Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Past Two Weeks in Photos

These photos are a complement to the Family Letter this week
A Selfie of Richard and Ammon on blessing day (07.06)

Our LAST NIGHT with The Johnsons :(
Monday July 7th--Kai, Brody, Heidi, Niles, Matt, Colton, James

Heidi, Matt and Colton and Kai Johnson, Niles, James, and Brody Johnson bouncing

Brody James and Niles are best pals!
Later that night, James came to my bed around 11:30 and said, "Mom, I can't sleep," and I asked why. He burst into sobs and said, "Because The Johnsons moved away!" He laid by me and sobbed for a good 20 minutes. He has literally NEVER cried like that, not even as a baby or toddler. Poor guy. He's been fine ever since, but that was a heart wrencher! They're definitely worth crying over though ;)

Addie took this picture of Heidi, Rich, Kai, Matt, Colton, Naomi, James,
me, Matty, and Niles and Brody down front

Dear Friends

Kai, Addie, Heidi, and Matty
Although they all look distracted, these kids were
pretty good pals and had some fun times together the past year.

Uncle Mike with his Dutch oven birthday cake 07.11

James at swim lessons 07.14

swim, little fishy!

Pine Creek Camping, July 18th

Heidi, Matthew, James, Summer in the hammock

James and Summer

Niles hiking to the water fall

Action shot

Silly Niles made it to the falls!

Heidi and Uncle Mike on the bridge

Heidi, Mike, and Jellis on the falls bridge

Summer and Heidi and Pine Creek Falls

Hiker Heidi

Mike and the falls

Lexi, Niles, and Simon eating post-hike lunch

Mike, Matthew, Heidi, Lexi, Niles, Simon, and TJay at lunch

Heidi!

Rich's Cherry Cobbler

Campin' Ammon

Grubby little Simon in the trailer

Addie in her flower crown

FAMILY LETTER: 07.20.14


Dear Loved Ones:                                                                                                                            20 July 2014

Okay,  so life took a turn for the crazy starting May 2nd and here we are in July. I feel like I blinked and here I am! Needless to say, there is much to catch up on, but I’m going to just start with July and you can go catch up with us on the blog. I hope all of you have heard that we had a beautiful, healthy baby boy on May 10th and we named him Ammon Thatcher Layton Melin. He is an awesome baby! That should be enough to explain my absence.

We took a wonderful family road trip back to visit Grandpa and Grandma and Nauvoo, Illinois and I have been working hard to blog all that. We got back on June 30th, took a rest on July 1st to unpack and clean up, then started up our traditional Independence Day celebrations. The girls helped me put up our star-spangled d├ęcor that Wednesday morning, then we packed a cooler and headed to the parade. It seems to get more crowded every year, and the parade was definitely much longer than last year. Traffic was so crazy, it took me a half hour to drive home from our parking spot on 3rd and Geyser (about 2 miles). I guess we will be riding our bikes from now on! Nonetheless, it was such a fun time and our kids enjoyed the parade with their Jelli cousins and Uncle Mike. Everyone came over to our house for a barbecue after the parade, with some trampoline time and s’mores for dessert. Rich took the kids who could stay awake (it gets dark at 10pm) to see the first night of fireworks.

On July 3rd my sister Lisa (from Phoenix) came tovisit with her son and grandson (from Helena). They stayed in our upstairs rooms, and Elden Haymore and a friend came to visit and crashed downstairs after driving from Tucson all night. It was fun to play bed and breakfast for a day. I loved seeing my sis, but she had to go back to Helena the afternoon of the 4th. We had a great BBQ and fireworks out at the ranch—I blogged it all.

On Saturday the 5th we went to the baptism of Ashley Strupp and Trynity Kirby in our ward (James’ friends) , then we went to Alberta Bregar’s 60th birthday party up at the church and met up with Kurt and Debbie Holm who were in town for the holiday weekend. While I was there, Rich went out to the ranch to photograph our friends, The Johnsons’ family reunion. The photos turned out awesome! It was nice to spend some time with them since they ditched us and moved to Hawaii the next week ;)

On Sunday the 6th we fasted and blessed baby Ammon at church. I blogged that, too. He is such a sweet and patient little boy, we are so grateful he came to our family. That evening, Jellis came over for tortillas and cheese and s’mores for dessert. It was a fun cousin hang-out. I also stayed up late and made cinnamon rolls for the Johnson’s Monday morning moving party (I couldn’t go help with the move, but I sent Addie with rolls, lol). Monday morning Addie helped them while I was home caring for the little boys. Aunt Debbie Holm and Haylee came and got the kids for a little date before they caught their plane back to Las Vegas. The kids LOVED it, and I loved seeing them again! That night for FHE, we had a Kahlua pork dinner with the Johnsons to say farewell as they headed out Tuesday morning to live in Kauai. We have loved having them here—they just felt like instant family and we will really miss them!

