The story of July 1st

So as I mentioned in previous posts, we were expecting. Yay! Well, we had our sweet baby boy on July 1, but I still haven't blogged about it at all.  So, I'm going to back track a month and write down the story of his arrival. :)
Just as a heads up, this post is long.  And I mean really long.  It's my journal after all and I want to remember everything. So, it's detailed, and did I mention long??
First, so that I don't forget I have to mention that throughout this pregnancy Topher and I talked a lot about if we thought this baby was going to come on time, early or late.  When I was about 5 months pregnant, we both were in agreement that we felt like he was going to come early.
There was even a specific experience where we were booking camping reservations and one of them was going to be the last weekend in June, leading into July 1st.  I had booked the dates, entered in our credit card information and asked Topher if he was good with all the dates and if I should click the "confirm" button, and he stopped me.  He said, "No, maybe not.  Maybe we shouldn't do that weekend.".  When I asked why, he said he wasn't sure, he just didn't feel good about it.  I remember gasping and saying, "Does that mean that's when the baby is coming?!!"  He played it off and said it didn't necessarily mean any such thing and that and I shouldn't put so much stock in his thoughts.  But from that moment on, I was 99% convinced this baby was coming early and might even be there that specific weekend.
Another reason I felt like he'd come before his due date was because I'd had contractions fairly early on with him, he seemed to be growing faster and a bit bigger than Grace had and I just was impatient, and so my wishful thinking led me to think he was coming earlier.
However, Grace on the other hand...she DID "know" he was coming early. AND, not only did she KNOW he was coming early, but she knew the exact. day.
Let me explain.  Ever since we told her we were pregnant, we had been telling her the baby was due in July.  Well, July was so far away for her, and she didn't understand dates and such so for 8 months, I just told her July, over, and over, and over again.  "Your baby brother is coming in July Grace, in July."  Well about a week or so before July, someone said, "Wow, it's almost July!"  Well to Grace that translated as "Wow, it's almost the day your baby brother is coming!".  She asked me each day, "How many days til' July?"  And when I would respond with "5" or "4" or "3", she would respond with "Only 5 (4, 3,) more days til baby brother comes!!!"  We tried so hard to explain to her that he wasn't due until July 11th.  We didn't want her to get her hopes up and then be disappointed for 11 days that he hadn't made his appearance yet.  But, no matter what we said, she didn't believe us.  She was convinced he was coming on July 1st.  Even on the night before he was born, she went to bed and told us "Tomorrow baby brother is coming!!!!" I remember just sighing and saying "uh-huh" to appease her and make her go to bed.
Well, the next morning, July 1st, I woke up to contractions.  I immediately knew something was up, because each time I had had contractions throughout my pregnancy, going to bed had always made them go away.  I had never had contractions in the middle of the night or while I was sleeping, and here I was waking up to them.  I had an inkling, I'll admit, that maybe "this was the day"...but I'm much too proud to voice that out loud and then be wrong and be embarrassed.  So when I mentioned it to Topher and he gave me "the look", I just tried to brush it off like it wasn't a big deal.  The contractions were definitely uncomfortable but I was able to shower and get ready for church.  In the hour and a half I was getting ready however they did get progressively more uncomfortable, to the point of painful, and about 15 minutes before we left I asked Topher to start timing them.  They were regular and consistent and getting closer together and more intense. Hm.  Topher asked me if I thought we should still go to church or if we should just go to the hospital.  I played it cool again and said, "No, I'm sure it's nothing.  I don't want to go all the way to the hospital just for them to tell me its false labor and to go home.  Besides, our back up sitters for Grace aren't even home, they're going to church now too!  Let's just go to church and If I'm still having contractions when church is over, we'll go in."  At about this time, I had a very distinct impression that I should pack my overnight bag, (I should also mention I had had this impression EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for the past week and a half.  I ignored it and didn't pack it).  Well, I mentioned this to Topher and he felt like even if I was in labor, we could come back home and get an overnight bag after church.
SO...off to church we went.
We got there a couple of minutes late, but could have slipped in to the chapel, but as we got there my contractions got a little stronger and I didn't think I wanted to go in to the chapel after all.  We sat in the foyer instead and I sat next to Topher, gripping his arm something fierce for every contraction.  It was actually a good system.  I didn't need to say a word for him to know when to start timing them or when they were over.  He knew.  He could tell when they were done because feeling would start returning back into his hand.
I remember a couple came into church and sat down on the couch next to us.  They had their brand new baby with them, only 6 days old.  I said congratulations, and they asked when we were due.  I said July 11th, and Topher looked at me with a look like, "Really?  You're still going with that??"  I just smiled and knew that was a load of beans.  After Sacrament meeting, (the first 1/3 of church) Topher asked me if we should go to the hospital, but I said we should wait until Church was over to see if the contractions really lasted that long or if they went away and it was a false alarm.  I did mention to the Primary President that I thought I might be in labor though and so I was sorry if I wasn't very helpful getting everything ready in Primary.  She looked at me sort of in shock and asked why I was there at all and I just said I wasn't sure it was true labor and didn't want to get sent home, and even if it was labor, I could labor at church just as easily as at home.
This was my first Sunday being in Primary and they sang the "welcome" song to me.  Sister Young (Primary Pres.) wouldn't let me come up to the front because she could see I was gripping my seat with a pained look on my face.  She told the Primary "This is Sister Andersen! She's our new first counselor, let's sing to her, but she's gonna stay where she is, because she's in labor!! We probably won't see her for several weeks, because I think she'll be having her baby pretty soon!"  The Primary laughed and all looked at me excitedly and I just sat there gripping my chair and smiling back.
I made it until there was only about 20 minutes left of Church before the contractions were getting so intense I couldn't sit down anymore.  I went to the restroom and saw I was bleeding a lot and decided it was time to go.  I grabbed Topher, had a mild panic attack trying to think what to do with Grace, but her back up sitters were so sweet and said to just leave her car seat there and they'd take her home and we could bring her overnight things as soon as it was convenient.
Topher and I got in the car and started to head home to pack an overnight bag, but as I got more and more of a pained look on my face Topher got more and more convinced that there wasn't time to go pack our bags after all.
He headed for the hospital instead.  We didn't have phones, lap top, ipad, camera, clothes...NOTHING!   I couldn't fathom going into labor and not having anyone in our families know about it! But, that's what happened. :)
We got to the hospital, checked in and got put into a room.  Topher was going to go home and get our bags, but the Nurse said maybe he should wait and see where I was at in terms of dilation and such.  I was at an 8.  Sooooo Topher decided to stick around.  I was also in a lot a lot a lot of pain the likes of which I was NOT familiar. I asked the nurse if I could get an epidural, and her answer?...That there might not be time.  WHAT?!! She said it would take about an hour for my OB to put in the order for it and for the Anesthesiologist to get there. I say again, WHAT?!! At this point I went into the bathroom and cried.  I did NOT think I could have this baby natural.  No matter the fact that I had WANTED to try and have him natural, now that I was faced with it, I didn't think I could do it.  Topher came in and comforted me and got me out of the bathroom and I started to calm down...but not really.  I squeezed Topher's hand even more and even harder, paced the room and said "ow" a lot. :) Luckily the OB got the order in and the anesthesiologist got there a bit quicker than anticipated and I got an epidural, which was surprisingly a lot more unenjoyable than when I had one with Grace.  The guy was mean, abrasive and threatened me more than once that If I moved I could be paralyzed.  Um...thanks.  But its really hard to hold completely still in the middle of a ridiculously painful contraction!! Ugh.
One good thing about the epidural was that i asked them to do a smaller dose.  I wanted to still be able to feel when I was having the contractions, just not so much of the pain associated with them, and it worked! I could still tell when I was having contractions and if they were strong or not, but no pain. Ahhh it was nice. :)
The epidural seemed to slow me down a bit, but I didn't mind.  By 4:00 I could tell it was time for me to push and so my sweet Dr. came in.  I asked her if Topher could help with anything and she said of course, and we got to be pretty involved. Topher watched the whole thing again and I got to feel the baby with my hands a bit before he came out, (I know, kinda gross, but it was also super cool).  I pushed only a couple of times and he was out, screaming a quivering little cry and Topher quick snipped his umbilical cord.  They held him up a little for me to see and I was immediately in awe. It was the "birth" experience I had always heard about but didn't think really existed.  They wiped him off just a little bit and immediately put him on me.  I had previously thought this sounded disgusting, but I loved it.  He was crying and as soon as they laid him on me he immediately quieted, opened his eyes and tried to find me.  Topher was right next to me and we both just stared at this perfect little being and cried.  It was such a sweet sweet experience and I loved every minute of it.

