Rocco

May 30th, 2016 in About Me

In January our sweet Rocco passed away. It was really hard on our family, every single one of us. I was surprised at how every person in our family handled his death in a different way. Five months later and Shae still asks about him every day.

Rocco leading up to January had two scares. One day Tyler was out of town and I was feeding Rocco his food (we feed raw meat to our dogs) and he could not swallow it. It was terrifying. I was faced with the decision to pry open his mouth and put my hand down a 100 lb Rottweiler throat to get it out OR see if he could work it out on his own. I massaged his throat to try to get it down while he was close to passing out. He finally got it down and I was so relieved. But I realized that is body was very old and very weak.

Rocco also collapsed in the backyard one day. After he collapsed he lost a lot of strength in his back legs and hips. Rocco has always been incredibly healthy and we knew he was just getting old. We knew he would pass away eventually but other than those two things was not in pain normally and very happy. He ate well every day, waiting for his Dad by the window every day, and slept at the foot of our bed.

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Rocco had an eye infection that we were able to clear up on our own but in January it came back and looked worse. The next morning his eye was full of blood and I told Tyler to take him into the vet. They got in that morning and I got an awful call from Tyler. Rocco had cancer and was internally bleeding severely. They drained his stomach of blood a bit but he needed to be put down. They guessed that Rocco had been dealing with cancer for a month, probably when he had collapsed a few weeks before.

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It was a hard decision to make over the phone if they should put him down right then or if we should have one last day with Rocco. Rocco was very stressed out and upset at the vet’s office. I told Tyler that we needed to have one last day with Rocco. To let him have one last calm day at home. It was an awful day, everyone in the family sobbed most of the day. That night I kept on waking up and would ask Rocco to come over to me so I could pet him.

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All of the girls got to say goodbye to Rocco and feed him treats throughout the day. Tyler watched a movie with Rocco, lied on the floor with him most of the time, and was with him non stop. Honey who has spent 11 years of her life with Rocco got to be with him too. After he was gone, she knew. She didn’t look for him, or act nervous or stressed. Her ears did not perk up anymore when I would call his name. Honey knew he was gone. We found Rocco’s puppy pictures, watched all his YouTube videos, and sobbed. And sobbed.

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We had a vet come to our home and put him down in our home. Before she came Tyler took the bite sleeve and had Rocco have some fun before he passed away. Rocco was such a strong dog–I can’t believe with all that internal bleeding that he was still so excited to see a bite sleeve.

Putting down Rocco was a very sad experience. We both held him and told him what a good job he had done and that he was such a good boy. He was very calm because he was in his home and not stressed. Such an awful thing couldn’t have gone more perfectly and peacefully.

Do dogs get to go to heaven? I don’t know. But how could something that means so much to someone not? I won’t stress about it–my girls tell me he is there.

 

This is what I wrote about Rocco’s life on the day he died:

Our Rocco passed away this morning, he had cancer.
Rocco was born as “Pard” on October 10, 2004 in the Czech Republic. He was given to us as a Christmas gift that year. Tyler and I lived in Boston and Tyler worked for a protection dog company. When Tyler was in town he would ride on Tyler’s lap as he drove to and from work. Rocco and Tyler have been best friends for 11 years and 3 months. I will always be thankful to Rocco for being the best companion to a man who likes dogs a lot more than humans. They practiced protection training together, went to the movies together, drove with Tyler across the country and down to Costa Rica. They spent a lot of time hiking, snowshoeing, and hanging out together.
While we lived in Boston most of the time Tyler was traveling to deliver protection dogs around the world. Which left me alone with no family nearby, pregnant with my first child, and dirt poor. We lived in the cheapest place we could find and Rocco would keep me company. The heat was constantly going out because the landlord couldn’t keep on on the bill. So I would wear as many layers of clothes as I could, my winter coat, and have Rocco cuddle with me. When I had enough money to go buy pregnancy fast food cravings Rocco would accompany me always. One time my car broke down on the way home from the laundromat, and I did not have enough money to fix the $25 dollar problem. It was dark, cold, and we were stuck in not the best part of town. I remember Rocco walking with me home while I was scared and sad that I had to leave the car at the shop till I had enough money. Rocco kept me safe and watched out for me during those years being alone most of the time. Throughout the past 10 years with kids when Tyler is traveling he always made me feel less worried and looked after.
Rocco was the first “person” for all four of our girls to meet when they made it home from the hospital. His ears would perk up, he would come over to sniff them, and give them a gift of a nice big kiss. Our newborns were always loved and protected by our Rocco. Rocco worked hard protecting our home, being our friend, and Honey’s little brother. We were a lucky family to have him in our lives and we are going to miss him every single day.

