Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jolly Ol' England

We just got home from the London Temple! It was a lovely day with the Casper Family--all of them--and we really enjoyed the vast park that is the temple grounds. Rhett, Richard, and I went to a 1pm session while Erin and her neighbor Valerie had a picnic with the kids, then we came out at 3pm and took family pictures for an hour, then we just hung out on the grounds with the kids and Rhett while Erin and Valerie did their session. We took lots of pix of the Tudor houses surrounding the temple, and of the cute Casper kids, and we sat on the loverly grass and watched planes drop in to land at Gatwick. The trip took us all day (1oam -10pm, including our stop for pizza dinner on the way home), and it was delightful. We will not be going to Bath this trip, but we are hoping to make a trip out to Dover and then over to Bedfordshire to find Christopher Layton's birthplace before we leave on Wednesday. 

Yesterday was just a "chill" day. We slept in, did our laundry, went to a program at Eliza's first grade, had lunch on base, and just hung out at home with Erin and the kids. It was nice to fit some relaxing in to our busy schedule. Neither of us has been in the mood to crop and upload pictures, but there are plenty of pretty ones of Edinburgh and the Temple and the Casper family. We'll share them soon.

For now, I have a temple hangover and I should hit the hay. Family, we love and miss you so much! Being around these fun kids makes me wish you were here--you'd have so much fun with the Casper kids! More later (ps: Enjoy the Women's Broadcast double for me tonight, Sister friends! I think this may be the first time in my adult life that I have missed it, and I can't wait to catch it when we get home).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Catch Up With Us!

Wanna read about Paris? London? Edinburgh?
Then click here and read up!
Caspers and East Anglia, here we come!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Back To His Birthplace

I have been posting about my Euro-Vaycay over on euromelin, but I just wanted to post a howdy here tonight. I am way too tired from walking forty-eleven miles around WURZBURG and WERTHEIM and ROTHENBURG today, and I keep having to look for the Y and the @ on this crazy German keyboard.

Yes, Richard made his dream trip back to his birthplace (Wurzburg) and his first home (Wertheim) today. It was so much fun to tour the "Residenz" then walk all over town taking pix, eating brats and schnitzel sandwiches, checking out the marktplaz and the Main and Tauber Rivers. My feet and calves are KILLING me (go figure-somehow a month of working out just didnät prepare me for walking all day).

We are going to video chat with our kids now and hit the hay. Tomorrow we head down to Bavaria and we visit Neuschwanstein Castle! Leave me some comments and donät forget to click on "London Calling."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This is what I will wake up to next Sunday morning.
I guess I am freaking out a lot more than I thought I would. I woke up with a stiff neck and some gastrointestinal disturbance this morning, tell tale signs of anxiety--even though I am on medication (chill pills). We're all ready to go and I have the best tour guide in the world, the best nanny, the best hosts...I guess I'm just stressed about leaving my babies and my home. I suppose my current identity is all wrapped up in these things and it's hard to imagine even a few days without them.
HOWEVER--I don't neccesarily thinks that's good, because ultimately I am ME, and I am Richard's wife, and I should be thrilled to enjoying those parts of my identity for two weeks. Heaven knows Richard and I could use some date time...
So tomorrow at 4am we head to Bozeman to catch our plane to Germany and we won't be back until midnight on October 1/2nd. (And bad guys, if you're reading this, the kids and the grandparents are staying here, so don't EVEN try to rob us!). I am soooo excited to see all the sights, and even more excited to see Erin! A good night's sleep and quiet conversations and walks with my hubby don't sound too bad, either...
Oh, see? I feel better already!
PS: So after today, we will be posting about our adventures at EUROMELIN. Click on over...
PPS: Yesterday my darling amigas Jenn and Debbie came over (independently--one in the morning, one at night) and brought me little birthday/ bon voyage gifts. Jenn, (master of paper crafts) made me a gorgeous European Journal, and Debbie made me some fantastic bling: a silver and crystal bracelet that goes with everything. If I had more time (and more sanity) I would write about what these two girlfriends mean to me. Even though we are all way busier than we wish we were and we don't get to "hang out" like we wish we could, I feel their love and support constantly and I hope they feel mine. Thank you for your friendship and for your gifts from the heart, amigas!

Monday, September 15, 2008


We had a quiet weekend, just taking care of our home and hangin' out as a family. On Saturday we took the kids to see the Missoula Children's Theatre Workshop presentation of "Rumpelstiltskin" and it was adorable!

The theatre (the Firehouse Five--think "Gaslight") got really hot, but we still had a great time. It was so fun to see the Bates kids in the play--we miss them now that they have moved to Bozeman!

I also collected some pretty leaves with the girls on Friday and we made an Autumn Garland with them on Saturday. We didn't let them dry enough, so they curled up a lot, but the colors are still pretty and maybe we can add to it when I get back from Europe! I LOVE FALL!

