Monday, December 31, 2012

Anniversary and New Years Eve Celebrations

This year, Bryce and I hit the 12 year mark of marriage.  To celebrate, we went with Shayne and Jen to the gun shop to look at, shoot, and purchase guns.  It was fun to spend a little time with them and to watch Jen shoot in the range with Bryce.  After Bryce helped her look out of the correct eye, she started shooting really well. 

On New Years Eve, we were so tired and packing to go home the next day, so we didn't do much that night.  Mom and I went shopping, picked up some Rudy's BBQ and Blue Bell and then headed home to eat and relax.  It was a nice night to just visit with Mom and Dad before heading back to Utah!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cousin Time

Cooper and Clayton had such a blast playing with their cousins from Texas.  When we first got to Houston, they were able to play the Wii with Wesley and Annika.  They also got to spend time on the trampoline with Micaela.  The weather was cold, so we didn't get a lot of outside time.  But, I did take the boys on a walk over to the pond to throw acorns into the water!
Cooper really enjoyed spending time with Wesley.  They are both smart boys that have good imaginations  They watched Harry Potter one night and pretended to be in the movie.  When they got to College Station, they spend quite a bit of time out in the backyard making a fort in the trees.  They invited Nolan to come along and they all had a blast out there.  They even decided to go out one night in the dark.  They all got their flashlights and headed out....they quickly came back inside because they were scared!
Clayton has always enjoyed playing with CoCo.  In fact, they look so much alike and its so cute.  One day I went upstairs to find them laying on the ground watching Ice Age together.  Clayton also took CoCo on a cold tricycle ride the day after Christmas.  I wish they would have had more time together. 
Clayton also enjoyed loving all the babies.  If any of them ever cried, he would come tell me.  He would also go up to them and rub their heads and try to make them happy.  It was neat to watch him love these little ones and show so much interest in them.

Aunts and Uncles

The boys had a great time with their Aunts and Uncles while in TExas.  We did so many fun activities and my brothers and sisters were so loving and kind to Cooper and Clayton.  
 Uncle Sean and Aunt Kellye got to know Cooper and Clayton's personalities a lot better.  They spent almost the entire time in College Station with us and that was so much fun.

 Tyler and I took the kids to the park to play.  They decided to go on a walk through the woods.  This was one of Cooper's favorite things he did while in Texas!
 Clayton hanging out with Uncle Shayne...I always thought they resembled each other.  We didn't get to spend much time with Uncle Shayne, but the boys still got to know him a little better.
 Aunt Sherrie let us come stay at her house for a few days before Christmas.   She also took the boys to the movie theater along with Aunt Jen.  The boys had a great time!
Uncle Tyler is the best because he isn't married yet, so he can give lots of undivided attention to the kids and they all love to play with him.

I just love my siblings and their spouses.  They are such good examples to me and my kids.  One thing that I have always loved about my family is that they love children. My brothers and sisters are so good with kids and I think that is a great quality.  I am thankful that my children have such amazing Aunts and Uncles that care so much about them. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Love Hate Relationship

This was the first time that Landry and Clayton have really spent a lot of time together.  Plus, they are at the age that they can actually start playing with each other.  They were so much fun to watch.  Clayton loves to wrestle and so they would roll around like little puppies on grandma's bed.  Clayton had a good time letting Landry lay on him and try to wrestle with him.  Landry is such a light weight and so we kept reminding Clayton that he needed to be soft.
They had a good time playing hide-n-go-seek one day.  I would count and they would hide behind the Christmas tree or in the corner behind the plant or under a blanket.  They also enjoyed playing chase around the island in the kitchen.  There were moments when they were really sweet to each other and other moments when they would do things just to get under the others skin. 
They also got in the hot tub together, played cornhole on Christmas morning and even enjoyed bath time during the week.  They spent quite a bit of time with each other and it was nice for Clayton to have a cousin that is near his age.  Hopefully, they will become good friends as they grow older. 
 Clayton absolutely adored Maya and so he would give her hugs and rub her head and want to hold her.  Sometimes Landry would be the protective brother and not want Clayton to touch Maya, so they would fight over her.  Landry is such a sweetheart to Maya and he loves her so much.  She also adores him. 
This is one of my most favorite pictures.  As soon as I saw them sitting like "best buds", I had to run and get my camera.  I had to capture this tender moment! I really enjoy watching Landry because he reminds me so much of Sean when he was that takes me back! He is such a doll and I had so much fun getting to know him so much better while in Texas.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Joys of Being an Aunt

