Wednesday, December 17, 2008

4 Birthdays for a 4 year old!

Samantha has been a very lucky little girl this birthday. She has literally had 4 birthday parties. Why you may ask? Well to start out-BIRTHDAY #1 we celebrated with our family away from home- the Perry's (minus the Flanagan's)- because Brooklyn and Samantha's birthdays were when we both were going to be in Utah. So we got together the Sunday before we left and had dinner and then cake and ice cream. The night didn't start out too well. Samantha had been complaining that it hurt when she would use the bathroom- and as the day went on- she would really cry- and would try to hold it in. Me not being too familiar with things medical- thought that she could wait until the next day when I was to take Collin in for an appointment that I had already made. Mike with his knowledge thought otherwise. He knew that it was most likely a UTI and if we waited too long it would go up into her kidneys and cause a lot of damage. (I am going to LOVE having a doctor in the fam!) So he called the doctor on call who told us that she should really be seen. Mike and Samantha went to the ER- and I took Collin over to Perry's since we knew that Collin would not last at the ER- plus I had made the soup and homemade rolls for the dinner. Luckily it didn't take too long at the hospital- they did their test and then gave a prescription and they were on their way. They made it to that last part of dinner and the most important part- the cake!
Here are just 2 shots of the night-
We gave Brooklyn a Tinkerbell Doll- and she gave Samantha a Petshop puzzle and toy. Mike and I gave Samantha a Tinkerbell doll to open that night as well. ( Collin is in the middle of saying 'cheese" in this picture)
Blow out the candles!

was actually on her birthday. But I didn't get any pictures- both camera's battery's were dead. (I am my mother's daughter- for those who know my mom and camera's will understand that)But none the less it was fun! Even though we had just celebrated with the Perry's I could let her actual birthday pass without doing a little something!
We had her favorite dinner- Kentucky Fried Chicken- or as it is known by Samantha- "Chicken Burger" and then we ate cake - which Samantha helped make and decorate.
Once we got to Utah- we had a birthday party with all my siblings minus Jonathan, Bree and Addi. Samantha wanted a Tinkerbell party- so my mom ordered a cake- which was actually and really pretty cake! My grandparents came down and we had pizza and just talked and caught up.

She was SO excited about her singing cards- one was of course Highschool Musical- and then Tinkerbell! She had been talking quite a bit recently about the singing card that Cassie got at her birthday- and said that she really wanted one. I never mentioned it to my mom- but I guess Grandma's just know!

BIRTHDAY #4- and final!
Samantha had said that she really wanted to have a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese- with her friend Megan- but the one here is a bit ghetto- so we decided to do it as Jungle Jim's instead. Her little friend Megan came and those two had a blast! They are such good friends- we sure do miss her now - but are happy when we come to Gra's because she lives right across the street!

Jungle Jims was so much fun! The rides were great- (minus the really fast one, Samantha is cursed with her mom's wussy genes) and the games were fun. Samantha is already saying that she wants to go back!
Meg and Samantha up in big doll house
Here's a shot of the really fast ride- ya I was a bit scared myself!
A fun jeep safari ride with best friends ( bit blurry)
the rest are just a few shots of the kids doing games or more rides

Here's our cute little Cecily- she is an absolute crack-up!
Happy Birthday Samantha! We are so blessed to have you in our lives. You are a sassy, loving, carefree, imaginative, happy little girl who brings so much happiness to our family. We love you!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pictures of our trip to Nauvoo

My father-in-law sent us these pictures and I am now finally getting them posted!
So here are just a few shots-

This first one is not the best of any of us- except that I love Samantha in it. Of course she posed.

These are more for the view and overlook of the valley

Collin at the visitors center. This is one of my favorite pictures. Lately he has had such a fascination with pictures or statues of Christ. The moment he saw the Christus he walked as fast as his legs could go pointing the whole way say "Jesus"

Here Grandma is showing Samantha how to help to make rope at the Family Living Center
Now she is a pro!

I love this picture of the boys in front of the statue of Joseph and Hyrum
Russell and Samantha posing with some hedge apples. They are the coolest looking things- we first found some at Adam-Ondi-Ahman and wondered what they were. On Sunday Mike, Rosalie, Russell and Samantha took a drive and passed by some Amish boys and they ended up asking them what they were called and then they came home and looked them up on the Internet. Of course with my horrible memory with most information I hear- it's gone within 10 min- I can't remember much about them other than they are poisonous for livestock. ?
Samantha and Russell by the Mississippi where the pioneers would have crossed.
Thanks again Grandpa and Grandma for such a great visit!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

New pictures!

