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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bailey!

Bailey was the one who made me an aunt.  I was an underclassman in high school, and I proudly displayed her picture in my locker.  My friends and I always argued over who had the cutest nieces and nephews, but I'm still convinced I was right.  Bailey was the cutest of them all.  She also shares a birthday with my cousin, Amanda (pictured to the left).  It's always been easy for me to remember her birthday, because I'd been remembering that date for years already.

Bailey also became the oldest niece for BJ when we got married.  It was quite the adjustment for BJ to go from zero to eleven nieces and nephews.  Bailey fit right in, though, since she and BJ's sister, Teresa, are practically twins.  I mean, look at them.  They got along fantastically and I consistently got into trouble for not taking Bailey to Riverton every single time we went home.

Bailey has always been the best big sister and aunt.  She absolutely loves kids and always has.  I remember being over at her house when Hunter was little and hearing her ask, "Mom, can I change Hunter's diaper?"  I was floored.  What child actually asks that? She gave them baths, she played with them, she held them. Bailey just loves kids.  (Except when Kessa was born.  We had to talk her into holding Kessa.  Wha-aat?  Silly girl.)

Sometimes, though, she still thinks her brothers are crazy.

Bailey is a helper in more ways than just with kids.  She helps cook, clean up, and even brush the snow off the back of Grandma and Grandpa's van with a broom.

Bailey is very girly in many ways.  She dresses up, she's a diva, she giggles, she teases.  She's into makeup and clothes.  But that doesn't mean she doesn't rough and tumble with the boys.

Bailey is very talented.  Not only is she domestic and great with kids, but she also plays the piano…

 … does dance, gymnastics/tumbling, and spent a few years learning diving at BYU.  Seriously, this girl athletic and good at everything she does.

But above all, she's a goof.  She loves to be silly and she loves to tease.  And man, does that girl have a good memory.  One time I took her shopping for something or the other and we stopped at McDonalds for lunch.  She was pretty little, so I got her a regular cheeseburger and myself a double cheeseburger.  (I know, I splurged, didn't I?)  I went to fill up our waters (dropped the big bucks) and when I came back, she was eating my double cheeseburger.  I teased her about it, ate hers, and the half of mine that she didn't finish.  For years after that, when I'd see her, she'd say, "Do you remember that time I ate your cheeseburger?"  (Speaking of remembering everything, I do not owe you $100, Bailey.  You ruined my back, remember?  Totally cancels it out.)

Bailey is a poser.  Getting a normal picture of her is next to impossible.  She loves to strike a pose and make silly faces.  But she continues to be adorable and one of the cutest girls alive, so I suppose I'll forgive her for it.  :)

Happy birthday, Bailey!  
I can't believe how much you've grown up.  
Hope your day was fantastic!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


The leaves fell this year at the same time that we got our new iPod Touches, complete with camera!  We wanted Kessa to have a chance to play out in the leaves before it got cold (it's crazy now, with several inches of snow outside, to blog pictures of Kessa outside not wearing pants).  She loved the leaves. For the most part we just sat on a blanket, playing with leaves off to the side.  She'd put them behind her ear or just crinkle them between her fingers.

After awhile she decided she wanted to crawl through them, but she wasn't sure at all how she felt about the feel of them.  Poor girl had just started to get the hang of grass and now we threw a whole new texture at her.  I love how she kind of monkey-crawled through them.

Bye Grandma!

When Grandma and Grandpa Lovell were packing up to leave for their mission (I told you I was behind), we ended up at Travis' house unloading and repacking everything.  Kessa thought the back of the van was the coolest place ever.  She and grandma had a great time playing with each other for one of the last times in awhile.

Grandma demonstrates here the things we'll do to coax Kessa into performing for the camera.  She had been being a goof for a long time prior to this, but as soon as we pulled out the camera, she stopped.  Grandma was determined to get a video of her goofing.

Catching up. Again.

I seem to do that a lot.  Have to catch up, that is.  I started separating out pictures into blogs and I have over 20 blogs to write. That's a little intimidating.  And I'm sure you all will love getting 20 new blogs from me.

I'm also going through and tagging faces in my Jerusalem album (hooray for iPhoto '11!) which is equally, if not more so daunting.  Especially considering that Jerusalem was 3.5 years ago, and I had trouble with names while I was there.  So now I'm trying to remember the names that I couldn't remember then.  And there are 2,725 pictures.  It's great fun.

So to make both easier, I'm gonna work on both.  I'll do 10-20 Jerusalem pictures, then another blog.  And I'll work on them over a few days and not try to do a marathon.

So… uhh… prepare yourself.  Lots of pictures and verbage (but probably more pictures) incoming!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lexi Lou!

