Gardner Village

A few weeks ago, Dimitri and I went to Gardner Village with a few friends. Gardner Village is a fun place with shops, a petting zoo, boutiques, and lots of open space for kids to run around outside. They have different themes at different times of the year; for examples at Halloween everything is witch-themed and at Christmas they do elves. This time of year it is fairies, so Dimitri and his friends had fun trying to find some of the fairies.

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Looking through a fairy door
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there’s this big old-fashioned bell at Gardner Village that Dimitri always wants to ring when we’re there

Some of the best shops they have at Gardner Village (at least in my opinion) are the fudge and sweet shops. Dimitri opted for a chocolate covered strawberry and was not disappointed.

 

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We are having a lot of fun this summer and look forward to more adventures! What kinds of things are you doing for fun this time of year?

Throw Back Thursday

I know this is what you’ve been dying to see…pictures from when Adam was a little boy. Wasn’t he adorable?

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Here Adam is with his sisters and his grandmother.
Here Adam is with his sisters and his grandmother.

Next week I’ll post a few pictures from my childhood.

Recent Happenings

Pictures of how we’ve been spending our time lately:

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Popsicles on the porch on a hot day. We had just come from the splash pad, which explains why Dimitri is wearing nothing but a swim diaper.

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Blowing bubbles is one of Dimitri’s favorite things to do. We were working on potty training so he’s wearing underwear. I promise we do put pants on him sometimes.

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Dimitri has started to really enjoy playing the piano. Hopefully that sticks when he starts actual piano lessons in a few years.

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Family movie night! When Adam and I were first married, we would occasionally pull the mattress off our bed and bring it to the front room and have a movie night. Movie nights at our house usually turn into Harry Potter marathons. Anyway, we’ve done it a few times with Dimitri and he thinks it’s pretty fun.

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Dimitri inherited this Buzz Lightyear backpack from one of his cousins and he can’t go anywhere without it.

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Snack break at the splash pad.

These are some of the things we’ve been doing lately. We have more adventures to look forward to this summer like camping with Dimitri’s birth family next week and his third birthday coming up in August. What fun things do you have planned for the rest of the summer?

Throwback Thursday

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This was a long time ago! That is my abuelita (my grandmother) with three of my cousins, my sister, and me (I’m the younger girl). It’s been almost three years since Abuelita passed away; I miss her and still think about her often. She was such a loving person who always had time to serve and help. She loved all of her grandchildren so much. I remember she cried because she was so excited when we told her that we would be adopting Dimitri. I am glad they got to spend some time together before she passed away.

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Family Camping Trip

This weekend we went camping in American Fork Canyon with Mandie’s family. Dimitri was in heaven the whole time. Dirt, cousins to play with, treats, and staying up late- can life get better than that for a toddler?

On a little hike while Adam was mountain biking
On a little hike while Adam was mountain biking

 

Dimitri playing in the hammock with his cousin Parker
Dimitri playing in the hammock with his cousin Parker

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Adam loves to mountain bike and got to go on a ride with Joe and Curtiss (our brothers-in-law) while we were camping. As you can see, Dimitri is excited to follow in his dad’s footsteps. This is my sister, his Aunt Linda helping him learn the ropes.

My family goes on a camping trip every summer but we haven’t always been able to make it because of work or other scheduling conflicts. We are glad we got the chance to go this year. It’s nice to have time away from everyday life to spend together and be in nature.

At the end of the month, we will be camping again, this time with Dimitri’s birth mom and her family. We’ve done this every year since we met Kasi, even the summer when she was pregnant with Dimitri. I love for Dimitri and Kasi to get to spend some time together and for us to get to know her and her family better.

Do you like camping? What kinds of things do you love to do every summer?

Throwback Thursday (Two Days Late)

I know it’s not Thursday, but I missed my post this week because we were gone camping. Better late than never, right? And I promised to post something about Adam’s mission, so here it is.

A throwback to Adam’s Mission. He served in the Dominican Republic and learned to speak Spanish, which he still speaks well to this day. Adam loved learning about a new culture and really made an effort to get to know and understand the people he worked with and taught. Just like I did. he had experiences that prepared him for life and made friends he will have forever. In fact, the people that Adam and I consider our closest friends are people we met on our missions.

