Saturday, June 30, 2012

Daxton's First Zoo

Last week my sister-in-law, Heather, and I decided to take the kids on one more outing before baby #5 joins their family.  Hanging out with Heather for the day reaffirmed my belief that she is a true ROCKSTAR!  I mean who else could corral four energetic kids up and down steep hills pushing a stroller...all while 9 months pregnant?

I realize that Daxton is too young to really appreciate seeing all the zoo animals, but I ended up buying a year membership anyway.  I figured that since the membership paid for itself after 2 visits and I was able to get in another adult for free each time we visited, it would be well worth it.  Plus, I have a lot of friends that have older children that would love to join Daxton and I on outings to the Oakland Zoo.
Before entering the zoo, on the right hand side, there are several children's rides available.  The kids really wanted to ride the train before seeing all the animals.  Daxton was awake and alert until the train started to move, at which point he snuggled up under his blanket and quickly fell asleep.  Since I was taking care of my little man the entire time, I gave my camera to Lincoln.  He was extremely excited by this since it's a DSLR.  He looked like quite the photographer with a huge camera around his neck the whole day! 
Daxton's first train ride!
Great job, Lincoln, in capturing such fun pictures on the train.
 Here are some of the pictures that Lincoln and Rulon took of some of the animals we saw throughout the day.  We especially loved all of the chimpanzees.  They were so lively and interactive with each other.  Our favorite chimp even carried around blankets everywhere he walked.
 We found an amazing view of the tigers, which Rulon was very excited about.  He's been reading a lot about them and even doing a special report over the summer on tigers.  I wish I could have captured his squeal of excitement.  Daxton even woke up to say hello to them for a brief moment.  Needless to say, he wasn't too impressed quite yet.

 Funny faces from little William and Dax.
 I absolutely LOVE the below picture of sweet Rulon with Daxton.  He is such a sweetheart with him and constantly giving him loves.  I tried to get Daxton in front of several different animals to document his first time at the zoo.  He pretty much slept through a lot of the day, but I can't help but love those chubby cheeks and full lips in these pictures!
 What a helpful big brother; Rulon helping Will up from his fall.
 The Oakland Zoo has a great Children's Zoo area.  It has several different animals, a petting zoo, and play areas for the children to explore.  While Daxton was sleeping I tried to catch some shots of the kiddos.  I sure do love these kids.  I'm so glad we live close and Heather is always willing to go on adventures with me.
 Overall I think Daxton's first zoo trip was a success.  He was such a sweet baby, waking up to smile for a few pictures and sleeping soundly the rest of the time.  Everyone loved peeking in on him, playing with his little toes, and blowing him kisses.

Even this Chimpanzee thought he was pretty cute!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Father's Day

I am in love with these two guys.
My heart absolutely melts when I look at this picture.
This Father's Day was truly wonderful.
All due to the adorable boy you see in the above picture.
With all of our countless prayers, we could never have imagined how much love we would feel for our precious little man.  He has brought so much joy to our lives and we feel so incredibly blessed.  Not only am I loving little Daxton in our home, but I am loving seeing the effect it's had on Dallas.  
Dallas is such an amazing daddy. 
He is constantly helping with all of the duties of raising a little one (changing diapers, putting him to bed, doing laundry, calming the tears, etc) all without being asked.  He has even become very involved in "tummy time" and helping little Dax learn his sounds.  Every night I can find him reading different books and finding time to snuggle with our little guy.  
He truly is an amazing daddy.
Every year since living in the Bay Area on Father's Day we have gone over to my brother, Erik's, house to help celebrate.  We love spending time with them and feel so blessed to live so close to family.  Plus their children truly feel like our own.  
Recently they've been in the process of finishing up their back yard.  They put in beautiful grass, planter boxes, trampoline, and Erik even constructed a play structure for the kids.  I can't wait for Daxton to be old enough to participate in all the fun.  After church, and after a relaxing afternoon nap with daddy, we headed over to Erik's house for Sunday dinner.  Lincoln and Will were very excited to show us their new 'digs.'
 Lincoln is growing up so fast.  It's crazy to think he will be in middle school in a year.  It makes me feel old!  He had a blast showing us tricks while jumping off the swings.
 When I became pregnant with Daxton, one of my fears was how Will would react.  I know that sounds weird, but I sure do love this little kid and I didn't want him to feel like he was being replaced.  There will always be a special place in my heart for little Will.  I've mentioned in previous posts how much his love helped me through some difficult times in my life.  Now, I try to make sure that while Dallas is holding Daxton, I spend at least a few minutes with Will individually.
 I have absolutely loved watching all the kids interact with Daxton.  Will can't quite pronounce his name right, so he keeps saying how much he loves "Baby Daskin."  They all want to hold him, touch and kiss his hands and feet, and try to make him smile.  It's pretty cute.  I love this picture below especially.  I'm so excited that Daxton will have cousins to play with!
It turned out to be another great Father's day.
Thanks again, Erik and Heather, for the amazing dinner and great company.  We sure do love you guys!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flashback Friday: Many Faces Wall

