Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Parker Benjamin

I don't know how it happened so fast, but my little baby boy turned one in October! I looked at him today and realized how much of his baby life I have not blogged about and how behind I am. I love that I can look back on my old blog posts about Connor if I can't remember when he hit a certain phase or how he acted at a certain age. With Parker I haven't really done that! So I'll do my best to remember all the significant things about Parker that make him so loveable and perfect!

He's the most MELLOW child in the world. He can throw his tantrums like the rest of em, but in most cases he will be content to sit and play with toys in his room or in any area of the house for HOURS. Ok maybe an hour tops. But if Connor's playing with him and not abusing him in any way he can go for over an hour just pushing cars and other toys around, exploring and enjoying himself! He is such a breath of fresh air after our busy crazy Connor.  

Parker is still not walking, and only started crawling when he hit about 10 1/2 months old or so.  Honestly I could not care less. I mean I wish his clothes didn't keep getting all worn down from the crawling, but he will be a busy little body when he can walk. He LOVES to escape outside and tries to crawl all over the backyard. Not ok with 3 dogs that poop and many other dangers!  He just loves to be doing what his brother is doing! 

Parker and Connor are so different in their eating habits. Connor used to LOVE veggies, and be ok with fruit. Parker eats 2-3 bananas every day and abhors veggies. He'll only eat sweet potatoes and the rest of his veggies I still have to feed to him in puree form from the jars.  He also loves pears and can eat an entire pear before you have time to get him more food. He'll eat peaches as well and strawberries.  He likes PB&J sandwiches most of the time, and like Connor- he LOVES pasta.  They are pasta fiends and I could make it every day and they'd never get sick of it. He also loves cheese quesadillas. 

Parker has a sense of humor and will pull faces at you when you want him to.  He scrunches up his nose and makes snorting noises and shows off his 4 teeth with pride.  He is currently introducing 2 more teeth on top and they are almost all the way in.  What a beautiful and happy smile! I never thought I'd love anything more than his gummer smile but those teeth are just adorable. 

He is my little cling-on and is much more of a mommy's boy than Connor ever was.  He loves to be held and snuggled.  I'll ask him for loves and he'll lay his head on my shoulder and snuggle me.  He even started puckering up for kisses recently and gives the best kisses! He loves to be where I'm at, but if I'm out of sight he does ok without me.  He will crawl to me many times and just hang on my leg. He'll pull himself up on his knees and just pout and whine hanging on my pant leg until I pick him up.  Then he points to everything around him and says "That!" or "This!".  He's actually got an impressive vocabulary and it seems it grew overnight. He says mommy and daddy, this, that, baby, eat, nap and hi. There may be more but that's all I can think of. He also does his sign language well but seems to only be able to retain one sign at a time. For a while he would sign "milk" for anytime he wanted food or drink. Then he started signing "cereal" and stopped doing milk.  Now he signs banana and that basically applies to all eating, but on occasion he'll do the sign for "eat".  He's so smart and observant. I know he understands a lot more than he is ready to communicate to us and I love watching him learn.  He is so easy and lets me actually read to him. Connor always had better things to do and still can't sit still through a whole book. Parker becomes enthralled and loves to be read to. 

He is a great sleeper and even greater when he's not teething at all.  He sleeps at least 12 hours at night- 7 p.m, til 8 a.m. lately. And he takes a decent morning nap and a not so long afternoon nap.  But he's so content that it really isn't bothersome to have him awake most of the day.  

I can't believe my angel is ONE! Those baby blues melt hearts all over and we are so proud to call him our little Pee-Kee!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This has been a fantastic Fall season! It has been busy with the opening of the opera, the opening of the cafe, Parker turning one and so much more! I have a lot of blogging to do! Here are some highlights of our Autumn adventures!

