Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Other May 19th's: First Installment

This one is dedicated to Cousin Brent!

1998: Leading up to May 19, 1998, I had just graduated from the U of A with my Bachelor's degree on May 16th and had a party celebrating my graduation and my cousin Larkin's 13th birthday at Grandma Elrey's house. That afternoon, I kidnapped Cousin Brent and we headed down to San Carlos, Mexico with the McRae kids to stay at their condo. Here are some of my favorite journal excerpts from that trip:

"At 3pm, Brent and I headed over to meet Maren at the townhouse. We picked up Ric and Shawndi and headed down to Tubac to get Matt and Wyatt. Ric and Maren took Ric's truck, so I got to drive the Suburban--I love it! On the way out of Tucson, Brent and I stopped at Circle K to experience our first Laughable Disaster of the trip All the cash I had was 2- $100 from graduation, so I sent Brent into the K to get me a Diet Coke and bottled water. He came back and we drank it up, only to discover onehour later that Brent had been shortchanged by $83! EIGHTY-THREE BUCKS, people! All I could do is laugh, although it sucked to lose that much money." (To Brent's amazing credit, he felt so bad, he wrote me a check for $83 when it really wasn't his fault).

"I woke at 11:00am on Sunday and went out to the beach with Brent, where we sat on little beach chairs and read our scriptures and wrote in our journals or to missionaries [Sam] adn enjoye the breath-taking view...San Carlos and the mountains to the right, the sand bar and the little island to the left. The water was the softest shade of sea green and the sand was almost white, but upon closer examination was mulit-colored like Suddenyl Salad seasoning. Matt & Wyatt came out about an hour later and we built sandcastles and talked....later [that night] we decided to have a fireside on the beach." (We did have the fireside, remember, Brent? Matt built the fire and everyone shared a thought and Ric--who wasn't baptized yet--felt the spirit, and was baptized 5 months later. That was awesome).

So that brings us to the wee ours of May 19, 1998, as we were driving home from Mexico:

"We drove home pretty uneventfully until we got to Nogales and all of the gas stations were closed. Matt decided we could make it to Green Valley, so we hauled up there and 6km from the exit, teh Suburban began to shudder. Matt put on the hazard lights and soon a sherriff pulled us over and offered to escort us to a gas station. So Super Matt got us within 50 yards of a gas station and he and Brent had to puch us across the street to the pumps where the car died. Another narrowly averted Laughable Disaster! When we finally got to the townhouse, Matt was locked out, so he looked for the spare key in Maren's car and accidentally left her dome light on when he locked it and still no house keys. finally he jiggled the sliding glass door and we got in and crashed. I was thinking Matt might be a lucky charm because all our challenges just turned out to be funny."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Plague

Bubby and I are sooooo sick, I really look ( and feel) like death. It's pitiful.

BUT! I am so happy that the plague (which I could feel coming on for the past two weeks) did not attack me until the morning that Sam & Kristen left...that was merciful, because we have been so busy for the past two months. Oh, wait--I meant the past three years.

Anyway, we had a BLAST with Sambo & Special K on this leg of their Rocky Mountain adventure. They got better pix than I did, and I can't find time between coughing and blowing my nose to uplaod the few pix I got, but trust me--we had a great time, Montana spring is beyond gorgeous, and Sambo and SK are as cute as ever! The Lehmans joined us for some Hawaiian dinner on Thursday afternoon and evening and it was so much fun. MY SIBLINGS RULE.

I have to go nap, but here are some fun pix of LAST weekend in Utah: Jen's Temple Square pix here and Michaela's pix from the Buchert Compound are here (check out Heidi, my pica girl).

I'll be back when my head is less cloudy and I can see out my gooey red eyes. Lovies...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sunday Dinner at Willy's

Sam & Kristen came up from Phoenix on Saturday, so we all got together at Willy's and invited Cousin Brent, and ate good food and enjoyed our awesome familiness! Sam with James, Kristen with Maeby...this caption shoudl say, "get your own baby!" :)
Brent with Liam, less than 48 hours after their Guys Night Out at the Blaze game
James loved Maeby's toys...look how excited he is!
Addie, Isabelle, and Spencer in The Box house
Grill Master Will
Heidi grinning with Belle and Brent behind her
Heidi and Jack open their fun gifts from Petersens

(Heidi was 3 on 4/15, Jack will be 3 on April 26)

Melanie and Ally played princess checkers

I LOVE MY FAMILY! They simply ROCK. And maybe it's just me, but man, we've got some seriously ADORABLE kids! I am so glad we're related and so glad we got together this weekend. You're all super cool--those in attendance and those far away (we missed you).

