Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 After dropping Brooke and Ella off at school one day, I was amazed at what a beautiful fall morning it was.  So Claire and I grabbed the camera and headed off to the Daly Mansion.  Here are some of the reasons why I love Montana.  


Why is it that I haven't even finished blogging for September and December is already here?!  How did that even happen? So now I am doing the I-have-to-hurry-and-get-caught-up-before-the-holidays-because-then-I-will-have-even-more-posts-to-catch-up-on last minute blog.

Ella's Birthday!
This year Ella was VERY picky on what kind of party she had.  Normally I can convince her of what we should do, but not this year.  That girl didn't like anything I had to suggest. I even sat her down at the computer and we went through idea after idea. I got a birthday magazine and told her to pick one idea out. Do you know what she liked? Nothing.  NOTHING! But then, one fabulous day, Ella waked up to me and said that she knew exactly what kind of party she wanted.  And when she told me what she wanted to do, I knew she was a genius (as a mom you always suspect, but this confirmed it).  So this is how her big day turned out!

First stop was at the nail parlor and the make-up counter.  Thanks to our big girls Lizzie and Megan for helping:) 

 Then it was off the the hair salon.  This was my personal favorite because it is amazing how these little girls just talked my ear off!  It is a natural instinct for girls to talk to their hair stylist and it apparently starts at birth.  These girls could not have been cuter.  

 Next came wardrobe and accessories with Ceara at the ready. 

Even little Squish got all dressed up by the big kids with painted nails and earrings to boot:) 

 Of course we can't forget the main event.  The RUNWAY (complete with runway music and audience)!

 And for the finale all of our top models and even the backstage crew came out for a dance party! 
 Unlike most models, these ones finished off their big success with a backstage celebration of cake and ice cream.  The cake was fashioned with buttons, ribbon, bows and even some pearls. 

Maybe a little birthday cupcakes for school won't hurt either.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Summer's End

 Here is our tribute to the end of Summer done in true Child fashion. Enjoy! 
Nothin' like a good ol' County Fair and Rodeo to celebrate the summer's end! (I love this fair!) 

Once upon a time there was a little girl who went to the fair with her family.  This little girl saw many wonders that day but nothing could quite excite her like the thought of riding The Scrambler!  If only she could ride, then her life would be complete.  After begging her parents to let her ride they bought her some tickets and got in line.  The line (which was only a few people long) seemed to take forever for this little girl.  Finally, she was let on the ride and sat down on the seat with her dad and little sister.  But then the unthinkable happened....FEAR.  She got nervous.  She realized The Scrambler was fast and she had just given up her life willingly to such a horrible machine.  Once again she found herself pleading with her father, but to no avail.  She cried harder but it didn't work.  To make it all worse, her horrible mother just kept laughing and taking pictures.   Oh No!!  The ride was starting.  She held on for dear life. But wait!  What was this?  Fun?  Yes, it is fun!  In fact, it was even better than she thought it would be.  It was a fair tale come true.
Some random pics of the wee littles. 
Camping in a storm:) These girls were troopers (not Claire and me though, we went home and had a glorious night's sleep)

Sleeping on the tramp.  This adventure ended around 3:00 AM because Kristie kept moving around in her sleep and wanted to snuggle with Rob after which she bolted up and chased some deer. 
Shanae makes fun of me for always adding random pics of Claire at the end of every post.  What can I say?  I'm a mom. That naughty little stinker gets away with everything because she is so squishy and cute.  I mean really, just look at her.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

ALASKA!!!! (As told by the crew)

This tale begins on a bright Christmas morning,
As Childs and Halls awoke from their snoring.
To open their presents from under the tree,
Including a small one from Bonnie and Dee.
But those Childs and Halls about blew a gasket,
To find a paid trip to Soldotna Alaska!
This gift brought great joy, but oh what a bummer-
The long months of waiting from Christmas 'til summer!

