Friday, July 31, 2009

Mom's 60th Birthday

My sisters, brother, and I planned a surprise 60th birthday party for our mom. While it was quite a bit of work, it was so worth it when Mom showed up and was absolutely surprised. We weren't sure that it could be pulled off, but Dad had the hardest job of keeping Mom occupied all day so that she wouldn't show up too early. We had concocted a story where we needed them to babysit for us that evening, but since it's her summer break she wanted to come up early and visit her sister. We couldn't let that happen because our other aunts were at her house and it would have given it all away. The timing was tricky because we weren't sure what time my brother would get here. It was a small gathering -- just our family and Mom's sisters and brother-in-law. We missed Shannon, our sister in Iowa, but she called during the party. We fixed steak and chicken kabobs on the grill and fruit kabobs, too. If my aunts and uncle hadn't arrived super early, there is no way we would have gotten those put together in time. Whew!

My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, made this cake. Beautiful and tasty!

The kids were super excited for cake-time.
Heather put countless hours into making a scrapbook of Mom's first 60 years. It turned out great, and I think Mom will treasure it.

Horseback Riding - Canaan Valley, WV

One of our activities with the Bennett Family was horseback riding. It was my first time, and a first for all of the kids, too. They were so excited. Papa Ralph stayed back with Mallory because she wasn't old enough to go on the 1 hour trail ride. The trail took us up on top of one of the hills and through the woods, and the view was beautiful. My horse was "Prince", and I was lucky enough to ride up close to all of our kids because we were in a large group. I got to hear them as they talked about their horses, laughed, and enjoyed their ride -- especially when the horses would trot. Once again, lots of pics......

Bethany and Will

Mallory was super excited and absolutely fearless. I was shocked. She has not stopped talking about her horse, "Ben". His real name was Dan, but I guess she changed it.

Audrey on "Spot"
Tate on "Dan"

Will on "Princess"
Bethany on "Easter"
John and Anita on their horses, ??

Brad on "Dillon"

My Favorite Recent Words/Sentences/Quotes from Mallory

Mal has been talking sooo much lately, and her personality is really starting to bloom. She has opinion, likes, dislikes, and wants to have little conversations with us. It's so cute. I must say, though, she is quite a feisty little one. Screaming, crying, whining fits have become a part of my daily life. But, the cute things outweigh the irritating things -- most days. :)

"You stop dat noise wight now!" (when I was changing her diaper this afternoon - ???
I guess I do recall using that phrase a lot yesterday evening. Ooops.)

"My bottom houts, for 2 owas! Don't touch it!"
("hurts", "hours" -when Brad forgot to take the diaper bag to the church)

"She my sisser." (about Bethany - with a little smile and head tilt)

"Mommy, you mean!"

"Bue hat, Geen hat, yewow hat, Ooops! heeheeheehee" (Sandra Boynton books, anybody?
She reads this one everyday all by herself.)

"I wuv/wub ______" (puppies, red, milk, dat song, you too!, Dora, etc.)

"I do it myselwf!"

"Mommy, where iss my daddy? I neeeed my daddy!"

"Mommy, mommy, I have a baa weam! I sared!" ( "bad dream" "scared" - most nights after
I put her to bed, within about 15 minutes, before she has even been to sleep.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Time with the Cali cousins

We spent a week in July with our California family. I'm including lots of pics, especially for them to see, so bear with me. My girls were so excited and thrilled to spend every moment they could with their cousins. They only get to see each other once or twice a year, so we treasure that time. They play so well together and we get to do some things that we
wouldn't usually take the time to do.



Uncle Ed with Tate and Audrey - balancing and jumping on the bridge

We always make time for a family game of wiffle ball in Grandpa and Grandma's backyard.

All-Time Pitcher, Papa Ralph

She can eat a whole cob, devours it, really.

Pics of the falls that I took from different look-outs.

The Girls

The Annual Grandkids Picture on the Big Rock

Catch up...

So, we've had a busy month or two. Family visits galore, birthdays, surprise 60th party for my mom at my house, reunions, and more to come. I am a little ashamed to admit that when something hasn't been going on, I've been just hiding out at home doing as little as possible. This has been a very laid back summer. We've stayed in our hometown the whole summer so far, but hope to do a few little travel outings in August. I can't believe it's going to be August already!

Helping Brad clear out some of our yard....notice their gardening aprons and tools. They were so excited to help out.

There is a local family that rescues animals, Hovatter Zoo, and we visited with my parents and my sister, Heather. The kids loved it. You get to go so close to the animals, and so many of the females had babies -- the monkeys, the lions, and the white tiger was getting ready to have hers. She was restless and pacing like crazy .

I had to snap a picture of the girls eating watermelon on the front porch together. Bethany's hair used to be the same color as Mallory's is right now. They change too fast.