Good job big boy, you took such good care of your best friend & your family.

Tyler wrote this a couple of days later for his newsletter:

Hey guys,

If you’ve been on my newsletter list for any period of time you know that on Tuesdays I typically send out a newsletter (usually with a funny story from my life) and let you know about promotions on items we have for sale.

This one will be different.

I lost my dog this past week.

It was one of the most difficult things I’ve been through in some time.

It was last Wednesday and I debated whether or not to even write anything about it or talk about it with anyone.

I came to realize, though, that I haven’t allowed myself to develop a very good ability to talk about things that challenge me.

But in the written word I’m capable.  In the written word I can say things that I would never say out loud.  And I need that.

So while this newsletter is going out to over 26,000 people around the world, some of whom I know very well and others who I’ll never meet, I’m doing this solely for me.  If not one person reads this that’s fine.

I need a way to express my grief and I need to tell this.

And I do hope that what I’ve learned and gained from this will benefit others.

I got my Rottweiler, Rocco, over 11 years ago.

At the time I was working at a protection dog company in Boston.  It was December of 2004 that I picked him up off the plane at JFK airport in New York.  He had flown in from the Czech Republic.  He was imported as a new puppy for a client.

For some reason that client backed out.  My boss, at the time, knew how much I liked Rottweilers and asked me if I’d like to keep him for a Christmas bonus.

I didn’t even have to think.  He came home with me that day.

He came to work with me every day.  I traveled a lot during those years and he grew bigger, stronger, and grew in his training as a protection dog.

While I was traveling the world delivering protection dogs he was at home making sure my wife was safe.

We left Boston a year later and moved to Utah.  His trip in the car made him quite the world traveler, having been born in Czech Republic, flown from Germany to the United States, and now covered 2,000 miles of freeway across this large country.  He would later travel to many more states and even a half dozen other countries.

When he was young I house trained him using my tether method.  In other words, I kept him on a leash and with me for months in order to supervise him.

Whether from that or his love for me I don’t know but he spent the next 11 years never far from my side.  Whatever room I was in, he wanted to be there.  If I moved he would awaken from a dead sleep just to follow me.

Never in a needy way.  Never begging for attention.

Just wanting to be with me.

In his training he was a dynamo.  As a protection dog he was powerful, fearless, and strong.  Thankfully he never had to fend off a real attacker but he was always ready to challenge any foe.  Even on his last day.

When we moved as a family to Costa Rica Rocco was  my companion the entire time.  Our van suffered deep claw marks around the windows because of him.

At borders and while I would go into stores to grab things on the trip people in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica would inevitably approach the van.  You don’t see a lot of Dodge vans in those countries.  He wasn’t having it.  Anyone who approached would be met with his fierceness and his claw marks were forever inscribed into the van.  Even the corrupt police officers pulling me over for a bribe would quickly leave when I would roll down the window and put them face to face with 95 lbs of ‘leave my dad alone Rottweiler’.

He loved me.  He loved my family.  And there was nothing that he wanted to do more than his job of keeping us safe.

We moved back to the states after a time and this time he flew up.  

And for the past three years since we’ve been back I’ve seen a slow decline.  He was getting older and I knew it.

I don’t see too many Rottweilers have much quality of life after 8.  He was in great shape, though.  Just a step slower.  A little bit more winded on our hikes in the canyon.