In hindsight, Topher and I decided we liked not having our phones.  It was so nice to relax and to just be the three of us enjoying each other.  It was quiet and peaceful and we got to just sit and stare at our new little guy and stare at each other and grin from ear to ear.  We didn't have to worry about calling 30 different people to give them a status update, we just got to relax and be in the moment.  I think we'll be leaving our phones at home or off for all future babies from now on. :)
I should point out that several hours after his arrival we still hadn't named our little man.  His name was quite the dilemma for us.  We had had our list of favorites which was the following:  Max, Thomas, Samuel.  We also had our list of backups: Dex, Oliver, and I don't even remember the other 2. haha. But we had had those names for months and none of them seemed to fit as perfectly as we were expecting them to.  Grace's name had just fit and we didn't feel like we even needed to see her to know that was her name.  But with this pregnancy we had really felt like we just didn't know and we'd have to get a good look at him.

A name I had liked a few months back had been August.  I had liked this name and thought Augie and Gus were adorable nicknames, but when I had mentioned it to Topher he had shot it down.  He did not like Augie as a nickname at all.  Ok, ok.  So, I forgot about it and didn't mention it again...until the day before he was born.  Saturday afternoon Topher and I were again discussing names and I threw August out there again.  I said "are you sure you don't like the name August? I think it's really really cute."  This time Topher surprised me.  He sat and mulled it over for a few minutes and said that he didn't mind it so much anymore and that actually he thought it was pretty cute too.  So, it became a "back up" name. :)
Anyway, I'm getting side tracked.  At about 7:30ish Topher finally pried himself away from me and our new baby and left to fetch our overnight things and the big sister. :)

Grace was overjoyed to meet her baby brother and it was a really sweet time to have her come and see him and hold him for the first time.  She was very gentle with him, and yet still her very eager, and energetic self.  It was really nice to see her and have us all together but she very quickly got rowdy, hyper, restless and bored and wanted to play with all the Dr. things in the room and get into all the cupboards and drawers and finally just wanted to sit and play the iPad.  Topher decided she was probably good for the night and so he took her back to the sitter's before we all got annoyed at each other. :)

Just as a place to have his stats, baby brother was born at 4:15p.m. he was 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 19 inches.  He was a lb. heavier than Grace had been and an inch longer, but he still seemed so tiny to me!
Anyway...The next day we still hadn't named him.  However we had eliminated all our back up names except August, and also eliminated Samuel.  He just didn't look like a Sam.  So we were at a crossroads with Max, Thomas and August.  I liked Max, Topher liked Thomas and we both liked August.  But it was such a different name and we had only been considering it since the day before!!

Anyway, Topher went into work for a few hours that day and afterwards he went and picked Grace up for a Daddy daughter date.  They went and saw Brave together, got food, and went shopping together. She got a new doll and was very excited. Then he brought her back to the hospital for a little more sibling bonding time and that was again fairly short, but fun. :)

Those two days at the hospital were really special days for me.  It was so quiet, and peaceful and I just got to snuggle my little bundle all day long and I was in Heaven.  I was also exhausted...they didn't mention that the two pain medications they had me on BOTH had a severe side effect of making someone drowsy.  But for some reason, despite that side effect I just couldn't sleep.  I think that in 48 hours I got less than 8 hr. of sleep because I just couldn't make myself sleep.  Too many sisters and parents to talk to and tell about our sweet new boy and too much snuggling to do.  I think part of the reason I never slept was because they said I couldn't sleep with him in my bed, so I never slept because that involved putting him down.  :)

The food at the hospital was terrible, lol, but the nurses, staff and pediatricians were really really sweet and I hope we can have our next baby there as well.
The day we left the hospital was July 3rd and we only decided on the name Auguste about an hour before we checked out.  Topher said he really liked the 'e' on the end, and I wasn't really swayed one way or another so I said ok. So we left the hospital with his name officially as Auguste Christopher Andersen.
I'm still not sold on the 'e' on the end.  But, I figure I ought to let Topher win a battle occasionally right? ;)
So, we brought our Auguste Christopher home and have been in love with him ever since!!


Quick Random Tid-bits

So, I had to write these down before I forget them because they seriously cracked me up.

