Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Break in Washington DC

This year for fall break we decided to take the kids to Washington D.C. and LOVED it!
We rented a house in Arlington, Virginia close to Mt. Vernon. The first day we spent most of the day visiting the Air and Space Smithsonian as well as the Smithsonian of American History.  You can literally spend all day there. We also got to see a few monuments. 

That night we took the Metro Subway to Silver Springs, Maryland to meet my cousins Mark and Melissa Bradshaw along with Mark's wife Jamie and cute baby Courtney. We had such a fun time laughing, remembering our dads and talking about old times. Seeing them was the highlight of our trip.
The next day we woke up and went to Mount Vernon. George Washington sure had a beautiful piece of property.  It's absolutely gorgeous. We had a good time seeing his home, teaching the kids about the colonists and slavery. It was as fascinating as I remembered.
We then drove over to Arlington cemetery. What a humbling experience it is to be in that sacred place and see the names of so many who have fought to maintain the freedom we have in this Country. Truly awesome. From there we jumped over to the Jefferson Memorial. Very cool. 
The next day we took the metro down to D.C. again and started another day of MASS amounts of walking! We first went to the National Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial where I was able to show the kids my Dad's name on the wall of fallen officers.  The strange thing about being in D.C. was that the whole time I kept having this huge urge to run over and see this memorial. I kept feeling like my Dad was there and I needed to hurry up and see him.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I stood there with my family. There were so many names of so many people who had lost their lives just like my dad and knowing there were loved ones attached to those names who have suffered like my family had. It was an incredible experience. I am so glad I got to share that with my children and Jeff.
We then went walking to the Capitol building, then the Washington Monument, then over to the Jefferson Memorial. 
You know, when you just look at them all lined up in a row, they don't look very far apart. We found out we were wrong. HOLY COW! It was major walking. But worth every step for sure. The kids were great. Regan was the only one to complain, but she didn't complain much. Thank heavens we were smart enough to bring a stroller by that 3rd day.  Afterwards we hit the Smithsonian of Natural History for our last stop.
Overall, our trip to D.C. was exhausting, but worth it. I love being in that city. It reminds me of how much our founding fathers were guided by our Heavenly Father, how much we are blessed to live here, and how grateful I am for all those who have sacrificed so much to allow us our freedom.
We LOVED Washington, D.C.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Field Trips and Other Things

October began with General Conference. Jeff gave a talk in church about ways to get the kids involved with General Conference. One of the ideas was to set up a tent like the people watching King Benjamin. So, we did. Add Halloween candy to the mix and it was a great and peaceful conference. The kids loved it.

 There's a man in our ward named Phil Coley who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Garrets disease). He and his sweet family have been suffering a lot. His wife Stephanie put together a team to do the race for ALS cure.  We thought it would be a great experience for the whole family...and it was. It was incredibly moving to see those suffering with the disease in their wheel chairs participating as well as the people walking in memory of those who have passed because of this horrible disease. I'm so glad we did it. 

This is Regan's baby named Molly. These past few weeks she has informed me that I am her Grandma and I am to take care of Molly while she's away at Kindergarten all day. I have to report to her at the end of the day all the things I've done with her. Regan even gives me instructions of how to take care of her. Very cute. But I wasn't expecting to be a Grandma so early.

Brooke had a field trip with all of the 5th graders at her school. We took tour buses to downtown Memphis. We got to see lots of the historical sites of Memphis including where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and St Jude's hospital along with many other stops. We stopped for lunch at a park that was close to Jeff's work, so he was able to join us for that. One of the traditions is for the kids to go to A. Schwab's store where the kids all picked out goofy hats to wear. They loved it. It was a very interesting trip, but long. It totally wiped us out!
Regan had clown day in Kindergarten. I completely forgot about it until the last minute so this is what we ended with.  Brennan had dress up days every day of Homecoming week at the High School. He really got into it. This was his choice for tacky day.  Silly kid.
Regan's Kindergarten class also had their first field trip. Regan was so excited to go on it and on her first bus ride. She woke up at 4:30 in the morning because of it.  We went to the zoo. 
 The zoo was decorated with all of their Halloween stuff. The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day. We had a wonderful time.
Jadyn and Regan had parent night at the dance studio where we were able to come in and watch them. The girls just loved it. But poor Regan was still suffering from lack of sleep and the trip to the zoo. That girl was tired. She sure did fall asleep quickly that  night!

