JUNE 2014: {W/ Utah & Tacoma Trips}

I have never been this behind on my blogging before, but life has been pretty crazy lately, and i’m determined to catch up, even though it might seem like June was forever away!

Here are a couple of sneaky little pics from May as well: Gemma had her dance recitals– she looked gorgeous, and did awesome and I was so proud of her! We also attended Braden’s little preschool graduation ceremony, which was bigger than the one I had in high school!

ballerina01 gemlocker DSC07504DSC08939School’s out for the summer! Wohoo!

Braden has a cute little group of friends, {that he’ll continue going to school with next year in Kindergarten}, and the Mum’s got together to throw them a little “graduation party” at the park in desert aire with water bombs and guns and graduation cupcakes!

DSC08974DSC08998DSC09035 DSC09077 DSC09080 DSC09118 DSC09044Braden’s good friend, Abbie announced she would be moving to Portland shortly after. We’re going to miss her and SunHee around here!

POINT DEFIANCE, TACOMA 
At the start of June we took a little bus trip, with our good friends Brandon & Whitney, to Point Defiance in Tacoma. They had an awesome Zoo and aquarium there.
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They had a little show with all the animals that Braden LOVES! Sloths, armadillos, red macaws and bald eagles, ant eaters, and an Australian bird that smashes frogs on rocks–{the big boys were more excited about that}. audience2 birds collage2819 animals
Gemma was more excited about the monkey’s. {She may take after her mother on that}. gemmaandmonkiesThere was a lady with a baby hedgehog, and she let the kids pet it, which made them super happy! hedgehog320At the aquarium they also got to be hands on with the sting rays and sea anemones.
raycollage1 sharky329 sharky touchingrayWe seem to visit a lot of aquariums, but the kids LOVE them! This one was pretty awesome–way better than the one in Seattle.
walk sidebyside1After, we took a little walk, it was raining pretty hard.
woods1The rain didn’t bother me, i’m English! So the kids and I continued exploring while everyone else went back to the bus. All of a sudden we got caught in a torrential downpour, and we couldn’t book it back to the bus fast enough–the kids and I were drenched through, and my son Braden told me: “Mum, this is the worst idea you’ve ever had!” Haha. At least it made for a good memory!
kidsinpark02 rain bradencutieThe next day, as we were looking for something else to do close by, I realized that Tacoma was home to this:
schoolThe school from 10 things I hate about you! I spent my teenage years watching and quoting this movie, so I was pretty excited–even though everyone else thought I was a total dork!
10thingsThe drive was so beautiful, on the way home we stopped and explored a little.
deanandkiddosBrandon got in the water, he is hard core!
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KITTENS 
Shortly after we got back–the kids got two new little kittens! They just needed something to love and nurture {crabs and super speedy hamsters that run away, just weren’t cutting it}! A lady in the ward gave us these two little cuties: Foofa, the brown one is Gemma’s, and “Blackie”/”Midnight”/”Bob”/”Chuck” the black one, is Braden’s. He can’t make his mind up on a name, so it’s something different every day. 
foofablackieI took the kids out for a little photo shoot, just for fun.
kitty01bradenandkitty2kittenloves1gemma1gemmandkittykidsandkittens1Look at those two happy little faces! The kittens were more of a handful that Dean and I anticipated! But it was all worth it. The kids LOVE them and cuddle and play with them non stop.
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HOGS AND DOGS
One weekend we went to Hogs and Dogs in tricities. My husband and his family are all avid Harley riders– my father in law rode his in, but Dean and I just drove with the kids {although Braden is now old enough to ride on the back of Dean’s bike!} I’m still not quite sure how I feel about that! It was a really fun family event with hot dogs and a few bouncy houses for the kids. We met my sister in law’s Kristen and jessica there with their kiddos and had a great evening. 
kiddosThe Mongols showed up at one point, and everyone went dead silent, and stopped and stared. They have a very intimidating presence!
mongolsbike1Braden looks grumpy in this picture, because it was on our way out, and he didn’t want to leave!
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SPLASH PAD
The kids and I met my sister in law, Kristen and her four sweet little kiddos in town to go to the splash pad and have a picnic.
girlssplashpadsplashWe also went down to the river to feed the “Ducks”! Or seagulls!
