Sunday, December 30, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
This morning Thomas and I went to the University Mall in Orem to see Santa! I've been meaning to take him for weeks, and then started panicking yesterday when I realized that some schools were already out for Christmas break, and that Santa would probably be really busy over the next couple days as all the other parents brought in their kids last minute. So we rushed to the mall at 10 am, right when Santa got there for the day, and thankfully there was no wait at all! Thomas saw Santa here last year and was perfectly okay, at 5 months, being put on Santa's lap, and gave a cute little grin for the camera. So this year I was worried my luck would change and Thomas would freak out. But he was a champ! He was totally curious about this white-bearded guy talking to him, and just looked around and admired Santa's Christmas tree. He gave a great smile for the camera again, and I've had a lot of fun comparing this year's photo to last year's. He's looking off to the side in both pics, with a similar expression, and its so fun to see how much he has changed!
Thomas is definitely on the "nice list" this year, because he is getting spoiled!!! =)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
My older brother Zane and his wife Amber are the proud new parents of their second child and their first boy! Dalin Toa Kotter was born Monday, December 10th and was a big, healthy boy at 8 lbs 7 oz and 21 inches long. He has lots of dark hair and dark blue eyes. Dalin's older sister, our 3-year-old niece Ciara, is excited to have a new baby brother but was disappointed that her mom and dad didn't name him "Hercules" like she wanted. They all live in Montana so we have not yet seen Dalin in person, but we are excited that they are probably going to come to Utah for Christmas.
My brother served his church mission in New Zealand and took Dalin's middle name from the Maori language spoken by the Polynesian people there. "Toa" means "Warrior." Ciara also has a Maori middle name, "Anahara," which means "Angel."
We love you Zane, Amber, Ciara & Dalin!
Monday, December 10, 2007
This last Saturday, December 8th, Ryan and I celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary. Crazy! I can't believe how quickly these years have passed. I still remember so clearly the nervous, excited feeling I used to get around Ryan when I first developed a crush on him, and how wildly happy and emotional I was the day he proposed to me. Ryan has been the greatest blessing of my life, and I could not have asked for a more devoted, loving, hard-working husband and wonderful father for my children.
Friday night we decided to give each other our gifts one day early, and Ryan also presented me with a beautiful bouquet of roses and lilies. We asked my mom to babysit Thomas all day Saturday and overnight til Sunday morning, so we could spend the whole day together and stay overnight somewhere. It was the first time we had someone watch Thomas overnight, and though I was a tiny bit anxious to leave him, I knew he was in good hands. Ryan and I planned a totally jam-packed day on Saturday: We did a session at the Mount Timpanogos Temple (where we were married) in the morning, then afterwards went to a matinee of the movie "August Rush," which was a great film! We had cut it kind of close and didn't have time to get lunch before going to the theater, so we went crazy at the movie concession stand and got hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, candy, and pop. After the movie we drove up to Salt Lake City where we had dinner at the Macaroni Grill, our favorite Italian restaurant. After dinner we went to a Christmas Concert put on by several successful local musicians: Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband, Peter Breinholt, and Sam Payne. After all this we were pooped! We stayed overnight in Salt Lake at the Anniversary Inn, a really cute, romantic bed and breakfast. It was a fabulous anniversary! I love you with all my heart Ryan!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Yesterday morning it was great to wake up to beautiful, new-fallen snow blanketing the ground and trees. I have to say, I don't particularly like winter...I grew up in Montana where winters are terribly, bitterly cold and seem to last 6 months. Ryan experienced the same thing growing up in Wyoming, and he feels an even stronger dislike for the cold months. But what I dislike more than winter is a winter with no snow! Its so depressing when the trees become barren and brown and the temperatures freezing, but with no snow to show for it! What's winter without a beautiful white landscape, or without fluffy snow to romp around in? Thomas was mesmerized when he looked out the window yesterday morning...I can't wait to take him out to build his first snowman! It was nice to have a relatively warm October and November, but now that the holiday season is in full swing, I want a White Christmas!!!
