Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!! (This is our "official" Christmas letter)

Merry Christmas everyone!! This past year has been full of so many wonderful things - I'll just give a brief year-in-review for those of you who we haven't kept informed (sorry!).

In November of last year we moved to Saint George, UT (about 4 hours south of our home) for a job Jeff was assigned to run. We planned on being there for six months, but permits were delayed and we ended up being there for a full year. We made so many wonderful friends down in Saint George, and we loved being in the same city as Jeff's best friend Christian and his wife April. We fell in love with the weather, the surroundings (Zion Nat'l Park, tons of hikes, lots of fishing spots), and the people. By the end of our time there we were so excited to get back to our home in Riverton, but the move home really was bitter-sweet. It was hard leaving our friends that we'd grown to love, separating Mason from all the little friends he made, and coming back to a home that wasn't nearly as close to a park as it was in St. George (a 10-minute walk). We are so grateful, however, to be back in our real home in Riverton. Our neighbors are wonderful, as is our ward. We're so excited to be near family and our long-time friends again, and also make new friends. Here's what each of us have been up to this past year:

Jeff - Jeff was promoted this past year to Superintendent at work; he is employed by CRC Construction, which was started by his Grandpa Baumann and is now run by his dad and uncle. Along with that promotion came the opportunity for Jeff to be in charge of building a Mountain America Credit Union in Saint George, UT. It was such an amazing learning experience for him, and he did such an incredible job (as you can see). Jeff turned 30 this year, but it didn't seem to phase him one bit; he has continued to be very involved in playing volleyball and working out at the gym every chance he gets. Although Jeff's favorite college football team, BYU, didn't make it to a BCS bowl game like he hoped, he's still a HUGE fan; he's also really into the Utah Jazz (NBA) and loves to watch them play any chance he gets. Jeff takes great pride in his family, and has especially enjoyed watching Mason grow and learn this past year. It seems like Jeff looks forward to Mason's enthusiastic greetings after work just as much as Mason does!

Sheri - Sheri has had a wonderful year as the transition was made to St. George and back to Riverton. She made some really close friends in St. George and really misses those associations, but has easily kept in touch thanks to her slight obsession with BLOGGING! That's one of her favorite hobbies, along with working out, scrapbooking and reading the "Twilight" series. Sheri was also able to go to some amazing concerts with her girlfriends this past year - Reba McIntyre/Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK (her childhood friend Amber flew in from South Carolina to relive the past with her). Sheri also recently began working 5 days a week as a nanny for a friend - she tends their 3 children (ages 6, 2 1/2 and 3 months) and is able to bring Mason, so it's a huge blessing. Most of all, Sheri has loved the joys that have accompanied being a mother and a wife. She feels so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and son and anxiously awaits the day baby number 2 will finally decide that it's time to be conceived!! :)

Mason - Mason is now three months away from his 2nd Birthday and is such an amazing addition to the family! He continues to surprise and amaze his mom and dad as he changes from baby to little boy. He's definitely a little monkey; he can never just walk somewhere - he has to run, jump, or hold his parents' hands so he can swing his way to his destination. His parents have finally learned how to keep up with his endless energy and have so much fun being entertained by his goofy antics. Mason is entirely absorbed in the world of Thomas the Tank Engine, and can quickly be pulled out of a bad mood by the mere mention of his special blue train friend. Mason has learned how to count to 10 (he usually forgets the 1 though), can recognize letters A, B and C and knows their sounds, and he's great at copying anything his parents say (time to be careful!). If only he was as intent on eating as he is on having fun! He doesn't enjoy mealtime much - probably because that means that he can't be moving and playing! Even with the few challenges that inevitably come along with having a child, Mason sure is such a joy to have around.

