Thursday, July 21, 2016

my mama's birthday


My mom is one of the very best people I know. She is my biggest cheerleader and anyone who talks to her walks away feeling like a million bucks. It is a gift. She helps people see the best in themselves and is always so thoughtful. She is the hostess with the mostess and as classy and beautiful as they come. Needless to say...I love her very much. We generally go to her house for a little party on our birthdays so I was excited to be able to treat her to a little birthday party at our house this year. This was way back in June, but it was such a nice evening and I felt like the fact that I actually got out my big camera needed to be documented.


Lou in this one is killing me! And her double bandaid knees make it even better. My Aunt Kathy was in town for the week which made it even nicer.


My friends' cute sister made our wedding cake for us as a gift and all that was left of it at the end of the night were a few crumbs. It was that good! I have been begging for the recipe and my friend gave it to me a few days before my mom's party. It was amazing! And I had been wanting to try and make pretty cake for a long time, just because, and this seemed like the perfect time to try!


Louie and Minnie picked a bunch of flowers (weeds) to add a centerpiece to their kids table. Always with the weeds.


Our ghetto swing always seems to provide some entertainment. I love this picture of my dad and cute Jeremiah.


Our side yard could use a little TLC, but our big Elm provides lots of shade in the evening, so it worked out well. It randomly rained on us as we were finishing dessert so we had to take the party inside to open presents.


Minnie was adamant that she wanted to make Grandma a necklace and bracelet for her birthday and in spite of my recommendations, she insisted it be made out of paper. My mom was so cute when she opened them and put them right on. She ended up coming over to our house again a week or so later and wore them again. Minnie was sooooo pleased! Like I said, my mom is an angel. She knew that would mean so much to Minnie, and it really did.


Happy birthday, Mom! I sure love you and I hope I can be as sweet and as thoughtful to my kids and grandkids as you are to us. We are so lucky you are ours.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

catching up on summer

Summer has been pretty dang good to us this year and I have a phone full to the brim of pictures to prove it. I can't believe school will be starting in about 5 weeks. How does summer always slip by so quickly? I hate it. 

This, my friends, is going to be one big photo dump of almost everything that's happened in the last two months. Hold onto your hats because you've got a lot of scrolling to do.


Minnie "graduated" from preschool in May. It was a little bittersweet because she is really excited to go to kindergarten, but she has loooooved preschool. She made such good little friends and her teachers were like second moms to her. Luckily Miss Tammy is just down the street and in our ward so we will still see her often. Three or four of the kids from her class will also be going to her school, and one of her best friends, Nora (pictured above with her cute sister Mila), is going to be in Minnie's kindergarten class. Louie will start preschool here next year and I think all those days of dropping Minnie off and hearing all the ins and outs of the cool dress ups and toys there has her anxious to start. She's been a bit of a mama's girl lately so I'll be interested to see how she does going there on her own.


On Memorial Day we have made it a bit of a tradition to go visit a few family graves in the Wasatch Lawn cemetery. Both Louisa and Minnie were named after my grandmas who are buried there so I think it's a good chance for us to think about them and the girls love seeing their names there. This year we decided to have a little picnic dinner next to my Grandma Louise, Grandpa Van and Uncle Michael's graves. It was such a beautiful night. 

We also celebrated my mom's birthday at Rio Grande in June (since our favorite Golden Phoenix was mysteriously closed). Aunt Kathy was in town so it was fun to have her there, but unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture until after Nick and Megan were gone. I was also able to put a little birthday celebration together at our house that weekend, which I will post about later.


Robert and I played tennis against Julia and Colin a month or so ago, which was really fun, and the girls had a grand old time biking around the opposite court and then giving tennis a try. Thinking about them playing tennis in the future makes me so happy. I loved that sport and I hope they will too.

We also love summer night barbecues with good friends. Can't get enough of this nice weather!


Sunday nights spent at my parents house are the best! Somehow we are always the last ones to leave (so we always bring jammies for the kids to change into). I think it's hard to leave not only because I love it so much, but because once we get in the car the reality that tomorrow is Monday sets in. Wah wah! p.s. How cute is my dad with William?


After much deliberation, we bought season passes to Lagoon. I dare say that it has been the greatest decision we have ever made. It has been so fun to just cruise over there in the evening and spend a few hours on rides. Their kiddie land is actually pretty great and the girls are total thrill junkies. Many a summer night this year has been spent at that place. We also have a few friends and cousins who got passes so it has been fun to go with them.


