Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in Review

As I was starting this post like I do every year, I went back and looked at previous years.  I got to the year 2014 and read the post and had completely forgotten!  That year sucked.  It was scary and hard with of course a lot of wonderful things thrown in the mix.  Then I looked at 2015 and oh the blessings came rolling in!  It's kinda fun to be able to look back at 365 days and zoom out a little bit.  Generalize the year rather than staying focused on the day to day.

2017 was a year of putting the shoulder to the wheel.  It was a year of a lot of patience for the 3 of us.  Patience hoping for another addition to our family for all of us.  Patience for Brad dealing with parents the don't know what the heck they are doing.... figuring out screen time, what to eat, how to do timeouts, and when to say enough is enough to bad behavior in Sacrament Meeting.  Luckily Brad has Christine who is a wonderful parent so at least some of the time Brad is with someone who knows what she's doing.  Patience for Jason dealing with less than ideal circumstances in school.  And patience for me teaching, trying to figure out how to balance a whole new work load and the guilt of being a working mom.  A whole lot of patience.

But 2017 has been a wonderful, happy, loving year for our little family.  So here they are, my favorite 10 pictures from 2017.  

These pictures don't need explanation... except this one.  In case you forgot, this was when Craig surprised my mom at my Grandma's funeral.  I don't think I'll ever be able to look at this picture and not be filled with absolute love.

Links to previous years:
2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Cedar Christmas 2017

Our Christmas vacation started with a bang!  Luckily I only had a half day of school on Wednesday so we could beat the storm and only faced insane winds on our drive.  I know I know, I've showed multiple pictures of Brad sleeping... but seriously each and every time he falls asleep is feels like a miracle and he just looks so peaceful while he sleeps.  Also, in the second picture you can see how absolutely worn out he was.... couldn't even keep his binkie in.  One of the many reason why we love coming to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Just so many things to explore!  
We were the only people at my parents house for the first couple days of the break.  It was fun for my parents to experience first hand the curiosity and never ending energy of Brad.  There wasn't an inch of their house unexplored within a few hours of getting to the house.  Things and areas that my mom isn't used to grandkids getting into (although she has 13 other grandkids) were picked apart by Brad.  

But Brad's favorite thing of being in Cedar was the beautiful snow that came right after we arrived in Cedar.  Brad had the best time playing in the snow multiple times over the few days we were there.  

This next picture isn't that great but it is very important.  It must be documented.  It is the first time my dad introduced Brad to his "favorite" movie, Bus Stop.
Of course one of the highlights every Christmas season is when I get together with my high school friends at Pizza Factory.  Things change, people grow up, but there is something really wonderful about hanging out with the people you knew when you were young.  
We were thrilled when Craig, Marcie and Max finally got to town!  Brad had such a wonderful time playing with Max.  We were all grateful for a break from chasing Brad around the house.  Here is when my mom and I were watching Brad and Max early in the morning Christmas Eve. 

Christmas Eve pictures before church.

We went to my mom's ward for their Christmas Program.  (I say mom's ward because my dad is in the high council in a married student stake so he attends the student stake every Sunday.)  We usually go with my dad to church but this Sunday we were very excited to go hear my mom sing in the Christmas program.  The craziest thing happen though.... Brad fell asleep in our laps!  That hasn't happened in months... maybe even a year!?!
After church the festivities began with the traditional crab feast.  I always try and take pictures of the crab feast but there just isn't anything beautiful about it... so let's just say the crab was delicious! 

What I was most excited for was the annual nativity scene!  This was the first year Brad got to participate and I must say.... he might have been the cutest little shepherd boy the world has ever seen!


Followed by our traditional Christmas carol sing along ending with our family anthem, Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Christmas morning we opened presents, ate delicious sweet rolls, and said goodbye to the snow.... to spend the next 9+ hours traveling to sunshine, palm trees, the beach, and most important Grandma's house!


Best present award goes to me: I gave Jason tickets to the San Diego international car show that he's been wanting to go to since I met him! 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Let's Pretend This Came in an Envelope Filled with Glitter

Who knows if I'll ever mail out Christmas cards.  I probably should.... but until then, here is the letter that I would attach to our Christmas card because that is my favorite part, the writing part.  Especially with social media our world is inundated with pictures.  I want words.  So here you go, all the words you ever wanted from the Braithwaite Family in 2017.

