Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning was a bit different for us this year. It was the first year we haven't been in Idaho. I had to work Christmas eve and wouldn't get off until 6am on Christmas morning, so it only made sense to stay home.

It was fun for me to get home to see that Santa had come for the boys.

Since we were headed to Idaho later that morning, we woke the boys when I got home. Neither of them wanted to get up and it was 7am. Maybe it's because it took Chandler an hour to fall asleep because he was so excited. Chan kept laying back down even though we told him Santa had been here.

Finally he and Rowan made their way downstairs, and the look on their faces were priceless. Chan was particularly happy to see a Pokemon Wii game by his stocking...the ONLY thing he'd asked Santa for. :)

Since the are into a lot of the same toys, Santa brought them a variety of things to share like Bigfoot, a Chuggington Train Set, Stinky the Garbage Truck, and a Imaginext Batman set.

Meeting Bigfoot

Marshall and his new Apple TV.

The Aftermath...isn't it wonderful?

Bahamas - Part 2

The week that we were there in the Bahamas, we booked a couple of excursions to do. Our hotel concierge was amazing and really funny, her name was Genie. She was the one that told us about day trips and we booked through her. We decided to book an Island tour on Monday and an authentic Bahamian bonfire party on Tuesday. We only booked out that far as we weren't sure what else we wanted to do.
The Island tour was very informative, and one of our favorite stops was Garden of the Groves. It is a fabulous garden that was made to show thanks to a man that really got the Grand Bahama up and going. He put a ton of money and time into it and even negotiated a 100 year tax free deal with Britain. The garden was full of tropical flowers and plants, ponds, waterfalls, and more.

After the garden, we went to some liquor store which I thought was odd since we have those all over in the US, but others seemed to be excited. We also saw a lot of the homes and how the people lived.
Next, we headed off to a small market to have lunch which was Conch. Conch is a type of snail that grows in a really beautiful shell.

They are a lot of white muscle and live on the bottom of the ocean. It's one major thing that they eat in the Bahamas. We got to see how they got the Conch from the shell and were able to eat it grilled. It was actually pretty interesting and tasted quite good. We ate it almost every way you could prepare it while we were there. (The picture below is of Genie, our concierge. She actually met us there since her friend owns this little place and helped show us about the Conch.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Letter

I didn't include a holiday letter in our Christmas cards, but thought that I would journal the happenings of the year and post it here. (Note that I said I would journal it here, and none of it is new news to you that read this blog, so if you get through this lengthy "letter," kudos.)

2010 has been one rollercoaster of a year, but then again, when is life not?

Chandler has grown and developed so much and has actually become quite witty. We are constantly laughing at the funny and cute things he says and I need to be better about writing them down because it seems like I forget so easily. He really loves to play video games, and we have to watch him sometimes that he doesn't play too long because he'd play all day if you let him. He also really loves arts and crafts and when he's doing them his attention span is quite good. He loves to paint and help me cook. In fact, I find when he helps me cook, he's better about eating his dinner because he feels like he made it too.
This year was his second year in primary, he was in the CTR4 class. We really struggled a lot of the year, and it finally seems like he's gotten better but it's been a long time in coming. I don't think that it helped when I got put into primary at the first of the year and it triggered his emotions even more seeing me standing at the back of the primary room.
He's very independent and can make his own corn dogs and cereal, has finally started to have an opinion about what he wants to wear, and is great at picking up after himself a lot of the time.
He's still very active, likes to run and jump, play battle with dad, and just flat out be a boy. Toys he likes are transformers, puzzles, games, and trains. He's so sweet and loves to cuddle and show love. It's interesting because he was SO not cuddly when he was younger, and now if we are watching a movie, he wants hugs and to snuggle. I love it. It's amazing that he's already 5 and how fast the time goes. He and Rowan are starting full time 2 day a week preschool in January and it will be great prep for kindergarten next fall.

