Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Update

So I of course have gotten behind on blogging AGAIN! I would really like to catch up before we have Christmas and Reddin turns one! Here I go with another super LONG post.

First of all, I'm going back to September, to when Mattie got her wish for a little girl! Nope not from Mommy and Daddy, obviously, but from Tia America and Uncle Chris. Liliana Elizabeth Tarpein made her debut on Earth! Mattie has lots of girl cousins on the Menzie side, but this is her first on the Tarpein side, and boy was she excited. She can't wait for Lili to get a little bigger, so that they can wear matching clothes! Congrats to my big brother Christopher and his lovely wife America! We are so happy that Liliana has joined the family, and that we get to see you guys often.
We also took our annual trip to Massachusetts, which originally I wanted to give its own post to, but I'm not sure that will ever would have happened! It was a fun filled long weekend, which started off with Mattie getting her sweet prayer answered. To make a very long story short, there was NO way at all that we should have made it on the last flight out Friday night. There were 2 seats left, one in coach and one in first. There are 3 of us that need seats. The jump seat was open in the cockpit, but Matt wasn't dressed for it and didn't have his passport. We told Mattie that we weren't going to be able to go, and she got very sad and then went over to a chair, sat down and began saying a prayer. A couple of things happened very quickly after that. The Captain came walking up and after being asked if Matt could ride in the jump seat regardless of his appearance, he said yes. Then they quickly moved one person up to first and put Mattie, Reddin and I in coach, and off we went to Boston! I was very grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who answered the prayers of my innocent 4 year old, and allowed her to go and visit her cousins she was dying to play with!

