Monday, December 31, 2012

a year in review

it has been such a wonderful year, full of moments we will cherish for the rest of our lives. many of those moments we have captured here, on our blog, in stories and photographs. however, many moments lacked the stories that would warrant their own entries, but we wished to share the pictures of those moments anyways. at this time of remembrance and thankfulness, we share some of our most treasured memories of the year that has come to an end. we hope you enjoy them a fraction as much as we enjoyed living them. :)

claire at a car wash for the first time - you can tell she's terrified, but she tries to play it cool and laugh it off. :)

claire hopping on a trampoline with her cousin and aunt. trampolines scare me, but obviously not her so much.

everett has learned to spit. oh no.

and claire doing what she loves to do - dance.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Christmas this year was so fun. We love visiting with family and this time of year allows us lots of opportunities to be with ours. The Saturday evening before the holiday was spent with the Bryson side. We got together with Scott's brothers and sister and their families for a treat exchange. Grandma Bryson sent all the little girl cousins these cute Christmas tutus. Claire loved hers and wanted to wear it all weekend.

Christmas Eve was pretty quiet but special. We read the story of Jesus' birth with Grandma and Grandpa McClellan, watched the animated Nativity video for Claire and then finished with some hot chocolate.  :)

Everett got us up pretty early the next morning, but we were probably too excited to sleep in anyway. :)

When Claire finally woke up we opened our stockings. I think Claire loved her candy cane of skittles the most and Everett liked the little rattle he got in his.

We went upstairs to have breakfast with my sister Kristy and her family, who had also come to visit, and then after eating we opened the rest of our presents. One of my projects this year was a quilt for Claire's bed. I finished it just in time for a Christmas present. It's a rag quilt and I made sure to put a lot of yellow in it because her favorite color is yellow. I just wish I had made it a little longer, because it's a tad too short for her bed, but besides that I'm pretty happy with it, and she likes it. :)

After opening presents and playing with them just a little, we headed down to Spanish Fork to see the Bryson family. We celebrated cousin Tasha's birthday and we were lucky enough to schedule appointments and get our nails done by her that day too. :) Claire still looks at her now chipped nail polish on her nails and says "Tasha...nails...pretty!"

We had dinner with them and enjoyed relaxing and playing with our new toys and then it was home to bed. It was such a fun Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas is Coming

The Monday after Thanksgiving we set up our Christmas tree along with all our other Christmas decorations (and when I say WE I really mean Scott did most of it while I took care of kids).  Since our tree has been up I've been having fun taking as many different tree pictures as I could. :)

One of our traditions has been to put up a new picture ornament for each year since we've been married. I've made ornaments in the past, but this year I was busy working on other projects so we just bought a little frame ornament and I put a little photo shoot together in hopes of getting a good picture to go inside (we used the one on the right with both kids).

Christmas tree lights are a perfect background for pictures and so I've been playing with my camera more and Claire's been a perfect little model for me. Doesn't she just have the cutest infectious smile? :)

It snowed about a week ago and we thought we'd take Claire outside to play just a little. She was kind of hesitant at first, but Scott showed her how to make a cute mini snowman and I think she enjoyed it. Scott and I hate being cold at all and we're dreading the day that our kids will beg us to take them sledding and stuff. But then again, if they give us such cute smiles during and after, I don't think it'll be that bad... :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

memory made

"mommy, heavy. daddy, strong."

now i hope no one thought our little claire bear spoke these words as she watched her poor daddy attempt to pick up mommy. she was actually just telling mommy that something was too heavy for her, and that daddy needed to help. the former idea definitely makes us laugh pretty good though. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thankful for Weddings

 Well I only have one picture taken on Thanksgiving and here it is...

My younger brother Daniel got married the Saturday after Thanksgiving and since we had a ton of family visiting for that, we got to enjoy their company for the holiday as well. At first we tried to keep Claire downstairs because some of her cousins had the chicken pox the week before. However, keeping her away was pretty much impossible and we do like to see her having fun with her cousins, so we're just hoping the vaccine she got works and we won't have to deal with chicken pox in another week... :) Thanksgiving day was enjoyable. That morning Scott went and played some football while I played charades with my family. Then I took pictures for my sister Lindy's family after dinner and before dessert.

