Alicia & Ben » Blog

Ben made a cute video of Andi learning to walk.  Andi loves to watch it!  She asks all the time for “Baby videos!” which refers to this video and the one Ben made of her birth.

She crawled for a while up on her hands and feet. Not sure if the tile was cold/hard or what? She didn’t like for her knees to touch the ground. Andi is super small so I expected her to be our latest walker. But, nope! She was our earliest walker; she started walking around 10 1/2 or 11 months. She is busy, busy, busy and she figured it out.

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  • September 17, 2018 - 3:50 am

    Desiree Johnson - Oh my goodness! This is the cutest thing! Ben is so good at making these videos!! He should go pro. That Andi girl is so fun to watch grow up.ReplyCancel


We had a combined 1st and 10th birthday party for the girls and it was so fun to plan!  In fact I remember telling Ben after the party, “Remind me not to overdo it next time!” But, looking back at these pictures, it was really fun to plan and put together.  Sadie loved helping, too, and had so much fun!

For fun we set up the bubble machines and a snow machine,and the kids played on the bounce house, trampoline and car ramp. The kids also loved the swing in the front yard.  That’s been a fun toy that they’ve planned on/with a lot since Christmas. We had a balloon artist come and he taught the kids how to make a dog and then he made them all sorts of fun creations.  I partially forget the menu but I remember we had “cold” cuts, popcorn in snowman cups, rock candy sticks, and a cheeseball shaped as a snowman.  We also ordered Bahama Bucks shaved ice and the kids downed those.  We had leftover ice so we had a little impromptu snowball fight at the end.

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Andi, yet again, did a great job with her cake smash.  She loves sweets!    She insisted on feeding some of her cake so Sadie so we were all pretty messy by the end.  We were careful not to laugh too loud which helped her focus and enjoy the task at hand instead of feeling nervous or embarrassed:)

20180127-DSC_7662 20180127-DSC_7665 20180127-DSC_7674 20180127-DSC_7707 girlsBday3 20180127-DSC_7794 20180127-DSC_7857Last but not least, present opening.  So many great, generous gifts!  Sadie loved it so much!

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  • September 17, 2018 - 3:55 am

    Desiree Johnson - Cute ideas for January birthdays!! I feel like I have a hard time thinking of fun activities for Asher. He gets another friend party this year so I better start thinking!!
    LOVE the snow machine. So fun.ReplyCancel

Our baby turned 1!!!!


It was a bit of a rough first year so I’m actually happy that she’s getting to a more fun, manageable age.  I know this is our last baby but we LOVE 18 months through 3 1/4 and I’m excited for all the fun coming up!

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We decorated the house for Andi’s birthday.  She loved the balloons!  We bought her a few gifts, but she was pretty uninterested in them.  The big kids liked them, though!

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My parents and Gramma came over in the evening and we let Andi smash a cake. She did a pretty good job!



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We love her so, so, so much! Andi brings so much excitement and happiness into our home. She keeps us all laughing with her cuteness and she keeps us on our toes with her busy, unpredictability.   :)  She gives us so much joy.

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I’m keeping this short and to the point because I have a long to-do list:)

Canada: June 6th – 13th, 2018

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Mimi, Grampie, and Kimmy  joined us.

We spent the first night in Calgary and then drove through Banff (ate a delicious lunch around an outdoor campfire at the Fairmont there)…..


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Then we dropped our bags at our Buffalo Farm Airbnb and we went horseback riding.  The kids loved it and the scenery was so beautiful!

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After horseback riding we walked around the buffalo farm a bit, build a fire, roasted hot dogs for dinner, and ate s’mores for dessert.

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Our first night was our warmest with lows “only” in the upper 40’s so Ben, Sadie and Jax slept in the outdoor screened bedroom.  Jax was freezing so he didn’t make it all night but Sadie and Ben did.  Ben was so cold but Sadie loved it!  She wanted to do it again on other evenings but no one was willing to brave the 30/40 degree temperatures.

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On Friday we found the Fairmont we had actually intended to go to the first day.  We canoed around the beautiful lake (Andi cried the whole time so she and I ended early), ate a delicious lunch, and walked around.

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We were going to ride up a lift but it had closed early.  We wanted to hike up to see the snow on the mountain but the employee told us we better not because sometimes there are bears.  Sure enough, when we were heading back to the car we spotted a bear on the mountain right where we were going to hike to.


That evening we went on a hike to find a fire pit.  It ended up being a long, fun, messy journey.

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Saturday we toured the buffalo farm with Leo, our host.  He put on a great presentation.

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Then we went to Kicking Horse Resort for a ride up the mountain, spectacular views, up close look at Boo the Bear, and some delicious Pesto Pecan Pizza (my favorite thing I ate on the trip!).

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We ate dinner and dessert back at our cabin in our warm PJs with a fire going in the fire place!

