>> Monday, July 13, 2009

We got invited last minute to go with our friends up to Greer for the weekend and we couldn't say no! The valley was going to get up to 116 degrees and the mountains were calling our name. :) What we didn't really didn't think about though, was that it's about a 4 hour drive and we could only go for one night. That's a lot of driving...but it was worth it!

Car boredom began to set in quickly. We left the house at bout 6:30am...everyone was still tired. The kids are watching their trusty DVD's.

After Alayna puked in the car, and getting a speeding ticket...we finally made it to Greer!

What a handsome devil Eli is kicking it on porch.

Alayna and me cheezin' it up!

Jared, Walker and Isaiah heading out to the lake to see something very "special".....

Ben showing us the cool...

Beaver house! There were 2 beavers living right in the pond that was only a few feet from our cabin. It was really neat to see them swimming around munching on fish. They are much bigger than I thought they were. Sorry I didn't get a pic of the beavers..I was too fascinated at the time and I got them on video instead. :P

Alayna making her way down to see what we were all looking at.

I just thought these were pretty.

Alicia is such a lovely girl!

Cool dudes taking a photo op. :D

Here we are unloading to check out Crescent Lake.

Ben telling me to take his picture and then post on my blog that he was the most handsome man I'd ever seen. LOL! :)

Me trying to get into some of the pics so I'll have proof I was on one of our vacations.

Walker and me ...he's growing up so fast!

Everyone gearing up to try to catch some fish.

Eli loves the outdoor life.

Isaiah and Walker looking for a prime spot for fishing.

Alayna mostly caught moss. :P But she had FUN doing it!

Big Lake General Store.

Walker was excited to get a boat....but alas he had to wait another day.

It does look like fun though....

After we spend much of the day at the lakes we decided to go grab some dinner. We got there a bit early so we decided to take a wagon ride.

Weeee...we're on a wagon ride. LOL!

This is the oldest lodge in Arizona. Molly Butler opened this in 1910..and it has the 2nd largest fireplace in the state. The restaurant has also been voted one of the top 25 restaurants in the state! They have an award winning prime rib...and Jared and Ben will concur with that vote. :)
For more info. .

Our second day we were heading back out to Big Lake to rent some boats and try to do some more fishing. We weren't very successful the first day. On our way we saw this cute little bridge so we had to stop and take a few pics!

Jared took this picture. It's not a very good picture of me..but I love that it has Laney in the background. :)

I just thought this was funny..that is a LOT of life jackets. We got ours and headed out on the water.

We decided that we should have skipped the boat for Alayna and just bought her worms. She was fascinated. Poor worms last moments were spent being tortured by our 2 yr. old before we fed them to the fish. LOL!

She would not let them go..she was talking to them and petting them and having a ball!

Clearly she does not get that from me. Worms are gross! :P

These girls are having a blast.

Lake view of store at Big Lake.

The boys are working hard to catch those fish. It was a little insane because the fish were jumping out of the water...and we couldn't even catch ONE!

This was taken moments before our engine died and we had to jump ship onto Jared and the boy's boat to get help. We had an eventful trip!

Hi Walker! :)

Our rescue crew! :)

We never did catch any fish....

We had a great time...Thank you Ben, Alicia, and Isaiah for letting us tag along! We'll do it again soon! :D



>> Friday, July 10, 2009

So yesterday I was having a major hankerin' for some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I posted a little update on my Face Book page and to my delight and surprise one of my best girlfriends imparted her cookie recipe treasure with me! :)

Don't these look AMAZING?!

Would you like the recipe?

I know you do!!! :) I'm going the cheaters way and hopefully you all can read the recipe from the photo. If not..I will type it out for you..but hopefully you can whip out your magnifying glasses and read it. :P

Some extra tips for this recipe:

Use Dove dark chocolate squares instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I know..I say..."I don't like dark chocolate." Well either do I but they are FABULOUS in these cookies! And as my sweet friend describes it...they make these wonderful "chocolate bombs" in your cookie!

Also substitute the walnuts for toasted pecans...walnuts are just yucky. However, my friend thinks she likes them in this particular cookie. You be the judge! :)

Or just do without the nuts altogether as I did with this batch. I think it's going to be pretty tough to not like this cookie no matter what you do.

But PLEASE..PRETTY PLEASE....follow the directions EXACTLY. I cannot be responsible for a cookie disaster because of failure to follow the directions. :)

Enjoy! I did!
Thanks Jill! :D


Happy 9th Birthday Walker!

>> Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Walk-a-doo!

It's hard to believe just 9 years ago you were born. Dad and I waited a long time to start a family, and even wondered at times if we would ever have our own children....then we were blessed with you!!