Rowan's year started out rough. He's battled with asthma since 7 months and was hospitalized in February with RSV. We stayed there for 2 days while he fought to keep his oxygen up. I guess I should be grateful he didn't get it as a baby, because I'm sure it would have been much worse. Most kids are fine with RSV at home when they are 2, but Rowan wasn't. He was on a ton of meds at the first of the year, and he's slowly been weaned off of them. I haven't given him a neb treatment in probably 6 months, but then again he hasn't really been sick which is when he really gets wheezy. I hope this winter will be more mild so he can breathe well.
We watched Rowan go from very cuddly to also independent over this year. I think a lot of it had to do with his pacifier. He's always had a hair fetish, and had to hold hair while he had his paci in, but once we got rid of it in September, he didn't want to cuddle or hold hair anymore. Kind of sad. Row's been a bit of a slow talker like Chandler was but is saying more and more. It's nice that he's able to express himself better, but has always been a screamer and still is. He likes to play with Chandler, but also fights with him about half of the time. He's started to really fight back and Chandler often has lots of scratches from Rowan. We have introduced the naughty spot, but I don't think it's quite clicking yet that he can't scratch. He's not potty trained, but I'm not rushing anything. When he shows more interest, we'll pursue it.
He's so adorable, growls when he gives bear hugs, and is quick to give kisses, which I love. He likes to sing nonsense to himself and enjoys watching shows and playing outside. He also loves loves animals and we've contemplated getting him a cat. We're still on the fence on that one.

Marshall started the year pursuing his business, Pivo Web Marketing. He had some clients but wasn't making as much as he'd like so he looked for a job elsewhere. In February, he got hired at Speed of Trust, which is under the Franklin Covey name. He does e-mail marketing for the book "Speed of Trust" by Stephen M.R. Covey. He really likes the people he works with but sometimes feels like he doesn't get to contribute as much as he wants. I think it's something that will come with time. It's really amazing how motivated and how much initiative he has. I think if half of people put as much into their job as he does, this world would be a much better and efficient place. It's been a great company, and we've seen tons of blessings from it. He's also got another business, ACN that we are doing on the side and it's been fun to see him excited about that.
He's the most amazing dad to his boys, cooks when I don't want to, and cleans like a mad man. :)
He was serving as ward missionary leader most of the year, and was recently called as Sunday School President. He's loving the calling so far!

It would be an understatement to say this year has been amazing and full of opportunity for me. I started seeing so many doors open on my blog, Babes and Kids Review, and it's been such a huge blessing. I've reviewed everything from toys to vacuums, received numberless gift cards, and even made a few thousand this year. I also got to attend two movie screenings - one in New York City, and one in Austin, TX for Walmart & P&G. In May, Pampers flew our entire family out to Cincinnati, OH. I toured headquarters while the boys and Marsh went to a fun museum. In November, I went to Boston, Massachusetts to TJ Maxx/Marshall's headquarters for a holiday preview and it was fun to meet new friends. I love blogging, having a voice, and the opportunities it's given me. Plus I've been so many new places this year!
In March, I applied to an ultrasound program partnered with Intermountain Health Care and Salt Lake Community College. It's something I've wanted to do, but was put on hold as I got pregnant with Chan when I was finishing my 4 year degree at BYU-I. I decided to apply and out of 300 applicants, and 100 that interviewed, I was one of 16 that got in! I started this Fall, and it's been an adjustment getting back into school mode but I love it so far. I will be done in August of 2012 and start clinical next semester.
I took up running this year, and surprised myself at how far I could go. I ran a half marathon in June with my mom, sister, and two brothers. In September, I ran a FULL marathon with my oldest brother. It was hands down one of the hardest things I've ever done, but so amazing to me that I was able to accomplish it. I plan on running more races, but probably not a full marathon.
I'm still working in the ER as a clerk 2 nights a week and will cut back to 1 come January so I can focus on school and have some time with the family.
I'm serving in the Primary Presidency as Secretary and it's been a challenge for me to stay organized, but I love it and the women I serve with.
I know you are looking at everything I have going on and think that I have it all together, but I definitely have my breakdowns. Luckily I have a very great hubby that will listen to me blubber and cry until I feel better. :)

Marsh and I were also able to go to the Bahamas at the first of December for 8 days. It was so amazing, and definitely needed.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.

(Our attempt to get a picture of the boys in their Christmas jammies....yeah right. At least Chan tried. :) )

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I'm having to remind myself to live in the moment lately instead of looking ahead, or overwhelming myself. It's hard not to think ahead, when things are settling into place for next semester. I found out last week that the boys got into the Eccles lab at my college, which is basically like a preschool. I'm really excited because it's structured well, they feed them 2 meals and a snack, and I feel like it will especially be good prep for Chandler for kindergarten next fall. Next good news- tuition is based on income, so we will only be paying about $400 a month for the two of them and they are going 2 days a week from 8am-5pm. So that takes care of two of my school days. Avry will be taking them my other clinical day, and I'm hoping my friend Sara will continue watching them Monday mornings while I go to class that day.
Anyways, now that I'm focusing on the future again, let's get back to the present. We got dumped on last night with at least 6 inches of snow. It's absolutely beautiful and Chandler told me Santa must be getting closer if we are getting this much snow. I agree. And to top it off, it's the most perfect snowman snow, so we set out to build a snowman.