But a Facebook group formed so the family could post,
Of the things onthe trip they'd like to do most.
And at last as the day of the departure drew nigh,
They packed all their things and got ready to fly.
At the airport they met early one morn,
After they had ditched all the children under 18 they had born.
At the airport Dan and Russ had a McMuffin,
Which aren't the best but better than nothin'.
They watched some Bob Ross paint a happy little tree,
And then boarded the plane in Zone 1 and Zone 2 with glee.
And off they went, zooming fast through the sky,
Leaving Salt Lake with no more than a sigh.
With his mouth gaping open, Russ Hall was cold out,
And Susan, her barf bag she did tout.
But 4 hours, and one Avengers movie later,
Their plane touched down, faster than a crater.
The wheels struck land and hearts started to beat,
For Alaska we were in! And in for such a treat!
After gather bags the crew was soon greeted,
By a beloved Astro van, with Rob and Tara comfortable seated.

They drove through memory lane and ended up,
At a Subway shop, to eat sandwiches for sup.
Kristen discovered her Subway card,
Was $9.00 owing, my, this Alaskan way is hard!
Mikelle wolfed down her meal and ordered us to go.
So go we all went, toward the Soldotna bungalow.
But first we went and looked at glaciers so blue,
And Annie even went and climbed on a few.
We then climbed aboard the Astro and finished our drive,
And soon enough, in Soldotna we did arrive! 

After settling in, at such nice accommodations,
We went to eat at Pizza Boys, yum, yum.
Cheesy bread and BBQ pizza we chowed down, 
It was only talk of bears that made us frown.
So we went and bought some strong bear spray,
To protect ourselves and keep mean bears away!
In case it didn't work, we devised a plan,
Mikelle would be bear bait-for she's the youngest of the clan.
The Olympics kept us entertained that night, 
Until we nestled into bed, so tight.

Tuesday morn we set off at 9;00
All refreshed and feeling fine.
We drove to meet our guide Doug,
Who we all wanted to hug after he showed us how to give our lines a tug.
Tustumena Lake was our next destination,
Wow! What a way to start our vacation.
Cheering galore as we all caught fish,
Fulfilling our wish to catch those famous Alaskan fish.
Next we began the hike to Tustumena glacier,
Is this a trail? We weren't quite sure.

Beautiful blue walls of pure ice we saw,
As we stared at the glaciers in awe.
Ending the day with more fishing for Reds,
Made us tired and all ready for bed.
Wednesday found us up and at 'em once more,
With Doug pushing and prodding "Best fishing at four!"
The men-folk awoke with but few hours of sleep,
To the horrible sound of a 4 o'clock beep.
Yet somehow they mustered an incredible zeal, 
For Russian river Reds was the day's business deal.
 We hiked past the falls and began to catch fish,
The catching of which fulfilled every fish wish.
Satiated, happy, wearing tired fish grins,
We hiked ourselves out, a fresh adventure to begin.
Meanwhile, the women back home relished sleeping in,
Then packed, prepped, and cleaned-the men's hearts they did win.
Then off we went on our next big adventure,
Through Kenai hills, valley, and trees, to Homer we ventured!
As we boarded the boat we talked and we laughed,
With our able captain Doug on his seaworthy craft.
The "Redemption" (Doug's boat) did whisk us away,
To remote Tuska Bay were the Reds we did slay.
Aye, the hooks and the lines zipped 'round us like bullets,
As we snagged fish after fish just like rednecks with mullets.
And we narrowly made our way out with the tide,
Thanks to Doug and to Russ, who endured a very wet ride.
The hour was late so to McDonald's we did cruise,
Where we relished fast food and a view of three moose.

A long ride home we endured as the sky lost it's light,
But at last we arrived. Yet another late night.
Early Thursday morn to Seward we did go,
With Doug, his dad Brian, and the "Redemption" in tow.
We boarded the boat and set off on the ocean,
Which eventually made Susan ill with it's motion.
But oh what thrills we that day did see,
Kenai Fjords! Whales! And porpoises swimming with glee!
We caught a few silvers and lost a few more,
And Kristen caught a rockfish that she set free to swim once more.

