Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Meet PJ.

This year an Elf named PJ (from Pajamas, June named him) came to visit our house and stayed with us until Christmas eve. It was our first year having an Elf on the Shelf and it was really fun. Now I know I hear a few critics of Elf on the Shelf in the crowed of readers, thats cool, to each their own... but all the little shenanigans and messes our nice little elf PJ made was totally worth the pure joy we saw everyday on Junes face. That excitement every morning, she came into our room and told us to hurry out of bed so we could go find PJ, was so fun. She loved PJ. My little ones are only little for so long and I firmly believe in letting that pure joy shine as much as it can. Even if it's over make believe things, or pretend magic. To them it's real and the excitement is definitely worth it all. 

So now PJ will be back each year, keeping an eye on us, making sure we are on our best behavior! :) 

The first of December he made us mini pancakes and left us a note!

He played with Cheerios 

He colored on our pictures. June thought this was particularly funny 

Played with Stickers

Left us little mini Oreos in our cookie Jar

Missing the North Pole cold weather, so he was lounging in the ice maker 

Dan even carried on with PJ while I was in Colorado. 
Angel making in Powder Sugar 

Brushed his teeth with June's toothbrush

Played with June's pretend food 

Had a "snowball fight" 

snuck in the bag of M&M's


Put a Christmas puzzle together 

On Christmas Eve Morning we found PJ with a note, telling us how much he has loved being with us, and how when Santa comes he will head back to the North Pole with him. June was pretty sad, but she understands way more than a 3 year old should, and said goodbye to PJ for the year. 

A few pictures we missed. He was apart of our Nativity and bowing down to baby Jesus. He was in our stockings and read books. It really was fun finding new ways to place him each night. Thanks PJ for adding just one more element of special to our Christmas! 

Last "Randoms" of the year

So turns out tomorrow is New Years Eve, and I am so behind on blogging! The holidays got the best of me and therefore I neglected the blog. It happens. But it also is the end of the year which means printing the blog book, which means I have to get everything blogged ASAP! 
With that said, here is the last of the "randoms" for the year. 

An afternoon walk with our babies. 

Our house is on a hill, so we get going pretty fast and she loves running down the hill. 

cold days spent at the play places. Our malls have recently replaced their play place toys which is super nice, because they were getting pretty worn down and smelly! Now they are new and pretty clean!

I forgot to post this with my parents 6 month update, but I was so excited to have one side filled in! Only 5 more to fill! haha 

 Mailing our Santa letters!

Dan and I had a fancy night out on the town. You guys all know how much I love this man right?! Like SUPER A LOT!

Our Church puts on a community nativity every year FULL of beautiful nativities. We love it!

It's very rare to catch this kid sleeping. If  you open the door a crack, he sits right up and wants to be held. So when I peeked in on him one night and he actually stayed asleep. I had to take a picture. 

So June is totally in the make believe world, and its awesome. Our days are never boring with her little imagination running wild. Playing barbies with her is so much fun. She even tries to change her voice like I do, and it's always so squeaky and high pitched. hahaha she's the best. 

June now checks in and out her library books. It kinda takes some time, but she loves it and I'm up for letting her do her thing. 

We basically had the library to ourselves this day so the kids could just play with and read whatever they wanted, without having to fight of the other kiddos. It was nice. 

We have this large jingle bell that June LOVES carrying around

At another play place, this little boy and June kinda got into a heated argument about whether that was a fire truck or an ambulance. I was in the back to make sure nothing got out of hand... but I wanted to let it play out. Eventually they got over it. It was kinda funny to watch. 

My stud.

June made a little best friend named Natasha. They sat there and talked about their painted nails for a good 10 minutes. Now every time we go to this play place she always asks where Natasha is. 

Christmas Sugar cookies being made with love

Before school let out for Christmas break, they had a little Christmas program where they sang songs for us parents. 

June was THRILLED when she realized that daddy was there! 

Then our Christmas Vacation began!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

6 Months in!

Today marks six months for my parents serving as Mission Presidents in Colorado. It has gone by very fast in some views, but in others it kinda felt like... wow another 21/2 more years!?! hahaha I can only imagine how they must feel. 

So just a brief view of them in their first six months. There are many more pictures, but I just took a few from their private blog that they keep up to date for us kids to put on my blog. 

They. are. so. so. so. busy. Just non stop. They said they could never have imagined just how busy their lives would become serving as Mission Presidents, and the things they have to deal with are more than I would have ever thought. It's amazing to watch and hear how they work and operate their mission. They have said that it is much like running a business. You just have to keep it flowing and everything up to date and scheduled. It has been so cool to learn how the inside operations of a mission work. I never knew so much went into it and all that has to be planned! 