Monday, November 26, 2007
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Ryan's family at his parent's home in Riverton, Wyoming. Ryan grew up in this small town in a cozy house on a large piece of land out in the country. I love that house and all the memories it holds, both from before I met my husband and after. Though the way of life in Riverton is much different from what I am used to, I love visiting there and just escaping from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. I love my in-laws, who are all wonderful people and such fun to be with. All of Ryan's siblings and their spouses were able to come except for one, his youngest sister Melissa and her husband Seth, who we missed a lot. But the rest of us had a great time stuffing our faces together, sitting around visiting, watching movies, watching the two grandbabies play and just enjoying each others company. It was a nice, long, rejuvenating weekend, and Ryan's family has so many great holiday traditions. Here's the breakdown:
Wednesday - We left around lunchtime to make the 5.5 hour drive...not too fun since many of the roads in Wyoming are very long, straight, and lonely with nothing but sagebrush on either side, but we were excited to get there. Thankfully Thomas was very good and we made it through without him being too miserable. When we got there it was great for him to get to play with his nearly-3-year-old cousin Julia. They were so cute to watch together!
Thursday - Turkey day! Ryan's family has so many delicious traditional foods they make for holidays, and the cooking is a huge family activity. I'm not much of a cook, so I'm sad to say I wasn't much help in the kitchen, but Ryan's mom and sisters are masters. The menu was huge! We had turkey and stuffing of course, pork roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries, the family favorite frog eye salad (a fruit salad with marshmallows, whipped cream, pineapples, mandarin oranges, and little "frog-eye" pasta), and one thing I have dreams about: potato rolls. These rolls are so soft and buttery, I say they're bits of clouds from heaven. I could eat a meal of these alone. Oh, and we had lots of pie of course! Pumpkin, pecan, apple and cheesecake too. So yeah, um, I'm not getting on the scale til Christmas is over.
Friday - Getting our Christmas trees! This is a wonderful tradition that I look forward to every time we go to Wyoming. The day after Thanksgiving we drive up to the mountains near Dubois, Wyoming to cut down Christmas trees (its totally legal...you have to buy passes and everything). We usually meet up with some family friends of the Laidlaws and build a fire, roast hot-dogs, make smores, play in the snow, and take the four-wheelers up into the different trails hunting for the perfect tree. They're not as picture-perfect as the farm trees you can buy at the stores, but its endearing when they're a little bald or scraggly in places. I had lots of fun buying Thomas all his winter gear for this trip: snow pants, snow boots, hat and gloves, and his big fat winter coat. Needless to say, he could barely walk when I got him all bundled up, but he was a happy little camper with cute rosy-red cheeks, waddling around in the snow and falling down every two seconds (the boots were a bit big). It was also his first time sledding! And he LOVED riding the four-wheelers...every time you took him off he would run back up to it and try to get back on! We went back home, had left-overs and went to bed early. Christmas tree hunting is tiring!
Saturday - I was totally spoiled. Ryan agreed to watch Thomas and we girls decided to hit some of the after-Thanksgiving sales. There's not a ton of shopping in Riverton, but we had lots of fun and each bought ourselves a bunch of cute new clothes. After we got back, Ryan's mom and dad babysat Thomas for us so we could go on a date. We had dinner at a pretty good little Mexican place and then went to see the movie Enchanted...which I LOVED! I have been dying to see this film, and it was just fantastic! I was grinning like an idiot the whole way through. It took some convincing to get Ryan to see it - he's notorious for avoiding anything that looks like a "chick flick" - but even he admitted that he really liked it! If you haven't seen it yet, you gotta. It was a very clever, funny, romantic, feel-good kind of movie...and I have to admit, I'm a sucker for anything that involves people breaking out in song! I can't wait til it comes out on DVD!
Sunday - We left in the morning and were sad to say good bye. Its always nice to go back to your own home of course, but its hard to say farewell to your days of vacation! We had a truly enjoyable time. I am so very thankful to have such a wonderful husband, such a wonderful, beautiful baby boy, and both of our wonderful families!
Now...on to Christmas!!! =)
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
One of the reasons I decided to start blogging was not only to stay in touch with family & friends, but also to encourage myself to write things down for myself. I have never been good at keeping a journal, but since Thomas was born I've begun to feel more and more how important it is to write things down, since there are so many important and wonderful events and milestones I want to remember! So every once in awhile I thought I would do a little update on Thomas.