 Connor and Ellie Felice having a play date while the opera rehearsal was going on.  Parker and Anna Necia were also making nice :)

My sweet adorable PERFECT boys at the Johnson farm. I can't believe we've never been but it was so fun! I wish we'd have gotten there earlier and eaten dinner and done all the activities!
 Connor and Parker loved seeing and feeding these fun fat animals! 
 Such a sweet content boy that just takes it all in with no complaints whatsoever!
 Connor having a heart attack waiting to ride a horse!
 I was really nervous this whole ride because he didn't have anyone walking right beside him holding him on. But he rode it like a pro! He's such a little boy and loved it!!!

 How cute is this little poser? He was pretty stoked to ride on the "train" and I think had some second thoughts after it "wait what are we doing????" But he stayed in there and enjoyed the ride!
 Beautiful sunset and pumpkin picking!

Riding on the hay ride! 

 Pumpkin carving time! Connor had so much fun pulling the guts out!

We had a fun few days before I left for Texas and crammed lots of October fun in! More photos and posting to come!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


So you know how sometimes it seems like you are in a "drought" for blessings? I don't want to sound ungrateful here- but we were in one. It was one of the downward parts of life's great roller coaster. There have to be downs to get to the ups. And I FELT the momentum building underneath us. I KNEW something was just around the corner. There were times when I thought "Oh! This is it! FINALLY our prayers are being answered!" And then...BAM. Gone. Nope that wasn't it. And people would say, "It just means something better is just around the corner". Do you know how annoying that gets to be after a year? Ok. Where's the dang corner? I'd like to round it now! We had some pretty bitter moments. When the Red Mountain Spa thing fizzled I felt like our lives were ending. And it hadn't even been like he'd started working and gotten fired. It was just something that fell through. But here's the deep down truth of it. We both KNEW that job wasn't right. We felt SO bad about it...but we thought it was due to other things. By this point we had given up trying to discern our feelings since so many "almosts" and "could have beens" had occurred. But as things have slowly started happening for us we realize we should have had more faith in our faith...ha ha. We should have known that we still were entitled to our personal revelation and inspiration. Because looking What if it HAD happened. Makes me ill! I was sick to my stomach every night after Ben got that job offer. And that was ODD because I had been so excited. So onto the good stuff.

Let me just say that we have had MANY dreams. By dreams I mean goals for our lives. Future plans. Lots of the early ones have fallen away and we don't want the same things. But in the past 6 months we have had some realistic dreams. And some old dreams that refused to go away. There are things we've wanted to do since before we met. There are goals we never thought we'd attain. But in the past month...4 of our dreams have come true or are on their way to coming true.

1. Our Opera company. That was the BIG ONE. The one Ben has wanted for a long time. I don't remember if I've spoken of this- but a few months ago we hit our wall. We realized we cannot do this anymore. Ben couldn't work for DB anymore...minimum wage? Really? We have two kids. We live at home. It's time to create a new path. I had a "come to Jesus" with Ben where I basically told him he's a fool for not singing and pursuing what he's good at..passionate about. He signed up for voice lessons the next day. He had his first voice lesson...and magic happened. He came home in tears. "What have I been doing all these years? Why did I ever stop singing?" I had been trying to figure that out for FOUR years! And then it all started happening. Ben started pursuing his dream. He got the ball rolling. The Opera company went from a pipe dream to a reality in a matter of weeks. And now...oh my. I don't know how much I'm allowed to divulge. But BIG things are realistic. We have an amazing artistic director who has won a tony award for a role on Broadway, she's grammy nominated and she's the classiest most warm person...and she said all of this is an answer to HER prayers. She's been wanting the same things, but didn't have the degree or know how for the business end. But she brings a huge and impressive background to the table and even if it were just she and Ben working together...this thing would work. They are already a great team!  Think big folks. St. George is going to LOVE what they have planned!!!