Before school was out, our cute neighbor up the street who's a bus driver asked if the girls would want to go on a ride one afternoon before he headed to do his pick ups. The girls were so excited and he was so sweet with them. He had music playing in the bus and let them choose any seats they liked.  We wandered around the neighborhood and then he took us up past the temple where they were replacing the Angel Moroni that had been struck by lightening a few months before. He decided to take us down a side street so we could get a better look at the work they were doing, but unfortunately he didn't realize the street was closed about a half mile down because of the crane placed there. I had to run to the back of the bus and guide him as we did a 39 point turn, but somehow by the hair of our chinny chin chins, we were able to turn around and get out of there. It was pretty funny. The adventure ended with a drop off right in front of our house, which the girls loved. 


Charlotte and her boys came to visit for a week or so before our big Mecham family reunion in Washington, DC. The girls and I had been counting down their visit for months and about broke the door down when they pulled into the driveway! We had such a good time with them here. Charlotte is Miss Adventurous and I feel like we hit all the big SLC hot spots in the time she was here, which was so fun (and crazy). We headed out to Antelope Island one day where we saw loads of buffalo, visited the old ranch there and then tried our hand at a bit of a beach day at the Great Salt Lake but the flies were seriously so nasty on the shore that we couldn't hack it. We were all a hot, sweaty, salty mess covered in swarms of flies. This picture of us in the water makes it look much better than it was. Then pushing strollers and crying kids back up the sandy hill was killer. I think it should probably be used as a form of torture. I am a wuss, but honestly, it was a rough ending to an otherwise really great adventure. We also went to This is the Place Park, which was a huge hit. I always thought that place seemed lame, but I loved it too! We ended up staying there for like 6 or 7 hours. We also took the whole Mecham crew up to the Collard cabin for a night which turned out to be great. No one but Julia had been up there before and I think they all realized why we love it there so much. The ATVs are always a huge hit with kids, but we also just spent hours hiking around, picking wildflowers and exploring and the kids were happy as could be. I love that place. Also, look at big ol' four-month-old William in Minnie's lap! That chub is growing like a weed and I am finally starting to feel a little more comfortable with the girls holding him and not breaking him.


The reunion in Washington, DC was wonderful! Nearly the entire Ralph and Barbara Mecham family were able to get out there and it was so much fun seeing people we hadn't seen in a long time.


On Sunday evening a whole crew of us headed down to the monuments. It was quite a bit busier than we'd anticipated, but it was so beautiful seeing everything at sunset and in the dark when they were all lit up. It was such a fun night. And look at that cute crew of some of the great-grandkids on the right. My grandparents home is in the background. That place will always be a little piece of heaven to me. I have such fond memories of visiting there as a kid and then visiting there a few times when we lived in Pennsylvania a few summers ago. It feels like coming home when we are there, and I think it's due to how good my grandparents are to us.


And look at my cute Grams and Gramps! They've been married now for 60 years. I love them! 

And the picture on the right is of the family playing frisbee on the Mall lawn between monument stops. It was such a beautiful night! 


One day Charlotte's family, our family, my dad and Julia took the Metro from Rockville into downtown. We went to Ford's theater, where Lincoln was shot, and then across the street to the home where he died. We also went to the Natural History Museum for a little bit and then walked past the White House for a picture. It was seriously the hottest day ever and all of us were a sweaty mess, but we still had a good time.


We had a pool party one night at my grandparents friend's home, which was so lovely. It rained on us pretty hard, but not until after dinner and lots of partying, so it worked out great. 

And look at Lou with her cousin crush, Jake! I love it. It reminds me of myself when I was little and all the little crushes I had on older boys. Love sponges forevvvvver!!!


My grandpa has been eating breakfast at the same McDonald's every morning for years now. He is an institution there and has even claimed his own (illegal) parking spot right near the front door. The whole crew of 60+ of us had breakfast there together with him one morning, which was hilarious. It was a mad house but everyone loved it.

We also went over to a state park one morning for brunch and then a few of us went paddle boating on the lake there. It was stunning, but I'm sad I didn't get some better pictures of all of us. I feel like I took a lot of videos during the trip and not nearly enough pictures. I'll have to steal some from my sister if and when she posts hers. My Uncle Brad did take a few candid pictures as well as some family pictures in front of my grandparents house so luckily I was able to steal a few of those.


