Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Christmas Present Yet!

This year we are traveling to New York for Christmas. Because it is pointless to drag all of our presents to New York and then back to Lexington, we decided to open our presents before we left. Greg had the the most presents to open (though none of them were cool like a PS3 or an HD large screen TV). Amber surprised me again this year with some of the best presents...3 awesome Tour de France water bottles for my bikes and a cool pull over for biking to and from school in the morning.

But the highlight of this year was my gift to Amber. You see, Amber is quite humble and every time I ask her what she wants for Christmas she always responds with, "Just to spend time with you."...Oh Please!!!! So to make a long story short, my previous four years of Christmas presents for Amber were horrible. But this year different.

Without further ado, I present Amber's Christmas card cover:

And a video of her opening the present:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nice Kicks!

Noel's cousin Scotty and his wife Jessie gave Greg the cutest Converse shoes last year around Christmas time. They are size 5, so at the time, they were too big. A few months ago I figured they would probably fit. So cute! Too bad they won't fit for too much longer; it's getting hard to fit his chubby feet in there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year for Thanksgiving, Noel's parents and grandparents came to visit. It is always a treat to have them around. They got in Wednesday night and the cooking frenzy began Thursday morning. No pictures of Thanksgiving dinner. Oops. We had a magnificent feast. True to form, Gordie made (I think) 7 or 8 pies. They were delish, and we are still enjoying them. We also had some great rolls, mashed potatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and of course turkey. It was fantastic! Noel's cousin Kristi, her husband Justin, and their son Landon came up from Bowling Green. We also had the Jones family, Jackson family, and our friend Pat from our ward. It was so fun!!!

Noel ran a turkey trot Thursday morning out at Keeneland (a few other people from the ward were in it too). Probably one of the funniest things from the race was the lady completing the course in a tiny buggy being pulled by a little pony. I don't know why I never get my camera out. I think that it stems from the fact that Noel is so good at taking pictures that I usually rely on him to do it. So because he was running the race, no pictures.

Of course, Greg was totally spoiled by all the attention that he received with 4 extra people in the house. He had such a fun time with his grandparents and great-grandparents. Now it's just boring ol' mom around the house all day. I'm sure he is wondering where the fun people went!

On Friday, we played volleyball at the church with some friends in the ward. We had a really fun time. I was especially excited because growing up, my family would get together to play volleyball the day after Thanksgiving. So even though I wasn't with them for the holiday, I still got to do one of the traditions.

Here are some cute pictures that Noel took while we were at the park on Saturday. It was such a beautiful day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home and Adventures

This is Noel again. I know that I said I wouldn't post on this blog anymore, but Amber has trouble navigating through my picture archives in order to post pictures. As such, I thought I would post some pictures of Greg for the grandparents and tell a little bit about school, life, and adventures.

The following pictures are from this morning and demonstrate Greg's most recent developments. First off, Greg has turned into a climbing maniac. For his birthday Grandma and Grandpa Dickens gave him a little jungle set with a slide and platform. Since conquering climbing onto the platform he has decided that he can climb onto anything. In particular he likes to climb up onto any seat (especially the piano bench and the computer chair). Amber and I gave up on trying to keep off things. In the meantime we are working on the concept of "down." That is...don't stand up! Greg is also quite mobile and loves to run around the backyard with his basketball and soccer ball. Great Grandpa Dickens would be quite proud of his great grandson as Greg also loves to make motor noises while he drives his car. Fortunately he hasn't learned how to use the horn, but he does love to shout, "GO!!!!" and point in any direction. We are doomed :(

School has kept me quite busy, but I have been fortunate to balance my studies with exercise, fun, and extracurricular activities. This fall I have been training for the Iron Man - Louisville. My goal before Christmas is to swim a mile in under 40 minutes. In the spring I will work on my running as I need to drop my half marathon time to under 2 hours. So far so good and I have been injury free, although I recently came down with the swine flu...YUCK!

