Monday, July 27, 2015

Smiles From Heaven

I love family reunions. I LOVE them. I'm quite sure I began to love and appreciate them after attending a few Sowby Reunions. (You can read about the last one in 2014 HERE or the one before that in 2012 HERE.) Back in January of this year, one of Mike's cousins on his mother's side suggested we all go camping together one weekend at Yuba Lake! I was thrilled that he was putting forth the effort to gather the family together. There have been some "grand-daughter" events over the years, but nothing for families to gather, and certainly nothing that gives Mike the chance to see the cousins he has so many great memories with.

As I said to one of the cousins on Saturday, I'd LOVE to see this reunion become a tradition. I don't want this side of the family to become a "funeral and wedding" family only. There are some top notch people in this group we spent time with-- I absolutely loved my children having the opportunity to rub shoulders with them in such positive ways.

I wish we had taken a group photo of those in attendance (around 40ish people). I spent the entire weekend knowing without a doubt, that these two people were smiling down from heaven to think that from this young couple came...

A group of descendants having a wonderful time together like this:

Drew, Joshua and Luke with Beau Williams

Beau Williams, Kenzie Prince and Ellie

Robbie Williams, Joshua, Luke, Beau Williams

Natalie Prince, Brittyn Williams, Megan

Luke and Joshua


(So many teenagers! Too many names to remember.)

Luke LOVED the 4-wheelers. I couldn't really spend too much time watching him--that boy is quite fearless and my heart couldn't really take it. ESPECIALLY after the "little incident" with Mike and Joshua; Mike let Joshua sit in front of him and instructed him which button to push. Joshua pushed it full force from a complete stop. Let's just say, they did quite the wheelie. In fact, I'm not sure if  it is still called a wheelie when it is in a completely vertical position! Suffice it to say, while recovering from my near heart-attack, I had to apologize to bystanders for my bad language.

 Beau and Brittyn Williams

Joshua and Megan 
(I incorrectly thought this was Drew for a full day until Drew pointed out to me it is Joshua! Oops-incorrect Instagram post.)

Loved all the time spent just relaxing and visiting with people I don't see often enough.


 Megan and Luke went out one evening just before sunset on a "teenager" ride to "learn how to wake-board." All on the boat came back RAVING about Megan and Luke, and how well they did for their very first attempts!

I don't have a photo of  Luke standing on the wake-board. But apparently he did. Or so I've been told.

It's this guy we owe the weekend to! Love his initiative to make this weekend happen.
Tim Prince

Somebody's child got a little too carried away with the 'spray painting t-shirts' activity.

Mike's grandparents had 4 children: Randy, Robbie, Laurie (Mike's mom) and Paula. Only Laurie and Paula are still alive. With Laurie in NYC on a mission, it left only Paula to represent the original Williams Family at the reunion. (And as much as I love my mother-in-law, I'm not so sure she would have attended even if she were in Utah. She's not what one would call "a camper.")

Aunt Paula and Uncle Randy were great to spend the weekend with! (Even if Uncle Randy thought the leggings I changed into on Saturday night looked like Siberian camouflage.)
Paula and Randy Prince

I'm feeling pretty smug having married this guy... after all, it's because of him my life is blessed with so many wonderful cousins. (I only have a handful on my side of the family and fortunately I get to see them frequently.)

And yes... Mike did get made fun of for wearing a collared, button-up shirt with his swim-suit. Who does that?!

I wish I had taken out my phone more and captured my own photos. Instead, nearly all of these are from dear cousins, Sherrie Wimmer and Jana Williams.

Great weekend!
I can't say enough good about it. It was heartwarming to see so many children and teenagers interacting with each other and so many getting to know each other for the first time. I never had the chance to meet Mike's Grandpa Bob, and I only knew his Grandma Gerry in her later years as her health declined. Friday, July 24th would have been Grandma Gerry's 89th birthday. What better birthday gift could we as her descendants give her?  I have no doubt heaven smiled down on the windy beaches of Yuba Lake this weekend.

PS-We'll skip the part about Joshua after being home 24+ hours say, "Wait. So those were Dad's cousins?" Not sure who he thought we were spending the weekend with?!?


Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Favorite Day of the Year

I love Independence Day! It's long been my favorite holiday, but I found myself loving it even more this year. Perhaps it is because in the 365 days since the last one, I've visited Washington DC twice, and NYC once--places that can't help but make one feel patriotic and proud to be an American!

As I stood for the passing flag at the local parade, I thought of the early immigrants to Ellis Island, and of course this country's great fore-fathers. What a wonderful nation!!


Our morning was a little chaotic, but I gathered what children I could for our annual pledge and national anthem singing. I'm quite certain the older two (and Mike) were not disappointed to have missed it.

I suggested not going to the local parade this year, but that didn't go over well with most, not all, family members. Especially Luke: "What?! The first time I am in the parade and you aren't going to go?!"

We attended the parade.

(Luke was most excited to throw candy at his siblings. That's what he's doing in the photo. Throwing candy. Not waving.)

 (Not sure where Megan was during the photo.)

After the parade we returned home to get ready for my favorite party of the year! Love, LOVE, LOVE our July 4th Water Baseball BBQ tradition!

Usually we have a plethora of photographers. We didn't this year. No action shots of sliding into home-base, or water squirted in faces. But that makes me happy! We were instead, all engaged in the game! (I thought to grab my camera towards the very end to at least secure a few still memories!)






 By the end of the day, the slide needed to dry out--but the children still had hours of fun on it late into the evening!



