Aaron at 29 years old

Aaron turns 29 years old today!  I've now known him for ten and a half years and can attest to that fact that he just gets better and better with age :)

This morning we let him sleep in til a whopping 7:15 am.  I intended to let him sleep til 7:45 am but he got up earlier because he heard the kids and wanted to play with them.  Eleanor stormed in the bedroom and gave him a big birthday hug followed by Ford toddling in with squeals of excitement.

We had a traditional bacon and egg birthday breakfast.  He makes amazing eggs so I made him do that part of the breakfast himself ;)  After breakfast he headed to work to discover his room decked out in Ron Swanson birthday decor thanks to his fun co-workers.

He came home at 2:30 pm and built a mega fort with Eleanor.  As soon as Ford woke up we had a family birthday party with presents and cake.  I told him Aaron could go out after that and do anything he wanted by himself.  So he's currently choosing to use his free birthday time to go to the DMV.  Crazy man but I love him.  We have a babysitter for tonight and can't wait to do a little shopping and then get dinner P.F. Chang's.

In the spirit of the birthday updates I've done for the rest of us so far this year, I thought Aaron deserved his very own.

At 29 years old, Aaron...

-continues to enjoy grilling meat, his current specialty being pesto chicken. It's SO GOOD. He still uses a charcoal grill and has now enlisted Eleanor to be his grilling helper.

-still loves to finish off a night with a sleeve of double stuff Oreos and a cold glass of milk.

-follows sports as much as ever, with an emphasis on BYU sports of course.  He loves doing fantasy basketball with friends and has a constant text conversation going with groups of friends over what's going down in the sports world.

-is a dedicated dad.  He loves time with the kids and thinks of new fun activities to do with them.  He's been reading Shoe Dog recently (about the man who started Nike) and was impressed that Phil Knight would make up bedtime stories for his son that involved his son helping historical figures.  He immediately implemented that with Eleanor, telling her stories about "Eleanor and Paul Revere" or "Eleanor and Abe Lincoln" (of course, Eleanor always insists there is some dancing element to the story).  He's by far the "fun parent," building forts, being the tickle monster, dancing to Nutcracker, pulling the trailer on family bike rides and on and on.  Aaron will be the first to admit that parenting is no cake walk (constant sleep interruptions, dealing with tantrums, etc.) and yet he gives it his all every day.

-in that same vain, Aaron is a supportive, loving and fun husband.  He texts me throughout the day asking how I'm doing and telling me what a great wife and mom I am.  His appreciation and encouragement helps me so much because I am often feeling less than great at that particular moment.  He reminds me to laugh and lets me sleep in most mornings while he changes diapers, makes breakfast and deals with early morning meltdowns.

-has developed a love of going out to eat :) He loves a nice meal and gets excited about trying out a new restaurant in town.  This has been the focus of our date nights and it's so fun to just go without kids, eat a good, long meal and talk over various topics (right now we talk about London).

-enjoys living the gospel.  We took our kids on a walk around the Fresno temple last month just after a spiritually uplifting Stake Conference weekend and on the drive home he said, "I'm all in.  I just want you to know I'm all in with the gospel."  And he means it.  I find him reading the scriptures by himself at night and telling me about his personal spiritual goals.  He really believes in Christ and wants to center his life on Christ.  Aaron's the one that reminds us to have a real family home evening or to have family prayer before he heads to work.  Aaron has given again and again with his time to his Stake Clerk calling, attending bi-weekly early morning meetings and dedicating himself to Ward and Stake Conferences.  Giving this time isn't easy.  We constantly have conversations about how to juggle family, work and church time.  And yet our conclusions in those conversations is that no matter how difficult it is to fit everything in, we have faith that all the time we give to these good pursuits will be worth it.

-is currently playing basketball two nights a week with the guys at church.  He really looks forward to these games both as a chance to get out and move and as a chance to get to know the guys better.  He comes home and gives me a report of how he played.  He loves that he's been making more 3 pointers lately :)

-is still just as frugal (cheap) as ever when it comes to spending money on himself.  I recently succeeded in convincing him to invest in some new clothes.  We went to Nordstrom Rack where he was shocked to find t-shirts going for $20.  He was like, "I'm looking to spend $10 or less on a t-shirt. I can't imagine spending 20."  So we headed to Old Navy and he managed to find t-shirts for $7 and was as happy as can be.

