Monday, December 5, 2016

thanksgiving in independence

Never mind that Thanksgiving was a thousand years ago and we are in full-blown Christmas mode around here--I have to document our great trip to the midwest for Thanksgiving.

André only got Thanksgiving off (new job problems), but that didn't stop Rhett and I from taking a trip to Missouri to see my missionary mom and dad. We loved seeing Nana and Poppy in missionary mode and fell in love with the charm of Kansas City and Independence.
Hallmark's headquarters are in Kansas City, and they have an amazing, free kids art studio full of all kinds of supplies and creativity. Rhett was more into dancing with Poppy, but we definitely snagged lots of art supplies to take home. And found this fun couch!
Fritz's! Rhett was obsessed (so was I). A train-themed restaurant where the food is delivered via ceiling train track and model trains? Yes please!

Making rolls with Nana.
Just the cutest senior missionary couple you'll ever see.
Nana teaches Rhett the beauty of art museums. I teach him the beauty of the pillar lean. 

Art history class throwback.
Independence Visitor's Center groupies. We went a few times and loved it every time.

We stumbled on a room to write letters to Santa at Union Station. Rhett was sad to let his letter go but excited to ask Santa for cool cars. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

just some thoughts

How is Thanksgiving seriously next week? Bring on the stuffing and pie!

It is taking all my energy to not put up Christmas decorations yet. I caved the other day and listened to Christmas music, and I'm slowly wearing Andre down--last night he said I could bring in the Christmas bins. A step in the right direction!

Potty training, man. We finally just went all in and Rhett is rocking it, but there are some days I'd rather not deal with it and just want to put him in diapers again. Constant vigilance!

The weather this fall has been unreal. I'm a little sad I haven't had a chance to wear a coat or scarf yet, but kids in shorts in November is pretty great. Too bad I have a feeling we'll pay for it this winter.

I'm writing this on my phone while Rhett is in story time and I can distinctly hear his laugh through the door. A sign of things to come.

Earnings season finished last week (praises!), so I have my evenings back. But how is it that I'm still scrambling to get everything in?

My new calling in young women's is a major blast from the past. I see teenage me in all these girls and am trying to not to tell too many stories that start "when I was your age..." It's a fine line between being the cool, young leader and still having some authority, you know?

This clock has been a great investment for Rhett's room. He's getting pretty good about not coming out of his room until the clock turns green, which is awesome because naps are now far and few between. 

But seriously, all that is on my mind is Christmas...just get here, already!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

little moments: october

 The fall weather is seriously killing it
Rhett becomes a chess expert whenever he sees a board--"move the horse over there. now the pointy one"
A studious man during general conference
preschool field trip to the pumpkin patch. Rhett didn't understand the concept and kept being amazed that all his school friends were there. 
 It's always a win when we find a lake in Colorado
Starting him young with a love of those terrible, cheesy face cut-outs.
"fashion blogging" after I realized my entire outfit cost a total of $10.
King Rhett on his throne.
Somebody finally got brave enough to ride the penny horse at the grocery store--it was a big day.
Trick or Treat Street.
I caught Rhett watching Sesame Street like this one day...glamor shot
Setting the stage for the attorney oath ceremony. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016


What a fun, action-packed Halloween. Rhett picked his costume for the first time ever (Nick from Zootopia) and was obsessed with it. As soon as he had his ears and tail on, we had to call him Nick. Not everyone knew who he was (one guy called him a businessman?), but the people who got it loved it. Our whole week turned into seeing what crazy things we could get Rhett to do while wearing a fox costume. 
Trick or Treat Street at the Children's Museum. Rhett scored some awesome (healthy?) treats and we even beat the crowds. Definitely remembering this one for next year.

Trick or treating at the outdoor store, as you do. Rhett loved the games in every department and we loved the chocolate.
Our most unique and wonderful Halloween was Andre's attorney oath ceremony--the perfect way to pre-game for trick or treating. It was very official with the state supreme court and then Andre got sworn in and can wear the official pin and then the law school threw a reception and hit us up for, pretty good all around. And now we have an official lawyer in our house!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

a week of fall fun

We are soaking up the season as much as we can! It's crazy that October is almost over.
Last week at story time the kids painted coffee filters, which the librarian turned into hot air balloons on the window--Rhett was so excited to find his masterpiece. 
We finally took advantage of the library's museum pass and took a trip to the Nature and Science Museum--5 kids four and under and two adults is no joke, but the boys had so much fun together. 
Halloween festivities have begun! Rhett was so excited to debut his Nick costume for the mall carnival/trick or treating. Most people knew who he was "that fox from Zootopia", but the old ladies were confused and one guy called him a businessman. You can't win them all, I guess. I still think he's super cute! 
Yearly trip to the pumpkin patch! We snuck it in right before they closed, which ended up being the perfect time to go. Rhett's favorite part was the hay maze--he did it at least five times!
Our fall tradition four years running--crazy we've been in Colorado this long!