We of course went apple picking at Tougas Farms, which was lots of fun! Reddin was digging on the apples, and I was loving the cooler weather. We got to go on a hay ride as well, which the kiddos loved. While we were in MA, we spent an afternoon at the park. We had a picnic and Matt and Wayne did some fishing. Little Wesley caught his first fish, a large mouthed bass! Mattie absolutely loved her time fishing with Matthew. Wayne caught a fish too, and he and Matt cooked them up that night. And, Matt being the ever joking uncle he is, decided he couldn't resist doing something disgusting to get a laugh out of Thomas and a squeal from the rest of us. The heart of one of the fish was still beating after over an hour of being out of the fish, so what does my wonderfully gross husband do? Oh yes, he EATS it! I know absolutely disgusting! We always love our time with the Beantown Menzies, and can't wait until we see them again!
Mr. Redd Man L-O-V-E-S his airplane blanket Aunt Becky made! It has the cutest airplane material on one side and then that super soft minky on the other side. Reddin snuggles it every night to go to sleep. Thank you so much Aunt Becky for the wonderful blanket and matching shirt!
Mattie finished up Swim Lessons for the year in October. She was in the most advanced class for her age group and has really started to get great at it. She tells us that she wants to be on the swim team and she was very sad when lessons finished for the year. I told Matt that I think this might be her sport. She's not the most coordinated kid, so swimming could be right up her alley! I guess only time will tell, but for now she is counting down the days to March/April!
October also brought Halloween! Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays since I was little. This year it feels like it lasted the whole month of October! It started with with an activity for the youth, in which we did a Reverse Trick or Treat. We all dressed up and took goodies to people in our ward. I am still serving in Young Womens, so I got to participate! I chose to dress up as Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. It was Matt's idea to add the floaties! Mattie, Reddin and Gibbs had a great time playing with my mustache!
We also went to our favorite pumpkin patch to take our annual pictures and get a pumpkin. The Paxton family joined us this year, which of course was fun. Isn't it funny that my sister Stephanie and I had our little boys 10 days apart and they look NOTHING alike?! Oh well, Lochlan and Reddin are still great buddies, even if you can't tell that they are related!
Mattie had Spirit Week at her preschool the week of Halloween. On Tuesday it was Pirate Day, and we think that she was the cutest pirate there ever was! On Wednesday it was Pajama Day. Thursday was Mix-Match Day, and Friday was Halloween Costume Day. We sent Mattie to school in her belly dancer costume from last year, because we didn't want her getting her Cinderella costume for this year all messed up. Have I mentioned how much I am loving that she is in school?! She ADORES school and it has been so great for her!
We had our ward Trunk or Treat on Friday the 30th this year, which worked out so great, because we had never taken Mo real trick or treating before and we really wanted to this year. Mattie was Cinderella for Halloween, and Reddin was the Red Baron. I had actually bought Redd's costume when Mo was a baby and held onto it, hoping we would have a boy that would fit into it for one Halloween. Its a good thing Redd is so big, because he was 10 months old and was wearing a 12-18 month costume! Matt and I decided to dress up together this year. It was Matt that came up with our costume ideas. He was Kanye West and I was Taylor Swift. We had a GREAT time acting out that whole big fiasco! There was also a pumpkin carving contest this year, and Matt's entry won the Grand Prize. We won a four pack of movie tickets, which we will be using to take Momo to see The Princess and the Frog. Thanks for all of the hard work you put into that pumpkin, Matthew! On actual Halloween night we went trick or treating in my sister's neighborhood. Reddin was not a happy camper that night and slept through most of it, while Lochlan on the other hand could not get enough of the lollipops! And of course Mo and Redd had to try on my wig!
In October we also had our ward's Primary program. It was Mattie's first and she was asked by the music director to sing with another little girl. They sang the third verse of I Feel My Savior's Love. Mattie has had a deep voice since birth and I am beginning to wonder if she will make a great alto when she gets older, because she's four and already is having trouble hitting those high notes! (I've heard Matt's sister Shayla sing alto, and she has a beautiful voice, so maybe that's where Mo gets it from!) Here is Mattie and Allie.
For Thanksgiving we did what we do pretty much every year, and went to the Berger's house. We had a fun time eating and mingling with friends and family. Adam Berger, who is just a year older than me, lives and works in DC. He usually brings home a "mystery" meat each year for his family to try, and this year we got to try it too! Are you ready for this... it was KANGAROO! And yes, it was yummy! All four of us tried it and enjoyed it.
And that bring us to December. Last week we took Mattie and Reddin to the mall to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus. We have done this every year with Mattie and it was so fun to have Reddin be part of it this year. Reddin didn't cry, but I think it helped that he had Mattie with him! He did however give Santa a couple of funny looks. (Do you like his "stink-eye" picture?!)
Last, but not least, Mo had her last day of school until next year on Friday. She had a great time all week doing all sorts of fun things. On Friday the children were asked to wear Christmas colors to school, so that they could go around the school caroling. She also took in her presents that she helped make for her teachers. My sister helped us make some Ho Ho Ho blocks and Mattie painted an ornament for each teacher. We gave them their presents in a bag that we decorated with fabric glitter paint. Both Mrs. Stinnett and Mrs. Ross loved their presents.
Well, I guess that is all for now. Stay tuned, because there is a BIG shindig going down this weekend! Reddin will be celebrating his first birthday along side his buddies Lochlan Paxton and Drew Smith! Can't wait!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet Sarah - 'Til We Meet Again

I didn't sleep very well last night. Well actually I haven't slept well for about a week now. Last week, one of Mattie's playmates passed away. Her name was Sarah, and she was full of life. She had a beautiful smile, and I always thought her eyes were sparkling behind her oh-so-cute glasses. She and Mattie were the same age and have played along side each other at play group since they were probably younger than two. Sarah and Mattie were in different wards, so they were never as close as some of the other children were to Sarah. But, a little over a month ago, I received a call from Sarah's mother one Sunday night. Sarah had been asking to have a play date with Mattie. Mattie hasn't had very many play dates since she started school and is there four days of the week, so I was more than happy to have Sarah over to our house to play with Mattie.

