Things I’m loving

-Day 4 of this outfit. Her sparkly dress is in the dirty clothes, and she doesn’t have any other princess dresses yet.

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-Bristol telling me “I just really want Cinderella slippers” at least once a day. She saw some at Target last week and has whined for them since. I keep telling her she has to wait and ask for them for Christmas. Little does she know that her Grandma Crittenden is getting them for her birthday. (I know it always seems like its her birthday, and this year it is a bit out of hand)

-This little man’s love for glasses.

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-Finding picture of Nathan like these on my phone and having a hard time deleting all of them.IMG_2145 IMG_2146 IMG_2291

-Their friendship, that she convinces him to wear his prince outfit that he has more than grown out of, and then dance with her. Oh and the shoes that she put on him.

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-Isaac’s job offer from World Fuel Services. It doesn’t mean that we will be back here 100%, we still need to do our due diligence and pray to find the best place for our family. But it takes A LOT of pressure off!

-Our relaxed lifestyle here in Kansas City. I’m taking several notes so I can remember to stay relaxed when we get home.

-Bristol’s first picture of people that actually look like people.

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-The growth spurt Nathan is on the last few days. He has eaten dinner without any prompting and gone to sleep easily the last three nights! I feel like a better parent when he does even though in both cases I couldn’t have made a difference.

This recipe that Annie made for me while I was there! It’s amazing and SO easy!

-And this chicken salad recipe.

-We start our trek home in one week!

-I will soon have babysitting co-op back in my life, but more importantly the women that are apart of that group!

Davenport, Iowa

Annie moved to the Midwest the same month we did. And yet with us being so close to each other we couldn’t find a weekend to meet up. So when Isaac had to go to Florida for his big internship presentation the kids and I hopped in our van and drove to Annie’s.

My kids have proven this summer that they are expert travelers. I don’t even stress about driving the 6 hours to go visit Annie. I mean as long as I have the iPad with Cinderella, Cars, Lion King, and Bambi on it my kids are the best little travelers. This is why I try to limit screen time as much as possible, so when needed, they become vegetables glued to the screen!

We arrived at Annie’s and the kids immediately were in heaven. The kids loved chasing bunnies, running in their tree forest, riding bikes and scooters, playing with rocks, and everything else that kids do best. We also went to an awesome free water ski show, the tractor museum where I learned about this and now really want one and I don’t even have a lawn, and to the splash pad. Jack and David are officially my kids best friends. I’ve never seen Nathan play with another kid as well as he does with Bristol, but Nathan and Jack were almost inseparable when outside.

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I loved all the time I got to talk to Annie. I gained a lot of insight from her. As much as I’d love to live on the west coast, I’d be happy moving back next year if it means I get to see Annie frequently!

 

Funny story from our trip… The kids and I slept in Annie’s basement, so one of their nap times I left Nathan down there while I took Bristol to the potty. I came back to find Nathan terrified and in tears. He then showed me the shadow in their tiny window. Their groundhog was outside the window doing who knows what and it scared my little man. Enough that I had to snuggle him close in order for him to fall asleep. Poor little man. It was quite hilarious though and it got me extra snuggles with my little man so no complaints from me ;)

Nauvoo, IL

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Being so close to Nauvoo we had to go, and we had to make it for the pageant. We were so glad we went during the pageant. There was extra entertainment and the pageant was wonderful. Isaac and I both noticed the feeling of Zion that was there. It it was wonderful and the kids had a blast. Bristol still talks about our trip and wants to go back :) My favorite and I’m pretty sure Isaac’s favorite tour was the Jonathon Browning home. Did you know that when Browning became interested in religion his friend Abraham Lincoln told him about a man names Joseph Smith up north in Nauvoo?

After that tour was ate our lunch on the grass next to one of the vignettes with bag pipes and singing. It was awesome and now whenever Bristol hears bag pipes she reminds us about our trip.

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The games area was also a huge hit. We had fun playing some games, trying out the stilts and other fun toys. Bristol was in heaven playing in the kitchen. I think she has missed her play kitchen back home.

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Isaac and I took turns going to the temple. It was so nice to be in the temple and feel of the spirit there. It had been way too long since we had been.

