Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ethan's Birthday and Stella's Blessing Day

Our family got together on Saturday, January 4th before 9am to celebrate
 Ethan's birthday and Stella's blessing day. 
Jenny and Ed deserve lots of credit for orchestrating so much in a small amount of time.
 And with a new baby!

These photos were taken in their stake center in Springville. Stella is so lucky to have a wonderful big brother!  Immediately following Ethan's baptism we retired to a private room for Stella's baby blessing. Jenny and Ed chose this crazy schedule to accommodate all the travel needs for the rest of family and it worked out great!

Jenny and Ed's family is really growing and we are so thankful for them.
The best blessings we have are the times we spend with our sweet families! 
We love these kids so much and wish we could spend more time with all of them!
After the baptism and blessing we returned to Jenny's for a terrific Cafe Rio style lunch with yummy pork and all the fixins', followed by an awesome bowling party at the BYU bowling alley. It's become a bit of a tradition to take the kids there when we are in town and it's a lot of fun.

We returned to Ethan's for cake and ice cream. 
Ethan and grandpa share a favorite cake:  devils food cake with Italian meringue frosting! 
It's a yummy combination.
Ethan turned eight years old!

Everyone's favorite game this year was Ticket to Ride Europe! 
Can't wait to play when we visit the next time! I've always wanted to go back to Europe.
I'm so grateful for the time we get to spend with our families and for the super sweet kids they are! Have a great time being 8 Ethan!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

~ Happy New Year ~

 Dick and I spent New Years Eve in Salt Lake City with Michael and Aubrey and Megan.  It's such a fun city with so much to do. And a very beautiful one too. Temple Square is my favorite spot. Especially during the holidays.
We arrived a little early while the kids were still working and spent some time in City Creek Center. 
If you have some time to spare shopping is always a good idea. 
 The holiday decorations were so nice and festive and it was our last chance to see them as 
the New Year would require they be put away for another year. 

 Lights are such a wonderful symbol of what we should look for in life.

 We started the festivities off with some appetizers and an awesome
 pizza dinner at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana. 
The meatball starter was pretty amazing!
It was all very good! And they have a gelato
place next door but we were stuffed!

The kids! 
 Following dinner we headed to temple square for a concert at the tabernacle. The lights and decorations were just spectacular! And it was mobbed! I've never seen so many people there. Except for maybe conference but I don't know. 
 I loved this nativity on the pool surrounded by floating candles. 
Meg. Contemplating life. Or just shivering, maybe.  
Our hosts for the evening: after running around the city and catching up on some events 
we retired to Mike and Aubrey's and played games and ate snacks. Mike even played
 his new guitars for us which was a lot of fun! 
I'm so grateful for my sweet family. They bring so much joy to my life. 

Sweet Baby Thomas

On Sunday, December 29th, we all gathered at Stephanie and Cortney's to attend Thomas's baby blessing in North Logan. It was really cold and a beautiful day. 

 Cortney holding the precious boy!
 Everyone wants a turn to hold the baby but notice how he smiles so much wider when Grandma holds him! We became fast friends and roomies during his early days.  
Holding him makes the world seem like a better place. 
Stephanie knitted the beautiful sweater he's wearing. It's a tradition that I love.
 Our sweet little Logan boys!

 What a beautiful family ~ so glad they are mine!

Loving being with Auntie Meg!
What a beautiful way to start a wonderful new year!
Babies bring so much love and  happiness to  a family. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Joyeux Noel !

 December was an amazing month this year! I wasn't working, I wasn't in school, but we did a vacation a little too close to the holidays so I still felt a little rushed. We were so lucky to be able to spend the holidays with all of our children. First we celebrated birthdays at Dave and Vallie's for Dave and Grandpa Dickie with the little girls. They are always so sweet and cuddly.

 We were also able to stay over and attend the Kenai ward Christmas party.
 Madeline and Lydia wore their dresses from Hawaii to brighten up the occasion!

