Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter/Christmas activities

I love Christmas-time and want Tracen to grow up loving it as well.   Here are  some pictures from a few of the activities we have been enjoying:

Tracen has no winter boots so we decided to bring the snow inside the house to play with.

He mostly likes eating it, but we did make a few little snowman (which are much more fun to knock over than build)

And then Tracen enjoyed his first cup of hot chocolate.  He loves it and we have enjoyed it a few more times since.

We have a little cookie decorator on our hands, he ended up putting frosting on most of the cookies and didn't let me do any.  Once he got the hang of it, I wasn't allowed anywhere near his hands or the cookies, he could have done it for hours.

For FHE a couple of weeks ago we watched a Nativity Mormon Message, Tracen wanted to watch it twice, so we did, and he made sure that all his trucks were watching too.
Then we set up our Nativity up in a window sill that Tracen can't reach and talked about each piece.  The next morning I found Tracen had brought a stool up the stairs to the window and was trying to grab the sheep and baby Jesus.  I dug out an old nativity set and he has loved it.  I guess we need one of those Little People ones.

Not pictured: Making and decorating sugar cookies, painting ceramic ornaments, making a Christmas Tree and snowman with paper, playing outside in the snow, picking out Christmas presents

Friday, December 13, 2013

Vernal: Dinosaur Museum

Last Saturday we wanted to get out of the house but didn't know where to go - Luke came up with the idea of checking out the dinosaur museum.  It was freezing outside (think -25 celcius) and while we were there we were the only ones in the museum, and although it wasn't close to the level of Drumheller, I don't think we could ever find ourselves as the only patrons there.  

Tracen loved being able to run around and see trains and dinosaurs. 

He only tried a couple of times to crawl under the caution tape.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Putting up the Christmas tree

 I have to admit that we put up our Christmas tree before November 28th (American Thanksgiving) because we just needed some decoration in our home, we still have nothing on the walls and minimal furniture. 
 Tracen was excited and very willing to help but then got distracted by this cardboard tube.

We don't have many ornaments, and after one incident with broken ornament glass, the breakable ornaments got moved from Tracen's reach.  To help fill the space Tracen and I painted some pinecones with sparkly paint.

 We have no tree topper, but we love our simple tree.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Plumbing problems

Life with a 2 year old seems to be just what is indicated by "terrible twos" (and also with having a little boy perhaps?).  It sure keeps us on our toes and as nice as those quiet moments are during the day, they usually mean trouble.  There has been a lot of closet exploring and way too much of toilet playing. 

It usually happens when we think he is napping, and have since changed around the door knob on his room so that we can ensure he is stuck in there during sleeping hours (I promise that we always go and unlock his door after he is confirmed to be asleep).  
Day 1: A whole roll of toilet paper (taken off the roll) and in the toilet, you can't really see but on the left is another roll of toilet paper that was drenched.
And Day 2 (the next day): I caught him mid unrolling, and when we were going to take off his toilet drenched clothes he kept pointing to the toilet saying "TEEE, TEEE" and I had no idea what that meant.  As I went to try to flush down a portion of the toilet paper the toilet began to flood, and I realized that "Tee" meant "teeth" or rather his tooth brush that he shoved down the toilet (he *luckily* doesn't know how to flush the toilet yet).  
There was a Day 3, but no picture, and hopefully there won't be anymore.  The only problem is that potty training is on the top of our to-do list, are we sending mixed messages with saying the toilet is gross and yucky, but we want you to use it too??

He sure is a lot of fun though, and his talking is coming along which makes for laughs and better communication.  He loves oranges, apples and bananas and taking a stool into the pantry to see what he can reach. 

He spent a good 15 minutes the other day looking at the flyers and pointing out all the cars and characters he knows. 

I am excited for Christmas with him this year and hope that we have no more toilet incidents.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My first American Thanksgiving

Although I went to American universities, this year was my first real American Thanksgiving (I did spend one other Thanksgiving in the US with my family in Hawaii but I don't remember having turkey).  Since we missed Canadian Thanksgiving (we were in a hotel in Roosevelt Utah) and we have so much to be thankful for, we decided to celebrate it traditionally.  We were so grateful that the Gathers made the drive out here (and the weather cooperated to make it possible) and I really loved being able to spend time with family.  I seem to be in a bad habit of not taking pictures - it is sad. 

