Gotta finish our trip! We flew in and out of Philly, so our hosts were gracious enough to allow almost a week between our stays :). We stayed with Katie and Aaron and had so much fun. Katie is one of my best friends from middle school to beyond; we were roommates in college and I really miss living close to her!

That first night we dragged them along to Good Stuff, a favorite burger place from our DC days. It seriously was like walking into the location at DC; the interior was almost exactly the same. And the burgers were just a good as we remembered. Then we had some gelato that was some of the best--grapefruit gelato is hard to beat, I think. It was the most perfect flavor!

When we came back at the end of the week, Katie and Aaron made a fantastic dinner, including making the pasta! Dave and I decided that was the best pasta we've ever had and it was fun to learn how to make it. 

Philly is a city that randomly enough, I/we have been to a number of times, more than any other major US city. So we needed to see none of the typical Philly sites. We walked to brunch, which was one of the best meals of my entire life, NO exaggeration. I had creme brulee french toast, Katie had red velvet pancakes and Dave and Aaron got the same thing--a "kitchen sink" breakfast with biscuits, gravy, veggies, eggs...yum. Seriously it was so good. We then walked down to the Mutter museum, which was one of the few choices for our day. Since it was rainy (but then actually turned out to be a nice day), we did the one activity that was indoors. It's a medical oddities museum, which was pretty fun/interesting/weird. 

Sam was sufficiently bored to death (by the end he was just laying on my shoulder, resigned to his fate) by the end, and we spent an hour or so at a park and let him run around. The sun came out and we headed back. 

We played some games and Sam fell asleep on the living room floor while we waited for our dinner reservation. We went to a Mediterranean place that had excellent pizza and pasta and another one of the BEST things--a salted caramel budino (custard-type dish) with a chocolate crust. Basically I won't be satisfied until I have somehow recreated it. I think we walked around 6 miles that day--which was good for all the food we ate!

The next morning included a walk downtown for some donuts for breakfast and bagels for the road (all delicious. Grapefruit again was a star flavor with a grapefruit brulee donut). We then finished packing up and waited to leave for the airport. 

Sam had a lot of fun with Katie, since she had dice, cards, a bear that played music and a molecule building kit. Those are some of his favorite things. We had fun playing bang and watching kimmy schmidt.

We had a mostly uneventful flight home (got to see Chicago from the air for the first time, which was cool. Also, lake michigan = huge).

We had so much fun back East and were so glad to see good friends and family. Thanks to all our hosts!

new york city!

Our next stop was manhattan! We were visiting our dear friends whom we met in DC and lived by at BYU for the year following. We haven't seen since they left for law school 4 years ago. Now they are living post-school life in NYC and it was so fun to see them again. Plus we got to meet their cute boys. Sam loved them; I think he enjoyed being in the middle. Henry was big enough to follow around, Walter was small enough that Sam still felt big :)

Our first evening we rode down to the upper west side, took a quick stroll through central park, grabbed a levain cookie (so good!) and some snacks and then headed back to their apartment. We had takeout (we felt very new york-ish) for dinner and the boys had fun playing. 

Saturday we left early to catch the ferry to Liberty Island. We spent a few hours there exploring and trying to get snatches of the audio tour (turns out 3 little boys make things go very slowly) and took a quick trip to the platform level. The views were amazing and the statue was really awe-inspiring. 

I wish we would have had the time/stamina to tour Ellis island, but we figure we'll just have to come back. We then took the subway up to the Village to eat pizza and gelato...and grab cupcakes and sandwiches for later. We took a long ride with 3 very tired boys back uptown. There is never enough time to do everything in NYC--especially when you have one day! We've been before so there wasn't much we were dying to do (Liberty Island was our big thing), but mostly I am sad we couldn't try all the food we wanted and see some other friends that live there. It's too big!

 "sam, smile!" "no."
 I don't know how any one gets a good family picture with a toddler. He seriously hates taking pictures.
 Completely the opposite from our picture attempts in CT, he sat SO sweetly on the couch with a tiny little smile for like 5 minutes. AGES, I'm telling you. It was adorable. Look at these boys. So cute!
 Their reward!
 bye wally!
thanks for having us! this is our throwback to all the group pictures in DC: Dave taking a 4 person selfie.


We got back last week from a week-long trip to the East coast! It was so fun. We split our time between family in CT and friends in NYC and Philly. We flew in and out of Philly, but our first big chunk of time was spent in CT (yes, even the same city of events like this). I swore I'd never go back (more like never thought we would need to)...but Shanna and Evan live there now, so we took a drive down a memory lane or two and it mostly looks just like I remember. They lived on the other side of town from where we did, so luckily that part of town can just remain in my memory. 

ANYWAY. We walked down to a little farm to look at animals, played with lots of toys and legos, visited the Pez factory, had lunch at a famous diner (of the diners, drive-ins and dives variety) and had a lot fun visiting. It felt almost like the good old days when we lived at Wymount together all those [three] years ago. We are definitely hoping they make their way back to the West sometime soon. 

Thanks for having us!