Spring Sabbath

On Sunday, we walked to church just 2 blocks form Jill's house. It was so beautiful outside!Michaela Claar (Jenn's daughter), Ally, Addie, Isabelle, and Heidi under a beautiful tree
Ally, Michaela, Heidi, Jack, Addie, Isabelle, and me walking to church (Jenn drove the van with James inside, and Rich took the picture). I love spring in Utah...maybe because that's the first place I ever experienced spring...I dont' know, but it's always magical to me, every year. (I love it in Montana, too!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Hallelujah, Here I Am..."

Hm, I just sang that title in my head and realized it's the lyric to a song I haven't listened to in probably a decade (anybody remember Fairground Attraction? LOVED 'em!).
your smile is a prayer that prays for love
and your heart is a kite that wants to fly
oh, hallelujah, here I am
let's cut the strings tonight

Anyway, we have just returned from a fun 4-day weekend in Utah and I have been working all day to get the photos up. It's not working out, so I jsut wanted to post this HOWDY and let y'all know that we are well and happy and all that.

TONS-o-love-and-thanks to my sister JILL and her family for the fine accomodations and fabulous company. We had a ball at your house, sister, and it's SOOOOO good to have you back! Also, shout out to my friend Jenn, who came with us, and served as SuperNanny when the kids were wearing their moms down.

I also want to tell my sister, Sara, and her family CONGRATULATIONS on their new baby girl! I have a new niece named Kathlyn who was born on Friday night in Michigan. I am sure she is gorgeous because Sara and Rob make lovely children, and Kathlyn's two older brothers are as handsome as can be! I'll post pix ASAP.

Also, a dear sister-friend of mine is waiting by her Grandma's side today, waiting and watching and helping her pass from this life, and I want her to know that my thoughts have been with her all day. I try to put myself in your shoes, my friend, and my heart gets way too heavy. I have been humming comforting hymns as I work today, as if maybe you could hear tender voice like thine can peace afford...leave to thy God to order and provide, in every change he faithful will remain...sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored...when change and tears are past, all safe and blessed we shall meet at last...O Thou who changest not, abide with me... I hope (I know) He will abide with you today and throughout the coming days. I love you.

Poor James has a chest cold and I hear him calling. So for now, I will refer you to some of my favorite posts from this past few this one from cjane to her SIL with cancer, or this one by Becca about naming her daughter Daffodil. I would like to dedicate the Regina Spektor song (read it here) on cjane's post to MY sisters and sisters-in-law. I love you chicas! I'll be back later, probably after I get my little sickies (who had WAY too much fun with their cousins this weekend) settled down and fed and snuggled and off to bed and after I make a nice fresh bed for Sam and Kristen to sleep in tomorrow night! Lovies....

Oh, and PS: THIS blog has been most inspiring to my creative side lately. What? You didn't know I had one? Well, I do--it's very unskilled, but gets an A for effort, and Miss Kelly (the owner of said blog) makes me try harder everyday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

On Friday...

...we left Livingston at noon for Idaho Falls to photograph a wedding and finally have our anniversary overnight temple trip. I had never been to the IF temple, but that's where Rich was endowed, so I was excited to check it out. My awesome visiting teacher Marianne and her daughter, Caitlyn, came adn had a slumber party with my kids Friday night, then Gram & Gramp Melin picked them up on Saturday morning when they got home from the Billings Temple. Rich & I stopped briefly in Bozeman at I Spy Design so that Rich could submit some photos to their new stock photography site, Wild West Photos. It was a great visit and I am really excited about the new site.
Althoug it was warm and sunny in IF, spring hasn't quite sprung there yet...I thought this bare tree was so beautiful!
We arrived home to WINTER in Livingston. This is a photo taken in Bozeman as you head toward the pass that leads east to Livngston. Beneath those clouds lurked frosty, windy, twenty-degree weather and lots of left-over snow. (Luckily, the sun blessed us on Easter morning).
We had a lovely little vacation--thank you so much to our babysitters and to the Harveys, who paid for our trip and were sealed on Saturday--congratulations!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Unco Hamma and Aunt Dizzen