Just in the last six months I have seen the changes in both my parents. They both are such spiritual giants, and so fantastic with the missionaries. Being able to be there first hand and watch them work was amazing. 

My mom sent us this picture one day, They were all dressed alike without any organization. She said the missionaries loved it. 

At the beginning of November they were able to go to a Conference for the Mission Presidents in Navoo. It looks so beautiful!

He's the coolest

Elder Perry, (A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in our Church) was there directing over the conference. Such a sweet old man! 

Their home in Colorado is really nice. I am so so glad that I am able to still see them, and be somewhat apart of their lives. Though they are different, they really are in missionary mode. It was great meeting some of their missionaries, and seeing how much love they have for those who are serving. It has been a hard adjustment, but they are loving it, and  I think that they are finally feeling like their feet are on the ground and they seem to know what they are doing. These parents of mine are truly amazing and I'm so grateful for their example to so many people. It's been so fun talking to June and Owen about Nana and Papa serving in the church, and what great work they have already done. 
Here is to another 6 months +4 more hahaha 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Best Birthday Surprise!!

I'm not sure I will even be able to capture all of the amazingness of this epic birthday surprise, but I will try my best! It's one for the books for sure! 

My mom turned 60 this year and we knew it had to be big! So my dad had a brilliant plan, clear back before they left on their mission, to have all 5 of us kids fly to Colorado and surprise my mom for her birthday. It seriously was talked about for four or five months. It went back and forth so much whether we were all even going to be able to make it. I mean trying to balance five different peoples schedules, not allowing children to come on this trip, and keeping it all a secret from my mom... 
August, and September rolled around, we had to start making decisions so we could book flights. Long story short, we all managed to get on flights from 4 different states and arrive within a couple of hours to each other... 

It was a long few months waiting for our trip! And continuing to keep it a secret. My family has group messaging, and we created a new one that was "no mom allowed" so we could talk about our surprise. At times it got super difficult keeping the two groups separate, especially the day of... Oh man there were so many times where we almost blew the surprise! 

The day of was nothing but short of a miracle that we all made our flights. My sister Megan lives in San Fransisco and no word of a lie, there was a HUGE HUGE storm that blew in that night. It was all over the news, and we were 90% sure she wasn't going to get out... Well you can't say Mission Presidents aren't extra blessed, because with A LOT of prayer and calling in those blessings, my sister Megan literally was the only flight that made it out of San Fransisco that morning... She said the stewardess's and pilots were screaming at everyone to sit down so they could get up in the air before the airport shut down. We really had no idea if she had made it or not until we arrived in Colorado and there she was... She told us that power was out everywhere and the roads were crazy flooded. Power of prayer people.. Power of prayer! 

Us girls all arrived within 10 minutes of each other! Super nice, and so fun to hangout and laugh. I have the best. 

We got to meet baby Quinn for the first time! And oh my she is a doll!! 

We went and had lunch and waited for Mikey to fly in. 

Mikey arrived and we were SOOOOO excited for this surprise!! 

My dad did an amazing job keeping my mom completely in the dark. He had a letter that said him and my mom needed to go pick up 4 "sisters" because they were stranded and needed to stay at the mission home for the night... Nothing like stranded missionaries at your house for your birthday right?!? hahaha My poor mom... little did she know!

So we made the plan to walk up the escalator holding "Happy Birthday Mom"! It honestly was one of the most surprised looks I have ever seen on my mom! 

Here is the video 

She just kept looking at us, like is this real?! hahaha it was amazing! 

I mean it couldn't have gone any better! SHE HAD NOT A CLUE!!! It was so so so much fun to surprise her like that! My dad made it possible, even with their crazy schedules...
PS. Michelle was in-charge of putting the sings in order... we failed miserably! hahaha we were all just too excited and not really focused on the signs!

Dan took off a couple of days from work to watch the kiddos. He's the best. 

So the first day, after dropping me off at the airport, he picked June up from school early and they went to his blizzard of the month with some friends from work.

Later that day, they decorated gingerbread houses.

I loved getting his texts throughout the day with pictures of what they were doing. 

Back in Colorado...

After all the excitement and getting calmed down, we drove to their house. It's a fantastic house, but it's weird to have my parents living somewhere else. They made it feel like home and thats what counts. 

My beautiful mother 

I got this sent to me during dinner time... HUGE PANCAKES for dinner! 

We all got settled in and then went to A Chicago style Pizza place for dinner to celebrate my moms birthday. It was so nice to be able to have dinner all together and not have a bunch of little ones running around. We were actually able to have a conversation! 

