# LiNo’s Libros: The BFG

This girl.

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She is extraordinary. She is smart and curious and empathetic and gracious and beautiful and funny. And, today, she is nine.

The last year of single digits. Even though she’s been growing up since the day she was born…it feels like she’s really, really growing up right now. One minute you’re here…

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…and the next minute you’re here.

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And while we have no idea how it happened so fast, we couldn’t be more proud or love her more than we do.

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Like last year, I’ll use this special day to tell you all about our latest adventure with LiNo’s Libros — a book club for two vivacious readers.

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It was Lily’s turn to pick a book and she chose Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

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I love all things Dahl, so I couldn’t have been more excited with her pick. My local library had this beautiful copy, too. #bellabomb

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With work/school, life/activities, it takes us a while to get through a book, but over the course of a few weeks we took turns reading to each other, reading some chapters on our own, and reviewing with questions and projects.

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Dahl does such an incredible job at describing the BFG that I had everyone draw their own based on his words.

Mine:

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Lily’s:

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Booh’s:

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Tim’s:

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The suitcases get me every time, especially Tim’s.

When we reached the end, we prepared five questions each, just like we did with the first LiNo’s Libros pick. Spoiler alert for anyone wanting to read this again!

NoNo’s Questions:

1 In the book, Dahl calls farts “whizzpoppers.” What would you call them?

L: NoNo! ….okay, whizzies

Booh: Farbunkles

N: I choose Brrrrumpscotches

2. Make up a dream that the BFG might catch.

L: A dragon comes to life at a Chinese wedding and we have to take cover. One person comes in late, usually me, and everyone in movie theater is hiding in the shadows and I say “What’s everybody doing?”

N: That sounds like a nightmare. Mine would have Bella in a garden of flowers and a butterfly can land on her nose. It can talk and tells her that there’s a wonderful world among the flowers. So Bella crawls in the flower bed and meets all the pretty flowers and nice bugs.

Booh: Sounds like the dog version of Alice in Wonderland.

3. Make up your own giant.

L: Instead of catching dreams, I’d catch air, no, I’d catch sand. I could put it in bedrooms and it would help clear out worries. It’s like dream sand, but it’s memory sand.

Booh: I’d only go to houses with more than one child and would eat all the siblings.

N: …what? Okay. I’d collect all the cookbooks in the house, bake treats to leave for them in the morning, but steal all of the cookbooks.

4. In the book, the giants visit certain countries based on what those living there taste like. What would we taste like in Oklahoma and Wyoming?

L: Oklahoma would taste like fried chicken.

N: Yeah, I was thinking bread-flavored with undertones of grass prairie.

Booh: Home Fries.

N: What about Wyoming?

L: Snow cones!

N: Yes! Or woodsy-flavored.

L: But no cocoa flavors because it always snows.

5. If you could change the ending, what would you change?

L: That he rode an elephant through the woods instead of writing the book.

N: I wanted Sophie to be adopted by the Queen and become royalty.

L: Sophie of Sofaness!

Lily’s Questions

1 How would you feel if you were taken from bed?

N: I’d be terrified, wouldn’t you?

L: A little scared, but kind of excited. You know when you can’t sleep at night and don’t have anything to do? It can be a bit boring.

2. What would your giant name be?

N: I’ll go with my description above and be the Bake Booker.

Booh: Sibling Snatcher!

L: BFGG – Big Friendly Girl Giant

Booh: Tim says he’d be the Big Fat Giant.

3. How would the story be different if the BFG caught something else?

N: What if he caught bugs, like frogs or spiders?

L: Frogs and spiders aren’t bugs.

Booh: What if he collected art from bedrooms? That would be cool.

4. If you could invite one character to dinner, who would you choose and why?

N: I’d choose Sophie since she’s an orphan and I’d have everyone over so she could experience a big family dinner.

L: I choose the Queen of England. I just think she’s really cool. But, no BFG. That’s a lot for mom to cook!

5. Use three words to describe this book.

N: silly, tender and fantastical

L: dangerous — for the men to capture the giant, cool — catching the dreams, and sad — missed England

Love you, Lil, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!

Next up for LiNo’s Libros: Nancy Drew and The Mystery at Lilac Inn!

Click here for last year’s LiNo’s Libros: The Indian in the Cupboard.

# wyoming visitors

The last six months have been made infinitely better and easier by our family and friends visiting our new digs. We’ve been hashtag-blessed by so many familiar faces and smiles — it’s really helped what’s been a difficult transition. Here’s the rundown of who beat the snow to check out Wyoming:

The summer brought two visits by friends Chris and Chilali, with baby Tallis of course.

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This kid is so adorable. I’d like to think I’m the Crazy Aunt for all my friend’s kids, and not just my own sibling’s. Share the love crazy.

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Chilali and I doing what we do best — eating ice cream.

