Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, Brother!!!

As in, I have a new one, that is!!! Last month, my beautiful little sister married this amazing man in the Monticello, Utah temple.

Our trip to Monticello was a little crazy, but as soon as we arrived, Papa whisked us down to the farm to help feed this little guy:

We held the reception the night before the wedding at a local chuckwagon. It was laid back, relaxed and had such a fun atmosphere!

Ryan and Marilyn with their Niece & Nephews.

The girlies.

The Redd side of the family.

The next day was absolutely beautiful and such a tender, sweet experience to be with my Mar-bud (what I called her when she was teeny tiny) in the temple to be sealed to her sweetheart for time and all eternity. Our sister Lucinda made the absolutely beautiful wedding dress - simple, clean lines, so classic and so Marilyn. She also made her own stunning dress, and little darling vests for the boys (I don't have a photo of us all after the wedding yet.) I worked my tushy off before the festivities to make little bowties to match the vests, a beautiful dress for my Lovebug and a skirt for myself.

It was such a beautiful day and we are so excited to have Ryan as a member of our family! He is perfect for Marilyn and she is perfect for him. Because we hadn't had a chance to meet him at all before the festivities, it was a lot of fun to watch them together and see how they fit like two pieces of a puzzle. Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Tobler!!!

Sharing some love with her Auntie Marilyn.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Announcement:

Love Bug's Birthday!

My little princess turned 6 last month. SIX!!! I swear, just yesterday I was holding her sweet little newborn self in the hospital in Amarillo, TX!

Just as we finished her birthday dinner, I told her I was sure that I heard someone knocking on the door and sent her to answer it. I booked it out the back way trying to get a shot of her reaction to the new bike sitting on the deck. It's all she wanted this year, and she was estatic!

For her dinner, she requested Tortellini Soup and homemade breadsticks (a serious surprise to me, since usually she would rather have mac & cheese than anything else!) And every time we go to the store, she begs me to buy pink snowballs. I never have. For her birthday, I had Jake pick up a huge box full and I stacked them up on the cake plate and stuck candles in them. Easiest birthday cake I've ever made, and though I was worried, she didn't feel one big slighted that the boys got their cake and she got this - I think they were all she dreamed of and more!

Connor picked out a set of Ken doll clothes for her (which I think he was most excited to play with - she was still going on and on about her bike.) Clayton chose a Tangled book for her to read and a bar of Dove chocolate. I think he'll do well with the ladies in later years.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Big 4 Year Old!

My poor middle child. I didnt realize, but totally jipped him in the birthday photo dept. this year. Rest assured, he got the same awesome treatment as his little brother! I can't believe this guy is already 4. He is so much fun, such an amazing helper, and I love him so much!

Sheriff Clayton, wearing the cowboy shirt Aunt Cindy sent him (that matches Connor's!)

Opening his Buzz Lightyear figurine. Endless Toy Story fun at our house now with Woody, Bullseye and Buzz!

Birthday Boys!

I'm usually pretty good about making sure the boys each have their own special day, even though their birthdays are so close. This year, we opted to let them open their individual gifts on their birthday, but celebrated with family, cake and ice cream on the day that lands smack dab in the middle of their two days. So basically, we partied for 3 days straight!

As a joint gift from Jake and I to both boys to share, we came up with a dress-up box full of superhero costumes to add to their growing collection (and to add a nice bin they can keep everything in under the bed!) After perusing the toy dept. of Wal-Mart, we found a Green Lantern mask & ring set on clearance and gleaned some great ideas to create a Captain America costume (among other things.)

Captain America Costume created from old t-shirts, heat transfer vinyl, a $1 frisbee and more vinyl. Green Lantern costume created also from an old t-shirt and heat-transfer vinyl and fabric paint.

Faster than a speeding bullet! (Hence the blurry picture.) The boys already had Superman pj's.

Clayton modeling the new Superman Cape from the dress-up box. Connor is sporting the reversible one I made for Clayton when he was almost 2 years old.)

The cake. This was my first attempt at carving a cake. It didn't turn out exactly as I envisioned, and I clearly have loads of practice if I want to really do this (Ha!) but the boys LOVED it! (And hopefully it made up for Clayton's birthday 2 years before when he got this cake for his birthday (right after my emergency C-section with Connor) and then Caroline got this one a month later.)

Connor's 2!!!

The boys have birthdays exactly one day apart in August. Connor's is first, and we let him open his presents that evening. I can't believe this baby is already 2!

He was pretty excited about recieving "Woody & Bullseye" from Clayton.

He opened this and yelled "Cowboy shut (shirt)!!!" It was from his Aunt Cindy and is his absolute favorite color.

Caroline bought him a pack of his very own crayons with her own money. I wish you could see the huge smile hiding behind the box!

Also from Clayton: his old Batman figurine (one that Clayton actually recieved for his 2nd birthday, that he is now passing down so that Connor doesn't can have his very own action figures to play with!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Apologies

If you are here because you thought that there was something new. There's not. I had to delete the last post about our summer because some bad HTML that I couldn't seem to fix was interfering with the way the rest of the blog was appearing. I'm working on some updates - just bear with me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mr. Muscles

After showing Natalia our scrapbooks the other day, Clayton kept commenting on how "fat" he was as a baby (his birth page includes a picture of his 9 lb. 9 oz. self being held up by the nurse next to the 5 lb. baby across the hall,) and that he's still fat. We've been talking a lot about how he's not fat, but is strong and has big muscles. A few nights ago at dinner, Connor suddenly flexed his arms and announced, "Muscles. Big Muscles." We tried to recreate it with this video, but it's never as cute as the original!

Clayton Caught a Clam!