Thomas will be turning 16 months on November 10th. I know its the coined phrase of every mother, but how fast the time goes! I don't know what happens to the days...I can still remember being an expectant mommy, and now I have a toddler! And he is such a big little guy (little big guy?)! Every time we go to the doctor for his well checks, I am always excited to find out how much Thomas has grown. He had his 15-month well check a couple of weeks ago, and when the doctor started talking to me about Thomas' growth chart, the word he used was "phenomenal." Tommy definitely has all the Laidlaw and Kotter tall genes...he was 33.9 inches tall, which puts him in the 95th percentile for height. Like any mama, my buttons were bursting! Although, I've never needed the doctor to tell me Thomas is big for his age...my back definitely feels it! And complete strangers are always asking me how old he is, and then say they're surprised he's so young. Plus, I am already buying him clothes in the 2T size. I bought Thomas a new sleeper the other day in a 2T, and when I showed it to Ryan on the hanger, he said "That'll be way too big for him!" But the first time Thomas wore it, Ryan realized Thomas almost completely filled it out! I am so excited to see one day how tall Tommy will grow. Ryan and I are both 6 feet tall, and we both have some crazy tall people in our families: fathers, brothers, grandfathers, uncles and cousins who range everywhere from 6'2'' to almost 7 feet! So it will be fun to watch and see. But I don't want to wish his babyhood away!
When they weighed Thomas he was 25 lbs and 10 ounces, which put him in the 61st percentile for weight. Since the percentile was so much lower than his height I was worrying and wondering out loud to the doctor whether I was feeding him enough. He told me, "He's tall and skinny...nothin' wrong with that!" But truly, I know he's definitely eating enough...sometimes it seems all I do all day is feed that kid! He's very sturdy, has cute chubby legs and a big round potbelly, and he kind of has his daddy's stocky build too...my oldest brother Josh always calls Thomas "the brick." "Thomas the Tank" is a popular name for him too.
Thomas is acquiring lots of fun new hobbies as he gets older...its so amazing to see all he can do now as opposed to last year at this time! He's been walking really well since before his first birthday, and now he loves marching, stomping, dancing, and running. And his new favorite pasttime, which has his mom constantly on her toes, is climbing! On the toilet, into the tub, on top of the couch, on the coffee table, everywhere he can get to while mom's back is turned! I am just waiting to find him on the countertop one of these days, or on top of the refrigerator! So I am having to work extra hard to keep a watchful eye on him. (Note added 11/28: Um, yeah, I should've knocked on wood. He's long since accomplished the feat of making it to the tabletop/countertop. He gets up there so fast its scary!)
He also has the cutest habit of saying "mommy, mommy, mommy" over and over. I just love to hear him say it, and even when I'm feeling pestered and frazzled, its just so adorable I can't help but smile! He says "mommy" so often that sometimes he calls Ryan that, even though "dada" was his first word. He knows how to say "daddy" and has said it a lot before, so we are trying hard to teach him the difference and are always quizzing him, "Where's Mommy? Where's Daddy?" He's very talkative and is always trying to tell us things in his own little language, its so cute. He says all kinds of words now, I can't even think of them all. He's been saying "mee-mee" all the time lately, which I think means "binky." Yes, at 16 months, he is still glued to a pacifier...my goal is to get him off the paci completely before he hits 18 months, and I must admit I am dreading it! But I definitely need to do it before I get to the point where I have to deal with potty-training too...oh my goodness, potty-training?! How can I even be thinking about that already? My little boy is growing up too fast!
Ryan and I are incredibly blessed to have our sweet little Tommy...he has brought so much joy into our lives, its hard to remember a time when he wasn't a part of our family. I love him so much! And even though it seems such a short time since we brought him home, brand new and tiny, this new question has started buzzing around inside my brain..."When is Thomas going to get a sibling?!"
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Today was a full, fun and busy Halloween! I am absolutely pooped! I spent part of the day running around doing errands, and after Thomas' first nap I took him to the park right by our house in his adorable dragon costume for a little photo shoot. I did this last year when he was just three months old and it was really fun. He looked so cute! Today was a beautiful sunny day (thankfully! It seems Halloween is traditionally snowy...) and there are leaves everywhere and its just a fun backdrop. I had a hard time keeping up with him though...he was running all over the place exploring, so most of the pictures I got were of his back! =) But I did manage to snap a few gems.