The rest of that week was a blur of swimming lessons and free swim at the pool, laundry, photo editing, and baby-feedings.  Friday morning (7/11) Ammon had his 2-month checkup. He weighed in at 12-9 and 21” and got his first round of shots. He did great, especially on his social development (he’s a charmer like all our kids have been--so dang outgoing). After that appointment I took all the kids to the splash park in Belgrade. We had a great time and got really tired, but we managed to stay awake and drove straight to the ranch for Uncle Mike’s birthday party. Kelli and her kids decorated the pavilion so cute and made a yummy dinner. Rich made Mike a Dutch oven pineapple upside down cake and it was GREAT! We missed celebrating with Cousin Danny who turned 12 that same day, and my little nephew Caden who turned 1. And don’t forget Uncle Pat—wow, that’s a popular birthday!

Saturday the 12th was my laundry day—I had slacked off for a few days and I had 7 loads to fold/mend and about 3 loads to do! Plus Ammon wasn’t feeling so great after his shots and needed some snuggles.  In all my Cinderella-ness, I forgot to wish my beautiful niece Isabelle a happy 12th birthday. I’m excited to see her next month in Utah.

Ammon was still whiny Sunday morning, so Rich and I tag teamed for church---he went first hour, then we traded places so I could do Primary music and he could be home caring for Ammon. Perfect! I was starting to feel a little sick and tired after church, so I took an emergen-C and a nap and thought that would take care of it. Ammon was still tired and cranky and only nursed a little so I felt pretty full. I pumped a little and went to sleep at about 3pm. I woke up at 5 to the sound of a text message. The Elders invited Addie and me to a discussion at 6pm with the Felkins family. I told them we were having family over for dinner at 6 (Jess & Kelli brought dinner over, bless them!), but said I could bring Addie to fellowship Shelby. After thinking about it for a bit, I felt strongly that I should go even though I didn't feel good, so I took a big glass of water with me and excused myself from dinner (Rich managed just fine and had a good time with Jess and the kids). I am so glad I went! I was Susie Felkins' VT 4-5 years ago and her 9-yo daughter often came to church with me. Then they kind of disappeared. Now they are back to coming to church once or twice a month and their daughter Shelby is now 14 and she is getting baptized on July 24th! We are so excited!

When I got home from the discussion, I sat down to nurse Ammon and took my temp. It went from 99 to 101 in 20 minutes--I had mastitis again. I took a Tylenol and texted Dr. Reid to see if she could call in an antibiotic for me. She texted back that Osco had just closed, but that she was working in the ER and could see me as an outpatient and give me antibiotics from the hospital pharmacy. HOORAY! Rich watched a movie with the kids and got them to bed and took good care of me. He did Ammon's early morning feeding with a bottle and let me sleep. Kim Larson Triplett took Niles for a play date Monday morning and Addie helped me with the other kids while she got packed for camp. I felt better and got up by noon (although the after- effects of fever felt like whole-body arthritis! I'm getting too old for this) and finished getting Addie ready for camp. We had a nice FHE, then Rich took Addie out to the ranch to get a lifejacket while he finished up packing supplies for our family campout at Pine Creek this weekend. Luckily the three little boys were all worn out from a busy day and were asleep before they left, so I went to bed and Heidi played iPod next to me. Nice night.

Addie left for camp at 6:30 Tuesday morning. I was so excited for her! She had an amazing experience and came home with all kinds of loot and good stories. Kelli did Loaves and Fishes with Summer and Tjay and I watched the little kids—they had a grand cousin time playing wrestle mania and coloring pictures in the basement family room. When they were done, Kelli took them to run around at the park for a while and I made dinner and fed the baby in peace.

Wednesday we had swim lessons in the morning (like every day this week) then we all went swimming after lunch. I was leaving just as Kelli was pulling up (Niles needed a nap—Simon was just waking up from his), so James stayed and swam with cousins. Kelli invited Heidi over for a sleep over, so she dropped off James and took Heidi with her. Rich had scouts, so I got to do our Wednesday night tradition again finally—watched Nature and Nova with James (Niles crashed at about 7:10!). It was such a nice night!