2. Our Crepery. About 6 months ago Ben had an idea to start a crepe shop. But there was too much to consider. We needed a commercial kitchen. Meaning we needed money. We had none. So that idea left as soon as it had come. But before we hit those obstacles we thought seriously about the possibilities! We had flavor ideas, menu ideas, blah blah. Well it didn't work out. Oh well right? Wrong! We had no idea that months later that dream would become reality. Our neighbors moved in not long ago. I think a year ago? We hadn't gotten to know them very well...we just knew they had 12 kids (some foster and adopted) and seemed to be pretty awesome. I was drawn to Tifiny though. I would see her at church things and just felt a I would just stare at her and try to figure out what it was about this person that drew me to her. It was intimidating actually. Who was this person? She had 12 kids?! How did she even have time to pee?!  Eventually we got to know them better because Earl is a crossfit trainer. He started working with Ben and I. We found out they sold crepes at the Tuacahn farmer's market every Saturday. You guys are awesome! We wanted to do that...good for you. A couple months passed and they said "So we were approached to open a permanent cafe type thing...and we're doing it! Cool huh?" I think I said about 50 times that night. "If you need help let us know. Ben totally loves cooking and is SO good at it. We almost did our own crepery and we'd LOVE to help in any way!" My mom even said "Yeah I think he got the message..." So I thought it'd be like everything else in our lives. They were just being cordial when they said "Yeah that'd be great!" The Red Mountain Spa thing happened and we stopped thinking about that as an option. They had mentioned they may need our help working their booth at Swiss Days since their restaurant would be open. I followed up with Tifiny and after a few days she invited us over to talk. 3 hours later we were so on board it was ridiculous! We felt SO good about things. They totally wanted us to be partners with them, to help create this quality product and successful business! We went and prayed about it but had very little reason to doubt this was meant to be. The next day Ben gave his two week notice. We've been cooking, pricing, meeting, and creating all kinds of magic ever since! We open in a week and a half- assuming all goes well with building permits and such. It's going to be FANTASTIC. AMAZING. DELICIOUS!!!!! MMMMM... crazy how things work out yeah?

3. Caroling Group. Ben talked about doing this the whole time we lived in Cedar. He even put up a website once and was contacted by someone in Park City wanting to hire his carolers. Um...well..we haven't exactly gotten to that yet. School was too crazy. But now we have a group. Fantastic singers. Costumes are 1/3 done. They are awesome! We have been rehearsing for 2 months and will begin advertising this month! So if you know of anyone who needs entertainment at their company parties or events....let us know. This has been such a fun experience!

4. Grant writing. I can't say much about this yet because it isn't official. But a while back Ben thought maybe he could do grant writing- freelance. It would be a way to make some good cash, and something he's good at! But when he tried to get it started he had no way to begin. You sort of have to get lucky and find a good organization to start in. Well today he was asked if he'd be interested to do something like that! They had been looking for someone with the right qualifications and while they had met him through connections with our opera company, they ended up asking if he'd want to work for them to help with fundraising. YES PLEASE!!!

There are so many more blessings that continue to flow every day. There are so many little things I can't talk about yet. Possibilites that will more likely than not be happening. My heart is so full. We are so blessed. I had no idea you guys were praying THAT hard! I guess the Lord got overwhelmed by all the prayers on our behalf and had to send some pretty big miracles our way. I will never EVER doubt the power of prayer and hope I never question the Lord's plan for me!

We are so SO happy! Can you tell??? :-)

Please come eat at the restaurant. You'll LOVE it. It's called Breakfast at Tifiny's and it's in downtown Santa Clara next to the Mercantile. It's gorgeous and the food really is something to rave about. Plus- gelato...need I say more?

Labor Day 2012 Adventure!

Lately it seems the only way to stay sane with my crazy two year old is to go on "adventures". We have gone to Zion a few times and it is always such a good break for me and for the boys. They love being outside and behave so well...more than at home. I figure it's a good habit to be in- doing stuff outdoors since I am a mother of boys who will inevitably love being outside!  So here are the 200 photos condensed into about 29 collages that I captured of our adventure day we had on Labor Day 2012! Ben couldn't go- he had work which was a bummer. Ashlee did too, and Desi hung out with friends. Any more people and it might have gotten a little chaotic anyway, so it was all good. 