Wow, did I have patient roommates while living in Provo!
I lived in the Devonshire apartments for three years and lucked out with some of the most amazing roommates.  I have mentioned before in previous posts how close our apartment complex was.  The people I met while living in "The Dev" are still some of my closest friends.  Those few years together are some of the most cherished memories I have of friendship and love.
It's funny looking back and seeing how crazy our apartment looked.  My roommate, Andrea, is probably one of the most patient and loving people I have ever met.  She put up with all of the craziness that goes into living with the social butterfly that I was.  I've always loved photography; trying to capture memories and freeze them in time.  With this new ward and new friends came all sorts of new and crazy adventures.  And I wanted to document them all!  I had a camera literally attached to me at all times and would go through a roll or two at least every few days.  One day, Andrea and I were feeling exceptionally crazy and began to dress up in crazy outfits for an impromptu photo shoot.  When I got the film developed, we sat back and simply laughed at all our crazy facial expressions.  We decided to hang them on our wall for fun.  After they were all displayed we started to make up sayings/phrases that fit with each picture.  Neighbors would come over and write sayings to post on the wall as well.
One day, when a bunch of people were over hanging out, we had the crazy idea of extending our Many Faces Wall.  Pretty soon we had several people dressed up in crazy outfits ready for their photo shoots.  I can't tell you how many times I came home from a stressful day of classes and sat looking at all the fun faces around the apartment.  It literally brightened my day and made me laugh just looking at how silly all of my friends were.
A few weeks later we decided to extend our wall further to include group dates and road trips.  Since these were taking place at least twice a month, it did not take long before every wall of our apartment was covered from floor to ceiling in pictures!  We left them up for the entire semester, until I left for New Zealand.  I'm sure Andrea was going out of her mind and so happy to finally have white walls again after I left!
What a fun memory though :)
Do you recognize any of the faces below?

 (Below left: Homecoming dance at the Salt Lake City Capitol Building.  Below top right: ward bonfire, bottom right: Dashboard Confessionals concert.)
 (Below right: road trip to Vegas)
 (Below left: road trip to Bryce Canyon.  Below right: road trip to Colorado.)
 (Below left: Group Date--Mission Impossible.  Below right: Group Date--Clue.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lessons Learned From My Daddy

I've been thinking a lot of my daddy lately.
I am pretty much a daddy's girl.
I remember my sophomore year of high school when all of my friends were heading to the prom, I was still 15 and not allowed to date.  I thought that my life was ending (in true teenage dramatic fashion!)  My father asked if he could take me on a daddy/daughter weekend instead of me being all sad at home. It turned out to be the best prom I ever had!  My dad took me over to Seattle where we caught a flight down to Los Angeles.  We spent a fun weekend seeing the sites and going to the Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast."  He turned a situation that could have been a "teenage tragedy" into one of the most incredible memories spent together.

My second top memory with my father would be April of 2003.
I had just finished teaching kindergarten in Auckland, New Zealand and my mom and dad flew down to bring me home.  Before we left back to the states, we decided to fly down to the South Island where we stayed in the fun-filled city of Queenstown.  It was there that I once again realized that I had the most amazing father in the world.  I watched in awe as he stepped right up to the Kawarau Bridge, strapped on the safety harnesses, and then jumped off a ledge for his first bungee experience.  Watching him tackle that fear gave me the strength to literally follow in his footsteps and jump as well.
How many people can say that they have been bungee jumping with their dad!?