Thursday we did all our errands and got ready to camp at Pine Creek for 3 days and 2 nights. We’d planned to take the kids to play early and start a fire for foil dinners, but I didn’t get up there until 5pm and Kelli didn’t arrive until 6, along with Rich coming up from work. Jess and Mike came a little later. We had delicious foil dinners made from beef, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms, then made s’mores cones for dessert (ice cream cones filled with marshmallows, chocolate & peanut butter chips, and some nuts, wrapped in foil, toasted over the coals). The kids got filthy, see we hosed them off and went to bed. I went home with the baby so I could pick Addie up from camp the next day and spare the campground our 2am fussing.

Friday morning, Rich made breakfast burritos and everyone (except my posse) hiked up to Pine Creek Falls. They came back and had sandwiches for lunch. Meanwhile I was in town taking James to his last day of swim lessons and picking up a very excited and tired Addie from camp. She was wearing a red “We Are Strong” Tshirt and a cape and had a million fun stories to tell. I am so glad she got to go! When we arrived back at Pine Creek, everyone was lounging around trying to escape the heat. Addie and the big kids headed over to the creek where they always build their fairy houses and the little soon wanted to join them, so Kelli walked them down. I sat in the shade and read and the Melin brothers sat in the shade a talked for a couple of hours. The kids came back from the creek and played card games and finished beading bracelets with Uncle Mike. Rich started dinner—burgers, dogs, fancy fixins, fruits and veggies, and cherry cobbler in the dutch oven. The Felkins family came and joined us for dinner at about 6:30pm and we had a really good time with them. We visited and planned Shelby’s baptism coming up on Thursday night. Simon and Niles were so cute driving their little trucks and tractors around in the ashy dirt and sword fighting with sticks. They were so filthy but so adorable. Niles had allergies and was coughing like crazy by bedtime, so I took him home with me around 10pm and he slept all the way into town and all night long! I’m sure Rich had an easier tie breaking camp without his help.

Saturday morning Rich cooked up a big sausage and pancake breakfast and taught Jess how to take down and put up the tent trailer. Jess and Kelli are going to borrow the trailer for a camping trip to Ennis and Virginia City in the next week or two, so they learned the ropes. I stayed home and got a jump on Saturday chores. We were able to get all the dirty camping laundry washed right away and be ready for Ward Conference on Sunday, and I was able to catch up on blogging/journaling/photos while Rich napped.

Our Bishop has been serving for five years as of May, so we thought he might be released during ward conference, but it didn’t happen. We did get to hear from our new Stake President and get to know him a little better. He’s great—inspired and inspiring. He seems perfectly suited for this period of hastening the work. We had lunch and Sunday naps, then home teachers, then cousins. Bless Kelli’s heart, she brought lasagna and salad over for Sunday dinner and we had a really nice, relaxed cousin visit tonight. A beautiful storm blew in just as Jelli’s were leaving around 8:30 and now we are enjoying an amazing sunset—nearly as awesome as an Arizona sunset ;) We are thinking about Cousin Cody tonight, wishing him a Happy 21st Birthday and a year that’s better than the last! Onward and upward, buddy!

I am just feeling so grateful tonight—grateful for my beautiful baby and children, my hard-working hilarious husband, our beautiful home and town, the gospel in our lives, our Savior and his unconditional love and atonement. Grateful for extended family and friends that feel like family who bless us, support us, teach us, and make us laugh. Life is so hard but so sweet, especially with the companionship and comfort of the Holy Ghost.  Thank you, loved ones, for all you add to our happiness and peace.

This letter is ridiculous, so dang long, but I’m all caught up! Thanks for making it this far, or just skimming this far. Know that we love you and would love to hear about your summer so far! HUGS!
(Check out other blog posts for photos of all this stuff)

All our love til next week—

Jamie and Rich and Family

Monday, July 07, 2014

Ammon's Blessing Day: July 6 2014

I have dozens of stories to tell and pictures to post to catch up on life since the end of April. This is my first attempt, and I will work backward from today [UPDATE: They are up--keep scrolling down!]. The most important update is that I had a fabulous baby boy on May 10th at 5:47pm. He weighed 7-14 and was 20" long and he is a sweet little baby. Last week he was blessed...

This darling boy was blessed by his dad in the Livingston Ward on July 6, 2014. Uncle Jess, Jeff and Shaun Spalding, Matt Johnson, and the bishopric were in the circle. The little Baker Twins, Georgia and Lincoln, were blessed the same day. He's officially Ammon Thatcher Layton Melin.

