Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wow, it's been 13 days!

Sorry to my three or so readers that I haven't updated in so long!

We've had such a happy spring. Busy, but happy! Mitch's life is all about classes and inventing new games with Nathan, my life is all about keeping up with the house, learning how to multitask more (with 2 kids in the house for 3 days every week...i'm getting my toes wet with 2, not diving in yet!) and planning for cub scout day camp, and Nathan's life is all about eating food, asking for more, and knocking on the front door, hoping we'll let him outside (It's like I have two dogs sometimes...).

Here are some photo recaps of the last few weeks. Sidenote: for the first half of April we had family visiting or staying with us continually. It was a little overwhelming in the moment (ya know how anxiety brain goes...Mitch was fine, of course!), but now we're just completely homesick for our families...come visit!!

Nathan was making awesome faces the other day, complete with his yogurt Hitler-stache...

We've been trying to spend the spring with lots of friends (probably because we're missing family and it's weird to be just the three of us again!). I love this picture of Nathan and his friend Burton. They LOVE throwing all the balls in the house down the stairs, then making the trip up and down (and up and down) to fetch them all. I love how you can just see how much fun they're having!

Speaking of friends, this is our newest friend, Emmaline ("Emmie-friend" at our house). She plays with us 3 days a week while her mama finishes her very last semester of school! I love having a little girl in the house. Because Nathan's friends are all older than him, it's fun to see him being the older one for a change! Emmie is tons of fun. She loves to watch Apollo and laughs whenever he's around. She takes great naps, is set in an awesome routine, and has the biggest grin you'll ever see! And Nathan gets lots of practice sharing! Someone please start paying me for every time I have to say, "Nathan, that's Emmie-friend's binky...give it back to Emmie...yes, her...thank you. Now where's Nathan's binky?"

The other night we decided to have a fun picnic. It was shady in the backyard and nice and warm with a slight breeze (not tornado-strength like it normally is around here!), and we were having a burger night. So, we brought it all outside. Nathan loved eating and playing in the grass at the same time. Well, as long as he had shoes on in the grass. We're still conquering that fear.

We took fun pictures, of course. It made me realize for the 2nd specific time this month how glad I am that we kept a point-and-shoot around when I got my SLR. Lots of people grow more comfortable with being able to change every aspect of a picture before they take it, and with a point-and-shoot you just can't do that. So, lots of times those cameras get brushed aside. Honestly, I use whichever is closer. Most of the time, SLR use is just more practice for me, but I loved taking my point-and-shoot outside for our picnic! My "little camera" is always in my diaper bag, and my SLR is always on a counter in a corner where Nathan can't reach it. The little camera is in a great case that Nathan can't unzip (yet...), so it's pretty safe to be in the bag. I love that if he's doing something adorable on the go I can just grab it out! Thank you, in-laws, for recognizing how much I love having the chance to take pictures anywhere I go! You picked an awesome "little camera" :o)

 Anyway, Here we go!
Waiting for the food to show up

Eating his hamburger bun before his burger was even off the grill! This boy loves bread and dairy! (Notice the cute little paracord bracelet his daddy made they match! He loves to wear it, and if he's ever in a survival situation he can unravel it and use it for something! Haha what every toddler needs...)

I'm LOVING these cute little sandals...go Walmart! We needed quick on/off shoes that would protect his little toesies when he decides to crawl somewhere...I had to pay full-price, which I hate, but they were still a score at $9!

This has been dubbed as "Nathan's Camelbak"...if he sees you drinking out of it, you MUST have made a big mistake.

The man grilling meat...yay for a place with a grill that doesn't get used by 29358 people!

Our other little picnicker :o)

Conquering his fear of grass...he still is quite temperamental about WHEN he'll go in the grass, but we're taking baby steps (or toddler steps, haha)
And he's off!

I know it's not a big backyard, but I LOVE having space to chill outside!

My boys, playing their favorite game..."attack daddy!"

Little smudgy b/c Nathan had smeared the lens, but how cute is this!?
If only I knew he'd be so cute...I would've put on makeup!
The all-time favorite, sometimes-seems-deadly horsey rides
Mama's not so great at them, but he looks so HUGE on my back! He'll be carrying me soon!
LOVE this face...he was being such a ham!
Love you! Haha whenever we hug or I sit in Mitch's lap or anything, Nathan wants to be included, which led to...
...this! Haha if only i'd moved the camera a bit; he was even smiling!
Yay for hilariously animated faces from the toddler :o)

The next time we get to see family is the end of May, which we're ridiculously excited for, but also kinda depressed that it's still a month away...we'll keep posting pictures so it's almost like we get to see our families regularly! We're really missing Dani and Danny, and hoping that Seattle's being good to them.

