Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve

Almost every year for New Years Eve, Bryce and I don't do much to celebrate.  When we were young, we loved New Years Eve because my parents would go dancing and we would spend the entire day cutting confetti and making snacks for the midnight hour. This year, Steph invited us up to her house to celebrate.
The food was amazing.  Steph ordered Aggie rolls, pork enchiladas, chicken alfredo, pizza, and Wingers.  WE also had shrimp and chips, salsa, and queso.  There were cookies and chocolates and pies.  And of course, lots of Dr. Pepper! I stuffed myself and went to bed that night not wanting to look at food again. The kids enjoyed dressing up to bring in the New Year. They played really well together.  Many of Kylee, Brittney and Shaylee's friends were there and we ended up playing a few games and just visiting and eating.
At about 10:30, we decided to go down to the theater and watch "Safe Haven".  At midnight, we all gave our spouses a kiss and then preceded to finish the movie.  Ty spent most of his evening playing the Wii with Clayton.  They also made up a new handshake and then Clayton would tackle Ty.  I love that Ty gives the boys so much attention.  They really adore him and he is such an outstanding young man and a good example to them!
We all hit the bed around 1:30 a.m.  I had a hard time sleeping this night and I was really uncomfortable in Britt's bed, but morning came and we were up and starting 2014 with a smile on our faces!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


On December 28th, I woke up not feeling well.  I felt really dizzy and I had a small touch of the stomach bug.  I stayed home and Bryce took the boys up to the ice cream plant to go sledding.  They met Jocelynn and her kids out there.  It was really cold on this day, so they took a few rides on the snowmobile and then sledded down the hill  for a while. 
A few weeks later, we were up in Logan for Kylee's wedding shower, so Bryce took Ty, Cooper and Clayton up to sled again at the plant.  They had a great time snowmobiling, sledding and playing in the snow. It wasn't very cold that day, so they had a great time.  Bryce even helped them build this big snowman!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Celebrating 13 Years of Marriage

 To celebrate our Anniversary, Grandma Douglas watched the boys while we went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner and then we watched "Saratov Approach".  It was nice to just spend some time with each other and relax.  Its been a great 13 years I have spent with Bryce.  He has been so good to the boys and me.  We are blessed to have him as our Dad and Husband. 

During the Christmas break, we took the kids to play at the Jump Zone.  They had a great time running and playing on the trampolines.  Cooper liked climbing up this wall and Clayton had a good time on the rope swing. The jump zone is kind of pricey, but I like that it gets the boys active and moving!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Shooting Our New Guns

We were able to stay up at the Merrill's house during the Christmas break while they were in Mexico.  Bryce took 2 days off of work and spent the week with us.  It was fun to have him around and the boys were excited to have him home as well.  The day after Christmas, we took the boys to the movie, "Frozen".  We met Jocelynn, Tawni, and Ty there and we all enjoyed the movie.
When Neal Claborn saw this picture on the bottom, he made the comment, "Now that's not someone you want to mess with: a pregnant lady with a gun!"  I enjoyed shooting my gun.  I think my sights are a little off because I was consistently shooting in front of the target every time.  Bryce and I will have to make a trip to the shooting range so I can fix my sights!
 After the movie, we headed up Hyde Park Canyon so we could shoot our guns.  I got my new pistol a few days prior and Ty got a new shotgun for Christmas. We were excited to try out our new guns.  Cooper shot dad and Ty's guns quite a bit and he was pretty accurate. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

On Christmas morning, the boys finally woke up around 9 a.m.  Bryce and I were awake and waiting for them to get up.  They were so excited when we told them Santa had come to our house.  They ran downstairs to find their individuals piles of presents.
Clayton got a bean bag, a race track, and a bow and arrow.  I think he has more fun opening the presents than actually playing with them.  Cooper got a really nice camera and a CD player for his room.  We all received beef jerky in our stockings.  Bryce received a nice hunting jacket, a Block Target, and a Quiver for his bow.  He got me some new shoes, a pink BB gun and a target.  He also bought me new brakes for my squeaky car!
After we had Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, we got packed up and headed up to Cache Valley to visit our families there.  We stopped at Grandma and Grandpa Coopers for a few minutes.  They seemed to be doing well.  WE all contributed to get them a space heater for their living room. They are always freezing, so they seemed to like this present.  They made all of their great grand kids blankets for Christmas.  All year they worked on these 22 blankets.  What a treasure for all the kids to have something hand made from their great grand parents!
We met at the Douglas' on Christmas Day for lunch.  The kids all had so much fun playing with each other.  We played Five Crowns with Mom and Dad and Sara and Derek.  It was nice to see everyone and visit before they all took off to see other families.  Afterwards, we went out to Brandon and Jill's home for a couple of hours to see what they got for Christmas and to look at their new home.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Birthday

