Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

 Ours was a simple celebration.

We dressed in our Sunday best but don't have any pictures to prove it.  The girls were adorable in their new Easter duds and Caleb even wore a green pastel-colored tie.  It was his first time to ever have something other than BYU around his neck.

We ate Easter candy for breakfast.

We dyed eggs.

Then Lys turned them into deviled eggs for our Easter dinner.

Caleb played basketball in his pajamas:

We went on a walk and stopped at the park to soak in the sunshine.

The mountain was out:

So were some blossoms:

 It was simply perfect.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's Great to be Eight!

 It was a great birthday from start to finish.

On Friday, she wore a birthday crown so that all the school would know it was her special day.

I brought her some spicy chicken nuggets and root beer for lunch and some cupcakes to share with her classmates.

Earlier that morning, she won the teacher's chair raffle, participated in the AR party and "bought" lots of candy at the BoxTop shop.  Could this birthday get any better?

Natalie woke up Saturday morning (her actual birthday), beaming.  She asked for Starbucks and McDonald's for breakfast and then wanted to get right to the present-opening.

The "cupcake" on top of the boxes contained balloons for a game to be played at her party later in the day.

First, she opened her cards that had come in the mail.  We think it's pretty special that my 91-year-old grandma sends handwritten cards.  And she was thrilled with the card and money from Grandma and Grandpa Hatch.

Grandma and Grandpa Seely got her some fun gifts that she was really excited about.  Here she is showing of the "Color Splashers."  I don't know what they are either.

Dad got her a new North Face coat that she fell in love with when we visited some outlets in Oregon a few weeks ago.  These next two photos are a perfect summation of Natalie's delightful personality.  The first one says, "You sneaky dad! How did you buy this without me knowing?"  The second shows her dramatic display of how she feels with the fuzzy interior touching her body.  (It's actually two coats in one; a fleece that zips into a light-weight shell.)

And this is how she feels about the cake pop maker that Grandma and Grandpa Seely got her:

Then it was time to head out into the most glorious spring day for the neighborhood Easter egg hunt.

I thought she might be old enough to skip the annual picture with the Easter bunny but she actually requested it.

Next it was time to party!

Nat requested a cupcake-themed party and picked the cutest colors; pink, purple and turquoise.

It's been an insanely busy month for me with subbing and I worried that I might not be able to pull it off, but in the end, it all came together.  When Natalie climbed into my lap, hugged me tight and said, "It's so pretty, Mommy.  Thank you," it was all worth it.

I made a cupcake word search for the kids to do while we waiting for all of the guests to arrive.

I didn't get as many pictures as I would've like because I was all on my own and running a party while being a photographer can sometimes be too much to handle.  These kids had a crazy, chaotic blast! 

We started with a backyard balloon pop.  I divided them into two teams and each team had a cupcake made of balloons to pop.  The balloons were pretty small and therefore difficult to pop.  But after sufficient stomping and squeezing, we finally had a winning team.

So we went inside for lunch.  I served pizza rolls made to look like cupcakes.  They were a hit.

And cupcakes (of course) for dessert.  

We played pin the candle on the cupcake...

...and then had a cake walk.  This was my favorite part of the whole party.  Put on a little One Direction and watch these kids rock, roll and boogie their way around the circle!  So cute.  I tried unsuccessfully to get video.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  It was adorable.

That was followed with some cupcake decorating:

And more presents:

Natalie's special day ended with dinner with her bestie at Old Spaghetti Factory.

And a trip to the mall to pierce her ears.



See what I mean?  A great birthday from start to finish.  And she deserves it.  She's an amazing little girl that makes my (every) day with her hugs, kisses and squishes.  I love, love, love her!

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Atop the Podium

These are big moments.  The kind you remember forever.

Twenty-two and a half hours of training every week for 10 months, culminates at this one shot in front of the judges.  It's the state meet, where all of the best talent has gathered to put their routines against each other and hopefully qualify for the regional meet.

Alyssa was great!  We're blown away by the growth she's made this last year and it showed in her performance and placing.

Some lighthearted play with some teammates while waiting for awards.

Alyssa was fifth on vault with a 9.025.

She was third on bars with a 9.425, third on beam with a 9.25, and third all-around with a 37.3.  She liked that three:

But the highlight of the day was winning the gold medal for her 9.6 on floor.  
A state champion on floor!

Alyssa's team was also earned first place.  They are a state championship team!  

It was actually quite a dramatic finish.  The girls are divided into sessions by age group.  (Lys competed in the second of three sessions.) One of Alyssa's teammates was in the final session all by herself, but all of the other teammates were there to cheer for her.  We were quite the boisterous cheering section.  This little girl pulled out the meet of her life and her performance lifted our team score to tie with Cascade Elite Gymnastics.  USAG rules state that a tie is broken by the highest individual score which would then make Auburn Gymnastics the first place team.  But our coaches decided that they wanted to  share the title, calling both teams state champions.  They were praised for their sportsmanship and I loved it.

Jon made this great video which shows her entire meet in 3:43:

I get a bit teary watching the video.  I'm just so proud of her for making the most of her moment in front of the judges.

Congratulations, Alyssa!  You've worked so hard for countless hours.  You really deserve your moment on the podium.

Next up, regionals.