Thursday, July 31, 2014

July's Random Happenings

Ohhhh, the things we did in July...

Grandpa Bell came to Arky for a visit.  The kids sure enjoy the random visits from Grandpa.
Addison spending some quiet time at the park writing in her diary.  Such a big girl.
Lots of days spent at Jump Zone to avoid this horrible July heat.  Brooklyn is starting to finally like that place.  Addison and Jonas were too busy running around and sweating (like Hufford's) to bother with a picture.
Brooklyn showing off her favorite perch position.  What a cute little birdie she makes.
Jonas giving underwear a try.  I'm guessing we aren't quite ready to hop on that potty-training wagon with him yet.
Jonas heading to the dentist for the first time and showing off those pearly whites.  No cavities Mom!!
One of our many many many trips to the neighborhood pool to cool down in the July heat.
Addison and Jonas got to enjoy a fun friend play-date and get their faces painted.  These were both Mommy's handiwork -f or the sake of time.  Luckily, they both thought I did an amazing job.  Shhhh....don't tell them!  And yes, that cute ninja turtle was quite happy although he seems to look otherwise.
Jonas and Brooklyn make quite the team.  Double trouble anyone?  They really do have a lot in common and usually don't need much convincing to figure out what mess they will make next.  Lucky me.
Daddy and Brooklyn taking some selfies during some downtime of waiting in the car - most likely on Mommy of course.
Jonas and Addison were lucky enough to go on a "Daddy Date" to Daddy's work.  Ice cream and movies.  Now I bet they are convinced this is how Daddy spends his days when he's not home with us.  I know I am!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Family Photos 2014

I'm sure you are quite aware, by now dear reader, that I'm an avid proponent of pictures.  Any and all.  The candid, the first year pictures, the family pictures, you name it.  My husband is convinced it's because all of my baby pictures were destroyed in a family fire when I was two years old.  I'm not entirely sure that is the reason but whatever it is - I just like pictures.  However, please know that I do NOT enjoy the process of taking said pictures.  It's hard, it's miserable, it's usually hot OR cold, the kids never cooperate, everyone is whining, everyone blames me for making them do it, yadda yadda.  It's NOT fun.  Not even for me.  But I push through the pain and whalah, after we've all recovered and settled back into our normal lives, our wonderful pictures are edited, finished, and given to us.  And we all sit around and oooh and ahhh at them.  Okay, maybe I do most of the gawking but I do know everyone is grateful for all that they endured to get them.  And if they aren't....I am.  And that is what keeps me going when it's time to take them again the next year.  So worth it my friends.  And I am pretty lucky to have such great photographers whom I also consider close friends, in my midst.  I'm a lucky lady.  

I did make a world-changing realization this year though.  Usually, each kid gets their own photo-shoot around their birthday.  Yes, this just drags the picture taking misery on longer than necessary.  This year I decided.....lets do it ALL in one fell swoop!  So much less painful for everyone involved....and cheaper too!  This was our first time doing it this way and I'm already a fan.  Since we all have birthdays in the summer, we just pick a date in the middle and go for it.  Yes, it always seems to be too hot for our own good but when you get such cute pictures back you never remember all the sweat you shed to get them.

Here are a few of our family photo shoot from this year!  Enjoy!  I know I do every time I look at them.

Brooklyn - 1 Year Old
Jonas - 2 1/2 Years Old

Addison - 5 Years Old

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pioneer Day Celebration

Our ward has quite the wonderful primary presidency.  As a result, we have quite the fun little primary celebrations.  Unfortunately, we don't have near as many as I would like but of course for July 24th - Pioneer Day you can't NOT celebrate.  Addison was the only one "qualified" to be there but since Jonas was envious I allowed him to attend too.  And then Brooklyn and I tagged along and helped out where we could.  It was so fun to see just exactly what goes into such a fun party.

The whole primary gang after they went on their "trek" around the church building.  It was hot and even the few minutes we walked in that heat made me grateful that I wasn't a pioneer back then.
My cute little pioneer.  Thank you to Bentley who loaned her some accessories to fit in with the group.
Jonas and his best buddy Nate enjoying some pioneer picnic food.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ashlyn's Baptism Celebration

One of the many things I love about my family - extended family - is that we all try so hard to support each other in momentous occassions that really matter.  For example: Baptisms and Blessings.  To be frank, we do manage to have quite the frequent celebrations of all kinds throughout the year, sometimes we can't all make it and sometimes we can.  However, when it involves a baptism or a blessing then we all try extra hard to make it work.  So I wasn't surprised when we packed the house to celebrate Ashlyn's special baptism celebration.  However, despite the grand occassion, I only seemed to snap pictures of the party we had before and after the even itself.  Silly me.  But, I must prove to was quite the party!  We are always glad to have a reason to celebrate and cram pack a two-day weekend to the hilt with food, fun, and family.