Rowan didn't last too long in the snow, he mostly laid there and ate it, and then cried to go inside. Chan and I however built this awesome 3 foot snowman...named Frosty.

After that, I had some fun taking pictures of him. This is how he feels about the snow.

And I love this picture. I know you can't see his one eye, but I love the angle, the black and white, everything. Did I mention I am learning more about my camera, and I'm in love? Now I'm starting to realize that I want a telephoto lens to do some other things that my kit lens doesn't do.

After we came inside, I started making goodies for the neighbors. We went with chocolate chip cookies w/Christmas sprinkles, Peppermint Bark, and Oreo Truffles. I think the boys must have eaten their weight in chocolate, and I'm not far behind them. I keep waiting for either of them to say that they feel sick, but I guess they have my tolerance for sugar. :)

One last thing I must mention - we've had all of the presents wrapped under the tree for over a week, and not one piece of wrapping paper has been ripped off. Instead the boys pet the wrapping paper, hold the packages and Chandler looks for his name. It's adorable and brings back great memories from when I was a kid.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Bahamas

So going to The Bahamas was absolutely heavenly. We left on a Friday morning VERY early and spent most of the day traveling. We had layovers in Dallas/Ft. Worth and also in Miami. It was a first being to both of these places for me, even though we were only in the airport. We flew out of Salt Lake at 6 am and got to Freeport, Grand Bahama at about 8 or 9, I can't remember exactly. My first impression was how friendly all of the people were. Our shuttle driver gave us a little tour as we were on our way to the hotel. They drive on the left side of the road there, which was really weird since it's something I'm not used to. We got to our hotel, and it was pretty simple and outdated, but perfect for what we needed. I wasn't expecting a lot as the trip was so cheap to book.
We had a fabulous view of the Channel, alas why our hotel was probably called the Bell Channel Inn.

Saturday we slept in, ate breakfast at the restaurant upstairs, and walked to Port Lucaya marketplace which was about a 15-20 minute walk from our hotel. There was a beach right close by. That first day we ran into a man who was dressed in a floral costume and started telling us all about some customs and traditions around this time of year. Then he said something like, "And most people tip me $5." It was so out of the blue and we didn't realize he would just flat out ask us for money. We gave him $1.

The weather was pretty nice for the most part when we were there - high 60's to high 70's depending on the day. The water was coolish, but warmer on days when it was warmer.

That next day we didn't do too much. We had booked other things for the week, but decided to lay low on Sunday. We spent more time at the beach and just exploring a bit. I found this fantastic Goombay Punch drink down in our vending machine and had to have it. It was basically pure sugar, and tasted like a mix between pineapple and sprite. It was really good and definitely not the last time I had it while I was there.

To keep these posts from being incredibly lengthy, I'm going to break them up. Bahamas trip: To be continued.....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Temple Square

Would you believe that in the 3 Christmas seasons we've lived near Salt Lake, we've never been to Temple Square to see the lights? We decided that we definitely needed to do it this year, and I had a meeting for work in Salt Lake yesterday so it worked out quite nicely. I definitely wasn't very prepared, only had a light jacket, and the boys only had their coats. Wish I would have packed hats and gloves.
The lights were absolutely beautiful, and we happened to find someone selling hot chocolate which we jumped on. I also got the chance to try out my new SLR camera, and I've realized there's a big learning curve to taking great pictures. For some silly reason, I thought that just because I had a great new camera, I would be able to take amazing pictures. I'm only about 10 pages into my instruction booklet, and I'd definitely like to take a beginner course to get to know a little bit more about photography, but I'm having fun experimenting. Some pictures actually turned out quite well!

Riding Trax around Salt Lake. The boys love riding the train!

Temple/Christmas lights

Nativity on the water, isn't it pretty?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Hi from the Bahamas! I can't believe how relaxed and wonderful it is to get away. We got here late Friday night and have basically been kicking back. Sleeping, eating, laying on the beach, talking. I can't remember the last time I had this much time just to focus on Marshall and me, it was probably before we had kids. We have some fun excursions planned for the week, and the weather has been perfect so far - mid 70's. I miss my babies like crazy though. It's funny how you always feel like you need a break from your kids, and when you finally get one, you think about them and miss them. Oh well, they are in good hands up in Idaho with puppy & papa. I'm going to try to update our trip as we go so I don't have a ton to blog when we get home. Wish I could share the warmth with you all back home. :)