This past weekend was the Race for the Fig Adventure Race. The race consists of running, biking, rappelling, and kayaking/canoeing for 60 miles combined in Red River Gorge. Our team name was the "Occlusal Crushers" as we consisted of myself and 3 second year dental students. It was a great experience. Our team did very well despite two of us recently recuperating from the flu. On Sunday all of us were quite sore. But despite Bryce Jones saying, "Hell is defined as fire and brimstone. Better put, it is the adventure race." we are already planning on doing it next year.

 My family has a rich tradition of military service and I would like to take the time to thank them for their service and example. Thank you for sacrificing your time and efforts to guarantee a better tomorrow. Happy Veteran's Day and may your lives be blessed.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Festivities

October has been a busy month. Here is a little look at what we have been up to this month.

Of course, we carved pumpkins with Jeff and Melea. I scooped out the seeds, and Noel did the carving. Nice work. I do have to say that Noel's pumpkin carving skills have come a long way since the first year we did this with the Birds. It's a skull and cross bones, just in case you couldn't tell.
I was so excited to dress Greg up for Halloween this year. Since I am lacking in craft/sewing abilities and didn't want to spend too much on a costume, I went with our friend Kristen to Kid-2-Kid and found this adorable elephant costume for $7. I thought that Greg would be all for it. Wrong. He was quite distraught about having the elephant head on his head (he has never been a fan of wearing hats).
"Dad, why is she doing this to me?!?!"
Of course his life in an elephant costume got much better with a graham cracker.

Greg and I went to our ward's annual trunk-or-treat activity. It was very fun to see all the cute costumes and decorated trunks.

Our friends, the Willburs (aka Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger, Luigi, and Toad). Blurry, but such cute costumes...nice work, Joy!

Greg and I again. It sure did take a lot of graham crackers to keep that kid happy.

This is how a guy in our ward dressed up. It was so cool. He is a tall guy to begin with, then he was standing on these stilt things that made him probably 10 feet tall. He also had paper mache hands and head. Very spooky!

Last but not least, the kids in Fayette County schools had their fall break for 2 days this month. One afternoon that she had off, Grace came over to play with Greg. He loves her!!! It was so fun to watch him play with her; he was so happy and excited.

I hope that everyone had a wonderfully spooky Halloween and that you got tons of candy! :)

Call me lucky!

Several months ago, I was brushing my teeth to get ready for bed, and I notice that my wedding ring looked funny in the mirror. After my double take, I saw that the center diamond was missing! Horror! I was so panicky because we had been to an amusement park with friends the day before. I was pretty sure that it was there the night before, but my state of mind was such that I kept imagining that it flying out on a roller coaster laying on the ground with the cell phones, gum and sunglasses that had fallen out of other riders' possessions. I told Noel and started searching around the house. I had just gotten out of the shower, so that was the first place I looked. Nope. Then I proceeded to crawl around the house looking through our fairly high pile carpet. Nope again. I was so mad, and I had resigned myself to the fact that we would be going to get a cubic zirconia to put in there.

Well...the next morning, Noel got up to get ready for meetings before church. He stepped into the shower and felt something under his foot. Yep, it was the diamond! Talk about lucky! Noel has tried to convince me that luck has nothing to do with it, he found it because he was fulfilling his calling. :)

I finally took it to Kay Jewelers to have the stone put back in. I though that it was going to cost at least $100. Nope...$27. And I think that they did a great job. I think that they must have also re-plated the white gold on my ring because the scratches and worn spots are no longer there. I looks fabulous! I feel like I'm newly engaged again because I'm not used to wearing it, and I keep looking down at the pretty ring that my husband gave me.