Last Tuesday I woke up and noticed his eye was red.  He had a sty in that eye about 6 months ago.  I had treated it and it went away.  I figured he was just having another type of flare up.

But better safe than sorry.

In to the vet we went.  I was expecting to leave with an ointment or cream and we’d go back to life as usual.

But it wasn’t the case.

The vet was dismayed to tell me that this wasn’t just a flare up.  He was bleeding internally into his eye.  And, worse, he was bleeding internally into his abdomen.

Cancer.

If I did nothing he’d likely collapse in a few days.

I’m 35 years old.  Not old, not young.  But old enough to have experienced grief and loss, right?

I suppose I’ve been lucky.  Thus far I’ve led a life rather untouched by death or tragedy.

My grandfather on my father’s side died before I was born.  I never knew him.  His wife, my grandmother, had passed a few years previously.  While sad, there wasn’t much grief.  She was ready to go.  I loved and love my grandma.  But it was a different type of grief.  Almost happy for her while missing her presence.

But aside from grandma and a friend or two over the years who have passed I’ve never lost someone close to me.

This was my first real taste with strong grief.

I hesitate to say this but I’ve never cried more in my life.

The vet said to take him home to spend one more day, but the humane thing to do would be to put him down the following day.

Everything was pain.

Every moment, every meal, every thought was a realization that this was the last this, the last that, the last what-have-you.  It was a lot to bear and my tears were joined all day by my wife and oldest daughter especially.

I did nothing but sit with him, watch TV, and talk to him.  As last days go, I’m so grateful I got that one with him.  He didn’t seem to be feeling pain.  Just a tired old man ready to pass.

The next morning was hard.  We had called a vet to come to the house.  I couldn’t bear taking him to a sterile, cold veterinarian’s office.  I wanted him to pass at home.

He had his last breakfast, still happy to eat.

And then I realized that he needed to leave doing something he loved.  Right before the veterinarian came I put on my bite sleeve and let him get in one more good bite.  Body riddled with cancer, ready to die, the old man was just as happy to do his job as he’d always been.

Since he passed things have become somewhat easier.

I went hiking with my new puppy on Saturday and amidst the solitude and beauty of the Utah outdoors I was taken back to the same hike that I’d done with Rocco on so many occasions.  All the emotion and grief came flooding back.  But in a beautiful way.

Nearly a week has passed.  The fact that no one is following me around anymore hurts me a lot.

But I knew that I needed to get good from this.

And I can find that in spades.

Rocco was a once in a lifetime dog.  I never took that guy for granted.  I always knew how special he was.

I almost feel guilty in saying some of these things.

I recently had a friend lose a wife to cancer.  Another friend lose her mom.  Was it really okay for me to feel such grief for a dog?

I’ve realized that the pain I’ve felt doesn’t detract from what others feel for passed loved ones.

It’s okay for me to go through this.

And I should go through this.  He was not human.  But, I can say this without any hyperbole or error in speech, he was the best friend I’ve ever had.  Not feeling this pain would be the real tragedy.

But I can’t explain the gratitude I now feel for having such an amazing friend for over 11 years.  Nearly a third of my life has been spent, day in and day out, with a magnificent creature who would have laid his life on the line for me without a second’s hesitation.

There is enormous poetry in that.

So I will mourn him today.  I will mourn him tomorrow.  I will talk about him a year from now.  And when I’m an old man someday I’ll still be talking about that amazing Rottweiler we had when you kids were little.

God put me on this earth with one in-born talent.  I get to help dogs.  I get to do it every day of my life and that talent cares for my wife and children.

But God was smart enough to realize that I could not do so without being helped by dogs.

Please don’t laugh at me when I say that I am a better man for having known this dog for 11 years.

You are on my newsletter list because you’re a dog owner or have been a dog owner.

My hope is that you will be able to feel the same wonderful feelings and gratitude for your best friend that I feel for my dog.

Through my grief there is gratitude.  There is love.  There is compassion.  For me there is something so sacred about the bond we get to create with our dogs and I’m happy to know about it.