We knew we would be busy on my birthday, so we went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings the night before.  The food was great. I got medium traditional hot wings and they are pretty close to Wings N More, so I was very happy. 
This year Bryce got me a 22 pistol for my birthday.  Last year, he got me a 9 mm for Christmas, but I didn't like how it hurt my hands when I would shoot it.  He totally surprised me with this new gun. I feel more comfortable with this one and I am happy to have a gun I can shoot!
 On my birthday morning, Jocie and the kids came and picked us up at Steph's house.  The boys and I went with them out to see Grandma Hatch in Franklin.  She showed us some of the gifts she received for Christmas and then let the kids pick out a seashell from her personal collection.  It was nice to visit with her and let the boys spend time with her.
After we left Grandma's house, we headed into Logan to sing Christmas carols and hand out ice cream sandwiches to the people that live at Legacy Home.  It was a good experience for Cooper.  He enjoyed singing and then he walked around the floors handing out the ice cream.  He was a little scared of the old people but he did a good job!
Later that night, we had the Sorenson Christmas Party in Smithfield.  We at Sloppy Joe's and many yummy salads and desserts.  We visited for a while and then played the Gift Exchange Game.  The kids had a good time playing with each other.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ogden City Lights

This year we decided to go to the Ogden City lights for Family Home Evening.  Bryce came home from work a little early and we beat the rush of people.  In fact, we only saw a few families.  It was pretty cold on this night, so we came prepared with cups and hot chocolate. 
The boys got to ride on this little train around the track a few times.  We actually didn't stay very long, because it was so cold and I was starting to have some pains in my stomach.  Clayton liked this little house of nutcrackers. 
We wanted to try making gingerbread houses this year.  I got the recipe for the sticky frosting, purchased graham crackers and a variety of candy, and then constructed the houses out of cardboard boxes.  Cooper finished his house in about 5 minutes.  He didn't really spend a lot of time on it. I was kind of frustrated with him because of all the prep work, but Clayton spent over an hour decorating his and making it just how he wanted.
I ended up adding a little extra frosting and candy to Cooper's house.  I actually thought it was fun to try out my creativity skills on this house.  I should have made my own gingerbread house....maybe next year! Cooper didn't like that I made him take this picture, but Clayton thought his house was so awesome.
Last year the boys slept under the Christmas tree and they wanted to do it again this year.  After they watched Home Alone and wrestled on the mattress, they finally crashed out.  I think this will definitely be a tradition we try to do each other. It creates a good bonding experience for the boys.
On Christmas Eve, we went out to Jacqui and Jared's home to celebrate.  We decorated sugar cookies for Santa, ate Pizza, and pumpkin bars and played some cards with Bekka and Seth.  We headed home around 8:30.  The boys came home to some new pajamas from our elf, Jingle Bell.  He has been delivering pajamas to homes for many years now! After the boys put out the reindeer food and milk and cookies for Santa, they headed to bed and fell asleep quickly!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cooper's Christmas Programs

Cooper performed in three different Christmas Programs.  The first one was held in Ogden at the Christmas Tree Jubilee.  This is an event where different organizations decorate Christmas trees and then auction them off to help special needs kids that live in our community.  The entire 3rd grade from Freedom showed up the day before Thanksgiving to sing for about 30 minutes.  It was a great concert and the songs were beautiful.  This has been one of Cooper's favorite things about 3rd grade. He loves singing. 
He also performed at Roy High School with the rest of Freedom Elementary.  They moved it to Roy HS because there were so many parents and family that wanted to come and support.  There was still not enough seating for everyone.  Each class sang two songs.  He looked so handsome in his suit. 
The 3rd Grade also had its own Christmas concert at the Elementary School.  This was more low key but they kids did a great job.  Cooper's teacher, Mrs. Claycomb, played the piano and her husband directed the choir.  They worked hard all semester to get ready for these concerts.  The Claycombs really love music and so they make sure the 3rd graders have an opportunity to participate in choir each week. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Baby Shower in Logan

Jocelynn and Steph decided to have a baby shower for me while we were in Cache Valley over Thanksgiving weekend.  We had it at Fredricos Pizza.  It was a family shower and it was fun to just sit and visit with each other and enjoy the good food.
I received some really cute outfits, baby bracelets, diapers, wipes and other baby necessities.  It was fun to have my cute nieces there with me.  Almost all my "Cooper" relatives were there and also Bryce's Aunt Linda and Cousin Sherry.  It was nice to just enjoy family and create memories. 
I was also reminded again about how family support is so amazing.  We had an emotional moment at the end of the shower when Tawni came in upset because Johnny had come home early from his mission and "surprised" her.  Everyone offered love, hugs, shoulders to cry on, encouraging words and understanding.  And what Tawni had thought had ruined my shower, actually made me realize how thankful I am to be surrounded by such loving and caring family members on both sides and both near and far!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving with the Coopers