Monday, October 17, 2016

temple cultural celebration

Right after we moved to our new ward, I got a phone call from the bishop asking if I wanted to help with the youth cultural celebration for the new Fort Collins temple. Not really knowing the youth or what I was getting myself into, I jumped at the chance.

After months of rehearsals and meetings, things finally came together for the performance on Saturday, and it was amazing! My grass dancers said it was the best performance they had every done, and it showed. I seriously had tears in my eyes the entire time. President Uchtdorf was treated by a rock star (naturally), and was seriously so much energy and a strong spirit in the stadium. We're all still on the cultural celebration high days later.
Final number. The set was a quarter-scale replica of the temple that transformed from a military fort--so cool!
Opening of our Native American dance
and the grass!

For your enjoyment, here is a good view of our dance. Here are highlights from the cultural celebration and dedication, and the whole thing is here

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

book chat v.5

More books! I'm in two book clubs now? (Thanks, Relief Society), which has totally upped my reading game and pushed me to new things. Here are some recent-ish reads.
Funny in Farsi is vignettes and humorous stories from the life of a girl who moved to the U.S. from Iran. A super quick read, and I found myself laughing at her crazy stories (it also helps that I totally see a lot of my Grandpa Balzaretti in her dad). I learned about Iran, I cringed when her adolescent descriptions hit a little too close to home, and I loved it. I'm in the middle of the sequel now, Laughing Without an Accent, and am having a little more trouble getting through it, but it's still good.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gets an automatic review boost because it's set in Seattle (the Where'd You Go, Bernadette? treatment, if you will). Knowing the area definitely helped me love the book more, but I still would have enjoyed it if it had been set somewhere else. The author's imagery is fantastic. The book bounces back and forth between WWII and the 1980s and does a great job at showing what the war was like for people at home. Plus, there's young love. It drags in the middle but overall was great. 
I took Attachments on our cruise way back in May, and it was the perfect ship read. Light, fluffy, not much real content. The entire thing is told through emails, which is usually totally my jam, but I didn't love it that much this time around. It's a good beach read, but not one that I would go back to again. I honestly can't remember much about it a few months later (not even the characters' names), which isn't a good sign in my book. 

Demon in the Freezer, the smallpox book. This will keep you up at night wondering if Russia is getting ready to infect us all with its not-so-secret stash of the disease. It also provoked some great conversation and made me feel really smart. In fact, this week I was interviewing a pharmaceutical start-up man for a freelance gig and I wowed him with my knowledge of smallpox. So thanks, somewhat creepy book. 
I've previously declared my love of The Selection series, but The Heir almost made me take it all back. It's the next generation princess, and she is terrible. As in, completely the worst. Add in a bunch of boys with weird names but no personalities and it makes for a pretty dry book. At least it was easy to read and I could imagine her wearing beautiful dresses? (But yes, I totally did read The One, the sequel to this one, as soon as it came out. Gotta finish the series, you know?)

I'm getting soo close to being first for the library holds of Miss Pergoine and HP and the Cursed Child--both perfect for Halloween! 
What should I put on my list next?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

little moments: september

Kite flying adventures--it sounded better on paper
Loving our new membership to the children's museum...painting and a recycle catepillar
Another beautiful day at the temple
 Rhett finally braved the face painting booth at the farmer's market. He was obsessed with being Rhett Toby Tiger.
Cute nature boy
Andre ran the Broomfield Days 5K, got 1st place in his age group, and scored a cheap medal!
Rhett did the Broomfield Days clown contest and got 5th place out of 5 kids in his age group (he was robbed), but he came away with a giant stuffed animal so he's happy!
Those Colorado sunsets
A trip to White Fence Farm to celebrate Andre's job (and relive his childhood). The goats were suuper pregnant.
Corn fritters!
Rhett was obsessed with the joke-telling chickens. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

camping weekend

We did it! We camped and we survived!
Turns out Rhett is made for the great outdoors, so I don't know why we waited so long to make this happen.
(For some reason, I'm not in any of the pictures, but I promise I was there)

We spent the day playing and hiking in Colorado Springs before heading to our campsite. It was a little more posh than we are used to (we could get wifi from our tent?), but it was perfect for kids. Rhett loved the makeshift playground and made lots of friends.
"Show me the stick, Rhett" It took him about 5 seconds before he started hunting for the best rocks and sticks to throw in the creek next to our tent. 
Rhett and camping...true love.
After a little bocce ball and some exploring, we settled in for Andre's newest love--campsite cooking. We broke in our Dutch oven for some delicious cobbler. It's also when we met Shelby, Rhett's camping girlfriend, who played with him and then came back with her Elsa car to take him for a spin. A match made in heaven. We curled up by the fire and told "ghost" stories until Rhett fell asleep in Andre's lap--a rare occasion.