Anyways- we had TONS of food, and I found out that my oven doesn't cook evenly (one side of the bird didn't cook, the other side did...) and we even checked out Walmart for some shopping. 
These are the few shots I managed to get:
 I found this gem on my phone.

Tracen was thrilled to have Blade here, he couldn't wait for "Blade and Blade's cars" that Blade was nice enough to give to Tracen.  We just got the Gathers Christmas card, and Tracen loves to point out who Blade is. 

The men enjoying some football, Chay was passed out on the other couch.

This picture makes me laugh because Nicole wanted to move from the table so bad, but due to an abundance of food, she couldn't.  

We were pleasantly surprised at just how polite the people were when we went to Wal-mart, Chay said that someone even asked him if they wanted to trade spots with him so he could see better, and although it was busy, not as busy as the stores in the "big city".  

Nicole, Chay and I checked out K-mart (I don't know why I go to that store, I always leave disappointed) and Luke pulled out his old super nintendo and although Blade was weary, he enjoyed playing it. 

This year has been good to us, graduation, a good job for Luke, a house that we own, a new baby on the way and so many great memories! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

P.S. We are having a baby

 I am not sure why I put off announcing on some sort of social media that I am pregnant with Baby Boy Allred #2 (hereafter known as BBA2).  At first it had to do with the precious nature of those first weeks where anything can happen, and then it had to do with the hassle of moving and lack of internet access, and then I decided to just wait until I had something to post, like cute profile picture from my next ultrasound.

So it was a little disappointing when we couldn't get a good profile picture of BBA2 or of his feet, or legs or arms and this was the best shot that we got: 
But even if we don't have ultrasound pictures that are great, we are thrilled to be having another boy and grateful for an ultrasound that had normal measurements and all the things they are looking for.  

Luke was convinced I was having a girl, because to him I seem a lot different.  I thought maybe I was having a girl because of the way I seem to be gaining weight this time around (hips, chest) and sweet sugary cravings.  When the tech told us that we were in fact having a boy, I started to cry, it just felt right.  

I am so grateful that we are continuing to grow our family (and that I am halfway to holding this baby in my arms). 

I am a little sad (and terrified of) delivering this baby in the USA and without midwives, but we found a doctor that comes with some great recommendations and assured me that, as long as baby and I are healthy, I can have the birth I want.  

Mostly just for my own notes: most of the time I am feeling great.  The first trimester was a little tough, constant nausea and no energy (good thing I was at home with my parents and Jenelle to take care of me) but I am feeling more myself now.  I am 20 weeks and 3 days and the past couple of weeks I have noticed a return of my energy, except when watching TV or movies after 9 PM.

Friday, November 22, 2013


 Sometimes I think it might be nice to be able to have more than Tracen's afternoon nap to get things done for myself.  Stuff like working out, or reading, or a long shower, or prepping for a healthy dinner. Then I hear that little voice saying "Hi Mommy" and I remember how worth it it is to have a 2 minute shower, chase him around the house and wrestle meal into himt, read Robert Munsch books and macaroni for dinner instead of what I had planned.   

I keep being reminded just how fast time flies and how short life really is.  As nice as an extra hour (or two) in the morning to sleep would be, I am sure grateful for requests for toasts or chicken at that early hour instead, and the quality time with Tracen.  Life is too short to not be enjoyed. Being a mom is not an easy responsibility, and most of the time I feel like there is so much that I am not doing.  However, when we were out for Lunch with Sister Takahashi last week, her companion said something along the lines of, "It must be nice to have someone that always wants your attention and to be with you constantly, " and it has stuck with me.  I am so grateful for my little best friend that is continually calling my name, or getting into diaper cream or chocolate when he isn't, and that wants to share his chewed up food with me and cuddle as he pretends to be a baby.   Sure children are expensive  (just ask about the iPad that has a shattered screen, or my laptop that had water spit on it and doesn't work, actually don't) but I didn't decide to have a family based on the money.  It is amazing how far an unexpected "I love you" or kiss from a two year old can go, it makes me think I am doing something right. 