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this year.  Dinner was held at Grandma and Grandpa Coopers home in Wellsville.  It was our family, along with Steph's, Jocelynn's, and April's families.  Before we ate, we went around the room and told some things we were thankful for.  It was so nice to hear grandma and grandpa's testimonies.  Grandpa talked about how thankful he was for Grandma.  He also talked about when he came back from the war and saw the Statue of Liberty. He said not at day goes by that he does not thank God for America.  He also was thankful for his posterity. After we all had our turns and finished wiping away our tears, we sat down to a nice meal..The food was wonderful as always.  Grandma made the turkey and Kyle made a yummy ham.  We just sat around and visited..
Later that evening, we went out to Jocelynn's hose to stay the night.  Bryce had to go back home to go to work, so the kids and I stayed out in Paradise.  Jocie and I went shopping for about an hour that night.  Then we shopped again the next morning for a few hours.  It was fun to spend that time together.  The boys had a fun time playing with Ty.
 Friday was Stephanie's 45 birthday, so we celebrated by going to play wally ball, eating dinner at Chili's and then we went to "Catching Fire" (Hunger Games).  It was fun to all be together.  Maddie (the awesome babysitter) took the kids to dinner and then to the Jump Zone.  They had a great time.  After the movie, we all came back to the Merrill's to visit.
On Saturday morning, I was able to go watch Jaden play in one of his basketball games over at Sky View.  After that, Steph and I did some shopping and then headed up to Frederico's to have a small baby shower for me.  We ate lunch, opened gifts, and enjoyed talking and laughing.

On Saturday evening, we had Jake and Shana over to eat Chinese food and hang out. Originally it was just going to be our two families there, but Jaden and Addey stayed to play with our boys, Jocelynn brought Ty up to play with the kids, Kylee and Matt came over to watch a movie and Scott and Chelsey showed up to get in the hot tub and watch a movie.  Never a dull moment at the Merrill home. It was fun to have everyone there.

We had a really enjoyable weekend.  Bryce got ot go four wheeling with his dad and Bruce on Saturday.  They went up to Treasureton and spent most  of the day breaking through snow having a blast.  It was nice to just get away from home for a few days and have a little vacation.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Decorating the Tree

The boys had a fun time decorating the tree this year.  I was too pregnant to do much helping, so I let them pick the colors and put on the ornaments.  They wanted to have red, silver, and blue.  They also helped me decorate the house and put out all my nativity scenes.  Christmas is such a magical time of year!
Our tree was a little over 12 feet high, so Bryce had to put the ornaments on the top portion of the tree.  He also had to climb on top of the table to place the star on top of the tree.  It was the perfect tree for our home. 
Alfie the Elf was very involved with Christmas fun this year.  The boys wrote a letter to Santa this year and Alfie brought one back to the boys.  Alfie also built a fun little Lego man carrying Santa's sleigh on the back of his motorcycle.  Alfie brought the boys Home Alone and some board games.  Most of the time he hung out in the lights, tree, or on the shelves!
We really wanted to focus some of our excitement on serving others.  We wrapped up some small presents and let the boys play "Secret Santa".  They had so much fun quietly delivering them to the door step of a little boy, ringing the bell and running to hide.  We also made a little package of movie gifts for another family and secretly dropped it at their door.  This was a great activity and the boys really got involved and wanted to do more!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Our Christmas Tree Adventure

Every year, I always think it would be so much fun to go cut down a Christmas tree as a family.  Well, this year I did a little research and talked to some people about doing it.  I found out that we could get permits up at the LaTienda in Franklin, Idaho for $10.  This allowed us to cut down any evergreen tree up to 12 feet high.
We decided to get our tree the weekend before Thanksgiving, because we were going to be up in Cache Valley and because Thanksgiving this year was just a few days before December.  Anyway, we decided to invite Jocelynn, Kyle and family to join in our "1st Annual Cutting Down Our Own Christmas Tree" adventure.
We got our permits and then headed up to Franklin Basin. At first there was hardly any snow, but as we kept driving, it got deeper and deeper.  We had a hard time spotting any smaller Christmas trees.  We finally took a different trail and headed down until we couldn't go any further.  We stopped our trucks and decided to get out and walk around.
It was a gorgeous day as far as it being clear, sunny and blue skies.  But, the wind was blowing and it was extremely cold. After we all got dressed in our winter gear, we headed over the metal bridge and started looking for the perfect tree.  The boys enjoyed running around with Ty.  Jocelynn wanted a small tree for her front porch, so it didn't take them long to find their tree.
We tromped through the snow and trees and endured the freezing wind for about 15 minutes.  At first, we liked this one we are standing by, but we soon realized that the base of it was huge and that it probably would have taken up our entire front room.  Most of the pretty trees split into multiple trees half way down the trunk, so the bases on them were massive.
Eventually, Kyle found out perfect tree.  It was about 12 and a half fee tall.  It wasn't a full tree but ended up being a really nice tree and quite symmetrical.  It took the men less than a minute to saw it down and start hauling it back to the truck.
After we got back to the trucks, we got the trees loaded, stripped off all our winter gear and then snapped a few pictures.  Clayton started crying because his hands were cold and had gone numb.  He ended up sitting in the truck and defrosting while we finished putting everything away.  It was a fun little adventure and I look forward to doing it again.  The cost is inexpensive, and the memories were priceless.