I thought you were supposed to dig for these things on the beach. Clayton actually hooked one while we were fishing. While I was helping Caroline un-snag her line, Clayton announced that he'd caught something. It looked like he was snagged, too, but I told him to keep reeling while I finished getting Caroline's loose. Clayton reeled that heavy mollusk right up out of the water. After a few seconds, we watched it let go ever so slightly and drop to the ground. Who knew clams ate corn? It's been interesting to watch it filter dirt, sand and other lake gunk in it's cozy bowl of water in the refrigerator. We're working up the guts to steam and eat it with some butter, olive oil & garlic!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We are hosting an exchange student from Spain for 2 1/2 weeks. We have just 5 days left with her (sadly) and have just been having a blast! Caroline loves having a "big sister" and Connor walks around the house calling for "Tah-ee!" to come and play. Clayton likes her, but doesn't seem as attached as the other two. But she won his shy little self over pretty quickly the first day (not an easy task with that boy!) I must say, I was a little nervous about how an only child from another country would handle being in a home with three small children, but she has jumped in like it's the most natural thing in the world.

She has more experience with horses than I do, and we took her for a ride in the forest near our home. Partway through the ride, she ended up on my very spirited Paso Fino (with me on her very gentle quarter horse), demonstrated some amazing horsewomanship and very calmy & comfortable finished the ride with that horse doing exactly what he was supposed to. I guess I need more practice!!!

Part of me is really sad we didn't opt for the 5 week gig. But, in all fairness to Natalia, she probably will enjoy being in town with other kids her own age - not so secluded in the country! Here's a peek at some of the fun we've had with her here!

Connor and "Tah-ee" playing with the Playmobil.

Natalia is so patient and takes the time to play with the kids. She is becoming more and more comfortable around them, and they love her to bits!

Caroline, enjoying some quality girl time with her "big sister".

We took Natalia to the rodeo on Independance Day. Lucky her, she got to sit next to a real rodeo princess during the entire rodeo! She also snuggled with a little cowboy for part of the time.

The kids ages 5-10 were invited into the arena to chase calves and try to get a ribbon tied to their tail to exchange for a prize. After the run, Caroline ended up exiting on the wrong side of the arena. After I was unable to find her, I flagged down the bull fighter, who notified the announcer. Natalia said that she was very embarrased to hear her "sister's" name called over the loudspeaker in an attempt to locate her and get us back together. It made me laugh that she had a reaction that typical of a teenager in response to the antics of a younger sibling.

As you can see, there were three very sleepy children by the time the rodeo ended. Natalia was wide awake and loved it! She thinks it's more fun to watch than a bull fight.

Watching the 4th of July Parade in Crawford, NE. We busted out the Cricut machine a couple of days before the 4th, and I let Natalia design herself a shirt for the holiday. She loves horses, and I think she did a marvelous job creating a cute shirt to wear! Unfortunately, it doesn't show up in the photos!

Monday, June 20, 2011


We had two foals this year. The kids love to visit them, and Connor always points to the mares and says "Mama" and then points to the foals and says "baby!" After preparing lunch for our farrier students last Thursday, we went to the barn to let the class know dinner was ready. While we waited for them to find a good stopping place, we decided to hang out with "Ace" the younger of our foals. He has a "1" shaped blaze on his face - hence the name.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Meet Miss Mittens

I guess the previous post could've been titled, "While the Cat's Away...We get another cat!" But we really are happy to have Jake home. He's pretty irreplaceable. But, we DID get a kitten while he was gone. Hopefully, she'll help keep the rodents down out here in the country. The kids can't get enough of her. She has no tail, but has two cute white "mittens" on her front paws. She puts up with a lot from these munchkins, and I worry that maybe she won't be such a friendly cat if she gets too much from them. Connor especially has a hard time being gentle. He just wants to love her constantly (we've nicknamed him "Elmira").

I'm definitely ready for her to be an outside kitty, but I'm not sure she's made herself at home enough yet to stick around. I hope she figures out that she lives here soon. Sadly, I'm suspecting that I've developed an allergy to cats. Something I never had to deal with before, and quite frankly, something that really stinks for an animal lover like myself.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

While the Cat's Away...

...We will play! Jake, Pete and their dad were away this last weekend at a horseshoeing contest. Their mom flew to Utah to help her daughter. Sarah and I were left here to hold down the fort. We decided the fort could hold itself down and took the kids to Riverside Zoo in Scottsbluff, NE. It is a teeny tiny zoo, which is perfect for teeny tiny kids. And, after 60something degree days, it happened to be near 100 that particular afternoon. Fortunately, walking around to see all the critters didn't take long, and the wonderful water feature at the end of the tour kept us all from melting! *Note to self: Next trip to the zoo, wear swimsuits!!!

This poor tiger was pacing and salivating. Slightly creepy.

Slightly creepier was this snoozing lion who kept opening his orange eye to stare at us as we stared at him through the glass window. (And then Sarah and I noticed the electric wiring just in front of each window to keep the big cats from lunging. Creepiest of all!!!)

My little monkey.

Beverage break!

Caroline, Sophie & Clayton!

We loved feeding the geese & ducks. Caroline especially enjoyed it - until the mama goose took a nip at her toes.

Connor couldn't get enough of the water fowl either, but particularly liked feeding the fish that swam in a huge school right beneath the surface.

I love this little diapered bum! It took Connor a while to get comfortable with the water shooting everywhere, but he warmed up to the idea.

Clayton couldn't get enough of it!

And Caroline was just thrilled to not be roasting - of all of the kiddos, she was the one complaining the most about the heat at the end of our visit.

Hello, Clayton's tummy!

Poor Sophie. The second my kids were stripped out of their wet clothes and in the warm car, they both crashed. On her. I think the look on her face says it all!