Jonas quickly realizing that not all costumes are created equal.  Sorry Jonas that you have been blessed with the 'Hufford Noggin' but I am quite amazed you were able to wedge it in there - and that it wasn't a permanent accessory after that either.
Brooklyn playing with her cousin Lydia.  Brooklyn is 4 months younger but definitely trumps her in size.  I totally didn't mean to make them match but you have to admit it's pretty cute!
Talk about getting our money's worth at the local drive-in!  And yes, they only charge by the vehicle.  Luckily they never realized just the huge group of children we were smuggling past their gates.  The cousins all had a BLAST even if we did only last for the first feature.
Hanging out at the pool while celebrating Ashlyn's birthday party.  I'd venture to guess that Brooklyn is quite the fan of the watermelon.
After the baptism was over the boys enjoyed a little b-ball game.  It was adorable to see just how much Jonas was loving playing with Uncle Quentin & Uncle Nick.  They were so good to include him and even lift him to the basket to make his winning goal.
Hitting the road for our three hour drive home from KC.  It's always a fun time in Kansas City.  And thankfully the kids were sleeping before we ever made it to the freeway.  Lots of cousin packed playtime and fun events can sure wear a person out!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Moooooove Over Chick O' Lay

It's deep in my genetic DNA to do most anything for a free meal.  My parents raised me this way.  I embrace it.  Especially if it means we get to dress up like cows and get a free meal at our favorite restaurant....."Chick O' Lay"  (Which is Chick-Fil-A to the non-Hufford kiddos).  I've tried to make it every year to this momentous occassion and frankly I think I skipped a few in there by pure accident.  Who doesn't want free food whilst dressed up in bovine attire?  This year we were lucky enough to be able to dress up, load up the cow trailer, and head on over to dine on our chicken.  Soooo worth it.  Especially when looking at the pictures of these cute little bovines.  Such good sports they are.

Addison & Jonas "mid-Moo" while I snapped the picture.  Look at all of those cute little cow hooves!!
And my little bovines again.  I don't think Brooklyn thought we were very sane at this point.  Maybe it's because she didn't know what was awaiting us on the other end.  Free chicken my little baby calf!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Public Library Fun

I must admit, when Addison was a baby (as in tiny newborn) I was so on top of participating in the local library's fun events.  So much so, that I embarassingly called and asked the library how young was "too young" for attending story-time with my child?  Why in the world I thought there was an age-limit I'll never know.  But I do know I was itching for an excuse to jump into all things stay-at-home Mommyish.  

Fast forward to three kids later and frankly our public library fun is dwindling fast.  It may be the combination of dragging all three kids there, getting them to hold still, etc.  It's just plain exhausting!  But after writing this post I really need to recommit to trying harder.  Our library does so many fun things it's a shame not to participate.  Especially since they have a craft time after each story time which makes me feel less bad that I do ZERO, ZILCH crafts with my kids during the week.  At least we can go to the library and make a mess on their turf and let them do all the prep and clean-up involved right?  That is enough of a reason to get this Mommy and her three kids out of the house once a week!

For this rare library excursion we were able to attend a fun clown activity with some friends.  I went into it not quite knowing what to expect and heavens the crowd I had to fight to get a decent seat, and not lose my children, was starting to tell me it wasn't worth all the work it took to get there.  But once Mr. Clown jumped into his production I quickly changed my mind.  He had us all laughing, kids and adults!  It was such a cute and well put together performance that I was very glad we fought through the battle and made it.  I think Addison was really the only one (aside from me) that really seemed to get anything out of it.  Jonas spent 95% of his time showing me the balloon that was caught up in the ceiling rafters....over and over again.  But really, it was SO cute and I'm SO glad we went.  Here's to many more library excursions in our future!  Even if we have to battle half of the community to get a good seat.

Mr. Clown guy showing all of the kids these cool experiments.  Not only was it education but he had the kids in stitches the whole time.  He put in quite the workout to make it happen.  I kept thinking.....what if that were MY Dad?  Hehe.

