Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Tonight at our ward's trunk-or-treat Eddie and I went as stick figures. It wasn't quite dark enough outside yet to really tell what we were, so this is for those of you that had no idea what we were.

Eddie and Tracy present our version of Miley Cyrus' "Hoedown Throwdown".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grand Tour Part 7: Valencia

Originally the plan was to spend some time with Kristi on the end of the trip because we went to Yosemite with them at the beginning of the trip. And we did get to spend a few really good days there but in the end Nate started to run a really high temp (got up to 104) and Drew's pink eye had gotten really bad and after all the unexpected money spent on fixing the stupid van, I didn't want to spend the $200 co-pay to go to the ER. Not to mention the cost not covered by insurance. So, ultimately, we decided to cut our trip short and just get on the road home. But not before we had this fun:

Kristi has an awesome park near their house and the trail to the park is half the fun.

As long as Drew and Nate could hold Aly's hand, they were happy campers. Aly and Ben make them feel like they are so special and important.

Attached to the park are some beautiful soccer fields and the giant soccer balls are a kid favorite. Particularly mine. Here is Nate exclaiming how big it is!

And Aly demonstrating that it's not too big for her. ;)

As a parent, I just have to declare that the swings are not my favorite...unless you have a nephew by the name of "Ben" who will spend his own playtime to push said children and I just get to enjoy the squeals of delight.

Maggie truly loves the swing. She lights up when she sees one and this picture just melts my heart. Enjoy the moment while it lasts, cause I don't do swings. ;)

Nate learning to pump his legs on the giant swing. The swing ended up being to heavy so he needed quite a bit of pushing.

I didn't even attempt to teach Drew to pump; he got lucky. He got a free ride.


My children were introduced to the Barbie movies while we were in Valencia. They are in love. Andrew especially loved dancing with his cousin Elizabeth. I know I posted this movie before, but I think Drew is so cute when he dances. He wants to go all out but you can tell he gets a little embarrassed. He aches to dance, but he's not sure if he should. I think he's got moves.

Still shot of the two dancing kidlets. I think it's good for Drew to watch Elizabeth and her dancing heart. Plus, she can teach him some new moves.

Aly, Elizabeth and Drew posing for the camera. Good friends, good times.


This trip we got to go to the lake again. We were contemplating going to the beach, but Kristi was still recovering from some kind of food bug and it would have required more effort on her part. So in the end, we went to the lake and had a great time just like last year.

Maggie enjoying her string queso con sand. Sounds good right? Ugh. Part of the experience. Just part of the experience.

Seriously, one of the funniest things to watch. At first I wasn't sure what was going on, but these two little munchkins decided it would be fun to cake on the sand onto Drew's back. They spent a good 5 minutes making sure it would stick. It kept falling off his back and it took them a few minutes to discover that if the sand is more wet when it's put on, it'll stay on a lot longer.

In fact, it'll stay on so long that it starts to irritate the skin. In fact, it gets down right itchy.

So of course the best thing to do is wash it off and start again. And again. And again. :)

While these shenanigans were going on, Nate was happy in his own world of building things out of sand and playing in the water.

By the end of the lake visit, we were all tuckered out and exhuasted. Well, at least the mom's were. I think the kids look quite alert and content don't you?

Aly decided she wanted to stay at home and play with her other cousins and so we were all able to fit into one car. Thanks for driving Kris! We missed Aly and hopefully we'll get the Fletchers out here to Texas and so we can all go to a water park together.

Grand Tour Part 5 & 6: Sacramento and San Jose


After our trip to Medford, we started the trip back home. At this point in the trip, I would like to add that Maggie was teething, Nate was getting sick and Drew had pink eye in both eyes. Really bad pink eye. On our way back we were going to stop in Sacremento to see Tamara, but we had to add a stop to pick up our van and drop off the rental car. (Thank you Bev and Christy for making that a fast, smooth transition!) For the above two reasons, we didn't get to Tamara's on Sunday like I thought we would and therefore didn't get to spend the night into Monday. But we did manage to get there for a delicious dinner and for some awesome catch-up talk. Can I tell you how much I love this girl? It's like no time has passed when we do get to see eachother.

I love that in this picture you will find Tam "barefoot and pregnant". We are so thrilled for Tamara and Curtis to become parents and can't wait to meet this little girl. I love you and miss you Tam!

Monday night we made it back to my Dad's around 11 or so and went right to bed. The next morning while I was doing some laundry and re-packing the van, Drew asked to go play at Alisha's house, Nate was content playing dress-up/make-believe and Maggie was busy sleeping away. When I was all done, I went in search of my children. And this is what I found:

"Hi Mom. I'm so excited to see you. Come on in."

"Oh no, I think that is dinner burning."

