Jul 3, 2013

For the past couple of months.............

..........it has been nuts around here!!!

We got a darling new grandson back in March and 
were finally able to go see him for the first time in May.  
Reed is such a good baby and just as cute as his two big brothers, Cashen and Tate.
Cowboy and I had a great time with these boys and their parents, Whitney and Tyler!
A plus is that the Portland area is such a gorgeous place to visit!

When in Portland, this is a must!
VooDoo Donuts was on my bucket list
and now it's checked off!

In mid-May our daughter Devin returned from her 18 month mission to Honduras!  
We are so proud of her and her dedication to bringing others unto Christ!
 She was heartily greeted by nieces nephews, siblings, parents and friends at the airport!
I love the picture of her dad hugging her so tight!  
We really missed her a lot!
She's a great story teller and we loved her letters to home every week!
Here she is in the airport already telling us another great story!

After only being home a couple of days she wanted to get right to the temple with her dad and me!
That's the Mesa temple right behind us.
Dontcha just love this silly girl?!
(and honestly, even looking at a photo of my handsome husband still makes my heart race...wow, I love this guy like crazy!)

About a week later Grady graduated from high school!
It doesn't seem possible that he's really out of high school!  Wow!
He's our resident brainiac, so gratefully he has several great scholarship offers to good schools and all he'll ever need help with is gas money.  Yaaaay!!!
Congratulations, son!

Later that same day.....

 we all caught a flight to Florida to spend a week at Disneyworld
for the family vacation of our lives!

Duuuuude, it was so fun!!!
I loved every single park at Disney, but my favorite may have been Epcot, just cuz I loved walking through all the beautiful countries with my honey.
Favorite ride: Rock'N Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios!!!
I love hangin out with my family!!!

We spent one day of our Florida vacation on Daytona Beach.
Wow, I had no idea how awesome the Florida beach and water would be!
Tom, Regan, Grady, Maddie, Me and John
Thank you Devin for taking this photo of the rest of us!  :)
(everyone looks so pasty white!)

Devin moved back to her previous stomping grounds in Texas a couple of days after we returned from this trip.
I like it better when these kids come home than when they leave!

A few days after we got back from Florida, my sister and her husband,
Connie and Kim, arrived for a visit from Pennsylvania!
First time they've visited us here in Arizona since Cowboy and I got married six years ago!
We took them to Carlsbad/ San Diego area for a few days to enjoy the sights
(and cooler weather).
Turns out I'm not a big fan of cooler weather.
See me there with my feet by the fireplace.
Yeah, I was cold for 4 days straight.
Couldn't wait to get back to the 109 degrees in Phoenix!
But anyway, while we were there we took them to beautiful Balboa Park,
our favorite Carlsbad restaurant Karl Strauss (I dream about their mac n cheese!!!),
and a lovely lighthouse looking out over the San Diego harbor....gorgeous!
This was my first time inside a lighthouse!

FYI:  Connie and Kim got married when I was only 8 yrs old.
I'm 48 (almost 49) now, so this guy has been my brother-in-law for forty years!
I adore him more than my own brothers!!!
I can say that cuz my brothers will NEVER read this....
and because it's true!
And honestly, Kim is one of the funnest people to hang out with.
He's a retired cop, so he has amazing stories that keep us entertained for hours!!
Hubby and Kim have become great friends too, so it works out awesomely!  :)

Look who arrived before we returned from San Diego...
yep, my sweet Shelby is back from her 6 month adventure in Europe!
Maddie and the other kids were pretty dang glad to see her!
(okay, me too!)

Getting our girls back from foreign countries all safe and sound is a huge relief!!!!

Shelby stuck around here for about a week before she headed off to Utah
 to her old job, apartment and friends.

A few days before Connie and Kim headed back to Pennsylvania,
my sister Debbie and her granddaughter Ashlie arrived from Montana
to visit for a couple of weeks.

