Chloe's Dance recital!

Chloe had her first dance recital last week, and it was so great! I had to take a few pictures of her in front of our house because I was videotaping the whole thing while she was dancing (if only I could do both!). The light was better outside, anyway. Her dance went so well - she had to watch the girls next to her to make sure she was getting all the steps right! I got all choked up just watching her walk out onto the stage - she was so happy!
She was more than willing to show me a few of her "moves" so I could get some pictures!
Jake clapped after every dance. I actually think the boys might have had a great night watching all the girls they know doing their dances!

Jake also got his first black eye last week! SO fun!

The kids were playing tug-o-war over the kitty, SugarPie, but she was just happy to have some attention ever since that darn puppy moved in!

We let Geddy meet the chickens. I have to say that I know this is bad, but I thought it was so funny watching him chase the chickens around. I've never seen a chicken try so hard to fly away!
This is Geddy's "I'm gonna get you" face. He's such a tough fuzz-ball!

Sam saved the day!

I also wanted to comment on how much I love Chloe. She is always, always, always happy. It is such a delight to have her with me all day long, and when she starts preschool in the fall, I'm going to be so sad!

She loves playing "Superman"!


WARNING! Family Vacations = Tons of pictures!!!

We took the family to Yellowstone over Memorial Day weekend. It was so fun! See? Joe was VERY excited about seeing the Buffalo!We had to stop at Bubba's in Jackson Hole -- it's a tradition to get the ribs.

We always have to stop at my favorite Snake River overlook.

Look! I made it into a picture! I can't tell you how much I just love my nose - especially when the overhead sun lights it up! It's so flattering!
We saw a LOT of bears this trip! The boys counted 7 bears!
Chloe was excited to see all the buffalo herds.
This is the bathroom from our room at the Yellowstone Hotel. You'd think the kids had never seen a bathroom before . . . it was just thrilling.
POOR ME STORY ALERT!!!! So, after a horrible night of NO SLEEP and a husband who expects the kids to all go to sleep while he keeps the light on to read (while Jake is just standing there in his playpen wondering why everyone is in bed), Joe got up early to take the older boys on a "walkabout" to find the big animals. I tried to gather as many minutes of sleep as possible while the babies were still sleeping, but that meant that my shower had to be done while they were in the room playing. The Yellowstone Hotel doesn't have televisions in their rooms, so I couldn't turn on a cartoon to entertain the kids. When I was turning off the water to the shower, I heard the most dreaded sound in all the world -- the room's door closed quietly. "Chloe? Jake?" (that was me calling out to them while standing naked in the shower - completely vulnerable!!!). No answer. I had a feeling that I knew what had happened. So, I grabbed the oversized washcloth that was serving as a towel and ran to the door. No kids in the room or under the beds. I peeked out the door and sure enough - Chloe and Jake were on their own "walkabout" down at the other end of the hallway. Our room was at the top of the stairs above the check-in counter at the lobby - so there were quite a few people milling around. I had 2 options: I could sacrifice all my pride and run out there to get my kids before all the "bad guys" could get them, or I could just take my chances with their lives and shut the door to get some clothes on. My pride won, and I just couldn't run out there naked. I would have scared a lot of customers, and luckily, all the bad guys stayed away from my half-naked kids that were thinking they were pretty funny in the hall. So, next time, I'll be pushing the bad over to block the door.For once Jake wasn't the reason why we were all plugging our nose. The Yellowstone stink pots are always so interesting.

I have some pictures on my walls of our last trip to Yellowstone, and Jake is IN LOVE with the buffalo. We were so excited to get him out of the car and up close and personal with the real thing, and he was in heaven. Every time we drove past some more buffalo, he got almost panicky and totally frustrated with us for not stopping each time. We wouldn't have gotten anywhere if we had stopped every time he wanted us to.

He was giving Joe kisses to say, "Thank you!"
There was a lot of stopping to stare at the big animals that were a mile off the road. It was a little hard for Chloe to get excited about those stops.

Joe grabbed this picture when he pulled up right next to a very intelligent buffalo who was standing in the middle of the road.