"Oh that is okay, we'll just order out."

When I went next door to retrieve Drew, I found him in Alisha's room coloring. He clearly didn't miss me at all. ;)

Sue (my next door neighbor mom) has this awesome chest of toys and in there Drew found this Lightening McQueen coloring pad and was busy coloring away with it. He didn't want to leave it...but Alisha said he could take home the coloring page.

Clearly, anything Alisha says, goes. Drew would follow the ends of the earth to be with Alisha. Even now, looking at these pictures Drew said, "That's my friend. Him loves me very much." (He calls everyone "him" right now, including me. I'm told it's a developmental thing...let's hope!)

Drew unpromptedly (is that a word) wanted to give Alisha a kiss/zerbert. He doesn't even do that with me. Just for the record, Alisha has won Drew's affection for life.

Grand Tour Part 4: Medford Oregon


Well we definitely reached the "or" part and the car definitely reached the "bust" part. As you will notice in the below picture, this car is not the van.

And there is a really good story why it's not the van. See the van was in the car mechanic's shop in Marysville (for the 4th time on this road trip) and my sweet, sweet Grandpa rented us a car so we could still make the trip up to see him. My sweet, sweet Aunt Jan drove the way up with me so I wouldn't have to go alone and it was heaven on earth to be the passenger for once and to just gab away with my Aunt whom I hadn't seen in a while. The kids had a BLAST in the back because they were within touching distance of eachother. Needless to say, I was nervous about the touching distance, but they really did a great job. They were very sweet playing and sharing with eachother, but the noise level was definitely a lot higher than I was used to in the when they're right behind you it gets REALLY loud. And Maggie had no problem joining in with the ruckus.

And this right here is the reason we made the trip up to Oregon. I hadn't been to Medford for almost 10 years and although I got to see my Grandpa 2 Christmases ago, it wasn't a very long visit or a substantial visit on my part because Maggie was just a few months old. This time, I got to spend a few days with them and see their new house and go to church with them. I love my Grandpa Cherry and I'm so grateful that I got a chance for my kids to be with him and Grandma Betty. It was a wonderful trip.

Having Keri's kids there was just the icing on the cake. Keri had just gotten back from a hectic trip to Utah just to return for a wedding shoot and so "Grandma Kathy" (my Aunt Kathy) had volunteered to watch the girls. The boys had soooo much fun with Kate who was kind and patient with them. I think she pushed them on that swing outside for hours.

And this is what happens when you ask for a silly shot. Not much difference for Drew, but I think Kate and Nate gave me some good faces.

Say cheese!

Haylee was perfectly content to cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie.

But truly all four of them had a great time laughing and playing and enjoying the time together.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grand Tour Part 3: Marysville/Browns Valley

The next stop on our tour was the John Cherry family in Browns Valley, CA. This is my brother and his family and we loved every second with them. I'm totally bummed that we didn't get more time with them. I didn't really get to spend much time with my brother but we did get to bond over a Man vs. Wild episode that had me running out of the room. I love my brother so much and I love getting to be with him and his family. They make me laugh and make me feel like I'm the luckiest Aunt in the whole world.


I can never remember the name of this water park because it is something kind of random, but there is nothing random about the fun had by all. It was such a fun water park. We were there last summer with the Cherry's as well and I have to say, this time was much better for the boys. They were one year older and more willing to play in the water without my help and attention. Plus they had just finished their swimming lessons for the summer and were LOVING swimming from the steps to me and back. They also were playing "alligators" and swimming all over the water structure. Here they would lie on their tummies with their faces in the water and float up to the top of the water and use their arms to guide them. It was pretty fun to see how adventurous Nate got in the water. It's the only thing that he has shown such fearlessness in.

L to R: Jill's three kids, Nate, Elly, Lilly, Drew, Maggie, Christy, Lewis, JoWe had so much fun with cousins and with Christy's friend Jill's kids too. It was such an awesome group and we'll definitely have to do it again. Maybe next summer we'll have to do it at our water park...what'cha think Chris?

Elly and Nate getting absorbed into some cartoon. These two were so adorable together. I had no idea how much they were alike, or rather I didn't believe Christy when she said they were identical. Well I quickly learned on this trip how much these two kiddos act and think alike. They had so much fun pretending and taking turns being "in charge" (aka bossy) and coloring and reading books and running around. It is for this bonding and friendship that I MIGHT consider doing the trip another year. It definitely made this trip worth all the headache and car problems.

Miss Maggie mastered the art of sitting up and reaching for things within a body's length.