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We also got to see best friends Sean and Wallis twice — the second time being a bit longer, so we could try the food rations we bought from the zombie apocalypse shopping area earlier this summer.

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Eh, not too bad. Tasted like the outer part of a fig newton (which means I hated it).

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We also got to show them Joe’s new school…

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…and celebrate Sean’s birthday early. Marrrrrgaritas!…and beer!

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Also on the repeat-visit list is brother Lee, who helped with band camp and, later, a marching contest.

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We managed to have a little fun while he wasn’t working.

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He and Bella did a lot of this. She looooves him.

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Next up was Aunt Pam! I made the Waffle Queen herself some waffles for dinner, topped with a buttermilk bourbon caramel sauce. Honey, hush.

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I know I look like my mom, but don’t Pam and I look alike here? We always have a great time together.

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Then came my mom and Mike!

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Ever the jokester, my mom brought me the animal noses from my fifth birthday party to recreate the magic before my (then) upcoming birthday.

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So funny. What *wasn’t* funny was the first UW football game that started at 10:30pm after we waited around in the rain, hiding under the bleachers. I’ll save you those photos. But, on a happier note, I also made them waffles. Not just any waffles, but THESE WAFFLES, which are the best thing ever. I promise.

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Flying in just before the weather got nasty for good, was my dad!

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We explored the area and found THE BEST pumpkin spice latte at a local coffee shop…

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…and toured the Wyoming Territorial Prison (by ourselves — a little eerie).

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I made him a squash lasagna (I had to use sweet potatoes, because…#wyoming) that was awesome and we also introduced him to the one place that has good Mexican food in town.

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….SMILE, JOE! 🙂 The boy was ready to eat.

We also got to see Wyoming beat Boise State at a very cold and windy football game, but it was worth it to see the fans storm the field.

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Not a visitor, but Joe did take me to Fort Collins for my birthday weekend in September. The food and weather were perfect. I especially loved Colorado State’s trial garden. It’s been our one weekend break since August, so we cling to it like a lifeline.

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Other than that, we’ve been working, shoveling snow and going to football games. The last few saw me in the stands like this.

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So. bitterly. cold.

Now we’re ready for the holidays–desperately needing a break, some sleep and a lot of battery recharging. See you in 2017.

# facetime fun, version 2016

In all the excitement of the last few months, I’ve neglected to publish one of this blog’s most popular posts: Lily’s annual Back-to-School Facetime Fun.

It still happened the week that school started, when times were all things Olympics, so hit rewind and take yourself back to August for this smart and funny girl who is growing up too fast for this Aunt NoNo.

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Me: Hey, Lil!

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Lily: Hello.

Me: This is the first back-to-school facetime in your new room.

Lily: Yeah, hold on, here it is. I’m saving this wall for paintings.
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There’s one wall.

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Here’s my bed…

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…and my desk.

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Me: Looks great! I spy a Gappers’ Quilt!

Lily: Mmhmm. How’s Wyoming?

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Me: Eh, it’s okay. Are you ready to start school?
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Lily: Nervous, but excited to see my friends.

Me: What are you looking forward to most in third grade?

Lily: We get to do a land run and sing “Oklahoma!”

Me: So fun. Do you get to dress up?

Lily: Yeah, there’s a square dance and we can wear aprons and bonnets and gowns, but no headphones.

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Me: That’s a bummer. Are your eyes okay? You keep rubbing them.

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Lily: I’m seeing little dark spots from staring at the light too long. I’ve been staring at the sun a lot lately.

Me: Why’s that? Doesn’t sound like a good idea.

Lily: I don’t have a lot of places to stare.

Me: Hmm, well…have you been watching the Olympics?

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Lily: Yes! I like girl’s gymnastics. Have. you. seen. Simone??

Me: Ha! Yes, isn’t she awesome?

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Lily: Yeah, but my bedtime’s 8, so I haven’t seen too much.

Me: Remember how I said you needed to have paper and a marker for our chat? I’m going to have you judge the Olympics of your summer. Sound fun?

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Lily: Mmmhmm

Me: Awesome. So, write a 1, a 5 and a 10 on three pieces of paper. These are your scoring cards that you’ll hold up when I mention something you did during your summer.

Lily: Like this?

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Me: Yes, exactly! Start with the 1.

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Me: Perfect, now the 5.

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Me: One more — the perfect 10!

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Me: Here’s the first one: Your summer with Linc.

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Me: Okay, I won’t ask. Moving on…Star Wars Camp!

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Me: Tough crowd. How about Singing Lessons?

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Lily: My teacher calls me Laser Lungs because I can sing a B for 30 beats.

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Me: Whoa! That’s so impressive. Do you want to sing something for me now?

Lily: Not really.

Me: How about if I sing with you? What about “Oklahoma!”?

