Wednesday, May 20, 2015

elder & sister shaughnessy.

my parents were in town for a few days this past week.
they stopped in to see us on their way from the MTC in provo, utah to their mission in hope, british columbia.
it was fun to have them visit.
and it was lots of fun to hear about their MTC experience, listen to them give a farewell talk in their old calgary ward, and see them looking all official with their missionary tags on.
i am proud of my parents for making a mission a priority and i am so grateful that our boys have them as great missionary examples.

Hope, BC is a small town of 6000, nestled right in the middle of the rocky mountains.
the pictures that my mom has sent me of their views are gorgeous.
a branch of 65 people was just organized in the town about 1 month ago, so my parents will be very involved in helping that branch become established and prosper.
they will be serving there for 6 months, and then plan to serve a longer mission after that.

other things that we have been up to this past week are..

we celebrated tank's 7th birthday.
yep, we still do something to celebrate that little terd's birthday.
he may not be the smartest creature on earth, but he is still part  of our family!

mothers day was fun.
matt and the boys got me a nice gift (that i have been admiring at the store for years now!) and made me the cutest card.
matt interviewed the boys and wrote down their funny answers to his interview questions in the card.
what a creative boy i married!
every time i read it, it makes me laugh.
my mom was even here for mothers day, so that was pretty special.

it's finally watermelon season!
and we have been going through obscene amounts of it.
(and by 'we' i mean 'holden and i').
watermelon has always been my favorite fruit.. but only when it is a good one.
i can't stand a not-perfect watermelon, but swear i could eat an entire perfect one!

matt got a really great 1 year review at his work.
i am very proud of him, and also very excited for the changes that  will mean for our family.

we had swim lessons again this week - round 2, lesson 2.
round 2, lesson 1 was not chet's finest class.
i made the mistake of telling him that he was moving up to a bigger class and, instantly, he was stressed.
then i tried to back track and tell him that it actually wasn't a big deal moving up to a new class, they basically teach the same thing.
but it didn't work. i already had ruined everything!
chet was so nervous at his first class in his new level and didn't participate how he had in the previous class.
so when we went to our second class i bribed encouraged chet.
i told the boys that if they listened to everything their teacher told them to do, i would buy them a happy meal after class.
a happy meal is a big deal to our boys! we never buy them.
they think happy meals are exciting because it means they get a toy aaaand their very own drink.
the bribe encouragement worked.
but almost too good!
my heart ached as i watched my little chet follow every single thing his swim teacher asked him to do.. through tears!
he would have such a worried look on his face as he watched all the other kids in his class participate in each exercise.
and, when it got to his turn, he would wipe away the tears and do what he was asked.
it was honestly so hard to watch!
i kept giving him big cheesy smiles and thumbs up, from across the pool, but it didn't seem to cheer him up. he was too worried.
i'm not sure why he is so worked up about being in a new swim class!
and i have absolutely no idea what his teacher was thinking as reluctantly participated in all the activities!
but, nonetheless, he did it. he earned himself a happy meal!
and i am very proud of him for pushing through something that he found so scary!

we planted our vegetable garden on holiday monday.

last year, we used some of the garden plot at my aunt and uncle's acerage to plant our vegetable garden.
it was a fun project to work on throughout the summer and to harvest in the fall.
we were hoping that we would be allowed to use some space again this year.. and we are!
their property is literally just a 2 minute drive from our home so it couldn't be more perfect.
we spent probably 7 hours at the garden that day - roto-tilling, planning, planting, and watering.
it shouldn't have taken that long, but it seems as though my indecisiveness is wearing off on my husband.
we put way too much thought into what rows of plants went where.
chet and holden helped a bit but, just like last year, their favorite part was just riding the little john deere tractor.
this year we planted peas, beans, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, pumpkins, and watermelon.
we don't have a lot of hope for the watermelon (seeing as how we live in canada) but the boys are excited for those.
they are also pretty pumped to carve a pumpkin they grew, come halloween.
so hopefully we grow at least one pumpkin!
we plan to visit the garden each monday, as our summer family night activity again.

after our garden planting, we went down to the west end of fish creek park for a hotdog roast with all the leavitts.