I’ll finish now.  I’ve been fine today but writing this I’m again bawling like a baby.  But I feel a weight lifted being able to tell this story and knowing that a few of you will read it and share a moment of thankfulness for your current and past dogs makes me feel good.

Thanks for indulging me.

Now go give your dog a big kiss.

Ty Brown 

We were so thankful to all the texts, messages, treats dropped off to our family. Some people don’t get what dogs can be to people. Some people do. I was also especially grateful to artist Christopher Creek who after Rocco’s passing, painted this picture of Rocco. It now hangs over our kitchen table where we can say hi to him every morning. 

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Last video of Rocco here 

Videos of Abby & Rocco and Rocco working below:

 

Sister Plays

May 30th, 2016 in About Me

The big secret project we were working on over Christmas break was….

A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!

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Abby & Cameron started their own YouTube channel, called…

SISTERPLAYS

Every Friday they film and every weekend in the wee hours of the night I edit and publish it online.

They have filmed everything from Hot Cocoa Recipes to St Patty’s Day Treat Bags to Bean Boozled Challenge to Makeup Tips to Room Tours….tons of different series and videos. Lots of fun ideas!

You can check out their YouTube Videos here: http://www.youtube.com/sisterplayschannel

Follow them on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/sisterplays

Follow them on Instagram (they do giveaways on Instagram) here: http://www.instagram.com/sisterplays

Follow them on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/sisterplays

Follow them on Pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/sisterplays

And follow them on their very behind (one day I will catch up) blog here: SisterPlays.com 

(All the accounts I am the only one that can login–before I get “helpful” emails warning me of things. I got it)

 

But I’m so proud of them, they really come up with fun fun ideas! So if you know of any girls aged 5-12, send them the YouTube link!

New Years 2016

May 30th, 2016 in About Me

The lamest holiday in our house is New Year’s Eve. I tried to spice it up a bit with trying out a new traditions this year. For Christmas the girls received a baking set which included an apron, oven mitt, and baking kit. For New Years Eve I had the girls make up each of their baking kits to eat as treats. My girls love baking, so this was a success of a tradition! I still think they would rather have a bunch of friends over, scream all night, and be wild.

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See? Shae would have rather had friends. No actually she wouldn’t, she adores baking. She woke up from her nap in a sad mood, and I needed to give up on taking pictures.

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They did love trying every flavor of the sparkling cider that I could get my hands on. We might have had some bed wetting problems that night. So maybe that is NOT a new tradition I should hold onto.

 

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New Years Day was full of playing with Christmas presents, making the front room a LEGO building space, and working on a new exciting project (*I will tell you all about that in another post). For breakfast I made beignets and for dinner we had Korean food.

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FullSizeRender (15) FullSizeRender (14)FullSizeRender (21)I worked on blogging, a whole big 6 month chunk and one time. Kind of like what I am doing now. I also spent time working on the dance team bulletin board. Abby & Cameron are on a fun dance team and I wanted their team to have something fun to look at.

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During the holiday break my girls also went on their Christmas excursion presents with their Dad. Poor Cameron needs a redo, the penguins TERRIFIED HER. Abby adored snowboarding, adored it. Reagan spent over $70 on a mermaid statue she painted with her dad. She better save that for the rest of her life. Shae was in heaven at her cooking class at Ruby Snap. THIS is a tradition I will not let die.

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The holiday break was also a good time to heal. Everyone was a bit under the weather and worn out. Reagan was really sick, her poor body was trying to heal from a staff infection traveling up inside her nose. Cameron also got a bad break out so both of them were in some pain.

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At church teachers & classes changed. Which sometimes is sad and makes you realize kids are growing up. Reagan left her sweet Brother Beck in nursery and now is a sunbeam. I will never deal with kid in nursery again. Reagan took to Sunbeams really well and loves Primary.

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That was our New Years Eve—a whole five months ago. I am surprised I can even remember things and where the pictures were in my computer!

January 7th, 2016 in Uncategorized

Behind the Blog Posts

January 2nd, 2016 in About Me

I did it! I caught up on our family’s life all the way up until Christmas on our blog. That was my goal and I did not think it could be done.

