Arizona for Christmas, Part 1

I was so nervous about the flight to Mesa with the two boys. Not because of how they would behave but because I was only bringing one suitcase for all three of us and it had to be under 40 pounds. I was able to get it pretty close though and I thought we would be fine. When we got to Minot, the suitcase was way overweight! But there was nothing I could leave. We were already only bringing four outfits each and I only had one pair of shoes, which I was already wearing! I didn't want to have only three outfits for the next four weeks. I have no shame so I stood there in line and pulled on a pair of maternity pants over the top of my regular jeans. Then I put on my jacket, and carried the boys' jackets, blankets, sippy cups, and Sunday shoes through security. It made the flight less comfortable but at least it was a nonstop flight!

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We were delayed but we finally got to Mesa. My mom picked us up and drove us home. We changed clothes, and then headed to Papa and Gramma's birthday/anniversary party. Then the next few days we were in Vegas for Jacob's wedding.

My oldest sister did acrogymnastics for a few years and Bruce was her partner. He is so awesome and I always tell people about how he is so strong that he can't touch his shoulders with his hands because of his biceps. He came over to visit for a few minutes and drove his awesome car. This car is only practical in Arizona. Most places he wouldn't be able to drive it all year. I decided the car was cool enough that it was worth waking up Alex and Edison from their naps.

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I went to the dentist that afternoon and then we went to see a movie after dinner. It was fun to go see a movie without the kids but I was so tired and I fell asleep. I guess Lincoln was really good, too. Whoops.

A school nearby came around the neighborhood caroling. The kids were so cute and Alex loved the horses pulling the hayride.

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There were so many new toys around.

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My mom's organ has a few broken pedals so she can't use it to practice anymore. It was perfect for the boys. I think the organ got more use from the kids than it had in years.

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Sam flew in on December 18th. His flight was delayed a few hours so we weren't able to go do anything that night. I was glad to be reunited! We had all missed him!

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The next day, Sam went to the dentist. His teeth are perfect as always. After we put the boys to bed that night, we went Christmas shopping. It was a fun date night.

We took Alex and Edison to the dentist. Alex has ten cavities. TEN! Edison didn't have any. The amount of cavities Alex has is ridiculous to me because we brush his teeth every single night. Since this dentist visit though, we have started flossing his teeth every night as well. He loves having his teeth flossed!

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My mom got an awesome deal with Bahama Bucks for a party pack so we got to make our own shaved ice at home. I am addicted to Bahama Bucks.

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The next day, we played at the park. We got to see someone feeding their horses and the boys were in heaven. Also, I am not sure if the boys had ever played in a park with sand. They have seen sandboxes, but most parks in Texas and North Dakota have wood chips instead of sand. It was like a giant sandbox!

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After we got home, Michelle, Keaton, and Everett pulled in. They had been driving all day to get to Mesa in time for The Piano Guys concert that night. We ate dinner really fast and then got ready to go. But we couldn't find Adam. He walked in, soaking wet from the ribs down, and carrying a BB gun. We were not happy. He changed clothes and then we left. We later learned that he had shot a duck in the canal and then jumped in the get it. But it was dark so he had a hard time finding it. He swam over to where he thought it was but it ended up being a shopping cart. Let's count the ways that Adam is crazy: 1. He shot a duck. 2. He jumped into the canal to get it. 3. In the dark. 4. Alone. 5. He carried the dead duck all the way home. 6. He later cooked the duck. 7. He ate the duck. A Mesa canal duck. Gross.

Anyway, we went to The Piano Guys concert and it was amazing. I was surprised that I knew many of their songs from YouTube. David is a huge fan and he was gaga over the whole thing.

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During intermission, we saw an old friend from high school and it was fun to visit with Julie. At the end of the concert, we went up to talk to Lindsey Stirling. I saw her perform in Junior Miss when I was in high school and now she is a famous violinist/performer. David has a massive crush on her.

