Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Byron!

Byron turned 33 this week!! It was so fun that it was on a Saturday AND Byron didn't have to work. We started with breakfast, my favorite meal of the day. I am just starting to learn after years of knowing Byron that the delicious breakfast delights I want to bake for him on his birthday are NOT the delicious delights that he wants to eat. This year I finally got it right with DK doughnuts.

I guess Harrison likes them too, look at that devilish look of pleasure as he reaches for the plate (I don't think he had even had doughnuts before, so I guess it is something in the Williams DNA). And below he is signing "more" very excitedly...Byron decided on spending his birthday down in Orange County with a couple of his friends we haven't seen in ages.

It was so fun to see Jeff and Lisa and their adorable kids (and to eat the number one rated ice cream in Orange County!!)

Wow, Harrison got a lot of sugar on Byron's birthday!! In our family, we like to celebrate BIG!

Then we went even further into Orange County to see our good friends Floyd and Kathy and to reunite Harrison with his long lost friend, Maddy.

Even though Harrison hadn't seen Maddy in about a year, he made himself right at home. He played with all of her toys and climbed into her toy box as if it was his own!

He loved Maddy's park and even went down a big slide solo for the first time. He loved it!

But, I must admit, the crowning achievement of Byron's birthday was his birthday cake, made by yours truly.

I told Byron a couple of weeks ago that I would make any cake he wanted, he just had to pick a recipe. So he dutifully searched through our cookbooks and online until he settled on this delightful chocolate layer cake with raspberry/whipped cream filling and a chocolate ganache.

I don't even LIKE chocolate cake, and I have to admit I enjoyed it. Byron has eaten a piece every night this week, until Wednesday night when he sadly enjoyed the last piece.

Byron has never really thought celebrating birthdays should be a huge deal, and that is one area we truly disagree. But after the cake and the pampering all day on his birthday, I think I am really converting him to big birthday celebrations!! In fact, Sunday he kept claiming he should have to do anything because it was still his birthday WEEKEND!

Happy Birthday Byron! I hope you had a great one!

Monday, March 22, 2010

All Grown Up?

Harrison is getting so grown up, I almost can't believe it.

I seriously think I saw some abs on him the other day. The day he loses his chubby little tummy is going to be a very sad one in our house.
I think we are still safe, for now.

But in addition to the fact that he runs and climbs like a real toddler, his talking and listening are making him seem so much older. He can say so many words now, it is really fun. And it is really cool that he understands the things that I tell him - I love it!!

Although, he keeps me guessing as to what he understands and just chooses not to obey. The other day I said to him, "Harrison, can you please put your toys in your toy box?" And then I went to do something in other room. When I came back, this is what I found:

His toys had been picked up from the ground and were all neatly placed on top of the piano. I think he was just trying to tell me that YES, he understands what I'm saying and NO, he's not always going to do what I tell him. I wonder where he gets that defiant streak...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What happens in Vegas...

Harrison and I spent a few days in Vegas with my in-laws last week while Byron was recruiting at BYU for work.

We definitely kept ourselves busy. We started by broadening our palates with a lemon to suck on, courtesy of Grandpa Williams:

We had the camera out, ready to record his sour expression, only to see him instead signing "more."

He is definitely related to his grandfather, he loved sucking lemons with him. (Even though I know dentists everywhere are cringing right now, his poor enamel!!)

He endured his first real haircut, but he didn't enjoy it. Thanks Aunt Tera!!

We worked on developing our talents, both musically and athletically.

Please note the appearance of a comb-over in this shot!! Don't worry, this was PRE-haircut, and is probably what prompted the haircut!

(Harrison LOVES basketball! He goes crazy every time we see people playing at the park - shrieking "ba-ball" and laughing hysterically. Boy, do I hope my short genes haven't ruined his chances at a future in the sport!)

When I was pregnant with Harrison, my three nephews suggested to me that I name him "Tony." I thought this was very sweet and original, until they explained "Tony, as in Tony Hawk." We didn't go with the name, but obviously he is in agreement with the spirit of the idea.

And Harrison rode his first tricycle!!

With a little assistance from his cousin!

We even got to spread our love of reading while we were there!! It was Reading Week in Nevada (maybe I DO want to live there, that sounds amazing...) So Harrison and I read a book to my sister-in-law Sheri's class during school. The kids were CRAZY about Harrison. I tried to get a good picture of it, but he was literally SO engulfed by children at all times that you couldn't even see little Harrison in any of the pictures. Harrison loved it and we had such a fun time.

We had a great tune with Byron's family!! On Friday, Byron met us in Vegas for the weekend and we drove home together. I still can't decide what my favorite part of the ride home was.

Either this:

Or this:

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Not quite sure what to think...

I had a very strange experience at the Santa Monica Library yesterday, and I'm still not quite sure what to think. I have to start with a confession: I am reading the Percy Jackson series.

I'm not sure what category this book falls under, but I'll gladly admit you can find it in both the children's and the teen fiction areas in the library. My niece recommended it to me and I really like reading children's books sometimes (and for anyone else out there with an open mind for youth literature - I loved The Hunger Games also!)