we ate dinner, played games, and visited.
matt even took lots of the cousins on a snake hunt.. and actually came back with one!

building with grandma and grandpa.
the birthday boy.
at our garden. playing in mud.
at the hotdog roast.
every time the boys come with me to the mission home to feed the missionaries, they like to sit by the back window and wait for this squirrel.
the mission president's wife is always feeding it so it has kind of turned into a pet.
when the boys tap on the window, the squirrel taps back!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

our first school meeting.

they are in the middle of shouting "rain!", instead of "cheese!". their idea.

we went to our first ever school meeting on wednesday night.
it felt weird to be back in an elementary school.
and even weirder to be there as a parent!

i have been beyond nervous to send chet off to school. almost dreading it.
but, thank goodness, that meeting took away so many of my worries.
as matt and i sat and listened to chet's future kindergarten teacher talk about the details of his first year of school, we couldn't help but be excited for him.
he is going to love it!
i already knew he would love it (he asks every day if it is time for him to go to real school yet!) but, for some reason, i was still so nervous.
seeing the fun classroom he will spend next year in, meeting his teacher, hearing about all the neat topics he will study and field trips he will go on, and learning about all the lengths they go to to make sure the kids feel safe and confident made me so happy!
september will be a very exciting time for chet. will also be a big stretch for him!
chet will be attending a school that does 2 full days/week, rather then 4 half days/week.
that means he will go from a pretty leisurely schedule this year, to having 2 days of being busy from 8:20am to 3:30pm.
he hasn't had a lot of days where he is engaged for that many hours straight so i will be curious to see what he thinks of that.
plus, he has never had to eat a lunch without a parent prodding him the whole time.
my goodness, that boy is the slowest eater ever (a quality my mom says he gets from me!).
his teacher will get to know him really good during lunch time, i'm sure.

BUT before school starts, we first get to enjoy summer.
chet is always asking when school starts and i keep telling him it is after we get to enjoy the sunny summer weather.
but, at the rate we are going, i am pretty sure sunny summer weather is never going to come!
ugh.. i would give anything to be hot. or at least decently warm, without the use of a hoodie or jacket.
please summer, feel free to bless us with your presence any time now.
haha even chet is getting impatient waiting for the before-school sunny weather to come.
"mom, is it ever going to get hot? i really want to go to school."

we have quite a few things planned this summer:
matt is going to chicago for a work conference.
i have girls camp.
matt has scouts camp.
we are going to arizona for 10 days in july.
we have the leavitt family camp in august.
and, somewhere in between those things, we plan on making a day trip to waterton and banff.
the boys have also come up with a long wish-list of summer activities. (i will post that list sometime soon, but it includes everything from horseback riding to calaway park to seeing a shooting star.)
we are also planting another garden at my aunt and uncle's acreage, so we will have that to take care of and, eventually, harvest.

come on summer! we are so ready for you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

rock candy.

this past week, we did a science experiment (of sorts).
i looked up how to make rock candy and we went for it.
it was pretty simple. the hardest part (for our boys) was all the waiting. 
we watched the candy slowly grow each day.
and the boys were so excited when the day came that we finally got to eat them!
they weren't over the top tasty but sometimes things just taste better when you put lots of love into them.

we got some new books from the library today.
lately, our boys like to pick out these educational books about animals - the kind you would use back in elementary school or junior high to make a really great poster board about polar bears or parrots.
this week, chet picked out a book about pythons, and another about frogs.
holden picked one about penguins.
that boy loves penguins.
he wants a penguin birthday party... when his birthday party finally comes.
he is always asking when his birthday will be. unfortunately, for him, his birthday is still almost 8 weeks away.
long waits are a hard concept for 2 year olds.

those animal books aren't my favorite kind of book to read with our boys.
i find them dull, for the most part.
i prefer reading story books with them.
i am always impressed with how long they will sit and listen to stories.
and i like when we all snuggle tight around the book to read it.
today, i grabbed 'the giving tree' to bring home.
when we got to last part of the book, i started crying!
haha in a storybook.
my boys couldn't figure out what was wrong with me!
but they still really liked the book.