As we celebrate Christmas this year, we are so grateful for this special time when place extra focus and emphasis on our Savior Jesus Christ. His birth, life, death and resurrection constantly bring us hope and renew our faith. We take great comfort in knowing that He knows and loves all mankind - each of us on a very personal level. May we remember to follow Christ's example of unconditional love, compassion and service during this special time of year and always.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

We love you all!
Jeff, Sheri and Mason Baumann

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Christmas Choirside

I just got home from one of the most uplifting, spiritual events I've ever attended or participated in. Our Stake (for my non-Mormon friends, a "stake" is a term we use for a group of all the different congregations in our area - there are 8 congregations a.k.a. "wards" in our stake here in Riverton)...anyhow, our stake had what's called a "Choirside" tonight - each ward's choir prepared a Christmas song to sing, then we prepared a song as a Stake Choir (prob. close to 200 people are in the stake choir). The entire chapel was full, and the overflow area was opened up and was also full almost to the opposite end of the gym area. It was awesome to see so many people there!

Each song was so beautiful, and I am so grateful for this special night where the Christmas-time focus was taken off presents, family meals, decorations, and stress, and was redirected to where all the focus really should be during this time of year - CHRIST. As I listened to the words as each choir sang - stories of the wisemen, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and of course Christ, I was filled with the Spirit. The last song was "O Holy Night" (an amazing arrangement by Sally DeFord that is free to download on her website), and it was sung by our huge stake choir. There was a viola accompanying the piano and the organ, and it was just breathtaking. Even from my position up in the choir seats, I could feel the power of the choir as we sang praises to our Lord. It was hard to sing through my tears!!

I am so grateful for a wonderful Heavenly Father who loved us enough to send his Son, Jesus Christ. Tonight's events gave me the extra nudge I needed to fall back into stride and center my life around His. I'm going to try extra hard to make this a super-spiritual Christmas in our home. We'll see what kind of resistance I get from the troops (i.e. Jeff who hates Christmas music and protests each time I turn it on), but I'm determined to get our focus back where it should be. May our hearts be filled with love toward God and our fellow man as we remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Mamma!!!!!"

Mason's been cooped up inside all week cuz he's been so sick, and I didn't wanna get any other kids sick with his croup (the doctor said that any child within a 200-ft. radius can catch it if Mason coughs)....so this morning I took him to South Towne Mall right at 10:00 when the Santa booth opened. There wasn't a single person in line, so Mason didn't have contact with any kids (good for my peace of mind!). Even though I prepared him well by showing him pictures of Santa, reading him stories about Santa, and even practicing "ho, ho, ho!" with him, the second he saw Santa today he was TERRIFIED! Poor Saint Nick tried everything he could to soothe him, but he was so scared, and all he could do was cry "mamma!!!". So, they took the picture real fast and got him down. It's one for the books, that's for sure!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Brother, Elder Donnelson

Yesterday was such a special day; I got to accompany my youngest sibling, Taylor, to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) where he'll live for the next 12 weeks as he prepares to spend two years serving the Lord and the people of Cambodia as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

You know, so many people don't understand everything that's involved in a Mormon mission - I'm so proud of Taylor for the sacrifices he's made so that he can lose himself in service for two whole years. He won't see his family, friends, or girlfriend the whole time he's gone. He won't come home for visits. He will only be able to call his family, and even those phone calls will only happen on Mother's Day and Christmas. He'll receive no financial compensation for his time in Cambodia, in fact he (and my parents) will fund his entire mission. He won't go out and do touristy things, won't go to the beach, won't go out on the weekends and party, and will never be without a companion (fellow missionary) unless he's on the can.

It's such a huge sacrifice, yet I know Taylor doesn't see it that way. He was so excited yesterday when we dropped him off at the MTC. We were all emotional and he was just ready to get going on this the next chapter in his life. My mission changed me - the way I talk, the way I think, the way I dress, the way I see and treat other people. Taylor is much more Christlike upon his entering the MTC than I was when I entered - I don't think the adjustment will be as difficult for him as it was for me. Learning Khmer (the language in Cambodia) may be another story though! Please keep Taylor in your thoughts and prayers!!










Taylor with Gma & Gpa









Mom putting his name tag on him









Taylor's crazy name tag!












Going in the "missionary door"













Pointing to Cambodia on the huge map in the MTC

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm Back In School!

I guess I forgot to blog about this pretty big development in my life! Jeff and I would really like for me to be able to stay home and work in the future, so I signed up for an online Medical Transcription school (www.careerstep.com). It's a little expensive, but not when you consider that it only lasts a year and I can begin making around $40K when I'm done with school. It's a job that's in very high demand now since doctor's offices are trying to streamline everything now - and it's cheaper anyway for them to employ someone working from home (a contractor) than it is to have an actual in-office employee.