Afterward we celebrated with a quick grocery shopping jaunt.  I've become quite amazing at feeding my kids lunch whilst doing my grocery shopping. Thank you walmart for your "chicken balls, juice bottles, and free bakery cookies" even if the cookies are the super messy kind.  I do realize beggars can't be choosers.  My kids love them so it's worth it I suppose.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekes Family Reunion

My dear Grandma Weekes has openly expressed her "dying wish" - no, she's not dying, nor is she even close to it, but she's always been very intent on laying on the guilt in hopes of getting all of her many many grandchildren to obey her requests...  Anyway I digress, she's been spending the last year or so begging and pleading for all of her grandchildren to come and celebrate in a good old fashioned Weekes Family Reunion this summer.  I must admit, I tried my hardest to come up with excuses as to why we couldn't make it (it has been quite a busy summer!) and I wasn't entirely sure John had the vacation days at work to use toward it, but in the end I'm glad we made it work.  I have some dear cousins that spent a LOT of time planning it and also my dear Grandmother who footed most of the bill (if not all) just in an attempt to get everyone there.  In the end, it was a great time and my kids had a blast.  Of course, I also had a blast getting to see all the cousins I grew up with way back when.  So, thank you to my dear Grandmother for making it such a priority for all of us to be there.

We were lucky enough, to book Aunt Cassie's floor space for the festivities which meant we didn't have to camp overnight in the summer heat for the three days it went on.  I didn't see camping with a one year old as a very fun idea although there were plenty of others who were quite a bit more brave than I was.  Regardless, I was quite thrilled that Cassie lived only a few minutes from the campground and we could still drive over and enjoy all of the festivities that were going on during the day and evening.  It was quite the production and next time I promise not to drag my feet in getting us there like I did this time.  Lesson learned.

Daddy & Jonas having a reflective moment while fishing.  Jonas LOVED fishing.
Daddy posing with Addison, Jonas, and Alexa while baiting the fishing hook.
Brooklyn showing off her reunion t-shirt.  Can anything get cuter than this?  I think not.
Grandma Bell hanging out with Brooklyn at the reunion.  I think these two look so much alike.
Grandma Bell with the whole Hufford clan and matching shirts to boot!
Daddy and Addison and Jonas spent a LOT of their spare time during the reunion just hanging out at the dock.  They loved having a private little swimming area to play in.  Not to mention, the fishing they were able to do (for the first time!)  It made for such great memories.
Jonas soaking his feet off the dock at the lake.
Here are the two worn out swimmers.  They spent so much time here.  Needless to say, it wasn't hard to get them to sleep every night because of it.
And here they are hanging out with Makinley.  Getting in some more cousin fun before it was time to head to bed.
To escape the heat, Daddy took these three to a movie matinee to see 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'.  They all had a great time.  Especially because popcorn was involved!
And of course, it isn't a Weekes gathering without a Luau.  My Tauai cousins are part Samoan so they always are gracious enough to share their talents and culture with the family.  Addison and Alexa were thrilled to be a part of the production.  Even if their grass skirts were a few sizes too big.
And of course, our last day of the weekend consisted of a baby blessing at Kyle & Cassie's church for baby Kesten.  Here is Grandpa heading to the car with a few of the boy cousins.  Too cute of a picture to pass up.

I failed to mention that this trip had dual purposes.  My Dad's side of the family was visiting Missouri for their own reunion on their other side.  Naturally, we had to plan an afternoon together to have our own mini-impromptu reunion at a beautiful park that was strategically in the middle of our paths.  Definitely worth all the work it took to make it happen.
All of the cousins hanging out at the "Bell Family Reunion."
And of course a picture of some of the Bell cousins that were lucky enough to show up.  Lots of years spent growing up with these hooligans.  Oh the memories we could share.
And what is a party without a pinata?  Here is Addison taking a swing.  She's so tender I don't think she even made a dent in it but it was sure fun trying.
Here are MOST of the Bell siblings (and spouses).  We were sad we didn't get to spend time with Aunt Lorraine.  Maybe next time!
And one more of the whole gang!  It was more entertaining trying to get this picture prepped and ready to auto-shoot than I was expecting.  Thus, the smiles on our faces were quite genuine while laughing at the whole process.  So glad so many got to reunite and share memories.