Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Emmy's 9th Birthday:

 What?!  That can be right with how many fingers she is holding up . . . so crazy that my Emmy is 9.

 Of course she didn't waste much time in opening her one-present in the morning!

 We went swimming at the Ouray Hot Springs and it was fun!

 The kids (and parents!) got a special birthday lunch:  Nutella and banana sandwiches on homemade white bread (which is such a "treat" for us!) and raspberries.  Yum.  The weather got stormy and so we left - but we had fun and were ready to go anyways.  :)

Emmy opened all her gifts when we got back.
 Here she is working on her lego plane.  :)

She finally finished it - maybe after a tear or two was shed and some help given.  :)  She loves it.  We ate a yummy dinner of tilapia (she had 3) and rice.  Then we watched "Mrs. Doubtfire."  It had a few more cuss words and crude remarks than Ben and I remembered, but it was a pretty good movie.

We stopped at half-time for cake and homemade peanut butter ice cream (Emmy doesn't love PB but she wanted that for ice cream.  And guess what?!  She didn't really like the ice cream.  :)  It was kind of different . . .)
 Emmy picked this cake out with me during a pinterest search.  She was so excited and didn't tell anyone about it.  She LOVED how it turned out and was so sweet and super excited about it.  It was a nice thanks for me.  :)

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you . . .

Monday, August 29, 2016

East Coast - Fort McHenry

Wednesday was our last day.  We had decided to go to the beach - one that was near my old home in Virginia.  So, of course, a stop-over in Montclair was going to happen!  However, that morning, Erin - thankfully - was reading up on the beach we had decided on and found out there was no swimming there.  What?!  So that was out.  We didn't want to go back to a beach on the Chesapeake Bay as there were jellyfishes everywhere.

So we finally decided on going to Fort McHenry and it was pretty cool!
 We watched an information video about the significance of Fort McHenry and then the screen lifted as the Star Spangled Banner was played - revealing the flag in the backdrop (not the original flag, but original location.  We had already seen the original flag at the Smithsonian!).  It was pretty cool.

 These boys were cute and a good little military marching band!

 The "soldiers" behind Jonas were the "flute and fife" players.  They were really, really good and it was fun listening to them!

 Two sisters in front of the American flag.

 Cousins on cannons.

 Maxwell kids on cannons.

 After we toured the fort, we went back to the Hubands' home and went . . . swimming!  Again, the kids had a great time.  We watched more olympics that night as well.

 The cousins usually got a popsicle treat in the evening.  A good way to end many good days!

We had to leave early the next morning - like 4:20am early.  And, unfortunately, my sister's whole family had to take us since we couldn't all fit in one car.  But they were troopers about it and we sure appreciated all that the Hubands did for us that whole trip!

The National Airport (or Reagan airport) was so speedy!  We got through check-in and security in like 25 minutes!  (In contrast, on our way out it took us close to 1 1/2 hours.)  Here we are at the airport waiting to board.  I passed out tic-tacs for all the kids - Lucy was last in picking out hers and ended up with a not-so-favorable flavor.  Hence the tears.  :)  But she quickly calmed down and had eaten all her tic-tacs within an hour of our flight!

The flight was so speedy that we arrived like 40 minutes early!  We had to wait to "park" as another airplane was still there loading.  We had no problems with baggage or anything; Grandpa Max picked us up and we were back in Littleton by 10:30!

Wow, what a great trip!  Lucky us!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

East coast - Movie and Pool day

Tuesday was a "chill" type of day - we stayed close to "home" and went to the cheap summer kids' movie (Shaun the Sheep) and then swam.  And then watched more olympics after dinner.  It was a fun day!

 Lucy loves playing in the water and going under with her spunky goggles!

 Uncle Chuck doing an impressive cannon-ball!

 Emmy and Ollie's bum.  :)

 Crazy Jonas in his crazy goggles that he loves.

 Go Rhett!

 Fun times at the pool, for sure!

The kids got to have a "sleep-over" that night as well.  The Hubands and Maxwells slept in separate rooms which worked out well.  So this was a special night and it went waaaay better than expected.  A fun memory for the cousins.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Dear Beautiful Emmy,

Happy birthday Emmy dear!  You are now 9 years old - one more year to double-digits and, thus, a later bedtime (which you are excited about!).

Another year and you've indeed grown taller.  You're pretty tall for our family actually - way taller than Miles and Lucy when we compare your heights at the same age.  You use to always beat Jonas as well - but that gap has been closing.  We'll see what it is for this year!

You had another great year at school with Mrs. Cretti in the 2nd grade.  Your best-friend was Analisea and you two had a lot of fun together in class - sometimes too much fun.  :)  You continue to learn and grow in all your schooling.

One of the biggest achievements for you this year was that you got to be on the pre-team at gymnastics.  The pre-team and team girls meet together and so you get to be close to the team girls as well.  You've done great at gymnastics (you even got your round-off back-handspring!) and your muscles are pretty great.  You spend anywhere from 4-7 hours a week at the gym and you are always happy and upbeat when we pick you up from class.

I thought gymnastics would stimulate you dinner appetite and that you would come back from 2 hours of gymnastics starving and would *gasp* eat!  But, alas, that was not so.  In fact, it has almost lessened it!  I do give you a snack right before gymnastics - energy balls are a favorite - and maybe that fills you up too much?!  Who knows, but you are just such a dainty dinner eater - usually. . . 

Unless dinner consists of tilapia.  Then you'll chow down 3 fillets.  It's awesome.  In fact, that's your birthday dinner wish for tonight - tilapia!

You continue to be sugar and spice.  You can and are so sweet to Lucy and you two can play so wonderfully and you often times just want to stay home and play with Lucy.  But if Lucy gets frustrated or mad at you, you lose it in one millisecond and declare, "I'm not ever playing with you again!"  Then you play with Lucy a few minutes later . . .