Minnie was first up at the family talent show. The girl is a performer.


Jeremiah wowed us with his "head, shoulders, knees and toes" skills and got the rest of the crowd to join in. Look at my dad on the right taking pictures. He kills me! We have a group on Facebook that my dad made for our family and he literally posts pictures on it weekly. I never thought I'd see the day when my dad was more active on FB than me.


All the kids at the end getting down with their bad selves. I love them!


Look at this huge crew! I think we are only missing five out of the whole family. Pretty amazing. And looks like Grandpa forgot to close the garage. Whoops!


Even the Steve and Angela Mecham crew is getting big! I can't believe there are 17 of us now. Also, William missed the memo on where the camera was...at least you can still see his face.


These two ladies here are two of my very best friends. How did I get so lucky in the sibling department? Charlotte and Matt were preparing to move to Abu Dhabi for Matt's work this summer, but then they received word that the position had been filled. They were disappointed, especially Matt who had been feeling a little bored in his current position, but I couldn't help but be a bit happy they'd be sticking around in the states. Well, in the middle of our trip to DC Matt got a call and was told that he actually had gotten the position and that he'd be needed there in a few weeks. I am so happy for them because they seem so excited about it, but selfishly, I am sad for myself. They've already lived in Korea and Canada and then Houston for quite sometime, so I'm used to them being far away, but this move just seems so much further and more sad to me for some reason. I'm a big baby. I hope they love it and am hopeful they'll visit us for a month or two every year to avoid those wicked hot summers.

And look at those little cuties on the right! Charlotte's boys and my girls quickly reached sibling status during their stay where they fought and loved each other like crazy and had a great time in spite of it. I will forever and always wish they lived close to us. The girls do too. It was hard to say goodbye to them this time around because we knew it was going to be a long time until we are going to see them again. I'm tearing up thinking about it now. Like I said, I'm a big baby. Hopefully they won't be there forever, and if the stars align and tickets are miraculously reasonably priced, we'll go visit.


We made it to Centerville's Fourth of July parade about 20 minutes before it ended a few weeks ago, which was perfect because the girls loved catching and chasing after the candy tossed from the floats and it was so stinking hot that staying much longer would have been torture.

We then headed over to Lagoon for a few hours before a BBQ with friends, and although it was busy, we got a solid 8 or 9 rides in within about an hour. Like I said, we love our season passes.


This past weekend we headed up to the cabin again with just our little family and Robert's mom. We didn't officially decide to go until about 7 PM Friday night so we didn't get up to the cabin until midnight. In spite of the late start, we had a really relaxing weekend and the girls loved it, as usual. Will had his first ride in a swing and as you can see, the boy loved it. I love him! I have a few big camera pictures I took there that I'll share later.


Louisa turned three on July 18th. I can't believe that little munchkin is THREE! Robert had to leave for scout camp that morning but left a box of donuts for us for breakfast on the counter. Lou was thrilled to have a pink one for her birthday and made Minnie and me sing to her twice, once of which was over a half-eaten donut. I tried to make the day fun by having a few surprises for her. I took the girls to get their nails painted at a nail salon, which was just about the cutest thing ever. The guy there who painted their nails was so sweet with them and made it so fun. That night I took Lou to the food court and Dino-land, which she loves, and I also took her up to the Disney store where she could choose any toy she wanted. She chose a princess figurine set and was brave enough to take the money to the counter and buy it herself. I was proud! I was also grateful she chose a $10 toy rather than one of the million $100 toys she could have. Smart girl. She ended up just playing with her princesses on the bench the entire time we were at Dino-land, which means she made a good purchase, right?


Look at Min's cute belly in the Great Salt Lake! I'm going to be so sad when that belly is gone. And on the right is Min and Lou in the tent Charlotte and her boys sent Lou for her birthday. It was the one toy she got to open on her birthday and she was thrilled. Both of them immediately changed into princesses dresses and headed out to play after she opened it. Oh, the simple life of a kid.

Are you still here? Did you survive that novel? If so, I'm utterly impressed. As you can see, summer really has been good to us and I'm aching for an extra month to be tacked on. We still have some fun ahead of us, but back-to-school stuff is already coming in the mail and it's making me depressed. I can't think about that until after Min's birthday. Hopefully this next month I'll be a little better at keeping this blog up to date, otherwise you better prepare yourself for another one of these doozies.