The main reason for Connie and Debbie's visits this hot June is that
my brother Harry passed away this past November
and we planned on having a memorial service for him
when we could all get together.
Harry had lived nearby in Tucson, so hubby and I got to handle
 all of his death arrangements (I can't think of a better way to say it....
it's just a lot of unpleasant things to deal with).
I was so happy to have my two sisters here to celebrate Harry's life together
 and to honor him.
Harry was an outdoorsman.  Period.
 He was happiest when he was out in nature doing just about anything.
One of his greatest loves was kayaking and he really enjoyed Lake Pleasant.
Remember when he gave Maddie her first kayak adventure?  She really loved that!!!
So I always wondered if my mom was a prophetess to name him Harry.
I love this picture of him.  This is how I remember him.  So full of life, and an amazing story-teller!  In spite of the awful hardships in his life, he was always laughing.

Here are the four of us just a few years back.  
Of course, that's Harry in the back, Connie is the tall girl, Debbie the sandy-blonde, and little me not looking at the camera, but probably distracted by a grasshopper or one lone living blade of grass.

And here we are again with our older brother Bobby.
Believe it or not, this wasn't all of us!
There were two more older siblings, Virgil and Cheryl, 
but never in our lives did we all get a picture together.  
Sad, huh?!?!
There is no way this pic was taken in 1972!!!
I was 8 yrs old in '72, and as you can see, I look more like 3 in this photo! 
So hey, now you know, I'm the youngest of 7!  
AND...I used to be a natural blonde.  lol

It was a perfect day at Lake Pleasant!
We spread Harry's ashes just barely down from the shore from where Maddie and I had spent the weekend a couple of years ago with Harry and his friends camping and kayaking.
That's my sister Debbie there sitting on that rock.  She's keeping it warm.
Did you know that human ashes sink?  Me neither.
That last photo is the ashes at the bottom of the lake, not floating on the top.

This post is so long.........is there anyone out there still reading this?

Connie and Kim headed back to Pennsylvania the day after Harry's memorial.

Now it was time to show Debbie and Ashlie a good time....

First off, I took them to Sweet Salvage.  Um, yeah, they're fans now too!

We spent a day up north at Montezuma's Castle and in Prescott.
It was nice to get out of the heat!
Debbie, Regan, Maddie, Ashlie, and Me
Montezuma's Castle

lunch at The Palace Saloon on Whiskey Row in Prescott

It just so happened that the Doce wildfire started just a couple of hours before we got into Prescott.
It was just north of town, so after lunch we got a closer look 
(yes, Debbie and I are both fire chasers!).
We were amazed at how close we were actually able to get to the fire, 
but shortly afterwards the roads were closed and we had to go the long way around to get back out.
It was sad and devastating to see so much land burning!
We watched as neighborhoods were evacuated of people and horses.

Next adventure:
Debbie hadn't been to Mexico or a beach in 37 years.
So we took her.
I never get tired of Rocky Point!
None of us do!
The beach, the food and the ice cream are amazing!  :)

Debbie and Ashlie LOVED it and can't wait to go back again!

Maddie and Ashlie made some adorable shoes!
They turned out so cute!

Soooooo, that was the end of Debbie and Ashlie's adventures in Arizona........

or so we thought.

Debbie started feeling more and more unwell as she was driving the loooong drive back to Montana.
She got as far as Idaho Falls and ended up in the emergency room.
Someone drove down and picked up Ashlie to take her back home, 
so then Debbie spent an ENTIRE WEEK in the hospital in a town where she knew absolutely no one.
What did she have?
NOT good!

She finally got an awesome visitor...her wonderful niece (and my friend) Missy drove down to cheer her up for a couple of days at the VALLEY FEVER RESORT!  haha
 She even had a cabana boy!

She'll be sick for weeks, but at least she was finally let loose from the hospital a couple of days ago.
Her husband had to drive down to Idaho Falls to drive her home and tow her car.
Get better Debbie!!

Hey, just one more thing to finish up this May/June {far-too-much} update.


Good job, Maddie!  You're amazing!!!

Okay, that's it!

So what have YOU been up to so far this summer???

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