The other day Grace was playing in her kitchen and acting very theatrical.  She was making dinner for her husband and herself and making such classic faces, it was too cute.  But when Topher got home from work, she was telling him about her husband and how she was making him dinner and then she stopped and told us, (with a big smile on her face)  "I have some bad news.  Something really sad happened".  So I responded, "Then why are you smiling?"  "Mom! Mom. Seriously.  It's really sad. (still with a big smile on her face)  My husband...DIED."  "Grace, that's really sad, why are you smiling???"  "Well. Mom, I'm just excited to get a new one."
Um. SERIOUSLY?!!! Topher and I laughed so loud and hard, and then we both stopped and stared at eachother, like, "did she really just SAY that?!!"  Topher says that whoever she marries is going to need some fair warning.

The next day Grace and I were sitting on the patio and she was telling me that she thought I was pretty.  She climbed up on my lap, brushed my hair from my face and told me how pretty my hair was.  Then she said "'member when you went to the ball?? and you had really pretty hair? and pretty things in your hair??  Mom you were so pretty.  Did everyone tell you you were just so pretty?? Did all the boys want to dance with you?"  HA!!! Cracked me up.  I told her I only danced with Daddy and she was a bit disappointed. Lol.  But I thought that was so sweet.  She has been telling me frequently lately that she things I'm pretty, which is nice to hear when I feel like a whale. :)

Anyway, this little girl just cracks me up and I feel like she does pretty hysterical things on a routine basis, but I forget them because I don't write them down.  So, maybe I could try to be a little better about recording those moments that make me laugh so hard with her.

Also, random side note, that was also really funny...Topher seems to really like the name Max for our little guy, but doesn't really like any of the add-ons we know are commonly used.  Example:  Maxwell or Maximilien or Maximus.  So, last night we stayed up way too late trying to make up our own add-ons.  It was really, really, REALLY  entertaining.
Here are some of the highlights: heheh
iMax (this is my personal favotite...but it might be bcuz it was really late and I loved the thought of how he would introduce himself.  I laughed for a long time)

Anyway. We laughed so much over our list.
Then Topher thought about how in his family, his parents named his little sister AnnaLina, and how that is a combination of both of his Grandma's names.  So he said, maybe we could try to do something combining your and my Dad's names.  Ok, I said.  So, we have Carl and Curtis. So he can be Cartis.  Or Curl.  Hehhehhehheh.  Then Topher tried to incorporate Max and we got Curmax...but he thought we'd might as well include Kermit since Topher loves the Muppets...so maybe Kermax would be good.  Then he tried to incorporate his Dad's family name which is Muir..so to combine Carl, Curtis and Muir We settled on Curliur.
So, our little guy's name, had he been born last night, might have been Curliur Maxtopher Andersen.  Don't you think he'd be a lucky little guy???!

Ok. Maybe not.
The only add-ons that really worked that we kinda liked were Maxden (Maxton), Maxon, and maybe Maxler.

You have any thoughts?  Suggestions?  :) We might not name him Max anymore simply because we can't think of a way to lengthen it that we both really like.  So, suggestions are welcome. :)  Even if they're just to make us laugh.


Happy Birthday to My Gracey 3-18-2012

Height and Weight: 41 inches and 33 lbs.
Fave Color: Pink, I mean Blue. Blue. (She loves both of these)
Fave Movie: George of the Jungle. Kung Fu Panda. Barbie Musketeers. Parent Trap.
Fave TV Show: Angelina Ballerina. Curious George.
Fave Food: COOKIES! apple juice. pancakes. doritos. cracker cereal (this is graham crackers and milk)

Fave Treat: Oreos and milk.
Fave restaurant: Hominy Grill! Chick-fil-a
Something you hate to eat: tobacco sauce. bugs. and poop. (I certainly hope she's never tried that last one)
Fave Book: What are you so Grumpy About?  Fancy Nancy
Fave Toy: my Barbies. my wedding barbies.

Fave Outfit: Dresses. My Zora Dress from Oma and my new dress from Aunt Jen that is long and I trip over.
Fave Activity: Playing in my playroom. Playing in the mud and dirt. I like to do art.
Fave School Subject: Playtime
What do you want to be when you grow up: A Princess. A Horsey rider first. actually, a musketeer first. Then a horsey rider. Then a Princess.
What is something that makes you happy: When you nuggle me and cuddle me. and when you love me all over and tickle me and make me nort.
What is something that makes you sad: When you pank me. When you get angry at me.
Best Friend (s): Braden. (I don't even know who this is!!--she says he plays husband and wife with him in Pre-school, yikes) Hannah and Parker.
One Wish or Dream you have for yourself: "That my cousins don't forget about me. I wish that I can be a REAL musketeer and look like a musketeer."

How would YOU describe yourself: "I like vegetables and cookies. I love my friends. I'm a silly girl. "
How do OTHERS describe you: "That I'm cute". - I asked her what other people think of her and that's what she said. 
If I were to describe you I would say you are ENERGETIC, silly, random, easily distracted, clever, emotional, sensitive, dramatic, overly affectionate, imaginative, curious, playful, inclusive, eager, attentive (to teachers and anyone but me), family oriented, adventurous, SASSYcautious and food oriented
You are happiest and the most well behaved when you are outside exploring your forest or playing with Mommy and Daddy. 
You are SUPER excited to be a big sister. You talk about the baby all the time and about how "helpful" you are going to be...I can't wait. 
You love your family, and your friends. You love and adore your cousins, aunts and uncles and grandparents and get homesick for them quite often. 
You are a drama queen. You throw fits and tantrums like no one's business and talk to me like a 16 yr. old firecracker quite frequently. 
You hate to clean up even though one of your biggest talents is making messes. 
You love to help me and do favors for me, I hope this is something that continues. 
You will try any type of food and tell me at almost every meal how good it is and what a good "cooker" I am. 
You love to do art. You love to paint, play with clay, playdoh, play in the mud "making soup", make birds nests, do crafts. You tell us all the time that you're such a good "arter". 
You love stories and love to be read to at night.
Topher says you are full of life, energy, drama and love. And although that's a much shorter description of you than what I said, it's quite accurate. :)
Thoughts on you from the past year: I thought that it was supposed to be the "terrible twos", but the threes ended up being so SO SO much worse. I'm not going to lie, you get harder and harder as you get older. You're just too darn smart for your own good and you have enough energy to spread out among 5 people and have them all be in the average range of human energy. You are a very dramatic girl and very loud and emotional. You are so communicative, but sometimes that just means yelling, screaming and crying at me to communicate what you want. Although you have gotten harder in so many ways, you have also gotten smarter, even more curious, even more imaginative, more thoughtful AND more fun. 

