Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

We had fun just with our family this year reading the Christmas Story and playing games on Christmas Eve.

Enjoying our traditional Christmas Eve candlelight dinner.

Up bright and early Christmas morning
(o.k. maybe not so bright, but definitely early).

Having fun opening our gifts, especially the ones we picked out for each other.

Brad making pancakes with boysenberry syrup for Christmas morning breakfast.

December 2009

Brad turned 43 years young in December.

Brad had a fun time celebrating his birthday with friends and family, and dragging it out for about four days.
Breck's Christmas band concert. He plays first chair Saxophone in the 8th grade band.
Aubrey's Christmas band concert. Aubrey plays third chair flute in the high school marching and concert bands.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Brad and Blake carving the Thanksgiving turkey. We had the privilege of spending Thanksgiving in Grand Rapids Michigan this year with Brad's brother Blake and his family. The highlight of course was indulging way too much on Josie's fabulous cooking, especially her
celestial kingdom pies!
Everyone enjoying their Thanksgiving feast at both the kids table and adults table.

The after affects of cooking Thanksgiving dinner and hitting the early morning sales on
black Friday.
Merinda making a ginger bread train with her cousins Emily and Sam.
Brittney earning a little extra-credit for her U.S. AP-History class by visiting the Gerald R. Ford Memorial located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Halloween 2009

Merinda and Kylie trick-or-treating as witches.
Our good friends Mark and Bridgette reliving the 60's.

Merinda with her best friends Lauren and Kylie.

All the kids had fun dressing up and helping out for the ward "trunk or treat" especially since most of them are too old now to go trick-or-treating .

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Merinda's Baptism

Merinda was baptized on October 11, 2009. We had fun spending the weekend with Grandpa Manwaring, Grandma Heelis, Uncle Blake and his family.

Merinda ready to get baptized in the baptismal dress she borrowed from her friend Nikara Charles.

Grandma Heelis and Merinda in the special Baptism dress that Grandma gave her.

Merinda learning to ride like a professional jockey the opening weekend at Keenland.

On the weekend of Merinda's Baptism, we all had fun drinking hot chocolate and eating breakfast at Keenland race track, while watching the horses warm-up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

North Carolina Vacation

We had a wonderful family vacation in "Outer Banks" (or OBX) North Carolina despite the twelve-hour drive with a broken air conditioner!

We had a great time visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Century of Flight Monument in Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills (named after foul tasting rum "that would kill the devil" which washed ashore after shipwrecks). Other fun sites we visited close by were Jockey's Ridge State Park, a 426-acre park, and site of the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast, located in Nags Head (tying lantern to a horses head or nag, and luring ships to shore for plundering).
We visited three lighthouses and museums which included Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, and Ocracoke Island lighthouses. This is the view from the top of Cape Hatteras lighthouse, the single person on the ground in green is my mother, who joined us on the trip.

This is Bodie Island lighthouse in Buxton, located close to our beach-house in Avon, which was apart of Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, and one of the best places to look for seashells.
Everyone had fun "body surfing" and "boogie boarding" in the big waves. This beautiful, natural, mostly secluded beach, with the finest white sand, was 1,000 feet from the beach house we rented for ten days. A little over 1,000 feet in the other direction from our house was the "sound" side of the island with huge waves which brought wind-surfers and kite-borders from all over the world.
Other highlights of the trip were visits to fabulous museums, Ocracoke Ferry and Island, national wildlife refuges, island marshes, boating/fishing piers, and sea-life art galleries. Cherished moments included relaxing in the hot tub, reading on the deck's hammock, collecting seashells, watching the Sandpipers (cute little birds) play "chicken" with the waves, walking the beaches at night and viewing the lighthous' spotlights, and watching the sunset on the ocean's horizon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Graduation Gifts & Nursing Pinning

After my surprise graduation party, we opened gifts and cards--I want to thank everyone who sent and gave cards, and for all of the thoughtful gifts!

This is the card I received from my family, and it really does summarize how I feel about starting a real job!

Next, we celebrated our own version of the "Nursing Pinning Ceremony" since I was unable to attend mine. I was again surprised by my amazing husband who presented me with two Nurses Pins. . . in the form of Diamond Earrings!!!

The girls got to do the honors--Brittney, Aubrey, and Merinda each assisted with the "Pinning."

I graduated with my Bachelors of Nursing Degree from BYU-Idaho twenty years after I first began college. I have tried to stress the importance of finishing college before being a mother, because being on the twenty-year plan just too difficult (even with all of my family's incredible support). However, after the surprise party, special "nurses pinning", and vacation to North Carolina, it ended better than I could of ever imagined!

Surprise Graduation Party

Brad threw me a surprise graduation party at the park. I was so clueless, that even after everyone yelled. . . . . . "surprise" I still didn't know it was for me. Finally Merinda had to say, "Mom, this party is for you because you graduated, silly!" I have been pretty dense before, but this one takes the cake!

It was a wonderful party with all of my good friends such as the Bishop and his wife...

Longtime friends, and dear friends from Church (The Thunhorst who sadly are moving, and Clayburns who were also in our same ward in Saint Louis), and my running partner and her husband.

And the best neighbors anyone could ask for, like the Masons and Durbins (Ursala left, conspired with my daughters, and was responsible for the decorations and helping Brad bring everything together).
I can not thank my husband and children enough for all of their support and the many sacrifices they made during the past three years. I also want to thank my wonderful husband for acknowledging my graduation, and for truly making this all come to pass, for without his help and support I would never had made it--Thank you Brad, I love you!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Breck's Scout Camp Adventure

Breck went to his first scout camp this summer and had a lot of fun. He also earned six merit badges. Way to go Breck!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What we've been up to this summer...

Brad and Ali running the Lexington 10,000 on the 4th of July.

Brittney enjoying a day at King's Island in Ohio, with her best buddies from church.

Aubrey finally mustering up enough courage to get her ears pierced.

Breck earning his rank of Second Class in Scouting.

Merinda having fun with friends and staying cool.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last Days of School

Aubrey modeling her 8th grade graduation dress with flute. She will be a high school Freshman in August.

Aubrey showing her certificate for being on the A honor roll for all three years of middle school.

Breck showing his certificate for being on the A-B honor roll in sixth grade.

Merinda and her best friend Carrington on the last day of 2nd grade.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Aubrey's & Breck's Band Concert

Aubrey's and Breck's middle school band concert. Aubrey is first chair flute in the 8th grade band and her good friend McKenzie is second chair. Aubrey & McKenzie also made it into All District Band (via try-outs) and received a distinguished on their ensemble piece.

Aubrey socializing with other eighth grade band members.
Breck waiting to perform, the fist time all evening he wasn't socializing or entertaining the four female band members to his left.

Breck playing first chair saxophone and sitting next to Ashton Barber, a good friend from church and only other Mormon in the sixth grade.

The sixth grade band at Royal Springs Middle School. The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade bands performed individually this night.