Life has had a lot of beautiful moments, fun things to do, and places to go. Life has also been stressful, at times sad, and tiring. This holiday season I had a very hard two weeks. That were full of a lot of physical pain, sad news, stressful work situations, and bad flare ups of my depression.

Having the last 7 days where I have had some time to slow down and recoup has helped me a lot.

My uncle took my grandmother’s cactus and split it into parts for some of her granddaughters. I know she misses being around for baptisms, holidays, and birthdays. Little things tell me that she is there and make it so she can show she is there and is participating.

This holiday season her cactus flowers bloomed for me.

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I love her and that she still looks out for me.

Merry Christmas, we love you all, here is a snapshot of our Christmas card.

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I hope to be back with some blog plans I have. My blog is a journal to my girls, so it is just little projects for them I want to share on here. I hope I get some time to work on it a bit. We will see, have a great last of the holiday break.

Love

Vanessa

Our 2015 Christmas

January 2nd, 2016 in About Me

We always rush home from Christmas Eve at my parents to get ready for Santa…

#1 We open our new pjs and ornaments

#2 Leave food out for the reindeer & elves

#3 Leave out cookies & chocolate milk for Mrs. Claus

#4 Leave out cookies & pink milk for Santa

#5 Go to sleep as fast as we can

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The magic of Christmas Eve happens and we wake up to THE BEST DAY EVER!!!

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Abby’s highlights were: getting a comfy chair for her room and Iwako erasers.

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Cameron’s highlights were: getting a comfy chair for her room and root beer candies.

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Shae’s highlights were: getting a little stuffed bunny and a Sophia car.

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Reagan’s highlights were: getting a backpack and playdough.

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Tyler’s highlights were: getting a gift card to go get a new suit and getting his bathtub supply basket from the girls.

Vanessa’s highlights were: opening Tyler’s gifts! He ALWAYS gets me the best gifts that he really puts time into. I get excited every year. Two years ago he wrote me a book, a year ago he had a painting done for me. This year he was going to get my Grandmother’s chairs upholstered for me. But last minute it didn’t end up working out so he was in a jam. He bought me a soda stream, gift cards for going away, and the coolest gadgets. I also love that the girls’ make gifts and give them to me.

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I had fun buying them some themed presents for the girls:

#1 Little Critter pots and seeds to grow their own birthday flowers in year round.

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#2 Baking Sets with an apron, baking glove, cookbook, baking mix, and new baking mold.

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#3 I made them a necklace to remind them of the adventures we have gone on as a family. Then a note with an adventure they will go on with their Dad really soon. Abby gets to go snowboarding for the first time, Cameron gets to go feed some penguins, Shae gets to go to a cooking class, and Reagan gets to go to Color Me Mine. All with just their Daddy.

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We ended the day with our special Christmas dinner. We have continued a tradition from Tyler’s side where under your plate is the end of a string. You have to pull on the string to find your gift. Usually the strings are all tangled (tangled beautifully of course) and it is fun to get the little box finally. Abby set up this year’s tradition and even bought the gifts. Although when she came to set it up and saw that I had put candles everywhere she ending up putting them in the little reindeer pouch behind people’s chairs. They were mixed up and when you finally found yours at someone else’s seat you had to tell them a reason you loved them. She chose a little plant for everyone to grow. She did a wonderful job and next year I will remember not to do candles.

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Christmas morning video here

Christmas Eve

January 2nd, 2016 in About Me

Christmas Eve is always spent with my side of the family. For as long as I can remember we have done Mexican food, acted out the nativity, and ate the same cookies. I will love tamales till the day I die! I’ll always have my Christmas Eve’s like this when I have grandkids as well.

Lots of times family traditions can just make you feel safe and at home. Those are my favorite ones.

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Cameron & Lydia’s Baptism

January 1st, 2016 in About Me

This post is out of order, I will move it to the right order in a week or so. 