You drive me crazy on a daily basis, but you also have the ability to really make me smile.  You say and do some of the FUNNIEST things, sometimes they're funny right then, and sometimes I have to calm down first, and then they're funny later. ;) 
I love your giggle and when you really laugh. There are times when we get a huge, genuine giggle out of you and it brightens your whole face and I can't help but laugh as well. I love how joyous you can be. 
You are a miracle, and when I take the time to remember how lucky we are and how lucky you are, I can't believe how full of life, laughter, energy, joy and SPUNK you are. 
You have enjoyed learning this year and going to pre-school. You have enjoyed exploring Charleston. You love going to the beach, the aquarium, downtown, playgroup, the children's museum and anywhere else to explore with me. 
You have developed a lot intellectually, and I can't believe the expanse of your vocabulary sometimes. You have also started to really learn some scripture stories and to enjoy being in Sunbeams. You came home last week after Easter Sunday and told me "Some people loved Jesus. Some people didn't like Jesus. The people that didn't like him were mean to him and put nails in him hands and in him sides and killed him. His Mommy was really sad and cried. But he came back to life! We're all going to come back to life Mommy, when we're resurrected!" -Wow! That impressed me. You also gave a talk in Sunbeams about prophets and it made me cry.  You were so innocent and sweet and happy to be there and sharing your thoughts with everyone.
You are a rollercoaster ride Gracey.  Sometimes, I'm not sure I can handle the ride, but, I'm staying on anyway, no matter how many loops, drops, spins and tumbles you take me for, I will hang in there.  Because no one has ever had the capacity to make me feel as strongly as you do; love, anger, frustration, adoration, admiration, awe.  I love you.  You are my sweet, feisty little girl and I love you more than I thought I could love a little person.  You drive me to my wits end, but I love you for it.  No one could "refine" me better than you. :)  Thanks for coming down here, and sticking with me to make me a better person. I love you and I'm excited..and nervous ;) , for another year with you. :)


My Hubby

The hubby's birthday was on February 3rd and he turned a big ol' 28. He's getting so old. ;) Anyway, I get to write a blog now about how much I LOVE him!!! And yes, siblings, that is EXACTLY what this blog is: A sappy love fest! So if you don't want to "gag" and are going to make fun, then don't read it! MY journal. MY blog. I get to write what I want about my husband, albeit sappy, gooey, mushy and emotional.

First, I will give a little reminder for myself what we did on his special day. I was a big lame-o to begin with and didn't make him a cake or a special dinner or anything. I know. I suck. :( But I did take him out for dinner and dessert at a yummy steakhouse. So that's not too pathetic. Next year I will have a lot to make up for, its true, but being the amazing hubby he is he never once complained about the lack of a homemade meal or dessert. He was just the happiest boy to get presents and a yummy steak dinner. For his Birthday he got the Harry Potter series and an MCAT study guide, (I know! what a nerd! ;) ) and some notebooks to write down notes from his Medical School studyings. It was a more simple Birthday than we usually do, but he was so grateful and appreciative and acted like it was the best Birthday in the whole world. He's too good to me. I know.
The reasons I love my husband are many. So many in fact, that I could probably come back on here and update this blog every day for a month because I will have thought of something else I love about him that I'll forget to mention in my first attempt. But I'm going to do my best to put down my admiration for him this first go around.
Topher is kind and giving. He will do just about anything for anyone and go to the largest extent he can to do the most for them. This is even more so true with his wife and little girl. I don't think there is a thing in the world I couldn't ask him for.
Topher is Dedicated. He is dedicated in everything he does. Whether it is his family, his church calling, his work or his schooling. He puts his full self into everything he does. He will not settle for anything less than his best effort and in the moments when he feels he hasn't met his expectations he is ridiculously hard on himself. He wants to be the best he can, and he has the courage to get up every day and try again.
He is Playful. He likes to have fun. I love that he is almost like a little boy stuck in a 28 yr. old body. He loves to play with legos, sand, cars. He will play hide and seek with Gracey continuously. He loves to fly his kites, whether its a small one for Grace to enjoy or one of his huge ones that will drag him along the beach and hold him up on a kiteboard. He loves the beach and to build tunnels and sand castles with and for Grace. He loves to go out with his brother and Dad and go shooting and wishes he had more opportunities to do things like that with them. He loves being in Cub Scouts and doing fun things with his boys every week.
He is athletic and loves the outdoors. He loves to Kiteboard, boogie board, skimboard, kayak, bike, hike, camp, play soccer, badminton, basketball or anything else anyone could be up for doing. He bikes to and from work every day and has never once complained. In fact, he doesn't want to drive. When I offer him the car, he'd rather bike.
He loves to be outside, and what I love about this is that he has made it a priority to instill this love of being active and being outside in Gracey as well. He takes her outside to go biking or on a walk to the park, and takes me for walks or bike rides as well. He takes us camping and to the beach regularly. He appreciates this beautiful world we've been blessed with and helps our family enjoy it at every opportunity possible.
He is smart. I love being married to someone that is so knowledgeable and that has such a thirst for more knowledge. Topher is continually trying to enlarge his "horizons" and learn everything he can. He is always reading some historical documentary, or Doctoral study and I love watching how easily all this information is absorbed. He also has such a solid foundation of knowledge about the Church and the scriptures. This is sadly something that I'm lacking in the extremes, and I love that I can ask him question after question about things I don't understand or know and he will almost always have an answer. In the rare occasion he doesn't have an answer though, he knows what book to look in to find one for me.
I love that he enjoys learning and wants to further his education as much as he can. He wants to get a Master's still and possibly go to medical school, and I love that he doesn't think that now that he has a job, school is no longer necessary. He also encourages Grace and I to learn as much as we can and gives us all the opportunities he can for furthered learning.
He is silly. He may be shy, sweet, gentle and smart, but he will be silly with me too. I have to admit I have definitely brought out the "freak" in him since we started dating and got married. I think his family was pretty surprised by some of the things he would do and say around me that he hadn't done before, but I love so so much that he can set aside his serious, contemplative demeanor and just be goofy with me.
He is gentle. He is never abrasive, harsh, loud or impatient. He is a gentle friend, neighbor, Dad and Husband. But my favorite time to see how gentle he is is with other kids. We have a church calling to serve in our Ward Nursery and he is easily better with the kids than I am. He has such a sweet way with them and talks to them each so kindly that they all love to be around him. He makes even the most difficult kids in our nursery feel comfortable there and knows how to reach out to each of them. He is also a sweet Uncle and Big brother and is just very loving and thoughtful of his family.
I think what I love about him the very most though is how much of a family man he is. He is an amazing Father and Husband. He is so loyal, affectionate and gentle with us and I couldn't be more grateful, not to mention undeserving. Grace and I are so loud and at times abrasive and emotional and Topher manages to love us each exactly how we need to be loved. He has a calming influence on both of us and is so good at showing us he cares about us. I love watching him do art with Grace or read her a story. I love that he takes time to have Daddy Daughter dates with her where they cuddle upstairs on the couch, watching movies together and eating popcorn. He adores his little girl and is constantly worrying about her happiness and well being.
As a husband...well. I don't really think there are words to describe how wonderful he is. In fact, I can barely think about him as my husband without being brought to tears. He is the most perfect husband I know or have ever personally known. I know anyone that reads that will think to themselves, "well, you're biased." But, he really is perfect for me. I know lots of people's husbands, and hear about and see the "inner-workings" of their marriages, and I have never once thought to myself, "I wish Topher did that". On the contrary, I frequently feel bad for other women that their husbands don't do for them what Topher does for me. I don't say that to brag or be mean or cocky. But because I don't ever want to forget how blessed I am in my eternal companion. He truly does treat me like a princess. And ANYONE that has seen him with me, especially when I'm sick, can attest to that. He will wait on me hand and foot and pamper me from head to toe. He will compliment me up and down and offer me support, encouragement and love in and out of every day. He has never once been disappointed in me, even when he had every right to be, and instead tells me how much he admires me and how wonderful he thinks I am, even on my worst days.
I am so grateful for him and I don't know if I will every be worthy of him as my spouse. But, I know I will spend the rest of my life trying to keep up with him and trying to be worthy of his love. I really do thank my Heavenly Father for him in every prayer I utter, because he truly is my greatest blessing.
I love you Christopher Curtis Andersen. Thank you for marrying me. I don't know why you did! But I'm so grateful that you did. :) Thank you for being an amazing person, Father, best friend and Husband. I love you so much!
I hope this year is even better than the last.
I can't wait to see you with another baby of ours in your arms, and see all the new adventures we will have with a mini-Topher in our midst. :)


