Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winnie's Brave Birthday!

 We were sorry to see summer come to an end.  We may have even cried a little, but we dried our eyes on our spankin' new school clothes, brushed off our backpacks and headed back to the elementary grind.  Klive wanted in on the back-to-school action this year.  He insisted on wearing his backpack to the drop-off.

 Just a week into the new school year, and Winn's birthday was on! 

 Lucky she's got a super awesome mom who would slave away on dragonfly cupcakes to share with her first grade class!

 We made this little chick's birthday dream come true with a "Brave" birthday party.

 We can always count on these two to party with us.  The Johnsons and Botts also made the trip up to Idaho to celebrate Winnie.  Thanks everyone!

 All of Winn's best buddies showed up to participate in our Brave Highland Games.

 We had the guests spin the clan wheel to divide the teams.

 Each clan got their own clan sash and pin.  Then, we let the games begin!

 They competed in a stick horse race . . .

 and a triplet treat toss game.

 I could have guessed that these two would end up in the same clan.  BFF's.

 Of course they shot arrows and participated in feats of strength with the caber throw.

 They even paid a little visit to the witches' cabin and made some nifty bear-claw necklaces.

These girls prefer to be strong, independent princesses!

 All that competing and you work up an appetite for snacks and witches brew!

 We went with almond chocolate bear-claw cupcakes and Vanilla Merida crazy hair cupcakes.

 Winnie never says no to her favorite - PB&J.

 Grandma Sara supplied the fruit . . .

 And we chased it all with some cotton candy wisp shots.

 Happy number 7 sweet little Winn!  You are one special girl!  Thanks for working so hard at school and being mom's best cleaner and little brother entertainer!  You are still as sweet and considerate as ever and your loving spirit makes us a happier family.  You are growing into a beautiful, kind, and talented young lady - and might I add, a super soccer player!  Even though your boy-craziness at 7 is terrifying your mom and dad, we know you will keep making good choices because that's just the kind of girl you are!  Keep smiling little lady!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Alaska!

 Kolby's residency was asked to help structure the family practice residency in Anchorage, AK in August.  Lucky me - I got to tag along!  It may have been a work trip, but that didn't stop us from packing every free minute with some great adventures and lots of tasty seafood!

 The bad news:  Our kids caught the flu the day before we left and so I got to fly a red-eye for over 10 hours with the stomach bug.  We also forgot to take into account the time change and spent a few hours sleeping on the Airport benches.  It was a rough day, but I powered through in the name of kids-free vacation time!

 Kolby's boss, Dr. Cree and his wife Holly were our traveling companions.  We may have been the younger couple, but it was all we could do to keep up with those two adventurers!  We explored Anchorage on our first day and also hiked Flattop Mountain.  It was a long day - but it never got dark so we just kept going.

 It was a fairly manageable hike until we discovered the last leg was straight up the face of a pretty steep mountain.  My knees did not thank me that night!
 
 We made it to the top!

 Ran into this mama and her baby on our way down.  They crossed the trail right in front of us.  I may have pooped my pants a little out of fear.  Moose are freaky - not right for such an enormous creature to balance itself on such long, scrawny legs.

 We also took a little glacier cruise on Portage Lake.  It was AMAZING!  And it was as frigid as it was magnificent!  Don't we look super cute in our matching hoodies?  Oh, and this was the day after Kolby spent the previous night in the hotel bathroom with our family's lovely flu.  It was the gift that just kept on giving!
 
 Dr. Cree's from England.  I guess he's used to such cold humidity and could brave the glaciers without a hood.  Or maybe the rest of us are just wimps!

 Holly and I decided to bike the coast of Anchorage while the guys went to work.  I haven't spent too much time biking, so I was super proud of my 22 miles on a dumpy rental bike that dropped it's chain every time I tried to climb a hill.  My hands were completely black and greasy by the time we made it back to the rental shop, but it was totally worth it to take in all the beautiful scenery!

 We also took in a show about the Northern Lights and visited the Anchorage Museum.  They had the most beautiful collection of native artifacts from a multitude of Alaskan peoples.  This child's snow suit was my favorite!  I think Klive would dig it!
 
 It may have been a work trip, but this guy really enjoyed himself - well, when he wasn't puking his guts out.

We've already started making plans to visit again and bring our kids along.  I'm really surprised by how much I loved Alaska!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Calling All Avengers!

 Three years old baby!  This August, Klive spent his birthday at the Payson pool with the family, but we kicked off the big event a few days earlier with an Avengers assemble party.

That's one handsome Hulk Smash!  And I've got to give a shout out to Aunt Misty Johnson who gifted us a professional photo shoot for the entire party.  She's got skills!
  
 Here's the fruits of my late-night labors in Yaya's kitchen.  A complete avenger-themed goodie bar with a Captain America's fruit shield, Black Widow cookies, Hulk punch, Hawkeye veggie arrows, and Thor cheese hammers.

 Daddy led the kids through an intense avengers training camp.  Kung-fu chops, kicks and punches on Black Widow's punching bags . . .

 A little bit of Hulk Smashing through rock walls.  We even got the big boys involved in this fun!

 Lots of smashing . . .

 And crashing.

 A little bit of Hawkeye target practice . . .

 And the favorite game of the day, "free the frozen superheroes from the ice."  This game started out with water guns and soon escalated to . . .   

. . . some heavy breathing.

The kids finally got down to business and smashed the heroes to pieces before they froze to death.  Most of them made it out with their limbs in place.  Most of them.

 A giant water fight ensued.  Naturally.

Winn never minds getting tossed around by Uncle Andrew.  She's never really gotten over that crush.
 Pretty girl.  Never takes a bad picture.

 The kids had a ball tossing Thor hammers through the targets.

 One kid in particular couldn't handle getting schooled by his little brother.  What a poor sport.

Love this picture of Caulder.  It captures his natural awesomeness which is virtually impossible for most photographers.  Kudos Misty!

 Klive could only handle wearing clothes for so long.  He spent the bulk of his party in his superhero undies.  That's really the only way to enjoy yourself.

 Cupcakes.  The real reason I throw parties.

 This cake may look like a mess just thrown together, but it was a nightmare to create - Just ask Yaya Julie.  I should just stick to cupcakes.  Oh well, I just never gave up hope.

 This boy may be getting bigger, but he's always going to be my special little guy.  NEVER LEAVE ME!!!

This three-year-old knows how to knock out some flames.

 We wrapped things up with a pinata full of avenger goodies.

 We enjoyed a perfect day with all our best buddies . . .

We love birthday parties!!!
Happy birthday Klive!  You are my best boy and I will smother you with hugs and kisses forever!  You are wise and witty - more than any other three-year-old I know.  You sing Justin Bieber, Muse, and Imagine Dragons with mom all day, you have a knack for turning every object into a weapon or car, just like a real boy should.  Even when you get in a "mood," a snuggle from Mom makes it all better.  You are my biggest helper around the house and could probably run the place without any help from anyone.  You bring so much joy and smiles to our family, we couldn't imagine life without you.  We love you!!!!!