Friday, November 12, 2010

gingerbread houses

Every year the Council Bluffs Stake holds a gingerbread display at the Kanesville Tabernacle. Last year we had a little accident and our house never made it to the display. This year I vowed to redeem myself. I will turn in the yellow house in the picture, which while it isn't a masterpeice, I did learn a lot from. Our Primary also decorated gingerbread houses as a primary activity. We will be turning in three very unique houses. We had one house that the girls just couldn't get enough of all the candy gluing freedom they suddenly had! As for our family, we decided to do one just for us. Just before Chad and I were married Chad's mom wanted to start a family tradition of decorating gingerbread houses. Without her there the following years to see it through, the gingerbread thing kinda never happened. However, since we do it to help our stake anyway, we have decided to take on this Williams family tradition. Two years down, and I hope lots and lots to go. Aimee and Porter had a great time with it this year. Mostly Porter just liked that there was a whole lot of candy at his little fingertips, and eventually we had to cut the poor kid off. Aimee on the other hand loved the eating and the decorating! She did 90% of the house we kept, and I think it is awesome!

Friday, November 5, 2010

oompa oompas

We had so much fun being the Flintstones last year that we really wanted to have family themed costumes again. In about June or July we saw Willy Wonka on Netflix. When it was over Chad had the idea that should be our Halloween costumes. I thought that it was a great idea, even though the more I thought about it the more I realized what a project it was going to be to create. I got started at the first of September. I decided to make Porters first since his would require the least amount of fabric if I completely butchered the design. It turned out really great! There were a few minor changes I wanted to make but thought it worked pretty well. My first real problem is that I got overly confident. Porters oompa pants had gone so smoothly that I waited way too long to start on the other two pair. In my rush to whip them out I made all kinds of stupid mistakes that cost me a lot of time. I was still coloring stripes on the socks and making Chad's top hat the night of our ward trunk-or-treat! I admit that it wasn't quite what I had pictured in my head. I never did find brown turtle necks, I didn't have crazy Gene Wilder hair coming out of Chad's hat, and I didn't get the balls for our shoes made, but it was still so cute. This picture doesn't do it all justice! This was night two and by then we had run out of green hair spray (I was green the night before) and the kiddos didn't have as much patience for all the orange face paint. They had also beat up their pants a little. It was so fun seeing them both run from door to door in these pants though. Aimee learned quick that the faster she made the rounds the more candy she was getting. Porter tried a different approach and just reached both hands in every bowl and got as much as he could fit in his little fists. I totally regret that I didn't take a video of the actual trick-or-treating action. It was adorable! Village Green is also one of the best places a kid could live at Halloween. It is safe, everyone is close, and nearly everyone sticks with the fun celebrating of the holiday instead of the dark part. Aimee would have trick-or-treated all night, even though she complained of her bag getting too heavy, if it hadn't been for a potty trip. It was such a fun night!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

painting pumpkins

This year for Halloween we decided to paint our pumpkins rather than carve them. While neither Chad nor I had ever attempted this, we decided this might make it's way into Williams family tradition! One of the best parts about it is that everyone gets to participate all at the same time. Last year we all helped clean the pumpkins out then Aimee and Porter had to just sit and watch since we decided that knives just might not be the best toy for them. We also loved that the pumpkins were a lot brighter and lasted the whole month on our porch. Since we are surrounded by the botanical gardens we have lots of squirrels. I think they all get their entire winter store from eating all of the carved pumpkins. Aimee and Porter had a ton of fun. Aimee carried her pumpkin around outside the next day because she was so proud of it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

bucket helpers

My little people have been pretty good helpers lately, especially since they found my flour buckets. My mom gave me some buckets with screw on lids that the two of them push around the kitchen and use as height extenders. I keep two of them in my kitchen, and it has been fun to get them both in the action and still keep them away from things at the far end of the counter top that I don't want them to touch, especially when the mixing bowl is full (I have had more cookies make it into the oven lately). We have recently been making a lot of apple pie and apple bread. Aimee loves helping to peel the apples. Porter just likes eating them. I have also included a picture of one of our Halloween projects we did together. Aimee was so excited to make spiders. I should have showed the one with the legs that she bent and inserted that I helped with much less.

