Monday, September 8, 2008

No More Excuses...July to September, a photo safari

So don't fall off your chair, but I finally devoted more than a few hours to updating my poor neglected blog!  This has been the fastest summer I've ever experienced and it makes me fear summers to come when my children are involved in their own activities.  The following is a "photo safari," (as Mike called it) of our summer in chronological order.  Enjoy!

I think I left off right after our first family reunion.  The annual Axtell family reunion was held at Mayfield Lake this year.  I love that my children now look forward to these reunions just like I always have and still do.

Gracie and Halle coloring, a great camping past-time. 

Ryan was playing hide and go seek with a handful of the little kids.  I love that all the kids hid all together each time Ryan counted.

He'll never find all five of us behind this big tree!

Haven enjoying the frigid, yet refreshing, water.

Ryan took my little invalid tubing.  We had two braces for Asher's bum collar bone:  one to swim in and one for the rest of the time.

This is what Asher looked like for four weeks this summer.  I think people thought he was just playing around most of the time.  His brace was a band around his chest that his upper arm and wrist were attached to.  It actually looked pretty comfortable and barely even slowed him down.  (Asher and Brinlee during the reunion games.)

We got home from the reunion on Sunday evening and then left for a dental convention in Orlando Tuesday evening.    The actual pictures of our time in Florida are on Mike's work camera, maybe sometime I'll get around to sharing those.  It was a fun trip.  We learned a lot at the convention and enjoyed our time, without children, at the parks as well!

One of the highlights of our little trip was running into Captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie, and star of Deadliest Catch on the discovery channel.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about you must check it out here.  It's truly fascinating and Captain Phil is one of my favorites for some reason.  Anyway, Phil and some tall blonde were getting on the airport shuttle we were getting off of.  I was stunned to see him there and he seemed like he was in a hurry (without a smile on his mug) so I didn't have the guts to say anything.  I wanted to tell him that I had just caught the latest episode while my kids were in "quiet time."  I figure I look like and unlikely fan.

Our rental house had great cherry trees in the backyard.  I thought my kids would love to pick the cherries.  Boy was I wrong.  This picture was taken right after I heard Haven say, "Halle, you just made a leaf touch me."

We got back from Florida on Sunday afternoon and the following Friday moved into our NEW HOUSE!  Our new house was actually my parents home, which means we did a whole lot of moving that weekend.  I think we are all still recovering.  My mom vows that the next time she moves will be 6 feet underground. (This was not our actual moving truck, but ours was the same size and we loaded and unloaded that baby 3 times.)

One of my favorite college roommates, Alyssa Kalyssa and her family were our first house guests.  They spent a night with us among our boxes.  It was a welcomed break from the moving chaos.  (Alyssa with Halle and Haven)

Alyssa's husband Jared was the mission companion of one of my college friends.  I like to think I'm somewhat responsible for their happy marriage. J/K
(Jared and Sam)

Asher sporting Haven's red high heels.  Mike loves it when he does this.  Don't mind the very full morning diaper.

Me and Alyssa (on my new back porch, I don't have any pictures of the front of the house yet).

One of my kids favorite things to do in their new backyard is ride the tonka truck down the hill.  I love this picture of Haven with her hands in the air.

Sam and his toy snake (around his neck) casually enjoying the ride.

The day after Alyssa and Jared had to leave us, Mike competed in his second triathlon.  This time his brother (and now missionary) Rob, joined in the fun.  Mike did even better this time, regardless of the crazy hills on our beautiful island!  (Mike and Rob just before the race started.)

What a good looking team!

The following weekend was our second family reunion at Ocean City State Park.  This is one of our favorite locations!  We endured a little bit of rain this year, but we were resilient and had a blast anyway.  A bunch of us spent some time on the miniature golf course.  It was fun to watch the kids.

Haven loved helping me wash the camping dishes.  Remind me why she isn't doing dishes at home.

Halle coloring with my Aunt Becky, my dad's sister.

It's tradition to go out and jump the wave in the once again frigid water of the Washington coast.  This year I just didn't have the guts to do it.  But I have fond memories of doing this on many occasions with my crazy family growing up.  (from L to R: Dustin, Dad and Kaden, Kyle, Halle, Amanda, Haven, Mom, Aunt Carrie and Parker).  Notice the change of expressions and placement of their arms in the second picture.

