The Ence Gang

The Ence Gang

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Starting Fresh

Well Happy New Year to you! It's been a long while since I blogged diligently and unfortunately I'm not going to proclaim that I will blog every day in 2014.

I supposed I want to reflect, that is what people usually do this time of year. We reflect on our past year, ourselves and the events that transpired. Then usually we set goals or highlight the changes we want to make in this new fresh year, because who doesn't like a fresh start? Who doesn't want to improve and make themselves better?

It's a shame that we highlight or focus on all the negativity from the previous year first. Maybe it's not that way for everyone, but I think most people tend to see the negative first because it is what sticks out in our minds. I'm not exempt from this at all, when I look back at this year I put behind me a few hours ago, I see the hard and the heart ache from 2013. There has been a lot I haven't shared this year because it's not very fun to talk about your personal struggles (it makes them more real and final), thus why I haven't blogged much, I just didn't feel like it. And I still don't know if I'm ready to talk and address all my whatevers. BUT, even though I see some of the hards first, if I look around them and maybe even through some of them, I can see the happiness and immense blessings that we enjoyed this year.

I'm going to quickly (it took all day do this, blogging takes forever!) brainstorm and write down blessings and happiness that we experienced for each month of this last year. When I look back at this blog I want to remember the happy as well.

My Happiness in 2013

-Deric FINALLY got to start his dream job. It's a smidgen of his real dream job, but he finally got to begin teaching at JCC. We were both so happy and excited to start this journey.

-Grammy and Papa came to visit us!

-We finally sold our house after it being on the market for just about a year. We didn't make any money, but we were OK with that. We just felt it to be a huge blessing for it to finally be sold.

-We discovered Bladen's love for bowling!

-For Deric's Birthday I surprised him with a day of festivities of his choosing. (I never blogged about this, bummer city. Maybe later.) I compiled a list and picked to go to the boat museum in Erie. Sounds boring, but it was actually pretty cool!
We got to go on this sucker as they were putting the masts back up from the winter. It was cool!

-We celebrated Deric's 31st birthday!
-We packed and closed on our house.

-We got to go to the Oregon Coast with my family! It was probably one of the biggest highlights of the year for me. (And I got to see Lukey Pants, I'm obsessed with that kid.)

-Deric finished up his first semester of teaching!
-We went to the Meaville Balloon Festival for the last time. There were only two balloons this year due to mushy grounds, but Bladen still loved it.

-I went to Girls Camp for the first time as a leader!

-We took family photos, finally.

-I played softball for the first time in YEARS and had a blast! Our team was terrible and had poor attitudes, but I still had a really good time playing on and off throughout the summer.

-July's (and June's and most of May's) saving grace was our big move to Jamestown that happened at the beginning of August!

-We explored our new city and it's parks a bunch!
Oh that hair! I equally love and hate it. I kind of miss it, but then I don't. Deric misses it.
-Deric started his first full year of teaching at JCC.
-Bladen and I got to go on a SUPER AWESOME trip to Viriginia with our best friend's, Christina and Avery! (I didn't blog about this either, it was awesome and must be blogged!)

I'm not sure what is happening in this picture, but it's awesome!
I hope we get to go back next year because it was so fun! Who wouldn't like time with fun people, a beautiful place, and swimming every day?! ( More on this topic later!)

-My hair is no longer a virgin to dye! I loved my dark dark hair. I would love if I could make it last longer, but I'm not willing to do the upkeep and touch up roots. Too much work and money. But I will do a semi-permanent every once in awhile!
Don't I look sexy and sleek with dark hair? And I don't even have any make up on in this picture.  Boo ya!
-More exploring and getting to know people in Jamestown. There are kids for Bladen to play with!

-Deric finally received his copy of the book his work was published in!