This gray wolf got really close to Joe and the boys. I guess they cut him off, and I'll have to crop in on it, but his hair is raised up on his back -- nice and scary!!
We said, "Farewell" to the hotel, and we decided to head straight back to Grandpa's ranch to meet up with everyone after the final stop at Old Faithful.

This was the view of the Lower Falls, and it is a VERY steep drop. I get dizzy looking down. 2 years ago, when we brought the kids, Colten and Sam were so excited to see the waterfall, and they ran ahead of us. As I caught up with them, I had the scare of my life -- the boys had climbed over the enormous rocks that make up the wall between the sidewalk and the cliffs that drop like 500 feet down to the river. They were just standing on the edge of the cliff staring down and saying how far down it is!!!! I STILL have nightmares of me not being fast enough to grab them! I'll never get over that -- what a scary moment for us! Luckily, Chloe and Jake didn't try that this time.

We were so excited to meet up with Uncle Ben and Aunt Brooke at Old Faithful. Isn't Brooke the most adorable pregnant woman EVER?!?!?! They were there long enough to see Old Faithful 3 times!!! That's devotion!

Colten is such a rock star.

Old Faithful didn't seem very faithful when we were there. We thought it was funny that we would be there for the time that Old Faithful stopped running -- because it was very late. Luckily, the ice cream cones created a good distraction.
Jake's ice cream fell out of his cone and he spent a good 10 minutes trying to get that ice cream back into his cone. He created quite the amusing spectacle for everyone who was tired of waiting for the geyser.

Back at the ranch, Uncle Ben brought his new assault rifle. There must be a lot of "bad guys" around for him to need such an aggressive gun, but the boys sure weren't complaining!
"Greetings from Idaho! We breed them tough up here!"
Chloe got cold and wet and really wanted me to take a picture of her. That was her "feel bad for poor me" face she used just for this picture.
The poor dogs were so confused at the shooting of the target. They had to be held back because they thought that every time the gun went off there was a dead animal waiting to be retrieved.
The boys were in heaven and I seriously think we owe uncle Ben like $100 in ammo!

Colten really got into it.
Even I got caught up in the excitement and wanted to shoot it once. The boys get really excited when I do something they are into - so Colten wanted to trade place with me.

Chloe and her cousin Jack are best friends. They just love eachother! They were holding hands all on their own - I swear I didn't suggest it!

So, how long do we let this "forbidden love" carry on?

Our horse, Bo, got sent up to Grandpa's ranch during the winter since Joe is out of town so much, and I'm so wimping in the 5 foot deep snow, but I swear he recognized me!!! He was the first one to come over to see me, and he's not known for his "sweet" temperment.

Grandpa Steve has a bunch of enormous black horses. Ever read the book, "Black Beauty"? That's what they remind me of, but I swear they are like 10 feet tall!!
Poor Gus got fenced out of the baseball game the kids were playing. He kept wanting to intercept the ball - completely wrong game!

With all the rain, there were a lot big puddles. Sam gave Chloe a kiss - to make his mom happy.
I got into a little bit of trouble for encouraging the kids to go ahead and run through the puddles. All I was thinking about was the pictures, but the next day, when their boots were still sopping wet, I had to admit that I wasn't really thinking . . . . yadda . . . . yadda . . . yadda.
Chloe did a good job of keeping her boots dry!
Every child has the right to run through a puddle or two or twenty, right?
Chloe was a little bit more timid.

The boys worked hard the next day helping to mend fences. See? They didn't wear flip flops - so they had to do work! I'm telling you, I've got it figured out - bring a camera and wear flip flops and you'll NEVER be asked to do work - just photograph everyone else doing it.
As sweet as Gus is, his tail is still a little bit aggressive for Jake's face!
Steve's favorite thing in the world is to see his boys all working together mending fences. Can you see the happiness in his face?

Colten was so proud of the enormous logs he was moving. He's such a strong kid!
Jake was begging the baby horse to come over, but I guess Jake and I are too scary because he never came over.

After sending all the men out to get work done, a girl's job is to nap and make cookies, right?

I was only a 4-day weekend trip, but we sure packed a lot in! It was nice to be home to our regular routine.

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