The highlight of Saturday had to be this SNL clip...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Above Average

The children had height and weight measurements this week, and here's the scoop: they are all above average (surprise, surprise). I found averages here, and here's how my corn-fed offspring measure up:

Addie (almost 7): 50.5" tall, 61 lbs

average: 43" and 50.4 lbs.

Heidi (4-1/2): 44" tall, 49 lbs.

average: 37" and 35.2 lbs.

James (2): 35" tall, 32lbs.

average: 31" and 28.4lbs.

So Heidi, at 4-1/2, is bigger than the average 7-year-old? And Addie falls somewhere near the average 9-10 year-old (actually that makes sense, since the friend we get most her hand-me-downs from is 10, almost 11)? What are we feeding these children?

Just kidding. It really makes no difference to me what size they are because all this tends to level out in puberty anyway. I just remember being horrified in 6th grade because I was the first person to hit triple digit weight in my class--I weighed 103 pounds at the end of sixth grade, but I was also 5'4". Sounds pretty good now, but I cried really hard that day. I hope my girls feel better about themselves than I did! James is destined to be handsome and tall, but of course it's easier to be a big boy than a big girl.

It's time for us to head out to the Kiwanis Club picnic tonight, which my hubby and his dad are heading up. The kids are getting crazy and hungry, so I am outta here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Seamus MacGamus

I just noticed something.

One thing I love about James is that he has super double-jointed thumbs. When he was born, they pointed outward from his little fists and you could bend them all the way back to touch his wrist and he wouldn't even notice.

You can see his freaky little thumb in the picture of him eating limes on his birthday (below). I love that.


Speaking of James, we're gonna go eat PBJs and bananas and watch "The Best of James" Tomas the Train collection DVD and enjoy this rainy fall day.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And hello...

...I still have a headache and will being going to the chiropractor tomorrow. I am still afraid to use the Maxalt prescription my doctor gave me because I don't have time to be drowsy right now!

Anyway...did you see the Clark kids on the Today show today? Click here to get the clip from cjane. It's pretty amazing how Nienie's story has spread, and the example of supportive, loving famliy set by the Clark/Nielson gang is fantastic. I am sometimes just overwhelmed by the horror of Stephanie's condition (3rd degree burns on 80% of her body), but her family's faith is so calming. I hope my family will be this good for me and my kids if I am ever out of the picture.

I am getting sooooo annoyed by political people in the media lumping "American Women" together as a voting block. It's so insulting and irritating. I can't believe that other "voting blocks"--like Latinos or African-Americans--haven't protested this concept before. I dunno--maybe they do vote in blocks, statistically. But do women? I seriously doubt that. Why? Because I for one can't think of a single other woman with whom I agree on 100% of the issues. Many of my friends are FAR more liberal than I am, and many are conservative in ways I will never be (I have found that, while my personal life is very conservative, I am not totally a social conservative). It's even worse when other women speak for "American Women" as if we all agree. Hilary Clinton does it often, and the Wilson sisters even did it this week when they said that Sarah Palin's views "in NO WAY represent us as American women"--WHAT THE FREAK is that supposed to mean? I'd put money on the fact that Palin's views represent more "American Women" than the Wilson Sisters' views.

Heaven help us.

Heidi just got up from her nap, so it's time for me to get her some blue berries and start dinner (lettuce wraps, for the first time in a long time!). Leave me some comments, people!

Recent Pix

James got the Sunday Night Sillies... and tried to ride his Cabela's ATV around the house...
...OOPS! Not the best idea!
Last night (Monday night) I had a headache and went to bed at 6:30pm... 7pm, the girls had fallen asleep on me (yay!) (I was talking on the phone with Jill).

Heidi continues to grace my camera with her self-portrait almost everyday (This is today).

Cinco de Septiembre Birthday

On James' Birthday, you saw the video of us waking him up (below). And then he got dressed and had breakfast and got to open his gift from Papa Jim & Gramma Becky and his card from the Great-Grandparents......(with help, of course)
James got a really cute, soft blanket from Dad & Becky
And he got a really cute Thomas card (he loves Thomas!)
with a dollar inside!
We had sort of a regular day, until dinner time. Then we had our Cinco de Septiembre dinner/fiesta with the Westenskow family. I made a taco/burrito bar with beans, rice, and limeade...
James ate dinner wearing his crown that Addie made for him.
He was so happy to have his best nursery pal, Lydia (he calls her "Neeneeah"), over for dinner, too.

Letting babies taste limes never stops being funny.

After dinner, it was pinata time!
James loved the Tootsie Rolls!
Pinata kids: In the back, there's Marissa W. with her friend, Jeannie (they're young women now, not kids!) ; then there's Jared, Hailey, Lydia, Addie, Heidi, James, and Curtis.
After pinata, we had birthday cupcakes (because we needed more sugar--ha!) and singing and wish-making...

