Saturday, December 31, 2011

Family Christmas Party in Utah

Every year my we have a Christmas party with my Mom's side of the family.  Out of six living children, there are 28 grandchildren.  (Plus spouses and lots of great-grandchildren!) I love living closer to Utah now because it is fun to see all the cousins, aunts and uncles.  This year the party was a two-day affair and we had a lot of fun!  We started of with bowling on Friday night at an awesome little bowling ally in Preston, Idaho...that's right, home of Napoleon Dynamite!

After bowling we all headed up to my Uncle Kent and Aunt Debbie's BEAUTIFUL home to visit and have hot chocolate.  Uncle Ron took all the kids on a hay ride...burrrrrr. 
The next day we had a yummy breakfast and then it was back up to Kent and Debbie's.  They have lots of beautiful horses and let everyone that wanted have a little ride.  Big thanks to all the men who patiently took everyone for a ride!  We had hoped for more snow, and even though there was not much we could not have asked for a better day!  It was perfect.  Big thanks especially to Eric and Ryan.  I think they spent the whole day outside!

Not only did the kids ride horses...they played in the snow, rode snow mobiles, and took in the "farm" life!

Even Robina and I were able to take a ride, we felt pretty glamorous and did our best pageant waves to the crowd.

Aunt Debbie has all these horses, but we found out she had not had the "opportunity" to go for a ride!  I don't know why not, she was a natural! 

Uncle Kent takes his sister Marilyn for a jaunt.

My cousin Emily recruited us to decorate Rebecca's car...we gladly obliged!  Normally a divorce is not considered cause for celebration...but when it has dragged on a year and a half-let the party begin! If you are wondering the "single and ready to mingle" one is in the bottom right corner!

The kids all agreed that their favorite part of Kent and Debbie's new home is the heated flooring.  Here they are relaxing on the warm tile.

Ryan stayed inside watching Sophie and keeping warm! She is ALMOST walking. She picked the right place to practice, the carpet was divine. I think it was the softest, cushiest carpet I have ever walked on.

Special thanks to UNCLE KENT, AUNT DEBBIE, and their children, for opening their home to a large crowd for the weekend.  We made lots of fun memories and had a great time!  This is the first year in a long time that I thought our Grandpa would have LOVED to be there.  He would surely love their new house and would be giving the grand tour to everyone.  A big thanks to HJ and Edna for  all their sacrifice and work creating such a great family and posterity! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A sad farewell to our "half"...

Well, we no longer have our "half of a kid".  I guess for now the half will have to be Ryan.  :)  In mid-December, after much thought...we gave away little Jack to a really nice guy living in Utah.  He has a female Jack Russell Terrier already and it seemed a great fit. I have to say I REALLY miss him! (I know all my family will roll their eyes.)  It has been nice not having to worry about him knocking down the Christmas Tree or getting into the kids gifts, but whenever I see pictures of him I still feel sad.  I was feeling too stressed between having a baby under the age of one, and then a new puppy.  Joshua was the most sad at first, but lately they all have been saying things like, "yeah, Mom gave away our dog....".  I was trying to teach them, that Mama's have to choose their kids over animals sometimes. Here is a fond farewell to our sweet little Jack that we had for 3 1/2 short months.

Here is Jack being held by Joshua on his first day in our home.                                                         
Doesn't he look innocent!
Sophie really liked him and would get so excited when she saw him and start bobbing her head up and down and panting.
 Luke would run back and forth, round and round with Jack.  Looks like they wore each other out!
 Joshua was not going to be with us when we took Jack to Utah so he said goodbye that morning before he left to school.  Due to this photoshoot he missed the bus and ended up getting to spend a little extra time with Jack in the car.
 Here is Anne playing with Jack.  She was fearless with him and was fun to watch!
Like the action shot?
 Sophie and Jack checking out the crazy lady with the camera.
 Even though we had the kennel, I kept Jack on my lap the whole way down to Utah.  I wanted to spend every last minute with him! 
 He would nuzzle his head in my jacket and go to sleep, how cozy is that!? (I know, all you none-dog people don't get it.)