And then, being hungry, we headed for town,
But the thought of eating more fast food made us frown.
So to a quaint restaurant we went and sat down,
And heartily feasted with smiles all around.
The drive home was boy-o-boy a joy,
As talk and laughter we did enjoy.
Great chatter about fishing with Doug and Brian,
We enjoyed the stories and no they weren't lyin,
Knees scrunched up and hard seats,
When we got back it wasn't time to hit the sheets.

To Dougee's we did go a fillet'n,
Cleanin' and vacummin' 'til daylight's end.
The other vehicle made it home and went to sleep,
Lucky suckers, 1 AM never sounded so sweet.
As Kristen had dreams about her "Spencer Twig" and rockfish,
Annie dreamt of eating her first halibut fish.
As the men lay down for the evening's doze,
We prepared our ribs for those pokes as we breathe (breathe, not snore) via nose.
The morning came quick and furious as it had the days before,
The more part of us lost the 3 hour sleep battle and lay back down and tried not to "snore".

(I personally still don't believe it, 
but can only suffer through this argument for so long and now it's time to leave it.)
The 4 AM soldiers trudged on,
Through mists of the morning dawn.
Bikes and a black bear were to be these soldier's lot,
With the old codger on a bike is where this tale will stot.
But in fact this tale will not stot,
becasue more fish must be caught.

A sow and her cubs were spotted below
As the fish pushed up river with a hearty heave-ho!
Combat fishing was the name of the game,
Then we went out the same way we came.
Next were fillets, a race, dinner and campfire cones,
Then off to bed in our individual zones.
The last of our days came all too soon,
We've done it all except fly to the moon.

We were off to Resurrection Bay,
To spend a gloriously sunny day.
The boat broke down, 
But the girls couldn't frown.
For they capitalized on the situation,
And shopped in true lady-like fashion.
When they guys were ready to go,
The girls smelled like roses and were all-a-glow.
Most, but not all, were jsut a little time,
To give our lines a slight jig.

First one, the two and three,
And we were off on a halibut catching spree. 
Bonnie's catch was big, but Dan's was even bigger,
Doug caught a rockfish and Rob's looked like a tiger.
The two-fish catchers sunbathed on their perch,
While Kristen anxiously waited for her pole to lurch.
When there was a lull, we enjoyed sun on our face,
But when they started biting we put those fish in their place.
After such a trip the fish and house had to be cleaned,
This will never end it seemed.

And as we pack,
We look forward to how our fish, in our freezers, we'll stack.
To Dee and Bonnie who made our dreams come true,
We wish we could somehow repay you.
For you our hearts do swell,
From Dan all the way to Mikelle.
And with love for you two,
We would all like to say,

We thought our vacation was over and that all was said and done,
But we didn't take into account all the joys of airport fun.
Rob and Tara made it to the airport just in the nick of time,
And snuck their ice in their fish box through security without reason or rhyme.
The rest of the crew headed off to drive around Anchorage and explore,
But their time was eaten up by unsuccessfully looking for dry ice at every single store.
They made it to the airport to check on all their fish.
But there was quite a confusion with check in: apparently the clerk had a death wish. 

Dad returned the truck and van, and things went off without a snafu,
But his nose and head were so clogged that all he could hear people say was "gargle gargle goo."
In the security line they sat and sat dreaming of an uneaten breakfast of pancakes and bacon,
Security wasn't their friend that day, as Annie's ponytail was under suspicion and Kristen's finger prints were taken.
Finally they made it through security and ordered some food to go from Chili's,
While they wasted Mom decided a Cinnabon was a great way to stop the hunger sillies.
She set off to find one, but forgot one thing,
Once you set foot out of the security area, you are pretty much a thug in a crime ring.
Going through security once more, she finally made it back relatively unscathed and fine.
While Chili's kept us waiting and we had to grab our food and run through to the terminal to make it to our plane in time