 

Cameron waited two months to be baptized so Tyler’s parents would only have to travel out to Utah once ***AND*** so she could be baptized with her best friend and cousin Lydia. Lydibug who is really probably the 3rd most important person in Cameron’s life is she is being honest. Lydia cuts in line in front of some of Cameron’s sisters I think.

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Some of the things Cameron had to do to prepare for her baptism really stressed her out and brought on some added anxiety and acting out. Poor girl was stressed. She holds it in and won’t say things out loud so it took a little while for me to figure out what was going on.

Leading up to the baptism I worked on her baptism binder. I got some relatives to send in letters to put in there for her to read. We had some special FHE lessons on baptism and she had all her little meetings and interviews.

That day she ALSO had a dance recital in the morning. I was stuck in a hard place after the recital and ended up having to get her ready at Chickfila and in the back of my minivan. Which I felt awful about, I really wanted the day to be super calm and smooth but it was not turning out that way.

Luckily we got to the church early. Made sure things were set up, found the heater, and gave ourselves a little tour. I was worried if the baptism was even going to happen or not because we were the only ones there for awhile! Thankfully everyone started to come. And even more thankfully Cameron was SO excited to be there and be there with Lydia.

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They were really lucky to live in Utah and get to have the whole program to themselves. Both of them got to have all their grandparents involved in a part of the program. Her Grandma Brown gave a beautiful talk on baptism and her Grandma Willden gave a beautiful talk on the Holy Ghost. Which by the way I really want copies of those talks you two! I was in a lot of pain and holding onto a lot of stress and can’t remember too much. Other than just trying to stay calm for Cameron so she could have a beautiful time.

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It was time to baptized and she went right in without being nervous. Her Dad of course dunked her REALLY hard so nothing would pop up. The first words out of her mouth were, “I’m so cold!” It was really so cold, our efforts to turn the heaters on to heat up the bathroom were not done in time. BUT the next words were, “AND HAPPY!”

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She was given the gift of the Holy Ghost by her dad who I think gave a beautiful blessing but Reagan was not being quiet so I wish I had asked someone to take notes for me.

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Cameron got to pick the closing song and boy was she excited that it was the appropriate season to sing Silent Night, her very favorite song of all time. Those little things mean a lot to her.

The baptism and Cameron & Lydia’s experience seemed like it was perfect for them. Which is what matters. Cameron had her Grandparents Brown and Willden, Great Grandparents Willden, Wrights, Behles, JB & Bryan, and her family there. I don’t think she noticed or cared that no familiar faces from the neighborhood or her ward were there. SHE GOT TO BE WITH LYDIA, NOTHING ELSE MATTERED! :)

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With knowing how stressed Cameron was I did really try to focus on fun things that would happen in the day. Which I know that some people might think that it took away from the important ordinance they were completing. But there is a reason I did it the way I did, for Cameron. Lydia and Cameron told me the colors they wanted things to be, what food they wanted, and what treat they wanted. I really wanted to be helpful and feed all the out of towners for the baptism. But as the time got closer I knew it was going to be really hard for me to handle. So we had Costa Vida come cater the “nacho bar” they wanted so badly. I had a candy bar like they requested BUT my announcement of the parents having to help the kids I don’t think was listened to. I think the kids gorged themselves, the bags were so full, I am still picking out the candy from my carpet, and our poor dog got into a leftover bag left somewhere and was so so sick. I decorated with snowflakes one of my YW made me, pictures of the girls, and a beautiful cake. I priced out how I could feed everyone dessert without baking anything and surprisingly getting this cake was the cheapest option. Even though I did feel really silly because it looked like a wedding cake. Oh well! All these things made Cameron even more excited about her special day.

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It was a good good day for those two, I was so happy for them. 

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I might have lost it that night, but sometimes that is what we moms do for making sure our kids have a calm important time on important days like these. 

Abby’s 1st Ballroom Competition

January 1st, 2016 in About Me

This post is out of order, I’m going to move it down to September after a week or two. 