I ended up rushing home to put her in bed. When I got back to watch Jadyn, I completely forgot to take a picture of her. Sorry J.J. That girl is fun to watch. She sure has some good hip hop moves and really knows how to shake her booty!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Words of Wisdom Continued

I wish I was a grown up or a Grandma because then I wouldn't  have to be careful because they're perfect. At least most of them....or some of them. Ask your phone how many people have made it to the Celestial kingdom. - Regan 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Words of Wisdom

It's later than a pickle in a pineapple!  - Regan age 5

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More of September

Now that we're back to a schedule, we're also back to running around like crazy to all the activities we're all involved in. The kids have started piano & choir again which have us running before and after school. Jadyn and Regan started dance class. Regan started a tap/ballet combo class that she just absolutely loves. Jadyn started a hip-hop class so she can shake her little booty. J.J. just eats it up when the teachers pick her to dance in front of the class. They both seem to be enjoying it a lot.
I've been super busy running everywhere, being room mom for Regan's kindergarten class, and volunteering down at the school.  This year for the school fundraiser they did a read-a-thon. One day the girls got to dress as characters from a book. Brooke picked the girl from "Because of Winn Dixie". Regan picked "Fancy Nancy" and Jadyn picked a pirate from a story she made up. (Creative Girl!) Another day, they had everyone come in their pajamas. They also asked for volunteers to come in their pajamas to read to the classes. I went and read in Jadyn's class.  The kids seemed to really enjoy seeing parents be silly.

September 20th was the anniversary of the day my dad was shot and killed as a police officer in the line of duty. Although it has been 23 years since he died, it is still an extremely difficult time of year for me. I miss him terribly and wish he were here to see these grandkids of his and be involved in our lives. He would absolutely love this time of his life. I was really emotional this year about it and don't really know why. I guess even though years and years go by, it still doesn't take away the sadness of what could be and what I miss. But this year I decided to celebrate my dad's life.
So, for dinner we had medium rare steak, loaded potatoes, and salad which is a meal my dad made on special occasions.  I talked about memories I had growing up with my dad. One of those was going tubing down the Salt River with him. We floated down the river with big inner tubes and my dad would toss us pop and Ding Dongs and other junk while we had fun. So for a snack we ate Ding Dongs in his memory. We sang some of the songs my Dad would sing with us while camping. We played Swat the Fly like we used to sometimes for Family Home evenings. And, we danced around while we listened to my Dad's CD of the group he sang in when he was in his 20s. 

I'm glad I got to share those memories with my kids so they could know their Grandpa better. I'm pretty sure he was laughing with his crazy laugh as he was watching us from heaven.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everything Since Then

As soon as we got back from Arizona, we came home to find the Skipper cousins in town!  The kids had so much fun being together again.  When Laurie and Dave and the kids lived here, these kids were very close.  Each one of Laurie's kids has one of our kids close in age. They love being together and are super goofy!  Demonstration below:

Here's McKay and Brennan doing their games. Actually, we were quite impressed with these two boys. When we got back, we had temperatures of 104 and tons of humidity. David was building a deck in the back of Jeff's parents' house and asked them for help. They were very hard workers despite the horrible weather! As always, we were so sad to see them go back to North Carolina. We miss having them live by us.

Just a few days after that, the kids had their first day of school. Brennan started High School (which I'm still in denial about), Brooke 5th grade, Jadyn 4th grade and our baby Regan started Kindergarten.  What a spread! Regan was so excited to start school and was very ready. She even had me just drop her off at the curb outside of the school as she walked in.  She absolutely loves school. She's a little torn because she misses all the mommy time she's used to having, but she loves being there.  

I am experiencing a bit of an empty nest syndrome.  My house seems so quite and lonely without the constant chatter and singing that she does.  Everyone keeps asking me what I do with all my free time.  I just laugh and say, "What free time?"  Between getting up at 5:30 every morning to take Brennan to early morning seminary, being room mom, volunteering, kids before and after school activities, all my other daily chores and gym time, I still haven't found free time. That's okay though. I like staying busy.
On August 15th, our little Jadyn Joy turned 9!  Boy how time flies. She ended up having a birthday weekend. On Friday of that weekend she had her friend Melissa Ault over for a sleepover. I took them to get candy and a movie. They had pizza and painted their nails and had lots of fun.  The next day Jeff and I took her clothes shopping, to lunch and then to get her ears pierced.  Sunday was her actual birthday. She had lots of yummy food to eat all day, had Grandma and Grandpa Danielson over for dinner and had homemade German Chocolate Cake.  I think it was a successful birthday weekend.

