Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day

I slept so much this weekend, I must have been emotionally and physically exhausted in ways I didn't expect. I felt heavy and groggy and unable to open my eyes every afternoon. God bless Richard for picking up the slack and letting me get my bearings. Things are still indescribably...well, let's just say "unsettled" in our extended families, which makes it all the more blissful to be together in our own four walls with our own four kids :) Most all of the sickies were well by Monday, so we went to finish a few little chores at the ranch house, then went for a nice hot soak on a cold day.
The kids drove the ranch truck around the ranch.

This is Heidi driving back to the Quonset hut

And James driving the last 100 yards into the hut...they LOVED IT! Then we went to Chico. We decided to have lunch first, and we got a discount because the waitress messed up our order...I split a chef's salad with Heidi and WE LOVED IT!
Daddy & Niles swimming

Addie & James swimming

Heidi snuggling on the deck

my self-portrait at Chico

The mountains from the parking lot...

...and then from a few miles down the road at Emigrant

Niles fell asleep on the way home, with chocolate ice cream on his face

The kids in the van on the way home from Chico. It was about 3pm when we got home, so we all had a nice nap, then Rich grilled some chicken and we had a big salad and chicken and got ready for our week. Hope you had a lovely holiday, and hope Gram got home safe to Sierra Vista!
Monday night-Tuesday morning I had a tummy bug that wrung me out from head to toe. I was in bed (or the 'throom) all day with little memory of time passing. My dear Melissa took Niles and brought him back with dinner when I was just starting to come around (I kept an Emergn-C down around 4pm, just in time for kids to come home from school). I am so thankful for good sisterfriends who have my back when evil viruses attack--there are just no words, Brownleg! Looking forward to fast Sunday and getting direction for the summer and praying for my loved ones in need (and praying to be neighbors with Melissa ;)) ("if it be thy will"...ugh)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Eve

Tonight after Niles went to bed around 8pm, we went outside and made s'mores while the sun set. When it was almost dark, we lit sparklers and snuggled. It's 37 degrees and sprinkling out there, perfect night for fires and snuggling and counting our blessings while we remember those who went before us and made our blessings possible. Tonight, the blessing I am counting is relationships: "For the joy of human love; brother, sister, parent, child/ friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild..." and "The same sociality that exists among us here will exist among us there..." What a wonderful thing to hope for. Also, Happy 31st Birthday to my brother Matt, whom I love and admire so much. He's a good ol' goat.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Last Day in Utah

Last week (may 21-25) I took Grandma Lyn back to Utah so she could get ready to go home to Arizona (because Aunt Marti & Uncle Ralph only have ONE MONTH left in Ukraine!) . I had a good visit with my mom and her family Monday night thru Tuesday morning, although most of us were under the weather. I was supposed to drive home on Thursday, but I was just too tired and sickly to get ready to go. I took one more day to rest and drove up to spend some time with my brother Sam and his family. Ironically I didn't get any pictures with Sam because he is a busy daddy with work all day and bishopric stuff in the evening. But we still managed a good visit, and I loved hanging out with his wife and boys! We met up at temple square and went to the Children's Area of the Church Museum of History & Art. The current exhibit is about Latin American culture, and there are other activities with a Book of Mormon theme. My "cousin-in-law" Lacy Mayberry and her girls came, too, and it was fun to see them before they move to El Paso.
Gavin and Niles, twin cousins who both turned one this month, enjoying the mirror in the dancing area.

Penelope ("Peeps") and Lucy learning Ballet Folklorico
(they have an interactive instructional video AND costumes! So dang fun!)
This should come in handy in El Paso.

Gavin and Niles checking out a bike.

I love this picture of all the kids in a toy truck. Gavin and Owen (my nephews) are driving and Lucy, Peeps, and Niles (eating a plastic carrot from the play garden) are in the back. Such a classic picture (I wish we could see Lucy better, though).

This is Nephi's ship (where you can help build or fish off the side) and the Liahona in the display case.

Niles harvesting the play garden.

Three Mamas: Kristen, Me, and Lacy.

Lucy & Owen examine the bike.

Peeps giving a general conference address.

After we said good bye to the Mayberry girls, I followed Kristen home to Tooele. We rested, had dinner, and played out back with the boys. They were just too cute, I grabbed my camera.

