Thursday, November 30, 2006

August Celebrations

August 2006

Okay, so I think this is the last of my posts recounting the fabulous Utah summer I had with my kiddos. Doug came for the last two weeks. Yeah! He was there for the reunion, and for our anniversary. My parents watched our kids for three days and two nights, so we could have a little get away to Heber and Park City. It was the first time we've gotten away alone since we had kids, and it was long overdue! It was really nice to be together and reconnect. Our poor kids sure missed us, every night Porter called in tears, but we knew that between my parents and Paul and Erin, even though they missed us, the kids were being well taken are of!

Self Portrait

The Cabin where we stayed

After our get away, we fetched our children, and then headed to Doug's parents to spend the rest of the time with them and with his sister and her family who were visiting from California. While there we celebrated early birthdays for Doug and Sophia and Doug's dad. I wish we had more photos of our time with them, I don't know why I didn't take my camera out more! We love his family, and love spending time with them too! When we moved to Texas, we didn't realize we would be staying long term, so left a lot of our things in Doug's parent's basement, so we took this chance to go through everything and move the rest of our belongings down to Texas!

Summer Memories

Summer 2006

Here are just a few photos that didn't fit into a specific category or event. Paul, if you ever send me the picture you promised, I'll put some of them here!

Sophia loved the baby. She was just so shocked, amazed, and in awe when she walked into the room and saw the baby for the first time. She adored her, and loved to help do anything she could for the baby. After the baby left, she walked around the house everyday looking for the baby.

Sophia loves her Gramps! (and she loves Gramps' kitty)

Family Reunion-- Fabulous Theme Dinners

August 2006

So for every evening, we had a theme dinner. My mom has been busy acquiring different place settings this past year, and she had the perfect accessories for each party! One night we had a Texas BBQ night complete with Country Dancing. Another night we had a Mexican night with Spanish dancing and the first night we had a Luau with a hula hoop contest! Most of my pictures are of the first night, there was just so much to photograph. It was a really fun way to set end each day of the reunion, and a fun way to put our creative juices to use. It also make cooking easy. Each of the girls took a night to prepare food (we let Pam off the hook, since she recently had a baby). What fun memories we created during the whole reunion!

In addition to our theme dinners, the Olympics and the talent show, we did the temple work for my Uncle who passed away last year. We went swimming, we played Cranium, we had a testimony meeting and we took family pictures. The last day we all traveled down to SLC to see Steve and Pam's baby be blessed. What a fun!

Watermelon Fever!

Sophia was all ready for the party well before it started!

"I'm pretty sure there are more fun ways to put a hula hoop to good use!"

Baby Savy

Sophia's trying to figure out how to Hula!

Pinata Fun! My kids loved the pinata. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of Sophia. I got lots of video footage, however, of her running for the candy, squealing in delight. We broke it very very slowly, in order to enjoy more squeals of happiness!

Show me how it's done Sophie!

More pinata power

My mom, fabulous hostess--you really know how to throw a party!

My parents, appropriately dressed for the party

Erin makes it look easy!

Go Granny GO!

Doug's got it!

TX BBQ night (that's corn on the cob on the table, not bananas)

Family Reunion--Olympics

August 2006

As part of the annual N* Family Reunion we started an Olympics last year. I didn't get many photos this time, because I was too busy participating! Along with the events listed below, we also had a standing long jump, a Frisbee throw, and help me out guys, what else did we do?

Granny enjoying her grand-daughters

The Stick Pull

The mighty arm wrestle

The Arm Wrestling Tournament

Family Reunion--Talent Show

Several years ago my siblings and I started having an annual summer N* Family Reunion. This year marked our fourth year running, and we had a fabulous time, as usual! My mom and sister-in-laws and I usually head up the planning and execution of the event. It's been fun to create new memories and traditions together.

Part of the reunion is mandatory participation in a talent show. We usually combine forces, and are in more than one skit or routine. Laughter is a common aspect of the event. My brothers often create skits reliving classic stories from our childhood. I think as our children get older we will demonstrate more traditional talents, but I hope we never loose the comedic shows either!

My dad worked for years as fire fighter and fire prevention specialist for the Forest Service, so Smokey the Bear made a special appearance at the Talent Show, and we all joined in with the Smokey the Bear song... Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear, howling and a growling and a sniffing the air, he can smell a fire before it starts to burn, that's why they call him Smokey the Bear!

Sophia was fascinated with Smokey. Porter wouldn't go hear him with a ten foot pole! Very typical of difference in personalities of my two children!

I am the oldest of six children, and the only girl. The brother just younger than me was nicknamed "the king" by the other boys because of some of the things ways he bossed them around when we were all younger. This skit is making fun of one memory the boys have of "the king." (He's blond, thus the wig). "The king" would make his younger brothers push him around and around the yard in the wagon, promising that he would push them next. When it was time to switch places, he would claim he had to go inside to use the restroom. If this happened once or ten times, I have no idea, but "the king" will never live it down!

