Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Anniversary wish...

Before midnight hits, I just have to quickly congratulate my amazing parents, who celebrate...

...are you ready?

43 years of marriage today!

Just look at these adorable children, who wouldn't even exist if it weren't for you!

I say you have a lot to be proud of! We love you both and hope your day has been perfect! XOXO.

A surprise visit

Saturday, the 19th, Neil decided out of the blue that he needed to get out of the house. I had a Primary Activity that morning followed by a baby shower that afternoon. Originally we'd planned to head out after the shower so we wouldn't have anything to rush back for. But as soon as I got home from the activity, Neil was strangely anxious to go right then. I was confused and a little irritated by his pushiness, especially when he wasn't clear about where we were even going or what we were going to do when we got there. He kept mentioning Cheyenne Mountain Resort, and how there were some nice areas there for potential photo shoots he thought we could scope out. While it still seemed random and weird, I went with it.

It wasn't until we drove into the parking lot and walked inside the resort that I was convinced something was up. Where, inside this resort, would I want to do a photo shoot? Come on! Not seconds after approaching the restaurant area just inside did I notice Neil looking around. That's when I knew what this was all about. So I asked, "So um, who are we meeting here?" Really, I was humoring him. I already knew the answer. Sure enough, sitting outside on the balcony overlooking Pikes Peak, was my wonderful brother, David! It turns out he had a music convention there at the resort that weekend - of all places! After the moment of surprise had passed, I learned that after the convention, he was planning to come hang out with us for a couple days! Double bonus!

We enjoyed a nice lunch (with a nice view), then headed home, leaving David behind to finish what he really came out to Colorado for. Sunday, when we got home from church, he headed over and we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of football and good company. The 49ers even won, which made the day that much better! David played his saxophone for Chloe, which she absolutely loved, and entertained her in other ways that only Uncle D is capable of doing! I wish I'd captured their music duets. They were priceless. Next time!! Monday, we had our traditional sushi date, and then just goofed around the rest of the day. I was sad to see him go Tuesday morning, but we made the most of our short time together. I'm so grateful for a brother who, despite his busy, crazy life, makes the time to come hang with his little sis when he can! Thanks again, David! And long live the Avalanche II roll!


Chloe started preschool September 8th. We divided last year's co-op group by ward, and welcomed 2 new additions, making a total of 5 kids. So far so good! Chloe's little pals include Abby, Ali, Scott and Ryan.

Here she is on her first day!

Proud mama with her little preschooler...

Since Miss Anna is expecting a baby very soon, she opted to teach the first two weeks. Here are the kids gathering around for circle time.

Chloe's been singing songs about the falling leaves and bringing home lots of fun Fall crafts. She's absorbing a ton, I can tell, but more importantly (at least at this point), she's learning structure and social skills. I am anticipating a great year! Yay for preschool!

Rock climbing at Red Rocks

September has been an eventful month, which explains the lack of blog posts. I am gradually getting my photos and updates organized, so be on the watch. For starters, here's what we did on Labor day!

Neil has loved rock climbing since high school. In the nearly 8 years I've known him, he's talked about how fun it would be for us to go together. And for the majority of those 8 years, I've been terrified of and unwilling to even consider it. Recently though, I decided that when the next opportunity presented itself, I needed to give it a shot once and for all! I didn't have to like it, but I did have to try it! And I DID! I know, Valeri and rock climbing? It's an anomaly!

This picture gives the illusion that I was up much higher than I actually was. Nice work, Neil!

Chloe gave it a try too, and did really well all things considered. She seemed to enjoy herself until she skinned her elbow on a rock. Then, well, that was the end of it!
She looks so pathetic in the second photo, it's adorable! That white blonde hair and red face - gotta love her.

Here's Neil waving hello from the top of a very difficult climb.
This was practically straight up. I still don't know how he did it.

Here's Chloe, pre-skinning of the elbow. Happy as can be and ready to climb a rock!

And my sweet Ryan... always smiley and mellow. He just sat and watched, kicking his legs with glee when he'd get particularly excited about something. Sure do love this boy.

So did I like rock climbing? Honestly? Ehh, it was okay. The repelling part was fun in a scary kind of way, but overall it just wasn't my thing. I'm still proud of myself for trying, and I think once Neil gets over the shock of my willingness, he will be too!

Friday, September 18, 2009


...I will update this blog. I have been on overload with photos, and found very little free time to blog. Luckily tonight was my last shoot of the month, so once I get caught up on editing, I should actually be able to relax a little! It's been a crazy month to say the least! Here are some updates you have to look forward to:

- my first rock climbing experience (I know, pretty hard to imagine - don't worry, I have pictures to prove I did it)
- Chloe's first week of preschool
- Ryan's 10 month milestones
- house projects, which are now F-I-N-I-S-H-E-D!!!

