Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Sunday after lunch:

Rich: It's time for everyone to take a rest...do you want me to snuggle with you on my bed?

Addie: (whining) No Dad. I don't want to snuggle with anyone...and CERTAINLY not mommy.

(should I be hurt? I like to snuggle by myself, too...)

Monday, January 29, 2007

While I Was Gone

The freezing weather made for a huge build up of ice floes on the bend in the river at the ranch.

See the car there on the right? It's parked on the road, and the ice is all teh way up the river bank to the road!

At Long Last

We finally (and thankfully) made it home to Montana. Miraculously, we had clear, dry roads the whole way both to and from Utah! But that doesn't mean it wasn't FREEZING! Last Saturday (right after I wrote my last entry) Heidi and James got really sick (James was throwing up, Heidi had a fever and barking cough). I was trying to spend some time with Matt before he left the next day, but I kept having to cleanup barf! So we nursed them back to health on Sunday and delayed our trip home by a day. I spent Monday night at my Dad's in Pocatello (which was such a nice visit--thanks Dad & Becky!) and got home to Livingston at 2pm. I stayed home all week and battled a cold, scrapbooking and doing laundry and playing with my kids. It's so fun to cozy-up in the winter!

Here are photos from the past week--James loves the hot tub! He hasn't been feeling well--I think he's teething--and the tub makes him feel better.
James in the tub...
Happy boy in seventh heaven!

Saturday night we had Angie and Danny and Rosalie over (Davy's working nights). We ate Taco Salad, watched "Ant Bully," and Heidi and Rosalie played with Princess Mega Blocks.
Heidi is so proud of her castle! Rosalie is eating the dragon.
Heidi and Rosalie take Cinderella for a ride while Addie brings the Little People Farmer over to take care of the stables.

Before I Left

We were still having quite the cold snap before I left for Utah. On Saturday, January 13, I made this big pot of chili for my family. I took some to Utah and left some for Rich. It was so good, especially with Marie Calender's "just add water" cornbread. Ricky Lauren's Cookhouse Chili
James in his seat, enjoying the ruckus from the counter
Heidi and Addie help clean the kitchen floor
"When we're helping we're happy and we sing as we go, for we like to help mother, for we all love her so!"
Or something like that.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Stayin' Alive

"Well, you can tell by the way I use my blog..." that I am knee deep in the remains of the catastrophes here, and I've been a babysittin' fool this week! I am still in Utah, right now at my brother, Will's house, enjoying the last few hours with my brother, Matt, before he heads back to Iraq for 8 months. I have been here all week with Will's wife while he was on a business trip--they have had some issues this month, not the least of which is a very uncomfortable, fussy newborn baby (who is as cute as a wee button).

Some of the days this week were spent at my sister Jill's--she had a hysterectomy Thursday to resolve some terrible pain she has suffered for the past 13 years. Audrey and I just saw her in the hopital and she is doing great. She comes home tomorrow.

My mom is here from Missouri for 6 weeks, so I am going to leave all these folks in her capable hands and head home on Monday. I think I will stay over at my Dad's in Pocatello, then drive home to Livingston on Tuesday. It will be so great to be home with my sweetie pie and the spic-n-span house he's been spring cleaning (a little early, but so welcome!)

I have had a great time with my siblings, but they all have a long way to go to fix their problems. I love them to pieces and I hope they--and I!--make it through all the heartache, back into the light!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Chubby Bubby

Just a quick note: yesterday before I took Heidi to her pre-school and went on a field trip with Addie's class, we had a quick check up for James, where he weighed in at 18 lbs 6 ounces. That's EIGHTEEN, people. I think my 14-month-old niece weighs that much. He is also over 26 inches, long, so he doesn't look particularly round, but he's a BIG BOY. As for the rest of us, we are also well and happy and squishy, working hard to clean up Christmas and packing up (AGAIN--ugh!) for a week with our Post cousins in Utah next week. (I am going to keep Audrey company while Willy is on a business trip next week--the kids are so excited to play with their cousins!)
Chinese chubby baby posters were a must have for New Years. Called "Nian Hua", or Chinese New Year posters, these Chinese chubby baby posters exudes happiness and strength.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christmas Morning

What Santa brought for James...
...and Addie...
...and Heidi...SCORE!
Addie showing off her lavender-scented rice bag (to keep her warm--from Aunt Amie), and the watch she got in her stocking (notice in the background, Heidi had already stripped the clothes off her Christmas doll)
Heidi with her naked baby and her new sunglasses and the candy bracelet that was a BIG mistake.