My dad was starting to feel bad at being poked fun of until Vaughn came out dressed as my mom. He even stole her black leggings and traditional cast off red speech tournament t-shirt from her drawer. He donned a black wig (my mom still has long hair) and started grooving to Carole King's 'I feel the earth move under my feet.' It was so funny it brought tears to my eyes! My mom has danced in the living room for years as her way of getting exercise, she always wears those leggings and an old t-shirt (for years it was that red one)... Vaughn did a perfect job of incorporating the kicks and back bends into his routine. I am proud of my mom for staying so fit and for finding a way to exercise that she enjoys!

We tried to sing scripture power as a family, Porter thought the sword would be cool, but he refused to sing, even though it's his favorite Primary song! As you can tell, Doug and I were not too rehearsed on the lyrics. Oh well, better luck next year!

Porter did however do a fabulous job singing, The Books of Mormon for everyone. You know the one.. First and second Books of Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni... etc Doug taught it to him a year ago, and to my surprise, he picked it right up. It's another one of his favorite Primary songs.

Porter, enjoying the show

Adam singing, Ringo.... Ringo!

Vaughn, dressed up as my dad with his favorite dessert, pie, I can't remember who was dressed up as my mom. Several years ago my dad put one of his blue trucks up for sale, I think he still regrets it. He didn't think it would sell, so this skit was reenacting that fateful day when the prospective buyer came to look at the truck, he made a full price offer, and my dad proceeded to do everything he could think of to talk the guy out of the sale, including a full run down of every single thing that was wrong with it, it didn't work, and the man left with the blue truck!

I think this another photo from the same skit. Two of the boys are playing the guys who came to buy the red truck. Boys, correct me if I'm wrong!

Paul as the Great Bellini and his assistant, Erin. A comedic magic show!

Sophia and my dad calling the kitty to come closer.

My mom is amazing, and has continued to dance and do gymnastics into her mid-50's. When she taught Kindergarten she always had an I can do anything day, and she would wear her leggings to school and perform for her students.

Erin and Sophia enjoying the show

Forget your Troubles come on Get Happy! By Judy Garland from the musical Summer Stock. My mom organized this rendition, you can see her in front leading the boys.

Steve sang Bless Your Beautiful Hide from Seven Brides and Seven Brothers to his beautiful new baby girl.

My mom wrote a skit about my Great-Grandma Marie. She has an amazing story that I'll blog about someday. We acted out the skit, everyone had a part. In this scene I am playing Marie, and Pam and her baby are my patients.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Great Gramma D

July 2006

After traveling a long way, I find it hard to pick up and put my kids in the car for another long journey, but I felt it very important to take my kids to see their Great Gramma D this summer. We just went for one day, to make it easier on me (less things to pack) and easier on her (less meals and less mess). We went for a Sunday, because my Grandma always says how much she likes to take family to church and "show them off" to her friends and neighbors. Bless my brother Paul and his wife Erin, for volunteering to come with me on the journey from my parent's home to my grandma's home.

My Grandma is a very classy and spunky lady. She is well into her 90's, still lives alone, takes few if any pills, and is going strong. Several years ago, she had to stop driving, losing so much of her independence has been hard on her, but she still seems to make the best of it, catching rides to town with many of the family members who live close by. She still works in her yard, and has beautiful flowers. She is starting to feel the pains of arthritis. She yearns to join her husband and several of her children and all of her siblings who have long since passed away. She's lived a good life and wonders when her turn will come. Her heart often aches because of an ongoing family crisis. It's a case of brother against brother. While I can tell a change in her spirit she still enjoys hearing and recounting the news of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She still enjoys a beautiful new outfit complete with accessories. She loves a night out, and can bake a wicked pie.

Because I live so far away, each time I visit I wonder, will this be the last time I see my Grandma? It's a difficult thought. I have so many happy memories from my early childhood of weeks spent at grandma's during the summer and fabulous family Christmas parties. Although my grandma had well over 40 grandchildren I always felt like I was one of her favorite. It wasn't until I got older that I realized all of her grandchildren probably feel like that! She took great joy in getting reaquainted with my children, and they took great joy in her. Porter still talks about Great-Gramma D and wants to know when we'll be able to see her again.

Porter and Gramma D

Sophia and Gramma D

Group Shot-- The lighting is bad, but the memory is not!

My kids had so much fun touring the yard in this antique baby buggy.
It was dirty, but they dumped out the leaves, and away they
went around and around the yard. It always makes me happy to
see them playing together!

Tarzan and his assistant Uncle Paul

Porter could not resist swinging on these vines!