I really love my nieces and nephews so much.  I don't get the opportunity to see the ones that live in Texas very often, so while I am there, I make sure they don't forget me when I am gone.  Landry is a little cuddle bug, and so he would always let me hold him.  I was able to go swimming with him and Clayton in grandma's hot tub one day.  It was kind of chilly outside and the water wasn't all that warm, but it was still nice to spend time with him.
I also enjoyed a nice moment with Nolan...which was downing the Shipley's donuts.  Nolan is such a sweetheart.  I had a good time throwing the football with him. I wish I had more time with him, because I think he would really grow to like me!
Tyler and I took the kids to the park one day.  It was pretty cold outside, but the kids wanted to run around and so they had a good time on the playground.  We also played tag on the basketball court and ended up having an obstacle course.  We divided up into two teams and had a race.  It was fun to cheer each other on and get some exercise.
I also had a great time getting to know Micaela a little better. She was able to stay home from school one day and go to lunch with my for my birthday.  She is such a big helper.  She is growing up too quickly, but she is such a good young lady!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Three Babies

I really enjoyed the time I was able to spend getting to know my three little nieces, Kinlee, Maya, and Quinn while I was in Texas.  Kinlee is such a miracle baby and it was so cool to see a biological child of Sherrie and Brian's that doesn't resemble them too much.  She is so light complected and she has such an exciting personality.  She loves to laugh when tickled under her neck.  She smiles all the time and she loves to talk to anyone who will listen.  She also enjoys eating and expects her belly to be full at all times! She is so precious and I am excited that she came into our family!
I also had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time with little Maya.  She has such a 'soft' personality.  She is tender and loving.  She will sit there and look at you until you make eye contact with you and then she will give you the sweetest smile.  She doesnt' crawl right now so it is nice to just have her sit there and stay put so you can give her your undivided attention. 
 While I was there, Mom and I introduced her to raisin cinnamon bread.  She was so excited to try real food. In fact, after that, she kept wanting real, solid food.  Kellye fed her more bread and we gave her some crackers.  She was so cute as she realized she was holding a cracker and feeding herself.  Maya would give me the best smiles. Clayton just adored Maya the whole time we were there.  He could not get enough of her.
I only got to see Quinn for a short time, but it was so nice to get to know her a little better too. She has grown so much since I saw her in July.  She is also a precious, mellow child.  She has a cute little smile and a quiet personality.
I really enjoyed spending time with all these babies. At times, I was a little sad because I didn't have a baby of my own, but I mentally moved on took advantage of the time I had with each of them.  I have to admit that it has made me wonder if we should try to go down "that" road again! We'll just have to wait and see what Heavenly Father has in store for our family!