-We got to go to Oregon and play with Grammy and Papa! I got to do my temple/sushi date with my dad, and we had lots of fun doing pumpkin stuff with grandparents!
This is seriously one of my new favorite things. Ever.
So is this! We need to go to pumpkin patches together every year! We had a blast!
-Then we went to Cali to meet up with Stephanie and her kiddos to have our second annual Girls Week! We also got to go do a special trick or treating in Disneyland. Now if THAT could happen ever year, that would be a blessed, happy miracle. =) (And I got to see my Lukey again!)

This was also a highlight of my year. Big time.
-Bladen celebrated his 3rd birthday! His birthday party was kind of a disaster that we learned from, but we got to go bowling again as a family before that!
-I celebrated my 28th GOLDEN birthday!

-We went trick or treating a couple of times in addition to our Disney Trick or Treat day!

-We got to see family again very shortly for my Grandma's funeral in Utah. Sad, but good. (I need to blog about this too.)
 It was so good to see my cousins that I haven't seen in years, or just in passing at each other's weddings. It was nice to sit and talk for a bit, even though it still wasn't enough time. Aren't we all cute?
(I got more unexpected Luke time. He fills me up.)

It was very nice to get to spend more time with my family. We enjoyed going to temple square.

-Grandma and Grand Dad Ence were so nice and came up for an afternoon to spend some time with their grandson. It was so nice to see them again and we had a lot of fun.

-I finally got to meet ETHAN COPELAND, and see my best friend! It had been way way too long! We stayed at their cute house and played for a few days after the funeral.
This kid is a hoot and a half, and taught me a lot. =) Bladen loved Lola, rightfully so. And we are lame and didn't get a picture together.
-Our Thanksgiving was very nice, spent with our favorite people, the Marquez family! 

-We got to go to Utah for Christmas! A major highlight of the year, getting to see so much family!
It was so good to see everyone, and to also get to see my grandparents. Bladen had an absolute blast with his cousins and grandparents. He was very demanding of their time, but I don't think they minded at all.

I finally got to meet my other little nephew, Brayden. That's right, Deric's brother named his son BRAYDEN and my son's name is BLADEN. That's just mean. haha. No one can keep their names straight. Nice one Tyson.

 But Brayden is my new little obsession along with my Lukey. I loved on him as much as I could this trip.

Oooo that kid gets me, I sure love him.
He was so funny when he would jabber at you and talk to you like he had something conversational to say and then would give a hearty chuckle at the end. Then he's keep on going and repeat it several times. SO CUTE. "Blah blah blah, jabber jabber jabber, HA HA. Blah blah, jabber jabber, HAHA...."

And that was my year. There were a lot of hard moments, yes, but there were so many great ones, especially towards to end of the year. I'm so grateful that the Lord has blessed me and my family so greatly to be able to enjoy what we have, where we are, the family and friends we got to see this year, and all the other little moments in between. I am so blessed. 

So as I begin this new year, I look forward to the happiness and blessings. I know there will be trials and hardness. I think there is difficulty in everyone's lives, and that's just kind of where Deric and I are at with his career and living in the East away from our families. But trials are there for a reason, to learn and to grow from. We are eager for change and to reach or goals, but we are working hard and focusing on happiness in the meantime. 

This year I choose to be happy, to find and live my life with happiness.

Happy 2014!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Oregon and Cali Highlights

Every year for two years now, (maybe three years?) the chicks of the Daniels family get together to have a "Girls Week." That's what I started calling it even though it has included male family members on some occasion, and of course the kiddos. Really it's a chance for us as family but mostly for the cousins to get together and play. Living across the country from each other is not very fun and makes it so we can't see each other often, so these trips are awesome and well loved by all involved. The "Girls Week" comes into play because we always do something crafty together, all munch on junk for a week, and talk and laugh and talk and cry (guilty) and laugh and talk. It's fantastic.

This year was also cool because before we started "Girls Week" in California, Bladen and I went to Oregon to spend some solid Papa and Grammy time together.