Sarah came over and she and Momo had a fabulous time together. They got along very well. One of the first things Mattie does when a friend is over is ask for a snack for them. Sarah made a point of telling me that she was not allowed to have sugar! I thought it was so funny, and I think it really told a lot about her sweet spirit. Seriously, what small child gives up the chance for sugar when they are away from their parents' watchful eye?! She and Mattie went right to work getting dressed up in princess clothes and setting up a store in the den. They pretended to shop until that got boring and decided that they needed to be the cashiers, and have somebody else come and shop at their store, (which they called "Target-Walmart"!) I got enlisted to be the shopper, and they took turns ringing up my purchases! I know that Mattie really had a great time doing that, because she still talks about it.

I also found out Matt told them that our dog Gibbs likes to eat little princesses, especially if they are dressed in purple! Mattie told me this story last night, when I was talking to her about what was going to happen at the viewing and funeral. She said, "Sarah was in purple and I was in pink, but Daddy was just kidding with us, because Gibbs doesn't really eat people!" I really loved having Sarah in our home, and I had told Matt that she and Mattie played so well together, that I wanted to have her back over to play again. How saddened I am that we will not have that opportunity. On the other hand, I am extremely grateful for that recent one-on-one play date we did get.

I think that my earliest memory of Sarah was from when she and Mattie were probably barely two and we were at a joint ward function. There was a chalkboard in the gym and both little girls really wanted to color on that chalkboard. The problem was there was only one small piece of chalk. Oh how they were fighting over that chalk! Sarah's mother Lydia came up to me and said that we should have the girls take turns sharing the chalk. I really admired Lydia as I watched her give each girl a fair amount of time coloring.

Last Thursday, Matt and I took Mattie to her favorite place to go for ice cream. We sat together as a family outside on the picnic benches and told Mattie that we needed to have a very big kid discussion with her. She sat very still and listened intently as we told her that sometimes little children get sick and Heavenly Father calls them back home. We told her that Sarah had passed away. (That morning on the way to school, I had started preparing Mattie by playing a song called "Streets of Heaven". This song came out around the time Mattie was born. It tells of a mother's prayer to God, asking Him to hold the hand of her young daughter as she crosses the streets of heaven. I wanted Mattie to hear the words and understand that sometimes children get very sick. On the way to get ice cream she asked to listen to that song again, and then she asked me if there really are streets in heaven.) Mattie seemed to process the things we told her about death and life after death very well. We asked her what she could do for Sarah's parents to show them how sorry we were for their loss, and she told us that she would draw a picture of her and Sarah playing store. As we got up to leave and go home, Mattie started crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she was crying for Sarah. Her cries turned to hysterics on the way home. As I held her hand, I began to sob as well. I sobbed for the Gordon's loss of their precious daughter. I sobbed for the tender heart of my own young daughter. I sobbed for what seemed like such an unfair blessing of mine, to get to continue to be with my little ones. Mattie cried for awhile longer when we got home, but finally went to bed.

In the days since last Thursday, she has continued to remember the passing of her friend, and has asked when she will get to go to the funeral to say good bye. And, that brings me to today. The funeral of little Sarah Gordon will be this afternoon. Mattie is at school right now, but I will be picking her up in just a few short hours. Last night she told me that she would like to go to the viewing and see Sarah, and she also told me that she would probably cry today. I know that this afternoon will be a very emotional one for many people, and as I laid in bed early this morning unable to sleep, my heart was full of gratitude. Gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven, who set up the perfect plan of salvation. A Father who sent His only Begotten Son to suffer and die for each of us, so that we may all have the opportunity to return home to Him again. I know, that precious little Sarah completed her mission in this life, and that she is a prefect little spirit that has been called back home to our Heavenly Father, and He has a special work for her to do. I also know with all of my heart that the Gordons will be reunited with their perfect little girl in the next life. Our prayers are with the Gordon family this day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sea World for Mo's B-day

