Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My cousin's wedding....

The same weekend we went and saw President Monson's Birthday Celebration I talked about here, we also went to my cousin Andrea's wedding.  It great to be able to see her get married, and also to see many members of family on my Mom's side.  It is kind of crazy because I remember her parents wedding.  I even remember their cake.  I am telling you, smells and taste bring any memory back to me!  I also remember going to visit my Aunt and Uncle when Andrea was a brand new baby.  I wish I could find the picture I have of me holding her!  I felt so old at the time.  Believe it or not, all these years later I feel so young!

These two cute girl are my cousin Emily's daughters, Lucy and Rachel.  Annie fell in love with them that weekend.  They babysat both Annie and Sophie for me the night before.  

Not only are they good little babysitters...they are pretty good photographers!  I stole this photo that one of them took outside the temple of the happy couple with her sisters.  I love it! (This is the only one right outside the temple that I have...I had to run to our hotel to get the kids right after the ceremony.)  

Speaking of the ceremony....the man that married them did such a great job.  I loved hearing his advice to the couple.  It is always a good reminder for my own marriage.  He admonished them to pray together every single morning and night.  He also told them to read their scriptures as a couple.  Man that is a hard one for us!  It seems we are thinking we are doing pretty darn good if we manage to read with the kids, not to mention personal study.  I think it would be great if we could figure out how to incorporate couple study in the mix too.  

Our kids are sure easier to get to smile for pictures than they were when the boys were all little.   Now, if only we didn't have the big old sunspot in the picture.  

My girls...

The girls really love their brothers!  This week has been an adjustment for Annie with all of the boys in school.  She is finding there are some perks that she enjoys, but about an hour before they return home, she is counting down the minutes!  

Joshua and Annie

James and Sophie

Joshua and Annie (again!)

These two are growing up...that's for sure. 

These two...not so much.  Just kidding.  This is Luke with my cousin Emily's son Adam.  They really hit it off and had maybe a little too much fun together. 

Joshua and cousin, Sadie

Cake cutting...

The Milligan ladies chatting it up...(wonder what they were discussing?)

The girls were so happy to have some of the wedding flowers! Easy to please I tell ya!

Cousin Paul and Aunt (or really Great Cousin?  I call her my Aunt) Marcia.  This was out in the parking lot.  Somehow Ryan and I always manage to be the one of the last ones to leave pretty much any event.  I guess we just like to chat. 

It was a lovely day and we are so happy for Andrea and her sweet husband Nathaniel.

Monday, August 27, 2012

And they are off...

The kids made it out the door!  Wow, sure is quiet.  We had a meeting last night and went over new bedtimes and routines.  The kids actually seemed pretty cooperative and excited so that it always a plus!  They were all so excited they were easy to wake up.  Me, on the other hand, I was exhausted!  I stayed up late cleaning so everything would be ready to go in the morning.  Then I couldn't fall asleep.  I think it was 130am last time I looked at the clock.  Yikes.  6:00am way too soon!

Everything went as planned, except I bade them farewell in my bathrobe.  I know, I have it pretty good, I don't have to drive them or walk them to school. (I did that one for years.) Now they just run to the end of the street and catch the bus.  But, don't worry....there are times when they miss the bus throughout the school year, and you bet I still am wearing this old robe driving them to school.  A robe, Uggs, and sun glasses (I am hoping that no one will recognize me) are my usual attire.  I pray the whole way home that I don't get in an accident. (Not too worried about the actual accident, just the whole getting out of the car thing.)  Ahh!  What would I do?  I told myself I was going to be dressed (at least in my workout clothes) before I wake them up this year.  Maybe I will do better tomorrow!

Here are the "first day" pics.

Luke, 2nd Grade (How did that happen?)

Michael, 3rd grade

(Do you like how the sky here is white?)  That is not just bad picture taking skills.  That is how it has been for like a MONTH!  I miss clouds and blue skies.  Darn fires! 

James, 6th grade

Joshua, 8th grade

This is more like it...

Fond farewells...

Now I must go conquer the house!  Not to mention, I already received a phone call from the school.  It was Luke.  He can't seem to find his lunch box.  Did he leave it at the bus stop?  On the bus?  He is not really sure.  Here we go....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, President Monson

We had an amazing opportunity this past weekend.  We went to a Birthday Celebration for President Thomas S. Monson.  It was held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.  You had to be eight years  old to attend.  We were so happy to have tickets to take the four boys.   My cousins daughters were willing to watch the little girls for us, which was wonderful.  It was a little stressful getting into the actual Celebration (parking, we lost a ticket...) but with a few answered prayers we made it!  Boy was it worth it!  The theme for the night was "Golden Days".  There were yellow flower arrangements adorning stage and one of the hosts, Jane Clayson, wore a beautiful yellow dress.  Steve Young was the other co-host.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with several world renowned vocalists, treated everyone to some of President Monson's favorite songs.  Many came from Broadway musicals.  A few times I had to tell myself to stop singing along!  In between the musical numbers stories from different era's of the prophet's life, from his childhood, to present day were shared.  It was so inspiring!  

