conference weekend in laguna!

the past few weeks, mimi and grandpa have been staying with aunt jayme on the weekdays while george works in a court case in orange county.  we have tried to get down there a few times to visit, and we've met up in disneyland a couple of times.  but over conference weekend, since we didn't have any sunday/church obligations on sunday, we were able to go down and watch conference with them.  it was my favorite conference weekend to date, although this weekend is still a strong contender!  

my girls would literally live at the pool/beach if they could.  they honestly never get tired of it.  let's be honest, neither do i.

THE way to watch conference with kids... with a bunch of toys completely new to them.
also, the ocean waves were nice background noise while listening to the conference talks.


country western day.

hazel's school goes above and beyond.  we are so blessed to go here.  a couple weeks ago they did a "country western day", and the kids got to ride ponies, pan for gold, pet farm animals, and milk a "cow".  

the downside to such an amazing event, is that i had to bring cora along to watch/take pictures, and it was TORTURE for her not to be able to participate.  especially in riding the ponies and the petting zoo.  don't worry, heffalump, you'll get your chance to go to preschool too. ;)


daily joys of motherhood

wet kisses
spontaneous dance parties
indulging in a sweet treat together
tummy raspberries
reading books together - i especially love the back-up to sit on my lap *heart eyes*
playing pretend
joyful giggles
laughing at the hilarious things they say and do
seeing the world through their rose-colored glasses
always being ready for an adventure


for every moment they make me want to pull my hair out, there are a dozen moments like this.
has to make a wish on every dandelion on our walk home from school
is still obsessed with the number 11
asks for hot chocolate even on warm days
is always saying also-ly, "let's ride the matterhorn and also-ly the teacups"
puts on her "you make me smile" jammies first thing when they are clean
walks up the stairs on all fours, as slowly as she can (especially when we are in a hurry) - she knows how to get on my nerves!

says yes in the most enthusiastic, slow-building shout "yyyyyyYUH-ES!"
is obsessed with pizza right now
is a champion fit-thrower
helps me make dinner or a treat often.  she is expert at evenly spreading cheese on pizza!
has started fighting her naps a little bit
could be potty-trained right now, if she wanted to be
has started talking tons, but i only understand about half of it!


our last three disney days we have gone with mimi, met up with honey and jenna during their choir tour, and then met up with mimi again, along with jayme, doug, and cousin sydney!  this has all been over the last three weeks of course ;) i am amazed at how much easier disney can be with another adult to help out!  but, even on the days i am outnumbered, we have a great time.


a trip down to seal beach, a hike up bronson canyon to explore the caves and see the hollywood sign, jumping in puddles in the rain, the playground and selfies, and a way-overdue temple trip.  life has been good to us lately.


the la brea tar pits

just obsessed with this wall photo.
we had a great time with mimi and grandpa at the la brea tar pits a couple weeks ago!  the girls loved running around and looking at all the "dinosaurs" (according to hazel), although they were really ice-age animals, like the wooley mammoth, saber-tooth tigers, and a giant sloth? (see statue below.)


a quick winter utah/idaho trip

there's nothing like snowmobiling in idaho in the winter.  or hanging out with family and eating delicious food.  john built a snow cave at the lake house, and hazel is definitely a thrill-seeker.  she begged to go on a snowmobiling ride every day.  cora was surprisingly easy - she is great at keeping herself entertained.  and it is clear that she is partial to grandpa and pop pop neff.  she is talking more and more and it's so sweet!


some cute {some annoying} things the girls are into lately!

cora's favorite pastimes:
seeing how fast she can dump all the toys in the house out of their containers
throwing herself down on the ground when she doesn't get her way - often this also involves some kind of injury like her head smacking into the wall
reading books
delaying any outing by refusing to put on coat and shoes, and then when i finally do get shoes on her, taking them off multiple times before we get out the door
screaming at the top of her lungs when i tell her "no" to more fruit snacks
singing unintelligibly
looking at me, scrunching up her nose, and giggling

hazel's favorite pastimes:
planning out every second of each day
requesting 11 of everything.  11 chicken nuggets, 11 minutes until we get someplace, saying she is 11 years old
playing pretend.  especially going to "pretend disneyland"
scrubbing toilets - this is not a joke.  she really loves it and i'm going to try and keep it up forever and ever
reading books
avoiding eating the food i make for her
listening to blasting music in the car


disney with honey and jack.

we had THE BEST three days in disneyland with honey and uncle jack!  hazel doesn't get to ride on the big kid rides very often, because i'm usually there with just the two girls on my own, so it was a total blast for her.  so glad they came out to visit us.


life lately.

some pics of our life lately.
 this week, we hosted honey and uncle jack, went to the beach and disneyland, and frisbee golfed.  cora got carsick on our way to a park and i spent all of saturday detailing my car!  

 and then this afternoon john played make-believe that he was in disneyland with the girls.  this is them riding on space mountain.  all the heart eyes for that man.  


ski day!

this christmas season felt a little bit different than most others.  in all our 6 years of marriage, i have done a pretty decent job getting john a few good presents.  (like the banjitar two years ago... that was pretty good.)  

but this year... i worked SO HARD to get john and NES classic.  i woke up 6(?)ish times bright and early and went to the stores hoping that the line wouldn't be too long and i could hopefully snag one... but to no avail.  so under the tree was a board game, (which is an awesome board game, albeit creepy, if you're in the market ;) and an envelope that said, "let's go skiing!"  FAIL. i know.  

in my defense, john's birthday is only five days before christmas, and he got band of horses tickets for his birthday.  aka. WIN.

so, despite my lack of being prepared christmas morning and having an awesome gift for john to open, we had an amazing day of skiing.  it has more or less confirmed my suspicions that EVENTS make way better presents than THINGS.  


a utah christmas

before the holidays, i felt like a nutcase.  or a circus performer.  or something.  between church, school, work, friends, and family engagements, we felt spread pretty thin.  some things i brought upon myself (ie. christmas cards... let's face it, i could have bagged that this year?) and other things were out of our control (ie. visiting and home teaching?  i mean honestly, we can't skip out on that in december!).  everything was 60mph until we arrived in utah.  it was such a relief to not "have to" do anything there (okay, still some things).  it was a true vacation.

cora is loving pop pop these days.  and we went sledding, and played hours upon hours of games!  aj and my dad went skiing with us (more on that later...) and we even got my parents to play some games with us... (backwards charades and betrayal at the house on the hill) which, let me tell you, is an enormous feat.  i was proud of them.  

 elf pj's for the win!