We spent Friday afternoon with Scott's family down in Spanish Fork and enjoyed some leftover dessert. And then Saturday was the big day for my little brother. We luckily had some family members willing to watch Everett and his other baby cousin at the temple so that they could be watched a little closer to their mommies. :) It was wonderful going to the sealing and seeing almost my whole family there. We did miss my older brother and little sister halfway around the world and a few in-laws that had to stay with kids, but 9 out of 11 siblings were able to make it which made it a very memorable moment.

Most of you know my interest in photography so you have to realize I was pretty excited to take pictures of this event. I had never taken wedding pictures before though so I had made it clear I just wanted to be the "second" photographer so I could enjoy myself, learn a little, have fun, you know, no pressure. :) I'm sure I probably irritated the main photographer though because I felt myself wanting to step in so many times and take charge. If I could've stepped back and watched myself I'm sure I would've laughed because if you know me at all I'm usually pretty quiet and kind of a shy person... but then you put a camera in my hands and I tend to go a little crazy.  :)

I did try to stay behind the scenes and take pictures of the happy couple at random moments... but I also enjoyed the practicing with my sister Heather (who is also interested in photography). I actually had a lot of fun playing with our cameras and trying out poses first on each other and then on the happy couple. :)

They were married in the Mt. Timpanogas temple and it was beautiful. They are both so happy and I'm very happy for them. We came home for some lunch and then that evening was the reception. It was lovely. Scott and I danced and Claire had a ball just kicking balloons. :)

Thanksgiving is a time to tell everyone all the things we are thankful for and I am so thankful for family. I love my family. They make me so happy. I'm so thankful for temples and that I know I can be with my family forever. And I'm thankful for weddings that bring my whole family together. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

our moment of fear

you must forgive me for sharing this. i do so for memory sake. i want to remember that first time that my heart stopped and i felt like sobbing in public. amber, claire, everett, and i were out doing a little Christmas shopping. claire had just had a poopy diaper so i had taken her out to the car to change her while amber and everett continued to roam the store. claire and i returned with no problems. a second later, claire announced that she was poopy again. we were just about done shopping, so i told her that we would change her again as soon as we were back in the car. so amber and i went back to discussing whatever it was we were talking about while claire walked away. five, maybe ten seconds later, i go to get a visual on claire who had just turned the corner of the aisle we were on. i peek around the corner and claire is nowhere to be seen. 
i didn't think anything of it at first. i look down the next aisle. nothing. i check the next aisle. nothing. i turn around and look down the next few aisles the other way. nothing. i then yell to amber and ask if she sees claire. amber says no and begins her frantic search. i thought, "maybe she's playing hide and seek", which is a favorite game of her's these days. so i run over to the clothing section (because she loves to hide in the middle of those clothing display racks) and start calling her name. nothing. amber tells me that she's heading up to the customer service desk. i see the Christmas display section all the way on the other side of the store and think that she might have headed that way, so i run full sprint over there. nothing. at this point, i'm frantically running down aisle after aisle, and i am more scared than i have ever been.
finally i turn a corner and see claire with a tearful amber. our theory is that claire had decided to head out to the car to get her diaper changed. a customer had found her near the doors of the store, and had handed her off to an employee. when amber saw claire, amber broke down crying. the wonderful employee comforted amber and handed claire back to her. and the whole time, all claire would say is "poopy", over and over again. amber was a little worried the employee wouldn't even give her claire because claire didn't even seem to acknowledge her as her mommy. just "poopy". but after five minutes of pure and absolute terror, we had our angel back. 
now i hear stories of this happening all the time, but it's something different when it's you. and i realize that odds are this won't be the last time something like this happens. but this was a first for us, and i would love, LOVE, it to be the last. our gratitude could not be more. we are so thankful to have our girl back. for just a moment, the thought entered my mind, "what if we lost her for good?" and that thought scared me to tears. we are so thankful to have her. we are so thankful to that customer and that wonderful employee who comforted claire and amber. above all, we are thankful to our loving Heavenly Father, who was watching over us, who is always watching over us, and is making sure that everything will be okay.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

 Since Claire was so sad during our Colorado family photo shoot and we didn't get ANY with her smiling, we decided to try again. Our sister Sherry was willing to take them and she did a wonderful job! Claire was so much better for these ones. Here are some of our favorites. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


 Once upon a time there was a young girl called Little Red Riding Hood...

 One day she was on her way to visit her grandmother who was sick...

And she ran into a wolf!

Luckily the woodcutter was there to save her...

And they all lived Happily Ever After. :)

The End

Earlier that week... Little Red Riding Hood was painting a pumpkin for Halloween and missed the pumpkin. She wasn't too happy with it on her face. 