Opening gifts was fun. We all did our own thing, but then came together for one gift. We all got in contact with my moms friends and family and had them write her a letter, or a birthday note. We then compiled them and put them in a book for her to read. 
As I made the book I was able to read all the notes and letters. It was so fun to read what other people think of my mom and what she has done for their lives. She's amazing!

Later that night we stayed up WAY too late talking and laughing and of course had party mix. I miss my family for that reason... how much we laugh when we are together. 

So at my parents mission house they have really fun bedrooms upstairs and then down in the basement there are over a dozen bunkbeds... The WHOLE BASEMENT IS BUNKBEDS! It's kinda funny. It's for all the missionaries who are going home, or are needing a place to stay. So all of us slept up stairs and Mikey got sent down to the basement. We go down there and he had built a fort out the blankets. 

The next morning I got this picture on my phone from Dan.. Is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen?! And he looks so grown up. My arms ached to hold him when I saw this picture. 

We got up and went for a run on a trail by the mission office. It was beautiful! and we saw a ton of little ground hogs all over the trail. They just kept popping out of their holes. They were cute. 

Since my dad had worked with the missionaries to give them some time to hangout with us, my mom and us girls were able to go shopping, and my dad and brother did things... We actually don't know what they did. hahaha. We met them later at the mall and finished up some christmas shopping, then headed back home for more games and dinner. 

We had to get a couple of American girl dolls for Christmas for my nieces... We love him. 

Grandpa and Quinn 

Two peas in a pod. 

After dinner we decided to be awesome and go out bowling. We kind of got a little wired... 
We all threw in a buck and the winner took it all. It was looking a little sad, so my brilliant sisters had the idea to throw napkins in it to make it look like a bigger pot?!? hahaha not sure. Like I said things got weird. 

After bowling we played in the arcade and won all these tickets, so we got fake mustaches. I know it's not funny to anyone else, really I get that, but we were laughing so hard at ourselves. And then we randomly started speaking the little Spanish we know, and it just escalated from there. There is no dull time with a Mendenhall. 

Mikey had rented this tiny little car, and we had some fun with it. It was tiny and my brother is super tall and just big boned, so him in that little car was pretty funny... Well on our way home my mom needed to run to the store, so she ran inside while us in the car decided it would be funny to fit this little car in the cart area... WE TOTALLY FIT! Yes, you probably had to be there to think it was as funny as we did, but still... 

Just because we were there, didn't mean the missionary world stopped. They were still crazy busy and the amount of calls they get was outstanding, but I have a post planned for that later! 
My dad hard at work in his offie. 

Mikey had to leave early Saturday morning to catch his flight, we all got up to say bye to him. It was early, we stayed up way to late, and we were tired! 

After saying bye to Mikey, we helped my mom prepare to feed 12 missionaries that were planned to go home the next couple of days.  

We then got ready and  we went and explored my parents mission office. It's just a whole different world... more on that later. 
This was their mission board and how they have all their missionaries organized! 

My dork of a sister pretending to be important... 

Meanwhile in Texas...
They were having too much fun. They played non stop! 

After another round of shopping we headed downtown Denver. It was magical. It made me miss Dan. It's totally a place Dan and I would love. We walked around and just enjoyed the Christmas lights. 

Then we had dinner at a great burger joint. 

Their dinner was McDonalds 

We got home and packed and cleaned up the house. My parents had missionaries coming over the next day to have dinner and stay before they went home. They are just so busy, it's non-Stop.

After everything was cleaned and packed up, we had one more patch of party mix, finished off the pin wheel, and watched "Meet the Mormons". It was good and very Mormon, haha. I really enjoyed it though. We stayed up again way too late talking and not wanting the trip to come to an end. 

We all rode together to the airport, and went through security together. We had to say goodbye to my parents which is always hard. Honestly I don't know if it was just such a fun weekend or the holidays or what, but Dan and I have really been discussing the thought of moving further north to be closer to family... I don't know what will ever happen towards that, but I do miss family and just being able to see them whenever I want. 

Dan was letting me know that they were ready for mom to come home. 

The flights were smooth. It turns out flying without kids is super relaxing. Not having to worry about snacks, or movies, or iPads, books, and a million toys... Just me and my iPad. I had my book and a bunch of movies ready to be watched. It was great. 

I was ready to see my babies. I missed them so so much! I think it's good for a mom to take a break and give an opportunity to miss your little ones. And boy did I miss them. I couldn't get them in my arms fast enough. 

This was what I came home to. Perfection. 

Like I said and epic weekend. I very much love my family, I love how close we are and how even if we are apart for 6+ months, when we see each other we just pick right back up where we left off. This weekend will be hard to beat when it comes to surprises. It was a crazy fun weekend. I'm so grateful for such a fun, loving family who is willing to go an extra step or two to make sure we all see each other. it's just good all around.