Abby decided to try a new class this year at her dance studio, BALLROOM! It is always surprising to see (and I’m just entering this world) what your kids end up enjoying and gravitating towards. She has a ball during the entire class and talks about it during the week. It is a class with a lot of different ages, most of them older. Her ballroom partner is a friend she has had since she was 4 or 5. She talked one of her best friends into also joining the class. She also just has the sweetest and best teacher. I’m so pleased of how it is turning out and I would put money on this is something she sticks with for at least a few years.

She had her first ballroom competition just a few weeks after starting ballroom for the first time. Her and sweet George (my friend Emily Hill’s son of IsThisReallyMyLife.com) had a lot of fun, and that is all that matters. I did tell her to shake it more and have more sass and when she did that they PLACED! She placed on her first competition. I’m so glad she decided to give this a try. I think its good that she learns to look people in the eye, can hold a boy’s hand normally, and learns to dance with boys!

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Holiday Performances

January 1st, 2016 in About Me

You could celebrate Christmas with only attending your kids’ holiday performances and have a very full season. I do wish we could appoint another month as kid performance month so we could all enjoy it a bit more. How is February for everyone? Get us out of the winter blues?

Piano

Abby & Cameron have been taking piano lessons for eleven months in total now. We switched to a new studio and she put on such a beautiful recital. Abby was so embarrassed that she had to pick up her book. But I told her she did it so calmly and tried to hard that is still was great. Cameron is just the funniest little create. She can get so nervous for things but then its like this on and off switch in her body. If she switched it to on and just does it she is calm, PERFECT, and strong about it. If she keeps the switch to off she is very nervous and things don’t go so well. But it’s either on or off, no in-between!! And no leading up to it or doing things to help her. I just have to PUSH HER AND WALK AWAY. Man sometimes I wish I could help her more but it is just not how she works. I remember last year I picked her up, put her in a dance class, gave her one wave, and walked away. She stood there crying alone for a while with another mom looking at her so worried. But then she flipped the switch and decided to be brave. If I had stayed there, waved to her through the window, gave her encouraging words, it would not have helped. SO I was so proud of her when she did her piano recital so perfectly.

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Abby’s Piano Video here

Cameron’s Piano Video here

Dance Team

Abby & Cameron are in a dance team called PEEPS. They have a piece they learn in the Fall to perform at 4 or 5 different things in the Winter. It was fun to go where they performed because then we could enjoy the arena as well. Dickens Festival (ok honestly that one isn’t my favorite expo), Festival of Trees (this is a beautiful thing to go to), a retirement home, and a high school holiday performance.

This semester of their dance team classes did a jazz piece. Cameron adores jazz and her spunkiness matches with it quite well. Abby really likes jazz but I think her body and energy level match perfectly with ballet.

They work so hard AND have a blast, going to PEEPS is always a happy thing.

Abby’s dance video here

Cameron’s dance video here

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Preschool Christmas Program

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Shae & Reagan go to a wonderful preschool that is at their dance studio. I’ve been so impressed. I wish Shae could just stay another few years and not go to grade school levels. It is just the most perfect and magical place filled with a lot of ladies who love the kids.

Preschool video here

In Class Demonstrations

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I had a total of 20 in class demonstrations to go to, where the girls show off what they have learned so far in their classes. Sometimes they have a little christmas dance they have been working on. I forgot to go to 2, couldn’t make it to 6, and made it to 12. I give myself a C. Only because I had an inflamed face covered in inflamed sores and still went to see my girls. People are weird in their staring, and by people I mean adults. Abby had two with her assistant teaching classes to go to. Some of the kids came up to her and gave her a big hug and gave her gifts. IT MADE HER YEAR! And to hear her refered to as Miss Abby is really just the cutest thing ever.

A lot of videos are hosted on my vimeo account of their demos here

Church Choir

Abby & Cameron were part of a children’s choir, youth choir, and adult choir for the ward Christmas program. They went to extra practices and I caught them singing the songs at home. We have the most beautifully talented musicians in our ward so it was a beautiful program. And the girls sounded so wonderful!

 

See that is a crazy amount of things. Very very full December!!