From the very beginning you were such an easy baby. Too easy I think, because you were our first, so we assumed all of our children would be as effortless. You slept through the night by 2 months, you never cried unless you had a tummy ache, and would entertain yourself for hours at a time. You were such a happy baby! You were always ahead when it came to learning to walk and talk and all those things a Mom worries about. :)

Even now you bring happiness and joy to our family. You are a terrific example to your little brother and sister. You have a heart of gold! Your sense of compassion is beyond your years. You are always willing to help and you are a wonderful friend. You continue to make us proud through your school work and activities. We couldn't ask for anything more. Your sense of humor is infectious and you bring a smile to all those around you. You make it such a pleasure to be your Mom and Dad!

I thank Heavenly Father everyday for blessing us with you. You teach us in so many ways how to be patient, understanding, and most of all ... loving others unconditionally.


We Almost Died!!!

>> Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 10th-16 we went to Texas for Jared’s family reunion….The Taylor Family Reunion. We had flown into Austin, and it’s about a 3.5 hr. drive from there to where Jared’s parents live on the farm in Comanche. His grandparents were peanut farmers, it’s not a working farm anymore, but his mom was born there in that house and they have chosen to retire there.

On our drive up it was beautiful. Texas is so green. It’s defiantly not the same drive you make when you head out to California. We were making good time, the kids had fallen asleep..a small miracle, except Alayna but she was playing her Leapster so she was happy as a clam. I usually do the driving on road trips because the car puts Jared to sleep…even if he’s the one driving.

We had been on the road about 3 hrs. and came up on a town called Goldthwaite. It’s one of those tiny towns common to Texas. We took a right at “the stop light” headed around the curve and like out of a movie it seemed, it went from sunshiny beautiful day to…midnight black sky, it was the middle of the afternoon. I woke Jared and told him I didn’t like the looks of things. He asked me if I wanted him to take over..I was hesitant thinking that I was just being paranoid, you know cuz I’m a strong woman, I can drive in I drove a bit further and it started to sprinkle. Which turned into rain, and within seconds turned into hard pouring sheets of rain. This is the point I decide I can’t drive in this.. so I pull over and I climb into the passenger seat and my poor husband had to run around the car in the rain. He loved that I waited so long to make that decision. Poor guy. By the time he had gotten behind the wheel it was like someone had taken a fire hose to the car and was just blasting water us.

We were creeping along, most of the other cars were pulled over and stopped, but not us! We were almost at our turn off and I saw a Dairy Queen, did I mention we were in the car for 3+ hrs…I REALLY needed a restroom, the pouring water wasn’t helping and by now the kids had woken up from all the commotion of the storm.

So I casually mention that maybe we should stop. He reassures me that we are only 30min away, the storm won’t last but if I wanted to he’d pull in. So there I knew full well we should pull into the Dairy Queen, but for some reason I didn’t follow that prompting so we passed it by.

We are still creeping along, the road is beginning to flood, and I was just beginning to feel the heaviness of the situation. We made it to the turn off but couldn’t see well enough to actually make the turn so we pull over. The rain is so incredibly loud and the wind was blowing so hard we were shouting in the car to be able to have a conversation. Jared and I were debating about turning around to go back to the Dairy Queen then we hear BANG!!..I was like what was that?! Then we heard it again..BANG!!.. and again..BANG!!,BANG!!

At first thought we thought it was rocks being blown around. The wind was blowing the car pretty felt like someone was shaking the car back and forth..but our head lights were on and I could see out the side window, it wasn’t was BASEBALL size hail!! if panic hadn’t already set had now!

My boys were starting to cry, saying they were scared, the hail kept pummeling our rental car, and we had to shout to even hear each other speak. Everything was at such an intense level.. inside I wanted to cry. I had to pull myself together..I couldn’t let my family see me falling apart so I’m looking around..or trying to ..out my window I see this house just a few feet in front of us, so I tell Jared to pull into their yard and we find a tiny bit of shelter under some of their trees in their yard. Thank goodness for Texas and being able to grow big trees!!!

We were still getting hit with the hail but not nearly as bad as before and it seemed to calm the kids down. Then I did the only thing I could think of to try to get us through this scary situation. We prayed. We prayed with a pleading heart and fervrentness that one has when in a desperate situation. We all began to feel slightly better and then we began to sing. We sang every primary song and kid song we knew.

We must have sat there for a good 20-30 min. All the while I’m thinking how long are we going to need to sit here for???? Man I wish I would have listened to the prompting to head in to the Dairy Queen! So after about 20 min. or so the sky seemed to lighten from its midnight pitch black to a slightly normal night sky, so we decide to try to head out again. We drove that last half an hr. to the farm at about 15 miles an hr. It took a while to get there but we did get there, shaken but safe.

As Jared’s family came out to greet us they asked us if we ran into that storm, we said yes..(They hadn’t gotten anything but sprinkles there) they told us that they heard on the radio it was a Tornado Watch Storm!!!!!! You can imagine our shock.. and yet total belief.

We almost died! Texas is a crazy state!


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