One weekend we were bored so we went to Jackson, TN which is about one hour away just to do something different.  We went to lunch at an AWESOME Mexican food restaurant and spent time at the family fun center bowling and playing miniature golf. We then went and had banana splits and shakes at the old time ice cream parlor. It was a nice change of scenery.
These past few weeks the weather is finally cooling down and we've taken full advantage of it.  We've done lots of hiking and family walks and picnic.  Last Saturday we went to Herb Parson Lake for a 5 mile hike that ended up being a 7 mile hike. Don't know how that happened, but we enjoyed it anyway (for the most part). And the kids were troopers! 
Saturday night Regan kept complaining about being itchy. I just assumed she got attacked by bugs while on the hike. But by Monday (Labor Day), she had more and more spots in more and more places that looked a little funny. As we examined her closer, we realized that they weren't bites at all. Our poor baby had Chicken Pox.  Jeff took the other kids over to his parents' house for a BBQ and Regan and I stayed behind.  All week she kept getting more and more spots despite the two vaccines she had to prevent it. Luckily it wasn't that bad of a case. She was very itchy but never got sick.  I think we both enjoyed having her home from school.  We did lots of reading, snuggling and playing games.  I hate that she had chicken pox, but was glad to have some chatter in the home again.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Trip to Arizona

This summer we spent a little more than 3 weeks in Arizona and had a great time! Jeff was working his crazy work schedule, so I braved the trip there with just me and the kids.  Fortunately, the kids are great to travel with. We made it with no problems and enjoyed our time on the road.

A little after we got there, Laura had her 39th birthday. We went with her best friend Mary to get a pedicure and then met Brent for lunch. I hope she had a fun birthday because I sure had fun celebrating with her. I really am blessed with the best sister in the world!
Whenever I go home, I always feel like I never have enough time to do everything I want or see everyone I want to see.  Luckily I got to see some of my closest friends this time and LOVED it! We got to meet with Mitch and Elizabeth Cluff a few times. I love being with them. Always enjoy their company. Got to enjoy lunch with her and Steve Wright from my old single's ward days too. So fun!! I got to have breakfast with some of my favorite girls from High School - Heather Andreasen Biggs, Jennifer & Jill Bott and Andi Clark Gooch.  I always enjoy doing breakfast with them and catch up on everything that has happened in our worlds.  Another highlight was reuniting (most of) the Session Brothers and Session Sisters! Our little gang had so much fun together through all the years we've known each other. Lance, Beau, Lynda, Shelly and I and our spouses met at Tim Knollmiller's home and had a great time reliving the good old days. I LOVED being with all of them again. Just wished Karla and Rob could have joined us to complete the gang. We missed them. It made me realize once again how I really have been blessed with the most AMAZING friends in my life! Lucky me!
Of course no trip to AZ would be complete without lots of swim time!  We had so much fun being in the pool enjoying silly dives and chicken fights. Laura even got some synchronized swimming going on.
Of course we also had to spend A LOT of time at Laura and Brent's Krazy Sub. WE LOVE KRAZY SUB!!! This year they added a new menu item....Krazy Kookies. Two homemade cookies stuffed with Thrifty's ice cream in the middle. SO YUMMY! And of course my kids had lots of fun with their cousins doing talent shows, shopping at the mall, playing the dollar store game and hanging out. They all get a long so well.  Todd and Jen moved up to California recently, but luckily for us Jen came down with the kids so they had them to play with too. They really love each other. And I love how sweet and kind the older cousins are to my little ones. Regan got really attached to Rebecca and cried every time she wasn't around. All of them are the best!
One Saturday we all took a little day trip up to Payson and then to the Natural Bridge. Payson was absolutely gorgeous that day. We went to the park to have lunch and goof around and play games. It rained a little while we were playing games, but we didn't get any of it. The temperature even dropped down to 68 degrees for a while. It was so nice. 
Afterwards, we went to do a short hike down to the Natural Bridge. It was a great little hike and very pretty.  We even found a bush loaded with blackberries that we picked. Laura was the champion of blackberry picking as she would jump smack in the middle of the bushes. And even though we all got scrapped up and dyed with blackberry stains, it was all worth it when we got back to my mom's house and Brent made us some fabulous blackberry cobbler. YUMMY! Loved that day!!!
Jeff had his 38th birthday and we celebrated our 16th anniversary while there. My wonderful sister was nice enough to watch the kids for us as we went over to Scottsdale and stayed a night at the Westin Hotel there. It was great!  The hotel staff was super friendly. The room was big and gorgeous. The grounds were beautiful.  Unfortunately the weather didn't quite cooperate. Monsoon season hit. The hotels have a bunch of awesome pools and even a lazy river. Jeff and I got all ready and got to the pool, stepped in the lazy river just in time for them to kick us out because there was lightening. That was a bit of a bummer. But we ended up doing a little shopping and then stuffed ourselves at    
PF Chang's for dinner. We grabbed a slice of cheese cake from the Cheesecake Factory then went to a movie.  The next morning we got a late check out and finally enjoyed the pools until we left to go and help decorate for my cousin Kelsey Passey's wedding. Great way to celebrate our anniversary.  Laura is the best!
Our last day there we got to go to Kelsey and Craig's sealing in the Mesa temple and then go to their reception. Everything was beautiful...especially the bride!  
I loved being able to see all my Utah Aunts, Uncles and cousins and spend time with them. I wish I could see them more.  I am blessed with the most wonderful family a girl could ask for! Right after the reception we loaded in the truck and headed home.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip!

