Tuesday, July 30, 2013

16 months in 6 minutes

Well, it might take you a little longer than 6 minutes to read, but you get my drift.

Sometimes life gets a bit overwhelming. Even when you have all the help you need to get through some difficult times, sometimes you still can't do everything you want to do. (Mmm hmm, blogging.)

Catching up on a blog can be a lot of work. I have chosen to make it simple. Here's what we've missed in a nutshell. (From present until way back when.)

May 2013
Road trip to Italy. We spent time in Vicenza and Venice. This was a wild ride. Trip was lacking sleep the entire time and in Venice all we did was follow him around. He ran the show. He went up and down the stairs, over the bridges and he sat in doorsteps... he even tried to walk right into the rising waters. At one point he ended up in the back door of restaurant.. right in their kitchen! We didn't get to sit down for ONE meal. The kids wouldn't have it. Regardless, we saw some new, beautiful territory and we will still be going back to Italy soon.
May 2013
My little sister and her darling (then fiance) Jake got married. This is in front of the Bountiful, UT Temple a few days before they sealed the deal in the Salt Lake Temple. We were able to be there as a complete family!!

April/May 2013
A week in California! We spent two days at Disneyland, a day at the farm, lots of hours in the pool... all with some our favorites.
April 2013
A week in paradise! Sam booked us a trip to Cancun. My parents watched our littles for a whole week.. RIGHT before my little sister's wedding. They are saints.
March 2013
Shortly after Sam arrived home from the 'stan he received a calling (duty, job, responsibility) for our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). He was called to be the 1st counselor in the Bishopric.
February 2013
Sam's welcome home ceremony. Priceless memory. Best day. There was a big, dramatic ceremony that was not over-dramatized in any way. The soldiers coming home and the families waiting deserved it! Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble" was playing  afterwords. I guess well always love that song. :)
December 2012
Christmas in Utah with fun-loving and understanding family. Christmas is my favorite time of year. We had a blast with everyone we were able to be around. BUT, for some reason Christmas ended up being a really hard day for me. After Sam and I skyped on Christmas day I had a melt down. I cried way too much. But, as always, my parents were there for me. I totally want my Grandma's sweater. She looks beautiful in it!
All winter long we had lots of Snow in Utah. Londyn, to this day (literally two days ago), still talks about this big snowball that Poppy made with her! 
Lots of attempts at skyping this guy. Who is he again? (The stache was in full force a lot in 2012.) But, the internet was so slow most the time it didn't work out well.
We all convinced my Mom she needed a German Shepherd puppy. This girl was awesome. She went through three names and then once we were settled on the name she went back to the breeder.
October 2012
We celebrated Halloween at Cornbelly's in Utah (a lot). We dressed up, Londyn trick or treated for her first real time and Poppy and Londyn carved a pumpkin. 
Incase you weren't sure yet we like to buy a lot of animals and then give them away. I am not making light of the situation. We're the reason why homes have to be screened before people are allowed to adopt pets. We're terrible. I bought Londyn a mouse and then we, well, let it go back to it's home "in the trees."
October 2012
Sam and I ended up in California when he was home for his 2 week R&R. Our amazingly generous and way too kind sister and brother-in-law convinced us we needed some time away from the kids. They bought us tickets and we went and stayed at their house.
September 2012
A HOT day at the D-land. We were so anxious to get home and hang with my sister and her husband (and kids) that we stayed for a few hours and then left! Still, another fab memory for the books. That day we ate churros THREE times (morning Del Taco run, churros at Disneyland are a no-brainer and then again at El Pollo Loco that evening). We were on vacation!
September 2012
We made a spectacle of the neighborhood when Sam arrived "home" to Utah for R&R. We put up hundreds of flags and an 8 foot sign across the balcony. I think he felt the love.

September 2012
It was a miracle when Sam and his 7 siblings and both parents ended up together while Sam was home for R&R. This gathering was for Sam's little brother's Eagle Court of Honor. I just ordered this photo to be put on a canvas and I cannot wait until we get it put up in our house! (I wish it was better quality. But, such is life.)
September 2012
Because Sam missed the kids birthdays (and we missed his) in 2012 we decided to celebrate all the birthdays while he was home in September. We also celebrated his brother's and our niece's birthdays. 
the birthday gathering
We had a blast with my family at a water park (which we pretty much had to ourselves) when Sam was home. If you haven't been to... (what's the name of that water park in Draper, UT?!) you should definitely go!
Sam and his brothers
Sam had quite the crew to welcome him home at the air port.
Fall 2012
We spent many days at This is the Place park in Salt Lake. Both Sam's family and my family have season passes. I picked this photo because it shows how beautiful Utah is in the fall.
August 2012
Park City, Utah. We celebrated my parents 31st wedding anniversary. Don't worry we only visited them for the day. They actually went away for their anni and we let them have a few minutes alone. :) 
Meanwhile, Sam was still working. He looks so handsome in this photo, stache and all.
August 2012
We chose to come back to the states while Sam was away because we knew we'd have lots of special time with family doing things that we normally aren't around for. We were able to spend time with Grandma Elma on her birthday. Londyn also turned two in August!
Vacation time. We spent time in Arizona and California. Much needed time because California is my "home." I was able to see some VERY special friends. 