Christmas Eve And Christmas Day

On Christmas Eve, we did some last minute shopping for presents and food. Sherrie and Brian came up from Cypress and we ate dinner and did the Christmas Story Nativity with the kids.  Most of them enjoyed dressing up.  Annika wanted to the be a donkey.  Clayton, Cooper, and Wesley were wise men. Grandma and Tyler were the shining angels.  Micaela was Mary and Brian was Joseph. 
After the nativity, our special elf, Jingle Bell, brought Clayton, Cooper and Tyler some new, Christmas pajamas.  Landry also received some pajamas from his elf.  His pajamas were the full body pj's that completely cover the feet.  At first, he wasn't quite sure what to think of them.  He started walking funny and trying to pull them off.  It was so funny to watch him be so disturbed over closed-toe pajamas....and what is even funnier is that Sean used to have that same issue when he was little.
After we put the kids to bed, Mom and I wrapped presents in her room.  Cooper ended up throwing up in the toilet upstairs and then settled down to sleep. After we brought all the presents out and set up the room, we finally all went to bed at 1:00. Clayton kept crying off and on most of the night. I finally moved into another room at 4:30am. At 7:30, Landry was awake and ready to open presents. We just decided to let the boys sleep until they woke up on their own. 
Clayton, Cooper, and Bryce finally came down around 9.  They were so excited to open their stockings.  Afterwards, they opened all their presents.  This year, "Santa" attempted to bring Cooper the computer game, Minecraft, but we are still having problems downloading the game for him.  This is his favorite game so we will have to figure out a way to get it for him.  
Clayton received many "Mighty World" toys.  He got a truck and trailer set, a boating set, a construction set, and a fireman set.  He also got some Legos, which is what he really wanted.  He likes to watch Bryce put them together, but he doesn't play with them too often. 
I got some clothes and a blue tooth for Christmas.  I also received a holster for my gun that Bryce got me for my birthday. I got Bryce a ATV GPS for his four wheeler.  I hope it will be something he can enjoy down the road! Kellye made Sean a tailgating game called, Cornhole.  It is played with bean bags that you toss into a hole.  We took it outside and tried it out.  It was a great gift idea and she spent lots of time making it. 
Sherrie and Brian came back up on Christmas evening and we ate dinner and played games.  We took the kids over to look at the Christmas lights at Central Park. The kids ran around under the big red Christmas tree.  Cooper and Wesley got really dizzy, but they thought it was fun. It was so much fun to just spend time with the family.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Valuable Time with Grandma and Grandpa

Grandpa Hatch purchased an extra half acre behind their home to have a "outdoor" place for the grandkids to play and explore.  He has spent hours and hours cutting down prickly bushes and making safe pathways for the kids.  They had a blast playing out there and making their own hideouts.  Cooper and Clayton helped grandpa drag the tree limbs and branches to the front yard.  They were grandpa's big helpers! They also went on multiple hikes with grandpa.  He made sure they had walking sticks!
Grandma and Clayton made the frosting one night for the pumpkin bars.  Clayton enjoys this part because he gets to taste test the frosting.  I am glad they could spend that time together. Grandma also helped Clayton put together a puzzle she bought him for Christmas. 

 Cooper and Clayton just adore their grandparents.  I always enjoy the interaction I see between my parents and my children.  It makes me so happy to see the love that the boys have for grandma and grandpa.  They don't get to see them very often, but they still admire and adore them so much.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Activities at Home

Tyler bought a new game called Telestrations while we were in Texas.  We played this game quite a bit. It is a perfect game for large groups.  We made queso, jalapeno cheese balls, and Kellye brought her homemade fudge.  We drank lots of Dr. Pepper and enjoyed Blue Bell Cookies N Cream Ice Cream every night.
I spent time shopping with Sherrie and Mom, both before and after Christmas.  I didn't do a lot of shopping myself, but it was fun to just be with them.  I don't get that opportunity very often, so I took full advantage of it. Bryce would watch the kids while I went with them.  Bryce caught up on his sleep while he was in Texas.  He slept till 11:30 almost every day! One of the days, he was able to go to "The Hobbit" with Brian.  They both enjoyed the show and I am glad they got to do something fun!
At one point, we decided to take the kids to dad's work, the Tracy Herbarium. There are many green filing cabinets  in this big warehouse and they are full of pressed grasses.  Anyway, we played Hide N Seek.  The weather was cold and rainy, so we wanted to get out of the house and let the kids run around and release some energy.  Even the adults played and we all had a great time! Clayton would always hide with me and Cooper had a blast trying to be the last one to base!

We also went over to the church gym to play basketball a couple of nights. The first night, we just went to shoot baskets.  Tyler and I had about 8 shooting contests and I am happy to report that after 34 years of life, I can still beat my little brother. And in fact, he didn't beat me in one game. It was so funny and he was getting so frustrated.  We also played "Put Out" with Sean, Kellye and Bryce.  It was just nice to go over and get some exercise, doing something we "Hatches" love and grew up doing!
Another thing that we did was make a secret drop to a family in need.  Mom got some food and presents together for a family in her ward, whose husband is out of work.  Tyler and Cooper went up to the door, placed the basket and ran.  Cooper enjoyed this so much.  He felt like he was a spy with Cooper.  Its so nice to be able to help others, especially during the Christmas season!