My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim's pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Near Perfect Summer Evening

I've made some wonderful friends over the last 5+ years I have been involved in the Power of Moms organization. These three ladies, have been my friends from the beginning. I love so much about them.
Saren Loosli, Koni Smith, me, Allyson Reynolds
(This is a picture of a cell phone picture. Somehow whoever got the "original" on their phone didn't send it to me! I'm quite certain it was Saren or Allyson-so it serves them right for being sort of cut of!)

I've individually spent hours with each of these ladies outside of Power of Moms stuff, but we've never spent time all together... Until this summer!  A few weeks ago we had a glorious summer evening together with our husbands and families. The children got along wonderfully, and the adults of course did too.

I had no idea the animals were going to be as big of a hit as they were

(I'm quite certain Megan is retrieving hay from her shirt, furthermore, I'm quite certain she'd be appalled I'm posting this photo!)

Much to my chagrin, even the adults ended up admiring the animals! I'm not quite sure how I feel about attempted dinner parties of mine turning into livestock admiring events. But such is my life now. I must get used to it.
 Our human sling-shot provided lots of fun! Even the moms and dads took a turn participating in the risky fun. Such a fun homemade investment I made 6+ summers ago!


 Before too long, an impromptu talent show occurred in my music room! Guitar solos, harp solos, some piano and even a little singing! Loved it!!!



Great evening! Definitely on all of our to-do lists to be repeated.

A near perfect summer evening.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Good Gift

I'm quite certain I have shared the story of our first Christmas together in 1997, when I awoke on Christmas Eve morning with a huge frying pan in the sheets of my bed. Suffice it to say, I didn't really appreciate it, nor was I very excited about it.

First of all, it was Christmas EVE not Christmas DAY
Second of all, a frying pan for someone that has been married 8 months wasn't exactly the right type of gift.
Third of all, it was a HUGE frying pan for just two people.

For the record, I'd actually LOVE to receive that frying pan now! 18 years later, that frying pan is long gone and it was actually a pretty decent one.

I've probably even mentioned the Christmas I received a curtain rod (no curtains...), and I'll actually stop here, because Mike is a wonderful husband in SOOO many ways. Good gift giving just isn't really his thing.

I, on the other hand?

I'm a pretty good gift giver.
You can ask him.

Take the gift he received on the most recent Father's Day for example: An opportunity to drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini at top speed at a nearby motor raceway. Last Saturday, his scheduled ride arrived.


Mike had a pretty big smile on his face about the whole experience.


Not sure what his face is saying or doing here. I think it was as soon as he got finished and was expressing his enthusiasm for the experience.
(We laughed that the drivers had to wear helmets and use seat belts, but their instructor passenger didn't even wear a seat belt!)

As we got in the car to drive home in our little Audi sedan, Mike said, "I used to think this car was quite fast and zippy. Not anymore. It feels like a Fisher Price car."

Later that night, Mike went to bed with a smile on his face, but not before warning me: "You did a dangerous thing today: giving me an appetite for that." Not sure what that means; good thing his wallet doesn't hold quite as much money as a Ferrari costs.

Mike loves cars. I love giving gifts.
It was a good fit.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Brief Glimpse

Life feels a little busy lately. At least too busy to sit down at the computer and really record some good, accurate updates of our family. But, I know I will regret not having a glimpse into some of our summer days.

Plus...it's a great way for my in-laws far away in NYC to see what is going on around here, as our letters and communications with them lately are sort of spotty.

I didn't even record anything on here from June. Oops!
(Hooray for Instagram though=maybe I'll have to cut and paste from there.)

Joshua was in heaven at a University of Utah football camp. It was just for a few hours, but he LOVED it. I was pretty impressed with the whole thing myself, and will definitely be a repeat customer for next year. Drew is excited that next year he can go too!


Megan spent a fabulous week at BYU's Young Musician's Summerfest. Mike, Ellie and I spent a full day in Provo the last day of the week attending concerts. Fabulous talent from such young ages! You can watch her vlogs about the week by clicking HERE and HERE. (The second one at the end will show you part of the harp recital at the end.)


Drew discovered he had a passion for golfing. Mike discovered Drew has a pretty decent swing. Since this photo, Drew was able to procure a set of child-size golf clubs for a small price paid by Yours Truly after some jobs done by Drew himself.
 I discovered not to park my car on the driveway when Drew is golfing. Mike has now implemented a new rule. NO GOLFING IN OUR YARD.

I attended a Cub Country day camp with Joshua for the day. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it isn't the BSA I have any issue with. I actually think it is a wonderful organization and program. What I detest and am continually fighting is the pressure for my boys to be active and fully committed to this program, simply by virtue of being active members of the LDS church. We have chosen to view our associations with the BSA  as nothing more than an EXTRA CURRICULAR activity that we will support and be a part of to the extent WE CHOOSE. (So yes...more than irritated last month when our names were discussed in a meeting as a bunch of people tried to figure out how to get around a choice that WE MADE AS A FAMILY but apparently wasn't okay for the local BSA leaders. Don't get me started. Enough said.)


Watermelon continues to be one of the family's favorite summertime snacks. Except for Luke. What a surprise...

My wallet feels a little extra tight this summer having put both Megan and Luke in braces.  We also discovered which child has the highest pain tolerance. Actually it was really no surprise, I knew going into it which one would have a little more 'dramatic pain' than the other. Thankfully the one that didn't complain at all, is the same one having his tonsils out in a couple weeks. He's doing that with a sibling too. Apparently, we don't like to leave anyone out around here when it comes to doing expensive things!?!

That's a long enough update for now.
More soon.
Very soon.

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