vala's pumpkin patch

Our families have heard us brag about some of the cool stuff Omaha has to offer that Idaho doesn't. One of those is Vala's Pumpkin Patch. It is sort of the Disneyland of pumpkin patches. I had never been to one until we moved here, but have since learned just how awesome they are. the best part is that every year gets more and more fun since Aimee and Porter enjoy it better as they get older. Here are just a few pictures of some of the fun things we do there. Aimee rode the pony's all by herself! We still hear about that regularly. We rode on the family pedal carts, and tried to bury Chad in the corn pit. We played on the jumping pillows this year for quite a while. Luckily there are three that are for different age groups. Porter got a little frustrated that he kept loosing his balance when other kids jumped too close to him. He had fun running from one end to the other and then sliding down the sides. We also had some pretty great games of ring-around-the-rosy! We rode the Vala's express train, had duck races, watched the pigtucky derby races, saw a dragon that ate pumpkins (and brushed it's teeth after) and watched the pumpkin cannons. Last, but not least, we went on a hay rack ride to pick out pumpkins. This year our medical club didn't pay for it so we decided to make the best of it. We were able to go in the middle of the week when it wasn't nearly as crowded and early in the month when it was still super warm. It was a trip to go down in the books! We, and especially Aimee, can't wait to go next year!

bathroom project

With my camera cord MIA I missed a few fun things from September. One of those was our bathroom floor upgrade. We had some pretty gross linoleum that was stained in a few places before we ever showed up in Omaha. Chad, with some cunning craigslisting got us some free supplies. At the end of his OB/GYN rotation he went to work and installed it. It was sort of weird timing getting it in since chad had to help with some ward stuff in the middle of the project, but it all worked out. He learned how to drain and remove a toilet, and put the floor in all by his self. I was so proud. The only hard thing was that since that is our only bathroom we had to improvise for a day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Last weekend our ward had a cookout/camp out. We decided to go ahead and participate in the entire activity. When some of our great neighbors moved out in May they gave us their tent. Having a good sized family it is a good sized tent. This is the single piece of camping equipment that we own. However, with Aimee's recent fascination with the woods we thought this would be, if nothing else, a trip to be remembered for years to come. We definitely succeeded! The weather was forecast to be great with a chance of rain late Saturday morning. So, with a few borrowed items from our friends, a stack of blankets, a pack'n play, and some bug spray we embarked on our family's maiden camp out voyage. When we arrived we picked a great spot for our excessively large tent and went to work reading the instructions to get it set up. It was only missing one piece! Aimee and Porter thought it was nothing short of magical! Getting ready for bed that night and watching those two babies rolling around in the blankets and bouncing off the air mattress I understood why my own parents went to all the work of camping! I am a terrible sleeper by nature, but at about 11:00 that night when the rain started pelting our tent, I knew it would be an even longer night than I had anticipated. My sweet husband got up in the middle of the night in his garmies to move the kiddos out from under the dripping spots and adjust blankets that were now wet. A couple of times I too had to get up to push up the roof of the tent where water was pooling and dripping. It was a long night, and an even longer day cleaning up after our adventure, but we actually had a blast! We loved it so much that we decided we needed to do it again. Last night we set up our tent in a far corner of Village Green just behind a dumpster. This was the flattest location we could find that wasn't right on our lawn. I think it would have been awesome except that it was so cold last night, and there is a lamp post located next to the dumpster that runs all night. By morning Chad and I both had a baby sharing our blanket beds and we couldn't wait to get inside. I think we will have to wait until next year to make our charming third attempt, but we are all looking forward to it! I'll post pictures as soon as I find my camara transfer cord!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Aimee has really gotten into bugs this summer. While several of the other little neighbor girls shy away, Aimee jumps right in. We have lots of older neighbor boys who are semi-pros in the field of bug capture and keeping (torture). When her manual dexterity fails her and she can't pick them up she just tries to step on them. Porter has also caught onto this and does his best to coordinate his eyes and feet. It usually takes him 3 or 4 steps before he hits his target. Luckily for them, Aimee's latest catch it was slow and big. We found a big fuzzy caterpillar on our front door when we came home from music class one morning. We went inside and found an apple sauce bottle I had washed out a few weeks prior for bug collecting and gave the poor thing a new home. Thanks to the help of the neighborhood boys it has a lovely "habitat" complete with a stick, several leaves, dirt, and some "friends" which include ants and rollie pollies. Pretty much any animal or insect unfortunate enough to get caught in this neighborhood has a death sentence. I must admit I think that entertaining kiddos is just part of them filling the measure of their creation. Plus, I think it is pretty cute. Aimee had a nap with the caterpillar, took it to Wal-Mart, and had dinner with her new fuzzy friend. Until we are in a situation where we can have a puppy, I think these kind of pets are just gonna have to do. Sadly, the next morning the caterpillar had gone into a cocoon. It isn't nearly as fun to watch now, but Aimee is pretty excited to have it turn into a butterfly/moth.
I have a few videos of Chad helping the kids "play" with a cicada and making it chirp, but I can't find the cord to my camera to load them so I will have to post them later.


