Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Happy Halloween!

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' 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 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

The Corn Maze and The Cabin

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

Guy Time and Girl Time

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

Coming Soon: The Laidlaws on Laurel Lane

Many friends and family members have asked us about the new home we are building. We are building in Saratoga Springs, a beautiful newer community West of Lehi, near Utah Lake, about 25 minutes North of Provo. We have loved our little red brick house here in Provo, but ever since Thomas was born its become quite crowded, and much too small for our growing family. Even with our excitement about our new home and the additional space, its hard not to feel sentimental about leaving our little "Love Cottage." We put a lot of time, effort and heart into remodeling our first little home when we bought it in March of took us 6 months (much longer than we had anticipated!) and a whole lotta sweat, persistance and money! When we finished, it looked beautiful and we loved the results of our work, but we swore we would never remodel again.

We are now experiencing similar feelings as we are building a home. Ryan works in construction, so he has connections to a lot of contractors and sub-contractors through which he can get discounts and deals. This is a great advantage for us, but we are finding out more and more what a complicated business building a new home is. We are "sort of" working with a general contractor that Ryan's company does the drywall for, but Ryan has decided to start handling most of the general contracting himself...getting bids, organizing the sub-contractors, scheduling inspections, and committing himself to making endless phone calls and driving out to our lot every single day, along with handling his regular workload. We bought our lot in March of this year, but were unable to begin building right away, because the sub-division its in was so new it hadn't been totally developed yet...gas and water lines weren't in, etc. We had to wait for that to be finished before we could obtain a building permit and begin excavation. Even after we got the permit, we experienced many more delays before the excavation began. When we finally broke ground, we were very anxious to get going with things...only to be hit with another problem. The lot we had chosen, though ideally situated and with a beautiful view, just so happened to be sitting on bedrock. The excavation company had to wait until a giant construction jackhammer could be brought in to break it all out. That took quite some time, and then there were more delays before the foundation was put in. You can imagine our mounting frustration! But Ryan has been taking it all in stride, and we can finally say that we are able to see the beginnings of our home-to-be. Framing should begin in a couple of weeks and we are so excited!

We have long dreamed of building a home, and it seems almost too good to be true that its finally happening. Sometimes I start to doubt it will ever be finished and that we'll actually get to move in! I'm always daydreaming about it...where furniture will go, how we'll decorate, all the new conveniences it will bring to life. Its a rambler (one-story) with 3 bedrooms, a den and 2.5 bathrooms on the main floor, and a full unfinished basement. It has a wonderfully open kitchen and great room with a fireplace, and picture windows looking out towards the east, giving us a beautiful view of Utah Lake and the Wasatch Front. Our lot slopes down towards the back, so you can walk right out of the basement into the yard. Someday when we finish the basement we'll be able to add a few more bedrooms, a storage room and a theater room. There are two brand-new parks just a short walk away, and eventually there will be a community building for the subdivision with a pool.

We don't know for sure when the house will be totally completed, but it will probably be sometime in January or February. We'll add updates every now and then as contruction goes on. I am so anxious to finally see my house have walls! It will be wonderful to be able to walk around inside and imagine the memories that will be made and the traditions formed there. Who knows, maybe we'll live the rest of our lives there? No matter what, I know that those walls are not what will truly make up my home. My home is the ones I love--my husband and my son, and the other children that will join our family someday. They are the true blessings and dreams come true in my life, and for them I am so grateful.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I ♥ Halloween!

I am realizing more and more every year how much I love Halloween! Its just such a fun, whimsical holiday when kids and adults alike can get creative and be anything they want to be! Last year was Thomas' first Halloween, and it was so fun to dress him up and carve a little "family" of pumpkins together. I am even more excited this year...I went out and got a bunch of decorations for my house, and I have committed to finding an awesome costume for myself. Every year I think about dressing up, then I don't (or I throw something together last-minute), and then I'm sad about it! So I'm going to find a fabulous costume this year. I'm not quite decided for sure on what I'll be, but I'm having fun looking at all the options!

As for Thomas, I decided on his costume months and months ago! Last year he was an adorable little 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!

Last year's Jacks...can you guess whose was whose?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Autumn Love

Everyone is talking about how much they love fall, and I am definitely one of those people! I love the crisp, fresh, cool feeling of autumn days, and the unique beauty the season brings to everything. Like many people in the Provo area, my husband and I take a drive up Provo Canyon and the Alpine Loop every fall, to see the beautiful changing colors and experience autumn in the mountains. Alpine Loop has a particularly special meaning to Ryan and I, because that is where he asked me to be his wife. It was right at the end of September, and so every year right around that same time, we make the journey up to where we decided to spend eternity together, and we relive the feelings of that day.

We made our drive this last Sunday and spent some time at one of our favorite spots, where we like to take pictures every year. We had our engagement pictures up the Alpine Loop as well, so its fun to go through and look at photos of us each passing year, at the same exact spot. (Ryan proposed to me at a different spot, which is harder to reach and a bit of a hike in...he made me work for that ring! =) It was terribly romantic though.)

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

I'm Givin' In!

I'm joining the world of blogging! More and more people I know are creating pages full of photos, videos, addictive ramblings and fun stories from their lives, and I've finally decided I have to be a part of it all. I read friends' blogs so frequently that I often find myself formulating my own blog posts and things I want to write about in my mind, so I finally decided to start. So here I go! I love how the web can help friends and family keep in touch with one another, and how it enables people to share both the important and the everyday parts of life with each other, regardless of how many miles apart life may take us.

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! =)