Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 26, 2015

 I think this photo of Tommy at Nolan's blessing pretty accurately shows how we all felt after our week long reunion.  He was tired, grumpy, and ready for a long nap. 
 Once we got back home, he perked up.  His new favorite toy is this box.  He likes to walk about wearing it and bump into things.  Silly boy.
 We were hit with a little bad luck this week.  Our washer has been temperamental for a few years now and has been smelling bad even after cleaning it and trying to flush out the hoses.  We've made some repairs and tried to keep it running, but it finally died on us this week - just after returning from vacation with loads of laundry to do.  On the bright side - it happened before the baby was born and we have enough emergency savings to easily replace it.  Also the kids loved taking a trip to the laundromat, they thought it was the most fun place.  Other families who were there doing laundry looked at our kids like we were crazy.  I guess when you have to use a laundromat every week, it loses its charm.  Just two days after the washer quit, our gas dryer stopped working too!  We did some tests on it and tried replacing a fuse but it turns out that the problem requires a handy man.  By the time we pay him for time, parts, and labor, we decided it would be better to just replace both the washer and dryer.  It was really hard finding good old-fashioned machines that will actually clean and dry our clothes without too many bells and whistles or dollar signs.  But we finally found what we were looking for.  They are on order now.  Hopefully they arrive before this baby does!

Along with the washer and dryer quitting on us, we needed to do some work on our cars.  I was hoping to get the windshield replaced before the baby came to make driving easier on the grandparents.  But it turns out our tires, brakes, and struts needed replacing.  The tires were way too large per the manufacturer's recommendation.  The guys at the car place asked us why we would put such large tires on our van.  We told them we bought it used and it came this way.  They explained that the size was too big and that's probably why our alignment was off and the struts were blown. Two of our tires had bad and uneven wear on them with bald spots so we had to replace all four tires plus the other repairs.  There goes the windshield.  Plus Jeremy's tires on the Contour were starting to show threads through some of the bald spots-not good.  So we had to get new tires for his car too.  After all these major expenses right before our baby is due, we're just hoping nothing else will go wrong.  Thankfully we're financially prepared, but it is hard to see our savings we've worked to build get dipped into.  I just keep reminding myself that we saved with the intent to get us through emergencies like this.  Jeremy is just grumpy that we had to spend so much money all in less than a week.
 On a brighter note, Lily and Annie's soccer seasons are winding down.  Lily got to play goalie again in her game this week.  We were having fun watching the game when a down pour came out of nowhere.  Tommy and Daddy made a run for the car.  Annie and Mommy tried to sit it out since the kids were still playing.  The rain went as fast as it came and we enjoyed the rest of the game.
 Lily and Annie got fans from Grammy.  They have been playing with them non stop.  Unfortunately, Tommy got a hold of Lily's and broke it.  Hopefully we can find a replacement at the dollar store.  These girls love their fans!
 Last Friday night we took the kids out for dinner to Olive Garden.  Mommy was too tired to cook and we remembered that we had some gift cards to use up.  The kids were so well behaved and ate a lot of food.  After dinner we took a short walk on the greenbelt in Idaho Falls.  The kids were happy to throw rocks and pine cones into the river and run around the trees.  It was a beautiful night.  And a nice break from the house.
Lily lost another tooth Sunday morning.  Annie accidentally bumped Lily in the mouth while they were playing and it knocked the tooth out.  Lily has lost three teeth now.  There's barely enough room for her permanent teeth to come in.  She inherited her Mommy and Daddy's small mouths. 

Jeremy spent the weekend steam cleaning the carpets in the kids rooms and helping deep clean the grout in the kitchen and bathrooms.  We're nesting like crazy waiting for this baby to arrive.  It seems there is still so much to do.  Only two weeks left until we meet our little guy.  The kids can't wait.

Hall Family Reunion 2015

We enjoyed a long and family-filled week in Park City for our annual Hall reunion.  This was the first time in years that the family was all together.  We were only missing Wyatt (on his mission) and Meredith (working in Texas).  We did so much that I decided to break the trip down by person to remember what each of us liked best about the reunion.

Tommy's Favorites:

1.  Being loved and adored by all the older cousins.  Tommy is at a fun age.  He likes to imitate, laugh, be tickled, and be entertained.  We had lots of cousins willing to try and keep Bubba happy all week.  Sometimes it was too much stimuli for him, but most days he relished the attention and had fun being carried almost everywhere.  He loved playing with his buddy Graham.  They are about a year apart and both love cars, tractors, and balls. The two older cousins Tommy enjoyed most were Isaac and Claire.  They were his buddies and took good care of him.