This is Sam's & Kristen's Home in north Phoenix. It's really quite lovely, and that's where I stayed on Friday & Saturday nights.
This is my brother Willy with his family and my brother Sam on the far left. Sam is holding Spencer, Willy's 3rd child. Spencer used to be a grumpy mama's boy, but he has come out of his shell and his personality is HILARIOUS. He has a funny speech pattern where he pauses between each. and. every.word, and drops or substitutes initial consonants or consonant blends. He also adds a subtle "uh" to the end of certain words. For instance, he calls his baby sister "Maebyuh," he said "I. love. you. too-uh!" when I left, and he calls Uncle Sam "Unco Hamma" and Aunt Kristen "Aunt Dizzen." It's so adorable! On Sunday as we were getting ready to leave, Kristen said to Sam, "Let's get out the video camera! We're never gonna see him like this again. He won't talk like that next time we see him." So they filmed him being so cute and funny.
Here's Sam teasing Liam at a Phoenix fountain. Poor Liam.
I spent a mellow Saturday with Sam& Kristen and the Posties. I will publicly chastise Lisa for not coming and hanging out with us...Lisa, FOR SHAME! What could possibly be FUNNER (yes, I know that's not a word) that hanging out with your far-flung siblings, huh? Anyway, Saturday began with a delicious breakfast cooked by our hosts, then we hung out looking at pix and videos while mom got up and got packed. Then Will & Sam took mom to the airport while we ladies stopped for beverages and took the kids over to a playground and visited. It was nice to be with my sisters-in-law. They are good women and my brothers SCORED. I
t was so fun to play with my niece and nephew and not have to worry about what my own kids were doing--sometimes I really miss being fun single auntie. Liam (who also has some speech issues, which make everything he says sound SOOO cute) tried to convince to me to come ward off the bees so he could pick flowers; Spencer wanted to slide with me, but got side tracked by laying face down on the top level of the play place, looking down through the grate at his siblings below. He was so still and focused, I thought he was asleep there! The boys sent mom back to SLC on the plan and came back to join us at the playground. We went back to the house to freshen up at about 3pm, then headed over to In-N-Out Burger for lunch-dinner, then Old Navy so I could get some spring clothes and we could all shop some clearance sales. We headed back home and the boys went to the store and got us some ice cream. We put the kids to bed and watched "Waking Ned Devine" (one of mine and Sam's favorite movies ever), and ate ice cream and Dr. Pepper in memory of Grandma Muriel. We know she was with us in spirit, enjoying the treats and laughing at the crazy Irish folk on the movie.
The next morning we enjoyed some delicious french toast and we all got ready for our trips home. Will & Audrey loaded up their van and headed off to SLC; Sam & Kristen had to miss their Stake Conference to take me to the airport at 10:30am, but they caught an 11am Sacrament Meeting with Kristen's sister in Chandler. Things went smoothly for me on the way back home, and Rich met right at the curb in SLC. I hopped in and we headed straight up I-15 for home by 3pm. We got home safely by 11pm, dodging lots of blizzards and sleet, and slept soundly in our comfy house.
It's Tuesday night and I am still in my "post-trip funk." I am almost unpacked. I am tired and a bit unmotivated. My spring cleaning seems insurmountable. Did I tell you that our guest room still looks like Christmas threw up in there? I took down all the decorations and piled them up in there, and then piled up all the after Christmas sale stuff in there, too, with stuff for the gift closet, too. It's BAD. If anybody gets a wild hair and feels like cleaning and organizing, feel free to come and share you enthusiasm. Mine is at an all-time low, and I don't' know why, because I know that I will feel SOOOO good when it is all done. UGH! Maybe I need some light therapy or something.
In closing, I would like to welcome two of my best, dearest, most-missed friends to the blogosphere. Tom & Adriane, thanks for keeping in touch!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007


Dad Layton, Me, Lisa, Willy, & Sam at Grandma Layton's Grave 2/16
Pallbearers at the church in Thatcher 2/16

I used to make fun of snowbirds (people who fly south--to Arizona, for example--for the winter). Now I have a testimony of Snowbirdism and wish I were in a position to live the life. I enjoyed a few February days in AZ so much! It will do me good to make a February or March visit a habit. The holidays are just too crazy to enjoy the sunshine! Of course I hope I won't be visiting for a funeral again anytime soon.

I read the entire Ensign, cover to cover (well, I skipped a few articles) in the tub tonight. I've got a new favorite gem from President Hinckley, from a New Year's Eve address:
"You can be wise and happy or stupid and miserable. The choice is yours." Well said, dear prophet. Another gem comes from Elder Nelson's article, Faith and Families: "I want you to think about yourself...50 years from now. Your broad minds and narrow waists have traded places." Too bad that doesn't seem to have taken 50 years for me! Another article deserves its own entry--Forgiving Oneself--but I liked this quote: "We don't' forget the sin and its effects; rather, the memory ceases to be part of how we see ourselves." Think about that for a while. The article goes on to explain that it is Satan who want us to feel defined by our sins, while the Lord wants us to learn from them and use Christ's atonement to move on. I'll be writing about some of that stuff on Framanisco when I get a chance. I haven't been writing much, but I have been musing!