So in honor of my amazing father, I am going to share with you some of the highlighted lessons I've learned over the years from him.  It's in looking back over all the incredible memories with my daddy, that I am struck with such gratitude.  Thanks for showing me such patience, understanding, generosity, and unconditional love, pops!

"Education is the great equalizer!"

"When trying to entertain little ones, you can never go wrong with bubbles."

"True camping is best at a Marriott."
"A hot dog is only edible once it's unrecognizable."

"There's nothing more important than family."

"You can never have too many kisses."

"Never miss an opportunity to use a good bathroom."

"Stop dating those doink-heads and start dating someone with a brain."
(A month later I decided to give the sweet accountant a chance.)

"Cherish every moment." 

"It's OK to Cry."

"Four more years." 

"Always be ready to strike a pose."

"Make choices in your life that will always allow you to hold a current temple recommend."
(This picture was taken after going through the temple for my first time.)

"Work hard and then play hard."

"Remember to stop and enjoy the beauty around you."

"Lead by example."

My absolute favorite was watching daddy hold little Daxton for the first time and telling him how much he had prayed for him, not only in the NICU, but to simply join our family in the first place.
"Heartfelt prayers are answered."

There have been so many lessons learned throughout the years; some serious, some humorous.  But all have been valuable and worthwhile!  
I love you so much, daddy.  
Simply put...thank you.

Photo of the Week 40

Wild flowers on Alcatraz

Friday, June 22, 2012

Flashback Friday: Mountain of Brothers

I've been thinking a lot about family lately.
We are going to be leaving for a family reunion over the next few weeks and I've been so excited thinking about spending quality time with everyone.  Daxton and I spent yesterday at the zoo with my sister-in-law Heather and her four kids.  She's 9 months pregnant with their fifth and I'm so excited to meet another gorgeous niece soon!  (On a side note, Heather is a serious rockstar being able to coral 4 crazy kids, push a stroller, and hike up and down the hills of the Oakland Zoo all while being a week out of her due date!)  The best part of the day was watching Daxton interact with his cousins.  Well, watching his cousins try to interact with him (he slept for a good portion of the day.)  It got me so excited to be able to introduce him to his other cousins soon.  My younger brother, Richard, and his wife are pregnant with their third as well, due in January.  We are so thrilled for them!  They have two gorgeous girls with so much personality.  I can't wait to give them huge hugs!
Anyway, since I've been thinking so much about family, I thought a quick flashback on my brothers would be perfect for today.  This goes back to December 2007.  The last time that everyone was home for the holidays.  We had just spent the afternoon sledding and somehow I convinced them all to pose for a few pictures.  I still have no clue how I got them all to be a part of this!  I love my brothers and am so grateful three have married such amazing women whom are now such amazing sisters to me.  Thanks for such a fun memory guys!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Perkins' Visit: Alcatraz

Little Daxton has been quite the handful these last few days.  He's been having a lot of tummy discomfort which has made him a bit fussy.  I've been spending most of my time holding him and trying to relieve some of the pain he's been feeling.  Because of this, I have gotten a little behind on the blog.  This post took place at the beginning of June while the Perkins' family was out visiting for Daxton's blessing...

We decided that on our last day in the city we would take everyone on a tour of Alcatraz.  I've posted about Alcatraz in detail before, so I will refrain from giving the history and facts this time.  Instead I will show you some of my favorite images from the day.
Once again Daxton did wonderful.  He pretty much slept in his stroller until he was hungry.  It was quite the experience breast feeding him in a dingy dark cell at Alcatraz though!  We started our adventure by taking the ferry from the pier to Alcatraz Island.  I love being on the water and it was the perfect day (no fog) to look across the bay at the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco sky line.  I seriously LOVE this city!
 This was last weeks photo of the week, but Dallas did such a great job at capturing our approach to Alcatraz, that I had to post it again.  He also took the first picture below as the ferry was docking.  I know it sounds weird, but I think Alcatraz is absolutely gorgeous with so much unique history.  This was my fourth time visiting and I still loved every minute of it.  Here are some of my favorite shots from our day...


 After our tour on Alcatraz, Dallas wanted to show his family where he worked.  I am in love with his view!  He works in a high rise off of Embarcadero...this is his corner view.  It was fun to introduce little Daxton to a bunch of his coworkers.  It felt like his first "bring your child to work day."  I'm so proud of Dallas and how hard he works to provide for his family.  We are so blessed in so many ways.

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