April 25, 2015

Family Pictures, 2014

This year the stars aligned and I was able to get family pictures done before Christmas Eve and put together a decent Christmas card. Lisa Harbertson took our pictures in our friend's apple orchard, just down the street from us.

April 18, 2015

Anna turns 4

Anna's 4th birthday celebration turned into quite the event. Apparently Grandpa Paul wasn't cool with us bringing in the princesses for Ella and letting Anna choose what we have for dinner and calling it a party. So he took matters into his own hands. They offered to have the girls over for a sleepover on Friday and have a little party on Saturday at their house. Yes, please. But then in true Harman fashion the little party turned bigger. With a balloon artist. And a face painter. And a homemade princess cake. 

They ran into a little bump in the road when Brent's family went out of town that weekend. The guests went from enough to awkward pretty quickly. So we moved the party to our house, hastily invited some friends and boom! Party!!

Check out the turtle balloon bracelet Sara is sporting! 

April 15, 2015

Hawaii, 2015

This year Doug's conference was in Kauai (where we went the first time we joined in the Arrhythmias & the Heart fun). We decided to capitalize on the free babysitting and discounted room rates and off we went. If you recall, last year's trip was filled with a little too much excitement, so we were hoping for something pretty chill. No trips to the hospital this time! 

This is the view from Doug and Janet's room. Not bad.

But we did have a 6-month-old, which made things more complicated. Sara was actually really good for 6 months...but she was still 6 months. Sleep was where things got a little messy. She needed to nap during the day, which meant we either had to schedule around it or suffer the consequences (ie, a screaming baby all the way up to Waimea Canyon). But nights were what killed me. At home she pretty much slept through the night. But at home I never hear her little awakenings that apparently are happening 3-5 times a night. In the one hotel room where there were 2 sleeping kids (not to mention the other guests) I didn't feel like I could let her fuss at all. So every time she made a peep I was up nursing her back to sleep. She was still on MST, so she woke up around 5:00 every single day. So I would throw on some clothes in the dark, put her in the stroller and go down to the lobby and hang out for a few hours.  As I am typing this, I am realizing that it doesn't sound like much. But for some reason (perhaps because every time I nursed her back to sleep I worried about the habits I was creating) but it really stressed me out. By the third or fourth day I was seriously contemplating getting on a plane and coming home, leaving the rest of the clan to enjoy the trip. 

Our view each morning

We went to the faculty dinner at the Beach House Restaurant. They had hired a photographer to take family photos, and we took advantage. You will notice Sara is not with us. Janet took one for the team (or maybe just one for herself...) and stayed home to watch her.

Dinner at the Beach House.


Poolside naps. 

The hotel has a man made lagoon by the pool. The sand is really hard and grainy. Every time we would venture the 100 feet to the real beach I was blown away at how soft it was.

We took a drive to Waimea Canyon. Ryan rode his bike and then we met up with him. It was raining and Sara was at her finest, and then Ella got carsick, despite taking Dramamine. Every few minutes she would cry out and say she thought she might throw up. So we'd find a spot to pull over, give her some fresh air, and she'd declare herself fine. Until she wasn't. But we made it. On our way home we went to McDonald's for dinner. We were all a little tired and grumpy. As we were waiting for our food, the man next to us asked if we were from Utah. We said yes and asked how he knew. He said he had lived in Utah before and guessed we might be because you don't see too many nice looking families like ours...ha!

The hotel had exotic birds who hung out in the lobby. On certain days they had "Bird Talk"time when the birds put on a little show. The girls loved it and we had to plan our day around it.

Doug, Ryan, Ella, Anna and I went on a whale watching tour. It was really fun. I had to double up on Dramamine and look straight to the horizon and keep munching continually to not get sick. But I didn't, and we saw lots of whales. It was hard to get a good picture, but trust me, they were there. 

Another great Hawaii trip. Thanks Doug and Janet!

April 8, 2015

Christmas, 2014

Christmas was filled with family, good food, and lots of fun. Jamie came to town, which gave us an excuse to do things which we otherwise might not make the effort to do.  We went to the scavenger hunt at the Grand America, a BYU basketball game, lights at Temple Square, ZCMI candy windows at Macey's and Thanksgiving Point. All of the Harman's spent the night at our house on Christmas Eve and we played the traditional round of Christmas Bingo. Some of the more notable prizes: Dutch Blitz, an inflatable Unicorn horn, cheetah slippers, a battery powered motion sensing light, Stanz socks, Delta SkyMiles, J Crew gift cards, a Garmin watch, Costco Gift Card (which I won and bought a Bosch mixer with!), and a few other good things that I can't remember now--Jame and Kim you'll have to remind me!

Christmas morning was full of crazy. We told Ella that she couldn't open another present until everyone had opened one. She took the job of present-passer-outer to heart and made sure there were no lulls in the unwrapping. It turned into a bit of a free for all, but was fun. Ella got an American Girl Doll (Isabel) and Anna got a Frozen blanket and a Glitter Glider Castle. Ryan got a Trunk from Trunk Club (for the win!) and I got a necklace from Tiffany (that I took back because I am too cheap--and then replaced it with a much less fancy necklace from Tiffany).

