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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Children of Nauvoo

Because Colorado, Arkansas, and California weren't enough for one summer, we decided to add one more destination to the list: Nauvoo. Nauvoo, Illinois is an important historic site for our church. The early members of the LDS Church settled there for a few years prior to their big move west. Today you can visit the town which has been restored almost to it's former glory and visit many of the important sites along side some of the less important but still interesting ones. I am so glad my parents made the trip out and invited us to come along. Jeff had to stay behind and work, but the kids and I had a great time in old Nauvoo.


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One of the first and most fun places we visited was an area dedicated to pioneer children. We were able to dress up like pioneers and play pioneer games. The marching band stopped by and organized a mini parade. Savannah was chosen to be the parade leader, but got stage fright at the last minute so Logan took over.

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As much as I love my children, I fell in love with them all over again when I saw them dressed in pioneer garb. Seeing their sweet faces in bonnets and hats every day would have totally made up for the lack of running water, air conditioning, and modern medicine. Well, mostly made up for it, anyway.

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Grandma was such a trouper and dressed up with the kids. The dress Isabelle is wearing in the picture below we later discovered was a doll dress. Whoops. Who would have guessed? It fit her perfectly.

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This picture cracks me up. I love the clash of the 19th century setting and 21st century technology.

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This was just the start of our fun two days in Nauvoo. More to come soon...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summertime fun

We spent so much of our summer traveling, it seemed we hardly had a summer at home. But in the weeks here and there that we were home, we managed to squeeze in a few extra memories. For instance, a friend organized a tour of the Braums factory. Braums is a local dairy that has evolved over the years to include a bakery and dairy operation as well as a chain of hamburger and shake/convenience store restaurants. We had a fun time touring the facilities and especially enjoyed the ice cream at the end.


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I also signed the kids up for some summer sports leagues. Logan played T-ball and basketball, and Savannah played Blastball. I have absolutely no pictures of Logan at all. I feel terrible that I never brought my camera to any of his games. But in my defense, we missed half of his basketball games due to being out of town, and we only made it to one (ONE) T-ball game. We were gone for 3 weeks of the 7 week season, and for the games we were in town for, most were cancelled because outside temps were over 105 degrees.

I did manage to bring my camera to one of Savannah's games, but I failed to get any decent pictures out of it. You can see her in the background getting ready to field the ball.

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Here is the same picture zoomed in (excuse the graininess).

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I'm so sad I didn't get any better pictures because she was so darn cute. I didn't understand the difference between Blastball and T-ball at the beginning of the season, but once I got the idea I loved it. The game involves hitting a ball off a tee, then running to first base, which is equipped with a horn so when you jump on it, it "blasts." The fielding team all stand around the pitching mound, and when the ball is hit they run to retrieve it. The first person to get it holds it up and yells, "Blast!" Such a simple game and so fun for these little guys. The games only lasted about 25 minutes so it was perfect for their short attention spans.

We're about to start fall sports (soccer for Savannah and flag football for Logan) so I'll be sure to get some better pictures then. Here's hoping for cooler weather so we can actually stand to watch them!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Silly Nana

Several months ago I picked up a skirt for Savannah on sale. I was worried she was going to grow out of it before I found a matching top, so I brought it to California with me, determined to make an outfit out of it while we were there. I put my sister-in-law, Jen, to the task, and she helped me find a sweet pink shirt that matched the style of the skirt perfectly. (And it was only $3! Score!) My mom donated a necklace from her stash, and my sister, Paige, cut Savannah's hair so that it looked SO much better. She looked so cute the day we put it all together that I couldn't help but take her out on the balcony for a photo shoot. In retrospect, I realize that her look that day was a collaboration of love from her aunts and grandma. I think I'll cherish these pictures more for that than anything.


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Well, that and the collection of silly faces I got out of it. Savannah was being such a goofball that day (in typical Savannah fashion), but I love that each picture represents a facet of her personality.

10 snapshots of Savannah

1. The classic silly face.

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2. The overly dramatic gasp.

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3. The kissing face.

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4. The sneaky shy look that comes out in public settings.

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5. The one-eyed wink that she does when she's choosing something.

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6. The concentrating face.

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7. The comic relief after a serious moment.

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8. The best attempt at a normal smile.

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9. The courtesy laugh.

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10. The serious face (but don't be fooled; Savannah is never really serious).

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And just in case you were thinking this little girl is all sugar and no spice, she managed to poke a pencil through this shirt the third time she wore it. I'm still trying to figure out how to salvage it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sharing hope

My children are one of the greatest blessings I have received. Although they are also one of my greatest challenges, I try to never take them for granted and each day I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for trusting them to my care. Because of the joy my family brings, it breaks my heart to see those who yearn for children but cannot have them for one reason or another. A little over a year ago, Jeff's cousin, Landon, and his wife, Julie, began the adoption process. We were thrilled for them and hoped their prayers would be answered soon. Early this year, they were chosen by a birth mom. We all celebrated with them that they would finally have the child they longed for. But the celebration was short lived. The birth mom went into early labor, and when she arrived at the hospital, the doctors couldn't find a heartbeat. Landon and Julie were devastated. I can't imagine the heartache they must have experienced at that time.