We then enjoyed the evening festivities for the pageant. There was  fun musical production and a carnival sort of games and other fun things for the kids. Bristol loved the fabric braided headband/crown that we made. She wears it all the time now :) I think my favorite was racing Isaac in the gunny sack race (he did it one legged since he was racing his 7  mo pregnant wife) and him only beating me by a fraction of a second. I also loved seeing my little princess on her daddy’s shoulders, and my crazy energetic boy who seems to be able to just keep going no matter how little sleep he is running on.

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The pageant was beautiful, but he most remarkable part was that at the end they light up the temple which is behind the stage. On our night the clouds were low and the lights created a shadow behind the temple. What a testimony of the temple the early saints had and that their sacrifice has meant for us to be able to have the blessings of the temple. (I think the second picture gives you a better idea of how amazing it was, but you have to have your screen at just he right angle to see it)

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Sunday we went to church that I thought started at 10:30 but started at 10. Then we went to the temple where we ate our lunch and Nathan found a beetle. Thankfully Isaac convinced the kids that the beetle needed to stay with its family. It really is a gorgeous temple that sits on top a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.

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We left Nauvoo feeling very blessed!

A day in Kansas City

We’ve been quite the explorers this summer. Our car mileage would tell you so. The weekend of Nathan’s birthday we decided to explore downtown a bit more and go to a company picnic for Isaac’s work. It was a long, relaxing, fun day.

We visited “the Cave”, a bouldering gym and other companies in an old mine. It was quite impressive to go down several stories into a large business area. I think what is just as impressive is the tunnels that the cars drive down into.

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We also explored Union Station in downtown. The kids favorite part was th    e model train area. They could have stayed there for hours. I honestly thought we got more pictures of the trains, but we only have the “Lego Movie” one.

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We explored a couple of parks downtown before heading to the picnic. The picnic was at a fun little place with a lake to fish in. The kids thought that was awesome and couldn’t wait for it to open for them to fish. Bristol caught her fish on her first cast and in only two minutes. It reminded me of my first date with Isaac. 20140719_235450525_iOSIMG_1861

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They had some fun swings and Bristol’s favorite, a zip line. If the line weren’t so long she would have gone several more times!

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Isaac Nathan

turned 2! I love him. I absolutely adore toddlers. I love that they are learning so much about the world, their bodies, and want to be big while still wanting help. Nathan in the last 6 months or so has just grown! I have been absolutely amazed at his physical capabilities. I’ve also been amazed at how well he understands and happily obeys simple instructions, or he gives his typical Nate “No-oo”. The way he says it brings a smile to my face even though I hate he loves to say no to everything. It’s that super cute face of his I think.

Nathan adores his sister and she adores him. He loves shoes, outside, trucks, animals, elephants, bugs, birds, movies, and his daddy. He is such a sweet boy that still loves to cuddle and gives lots of hugs and kisses. I hope he never stops. He is a night owl and I’ve been trying different nap times to help him fall asleep at night. The only sure fire way that he will fall asleep quickly so far is to not force a nap upon him :) Oh how we love him.

About a week before Nathan’s birthday, Bristol informed me that she wanted to get Nathan a green potty. She talked about it constantly until he received it. Now she regularly tells me that she “just really wants Nathan to go potty on his potty”. Such a sweet sister wanting her brother to be big for when his baby brother comes. When we get home in 12 days I’ll have to give it a shot, something I might regret, but it will make at least one family member super happy. Anyone know where to find super small underwear. This kid is skinny!

Isaac and I got Nathan some animals. The Schliech brand. You know the ones that look super real, anatomically correct,  last forever, and every child loves them. He loves them. However, this year Grandma Crittenden out did us with legos. Nathan isn’t the only one who loves them. Isaac has loved building them for Nathan. It effectively was a two for one gift.

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Bristol and Birthdays

I think Bristol will always opt for our way of celebrating her birthday. Her birthday is the 29th of December. Four days after Christmas. Unless I wanted to go crazy in effort her birthday would never be treated the way a birthday ought to be, so we decided that on her actual birthday we would have cake and ice cream with family, but on her half birthday we would to a party and presents. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be celebrated twice?!

Well she is lucky to get to celebrate twice because she LOVES birthdays and any kind of party no matter how informal or small. She’ll talk about parties constantly until they arrive and for a good while after. She is lucky because this year she will get a party when we go home with friends and family because I want a good excuse to have a party. She is a girl after my own heart.

I made the mistake of not correcting the address on her birthday present when I ordered it so Bristol got some small little presents for her half birthday but she didn’t love them any less.

