Sunday, February 14, 2016

Free CFA

As many of you know Chic-fil-A (known as CFA in our house) has a day where if you dress as a cow they will give you a free meal. Well Meredith is a BIG fan of free things. This is the picture that I get from her as I'm leaving work to come home. Of course something had happened at work to make it so I was leaving later than expected and apparently everyone was excited for me to get home so we could go. Yes that is Brooklyn in the front.
This is the outfit that I came up with. I didn't have an old shirt to color on so we just pinned some spots on. And that isn't a one feather headdress either, those are ears, you just can't see the other one. Somehow I missed out on the black nose paint. Maybe next year. Ethan on the other hand got the nose paint but missed out on the ears. Maybe together we combine to make one cow.

 Brooklyn is our "cheese" girl. This face comes out every time the camera comes out. She is pretty cute with her hair done up in cow ears.
 Moo anyone?
 This is the mastermind behind all of this. Notice that her cow costume is the most inconspicuous of them all. That's ok we sure do love her. Taylor got the works for her costume, she had painted on spots, nose pain and the ears. She must very special.
I know that Meredith does a much better job with blogging and coming up with cute things to say about what is going on in our lives, however your going to be stuck with some Abe post for a while. This whole Relief Society President calling kind of takes a lot of her time. So in order to try and keep our memories of our life in Yuma she has asked that I help out.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Another Dog, What Was I Thinking

 I swore that I wasn't going to get another dog after Zoey died but back in May an ad came up on Craigslist for a black lab puppy that was free to a good home.  I have no idea what made me do it but we went and picked up Shadow from a town on the Mexico border and she has been a great dog.  He said she was 5 months so I was hoping she was out of the nipping puppy phase but her shot record when we got her said she was 3 months.  For an outside dog at her first home, she did awesome at house training and is really good with the kids.
 She has quickly become Brooklyn's best friend and heaven help anyone that tries to scold the dog in front of her.  Brooklyn will tell you "That's my dog and you can't be mean to her."
She is a great running partner and is a big desert rat, just like Brooklyn.  Both of them love long walks in the desert, where Shadow is off her leash and Brooklyn is out of the stroller.  They will both run and dig and chase each other for as long as I let them.  I don't know what we will do when just a few blocks away we don't have a giant sandbox/off-leash dog park.

And who doesn't love a friend that will lick your feet sometimes.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sedona and Capital Reef National Park

In July we had another chance to go camping with our family.  With Abe heading off to San Antonio for a chunk of the summer we decided to make it into a little bit longer vacation and hit Sedona on our way north.  As usual we had a great time exploring new places and being together.

Our only full day in Sedona we spent hiking Devil's Bridge and it was gorgeous.  We had such an amazing day with our tough hikers.

The hike ends with a very cool natural bridge. And by very cool, I mean terrifyingly high.  There is a reason that I was the one taking the picture.  It was an amazing view.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Such a great day being together as a family!
Our tired hikers at the top of the hike.
After a day in Sedona we took a long drive through Arizona and Utah to get to Capital Reef National Park.  It was a lot of miles of nothingness to get to a beautiful place.  The drive felt like quite an adventure as we were never quite sure when we would find civilization again.  At one point it seemed like we hadn't seen another car in forever.  In the distance we could see some big mountains coming and it was hard to see what direction the road was going to turn to take us around the very steep mountains.  As we got closer we started seeing warning signs about gravel road ahead, don't continue if you are towing something, if you want to live turn back now (okay not really), but we quickly realized that the "road" was taking us over the mountain.  The 2-lane road quickly became 1 1/2 lanes of dirt winding up the mountain.  I think I held my breath the whole time, hoping that we didn't have to pass another car.  Thankfully no one us was crazy enough to take that route and for future trips we will take a closer look at where the GPS is sending us.

The camping spot was in an orchard so it the kids loved picking fruit and watching the animals that came to eat there too.
The kids had a great time taking hikes through the area.

Probably the most time was spent playing in this little water area behind the campsites.  The kids played there together for hours.  We are so lucky to have cousins close enough for fun camping trips.
Nothing like hiking through a muddy pass for some fun.
These two made the cutest playmates.  Brooklyn and Brighton stayed together all the time.  Mainly pretending to be animals and feeding each other old apples.  Brooklyn's huge smile tells how much fun she was having.

After our time in Capital Reef we headed through St. George and stopped at Zion National Park.  We didn't get to really check out Zion's but we can't wait to go back.
I love these troopers who are always up for an adventure.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

My family is so patient with me.

 I absolutely love abusing my family by making them take pictures.  Abe and I are bad about pulling out the camera and capturing moments on anything but our cellphones so sometimes its necessary to have some pictures to remind me of how little they once were.  And bribed with enough candy the kids are pretty willing to play along.  Abe, on the other hand, is not so easily persuaded.  Maybe if I force enough pictures these kids will eventually learn how to smile and look at the camera.  Its my favorite when they can even look like they like each other while we do it. I love these beautiful kiddos of mine.