If I was to give the year 2017 a title it would be called, "(365) days of Brad."  Our world completely revolves around this kid and luckily for us there is no end to his excitement and laughter.  When it comes to Brad there is no rock not moved, no fence not climbed, no cupboard left unopened.  Nothing gets passed Brad. It's too bad this world is full of dangerous things because Brad would be happiest if all day every day we just left him to explore.  His loves have included dogs, babies, and anything with wheels.  He currently calls trucks, "cucks" and waves at all airplanes and helicopters whether in the air, on the ground, or in a book as "bye byes."  Every school day he spends his time with a wonderful family that we will be forever grateful for.  Christine is Brad's second mom and is the best thing ever.  Brad also has an 8 year old brother, and 2 sisters 5 and 2.  They treat Brad like one of their own.  It is such a blessing.  Brad loves slides, swings, and jumping on the bed but if I had to narrow it down his favorite thing of all 2017 is the beach!  It was the one place we could let him just run wild.

Jason is a "D3" in dental school lingo which means he is in his third of four years at Roseman.  D3 year is highly anticipated because it is the year the students move out of the classroom and into the clinic.  The majority of his time is working with his "D4" in the clinic working on actual cases and patients.  He is doing so well that he got special permission to take the second dental boards early.  We are all excited to get him out of school and into the real world of dentistry.  Jason's other hobbies this year have been working with the 11 year old scouts, replacing a ski boat engine, fixing and riding dirt bikes, and making sure that Brad doesn't get my scaredy-cat genetics. 

My life is a constant juggling act of being a mom, a teacher, a young women's leader, and a yearbook advisor.  Overhauling my curriculum due to new standards for my regular classes and teaching a AP course on Human Geography to 9th graders might have been too much this year, but somehow we are all surviving.  I have the most wonderful students and they remind me every day why I love teaching so much.  The bureaucracy of education on the other hand can take a hike.  I still manage to hit the gym every morning and I love the friendships I have made over the years with crazies like me.  But of course my favorite day of the week is always Saturday when we get to spend the entire day with Brad.

Our lives are so blessed with such wonderful friends and family.  We are so grateful for you all!

Jason, Kristin, and Brad Braithwaite

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Christmas Season

This has been a wonderful Christmas season for many reasons but one of my personal favorites... no snow!  I know I know, call me the Grinch who ruined the Christmas season.... But I have loved every second of it!  Here are some of the Christmas events we attended:

Like everyone else in all of Salt Lake and Utah Valley... we heard about a German Christmas market at This is the Place park that takes place one weekend every Christmas season.  Like I stated it was an unseasonally warm Saturday so we decided to venture up to check it out.  It was absolutely darling! But super duper crowded.
Brad went on his very first Choo-Choo ride
 (where he was excited to ride the train.  He went on lots of train rides in Europe)
 (tram taking up from the parking lot to the top of the park) 

And because of the crowds we spent most of our times hanging out with the animals!  Brad wanted nothing to do with the pony but he loved climbing the fence and looking at the ducks, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and even a camel!

The park was pretty impressive even without the Christmas market so we will return sometime soon.
 Thanks Brother Brigham... This is a great place.

I started a new family tradition of getting ornaments that represent us each year for our lil' tree.  We'll pretend Brad got this Pinocchio in Florence.

 A very tired Brad in his Christmas pjs from Grandma!

Our ward Christmas party came with a real live Santa Clause!  Brad was not so happy to see him.

 (I love how Brad is clinging to Jason's shirt)

My school has gotten super class lately and been taking us to Chuck-a-rama for Christmas.  Nothing says Merry Christmas and thank you for the hard work like a good ol' buffet.

Last Sunday we went to see the lights.  I thought going right before dusk was the perfect way to not freeze to death and beat the crowds.  It was shockingly cold but beautiful as always.  

On Saturday we had a Parson girl cousin Christmas party.  I showed up 10 minutes late but knew I would be the first person there.... gotta love Parsons. (I had to send this picture to Erica because A. table set up the tables gorgeously B. I wished she was there because she would have been on time with me)
But we had a wonderful time!  There is something so wonderful about family.
Love these girls.