Friday, May 30, 2008

Uncle Garrett

It has to be hard to be one of the "single kids" on family vacation.  Especially when your week starts off being awakened early Monday morning to the juke box next to your room blaring "I Bet You Think This Song is About You." (Mason came running up the stairs at about 7 am yelling, "Mom!  There's a juke box and I figured out how to turn it on!")
Luckily, Uncle Garrett is what we like to call a good sport :)  He got up early every morning to spend time with the kiddos at the beach; he let the kids spend a good 20 minutes covering him in stickers; he let them bury his whole body in the sand; and best of all, he played endless games of chase, as seen below: 

At the Beach

Best Buddies

Aviva and her cousin Ben are so cute to watch together.  I've never seen two kids their age pay so much attention to one another.  When Ben sees Aviva he comes straight for ready to cuddle her and kiss her.  This of course often results in him man handling her.  Even still, whenever Aviva sees him coming she starts bouncing up and down with a big toothless grin on her face.  She has also inadvertently learned how to retaliate by pulling his hair when he puts his head in her lap.  In the photo below, Aviva had been playing with the toy when Ben came over, scooted in between her and the toy, and then basically sat in her lap so he could play with it.  She had a smile on her face the whole time.   

They're Starting to Outnumber us

The more cousins we have, the harder these pictures get.  This was as good as we could get today:  
We're just happy we got them all in one shot.  Probably a better one is this shot from earlier this week:

  Here are a few others I like:

Aunt Shauri and the Really Great Wangdoodle

Aunt Shauri has been reading The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles to the 3 oldest kids all week.  The children in the story have special hats they wear to Wangdoodle Land, so for Shauri's kid activity she had them all make hats and then she organized a wangdoodle scavenger hunt.  It was far and away the best kid activity of the week.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sleeping Like a Baby

Max had a hard time staying in bed last night.  We thought we finally had him.  An hour later I ran downstairs to grab something and saw this:

Monday, May 26, 2008

The "It" Factor

We are in the Outer Banks (in North Carolina) right now with all of my siblings and their families.  It is my very favorite vacation in the entire world.  We rent an enormous house about 500 ft. from the beach.  We spend all day in the pool, at the beach, and eating good food.  Everyone is assigned to plan one kids activity and one adult activity (which led to this last year) after the kids are in bed.  

On Sunday we decided to have "church" at the house.  We had a brief adult meeting, and then we had primary for the kids.  We set a chair up and Mason and Katie gave talks standing on top of it.  When they finished, Max insisted on climbing on the chair and giving his own talk.  We didn't understand much more than "A - MEN!"  

Travis was in charge of singing time, so he had all the kids take turns coming up front with him and leading everyone in their favorite song.  When it was Max's turn, leading wasn't quite enough.  He made Travis get off the chair he was sitting in so he could stand on it and sing a song all by himself for everyone.  

Something tells me when he is old enough to participate in the adult activities he will have no trouble following in his father's footsteps. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Trip Home

I don't even want to talk about it. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Friday - Saturday - Sunday

We're on our way home, so here's a brief update on the weekend:

  • We had another all day zone conference.  Abram and I both switched up our presentations a bit and I think it went really well.  I just love watching Abram teach.  Mostly cause I just think he's real real funny, so when he cracks a joke I get double the enjoyment out of it than everyone else. 
  • Abram used the word Automaton in his presentation.
  • We spent Saturday getting ready for the trip home and preparing dinner for Sunday (Abram declared that even though it was a week past, he owed my mom and I mother's day dinner and we didn't argue).  
  • Saturday night my parents took us and the senior couples who work in the office to a Thai restaurant.  It was great.  Whenever they go they have the same waiter and they just have him order for the table.  He made some great choices - yum!  
  • Sunday we went to church and then feasted on steak with a gorgonzola reduction sauce, homemade mac-n-cheese, and lemon asparagus with pine nuts.  (And dessert was this tasty little apple pudding with butter sauce.)
  • After 2 weeks of trying, we finally trained Max to shake the missionaries' hands and say, "Hello Elder!"  
  • We said good bye to Elders Meldrum, Kroll, Cooley and Loercher.  Elder Meldrum gave Max a Little People missionary.  You can't see it, but he's proudly holding it in the photo below.

Final Scrabble score: 
Mom - 4, Kristin - 3, Abram - 1, Dad - 4

Friday, May 16, 2008


The fam had such a great time at the beach on Wed that we decided to do it again on Wed. The results were less "beachy" because the weather didn't cooperate. It was cloudy and windy. A little too cold for any of us but Max to really enjoy the surroundings.

