In the middle of June we headed down to St. George for my nephew Broc's wedding! He married Ashley and they're a cute couple. The sealing was really good and we're happy to have Ashley in the family! We stayed with Howie and JeLynn and had fun hanging out with their adorable family.
While down there we stopped by to visit Grandpa Ballantyne. He is so sweet! ...and incredibly hard of hearing. Combine that with a failing mind, a loud voice, and giant sense of humor and you've got yourself quite the fun experience! It was great to talk with him and to hear him say over and over, "What a little precious thing" about Pepper.
The next weekend we went to our friend Joe's wedding to Samy! We love them both and couldn't be more happy for them.
Here are Chloe and Pepper hanging out together! They are little buds and Chloe is teaching Pepper all her cool tricks. Oh, in case you don't know, Chloe is my niece Britt's baby and as you can tell, she is so so cute! Britt and James live in Lehi and we beg them to hang out with us all the time because they are so fun!
We also spent two weekends up in Huntsville lately with Karen and Austin and their fam. We are trying to get in as much time with them as we can before they move to Iowa in a few weeks for med school! We've had fun going hiking, playing soccer, frisbee, pool, football (if learning to throw a football counts!), games, made up games with an exercise ball in the middle of the night... etc!
This is a picture of our niece Meredith's beautiful hair-do that she did on an unsuspecting T.J. in his sleep. There are several more clips in the back that you can't see. I think she has a future in hair design.
We also had a cousins get together at our house a few weeks ago. William and Heather, Tyler and Nikki, Aaron, Maren and Annie, Brandon, Tyson, and Alan we all in our tiny basement! We had a pot luck and just had fun getting caught up on each other's lives.
Yes, this picture is illustrative of Pepper's current stats: 72nd percentile head, 4th percentile weight.
Pepper loves to stand! She loves it so much that she often refuses to bend her little legs (or any joint or bend point in her tiny body), making it nearly impossible, and quite humorous, to put her in her Bumbo or just make her sit on your lap. She is also SO interested in everything around her that she cranes her little head as far as she can to see it all!
She is such a good sweet baby and we couldn't ask for better. She is quite good at putting herself to sleep now, which is so nice. And, lately she has been sleeping for long periods of time at night - making her mother very happy!
Pepper loves her Daddy. She always gives him big smiles and turns to find him when he starts talking. She is "talking" up a storm now and usually chooses to grace us with her words and songs in the middle of my work meetings or during Sunday School. I try to keep her quiet for the sake of others, but I just think it is so cute!
This is just what we see when we go to get Pepper from a nap... Blanket (which did have her swaddled, everything but her arms) kicked off and big smiles. We love it!
In other news... I am almost done with my thesis! Still! It is such a long process of revisions and prepping the manuscript for publication, but I really am almost done and am getting ready to submit it. Can't wait! Work at Flourishing Families is going well. Pepper does well going with me and I am really enjoying the people as well as all the weekly "tools" that we work on. We have weekly presenters on specific life skills, such as perseverance, zeal, trust, organization, prioritizing, etc. Each week we have to do some sort of project applying the tool to our lives. It has really provided me with a lot of introspection and hopefully is improving my character!
A couple of weeks ago we had a big stake picnic and talent show. One person from each ward presented a talent, and guess who represented our ward? Yours truly. I was really just trying to be supportive and told the activities chair that I could do it if no one else volunteered. As it turns out, I must be the only nice one in the ward. So, I dusted off my clogs, choreographed a routine and danced to Michael Jackson. Thanks to the relatively boring (no offense) performances before me, I was a huge hit and had the crowd loved me! Thankfully none of them were cloggers and therefore my simple steps looked really cool. It was actually so so fun to perform again. I forgot how much I love it! And miss it!
The big news for T.J. is that he submitted med school applications! YAY! He applied to 16 schools and hopes to make it into one of his top 8: Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, Mayo, Duke, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, and Johns Hopkins. Not ambitious or anything...! Many years of preparation have led up to this and it is crazy to think that in a year we'll be off to somewhere like Boston or Philly or Baltimore! Who knows?! As soon as he hears back from schools he will have to complete secondary applications and then wait and hope for interviews and then wait and hope some more for letters of acceptance. Some schools don't tell you yes, no, or maybe until March or later, so it is a long waiting game!
He has also been busy presenting his ER staffing project to UVRMC hospital administration, organizing a student health policy summit on campus, and working in the lab. Oh yes, and reading as much as he can about health policy.