We also went to Grandma's work the last day we were in College Station to let the kids ride the big tricycles and play up at Saint Thomas.  The weather was misty and cool but we wanted to get some fresh air.  The boys enjoyed running around and helping grandma feed the birds and look at the rats!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

This year I was lucky enough to celebrate my 34th birthday in Texas with some of my family.  I woke up to a "Happy Birthday" note on my door and Micaela had put streamers right out side the door in the hallway!  It was very thoughtful and kind of her and it started my day out nicely.

I knew that I would be eating a lot of junk for my birthday, so I decided I better go on a run to help with some of the calories I would be taking on that day.  I was all dressed and ready to hit the road, when Brian walked in with a box of warm Shipley's glazed donuts and said, "Happy Birthday". Again, this was very nice of him so I sat down and inhaled two of the luscious "melt in your mouth" delicacies! 
After I let them settle into my stomach, I went out on a 25 minute jog.  It was so beautiful as I ran down the sidewalks and over the bridges along the edge of a small lake. I kept thinking to myself, "what will I do if someone tries to attack me?"....crazy, I know. But, with all the weirdos in the world, I am always trying to think ahead.  Anyway, I made it back to Sherrie's house safely and in just enough time to get ready and head out to Genghis Grill for lunch.
Genghis Grill is such a yummy restaurant.  When Sherrie lived in Ft. Worth, she took me there one day and made me sign up for the birthday list.  When my birthday rolled around this year, I just happened to be in Texas where I could use the Genghis Grill "free birthday meal".  You basically take a bowl, fill it with any kind of meat or mix the meats.  Then you add any vegetables that you like, along with a sauce of your choosing.  You give it to the chef and tell them noodles or rice.  They cook it up right in front of you and then bring it out.  It was so delicious and pretty healthy!
After lunch, we hit a few stores on our way home to pick up some Christmas gifts.  When we got home, I got all packed up, showered and got the kids ready for our next birthday celebration.  We met mom, dad, Tyler, Sean, and Kellye at a Mexican Restaurant in Hempstead.  It ended up being really good food and I enjoyed spending the evening with some of my family.  Tyler spoke to our waiter in Spanish and told him it was my birthday. 
As we were finishing up our food, the mariachi band (waiters) came out singing to me.  They placed a sombrero on my head and then the head waiter proceeded to smear cool whip in my mouth and on my nose.  He broke a cherry in half and placed it on my nose as if I were Rudolph.  I was completely caught off guard and didn't know what to do.  Everyone laughed and thought it was so funny! I was surprised that he did it, but it was still funny!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Texas Bound

On December 18th, the boys and I boarded the plane to Texas.  Unfortunately, we had to fly into Austin because the prices were cheaper.  In the end, I need to remind myself to never fly into Austin again....1. because of the "liberals" that my we sat by at the airport and 2. because the gas was expensive to drive to and from the airport.  I obviously wasnt' thinking very clearly when I booked the flights!
Anyway, the plane was delayed by one hour, so we spent that time riding the escalators over and over again. By the time we boarded the plane, the boys were excited and ready to go.  They watched movies, played the DS, ate Pringles and candy and chocolate.  Cooper struck up a conversation with the lady he sat next to on the flight.  Of course, he is so polite and friendly that people like him and are drawn to him.  This lady ended up being someone who used to live on the same street as me growing up: Langford Street! What a coincidence!
After we got our baggage and headed out of the airport, Tyler picked us up and took us to Cypress, which is where Sherrie lives. We had a great time while in Cypress.  Sherrie and I spent time shopping, eating, and spending time with our kids. They live in a beautiful neighborhood that is full of small lakes and ponds. The neighborhood is huge, but it was so nice.
While at Sherrie's house, we had a fun time spending our days with the kids.  It was so nice to finally meet little Kinlee.  She has such a cute little smile and I love her dimples.  When she smiles, her eyes disappear.  The boys enjoyed playing with her and getting her to smile.  She has such a fun personality and I loved watching Sherrie and Brian just adore her.
We also invited Sean, Kellye, Landry, and Maya over one night to have dinner with us and make gingerbread houses.  I ended up making fried rice and egg rolls for dinner. Then we decorated the houses and train cars with the kids. Clayton loves to make these because it means he can have candy!