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 I am so glad I captured this picture of David. He was standing like this for a few minutes having a conversation with us. Like standing this way is totally normal. Kook.

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 Once reunited, we have to see how people are measuring up. It's a little unfair because I feel like my brothers just keep growing taller and I keep growing rounder. It cracks me up how Flannel and Adam are both sucking in so hard. We decided that Flannel was just a tiny bit taller than Adam.

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Sam and I were sitting at the kitchen table minding our own business one day when we heard the door to our bedroom open. The boys were supposed to be asleep. We turned around to see who was opening the door and Edison was wandering down the hallway. He had learned how to climb out of the Pack N Play. It didn't end up being too big of a problem but we had to put him back in bed a few times each night.

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But the Pack N Play isn't just fun to get climb out of. It is also fun to climb into!

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The boys loved that they were able to play outside anytime. In North Dakota, I am always telling them it is too cold to play outside. But Arizona was perfect. Parks and cousins?! Awesome.

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I bought these ornaments for 80% off at Target after Christmas last year and it was fun for the boys to put them together.

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Whitni was able to come in town for a few days. I got to hang out with her for a few hours.

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I got home and my mom was gone. I learned that she had taken Adam to the eye doctor. He threw gunpowder into his furnace and it exploded in his face. So one day he shoots a canal duck, and the next day he gets molten lead in his eyes. It was not his best few days.

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That night, my mom's cousin and the rest of the Baers were performing at the Mesa temple grounds. I wanted to see the lights anyway so we went to see the concert, too. My mom sat with Edison on her lap on the very front row and Edison was entranced the whole time. I stood in the very back with Alex and he was not nearly as interested.

I told my mom and her Aunt Gail to stand together for a picture. Then my mom said something about showing that picture to Kent (my mom's dad, Gail's brother, and my grandpa) and Gail said, "Oh yes, my son Kent." It was really sad. Gail has Alzheimer's but I didn't realize it was so bad that she had forgotten that she had a brother named Kent as well as a son.

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I actually remembered to take a family picture before church. This never happens and I am glad I did.

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That night, we went to David's YSA concert. It was really good. When we got home, I vacuumed and noticed it wasn't working very well. My dad tried to fix the vacuum and it exploded on him. Hilarious to me, not so hilarious to him. Then Whitni came over and we talked for a few hours. I didn't end up going to bed until 2am.

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We spent every night staying up late playing games or talking. At midnight, Matthew decided he was hungry. Tables are overrated so he was pouring himself cereal in the middle of the family room.

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The day after Christmas, Sam and I met up with Britt-Face for breakfast. She was in town from NYC for a few days. We talked about back in the day when we were roommates and we also got to catch up. It was fun to hear about the Citi/city life (she works for Citi in NYC. So clever...).

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The boys went golfing in the afternoon. They played Best Ball and I think Sam's team lost. Whoops. The team of old men (Papa, Dad, Uncle Scott, and Papa's friend) won.

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We met up with them after golfing at Texas Roadhouse. It was my parents' Christmas present to Papa and Gramma. They stayed home with the kids and babysat while we ate a delicious dinner.

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We went ice skating. I was really worried about falling and the boys were not handling it well. Alex hated it but Edison was actually okay with it. I left early with the kids. Afterwards, everyone had sore backs from bending over and holding the kids while skating around.

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Adam is the poor youngest child. We are always making fun of him for holding his cards backwards. For Christmas, I gave him this card holder for people with little hands. It ended up being handy! I bought it six months ago. When I saw it at the store, I immediately thought of Adam.

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 Our temple in North Dakota is four hours away in Bismarck. I wanted to take advantage of having the temple only ten minutes away so Sam and I went. We did sealings. That was the first time I had ever done a proxy sealing! When we were done at the temple, we went to Krazy Sub for lunch.

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Candi is one of Michelle's good childhood friends. She brought her kids over for a few hours. It was fun to visit with Candi. Sam was awesome about playing with the kids. A few seconds after I took this picture, the whole wheelbarrow tipped over and kids rolled all over the place.

