26 January 2015

Business as Usual

Curtis had to complete a two-week assignment at a truck dealership, and he chose to do that in Salt Lake. So, why not bring the whole family? We took an extra week off, purely for convenience's sake, so we wouldn't have to drive to Portland then back to Utah then back to Portland. It was a fantastic idea, to say the least. Lately, I feel like all his business turns into extended family vacations. I still wish we had turned Spain into a family vacation. Oh well. Maybe next time.

After the Christmas festivities were over, we drove down to Salt Lake City, Utah, as we had done many, many times before. It honestly felt like we were driving home . . . not driving in the opposite direction. The mountains, the temples, the feeling of Utah seemed so comforting and familiar. It was nice.

Mammaw, than you for letting us stay with you for the first week. Boy, are you a hoot! We played games late at night and had a party with the whole family. Just like old times. You are a big reason we felt so at home in Utah.

Reid and Stacy, we're so glad we were able to see sweet Evaline's blessing. It was such an honor for you to invite us—and if you hadn't, this whole vacation probably would never have happened. We have always felt terrible about moving away right before your wedding, so we hope the steak made up for it.

Rick and the Nomen Alumni Association (actually, there's no such thing), there will always be a special place in my heart for you all! Teaching English was always something I wanted to do as a career, and I know I was more than lucky to do it while living in Provo, Utah. I was able to live my dream and meet some of the finest people in the world at the same time. It was lovely seeing you all again at the most authentic Mexican joint around these parts--Cafe Rio.

Sara and John, breakfasts at your house never disappoint! Although it was a little weird being in our old house with you, we always love chatting about whatever comes up. We can't believe how big Sam is (and how round his head still is!) and that you have another on the way! You two always make us feel so good about being who we are, so we really do wish we saw you more often!

Drew and Julie, we really are friends! It meant a lot to me when you told us we were good friends because we promised to visit you and we actually did . . . of course we did! It's a shame we didn't have time for you to tell us the story of how you fell in love again (my favorite story), but there is always next time, right? Right?

Many and Nere, you are both some of our most loyal friends, and we were so glad we got to meet little Liam! We still get a kick out of the "we are only doing something simple," and Many whips up the most delicious Baja tacos we've ever had in our lives. No exaggeration. Nere, I've been making salsa like you told us to. We will never do anything else.

Provo 3rd Ward, I feel like we will always consider you our "home" ward. You were the first ward we attended as a married couple, and you shaped our religious lives at a critical time in our marriage. We still talk about all the great friends we had in your ward and how easy it was to be ourselves around you. Thanks for welcoming us back with warm smiles and a jar of honey.

Alicia (and family), you were the best visiting teacher I have ever had, and you still make me feel like I am the most important person! We were so honored you invited us over to your home for dinner, and you must tell Ruben what a wonderful chef he is. So tender and juicy . . . it's a real vacation when every meal is delicious.

Pizzaria 712, you are the one thing we wanted to eat when we came back to visit. I don't know what "burrata," "romesco," or "crostinis" are, but you know that they are delicious together, and I trust you. The fig and Gorgonzola pizza was a total winner, but when have we ever had a non-winner with you? Never.

Kamille, I have basically known you longer than anyone other human on Earth, and it shows. No topic is-off limits, and I always know we generally have the same exact thoughts at the same exact times . . . probably because our two babies are the same exact ages. Winston was such a perfect friend for Sebastian. The testing at the beginning just allowed them to know they were on the same page, and now Sebastian loves Win like a brother. I want them to be friends forever. Kangaroo Zoo, the children's museum, swimming . . . I never wanted it to end.

Delyn, no matter how many years go by, I will always consider you one of my biggest inspirations and sweetest allies. You look better every time I see you, and I am so excited to hear about your new plans and to see where they take you. P.S. Sebastian finished drawing in his notebook after like two Sundays. I'm surprised it lasted that long! He just loved it. And I loved my chocolate. That didn't last nearly as long. Not at all.

Garrett and Austen and Baby Roy, what can I say? We love you guys to death. We loved having dinner at your apartment, at Pizzaria 712, and at our hotel. I still laugh when I think of Garrett throwing Sebastian on the bed the way you did. You already know this, but Sebastian has named all of his toys after you. We may not have a black and white cat toy, so the dalmatian is named Baby Roy. And they play chase together all the time.

05 January 2015

Christmas in Boise

After a long set of months being far away from family, we were excited to get to spend two whole weeks in Boise with Curtis's family.

Heather's Homecoming
A few days after we arrived, we learned that Heather was going to be coming home from her mission just in time for Christmas. An early Christmas miracle for everyone! We gathered at the Boise Airport with family and friends to see Heather walk off the plane.

Launching Rockets
Wesley is one of Sebastian's coolest uncles. He built his own rocket launcher out of PVC pipe and a bike pump. Sebastian loved watching Wesley launch rockets in the freezing weather and running after the rockets to do it again and again.

Christmas Morning
This year marks one of the first years that Sebastian really understood what "Christmas morning" really means. He was still confused at first about what to do with the wrapped boxes, but he quickly caught on.

The (big) boys took a day together to go skiing at Bogus Basin. They are all horrible at remembering to take pictures, but I hear it was a crash-filled day. Curtis at least has a black toenail now to prove they did something extreme.

The Hale family tradition of caroling is one of the highlights of the year. We sang "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night" for a few family friends. Many people claim it makes their Christmas. It sure makes ours.

One of the highlights was going bowling as a family. Sebastian bowled for the first time, and did pretty well! He loved watching the ball roll all the way down the lane, and he even got a spare!

Family Pictures
We took family pictures at the Boise Capitol building. It was perfect because the family was complete with Heather. It was also a perfect occasion for Livia's first shopping spree. She was quite pleased.

Family Games
What is a Hale holiday without a few rounds of Spaced Out? As usual, I dominated—with a baby in my arms, I might add.

New Year's Eve
It turns out that New Year's Eve is a terrible holiday when you have two babies that go to sleep at eight o'clock. We thought about attending a few different parties, but got distracted by Netflix. I think we tried kissing at midnight, but we could have missed that too. Oops.