When Lexi was just a wee babe, probably about two months old, she and my mom came and visited me up at BYU-Idaho for Mother's week.  That's when I first really fell in love with this precious little girl.  I have to admit, though, it felt a little funny walking around campus pushing a stroller with a little baby in it.  I was convinced that everyone was thinking that I had a baby.  Me!  I was only 18 years old!  Probably made worse by having this Mother/Daughter picture taken.  Haha.  But it was totally worth it.  My roommates and I loved having this tiny little baby hanging out with us for a few days.  How could someone not love that face?

Lexi loves to dress up.  My mom made this dress for her for my wedding and she wanted to wear it every Sunday to church after that.  Between that and the tiara we gave her, she was in heaven.  Also, she loves me.  Isn't that obvious by this picture?  :)
She's also a tease.  A huge tease.  Here we see her stealing a hat (I think Uncle Steve's?) while on BJ's shoulder and refusing to give it back.  It's not uncommon for her to steal Grandpa's hat or somehow find other ways to tease everyone she comes across.  She knows that she's wrapping us around her finger with every tease and smile.
Lexi loves her grandparents.  When we went to visit them at their family cabin, they made signs for us so we'd know when we found them.  All of them were so excited to have Grandma and Grandpa spend a night with them at the cabin.  She loved going over to Grandma's house and I'm sure she misses them while they're on their mission.  But it's gonna be one happy reunion when Grandma and Grandpa and Lexi get to see each other again.

She's also a diva.  This girl knows all the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song and she has no inhibitions when it comes to singing them to anyone.  Nor will she hold back her dancing.  She is one talented little girl when it comes to the performing arts.  She's also taking piano lessons from her mom and loving it.

Lexi is a lot like me in a couple of ways.  For one, she could talk your ear off if you let her.  She can jabber and jabber and jabber and jabber and jabber and jabber and jabber and … well, you get the point.  For another, she loves to read.  Last time she was here, she grabbed this stack of books and sat on the couch devouring them. She probably finished the whole stack in less than a half an hour.  I was shocked when she finished.  She's a girl after my own heart, that's for sure.  No wonder we get along so well.
Lexi is also a huge helper.  She's always loved being a second mama to her little brothers.  Nurturing is second nature to her.  She's super helpful in every way, though, not just with kids.  Whether it's carrying something, cleaning up or helping cook dinner, she wants to be right there helping.  Last time she was here she helped me make tacos.  Here she is cooking the hamburger.  During dinner she "helped" us get Uncle Travis to eat a tomato, too.  Just mentioning that story makes her laugh, which is another thing we love about Lexi.  Her laugh.  It's adorable and contagious.

Happy Birthday Lexi Lou!  We love you!
We'll see you in a month when you get baptized!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. Since most of the readers of this blog don't know her, I thought I should share a bit about her.

My mom is an excellent friend. I don't think a day goes by that she doesn't take stop by a lonely neighbor's house, or drop off dinner somewhere, or call to check up on someone she hasn't seen in a while. Her life centers around lifting up everyone around her.

My dad's mother "Nana" lives with my parents for about half of each year. Mom takes Nana with her on errands, finds ways she can help around the house, and happily takes the time to meet her needs. It would be easy to grumble about a situation like that, but Mom is just happy that we can help her in this stage of her life.

Even in the smallest details, Mom looks for ways to help. Our family is a big fan of board games, so we're often found around a table playing games. You'll rarely find us playing a game, though, without a bowl of apple wedges, orange slices, or fresh-baked cookies that Mom prepared. (This was such a common occurrence, in fact, that Tianna now accuses me of not knowing how to slice my own apple.) Nobody ever asks her to do it—she just sees a need and looks to fill it. She does the same thing even when she's not playing; my friends have often been pleasantly surprised to see a fresh plate of cookies and apple wedges show up in the middle of some game.

Settlers of Catan on the far end, Small World on the near end, and snacks provided by Mom in the middle. Ignore angry-faced Nick in the middle; he's just being a goof.
Mom is also fun to be around, and she does some really goofy things. For example, I remember watching her and Jessa have an entire conversation consisting wholly of humming. I was utterly lost, but it apparently had something to do with the flavors of ice cream available in the freezer, and how big a portion Jessa wanted. I was dying of laughter by the end. She's always willing to try new things, even when she feels very inadequate; that makes for some really funny times watching her play Wii Fit. Mom always has a smile on her face, and makes everyone else smile too.

Mom keeps the house and yard looking fantastic. The walkway to the front door is lined with beautiful flowers all summer long, and there are more beautiful floor beds out by the road. The inside of the house is always kept spotless too. I loved growing up in a clean and well-kept home; it made our home a place where the Spirit could be comfortable.

Flowers on the walkway up to the front door
Perhaps the most important attribute of my mom, though, is her love for the Savior. Everything she does is done with the intent to invite the Spirit into her life and bring all of us closer to the Lord. She studies the scriptures often and listens to General Conference talks while she exercises. She has always been a great example to me of how to live a Christ-like life. She forgives freely, serves generously, and gives selflessly. She is a wonderful mother (and grandmother!) and Tianna and I are very glad to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday, Mom!