Happy Spring! I guess the farmers' prayers were answered this week. We had a ridiculously mild winter so they had no snowpack to cover their fields and soak into them (we're a really dry desert around here; it's all the moisture they get during the year!). Except this week it rained off and on for most of the week, so yay for moisture blessings! And for rain cooling down our AC-less house!

Friday, April 13, 2012

For the Love of Family!

Real quick, I am so excited to say that my MOM is coming to visit today!!! She is picking up Camille from BYU in Provo and is swinging by to spend the weekend with us while Camille finishes up finals, packing, etc. I am SO excited!! My parents don't travel often, and we get to see them twice a year if we're lucky. I can't wait!! :o)

This post is dedicated to my "family-in-law", Mitch's family.

I seriously am the luckiest.

And yes, my family-in-law is better than yours. That's right. Be jealous. Ha.

You've heard my talking about Mitch's sister, Dani Bean, and her husband Danny Bean. They as adorable as their matching names, and just as fun! 

Dani is actually the reason I met Mitch in the first place; she was my roommate! So, imagine how shocked I was when her brother came for a visit and I got a date! Who knew I'd marry the kid! :o) Dani was more than selfless to share her brother with me. With her own wedding coming up, it couldn't be easy to try and share your family at the wedding with a tag-along roommate. And I was NOT an easy roommate, something I hope she'll forgive me for one day :o)

Anyway, we have loved living in Rexburg with "the Dannies" for 3+ years. They were some of the first people I met when I moved to Rexburg. Dani was in my first apartment, then we shared a room my second semester, the one where I met/dated/got engaged to her brother (I know, I know, it happened one was planning on that!). "Danny boy" helped me with my stuff and told me how great BYU-Idaho was when I was devastated that yes, my parents WERE planning on just leaving me there and driving 1150 miles away from me. Dani girl and her friend Natalie were warm and inviting, and helped me feel at home in the apartment. Let's just say they were a huge part of why I fell in love with Rexburg and BYU-Idaho my very first semester!

Anyway, last weekend, these two adorables graduated college. Yup, a year before me and 2 years before Mitch...luckies!

We are so proud of them, especially knowing them through most of their school careers (they both started a couple semesters before us), and seeing how hard they've worked!

The bittersweet part is that they left Rexburg when they graduated. We say bittersweet because Danny boy is set up to start a great job at Nordstrom that has him on a track to corporate. Woo hoo!! This is fantastic, especially in our economy right now. They have moved to Seattle, WA, to start a new chapter of their lives!

Graduation week was so FUN, until we had to say goodbyes. We all got together for family pictures, and Danny boy's dad was generous enough to help us out, while his wife made a very tired Nathan giggle and grin by dancing around with his bunny toy. We loved it!
The Dooley Family, including Mitch's grandparents who traveled all the way from St. George for the graduation!

Mitch's parents and their 4 children, including 2 of their kids' spouses (me + Danny Boy) and their grandkiddo, Nathan.
(Sidenote: yes, there are other, better-cropped pictures of Mitch's parents and their kids, other than the one in this post, but Mitch's mom needed an 8x10, so that's what the final version was cropped to...)

There was a freak snowstorm going on outside, which moved our shoot inside. Luckily we found a spot with great light and made it work :o)

That night we enjoyed graduation, then headed to our place for a bite to eat. I LOVE that we live somewhere with a living room bigger than 12 square feet so we can actually have people over! We had everyone in the top family picture, plus Danny boy's parents (and 5 dogs between all of us). It was so FUN having everyone in one place!

The next day the family loaded the moving truck. The Dannies worked so hard to have their whole apartment all packed up (DURING finals week...amazing!), and loading/cleaning took no time at all. Of course we made it fun...
Later we had me on Mitch's shoulders, but we didn't get a picture of probably wouldn't have been pretty!
Nathan all ready to "help"...aka wander around wondering why no one will give him pizza and why there are TWO vacuums going at once...

And then the next morning we all had to say goodbye.

