Friday, October 21, 2016


We pulled in from Cali at 2 am, just in time to roll out of bed bleary eyed the next morning to hang up the birthday banner and make rainbow pancakes. The rest of the morning was spent building legos, then we went with the family to see Storks, popping open $1 soda while eating a balanced meal of popcorn and Mike&Ikes. I also got a teeny tinge of baby hunger seeing all those cartoon babies with abnormally large eyes. After that we headed to the airport to pick up Grandma. It meant so much that she would come out for the weekend to be here for Maddox's birthday and baptism. We were all pretty excited to have her here. We took Maddox to dinner that night, although just between us, he was bored with all the adult conversation and was itching to go home and play with his legos. But we loved having some one on one time with the birthday boy and I hope he felt special. As a side note, that pumpkin pie milk shake was to die for. 

Then came his big day. He looked so handsome and had a grin spread from ear to ear the whole day. It was a special experience and I was grateful that we could share it with loved ones. So proud of this boy, the choices he is making and the amazing young man he is becoming.

His birthday and baptism buddy, Preston.

The celebrations just kept on coming. Maddox didn't let me forget that I still needed to check him out of school for his birthday lunch and bring in treats for his class since his birthday was during the break. Although, I think I look forward to this just as much if not more than the kids. This boy is something special, he loves with his entire heart. He embraces the small things in life, and appreciates the details. He folds up a napkin and keeps it in his front pocket every Sunday for church to look fancy. He has more self control than anyone I know. He gets a sucker and saves it for months on his dresser before eating it. His drawer is always full of candy, and as a confession I sometimes sneak a starburst or two when I'm cleaning his room. But if the results of that experiment where they put a marshmallow in front of a kid and tell them they can have 2 marshmallows if they wait 5 minutes without eating it is true, then in the long run Maddox is going to be pretty dang successful.  Speaking of the "long run", Maddox can not wait to hit puberty so that he can "get upgraded". Maddox 2.0. He regularly checks the length of his leg hairs, stroking them ever so and willing them to grow faster. He loves to put on his apron and help me cook, his dream is to one day be a chef and own his own restaurant. He said I can always eat there for free, but he might need my help cooking sometimes. He thinks that "mooning" someone means you're waving to them. It's not uncommon to hear him say that he's mooning someone next to us at a stoplight. This boy is a sponge. He loves non-fiction and educational shows. Besides legos, his next favorite gift was a rock collection with a book describing all the different rocks. It kept him up late more than a few nights. Yes, this boy is something special and what a privilege it is to be his mom. Happy birthday, Maddox, we love you!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

It's great to be 8!

This is a special birthday for Maddox because he gets to be baptized. Which also means that he gets a suit. Which pretty much made his entire life. He has talked about getting a suit for the past year and when the day came he was beside himself. He wanted to wear it the whole entire day but I wouldn't allow him to play in it, so he would change into his suit, tie and all, and just sit on the couch. After a little bit he would change back into his clothes and go play. And then repeated this about 5 times that day. He dreamed of his suit that night and for days kept saying in disbelief, "I can't believe I have a real suit...". One of the many things I love about this boy is the way he appreciates the small things in life to the full extent possible. I love this handsome boy of mine and am so proud of the decision he has made to be baptized. 

Maddox and Preston were born on the same day and in the same hospital. His mom and I rolled our babies down the hall to visit each other, he was Maddox's first friend. It's fun to see them grow up and now they're getting baptized together on the same day. Before long we'll be taking their missionary pictures together!

Maddox was adorable and was so into coming up with different poses for the pictures. Ryder on the other hand was done after the first 5 minutes. He brought his scriptures to "respect the temple" as he said, but instead ran around like a wild banshee. Redemption could only be made with the Wendy's drive thru and eating al fresco on the patio.

"Dancing on the Edge of the Hollywood Sign"

Disneyland can be exhausting, so we decided to take a beach day in between and it was perfect. We haven't been to Santa Monica in a while, yeah it's touristy, but the boardwalk is pretty picturesque and it was a fun spot to take pictures with Kylie. She's a fun girl to have around. The cloud cover burned off and made for the perfect day. It's been fun having Joe and the Bawdin's here with us too, like one big NZ family reunion. 

Hot Chelly Ray inspired me with their line, "we'll be dancing on the edge of the Hollywood sign" and I immediately added it to my bucketlist. It was a beautiful sunset hike to such an iconic landmark with the lights of LA glittering in the background. It wasn't all perfect, in true LA style it took us an hour to drive 8 miles and I was stressed about getting up there before sunset, Maddox was convinced his legs were going to legit fall off, there were moments of tears and tension, but the serenity at the top just couldn't be matched. Made better only by the birthday cake Oreo's in honor of Maddox.

 Ryder was so cute to stop and take pictures every so often, he must take after his mama

Another one of our NZ missionaries, Elder McClellan, met up with us for the hike. It's been fun having all of these reunions and reminiscing about the Merivale days.