Sunday, November 2, 2014

Trick or Treat

We had a great Halloween this year!  We were able to go trick or treating in the neighborhood we live in!  So exciting!  We couldn't really trick or treat in our old neighborhood.  Some neighbors that the kids go to school with invited us to go with them.  They filled their trailer with hay and drove us from house to house (some of the houses are spaced pretty far apart).  The kids had a blast!  It is so nice to live in such a friendly neighborhood!  We love it!

We decorated our front door as a mummy!

Here is our ninja, Ghoulia Yelps (Monster High), Snow White, witch, and Spider Girl all ready for the pre-Halloween Chili Feed and Trunk or Treat at the church.

I bought some halloween candy a little earlier then I should've.  One of the kids snuck a few pieces each night until I finally noticed that I was missing a lot of candy.  This is what I found in their trash can!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back to School

The kids started school on Tuesday!  Lilah is so excited to start kindergarten this year!  She has been ready for well over a year.  She wants to be like her older siblings and is so excited to make friends and to read!  I have four kids in elementary!  Crazy! 

Celeste was sad to see all the kids go and felt very left out.  She had a tough day at home.  To compensate we decided to have a special lunch at McDonalds.  A Happy Meal makes everything better :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Family Pictures

While in Washington my talented and generous sister Betsy (along with her assistant Janet ) took our family pictures.  She did a great job!  Thank you so much, Betsy!


Cross Country Road Trip, Driving East

Our first day driving east we drove from Washington, through the corner of Oregon, Idaho (the not so pretty part) and into Utah.  It was a long and uneventful day.  We spent our second day exploring SLC and Provo!

Our first stop was temple square.  We walked around the temple, went up in the Joseph Smith Memorial building, went through the visitor centers, the tabernacle, and tried to see the conference center.  Unfortunately the conference center was closed while they prepared for an event.  I was so disappointed!  We also toured the Beehive House.

 From inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building

On temple square

Inside the tabernacle

We then headed toward Provo and at Uncle Marshall's suggestion we stopped at Scheels on our way.  We got some BYU gear at a great price, went for a ferris wheel ride, and loved wandering around the store.  It was awesome!

We made it to Provo and I didn't recognize anything!  It's all changed!  We drove around the MTC/BYU area and then parked.  We walked to the BYU library and went to the Talmage buiding where I had the majority of my classes while working on my undergraduate degree.  Although a lot has changed on campus, enough was the same that I felt a lot of nostalgia.  I really enjoyed our quick trip on campus.

We also went to an LDS bookstore, drove by the old tabernacle/new temple site, ate at Cafe Rio and got a drink at Sodalicious (and it was SO Delicious, we loved it).

The next day we headed east again. We drove through the rest of Utah and into Colorado.  We enjoyed the changing scenery and the Colorado river.  What we didn't like was the awful traffic we ran into because of a closed tunnel and that we were late getting into Colorado Springs.  Despite how late we were, we were still able to meet up with Mike's high school friend and his family.  The kids played at a park while the guys remembered the 'good ol' days'.

 Quick rest stop to dip our toes in the river

We packed our 1 day in Colorado Springs full!  We drove up Pike's Peak.  Celeste got car sick and threw up on the way down and then slept while we played in Garden of the Gods.  We then drove through Mike's old neighborhood and took pictures of his old house.  The kids then swam in the pool while I did throw up laundry for Celeste!  We had to go to Louie's Pizza for dinner.  Mike says the pizza is just as good as he remembers!

At the summit of Pikes Peak!

Views on our drive back down


Our next stop was Garden of the Gods


Mike's old house - while driving through this neighborhood Calvin found a Hawaii license plate - he was so excited, I was in disbelief.

The next day we were on the road again and drove through Kansas and Missouri.  Celeste broke out in hives so we made a stop to get some medicine for her and didn't think much of it.  After a really long day in the car we finally made it to our hotel in St. Louis late that night. 

Crazy kids in the car with glow sticks!

