Monday, January 03, 2011

Welcome Winter!

We arrived back to New Mexico this weekend to a beautiful blanket of snow, and below 0 temps - it's COLD! But, the sun, in typical NM style, is shining brightly! The boys have been enjoying being outside with Chris who's been such a good sport and taken them out a few times to sled. He's such a good daddy! Campbell and I came out yesterday afternoon before it started to get too cold; I think she liked it too!
Clayton and Garrett happily headed down the hill...

This picture was taken after Garrett crashed into Clayton at the bottom. I share this picture because it really captures Clayton, he can seem so upset and hurt, and then within seconds he'll say "I'm ok" and move on. He's one tough cookie.
Campbell's first run.

Ok, really, isn't she the cutest girl ever?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Crazy Bounce

This Christmas break was so anticipated. We'd been counting the days until we would get on a plane and fly to Michigan. Then, just 3 days before we were supposed to leave, we got a phone call that changed everything. Chris' brother, Jason had been admitted to the hospital and they had found a tumor on his kidney and lesions on a lung, and his spine. The next day his doctors told him that he most likely had Renal Cell cancer. This is an type of cancer that is unresponsive to chemo and radiation. Needless to say, we were thankful that we had already planned to come home.
So, we arrived in Michigan, spent some time with Jason, and then the next day he was admitted back to the hospital with a blood clot in his lung. He was there for 4 days. Chris was able to spend time with him daily, and we hope that was a blessing to Jason. During this time the doctors told him it was possible that he could have Wilm's Tumor, a rare form of childhood kidney cancer that has a much better prognosis. Currently, we are waiting for Jason to have another biopsy and to get an official diagnosis. But, we are hopeful that it will be Wilm's. We are entrusting Jason to God's care, knowing that he is the Great Physician. It's hard to be so far away and not really be able to be there, but we are so thankful that we could spend some time with him, and are trusting that God will give us many more such opportunities in the future.
A couple of years ago we tried Crazy Bounce with the boys and they didn't enjoy it, the slides were so big, and they were so little. But we thought it might be a good time to try it again, so Grandpa and Grandma joined Chris and the boys for a fun morning of running, sliding, and just being boys. They picked up me and Campbell for lunch, and we all had a good time being distracted. Thanks for a fun morning Grandpa and Grandma!

Great Wolf Lodge

The highlight of our vacation for our entire family was spending two days at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. All fall we have been looking forward to these days together to play as a family, and we were not disappointed. This place was phenomenal! Chris and I talked on our way home about how much we are enjoying these days with our boys now that they are able to do so much and we feel like we can really enjoy the same activities together. Our boys loved the water, we only got out of the pool to eat and sleep. They were adventurous and went down every slide, which made it so much fun! THANK YOU Opa and Oma for taking us! We loved it all!

My pictures are in reverse order. I forgot how to upload them in the right way to make them go in chronological order, sorry!
Getting ready to leave, you can see Garrett holding back the tears.
Campbell was such a good baby, she slept well in the water park, and at night. We couldn't have asked for it to go more smoothly with her!

Every 5 minutes or so a huge water bucket is filled and then spills. There's always a huge crowd. The boys weren't big fans of the water pouring over them, but they were good enough to let me get a picture.
How many Marlinks can you get into a Lazy River?
Look at Crew's face...Doesn't that just say it all?

They even had a Starbucks; Chris and I were basically in heaven.
Can you feel the excitement???
Sorry, this one got out of order. Uncle Jesse corralling the boys. It was so nice to have him here to help with the boys when Chris or I were taking Campbell for a nap; he's such a good uncle!
The stockings were laid on the beds with care, filled by Opa and Oma who were there.

Saying goodnight to Wylie
Me and my boys at "Story time", the only disappointment of GWL, it wasn't much of a story...When it was over and we walked back to our room, Garrett said "So, when is the story?"
Oma on Campbell duty
She needed the suit, otherwise in just a swim diaper, no one would know this baldy is a girl!
I love this picture for the simple reason that it catches Chris breaking the rules!
Go, Opa!
Wow, Daddy!

Playing at the Park

After several days of being in-side celebrating we needed some time OUTSIDE! We met Uncle Chris, Gibson and Crew at Kollen Park with Opa and had soooo much fun playing! Those boys have such a good time together.

Campbell in the Moby inside my coat. We were nice and toasty :)
I am amazed that Garrett is almost 5! He is my sweet, sensitive, little guy. Always ready to help, encourage, be a friend. This kid can really melt my heart.
That Opa is such a good sport!
Gibson, the mountain goat
Clayton, my little goof ball. He sure knows how to make us laugh. He is cuddly, rambunctious, and beyond silly! I love seeing his personality come out!
"Auntie Nik, watch my trick!"
Crew, lovin' the fresh air.

Christmas Day with the VanSlootens

We always spend Christmas Day with the VanSlootens and this year we were excited to be able to spend the day with Chris' sister and her family as well. Usually we see them the next day, so it was a special treat to have the extra time with them. The boys really enjoy their cousin Michael, and I wish I had gotten a picture of them playing "hunters". Michael got a toy cross-boy and the boys took turns pretending to be the deer/his dog. It was hilarious! They also loved playing hide and seek. Michael is so patient with them, and they just think the world of him.
Finally, it's time for presents!!!
Grandpa in his "bullwinkle" hat.

Ah, the chaos.

There's also a funny story behind Christmas for me, but since I'm still getting over the embarrassment, you'll have to ask me if you want to hear it.

Christmas Eve with the Marlinks

We always spend Christmas Eve with the Marlinks, a whole day of family fun and togetherness; probably my favorite day of the whole year. It was wonderful for the boys to spend time with their cousins, and for the most part they play really well together and LOVE each other! We ate lots of good food, went to church and were able to relax and enjoy the day, it was wonderful!
Merry Christmas!!!
Oma's yummy breakfast: raspberry cheese-coffee cake, and spinach and eggs

Playing our favorite board game, Ticket to Ride. It was so fun to be able to actually have the boys play with us!
Mid-afternoon Lego session
Smack down!
Favorite present of all the boys: the talking "Cars" and Tiger Hats - Thanks Uncle Jesse!
Garrett and his pillow pet. He was so excited he whispered "pillow pet" when he opened it, so precious!
Uncle Jesse was in charge of the steaks, and he did a bang-up job.
Ready for supper, YUM!
Our beautiful girl
Good thing Uncle Chris and Aunt Becky are having a girl...there wont be room for all 6 grand kids in the tub next year. Campbell and "Baby ?" will have plenty of room though for their tub time!
And to end the nigh, all the boys cuddled together for some books, and then put to bed...finally quiet...and time for the adult party!