January- Hawaii

My family has started a new tradition within the past probably 5 or 6 years where we try to have our own family reunion every other summer. Our first official one I think would probably be considered Lake Powell in 2006, but, maybe that isn't what all my siblings would consider the first one.

Regardless, our most recent one was to Hawaii!! My Dad had convinced us all two years ago that we could all save up the required sums and then bribed us with one free air fare per family if his "kids" ran a half marathon during the trip. I think all of us were a little star struck by the idea of Hawaii, and so we all a bit naively made the commitment to save the money and go to Hawaii two years from then.
Siblings, you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure none of us started training for the Half Marathon OR saving money for the trip until a year or less was left until the race. HA! whoops.
Anyway, all the time leading up to the trip I had a very grumpy hubby because he just couldn't believe how expensive this trip was turning out to be and he didn't want me training for the Half marathon. In my defense, I did start training for the Half in the Spring of the year, but then about a month or so after I started training I got pregnant, and then miscarried. When I felt back up to it, I started training again, and again miscarried. For the third time I started training and then got pregnant again and was capable of not much other than feeling sorry for myself in my sick-o state. Because of how sweet my hubby is, he didn't want me training, and because I'm such a good wife and wanted to support him, I went along with it. ;) hehe. Cuz y'know, I REALLY wanted to train to run 13 miles feeling sick and sore and gross.
Did any of these reasons stop my family from giving me a hard time though? NO! They did NOT! My dad probably wanted me to run the race with a throw up bag, but, too bad for him, my husband is way too sweet and chivalrous. So, he ran the race in my place. :) But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
The week or so before the trip I tried my darn-dest to get my husband on board with Hawaii fever. He was killing my buzz and so I had to give him a piece of my mind a time or two to get him excited. After all, how many times does a person get to go Hawaii in their life?! Exactly. Not many. So I told him to GET EXCITED! He obliged. Slowly, but surely.
Our flight there was pretty rotten, ain't gonna lie. It was over 12 hours of air travel with a lot of lay overs and NO sleep. Very exhausting. But my goodness, stepping off the plane in Honolulu, and seeing the green and smelling the green...*groan*. It was AMAZING. Hawaii is so so beautiful. The airport was an open-air airport where they had little mini gardens growing in the center of it that you could go sit and relax in.
We got to Maui, which was our first island destination, and met up with Dacia and Joe in their ridiculously nice condo. It was seriously amazing. The whole back wall of the condo was basically a sliding glass door from floor to ceiling and opened to a glorious view of a carmel colored sandy beach and gorgeous ocean. Topher and I immediately felt like we were in Heaven and were ready to vegg and relax on the beach.
But, did I mention this was Johnson family vacation? So, because of that, the "relaxation" part of the trip never really happened. Our family needs to work on that. Part of what makes a vacation wonderful is RELAXING.
But, even without a relaxing moment, it was beautiful, and amazing. We saw and did so many gorgeous things. Rainforests, waterfalls, volcanoes, beaches, flowers, sea turtles, fish, snorkeling, hiking, driving, vine-swinging, black sand, green sand, jeep off-roading, kayaking, paddle-boarding...we did it all. :) And we definitely loved every moment of it, even if we did come back more tired than when we left. :)
The half marathon was in Maui and I think every adult except Joe and myself ran it. They all did such a great job and are seriously troopers. Emily was quite pregnant by this point yet she did it and did a great job. Dacia was having serious issues with both her knees and did it and I think even Alan and Jen were having some leg issues too. But they all did it and did awesome! This concluded Dad and Karen's goal of a half marathon in every state and we were all really happy for them and their really neat achievement.
Not to downplay that achievement, but, uh, since this is my journal, I'm totally not going to downplay what in my mind was the COOLEST part of the half marathon...my husband. He kicked its butt!!! Like I said, he ran it in my place. But I didn't say yet, that he didn't train. Not even a little bit. And he hasn't run 13 miles since High School. But he just up and did it, and he KICKED. BUTT. He got 2nd place in his age group and 22nd overall for the Men...and, if that weren't cool enough, he was his humble self when my Dad presented him with the challenge, that he didn't think Topher could beat him. Well, Topher was sweet and just said he would do his best to finish the race as well as he could, but the rest of my family said, "Topher, do it!! You gotta beat him! He challenged you!!". And so Topher did just that, he BEAT MY DAD! :) Which, kinda was freaking awesome. :)
Some of the really memorable things for me from Hawaii were:
Eating all the really good food, especially the really yummy spaghetti that I ate for breakfast on the morning of the race. :)
Haleakala Sunrise, where we woke up way too early to be considered healthy and drove to the top of Mt. Haleakala to watch the Sunrise. It was beautiful, and freezing cold. And Dacia didn't pack warm clothes for her children. Smarty pants. After the sunrise the boys all mountain biked down and the girls went to a really pretty grove of trees to have a picnic and go on a nature trail, then we all went to a really pretty nature garden and Jen went to the Doctor for a severe infection! Not so fun for her. :(
The Road to Hana, where we all packed into our vehicles and drove a road that goes around part of the island of Maui. It is speckled with waterfalls, covered in lush green rainforests and is just a beautiful drive. We were with Dacia and Joe and their family and had so much fun with them. Joe is very adventurous and did some crazy stunts! We had yummy snacks and cute girls to love on, the views were breathtaking and I wouldn't trade the company for anything.
Fish Tacos. Wow. I had never had fish tacos before, nor had I ever wanted to have fish tacos. But, those fish tacos we had were amazing. I don't remember the name of the Beach we were at right off, but they were "What About Bob" groan-worthy fish tacos.
Snorkeling with Topher. Topher took me out snorkeling at one of the many beaches we went to and held my hand while we swam around and pointed out fish to each other. He found a sea turtle for me and we followed it around and I about hyperventilated I was so excited. The fish were colorful and beautiful and the sea turtle was just awesome.
Kayaking and Paddle boarding with Topher and Joe. Topher and I managed to lose my glasses while kayaking. Topher managed to severely damage a paddle board. I managed to get UP on a paddle board and it was just fun to play on the beach at Dacia and Joe's condo.
Flying on a TINY little commuter plane from Maui to Hawaii. It literally sat only 9 people including the pilot and we were each weighed individually and assigned seats based on our weights and how the plane would be best balanced!! It was VERY nerve-wracking, but also a really neat experience. Since it was such a small plane, we flew really close to the ground and water, so we could actually see whales in the ocean from our plane and our pilot was pointing out sharks and everything!
Seeing whales from Dacia and Joe's condo. They had binoculars and you could spot so many whales that were breaching and that was really neat.
One of the beautiful waterfalls that we walked to had a plethora of rocks to hop on, over and around and skip to and from to find yet more waterfalls. Jaxon and I were the only unlucky ones to take a spill off the rocks! Then on the way back to the cars, finding the rainforest covered with hanging vines, that believe it or not were strong enough to hold a person. We all took turns swinging from the vines. My favorite was Grace swinging from the vine, hollering like George of the Jungle, her vine snapping, her falling on the ground face first and all of us gasping, then her lifting her head and saying "George don't feel so good!!" and breaking out into giggles.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The red glow you could see driving up to the volcano that was just an eery red light you could see from miles away. Hiking into the volcanic crater and standing in all the "heat vents" where hot sulfur air was blowing out and into the open. Then just enjoying standing there while it started to rain and made the heat vents feel like humid saunas.
Jared's steak dinner. Mmmmmm. Soooooo good. I love good food, but not as much as I LOVE good steaks.
Jeep off-roading to the Green Sand Beach with a fevered Gracey in my arms telling Uncle Alan he was a crazy driver.
Taking pictures on the Black Sand Beach.
Having my family there to talk to, play games with, be silly with and enjoy. I loved getting to see my siblings each day and enjoy their company.
I loved seeing my nieces and nephews and watching them play.
These are the things that stand out the most to me.
It was such a fun trip and I'm so grateful that we were able to go. Thanks Dad for all your extensive planning and for your financial aid in our being able to go. Thanks family for all going and making it such an amazing trip for me. :)
Grace's favorite parts that she talked about for WEEKS afterwards were swinging from the vines and off roading with Alan. Which is funny, because at the time she kept telling me how crazy Uncle Alan was. ;)