The next day we were back on the road to Kentucky and Mammoth Cave - the largest cave system in the world!  We had a fun afternoon in the visitors center and going on an amazing tour! 

Descending into the cave on our tour!

One of our stops in the cave

On our ascent out of the cave

Looking back in the mouth of the cave

After getting back into the car Celeste broke out in hives (again) and then her face started swelling.  I decided that my hunch of her having an allergic reaction was correct.  We pulled over and stripped her and her carseat bare. She wore my new BYU sweatshirt and rode in an uncovered carseat.  The only thing I could think of was that she was allergic to something in the cheap laundry detergent I'd purchased to wash her carseat cover and other things after she'd thrown up on in Colorado.  We made it to our hotel and then went in search of some good and pure laundry soap and a laundromat.  That seemed to do the trick!

Our final day was spent driving back home through Kentucky, West Virginia, and finally to Virginia!

It was an amazing trip.  We LOVED it!  I want to go again!  We drove over 6,800 miles, used around 300 gallons of gas and spent approximately 100 hours in the car (yikes).  Calvin found 48 of the 50 state license plates (and most of the Canadian provinces as well).  He did not see Rhode Island or Delaware.  Thank you to all of our amazing hosts - it was so good to see our family!  Hopefully we'll be back in a couple of years...

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cross Country Road Trip, Washington aka "Home"

I always sigh in relief when I'm in Washington.  As much as I love living in Virginia, Washington is still "home" and I love being there.
We arrived in Kennewick late because of our wrong turn, but they were waiting and ready for us!  We were surprised to see Aunt Jenny there - we didn't think she was coming and were so happy to see her!  She had been working really hard with Pops and Grammy to finish their stone patio in the back yard and to get it all set up to have dinner in the backyard!  It was awesome!  We had a great week in Kennewick!

Grammy took us to a "new" park in Richland that we'd never been too.  It had a really fun zip line, great climbing toys, and a creek.

On the zip line

Cooling off in the water

It was really hot the week we were in Tri-Cities so we spent a lot of time in Uncle Matt and Aunt Sara's pool - swimming with our cousins.  It was great.  Unfortunately I only took one picture :(

Here are a few of the kids in the hot tub (it was 100 degrees that day, crazy kids)

While there Celeste got pink eye.  Luckily we took her to the Dr. early and it didn't spread

One day my sister, Betsy, and her family took the Russells out on the Columbia River for some skiing, knee boarding and tubing.  We had a blast!  I was able to get up on my old slalom ski and had so much fun!  Then the kids went knee boarding and we all went tubing!  Thanks Betsy!

Lots of kneeboarding

Celeste took a nap with Grammy

Tube ride with Uncle Matt and cousins

 Crazy tube ride with Aunt Jenny

Brothers and cousins

After a fabulous week in Kennewick  - complete with a double date with Mike's Mom and Dad, a birthday party for cousin Kate, watching soccer, playing in the backyard, going to a summer movie with Grammy, a dead battery in our car and lots of play time we said goodbye and drove to Mattawa.

We only had a few days in Mattawa - but really enjoyed them.   A few of my sisters and their kids were able to come and spend some more time with us.  We played, rode the 4-wheeler, Calvin went 
sturgeon fishing with grandpa, we swam a lot, and played some more!  The adults spent a lot of time talking and relaxing.

One afternoon we were invited to a family friend's house to swim at their awesome pool.  We had a great time on the diving board and the swirly slide.  Thank you Vicki!  It was so good to see you!

 I went down that slide 3 times with kids and I can tell you that I am definitely getting too old for that kind of thing!

Celeste in the kiddie pool!  Mike used his phone to merge two pictures together

The kids had a fun popcorn race with Aunt Janet

The boys made an army of Robots



We packed up our car (we somehow collected a lot of things while in Washington, including my wedding dress, clothes for the kids, walnuts, and things for the house), said goodbye and headed east on Friday morning.  We were sad to say goodbye to Washington but looked forward to all of our fun stops up ahead!