Saturday, July 26, 2014


Sooo...ummmm...yeah.  I'm a little embarrassed that it's been about 6 months since I've updated our blog.  But in my defense, we've been so busy that I haven't had a minute to breathe let alone blog about our life.  So get ready for photo overload and a summary of our family since about February.

-In February we celebrated Sarah's 1st birthday.  The celebration was extra special because we got to spend it with some awesome people.  We went up to Chicago to visit Jesika and Robbie for a couple of days, and we also got to go to Wisconsin and visit some extended family, including Grandma Phyllis and Grandpa Rollie who were visiting from Utah for a special event.  Even though Sarah didn't really understand much of what was going on, it was still a really fun time.

Since her first birthday Sarah has definitely grown into a beautiful, sweet and fun little girl.  She is constantly talking, laughing, even singing (Favorite song so far is "Let It Go" from Frozen.  Video hopefully coming soon).  Her list of vocabulary includes: "nummy" (any food), "wah-wah" (water), "arrf" (sound for any animal), "Mommy", "Daddy", "ba" (can mean ball or bowl) "shees" (cheese), "apa" (apple) "bi" (pacifier), "sah" (socks), " "dipee" (diaper), and "tank ooh" (thank you).  She loves to play with Will and Kayla, and thoroughly enjoys their attention.  She recently started nursery and seems to enjoy it so far.


-This girl is always on the move it seems, so we continued with ballet for a few more months until she decided that she wasn't enjoying it as much anymore.  It was a fun experience for all of us because not only did she learn some dance skills, but we all made some new friends.  There were two girls in particular that Kayla seemed to gravitate toward, and it helped that one of them had a big brother Will's age that he could play with during dance class.  I don't know if the dance thing will continue in the future, but it was fun for a while.  She's told us recently that she wants to try gymnastics.
-She turned 5 in March, which means that she will be moving on from preschool to Kindergarten (eek!).  We have been blessed to be part of a wonderful preschool program the past few years, starting with Will.  And Kayla had the unique opportunity of having two different teachers.  Mrs. Yagow, the same teacher Will had, left last year because of a move, and Miss Hogan took her place.  It was interesting to see the difference in teaching styles, but Kayla had fun regardless of who her teacher was.  We all got to attend her preschool graduation and it was a fun time.  She is slowly starting to learn how to read, and she is super excited for Kindergarten to start, asking us every day how many days until the first day of school.

 Kayla was voted "most likely to become President" by her class.  Made me laugh cause I can totally see it

Kayla and Miss Hogan

-I don't know how it happened with him having a scientist for a dad and a psychologist for a mom, but Will has become our sports kid.  It started with the friend he made through Kayla's ballet class.  They started playing basketball during the class, and this kid's mom told me about a free basketball program run by a local Methodist church.  I jumped on the chance and signed Will up.  He LOVED it!  He had practices every week with a game every Saturday for about 2 months.  He quickly picked up the skills and was really good.  One thing we really like about this particular program is that their main focus is on things like teamwork, dedication, cooperation, etc.  And they didn't keep score at the games.  It was so much fun to see Will grow as an athlete and have a good time.  We are definitely going to do this program again this next winter.

Once the basketball season was over, Will decided that he wanted to keep trying more sports.  I had heard about a 2-day sports camp run by a local high school (also free!), and Will decided that he wanted to try baseball this time.  Bill was able to go with him and said he did really well with that also.  We weren't able to get any picture of him playing, but his friend's mom took this picture of Will and his friend Gideon from school in their camp t-shirts..

Will has also continued to be very involved and having fun with scouts.  He's really enjoyed going to den meetings and pack meetings, and he and Bill have fun working on the various requirements together.  It makes us proud to see him participate in flag ceremonies and earn his different badges and arrow points.  I'm so grateful that Bill loves scouts just as much as Will, otherwise he might not be doing as well as he is.

Speaking of scouts, that's what has been occupying a large amount of Bill's time over the last few months.  On top of PhD research, a church calling in the Elder's quorum, and being an awesome husband and father, Bill has apparently become the resident Scout expert in our ward and stake.  It seems like he has been called or asked to help with all sorts of scout-related activities.  For example, he was asked to be in charge of organizing and running the 11-year-old scout camp a few weeks ago.  And he will be teaching at a few merit badge clinics over the next month or two.  The biggest event of his scouting experience lately happened in April.  Last year he told me that he felt like he needed to put together a community-wide merit badge clinic, that was open to anyone junior high or high school-aged.  It was a HUGE endeavor that took a lot of his time and energy, but it turned out to be a big success, and he is already working next year's clinic.

He continues to work hard on getting his PhD also.  He will be presenting at a conference in Minneapolis this next week, and with any luck he should be able to take his prelim (a big oral presentation) late summer/early fall.  Not sure what will happen in the near future, but we are all optimistic that it will be wonderful.
As most who read this blog regularly know, I've done a number of 5K races over the past few years.  It's been challenging, fun, and rewarding each time I finish.  I wanted to make a new goal a while back of running a 10K.  So Jesika and I got together and decided to do it together.  For anyone thinking of doing any sort of race, I have two pieces of advice: start training right away, and have a running buddy.  Having Jesika there during the race helped immensely.  It was fun to chat while we were running, and to have someone to cheer me on when I got tired.  We had a lot of fun, and we've decided we're going to do it again next year.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the beginning of the race

Our families met us near the finish line and our kids decided to run the last few feet with us

Crossing the finish line


Later in the summer, I had the opportunity (thanks to my amazing husband) to go to Utah all by myself to visit family for a few days.  It was a lot of fun to see my parents, my sister, and various other family and friends.  I missed my family back in Illinois, but I had a fabulous time.  

