Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My trip...

I've been gone for a week and when I come back I feel like Lyndon has grown into a little boy and Maddie has finally developed the manners that I've always dreamed she'd have. I took the kids to Target and after we were done looking at the dollar deals I said, "Maddie, come on let's go" To which she replied with a happy cheerful attitude, "Okay Mommy I'm coming, I certainly wouldn't want to disappoint you." Seriously? ...maybe I should leave more often. :)

My sweet husband and kids met me at the airport with flowers and balloons in hand. After I scooped Maddie up to get a big hug I bent down to talk to Lyndon and this is what he said to me,
"Hewwo, Mommy. How ah you?" Apparently he learned how to speak in complete sentences while I was gone. I'm loving it.

So here's the details about the trip...

The trip originated by my good friends from high school wanting to get together for a girls vacation. After I found out that all of them would be in Idaho Falls for the 4th of July I knew the best plan was for me to fly out there. (And BONUS I would get to see my whole family AND spend the 4th of July in Idaho Falls--there's nothing better, but I'll get into that a little later. :) )

So Amy, Shyla, Long lost Jolene and I spent 3 days at my parents cabin in Island Park, ID. (We MISSED Kenia Ann but we're glad she didn't miss her 5 year anniversary with her sweetie!) The 3 days were bliss. We talked, laughed, ate, slept, reminisced and caught up on the last 13 years of our lives.

During our trip I kept thinking over and over how extremely grateful I am to be a part of these girls lives. We are more like sisters than just friends. They are the reason that I LOVED high school and have such great memories of growing up. They have always brought out the best in me and still do.

We took a leisurely walk our first morning there. The scenes were awesome and the weather was PERFECT.

We drove into West Yellowstone, MT and strolled in and out of the shops. It was fun to find little souvenirs for our kiddos. And we, of course, stopped at the candy and ice cream shop.
Later that night we built a fire and roasted marshmallows to make smore's. I don't know about the others but I was so full from dinner, ice cream and too much candy but I STILL managed to eat way too many smore's. Why do I do that to myself?

Final good-byes, sniff sniff. I sure love ya girls. Thanks for all the fun memories and I look forward to our spa vacation!!
On to the 4th of July...

It started at a bright and early 6:30 am. Kelly, Heather, Lindsey, Quincy, Britton, and I all ran the Firecracker 5K race. I was sooooo fun. The excitement that is in the air in IF on the 4th is contagious. We started at Tauphaus park and ran part of the parade route and then back to the park. We passed my elementary school and ran down the streets that I grew up in. It was fun to reminisce and think back to our care-free childhood days.
The only part that wasn't perfect was the police man that yelled at us for not looking at him and stopping because he wanted to let a car through. Uh, are you kidding me? We are in a RACE. That means the runners have priority and the cars are re-directed. Guess he didn't get the memo.

Right after the race we ran home and got ready for the parade. Ahhhh, the parade. Growing up my Dad would always go the night before and put out chairs and save out seats. This year he went 2 days before to save out spot. (I'm telling you, it's a big deal!)
There's something about watching someone who is serving in the military as the American flag goes by...
I stood behind my brother-in-law, Kelly, who is an officer in the Navy as the flag marched past us to begin the parade. With his right hand over his heart and his left hand closed in a fist stiffly at his side, I could see the pride, loyalty and love he has for our country. I got a little choked up. What an amazing blessing it is to be an American.

When I think of the Idaho Falls parade I think of high school marching bands, candy and these kinds of floats. Hometown pride.

I'm still nostalgic when it comes to our IF Tigers. (Even though the students now look like they are about 10 years old to me.) Go IF!

You also can't have a parade without these's a bunch of middle aged guys in go-carts zipping past your feet. I always felt like I needed to pull my legs up or they would run me over.

Ashley with all her loot.

