Thursday, June 22, 2017

Doug, Emily & Isaac

Our Christmas gift from Doug, Emily & Isaac last year was a promise to visit us in Texas! It finally happened the end of April. We were SO happy to have them here, especially Isaac, whom we haven't been able to spend any real time with since he was born a year and a half ago. It was so fun to watch the girls interact with him and to get to know his fun little personality.

Uncle Doug is always a good sport, up for anything the girls want to do - games, art projects, playtime, beauty parlor, dance studio, etc.

We planned a "Moana" movie party for the only full day we were all together.

We feasted on tons of tropical fruit, played a "You're Welcome" guessing game, entertained Isaac with our animal shape shifting, tried our hand at coconut bowling, and built our own boats.

Here are the boat building teams:

 The boat built by team Russ/Kaylee was the only one that held up under the maximum weight we filled it with. Good job!

Such a handsome little guy.

The other Christmas gift Doug and Emily gave us was a Cinderella theater set which came all the way from London! We saved it for their visit so they could construct and act it out together. Bravo!

We're so thankful for wonderful family members who make time to come and see us. :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


The week before Easter McKell had some fun activities at school. Because it's a private, church-run preschool they can teach about the real meaning of Easter, which I love. I came to pick her up one day and they were all standing together with big paper palm leaves acting out the story of Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 

The school is next to a retirement home, so the kids got to walk over there to present a little Easter program for the residents, followed by an Easter egg hunt. 

And a few days later they had classroom Easter parties and another egg hunt outside the school.

McKell really liked the two Darth Vader eggs she found.

At home we did an Easter devotinal Friday night, which included making the Resurrection Rolls we discovered last year. Then Easter baskets were enjoyed and eggs hunted for on Saturday morning. And Sunday, of course, was Church. (By the way, it's getting REALLY hard to find dresses for Kaylee that have sleeves AND are longer than her mid-thigh.)  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Beach Day

On our family bucket list for the year we included a trip down to the beach. We've lived here in Texas for 5 years now. We thought it was about time.

So, Good Friday was the day! With the kids off school and Russ off work, it was a perfect choice.

Even though the drive is supposed to be 3+ hours we decided to just do a day trip, rather than staying the night somewhere down by the beach. The actual drive time was more like 4 hours because we had to go through downtown Houston, and of course there was traffic. Even in the middle of the day on a holiday. Blah. Next time, we'll probably turn the trip into an overnight one. (Plus, it would be REALLY nice to have a place to wash off all the sand from our bodies before driving several hours in the car to get back home.)

Luckily, our girls are pretty awesome road trippers, so the long travel hours weren't really a problem. The weather was lovely, the waves were fun, and we had a great family day together.

One of the highlights of the day was taking the ferry over from Galveston to the Bolivar Peninsula (some of our friends recommended a particular beach on the Peninsula). McKell was a little disappointed to learn she'd be seeing a FERRY, rather that a FAIRY, but she loved being on the boat.

Apparently I really like to take pictures of, and tell stories about McKell, because here she is again. We really had to work to coax her into the water because she was having so much fun gathering seashells in the sand. 

Waves are fun. The beach had some pretty awesome ones. Big ones, too. So big, in fact, that both Kaylee and I had our sunglasses knocked off by waves.

I promise Ashlyn was there too, I just missed her in all the water pictures somehow.

We like Texas. My sister lives in Canada. On the same day we were enjoying the beach she was taking pictures of the snow in her yard. :)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring Break and Burnetts

We were lucky enough to have Nana and Papa visit us for Spring Break back in March. So fun to spend our days off with them!

Nana got to visit McKell's preschool for Western Day.

Always up for a project, Nana and Kaylee re-painted an old desk together.

A little Sunday afternoon algebra fun.

We got to help Papa celebrate his birthday!

And he got to help McKell build one of her duplo block creations.

Pi Day! We had chicken pot pie for dinner, and two kinds of pie for dessert. Lucky!

