Sunday, July 31, 2011


A couple of months ago Jeremy and Shannon brought their family down to visit us.  This first picture is of my niece Jessica.  We spent a lot of time in the pool while they were here.  Unfortunately, the would be hilarious pictures/video were not captured on film.
This next picture is of my nephew Josh.  While he was here we worked on a few of his swimming requirements for scouts.
This is my niece Katie.  She and Alyssa were able to pick right up where they left on when we last visited them in Utah.  That's one of the things that I love about our family.  Even though these kids have only seen each other six or seven times in the last four years, they are able to get together and play like they saw each other yesterday.  I hope that they can always remember that comfortable with each other.
And last but not least, this is kassidy.  Ambrey and her were as thick as thieves while she was here with us.
We didn't spend all of the time in the pool.  On one of the days that they were here we went to the Goldfield Ghost Town.  It was originally a small town built around three gold mines, but eventually the grade of ore dropped and the town died out.  The ghost town has been rebuilt for tourists like us to visit.
This is the second building that you see after arriving at the town.  The first is the train station, which has a train that travels around the town.
This is the gold mine that is open to the public to tour.  We followed our tour guide through the mine and then on to the mystery shack.
This is the mystery shack. It is a small two room house that was built on a slope.  This was Alyssa's and Ambrey's favorite part of the day.  Unfortunately we came to late in the season to see the gun fights.
As I mentioned before, the town has a train that travels around the town.  This is it.  It is capable of traveling pretty quick.  Unfortunately I don't think we went faster than 5-7 mph around the whole town.
The kids locked up in the cage outside of the hat house and saloon.
On the last day that we were in town we visited the Mesa temple grounds and visitors center.

School Programs, Mother's Day, and The Princess Bride

At the end of the school year Alyssa participated in her fourth grade program.  I don't know that she was too happy that we brought the camera.  This was the only picture that we could get with her looking in our direction.  Every time that she looked over and saw the camera pointed at her she hurried and turned away.
This is Ambrey at her first grade program.  She had a great time and was happy with her performance.
And this is what Anna thought of it all.  Apparently she wasn't as fond of the music as the other girls were.
For Mother's day I made dinner.  That's right, I cooked.  And it actually tasted pretty darn good if I say so myself.  I made BBQ steak, loaded baked potatoes, and roasted asparagus.
There was so much good food that it wore Anna out.
After watching The Princess Bride for about the millionth time, we came to the conclusion that we had found the name of our fourth child.  Janna found wooden letters at a craft store, which we have since painted, and she gave them to the girls to try to unscramble his name.  This is what they came up with.  For awhile I thought we were going to be stuck with the name Mestley.
Ambrey's face on the big screen.  It's difficult to see, but she's definitely there.

Alyssa's and Ambrey's New Hobbies

Janna and I have talked for ages about starting our girls in piano lessons, but until recently we haven't done it because it wasn't practical for us to do it.  About four months ago we purchased a used celviano electonic piano, and about two months ago we started Alyssa and Ambrey in piano.  We are very happy with the teacher that they have, and both of them are doing very well with it.
About six months ago we signed Alyssa up for volleyball.  So far she has played soccer, softball, and now volleyball.  Her two favorites have been softball and volleyball.
It was amazing to see how quickly she picked it up.  She still has a ways to go, but in the short few months she made great progress.
Ambrey begged us for about a month or so to let her take karate.  I had my reservations, but in the end we gave in because Alyssa got to do what she wanted to, so figured that Ambey should get the choice as well.
Ambrey preparing her attack on the foam stick.
Ambey in action.

Ambrey's Birthday Party

Ambrey celebrated her seventh birthday on may 27th with a dragon themed party. 
 This is some of Janna's artwork for the party.  This picture was probably on our window for a month after the party because Ambrey just couldn't bare to see it erased.
The party was planned to include coloring velvet fuzzy posters of dragons, swimming, presents, and...
 cake!  Janna made this cake from scratch.  She saw the pattern on the internet, added a few twists of her own, and it turned out really well.
 Pretty impressive if you ask me.
 Check out the flames coming out of its mouth.
And last but not least, Ambrey the Dragon Slayer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Easter 2011

As I mentioned before, we are trying to catch up on some of the things that we weren't able to post that has happened since we moved from Buffalo.  This post has everything to do with our Easter celebration.
Anna cautiously climbing out onto the diving board to get one of her eggs.
The girls showing off their haul of candy.
Anna trying out one of her peeps.
Ambrey trying to chew after shoving half of her chocolate rabits ear in her mouth.
We lined up all of the girls in their Easter dresses for photos.
Anna smiling?  Or something.  I'm not quite sure what this face is all about.
Ambrey looking so sweet and innocent.  If only... (j/k).
Alyssa without her glasses on. 
Lemon meringue pie.  Mmm.  Ya, you could say I'm spoiled.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our First Dust Storm

On July 5th we were treated with our first dust storm.  This first picture was our first image as we walked out of the front door.  The dust was so thick that it looked like smoke coming from a massive fire in our neighborhood.
This is what we saw when we looked to the east.
This is what we saw when we looked to the west.
It was about 7:20 pm, so as you can see from this picture, the sun was still up and it would be for awhile longer.
This picture was taken in our backyard about 10 minutes after the first pictures that are shown above.  I took several pictures, but this was the only one that turned out OK.  It got pretty dark fairly quickly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

13 Years!

I know that I've said this before, but it's as true today as it was the last time I said, marrying Janna was the best decision that I've ever made.  EVER.  Happy Anniversary to the woman who makes my life full.  I love you Janna.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th, 2011

 So a few months ago Janna asked me to make her mint flavored brownies.  I don't know why she asked me to do it, I'm no chef by any means.  I mean I can boil water without burning it, and I've been known to be able to make hard boiled eggs too, but that's not saying much.  Being the spectacular husband I am, I jumped right on her request.  Okay, so she had to wait a few months, at least I remembered.  Right?  Oh well.  In case you're wondering, they actually turned out really well, AND I made them from scratch.  So take that all of you doubters out there!
We spent the day swimming, and then had a delicious dinner consisting of BBQ pork ribs, hot doges, corn on the cob, jello, green salad, pasta salad, totally awesome brownies, and apple pie with ice cream.  After all of that it was out to the front yard to light our fireworks.
 Anna's first flower.  A classic firework.  So simple, so cool.
This was probably the first Fourth of July fireworks display that Anna has actually enjoyed.  She was never able to get comfortable with the bigger displays that we used to watch when we lived in New York.