Heidi's Hat & Scarf from Aunt Angie

Addie's cool new books from Grandma

Oranges, Biscuits & Gravy for Breakfast
I also scored some great gifts--lots of lovely jewelry made by my SIL, Angie, a shopping trip to IKEA, a calendar of vintage cowgirl prints, a Cocomotion Hot Cocoa maker for the whole family, and a rolling case in which to store all my "Crafty crap." Rich also got some great gifts (and gift cards) from Angie, as well as an LL Bean ice cream maker shaped like an orange soccer ball, and an LLBean Hawaiian print toiletries bag. I also got him a gift that keeps on giving to both of us...Flogging Molly's "Whiskey on a Sunday," which is a documentary DVD AND a live album. (We are officially envious that Sam got Kristen Flogging Molly tickets for their first anniversary, and the Phoenix show is on St. Paddy's Day!)

Monday, January 08, 2007

In Arizona

James meets Aunt Elena in Cottonwood 12/27 (he met Mark, too, but Mark broke the camera! Naaah, it was already acting up ;))
Liana practices holding a baby brother, since she'll have her own come May
Cute Cousins Playing Cooties
Heidi smelling Ryann's flowers 12/28
Heidi, Aunt Lisa, James & Addie
Behold the Cuteness: James showing off his outfit from Aunt Lisa, er, I mean Santa.
This expression KILLS me...feel free to leave a caption in the comments
The Arizona Inn in gingerbread!
Cousin Larkin and Uncle Matt at Ryann's reception on 12/29
Addie & Heidi at the Zoo entrance...
Heidi says, "We're gonna see the Jeebras at the Joo!"
Addie and Emma (Michelle's daughter)

Me & Michelle (& baby Lilly) saying goodbye after our 28-year reunion!
Heidi & Addie playing Pirates at the grandparents' (do you just LOVE Heidi's nose patch?)

New Years Eve & Day

NYE: Addie, Heidi, & Brent feed the horse in Sierra Vista
NYE: Addie jumping on Aunt Party's trampoline
NYE: Look at Heidi's HAIR!
MIDNIGHT: Happy 2007!!! A car full of sleeping kids!
New Years Day in Vail: James hugging Auntie Sue
NYD: Me, James, Julie, Susan watching Addie push Hayden and Rosalyn (the freaky head)
NYD: Susan pushing Hayden & Rosalyn
NYD: A MAJOR highlight for the girls--picking oranges with Great-Grandpa Bill

Travel Log

It has been two busy weeks since I posted here! I promise to never be away that long again, barring some horrible illness or accident. It's just that Rich was using the computer at Grandpa's house and we were on the road the rest of the time, diffusing one family catastrophe after another. Here is what we've been doing:

Monday, 12/25: Christmas morning--opened gifts, ate biscuits & gravy and oranges, cleaned up and finished packing, went to Mom & Dad Melin's for dinner, then left for Utah at 5pm. Arrived at sister Jill's house at midnight.
Tuesday, 12/26: Played with cousins at Jill's house until 11am, drove to Willy's (about 20 minutes) to pick up hitch trailer and played with cousins there--planned a 20-minute visit, stayed for almost 3 hours (due to NEW and equally sad family catastrophe). Finally got on the road to Flagstaff, AZ at 3pm like a herd of turtles (we had originally planned to stay at Willy's til dinnertime, then drive overnight to Cottonwood, AZ to see Rich's brother's family, but I woke up at Jill's feeling super sick, so we decided to drive to Flagstaff and get a good nights rest, then head to Cottonwood in the morning). We desperately wanted to take the girls swimming to reward them for being good in the car, but we arrived at 11pm, right when the pool closed! Shucks! We heard about that for the rest of the trip!
Wednesday, 12/27: checked out of hotel at 9am, drove one hour to Cottonwood and visited with the East Coast Melins--Mark, Elena, Liana, & Sariah--who were visiting Elena's family for Christmas & a wedding. We ate breakfast with them, then headed down to Phoenix (less than 2 hours) to shopand eat a late lunch at In-N-Out. We stayed over with my brother Sam & Kristen at their brand new house in Happy Valley.
Thursday, 12/28: We drove down to Mesa Temple and left Rich to photograph the wedding while I drove around with the girls. At first I had planned on going over to my sister's house, but then I realized that I only had about 90 minutes and that wouldn't be good. So we got a snack and headed back to the temple grounds. After the photography, we met my sis Lisa at Ikea Tempe where we ate lunch (I had salmon and steamed vegetables) and did some shopping. Then we went to Lisa's and she gave the kids some great gifts that "Santa" had left at her house (Thanks, Lisa!!), gave James a bath and a bottle, then headed down to my grandparents' house in Tucson. We had a yummy stew dinner with them and relaxed that night. There were gifts for the kids there, too, and we gave Gram & Gramp some gifts. It was so nice to snuggle up and sleep well!
Friday, 12/29: We got up early and got dressed for the reception--Rich left at 8am to do some more photography, Grandpa picked up the babysitter at 9am, and the grandparents and I headed over to the Arizona Inn for the brunch (the bride was my step-cousin, Ryann). Afterward, I went with Rich to the bank, Walmart, and eegee's, then home to put the kids down for naps. We relaxed, then had a nice turkey dinner and did a little after-Christmas shopping at World Market, a Mexican Import store (where I bought a pig), and Target (Grandma stayed home with Addie and James).
Saturday, 12/30: We went to breakfast with my grandparents at the Good Egg (their favorite place--it was GREAT!) and then headed over to Reid Park Zoo. We met my old friend, Michelle Hendricks Johnson (we were best friends in 2nd grade) there with her 2 daughters, Emma and Lily. The girls LOVED the zoo, and the Peter Piper Pizza we had afterward. At about 3pm, we took the kids home to nap (I napped, too), and then Grandma & Grandpa took us to On The Border for a Mexican Dinner. There was a long wait, so we took the girls across the parking lot to Target and gave Gramp a walkie-talkie to tell us when our table was ready. The girls got pirate outfits at Target, and then we ate a delicious dinner and went home to get ready fro Sunday.
Sunday, 12/31: Uncle Matt came to Gram's house and we all headed over to the Bonanza chapel for my cousin, Joseph's ordination as an Elder. It was great to see all my Elrey cousins and some old friends (like Pam Ingermanson). Later, we had lunch with the g'rents and headed down to Sierra Vista for New Years Eve with my Mayberry cousins. We visited, had a lasagne dinner, played games (Uncle Ralph and Steven went to the satellite broadcast for youth at the church--sounds like it was a good one!), and rang in the new year at East Coast time (10pm). We left for Tucson at 10:30, arriving just in time to greet the New Year (with a car full of sleeping kids). When we got out of the car, it sounded like Baghdad outside--so many gunshots and fireworks, etc...I guess I was always inside for that moment and never noticed the din outside. So Happy 2007, y'all!
Monday, 1/1/2007: Grandpa fixed us breakfast and picked oranges with the girls while I started packing up our mess. We had eegee's for lunch and took naps again, and just hung out with the grandparents. That night, we went to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner and I had some fabulous grilled tilapia and shrimp. After dinner, we took the grandparents home, got the kids in their jammies, and drove out to Vail to visit my old friend, Susan, at her sister' house in Vail (Su lives in California and works for Amgen, but has a home in Vail, too). That was a fun time, and we got the kids home and in bed around 11:30pm.
Tuesday, 1/2: We left Tucson at 7:20am (**sniff**it's always hard to leave the grandparents), and headed to Tempe. We met our Montana-now-Mesa friend, Debbie Holm, at Ikea, where we had breakfast and actually bought the stuff we had shopped for. We had fun with Debbie, then she went to the temple and we took the kids to lunch with a playplace while I talked on the phone to two of my siblings, where I learned about YET ANOTHER family catastrophe. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Debbie's house with her family, chatting, etc., and then drove up to Sam's again (like idiots, we left Debbie's in East Mesa at 4:49pm--can you believe?--but made our way to through Phoenix traffic pretty swiftly, arriving in Happy Valley at 6pm). We had pizza for dinner and had a good visit with Sam & Kristen (or as I like to call them, FatSam & Special-K). I will detail later what a total joy is was to be with them in the midst of the catastrophes, but suffice it to say, we had an edifying chat. They went to bed at midnight, and I went and took a shower and loaded up the family.
Wednesday, 1/3: We left Happy Valley at 1:20am and Rich drove all night to Beaver, UT, where we had breakfast. Then we stopped to visit Bucherts in Provo and share our fresh citrus at about 11am, then went to Jill's house until dinnertime. After dinner, we went to Willy's and set up our beds (they weren't home until about 7:30pm). We had a visit and a GREAT night's sleep there, and set off for home the next day (Thursday, 1/4) at about 11am in a snow storm. The snow cleared up near Willard Bay, Utah, and we had nice roads all the way home (except, of course, in Island Park, where it's snowy 10 months of the year!) We arrived home at 7pm, so glad to be warm and safe and happy in our own place!

Thanks to everyone who made our visits so nice! Thanks for housing/feeding us and making the holidays so joyful. For those we missed, our apologies--the unforeseen catastrophes called for several more stops than we had planned on making, but we will be back soon (and you're always welcome here!).


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...