By now most people know that little number three is on the way, so I thought I would give a little background info. We found out about this one a little differently than Aimee and Porter. It makes sense now, but at the time it really didn't cross my mind. When I got so sick in July with oral herpes, I went to the doctor to get a prescription for a mouth numbing rinse to help me eat. While I was there he wanted to prescribe some narcotics for the pain and asked me if I was pregnant. I told him that I didn't think so, but he thought it best to be sure. Five minutes later I learned that I had not in fact miscarried as I had thought. However at my first doctors appointment a month later I was wondering once again and so was Dr. Martin due to more than normal blood loss. He ordered an ultrasound to check things out and we learned that all was well. About this time Chad and I thought we could let Aimee in on the secret. We told her all about the baby in my tummy that was growing so that when it got big she could have a new brother or sister. Because there are so many births around these parts the whole thing sunk in pretty well. She thought it was great. We asked her what we should name the baby and due to recently watching Horton Hears a Who we now refer to it as baby Horton. Dad Williams is concerned about this little nickname, but I'm sure Aimee will learn to call it what ever we choose in the end. I am currently 16 weeks, and my pants that got too big when I couldn't eat now fit again. Horton's official due date is March 7 and we are pretty excited around here!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

itter man

My friend Andrea graciously took a few pictures of Porter when he turned one. Oddly enough it has been several months since then and I failed to post my little guy. He is now almost 15 months old, and a lot has changed since then. He has really grown into his personality. Chad and I figured the poor kid was sick nearly from birth until just before he turned one, and it has been awesome to see him change. While he and Aimee are most of the time "the best of friends" they are very different. Aimee is very independent and outgoing. Porter is a momma' s boy. Don't get me wrong, he is definitely all boy. He loves bugs and dirt, cars, trains, and airplanes, and he has a thing for sitting in anything that is wet. Going outside to play after it has rained always means extra laundry with him. However, most of the time Porter is still happy to sit on my lap in church if I give him something to look at or eat. Aimee felt, and still feels, that is an infringement of her freedom. Porter is comparatively cautious. If a hill or slope is steeper than he feels comfortable with, he either wines for help, or scoots on his bum. If he is running and starts to loose his balance he slows down and regroups. He is happy to be a part of the action, but doesn't need, and often doesn't like to be the center of attention like his big sis. Porter is also a very quick learner. Aimee got her fingers flipped seemingly dozens of times before she was convinced that she really had a certain boundary. Porter is much fast to decide it isn't worth it. That, or he will take the punishment personally and cry, followed by the need to be cuddled and loved, and assured that we still love him. He loves books! Sometimes it can be frustrating how much he loves them. He likes to bring me a book, and then gets pretty offended when I will only read him the one. He learns especially well when Aimee is the teacher. She was the one that taught him to fold his arms when we pray, and say at least half of his entire vocabulary, which is pretty big. She is definitely his hero. When hugs and kisses don't solve his problems, Aimee does by playing chase with him, or taking him on an imaginary wolf hunt.