Lily: I don’t know any words.

Me: Okay, that’s cool. Next! Driving through mountains?

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Me: Reading new books?

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Lily: That’s a tough one. It might need to be a 5. I like reading The Goofballs about these goofy crime-solving kids Brian, Mara, Jeff and Kelly, but it’s like the same thing over and over and over again.

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Me: I haven’t read any of those. What about your trips to Texas and Colorado?

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Lily: *smacking lips fast* I like going to the restaurants. But, no green beans! I liked the parks we went to and the dance games.

Me: What about sleeping in Colorado?

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Me: Hahaha! (She slept with me.) What about making zoodles?

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Lily: No, it’s “oodles and oodles of zoodles!” They just tasted okay.

Me: Not a fan of zucchini noodles?

Lily: Not really my favorite. They were okay. More fun to make.

Me: Do you want me to tell you my favorite part about third grade?

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Lily: Sure.

Me: We got to learn our multiplication tables and my teacher had a bulletin board that had a bunch of paper cut-outs of ice cream cones with our names on them. Then for each table we learned, we got a paper “scoop” of ice cream on our cone, from 0 up. And if we got through all the numbers, we got to have an ice cream party!

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Lily: Wow! What flavor did you choose?

Me: I don’t remember, but if I had to guess it would have been cookie dough.

Lily: Really?

Me: Yeah, that not your favorite?

Lily: I don’t know.

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Linc: Hi, NoNo; hi, NoNo!

Me: Hey, bud!

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Lily: Eww, Lincoln!

Linc: I’m P.U, NoNo!

Me: Uh-oh.

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Lily: Are you about done? My battery is about to die.

Me: No problem. I hope you have a great first day. I love you very much.

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Lily: Love you, NoNo.

Me: Byyye, Molly! Sweet girl.

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Isn’t she the cutest?

A further rewind:

Facetime Fun – Age 7

Facetime Fun – Age 6

Facetime Fun – Age 5

# colorado trip (july 2016) – family edition

You might think the hummingbirds and moose were the eye-candy in Colorado, but get a look at this bunch. I spent 10 days surrounded by my lovely family embraced by Colorado’s Rocky Mountain glory. The cast of characters included my Dad, Janet and Rachel; Bryan, Robbi and Rowan for the first half; and Krista, Tim, Lily and Linc for the second half. Joe, unfortunately, had to work, so here was my date for the trip.

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She was so. excited. to be in the mountains and around her favorite people. Rowan also got a lot of love those first few days. We’re all smitten with him and the other littles.

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Rowan finally met Bella, my own little, who looks thrilled.

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The first full day we drove Trail Ridge Road through the park. It was stunning.

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My dad in his element.

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We reached the cold summit, where Rowan snuggled close and there was still considerable snow.

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Other adventures included taking everyone to Estes Park, including Bella, who got a lot of AWWWW’s around town.

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I also was on baby duty so Bryan and Robbi could fly fish near our cabin.

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Rowan was not convinced of my wearing his burp cloth on my head to block the sun. Just the start to a long tradition of me embarrassing him.

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And then Krista and her crew arrived and we were all together for two days. Aunt NoNo was very happy to be with these faces.

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We hiked to Adams Falls, which was a hit and totally family friendly. This is a good group.

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I gave Lily my GoPro camera for our hike.

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That girl. She took some dang good photos, including this one, which is one of my favorites of the entire trip.

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She’s got the bug!

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Before they left, we celebrated Robbi’s birthday with homemade ice cream and this ridiculous cake with a cookie dough center that Lily helped me make. Total hit.

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Then we had another few days of special food, like Micky pancakes…

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…to games like Cranium and Dominion (which is SO FUN!)…

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…and making popsicles with leftover yogurt, oreos and sprinkles.

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We finished the trip by seeing The Little Mermaid live; a fitting end to a fabulous and much-needed 10 days. A big shout-out to my Dad and Janet for bringing us all together amidst the busy schedules and miles. It was a perfect trip. Love my fam.

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# colorado trip (july 2016) – wildlife edition

Sometimes you reach the middle of a week and just need a vacation. And when you can’t take one, the next best thing is to relive the one you had over a month ago. My family’s time in Colorado was the perfect antidote to our busy lives and let us spend quality time together–which, when you’re as spread apart as we are, doesn’t happen as often as we would like.

I’ll get to the family action in my new posts, but wanted to share all of the wildlife we encountered at our cabin in Grand Lake. First, the hummingbirds. They were E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E. Sometimes 15 or more at a feeder at a time! I spent many a morning sitting on our deck, armed with my camera trying to capture them all.

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This guy is one of my favorites. He looks so angry, ha!

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I had never seen them sit still when not at a feeder.