Me with my high school choir teacher Mr. Larson.  He was the reason that I wanted to go to Utah in the first place.  After over 40 years of teaching he retired this year, and there was a huge alumni concert to honor him at my old high school.  It was so much fun to go back, see old friends, and sing for Mr. Larson one more time. 


Two of my awesome cousins and their wives (or soon-to-be, in Tanner's case)

Dinner at Brick Oven

One of my best friends since we were 13.  We've known each other for 20 years!  Still so fun to be with her even after marriage and kids.

It was a wonderful trip, full of fun, friends, good food, laughs, and many other things that I will remember for a long time.

Bill and Kristin-
This year Bill and I celebrated a pretty big milestone - we have been married for 10 years!  It's hard to believe it's been that long since we were sealed in the Idaho Falls temple.  When we started talking about our anniversary, we knew that we wanted to make it somewhat of a big deal.  I gave Bill the challenge of planning something and surprising me, and he definitely met that challenge.  It has been our best anniversary so far, and definitely right up there with his awesome proposal 10 years ago :)  One great thing about living where we do is that we aren't very far from some major cities - St. Louis, Indianapolis and Chicago.  We go to St. Louis all the time because that is what temple district we are in, but we had never been to downtown Chicago before.  So for our anniversary Bill took me to Chicago for a couple of days while Jesika and Robbie watched our kids.          

This was our hotel.  It was the nicest Best Western we have ever stayed in, and very close to a number of different places to visit.

We checked into our hotel, had dinner at a yummy gyro restaurant, then did a little exploring for the rest of the evening.  It was interesting to see downtown Chicago late at night.  We ended up near the planetarium, which is right next to Lake Michigan, and were able to see a fireworks show that they do on a weekly basis.  We both enjoyed sitting together, watching the fireworks and having a conversation without being interrupted by kids.

Watching the sun set before the fireworks started

The next day we spent the majority of the day being tourists and wandering around the city.  We did the typical sights, like the Willis Tower, Millennium Park, and Navy Pier, but we also were able to find some hidden treasures, sometimes unintentionally.  

These look like they could belong in a church, which we also saw a lot of, but it was actually inside the Chicago Cultural Center.  They had murals and other things dating back to the Civil War.  Very cool old building.

For some reason I've always wanted to get my picture taken in front of "The Bean" in Millennium Park.  It's funny to me how something like this is such a tourist attraction.

One thing I really liked about downtown Chicago was the fact that you could be in the middle of a beautiful garden and yet see the tall skyscrapers at the same time.

Another thing that I thought would be fun to do was go up to the skydeck at Willis Tower and take pictures on the ledge.  It took forever to get through the line for tickets because it obviously is a popular tourist spot, but very cool views.

It was funny getting this picture.  Bill sat on the ledge and pointed the camera down.  He wouldn't look at it himself.

We may look calm and collected, but we were both really nervous about going out on this ledge, even though we knew were protected and nothing would happen.  The people waiting in line behind use got some good laughs at our expense.

After a little more wandering downtown we went over to Navy Pier, which has all sorts of things to do.  They have a children's museum, a fun house, carnival-type rides, and restaurants.  Bill really wanted to try a true Chicago-style hot dog, so we had a little snack while waiting for the main event of the day, the thing that Bill had planned to surprise me with:

A dinner cruise on The Spirit of Chicago!  

Throughout our marriage I've mentioned that I think it would be fun to go on a cruise sometime.  Obviously our finances don't really allow for that yet, so Bill found the next best thing.  It was awesome!  2 1/2 hours on Lake Michigan, dinner, dancing, beautiful scenery.  We both had a wonderful time.  
  It may seem a little cheesy, but I had to get a picture of our table.  Apparently when you register for this cruise they ask if you are signing up for a special occasion.  Bill told them it was for our anniversary, so the whole night we had waiters and other staff coming up to us and congratulating us, and they added the rose petals to make our table a little more special.  They even mentioned us later during the dancing and played a slow song for us and other couples in a similar situation.

After the cruise we walked back to our hotel room, and this was waiting for us:
The beautiful card and flowers were from Bill, but the rest of it was from the staff at the hotel.  There had been a mix-up with our room when we got there, but they were so grateful that we were so nice about it and didn't cause a fuss that they not only gave us the cookies and fruit plate, but they took $25 off our room price and didn't make us pay for parking, which saved us $80.  Isn't that amazing!!  We were so impressed with them and it made a great ending to a wonderful day. 

Our last day we only had a couple of hours to do a little bit more exploring before we needed to pick up our kids, so we decided to go to the Shell Aquarium.  I wish we could have spent more time there, but what we did get to see was pretty cool.  

It was an amazing trip and one that we will remember for a long time.  I love being married to Bill.  We have our ups and downs, of course, but I'm so grateful that I have him to share all these experiences with.

Phew!  If you haven't fallen asleep or gotten bored yet, we've made it to the end of this post.  Needless to say, it's been a very busy few months with lots of fun and interesting experiences.  Will and Kayla start school in about 3 weeks, and I think we are all looking forward to a little more routine and structure in our lives again, and I am admittedly looking forward to only having one child at home during the day :)  And hopefully I can keep up with this more regularly again.


1 comment:

Phyllis Bestor said...

What a fabulous update, Kristin. Your Chicago trip sounds impressive. It is interesting to realize that you are living generally in the area that Grandpa and I grew up in. . . not too far from Chicago.