Then James opened gifts
(this one is books and crayons from Lydia)
He loves this Fisher-Price Little People Airplane ("Pair-tain!")--the passengers have luggage adn they're going to Hawaii. When the pilot is in place, she talks to the passengers and then they sing. I didn't know it made all that noise, but it's cute!
Here's the gang again--
Thanks, Westenskows, for celebrating with us and for the nice gift!
James loves his Neeneeah!


Back on August 30 (Labor Day Weekend), we took a trip down the river... James played cowboy while we got ready.
Addie, Me, and Jame on the Yellowstone River near Mission Creek
Rich's feet and our kids (Heidi was in Wyoming with Gram & Gramp Melin)
A storm was brewin' (see the sky? That's why we went down the river on Saturday instead of on our rainy Labor Day).
Addie was so cute trying to row her boat
Check out my pedicure and those ominous clouds!
I look like Jabba here, playing my oar guitar
Richard--don't we look like river bums?
We were joined by a band of pirates on the river, seen here taking a break along the Feldstein's ranch (they're our ranch-neighbors). We made it to the ranch and were on our way home by the time the rain started.

On Tuesday when Heidi came home, Daddy celebrated by taking the kids to the train museum in their jammies.

James was really excited, as he is really into all things that "go".


Monday, September 08, 2008

Axe in the Skull

I have lots of great photos to post and stories to tell, but I woke up with a headache that has escalated despite exercising, taking a walk, scrubbing down the master bath, taking medicine, and resting. Shucks. Maybe it's because I did our legal documents today (my will, health care directive, child care directive/ medical permissions)--that's enough to give anyone a MIGRAINE!!

Anyway, I'll get to it ASAP, but for now, here's a little nugget that just happened...

Addie: (examining a little wooden box that Heidi brought home from church that says "Tithing" on top and "WWJD?" on the sides) What does this say, Heidi?

Heidi: (rolling eyes, exasperated) It says "What would Jesus do?" and the answer is on top--"Get Money!"

[Uhhhhh...something like that. At least she remembers the Jesus part. We'll have to work on the tithing concept!]

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mid-Week Howdy

I haven't posted in a long time, just cuz we've been pretty busy. Heidi went to Wyoming & Rapid City with Grandma & Grandpa Melin from Thursday til Tuesday--she just got home last night and we really missed her! Addie and I put up a Welcome Home Heidi sign and waited for her to arrive around 4pm. It was so fun to see her, and so fun to see the kids all reunited and happy to see each other.

So Heidi left Thursday, and we went to dinner at the Slack Knuckle, watched the end of the DNC that night, and enjoyed having our bed to ourselves ALL NIGHT LONG. Friday we freaked out about Sarah Palin's VP nomination. My first reaction: Okay, McCain just lost. I mean I love her, but nobody knows her. But then I thought: if everyone is so gung-ho to change politics and shut out the career politicians (Biden, Clinton, McCain--I'm taking about YOU), then Palin is perfect. Why is experience such an issue when a non-Washingtonian is what we've all been praying for? It's exactly what we need, and Palin is about as far from the beltway as you can get. ROCK ON. It's still a longshot, but Yay McCain for taking a risk!

Saturday we cleaned house and floated the river in the afternoon, and I worked that night. Our weekend storm rolled in just as we got home from the river. It was rainy and windy all weekend (I won't say "cold" because, although it got down in the 30's, that's NUTHIN' compared to what's coming). Sunday was church, lunch, naps, then our Stake Women's Conference in Bozeman. It was great and I plan to post some of my notes when I have more time. On the way home from Bozo, the rain got torrential and I arrived home to a power outtage. We all went to bed early and slept soundly.

We woke up on Labor Day to find the power still out, so we went to breakfast and to Grandpa & Grandma's house to do our laundry and a bunch of mending/tailoring on her good sewing machine (they obviously had power). Around 1pm, Rich borrowed their generator and took it home to save the stuff in our freezer, and the power came on shortly thereafter. So we came home, finished our laundry, watched news coverage of the RNC and the hurricane. We went out for some hot cocoa after dinner and had another good night's sleep.

Tuesday was back to the grind--Addie to school , Rich to work, and I had to clean up and grab some groceries for home-made pizza night. I did some prep for our trip and lots of housework, helped Addie with her homework and made the dough for pizza night. Heidi got home and we celebrated with plums and lemonade, then dinner, then Daddy was so nice and took the kids to the train museum. I retired, having the girly flu and feeling exhausted, after watching Glann Beck.

It was a good weekend and we are starting to freak out a bit about our big trip across the pond. Two weeks from right now, we'll be on the plane. EEK.

I'll post some weekend pix as soon as I get a chance. Right now we are headed out for a family appoinment with our dentist/bishop. YAY, clean teeth!


Dear Loved Ones,                                                                                                                         1...