Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reunion in Massachusetts!

What a great time we had on vacation again this year! More pictures and stories to come but here are some family & group pictures that I wanted to share with everyone before anymore time passes.

What a great reunion. It was great to have all four brothers and ALL of their families in one place at the same time! Unfortunately we didn't get a family shot with EVERYBODY together but here are some that I did take. I know I saw Chau taking some pictures. I'm hoping to get a peek at those and maybe add them to this slide show if possible.

We also had fun with Uncle James, Elizabeth & Robert who came out for part of the time. (I especially loved Elizabeth's soap making demonstation!)

Miss you all! It was so fun to see you! WE LOVE YOU!
(If you want to leave a comment, please do! We love comments! I think you just need to set up a google account. I think that is pretty easy. ENJOY!)

Canoeing the Concord River

We haven't been back from Massachusetts but a week or two, but it seems like an eternity has already passed! We had a wonderful time. One of our many adventures was canoeing the Concord River. The entire family participated & we had some fun times! I couldn't believe that NOBODY tipped over! Kermit & I had our three little ones all together in one canoe. I was in front, Kermit in back and three little girls in the middle. The girls loved dragging their hands in the water as we went along. They wished they had a paddle too. We'll have to remember that for next time. We canoed maybe 5 miles down to the Old North Bridge. At Old North Bridge the Ranger/Tour Guide gave us the history of the first battle of the American Revolution. Very appropriate for our Fourth of July weekend. =)
Paddling back was challenging. We were against the river current and against the wind. One crying 2 year old motivated us to keep on stroking like we've never stroked before. Whew! My muscles were sore! Boy we had fun though!
After everyone was back at the cars safe n sound we went out to lunch at a little restaurant in the Concord Town Center. YUM!
Great time! We can't wait to do it again!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

(deep) Birthday Thoughts

I remember when I was 20 years old sitting at church in a BYU singles ward. The girl speaking had just had her 25th birthday. She was going on and on about how blessed she felt to be 25 and how wonderful it was. She was saying how she just couldn't believe she was actually a quarter of a century old. The whole time she spoke I was seriously thinking to myself..."I would NEVER do that! 25 is SOOOO old. Why would anyone get up in front of a group of people and proudly announce that they were 25? CRAZY! That's just suicide! She's never gonna get married!"

Every time I think back on that moment I totally find myself just cracking up at myself! Silly me. =) Here I am at 36 proudly displaying my age for all to see. I wonder if there are any 25 year olds out there wondering why on earth I would ever admit to being 36. Maybe so.

I was talking to Kermit earlier this month about aging in general. It had been on my mind a lot knowing my birthday was coming. Also because this past year I've found myself dieting for the first time ever, buying expensive wonder face creams and noticing that the reflection in the mirror doesn't exactly match the image I think I should see. Jokingly, I told Kermit that if this is what aging was about that I didn't think I was up for it. Kermit had a completely different view to share.
He said that when he thinks of aging he envisions an elderly couple that has shared a wonderful life together. Though they are old everybody of all ages just loves them. They have had so many interesting life experiences together. They've had trials in life and grown from them. They've learned through the years who they are as individuals. They know how to be kind and have the time in life to share the knowledge they've gained through experience. A lovely picture. I was impressed with his views, especially because he is over 40 *gasp*! =)

So the last two weeks I've been rethinking things. Maybe he and I could grow to be that couple someday. I'll diet here and there and buy expensive face creams but the bottom line is time marches on regardless. All I can really do is try to enjoy the ride. Every year from here on out I will think of as another year of experiences. Hopefully I'll grow wiser in the process. I'm looking forward to the experiences ahead this year!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Catch up (and some Mustard & Celery Salt), etc.

This a "Catch Up" post. I've been bad at keeping up with the latest this summer. So here is my attempt to catch up.

Here are pictures from our visit to the Chicago History Museum.

The kids had fun playing in the larger than life size "Chicago dog" (a favorite meal of ours actually). Don't forget the secret ingredient that makes all the difference in the world...CELERY SALT! I like my dog with mustard, fresh tomatoes, a dill pickle spear and celery salt. YUM!

Here are my little chicks at the Farm in the Zoo. They got to pet a real live chicken and of course view the newly hatched baby chicks. Also watching the baby piglets play was so much fun!

Picking Clovers. Listening for Who's.

Visit to the Brookfield Zoo. They have elephants which was very exciting! (Our LP zoo does not have them sad.) The girls loved petting sting rays (sorry no photo) and these goats. They LOVED loved LOVED it! These goats were pretty mellow. Just our speed.


Here is a family photo from the Train Museum in CA. This museum is perfect for the little kid in everyone! We went with my parents, Erin & Romney. We had a little picnic and then let the kiddos explore all around on the old trains. The girls LOVED playing in the little trolley above. We took plenty of pics that day, and some fun video. A good time was had by all.

Kermit's new find! A very cool old library card catalog file. 60 drawers. He has enjoyed the restoration process. Here is a before picture. We have it in our study. We love that all our pens, scissors, paperclips, glue sticks, tape, markers, etc. all have their own drawer. There are so many drawers that the kids even have a few for their own treasures. Love it!

We enjoyed a visit from Eric & Cheryl VDG. Eric was one of Kermit's best companions on his mission. They live in Nebraska now and have a darling little girl, Ava. We love the VDG's! A few years ago we discovered that Eric and I are actually cousins. Eric's mom and my mom have the same maiden name. We traced it back and sure enough 3rd cousins once removed. Here is a cousin shot of Ava and Annaliese. We sure loved having them visit!


I couldn't resist adding this photo of topless Avrie making sand pies in her tutu and sneakers. Summer fun!


So, I love pretty landscapes and yards. Every year I attempt a beautiful garden. This year no exception. I think the window boxes turned out the best I've ever done this year. I take multiple trips to Home Depo, spend hours and hours planting, replanting, planting again until I'm pleased with the results. My problem....keeping it watered! Maybe one of these years we can get an irrigation system to help me out. Until then, I'm trying to train the kids to help me out. I do just love it!

Here last but not least, I bid farewell to a dear friend. Suzy and Greg have moved their family to Switzerland. *sniff, sniff* I just love Suzy! She has been one of my truest and dearest friends. I met her when we first started going to Logan Square ward 8 or 9 years ago. She is just an amazing person! Always optimistic, very fun, happy, uplifting, tough, kind, honest, creative, just an AMAZING friend all the way around! *sniff, sniff*
We share a for cute kid clothes!!! =) (Yes, it's true! We are both addicted!) Here we are in front of our favorite place to shop. Before she left she and I went out to dinner sans kids and had a lovely time. I MISS YOU SUZY! When can I visit?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet 16!

July 16th - a sweet day indeed! Happy happy (27th) Birthday to my very awesome sister! I love you Erin!