Moral of the story: fulfill your callings. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lauralee's Personalized Art

I have a lovely friend in our ward who has started up a little at-home business making frames with phrases/names in them. Super cute stuff! It would be great for shower gifts. She is so creative and talented. Check out her new blog...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On My Mind

The other day I was looking at my sister-in-law's friend's blog. I've met her only a couple of times, but I like to look at her blog every once in a while. Well, one of her recent posts was a list of things that she had been thinking about recently. I really liked that idea, and it was fun to read. Since I'm not a good journal person, this blog has become my substitute for a journal. So this is more of a journal post than anything else.

What I've been thinking about recently:

1. I have been wondering how much longer the Office will be running. I watch every week, but this season has been less entertaining that previous seasons. Last week was really funny though and back up to par. My favorite line was from Dwight, "R is a very menacing sound. That's why is called murder and not muckduck." I laughed so hard!

2. The most random people have made guest appearances in my dreams and have crossed my mind. People from high school that I just knew but wasn't friends with. Then that gets me thinking about other people from Burley. It's kind of a chain reaction. :) I hope life is treating them well.

3. Since the end of the school year and being at home, I have tried to cook more. I've tried bunches of new recipes. (Check out Adele's cooking blog...Simply Delicious. It's awesome!) It's been fun to experiment, but I get frustrated with my lack of cooking abilities. Hopefully by the time that Greg is old enough to know something tastes gross and be able to voice his opinion, I'll be able to cook more than pizza and spaghetti.

4. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to read for pleasure. I just didn't read very much while I was working. It's so relaxing and enjoyable. I've been reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I'm on the third book, Specials. They are really great reads, and they get me thinking about the emphasis put on beauty and making choices in tough situations. I highly recommend the books.

5. I have felt so much joy! Being a mom has it's trying moments, but at the end of the day, I have so much happiness because of Greg. He is so cute. He is really into trucks right now and drives his trucks all over the house. Really simple, but I love it! I feel really lucky to have such a wonderful husband and such a beautiful son. I didn't know that this is what a mother's love felt like. It's the best feeling ever!

6. I've also felt really lucky to live in Lexington. We have a great ward and have made some really dear friends here. I miss Idaho (I've especially been missing mountains recently) and really miss being around my family. But it's good to be surrounded by loving brothers and sisters in the Gospel.

7. In June, our Bishop gave our ward a challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year (like Pres. Hinckley did back in 2005). I'm so grateful for that challenge. I'm over 60% finished, and I have felt such strength from consistently reading the scriptures. One of my New Year's resolutions was to read the scriptures at least 6 out of 7 days a week, and I am happy to say that I have kept that resolution. But with this challenge I have been making sure that I read a little bit more each day. I have also felt strength in knowing that we are doing this as a ward and that there are others around me that are also being blessed for being obedient. It gives me a greater resolve to keep going.

Well...there you have it. The complex workings of my mind. :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

I just read this quote in the September Ensign and love it!

"The principal reason the Church was organized is to make life sweet today, to give contentment to the heart today, to bring salvation today...
"Some of us look forward to a time in the future--salvation and exaltation in the world to come--but today is part of eternity."

-David O. McKay

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mr. Mischief

Noel had his road cycle on the trainer in the office for a couple of weeks because it had been raining quite a bit, and he still wanted to be able to ride his bike. Greg really found the bike quite interesting and would grab the tires and spin them around. Well, he grabbed the chain one day and...the pictures speak for themselves.

It was pretty hard to get him clean.

Greg loves shoes. Here he is trying on Noel's shoes. If there was a picture after this one, it would have been of him falling and crying. Oops.

Greg has been switching from 2 naps to just one. I could tell he was tired, but he just kept playing and whining in his crib for awhile. Then I didn't hear him anymore, but I could hear the jingle of his bear every once in awhile. I went in to check on him and this is what I found...
poor kid fell asleep sitting up in the corner of his crib. What a cutie!

Monday, October 5, 2009

White Coat Weekend Continued

While Noel's parents were here for his White Coat Ceremony, we definitely put them to work. Gordie mowed the lawn, sprayed weeds, pulled out bushes, and spray painted the awesome patio set from a garage sale (good find Lynne). The seats looked really dingy, but with some spray paint, they look as good as new! It's been fun having dinner outside. Greg likes it too because once he eats, he can get down and play in the yard.