Russ has happy childhood memories of riding roller coasters with his Dad. In an effort to re-live that experience everyone (except me) headed off to Six Flags for a day.
Unfortunately, half of Texas had the same idea, so the traffic and lines were insane, and they didn't end up going in the park, even after driving all the way to San Antonio (3 hours from Bryan).

They spent some time at the mall. Mannequin challenge anyone? 

And then found a cool park to play at for a few hours.

Apparently McKell found the love of her life, too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Brenna is SEVEN

Beautiful Brenna turned SEVEN in January. Her birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so she got to have a party with her friends ON her actual birthday. 

We decided on a snowman themed art party and invited a few friends from church, school, and our neighborhood. 

As usual, her special day started out with donuts with Dad for breakfast.

Brenna wrote a welcome note for her party guests that read: "Welcome to my amazing art party. We are going to have so much fun because we are going to make a snowman out of a sock."

The sock snowmen turned out really cute!

We also decorated white helium balloons as snowmen, and played Winter Words Pictionary.

For our treat we had snowman cupcakes and ice cream sundaes.

We adore our Brenna and are continually impressed with her reading, her writing, her artistic abilities, and her determination to conquer hard things.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Christmas in Utah

Since moving to Texas we have always spent Christmas here at home. But this year (motivated by the fact that my brother was getting married in Utah on Dec. 30th) we broke tradition and drove up to Utah to spend the holiday with my family.

We've never done a multi-day road trip with our whole family, so I was a little nervous about how it would go. Happily, the girls were AMAZING travellers. The fact that we put bunches of movies on their tablets and let them watch as much as they wanted may have had something to do with that!

Russ had to work through Dec. 22nd, but we left right after work and knocked out the first 5 hours of the journey. The following day we did about 10 hours. We debated about just pushing through the rest of the way (there was some concern about a predicted snowstorm hitting the next day), but in the end we chose to stop for the night. The girls were sure happy we did - the hotel we stayed in was SO fun! They had their own little curtained-off room with bunk beds, a TV, movies, and video games.

We brought along some little gifts the girls could open throughout the trip. One of the favorites was a Crocodile Dentist game Russ found. We took turns pushing down on the crocodile's teeth until he CHOMPED. It was easy to pass around the car so we could all participate.

Because of the storm that was supposed to hit Utah in the afternoon we left eary from our hotel on Christmas Eve to finish out the final 6 hours and hopefully miss the bad weather. Driving out of Cortez, Colorado that morning was one of my most memorable parts of the trip. There was a beautiful sunrise as we drove through quiet mountain roads surrounded by snow-dusted farms listening to our favorite Christmas music. It was magical.

We made it to my parent's house in Orem without trouble and got in before the snows did. 

One of the highlights was being able to meet my sister's baby Isaac, who was born in October. 

All the cousins were together for Christmas Eve, which will probably never happen again since we're spread all over the country (and the world now). Here are the stars of our Nativity play.

And here's what the kids woke up to on Christmas morning! Since McKell was born in Texas, she's never really experienced snow. It was slightly humorous to watch her discover that snow is COLD. 

Brenna got the tablet she'd been asking Santa Claus for, and this is pretty much how she spent her whole week of holiday vacation.

Here are our lovely ladies all ready for church on Christmas Day.

Grandpa's big breakfasts are always a highlight of being with the Waltons.

We went up to Temple Square one evening to see the lights. 

McKell spent more time playing in the snow than looking at the lights. :)

McKell decided her gummy lifesavers would make excellent toe rings.

Cousin Audrey made an amazing fish at our "Finding Dory" movie party.

Darling Eliza was pretty fascinated with baby Isaac.

And here are some pictures from the wedding day!


I took a picture of the salad I had at the wedding luncheon because it was SO pretty. And you can see the hand of the little thief that stole all my berries!

We started our drive home on New Year's Eve, the day after the wedding. It went well, aside from the flat tire we woke up to on New Year's Day. Thankfully, Walmart tire center is open on Sundays and holidays. We got home early, early on January 2nd. We were EXHAUSTED, but happy we were able to spend the holidays with family, and be together for my brother's wedding.