Doug and Janet came to Utah to spend Christmas with Grandma Packer, and then visited with us for a few days. It was great to see them.

February 22, 2015

Rochester Nativity

For the past three years my mother-in-law Janet has been in charge of a creche that their church puts on. It is a two day activity with hundreds of nativities on display, over a dozens of musical groups, food, and a transformation of a Stake Center. I've wanted to see it, and since this is the last year Janet is in charge I thought I'd try and make it happen. I had a companion fare ticket that was about to expire, so I brought Ella (and Sara) with me. It was a really quick trip. We left on Friday evening and came home Monday afternoon. But I loved seeing the nativities and the entire event. It did not disappoint.

By far, my favorite nativity was this small, hand-carved wooden one. The memory of childbirth was still fresh in my mind, and the image of Mary lying down cradling her baby with Joseph kneeling at her side rang true.

We also got to spend some time with Janet's sister Sandra. She was so sweet with Ella and so helpful with Sara. An added bonus for us! On our way out we stopped at the Mall of America and checked out the American Girl store. Ella was taken with Isabelle, the Girl of the Year. Because she has a pink streak in hair, of course. Keeping it classy.

 It was a quick trip, but I was so glad to see Janet work her magic one last time before handing it off. Love you!

Halloween, 2014

Halloween fell on a Friday this year, which meant I was celebrating it at work. I had no good ideas, and then I was walking through Wal-Mart and saw a Doc McStuffins shirt. Yes! I found the pieces to the outfit in the junior's department. Apropos, I suppose! 

Ella was excited to make her own costume. She found some kitten jammies, taped some black paper triangles to a headband for ears, and we hot-glued some fun fur to the hands, neck and made a tail. Anna was a teddy bear last year (thanks Grandpa Paul for the costume) and she informed us she was going to be a teddy bear this year. Sure thing. And Sara, well, we had a leopard print shirt and a tiger hat, so jungle animal it is.   

February 9, 2015

Family pictures, 2014

For the past 2 years our Christmas card has been put together on a whim, with Jamie taking the picture over Christmas break--last year it was on Christmas Eve! So this year I got organized and scheduled with Lisa in the fall.  We took them in our neighbor's apple orchard. Sara didn't cooperate with wide awake smiles, but we still got some great shots.  I got my cards out before Christmas, which was a first!

January 15, 2015

Carlsbad, CA

A couple years ago my dad threw out an idea about doing a family vacation with everyone. We all thought it sounded fun to be together, but weren't sure what we could do that would be good for everyone. Just like he does, my dad figured it out. Carlsbad, California. Golf and biking for the boys, swim and shopping for the girls and LEGOLAND for the kids. Add an amazing house right on the beach and we were sold. Finding a time that worked for everyone was a near miracle, but we did it. And it worked out perfectly because Jamie and Taylor had a fire in their New York apartment and were definitely looking for a break from the chaos of clean-up and apartment hunting.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous with all of us in the close quarters for a week that we all might cramp each other's style. But the house was so great and we all had plenty of room--we could have stayed for another week! 

It had been 5 years since our last family photo. So we threw one together. When the tripod didn't work out my dad made friends with the construction worker in the house next door and asked him to shoot the shot. He did great, with a little help from Jamie's mad photoshop skills.

One of the best things we did was to buy a 5 day pass to Legoland. We found a deal so it was only $89--less than one day at Disneyland! The beach house was literally 5 minutes away, so it was easy to go for a few hours at a time. Ella went on the big roller coaster. It was a little scarier than I thought it would be, and as we were walking out I was happy when she told me she LOVED it. When I saw this picture I about died laughing. 

So the next time we went she was determined to get a smile. It took a few times (once she had a smile, but eyes were closed). Grandpa was happy to shell out the $15 for this keepsake.

We had a great time at the beach. The house was right on the beach, but a few days the tide was too high so we went down the street.

While the girls beached, the boys golfed. Taylor and Ryan vs Chris and Paul. While Taylor and Ryan have historically killed it, it was not their day and Paul and Chris took home the trophy (which, ironically, Taylor saw in the pro shop and suggested they buy--before he lost, of course.)

The girls and I walked around the San Diego Temple grounds. Ella told Anna, "It's like church, only happier." Then later in the afternoon she told Anna that it was like Elsa's ice castle...

View from the house. Pictures never do it justice.

About halfway through the trip Taylor went to Wal-Mart. He came home with a plan. We were going to have a boat making contest with popsicle sticks. There was a little scoffing at first, but by the end we were all in. While it's a little unclear who actually won, Jamie and Kimmy's was the winner for most sea-worthy, even if it did look like a sandwich from a vending machine. 

(I just had a baby...remember that when you look at those hips!)

We had one great day of low tide, and we made the most of it!

corn field in the making

making a farm with grandpa--back to his roots

As a Thank You to the owners of the beach house we made this movie (Ryan brought his helicopter).

Thank You from Ryan Packer on Vimeo.