-works as a financial advisor at Veater Financial Group.  His favorite aspects of the job are meeting with clients and doing presentations.  He loves that he can help people and enjoys thinking about how to help the business grow.  We are so grateful for his work schedule (9 am to 5 pm Monday through Thursday and then he gets off at 2 pm on Fridays) and that he lives just ten minutes from his office.  We've been able to spend so much more time as a family as a result of those hours.  Such a blessing!

-spends his Saturdays trading off between helping me with the kids and doing outdoor chores.  He was really looking forward to working in the yard when we bought the house but has realized what a daunting task it is to maintain a yard with mature trees by yourself when you really just have a Saturday to take it on.

-continues to make excel spreadsheets in his free time.  I'll open my computer and find a complex spreadsheet he's left behind.  I'm so grateful for his budgeting skills and math brain.

-is a good friend and thoughtful family member.  I am amazed at all the people he has been able to stay in close contact with.  He's constantly calling people just to chat.  He's very aware of friends and family and if any are in distress he's quick to text me and ask how we can help them.

We love him dearly and think he's the world's greatest.  Happy Birthday my love!


A Daddy-Daughter Moment

Some candid daddy-daughter photos from a random Friday afternoon in November.   That girl loves her daddy above all else.

2nd Half of November

And here are the rest of my iPhone photos from the rest of November :)

 ^^Lot of sibling smothering.
 ^^A photo I found of my phone from Eleanor.  Gotta love the candid mommy moments.  And look at Ford laying down for a diaper change! That RARELY happened for that 4 month stretch.
 ^^The cutest PJ's from my friend Lucy
^^A little Santa at Cafe Rio in the middle of November :)
 ^^A true Cafe Rio lover right there.
 ^^At 9 months Ford was already standing up on everything and furniture cruising.
 ^^Classic Ford cry right there.
 ^^We've been in a major puzzle phase that starting in November and has been going strong ever since.
 ^^"Look Mommy! This is my costume and I'm Daddy!" 
 ^^A fancy dinner dinner with friends thanks to the beautiful Jessica.
 ^^Gotta love those dancing buns
 ^^My little Joann's shopping buddy
 ^^A family date to get macarons.  Eleanor always says, "Macarons? My favorite!"
 ^^One of our many holiday shopping trips.  I was trying real hard to get all my Christmas shopping done before Dec. 1st and the kids were pretty good sports about coming along.
 ^^Eleanor started doing this mid November.  I was grateful she was keeping herself occupied and happy in the cart but it got really difficult when I needed to actually put anything in there with her.
 ^^An unfinished corner of my bedroom that was made a little happier with my new eBay painting! The fireplace has been untouched for a year now but we really do need to fix it.  I like having that blue reading chair in that corner though.  And the painting brought in some happiness and greenery to the room :)
^^Girls night out to Chesterfield's holiday party. Gotta love antique shopping at night with friends!
 ^^Talking with my friend who was in the middle of remodeling her kitchen.  It's finished now and AMAZING. 
 ^^Eleanor loved wrapping and coloring her gifts.  
 ^^That one time Eleanor fell asleep during quiet time.  Such a happy moment because she NEEDED that nap!
^^Best $15 I ever spent at Costco were those flannel sheets! We've been so cozy all winter!


Dreaming of Brick Floors

I can't seem to get brick floors out of my mind.  I love them in laundry rooms and kitchens and sunrooms and entryways.  I love them equally as herringbones and hexagons.  They make the indoors feel like the outdoors and that makes me really happy.

I'd love to do this in our home one day but I think I've accepted it is not in our future, at least not in our current house.  My biggest hang up is that I want continuous flooring between our powder bathroom and laundry room and I just can't wrap my head around brick in a bathroom.  Although I tried out my idea on Olioboards to see what I thought and I do like the looks of the warm bathroom floor in theory...

And I found these bathrooms as examples of it working... 

Anyways, I'm probably crazy, ha! But it's fun for my mind to wander and think of what our home could be.  If anyone out there has seen brick in a bathroom and wants to convince me it works and they love it then I'm ears.  And until then I may just take the kids on a day trip to the local brickyard to dream away.