Now, several months later, Landon and Julie are still hoping to adopt. They are amazing people and will be incredible parents. If you know of anybody who is thinking of placing a baby for adoption, please pass on Landon and Julie's profile. I've put their button on the side of my blog so you can always easily get to their adoption site at any time. I would also encourage you to read Julie's version of losing their baby here. This couple is truly an inspiration when it comes to faith, optimism, and hope. I know their happy ending is coming soon.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

California happenings

We spent the rest of our time in California just spending time with family and friends. The activity didn't matter so much as the fact that we were all together. I really enjoyed having so much time to work with. We didn't have to try and cram things in; we'd have a busy day followed up by a lazy, relaxed day. Here is a sampling of all the fun things we did.

1. Day at the beach.


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We actually spent far less time at the beach than I thought we would. I forget how much work it is to clean everybody up after a beach day. It was so much easier to go to the pool, so we did a lot of that instead.

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My dad brought his study material for a class he is teaching this year.

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Logan learned to "surf."

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2. Spent an afternoon in Old Town and at the Mormon Battalion visitor's center. In Old Town we bought some street tacos that were so good we had to go back later and get more. Logan also went to a Padres game that night with his cousins.

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3. Met up with some friends. It just so happened that two of my childhood friends were in town the same time I was. It had been far too long since I had seen either of these two, but it also felt like it was just yesterday we'd been having slumber parties.

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4. Went to the Steven Birch Aquarium and Blacks beach. I used to come here a lot when I worked as a counselor at a children's day camp, but I hadn't been back with my own kids. It is still such a fun place and we especially enjoyed the new energy exhibit.

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It was pretty cool to watch this starfish turn itself back over after being placed on it's back.

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I knew it would make my mom smile if we attempted a grandkid picture. We're missing the new twins, but other than that I'm pretty impressed by how painless it was.

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5. Met up with Katy, Avery and Jack at an indoor playplace. Coincidentally, my sister-in-law, Katy, came to town just before we left. We met up with them at this fun indoor jungle gym that I can't remember the name of. All my pictures are of the babies because the older kids were moving too fast to get any of them! We felt so lucky to see get to see our Utah cousins, even if it was only for a morning.

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6. Took pictures of my brother's family. I am pretty rusty behind the camera (not that I ever had any skills to boast of to begin with) but I think we got at least one or two of everybody looking. Most of them, however, look more like this.

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7. And last but not least, spent lazy days at my parents' house. There's something special about being home that makes you just want to kick up your feet and never leave. Isabelle spent a lot of time on the stairs, so it was a good thing she learned to go down them pretty fast.

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I'm sure I am missing some of the things we did, but you get the gist of it. I would say this trip was a total success. We managed to see every member of the Mackay family plus a few Pendletons, made lots of fun summer memories so my kids can't complain that we didn't do anything all summer, and escaped the Oklahoma heat for a few weeks. Oh, and on top of that my sister, Paige, cut all my kids' hair so that they look respectable again just in time for school. It was worth it just for that alone. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Independence

As I was planning our trip to California, I knew I wanted to squeeze a race in sometime while we were there. It is getting harder and harder to find races to run because (a) Oklahoma is not a very active state and (b) most of the races here are on Sundays. After a little searching I found a 15K that looked interesting on the morning of July 4. At first I had planned to run the race alone, but then I noticed that the race had a 5K option as well, so I opened up the invite to my family to join me. I was so surprised when every one of my siblings (except one, who couldn't make it down that morning) plus my parents and Jeff agreed to run with me! Most of them even passed up the 5K to run the 15K with me.


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It was the perfect morning for a race. The weather was blessedly cool and overcast. We ran along the shoreline of Coronado Island, so the views were beautiful the entire time. My favorite part was when the course passed through a military base and a bunch of soldiers stood cheering for us as we passed. They were cheering for us, we were cheering for them... it was the perfect start to our Independence Day.

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I had forgotten to pack my GPS watch so I wasn't sure what kind of pace I was keeping. For a long time now I have had a goal to break 8 minute miles on a long race, but I didn't think I was close enough to try for that at this race. I ended up with a time of 1:14:54, which means I averaged an 8:03 minute mile! So close! How I wish I had had my watch to let me know how close I was so I could have pushed just a little bit harder. Oh well, there's always next time. My brother, Curtis, blew us all out of the water with his 6:49 minute miles. I don't think there's a prayer for me to ever keep up with him. :)

After the race, we hurried home to change and make it to my parents' ward breakfast. It was fun to see some familiar faces, but also a little discouraging to realize how few people I still knew after 10 years away. We still had fun and after the breakfast we crashed a friend's house (they were out of town) to take advantage of their amazing pool and outdoor brick oven. It was actually a little overcast that day, which made being outside pretty perfect. I had to laugh, though, when my mom made a comment about it feeling like Christmas. Yup, the difference between December and July in San Diego is whether there are clouds out.

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As the day came to a close, we went back to my parents' place to watch fireworks from their balcony. Savannah has never been a fan of loud noises, so she came inside and watched from the window. I sat on the couch, where I could see the fireworks while sitting comfortably and without any fear of bug bites. You can't ask for much more than that.

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