Friday, August 6, 2010

4th of July Collierville Style

This year we stayed in Collierville for our 4th of July. It was a lot different than our usual time in Arizona...but it was great.

The 4th of July was on a Sunday this year, so we did most of our celebrating on Saturday the 3rd. 
We went over to Jeff's parents house after a day of swimming and had a yummy BBQ.  The cousins had fun playing together and enjoyed ice cream and playing games.
We later headed to the park for the fireworks show. Not as spectacular as the one in Arizona, but it was still enjoyable.
On Sunday (the actual 4th) we set of our own fireworks that we bought in Mississippi. That was pretty fun. Regan didn't enjoy it so much at first, until we gave her her own sparkler. It was so cool seeing all the fireworks go off all over our neighborhood from all the neighbors.  Awesome Show! 
Overall, it was a great day celebrating our freedom and the country we love!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


We've been busy so far this summer and have been having a great time.  
Here's a quick catch up for June. 
Brooke go contacts.  Caught a frog. Went visiting teaching with me 
down in Mississippi. She and Brennan have both been learning how to cook. 
Unfortunately, that means more cookies and brownies we have to try to resist. 
She's been super helpful this summer and I'm grateful for that.

Jeff's company had a party at a golf and games type of place. It was a lot of fun.
Kids got to have their faces painted. Petting zoo. Bumper boats. Race cars. Laser Tag etc. 
as well as lots of food to eat. It was fun just being together.

The girls went to Vacation Bible School where they learned to share the Word like Bees. 
They had fun making crafts, playing sports, singing songs and learning the differences
between our church and other people's faith.
We've also been filling our days with lots of other things. 
This was our trip to the Children's Museum while Brennan was off to Scout Camp.
The girls had a really fun time.

We've also gone to movies, swimming, crafts, the library as well as trying to teach 
these kids to serve others. So far it's been great. Can't believe how fast it's going.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Graduation Time

Regan had her end of the year preschool program and graduation.  It was adorable as you can imagine. The kids did little skits and sang songs. Loved it. Afterwards, they had a little picnic for the families outside on the lawn. It was a gorgeous sunny day in the 70s. Beautiful. Regan had a great time in preschool this year. She cried any time she couldn't go. Hope that stays with her in the years to come!

Today Brennan had his graduation from middle school.  It dawned on me recently that we will only have him at home for 4 more years. That really freaks me out. That's not much time at all.  Time flies way too fast.  I can't believe our little boy is growing up and isn't much of a little boy any more. He's gone through a voice change and a growth spurt. Doesn't even sound like himself anymore. We're so proud of him for all he is. After graduation, we got to grab a beverage with Jeff and then I took him for steak at lunch.  He then got to go pick out his own graduation gift. He picked a wii game...of course!

These are some random photos I found of the girls. They really are beautiful.  I feel so blessed to be the mother of these 4 children.

Monday, May 17, 2010

May Fun

Been busy with end of school year stuff and pure laziness mixed together. I love that combination.  Brennan and Brooke both had choir concerts. I love hearing my children sing!  Jadyn and Brooke had Field Day...but I didn't get good pictures of any of that.  BUT, I did get some pictures of our fun this past weekend. 

Jeff's company gave us tickets to the Redbirds Minor league baseball game.  We took the kids to our favorite Mexican food restaurant beforehand and got there a little late. Unfortunately, all the points scored for the whole game happened in the innings we missed. The kids were pretty bored. But it was a gorgeous night and we were together! No more 90 hour work weeks for Jeff, so I was loving every minute. After the game was over, they had a fireworks show that was pretty dang good. The kids liked that part.  It rained a little, but it was still so enjoyable all being together. I love my little family.
Today we got to go over the my friend Amy Smith's home with some other friends. They have a heated pool. Still, I'm an Arizona wimp. I don't go in unless it's very warm. But Regan and her friends LOVED it. It's the second time we've been able to go so far. And although I now have to load up with SPF and sit under the umbrella more, I LOVE being out in the sun with friends enjoying the weather and good company! I love my friends.
Here's Regan in the middle with her friends Addisyn and Jalynn. Cutie pies!