I also spent some time ironing my own costume and getting everything ready...I decided to be a princess! I found a pretty cute, royal-blue velvety costume online and bought a tiara to go with it. I was never once a princess for Halloween when I was growing up, so I figured it was high time! Plus I liked the idea of being the princess to Thomas' dragon...in fact, I really wanted Ryan to dress up as a knight to go along with the theme, but he's not too keen on wearing costumes. I think if I had just gone ahead and got him a costume I probably would have been able to convince him to wear it, but I guess I'm just a nice wife. =)
In the evening we went over to our church house for a trunk-or-treat, and the turn out was huge! I thought I had bought lots of candy, but there were so many people we ran out in about 10 minutes! Then we took Thomas around the parking lot to collect his own loot...it was so fun to take him trick-or-treating for the very first time! We didn't get him a ton of candy, but he got a glowstick from someone and was totally mesmerized and happy with that. It was fun to see all the kids (and adults!) in their cute, funny, and impressively original costumes. I am always amazed by people's creativity at Halloween. There are so many great costume ideas out there, its almost sad that Halloween only comes around once a year! I am already excited for next year.
There was also a little carnival going on inside the church, where they had games and goodies and crafts. Thomas was getting tired at this point, but he was having a lot of fun watching everybody and even did a little dancing to the music! He eventually found his way over to the ring toss game, where they had a little baby pool filled with water and rubber duckies that you had to toss a ring over. He had fun splashing in the water and reaching for the ducks...he was so enthusiastic, I was worried he'd try climbing in! He couldn't really toss the rings, but the "carneys" gave him a rubber ducky anyway.
Then we came home, ate some candy, admired our pumpkins for a little bit and then put Thomas to bed. Ryan and I had planned to watch a movie, but we were both so beat we decided not to after all. Ryan's already snoozing, and I'm on my way there right now! It was a great Halloween day, and I love all the fun memories that were made!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I've been wanting to take Thomas to a pumpkin patch/corn maze for weeks, and last Thursday my mom, my little brother Jared, Thomas and I finally made it out to Cornbelly's for a day of fun! It was the perfect day for it too, very sunny and warm. I had been dreaming of getting some adorable photos of Thomas sitting in the middle of a sea of bright orange pumpkins, but unfortunately, I think we waited too long...the pumpkin patch was picked over and wilting, and the few pumpkins left were "lumpy, grumpy" pumpkins (got that from a cute children's book of Thomas'). But there were still so many other fun things, we could hardly do them all! There was a giant jumping pillow, pedal cart racing, corn cannons, giant slides, a fun playground with giant wooden trains and tractors, rubber ducky races, barrel car rides, pig races, a hayride and the corn maze of course! So we kept very busy and were seriously pooped when it came time to go home. We went on the hayride very last, which was perfect because it was dark, and they had set up displays of these amazing, intricately carved jack-o-lanterns along the way. Thomas had a fun time, and even though I didn't get my cute pumpkin patch pictures, I still have the cutest lil' pumpkin of all!!!
The next afternoon Ryan, Thomas and I set out for Island Park, Idaho, a town right outside Yellowstone Park, where we had been invited to go stay at a rented cabin for the weekend by our good friends James and Catherine, who live in Ogden. Catherine and I were next-door neighbors in our dorm during our freshman year of college and we've always stayed close. We got married exactly three weeks apart, and had our first babies 2 and a half months apart, both boys! Our husbands get along great and have a good time together too. We don't get to see each other as much since they moved out of Utah County, so we were excited to spend some time with them! J&C also invited their friends Jon & Michelle and their cute 2-year-old daughter Kaylee, who drove all the way from Nebraska! So we made some new friends over the weekend as well.
One of the big reasons for the trip to Island Park was for the fly-fishing...there's world-famous fly-fishing rivers nearby, and James is a fly-fishing fanatic who had always wanted to go there. Ryan had always wanted to try it so he was happy to tag along with someone experienced. So on Saturday the boys went fishing while we girls and the kids went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in nearby West Yellowstone, Montana. It was basically a mini-zoo with grizzly bear and wolf habitats, and lots of interesting displays about them. It was crazy seeing these HUGE grizzly bears so close! I definitely wouldn't want to encounter one of those in the wild. We spent some time looking at the animals and the displays, and then just letting the kids run around and play...they were so cute together! Then we drove back and met the boys...Ryan had a great time fishing, and we had lots of fun enjoying the cozy cabin in the evening, eating, watching movies and playing games. Although, I was seriously scared when I walked outside in the dark to get something out of our car, that I would be accosted by a grizzly bear!
