Big, empty boxes make for awesome forts, except when you get stuck in a window that is way too small for your head, let alone your entire body! I don't know what it is with Taj and his need to stick his arms, legs, or head through small spaces. This is definitely not the first time he's been stuck. I've pulled his head out of our front porch railing and his feet out of the back of our kitchen chairs on several occasions! I think it must be a boy thing, but I guess Haiven will test that theory when she gets older!
I don't think Santa could have been any happier to have Taj sit on his lap. Either Santa was having a really bad day or he's muscling through the gag reflex while Taj sat on his lap with a poopy diaper! Gross right? Well Taj was the next kid in line and there was no way he was going to go to the back of the line over a poopy diaper! Hopefully Taj is still on the nice list.
We ventured out to see the lights at Temple Square last weekend and we didn't last very long at all! It was so cold and slick that we spent most of our time at the Joseph Smith Memorial building and in the the visitor center. We did a quick walk through of the lights and then headed home, but Taj did seem to enjoy the lights (an his hand warmer) a lot more this year and that made the trip worth it! Temple Square lights are definitely worth seeing for those of you wondering whether or not it's worth it to take the kids out in the cold!
Taj and his cousin Alivia with Grandpa Shuck (another nickname):) We blessed Haiven on the 4th of December. Both me and Brannon's families traveled all the way up north to come for her blessing only to find out that church had been cancelled on account of the wind damage from earlier in the week! We thought our neighbor (who is in the Bishopric) was joking when he told us church was cancelled because the debris from the storm needed to be cleaned up. Well he was not joking, but we did get to bless Haiven anyway, much to our joy and relief! We blessed her in our living room and Brannon did a great job despite the noise Taj and his cousin Livy were making. Taj actually crawled between the legs of the men blessing Haivi during the blessing and sat on the floor right under Haivi as they blessed her, all the while kicking his legs and making gremlin noises. Livy wanted to know why she couldn't join "T Man" and expressed this loudly! Somehow Brannon was able to do a wonderful job blessing Haiven through all the distraction. It was actually kind of neat to bless Haiven in our home. It was definitely a blessing we will all remember!
Haivi loves her daddy as long as he doesn't talk in his baby voice! Check out that pucker (her consistent reaction to Brannon's baby talk)! At two months old she already know how to melt hearts! We are all smitten in the Morse household with little Miss Haiven, or "Haivi Gravy" as Brannon calls her. Sometimes he even omits the "Haivi" and just asks, "Where's Gravy?" I'm hoping that's a nickname that doesn't stick! I never knew what kind of nickname Taj would have since his name is only one syllable and three letters long, but I think at the ripe age of three he has a nickname that will stick, "T." I can definitely live with that and I think he will be able to too. "T" was also my dad's nickname when he was growing up, so that's kind of cool. We didn't plan it. "T" was something everyone just started calling him. He also goes by "T Man," which he might think is pretty cool when he gets a little older because it almost sounds like a super hero name and what little boy doesn't wish he were a super hero? I know Brannon got his nickname "Gabby" when he was about three years old, so I thought it would be neat to document when Taj got his. It's not hard to wonder how Brannon got his name! I don't really have a unique nickname like Brannon or Taj. Brannon came from a town where pretty much everyone has a nickname. I never know who he is talking about when he is reliving old memories with his buddies. I hear names like Delburt, Pat, George, Bones, Newt, Bobba Louie, Hermcat, Turp, Bubba, Big Daddy, Construction, Slim, Doug, McGee, and a plethora of others. If you're looking for a unique nickname, head on down to Tropic, there are plenty to choose from!
I am standing in the pit where the roots of this tree used to be.
Last night when Brannon told me we were supposed to have some strong winds in Davis County today, I didn't think twice about it. I mean, I grew up in Monticello where it is pretty much always windy! It was never unusual to see a trampoline or two flipped upside down or some shingles missing or a fallen tree here or there, so I was literally freaked out by the howling winds that woke me at about 5 am this morning. Things kept hitting our house and our power kept going on and off. Then a couple hours later it did go off for good for most of the day. So far we have power again, but I'm not going to bank on it quite yet. I ventured out with the kids in the safety of our car when the winds died down to assess the damage. I couldn't believe what that 100 mph wind had done to quiet little Kaysville. They actually classified that speed of wind as Hurricane 2 status. Trees have been uprooted everywhere, people's roofs and shingles and siding are missing, trash and debris is everywhere, fences are down everywhere, power lines are down, business signs are gone, and there were a few fires. They also had to shut the freeway down because all the semi trucks were blowing over. There were semis backed up for miles on the freeway by our house. I have never seen anything like it! The only casualty at our house was a single shutter. We really got lucky. I really feel bad for those who have had a lot of damage done to their homes right before Christmas, as if Christmas isn't expensive already! The pictures I took were from my neighborhood in Kaysville.