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CONSTRUCTION CO’S OPEN DAY EVENT, ELLENSBURG
Towards the end of June, our good friends, Trent and Heather asked us if we would like to go to a construction company’s free open day event in Ellensburg. To be honest, it didn’t sound very exciting– but I thought the kids might like looking at the cranes and trucks and forklifts, etc. So we piled up in the bus together and went. We were all SO shocked and surprised at how amazing the day turned out to be! The kids got to operate the machinery, which they loved, but it was SO much more than that! The company gave us cotton candy, popcorn, snow cones, all the soft drinks we wanted, and a HUGE BBQ lunch! There was a man making balloon animals for the kids, bouncy houses, face paintings, colorings, and a sand pit. We got there early, on the last day of the event {that had been running all month}, so it wasn’t very busy! And we all had a fantastic day out! This was one of the best “free” things we’ve ever done with the kids, we hope to go again next year! In the evening our friends came over for dinner because it was my friend heather’s birthday–and we made her cupcakes. It was a fun ending to a great day out. kiddos21bbe29gems29crand239bbene32DSC01677trent21sportsdrink328ebent1h2ioboys21hatshandskiddostrentheatherpaint
UTAH
During the week I received a phone call from an old BYU professor of mine that I studied abroad with in South East Asia many years ago! I au paired for his daughters, and became close to him and his family–and I really wanted to go and visit them all, since he’s passing away of pancreatic cancer. I was scared of being emotional and awkward, but it was a REALLY happy, fun reunion, where we reminisced on one of the greatest times in our lives–and it was crazy to see his daughters all grown up, and so beautiful, smart and talented! When Aisha was little I teased her that she would marry my little brother Josh one day, and now he’s on a mission, i’m totally going to encourage her to write to him! ;-) familyA couple of my closest friends down there just had babies, so I was really excited to see them and their sweet new little additions, as was Gemma! gemmandbabyBraden and Lincoln had fun riding bikes and collecting bugs together. They were instant friends. kidsbikesbikescollageDean went to the mall to get some new shoes, and decided it was boring shopping for him, so he took Braden and Gemma shopping instead. I’m not sure if he was feeling ok. that day! Haha. But it made the kids really happy, and it was so sweet!
daddyshoppingAfter, we went to bridal veil falls. We were going to meet our friends there to have a couple of photoshoots and a picnic, but sadly it started raining, and we had to rethink our plans!
dkidstrekwaterfallwaterfall002deanohandsomefishesrocks2In the end, we took some photos in a beautiful backyard, and had dinner at their house. It was just fun spending time with them, it’s been WAY too long!! In the evening the boys took care of the babies for a couple of hours, so us girls could go out and have dessert and chat! I love those girls! {They look so beautiful for their photos, and I just look gross and rained on!} :-(
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The next day we got to meet up with my brother James and his family at BYU! We went to the Bean museum and the boys bonded instantly over bugs and dinosaurs! Here they are telling each other interesting facts about butterflies {those two little brainiacs!} One day i’d love for them to be at BYU together!

collagebugsMy CUTE little nephew Ezra
ezraGemma liked the Liger.
ligerlunchWe went out to lunch, then took the kids to run around at the park– {the same park Dean and I used to eat pizza at and go hill rolling down when we were crazy freshmen!} Utah is so full of fun memories for us, it’s always great being back.
cousinsintreecousincollage01collage01twopolly01The girls not only look really similar, but have really similar sweet personalities–and were also instant friends! cousins1DSC02479couzinsbyubabyWe took the kids bowling for the first time, at BYU! They loved it! bowl2bowling4bowling1cutiesbowlingThen we went to get ice creams at the creamery! Really, it was SO strange being back at BYU with James, Megan and Dean– not as students, but now parents! Time really does fly. ezicecream321polly1

We had an amazing time visiting with friends and family in Utah! We stayed with Brandon and his family, who were so kind and hospitable–but on the last night, Gemma started throwing up, and continued doing so every 10 minutes throughout the night ALL night! The 10 hour drive home wasn’t very fun… but aside from that, we had such an amazing time, and can’t wait to go again soon.