my parents are currently in the provo mtc.
they are there this week, here in calgary for a couple days next week, and then off to their mission in BC the following week.
matt and i listened in on their settings apart, via our phone, on friday night, and are looking forward to hearing about the mtc when we see them next week.

other things we have been up to the past week (and most weeks) are:
- going on walks.
- coloring our sidewalk with chalk pictures. lots and lots of them.
- the boys have been riding their bikes all over the place.
- playing at parks.
- catching bugs.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

a long walk.

tuesday was the hottest day of the year, so far, so we got out and made sure to enjoy it.
we drove over the grandma and grandpa leavitt's house to use that as a starting point for a big walk.
first thing first, we headed to husky for a slurpee. and then headed to the fish creek park ridge.
our boys love to be outside, and i love to be outside with them.
they were so happy looking for sticks and pinecones, drinking their slurpees, finding good rocks and benches to sit on, and looking for squirrels.
we all got some rosy cheeks from the sun, and it felt so good.
when was the last time we got that?! we didn't even get that when were in arizona a few months ago!
our boys have the cutest littlest freckles popping up on the bridge of their noses and i love it.
my grandpa used to tell me that my freckles were bird poop! so made them a lot less lovable.
but, now that i know that freckles are definitely from a bird pooping on my face, i like freckles.
and i am excited to see more show up on our boys this summer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

sidewalk art.

the time of year to create sidewalk chalk masterpieces is now upon us.
and chet drew just the loveliest little person yesterday!
i don't know what it is about the pictures that my boys draw, but i just love them to bits.
even if i tried with all my might, i couldn't make something so adorable. not fair.

i wasn't *as* proud of the fact that he wrote poop on the sidewalk..
but at least he is working on his letters, right?!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

recent tidbits.

recent tidbits.

- our boys have turned into bacon monsters. they. love. bacon! loving bacon seems like such a stereotypical boy thing to me, so i think it's kind of funny.

- holden is getting so good at riding his balance bike. he likes just about anything chet likes to do (and chet loooves riding his bike) so it doesn't surprise me that holden has been excited to learn and practice. plus, holden seems to be pretty coordinated with things like that.

- we went to see the paddington bear movie the other weekend. such a cute show. we went to the library a few days later with the specific purpose of finding some paddington books to bring home. i remember liking paddington when i was a kid, so i like that our boys like him too.

- on friday evening, we went on a bike ride to a little bakery in fish creek park, called annie's. it was a very windy day, but we toughed it out. we packed a picnic dinner to eat outside and then we headed inside for some ice cream.

- we had our first fire of the season last night in matt's parent's backyard. i don't love smelling like a fire, but i sure do love sitting next to one. i love watching the flames dance around, and the way the fire lights up our boys' faces when they sit and watch it too.

- this isn't necessarily a 'recent' tidbit - it has been happening for the past year - but this is the first time i have actually thought to write it down. for some reason, chet has confused the name 'maple leaf' with 'nipple leaf'. i'm not sure how?! in my mind, they aren't similar at all! but, either way, several times a week (because we live in canada and have lots of maple leaf flags around our city) we are blessed to hear chet refer to the patriotic maple leaf as the 'nipple leaf'. 

- we have started coming up with a list of special things we would like to do this summer. the list includes things like going to the zoo with dad, watch fireworks, ride a horse, jump in the lake, etc.. chet's most recent addition to the list is 'seeing a shooting star'... that might be a tricky one to schedule in! i am very excited to start in on our summer list.

this is holden, after driving home from a day at aunt rebecca's house.
our boys play at aunt rebecca's house on the days that i work (monday/friday).
they always have so much fun there - they never want to leave when i come to pick them up!
on the specific day that this picture was taken, he fell asleep on the drive home and did not wake as i hauled him in the house, laid him on the floor, or when i changed his diaper!
he must have been working hard to keep up with the big kids all day.


a beauty of a cake.

it was my birthday this week.
i used to love birthdays but, ever since i have been in my twenties, i find them pretty depressing.
this birthday was especially depressing because it was my last in my twenties.
next time i mourn celebrate a birthday, i will be 30.
which, for some odd reason, makes me super bummed.
oh well, nothing i can do to fix that.
i suppose i will just have to make every day i have left in my twenties really count!

