Monday, November 20, 2017

ROK Skating Night

We love our ROK nights! And the skating night is a real favorite, as it's really the only time the kids get to go ice skating. :) This year we met up with the Schultz for dinner before hand at an awesome restaurant they recommended called The Italian Village. The food was amazing...especially the pizza benders! We'll be going back for sure. :)

We always love when we take the chance to spend some time with our dear friends. It doesn't matter how much time has passed between visits, or how long it's been since were neighbors in the hospital with our boys, we are still such good friends. And oh my, but Stetson and Joseph are just a pair! As we exchanged stories of these two rambunctious toddlers, it seems that both of their older brothers instructed the to live life to the fullest! And it's just adorable that the are the same size! Like, exactly. It's crazy! They're going to be such good buds.

Skating was a blast, though Claire still didn't care of the experience. So she made our pins and magnets with Luke's picture on them. We all love how they turned out! We got to visit with a couple nurses and techs, and of course the ROK coordinators that are always there. We always leave these nights with hearts full of happiness and gratitude of the people that cancer brought into our lives. Can't wait for the summer party!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

BYU vs UMass

With a little luck on our side, we ended up with enough tickets to take our whole family to the last home game of the season! We were playing UMass on a clear but really, really cold November afternoon. This isn't our first rodeo (or cold football game, as the case may be), so we knew to bundle the kids in their best snow gear. Besides getting cold fingers while eating our Cougar Crunch and Cougar Tail everyone stayed happy and warm. Even Joey did great! Our boys in blue, however, did not. It was a terribly disappointing loss to end a terribly disappointing losing season. Really...we haven't had this bad of a record in something like 60 years! But we're real fans, and we'll ride the lows along with the highs. Here's hoping for better football next season! Go Cougs!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Meridian Temple Open House

We've kind of become temple open house groupies...we'll travel to anyone that is even remotely close! So when they announced the dates for the Meridian Temple open house, we grabbed our tickets and planned a day trip. And it was going to be a lot of trip in one day! We packed snacks and a change of clothes, got the kids dressed in their Sunday best, and set off for the 4.5 hour drive to the Boise, Idaho area. The kids did great in the car, and were so excited to see another temple. This makes six temple open houses for Claire, Sophie, and Johnny. The are really coming to love being in the House of the Lord.

And the Meridian Temple was no different. It was a cold and wet day, but the temple still gorgeous. We all loved the unique architecture, and how the temple was situation overlooking a river. Inside the temple was beautiful, with thick wood moldings, an elegant color scheme, and incredible murals on the walls of the instruction rooms. The celestial room was, well, heavenly. Claire said that the chandelier in the celestial room of this temple was here favorite. In fact, upon completing our tour both girls declared that they would be getting married in the Meridian Temple, since it was their new favorite. :)

After the tour we spent some time in the visitor's center, getting our customary picture and letting Joey run around for a bit before getting back in the car. The kids enjoyed touching pieces of the granite and the stones used in the temple, as well as seeing door knobs and hinges. I really love how the church has added these visitor's centers to the open house tours.

With the tour complete, we had a couple more things to do on our day trip before we could start the trek home. First, Danny wanted to drive by his Lovell grandparents' old house. Danny lived there for a time, and visited often. Danny and I, along with Claire and Sophie, made a few trips up there to help clean and paint when the house was being prepared for listing. As we made our way there, Danny showed the kids the elementary school he went to for a little while, and pointed out how much the area had changed. We only got to drive by the house, but the new owners have repainted it and made some other changes and the house looks great. We promptly sent a picture to Great Grandma Lovell. :) With that done, the last thing we needed to do was eat...and we couldn't just grab food anywhere. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try another "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" location! So we hit up the Westside Diner and everyone had a great meal!

What a great day! But we still had a 4.5 hour drive. :) The kids changed into pajamas for the drive, and we made our way home. All was going well until Joey started screaming about 50 minutes from home and didn't stop...until about 5 minutes from our front door. It stressed Claire to her limit, listening to that shrill screaming for what seemed like forever. But considering all the traveling we've done with that baby boy, and the fact that he has NEVER freaked out like that...well, I think it was fair. Plus it was a good toughening-up experience for the older kids. :) All said and done, it was a great day trip and we're so glad our kids will do these crazy adventures with us! I'm so proud of their willingness to sacrifice some comfort to see the temple, and I'm optimistic that the foundation we're laying now will keep a love of the temple in their lives forever. And that is worth every bit of effort we make to attend these open houses.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October iMoments

Joey is finally getting the hang of Luke's bike and roller-horse that were his only mode of transportation. It makes us happy to see them being used again. :)

During Sophie's family birthday party, Aunt Millie caught this cute moment between Papa and Joey. My kids are so blessed to have such a loving Papa!