So I'm doing that schooling right now and Jeff's studying for the GMAT so he can go get his Masters in Business. We're gonna have a busy next year and a half while we both finish up our schooling...then once we both finish what we're currently enrolled in, I'm gonna go back to REAL school and finish the one year I have remaining to get my Bachelor's Degree. Can't wait!!!

Sick Child

So just like last year around this time, Mason is way sick. Fun times! He's had a cold for a while, which is inevitable because Jeff and I have had bad colds, AND he's in the daycare with a bunch of kids every single day, and I nanny 3 children. Anyhow, his cold turned into...(brace yourselves)...a double ear infection, pink-eye, an upper respiratory infection, leading to CROUP. Poor little man!!

Sunday night his eyes got all oozy, then his cough got super bad. After we put him to bed, he started having a hard time breathing, then he started the barking cough. I took him to the doctor yesterday morning where they gave him a steroid shot, put him on antibiotics, and got us some eye drops. At least the pink-eye isn't contagious since he's been on the antibiotics for more than 24 hours. The croup, however, has a 5-7 day period where it's highly contagious, which means NO WORK for me this entire week. The break is nice - I can get a TON of studying done for the course I'm taking right now - but we really need the money that I can't be making. I don't want to transmit any of his sicknesses to those children.

Keep your fingers crossed that he gets better quickly!! I think he's bored here at home all day long, now that he's used to being around other kids.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Family Pictures

Lee and Kathy (Jeff's parents) haven't had a picture done of their entire family in at least 10 years, and all the kids were getting tired of looking at their old selves up on the fireplace mantle, so our portrait session last month was a huge Baumann family affair and quite the adventure with all the kiddos running around!

We went to Utah Lake and it was absolutely beautiful with the fallen leaves everywhere - the perfect setting for pictures! The kids loved it too, cuz they had tons of room to run around and be hyper.

Mason NEVER stays still for longer than a minute or two, so it was very interesting trying to get a good picture, but Tiffany (our photographer) was awesome and her assistants had great distraction skills, so we were able to pull off a few where everyone was looking at the camera (or in the general direction).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happenings in The World of Mason

I haven't really posted anything about Mason lately (development-wise), so I figured I would take some time tonight to do just that. This seems to be a time of super-fast language development for Mason, and he's really been saying some hilarious things. Here are a few: (I'll apologize for his "French")
English - "Up the hill" Mason/French - "Oh hell"
English - "Shirt", "shut" Mason/French - "$h#*"
English - "down" Mason/French - "dam..."
And for the non-swear, daycare-worthy words:
I funny
cranky (thanks to Thomas the Train) - "kweekwee
Malia (his cousin) - actually "eeeyah"
holy cow - "hae tao"
train track
milk
juice
drink eat
cracker
kick ball
CRY (when he's upset, he tells us "i cwy" before he gets emotional, so we are lucky cuz that gives us a chance to cheer him up before he freaks out)
dance
jump
bounce
run
walk
get up
Heavenly Father - actually "heh far"
three (he counts to three - "twee, twee, twee!")

There are so many funny things he says. We're always entertained. He's also got SO much energy!! He's always into something or wanting to try a new trick. This past week he was starting to slide down the stairs, so we used the leaf from the table as a slide, and he spent over an hour sliding down the stairs. It was so funny!! I'll include some pictures and a video so you can see what he's been up to.




video

"Twilight" Premier!!!!!

On Thursday (the day after the Carrie Underwood concert), I went to the midnight premier for the "Twilight" movie. I have read all the books and really, really loved them. Even though I was SO exhausted from having really late nights for a week straight, it was SO worth staying up super late for the premier. We had 15 people in our group, and it was just so much fun being there at Jordan Commons with the thousands of other people who were just as obsessed as we were...actually, there were plenty of people WAY MORE obsessed than us. It was pretty entertaining to see people dressed up as vampires and in prom dresses and stuff.