Here the boys are waiting for the program to begin.  They are very efficient getting such a large number of people seated and you have to be in your seats promptly...a half hour early!

This was taken right after the program ended.  We stuck around a while, watching President Monson take his time shaking as many hands as he could, waving to the crowd and blowing kisses.  First counselor, President Henry B. Erying and Second Conselor, President Dieter F Uchtdorf both gave tributes to the Prophet.  I hope this will be a night the boys will never forget.  The music was amazing, the stories inspirational, and seeing the Prophet was a once in a life time experience.  

I only had my iPhone with me to take all these pictures so some are not the best...but I love it of all the boys, outside the Conference Center looking toward the Salt Lake Temple, where Ryan and I were married! 

Even though President Monson has only been the Prophet since 2008, he has been a General Authority for the Church my whole life.  When I was growing up we would often listen or watch (depending on where we lived) General Confence in the Chapel on Sundays.  Now it is broadcast over the internet and on TV.  However, back then we would just sit and listen to all the speakers on hard benches.  (Which was not always an easy task sitting for so long!)  President Monson was always my favorite, especially as a young child.  He always shares his message by telling stories.  His voice has not changed and I would recognize it anywhere.  I remember still hearing him at a church conference back when we lived in Germany when I was my boys age.  After the program on Friday night I went away with the same message and feeling about him that I have all these follow his example of reaching out to the one, rescuing the one and bringing them home.  (They sang "Bring him home" from Les miserables...amazing!)  After listening to President Monson you always want to be a little kinder, and love everyone a little more.  He is truly follows the Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful for a prophet of God to lead and guide us in these troubled times.   I know that he guides us and directs us, just as prophets of old did.  

Happy 85th Birthday, President Monson!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The good and the bad...

I really love summer, as I said before.  I love how you get to relax and have time to just be with your family.  I love not having to be a million places every afternoon like you do in during the school year. Everything in life, even the good things, usually have a good and bad to them though. 

Good thing-You get to visit family a little more. Ryan had another business trip to California and lucky for these two, they were able to tag along.  We were sad to hear that Great-Grandma was in the hospital for a week or so.  We were happy these two were able to drop in and visit her.  These guys had a great time at Nana and Papa's and were not even ready to come home!  The good thing about sending children away to visit family?  They have a great time and Mom gets a little sanity.  The bad thing?  I am not sure if there is a down side to that one.  Ha-ha! 

Here we are all watching the Olympics.  Definitely one of the "good things" about summer!  It was fun relaxing as a family and watching all the athletes each night.  Bad thing?  All the kids want to stay up all night and no one wants to get up in the morning. (Including me!)

Good thing-uninterupted summer naps.  No waking anyone to rush someone to practice. 

Good thing-fun with cousins and FIREWORKS!!!  

I love this picture of Ryan.  

I think this picture was at like 10 o'clock at night.  It makes me sad to see it getting dark a little earlier each night!  Bad thing about fireworks-I found an arsenal of explosives under Annie's bed this afternoon.  Somehow she had found a few left over fireworks and decided to save them for a rainy day???  (Update: Joshua just confessed that was him that hid them under her bed.  That makes more sense!)

 Good thing-I was able to have a little more one-on-one time with these guys while the two boys were in California and Joshua was at Scout Camp.  

Good thing-I love Instagram, and all the technology we have these days to record daily events in our lives.  I wish I had pictures of my older kids like I do of the younger ones.  I feel kind cheesy taking self-portraits, but I want to have pictures of me with my children.  Bad thing-sometimes it can be a little over board and I feel like just another one of those people on Facebook, with their arm in the picture taking yet another picture of themselves.  Isn't that all a little weird?  

Good thing-smart phones.  I love my iPhone.  I love having it to take pictures, email, text, navigate, pretty much they can do anything!  Bad thing-all these dumb games!  My kids always steal my phone even though I have a password (they are always watching and figure it out soon enough).  I rarely let them play if I can help it.  Seriously, BIGGEST WASTE OF TIME to me.  One of my favorite songs growing up was about summer-  

"Oh, what do you do in the summer-time, when all the world is green?  Do you fish in a stream, or lazily dream on the banks as the clouds go by? Is that what you do?  So do I."  