This brings me to my interesting experience at the library. I was holding Harrison and was in line to check out the second book in this series, when a tween in front of me in line struck up a conversation, because she recognized the book in my hand. She had read the series and we talked for a minute about the books and the movie.

THEN she said, gesturing to Harrison, "He's reading Percy Jackson?" And I must note, she said this not sarcastically or even incredulously, but with only mild admiration at the reading level of my 16-month old. I laughingly corrected her, "Oh no, I'M reading them." At which her face then rearranged itself into a look of pure shock, along with a tiny twinge of revulsion and pity.

Which leaves me not quite sure what to think. Are the youth of this generation so out of touch that they truly believe a child of Harrison's age is READING a 350 page book without pictures, or have I just gotten so old that it is easier to believe a toddler would be reading this book rather than someone as ancient as me? I remain baffled, but very entertained by the whole encounter.

Monday, March 08, 2010

New Hobby

I realized that I haven't posted a picture of Harrison in ages, and I think we all agree that pictures of Harrison are the best part of this blog.

Here are a couple pictures of our new hobby. Byron got me a bike for my birthday and Harrison got me a bike trailer (what a thoughtful child he is!) It is so fun to take it down to the beach - and so awesome that we can do it year-round without worrying about getting cold (this pictures is from January, I think.)

As you can tell from Harrison's expression, he loves it!! I think that might be the cutest look I've ever seen on his face. (I only have myself to blame for that open mouth smile - it is identical to mine and everyone else's in my family. Harrison probably honestly does not know that some people in the world smile with their mouths closed!)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Irritatingly Irrational

I've recently discovered that the person who I perceive myself to be and the person that I actually am are sometimes quite different people. Allow me to illustrate:

I consider myself to be a very rational person. I pride myself on being able to evaluate facts and come to logical conclusions. Another personality trait that I value is my thriftiness. My mother instilled in most of her children a love of finding "a deal" and always getting the best price for something. In fact, in the past I have been so incredibly thrifty that a less kind person would probably call it something more like "miserly."

However, my recent behavior has led me to doubt both my ability to think rationally and my ability to make sound financial decisions. The culprit is pictured below.

We have had a Netflix membership for $9 a month for the past year. At first, I was avidly updating my online queue and really enjoying our membership (in other words, I was getting my money's worth, which is very important to me.) Then, I started to consider canceling our membership - I didn't have much time for movies and we do have a Redbox on our block. As a result, I got lax in updating our queue and the above movie arrived at my house. The Tale of Despereaux. I had been mildly interested in seeing this movie months before, hence how it ended up on my list.

Now the shameful part: to date, I have paid about $18+ dollars for this movie and I have still never seen it. It has been sitting, unwatched, for the past two months!!! I've had the BEST intentions to watch this movie!! See how worn the packaging is? The movie went with us on our cruise, on vacation to Utah and to Las Vegas, and it sits next to our TV in plain sight, day after day, waiting to be watched. It is so accessible that Harrison has gotten his hands on it once or twice, hence the chew marks on the upper left corner...

For some strange reason, I just could not even think about sending it back without watching it. It seemed like a waste. And that is my irrational side coming out! I just kept it around for two months, each day hoping to finally watch that darn movie. Which, I never did. So, I mailed it back today. It was an incredibly expensive movie, especially for one that was never watched. Totally irrational, and now I hate myself!!

Strangely, this experience is similar to writing this post. I spent time writing it and even though it is pretty stupid, I just can't waste that time I've spent. So I'm posting it anyway, ha! This Netflix debacle has taught me nothing!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Inaugural Family Letter - Let the Fun Begin!

A few weeks ago my friend Juliann told me about an amazing family tradition she and her family have been doing for the past TWELVE years!! Every month they each write a letter to their family, updating their family members on what is going on in each their lives. Their dad sends these letters out in a package to each family member, via regular old mail. She keeps a big binder of these letters (really 4 or 5 big binders now) that is basically a huge extended family journal, plus she has a monthly written record of her family.

I fell in love with the idea and suggested it to my family. With twelve kids spread literally from coast to coast (and one in Malaysia) I thought it would be an awesome way to stay updated on each other's lives, and for Harrison to learn more about his cousins, aunts and uncles while he lives so far from them. (Not to mention how much Renee is going to love getting these updates on her mission!)

I was so happy to hear that my family was also interested. We decided to start on short notice and let anyone who was interested submit a letter for February. ELEVEN people submitted, even though this month was last minute and optional. I was SO excited. Even though the letters were submitted to me over the past week, I've made myself wait to read them, until I can do it all at once and make a big event out of it, just like Juliann suggested. I think this will make a really fun activity for our family to once a month get an update and it is helping me document more closely what is happening in our lives and with Harrison.

So this post is to let everyone in my family know that the letters are officially in the mail as of today! And anyone who opted for electronic version is going to have to wait another couple of days (I don't want you blabbing all of the letter information to people who are waiting for snail mail!)

So thanks to my friend Juliann (and our ward's enrichment, where I learned this idea) I can already tell my large and spread-out family is going to become closer from this little experiment!!