Overall, 2011 was a GREAT year for our family.  As far as dogs go, not so much!  We miss both Max and Jack.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Part 2

As I said in part cousin Rebecca spent Thanksgiving with us.  We had so much fun. We reminisced about Thanksgivings we had spent together when our families lived in Kansas.  Right after the big dinner we had an impromptu photo shoot. You would think it would be bad timing since we were all so stuffed, but there was good lighting and that is all that mattered.

Luke, age 6.
 Three musketeers

 Okay, I am keeping this picture small...since it is so dorky.  But, I was trying to strike a pose like cjane does so well.  I guess I need more practice!

 Everyone dog pile on Uncle Michael! These guys were not into the photo shoot so much.

Heidi and I trying for a photo shoot and we can't stop laughing.  I don't think we were cut out to model. 

 Ryan and I have barely ANY pictures together since I am usually behind the camera.  Glad we finally have some!  The best part-like I said, impromptu, so no stress!
 Here is Pierson looking sweet and innocent.
Here he is looking not so innocent. He was having some fun with the markers while the adults were visiting downstairs.  

The three little girls. 

Annie with cousin Avery...they are about 6 months apart.

 Heidi (sister), Rebecca (cousin), and me (Natalie)

Rebecca took some shots of Heidi and I.  We called these our "book" poses.  If we decide to write a book we could use these as our photo.  Since I can barely whip out this Thanksgiving post a month later, I don't think I am going to be using my "book" pose anytime soon.

Here we are with our little brother, Michael.  This is the most serious picture we had.

Most of them were more like this.  I think it was all the food...we don't even need alcohol around here.  Just get a little too much food in our bellies and we go crazy.

Sophie is starting to walk!

 Cousin Chloe with Sophie

Enough of our photo shoot. I was REALLY tempted to put one in of Aunt Heidi and Uncle Travis that had us all laughing on the floor.  But, Heidi....I had mercy on you.

More cousins-Robin, Andrew, and their girls were also in the Phoenix area visiting family.  They were able to pop in and say hello!

 Chloe pampered us with Manicures. (Here with Rebecca)

Even though the weather was in the 70's...the pools are not heated.  The boys decided to brave the Arctic temperatures and jump in the pool.  Joshua tried to tell us it was just as cold as the rivers here in Idaho during the winter-not quite Joshua!  It still looked pretty cold though!

 They had a contest to see who could stay in the water the longest...I don't know who won. 

Throughout the trip we spent time in hotels in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.  This is how the kids slept.  Don't feel too sorry for them, our bed a couple feet away was just as full!

 It is great that my family, and Ryan's family live right down the road from each other.  Joshua is the oldest cousin on Ryan's side of the family, and after 11 years of no cousins...we finally have two!  Little Amelia took right to Joshua and it was so cute to watch.

 I love watching Amelia run.  She has the littlest legs and they go so fast.

Amelia, James, Joshua, and Holden played a little football outside.

 Papa and Annie

 I was trying to get a picture of all three of the girls together, but the lighting was terrible and all the ones with Sophie were blurry...this is the best I have! 

After lots of fun in Arizona we made the LONG trip back home.  We stopped at the Hoover Dam on the way home.  It was really busy, but worth the stop!

 Did you know that the Hoover Dam was constructed during the Great Depression?

 Not only was the Dam interesting..but the scenery is amazing! Why is it that Joshua is always so happy to have his picture taken?  I think he and James had just gotten in a spat and James is not even in the picture.  He is hiding behind the wall in a restricted area.

 I guess this statue is mentioned in the Percy Jackson my boys noticed it right away!

 Over 100 people lost their lives during the construction of the Dam.

 This is SOOOO steep it gave me the willies to take the picture.  One of my boys leaned RIGHT over the edge and that really gave me the willies. I hate heights.

We had a great week in the sun. The day after we came home we woke up to this-
I didn't mind though!  I love snow for the holidays!