My trip to Arizona was WONDERFUL! It got off to a rough start trying to celebrate V-day AND clean AND pack AND go to two doctor appointments before 11am, but we got off okay and had a good sleep at Willy's house (his family was already gone to AZ). Rich took me to the airport Thursday morning and I got there an hour before my 10am flight, but the flight closed before I even got into the security line. They put me on standby and I missed an 11-ish flight and a 1-ish flight before I got a seat on a 3pm flight (only because a bunch of connecting flights were delayed on the east coast in a snow storm. So that was a fun day in the SLC airport with James. Of course, he never made a peep and enjoyed just hanging out with mommy and looking at new things.

I arrived in Phoenix the same time as my half-sis, Erin, flying in from Boise. So my sister, Lisa, picked us both up and we slept over at Lisa's house in Ahwatukee (south Phoenix, Tempe area). Sam called from North Phoenix to tell us they'd rented a minivan and would pick us up at 8:30am to drive to Thatcher. That got messed up and he picked us up at 10am, so we high-tailed it across central Arizona (ewwww!) to Thatcher for the family viewing at 1pm, followed by the funeral at 2pm.

We barely made it, but had such a nice reunion! Grandma looked beautiful and the decor and memorabilia around the building were so nice. I really do not like funerals, but this one was very well done, with very talented family musicians and a really entertaining life story given by my dad's cousin, Jenene, and my cousin, Dasha. I suppose it helps if you've led an interesting life and you have a sense of humor. I have emailed a request for a copy of those remarks and I will post them on Framanisco when I get them. My Grandma was already "old" (59) when I was born, so there was much from her life that I just never knew. It was so cool to think about how much of my personality and tendencies came from her. I certainly know where the smart aleck part comes from now! Grandma was buried at the LDS Cemetery, next to Grandpa, whose grave we had visited so many times with Grandma--walking around the corner from her house and straight up to the dirt hills where all those hardy Arizona pioneers and their descendants are buried. It was a sunny, windy, warm day and the starkness and brightness just really struck me. So many people are born, live, and die in this valley--it's so weird. And I wondered what Arizona will mean to my kids, if anything at all, since they were born in Montana. Will they return to Arizona for a funeral some day and look around and think, "Why does my mom love this place?" (I have been known to say things about the Gila Valley like, "If Brigham Young had sent my family here, I might have pulled an Emma and gone right back to Utah.") But I do love it...I love the way my ancestors marched right down there and made that desert blossom like a rose, just like the prophets said they would.

The whole day was surreal to me. I felt like I was in some kind of bubble or time warp or something. And I also got a little bit sad and sentimental about what might have been--perhaps what should have been. After my parents divorced when I was five, I was young enough that it didn't bother me all that much. It's just the way things were, and we stayed close to my Layton side, even when we became Posts. It wasn't until recently that I have found myself wishing--like some pouty teenager--that my parents had found some way to stay together. that they had grown up a little faster and let the two worlds of my Elrey family and my Layton family be ONE. Because seeing everyone together at stuff like this (my Elrey grandparents were there, as were my mom and her sister, Marti) reminds me of that Nibley quote on my wedding announcement ... "memories of how things should be."

I'll write about the rest of my trip and post more photos later...G'night, yall.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


(a) Addie's arm is broken. It's fractured at the top of her humerus, so close to her shoulder that they just gave her a sling and a big fat ace bandage-type thing to hold her arm to her chest. She's taking it well, except the part where I had to sign the rest of her Valentines because her right hand is tied up.

(b) Still no news on my biopsy, but I am healing up well and the topical treatment seem to help, so no worries. And James is getting better, sleeping through the night, and having only one breathing treatment.

(c) I am in Utah AGAIN--we left Bozeman at 1:30 pm and got here to Herriman at 9pm. Rich and the girls will drop off me and James at the airport tomorrow morning to catch a flight to Phoenix, where I will meet up with my Layton family and head over to Thatcher for Grandma's funeral on Friday. Rich has some fun things planned for the girls--they will hang out in Salt Lake City and pick me up and head back to Montana on Sunday. And then we are not going ANYWHERE!!!!! ;) Not for a while, any way!

So life is good. It has been a long hard two months (I keep singing that dang Counting Crows "Long December" song in my head). I am ready to stop the world and catch my breath for a while. Monday night after our own little Family Night, we went across the street to watch a movie with my SIL and her kids. I came home early with James. As I looked across the street at my little cozy house all covered in snow and smiled down at James in his carrier, my heart swelled a little bit. Life is really hard sometimes, whether you're struggling or someone you love is struggling. But it's really, really beautiful sometimes, too, like when you're walking through super-sparkly snow on a February night with a beautiful, happy baby you prayed really hard for, to a warm, comfy house you built with the man you love to house the family you cherish. Like the three little birds sang, "Every little thing's gonna be all right."

Monday, January 29, 2007

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.

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.

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 ,                                                                                We've enjoyed a great first week o...