Pernel, Aaron and Olin. A girl couldn't ask for better friends. I love this family so much.
Beach time with Auntie Andrea (and her babe, Jo). My magic baby for life. I wish I had a whole month there to see everyone I miss there.
Wonderful time spent with the Larson family. (My mom's side of the family)
July 2012
Birthday bash for cousin Cash. 
June 2012
Father's Day. We sure missed Sam on this day. I was lucky to be with my own Father on Father's Day. I also had to speak in church, which was... well, a tough day to speak.
We added a kitten and a tank with tiny fish in it to our list of foster pets. We won't get into the details.
May 2012
We spent some time in Ammon, Idaho for Memorial Day and Morgan's (my lil sis) Birthday. We were able to do the Foothills to Freedom 5 Mile, a run my Dad started. It was lots of fun! We missed Sam, especially on a day like Memorial Day but we were able to spend time with lots of amazing peeps from my Dad's side of the fam.
Sam always worked as hard and as long as he could while he was away.  It helped keep the time going as quickly as possible. He took every flight he could and he worked out everyday. You can see the flag on the ceiling of this chinook. This is how they would fly flags for special people in their lives. (Like I mentioned in a previous post.)
May 2012
The day Sam officially left for Afghanistan I went to his Mom's house. She had her whole street lined with flags and it was so neat. She lives on a street lined with mature, huge trees. It made for beautiful pictures.
One of the worst nights of my life was saying goodbye to Sam before he left. Watching him say goodbye to our children was the hardest thing I've had to see. It was a rough night. We actually ended up (somehow) missing his flight the next morning. We slept right through it. Which, is a little like me, but NOT like Sam. He is always early to everything and is always ultra prepared. 
(This is a tell-all photo. I hope he doesn't mind it's on our blog.)
Our last night together for a while.
April 2012
Sam had a short week or so in the states with us before he had to head back to Germany and get ready to deploy. We were able to hike, dine and hang out with lots of people we'd been missing while we were out of the country for so long. I am glad Sam had a little bit of time with many friends and family before he left for his deployment.
We were able to walk around the Salt Lake Temple grounds (where we were married). We got a family picture with our two babies in the same spot we had taken some wedding pictures just 3 years before. Here's one with my family!

April 2012
We had an adventure flying on a C-17 airplane from Germany to the states. Sam accompanied us back so I didn't have to do it alone. There's all our luggage for our 10 month trip.
April 2012
 Road trip to Venezia (Venice, Italy)
We had some fun exploring Italy. It was my first time there. Italy is one of our favorite countries to visit. It is so beautiful and has lots of history. One of my favorite parts was the hot chamomile tea I got one evening when it was starting to get chilly. (It's the little things.) (All I wanted was chamomile tea for like the first 6 months of Trip's life!)
April 2012
Trip was blessed in Ansbach, Germany
March 2012
Islas Canarias (The Canary Islands)
We spent 8 days on the Islands as a family. It was getting near the time we would have to say goodbye so Sam wanted to plan something really special. One of the most amazing vacations ever. Seriously. We found an adventure/animal park called The Oasis and we loved it so much we spent two full days there. We road camels, spent time on the beach, ate lots of food and just enjoyed each other's company.

March 2012
Sam took off for Rota, Spain. He and some dudes from his unit flew a few chinooks over there. He missed my birthday but at least he got to spend some time in one of his favorite countries!

March 2012
Road trip to Garmisch, Germany (southern, border of Austria and Germany)
We had a marriage retreat we were able to attend. This is Sam and Londyn at our table at a MEXICAN (in Germany?!) joint we found. It wasn't good Mexican food. :(
February 2012
Road trip to Salzburg complete with the most darling hotel room, lots of dining, relaxing and a little bit  of sightseeing. Our favorite was our family carriage ride around old Salzburg (Mozart's birthplace, Sound of Music, etc). 

Here is a video someone from Sam's unit made. It is a compilation of pictures from all over Afghanistan. They are all in the same unit (Big Windy) and stationed here in Germany but they were split up and sent to different areas for the deployment. Sam is in a few of these, but if you look for him in the 4th photo you will for sure see him with his stache.

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