Layton Boys on the move.

Fantastically spazzy jumpin' picture of Owen.

Gavin climbing the slide.

Owen's cute little turned-out feet, just like his daddy's!

Trying to get Niles to slide.

I wish I'd made a video of this...the little boys were just giggling and giggling under the trampoline while Owen teased them from the top. We had a really nice time with Laytons--got the boys to bed around 8pm, visited for a couple of hours, had a decent night's sleep, and yummy breakfast all together, then hit the road around 7:30am. I was home when my kids got home from school that day and they were jealous they missed Owen & Gavin. We'll go back later this summer, though, and it will be great. Cousins rule.

Happy First Birthday to Niles

When Niles woke up on Saturday, May 19th--his first birthday- his siblings presented him with his first gift: a red ball. He loved it.

Chasing the ball with James, whom he adores.

Check out James cracking up in the back. These two boys just love each other so much!
Later Saturday Night we had some friends over to the Ranch House for a birthday fiesta. Michael and Anna Gregg were visiting from Arizona and stayed out at the ranch and partied with us after their trip to Yellowstone.

WE set up a buffet (like Gordo's Mexicateria!) and ate some really stellar food. Here's Curtis Westenskow and my blurry amiga, Kim Strupp filling their plates.

James' buddy Lydia W. with her yummy taco.

Suzy, Melissa, and Jillian Westenskow

I forgot to take a picture of the pretty party table Adeline set up- she even decorated the cupcakes! Here you can kinda see the limeade and fun margarita party cups, the cipcakes, and the salsa bar. We also made a latino playlist on our iPod with Mariachi/Norteno music (like Los Tigres del Norte), plus Macarena, Ricky Martin, Soraya, etc).

Heidi: ever the party animal

Little boys table: James, Birthday Boy Niles, and Jason Strupp

Out on the deck, Tyler Strupp, Suzy and Lydia W.

Heidi, Jared W, Addie, and Hailey W.

Making a birthday toast!

Inside at the Dad Table: Aaron Roberts & Trevor Strupp

Mark Westenskow & some awesome flowers (I ampretty sure a kid took these pix).

Outside at the Mom table: Melissa Westenskow, Kim Strupp, and Jessie Roberts. That view is not too shabby, eh?

Pinata time! Rich hung the pinata off the deck while the kids took turns swinging at it. Here is James taking his turn.

All the kids cherring James on, waiting for their turn.

Niles' Great-Grandma Lyn ate a dum-dum from the pinata and it tirned her tongue blue.

Another shot of all the kids playing pinata

Michael and Anna Gregg celebrating their 15th anniversary weekend at the ranch house (Michael is my bro Will's best friend, I call him my 6th brother, but he's really more like my 3rd...that's how long I've known him!)

The birthday boy enjoying his cupcake, ready for bed!

Niles got these fabulous blocks from the Strupps, so James had to test them out for him!

On Sunday, May 20th, we were all feeling pretty sick--a combination of strep, allergies, eye viruses, bronchitis, etc), so only Rich & the girls went to church. Later that evening, the Melins came over for a family birthday party and the Greggs came by to say goodbye, too, on their way home to Arizona.

Our super fun Grandma Melin made this cake for Niles. It's a rocking horse-- or a rocking llama.

Niles with Grandma Melin

Aunt Angie made this cute hooded towel for Niles. Again, James had to test it out!

Heidi gave Niles one of her elephants he loves to play with.

Niles and his cake (with cousins Rosalie and Hannah)

cake & ice cream for everyone!

Saying goodbye to Meeky & Anna

Grandpa Melin, James, Hannah, and Rosalie

Opening gifts and enjoying cousins.
Mike, James & Niles, Angie, Great Grandma Lyn, Hannah, Addie & Heidi, Grandma Melin, Me, and Rosalie.

SO...we made it a year and we have a happy and healthy boy who is fearless and vocal and sleepless and so much fun. On his birthday, he had six teeth, was 31.5 inches tall and weighed 25 lbs even. He can walk, run, go up and down stairs, blow kisses, feed himself, climb in and out of the tub, and pretend to read books. He loves to entertain his older sibs and is in a hurry to do everything they do. Happy Birthday, dear Niles!


Dear Loved Ones,                      This week has been a lot of work. Kids have been home sick with colds, Heidi was home on grievi...