We usually do a craft day with all the girls when we go home for the holidays. This year my mom bought us kits, which made it super easy and convenient. It only took us about an hour to do the blocks. Crafts are fun, but not when they take all day long and you have whiny men and kids around the house:) The garland was something my mom saw on pinterest that she was just dying to try out. My sister and I put it together and it took a lot longer than we thought it would because of all the ornaments we had to tie on. What also made it take longer was that right as we were about to step back to admire our work, the entire thing fell down and ornaments went flying everywhere. We found some sturdy wire to get it hung back up, but it fell down a second time too! Lesson learned here: all those ornaments are heavier than they appear, so use something strong to string it up! Something else that made it even prettier was that we bought a pre-lit garland strand. So if you are looking for a fun/relatively cheap Christmas craft that looks amazing, this is it!
She really does love her big brother and he loves to give her kisses and rub his cheek and arm on her soft hair. If I have to set her in her crib for a minute, I don't mind letting Taj climb in with her because she never cries when he's there with her. He is already very protective of her. He doesn't like people he doesn't like holding her and he doesn't like it when I put headbands on her. I think that he thinks it is hurting her or bugging her because he can't stand to have anything on his head. I love this picture. Haiven totally looks freaked out, as if she wants me to get her out of there quick! Taj just can't help climbing in the crib with her when she's in there. He makes sure to keep the mobile going for both their entertainment. Haiven meeting her great grandma Martha for the first time. You can tell Haiven likes her too by the little smile on her face:) Taj was pretty proud to have his very own silver bell and he preferred that we look at the bell instead of him! This was the best picture we could get of Santa and his elves. All of the kids on our car were freaking out! I haven't heard that many little giggles and squeals all at once since I was in elementary school! In Brannon's defense, I let Taj take some pictures and he chose Brannon as his subject:) Nothing like a cold, Monticello sunset over the Blue Mountains! Haiven meeting her great grandpa for the first time. You can tell that she was very intrigued with him:)
This year for Thanksgiving we went home to Monticello. Besides the holiday traffic, the trip there and back was pretty much perfect. We only had to stop once both ways to feed Haiven, otherwise she slept the entire way! When Taj was Haiven's age and we went home for Christmas, he cried the ENTIRE way, so we were geared up for a cry-fest, but we were pleasantly surprised by the snoring in the back seat. Thanksgiving dinner was great as always and I'm sure I ate too much for someone who needs to drop a lot of baby weight still! I think Brannon and I are going to have our own Biggest Loser competition to see who can drop the weight first. I think I might win since I have a gym pass and he has a giant sweet tooth.
Instead of doing Black Friday this year, we took a ride on the Polar Express in Durango, CO. My mom booked us tickets and while they were a bit pricey, I say they are totally worth it if you have kids. Taj absolutely loved it! His perma-smile face was glued to the window pretty much the entire ride. We drank hot cocoa, ate chocolate chip cookies, and listened to the Polar Express book on the way to the North Pole. Once we got to the North Pole, Santa came aboard and gave all of the kids on the train a silver bell from his sleigh. Taj wasn't so sure about Santa, but he loved the bell. Haiven slept like a rock, thank goodness, for the whole ride. I don't know how people traveled long distance in those old cars. They sway back and forth like a boat on water. I was just glad nobody got sick! It was such a fun night and literally a magical experience to see Taj's face light up and to experience the magic of childhood again through him. It actually brought tears to my eyes watching Taj as we pulled away from the train station. I was embarrassed about it until I looked over and saw my mom and sisters with watery eyes too, then we all laughed for getting so emotional over a train ride:)
It was good to just relax and spend time with family over a long weekend. Just so I remember, I love getting together with my family over the holidays because it always includes National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Elf, game night, hot cocoa, chips and Yolanda's salsa, mom's latest recipes, late nights telling stories, craft day, a bad mood or two, and lots of noise and laughs. My family knows how to spend quality time with each other and I've always been grateful for that and I know our relationships are stronger because of it. I know my mom will appreciate this since she is always so worried that if she doesn't have a lot of activities planned that we will all be bored and not want to come home. I told her that we all like to come home because it's home. There is no way it could be boring with all of us there together!
Chairs do not belong on the road, especially on the freeway, especially in my lane! Yesterday I was rumbling down the road in lil' Black Magic when all of a sudden the car in front of me swerved out of the lane to reveal a man on the side of the road waving his arms frantically and a gigantic chair right in my lane. My natural reaction was to stomp on the brakes at 65 miles per hour, which of course set my locked tires to screeching and produced enormous amounts of black smoke. I'm pretty sure my eyes were as big as golf balls and I might have been doing the silent scream and I say silent because I was so scared I swear my heart stopped and I couldn't breathe! Time slowed down as I veered off the road to miss the chair and tried to avoid hitting the man or his stupid furniture truck. I will never forget the look on that man's face...he was actually laughing! Jerk. I think it was because of the stupid look on my face and perhaps the sight of smoke roiling out from underneath poor screeching Black Magic. He's just lucky I have moves like Starsky and Hutch and that I didn't turn him or his stupid chair into road kill!