While I admit it has been a little hard for me to adjust to his personality differences in some ways, like his constant need for affection when I think he should just play or get over an ouch, I have also come to adore it. I have a pretty big mom crush on him. It is hard to see my little man getting so big, but luckily he doesn't make me feel left out. He needs me and it is great!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

aimee funnies

Since my computer downstairs is in an uproar, and won't connect to the internet, I am forced to do a post without pictures. I thought maybe the next best thing I could post would be some of the funny things Aimee has said to me lately.

1. We were at the mall, and the kids were playing in the little padded playland. Just behind it was some of those little coin opperated rides.
Aimee: "Mom, can I please ride the car?"
Me: "Baby, those rides are lame, let's just stay here."
Aimee: "Mom, I want to ride the lame."
Me: "Aim, lame means that they are not awesome."
Aimee: "Mom, I want to ride the not awesome lame."

2. This one is more sweet than funny, although I admit that I turned my head and laughed when it happened. Not that long ago, Aimee got a nasty little stomach flu. She woke up in the night throwing up. After we got her all cleaned up, and moved into the other room, where the bed was already made, and clean (so conveinient) Chad gave her a Father's blessing. We explained that Daddy was going to put his hands on her head and say a prayer with his Priesthood so she could sleep and feel better. Last Sunday we had a new couple over that just moved into our ward. While we were visiting, Aimee went over to Chad, who was sitting on the floor. She put her hands on his head and started saying a prayer. She was trying to give him a blessing. It was so sweet, and such a testimony builder of how impressionable she is, and the importance of what we are trying to teach her.

3. The sad truth is that I can't remember what story I was going to put here. It was one that Chad asked me to post, so I will ask him to remind me when her gets home and add it to the post later. Stay tuned I guess.

Monday, August 23, 2010

big girl bed

Several weeks ago Chad and I were talking about the future, as we often do. I reminded him of my friend whose husband just finished his residency in Ophthalmology. When they finished they had four kids and lived in a two bedroom apartment. Recognizing that our circumstances are unique and allow us to live in our great town house for a fraction of what most people pay we decided we would need to prepare for that type of eventuality. We decided that eventually we we were going to have to invest in bunk beds. This was a for the future, but my very skilled Craigslist hunter took it as more of a challenge. Two or three weeks later he found his smokin' deal, and we loaded up the van with the parts and pieces of our new bunk bed, and tied a couple of ma tresses to the roof. The timing also seemed convenient because it was just before Chad's brothers family and Dad would be staying at our house. It gave us two extra places for them to sleep. We decided to put Aimee and Porter in the same room for the weekend so that Dad would have a little privacy. As it turns out it has become a very permanent situation. Aimee and Porter love sharing a room! When Chad started rotations it completely changed the morning dynamic in our home. We had a great routine before and it was difficult for the kids to adjust to not seeing him in the morning before he left. This made everything better. Instead of waking up to two very sad little people every morning, I wake up to them laughing and playing with each other. Who knows maybe in seven years or so when Chad is done with residency we will have four or five cute little kiddos in one room, giggling and squealing with each other when I would rather that they were sleeping.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