December....I was still sick, Topher was still taking care of EVERYTHING, and Grace was still being a pretty good girl for her sick-o mom.
My sisters and Mom and I did a Nikolaus swap (german tradition) and my sister Emily sent us this cute little "Elf on the Shelf" thing for Grace. I had never heard of this little "elf on the shelf" tradition that so many people do, but after reading the little book that came with the elf, getting a couple pointers from my sister and then doing extensive research online, Topher and I concluded that it was a tradition we could totally have a LOT of fun with and that Grace would really enjoy. Grace named her elf Oscar and he was a very fun Elf. He became her buddy from the beginning of December through Christmas Day. Some of his more memorable adventures were when he discovered Grace's barbies, took one unlucky barbie for a ride in her convertible, crashed it on Grace's little people car course and left barbie being doctored by Rex. He wrote Grace a mini note, assuring her that Barbie would be fine, and that sorry he had wrecked her Barbie car. He made her Elf pancakes one morning that were itty bitty. He tried to fly Topher's kites and got himself stuck up on the ceiling with all his Barbie fans watching. He hung her underwear up all over the Christmas Tree and hid all the stockings. He made Elf donuts for him and her Barbies to eat. He also hid away in her suitcase when we went out of town and helped with the Christmas eve festivities at her Grandparent's house. He was a fun little elf to have around and we're excited to see him again next December.
Even with fun Nikolaus stuff and Elf magic, Topher and I both got really homesick this month. We calculated several options to get us home for Christmas, but we just couldn't it afford it no matter what option we looked at.
Then one night we were talking on Skype with his family and his Dad asked us if we were coming home for the holidays, we told him no, we weren't, we were just going to spend the holidays at home and try to enjoy our first Christmas in our pretty new house. Well, his Dad saw right through us and asked if we wanted to come home for Christmas. Well, of course we do we said, we just couldn't afford it, maybe next year. Well, being his assertive, and overly generous self, he straight up said "No. You're coming home for Christmas. Alysia, find some flights, book it all, and here is my credit card info." My and Topher's jaws both dropped and then we laughed thinking he must be teasing. "No", he said, "we want you for Christmas. Get those flights, I don't care how much they are, come home and see us for Christmas."
Have I said lately how generous Topher's parents are? It's really ridiculous how kind they are to us. I'm so grateful for them.
So. We booked our flights and were set to be in Utah over Christmas and New Years. It was very exciting!! But the funnest part was that I decided to keep it a secret from my family. With the exception of my Mom and Emily because I needed some people on the inside keeping me updated on plans and where people would be and what not.
Topher's work had "Christmas stand down" for two weeks and so we were gone perfectly over those two weeks so he didn't miss teaching any classes or any other duties, so that was a huge blessing. And I was feeling a little bit better thanks to some heavy nausea medication my OBGYN prescribed for me. They didn't like that I was losing so much weight and couldn't keep anything down, so I got drugs! They helped a lot with the throwing up, but not with the just crummy feeling and exhaustion. But hey, I was thrilled to be a bit more functional.
We forgot our camera when we went to Utah, which is TOTALLY pathetic, I know, but we did. So the few pictures I have are when we remembered to use the camera Dacia lent us for the trip.
We got home to Utah on the 21st with 7 suitcases and arrived at Curtis and Venice's where we had been shipping all of our Christmas gifts for Grace and family, and found that we'd filled almost their whole bedroom with packages from Amazon. Ha!! Good times.
Some of the fun things we did while we were there were meet Topher's little brother's fiancee, go to the Zoo with Topher's family, have a Christmas potluck with my siblings, a bridal shower for our soon to be Sister-in-law, a big Christmas party with Topher's extended family, an awesome Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Topher's family, New Year's Eve at my sister's with Ovaltine Shakes, and lots and lots of family time!
It was so fun to be with Topher's family and see everyone. My favorite part of the whole 2 weeks though was surprising my family. I think I actually brought everyone, including myself to tears!! I felt so loved and like people actually missed me and wanted me there, and I of course had missed everyone so much I cried about it all the time. So seeing everyone in my family that first time and them being so excited to see us was just really really special to me.
We were all over with different family festivities the whole two weeks and just drove back and forth nearly every couple days between the Provo area and Kaysville, but it was so so wonderful to be with our families for Christmas and we will be forever grateful to Topher's family for making that possible. Thank you, thank you again!