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Sam and I had not been on a proper date for six months so we went out to dinner. The plan was to go to a movie as well but the restaurant was really busy so it was later than we wanted. We picked up a movie and then watched it at home instead.

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A few years ago, I gave David a coupon for violin lessons from me. But then I graduated from high school and moved away. So we pulled an old violin out of the closet and I finally made good on my promise. I have never taught violin lessons to someone who already knew music though. David was picking up on it really fast!

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The boys were having so much fun with their cousins. They played with and popped the balloons from Christmas and they also loved watching Uncle Matthew fly his remote controlled helicopter.

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This isn't just a cute picture of Edison. It is also to show off my awesome boots I got for Christmas from Sam's parents.

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On the last day of 2012, we went to the park to play with Holly and her four adorable kids. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a ton of fun.

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After we left the park, we went to Chick-Fil-A. I miss having one so close like we did in Texas. The boys were too distracted by their cousins to eat though. I don't think they ate anything, except ketchup apparently.

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We did so many things and this is just the first half of our time in Arizona. Whew! Luckily I am still not ready to go home!


Christmas 2012

It was so nice to spend Christmas in Arizona. I have a million (or 500) pictures and a lot of things to write about the whole visit to Mesa.

Sheldon arrived on Christmas Eve and his kids and wife were so happy to have him there. I had been telling Alex that we couldn't open presents until we got to Arizona. Then we got there and he was ready to open presents. So I had to delay him again. I told him we needed to wait for Daddy. But then Sam arrived so I told him we could open presents when Sheldon flew in. Alex was bouncing off the walls telling me that "Sheldon is here!" I thought it was cute that he was excited until he said, "Now let's open presents." Darn. One more day, Alex.

My parents' home teachers brought Krispy Kreme donuts in the morning. I ate three and then looked up the nutrition facts about them. Not good.

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Around 5pm, we went to Papa and Gramma's for our Christmas Eve festivities. We acted out the nativity scene, per tradition. Everyone is getting older now. The past few years have been full of complaining because people thought they were too cool for it but this year everyone participated and it was awesome. I guess this tradition will be completely handed over to the babies one of these years.

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We sang Christmas songs while the kids bounced off the walls, and off of each other.

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We don't normally get to open a gift on Christmas Eve but Gramma had a gift for each person and my cousins weren't planning to come back the next day so we all got to open our gifts a day early! Papa gave us all $50 in $1 bills. I felt like I was being judged when I used them to buy tickets to a movie later that week. I felt the need to explain to the person working in the ticket booth that if I were a stripper then the dollar bills wouldn't be so straight, or in numerical order. She looked at me as if I were crazy.

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When we got back to my parents' house and put the boys to bed, I recruited everyone to help blow up balloons. We used my dad's compressor and that helped things go much faster. We used 150 balloons this year.

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Christmas morning did not start as early as I expected. We woke up at 7:40am! It was pretty great.

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We had to line up in the hallway and wait until all of the slowpokes (Sam, Sheldon, and Laura - those in-laws are always causing problems!) to get ready. The kids were getting impatient.

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I ordered aprons for the boys. I love them but they were mostly interested in candy so they didn't care for them at that time. Luckily they like them now!

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After we opened presents, ate breakfast, and got ready for the day, we headed over to Papa and Gramma's for lunch. I think people had fun but I don't really know what happened over there because I fell asleep on the couch. When we got home from their house, I took a three hour nap so I must have been really tired.

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That night we got to Skype with Elder Jared in Taiwan. I have never Skyped with an Elder before and it was so fun to talk to him and "see" him for an hour.

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Some people went to see a movie that night but I felt like it was a Sunday and not a Tuesday. It was so strange. It felt weird and I was being lazy and didn't want to put on shoes, so I stayed home. It was a great Christmas and I am so glad we were able to spend it with so many siblings. I will be sad when everyone stops gathering for Christmas although I know the time is not far off since we are starting to become a pretty big family!

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