We also kept Lynne very busy. She made us a new bedspread, shams, pillows, and curtains for our bedroom. All in one day! She said that she felt like she was on a speed-decorating TV show! She did such an awesome job! When we moved into this house, the people before us left these red curtains in our room. I'm sure they looked fine with their decorations, but I didn't like them, and they looked pretty bad with our furniture. Our room looks so much better!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Noel's White Coat Ceremony

Last Friday was Noel's white coat ceremony. As students start dental or medical school, they are given their white doctor coat by the dean. It's pretty cool; it has Noel's name and UK College of Dentistry embroidered on it. When he graduates, they'll take it back and have DMD put on it and then return it to him. Noel's parents came from Rochester for the occasion (and I'm sure to see their grandson as well).

I felt so proud during the whole thing. Noel starting dental school has been a long time coming...over three years and a masters program. I'm so excited for him to be able to move toward his goal of becoming a dentist. I'm really proud of him for being a good student and for being someone who is so motivated. The great thing about Noel is that he is really good at balancing. He studies hard, but he still makes it a priority to spend time with Greg and me. Way to go Noel!

The best dressed guy at the ceremony... :)
Greg with Lynne and her cell phone (he probably made several calls). Grandma and Grandpa were lifesavers; they are professionals at keeping a baby entertained and quiet!
The class president

Noel getting his white coat from Dean Turner.

Greg loved the juice that they served afterward. We couldn't get him to take his sippy cup away from his mouth!
Lynne referred to Noel's class as the "pretty girls and Mormons." That sums up the demographics pretty well. The LDS guys in Noel's class: Curtis, Brent, Noel, Tony, Barton, Stephen, and Mike.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy First Birthday!

Okay...I know that this was a while ago. You would think that especially with my first child, I would be good at documenting all his milestones, but I'm not. But better late than never, right? Greg turned 1 on August 26. It was such a fun day, and I know that it was probably more fun for me than it was for him. I do think that he realized that he was the center of attention that day. He is the center of attention most days, but even more so on his birthday. :)

Since being a stay-at-home mom, I have tried to cook/bake more, so I wanted to make a cute cake for Greg's birthday. I didn't want to get in over my head though, so I decided to do a bear cake (he has this little bear that he LOVES and sleeps with). Turned out pretty well. I also made these fantastic chocolate chip cookie dough stuffed cupcakes. The recipe is from Picky Palate (some tasty recipes on this site). The cake and the cupcakes were the shining star of my baking "career."

We had some of our friends over for cake and ice cream. It is always a good time with the Birds, Bylunds, and Reynolds! We Skyped with Grandma and Grandpa Aston and Aunt Melissa while we sang and while Greg ate his cake so they could watch. Greg was so excited to see them on the webcam. He kept waving, babbling, and rocking his high chair. It was very cute. We gave him a big piece of cake (the bear's entire bow tie). He was a little timid at first...

But he definitely got into it. He ate pretty much the whole piece! Way to go!
On a slight side note: I took Greg for his check-up at the pediatrician the next day. Dr. Warner was asking if Greg liked his cake. I told him that I probably let him eat too much. He asked if Greg got a belly ache from it. Nope. Then he said, "Then it wasn't too much cake." I like your attitude, Doc. I wonder if that goes for adults eating cake, too.

Grandma and Grandpa Dickens sent Greg a Little Tikes play set for his birthday. It was definitely a big hit (with him and all the kids who came over).
Setting it up...

Greg didn't really get into opening presents, but it was still fun because he got excited. Jackson might have gotten a bit more excited though. :) He got a soccer ball, some puzzles, some bubbles, and a UK sweatsuit. Very fun! Happy birthday, Turbo!

Greg's girlfriend. :) Sorry that it's so blurry, but you get the idea that she is very cute!