I thought the movie was super cheezy; HOWEVER, the book was cheezy, so it was perfectly fine with me. :) Robert Pattinson (Edward) was an excellent actor, but the girl that played Bella was just mediocre. All-in-all, it was awesome and so fun and I'm so glad I went!

Anyway, here are a few pictures!! (Pic. 1 - Becky, Nicole, Heather and I; Pic. 2 - me with my sisters in law Jen and Mindy; Pic. 3 - our group; Pic. 4 - dude with cool shirt that said "Husbands against O.C.D. - Obsessive Cullen Disorder", Pic.5 - me with my cousins Camille and Nicole; Pic. 6 - Melea and I)












Carrie Underwood Concert

Life has been so hectic for the past few weeks, and I haven't had a chance until today to update the blog. Lots has happened!

The day after my friend Amber B. flew back to South Carolina, I went to the Carrie Underwood concert with Amber Fujikawa - she got me tickets for my birthday, and we just happened to be right next to the stage on the floor. It was incredible!! Little Big Town opened for her which was awesome, cuz I love them too. We were able to get some amazing pictures, so enjoy!! Thank you for the concert, Amber. You rock!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quote for the time...

My sister-in-law Bronwyn sent me this quote by Neal A. Maxwell, and I thought it was awesome. :)


"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.' This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive.. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened. . . . Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Here's the source of that quote in case you were wondering: http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=1846d0640b96b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

I'll be lovin you forever

Last Saturday night was the best night of my life!!! Seriously, it was amazing! Keep reading - this post is sure to make you laugh your butt off at me, but I DON'T CARE! Laugh if you will. :)

When I was 10 years old, my parents and grandpa took me and my uncle Todd (he's the same age as me) to the New Kids on The Block concert in Columbia, South Carolina (where I lived at the time). I was beyond obsessed with NKOTB back then. I had the pajamas, pillow case, Joey "barbie" doll, trading cards, novels, t-shirts, buttons, pins, earrings, tapes, and my walls were COVERED in posters.

One of my best friends in S.C. was Amber Banco - we were both totally obsessed with the NKOTB, and when we heard that they were getting back together and going on tour this year WE FREAKED OUT. She purchased a plane ticket to fly out here to Utah to go with me. The concert was this past Saturday (November 15th), and man was it worth every penny!!

We had a great group of girls - me, Amber B. (from S.C.), Amber Fujikawa (bff), Tawny (friend from my mission), Loren (we're friends and were roommates once upon a time), and Becka (long-time friend). A few of us got together earlier in the evening and made t-shirts, then we all met up for dinner at Chili's. There was a group of guys there (we're still trying to decide if they were straight or not) who were going to the concert without girls, and they knew all the songs, AND they even did one of the dances for us. It was hilarious, and they actually ended up sitting by us at the concert too. Straight entertainment. It was golden!

The concert was UH-MAY-ZING!!!!! Everything we expected it to be and more. It started with the words up on 3 huge screens that said, "15 years ago, they walked away...but now they're back" Then they came up through a platform on the stage and the place erupted into girly screams, just like I remember when I was 10. They sang a lot of their old songs and several newer ones too, and there we were singing along with them all! I screamed like I was a little girl, and was totally hoarse by the time I went to bed.

As hard as it may be to believe, they sang and danced like they haven't aged at all in 15 years. They looked hotter than ever, and Joey is still my heart-throb. I will cherish the memories forever that we created together on Saturday night. It was such a great feeling to be with friends, enjoying something that was such a huge part of all our childhoods.

I LOVE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK - "I'll be lovin you forever"

Monday, November 17, 2008

In Loving Memory...

Tucker Thayer, the 15 year-old son of a friend in our ward in Saint George, passed away Saturday night from injuries sustained after a prop gun (to be used in a school play) was accidentally discharged.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Thayer family as they grieve the loss of their son. My heart breaks for them as I imagine the pain a mother and father must feel at the loss of their child, and the heartbreak his siblings are feeling for the loss of their brother. I take great comfort in knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us and that the Thayers will one day be reunited with their Tucker.