Sometimes I think that being a mother has made me crazy, or is making me crazy.
But there is never a time that I am not sure that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing, and I am learning some pretty valuable things along the way. 
Sister Takahashi teaching Tracen about Jesus, she asked him if he loved Jesus and he promptly told her "yep"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween was a while ago, but better late than never right?  Because we were in the middle of unpacking and getting acquainted with our new surroundings (let's be real, we still are) our Halloween was low key and simple.   I was surprised that we even ended up carving a pumpkin and I am glad that we did, Tracen loves pumpkins and skeletons and quite enjoyed it.

On Halloween we got Tracen ready in the costume that Luke picked up for him (I really wasn't on the ball this year) and he was a cute little elephant.  He caught on quickly to the idea of saying 'trick or treat' and receiving candy in return.
We went to an area in the outskirts of town where one of Luke's coworkers lives, they just had a huge trunk or treat set up and it was perfect.
I didn't dress up, but Luke dressed up in his (traditional) cowboy costume that he loves.  He probably got more attention than Tracen. When we got home at around 7 we turned on our lights and waited for trick or treaters to come, only 3 came by, and so we still have pounds and pounds of candy to eat. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vernal: walking through the neighborhood

I would be lying if I didn't admit that it has been a long couple of weeks since really moving to Vernal.  Trying to get into a new routine, unpack, become familiar with the area and feel at home are what we are filling our days with.   We are thrilled to be connected to the world again this week, as we finally got our Internet hooked up. After weeks of staying home waiting for them to show up, they finally did!  It has been so nice to be able to FaceTime with familiar faces, use Google and even watch some movies and TV during naptimes.  Who knew I valued access to Internet so much?  

Tracen has also decided on a new sleep schedule, which includes early morning wake up calls at 6-6:30 AM, or 5:30 AM like today.  By the time 9:30 AM rolls around, I feel like it should be noon.   Last week we took an early morning walk to explore a little bit of our new neighborhood.

I would say that Vernal has a lot of character.

I am not sure where Little B's is, or how to access it - but it intrigues me.
 I do love that the fall flags on Main have come down and new Christmas decorations have taken their place.  I am a sucker for the glimpses of small town coziness that remind me of the setting from a Hallmark movie.
And perhaps one of the greatest things about Vernal Utah is that we are walking distance (although it takes some time) from the temple.   It used to be a tabernacle (I believe) that was converted and I can't wait to see what it looks like inside.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Building the stuff that lasts


My Dad emailed me the two pictures above this past week or so, he found them on my Grandpa's iPad.  They made me smile, and brought a tear to my eye.  This summer was interesting and lessons of real love and forever families were a major theme as we said an unexpected good-bye to my Uncle Jim and then a week later a good-bye to my Grandpa Joe.   I have tried and tried to write a post dedicated to him and to all that he means to me, but how can you sum that all up in words?

Well, I thought about my Grandpa a lot as Luke built us a table and a bench.  Luke has always been a handy guy, and we did spend the first months of our marriage building their families cabin, but I don't think that it was really until my Grandpa's funeral, and seeing his garage and hearing some stories that he really decided that he wanted to build some furniture for us. After heading home from Picture Butte, Luke talked about how cool it was to see my Grandpa's garage and to see the tools he worked with.  I do love that we can see the fruits of his labors in his home, his walking sticks, our knitted coats etc.  He not only left a great legacy, but he also left physical proof of his existence for us to treasure.

So, after a few weeks of meals on the couch, Luke got to work.

In about 48 hours we had a table and a bench (still need to be stained).  I am so impressed with his skills and excited to see what future projects there are to come.  Luke did the bulk of the work, but it was fun to be working and helping where i could with him, and what better way to spend our time together than creating and refining our talents together.  That was something I loved to do with Grandpa, work with him, or even just watch him refining his talents.

Tracen seems to already be following in their footsteps.  He loves going to Lowes and helping Luke get the supplies he needs and 'going to work' just like his Dad.