Monday, January 12, 2015

Second Half of 2014

Life Happens!  I sometimes feel like my life is way too busy and I would like to slow down so I can enjoy each day more.  Because I now have a "smart phone", I find that email and social media, such as Facebook, are easier to access, but in turn, these have taken me farther away from writing this blog.  I follow a few blogs, play "words with friends" and keep up with emails and text messages. Now that Christmas is coming to a close for 2014, I feel determined to try and summarize the second half of the year. It's been too long since I last wrote a post.

Big news in August was our daughter Jen's engagement to her beau Nick!  We are very happy for the two of them!  They are making plans for a 2015 wedding.
 Cailyn performed in a couple of plays with a home school drama group.  Here she's dressed up as a frog! And the family photo below is when she was "Roquefurt" the mouse from "Aristocats".

We had the pleasure of entertaining our grandchildren for a sleepover at the end of October...and we were "entertained" as well! Activities included a trip to the pumpkin patch, a picnic, and decorating pumpkins with Aunt Jen.

Halloween also meant a special visit to Mike & Corissa's house to trick-or-treat with the children, AND fun with the "aunts and uncles" too! This year we had "Dorothy" from Wizard of Oz and an ASU football player...

November is always a busy month, so we usually combine birthday celebrations for Mike, Alan and Marcy, and this year we went to the bowling alley, and went to NYPD for pizza afterwards!  First time bowling for Cailyn and Landon and they had a "ball"!

 Our children gave me a special gift for my birthday this year....a "girls' night out"...Jen, Alissa, Corissa and Cailyn took me to dinner at a new restaurant in downtown Gilbert and then we walked to The Hale Theatre to see A CHRISTMAS CAROL in early December .  It was a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday!

We enjoyed an EARLY Thanksgiving celebration at Terry & Ken's house this year.
 We lined up all of Mom and Dad's great grandchildren for a rare photo together!
 Ken is watching after the youngest little Brock!!
Cailyn and Landon enjoy a turkey dinner on Ken and Terry's beautiful patio!  The weather was perfect for a family gathering!
We worked hard in the fall to finish our preparation for an "open house" at the end of November.  Thanks to Alissa, Mike and Nick for all their hard work, sore muscles and blisters, Vince and I were able to "DIY", shoveling & spreading the 14 tons of gravel rock for the backyard in one day...Whew!!

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we hosted a party for family to help Jen and Nick celebrate their engagement. Nick's parents also helped out with food and beverages, and everyone had a good time!

 The happy couple are making plans for a wedding in 2015~
 Party Decorations were created by Alissa, with lots of fall leaves for the "falling in love" theme!
 Alissa and cousin Amy Silvertooth!
 Jen with cousin Chris Schuld!
 Nephew & Niece, Josh and Beth, with their little ones, Mariana and Anthony!
 Mike, Corissa, Cailyn and Landon!
Jen with her Uncle Ken and Aunt Terry!

The month of December was a blur of activities! We enjoyed celebrating Alissa's birthday early in the month, and and here Cailyn and Alissa are getting a good start on decorating our new tree.  It was fun to decorate our new home for the holidays.

We were very blessed to enjoy several family Christmas gatherings.  At Terry & Ken's home on the weekend before Christmas, Santa made a special appearance for all the children, except Amy & Chris' Ethan was unfortunately ill and missed out on the fun.

 And on the Monday before Christmas, we were invited to Corissa & Mike's home to see all their beautiful decorations, inside and outside!

After the holidays, Terry, Ken, Vince and I took Mom & Dad to celebrate our parents 63rd wedding anniversary (a gift to them in October!) We enjoyed a holiday musical dinner show together in Apache Jct. The date chosen happened to fall on the evening of Terry & Ken's 41st wedding anniversary too! 

We are thankful for many blessings this past year!! And I pray that 2015 is a wonderful year for our family and friends!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Family Camp Out

Mike and Corissa invited us to join them for a family camping trip earlier this spring.  We gladly accepted, however, work conflicts prevented Mike's sisters from joining us this time.  Corissa and Mike made reservations at Canyon Point Campground northeast of Payson, up on The Rim.  Weather-wise, everything was perfect; no mosquitos, no windy conditions, but due to the dry conditions, there were no campfires allowed.  Understandable, but disappointing. Vince and I went up north on Friday morning, June 20, setting up the tent, blue awning, etc. and relaxed and enjoyed the outdoors.

Saturday morning, Mike and Corissa, Cailyn and Landon arrived, and as Corissa got out of their SUV, she warned "quiet time is over!" ;-)  Ahhh, but that's when the fun began!! Landon and Cailyn loved the BIG tent,

 swinging in the hammock....

digging in the dirt!

We played UNO and Cailyn and Grandpa played board games too.  We set up ring toss and bean bag toss games, and Landon also loved kicking around his soccer ball and "playing football" in the woods!

After a peanut butter & jelly sandwich lunch, we went for a walk around the campground.  Cailyn rode her bike, and Landon was happy in the stroller, but later wanted to walk too.

Then we decided take a drive to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery, and had a great time showing the children all the different fish tanks which hold different-sized trout.  Both the children loved "feeding the fish" (special pellet food sold for a quarter), and we loved watching them feed the fish too!

Grandpa and Michael then found a perfect spot along the Tonto Creek for feet washing and wading!  We floated twigs and threw small rocks...and I reminisced about our own children doing the same things in that same creek years ago!

 A simple supper on Saturday night, (hot dogs and mac'n'cheese),  and even though we couldn't have a campfire, Corissa suggested a tin-foil version of "somemores" and we all enjoyed the yummy goodness!

By the time it was getting dark, Vince and I had given Cailyn and Landon new "headlamps" so they could have fun with flashlights in and out of the tent.

Once inside the tent, they were pretty worn out and went to sleep quickly.  When I woke up (early) to go to the outhouse, I peeked around the privacy curtain as I was leaving the tent...those beautiful children were laying as still as I have ever seen them, big-eyed and watching my every move!  I waved, and they smiled back, but didn't make a peep.  They knew their mommy and daddy were still trying to sleep a few more minutes!  I was as silent as I could be, but those tent zippers are pretty noisy, and I'm absolutely sure I woke up their parents during my exit from the tent!!

After a big breakfast of scrambled eggs and ham by Chef Grandpa, we went for another walk, this time on a scavenger hunt. Cailyn had a list, and we checked things off the list as we walked.  We made lots of progress, but needed to find a caterpillar...when we got back to our campsite,  Cailyn found a caterpillar on the side of our tent! Amazing!
It was time to take down the tent and start packing up the truck....Landon pulled on my hand, and with the saddest face said, "but Mimi, I don't want to take the tent down."  I assured him that we would have to go camping again another time, and then he was placated. The kids enjoy playing in the bed of Grandpa's truck, so while the tent came down, this was a place for some fun until we had to begin loading equipment.

 Wendy's in Payson was our lunch stop on the way home....Mike and Corissa know how to time these travels to take advantage of the napping hour!  It was a great weekend for all of us, and I do hope we can go again some time.