It got down to 35 degrees at night, but we bundled up and stayed pretty warm. A camping trip for the books!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

day out with thomas

"This is our Disneyland," I said to Andre as we looked at the crowd of Thomas-clad toddlers. We are definitely smack dab in the middle of the target demographic, and boy, did they see us coming!

A few months ago we (rather impulsively) bought tickets to Day Out with Thomas, and we were pumped when the day actually arrived. There's something thrilling about keeping a secret from your kid. We gave Rhett a new Thomas shirt in the morning and told him he would get to meet Thomas. Jubilation. 

The place was a little boy's dream. The railroad museum is awesome on its own, but adding Thomas took it to another level. We went on a 20-minute train ride with Thomas and loved every second, especially when the conductor came to punch our tickets.
We also met Sir Topham Hatt (at Knapford Station!), watched the indoor model train and the outside garden trains, had a Thomas singalong, did some crafts, and played in a tent fullll of Thomas train tables. 
We left unscathed until the huge merch tent at the end, but we escaped with our free scavenger hunt prize, a tantrum, and nothing else. 

Perfect for a 3 year old and so much fun!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

just some thoughts

Elder Christofferson visited us for a special stake conference on Sunday and it was just the boost I needed. You're going great, God watches over you, and President Monson loves you! Elder Christofferson wanted to meet all the children after the meeting, and Rhett marched up like he owned the place. My heart burst when they shook hands (and then Rhett gave Sister Christofferson, our stake president, and the visiting 70 each a high-five).

Someday I might get tired of everything that comes with kids in school, but I am eating it up so far. Yesterday Rhett brought home his first book order catalog and poured over the pages--a child after my own heart.

My new favorite things is carb cycling and wow, is it great. It means I get awesome workouts and that I have a reason to make allll the protein shakes and feel great! 

We're more than half-way through No Spend September (only spending money on essentials and nothing else), and it is amazing! I feel like we do pretty good about not buying unnecessary things, but the first few days it was hard not to buy something small just because it was a great deal. After a few days, it has become so much easier, plus we have more time to play and do fun things instead of running to the store because we "need" something. Highly recommend!

Our camping plans have been foiled again. We tried to go in August but the weather was terrible, so we moved our reservation to our only other free weekend, which is next Friday night. But thanks to a cultural celebration practice, we have to move it again. Just let the kaisers camp!

We've been loving living across the street from the farmers market this summer and getting a huge bag of fresh produce every week. It will be a sad day when the market closes in a few weeks.

Fall! Halloween and pumpkin patches and boots and soup and everything good.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

labor day weekend

I love Labor Day--a great holiday with no obligations except to enjoy and have fun. Thanks to law school our celebrations have stalled, but we made up for it this weekend with flying colors. Family time, girls nights, games nights, and fun galore!

I got to play the piano in the reception tent of the Fort Collins temple open house on Saturday. It was amazing and I could have played all afternoon. Playing with the temple in view made all of the hymns more special.
Also, just realized I never blogged about going through the open house a few weeks ago. It was beautiful. We talked a lot about it beforehand, and something must have stuck with Rhett because he got it. He's asked ever since when we can go back to the temple.

Saturday evening we headed to the Rockies game. It was the perfect night for baseball! The Rockies didn't do so hot, but we still had a great time. Rhett totally caught on the all the clapping rhythms and literally couldn't contain himself whenever music played--he had to dance.

Music came on right when we took the picture, hence the dancing boy.

On Monday we drove to Estes Park. I can't believe we've lived an hour away for years and never gone. We started with a "hike" around Lake Estes. Beautiful! Afterwards, we jumped on the free trolley (just like Daniel Tiger!) to ride the few blocks downtown. It would have been faster to walk, but we can't turn down a cute free ride.
Downtown was charming. Every other shop was a candy store or a souvenir shop, but we made it out unscathed (thanks, No Spend September). There were TWO Christmas shops (that's how you know things are great) and were obsessed. A beautiful picnic to soak in the views, and we were on our way home. 
There were xylophones and chimes to play all over downtown--clearly a hit with kids and adults
We ended the day with a BBQ with friends where the kids went ham in the backyard and the adults ate and chatted on the deck--perfect. Andre and I had a Superstore marathon after Rhett was in bed and soaked in the last of a great weekend.
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