more tidbits

Where to begin? I am definitely behind on the happenings in the Williams house hold. First of all holy cow it has been hot! With heat indexes topping 115 degrees we have needed to find ways to enjoy outside and not have a heat stroke. The hard part is that so many of the kids friends have been out of town. While the pool hasn't been the party Aimee normally loves, she won't pass up an opportunity to get wet. I admit that I love that my babies love to play outside and be active, and Aimee's polka-dot, ruffle bum swimmy suit makes it even better. Plus, Aimee and Porter have spent the last month being each others best friend, and it has been so sweet to watch as a mom! I did manage to catch a funny video of Aimee leaving buddy mode and switching into her big sister mode. By this I mean she is my big helper, but also the one who calls the shots with the younger crowd.

Finally, I had to include a picture of Aimee's most recent shiner. This one happened while she was playing chase with Chad around the kitchen table. She turned to see how close he was getting and ran right into the corner of one of the chairs. I think she has a gift for black eyes. An older gentleman in Wal-mart asked me that same day if I was beating my kids. Between her hemangioma and eye she did look a little rough, but it didn't keep me from being T.O.ed at the guy for accusing me of something so awful.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Last weekend we had the special treat of having family out to stay. While we lucked into the visit due to location more than anything we were so glad to get the chance to spend some time together. Chad's brother Steve and his family are moving to Atlanta, Ga. We just happened to be the half way point. After a long day of travel, we became Hotel Williams. Aimee was sooo excited to see her cousins, and even more excited to see Grandpa Williams who was sweet enough to once again make a cross country trip to help one of his kids move. Aimee got to get out of bed the night Grandpa arrived to have him read her some books and share some Watermelon! Saturday morning we drove to Nauvoo. It was just under six hours with gas stops. We were lucky enough to get a room at a great place and then spend the afternoon seeing some of the more kid friendly sights. It probably would have been a lot more fun for everyone if Chad and I had had the foresightt to turn off the movie in the car so Aimee would have taken a nap. A tired Aimee had a run-in with an ox horn giving her a goose egg, and fell off her chair at dinner onto a hard floor and secured a big bruise on her cheek. Sadly, she was not up for all of the great activities at the Nauvoo pageant that night, and stayed at the hotel while Emily and I went. Sunday we went to church, walked down Parley street, and got prairie pearls at the blacksmith shop. It was a fast trip, but so great to be with family!

Below is Chad and Aimee making rope at the Family Living center, and then there is the video that the missionaries took (it was supposed to be a photo) right before Aimee got knocked in the head.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I love being a mom! This is just one example why! Anytime Aimee "hides" she asks, "where did Aimee go?" Then if we say, "I don't know," she will tell us. In this case she would say, "hiding under the blanket." Lately she has included Porter in the game, and he loves it most of the time. While he genuinely hates to have things on his head, he will make an exception if it means hiding with Aimee! When these two get going, sometimes it is a chore to get them to stop, but I love how much they love to play together. I am so blessed!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

pioneer day

Normally there are parades and fireworks to celebrate the 24th of July. Well, they don't have that in Omaha. Even though this area is what it is largely because of hard working Latter-Day Saints. Instead we had "The Pancake Man." Our stake had an awesome breakfast at the Kanesville tabernacle that consisted of sausage links, diluted Sunny-D, and professionally produced pancakes (with margarine and syrup). While budget was certainly a factor, the pancakes were something to blog about. This guy had about a six foot griddle that had a rolling pancake batter dispenser that dropped four at a time. Then when they were cooked he would proceed to flip them in the air, behind his back, and in some cases over peoples heads to get you your plate full. It was really fun. When we got home from the breakfast we had planned to run errands and work on our "to do" list. Instead we accepted an invitation from our friends to go to Lake Manawa. While we were pretty skeptical that there could be a fun beach in our land locked area, it was actually really nice, and a whole lot of fun! Aimee couldn't get enough of the water. A couple of times the waves took her out and she ended up with a face full of water. Once she had her feet under her she would just charge right back out again! It is entertaining, and often scary, just how adventurous she is! Porter on the other hand found an entirely different way to keep me on my toes. Our friends had built a little baby pool of sorts that the waves only crested into. This produced a lot of foam in just the right amount of water to come just above Porters belly button. He sat in his private pool and attempted to eat as much sand and foam as he could get in his mouth. We had a sandy PB&J picnic and everyone but Porter (who I actually remembered to put sunscreen on about an hour before we left) got sunburned. With all of the sun those two kiddos see they fared pretty well. Aimee was only slightly pink and was completely unaware of anything being amiss. Chad and I are still recovering.