From the dollar section at target we got her an Ariel notebook and little gel pens. She has been obsessed with doing “her work” and uses that as an excuse for why she cant take naps or do other less than fun activities. Her notebook is filled with her scribbles on each and every line. Her dad really wanted to get her a soccer ball. Then when we saw the goggles we knew our little fish HAD to have some. Needless to say last minute shopping means my kids get more.

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We love our little princess. She is so kind and sweet. She is so sensitive to the needs of others. She loves learning new “tricks”. She identifies everything as mommy, daddy, and baby ones. No joke even inanimate objects will be labeled as such. We are so blessed to have her.

Here is her awesome trick that she is even better at now that she has her goggles.

It was one of those days…

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It was one of those days where things don’t go exactly as planned but they turned out even better! We started with a workout together down at our gym. We had breakfast. Isaac got us ready to go. And we left to the pool. The pool was closed and wouldn’t open until afternoon, I think it has something to do with them not thinking it is hot enough to swim that early. Anyway we decided instead of going home we would go to a park and do a little hike. The park we chose was my new favorite Shawnee Mission. The hike we chose was in the dog park.

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Our “hike” even had a destination, the lake where the dogs get to swim. The kids had a blast throwing rocks in the lake and watching and playing with the dogs. I think my favorite comment was after we told a couple that we didn’t have a dog and we bring our kids here so we don’t have to, their response was “that’s how we feel about children”.

After our little hike we stopped by the model airplane field to watch the planes fly while we filled up on our sack lunch.

The pool was the hit of the day. After getting the kids comfortable in their surroundings there was no stopping them. There was a fun playground in the pool with several slides and a mini wave pool. This pool was built for the younger kids and Bristol still requests to go back. We might have to make another trip before we leave for home.

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For dinner we hit up the BBQ place that is raved over. They weren’t wrong, Oklahoma Joes was the best BBQ I’ve ever had!

We had the best kind of day. The relaxed, fun, busy kind.

St Louis

For the fourth we make the short trek to St Louis to play there with Uncle Daniel. How is it that we crossed an entire state in 4 hours?! It was fun to get to see Daniel. He knew how to win our kids hearts over fast when he brought them gifts. Bristol got a beautiful scarf that he knit for her and she plays and wears it regularly. He brought Nathan a lego helicopter… And a new love was formed! He has been very attached and after a week or so he quit breaking it and when he does he knows how to fix it.

One of our stops was the Cathedral Basilica. It was gorgeous and very stunning. It was also awesome to have our personal tour guide, Daniel, to learn more about the Catholic church. There is a lot I didn’t know. Our kids were a little stir crazy afterward so we played outside for a bit. Nathan of course found sticks and fought his daddy. IMG_1716

We then checked out the science center, free, and had a blast seeing who could relax the most. They had this game where you put a detector on your head that measures brain activity and the more relaxed person pushes the ball toward the other.

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We then went back to the hotel to try to take naps, failed and went down to the pool. Bristol was in heaven for escaping a nap and getting to swim, with her daddy none the less.

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It was then off to the arch. The Gateway to the west. It really is an impressive structure. Underneath there was a fun little museum of sorts and the kids really enjoyed the stuffed animals. Well Nathan enjoyed them, Bristol was feeling pretty tired at this point.

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We then went in search of dinner, and found this amazing little Chinese restaurant and Isaac did far better of choosing than I did. The best part of dinner was sitting outside and watching the beginning of the fireworks start. Bristol was enthralled!

After dinner we headed to Forest Park to watch the real fireworks. They were awesome! Our seats were awesome and almost too close for Bristol. Isaac and I thought that the fireworks were AWESOME! The finally was long and big enough to give us both huge smiles and make me start giggling. ;)

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The next day Daniel had to head home. And we headed to the zoo, also free, I could get use to a city where so many things are free! Seriously they had a butterfly exhibit attached to the bug exhibit. My kids were in heaven, they are fascinated with bugs, particularly my little man! No need to pay to go to the butterfly exhibit back home when we can go to one for free.

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It was a wonderful weekend and a great way to celebrate the Independence of our country!

Church History

So since we have a lack of things to do on Saturdays, its a weird thing not living in a home that is yours, we’ve been trying to do something exciting every Saturday. One of our first we headed out to visit a bunch of church history sites since we are so close to them. We visited the visitors center in Independence. Which was a good place to start so we could get some good background. It was also fun to see the temple of the Reorganized Church or whatever they call themselves these days.