20180609-DSC_6926 20180609-DSC_6929 20180609-DSC_6933The closest church was 2 hours away so we spent the cold and drizzly Sunday playing games and driving through Yoho National Park.  We ended at Lake Morraine and it was SPECTACULAR!  So, so, so pretty.  Mimi bought everyone hot chocolate and the kids loved that!  Jax, Kimmy and I hiked up to the lookout after Ben, Grampie, and Jax told us how beautiful the view was.  It was so, so cold but we were so happy we did it.  The views were amazing!  It also started snowing when we were at the top of a lookout which made things even more beautiful.  Jax was giddy about the snow. 20180610-DSC_6939 20180610-DSC_6947 20180610-DSC_6962 20180610-DSC_6984 20180610-DSC_7025 20180610-DSC_7035 20180610-DSC_7066 20180610-DSC_7075 20180610-DSC_7079 20180610-DSC_7082 20180610-DSC_7104 20180610-DSC_7107 20180610-DSC_7109 20180610-DSC_7111 20180610-DSC_7115 20180610-DSC_7124 20180610-DSC_7138 20180610-DSC_7160 20180610-DSC_7199 20180610-DSC_7207 20180610-DSC_7220 20180610-DSC_7227 20180610-DSC_7234

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We ended the day back on our buffalo ranch with tin foil dinners and s’mores.  Grampie told the kids his conversion story and it was a special family time.

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Monday morning we packed up and hiked to see Wapta Falls.

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Then we drove to Johnston Falls.  My mom did this hike with us and we were so proud of her.  The whole path was so beautiful.  Also, note to self if we ever return, they had the BEST soft serve ice cream!

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In the picture below, I was sitting on the log to the left of Jax’s head when we heard a huge crack and this tree fell over.  It was pretty crazy.  Little bit of wood went flying and it smelled like the wood section of Home Depot.

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After that we were pretty tired to we headed to Canmore to hceck into our hotel.  We ate dinner at Rocky Moutain Flatbread Company, and WOW!, was it good!!!! The kids loved our two story hotel room and laughed their heads off when we put them in the jetted tub.

The next morning we went to the Banff Hot Springs and museum.  Grampie, Mimi and Kimmy left to go the airport for Kimmy’s flight while we went on another hike to see Grassi Lakes.

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After that hike we went back to Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. because we loved it so much!  Funny thing is, my parents loved it so much that they decided to do the same thing after dropping Kimmy off at the airport so we ate lunch together unexpectedly.

A photographer friend, Jessica Chapinkski, happened to be in Banff at the same time as us so we met up to swap family photoshoots at the top of Lake Moraine.  It was so pretty but sooooooo cold!  We were all painfully cold but we were still able to get a few good ones before McKay, who is so sensitive to cold weather, broke into tears and we took him back to the car to warm up.

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The next morning we packed up and flew home.  It was a really fun trip and we would love to return to the same area one day!

We loved all the fresh air, beautiful landscapes, delicious food (surprisingly good food up there!), campfires, animal sightings, and hikes filled with laughter!


A few more videos/pictures from the trip:

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  • September 17, 2018 - 4:07 am

    Desiree Johnson - What an unforgettable trip! Different from so many others. I’d love to go back there and take more time to see everything. It’s SO PRETTY.
    I love that the kids loved the snow and the horseback riding looked fun to me.ReplyCancel


I thought I was a baby person but it turns out I like my kids more and more the older they get.  Sadie turned 10 and that makes me a little sad. However, she’s ssssooooooo fun to be around, so funny, so independent, so helpful and still so cute!!!!  So, I’m sad to see grow but so happy that she’s just as enjoyable now as she was as a little baby and toddler.  I’m so in love with her!!!

Things that make Sadie great:

  • easy going
  • low drama
  • always happy and cheerful
  • gets along with anyone – all ages, gender, ethnicities
  • super social
  • so helpful (would have I have survived Andi’s childhood without her?!?!)
  • great eater – loves vegetables and is fairly adventerous with food
  • always grateful and says thank you
  • goes to bed easily and we don’t have to lay with her (though, sometimes we do because she likes it)
  • peaceful sleeper – doesn’t toss and turn and smack the person next to her:)
  • affectionate
  • responsible student
  • adventerous
  • let’s me dress her in most anything I choose
  • good cleaner-upper (although she does have hoarding tendencies)


We would love her even if she wasn’t perfect, but she’s just so fun to be around because she’s a great kid!

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So Sadie opted to pass on presents this year and instead we re-did her room.  We moved her out two weeks ahead of her birthday and painted, bought a new bed/bedding/decor, etc.  She was so excited on the morning of her birthday to walk in and finally see what we had been working on!  She loved it all!  She especially loved her new desk which we had filled with all her favorite office supplies. She loves office/school supplies so she was pretty thrilled with her new stash.

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Sadie’s other big present was horseback riding lessons for 3 months!!!  Oh, she was so excited!  Brought me so much happiness to see her happiness! (Video of when we told her below)


Sadie’s birthday was on a Wednesday but we let her skip school and we went to her horseback riding lesson instead!

But, first, donuts…..


…and then headed out the door for horseback riding lessons.  She did horse camp for two weeks last summer at Westcoast Morgans.  She’s been begging to go back.  For lessons they groom the horse, saddle them up, ride, and then unsaddle them, give them a drink and a final brush down.  They teach them so much about how to be around horses and care for them.


The boys had a little riding lesson, too:


After that we picked Ben up from work around noon and drove to Orlando.  We visited Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and rode the Orlando Eye.  This was all new for the kids and they loved it all!  Andi especially enjoyed the Aquarium and pointed at everything.



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After that we drove over to Disney Springs and we played at the Lego Store (and picked out a present), ate at Rainforest Cafe, danced at the outdoor dance party, and ate Ghiradelli Sundaes. Yum!

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It was a pretty great day.  Perhaps one of my best birthday celebrations?  We felt like last year Sadie didn’t get much attention, because we’d had a baby 12 hours prior to her birthday.  We wanted this birthday to be really amazing.  I think it was!  We love Sadie so, so, so much!


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