 Grandpa reading with Madeline. She loves books and loves to read!
Madeline loving her baby. What a sweet moment. This may go down in history of my most favorite photo of her. Notice her hand was still moving. She is an active one. But I think her soul was still.  :)
And the best part of baking is ....tasting!

 And sprinkling......Mom was so patient to let us loose in her kitchen. 
 Some of the fruits of our labors! They are destined to be bakers all!
 We came back for Christmas Eve, where we dressed in new jammies from Dave and Valli!

 Dave and Valli had such a pretty tree this year with so many pretty ornaments! 
 Christmas dresses!
Rewind 24 hours please.
Christmas Eve morning found us alone to reflect on the holiday and share some sweet time together. 
I had asked for some kitchen things and wasn't disappointed. And I am having fun playing with all the new toys!
Dick's Christmas present was completed early so to prevent running the risk of him finding out about it I gave it to him for his birthday two weeks earlier. I commissioned a friend of ours in Anchorage to paint the Anchorage Alaska temple for him. He did a beautiful job and we were both so pleased. In the last ten years we have spent many hours there and it's become a second home to us. It will be so hard to leave it and so many friends behind. 
 Christmas Cocoa! It's our favorite tradition. We keep the chocolate industry in business.
This was a wonderful year for us, new experiences, new babies, new adventures and new blessings. We hope 2014 will be as exciting. It's already off to a great start!

Happy New Year to All!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Aloha Kona

Dick finally got his long awaited trip to Hawaii. It's been two years since we had a vacation and we were looking forward to it. 
First stop was Oahu for a few days to decompress and get used to the island life before heading over to Kona. 
The beach at Waikiki is still one of my favorites. 
So nice and big and calm and beautiful white sand. And so convenient to the hotel. 
 The grounds at the Hale Koa are just beautiful and keep a lot of people employed just trying to keep the jungle from invading and taking over. 

 The Kona Temple. It was hard to get a good photo because it sits at the end of a city street and it's so wide. I guess it would've been a good day to bring along the good camera. It's quite beautiful inside and reminded us a little of the Anchorage Temple.

Every morning we would hike up to the top of this hill near our condo.
 I was sure I was going to die the first couple of days! 
 Since Kona still has active volcanoes, the terrain is a little more rugged and many of the beaches are the black lava sand. But they are still beautiful.

The salt and pepper color comes from the combination of coral and lava. 

 The view from our lanai. Most of our meals were cooked on the grill and we had such a good time experimenting with all the new fish options! Just grill it all!
You can't go wrong.
 The little shopping center we walked by each morning. 
The Captain Cook monument. At first he was welcomed as a god, but no so much after that.  
He was killed here by the locals. Too bad cause it's a beautiful little bay that is very popular for kayaking and snorkeling. We took a cruise out here and snorkeled all day and it was a lot of fun and we met a lot of very nice people. 
 Waimea, where are the ranches are. 
And Merriman's, where we had a wonderful dinner. 

We took one day off from beaching and drove to the Volcano National Park.  Interestingly enough, there are no volcanoes here, but there are craters that still have lots of steam vents, which is in the background. It was a fun day. Some to find out, the Air Force has a rec camp here inside the park, which is nice. 

 We had a wonderful lunch at this lovely little inn in the town of Volcano.
 The best strawberry rhubarb bread pudding. 

 On the way home we stopped by the famous Puu'lunu black beach where all the sea turtle like to hang out.
Also lots of tourists would can't read the "keep away from the turtles" sign. So instead they just took lots of pictures and bothered them. Too bad they aren't really fast and bite!
 You will never guess where this is???

Our last night we had a great meal at the fun place called the Fish Hopper right on the water in downtown Kona! A must do for anyone who goes to the island. This was our appetizer. 

One of the few white sand beaches on the Big Island, this one is Kapuna, along the northern part of the Kona side of the island. Most of these beaches are attached to large resorts or state parks. 

One of the nice little local beaches. This is more common on the big island.  
An out of sync photo of our snorkeling boat.  
But a fun reminder that there is so much to see and do on this beautiful earth of ours!