After the parade my parents always have a B-B-Q in their backyard. This year was no different. Burgers, homemade salads, you know, potato, jello, pretzel...the good stuff. I don't think I ate any veggies unless you count the potatoes from the potato chips. :) Ahhh, it was heaven.
Later in the afternoon my sister-in-law, Rachel and her fiance', Ben, came over. It was so fun talking and catching up. This was my first time meeting Ben. I have to say, I'm a huge Ben fan. Here are my reasons for loving Ben (in no particular order):
1. He has a great sense of humor and even laughed at my stupid jokes.
2. He truly loves Rachel, I could see it in his eyes and by the way he treated her.
3. He completely just made himself at home at my parents house in a very polite, easy-going way.
4. I could tell during our conversations that he has his head on straight when it comes to their future together.
5. He likes Jonathon's cd. :)
While they were here we went and had a fun photo session at the park. Aren't they just adorable?

To end the day EVERYONE and I mean everyone goes downtown by the river to hang out and wait for the fireworks. They estimate about 100,000 people attend the event each year. My Dad went earlier in the day and found us the best spot ever for our viewing pleasure. It was on a nice patch of soft grass (not like the uninviting course grass we have in Texas).
I'm in love with a little restaurant called, Fiesta Ole' so on our way downtown we had to stop and pick up crisp bean burritos for everyone.

A little spunk from the Perkes (or Evans, Like and Laing) girls.

Lindsey made these T-shirts for us. Aren't they so cute?

Heather and Ashley.

Here are just some of the thousands of people camped out waiting for the melaleuca freedom celebration to begin. It's an event in itself just waiting for the fireworks. People arrive hours before the show and eat, play games, talk and find people they haven't seen in years. It's really such a fun hometown event.

Of course these pictures don't do the show justice. It was amazing, truly spectacular. The fireworks are choreographed to music so it makes the overall feel of it just that much better. I love hearing "God Bless America" and "God Bless the USA". It's a feeling that I don't get anywhere else.

A special end to a special day.

The next day, after church, we all went to the cabin. The cabin is a unique place. It's a place that brings people together and fosters new memories.
This is a common sight to see all 3 of us girls (my sisters) in the bathroom getting ready at the same time. My mom is usually joining us but I'm not sure where she was this morning. When my parents built the cabin they designed the bathroom to be extra large for good reason.

I took some pictures of Heather and Kelly's family while we were at the cabin. I can't say enough good things about this family. They have a love and a bond that is amazing. I think I got about 100 kisses and hugs from the kids. They are the sweetest and I'm so grateful to be their aunt.

Here's Ashley.

This isn't posed. This is real life for them.

And this is Rylee. She is 5 years old and is one of the funniest people I know. Seriously.

I am just so extremely grateful for my family. I was litteraly on the verge of tears the whole week everytime I'd think about how much I love them. Even as I type this my eyes are brimming with tears. I don't know what my parents did (or didn't) do to encourage so much love and friendship amoungst us kids. We love eachother without restraint and we genuinely love to see eachother succeed. We love eachothers company. We share in eachothers victories and trials. I'll never be able to thank my parents for this gift they have given us. I hope they know how grateful we are to them for the sacrifices they have made to turn us into the people that we are.
I'm also so grateful for my sweet husband. He is so aware of the things that I need in my life. Sometimes even more aware of them than I am. What a gift this trip has been to me. Absense truly made my heart grow fonder. I missed him and the kids so much while I was gone but it was a sweet reunion when I returned.
Am I lucky, or what?


Shy said...

What a great post! I loved it! My eyes were brimming with tears too! I love your family! I was telling my mom that the Perkes are just like family to me. They have always made me feel loved and at home with them! Thanks again for the GNO I had such a great time! It couldn't have been better, well maybe if Kenia Ann was there! I love you!

The Laing Gang said...

Thanks for taking our pictures! I love the preview and am excited for them. I am so glad that you were able to be there. It made it the best! Tell Jonathon thank-you for lending you to us! Love you lots! Heather

Cristiane Evans said...

I love, love love, to read your thoughts in your blog. I'm very excited to see you, Jonathon, Maddie and Lyndon next month!!! Now that I'm almost a mommy, I guess I feel more comfortable around the family since I've joined the mommy club :) Anyways, see you guys soon!!!!

Melissa said...

Great Post Katie! You are blessed as many of us did not grow up like this at all. I know our time spent together was short, but I miss seeing ya. I am so glad that everthing is going so well for you.
Your photos are great, so keep posting and taking the pix.