I can't believe we're already halfway through September! Huh? I am loving Fall. The cooler days, the changing leaves, pumpkins in the grocery store, football, and so much more. Tomorrow I think I'll bake something with pumpkin. It's just that time of year! Love it. Updates coming soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Birthday wishes... the newest member of the Andersen family! Happy Birthday, Courtney!

{May 6, 2009 - the day it became official}

I adore this girl, who I now call sister. Maybe part of it is subconscious because she reminds me so much of myself. Ha ha!

One thing that stands out to me about Courtney is her small acts of kindess. I remember last summer, after spending a week in Florida with Neil's extended family (and meeting Courtney for the first time), receiving from her a thank you card. While it was a simple act, it said a lot about the kind of person she was. Another thing I appreciate about Courtney is her directness. This southern girl is not afraid to say it like it is! I am especially impressed considering her age! I was about as timid as could be at 21! I feel a real connection to Courtney, and look forward to future years of growing closer.

Happy 21st! Gosh, you're young! If you were closer I'd bake you some chicken lasagna and a batch of chocolate chip free chocolate chip cookies! Have a fun day!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brave little soul

My heart is breaking for a family in UT whom I've never even met. They live in my aunt's ward in Eagle Mountain and were recently faced with the ultimate trial of losing a child. 9 month old Lucas, after a 3 month battle with cancer, returned to his Father in Heaven last Wednesday night. Since June they've maintained a blog where they've documented Lucas' updates and progress. It's been tough to read, especially now that he's gone. I can't imagine what this has been like for Shannon to go from having a healthy child, to learning her days with him were limited, to then losing him and the reality of it all sinking in. No mother should have to endure such a nightmare. Ever!

While the Nelson's story is absolutely heartbreaking, it is also very inspiring. Even amidst the most difficult moments, Aaron and Shannon have remained strong, understanding and hopeful. Everyone has his weak moments, and I'm sure they have had their share too. But in reading their blog, you can just sense their genuine faith and hope that they will see Lucas again someday, and that this was all part of Heavenly Father's plan. My aunt Valeri said at Lucas' viewing, while everyone's intentions were to offer the family comfort, Aaron and Shannon were actually the ones offering the comfort. Can you even imagine?

This story has helped me recognize a whole new perspective. Life is truly so delicate and you really never know. I have found myself hugging Ryan a little tighter and rocking him a little longer. I've tried harder to find patience for Chloe, laugh off the small stuff and love even the most irritating quirks. My children drive me crazy some days, I won't lie. But when I look at the big picture and remind myself that these days, months... gosh, years! are going to slip away from me so quickly, I find that my children are dearer than ever. It's amazing how fast time is lost, and in the grand scheme of things, how this time on earth is really just a blink of an eye in comparison to the big picture.

The Nelson family has been heavily on my mind, and I'm sure many others'. With the funeral over and the dust settling, these coming days are bound to be the most difficult yet. Please keep this sweet family in your prayers. I'm sure they'll take all the prayers they can get.

HERE is a link to their blog.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Enjoying what's left of summer

Two Saturdays ago we spent the day with Lori, Brad and Courtney at Poudre River just outside Fort Collins. Here are some fun moments captured.

The water was freezing, but it didn't even phase Chloe. Must be that Andersen blood.

Ryan wasn't too fond of the water. Luckily there was plenty around to entertain him.

Apparently this butterfly liked the butterflies on Chloe's hat!

Notice the ring on Lori's finger! Can I get a dum dum du dum..?




Thanks for a fun Saturday, guys! It was great seeing you all. Wish we could have played longer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Special wishes to my favorite friend/cousin, Wendy!

Wish we could spend the day together making trouble.

Hope you're spoiled rotten and treated like a queen! You absolutely deserve it!

You are loved!
Happy Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Here are a few random pictures. I still need to go through what I took at the Poudre River last weekend with Lori, Brad and Courtney. Soon enough.

Here's Ryan the other day during lunch. His smiles and giggles were just too precious not to capture.
I love how his whole face scrunches up when he smiles. Handsome boy.

Ryan can now stand on his own for 5-10 seconds. Scary. He's babbling lots, continuing to get into everything, and acquiring plenty of bumps and bruises in the process. He's 100% boy.

Last night we drove to Fox Run Park and let Chloe feed the ducks.


Things are busy around here, as usual. I'm taking tons and tons of pictures and gradually establishing a small business. Neil's getting ready to lay tile in bathroom 4 of 4. This will be an exciting milestone to reach because it will mean NO MORE HOUSE PROJECTS! Well, at least in this house. Chloe and Ryan are doing the same old things. Making us happy. And tired. Life is good.


I am so excited Fall is just around the corner. I LOVE Fall!
We are especially excited for this weekend. College football kickoff time! Geaux Tigers!