For Mattie's birthday we went to Sea World, and since her good friend Delainey also has a Sea World pass for the year, we brought her along to help celebrate!
It was a very hot, but fun day. The girls had a great time going through the new aquarium while Matt rode the new Manta ride.
Its a laying down roller coaster which is suppose to simulate you being a manta ray! Matt says its very fun, but I'll have to take his word for it, since I can no longer ride roller coasters without getting sick!
The kids played in the water park area, which Reddin quite enjoyed.
The girls also rode many of the rides in the kiddie area. I rode one of Mattie's favorites with her, the crab (drop down) ride!
Matt rode the Shamu roller coaster with the girls while I took a picture and hung out with Grandma and Reddin.
But I think the best part of the day for Mattie was riding the grown-up ride Journey to Atlantis! She has waited a LONG time to be tall enough to ride it, and boy was she excited. I thought maybe she would get scared of the big drop, but she LOVED it!
She was a little scared of the middle part of the ride, but the drops were her favorite part. She asked to ride it a couple of times, and since there was no wait, I rode it with her like 3 times in a row. On the last time going up the big climb for the big drop, she put her little arms up in the air! I was surprised, because I remember it taking me forever to get the courage to do that growing up. And she left those arms up in the air for the whole drop down! I think that she is going to be our little thrill seeker, like her daddy. And here's a cute picture of Reddin taken while Mo and I were riding Journey to Atlantis. Look at the sweet face!
We left Sea World and stopped at Chipotle for some dinner. Yum! I love their chicken tacos.
Overall it was a very fun day for Mattie and our family. Did I ever mention how much I love living in FL?! Its so fun to take advantage of all our FL resident discounts and to live close to so many fun things!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mattie Turns 4 and Starts School

Back in Sept, Mattie Mack (I’ve been calling her that lately), had her birthday and turned 4 years old and started preschool all in the same week! She had been so excited to start school and I had been looking forward to that day for a while, but only because she is so social! Anyway, we didn’t throw her a big party this year, one because she will get a party when she turns 5 next year, and two we knew that she would be getting a small party on her first day of school... I did make a cake for her, which we ate for dessert at the Berger’s house after church.

The preschool that she is attending is at Palm Bay High School, and is taught by the high schoolers who are interested in becoming teachers. Of course there are adult teachers who help the teenagers and teach them what they should be doing. The program is a Pre-K one, and Mattie missed the cutoff for Pre-K by 9 days. They had not had enough 4 year olds enroll, so they decided to let some 3 year olds enroll as well. My wonderful friend Honor told me about it, and Mattie was lucky enough to get in. Honor’s daughter Delainey is also attending, and she and Mattie are practically joined at the hip! Mattie has really been enjoying her time in preschool, and it has been good for her to experience having playmates everyday. I think at times it was hard for her to be an only child for 3+ years. She is definitely making up for lost time! Anyways, she started school on September 8 and she turned 4 years old on the 9th. I had asked the teacher before the school year started if we could bring in cupcakes for Mo’s birthday, but another boy in the class had the same birthday and he was already going to be bringing in cupcakes on the 9th. She asked us if we could celebrate on the 8th instead, and that actually worked out great for us, since Matt would be heading back to work on the 9th. So, Mattie got to have a little birthday party for her first day of school! Matt and I came to school for the last 30 minutes of class and brought Disney Princess cupcakes for the girls and Disney Cars cupcakes for the boys, and Blowpops for the teenagers. Everyone sang to her and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed being the center of attention!

We also celebrated her birthday on the 8th as a family. Mattie got an art easel from us with some art supplies, a video game for her computer from Grandma, a wooden doll set that where you can change their clothes from Ama, a Snow White doll from Aunt Stephy and Uncle Greg, a Target gift card from Tia America and Uncle Chris, and the Tag Reader system from the Ahmeds. For not having an official birthday party, Mattie sure made out well in the present department

We love our Mattie Momo so much and are so grateful that she is part of our family. She is such a sweet and thoughtful little girl. She truly loves her family, especially her baby brother Reddin. I am touched by the love she shows him each day, and the tender way she cares for him. I can’t even begin to express how much I love that girl! Thanks for choosing us Mattie, we love you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vineyard Photo Shoot-August 2009

So here are some of the photos that my amazing sister-in-law Emily took of Mattie and Reddin at that vineyard in California back in August. Once again Emily you are FABULOUS and we love you so much!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ending of my Blogging Strike

Ok so really I wasn't on a blogging strike, I just haven't taken the time to blog! But now that I only have one child at home in the morning, I thought that I would try to catch up and get back into blogging. I'm not really sure where to even start and I feel a little overwhelmed by all that I want to put in here. So I think that I am going to copy my sister-in-law Shayla and do a "note-worthy" post!