The story can be found here: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=4818098

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My New Nine-to-Five

After a lot of discussions and prayers, Jeff and I decided that we really needed another income. I looked for a while for jobs online and applied at a ton of retail places, then last Thursday my friend of 7 years (Maria) offered me a job as their nanny!! It's so perfect because I can bring Mason, it gets me out of our house, and allows Mason to have a lot of interaction with other kids.

So I work Monday-Friday from 9-4 on all days but Wednesday (I only work till noon on Wed.). Maria and Rob have 3 kids - Danica (5 yrs old), Tyler (2 yrs old) and Bailey (2 months old).

Mason's struggling right now with Mommy's attention being elsewhere and not all on him, and he's having a hard time learning to fend for himself with another toddler boy who's not used to having to share his toys with another little guy...and Mason's learning how to share too. It's pretty crazy at times, but I really love it. It's the ideal situation for us, and I'm so grateful that I'm able to still be with Mason AND be home in the evenings with Jeff instead of being off at some restaurant waiting tables like I was planning.

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mormon Synchronized Swimming

My sister-in-law Mindy sent this to me today, and it really made me laugh! Especially because this is TOTALLY something Jeff and his brothers would do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas

We're back in our new house in Riverton (I use the term "new" because we only lived here 7 months before we left for St. George). There are boxes everywhere. I hear Thomas The Train on the t.v. in the other room, entertaining my child while I slowly unpack.

IT'S SNOWING OUTSIDE!!! F.M. 100 is already playing non-stop Christmas music...and the only boxes that are too heavy for me to move by myself actually contain Christmas decorations. SO in order to eliminate the problem (and to satiate my enormous appetite for all things Christmas).........it's with great pleasure that I announce: I'M PUTTING UP CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS TODAY!!

Haters need not comment! haha just kidding. But I SERIOUSLY LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME, and if people are allowed to put up Halloween decorations over a month before Halloween, why can't I put up my Christmas decorations now? I vowed to not put anything on the outside until Thanksgiving, but if I'm gonna put all the effort into putting decorations up inside the house, I better have enough time to enjoy them, gosh dang-it! :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bounty Hunter

Last night Jeff and I went to a costume party at our friends Christian and Amber's house. We couldn't think of a costume, so we went online and found the idea for a bounty hunter. It was so fun to make, and even more fun trying to walk/sit/go up stairs in my half of the costume!

So...I was a roll of Bounty paper towels and Jeff was a hunter. It was pretty funny. Anyway, here are some pictures.













Becky, Nicole and Ben









Rosie & Josh











Amber, Rosie, me, Nicole, Maria and Becky

Halloween 6 Days Early

Jeff's grandma Baumann lives in a real nice community for retirees - 2 culdesacs just south of the Jordan River temple - and the weekend before Halloween they always have trick-or-treating for their grand/great-grandkids. Jeff and I took Mason, and Jen too Malia and Cole (Ryan is in Malaysia, so she had to go alone).

Mason really loved trick-or-treating for the first few houses, then it just turned into a race to see if we could catch him before he scurried up people's stairs and into their houses! After we finished, we went back to Grandma Jennie's for chili and root beer. Thanks for inviting us, Jennie!

Anyone living in near us who's hung out with Mason lately knows that he's a real handful. I'd venture to say that his costume is very appropriate.







I've been TAGGED!!

I've never been tagged before, but Darci and Stephanie both tagged me...for different things, so here's Stephanie's:

Things of Eight!

T.V. Shows I like to watch
1. The Hills (if there were an episode on every day, I'd watch every single one!!!)
2. What Not To Wear
3. Design TO Sell
4. Grey's Anatomy
5. 24
6. The View
7. Ellen
8. Oprah

Eight things that happened yesterday
1. A WalMart employee helped me wrap my body in posterboard to measure for my costume
2. I made my "bounty" costume and Jeff's "hunter" costume
3. Deep cleaned the entire house (my in-laws' house)
4. went for a looooooong walk with Mason
5. Hung out outside for like 6 hours total while Mason played. It was so nice outside!
6. I drank a Mt. Dew
7. I learned "How To Say No" - from an article in this month's Cosmo
8. I went to a way fun halloween/house-warming party at Amber's!

