Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just so you know

I made my fourth blog book and have run out of space according to blogspot. Stay tuned as I create a new blog address for the very few who actually check this.

The Polar Express

For the girls birthday we stayed the weekend in Flagstaff and went on the Polar Express train in Williams. Every other year the girls have a party and on the other years, like this year, we stay in a hotel and celebrate their birthdays.
 Our friends, the Kieta's, came with us. Levi was especially excited to ride a train. The girls were also excited to go on the train to the North Pole. Everyone wore their Christmas jammies on the train. I'm glad someone told me about this. It was a memorable activity and I think the kids will remember their ride on the Polar Express. I booked our reservation clear back in July because seats get taken so early.

 Here the kiddos are on the train waiting to leave. This train is 90 years old. It was definitely cool.
 A shot of just me and Jeff. That's a rarity. Unfortunately Jeff got sick this morning and by this time of the day, all he wanted to do was lay in bed. 
 We took off and we enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies. Yummy!

 The train had the reading of Polar Express over the intercom so we followed along.
 We finally came to the North Pole. The kids faces were glued to the windows. It was adorable.
 Santa came on the train and gave each kid a silver bell just like in the book.
 Levi enjoying his new bell. We also sang carols on the train. The ride lasted for an hour.
 Earlier that morning we went to Northern Arizona Museum and took a short hike. The weather was much cooler than Gilbert, thus the coats.

 Rocks and dinosaurs---what else could bring a smile to a kid's face? Don't answer that. I could think of quite a few things.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 A Christmas treat
 New Christmas PJ's and sitting in front of one of several advent calendars.

 Reading the Polar Express. We open a Christmas book every day until Christmas. The kids love this tradition.
Decorating the tree. We bought a real tree and wreath at Costco. I love the smell in our home.

Sydney's 7th birthday

 Sydney woke up to her room being decorated like this. Jeff and I had fun decorating it while she was sleeping. We couldn't believe she didn't wake up as we were making so much noise in her room. At one point one of the streamers got stuck in the twirling fan causing lots of noise. For breakfast she wanted pancakes with the number 7 in frosting. The day before Jeff took her out of school during lunch and took her out to eat. She loved that! On her birthday Levi and I ate lunch with her at school.
 For dinner she requested steak, potatoes, corn, strawberries, and watermelon. It was a delicious meal. She picked probably what I would request.
 After dinner her friend Caroline came over. We had a little bonfire. For her cake she requested rainbow can mix and purple and blue frosting. She had a great day enjoying all the phone calls from family getting special treatment all day.
 So this was my first time making rainbow cake. It turned out better than I thought it would and the girls loved it.
We can't believe Sydney is 7. She's becoming such a wonderful young lady. We're proud of all her accomplishments and love her dearly.

Family Time

My mom, sister, and niece came to visit. My sister and her daughter, Rowan have never been here before. It's always fun to show people around who haven't been here before. Within 5 minutes of her being here, I went to show her our backyard and there was a mama bear and her two cubs. I had never even seen a bear that close in our backyard. We saw the same bears a few days later too. We also saw some moose. We took two trips. One to Girdwood and another to Talkeetna. Talkeetna was our favorite. We stayed in this rustic, vintage cabin. My mom, sister, and I and the girls loved listening and dancing to the supremes on the record player they had in this cabin. Neil Diamond and Johnny Cash were are other 2 favorite records. We also enjoyed hiking Mt. Baldy and glissading down about 75 yards, going to the temple, the wildlife conservation center where a brown bear was chasing Sydney back and forth, portage glacier, play hide and go seek at girdwood park, and there's probably more that I'm forgetting.
 John Trappers Cabin in Talkeetna. We all stayed here in this one room cabin. Unfortunately we didn't see McKinley because it was cloudy.
 Inside our cabin
 See, I forgot, we also went to Whittier. You get there by taking a 2.5 mile drive through a tunnel.

 At Portage Glacier
 At the wildlife conservation center. This was the bear that was chasing Sydney back and forth.
 Beluga point-on the way to girdwood.
 Bears by our house.
 At Eagle River. We took a short hike and threw rocks in the water.
 Notice Jeff wearing his chest holster with gun--just in case something were to happen.
 World's largest chocolate fountain. 20 feet high.
 Me and my sister
The girls loved having their cousin visit and sleep in the same room.

Daddy/Daughter campout

Jeff took the girls to a ward daddy/daughter overnight campout. I'm not surprised about 2 things. Number one, the girls loved every second of it and Number Two, Jeff got little sleep. Many dads and daughters went. They had fun playing around with girls, watching a movie at night, sleeping in a tent, more playing in the morning, hiking, and roasting marshmallows.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Family Pictures

Here are our most recent family pictures. We actually took them across the street at this old garage and pasture this man owns. It was our most successful family shoot yet. Let's hope it stays this way.


So it's kinda sad I only took a few pictures at Thanksgiving and this is one of them. We left Tuesday and drove to Kingman, AZ and stayed the night there because Jeff had a morning breakfast with some doctors. When that was over, we took off through Vegas to Gammie and Grandpa's home. We were the last to arrive. The Lamonts, Koehlers (Lisa, Kevin, Maddy, and Trinity), and Uncle Lance had gotten there earlier. The kids loved playing with the cousins and actually getting along the whole time. It was nice. Every cousin had a friend they hung out with and was happy. There were 18 people staying at my parents. The next day the women cooked while the dads took the kids horse back riding. While there we also did some shopping, took a family picture, went to the movies, stayed up way too late, and us moms went out to lunch one day. We had such a fun time. It was too short of a vacation. Saturday afternoon we headed up, this time traveling through a little bit of the Grand Canyon to Flagstaff and down to our home in Gilbert. A much prettier drive. On our way home we stayed in Lee's Ferry motel. It was right off the highway, nothing was around it, not even a gas station. It was very "potuncky." The woman handed us a REAL key to our room. The floors squeaked, the heater you turned on by hand and it was in Celsius, you could hear cars and trucks drive by from the highway, and we were the only ones staying at this motel. There were moments that we thought we were in a scary movie. But we woke up the next morning still alive thankfully we were kept safe.  
 Uncle Lance and Levi
 Navajo Bridge

 Our little Cowboy
Sydney riding