on my birthday, jocelyn invited me over for a lunch/play date.
my friend, leiah, came too.
it was fun to get together, catch up, and watch our kids play.
that night, matt and i both had youth activities at the church, so we didn't do any celebrating.
but our activities were together that night so at least we still got to hang out.

the very next day, matt organized a babysitter and took me out for dinner and treated me to some nice gifts.
after dinner, we headed home to dig into the tasty cake chet and holden made for me!

yep, that's right.. chet and holden were in charge of my cake this year.
the day after my birthday, chet asked me why i didn't have a cake.
i jokingly told him that it was because he didn't make me one!
and then, instantly, he wanted to make one for me.
he chose the cake flavor (chocolate - i absolutely would have picked vanilla!) and frosting color (pink - one of my least favorite colors!), and i got those all ready for him.
then i sat the boys down with the cake, frosting, and all the decorating supplies i could round up.
they had 100% free reign on the decorating and, boy, did they ever take advantage of that!
in the end, there was an unhealthy amount of sprinkles on that cake.
and when it came time to actually eat the cake, even our boys weren't very interested!
oh well, i still thoroughly enjoyed watching them try to make something beautiful for me. so fun.

my birthday also marked 1 year since we returned to calgary.
i wonder how many more years we have here..?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

holden these days.

holden is such a good kid.
he is a happy boy.
and 93% of the time he is super easy going and fun to be around.
the other 7%? well, he can be a wee bit scary.
during those times, we usually just obey his every command an pray things don't take a turn for the worse.
BUT for the majority of the time, he is the sweetest little fellow.

he is a loyal friend to his big brother.
he is always willing to share a bite of his tasty treats with you.
he enjoys giving puppy dog kisses and llama kisses (both are just big, slobbery licks).
 he likes to snuggle. especially after a nap.
he doesn't give up easily on things that are tricky for him.
he always wants to help (even when help is the last thing i need from him!).
he laughs hard - right from the gut.
he thinks he is older then two and a half.
he loves to climb.
he is a total fruit monster.
when he sleeps, he has lips that are just as undeniably kissable as his big brother.
he likes to try to say prayers on his own lately, with his eyes squished so tightly shut.
he has a good attitude.
he is forgiving.
he is oh, so easy to love.

one of our favorite things about holden these days is how he reacts when things don't work out quite how he had hoped they would.
he usually responds with a long, drawn out, "ohhh mannnn."
the way he says it is adorable.

i honestly can't believe our baby will be 3 this summer.
i remember the start of his life like it was yesterday.
and, although it wasn't as smooth as we had hoped, it was absolutely worth it!

our easter weekend.

on wednesday night, i told matt that i wished he had thursday AND friday off, not just friday.
and then, all of sudden, he decided to stay home both days!
aren't i spoiled?
our 3 day weekend turned into a 4 day weekend. and it was awesome.
i love spending my days with matt, and normal weekends just never seem long enough.
with all the errands that need to be run on saturdays, and church commitments on sundays, weekends seem to fly by.

i am constantly trying to think up some wicked business idea that matt and i could do together, so we could be together everyday.
but i'm yet to think of something.
plus, i'm not sure matt would be on board with spending allll his time with little ol' me!

anyways, this is how our long weekend went:

on thursday, we went to an easter petting zoo.
it was at a mall that i didn't even know existed and, once i got these, i quickly realized why.
it was one nasty little mall with all sorts of interesting people perusing through it.
but even though the mall was somewhere i would never *ever* venture again, the petting zoo was super cute.
we saw baby chicks, kids, lambs, bunnies, and a grouchy piglet.
there is something about a baby goat that makes matt and i want to own one. (not that we ever would!)
but if there was a farmer who wanted to trade our chihuahua for a baby goat for a couple weeks, we would totally be on board.
after the petting zoo, we got milkshakes.

