Saturday, July 16, 2011

James Reunion 2011

Right after getting back from Oregon, we had enough time to do laundry, water the garden and then the next Thursday we were off again to the James reunion. We had lots of fun but ended up having to leave earlier than expected when Steve couldn't end up finding a sub for the temple. Jenny planned it this year and put in lots of time and effort and made it lots of fun. We had it down in Loa and set up the tent trailer for what the kids called camping. At least there were some marshmallows the first night!

Damen and Railey roasting their mellows

Mike, Steve, Railey and Seth after having eaten their mellows and before heading back to bed.

The next morning we woke up and went running, oh it's cool down there. It was so nice to run almost wanting a jacket, it hasn't been that way here for a few days. But then after a yummy breakfast we headed down to Capital Reaf, where Steve and the boys went on a hike while Railey, Kenna and I went and played in a stream (red and muddy one at that)
Damen, Seth and cousins

Isaac, Damen, Kenneth, Joe, Seth

The kids loved finding all these crevices to take pictures in

After the hikes we had lunch then headed back for some games and relaxation.this pole. I guess we are off to some sort of start I don't know if it's good or bad, but she Before we started in on dinner I took Kenna out to the back porch where she played and played on sure is a good pole dancer (it helps her keep her balance, she does the same at the pool)

Here were some of the relay games that we played in the afternoon.

Damen going around the bat 10 times!

Thanks Jenny for all your hard work and making the reunion another fun, "Awkward Socializing" time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scout Projects

Seth has been so into scouts. He had his bobcat earned the day after his birthday and has been working on all sorts of electives and anything he thinks would be fun. One day he wanted to build a card holder so he got Steve and out they went. The had it built in no time flat and then Damen saw and was jealous so he had the idea to build the Lombardi trophy (that's the super bowl trophy for those of you like me who didn't know). So he and Steve set to work. They got all done and Damen knew that it had to have the NFL symbol on it so that was my job. Out came the dremmel and we carved away. It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. The football sits nice right on top. I have yet to take pictures of Seth's card holder, maybe sometime.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Last of Oregon Trip (the Redwoods)

We made the decision to go and see the Redwoods. We always say we will do it and then we are so exhausted by the end of the trip that we just want to get home. Well that was the problem again. We had already been on the road for over a week and a half and knew that we could be home in 12 hours of driving (2 days) or we could see the Redwoods and spend about 24 + hours of driving and take 3 days to get home. Well we did it and won't regret it but it was sooooo long and made us all ornery. We left Cresent city which is on the north end of the redwood and headed out we were seeing some big trees. Oh my goodness they were huge it really is such a wonder and marvel and amazing to see Gods creation. That's when we came across Paul Bunion and his ox. We decided to just take a picture because it was funny, but after looking around we found out there was a tram ride and we could see lots of stuff in there so we paid to see the redwoods and have it all done in 2 hours instead of all day driving around to fun places.

See how tiny Steve and the kids are in comparison to Paul and the ox

This tree had trees growing up and out if it. Pretty cool huh?

The cute kids. It was so dark in there and my camera was about to die and I really got no good pictures. It was a bit frustrating to see that all my pictures turned out blurry or dark.

Here Steve and the kids are next to the octopus tree, or was it the elephant tree (see the trunk) either way it was pretty amazing to see all those roots.

Here the kids were crawling under the tre through that hole. It is simply amazing to look at these massive trees and their huge toots

Here the kids are on the other side of the tree looking back through the tunnel

Damen and Seth at the end of a tree that had fallen over. That is the root system of the bottom, it's huge and yet it wasn't even the biggest tree we saw!

This is a blurry picture of the Cathedral trees. Several weddings take place here every year in front of these trees. It is quite the wonder.

I believe this tree was called the big brother either way it was really big

Here are the boys going up on the tram. Oh I hated every move they made. I somehow feel like our car will come off the cable if they move too much.

The rest of us on the tram

Here's the tram itself

Steve and Kenna at the top

It was fun to see but then that's when all the driving started. We typed into the Tom Tom to take us to Reno, Nevada and it kept telling us to go back into Oregon and take the five down, well we thought that was stupid why backtrack when we could cut straight across on this road we could see on the map? So we followed our fat guts and made a dumb move and ended up on a road similar to the Alpine Loop for the next 4 hours, then had an additional 6-7 hours ahead of us. We went all the way down to Sacramento then back up and over to Reno because we were not about to take another shortcut. The kids were tired, Railey and Kenna were sick with coughs and didn't feel good, Railey even had a temperature. Kenna threw up because it was so windy I could only look straight ahead to keep from throwing up so Steve was driving and dealing with the kids but we finally made it around 9:30 that night.

We got up early the next morning and hit the road to make it home before rush hour traffic. The highlight of that drive was seeing the Salt Flats. How sad is it that I am 33 and never seen them. But now I have and don't need to see them ever again. It sure was good to get home but our yard had gone to pot. Steve got out of the car went straight to the back yard came back pulled out his lawn mower and went to work. After unloading the car I headed out to pick weeds and did that for the next 2 hours. It just felt good to be out of the car and putting my energy to good use! It took a couple days to get the yard back in order but we did and oh yes we had a great trip to make up for the messy yard.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Oregon with the James'

We had tried to get a hold of Dave and Judy (Steve's uncle and aunt) for a few weeks to see if we could visit with them but when we finally did they were going to be out town watching their grand kids so we kind of assumed we wouldn't be able see them but when they called and invited us to their 4th of July BBQ we knew we had to go. We have been trying to build a relationship with them and get to know them over the past few years and we looked forward to seeing them again. When Steve called to see what we could bring Dave mentioned to him that Grandpa James would be there. Steve was so excited and yet so nervous. The last time he had seen his Grandpa, his grandpa had kicked him off his front porch.

