Tuesday, July 30, 2013

4th of July Weekend 2013 - Pigeon Forge, TN

Grammy and Grand-Dad were hardly home from Alaska (we missed them so much in June!) before they turned right around and came to visit us the beginning of July. After being here for a couple of days we headed with them to Pigeon Forge, TN, to meet the Mitchell/Stiriz family to celebrate the 4th of July. Our hotel was extremely convenient for watching the fireworks from the balcony so we put the kids in their festive matching PJs so they would be ready for bed when the fireworks were over. Here's our cute crew! :)
 Our silly crew
 our sleepy crew
 The big girls with Pappy on the balcony waiting for fireworks to begin while enjoying the music from Pigeon Forge's "Freedom Festival"
 Kelly and I recently discovered that while we've been friends since kindergarten there are a shocking lack of pictures of us over the years. Especially a lack of good pictures. There are so many adorable ones of our brothers, Andrew and Nick, but for some reason not very many decent ones of us. That said, I told her we better start taking pictures together or before you know it another 30 years will have passed and we'll be 65 wondering why on earth we don't have any pictures! So here's to a concerted effort to get more pictures of the two of us during future visits and events! :)
 McKinley, Grammy and Chaz enjoying the evening
 My three sweet girls in their matching pajamas :)
 What a precious baby! :)
 McKinley does love Grammy! :)
 I was having fun playing with the camera and thought this close up of McKinley was precious. I know Grammy loves those big blue eyes. :)
 Then I decided to try and get some cute pics of the big kids too. I didn't really like any of the ones of my older kids but I thought these of Chaz and Anna were so good. These two are just so super photogenic! :)

 Jackson showing Grand-Dad the new gun Grammy gave him
 Ready for the fireworks to begin!
 It rained so much we decided to go and see a nearby waterfall. While we were out it began raining again and since we didn't have an umbrella Kelly stuck McKinley under her shirt. Too funny! lol :)
 McKinley thoroughly enjoying a belly buzz for Charlie!!!

 McKinely with her godparents Charlie and Kelly on her first 4th of July
 The hotel didn't have a super exciting pool but it doesn't take much for my crew to have fun! It was also nice that it was an indoor pool since it rained so much of the time we were there...
 I love this picture of Reagan and Tim! :)
 I think this picture of Charlie and Anna is super sweet too! :)
 What a honey! :)
 Jackson paddling away. He'll definitely be ready for swimming lessons next summer! :)
 Cheese!!! :)
 Grammy and her sweet boy :)
 Three super cute pool pals
Thanks everyone for the fabulous 4th of July weekend! :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Anna's 6th Birthday - June TN Visit

In June we spent a week in Tennessee. The primary reason for our trip was to celebrate Anna's birthday. Even though we were there for nearly week it appears I only captured pictures from Anna's birthday and her birthday party, both of which were at the pool. We had a great time as always in Tennessee! This was a special visit for Reagan too because she stayed with the Stiriz's for a few extra days while the rest of us came back to Kentucky. Hard to believe she's old enough to leave places without us, kids grow too fast! :)
Three sweet girls ready for the beach birthday party!
 The birthday girl and all her girlfriends at her beach party
 Ms. Debbie was sweet enough to keep up with McKinley while the big kids were in the pool
 Kelly made these adorable beach/ocean cupcakes. How cute are these?!?!?
 The birthday girl on the slide
 Chaz and Anna
 All the kids loved the slide, including Jackson
 The slide may  have been a bit wild for McKinley but she enjoyed this big lizard float :)
 I don't know what this float thing is called but it was a lot of fun for the kids to climb on and jump off
 All three of my kids loved playing with Wayne and he was such an awesome sport to keep up with them (and all the other little guys)!
 Just like the girls, Jackson loves the water! :)
 Jackson is enamored with his big buddy Chaz 