You go crazy on me lots, too.  Perhaps you're more sugar, spice, and FIRE.  :)

But I love you always and forever and no matter what.


Friday, August 26, 2016

East Coast - Gettysburg

So we left NY on Monday and drove to Gettysburg - which is right on the way back to my sister's home anyways.  Perfect.

The kids were quite upset as we drove up and parked - they were assuming we'd be there for like an hour stop; instead we told them we'd be there for the rest of the day.  Maybe Miles wasn't upset?  Anyways, I think the kids ended up having fun - although Emmy will say she didn't.  Ben?  He LOVED it.

 We got there right in time for this program to begin.  The kids - minus Miles who didn't want to join in - got to get guns and hats and be "soldiers."

 They charged at the invisible enemy troops and then shot away - how exciting!

 Jonas totally loved it.  Of course.

 We saw a cool video and then got to view this cyclorama picture.  It was pretty impressive.

There was a neat museum that we got to check out, too.  Ben and I found these remarks (in regards to Lincoln's Getttysburg address) quite interesting:

 There were some who felt otherwise.  :)

 We went to the "Life of a Soldier" presentation and it was super great!  The kid who presented did a great job and we got to pass around all sorts of items - like clothing, shoes, hard-tack, etc.  The gun in the picture was an actual Civil War gun.  Pretty neat.
 The girls on a cannon (in case you didn't know, ha).

 The boys with a cannon and some important monument in the background.  Sorry, I can't remember what it is.  I am sure Ben knows.  :)

 Uhhh, this is another important place - Pickett's charge, I think?!

 We walked a little trail (you can drive, but we opted to "hike" for 10 minutes) to Little Round Top - another important place of the attack at Gettysburg.

Sorry, Ben should do this post!  I don't know what this is all about - some monument to one of the troops.

It was neat to be there and I really think everyone enjoyed it . . . for the most part.  :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Last But Not Least . . .

Miles' first day of school was this past Monday.  But I also started working and so it's been busy around here and so I am now just getting these pictures up of my cute bike-to-school middle-schooler.

We sure love this 7-grader!

East Coast - New York

Not knowing when we'd be out east again, we wanted to make a trek up north to New York - where we lived for a year.  But especially where Jonas was born!  :)  So we decided to drive the 5 hours there and stay for a couple of nights.

On our way to NY we stopped in Hershey, PA and visited the Chocolate factory.  We took a tour, got a free chocolate bar, got free pudding, and had a good time!

 The kids on the little riding tour.  It was cute and we all enjoyed it.

 Now whenever we eat a Hershey's chocolate, we'll be reminded of our little stop here!

 Jonas and his birth-state!  So cool.

 Our home-sweet-home while in NY.  We found some campground and rented this "cabin."  It was really a shed.  It worked out just fine for our two nights and was tons cheaper than a hotel!

That night we drove around, got some dinner, went to a park near our old home (where Miles had once played and swung on the swings), went to the mall to get some Gertrude Hawks chocolate (yes, more chocolate, but this place was somewhere that Ben and I would go and so we just had to experience it again), and then we went to our favorite grocery store - Wegmans.  It's just a nice store and we always loved going there while we lived in NY.
 Here is Miles in front of a cow.  Why you ask?  Because Miles was petrified of Wegman's cow (not this exact one, but at this exact spot.  The old cow was a plastic thing.) and would always start crying as soon as we neared it - whether or not he could see it!  It was crazy!  The cow made some weird mechanical noise and we're not sure if that's what made Miles scared?  But it was funny and so we had to get a picture of Miles and Cow.

 The inside of our home-sweet-home.  :)  Yes, Miles is wearing his shirt as shorts.  No, I don't know why.

 The kids showing off their muscles and tan-lines.  Miles is white as he wears a swim shirt.  :)

 Enjoying our breakfast by the Susquehana river - which was right at our camping spot.  It was really pretty!

 Here is Emmy at our church's parking lot.  We went to our ward and knew a few people and recognized a whole bunch of faces.  It was fun being back at our church!

Then we went and drove by our old home.  We wanted to take some pictures and so Ben went to knock on the door to let them know what we wanted to do.  The owner, Bill, totally remembered Ben (Bill was the guy that bought the house from us!) and that he was an OR nurse, etc., etc.  We were invited into his/our old home and had a delightful tour!  My curtains made by me and my sister were still hanging up on the windows!  It was so fun and the kids loved it - especially Jonas.  :)

 Inside our cute NY home!  See my curtains in the kitchen?!

 What a fun home and awesome property!

 Ben's dad actually helped rebuild the rock wall and made the steps.  So fun!

 Just us.  :)  (It would have been a perfect trip if not for the scary neighbors yelling like crazy - "F" this and "F" that - and then hearing shots go off a little while later. . . )

After our delightful visit to 127 Harrington we went to the Restoration of the Priesthood site.  It's super nice and we had a good visit!  When we were there 10 years ago there was hardly anything at the site - just a marker or two.  Now it's a whole site with many places and things to see and visit.

 Here we are in the replica home of Joseph and Emma Smith, where like 70% of the Book of Mormon was translated.  Very cool.

 Somewhere in these sugar bushes John the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Oliver C. and restored the Aaronic priesthood.  Again, very cool.

 My dad, as a young boy, was at this site many years ago when it was officially dedicated.  So special!

 We love NY!

Some friends from our ward invited us over to diner on Sunday and we all had a good evening at the Espositos!
Monday morning this was our view of the Susquehanna.  It was cool and foggy!

I went on a run in the fog and it was super awesome.  Then we left NY and headed to Gettysburg . . .