(giant pez man)
(oh  my gosh, sam)
(watching a video)

check check

Oh, hi! Turns out blogging is easy to ignore when you're hibernating for the winter, or something. Part of me is just less concerned with making sure everything is online, I think. And and a bigger part would rather spend my free time watching netflix. I don't really know what happened to February, but it's summed up with helicopters, play dough, valentine's cookies, valentine's and birthday lunches. 

how to save a cake

1. Pick out a cake based on your toddler's interests. I landed on a monkey because it didn't need any special fondant sculpting, etc. Just a cute little monkey cake. 

2. Bake a favorite chocolate cake and prep favorite frosting (night before).

3. Day of, when your toddler is napping, realize you have one stick left of butter (when you need 3 (yikes, that sounds terrible)), so you make a third of the frosting and try making chocolate whipped cream for the rest. 

4. Cream fails to whip, other frosting tastes weird.

5. Pause, realize that this just isn't happening. So cut of the sides of the round cake, going for a Lego look now. 

6. Wonder why you didn't do that in the first place, since your child loves legos to death.

7. White frosting does not make a cake look like a lego. Taste the cake scraps and realize that it, too, tastes weird. You can't figure out how everything ended up tasting so weird. 

8. Pause, perhaps crying a tiny bit out of frustration, and realize you're the only grownup at the party (of three adults) that likes cake. Call Blue Star donuts and order a dozen donuts. 

9. When said toddler wakes up, pick up donuts. Use toddler to accidentally charm them into throwing in an extra donut and giving you the deal of a lifetime on donuts. Seriously, I love that place. 

10. Assemble donuts into a cake. Win-win, really, because 1. everyone loves donuts 2. you just made a totally trendy cake without even trying that hard. 


11. Find a whole package of butter in the back of the fridge a week later. Honestly, my catch-phrase should be "I looked, but not that hard."

two years of sam!

I can't believe this little guy is two. I'm not sure what I can say about him that I haven't already said--he's so sweet and cute and funny and spunky and stubborn and smart and goofy and happy and chill....and oh we love him.
It's been such a fun two years. Sam's been my sidekick almost every day for the last two years, and I've [mostly] loved it. The times I haven't, well, it's my fault for taking a 1.5 old to target at 4 pm, right? There are definitely days that I'm so ready to be done for the day, but his kisses and hugs and laughing fits somehow make up for it all. Sometimes he puts his hands on his knees and just laughs; it seems so old for him, but I love it.

He's talking a lot these days, and it's so fun to hear him say new things every day. Here are some of our favorite words:

suck it (sucker)
saddy (salad)
keena (quinoa)
weego or pieces (legos)
fosser (floss)
pista (pizza)
pino (piano)
stawbee (strawberry)
see-al (cereal)
tee-bee (tv)
me-ohs (tomatos)
orng (orange)
ohgut (yogurt)
choo (train)

He loves playing with legos, cars (he calls them people now, I think because people sit inside cars?), trains and blocks, eating cereal with milk like daddy, watching the lego movie, and taking baths. He also really loves playing with dice. He will repeat little prayers with us, and after we say "for", like "we're thankful for" he says "five". He knows how to start prayers (hemmy fader) and end (chiiist amen). He loves to push the elevator buttons, jump in puddles and does not like getting his diaper changed (no bum! no bum!).

He's pretty good at self-directed play but has more and more started directing what he would like us to be doing when he is doing something.

These pictures are from his first birthday--I don't think I ever got around to sharing them. He's so much the same, but so much older!
And here are some of my favorites of baby sam! I just had to stop after the last one or this would be a very long post of pictures through the years. You might as well just look at instagram for that :) 
Happy birthday sweet Sammy! We love you! 

and the rest

We were able to see a lot of friends/family while we were in town. It's never enough to see everyone, but I'm so grateful the stars lined up and Katie and I were in town at the same time (you think it wouldn't be so hard since our houses are 2 miles away from each other, but it's been 3 years!). We also got to see friends at a fun birthday party and attend a sweet baby blessing. It's nice having so many friends that either live in or visit the place where you're from!
And aunt/roommate/friend kellie! We swapped states with her but I'm glad we saw her before she left. 
 We really nailed the matching jammies. But it was fun: we sent a pair to my sister who is on her mission in West Virginia. Plus, target. 
Sam never wanted to smile for pictures, but when the flash was on he thought it was hiliarious. So we have a million pictures of him laughing with his eyes closed. 
 Grandma and grandpa took the cousins on a secret adventure to Build-a-Bear. The big machine scared Sam, but he does love that monkey. 
 Cute cousins! And when Sam actually smiles for pictures, he looks like he's aged 3 years. ha. 
 Sam and daddy built a lego tower to the ceiling. Dave called everyone in to show us and sam karate chopped it right in the middle. It was hilarious. 
 My dad dressed like Santa at our Christmas eve family party and it was so funny. I'd never have expected it, but my sister got him to do it somehow; all for the grandkids, I guess. I mean Sam loved it, as you can tell. 
 Remember the story of the shepard who took baby Jesus for a walk? 
 Utah got a lot of snow! Grandpa took Sam out to play in it. Thrilled, as this kid is with snow. 

Whew, I think that's all the pictures I wanted to share from our trip. Sorry for the huge variance in photo quality but, oh well. But we had a lot of fun and, as always, can't wait to go back!

*Not pictured is when we attempted to get Sam's hair cut. He got his hair cut in October and cried the whole time, scared to death. This time, he took one look at Karin and started bawling. So, no hair cut for now. hah!