Enjoying the Independance Day Fireworks as a family. Obviously, they were more into them than I was as I mugged for the camera.
On Thursday morning (last week - I'm a little slow getting these posted!), we woke up bright & early to drive 5 hours to Denver, board a plane and fly 3 1/2 hours to Washington D.C. for this year's Butler Family Reunion. Jake's brother, John & his wife Terilynne hosted & planned all of this year's events. We stayed in a lovely, ginormous home belonging to some people in their ward at church. When we arrived later in the evening, we enjoyed lots of pizza and then the guys set up a moon bounce that was rented for the reunion and the kids bounced to their hearts content - that is, until Caroline discovered the glowing things in the air and then everybody scattered to collect fireflies and put them in a jar. It was pretty exciting for us westerners - especially Caroline & Clayton who'd never seen fireflies before! It was pure magic to watch!
Friday morning, John & Terilynne had arranged for babysitters so that all of the adults could visit the Washington D.C. Temple, where we had the sweet opportunity of meeting with Earl C. Tingey, who is the president of that temple. He gave us his undivided attention for quite some time and we had a wonderfully uplifting visit. It was the perfect way to kick off our reunion, bringing a feeling of unity and love to an already close family. After an afternoon of napping and relaxing, we all donned reunion T-shirts for the big family picture, had dinner, celebrated Paul's 11th birthday, and then welcomed more babysitters so that the adults could visit downtown D.C. for a night tour of the monuments, all lit up. It was so beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed all the walking. It felt so good to my pregnant body!
All the preggies.
(Almost) all of the cousins.
The tail end.
More Butler Babies coming soon...
Caroline & Grandma
Happy Birthday to Paul!
Jake, me, the belly & Abe.
On Saturday morning, some of the family woke up early to attend the ward breakfast where John played the bugle for the flag raising. Many of us with very small children opted to have well rested parents and kids and slept in. After cooking our own pancakes & bacon, we played in the backyard until everyone got back. Then we headed to a local private pool that had been reserved just for the family. It was so much fun and the cousins had a blast swimming together! Following some down time, we headed out again to the NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology) to watch fireworks from a large field on the campus. I, for one, was grateful that the decision was made for us NOT to head back down to the National Mall for fireworks. It think with 3 pregnant women and many small children, it would have been a little chaotic, not to mention the toll that another VERY late night might take on all of us.
More fun in the moon bounce with Daddy!
The awesome crocodile in the kiddie pool - they couldn't get enough!
Naptime - during which Clayton did not nap but decided it would be more fun to try his shoes on Daddy's feet.
Caroline & Cute Grandpa & Grandma.
Caroline & Grandpa.
Sunday was beautiful and after attending church all together, we enjoyed some relaxation time and a family testimony meeting. Monday morning we all helped clean the house before heading out- some to catch planes like us, and some to stay for an extra day or two. We felt very blessed to have two wonderful little travelers! It was all such an adventure to them - and Caroline was so excited to fly again (she's becoming a seasoned little traveler.) My camera died before we boarded the plane, and so I missed out on some hilarious pictures of our ingenious system to haul two tired kids and 3 carry-on bags out of DIA. We had such a fun time with family, but are happy to be home at our "Little Patch of Heaven."
Waiting to board the plane home.