Monday, December 28, 2009

Hold on Tight for the World's Longest Blog!

This Christmas, as you all know, was spent in (somewhat) snowy Rexburg, Idaho, where we all had a great time hanging out and being with family. Here is a quick run-down of some of the highlights.

We left Sunday morning at 5:00am to get to the Austin Airport, and spent most of the day traveling. After two flights and a layover in Phoenix, we arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Bennett did an excellent job on all our flights this vacation, and made several friends along the way. He was ecstatic to see the big planes through those big, airport windows and spent most of our time between flights pounding on them and squealing with sheer delight.

Once in Salt Lake, we rented a car and drove from the airport to Provo to see cute Grandma Hill. We spent a fun night with her and several of my cousins, where Bennett got his first white elephant gift.

This picture is one of my favorites. It looks like Grandma should be on Bennett's lap. :)


Monday morning we woke up early and made the four hour drive to Rexburg and my family. The first thing we did when we got there was take some updated family pictures, since the number of people in our family has almost doubled since the last ones taken in 2006.

I think that many of you reading this know (and, I am sure, love) my family, so I will take a minute here to update you all on what is going on in their lives. If you choose to skip this section, so be it. But this is my blog and I will do as I please with it, even if it is incredibly long. So there.

Introducing the amazingly wonderful Hazard family!

My dad is the head of the Academic Learning Assistance Department at BYU-Idaho (AKA: The Tutoring Center) which, as far as I can tell, requires a lot of time playing darts. He says he loves his job. My mom is a Kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary where she has 26 kids to occupy her time and tell funny stories about. We love them both so much!

Logan and his wife, Rachel, live in Ohio where he is going to dental school and doing a fantastic job at it. Rachel is a professional ASL interpreter, but spends most of her time as a fabulous stay-at-home mom to three of the cutest kids you will ever meet, Evelyn (22 months), Adalie, and Jackson (twins, born this last September).

Griffin and his wife, Ashland, where just married this last June and are expecting a new little addition to their family sometime in the Summer. We are so excited! They are living in Oklahoma, where Griffin is going to Law school and Ashland is working on getting her nursing degree. We are lucky to be so close to them and can't wait to visit in their new home soon!

You already know all about what me and Matt and Bennett are doing, because we write a small book once a week that you diligently (feel obligated to) read. If there is any doubt about us, however, know that we are doing great and loving life in Texas!

Allison is living at home right now during her off track from BYU-Idaho, but keeps her cute self busy with her ward and her hundreds of friends on campus. She is planning on going to Europe with the school this spring (like I did) and I am so...dang...EXCITED for her!!

Courtney just came home from attending BYU-Provo for the last several semesters. She is hilarious and we love her. This Christmas she made us all an amazing sideshow of the last year using our pictures from our blogs and her camera. I cry every time I watch it. She is very talented! Thanks Court!

OK, so now that you know the caliber of people we were spending the week with, there is no doubt that we had an incredible time.

There was not as much snow as we thought there would be this year, but it was a white Christmas nonetheless. We were happy to visit and play, and happy to come home to warm(er) Texas! I will say one thing though, snow is very pretty and I do miss it.

Bennett had a great time playing with all his cousins, even though I do not think any of them are very aware of each other yet. Evelyn liked Bennett though, and tried to "take care of him" a lot. Bennett didn't really seem to mind.

You know, I am always taking pictures of silly little things to put on this blog, but when there actually comes a time that there really is something to see and say, I totally forget to pull the camera out. Therefore, you will just have to believe that this week was one full of fun and busyness.

Among the highlighted activities for the week were going to the movies, playing laser tag (so fun!) riding horses, playing games, and lots and lots of talking and eating. Matt and I also had the chance to see several of our friends we had to leave in Rexburg, which was really good for us. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful people who love and care about us, even when we have been gone for so long. Thank you to everybody!

Christmas day was, of course, magical, as Christmases always are. we woke up early...OK, it was 7:00...opened stockings, lined up according to age, and sang carols until my mom and dad declared that Santa had indeed come and we could run up the stairs to see our presents. I felt like a little kid again, which is something I never fight. Especially on Christmas.

I surprised Matt with new stockings to replace our nasty dollar-store ones we have had since we got married. I was very proud of them, and Matt got excited about them after he woke up a little more. (Bennett was not the best sleeper on this trip. We were all a little tired.)

Matt surprised both me and Bennett with several presents, including a remote control car for Bennett to chase around the room. Unfortunately, the car didn't really work and we had to take it back, but it was fun/terrifying while it lasted.

Bennett got about a million toys, which I am not complaining about at all since Matt and I have never bought him one in his life. This is Evelyn about to steamroll Bennett with one of the bigger ones. (Don't worry, Bennett is too fat so she didn't get very far.)

Later that afternoon Matt took a few of us out to ride horses. These are some of the same horses he used to help train and ride when he was going to college here.

Matt and Courtney, riding off into the -12 degree sunset.