Upfront, I'm going to tell you that this blog is long. And very "rambly". AND...there are not enough pictures documenting all the events. :( So, read on having been forewarned so you can't complain to me how long it is or how there's not enough pictures! You were warned! :)
It was in October that I discovered I was expecting, and by November that I felt ridiculously, hopelessly ILL. I was once again very sick with this pregnancy like I was with Grace, but the sickness for this pregnancy started about 3 weeks earlier, and I can say in hindsight now, the sickness lasted about 6 weeks LONGER as well. Lucky me. :)
So from November through about January I was completely dysfunctional. I could not do ANYTHING. I literally brought Grace to pre-school in my pajamas each day, went home, and passed out. I did not enter a grocery store even one time for over 2 months. Topher did all my grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, dishes, and taking care of both myself and Grace. He was amazing. He really is like a super hero. I couldn't do anything but throw up, lie around feeling like I was going to throw up, and sleep. Then in swooshed my amazing husband and saved our house from complete disarray and Grace from insanity caused by boredom and my lack of attention. I am so so grateful for him.
Also, in hindsight I think that I was really blessed with Grace too. She let me sleep, A LOT. And although at the time I probably thought she was a little pest and still getting into too many things, it definitely could have been much much worse. She really was a trooper about being set up with a movie for basically the entire day, and living off of Chef Boyardee, Mac'n Cheese, Top Ramen and snacks for two months. Poor girl. :( But she was a sweet heart about it. She would bring me water, and play with my hair and pat my head, and very rarely did she tell me to get up and play with her. She really just told me how sorry she was that I was sick for the majority of the time. I should thank her for that and give her some hugs and kisses.
So, with Topher being my first life saver, and Grace being less of a nuisance, those first few months were much better than they could have been. But, what really saved me was my Mom. She came in right before Thanksgiving and she took care of me like only a Mommy can. I seriously adore that woman more than anyone else I know. She cleaned my house from TOP TO BOTTOM, and I mean that in the literal sense. Not ONE room was left untouched. She cleaned EVERYTHING. It was because of her that Topher was able to maintain a gorgeous house the rest of the time I was sick. Thanks to my mom, Topher didn't have any huge cleaning obstacles to tackle, which for us is REALLY saying something.
Not only did she take care of me and baby and coddle me, but she took care of Grace and actually fed my husband some real food. I'm not gonna lie, Topher lost about as much weight as I did those first few months because the poor boy was just not eating. :( So my mom reminded him what good food tastes like and loved on all of us. She is so wonderful.
If that wasn't enough, she also decorated my house for the holidays for me. She took down all of my Fall decor, and then put up my Christmas tree and all my Christmas decorations. She was so so so wonderful! And I was so grateful to have her.
I also have to mention so I don't forget, how sweet my siblings were as well. They called to check in on me on a daily basis, and both my sisters sent me care packages. They were so thoughtful and really tried to lighten my spirits as much as they could from across the country.
Sorry, that was a LOT of rambling. But, I want to remember how wonderful my little family was while I was sick. :)
So my Mom and Sam were here for about 5 or so days before Thanksgiving, and then started the real trial - a week long cruise with Topher's family over Thanksgiving. I KNOW! It's a cruise! It should be wonderful and relaxing and so much fun!! But, as much as I wanted to have a blast, I was so so sick, that it was nearly impossible to do anything except lay in our gorgeous cabin and whine. :( So so sad. Topher's family didn't know that I was pregnant at the beginning, so the first night we were all together Topher let his parents in on the news so they wouldn't think I was the biggest lame-o in the whole world! They were so excited and so so sweet to me, I just love his parents. Originally I had not wanted to tell his siblings yet, just because I was so nervous about losing another pregnancy and I didn't want to bust everyone's bubbles again. But, about halfway through the cruise we let everyone in on the secret. They were all really excited and much more understanding about my super lame-ness after that. :)
The cruise stopped at Jamaica, Grand Cayman and I think Puerta Maya was what the last place was called? I'm not positive. It was beautiful and Topher and I were royally spoiled by his much too generous parents, but I was definitely sick, sick and more sick for just about every moment on that boat. It is the first vacation of my life where I actually lost weight!
But, sickness aside, it was still beautiful, and there were moments, some long, some short, that I really felt ok and was able to enjoy myself.
Topher's siblings were really sweet to me, playing with Grace, coming in our cabin and watching movies with me and my sick butt and just being really sweet to me. I got to spend more time with his siblings and talk with them more than before and it was fun to be with them. Thanks guys for being so nice to me and taking care of Grace and making sure Topher had fun!
Some of the highlights for me were going to a Turtle Farm in Grand Cayman. Curtis took us to this little Turtle farm where there are tons and tons and TONS of sea turtles, in varying stages of life and size. Not only do you get to see them all, which would be cool in and of itself, but you got to HOLD them! And, to make it EVEN better, there were itty bitty baby sea turtles that fit in the palm of your hand and you could hold them!! Oh, it was so fun and they were so cute! Grace had one in each hand and would kiss them each in turn, then put them down and pick up new ones and coo at each of them. Yeah, I know, not very sanitary, but she was in Heaven and I couldn't blame her.
I also really really enjoyed one of the beaches we went to that I believe was also in Grand Cayman. The water was just crystal turquoise and so beautiful and the sand was this soft white fluff and it was just gorgeous to look at. Sadly, I was also very emotional so my happy moments sometimes smacked right into a crying fit, but, oh well! What can ya do?! Poor Topher had to put up with me and try to determine what my mood was before he ever approached me. :)
I couldn't do the excursion in Jamaica because of my pregnancy, so Curtis and Venice again spoiled me and made me go to the Spa. They refused to rub anything on my entire body except my face though, so instead of a massage I got an hour long facial. It. Was. AMAZING. Who woulda thought having your face rubbed for an hour could be so heavenly?? I had no idea.
We actually had a balcony cabin, (drool!) and so we slept with our balcony door open so we could hear the ocean every night and as much as the rocking made me sick, the fresh air and soothing sound was really nice.
The food was an interesting thing. I never knew what was going to make me sick so I would order almost everything on the menu and then try a bite of this and a bite of that and see what it did to my stomach. One night Anni and I got adventurous and had lobster. She looks a little nervous, I know, but Im not sure if she was nervous because of me or the lobster...hmmm.
I also really enjoyed New Orleans on the end side of our trip. Curtis took us on a walking tour of the area during the day and I really enjoyed seeing the different sights. I'm not gonna lie though, I might have enjoyed the amazing beignets and hot chocolate more than anything else in New Orleans. But only because they were seriously just THAT GOOD! Love them beignets! :) Sadly, I have no pictures of the fun in New Orleans or the yummy beignets.
In case I didn't say it enough at the time Curtis and Venice, I did love going on the cruise with you guys and I did have fun! And I'm sorry I was so sick and lame. :( Thanks for putting up with me, playing with Topher and Grace, spoiling us all rotten and loving on me despite my being a lame-o!!
When we came back from the cruise my mom came back for another 4 or 5 days and continued taking care of me and my little family.
It was a tumultuous month with all the being sick, but It was made so much better by loving family and friends that were kind and sweet to us. Thank you thank you for again showing me how blessed a family can be!