Sunday we drove into Yellowstone to see some of the sights. We realized that one day is not nearly enough time to visit Yellowstone Park! We checked out some of the sulfur pools and smaller geysers, where we saw TONS of buffalo up close (serously...too close), then went to Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Yellowstone is such an amazing place, and it was fun to take Thomas there for the very first time.
Monday we cleaned the cabin, said bye to everyone and drove home to get ready for another fun-filled couple of days...Halloween! It was a fun weekend...thanks Catherine & James!
Monday, October 22, 2007
This weekend Ryan, his brother Eric and his dad headed out into the wild for their much anticipated hunting trip. Ryan grew up in Wyoming and hunting was a big event that he looked forward to every year. Since moving to Utah he hasn't done much hunting, so this year he and Eric, who lives in Salt Lake, decided to make it happen. They had to apply for a hunting license clear back in January! So they have been thinking and talking about and planning this trip for quite awhile.
Since my sister-in-law Hayley and mother-in-law Kathy and I were all going to be without husbands for a weekend, Hayley decided to organize a girls' day. I have two other sisters-in-law, Sara and Fabiana, who live here in Utah County, and my mom-in-law decided to drive in from Wyoming to be with us and see her grandkids. I have such awesome in-laws...they are so much fun and we all act like a bunch of kids when we're together! All of us girls have been talking forever about how we should get together and do some scrapbooking. So on Saturday all the girls came to my house and we spent the day snacking, perusing through photos and reminiscing, watching chick flicks and oh, yeah, doing a bit of scrapbooking. The only one who completed more than one page was Hayley! (Wish I had some photos of us, but Ryan stole the camera for his trip!)
I have to admit, this was my first time really sitting down and trying to scrapbook. I don't own hardly any scrapbooking stuff, so I had to borrow from the other girls' extensive collections. My first attempt turned out pretty cute, and I feel really excited now about buying some idea books, some supplies and working to get better at it. Scrapbooking is something I've wanted to get into for a long time, especially since Thomas was born...I have so many adorable photos of him I want to showcase! Plus I've seen several of my friends' scrapbooks and I am just in awe of their creativity. I don't think I knew for a long time how much you can do when you scrapbook...the options are endless! So I think I'm going to hit Archivers here soon and go on a little scrapbooking shopping spree. Woohoo!=) I also want to look into digital scrapbooking.
As for the boys, their hunting trip was almost thwarted. They left Friday night and had planned to stay through Monday, but then ended up coming home Saturday night because a blizzard started where they were camping/hunting. All of us girls had decided to make a visit to the craft store and then went to pick up some pizzas, and when we got back Ryan's truck was in the driveway with a foot of snow covering all their stuff! So we all had pizza and hung out. Ryan's mom & dad left Sunday, but Ryan and Eric checked the weather online and decided to drive back out Sunday night to hunt again Monday (today). I am eagerly awaiting Ryan's return and curious to know if they managed to get anything. Either way, I'm sure they're enjoying themselves. I think its so good for guys to get together and do "manly stuff" once in awhile...they come home refreshed and with a renewed appreciation for the women in their lives!
And it never hurts to have a chance to get together with the girls, too. =) I had a great time...I think I need girl time more often!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
As for Thomas, I decided on his costume months and months ago! Last year he was an adorable little lion...it was the cutest costume and I fell absolutely in love with it! But in my search I also found another costume online that I really liked: it was a dragon with wings, a long, stuffed tail and spikes all down the back. It was pretty expensive, plus I had already chosen Thomas' costume, so I didn't think too much about it. But after Halloween, the site had a big clearance sale and it was only a third of the original price...I was so excited! I was a little nervous to get it, because I would have to guess what size Thomas would be in a year, plus I was worried I would regret having bought it if I found something I liked better later. I decided the price was just too good to pass up, and I went for it. I was so excited to get it out of the box a few days ago and try it on Thomas, after waiting for so long...thankfully it fits! And even with all the cute new costumes out, I still absolutely love it. I can't wait to take lots of pictures!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Now I love bringing Thomas with us to the place where some of our most special memories were made. Its amazing to think that we became engaged 6 long years ago, and to see now the wonderful reward that our life together has brought us...our beautiful son!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Well, if you don't already know this about me, I gotta tell ya...I am a chronic night owl. Its late and I should be soundly snoozing, but I am bursting with things to write about! Life is just so full, fun and busy right now. I think I'll break for tonight, but you can probably expect a blogging blitz over the next while! =)