Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Arizona Snow Day!

On Sunday evening(Jan 21), about 5 pm Derek noticed that there were some teeny tiny snow flurries coming down outside! You had to look really carefully to verify that it was actually snow. At about 7:30 Derek's first counselor in the Elder's quorum called and excitedly said, "Come over we're having a snowball fight." We looked outside to see that there were now very large flakes dancing out of the sky and actually starting to stick where they landed, and dust the desert landscape with snow. We went for a drive so Holley could watch the snow. Almost every house we passed there were either people playing out in the snow, or at least sitting at their front window watching. We went to bed thinking that it would probably stop snowing soon and maybe even melt by morning. In the morning Derek got up and got ready for work like usual, then one of the other seminary teachers called and said, "Have you looked outside?" Derek went to the window to see a nice thick blanket of white! It was so beautiful. They started checking the internet and the radio to try to find out if school would be cancelled or not. They were as thrilled as any student when they found out it was. Even though Derek has grown up with snow, Holley hasn't, and Daddy was excited to play with her! Holley woke up and looked out her window, and came running out of her room so excitedly, "Mom! Dad! Come look in my room, there's so much snow outside!" Holley was thrilled! Above is a picture we took of her in her pj's when we opened the back door for her to get a better look.
This was also Brinley's first chance to see snow so we had to bundle her up so she could go outside too. Good thing Holley was a winter baby in Utah, so we had some cute cuddly stuff for her to wear. (Don't you just love the hat, notice it has little pig tails on the back! Justin and Katrina McPheter's gave Holley that hat when she was a baby.)

Here is Holley and Mr. Snow! Notice the huge Smile Holley is wearing. The pants weren't 100% waterproof, they were more of a warmup pant than a snow pant, and we did have a good waterproof rainjacket but it was a 2t so the sleeves are a little short. We didn't have waterproof gloves either so we put a grocery bag on each hand between two pair of magic gloves, and used the extra length on the grocery bags to make up for where the sleeves fell short! We did have good boots for her that we bought at the DI last year so she could play in the snow in Utah, when we went up for Christmas. She seemed as content as could be despite the impromptu snow clothes.

Daddy with the Girls!
Mommy with the girls!
Tara & Brinley! Brinley isn't squinting cause of the brightness of the snow, she's asleep! Tara was watching Derek and Holley work on the snowman, while she was holding Brinley, then she noticed Brinley became very limp and relaxed, and had actually fallen asleep! Leave it to a good baby like Brinley to fall asleep out in the snow!
Derek and Brinley, still asleep.

Daddy with the girls, and Mr. Snow!

We wondered what they would do about all the snow on the streets! Here is a picture of an Arizona Snow Plow! Derek had taken Holley out to see if they could find and snow sleds at any of the stores here. The lady at one store said, "This is Arizona, it doesn't snow in Arizona!" To which Holley replied, "Daddy, tell her it's snowing in Arizona!" We heard Gila Outdoor did sell sleds, but when Derek got there, they had a sign on their door that said, "Are you kidding? we're out playing in the snow!" Holley has kept insisting that it isn't winter cause she hasn't seen any snow, and anytime she's seen a movie or TV show about winter, they say in winter it snows, we expained to her that it doesn't usually snow in Arizona. While they were working on the Snowman she even said "It doesn't usually snow in Arizona, but this is Arizona!"

Below are some pictures to try to show just how much snow we got. According to people we talked to that are native to this area, the last time they had this much snow was in the 60's.

snow on our roof.
snow on top of the garbage can, Derek stuck a ruler down on top of the lid and said that at least here, it was 8 inches.
Down our street and the desert landscape.
We've never seen this view of our house before.
This is a cactus plant at our neighbors, covered in snow.

Friday, January 05, 2007

more pictures of our sweet, happy, angel!

I couldn't choose just one cause they were all TOO CUTE!!!!!!! and if you don't agree with that, then you're just plain CRAZY!

Our Christmas Jammies!

Here are some pictures of our "Traditional" matching PJ's on Christmas eve. Cute huh? Brinley was ready for bed!

Merry Christmas!

Here are our Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses! Holley's is the small one in the background that is still standing, Tara's is the demolished one in the front. It kept falling down so many times that she finally gave up, cause she had to finish making Dinner. And Derek's is the replica of the nativity! That's the Seminary teacher in him coming out!

Here are some pictures from Christmas Eve. After Church Holley spontaneously decided herself to act out the story of the Nativity. The baby is even laying on some hay (pencils and pens from our pencil drawer). She even Got Daddy involved cause she needed a Joseph.

