Wednesday, January 12, 2011

So much to be Thankful for!!!

We headed up to St. George for Thanksgiving with Andy's family. We were so excited that the whole family was going to be together for a second time this year. Unfortunately, Kathy got sick and had to stay home but Mike still made it with his 3 kids. The kids had so much fun playing with their cute cousin, Noah.

A favorite activity was riding Plasma Cars down the driveway. Ashley and David brought four with them so each of the kids could use their own. I might mention that it was FREEZING and I'm surprised the kids didn't freeze to death!

Uncle Chris was a great sport and played outside with them a lot. Kolson (17) and Henry (13) also played on them with the kids. (Somehow I didn't get any pictures of them, dang!)

When it got too cold they would come inside to play with the marble works we brought, it was a huge hit!

The table ready for Thanksgiving dinner - don't be afraid to admit how jealous you are of that amazing view!

Mike and Ashley carving the turkey - it was perfect! (Even though it finished cooking about 2 hours early, no biggie!)

Most of the adults eating

Grandma sat at the big kids table with Kolson and Henry

The little kids table

Uncle Chris trying to enjoy some football after dinner with Noah, Hayden, Kolson and Henry

We brought a gingerbread house kit and had a fantastic time letting Noah and Henry help decorate it for Grandma and Grandpa. Actually, I'm not sure if Henry helped decorate, he may have just eaten the extra frosting...

This is our humble abode each time we stay in St. George - all three big kids sleep on the air mattress while Mia sleeps in the closet - it is really a perfect set up!

Imagine our surprise when we woke up a few days after Thanksgiving to snow! It never snows in St. George - what a gorgeous sight to see the red rock sprinkled with white snow - gorgeous!

Another view of the snow.

We had such a great time and were able to be there for an entire week. I think Sharon was a bit nervous about everyone being there but in the end it was a great holiday. Other activities included hikes in the red rock, movies, 5 Guys, shopping, swimming, an awesome museum filled with stuffed animals, Pirates Cove for pizza and games, and just relaxing by the fire! I notice I have only a few pictures of Zac and none of Mia - I promise we took her with us, she was probably just sleeping most of the time!

Old Tucson Studios

We have made a goal to try to explore Arizona a little bit more the next few years. A visit from Aunt Shelly and Uncle Joe was a perfect time to check out something new. On Veteran's day we headed 1 1/2 hours south to Tucson for a day trip. 1 1/2 hours actually turned into almost 3 hours due to a horrible accident - Andy ended up off roading in the mini van to the frontage road in order to avoid who knows how many more hours... Steve was following us - not sure how he felt when Andy suddenly turned off the freeway!

We ended up at the Old Tucson Studios - This place was pretty interesting. Many old Western movies and television shows were shot here so it is filled with memorabilia including a walking movie tour.
The kids thought the old school house was pretty weird... especially the creepy "teacher" inside, look closely and you can see her in the background.

The kids had a little encounter with the town Sheriff, which landed them here...

Interesting fact - the Sheriff has actually appeared in several commercials including a Taco Bell commercial in Arizona!

We had front row seats for the town shoot out - it was actually pretty cool!

The kids (and Meredith) got to meet the outlaws!

Zac got along great with this outlaw - and wasn't it perfect that he has a cowboy on his shirt? Zac perfected the phrase - "yee haw" while we were there!

We had a fun time on the carousel, train, car rides and touring a pretend haunted mine. This was a fun little adventure which we capped off by driving into Tucson for some Mexican food. Meredith got a recommendation from a friend as to the best Mexican restaurant - um, it was terrible. Really. Next time we will rely on the reviews we found online!

Brynley goes swimming!

Last November Brynley was dying to go swimming. I tried telling her all day that the pool was freezing but she didn't believe me. Finally I gave in and told her we could go out to the pool. I assumed she would just go and put her feet in... not Brynley, before I knew it she was in her swim suit ready to go. That girl is crazy - the video is pretty funny but I couldn't get it to work on here, dang! I am pretty sure the pool was about 50 degrees when she decided to jump in!