 This was a dangerous picture to take!
 Jackson got in on the action too!
 McKinley with her godparents, Charlie and Kelly
 All four of Charlie's Angels...
 Thank you everyone for such a great trip to Tennessee! Thank you especially to Kelly and Charlie for letting us stay with them for such an extended time and to Wayne and Ms. Debbie for letting us take advantage of their pool several times. We had so much fun Kennedy announced she wants her birthday (in November) to be at Mamaw and Pappy's house and pool. lol :) Thank you also to Kelly and Charlie for letting Reagan stay for several extra days. She had a fabulous time! Thanks for everything and we'll be looking forward to some more TN pool time next summer! :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Memorial Day - WI May 2013

Aunt Arla and Uncle Scott hosted a Memorial Day party that also celebrated Uncle Phil's recent retirement. I'm excited for him and his retirement, but I do miss the cows! At least he still has some heifers, but it does seem odd not to be able to go and visit during milking time. Some of my earliest (and best - I loved my Grandpa Carlson and was truly lucky enough to have the best grandfather ever) memories are trucking down to the farm bright and early in the morning to "help" Grandpa milk the cows. And just like the girls with Uncle Phil I loved "helping" spread the manure in the fields. It didn't make sense to keep the farm going, but I'll miss it and the cows none the less!
 I wanted to begin this post with a couple big group pictures we managed with most of the people who were able to attend the Memorial Day party at Aunt Arla and Uncle Scott's house.

 We actually began the day by heading up to Uncle Phil and Aunt Dee's to visit the horses. Aunt Dee and McKinley were very excited to meet each other! :)
 Jackson and Reagan riding Taboo
 Jackson decided he'd rather drive the van than ride the horses lol :)
 The girls were happy to ride as long as Uncle Phil, Taboo and Gypsy were willing to provide the rides
 Uncle Phil and Reagan
 After the kids were done with the horses it was time for a 4 wheeler ride with Uncle Phil
 As always, Aunt Arla completely out did herself for the party! The food was all amazing and completely patriotically themed!
 Grammy contributed red, white and blue drinks
 These next pictures were so funny. I had been walking around and noticed the three Schwantes guys were in relatively close proximity to each other. I asked them to stand together so I could get a brothers picture and this was how they accommodated me. lol :)
 Then they turned around and the following conversation ensued:
Brett (in yellow): Hey, Where's my hat?
Chad (in green): Your hat? Where's your hair?
Brett: My hair? Oh no! My hair is gone?!?!?
Thanks Brett, Ryan and Chad for providing me with a good laugh! lol :)
 Great Grandma and Aunt Carol (middle) were married to my Grandpa and his brother, Uncle Dale, respectively. Aunt Carol and her daughter and grandson were able to come and join our family get together. It was so nice to see and visit with them. 
 I think Aunt Arla snapped this picture of Tim and me and I thought it turned out so nicely
 Uncle Phil, his son Brandon, and Erland (splg?) who is a cousin of Uncle Phil's and Grammy's
 This picture must have been snapped pretty quickly because with all the aunts and grandmas around, and McKinley currently being the only baby in the family, I hardly got to hold her! Having said that, we can't wait to meet the two new Carlson great grand babies due in November! :)
 Cousins, Amber and Seth, they are my cousin Julie's children and looking forward to having a little brother in November. Actually, from what I understand Amber isn't quite so sure what she thinks about having another little brother and has already put in a request for additional children. lol :)
 Grammy and her sweet baby
 Uncle Phil and his "freedom" cake Aunt Pat brought to celebrate the day and his retirement. We certainly hope he enjoys his new found freedom!
 Jackson thoroughly enjoying being a "big kid" with cousins Kage and Kolton
 Aunt Arla had sparklers for all the kids. She placed them in play dough inside cups which made it very easy for the kids to hold. What a great idea!
 After the sparklers the kids lined up for a fireworks display put on by Uncle Scott
 While the big kids enjoyed the fireworks McKinley enjoyed some good loving from my cousin Nathan. :) Great Grandma enjoyed all the festivities too. :)
 Great Grandma with four of her nine great grand daughters 
 I love this picture of Missy K and Great Grandma and enjoying a good joke together.
Thank you everyone for making our trip so fun! Wisconsin is such a special place to us because of all you. Thank you especially to Aunt Arla and Uncle Scott who go out of their way to make sure there's never a dull moment and always organize activities for everyone to enjoy. We can't wait for our next trip to see you all again! :)