Dustin and Ciera decided to have Grandma Great read a couple bedtime stories one night.  We found these huge books at Costco so Grandma read Skippy Jon Jones and my dad, Uncle Lee and Uncle Eric acted out the parts.  Pretty entertaining.

Just a shot of the girls playing with barbies.  I love this picture too because I remember similar moments I shared with my cousins, the moms of the other girls in this picture.

And what would a Smith reunion be without Uncle Don's parachute.  The kids could not get enough of it.  I managed to not get any shots of the kids when they were being tossed way up into the sky.  Oh well.

Do anyone else's kids eat breakfast with their helmets on? Does anyone else use a Christmas table cloth when they are camping?

This is a picture of my nieces and nephews with my kids on our back deck.  I don't even know who took this picture, but I love it! (from L to R: Rylin, Brin, Kaden, Asher, Parker, Halle and Haven.)

I found a great job for Asher, and I'm pretty sure he loved every minute of it.

These are my awesome friends from Issaquah, Denise and Debbie, who spent a day with me in Lynnwood finding great deals on everything I needed to decorate my new living room (pictures to come).  They have great taste and I'm so glad they were willing to help me out.  This picture was taken outside the furniture store where we borrowed the cushion of my new sofa to see if it matched the rug, window treatments and pillows we had picked out.  Shopping with these ladies was an experience in itself!

August 16th was our softball league championship and our team rocked.  We entered this championship third from the bottom and after 5 games, ended the day in 3rd place!  Go K9s!  It was so much fun playing this season, with such an amazing team.  No other team in the league even compared.  I'm already looking forward to next year!
(Back row from L to R: Joe, Jeff, Bob, Jim, Chris and Jimmy. Front row:Ray, Stacey, Kim, JB, Me, Maria and Amanda.)

Bob and I were elected All Stars by our teammates.  Thanks guys!

Coach Joe thanking our hot sponsor :)

One of my teammates Jim, has been playing softball for probably 30 years and said that this was his favorite team.  He made each one of us a personal baseball card that had our picture on one side and then on the back he put our position, a key moment of the season and then a statement of what we offered the team.  I told you my team rocked.  Notice my rally nails!

After four softball games (I didn't play in the fifth), I ran home to shower and get my family ready to go to my sister-in-law, Amber's, wedding.  It was a beautiful ceremony and a very fun reception followed.  We are excited to have Justin join our family.  He is perfect for Amber and an amazing daddy for Jade!

Jade (Amber's daughter) was the flower girl and Asher was the ring bearer.  They were so darn cute.  Justin, all of the groomsmen and Asher wore black and white checkered Vans.  I thought it was a cool touch. (photography courtesy of Dustin and Ciera)

Now somewhere in here I should have pictures of a team BBQ and a staff BBQ we hosted, but those pictures are no where to be found.  Regardless, a good time was had by all!

And now we are finally up to last week.  School started on Thursday (here's to a welcomed new routine) and so Michael gave each of the kids a blessing.  Right before he went to give Halle her blessing, after a short reminder lesson about the priesthood, Asher walked right up to Halle and put his hands on her head.  So precious.

We found out the week before school started that Halle was put in a 1st/2nd combination class.  She was a little nervous at first but seems to be adjusting just fine.  It helps that her teacher taught kindergarten last year and was our neighbor when we lived in our rental house.  So here she is on her first day of first grade.  She was totally excited and only a little nauseous, but that's nothing new for Miss Halle!

Sporting a new Barbie backpack that Asher absolutely loves.

This was her second day and she looked so darn cute.  It's also a little shot of my new living room decor.

The Tootsie Roll Patrol as my Aunt Carrie calls it!  That's right, we are also new pet owners.  A husky wandered on to Mike's parent's property and after weeks no one claimed her so she is ours now (there is a picture of Dakota at the bottom of this post.)  After Halle's first experience cleaning up after Dakota, she was in the house washing her hands, and the door knob she touched, she said, "I'm not sure why I signed up for this job!"  Oh the joys.
Last weekend Mike and I went to the BYU/Husky game in Seattle.  It was a great game, a little too close for comfort, but BYU came out victorious much to the dismay of all of those Husky fans.  I must admit I was a little weary wearing my BYU shirt amongst those Dawgs, but I am a Cougar through and through.  Notice that Mike was sporting a Husky shirt and a BYU hat.  We shared the day with a bunch of our friends from dental school.  It's always fun to catch up with them.