Since there was so much that happened, here are the highlights:

Gracious. 30 minutes after I changed his diaper (no, we are no where close to being potty trained) I noticed he had a small spot on his pants. I thought maybe I missed a cheek in my haste to change his diaper, there is no way it could be full and leaking already! Well another 15 minutes proved me wrong when I noticed Bladen's seat was all wet. WHAT? How on earth did he fill his diaper that fast, and why on earth would it leak that quickly? Well we were seriously SOL. I didn't have any other pants for him and we were 45 minutes into our full day of travel. Fun.
This pictures does not do justice to this epic leak. There was no way I could let him wear those the rest of the day. I thought I would go wash them and use the hand dryers on our layover. But our layover was about 15 minutes for some reason, and there were no hand dryers in the bathrooms, probably the only airport ever to not have them. So I tied my jacket around his waist when he'd let me. Otherwise, yes, we were those people walking around in the airport receiving all the stares and maybe some judgement, mom and a child with no pants. But it honestly didn't really bother me, I thought it was pretty funny all day. I would get a fit of giggles every once in a while.

On our second flight, the long 4 hour one, a nice young girl sat next to me. I am always grateful when people choose to sit next to me and not as the last resort of the whole plane. You know they will be nice if they CHOOSE to sit by you and the squirmy kid.
Well this is who sat by me on the airplane, Katie! I can honestly say I've never had an experience like I had sitting and talking with a stranger for 4 hours that doesn't feel like a stranger at all after 20 minutes. We were both open and talked about everything and just kind of clicked. It felt like we were supposed to sit next to each other and be friends. We talked about our lives, experiences, goals, mostly religion and God. It was all really awesome. I'm grateful to have a new fun friend, we traded information and I plan on staying in touch. It was too cool of an experience not to!

There were lots of Papa and Bladen moments. They had a lot of fun playing together and Papa would often read to Bladen before he went to bed, so would Grammy even though she's not pictured here.

The best thing we did was go to Baggenstoss's Pumpkin patch farm place. There were pumpkins, a hay maze, playground, duck races, pumpkin bowling, and a hay ride! I think we all enjoyed it immensely, it was a really fun day all together.
 Trying out the hay maze, and trying to get the perfect picture. This is what my mom and I looked like all week.
This kid is so hard to get to look at the camera or me while I'm taking it. I will do all sorts of obnoxious/funny things to get his attention and make him smile. They don't seem to be working. He will say cheese and look the other direction though. Small progress...

Other things we did in Oregon:
-My mom took me birthday shopping and I got some much needed jeans. Thanks mom!
-I went on my daddy daughter date and we went and did a session in the temple and got sushi afterwards. I feel a tradition in the making!
Seriously, this one was so so so yummy. My dad and I aren't even that adventurous in what we try, we just get the good safe stuff and eat a lot of it. YUM.

-I went and visited my Grandma twice, she's nearing the end of her journey so it was good to see her.
-We rented the second Star Trek, and it was awesome! I love watching new movies.
-Junked and Garage Saled. My mom thinks this wasn't fun (probably because I complain about antiquing sometimes. Or tease that Deric would rather go. I guess I still have some of my feelings from growing up about antiquing. But in my defense, I bet I've been in more craft and antique stores than you have. All of you put together. Times 2.), but it really was fun. I enjoyed the hunt of what she was looking for.
-A special Red Robin lunch date with my mom, I'm convinced there is no better place to get a burger and fries.
-Then I just got to hang out a home, my home in Oregon. And that is seriously the best. I feel so comfortable there. It just feels like home, because it is.

Now onto.... "GIRLS WEEK!"

I think we might need to change the name of this get together to "COUSIN WEEK", because that is all I have pictures of, is the little boys playing together. I don't have one picture of us working on our purses together, which was the craft that we did this time. I really wanted a purse because I have been using a Nike cinch bag from my senior year of high school, for forever. I don't really like real purses and what is available to purchase in stores, so I found something on Pinterest, and thankfully and graciously, my mom and sister agreed we could make them.