Monday, October 5, 2015

End of Another School Year

 Another great year in school flew by for the kids.  The kids had a great time at the awards assembly at the end of the year as they both got awards for Honor Roll and Ethan got an award for perfect attendance.  But the award that Taylor had wanted all year and not gotten was the Good Citizen Award.  Every time they had awards she longed to get that award, probably because the teacher usually gave it to a child that didn't get the Honor Roll award and Taylor usually is a very good helper so she felt it wasn't fair.  But at the end of the year there is a Principal's Award for the student in each class that has been good all year long and is the kid that every teacher wished she had 20 of.  Taylor was super excited to get this award for her class.  She is a good friend to the kids in her class and a great helper to the teacher.  She was always willing to take over the class and teach if the teacher ever needed a day off :)

 Taylor and her best friend were always so excited to get their pictures taken together with their awards!
And Miss Brooklyn, who never wants to be outdone, is always ready to set up her own stage and sing Frozen songs to us.  Its so great when she gets the toilet paper holder from the kids bathroom and uses it as a microphone.  It grosses me out so bad!

Spring Break in Payson, AZ

 We love living closer to family here in Arizona and one of the biggest perks is family vacations.  This year Spring Break for our kids lined up with Spring Break for Abe's brother's Chad's kids so we planned a joint camping trip to Payson, AZ.  Abe's parents came too and we had such a great time.  Payson is lovely because its at a higher elevation so its cooler and greener (I probably would not have considered it green 4 years ago but compared to Yuma and San Antonio its pretty green).
 The weather during the day was perfect for hiking.  We did several different hikes in the area but the kids favorite was one with tons of rocks to explore and a grandpa always willing to go off the beaten path for a good challenge.

 I love my little rock climbers.  I'm so glad they all love the outdoors as much as Abe and I do.  The nights were really cold but the kids were such troopers.  The first night we all stayed in the tent and pretty much wore every layer of clothing that we had.  When it got down into the 40's we thought we might freeze to death and we had some nighttime wanderers looking to get warm.  Poor Brooklyn had on 3 layers of pajamas and we covered her crib with a blanket to keep as much heat in as we could.  Once she was all dressed she looked like the kid in A Christmas Story who can't put his arms down.  But since she only took naps on her dad's back during the hikes she was tired enough to fall asleep anywhere by bedtime.  On the second night Ethan and Taylor decided to take Grandma and Grandpa up on their offer to stay in their pop-up.
 The second day of hiking was more trails through the mountains rather than rocks so my kiddos weren't as thrilled.

 Good thing Abe is such an amazing pack mule.  All that Army rucksack training really pays off on these trips.

One day we decided to rent some side by sides to go drive through the mountains along with the ATVs that Dad and Chad had.  At first we were all just going to take turns going for rides but in the end we decided to rent enough equipment for everyone to ride so we packed our lunches and headed off into the mountains.  The kids were so excited.....
 for a while until the wind blowing and the cool, mountain air put them to sleep.  Brooklyn had been acting really whiny that morning and after about 30 minutes of driving we realized she had a stomach bug.  The poor little girl threw up everywhere in her carseat and all over herself.  We did the best we could of cleaning her up on the trail and Taylor donated her long sleeve shirt to wear as a dress.
 After about an hour of driving Abe said our vehicle started responding really weird as we tried to make it up a very rocky trail.  He took a look at the front wheels and something was obviously wrong with the front axle.  We were the last vehicle in line but luckily everyone eventually noticed that we didn't make it up the hill and came back to find us.  We had the phone number for the rental place and luckily there was cellphone signal to call them for help.  We weren't too far up the trail so we could tell them the trail number we were on and they told us to wait for them to send help.
 Thanks to our planning we just stopped and ate our lunch on the side of the road while we waited for help to come.  I love our laid back, go with the flow family.  They are so awesome.
 Instead of complaining, Dad pulls out a gun and sets up some targets for shooting practice.
While we stopped for lunch Brooklyn begged for water so we gave her some, which she quickly proceeded to throw up right around where we were preparing lunch.  Taylor looked very concerned and asked if she was going to have to give up her only shirt.  Nope, we just wore the vomit shirt for the rest of the ride.  

Finally the rental shop showed up, without a spare vehicle, and we prayed that they would be able to fix it so we could continue our fun.  Luckily it was some common issue that they have and the guys were able to get it fixed.  The amazing shop told us that they wouldn't charge us for either vehicle because of the inconvenience the breakdown had caused!  We were super excited for such an awesome, free trip.

 Sometimes the roads got a little steep and Ethan, my usual daredevil, got a little nervous.  It was funny to see that some things do rattle him.  What a beautiful day to spend with our family.

 The rest of the time we hung out at the campsite where the kids explored the woods around the site and practiced shooting Grandpa's little bow and rode their bikes for hours.  They loved having great cousins to spend time with.  We soon realized that Brooklyn is a desert baby who really didn't know what to do with herself in the woods.  She was afraid of all trees because every living thing around our house has some sort of spikes.  And she was deathly afraid of pinecones.  She would point and cry at all of them lying around the ground in the pine forest.  We had to clear them out of her path all the time.

We can't wait for the next camping trip with our awesome family!