So we headed up to Dundee after being at Silver Falls. It only took about 1 1/2 hours to get there but it gave all the kids time to have a nap which by this time in our trip was greatly needed. We arrived at Dave and Judy's house and they took us out back to see Grandpa. He looked great! He is 95 and though he was in a wheel chair he seemed to be doing really well. I kind of sat back and let Steve and him talk. The talked all night long.

They had invited to their party Nathan and Jenny (son and wife) and their kids, Hunter and Dillan and then Jenny's parents and then another couple they are great friends with. Actually all of them are great friends with each other and I do things together quite often it sounded like. But oh my goodness, they had so much food. I know Jenny brought a salad but I think she was the only one, the rest Judy had prepared. I was commenting on the spread of food they had and said something like this must have taken you all day to do and she said "Oh it was more than just today it was a couple of days." Seriously though everything you could ever imagine at a BBQ including 6-8 different kinds of chips. It was more food than we have at a James party and there are 11 kids to provide for that. I don't know if that's how their parties normally are or if they put this all on because of us. I really do hope it wasn't just because of us but if it was we were very grateful. Then she brought out the dessert. Cupcakes and a couple of pies. They were gorgeous and delicious all together.

But the best part was just visiting. All the guys seemed to congregate together and all the girls as well. The kids got along great with Hunter and Dillan who are the same ages so we didn't have to really worry about them interrupting or bugging they just played and played in their immaculately beautiful yard.

Steve and Grandpa seemed to talk about anything and everything. We weren't sure he would know who Steve was (Dave had said he had some dementia) but he introduced Steve to one of the guys as his Grandson, which meant the world to both of us. He even asked about Momma and how she was doing. They talked about Alaska, fishing, and all sorts of things but Steve found it interesting that Grandpa kept sneaking peaks of him and would even reach out to touch Steve when he wasn't looking. Steve thought that Grandpa must have thought he looked a lot like his Dad, Stan and that's why he kept looking or glancing at him. He also really took to Kenna. See Grandpas name is Ken and one of the reasons we named her that was after him but he seemed to know that and would try reaching for her all night long and she would give him her ornery look and run away or give him a laugh as he tried to tickle her, it was really cute to watch.

Here are the kids eating their cupcakes

Here's Dillan he was taking pictures of me so I was taking them of him. He's Nathan's 7 year old

Here's a picture of all the guys. Grandpa, Steve, Seth, Nathan, friend

Kenna and her cupcake

Grandpa, Steve and Seth

Nathan, Dave, Steve, Seth, Dillan and Grandpa

Nathan, Dave, Damen, Hunter, Seth, Steve, Dillan and Grandpa

Steve and Grandpa

Damen and Hunter hanging out on the lawn chairs.

We ended up going out front for some fireworks that night and the kids had a blast doing them or at least watching them while they did their snaps

Jenny, Nathan, Hunter, Seth

Damen and Seth watching the fireworks.

It really was a wonderful night. We are so glad we took the time to drive up and be with them. As we were getting ready to leave (10:30 pm) Grandpa told Steve that he had a wonderful family (he told me the same thing) and then told him that he loved him to which Steve replied that he loved him too. And we do. Even if the relationship hasn't really been there Steve's whole life we got to see a good side while we were there and who knows if we will see him again on this side of the veil. If not it was a wonderful memory until we see him again. We owe a lot to Dave and Judy for bringing us together and helping make the night happen.
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Oregon (Big Bailey Reunion)

So after we left the beach house with the majority of the family sick or about to be sick with a 12 hour flu we headed towards Salem and then out to Silver Falls State Park. Lets just say it was Sunday July 3rd and it was crazy. There were so many people and the Rangers were obnoxiously rude and put a very nasty taste in our mouth about the whole place. We had a lodge that we would be staying at and though we were early we had come straight from church and needed to change our clothes we wondered if we could check in early. NO. We wondered where it was. Not going to tell you! We wondered if there was a place we could change other than the bathrooms that had 39 people in line. NO! So we didn't listen and drove up another road just long enough to change clothes when a ranger pulled up and though she was nicer still told us to hurry and get out of there before the sheriff came and ticketed us.

We eventually were able to check into the lodge and it was just that an eating area below and all open to sleeping area above (bunks all around the eating area below). There were bathrooms but no showers. So we were a little nervous about the sleeping since by this time all the kids were hacking but we ended up surviving the night. I was so sure the kids were going to wake up throwing up like the rest of the family that every move they made I was jumping up to check on them. Let's just say they had a great sleep and Mom did NOT.

The next day was great though and we had fun hiking around to all these falls. There were 11 falls in this park. All within walking distance some distances were just off the road others a couple miles away. But still it was amazing. These were all big falls not just little things. It was rather beautiful and we had a great time. We were supposed to stay until Wednesday but ended up leaving that afternoon to go visit with Steves family. But it was fun for the short time it lasted!

The kids and Steve racing back to see who touched mom first. I couldn't take Kenna in the stroller on this one so I stayed back with both Grandmas.

Kenna patiently sitting in her stroller. She sure did love this thing. Still does.

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