Sunday, February 10, 2013


My mom called Saturday morning.
Russ and Silvia are going to the Nuevo Vallarta house. Do you want to go?

It was -18 when I drove to the airport. 80 when we landed in Puerto Vallarta. I couldn't complain about the cloudy weather when at home it was one of the coldest weeks on record. Thank you Russ and Silvia. It was amazing. 

Thanksgiving in Virgina

It was a Thanksgiving miracle. We nonreved to Virginia for the holiday, without a hitch. Four of us. As always Amy was the perfect hostess. Everything was beautiful and delicious and perfectly planned an executed. Well, as perfect as execution can be (not the hanging kind) with a house full of family and kids under 12. We played at the park, and raked leaves in the lot behind their house and rode bikes through the giant piles.  In addition to a great Thanksgiving dinner (and leftovers) we also managed to eat at the regular places we have come to enjoy.  What would a trip to Alexandria be without that awesome Thai food? We got to participate in the ongoing Cafe Rio vs Chipotle debate between Amy and Brian--mostly it was Brian debating his side, plus Amy's side as she kind of smiled and rolled her eyes. We had a really fun time hanging out with the New York Stratfords who made the drive south. To Grandma Stratford's chagrin we did not get a group photo. Lucky for me Sara did snap some pictures of her kids loving Axel, and Amy's girls loving Sara's cookies from my phone--so at least we have those. Stella was in heaven with all of the cousins, ALL DAY LONG. She probably would have stayed and moved in had we let her. Stella's view of the nation is a little warped with the only states that matter being Utah and Virginia--everything in between being a blur of strangers. We are lucky to see family from far away so often.


Stella loves her brother and he adores her. Most of the time. At least for now. And I love it. What more could a mother want? One of my favorite things is when Axel wakes up from a nap, Stella runs into the bedroom before I can get there and climbs into the crib with him where they proceed to jump up and down laughing together.  He is quickly catching up to her in weight and they are quite a match now as they wrestle around the room together or cuddle in bed. Oh siblings.


We had a really fun Halloween

1. Homestead Scarecrow contest
2. Carving pumpkins with Ma
3. Trick or treating
4. Thanksgiving Point Pumpkin Festival

1. Festivities at the Homestead with the Garner/Porter crew. Stella and Milo posed in front of the scarecrows made by the managed departments at the Homestead/Zermatt. The maintenance scarecrow (pictured below) was our favorite. Stella was brave enough to pose on the witches lap (Cass Ho makes one scary witch) -- it may not have been sheer bravery but the candy offered up. We may have to have another lesson about candy from strangers with her. 

 2. Pumpkin Carving with Ma is always fun. Always the artist, she is good at making faces that fit the pumpkins, never afraid to dig in. Literally.

3. On Halloween we went trick or treating with the Childs and with some new friends we made from Heber. Stella wanted to be Ariel, and we just happened to have a lobster costume for Axel so they made a nice pair. I found a pilot costume last minute and so jumped in the festivities. We tried to fill our bellies with chili before hand, but still gorged on candy eating it almost as quickly as it fell into the pumpkin bucket. Stella came home with a load of candy. Unbeknownst to her, I might have helped her finish it off. 

Ariel sings

not so happy mermaid and lobster

4. We were really excited to find out Nicky and Spence moved back from San Diego. We were lucky to spent a fun day with Nicky and Maddie at Thanksgiving Point. First time at the pumpkin fest, and we had a fun day. Despite the serious look, M had a good time. Stella loved the slides, bounce houses, and giant bouncy hills.

Late Summer Into Fall

Autumn seemed especially spectacular this year. We spent a beautiful day walking up to Huber Grove and I couldn't help from snapping lots of photos. The contrasting reds and greens and foggy gray sky were amazing. This is just a sampling and doesn't do justice to the real deal. Sometimes I marvel at the beauty of the place where we live.

 We grew a GIANT rhubarb plant this summer. It lasted until the middle of September. The stalks were as big as Stella's arm and the leaves like giant lily pads. Kathy Simis gave us a tasty recipe for rhubarb cake so I finally know what to do with it.

We had some fun hiking adventures up Pine Canyon. We saw a moose, pushed the chariot up some really steep hills and ate lunch with a view at the top.

There is always fun to be had at the farm. Stella went on her first real horse ride on Tim
The rope swing and shedding trees are a good front yard combination in the fall. Stella is always trying to get tricky. Luckily no more bones have been broken. As Amelia Bedilia says in Stella's current favorite book "fall is in the air, and on the ground too"