Our trip to Washington was so much fun. We got to spend time with some of our favorite people -- the Hill side of the family -- and had all sorts of adventures. During the last ten days of our trip we got to go on the foot ferry to Bremerton to play in the fountains, Dan finally came back to Washington to join us, we went to Northwest Trek (a very cool animal park), we went to a fun ward BBQ at Long Lake, and we got to ride the miniature steam trains in Port Orchard. You can see lots of pictures of all these activities here.
I thought we'd had enough fun to last us all summer, but when we got home we realized things were just revving up! The boys, having proven during our WA trip that they were big enough to handle them, got bunk beds! This was extremely exciting, and I've only had to remind them not to use them as a jungle gym 12 or 20 times.
Then Eliza got a haircut! This was a subject of much discussion and speculation amongst us -- she had these two extra long locks that made her look really scraggly, but we didn't want her not to look like a baby any more. I was so distressed about it I even sprung for the slightly more expensive kids' hair salon, Cookie Cutters, reasoning to myself that they'd have more experience cutting baby hair. Whether or not that is true I cannot say, but she did turn out awfully cute. And it was very helpful that they had all sorts of play equipment and things to keep the boys busy while I was taking care of Eliza. Here are the before and afters, though I really don't think the after does her cute 'do justice:
Then it was 4th of July celebration time! We had a great time doing the slip-and-slide at Nana's house, then went to the big bbq at the Pinegars (my parents' neighbors and friends). The kids really got into the fireworks this year -- even Eliza seemed awestruck rather than scared. You can see lots of pictures of our Independence Day fun here, but here are my favorites:
I just love how these all these little cousins are getting to be such good buddies! We all had even more fun together when we went up to Bear Lake a little later for a few days of camping and boating. The boys got up early to go fishing and had fun even though they didn't catch anything. For my part I was just proud of myself for sleeping in a tent for the first time in years. Since I had my Gel topper, it wasn't too bad! So perhaps it doesn't count as roughing it, but it was certainly a step in that direction.
We've also had some fun times with the Tarbet/Neves side of the family. One Sunday we all got together for a big joint birthday party for Grandma Ann, Donny, and Katie, then the next Saturday we got together again for Donny's baptism. It is always so fun to hang out with everyone and watch all the kids running around together. My youngest cousins are only a little older than my kids -- just old enough to be worshipped and followed around adoringly! The boys are always so excited when they hear that Donny or Jacob are going to be wherever we're going, and I'm glad they have good boys to look up to and follow.
One of our favorite new things to do is play at the new splash pad and fountains in Highland. The kids have a blast running around in the water and it's free! Always a big plus.
The big news from the past couple of weeks was that we had Taya and Noah (my niece and nephew) staying with us for several days while Dan and Carrie went to England. The boys thought they had died and gone to heaven, having such fun playmates for days on end. Eliza just watched Taya adoringly and followed her wherever she went. I think the kids played about 15 different varieties of "House," including "kitty house" and (my least favorite) "potty house."
Me: "What on earth is potty house?"
Sam: "Well, one of us pretends to be the potty, and the other person sits on you and pretends to go potty."
Me: "No more potty house."
Unfortunately, that didn't end the matter. Later that day, as I was making dinner and the kids were playing in the back yard, Taya came in and asked, "Is Josh supposed to be pooping in the yard?"
Me: "Ack, no!
Josh: "But I had a emergency!"
Needless to say, that was really the end of potty house. At least, that was the last I heard of it... They also played "Office," which I was glad to find out was acting out a dad taking his son to work and had nothing to do with a mid-level paper company in Scranton. We made cool necklaces out of playdough, and the kids went through quite a stack of construction paper making cards and other projects. We were so happy to have Taya and Noah with us, and the house seems so quiet now that they're gone. The day after Taya left, Joshy was just kind of moping around and said, "We haven't played any kind of house all day!"
My dad took Dan and the boys on a "boys-only" fishing trip to Utah Lake with my uncles Alan and Victor and their boys. This time they had much greater success -- Sammy was the star of the day, catching 5 white bass. Josh caught three, thanks to the fact that Bapa kept getting mysteriously tired and asking Josh to hold his pole. Within moments, Joshy had caught a fish! Amazing coincidence, eh? I told Josh that Bapa must just have bad luck fishing, because the exact same thing used to happen to Bapa when I was a kid.
We also had the immense pleasure of a visit from Rick and Liz, who had come to Utah from Texas for a Families Supporting Adoption conference. They stayed with us for a couple of nights, and the first night we also had Chad and Esther and baby Cody over for a bbq.
That Cody is just getting so big, and cuter every time we see him! Eliza and Cody were quite curious about each other, and I think they'll be very good little buddies as they grow up. I just love it when Rick and Liz are here -- both nights we stayed up way too late just shooting the breeze and had a great time. The kids were once again overjoyed with our visitors, because they just love Uncle Rick and Aunt Liz. My only complaint is that they couldn't stay longer and they live too far away! :)
We were blessed by a miracle during their stay. Sammy started feeling yucky one evening, and at about 2 a.m. woke up with a fever of almost 104 and was shaking and vomiting uncontrollably. I think it was the sickest he's ever been, and he definitely felt that way, at one point wailing "I'm dyyyyyyyyyyyying!" So, so sad. But Dan and Rick were able to give him a priesthood blessing and promised him that he would be healed. We put him back to bed and he was able to sleep soundly through the night, and woke up fever and throw up free. What a great blessing it is to have the power of the priesthood in our home! I am very thankful to a loving Heavenly Father, to know he is always watching over us.
Whew, we're into the home stretch. This past weekend was Alpine Days, so we went to watch the parade with Ann and Toby and their families. Nana was riding Misty in the parade, and Sammy was SO excited when she rode up and invited him up with her. He got to ride the rest of the parade on the horse with Nana. The other kids were feeling a little left out, but that awesome Nana came back around with Misty and gave them each their own ride. Joshy was totally into the parade this year, and even more excited about the multitude of giant inflatables in the park after the parade. Eliza decided that the parade was a great time to start standing on her own! She suddenly started pushing off Dan's legs and standing for big chunks of time all by herself -- by the look on her face you could see that she was aware of just what an achievement that was!
We think this girlie is going to be walking any day now!
These are just a few of the goings-on of the past 6 or 7 weeks. In other news, my sister Amy started an awesome cake business, my sister Emily has a new boyfriend, my brother Nick and his wife Crystal moved to Oregon, Nick got appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery, and they decided it stunk to be so far from family in an emergency and came home. Dan and I went to the Peter Breinholt concert, which was awesome as always, and the next weekend Dan was kind enough to stay home so I could have a girls night out with my sisters and Mom and Dad (so I guess it was more of a Daddy-Mommy-Daughter date at that point). I love my family so darn much -- what would life be without them? My wonderful husband, my amazing kids, my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends -- you are what makes our life crazy but truly wonderful. We love you!
P.S. If you'd like to see more pictures, please check out more online albums here and here.