Our friend Maren Johnson has an amazing talent of taking pictures! She was kind enough to take some of Collin and Samantha for us! She did such a beautiful job- I am having a hard time deciding which ones to put up in our house!

Fun filled week!

Last week Mike finished up his finals just in time for a visit from Grandpa and Grandma Taylor and Russell! It was a so much fun to have them here! We took them on a tour of our town and of Mike's school. We drove to Adam-ondi-ahem (sp?) which even though it is only a few hours from us- I hadn't been there yet. We then spent 2 days in Nauvoo- which as always is such a neat experience. The first day was quite windy and super cold- but the second day was not as bad. Being there in the winter gives you an even greater appreciation for the early saints- especially as we stood at the end of Parley Street and looked out across the Mississippi River where they began the trek west. I can't even begin to imagine how it would be to be there- especially with our two young kids- leaving the warmth and comfort of our beautiful home and life in Nauvoo behind. What great faith it must have taken.
The last day we spent the morning taking it easy and then a quick visit to Thousand Hills State Park.
It was so great to have them here- the time went by too fast! Luckily in just 2 weeks we'll get to see them again!
Thanks Mike, Rosalie and Russell for coming out and putting up with our "cozy" apartment and our air mattress! We loved having you!
I don't have any pictures to post- but I hope to get some from my in-laws soon!

(with yet again no pictures- sorry!)
We had a great Thanksgiving meal with our friends the Jenks and Johnsons! Everything was SO good- and of course I ate more than necessary! We had a nice time together. The kids played really well- the guys played some ball game outside (I can't remember the name) and then to top the night off we play Catch Phrase- boys against girls- and needless to say the girls rocked it!

I am so grateful for all that I have in my life- a loving, healthy family, a great place to live, the love and support of a wonderful extended family and the gospel. I am so grateful for the Savior- and the knowledge that he lives. We are so blessed!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Going Private

Like so many others- we too have decided to go private. For safety and peace of mind we feel like it is time. This has been such a great way to record our family adventures while also keeping in touch with family and friends and we hope to continue to do so. Just leave us your email address so that we can send you an invite. Thanks!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Girls night out!!!!

So of course with High School Musical 3 out- it was an absolute must that Samantha see it! So this past Monday we decided that we needed a Mom-daughter date (although Samantha clarified that it was not a date- she is still too young!) One nice thing with living in a small town is that with a movie just wait a few weeks and by that time everyone has seen it so you can have the theatre practically to yourself! (there was really only 5 other people in there with us)
Samantha was so cute the whole night. Just as we were getting ready to leave she says to me "This is going to be the greatest night of my life Mom- Let's go!" and then as the movie was starting she said over and over "I can't believe this, I can't believe this!" Throughout the whole movie she had a smile on her face the whole time- with her little legs tapping to the music. She is already trying to plan another time that she could see it again!
Pure Joy!
Of course Bear came along to share in the happy experience!
She can hardly contain herself!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Dad

This is one of those posts that is purely for myself - just a way for me to think back and remember things- things that I love and miss. Thirteen years ago today my dad passed away. It was to this day the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I know that the experience was made easier by my knowledge of the gospel and the strength of an amazing mother- who through her selflessness made things easier for her kids.

I can't believe that it has been 13 years. And to be honest today isn't a day when I miss my dad the most- it is actually different days throughout the year. There are just normal days when I just miss him- or the special days when I would give anything to have him around.

I feel so blessed that I was the older of the kids (16) so that I was able to have had wonderful times with my dad- and times that I would be able to remember. Cassie the youngest was only 3 at the time so she doesn't remember anything. As I get older and my own family grows- I miss him in different ways- at first (prior to marriage) I missed him not having him around during my dating and high school years. I missed him not being around for Mike to ask his permission to marry me. Now I miss the grandpa that he would have been for my kids. He loved kids- and I know as I watch each grandchild come into the family that he would have absolutely fallen in love with each one of them- and would have been the cutest grandpa. I am grateful that the kids now have Joseph as their "papa".
- He used to call me "B" and on some occasions his "Queen B". My older brother Ryan still uses that nickname- and I love it.