These two spent the entire week together. Where one was, the other was sure to be. ;) And since Maggie was still immobile at this time, we know in what order that goes right? Lilly was so tender with her and so loving and wanted to do anything she could to help. She brought me diapers (on many occasions) and wipes, ran to inform me if Maggie fell over, brought her own toys and books to share with Maggie, and mostly she just loved on her...big smooches and hugs. So sweet!

Maggie had a great time sitting in her bumbo looking out in to the back yard to feel like she was a part of things with her brothers. Because this is what they were up to:

Scooters outside! After months of Texas summer heat and humidity, the blistering sun of California didn't keep them from enjoying the outdoors. I don't think they even minded how hot it was. They were just thrilled to be outside riding their scooters. They did get hot and sweaty but they lasted outside for more than 3 minutes like if we had been home. I love that Drew picked out Elly's helmet and you'll notice the butterfly. It was a coveted helmet between Nate and Drew.

Drew also enjoyed the added difficulty of Jonas' scooter, rather a Razor. Andrew had never been on one before and he mastered it within moments. It wasn't too long before he wanted me to take pictures of his "tricks". Gotta love the one leg kiddo!

We love you Drew! When did you get to be so big? It was shortly after this trip that you finally turned 3 years old. It seems like you've been 2 forever because you've always wanted to do big boy things.

one of my all time favorite pictures of Nate. I think it is just one of those quintessential shots of childhood. Hot red cheeked kind of summer. I love the raised shoulders and casual pose. Nate...I think that I just love YOU and that's why I love this shot!


So it turns out that living in the same home you grew up in creates opportunities to be in charge of stuff that previously just the parents did. For example, Christy has never had to change the water in the water cooler. She was nervous and felt certain she would spill the entire contents of the jug on the floor. Well I have the proof that my sister is really super-woman in disguise. A single drop. Yup. A single drop of water.

"Yes! I did it!"


It was so hot in Marysville that Christy's friend took mercy on us and let us come swim at her mom's house. It was such a fun house for the kids and so beautiful. They had a trampoline, treehouse, waterslide and diving board. It was perfect for all the kids, including the "big kids" aka adults.

Lilly, Drew and Nate took a little time our from swimming to play on the trampoline.

And of course it would be one of my children that inherited the "Grandma Cherry" gene or the klutzy gene...Here is Nathan who some how found the one hole in the entire padding and almost fell under.

I love these next two pictures of Elly. When we got to the pool, there were two little girls already in the pool playing. They were diving off the board and swimming to the side. Jonas quickly jumped on that bandwaggon and wanted to start going down the slide. (That child is fearless!) Elly wanted to jump off the diving board but had never done it before. She asked Christy if she could do it and of course Chris said, "Yes! Go for it!" When Elly got up to the top of the board you could tell she was super nervous. She looked down at Christy who was in the water waiting and watching with these ginormous brown eyes questioning what she was getting herself into. Christy told her, "Elly you are going to do this and you're going to love it! In fact, I think you're going to want to do it again and again and again." Elly instantly got this determined look on her face and started repeating, "I will do this. Let's do this. I will do this."

And sure enough she did with one last "Let's do this!" I love the look of pure focus and dertmination on her little face.

And just like her mom predicted, she did it again and again and again. So proud of you Eleanor!

Here is Jonas sporting some wicked awesome swim gear. Jo, we love you!

Can we come over and play tomorrow? We miss you Jonas and I wish I could wave back at ya in person.

A little more trampoline fun with Aunt K-whisty Deeeen.

Maggie was an angel on this trip. Seriously considering she wouldn't sleep anywhere other than on top of my chest (basically neither one of us slept the entire trip) and was totally sleep deprived, she was still a content little girl. Here she is sitting on the gorgeous lawn eating grass blades. What more could a little girl want?

Maggie Lynn whatever in the world did we do to deserve you? Don't ever stop smiling my wee little one!

Patiently sitting in the swing while I get the brothers towelled off and changed and everything all packed up to go back to the house...She didn't even get to really swing in it...she just sat there like a perfect angel.

While we were visiting we got to be present when Dean and Bev got their mission call. In fact, I got to be in the car with Bev when she pulled the envelope out of the mail box and I got to help curtail the hyperventilating. They were VERY excited to find out where they were going.

And they weren't the only ones...Everyone was sitting on edge waiting for the big reveal.

Well, everyone except Lewis. He was more than content to sit on Grandpa Dean's lap and eat his hat.

But everyone ELSE was excited!

I thought this shot was so funny! Dean opened the envelope and was holding the letter and Bev reached over to grab it and he pulled it away and told her she got to read the last one...It was pretty funny.

And drum roll please...Elder and Sister Ellyson will be serving in the...Baton Rouge, LA mission...and they leave in...2 weeks!!!!! Yup, that's right. They got their call on a Thursday and they were to report in the MTC one day shy of 2 weeks later.