2.  Blowing bubbles at the park.  One night we took the kids to a beautiful city park and played games.  Then Grammy brought out bubbles.  Tommy loved every second - especially when Grammy took some time to blow bubbles just with him!

3.  Olympic Park.  Tommy was too little to ride the Alpine Slide or climb on the obstacle course, but he enjoyed the museum and riding the ski lift.  There was a video playing in the museum of how ski fashion has changed over the years.  Tommy loved the 80's segment with the silly music and dancing and bright colors.  We visited the park almost every day of our trip.  By the last visit, Tommy wasn't enjoying the park as much.  He didn't like when Daddy and all the older kids got to leave and ride the Alpine Slide without him and he threw a major fit - which was hard for Mommy since I can't carry him anymore.  Climbing on the bobsleds and luge were fun for him.  He did great on the ski lift.  His first ride he was pointing out the trees, flowers, mountains, and sun - until Mommy told him to see how high up we were, then he sat back and was silent and still the rest of the ride.  I didn't mean to scare him, but I'm glad he had a healthy respect for how high up he was.

4.  Great Harvest Bread.  There is a Great Harvest in Park City.  One afternoon Mommy took all the kids on a little outing for some juice and bread.  Tommy REALLY liked the bread.  The girls preferred to share a huge sugar cookie.

5.  Swimming!  Tommy's all-time favorite activity was swimming.  Our fearless little fish had some close calls during this trip.  We had lots of willing helpers watching him in the pool, but Tommy is so brave and strong that he found ways to escape supervision and end up under water.  Plus when he has to wear his life jacket, he panics more than when he can move freely.  He loves the feeling of being under water. We swam every day but one for at least two hours.  It felt good to be in the water but was a little nerve wracking for Mommy trying to supervise three kids in the pool while Daddy was gone hiking.  Luckily we were all safe and the kids had a super time splashing with cousins.

 Annie's Favorites:

1.  Olympic Park and Alpine Slide.  I think this was Annie's most favorite thing.  She got to ride the slide three different times during the week.

 First with Daddy.  My heart stopped a little as I watched her tiny body climb on the ski lift for the first time.  She was brave and had a great first ride.

 The second time - and her favorite time - was with Grammy.  They came speeding into the finish, hair flying, mouths wide open laughing and screaming.  Annie said that ride was "the best!".

 Her third time was with cousin Spencer.  They toppled over at one of the curves and fell off the track, but no one was hurt and Annie was still smiling when they came to the finish.  She couldn't wait to tell me about their crash.  I guess it didn't phase her.  She loves to be thrilled.

 Annie also liked the Olympic museum, obstacle course and shuttle rides.  She wants to try skeleton someday - we'll see.  Of course she would pick the most dangerous sport offered at the park to try.  Maybe we can convince her to try snow boarding first.  She makes a cute boarder.

2. Swimming.  Mommy was diligent with the sunscreen so we enjoyed a burn free week - but Annie did gain a few new freckles from all the hours in the sun.  She is getting braver and stronger in the water and likes trying to swim without her life jacket - when Mommy or Daddy can help her.

3.  Making water balloons with cousins.  The girls kept trying to make tiny water balloons so they wouldn't pop as easily.  They called them "balloon babies".  Annie treasured hers for a long time until the urge to pop it overwhelmed her.

4. Being part of the "Gingers".  Look at all those cute red heads!  Annie is a few years younger than all the other girls, but she liked being a tag along for their ginger adventures.  The last night of the reunion, all the red heads had a slumber party in our condo.  Lily and Annie were asleep by 10:30 but the older girls were still going strong for another hour or more.  We're so thankful for kind older cousins who were willing to include little Annie as much as possible.  She liked the attention and feeling part of something special.

Lily's Favorites:

Lily had a hard time narrowing down her favorites.  Mostly she loved playing with Madilyn who is exactly the same age.  They both love to color, read, play Barbies, and play princesses.  She also loved tagging along with the red head bunch who are all 8 years old.  Lily loved having so many girl cousins to play with.

1.  Skit night.  The girls wanted to sing or dance to a song from Frozen.  Mommy and Daddy decided to make it a comical act by having them do a chin lip sync.  We drew eyes on their chins and pasted Elsa hair above it, then covered the rest of their face with a hat.  It was hard to hear the music because we were outside, but the girls loved singing their favorite song "Let it Go" and hearing the family laugh.

2. Swimming.  This one was tops on all the kids' lists.  Lily is getting better at swimming underwater on her own.   We brought goggles but she preferred swimming without them.  At the end of every day, her eyes were red and swollen from the sun, pool water, and sunscreen.  Some nights she looked like she had been crying for hours.  She said it was worth it.