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Turns out, the ruby-throated ones were the hardest to catch because the other hummers didn’t want them around. Poor guys. Beauty can be so hard. …so can being patient, but I finally found one on his own.

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We saw deer and chipmunks in the park, but our greatest encounter came when I drove to take our trash out one night and saw a group of people by the road with their phones out. I took the bait and stopped only to see three huge bull moose together, which I now know is rare. I called my dad immediately and said “grab the cameras!”

You can only see two here, but they were eating every tree and bush in this poor person’s yard.

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Then we walked around the house to find the other one. We were so. close. Dangerous, people. I didn’t realize how easily we could have been hurt, but we shouldn’t have been this close.

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Pretty magnificent creatures, though. More soon (I promise!) on the less hairy and aggressive members of our party.

To see the rest of my wildlife photos, click here.

# the last of Logan

I cannot believe we’re halfway through July. That a month from now will bring band camp and, shortly after, school starting and a new season at NWS. This summer has been a blur of cardboard, asphalt and stress. That’s why this post is a nice reminder that before we moved, there were four great weeks in Logan with friends and family. Here’s the rundown of mid-May to mid-June:

# Rachel graduated from high school

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Thanks to modern technology, I watched in real time as she crossed that stage, all smiles.

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# I loaded up on Tallis Time

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We are all so smitten with this little guy.

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Chris and Chilali took me to Pocatello on one of their Cosco runs. It was a gorgeous day and drive, with a very special stop at the Pepperidge Farm outlet. Tallis, meet Goldfish.

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Chris, who won’t touch my homemade ice cream or any other, seems to be infatuated with Cosco soft serve with berries. Here he is trying to sell me on it….not working.

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On the way back, I took every opportunity to make fun of his geriatric sun glasses as revenge.

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Yeah, we have *no* fun together.

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I also combined my ice cream and Tallis time on Memorial Day…

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…and it wouldn’t be a real goodbye without a final trip to Charlie’s, our local hangout spot, the day before we left….

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…and a visit to Logan’s new ice cream shop BJ BUCKETS, where we mainly just went to laugh over the name and see what Tallis would look like with his dad’s hair.

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# Date Nights for days

Joe and I hit up all of our favorite spots one last time and I insisted on documenting my view for each. Clockwise from top left: Elements, Herm’s, Even Stephens and Paco’s.

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# Girl’s Week with Pammie

But the best part of the month was having my Aunt Pam visit while Joe was out of town.

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We had a total blast and laughed entirely too hard. When we weren’t laughing, we sampled great eats at Caputo’s…

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…saw all of the {LDS} sites…

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…ate all the crepes…

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…and made Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World and tried our best to keep it off the walls. It was RIDICULOUSLY delicious. One of the best chocolates I’ve ever had.

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This was a fast month and filled with way too many goodbyes, but I’m so thankful for my friends and family for giving me so many bright moments and memories. And ice cream.

# meeting Rowan

Life is B U S Y right now. I have lots to tell you about and even more to do before the move next month. Pardon us while things are hit and miss for a bit.

I’ve been anxiously waiting to share my trip last month to meet baby Rowan, who is even more precious than I could have dreamed. This was captured in my first “drop-the-bags-and-grab-the-baby” moments with him.

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Happy Aunt NoNo and a confused Baby Rowan.

I was so excited to have Bryan, Robbi and Rowan to myself for a week. We hardly ever have that much time together, much less time for just us. We spent it soaking up all things baby and Mexican food.

I told Rowan about his Okie relatives (who do rock). He was all ears.

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…and all about The Force since his Mikey Joe was still in Utah.

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Bryan and I introduced him to Les Mis…

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..and we facetimed with YaYa on her birthday.

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And I loved on Marti, who is adjusting well as a big brother.

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One of the highlights for the trip was getting to spend the days with Robbi. We took Rowan out to the farm to meet his Mimi and Great Aunt Connie…

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…as well as to meet Bev and her friend Cyndi. Lots of smiles for us and for Rowan, who is a total champ and heart-melter.

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We also took Marti to the vet.

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This dog. He’s the best. I totally said “SMILE!” before taking this as a joke and dang if that dog didn’t crack a wide one. He’s hilarious.

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I got to see Rowan have his first bath in the tub — traumatic as it was for him, it was so precious.

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Less traumatic was baby’s first Intentionally-Closed-Eye pic. Welcome to the club, Stud. #nailedit

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We, as usual, ate big with this ice cream (which was ah-mazing) and visits to Tom and Chee… (that’s a mac-n-cheese grilled cheese sandwich…omg)

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…and Coal Vines. Yum.

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But, the best highlight was seeing my baby brother as a dad. It’s quite special.

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They are doing such a great job as smitten parents. Here are some of my favorite shots of the new family.

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Probably one of my favorite pics. Marti’s face says it all.

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Thanks for allowing the NoNo invasion! Love you guys!

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