-I miss his beautiful singing voice. At night he would often sing us to sleep. On of my favorite songs was "Little Boy Blue". He was asked quite often to sing in church for different things- and was known to at times to forget lines- It was those times where my mom's line "Don't embarrass the family!" originated from! I am so grateful for the gift that Joseph and my mom gave us a few years back- they put together a CD of a few songs that people happened to record over the years. Now if I want to remember his voice I just have to pop in the CD. Awhile back I was listening to it- and Samantha asked who it was- I told her that it was my daddy- she then asked "Mom- did he sing to me when I was a baby?" and I said- no and that he had died and lives in heaven now- her response was "Dang it!"

-I miss his hands. For some reason I remember as a child watching his hands- during church-as he worked around the house or in the yard- just whenever. The day they brought him home (the day before he passed away) I layed on the bed next to him for awhile and just held his hand. I am so grateful to have been able to do that.

-I miss seeing him grit his teeth. Whenever he got excited- he would grit his teeth as he talked. Luckily every single one of his kids does the same thing- so it's fun to see the same thing in each of us!
-At night when he would get home from work- each of us kids would stand at the top of the stairs and jump into his arms. Everyone else soon would reach the top stair- not me- always the 3rd or 4th (wuss).

-He was a hard worker. He always worked more than one job so that my mom would be able to be at home with us. He wanted each of his kids to learn the value of hard work and since we didn't live on a farm (where he thought true, hard work happens) he would get us jobs in the summer for a landscaper and as a family we would plant flowers. Oh the torture! He also got us a job cleaning a computer warehouse every Friday after school.
-He LOVED BYU- especially BYU football. He would get so intense about it. My brothers are the exact same way- so it has been carried on through them!

-I miss going to the park with him. He would map out an obstacle course and then times us. He would push us in the swings- the "underdog"- but he knew- I could only handle half of what he would do for the other kids!
-He liked to have PPI' s (Personal Priesthood interviews) with each of his kids on a monthly basis. I remember sitting up on my parents water bed- just talking with him. I never in my life ever doubted my dad's love and concern for me
-He loved the gospel. He loved the scriptures. He had a strong testimony and lived his life accordingly. He was on of the most humble men I know- he was always trying to better himself. I never heard him speak an unkind word about another person. His intentions were always good.

At his funeral the stake center was filled- all the way through the gym and up onto the stage. He unknowingly touched so many lives.
I am so grateful to be his daughter and to have had him as my father for the first 16 years of my life. I am grateful to know that there will be a day when I will get to see him again.

My dad was bishop of our ward at the time of his illness and death. The first Sunday that he came to church with his head shaved the deacons,teachers and priests in the ward surprised my dad by walking in together at the beginning of church with all of their heads shaved as a show of love and support for my dad. (The story was featured in the New Era.)

I don't have a lot of pictures of me and my dad- but these are two of them- (both are with Ryan and myself.)

Trick or Treat!

The last couple of nights has been full of nothing but candy! It is going to take weeks for the sugar in my kids systems to leave! Thursday night was our ward Trunk-Or-Treat- the kids had a blast with the games (cake, walk, making a spider-web, popping balloons, face painting and fishing) and all the action beforehand. Collin was totally freaked out by all the costumes- it took awhile for him to let Mike put him down- and even then it was only for the cakewalk.

Samantha in all her glory- she was Sleeping Beauty- and of course the thing that she was most excited for was that Sleeping Beauty wore her hair down!
This has to be the cutest little doctor around- Dr. Q.T Patootie reporting for surgery!
We did the cake for awhile- Samantha ended up winning 3 times and Collin won once......
Caught- red handed! He couldn't wait to dig into the goods!

Making a spider web with Cinderella, a cute little witch, the Hulk and I think Darth Vador?

After the kids were done with their trunk-or-treating they wanted to finish passing out the candy.

For Halloween night at dinner we had worms and bones (also known as Lemon Spaghetti and breadsticks in the shape of bones) We then went to the Perry's and Flanagan's neighborhood and went to a few houses on their street- heaven knows that they really didn't need anymore candy.
Brooklyn and Makena , Samanatha (looking a bit worn out) Ella and Rylee and Johnny (Bryce (Batman) was with a dog and Molly (Super-girl) was asleep in her mom's arms) All 4 siblings were super hero's- so cute! my favorite part of the night was little Rylee running down the street- fist in the air and cape flying behind her!
Mike with most of the kids

Finally at the last house Collin decided that it was safe enough to get down! ( he got super freaked out by Spiderman)

"Hey mom! this trick-or treating is great!"