Sunday, August 11, 2013

James Family Reunion

Most of my family lives in Wyoming with 3 of us here in Utah. We all live at least 4 hours away from each other with most being over 8 hours. So it's not often that my entire family gets together. We finally decided it was time that we started family reunions.
Growing up we did not live close to extended family so we missed a lot of opportunities to become close to aunts, uncles and cousins. Sadly, I don't have a relationship with most of my cousins or aunts/uncles. And I don't want that for my kids. I want them to call their cousins their friends and be able to share memories with them. One of the biggest reasons we moved back from Alabama was to be closer to family. We took for granted the many blessings having family close offers.
This was the major reason my family decided we should start scheduled family reunions. This year we went to Bear Lake and rented a big cabin. We had such a blast!
We shared one big cabin and each family had to provide one meal for everyone which worked out really well. It was kind of a challenge coming up with meal plans that would feed 25 people, but somehow it all worked out and we ate very well! The kids had a blast just playing with each other and swimming. Us sisters went right back to our usual behavior: complete and total sarcasm! But it works for us and we had a lot of fun joking around with each other. Most nights my sisters and I would end up in the living room talking while some worked on craft projects. I wish my sisters and I lived closer to each other so we could get together more often.
I'll be posting a ton of pictures!
Marlayna, Ellie, Ayden and Sam enjoying a beautiful morning on the porch

Big cousin Ayden helping Kaleb

Aunt Chris crafting with Taters

Ellie and Tate crafting with Aunt Chris

Uncle Spencer playing the tablet with Grant and Tate
My brothers-in-law JJ and Adam brought "toys" for the family to use. JJ brought his razor (atv) and Adam brought a waver runner. The kids had fun taking rides with Uncle JJ. My favorite was when the 3 cousins Ellie, Marlayna and Tate went. The girls were excited but nervous. Afterward JJ told me "your daughter is quite the adrenaline junky. She laughed and screamed the whole, especially when I'd revv the engine."
Tate ready to go

The girls held on for dear life!
I don't have any pictures of kids on the wave runner, but they all had a blast. Spencer was excited to ride it and took my kids on a very slow ride on it. None of them wanted to go fast. Later Spencer decided he wanted to try water skiing, something he hasn't done since he was 15. Did it go well, you ask? Well, after a few attempts he tore his hamstring! So no, it didn't go well for the poor guy. He said he was trying to pull himself up in the water and his legs split (very far apart) and he heard a pop! Luckily, Bear Lake has a small medical office and we were able to get him some crutches and pain meds. He spent the rest of the weekend hobbling around crutches and icing his hamstring.

Despite this little accident, the entire weekend went very well. Saturday my Aunt Janette and her family came up to visit us. They played at the beach with the family and got to witness our entire crazy James family. I hope we didn't chase them away! That night we celebrated all the summer birthdays.

cake and icecream!

enjoying birthday cake!
Danielle and I made candy posters for the 3 kids who were celebrating the most recent birthdays: Sam, Grant and James. Love you guys!

 We had family t-shirts made for the weekend. And of course, had to take a big awkward family photo!

just the grandkids
 I love this picture of my parents. It's rare that you can catch Greg on camera being silly
The Jeide Family (my oldest sister Chris and her family)

The Lechner Family minus Mark (My older sister Jillayne and her family)

The Shaw family. Our first photo was with Ellie crying and refusing to be in the picture.
this will be used for blackmail later in life

much better

Danielle did not want a picture by herself so I'll use this one!
awkward shot of me
The Bigelows (my little sister Katie and her family)

My brother Russell and his wife, Nicole were not able to attend the weekend so I don't have any photos of them. Especially in their amazing t-shirts!
After all these photos, my sisters and I decided to get  do some silly ones:

And then the guys decided to do their own:

I love my family! We had so much fun and I can't wait until we do this again in 2 years. I'm in charge of planning the next one. We'll see what I come up with. I am so thankful I have been blessed with an amazing, supportive family. We can be crazy and ornery, sarcastic and chaotic, but we are also loving, funny, and even though I already said this, supportive. I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for this wonderful blessing.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weekend in Price, UT

We spent the weekend in Price visiting my sister Katie and her family. My niece Sam has been visiting us and she has never visited Aunt Katie before so it was a good opportunity to go visit and also play.
Friday night we went to a movie in the park Wreck It Ralph which my kids love. And then Saturday morning we attended a parade.
This is my favorite picture. Big Sister taking care of Little Brother, walking to the parade.

all the cousins ready for the parade

Love my sisters!
 Poor Kaleb received way more attention than he wanted! but he was such a good boy with it.

this was how they wanted to sit to watch the parade.

After lunch we headed to the lake to play. Katie and Adam have friends that let them borrow a wave runner. Sadly, my kids didn't want a ride. They preferred the muddy, rocky beach.
 Tate felt so big because he could "swim" while wearing a life jacket. He loved for me to let go of his fingers and just float in the water. He didn't mind when he would flop forward and get dunked in the water either.

 Cousins joined in the water too. Sam was awesome and swam with Ellie out to a dock that you could jump off of. At first Ellie was really scared and wouldn't but once she did it, she LOVED it and didn't want to stop

must be potty time
 After about an hour, both Tate and Ellie were tired of playing in the water. Which was perfect because Kaleb was done too. So they all played around on the blanket for a little bit while they dried off and ate snacks.
After the lake, it was time to head back home. Tate did not want to go. I had packed up the van and was trying to get him into his seat, but he refused to leave the front yard. He was in tears about leaving. He was so exhausted! Thankfully Aunt Katie came to the rescue and let him borrow a toy from Kaleb to make him feel better about leaving. It totally worked, little Stinker!

Happy Pioneer Day!

This year for the 24th of July we spent the evening outdoors with neighbors. It was an impromptu get together, but still very fun. We all pooled our fireworks together and sat outside talking while kids played.

My niece Sam was here visiting for a few weeks and got to participate with us.

As usual, the only way my kids would watch the fireworks was with their ears plugged.

But they weren't the only ones!
sparklers are always fun
Spencer and our neighbor Coy cuddled while watching the fireworks. What goofballs!
Coy looks scary
I love our neighborhood and the many friends we have here. I hope that my children will remember what a blessing it is to have these friends and memories.

Ayden's Birthday Party

It's been a few years since Ayden had a birthday party with friends. 2 years ago we had just moved to Alabama and he didn't know anyone and last year he was very sick and couldn't do anything. So this year we wanted to make sure he had a good time with friends. Luckily, being a summer birthday the party planning is very easy: water games.
We had the boys over for dinner and then went outside for water games.

pizza and watermelon: perfect summer dinner
Before we could get the boys organized for water games, they had already organized themselves for a football game. Boys!
down, set , hut
 We only did a few water games, but they all had a blast. We played water balloon volleyball, relay race to fill cups with water, water limbo, and all out balloon war.

love the hand off to Ellie

Tate was hilarious to watch do limbo

This last photo makes me laugh. Spencer was in charge of water limbo and I happened to look over in the middle of the game and this is what I captured. It shouldn't make me laugh as much as it does!
After games, the boys came inside for presents and treats. The highlight of gift opening was the gift that was wrapped in 7 layers of gift wrap, the last being a princess wrapping paper! They thought it was hilarious. I'm so glad that Ayden was able to celebrate being 9 with his friends. It makes me happy that we live in an area where he can be blessed with so many wonderful friends.