Brinley's True Personality!

Here are a couple pictures of Brinley smiling away after a bath! She is such a happy baby and smiles back at almost every smile sent her way. I can't tell you how much this sweet smile melts Momma's heart everytime she see's it! Brinley has been such an amazing addition to our family and we are SO GRATEFUL that she is ours!

Our 2006 Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,
Two thousand and six has been a year full of blessings for the Larsen family! The greatest blessing started in February when we were surprised to discover that after 2 years of prayers, we were finally expecting another child! In March we were able to go back to Utah for Dax and Stephanie’s wedding (Derek’s younger brother). While we were there we announced our exciting news by making a shirt for Holley that said “I’m a big sister!” The reactions from both families were priceless! At this point we were extremely grateful to be past the first trimester and a lot less worried about having another miscarriage.
In May we were able to take a great family vacation with the Mayhue’s to San Diego where we were able to enjoy Sea World and playing at the beach. Holley loved the dolphins, and was even able to feed and pet them! In the summer the three of us enjoyed a camping trip in Arizona’s beautiful White Mountains, and at the end of the summer we went back to Utah again to visit family.
As the baby’s due date (Sept 24) grew closer, Holley proved to be a great “mommy’s helper!” Almost every day she would even help mommy put lotion on her legs and feet once mommy struggled to reach past that belly. She was so excited to be a big sister, and would often comment. “It’s toooooo long for my baby sister to come!”
The end of the pregnancy was rough on Tara as she was uncomfortable, and anxious to hold this baby we’ve waited so long for. The day after her due date, labor was induced in the morning, and lasted until just after midnight and at 12:13 a.m. on September 26, 2006 Brinley Su Larsen was finally here, weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz, and 19 ½ inches long. We were so thrilled to have her here, and blessed that mom Mayhue was able to be here for the birth and for a couple weeks after to help out. Time has flown since Brinley’s Birth, and Tara has commented many times how she wishes the first month of Brinley’s life could have lasted as long as the last month of the pregnancy.
On November 5th, Brinley was given a name and a blessing here in the Thatcher 6th ward. We were grateful that both sets of grandparents were able to travel down to be here.
In December we got one of our Christmas presents early and bought a new Kia Sedona Mini Van. The old Buick that Derek had been driving just wasn’t going to get us many more places, so we decided to buy a new car. Tara’s wanted to be a mini van mom for a while, and we are all excited to have a bigger, nicer vehicle that we can feel better about taking on longer trips.
Derek is currently serving as our ward’s Elders Quorum President, and is still working on his Master’s Degree. He is now Teaching Seminary at Pima High School, which is a one man Seminary. He also still teaches one class at Thatcher, therefore, getting a lot of teasing from his students since the two schools are big rivals. Lately he’s been spending his small amount of free time working on creating storage space in our attic, and on improving his dutch oven cooking skills which he’s recently become quite interested in.
Tara is doing her best to spend as much time with Brinley as she can while she is still small, and loves watching the relationship that Holley is sharing with her new sister. She loves being a mom more than ever and feels so blessed to have two amazing daughters. She is currently serving as our wards “home, family, and personal enrichment leader.” She still enjoys her favorite hobbies, but has been spending less time with them so she can just enjoy her family more.
Holley amazes us with her little personality. She just turned 4 on December 2nd, and is such a loving little child. She loves being a big sister and is a really good helper. She loves to sing to Brinley, and Brinley will smile right back at her when she does. She is a great big sister. She is very excited for Christmas this year and very full of energy as the holiday approaches. A few nights ago she told mommy that she could feel Christmas in her heart. And she also asked why Santa has soap under his sleigh, (One horse soap’n sleigh.) She loves to play with her friends and “frapbook” (scrapbook) with mom. She also enjoys playing “pretend” and dress-up.
Brinley is a very good and happy baby. Right from her first week she has slept very well at night! We even had to wake her up to eat during the night. She’s seldom fussy and very happy. She loves to give a smile and coo to almost anyone who’ll stop and talk to her. Her sweet disposition makes her even more of a joy to have in our home, and we honestly can’t get enough of her. We are so very grateful that she is finally here, and that our family is growing. The Joy we receive from our family is growing too.
As we end 2006 we truly feel that we couldn’t be more blessed. We send you all our love, and wishes that this holiday season leaves you as happy and blessed. Love,
The Larsens
Derek, Tara, Holley, and Brinley