We drove up through Springdale, stopping at U-Pick to get some apples! Connor loved wandering around, picking some apples and messing with the water spouts that water the trees. He can't resist hoses or water sources. 

Parker also loved watching us pick apples and even had a nice nibble of one when I was trying to get some pictures of him. What a sweetie!

Mommy helping Connor pick apples


Next we drove through Zion and stopped at the East Entrance restaurant/gift shop. They have pretty yummy pizza! Parker enjoyed his crust and Connor pulled all the cheese off of his second piece and wadded it up and stuffed it in his mouth. It was really attractive :) The kid loves his cheese!

Next on our journey was Duck Creek. This is by far one of my favorite places in the world. I spent a lot of my life on Cedar mountain and not only does the nostalgia work it's magic, but this GORGEOUS landscape that you'd be crazy NOT to love!

Connor enjoyed throwing rocks in the stream, such a boy!

Tasha didn't quite dare balance between the trees...I'm glad she did't try. She may have fallen on her face. 
My sweet Parker just loved sitting in the grass. He had a great time trying to stick the reeds in his mouth!

These brothers are seriously so cute and fun! I'm so glad I have two little boys to be friends!

Cool web and yucky creature! And me posing with my favorite backdrop!

Next we were back on the road and saw this huge swarm of sheep being herded. There were hundreds and it was so fun to see the sheep dogs herding them along with the herder on his horse. What a sight! The landscape here was so gorgeous as well!
Connor kept wanting to pet them. They'd run as soon as he got close at all! 
The sheep dog ran up to Connor and instantly snuggled up to him. Connor loved on him so much the dog got a little nervous and ran off with his tail between his legs. Poor dog had no idea how passionate Connor is! :)

THEN we went to Cedar Breaks and enjoyed that breathtaking view. Connor loved the little visitor's center and we told him it was Little Bear's house. He was semi-amused, but wasn't slowed down much by the information. He did ask where Little Bear was and I told him he was on a walk with Duck, Hen, Cat and Emily. :)
Parker LOVED being on grandpa's shoulders! He was grinning from ear to ear! 

These mountains look like temples. So amazing!
"Connor, stand on this rock for a picture" "ONE TWO THREE JUMP!" He never holds still long. 

Connor at Little Bear's house!

And toward the end of our trip we stopped at the Iron County Fair. We only had time and energy for one ride. That may have been a mistake to even stop. Connor LOVED the ride. Too much. He threw a royal fit that lasted at least 10 minutes. My mom had to literally drag him off the ride, and he was screaming and we had to drag him across the fair. He was still a mess when we tried strapping him into his car seat, and down the road a ways. Holy WOW. That's what happens when your kids don't take a nap and started their day at 5:30 in the freaking morning! He had ample opportunity for sleeping in our hours of driving. But he never gave in. He was still holding his eyes open as we pulled into St. George even though his eyes were as heavy as dead weights!

Holy WOW

The trip ended with a stop at Grandma Irene's house. She was excited to see us, and her hearing aids were working really well. She could understand us without us having to shout into her ear. Parker was totally enthralled with her and loved watching her. Connor was of course as busy as always, if not worse due to the sleep deprivation and sadly our visit wasn't long. There are too many breakables for our crazy 2 year old! 

Honestly I was nervous about the day- like I mentioned we had been up since since 4:00 with Parker. I think his other top tooth is cutting. So it was a LONG morning full of tears from everyone- mainly me. But I resolved to not let it ruin the day. I knew I'd be more tired the next day anyway, so with a nice flow of diet coke we ventured out and enjoyed a beautiful day. The traffic really wasn't bad considering the holiday. Zion was PACKED so I'm glad we weren't going there to hike or anything. But it was a really perfect day. The kids were only mildly difficult a few times but mostly happy. I was sad Ben wasn't there but grateful as always for amazing parents who make life better. They love my kids to pieces and my mom still treats me like a baby a good way. Making sure I'm happy and have a break from my kids. It's awesome. I'm very VERY lucky to have the life I do! My kids are so lucky to have so many people surrounding them that love them!