Bennett came, but spent most of the time sleeping in the warm car. It was freezing this day. We all took turns sitting with him after he woke up (which wasn't much of a sacrifice).

He did get out on the horses right before we left, and to my amazement he LOVED them! He smiled and giggled the whole time and just thought they were the coolest things he had ever seen.

Looks like I may have two cowboys on my hands.

Bennett was good, but I showed them all what was up when I got on. My form is perfect.

Our fun adventure ended the day after Christmas, when we traveled for 15 hours to get home at 2:00 in the morning and be ready for church the next day. Needless to say, we all needed a little vacation from the vacation after that.

This is what Bennett has looked like since we have been home. It was so worth it though! I was just telling Matt that I am the luckiest girl in the whole world. I love, love, love my family, and getting to see them again just made Christmas that much better. So, sorry if this was the longest blog you have ever read, but this was one week I never want to forget. Thanks for sticking with me through it all!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas (a bit early)

We fly to Rexburg, Idaho to be with my family this Sunday (Yippeee!!) so here is an early Christmas wish to you all! Hope it's a good one!

Merry Christmas!

Just a Little Bit of Showing Off

So I swear Bennett never did this one-handed thing before I turned the camera on. He has developed quite the little personality lately. Everything is new. Everything is exciting. Life is just so very exciting for Bennett! I love it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

...In Sickness and in Health...

Allow me to regale you with our fascinating lives.

For those of you who know, (because you can't really avoid witnessing it,) Bennett has been quite the little spitter since birth. The doctor we had in San Antonio assured us that it was probably a temporary thing that would go away around his first birthday. He offered us some medication to calm the dragon, but not wanting our little boy's pure body to be tainted, we (foolishly) refused.

And life got messy.

For a long time we didn't really mind. We just made sure we always carried a few dozen burp cloths with us, and we got really good at apologizing to innocent bystanders who suddenly found themselves covered in spit-up. However, now that Bennett is eating very colorful solids, and moving, moving, moving, we have suddenly discovered that we no longer care about the purity of his body. We just want clean carpets (and tile, and clothes, and couches, and sheets...)

So last Thursday was THE day. I packed Bennett up, plopped him on the doctor's table, and said, "Do something with this child." "What's wrong with him?" she asked, and Bennett shot an impressive blast of yellow squash onto the clean floor. "I will prescribe him something immediately," she said.

So life has changed for the MUCH better around here. Granted, he is not 100% spill-proof, but we no longer live in constant fear of needing to borrow the janitor's mop when we visit Wal Mart. Which has happened. A few times.

I cannot tell you how happy we (all) are.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Miracles

Merry Christmas to all! Tuesday was the first day of December, and therefore, the official first day of the Christmas season. We are traditionalists here (OK, just me) so until this date, our home was decorated for Thanksgiving. I have to say though, as much as I love Fall I was excited to see my pumpkins and leaves be replaced with garlands and snow men.

Bennett was a huge help this year putting up decorations. I don't know if we would have ever gotten a thing accomplished without his meticulous sorting of Christmas tree ornament wrappers. He is such a good little boy. We are very lucky parents.

We also had the ward Christmas party this Saturday, which was a "Twelve Days of Christmas" theme. The idea was to have twelve different tables set up, each decorated as one of the days of Christmas. I volunteered to do the "Partridge in a Pear Tree" table and had so much fun doing it! Here is a sampling of what it looked like.

These pictures were taken at our home, but the table at the church looked pretty much the same (except with paper plates and cutlery.)

Matt thinks I should decorate our table like this for all fancy dinners. I think he is crazy.

At the ward party I got to sing "A Child's Prayer" with my Achievement Day girls. They worked really hard at learning this song, and I was proud of how well they did. We are doing an encore performance in Sacrament Meeting on December 27th, so it was a good dress rehearsal for us. We were all a little nervous. :)

And now the miracle of Christmas. You can't really tell in this picture unless you have really good eyes, but Friday I looked out the window and what did I see? Not popcorn popping, but SNOW FALLING!! I was in shock, to say the least. It didn't last very long, and I don't think one tiny flake made it to the ground, but it was miraculous nonetheless. Maybe there can be white Christmases in Texas after all!

Bennett actually did wake up right after I took that video, so we bundled up and got our first taste of the white stuff. I don't think he really knew what was going on.

We are ready for the real stuff, now! Rexburg, Idaho, here we come!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Creepy Crawlers!!

As promised, here is a quick video of the crawling little boy (excuse the mess in the background, we were recovering from Christmas set-up). It's like he just woke up Thursday morning and decided it was time to get a move on with movin' on. He is pleased as punch with himself for these accomplishments, as you can tell from the constant giggle/gasping sound he makes as he goes.

Of course, now that he is mobile there is a desperate need for us to develop eyes in the back of our heads. No decoration is safe, and anything left on the floor is fair game when Bennett is in attack mode. Even as I write this on our laptop I am having to constantly scoot Bennett away from the screen. We have entered a new phase of life, ready or not!