I swear kids these days don't lay down in the grass and just "lazily dream" looking at clouds. I remember just staring at pieces of grass and being bored out of my mind for large chunks of time.  Somehow though, it never seemed a bad thing.  Instead, of "lazily" looking at clouds, they lazily look at screens!  I can't stand it! AHHHH!!!!  It seems like such an uphill battle sometimes. 

I even give Ryan a bad time about playing his phone.  Good thing-he has really cut back!  

Look we had a real live bird in our house of birds!  Good thing-the boys have had lots of pet sitting opportunities this summer.  We had this nice little birdie for almost a month.  Another good thing-more fun with this cute cousin!

I just thought this picture of my brother at our family dinner was funny!  Good thing-service.  In our Church we have "callings".  My brother has been the bishop of a congregation for almost five years now.  It is pretty amazing to have the chance to make an impact on other people's lives.  Bad thing-NO SLEEP and pure exhaustion, especially on Sundays!  

The other day Ryan sent me this via text message after a particularly long day with the kids.  You know those summer days when you decide that you ARE TOTALLY ready for school to start.  Good thing-it made me laugh SO hard.  Bad thing-it had a swear word in in, that I edited out.  It was right after the word bat.  :)  

 This will be our last week of summer vacation. I have LOTS to pack in.  It will probably be a little nuts, and I guess that is the way the universe works...otherwise you would never want to send your cute little children to school.  That is why when you are pregnant you get fat and uncomfortable, if not you would never want to push out that cute baby.   Everything in life has a good and a bad, and it is the bad things that lead us back to the good!  (Example:  Good-Brownies/Bad-Too many Brownies/leads us back to the good....fruits and veggies.)  Somehow, it always leads back to food for me.  :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A few summer happenings....

One of our favorite families from where we lived in Manteca sent their daughter to Idaho to go to  camp at BYU-I.  

This is her right off the plane, she is calling her parents to tell them she made it.  Welcome to Idaho, Katelyn!  

This was the day she left.  She is a beautiful girl! 

We were trying to get a picture of these two together...but for once in her life Annie did NOT want to get her picture taken!

Annie didn't mind getting her picture here.  In fact, she told Katelyn..."come on, brownie faces!"  Katelyn was like, "What is a brownie face?"  Apparently, this face is a brownie face. Annie had so much fun with Katelyn.  I think she liked having an "older sister" for the weekend!

Annie likes to play with the neighbors every chance she gets!  These two always crack me up.  I could not believe Keisha was carrying Annie around on this baby backpack.  Talk about a workout!

What does Sophie like to do around the house?  Well, see these blankets folded nicely?  

She loves to pull them all out and then makes this face..."Victory!"  She is not really attached to just one.  Just likes them ALL. 

Another one of our favorite families from California....lucky for us Lori moved to Idaho and had two cute babies.  We were able to celebrate Baby Molly's blessing with a yummy lunch at their house.

By looking at these two you can see they were doing quite a bit of celebrating.  :)  I told them to pose together for a picture and this is what I got. 

This guy was enjoying all the treats!

Sophie was just glad there were so many other little kids there.  

Brenda taking in her beautiful Grandbaby!

We were happy that Christina decided that Idaho was better than California too and moved out here after Lori did.  (Wait, I don't think she decided that, but we will take her anyway!)  Her dad will always be "Bishop" to me.  He was the best bishop ever. 

Isn't this what summer is all about?  Relaxing in a swing?

 Right before Bear Lake I hosted a Bridal Shower for one of our favorite Idaho families.  Daughter Michele's wedding was while we were at Bear Lake so we missed it.  :(  We were glad we could party with everyone at her shower!

This is the cute sister-in-law, Erin.  I wished I looked like this when I was pregnant!

One of my favorite people...mother-of-the-bride, Donalyn!  She is telling some exciting story here. 

I love this picture of Jessica June and her Grandma!  

While the grown-ups were having a party, these two were having their own party downstairs.  They dressed up (of course) and then came down and did a fashion show for us.  Annie is into this little "leg stance" lately.  I don't know where she learned it, but she does it every time I tell her to pose for a picture!

They had a lot of fun together!

I don't know HOW I didn't get any pictures of the actual BRIDE!  This was the only one!  Michele is on the far left.  It was so fun to see old friends and visit!  (And Sophie is in high fashion in a diaper.)

What else has been going on?  Mostly allergies.  Terrible allergies.  All the grain fields being cut around here are pretty much killing me. 

I am enjoying every last minute of summer.  Even though some days I feel ready to get these kids back to school and on a schedule....I still LOVE summer and know that with school, the madness of schedules begins!  I will enjoy every bit of it!