Monday, November 8, 2010

Family Photo Shoot`

Our friend, Tena, does magic with a camera. Here's a sampling of some of the great work she did Saturday when we told her we needed an updated family portrait (our last one was done when Clayton was 3 months old. We were in desperate need of a new one!)

I can't decide which is my favorite out of these two. I love how they both show our kids' personalities:

Caroline is contemplative but full of joy and content to be in the moment.

Clayton is calm but such a happy kid who seems always to be looking just beyond right now, excited for the next moment life has to bring.

Connor is just plain cute and you can tell from the slight movement that he is super busy and just loves every minute of his little life! I love his smile in the second one the most - but it covers Jake's face ever so slightly which I'm having a hard time getting past.

Friday, October 8, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten!!!

With her buddies on the bus!

On August 19th, our girl started Kindergarten! We let Caroline ride the bus on her first day, but drove in to go with her to class and deliver the classroom supplies and other important things that were on her back-to-school list. She loves her teacher, Mrs. Folkerts and though it's a long day with that bus ride, she loves school and is learning so much! She is already reading high-frequency sight-words (she gets lots of practice during family scripture study every night) and loves music class and P.E. where she has already run the mile for a fitness test. Her time was 21:28 - pretty good for such a little girl- looks like I'll have me a running partner in a couple of years!
At her seat in her classroom.
More than a little apprehensive when it was time for me to go. It didn't help that one little boy had a full on sobbing fit when his mom walked out the door. And I'm so proud of me - I didn't cry once! But gosh, I miss that girlie during the day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Marvelous Minneapolis!

After our trip to Colorado, the kids & I packed up and headed to Minnesota with my Mom & sister, Catherine, to visit another sister, Lucinda. We had such a fun time - Aunt Cindy had all sorts of fun activities planned for us! On Day 1, we visited the UofM campus where Lucinda is working towards her Master's in Education, and afterwards she treated us to a tour of the Target Headquarters where she works. It was pretty cool. We came away with more Target "Bullseye" dogs than we need. Day 2, we hit Como Zoo which was crazy busy and loads of fun! Day 3 was a visit to the Mall of America - and for the second time that I've been there I walked out not having spent a red cent, except on lunch at the food court. We played on all the rides at the midway courtesy of free tickets that Aunt Cindy scored from a friend at a neighborhood BBQ. We visited an Art Fair right down the street from Lucinda's condo and had a great time at the beach - on a lake down the street the other direction. We had such a fantastic time and miss our Aunties and Mona! And since I'm playing catch-up, these photos are in no particular order and some may be a bit skeewampus. Sorry.

Lovin' the lake.

The Carousel at MOA. Clayton loved riding the "wagon" with Aunt Cindy.

Caroline, of course, went for the fancy horses with Aunt Kitty.

Our favorites! We love the Backyardigans!!!

On the train caboose at the 1800's authentic pioneer village we stopped at on our way home.

Saloon girl.

We found Jake the Horse Thief's final resting place.

This little town was one of the best parts of the trip. Caroline & I had spent the summer reading "Little House on the Prairie", "Little House in the Big Woods", and were actually halfway through "Little House & the Long Winter". We didn't visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead (it was a couple hours out of our way) but when we stopped at this little village, we identified a ton of things that we had read about that made them real to Caroline. My favorite find was in a barn of old farm equipment and wagons. We had read about a "Horsepower Machine" that used horses to generate power to a machine that threshed grain. We tried to imagine it as we read, but there in the barn was an actual original implement that had an illustration next to it showing how it worked. It was amazing! The other thing we had read about was the muskrat homes that by looking at, Charles Ingalls could tell that a hard winter was expected. I'd never seen a muskrat mound before. But it dawned on me as we drove past the marshy land of Eastern South Dakota (which is actually where "The Long Winter" took place that the mounds I could see were exactly that! I was so excited. Unfortunately, that is the part of the trip that Caroline slept through.

Our balloon parrot from the Rainforest Cafe. Connor was giving it kisses.

Excited about the "Thunderstorm" in the cafe - with real rain! What a refreshing way to end a long day at the Mall!

Aunt Cindy teaching Clayton bad habits - water fights in restaurants are not good behavior!

The Lego Store & Woody!

The Balloon Ride!

More Carousel!

Painting a piano at the art fair.
A sunny day at Como Zoo with Aunt Cindy.

All super excited to be at the Como Zoo carousel. Obviously. (Actually, it was just really bright out.)

Clearly, we have a thing for carousels.

Making new friends while waiting in line.

The butterfly pavillian. At some point during our walk through, each of them had a butterfly land on their head. Clayton was a little freaked out by it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Butler Family Reunion

Our family rotates our reunions every year. This year was an adults-only getaway (with the exception of two little ones). Last year was the whole family together and the year before that was girls weekend.

With my hottie at the top of the mountain. What a view! (Oh, and the trees and mountains are nice, too.)
We rode the tram to the top of the mountain, where the chipmunks are so tame they'll eat out of your hand. I think that was one of the highlights for me - feeding the rodents.
Jared, Christina & Porter on the tram. I miss this woman (okay, and her hubby and baby, too - but mostly her!) We had so much fun - we sortof did everything together since we both had babies on board. But, she is moving to Utah this week, which is much closer than Michigan, where they've been for the last few years.
Jake & Connor on the tram.
Cutie Cousins after the tram.

Jared feeding the chipmunks.

My hand and a chipmunk. I haven't gotten pics yet from the other family members' cameras that actually show me feeding the little guys.
We wandered around downtown and visited the shops. But there's only so much that is different in each t-shirt, candy and rustic decor place you walk into.

Mr. Cool chilling out with a refreshing drink.

We ate at the Grumpy Gringo. And now we know why it is called that.

And we visited "Fun City" - with go karts and a huge slide. I think that was another highlight for me. My competetive side came out a little bit and I figured out why I'm not usually that eager to get in there and try to win. I usually get thrashed.
Jake racing around the track - I promise, I wasn't far behind.
This just made me mad. I was in the lead - in front of the WHOLE family, and just before the last bump I slowed down and ended up last.