We all made it to the plane and finally got to sit.
We finally got to eat some food and relaxed for just a bit.
On the ride home there was a little girl whose parents drank while she continuously poked a man's knee,
And a boy who twirled his hair so much it made Mikelle so annoyed she could hardly see.
But we made it home, thinking the 90 degree temps that greeted us weren't fair,
We already missed that crisp cool Alaskan air.
At least we have our amazing Alaska memories and pictures to lovingly ponder over,
To get us through this post-vacy slump and keep us from hopping the next plane to Homer.
And now it's back to reality, with jobs, kids, houses to clean, and bills to pay,
But, hey, at least for now we can know that there are no more fish that we need to fillet.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

4th of July Reunion

This year we found ourselves back in Sea-Town for our family reunion/4th of July/Dad's b-day. But this year was quite unique in that NOBODY was missing!  23 people under one roof and it was a blast.  So once again I will let the pictures do most of the talking since there was so much that we did.

On our way there we stopped at Dave Smith Auto and after a 6 hour business transaction we left with our new vehicle.  And yes, I still have to re-park each time I park since it is so much bigger than our van was.  It may take me a while to figure it out. On our way to the car dealership the girls were so sad that we were getting rid of the van but the minute they got in this car they never wanted to get back out. Now we were ready to play:)
 First things first: Space Needle, Monorail, Pike Place and the piers (with a visit to Ivar's of course).  That night Robert, Megan, Nae, Rob and I went out to dinner.  One thing I learned this day...Nae does a fabulous "subtle street dance" she proved to us time and time again.   

And of course we had to visit the Children's Museum. The girls have yet to visit Mom and Dad without a trip to the museum.  That night Evan, Kari, Mom, Dad, Nae, Tom and Amber went to dinner while the rest of us stayed home and played games.  One thing I learned...don't mess with Megan when it comes to Monopoly.  She's the real deal. (She has a killer handstand too)

 The 4th brought on a nice and early morning with the Yankee Doodle Dash.  Amber, Tom, Dad and Rob all did the 10K while the rest of us took the kids and ran the 1 mile fun run.  We have a lot of runners in this family!

 After about a million showers we attempted to snap some family pics.  This was an adventure all in itself.
I learned that there is no need to snap more than one pic since that is as good as it is going to get.

 We can't forget cake making!  Happy birthday Dad!  I learned to be careful around Amber when she has red may end up flying through the air right into your hair:)

 Then we celebrated the 4th with our traditional BBQ.

 Next was our first annual talent show.  This was my personal favorite.  We had a nice mix of serious, funny and mostly adorable with a finish of Dad on his violin.  How cool is it that he will play whatever you request?  Wicked cool. I learned that Griffin really does think he is one of the kids. I would also like to mention that the fireworks around my parent's lake are my favorite!  Just one more reason why we must spend every 4th of July in their backyard! 

Thursday was retro day at the skating rink!  How long has it been???!!!!  Way too long.  However, this was so much fun we are going to make this a tradition.  What a blast...(to the past!) hehe.  Here I re-learned that Dad can still beat me in a roller derby race.

That night babysitters were brought in and the adults went to ...wait for it....
AHHHHHMAZING!  Can I just say that Robert and I went to this play in New York when we were in high school (just a couple years ago) and this new version is SO MUCH BETTER!  Worth it .  I loved the changes they made, the singing, the actors, the chorus, the orchestra, our seats, the sets.  I pretty much loved it all. I Love me a good musical and this one was much better than good.

 Our last day brought our traditional beach day at the tide pools.  I particularly like this day for so many reasons and one of them is babies in swimming suits running around.  I have a weakness for baby chub.  Claire has been seen running around frequently in her diaper for this very reason.   We do have clothes for her.  Really. 

 On our last night together we had one thing left on our catch a bull frog.  Naturally right? So we did.

An idea of how many of us there were...this isn't the only door with shoes waiting to be put to use either.  Poor Mom!