mia’s bed and watched two of my daughters help one another succeed.  “Awesome, Mia!”

Morgan doesn’t get very many opportunities to fill the "big sister" role or be a teacher to her younger siblings but reading is one area where Morgan excels.  I love that we almost always have our phones with us so that these moments can so easily be captured.  Morgan tries so hard to be patient with Mia but sometimes just can’t wait and blurts out the whole sentence before Mia even has a chance to try.

And one more tip . . .  always video your kids when it’s bedtime and they know they’re on borrowed time.  Behavior is always at it’s best!