Favorite Places to Eat
1. Olive Garden
2. Good Wood
3. Timber Mine Steakhouse (mouth of Ogden Canyon)
4. Claimjumpers (in st. george - not to be confused with the nat'l chain)
5. Cheesecake Factory
6. Chili's (for their chips and salsa)
7. KFC (cole slaw, baby!!)
8. Subway


Eight Things I'm Looking Forward to
1. taking Mason to the costume parade at his grandma's school tomorrow!
2. Halloween
3. Moving into our house this Saturday!!
4. Getting pregnant (if it EVER happens!)
5. date night with Jeff
6. Fitting into my size 6 jeans - (I think I can, I think I can...)
7. Vegas in January with my girlfriends
8. Girl's Night Out with my El Paso girls!!

Eight things on my wishlist
1. A job
2. money for decorations for our house
3. Plane tickets to Florida to see my parents
4. Flowers from Jeff
5. More time with jeff (just "alone" time would do)
6. A new purse/handbag
7. A new camera
8. Weightloss

Eight People I tag (if you want)
1. Jenn J.
2. Jen B.
3. April M.
4. Melea J.
5. Mary Ellen
6. Darci C.
7. Carrie C.
8. Bronwyn D.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Romantic Getaway to Park City

This past weekend, Jeff and I took a trip up to Park City - it was awesome! I'm becoming what Katie G. would call a "timeshare ho". Haha! We went to a 90-minute timeshare presentation, and got in return two nights free at a 5-star resort.

Anyone ever stayed at The Canyons before? We were in the Elk Lodge...and it was wonderful. Well, we actually stayed the first two nights (Thursday and Friday) in a less posh building next door because they overbooked the main building. The room was pretty small, but it was still pretty nice, there was never anyone at the pool or hot tub...so that was way nice.

So on Thursday we did some shopping at the outlet mall, then went to our presentation, then we just went out to dinner and hung out in the room. We both really needed to unwind and relax - life's been busy lately with the move and Jeff's job finishing up and all.

Jeff and I went horseback riding in Ensenada, Mexico on our honeymoon, and it was totally lame, so Jeff did a lot of investigating and found a ranch owner dude in Park City who took us out. It was so much better than Ensenada! We got to ride for two hours, and actually were allowed to run the horses and stuff. Much better than walking nose-to-tail for an hour!! It was so much fun. Jeff and I both love horses, but he's allergic...so we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool while his eyes de-swelled. haha poor guy. That night we drove around and looked at all the rich people houses that Park City is full of...amazing that so many people can have houses that big!!

On Saturday we checked out of the one place that was free, then went and spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon at the Utah Olympic Park. It was so awesome!!! We went on a guided tour and learned all about the ski jumping, the downhill, freestyle, luge, bobsled, etc. It was so interesting. Then we went on the zipline, which was freaky but so fun!! I'm so scared of heights...but as soon as the door opened and we started to fly, i was having a blast!!

Saturday at 4 we were allowed to check into the nicer place that we actually paid for, so we did that, then went into town in Park City and walked up and down Main Street. I love that little town - so much history and such charming buildings. The shopping stinks, but the overall experience is great.

We checked out Sunday to come home...but man was it a wonderful trip! I love Jeff so much, and I'm so glad we had a few days to reconnect and just be with each other. We're so grateful for Kathy (Jeff's mom) for keeping Mason while we were gone!!

Pumpkin Carving

This past Monday Jen and Ryan came up to Jeff's parents' house and we had Family Home Evening together. The little kids painted pumpkins and we adults carved them. It was way fun!!

By the way, you know you're married to a perfectionist when he returns to "fix" the eye you just carved on the pumpkin. haha I love Jeff. He's great.

Mason was creeped out by the pumpkin guts - he wouldn't even touch it...until this one time when we all walked away, and turned around and he was poking it with his finger. Until he noticed that we saw, then he quickly stopped and acted grossed out. He had a blast painting his pumpkin though.

Thanks for the suggestion, Jen!

Amber Treated Me to a Concert!!!!