 The reason this family picture is so significant to us all is because Mitch's grandparents are headed on a mission for our church (and so is Mitch's brother Ethan sometime this year), their little sister Jayna is headed to college in the fall, and the Dannies have moved on to Seattle. Our little family and Mitch's parents are the only ones staying put! 

It is very bittersweet; family members are all off to big adventures and opportunities, but we seriously have gotten together as a family at least six times a year, and it's hard to move on from that.

The Dooleys have been fantastic to me, and I'm sure Danny boy will say the same about his relationship with them. They really are the best in-laws. The only place I even CALL them my in-laws is on the internet, where people see both my and Mitch's families and would be confused. ("Alaina's two brothers!? She has no brothers! What lies!!") I also inherited some fantastic grandparents to add to the 3 sets from my family. What a blessing this family has been to me! I am proud to be a Dooley :o)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Up All Night

Anyone else loving NBC's Up All Night? I just can't get enough!

Anyway, tonight I'm up doing just a few things before I go to bed, hopefully by midnight.

I just wanted to share our quick progress during finals week, and I promise to make it quick like a band-aid.

He has finally found his dream major/minor combination: Recreation Management with a minor in Business. Turns out this is a real major and not just an excuse to take classes about camping, canoeing, and hiking! He hopes to enter the government sector of the field, Parks and Recreation (I referenced this, and the NBC show of the same name, in the last post, so I'll move on...)

Since coming to BYU-Idaho, Mitch has struggled somewhat with grades, like I have. School comes very difficult to us, and always has. Our poor future school-attending children! Mitch has just taken off with this new major this semester. In fact, in Accessible Recreation (focusing on making recreation available to those with disabilities) his final overall grade is 100%, and he's pulling at least B's in all of this other classes! What a champ. He really has worked hard and I'm excited to see what he can do when he really enjoys what he's studying! He also finished up his generals this semester, which is fantastic. What a sigh of relief to know that all he'll be studying is what he wants to study from now on!

I am now in my last year of school; I finish up my coursework next April! This is when I will "walk" in graduation, but I won't get my diploma until after my internship ends the next December (yup, December 2013...seems SOOO far away!). The university encourages students who finish all their coursework before their internship (instead of doing an internship somewhere amongst their classes) to be recognized in a graduation/convocation ceremony and leave campus. That works for us! Plus, Mitch has the fall semester off (we're a 3-semester school here, each student attends 2/3 of the three), so he can watch Nathan while I'm at a (hopefully paid) internship, and work when I'm home. Perfect! 

I enjoyed my classes this semester, although I can definitely feel I'm getting close to the end. These upper 300 and 400 level classes are NO JOKE! Studying has had to take priority over reading to or playing with Nathan, which just seems horribly contradictory since I'm studying Child Development (where they teach you to READ! PLAY! INTERACT!)

Anyway, Mitchell has been done with all of his studies this semester since yesterday. He attended one class today to turn in a final project, but that is it for him! I have one final to take and two papers to turn in tomorrow, but all the studying and writing have been done. I'm just ready to check it off my list and move on! 

As far as next semester, Mitchell is all registered to take 16 credits next semester (April-July). He will start in about a week and a half. He will keep the job he has had this semester (manager of the weekly school dances), which he loves.

I am getting ready to enjoy my off semester by only taking a two-credit class that I couldn't fit anywhere else in my schedule. It is only 2 days/week, but is still known to be challenging. Good thing I'm taking it all by its little lonesome! I am also lined up to start watching our friend's sweet little 3 month old baby girl, Emmaline. I will watch her 3 days a week and go to school the other perfect! It is her mama's last semester in school, lucky!! This will supplement Mitch's income while I'm at home doing what I want to do anyway. This opportunity was such a blessing, and relieves the guilt I feel staying at home while we are both in school and need income. I will also continue to do photography shoots and hope to do 2-3 per month like I did this semester. Not all of the clients wanted their photos posted on my photography blog, however, so that didn't get updated much this semester.

Well, that's all the update we have to give! Sorry it wasn't as short as promised!

We are SOOO excited to celebrate Mitch's sister, Dani, graduating from college alongside her husband Danny (Oh the Dannies, we love you so much!!) The entire family is coming in town for the event, and we can't wait to see everyone! We are NOT accepting saying goodbye to our dear Rexburg Dannies yet, however...