October 2011

October for us was a fun month also. About 6 months previously I made us camping reservations on Edisto Beach State Park. I made the reservations 6 months in advanced so we could actually get a "beach site" camp spot. We were not literally on the sandy beach, but all there was dividing us from the sandy beach was a little fence made of beach reeds and sticks. We could see the ocean from our table and hear it while we were sleeping and see Grace playing on the beach from our site as well.
I have never seen so many seashells! Edisto is known for the seashells, but there really were just tons everywhere you looked! We woke up early and watched the sunrise, and then Grace and I went to town collecting seashells. Later on, Topher dug his requisite tunnel. It seems we can't go to the beach anymore without him building some sort of tunnel. This one was pretty cool I thought. I don't know if you can tell but he built it up on a ledge of sand, and down onto the next level of sand, so it was almost like a slide/tunnel. You can see his legs hanging out up top and Grace sitting at the bottom.
It was a lot of fun, and the only regret we had was that we didn't make the reservation for 2 nights instead of 1.
The only other thing of note for the month was all the Halloween festivities. We went to Boone Hall Plantation to go to their pumpkin patch. Let's just say it was probably the most pathetic pumpkin patch we have ever seen. Evidently, pumpkins don't grow very well in South Carolina. The vast majority of the pumpkins were small, green and pretty soft. They told us that any pumpkins that looked good hadn't been grown there but imported from Virginia! Not only was their selection just sad, but it started to rain while we were there, and within 15 minutes of our arrival it was a complete downpour. We got soaked! But, at the least, it was very memorable and we all still had a ton of fun. Well, at least Grace and I did, after all, we were the ones with umbrellas. Topher was the one hauling Grace and the pumpkins around the field getting wet. :)
Aside from pumpkins, Grace was still in gymnastics at the time as well as a pre-school swap in our ward and her regular pre-school, so she got a lot of opportunities to dress up once it was Halloween time. We also had a ward trunk or treat, a neighbor had a Halloween party and then she went trick or treating with Topher around the neighborhood! So much candy! Well, we had so many dress up outfits that she liked wearing and so she wore a different costume for every event. I thought that made for a lot of fun! The only costume I didn't get a picture of was her costume for Gymnastics. I had wanted to put her in one of her cute costumes, but she wanted to be Vector, from Despicable Me. So, she wore her 'warm up suit', and went in to gymnastics telling everyone she was "committing crimes! wis bof direcson and mag-itude!". Too funny.


September 2011

In October of 2009 Topher's awesome little brother embarked on a 2 yr. service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is a great little brother and he made an amazing missionary, teaching and serving those in and out of the Church and bringing the gospel to the people of Quartz Hill, California. We wrote him letters, he wrote us more, and we missed him like crazy. But the person that I'm pretty sure missed him the most, and hey, I think he missed her the most too, is my little Gracey. ;)

From the moment Grace first was held by Austin he has had a special bond with her and she just adores her Uncle Austin. He was always one of her preferred people to be with, play with and cuddle with and when he left I was so so sad that he wouldn't get to see her change throughout the next 2 yrs. But, we sent him pictures and updates and I think they both survived just fine. However, when it was time for him to come home, I made sure he knew that we expected him on our doorstep STAT! So, shortly after he returned home, he made his plans and was on his way!
We had such a great time with him too!! We took him to the beach, out to eat some good southern BBQ, took him Downtown to see some sights, but mostly we just hung out at home. We all missed just chilling, sleeping in, eating good food, watching movies way too late into the night and playing games together. So, we did a lot of hanging out. His Dad would have gone crazy!!! :) But, we loved it.
His visit was a week, but still too short for our taste! He claimed he had to hurry home to his new flame. Psh! Ridiculous. Especially since now she's his wife! Obviously he could've stayed longer, she wasn't going anywhere. ;)
I'll forgive him for leaving so soon since he and his new wife Mrs. Elise L'Don Andersen are coming back to visit next month.
In September I also got Grace into a community Gymnastics class and that was a lot of fun. It was nice for her to have an opportunity to get some wiggles out and I really enjoyed just watching her be involved in something and be so happy doing it. Later when my Mom came to visit in November she even brought some leotards she had made for Grace that were ADORABLE, and Grace's gym teacher tried to convince my Mom to sell them through the Gym! I can't find a picture of her in gymnastics...Hm. I'm a bad mom. My mom took some though, so If I get my hands on those I'll put those up here, because she really is a cutie in those leotards!
We still have our dog...September was not a good month for our dog...I think I wanted to kill her at least once a week. Hm. More on that later maybe. :)
But, that is the synopsis of September. :)