I think she still enjoyed herself though. :)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, November 5, 2012

rocky mountain high

i love numbers and stats. i'm a giant nerd like that. so keeping that in mind, forgive me for this: claire and everett are blessed to have 28 aunts and uncles, 36 cousins, 4 grandparents, and 1 great-grandparent here on this earth. we recently took a trip to colorado for a bryson family reunion and during that trip we were able to see 15 of those aunts and uncles, 21 cousins, all 4 grandparents, and their 1 great-grandparent. and if you add general conference weekend earlier this month, we can add 5 more aunts and uncles and 9 more cousins. in the month of october, claire and everett have seen 71% of their aunts and uncles (20 out of 28), 83% of their cousins (30 out of 36), and 100% of their grandparents and great-grandparents (5 out of 5). that's some pretty good numbers.

now for those of you who haven't been bored to death by the numbers and are actually still reading, we'll jump into the action. our trip started on thursday morning as we frantically packed up our stuff in the hopes of getting on the road early. we knew, between claire and everett, that we would be making many frequent stops, and sure enough, that proved true. on the bright side, it did allow us the chance to appreciate sights we may have never seen otherwise. we made it to to our destination, canon city, colorado, late that night.

the next day, the entire bryson clan that was there (sadly minus one brother-in-law) took a ride on the royal gorge train. it was this relaxing train ride up this big canyon and back. i guess there was probably something historically significant about this gorge, but i wasn't listening. it was just cool being on an old fashioned train and enjoying the scenery. claire loved walking up and down the train through the different cars while everett slept the entire trip. that night, kyle and i went to the outdoor basketball court to play some of my niece and nephew's friends who had called us out. we showed those young whippersnappers. darn hoodlums. :)

the actual reason behind this particular reunion was that we had two nephews being baptized and two more nephews receiving priesthood ordinations. while we had everyone together, we thought we would go ahead and throw in everett's baby blessing as well. that saturday we gathered at the church to participate in the baptisms and ordinations. it was a wonderfully spiritual experience. it brings so much joy to see so many of my younger family members making such righteous decisions. from the church we headed to the park to see a couple of my nephews play football, and later that night, we headed out to another park to celebrate the birthdays of all those in our family born in october (and everett, because he was getting blessed.)

the next day the whole family gathered for family pictures. with 27 people, 11 of which who are twelve or younger, i'm going to say it's nearly impossible to get a picture with everyone smiling. claire especially wasn't in the mood for pictures. everett was super chill though, which helped a little. after pictures we gathered and had a family testimony meeting. i see my family's testimonies all the time, but it also nice to hear them once in a while. after the testimony meeting, some of amber's family who live in colorado, as well as grandma and grandpa mcclellan who also traveled from utah, all joined us for everett's blessing and a nice dinner. thank you for all those who joined us (or who wished they could have joined us) for everett's special day. we are so grateful for all our family, near and far.

a big portion of the family took off that night, but a few of us hung around for another day. that monday, a few of us went up to the royal gorge bridge, this huge suspension bridge that we had gone under when we had ridden the train earlier in the week. these pictures just don't show how high this bridge really was. i must admit that walking over that bridge was a little (a whole lot) nerve racking, but i managed to do it. amber was practically skipping across the bridge, no fear at all. that girl amazes me. after walking across the bridge, we took a tram back across the gorge, which again left me a little weak in the knees.

the next day, the rest of us colorado visitors headed up to colorado springs and spent the morning playing around at the mall. we then had to part ways and were forced to say our goodbyes. we decided to take the scenic route home and head north to see amber's sister and family up in green river, wyoming. unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse, and we ended up driving through a pretty bad snow storm. we made it safely, a whole lot later than we had hoped, but we got there. we spent the night, hung out with amber's sister that next morning, then headed home.

claire was super, super shy most of the time, and everett was a bit over-stimulated with so many people and was thus a little grumpier than usual, but it still was such a fun trip. i have stated before that my family never seemed to attend many big family reunions growing up and thus i never knew my extended family. thankfully, that's not looking like a problem my kids will have. this last trip was our third family reunion of the year (millie's blessing and the asay reunion at the courthouse being the first two), and with a wedding coming up soon, it looks like we'll be blessed with a fourth. by the end of this summer, i'm hoping to get those percentages from the very beginning pretty near 100. :) i sure do love my family (both sides) and am so thankful that i get to see them somewhat regularly, though never as much as i wish i could.