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We then headed to Liberty Jail. This might have been one of my favorite stops. You know the story but being in the place and hearing it there always makes a bigger impression.

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We then made the drive to Far West. Neither of us realized just how many temple sites have been dedicated and never built. It will be an awesome day when they are.

I can’t believe that there use to be over 5000 people living there in Far West! It was all gorgeous rolling farm land and nothing else. We enjoyed the drive and eating our lunch on the grounds there.

As we left Far West we passed a little store that had a hot dog stand over to the side. Isaac then commented on how we should stop for a hot dog, take a picture, and send it to my parents with the caption “I can’t believe Julie dragged me all the way to Far West just to get a hot dog.” You see a few years ago for the Fourth my mom heard that the Olive Mill was doing a special 4th or July food thing. We had always wanted to go see it, so we went. It was Bratwursts. My mom supposedly hates hot dogs. So my dad jokes about her dragging us that far (a good 40 min drive) to get a hot dog. Don’t worry we enjoyed our time there, it really it is a cool place.

Anyway, after passing we thought it too funny and turned around and got our hot dog.

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We then finished off our day at Adam ondi Ahmen. It was just more gorgeous land for the most part. Isaac found this awesome tree that had been hallowed out by who knows what and sent the kids in to take pictures of them. We played with rocks and sticks and read on our phones lots of info about the place. It is an awesome place and we enjoyed our day.

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Summer in Kansas

Isaac has been awesome and rides his bike 15 miles each way to work and home almost everyday so the kids and I can go play. If that doesn’t make him husband/father of the year I don’t know what does! So most days we wake up and get our morning things done and then around ten we go play. Luckily the people here are awesome and I’ve made a good friend who has invited us over to their awesome house and parks to play. We’ve also been going to the summer movie program at Cinemark and the kids have been in heaven. Nathan now gets so excited when he sees the theater with a little yay! You can tell they don’t get to watch a lot of TV when my two year old gets so excited!

So here is a little onslaught of pictures of what the kids and I have been up to this summer since I don’t want to split them up into separate blogs.

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Our family celebrated National donut day with some of Bristol’s last (intentional) gluten.

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We’ve made some friends and gone to several play dates at some awesome parks.

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We’ve gone on Sunday drives every Sunday to explore the area we may be moving back to. Gorgeous huh?!

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Bristol has really gotten into dressing herself everyday. It is a battle I’m not willing to fight and she generally does a really good job! Granted she wears dresses A LOT and this being her favorite!

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The kids and I explored Shawnee Mission Park which is awesome! We’ve since taken Isaac back several times and enjoyed ourselves very much. They have a beach to swim and play at, dock, fishing, an AWESOME dog park, a lookout tower (pictured above), little hiking trails, playgrounds, mountain biking, archery, and a model airplane flying field. I’m sure there is more I’m missing, the point is that there are always fun things to do there!

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The kids are finally back to being good and staying in their room at bed time. And I always love giving them a kiss before I go to bed, this was how I found them one night. It makes my heart so happy!

We’ve been enjoying the amount of rain we get and the cooler weather. Just this week we experienced days that had highs of 72! Being pregnant I’m in heaven on those days!

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We visited this other awesome park called Deanna Rose Park. It is free and everything inside is super cheap because it volunteer run. The kids had a blast! Especially feeding the baby goats. I love the picture that captures Bristol telling the other goat to not come near because it isn’t their turn :)

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We didn’t bring our double stroller so these two have gotten really creative!

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We celebrated cow appreciation day at Chick fil a for the first time. The kids loved it! Bristol thought it was hilarious and loved sticking my spots on me.

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More Sunday exploring! We’ve ALL been loving that we have early church and then no other meetings so we get to spend time together on Sundays.

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And here they are again being best buddies! They’ve been playing a lot of “mom and dad” pretending to take care of their babies. It is so sweet to watch, especially with the number of times a day my kids ask to kiss their baby brother.

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And Nathan showing off his favorite toys. His animals that his sister gave him for Christmas and the helicopter the Uncle Daniel gave him while in St Louis with us. He will probably add several more to his favorite list after his birthday this Sunday.

This video is long, but I love watching them play. Mornings they have the best imaginations and I needed to capture a little bit! I mean after all its them using those imaginations right now that lets me blog!

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