I guess I'll start back in April, when I had the opportunity to fly out to UT for my great friend Amelia's baby shower. I took Reddin with my of course since he was only 4 months old at the time and nursing. Mattie stayed home and was watched by my mom and my sister Stephanie. A big thank you to them for doing that, since Matt was working. Reddin was fabulous for his first plane ride, and we had a super fun time in UT. We went for a long weekend and we were also able to see Brett, Emily and the boys. Emily did a super cute photo shoot of Reddin (which I will post in another posting). We were also able to visit with Ama and Kman and my brother Chris and Tia America. Reddin and I packed in quite a bit for such a quick little visit.

While I was in UT, Matt got his schedule for May and found out that he would have a week off at Mother's Day. After we were back home in FL, we decided we would fly back out to UT to spend Mother's Day his mom, and then head down to St George to spend some time with the Brett Menzie family. So that is what we did! In Mt Pleasant we took the kids to the park, enjoyed some yummy food made by Ama and had a fun Mother's Day with her and Kman. Kelly was very sweet to have ordered corsages for Teresa, Mattie and I. Momo especially loved wearing her flowers to church! That Sunday night we headed up to Utah county with Teresa and Kelly, because Kelly was to have a procedure for his back the following morning. We slept in their RV with them and Mattie thought it was so awesome. While Kelly was having his procedure we went up to Thanksgiving Point to play with the Paschals, our friends who had recently moved back to UT from FL. We went to Meadow Golds petting farm and the kids had a fun time riding the horses and playing. We caught Mattie and Taylor holding hands! Those 2 are so funny and cute. (We have been saying forever that they are betrothed, and if you ask Mattie who she wants to marry, she'll tell you Taylor!)

After staying with Teresa until Kelly was released from the hospital, we headed on down to St George, UT to visit with the Brett Menzie family. Emily picked us up from the airport and we went to a super cute little water park. Mattie, Jonas and Makia had a great time getting wet. The next day we all went to Zions National Park for a day of hiking. We had a great time seeing some wonderful scenery and getting a good workout, (Matt more than me, since he had Reddin in the Baby Bjorn and Mo on his back! I would be lying if I said that I was totally fine with that set up. I was very nervous at certain parts of the hike to the Emerald Pools. I kept thinking if Matt just slipped even a little, I would lose my whole family!) All in all our trip to UT was a very eventful and fun one!


Mattie finished up gymnastics. She took her lessons in the spring with her friend Jake from church. She really enjoyed her time in gymnastics each week.


Matt played on in a interfaith baseball team with our Stake. Sometimes he would miss games because he was gone working, but when he was in town to play we would go and watch him. My sister Steph and Lochlan would go too, because her husband Greg was on the team as well. At this particular game Matt had two homeruns and Mattie the Cheerleader was going crazy cheering! Great job we had a blast supporting you!


I did not attend my 10 year high school reunion last October because I did not feel like spending $200 to go. I was quite bummed about not seeing some of my really good friends from high school, especially the 3 girls that had been my besties during high school. Well this summer we had the opprotunity to go to dinner when 2 of them came into town, (1 of them lives here in Palm Bay). Steph came along cause she was always with us and she of course has been my very best bestie my whole life! It was so fun seeing Lacey, Krista and Melissa, and I can't wait for our next little friend reunion!