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Very few of Adam’s mission pictures are in digital form, so this is the only one I have to post for now. I spent a lot of time converting my mission pictures from hard copies and negatives to digital files, and it’s on my to-do list to do the same thing with all of Adam’s pictures. I guess we’re aging ourselves by revealing that we didn’t have digital cameras when we were on missions. Ha. If I get some of his pictures converted soon I will post more of them.

 

Throw Back Thursday

This was a long time ago! In 2003 and 2004, I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I served in Athens, Greece. It was an amazing experience; something that I’ll never regret and still think about often.

Sometimes when I tell people that my mission was in Greece, they make comments or imply that it must have been more of a vacation than a church assignment. But actually, no matter what part of the world a missionary serves in, their schedule and expectations are very similar. I was doing the same types of things in Athens as another missionary serving in Norway, Africa, or Kentucky would be doing. It was just a lucky coincidence that when I walked from one appointment, service project or church meeting to another, I had a view like this.

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On my mission, I learned so much about myself and about my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I learned how to work hard. I learned how important it is to think of others before myself.  I learned to communicate with others and how to resolve disagreements without being disagreeable.  I got to learn a new language and all about a new culture. I I made friends that I will have for life. I’m so grateful for the way my mission shaped me and helped me become a better person.

In Provo with my MTC companions, right before we flew to Greece. Can you tell we were excited?
In Provo with my MTC companions, right before we flew to Greece. Can you tell we were excited?
Some fellow sister missionaries and I on Mars Hill
Some fellow sister missionaries and me  on Mars Hill
My very first companion and I at Mount Olympus. We were able to go there once on a preparation day.
My very first companion and I at Mount Olympus. We were able to go there once on a preparation day.
This is what Athens looks like when you are standing on top of Mar's HIll
This is what Athens looks like when you are standing on top of Mar’s Hill.

Next, I’ll have to do a “Throwback Thursday” to Adam’s mission. He served in the Dominican Republic.

Splash Pad

Hooray for warm weather! And hooray for the splash pad right next to our house being open! Last year we went to a few splash pads and Dimitri was pretty hesitant about getting wet. Well, what a difference a year makes, because now Dimitri is all about the water! We went to the park a few days before the splash pad was officially supposed to open. There were some city workers there testing the water, so Dimitri and his cute new friend got to be the first kids to try it out.

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We went back a few days later when it was officially open.

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I think we’ll be spending a lot of time here this summer! What are some of your favorite things to do when it’s hot outside?

Book Reviews

I love reading. A few months ago I was realizing that I don’t read as much as I used to. I think when life is busy it’s one of those things that falls by the wayside. At least for me. Anyway, I decided that I needed to start reading again. I made a list of books that I wanted to read and told myself I’d read a few of them each month. My list is about 200 books long now, and even though it might take a while, I plan to read all of them. I thought that posting an informal book review on here would help me stay committed to my goal of reading.

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I have my long list of books organized by category. I have plans to read some fun novels, biographies, books about health and medicine, self-help books, and more. Some of the books I’m most excited to read are:

Luther’s Fortress: This is about Martin Luther and his reformation. I have always been interested in Martin Luther and have always wanted to learn more about him, but have never really taken the time to. So now I am going to.

Hidden Figures: This one caught my eye because it is now a movie. It looks fascinating and seems like a part of history that really needed to be told. I haven’t seen the movie yet because I’m waiting until I read the book.

Jane Eyre: I read this in about 8th grade but have not read it since. I decided I needed to add some classic books to my list.

My list also includes quite a few parenting books, such as The Opposite of Spoiled, The Parents We Mean to Be, and The Importance of Being Little.

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These types of books are some of my favorites to read. I love gaining new perspectives and realizing that the way I think about something is not necessarily the best way or the only way to do things. Not just about parenting or raising kids, but about life in general.  I was reading another parenting book a while back called Parenting without Borders, and somebody who saw that I was reading it made a comment about how parenting should come naturally and she feels bad for people who feel that they have to read books to learn how to raise their child. While I think it’s fine to rely on your instincts and intuition to raise your child (and I definitely do that), I guess I had never thought that I “need” these books to know what to do for Dimitri. I just like to think about things in a new light and be armed with as much information as I can.

I’m excited to start reading more and to share my thoughts about all these books with you!

What are some of your favorite books? Do you have a list of books to read? I’d love to hear what’s on it!