on friday, we had the annual leavitt family easter egg roll and easter dinner.
every year, we all meet at matt's parent's house with all the easter eggs we have decorated, we walk to a nearby hill in fish creek park, and we roll our eggs down.
in the end, there are dozens and dozens of broken eggs scattered on the hill.
all the dad's took things to another level when they starting competing to see who could throw an egg the most accurately to a sewer drain way at the bottom of the hill (where lots of the kids were playing and where a bike path passes by).
no one got any hard boiled eggs to the head, but there were a couple close calls.
the dad's also all had a foot race up and down a large hill. matt won.
i was totally not expecting matt to win (seeing as how i honestly can't think of the last time he exercised!) but somehow, he pulled it off.
as for easter dinner? it was tasty. and so was the ridiculously large buffet of desserts.
as our contribution to the easter events, we made this adorable rice krispie carrots:
a while pile of them:
and i think they turned out really cute :)

on saturday, we woke up to a big surprise.. the easter bunny had hidden candy all over our house!
we had fun watching the boys excitedly collect the candies.
we don't have a lot of great hiding spots in our main floor, but it didn't seem to matter because out boys aren't super good lookers!
they were the most excited about the enormous kinder eggs they got.
i found those at the store a couple weeks ago and had to buy them.
our boys love kinder surprises, and ask to get them every time we are standing in a checkout at a store, so i knew they would be pretty thrilled with those huge ones.
the toys inside were basically just as crappy, just bigger. but i figured that would be the case!

after the egg hunt, we watched the morning session of general conference and then spent the afternoon at the mall.
which, by the way, was a terrible idea! it was so busy.
but we stopped by 'cookies by george' and that seemed to make all the crowds worth it.
matt watched priesthood session at his brother's house that night with all the men in the family and some friends.
and, while he was gone, i started making some cinnamon rolls to eat while watching conference the next morning.

on sunday, we ate the rolls while watching the morning session.
not to brag, but they were pretty delicious.
conference was great - every year i think i love it more.
i will for sure need to go back and read the talks again (especially the 2 sessions-worth of talks i never ever heard a first time) but, for now, i think elder holland stole the show. his talk was my favorite in that sunday session.
elder holland has always been one of my favorites (along with bendar, uchtdorf, and, of course, monson) so i wasn't surprised that what he said was so special to me.

in the afternoon, we snuck away to elbow falls to get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
elbow falls is where matt proposed to me. *awwww*
sadly, the falls were destroyed pretty good in the alberta flood 2 summers ago, and that place doesn't look anything like it use to.
it's crazy how powerful water can be.
it was still nice to go out there, though...
even if it was cold and snowy.

yep, snowy.

thankfully, calgary didn't get nearly as much snow as elbow falls.
but still, while everyone else seems to be posting pictures of their kids hunting for easter eggs in tall, green grass, we are up here dealing with snow.
i. am. so. sick. of. winter.
thank goodness we don't plan on being here that long. 
my brain honestly feels like it is going to explode if i wake up to one more snow storm, let alone if i had to go through a life time of long winters.

i try to keep a positive attitude because being back in calgary has been a blessing in lots of ways - even more then we anticipated when we made the decision to return. it truly has.
but i still look forward to our next adventure.. with much anticipation.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

decorating eggs.

we decorated easter eggs for family home evening this week.
it was lots of fun.
(especially once i let go of all the hopes i had of the eggs turning out like the ones on pinterest.) :)
holden, as per usual, was the one who really got into the decorating.
chet just isn't much of a crafter - trust me, i have tried to force that love on him and it is just not happening.
but, despite that, chet did have fun dipping the eggs too.

i have been oddly excited to celebrate easter with our boys this year.
i think it is such a cute holiday (and it might help that it always falls nice and close to my birthday - sometimes right on it.)
we have already done some easter crafts, made 1 of the 2 easter treats we plan on making this year, decorated eggs, and gone to chet's joy school easter party.
and we still plan on going to an easter petting zoo, and having easter dinner and the annual leavitt easter egg roll on friday.
what a busy week of bunnies and eggs and chocolate!

plus - more importantl - we have been working on sharing the true meaning of easter with our boys.
and that has been pretty special too.

and here are the boys playing at the park on friday night IN SHORTS.
i'm not sure it was actually 'shorts weather', but when you endure a long winter like we have, you get desperate!