To end the day we attended the Baptism of our wards most recent convert, Brother John Summers. There were several pictures of baptism in Aimee's last issue of the Friend, and it was a great way to show her what it was, and talk about what it meant. I think the water idea got through. I'm not so sure about the promises/covenants part. It was a great day!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

battle wounds

As many of you already know, there has been a lot of recovery at the Williams household. I guess it all started with me. Two weeks ago I started feeling like I had the flu. I really didn't think much of it until the next day when my mouth started breaking out in sores. By the next night I had a fever, the chills, nausea, and my mouth covered in sores. I had them on my gums, my lips, cheeks, tongue and even down my throat. I suspected I knew what it was, but living in such close proximity to many aspiring dentist, and current dentists I got a few opinions. The verdict: primary oral herpes. It was painful to talk, eat and even drink water. Friday I went to the doctor because I was also having ear pain. I found out I also had an ear infection. Luckily, I am married to worlds most protective boy. While I wallowed in self-pity, Chad did the laundry and made the meals. Just over a week after it all started I finally started to feel like a real person again. I tried a couple of times to take pictures of the sores in my mouth, but failed. I did get a picture of the beautiful flowers my Primary presidency gave me though!

Once I was back in the game, Aimee and Porter must have taken it as a sign that it was now their turn for a little attention. In two days, Aimee skinned her knees 5 times. She had a few mosquito bites that swelled up into huge lumps. She tore a big hunk of skin off her big toe, and has reopened the toe about three times since. This little girl has gone through nearly an entire box of bandages in one week all by herself (mostly because her Dad is a sucker for her tears and never-ending requests for "dan-daids" even when her knows it won't last more than five minutes) . Last but not least, Aimee ran into the edge of the kitchen table in one of our routine games of chase. She got her first black eye of the summer. All in all, a rough week for her. I have to say though, that since she was on her third or fourth black eye at this time last summer, we are doing alright. Porter man, also managed to get in a few bumps as well. With his walking skills getting better and better, he has also become more adventurous. While scaling our neighbors front steps he slipped and rolled down them. He got a pretty decent scrape across his head. The very next day, while I was sitting on our neighbors porch swing redoing Porters baby book, yes I have to redo the entire thing because it got wet and started to mold, Porter up and decided he was done hanging out with me, and wanted to explore. The next thing I knew he landed head first onto the stone patio that the swing was situated on. He scraped off part of the scab from the day before, and got a nice blue bump just below it. Good times! We have had about half of our neighbors go on vacation so maybe with less partners in crime, we might reduce the numbers of ouchies...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

moving forward

With Summer break over, the kids and I are doing our very best to still enjoy the great weather. We started by going for a walk. Next we went to the Library where both kids were able to claim their first and second level prizes. They each got a free book and a packet of coupons that included a coupon for a free toy. Aimee also got her third level prize which is a pass to Coco Keys Water Park. Once Porter gets his we will definately have to put them to good use to spend some awesome family time together. Once we arrived home we were lucky enough to see one of our good friends/neighbors hauling out the swimming pool. It was a great way to spend the rest of the morning! Aimee and Porter LOVE playing in the water and the impromptu pool party was great. That is just one of the benefits of living in such close proximity to so many friends!

