Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cali Trip

Me and the kids planned a trip to California during the week before and the week of Brandon's board exam. He wasn't going to be around to spend much time with us and we all get a little cranky cooped up in our little apartment without him...
There was NO way I was going to drive 13 hours by myself...especially after the way the drive went over Christmas break. So, we booked our flights and I had nightmares for weeks beforehand over traveling alone with 3 children (mostly over Carter and Gavin...) But, when it was all said and done, the kids did GREAT and people were so nice to us. I even had a lady come up to me before we boarded the plane and say how impressed she was with my well-behaved children (beaming:), but that if I needed any help, she would gladly sit by me. How sweet! Fortunately, I didn't require any assistance.
Here are some pics of them before we boarded and on the plane.

Maybe you noticed the kids bright colored clothing...this is actually because I was so super paranoid about loosing one of them...I wanted to be able to spot them quickly if they wandered at all in the airport/remember what they were wearing if, heaven forbid, I actually lost one. Maybe I was a little overly-paranoid...

Gavin's little nap made the flight heavenly!

My sister Melanie and brother Reed (who, by the way, just got home from his mission in Texas) picked us up from the airport and as soon as we got to my parents' home, Jemma and Cater were out on the trampoline with Uncle Jacob and Uncle Reed. (Jacob left, Reed right.)
Before I get any further with the pictures, I just have to say, there are a lot of people I meant to get pictures of, and it just didn't happen. My fault. So, if we saw you on this trip and you're not pictured, I am so sorry! We loved seeing ALL of you!
We got to go out and see the property that Brandon's parent's just purchased...they have been working SOOO hard out there! And Carter was happy to be out in the orchard mimicking his Papa Ben.
Aunt Mel is always full of crazy fun and did some interesting make-up for the kids so they could do a little photo shoot.
We went to feed the ducks with my mom one afternoon...unfortunately there were more seagulls and geese than ducks, but we had fun nonetheless.

We played at the park while we were there too.
This swing was AwEsOmE!
We spent an afternoon with Brandon's step mom on her day off and ended up at a park nearby. The sunshine was WONDERFUL and we are missing it a whole darn lot now that we're back.
Jemma and Grandma Debbie.
Carter giving Gavin an "under-dog".
Gavin lovin' it!
Jemma givin' him a push.
This picture has a story.
Debbie and I were trying to get a picture of all three kids. Gavin was happy and smiling initially, but then he got interested in the grass.
Carter was smiling for us,
but Jemma was ticked that we made her come off the playground or something like that so she was mostly scowling at the camera.
This is the best shot I got because Jemma is looking away and Gavin doesn't have the grass in his mouth.
Back out at Brandon's parent's home...they have these little tractors now that the kids LOVE!
Jemma and cousin Trey.
Trey givin' Carter a ride. This was ADORABLE!
This may appear to be a random photo, but it was the only one I took that day...and I don't want to forget it.
My Grandpa Stone has composed A LOT of music and one of my amazing cousins is making sure it all gets recorded.
So one of the Saturdays I was out there, I got to be part of this whole experience. I sang a trio with my mom and sister Melanie for one number and then got to do a few of his fun group numbers.
The picture is my dad at the piano and Grandpa Stone giving us singing instructions.
My mom took us to a cute little tulip farm out in Modesto and when we pulled up, Carter spotted this little dandy. He really wanted to ride on it, but unfortunately, a pic with it was all I could offer. He looks so teeny next to it!
Nona (my mom) with the kids.
Jemma...I couldn't get Carter to stick his face in the one next to Jemma...stubborn little guy.
I told the kids to choose their favorite color tulip and I would take their picture with them...Jemma, obviously chose pink, and Carter was off running through the mud toward the cows before I could snap one of him...noticing a trend?
Checkin' out the geese on the pond. There was one lone duckling out there...I think Carter's head is covering it in this photo...but anyway, it was adorable.
Me and the kids.
Other things we did on this trip included:
Visiting with Granddad Mike, Uncle Austin and Aunt Heather,
McDonalds with Great Grandma Nawatha, Great Papa Frank and Great Aunt Sheryl,
painting a bedroom wall dusty blue and a laundry room hydrangea green,
helping brother Reed build a shelving unit for music storage in my parent's living room, (I used a miter saw for the first time...very cool! Thanks Reed for letting me help a bit! Can't wait for you to come build me some stuff!!!),
game playing (mostly memory with the kids, and a little Sabatour...very fun card game!),
dancing & pizza with the Zamaroni's and Soiseth's,
pizza with the Reed's, Yoder's and Fretwell's,
movie watching,
scooter riding,
frisbee throwing,
attending Melanie's Joseph Smith tribute performance with the YSA in Modesto,
and... (drum roll)...
registering Jemma for kindergarten (she'll start in Cali during Brandon's 2nd rotation).
Too fun!
We always love visiting family, but next time, hopefully Brandon can join us cuz we

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's the day.
We have talked about these for almost 3 years now.
Just waiting for them to come and get them over with.
The preparation on Brandon's end has been grueling. Poor guy. But I must say he's done an exceptional job of still trying to pitch in at home and give the kids and me a bit of attention. However, if we're being completely honest, the stress level in our home will go way down once they're over!
The first of three sets is finally here. (Bittersweet really...bitter that poor Brandon has to spend two full days taking an unbelievably difficult exam and that there is no more time to prepare. Sweet that once it is over, we can spend Spring Break thinking and talking about something other than boards!)
Brandon, we just want you to know that you're in our prayers today! You are gonna do GREAT! (No pressure.)
Love you!
Jen and the kiddos