It was Sophie's turn to have her field trip to the Hill AFB Museum, so Danny was sure to meet her there. They had a great time together, and Sophie loved showing off her Daddy. 

Johnny was recognized by the principle for being the Student of the Month! 

Claire's turn for her Daddy-Daughter date to the game. Good thing Danny enjoys his dates so much...because the Cougars are REALLY struggling this season!

While Danny and Claire where at the game, I let Johnny stay up for the first half. Johnny turns to me and says, "Watching football and eating gummy bears just feels good." :)

I caught Joey struggled up in Luke's blanket. This is a really special time in that Joey is virtually the same age, at the same time of year, that Luke was when he was home and healthy with us. There is some ache to see Joey and cuddled up in Luke's blanket...but mostly it makes me happy.

I've been determined to learn how to make homemade tortillas, just like I grew up on. I think my Grandma would be proud of these!

Enjoyed a special birthday lunch with Sophie-kins at Blue Lemon! I love our birthday dates with the's great to get some one-on-one time with each of least once a year ;)

Joey is by far the most independent child we've had. I guess he decided he wanted a he got into the laundry room and found a paper plate, then climbed up onto the table, took the lid off the cookie jar, grabbed a cookie, and put it on his plate! I couldn't even be mad about him climbing on the table, I was just impressed!


This seems to be the month of Joey/Luke flashbacks. I decided I needed some slippers for Joey. They're so much easier than trying to put shoes and socks on him just to run the kids to the school in the morning. Naturally, they had to be monster feet. :)

#momlife isn't so bad. :)

Blessed Day! First day of Nursery for Joseph, and he loved it!

When we went to go visit Great Grandma, Joey showed her how to work a fidget spinner. Ah, the influence of the younger generation...

Joey wants nothing more in life than to be like the older kids and do what they do. He's watched Claire practice piano in the morning, and so as soon as she goes to school he climbs up on the piano and practices too. 

Joey was LOVING his first time on that slides at the park...until he missed a step on the way up and bit through his lip. Those baby teeth are sharp!

Good thing Mama knew just what to do. Wipe the blood away and distract with camera!

The girls took our old cases when we switched phones. I caught them taking pretend selfies at the store! 

Our good friends the Overs were here visiting from Lancaster. Her sister lives here in Syracuse, and they were having a Halloween party and invited us to come so we could visit with our friends. The kids had a blast becoming acquainted again, and I loved the chance to catch up with Andrea. We've been so blessed in our lives with great friends.

And to wasn't that long ago these girls were having fairy/princess tea parties!

We had the wonderful experience of joining Natalia in the Salt Lake Temple when she received her endowment in preparation to serve her mission in the Salt Lake City South Mission. Jeff, Jami, Rose, and Tali even stayed with us, and we had such a wonderful time together! We're so proud of Tali, and even though we're going to miss her we can't wait for her to serve. And we promise we won't just happen to find ourselves in her mission ready to smother her in hugs. We promise! :)

Claire made it into the beginner chess club this year at school! She's so excited, and I'm so impressed with her courage to try new and hard things!

Sophie has such a cute group of friends, and I'm so grateful that their moms go to the school functions and take pictures. :)

Claire's Halloween recital went so well! At least, that's what I've been told. Unfortunately, Danny and I were in Vegas and missed it this time. It was a double bummer, because Claire and I were supposed to play a duet. But what do you do? She knew we were so sad to miss it, and she was sad too...but she understood. Sometimes you just have conflicts in the calendar. But Grandma Candy took her and the kids, and Papa and Grandma Call were there to video it so we could see it as soon as she finished. I'm so grateful for amazing grandparents and awesome technology!

This is the face Grandma Candy got when she wouldn't let Joey play in the broken portion of the fence. :)

These boys...they were both zombies for Halloween this year, just by chance! And what better place to be a zombie than in Grandma Candy's epic leaf pile?

Trunk-or-treat with Grandma Candy!

"Umm...Mom! I'm trying to watch football in the wee hours of the morning, here!"