Today was Haven's first day of preschool.  She was excited (not about the pants she was wearing, hence the pose in the first picture).

And finally a picture of our new family member, Dakota.  Isn't she pretty? (Also notice Haven's huge penguin slippers that she adopted from Jenna during the garage sale we had last weekend.)

The view from my back porch tonight.  In my dad's words, "You'll never see another one like it!"



Mom said...

Welcome back stranger!! What a GREAT post. It's so fun to see what's going on with you and your family. Thanks for the wonderful updates.

Love ya,
Aunt Carrie

Danny and Sar said...

wow you did good! By the way...I took the back porch picture remember? Gorgeous sunset photo by the way! nice to see you back.

Kristi said...

Oh my goodness! What a summer! You are truly amazing ( I know I am so repetitive about that but it is too true). Your new house looks amazing! I am glad that you are "back"!

Linda said...

My goodness Crystal! How do you keep up with life. You are so busy. It looks like you had a great summer with lots of fun memories. And yes, my children always wear their helmets during eating breakfast, and every other second of the day, while camping.

Jen said...

Nice sunset and I loved the photo safari! Nice job and I can't wait to see more of your living room.

Jill said...

Busy girl and fun adventures. I love the back to reality I guess. Glad you had a great one!!

Jennnnnna said...

HOLY COW!!!! You go girl.
Ok. So, maybe I was lying. I didn't want you to post. It just makes me sad. jk
Amazing pictures. I super love Halle's first day dress! I love love love the nieces/nephews/kids picture. You definitely have to do sequels to that one. Mmk. Well, keep taking pics and posting!!
Love and miss you! Be happy, don't stress, and don't covet thy neighbor's husband.

Sarah said...

Wow! Looks like you don't have trouble keeping busy :) Love the softball pictures, and your kids are as adorable as ever!

Lemme said...

wow!!! good job!! i haven't seen the wedding pics...looks like they turned out quite well...good times!!

genevieve said...

Isn't summer so busy! Looks like yours was filled with fun. Your kids are so cute. I'm excited about the new house. Can't wait to see more pictures.

cat said...

sorry - i haven't been on the computer in FOREVER. (which is basically like not breathing for me). :)

where to start. i am LOVING the house and especially the new decor. i can't wait to see it in person. the colors look fab. i love that silver-sagey of the curtains, and the pillows are are lush and perfect. yep. lovin' it.

i also love that picture of you and your new dog on your back porch. now that is a sunset that you will never see again!:)

i think that i need a baseball card of you guys. the boys would go nuts. and your sponsor is hot - is he single?

and what to love more - halle's dress the first day or the tights the second day.

looks like this summer was the best. i can't wait to see you guys on the 13th - we should do a date before then.

oh yeah last thing before this essay comment is over. i think my FAVORITE picture is of your family in the frigid water. hilarious. they are so much fun!!!

fünf said...

Hey mamacita!!

good job covering the summer! I have yet to cover our whole washington extravaganza. You got some cutie patootie ones of us. I loved coming to see you. It was SO nice to hang out and I have been dreaming about the bear claws ever since I saw you. I MISS YOU and would love to go on a vacay with you guys FOR REAL. We could even do something as laid back as camping or disney cruise or a beach house... I am full of ideas! Love you more than 7 friends.

Danielle said...

I can't believe how grown up your kids are! cute pictures

Brett & Amy said...

I think you get the award for the longest post, Hee! Your kids are too cute -I'm so glad I found your blog.

Josephine and Aaron said...

What a good summer. Your dog is so cute. Aaron, Rebecca, Jon and I went to the BYU game as well, that was a blast. Yea for your new home, can't wait to see pictures.

Higham Family said...

Great blog update. Sorry, I just found your comment on my blog about the cruise excursions; hope I'm not too late. I only have one personal recommendation- Dunn River Falls in Ochos Rios. An awesome experience. There was a couple at our dinner table that did everything and they loved Helmet Diving, Swimming with the dolphins/sting rays, and snorkling in Cozemel. I heard the Ruins aren't such a good idea- too long of a commute to allow any real time at the actual ruins and the seperate boat ride is sure to make even the strongest sea sick. So that's what I have. Hope it helps. Have fun!

Jenna said...

Can't wait for your vacay blog! To add the list you just go to layout, then add a gadget, and it should be the first item, "blog list." I just copied and pasted all of the url's from my old favies list into the new one. Easy peasy.