Daddy & Ammon

Close up!

Mommy & a very distressed Ammon

Trying to calm my boy

Quiet for a minute...

Then mad again...

and calm again (it was lunch and nap time!)

Ammon with big sister Heidi.

Here's the history of Ammon's name...
AMMON is our favorite missionary in the Book of Mormon. He did and said many wonderful things recorded in the scriptures. He started out as a rebellious son, but he changed his heart (along with his 3 brothers) and went to serve a mission to bring the Lamanites (the sworn enemies of his people) to Jesus Christ and had much success. One of my favorite Ammon quotes is in Alma 17:25. When he first arrives in Lamanite land, he is captured and taken to the king and tells the king he wants to live among the Lamanites. The kind is so impressed, he invites Ammon to marry his daughter. But Ammon responds, "Nay, but I will be thy servant." He taught us that the best way to bring people to Christ is to serve them. My other favorite quote from Ammon comes later after he has seen many miracles in his work, sometimes called the Psalm of Ammon in Alma 26:10-37. "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever." He was a good guy.

THATCHER is the name of my Papa Bill's Grandpa. Samuel Thatcher was originally from Logan but he raised my Papa Bill in Los Angeles (Papa Bill is the son of Samuel's daughter, my great-grandma Jayne). I got the feeling that Grandpa Thatcher was to my Papa what my Papa was to me, and that makes him pretty special. Both of my Elrey Uncles have Thatcher for a middle name as well. Thatcher is also the name for the town in Arizona where my Dad was born, a town founded by my Great-Great-Grandfather. (It's ALSO the surname of the Iron Lady, whom I adore).

LAYTON is my maiden name, inherited from aforementioned G-G-Grandfather, Christopher Layton. I thought it would be a great first name. Richard thought not so much.

So that's his name. As with all our children, it was carefully chosen. Names can be powerful, just as Nephi III said in the Book of Mormon:
" Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good. Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them." -Helaman 5:6-7

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Independence Day at Casa Melin B&B

Our big Independence Day celebration is always Parade Day (July 2nd), but this year my SIL Kelli threw a pretty nice party at the ranch and the Melin boys put on a great fireworks show. The boring day in between (July 3rd) was made awesome this year by my sister Lisa (from Phoenix) coming to visit with her son & grandson...
Aunt Lisa on the trampoline with James, Niles, & Heidi

Jumpin' Monkeys!

Aunt Lisa and Ammon
 (her grandson Zecklin is in the background)
We had a houseful the night of July 3rd with Lisa, Cody, Kamrie, and Zecklin upstairs and our friend Elden Haymore from Tucson and his friend Cort downstairs in the boys' room. Lisa had to head out to Helena after breakfast for Laura's BBQ, Elden and Cort went hiking, and we headed out to the ranch for BBQ and fireworks with Jelli & Mike.

Simon, James, Lexi, and Niles eating

Heidi, Matthew, and Summer

Elden, TJay, Kelli, Jess, and Cort
(Cort had just graduated from the USAF Academy, so he and Jess had a lit to talk about)

When it got dark, Jess, Mike and Rich put on a crazy-awesome fireworks show. We ended up having kind of a "Dueling Fireworks" battle between us, two different campsites across the river, and the Bakers at their house on the bluff across the highway from the ranch.

We put on quite the show between us, it must have looked awesome from a distance!
Happy Birthday, America!
***
On Saturday, we attended the baptism of 2 of James' friends, Trynity and Ashley, who just turned 8. Later we met up with Ant Debbie visiting from Las Vegas at Alberta Bregar's 60th birthday party.
Heidi & Debbie being silly

Heidi & Debbie being sweet

So cute! They are BFFs!

We also said goodbye to Elden and Cort that morning--
they were off to do some backpacking at Flathead Lake.

Addie & Niles on July 5th.

 

**A quick, funny little NILES STORY: **
 I noticed the new blooms of my geraniums had been ripped off and were laying on the porch. I asked him why he broke my flowers and he said, "Your flowers are naughty!" Upon further investigation, he explained, "Sister Blatter said the flowers are naughty," then sang, "In my pretty garden the flowers are naughty..." BWAHAHAHA!

[ if you don't get it, there's a song they sing in nursery at church that says, "In the leafy treetops the birds sing good morning/ They're first to see the sun/ They must tell everyone/ In my pretty garden the flowers are NODDING/ How do you do they say, How do you do today?"]