So my bff Amber took me to the Reba McEntire/Kelly Clarkson concert a couple of weeks ago, and OH MY GOSH, IT WAS SO AMAZING!!! I would venture to say that it was THE BEST concert I've ever seen...after NKOTB when I was 10 yrs old, of course. :)

First of all, thank you so much Amber for taking me! Being married with a kid and on a limited budget, concerts aren't really something that we can spend money on. I'm glad Amber wanted to go so badly that she felt the need to pay for someone to go with her, and I'm grateful that 'someone' was me!!

The concert was part of the "2 Worlds 2 Voices" tour. Usually with country shows, you have an opening band, but not with this show - Melissa Peterson (Barbra Jean on the "Reba" show) opened with a HILARIOUS comedy act that had us all laughing our heads off.

My favorite two songs were Reba's "Does He Love You" - where they sang the opposing parts AT each other, and it was very believable that they hated each other during that performance!! And Kelly's "Since You've Been Gone". I'll include the videos in this post that I took if I can reduce them in size enough.

Oh, and Amber and I were very entertained by some dude and his wife who were 2 rows down from us. Seriously, she must have promised him something amazing after the show...or he must really, really love his wife...cuz he stood up for the ENTIRE show and appeared to be having more fun than any of the teenage girls in attendance. In fact, during the slow song "Because of You", he was up dancing still...pretty devoted fan. He knew all the words to every song...both from Reba and Kelly!! If you look at the slide show, he's "the guy who left his cajones at the door".

First Snow

On the 12th of October, we all went up to Bountiful for the blessing of Mindy and Cory's new baby boy Cole. We woke up to snow that weekend, and Mason was just loving watching it out the car window on our drive up to the blessing Sunday morning.

After it was over, we were waiting for someone to move their car that was parked behind us, so Jeff took advantage of the opportunity and taught Mason how to catch snowflakes on his tongue. It was the cutest thing to watch!!! I just love how much Jeff enjoys interacting with Mason. And Mason eats up every second of Jeff's time that he can get.

I just loved the pictures of him runnin around in his shirt, tie, diaper and socks too...reminded me of Tom Cruise on Top Gun. :) Minus the diaper, of course.

Fun With Cousins

Since we moved back, we've been able to get together a lot with Jen and her kiddos - Mason's cousins Cole and Malia. I'm so glad they're relatively close, because I get pretty bored during the day with nothing to do and it being so cold outside. I have a couple of friends who live nearby that I could hang out with, but it's SO hard to take my child to a person's house who doesn't have kids...most people don't understand what it's like for me to take him places where he doesn't have play things to keep him entertained. He's so into everything.

So while I'm on that tangent, I think I'll elaborate. Everywhere Mason goes, he stops to investigate everything. But not just check things out - he really has to figure out how each thing works before he will move on to the next thing. When we go to people's houses, he doesn't just hang out in the room with me. He'd explore/destroy the entire house if I didn't follow him around. If there's a kid room with toys, he'll stay in there and play. But if I go to see friends who don't have kids, and I have to take Mason, I might as well not even be there because I have to chase Mason around the whole time and don't even get to talk to my friend that I went to visit.

Anyway, so last week Jen and I took our kids to South Towne Mall to ride the carousel. Mason LOVED it!! This past Monday, I kept Malia and Cole while Jen and Ryan went house hunting, and it was soooooooo much fun over here! We pulled out Mason's pop-up tent that's supposed to be used for sleeping, but him and Malia had so much fun in it! Cole wasn't too sure about it, so he resorted to kissing his reflection in the fireplace glass. Mason and Malia play really, really well together - Cole likes to follow them around, and I'm sure he'll be joining in on the trouble-making soon enough!

Witch Hunt at Gardner Village

So a couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law Jen (Jeff's brother Ryan's wife) invited Mason and I to go with them to Gardner Village for the annual Witch Scavenger Hunt. They have really cool witches all over the place, and a list that you search from. Once you find them all, you take the kids to get them a cookie at the Village Bakery.

There were all kinds of witches - witches playing baseball, one hula-hooping, a frequent flier witch on a zipline thing with another witch across the parking lot directing her with the orange light sticks that they use on the tarmac at the airport. It was a lot of fun, and it's just so cool to finally have Mason near some of his cousins!