Matt got to go on his annual Lobster diving trip down to the Keys. He doesn't get to go and do guy things very often, so I am always supportive of him going down to the Keys each year. Plus, the spiny lobsters are SO yummy! This year he brought home 9 lobsters, that is the most he has ever brought back, the max is 12. I'm glad he had so much fun.


I was able to attend Youth Conference this year with the young women of my ward. It was 3 days and 2 nights long, and was held at Stetson University. We stayed in dorms and I had a blast bonding even more with my girls. It was however hard to be away from Reddin for the first time! A HUGE thanks to my mom and sister for helping to take care of my kids, since Matt was actually in the Keys for the first part of Youth Conference.


(This is another long one!) My nephew Brayden was turning 12 and more than half of Matt's family was going to be out in CA to help celebrate. Matt put in for a week of vacation and got it, so we were able to go out too! We took a direct flight out to LA and both kids were very good for the flight. We rented a car and met up with Matt's good friend from high school, Roger. He works for Matel and gave both kids a toy, which of course Mattie loved. He also took us to Pinkberry for some AMAZING frozen yogurt.

After leaving LA, we headed down to San Diego to meet up with Matt's family at the beach. Mattie was in heaven being surrounded by cousins and playing in the sand. Aunt Brooke was fabulous with the little kids and Mattie still talks about her! Reddin on the other hand was very tired from a VERY long day of travel. We headed back to Matt's sister's home to get some sleep. Mattie, Izzie and Lexie decided to be teenagers and pull an all nighter with their slumber party! Seriously Mattie got up and left FL and 4am (Eastern time), and was still up in CA past midnight (Western time)! I honestly don't know where she gets her energy!

The next day we went to a vineyard so my wonderfully talented sis-in-law Emily could take photos of Mattie and Reddin. I really wanted the photo shoot for Reddin because he was turning 8 months and we had gotten pictures taken of Mattie at 8 months. I will post those pictures in there own post because there are quite a few! Once again Emily did a FABULOUS job! Later that night all of the adults got to go on a group date for some sushi. It was so fun to get away without the kiddos and we were very grateful to Kenzie for taking such good care of Redd and for Bray for taking such good care of Mo.

On Sunday Brayden was recieving the Aaronic Preisthood and being ordainded a deacon. Matt's father drove down from UT for the special day and it was his first time meeting Reddin too. It was a good time seeing so much family!

We left that night with Teresa in her RV. We spent the night in the LA temple parking lot, and the next morning woke up and headed over to Tito Tacos. This is a favorite place of Matthew's, having grown up eating there quite a bit. He actually took me there one time before and I had not cared for it. But this time I really enjoyed it. The salsa and chips were especially my favorite!

After Titos we headed over to La Canada to pick up Kelly from his daughter Lori's house, or should I say mansion?! The house had an awesome theater and an amazing pool, which of course we had to take a dip in! Mattie had a wonderful time playing with all of the super fun girly things. We were going to leave that afternoon, but decided to spend the rest of the day and night there. A big thank you to Lori and Glen for putting us up for the night!

We took off the next morning and drove with Teresa and Kelly back to UT in their RV. Mattie and Reddin were really good for the long drive to Ama's house. We got to Teresa's house late that night and went straight to bed.

The next day Teresa drove us up to SLC to the Paschal's house. Once again we had a wonderful time playing with our friends. Mattie and Taylor were joined at the hip, and I had so much fun with Adrian. We stayed up late watching movies and eating junk, laughing and talking! Oh how I miss her!

Also while we were in SLC for that short time, we were able to get together with our friends Amelia and Phil and meet their brand new little guy Max. We met for a picnic in the park and it was so fun spending time with them. I am beyond excited that Amelia is a mommy, and her little man Max is just too cute! Congratulations again Phil and Amelia!

We flew home the next day and that was the end to our very full and eventful week of family vacation.

Well I'm going to call this post/book good for now. There are more recent things that I am going to blog on very soon, so stay tuned for more of what the FL Menzies have been up to! (It feels nice to belong to the world of blogging once more!!!)