This was an expecially good weekend. Both kids, but especially Aimee has had a hard time with Chad suddenly bing gone again. He started his orientation on Thursday. It was a big switch after having had a whole month of Daddy being around all of the time. It was so great to have one more big weekend to ease into Chad being back to the grind. Because it was the 4th of July weekend. There were plenty of activities to keep us busy. We went to birthday parties (note one of the cute party favors that my family is sporting), neighborhood cookouts, fireworks, bowling, family walks and even just some good old fashioned games of Candy Land(Chad gave it to me on our first Christmas for our "future children"). We also had our awesome missionaries over for dinner. Aimee has a friend crush on Elder Palmer. This visit he and his companion built the church out of cups for her. She had a good time getting all of the attention during the lesson, and an even better time destroying the pyramid they built. It was so much fun to just be together and know that what ever this year of school might bring, we have each other, and we have the gospel to help us keep our priorities and goals in perspective.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

summer ends

We were lucky enough to get a whole month of summer break this year. While that may not seem like a lot to many, it could have been worse. His boards were the first day which meant while others were still taking the test, we were in Idaho spending time with our extended families. Since returning we have been able to spend a lot of time as a family. Last year Chad worked all summer, plus we had a new baby so we didn't get this kind of time together. In the last two weeks we have done almost everything together. We have done the regular stuff like go grocery shopping, go to church, craigslist (yes the fast is over, and he is going full force), and clean (but the truth is Chad has done most of the housework. He said that this is his way of giving me a break too. I am pretty much the luckiest girl ever!) We have also done a lot of really fun things like go to Chuck E. Cheese, the Children's Museum, and of course, the Zoo. Today we went there to have a picnic. On our way to the playground\picnic tables we stopped at one of our favorite exhibits, the Budgie house. Porter did really good feeding them for such a little tike. Aimee loved it as much as ever. There's just nothing like a giant cage full of trapped birds to keep a couple of kiddos entertained! Tomorrow we jump right back into the grind. I have no idea what the next school year will be like. I love schedules and predictability. It will have neither, but we are still excited!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We made it! While we had been looking forward to our trip back to the gem state, we had been dreading the driving. We thought we would be brilliant parents and start in the afternoon. The kids would then take their nap in the car and then later also fall asleep for the night while we drove the 1000 miles to cross Nebraska and Wyoming. Well, it was all good in theory. It took us 19 hours to get there. Chad made a small error that took us toward Denver rather than Pocatello. It reminds me of that talk by Elder Uchtdorf where a flight plan was off by two degrees and it ended up putting the plane way off it's destination. It also crashed into a mountain, but we faired slightly better than that. The kids did great while they were awake, but had trouble every time we stopped for gas, or to switch drivers. Chad could only stay awake while I was awake, and I could only drive for an hour or so while he slept before I started to get sleepy. It was a very long drive! We found that going by day not only saved us five hours, but also many miles and a lot of stress.

While we were home we had a lot of fun with both of our families! Sadly, I didn't take as many pictures as I should ha[Image]ve, but i did manage to catch a few. One of the best things about the trip was that Porter turned one! He is such a little squirt it is hard to believe. We had a birthday song and cake with both families, and I don't think Porter minded making a tasty mess twice! In fact he had a great trip all around. Since the tubes, he has been the happiest kid ever! He went from whiny and clingy to smiley and adventurous! Just today he went back to the ENT to have everything checked and for the first time in 6 months everything looks great! It just breaks my heart that he felt so crumby for so long.

Despite the weather, which was much cooler than it is here, we had a great time. We had a lot of family dinners, rode hourses, bowled, played at a gymnastics[Image] gym, went to the lake, played with cousins, and a lot of other great activities. Aimee loved all of the attention she got from so many people, especially from her aunts. She couldn't get enough of the horses, and Porter loved having some great baby friendly dogs he could torment all day long. We feel so lucky that we are able to make it home a couple of times a year to spend time with the people we love the most!