Luckily, there's this giant indoor "Beach House" right there on the beach for days like this that has rides and arcade games and other fun things to do. Of course, the Beach House turns a pretty profit for its troubles. Here's what $21 will buy you on a cold day:

Max riding a horse and waving to all spectators on each go-around a wave that smacked of entitlement, i.e., "Hey guys, look at me, I'm the new King of England. You should definitely be enjoying this show because it's cool to watch special people like me do stupid things like ride a horse in a big circle."

Max getting his face painted like a "monster" and being so thoroughly enthralled by his own appearance that he spent several minutes screaming at his reflection in a nearby garbage can and by repeatedly kissing the mirror while he was in the middle of getting his face painted.

Mom - 4, Kristin - 2, Abram - 1, Dad - 3

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


We went to the beach yesterday afternoon and had such a good time we're going back tomorrow.  Here are a few photos:

Scrabble Scores: Mom - 3, Kristin - 2, Abram - 1, Dad - 2

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday - Clelands Conservation Park

Max hurt his knee and spent a good portion of the morning walking around like this.

Max petting a little kangaroo

Max feeding a kangaroo

Grandma, Max and an emu.

Grandma, Aviva and a koala

A rock wallaby.  They were much more shy than the kangaroos.

This is a wombat.  He's an ugly little sucker, isn't he?

A couple of pelicans

Scrabble: Mom - 3, Abram - 1, Kristin - 1, Dad - 1. Mom is killing us.

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day the Alice Springs missionaries made us dinner, said nice things they appreciated about us (which was impressive and creative since they've only known me for a couple days), and gave us these wonderful aboriginal paintings done by Colleen, one of the members in that area. It was wonderful. As much as I appreciated hearing the nice things they said about me, hearing what they had to say about my mom and about Lisa's mom (her parents are serving a mission in Alice Springs and working on this amazing literacy project everyone is very excited about) made my night.

I was really touched by what they said. As hard as it has been to have my parents leave, I wouldn't change a thing because I know what a difference they have made in so many peoples lives. I feel like if I have been so greatly blessed to have them as parents, I would be ungrateful if I wasn't willing to share them with the rest of the world.

Monday, May 12, 2008


One of the most exciting parts of Mom and Dad's mission has been the work they and the missionaries have done with some aboriginal communities in Alice Springs. On Sunday we got to go out bush and it was wonderful. It took almost three hours to get out there, but it was well worth the trip.

This is a picture of Adrian. He came up to me at one point and said in his broken English, "Your dad is a great man. I like the way he talks. And your mom. She always hugs me." That pretty much summed it up. Hugs all around when Delsa was on the scene. I can't tell you how much I loved watching my parents interact with the people there.

Mom, Adrian, Dad

Here's a picture of Dorothy. She and Sammy (left) were both baptized that morning. Her sister was there and used a walker. So when we all got up to walk over to the baptism a couple missionaries picked her up in her chair and carried her. So here is this old, stone faced woman, and as soon as they lift her up, she starts quietly giggling. Belly giggling if there is such a thing. I would defy anyone not to smile if they heard her. What makes it even better is that my mom was holding Dorothy's arm while she walked and muttered, "I'm older than she is." She was a little salty that she didn't get the ride.
Sammy, Dorothy, Clifford

Dorothy's sister is the one on the right

As a side note, Abram and I have an ongoing argument about whether or not I am high maintenance (in terms of getting ready in the morning). I always bring it up in front of my family because I can always count on Garrett and Lisa telling him he is crazy and better be grateful for what he's got. So after the baptism we weren't waiting more than two minutes when Dorothy walks out of the house ready to go. I leaned over to Abram and said, "Whoa, talk about fast, we are not at a typical baptism, huh?" Abram replied, "When you are as fast as Dorothy, I will stop calling you high maintenance."

So don't be surprised if in a few years I quit showering, wearing underwear, and brushing my hair. I'm just trying to make my man happy ;)

One of the highlights for me was helping a couple of the missionaries teach primary to the the kids while the adults had a Sunday School class. I love that getting kids to sing louder is the same all the world over. And I loved Junior. He is 11, wore a white shirt, and seemed so pleased with himself when i said, "You know how I could tell you are the oldest? Because you know all the answers." You know when there is a kid that is super eager to learn? That's him, and I love it.

There was another little girl I had been watching boss all the other kids around the whole day. It was clear that she was in charge, end of story. I asked her how old she was and she said "six." I really was shocked, but playing around I said, "Really? I thought you were at least 10." At first she looked a little confused, then she looked at me as if to say, "really? You did?" And then, I assume because she just couldn't find the words she wanted, she just threw her arms around me and gave me this great big hug. It was so cute. Melted my heart.

I think this was my favorite day of the whole vacation.

P.S.  I saw a wild kangaroo and a wild dingo on our drive.