I think she's realizing it wasn't a great idea...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Camping in October?

We spent a few days of fall break camping up near Pine! Our friends Dana and Marshall Griggs invited us to go up with them for a few days. We were so excited to take all 4 of the kids camping for the first time. We stayed for 2 nights and 3 days, it was the perfect amount of time and we all had a blast!

Dana's mom and dad and a couple of her sisters camped with us as well. It's a good thing because they had a lot of supplies and camping know how to help us novices!

Unfortunately it rained the second day we were there - we had left to go on an outing to catch crawdads and while we were gone the rain came rolling in... It was too bad that our entire family left their coats out on the chairs when we left - oops!

Luckily the rain didn't stay long and everything dried out pretty quickly.

Mia was quite the perfect camper. She slept soundly each night in her carseat next to me and generally just hung out around the campfire!

We loved camping so much - it's a ton of work - but so worth it. We can't wait to do some more camping this coming year!

Soccer Season 2010

Both Hayden and Brynley were super excited for soccer to begin this year. It would be Bryn's first season and Hayden's 4th after taking a few years off. It was evident from the first game that Bryn's first season would turn out a lot better than Hayden's first three seasons. She actually hustled and kicked the ball and even made quite a few goals! We won't remind Hayden about how he spent his first three seasons chasing butterflies, playing in the weeds and falling down while the rest of the kids actually played the game!

Brynley's team was so cute and we just loved her coach.

Brynley loved playing with her cute friend Hannah (next to Brynley on the far right)

Brynley had a lot of promise in the beginning of the season but she seemed to get bored after about the 5th game and decided it was more fun to sit on the side and eat snacks or play with mom's phone! We will see if she decides to play again next year - I hope she does because she was really good!

Hayden played this year on a team that seemed to have a lot of experience compared to him! We were a little nervous that he wouldn't fit in and that he might have a hard time. It turned out that Hayden was the fastest kid on the team - he'd be from one end of the field to the next in a matter of seconds - it didn't matter that it was over 100 degrees almost the whole season!

Hayden had an amazing coach who knows and loves the game - we hope to continue on with the same coach and team for as long as possible.
Hayden decided to play goalie this year as well. He played at least one or two quarters in each game. I was terrified the whole time just thinking about him with his glasses being kicked in the face!
Hayden was pretty fearless and did a great job! He needs to work on his drop kicks (they sometimes went straight up instead of in front of him)

We are so proud of how hard Hayden tried and worked this season. He is going to play again in the Spring and we look forward to watching him grow in his soccer skills!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's been too long...

I have missed blogging, I have missed looking back on blog posts. I have one new year's resolution this year - to blog more! It is for me and my posterity after all so I better have something to show them right? And so the posting begins today - with Mia's blessing last September! Yes, I am behind but excited to catch up!

Labor Day Weekend 2010
Mia Bella Ashton was blessed

Mia - 7 weeks old

We were thrilled to have Grandma Nadene here from Oregon, as well as Andy's parents and brother, Chris, from Utah. Brynley made a special request that Uncle Chris come - we were so glad he decided to make the trip, it was fun to have them all here!

Mia with her Great Grandma Nadene - my kids are so lucky to have such a great relationship with their Great Grandma!

With the Ashton's

We spent most of the weekend in the pool, eating, going to movies, and watching football. It was a fantastically relaxing weekend, I couldn't have asked for anything more. Of course I don't have any pictures from the rest of the weekend, oh well!

Siblings by chance - Friends by choice

Andy gave Mia a beautiful blessing - though I couldn't really hear it due to the microphone being about 5 feet from him - grr, oh well. She was perfect during the blessing and slept most of the time during the dinner afterward at our house. In addition to the out of town company, Meredith and her family were there as well as our friends the Bernigers. We were grateful to be surrounded by so many people we love.

Mia was quite taken with Uncle Chris - it took him a minute to figure out how to hold her!

The whole gang!