3. Daddy as a human pinata.  All the kids enjoyed this activity.  Daddy had to wear a shirt covered in candy and run for his life while the kids chased him down and tried to pull candy off the shirt.  Lily tried her hardest to catch him and get as much candy as possible.  She loved it.

4. Water balloon volleyball with cousins.  It took Lily and Madilyn a long time to get the hang of shooting and catching the balloons with their towel.  But they had fun trying.  After playing for a while, the balloons started to get bigger.  Lily babied one for a little while before letting the older cousins play with it and pop it.  We even took a belly comparison picture when she stuffed it under her swimming suit.  I think Mommy still won for biggest baby belly.

 5.  The coconut Italian ice at the luncheon for Jake and Diana.  Lily talked about how good this was for days after the trip.  She loves coconut, just like her Mommy, and really enjoyed the super yummy treat from her aunt and uncle.

6. The Olympic Park and Alpine Slide.  I think Grammy must be the best slide driver because both girls said their rides with her were their favorite.  Lily really wanted to drive on her own but she was just shy of the height requirement.  She loved being up high in the mountains.  The obstacle course was just challenging enough to keep her busy for a long time and she loved the shuttle rides and chair lift rides too.  She would ask every day if we could go ride the slide again.

Mommy's Favorites:

1.  Seeing Daddy run for his life as a human pinata. I think the pictures say it all.  This was our family home evening activity and it was a big hit with our family.  Daddy was exhausted by the end.  He just collapsed on the ground and let the kids take whatever they wanted.

2. Seeing the girls snuggled together every morning.  They would start out on the opposite sides of the hide-a-bed, but my morning, they were always right next to each other.  They played together so well all week.  Some days were a little hard for Annie.  Lily and Madilyn liked having time together which left Annie without her usual best sister friend.  But overall they had a great week together.

3. Jake and Diana's sealing.  Any sealing is wonderful to be a part of, but to witness the sealing of a couple who appreciates it more than most is a special thing.  They have been through a lot and worked hard to get here.  It was an awesome experience for all of us to share as a family. I was having a lot of contractions this day, but it was worth the discomfort to be in the temple as a family and celebrate together.
Josh and Chelsea's family
Jared and Becky's family
Justin and Julie's family
Our kids enjoying the Cheeto bribe from Grammy.  Grammy quickly learned that the way to Tommy's heart is Cheetos and she wasn't afraid to use them to get him smiling in the family pictures.
Our kiddos with Grammy and Grampy
 Almost all of the Hall grandchildren - missing Wyatt and Meredith

4.  Baby Nolan's blessing.  Chelsea's family lives near Brigham City, UT.  Just before driving home from the reunion, we stopped at the Pickett's home for Nolan's blessing.  It was a sweet moment to have both grandfathers and most of the uncles there to participate in the blessing.  What a great way to end our time together.

Daddy's Favorites:

1.  Jeremy's favorite part of the reunion was a the three day hike in the Uinta Mountains with his dad, brothers, and all the boys ages 12 and up.  They had a great time.  Jeremy's only problem was that his hiking boots started deteriorating on the last day.  The cushiony interior core between the exterior sole and the insole sort of exploded.  The boots are really old.  Good time to buy another pair - and thank goodness they held up until the end of the hike.  The area they hiked surrounded the Morat lakes.  Every night deer would wander into the camp and sniff around.  The deer were so noisy and bothersome that the guys tried shooting into the air and lake to scare them off.  It didn't really work.  The weather was cool with some afternoon showers, but not enough to soak them.  They packed in dehydrated food for their main meals.  All that processed food made them super gassy.  The joke they decided on was, when people asked them what they did on the hike they would answer - we just farted around. 

Ike found a dead bird. Gross!

Too sunny in the morning for these tired hikers.
Bye bye hiking boots.
After the hike, they stopped in Kamas for a late lunch before coming back to Park City.  Lunch wasn't that great, but Josh liked this sign and wanted a picture for his wife Chelsea.  The boys are hoping to make this Priesthood hike an annual tradition.  The wives aren't so sure.  All that "farting around" carried over for a day or two once they returned.

2.  Going shooting.  It isn't a Hall family activity unless we go somewhere to shoot something.  After Jake and Diana's sealing and luncheon the family drove out to Willard Bay to do some shooting.  Both of our girls tried it too gut since we were helping them we didn't get pictures. 

3.  Being with all of his brothers.  This was the first time in years that all the boys were together for an extended period of time.  Yes it was crazy, but it was also fun.  Being able to be in the temple together and bless Josh's baby together were an extra special bonus.