I would like to state that even though I had LOADS of help figuring every step out with the pattern and pinning and how to sew the darn thing (thanks Mom and Steph!), I sewed that sucker all by myself! I even threw a mini heidi hissy fit about having to sew it. But I got over it and did it. WOOT! I feel like I could do this whole sewing thing, maybe.

It's a double sided beauty. I know, it's totally awesome!

OK, back to COUSIN WEEK:

A little blurry, but cute! Bladen and Luke had a little bit of trouble getting along this time. Scratch that, Luke is great and gets along with anyone. He's a babe. But Bladen wasn't used to having this other little munchkin around to share toys with that he was interested in. Overall I think they did OK. Every time Bladen see's a picture of Luke and I ask him who it is he says, "Aww, Baby Luke. So cute." I'm pretty sure he says that because I say it first. =) I can't get enough of this kid.

Bradley, what a dang cute kid. He is getting so big and smart! Every time we see him it makes me excited to see what he is doing and how smart he is, and gets me excited for when Bladen will be there. He is an awesome example to Bladen, and we came home with more words and more understanding. Thanks Brad! Brad just really makes me proud, and I'm not even his own mama. He is fantastic!

We got to go to Bradley's basketball game which was such a hoot. Imagine this, there are a bunch of 4 year olds running around the gym with a ball, trying to shoot it, trying to steal it, mostly chaos, but all super cute. It was awesome! Bradley did really great, he is learning and listens well. Look at that form, never mind where the ball went. =)

There was a lot of good Grammy and grandboys time. They played some Candyland together, and Bladen did pretty well. He loves to play games but doesn't quite get it yet, but Brad showed him how to do it. I guess I had better get some more games for Bladen to play! I love that they love to spend time doing things with their Grandma.

Then we went to Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland!!! This for sure deserves it's own post, so you only get one goofy picture of me and Brian. I have some talented lips I tell you. (Deric's lips think so too, I asked.) Next year I should really be Two-Face from Batman! I would totally rock it. 

But let me just say this about our quick Halloween trip to Disney, it was epicly fun!

Ooooooooo! Then we got to go to Vasquez Rocks together! That was so fun to go do a little hike one afternoon. This is the place that you see in a lot of movies, it was so fun to be there!
Bill and Ted, totally far out movie.

Lots of Star Trek

And the Big Bang Theory

Ok, anyway. It's really cool!
See, I was there! Can you see a little dude at the very tipy top? I didn't go way up there, we had all the kiddos with us, but we did go up through the center, which proved to be a fun but kind of scary hike with the kidlets. Bladen kept pulling me and wanted to go quicker than we were, but every surface was at a steep angle and had lose rocks. Precarious with a almost 3 year old and his little sweaty hands.

The boys found a "cave" and thought that was pretty cool. The picture on the right cracks me up. I hope they are best cousin friends as they grow up.

Bladen and I got some pictures there too. They are some of my very favorites I have.

Even if I do have horse teeth in this one.
I really really like the sun rays. And the little boy. And my teeth, they make me laugh.

They also got to play with some dirt in Steph's backyard. I've always wanted to let Bladen play in the dirt, but we just haven't had a good place or opportunity. I love how dirty his face is. As I suspected, it lasted about 10 minutes (Brad lasted for about an hour) and Bladen asked to clean his hands off. haha.

That was most of our COUSIN WEEK. The rest of the time was spent:
-breaking up fights
-letting the boys play
-eating junk food
-making and eating yummy food
-taking a million pictures of these kids that we love so much
-just enjoying our time together

Thanks mom and dad for flying Bladen and I out to play with you and then with the Saponas Fam. Thanks Saponas Fam for letting us come and play and have such a good time! Next time you guys can pick the craft! 

Oh wait, I had to include these:

I seriously cannot get enough of this kid. Baby Luke, don't grow up too fast. I love you baby sized!