My Boys

My Boys

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Shurtliff Family Reunion Part 4

On the drive home, we decided to stop at the Corpus Christi Aquarium.

Touching the sea urchins

Watching the big fish

Visit to the sea turtles

This was a whale's blow hole at the entrance of the aquarium. The kids loved anticipating when the water would shoot up.

 Family picture in our matchy-matchy shirts :)

Kara snapped some family pictures of all of us

Our growing family

Silly one!

13 grandchildren and one more coming end of October

Siblings with Mom and Dad

And the "outlaws" who wanted their own picture :)

Just like last year where pink-eye spread around, this year did not disappoint and a stomach virus passed around throughout the family. The only saving grace (sort of) was that it didn't hit until after the vacation. So we were all able to still enjoy the vacation and not be sick. After vacation, it hit me like a freight train. I've never been so sick at a time in my life where I couldn't afford to be sick! Somehow we all pulled through and are so grateful it's over!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shurtliff Family Reunion Part 3

The 3 new babies all got lots of attention. Bryson was really into holding all the babies.
Sammy, Bryson, and Teddy

Bryson doesn't know how to smile yet for pictures :)

Uncle Matt trying to get Ellery to smile.

Sunburned cheeks--Carter must do a lot of rubbing under his eyes because I always put extra sunscreen there!

Sammy and Alex celebrated birthdays while we were on vacation. They each got to make their own special cake with their mom.

Lili and Bryson fight over Grandma.

Carter was very attentive to the babies. Here he is with cousin Capri.

Playing on the bunk beds

We soaked up as much game time as we could--Seven Wonders, Dominion, Hanabi, Mexican Train, Ticket to Ride, The Game of Things, and Query. That's always one of my favorite parts!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shurtliff Family Reunion Part 2

There was a small pool in the backyard, which we made good use of!

The beach was just down the street, so that made for another fun outing on 3 different occasions.

Clayton and Ariane were an unbeatable duo in boules.

Enjoying some sister bonding time.

Shurtliff Family Reunion Part 1

The Shurtliff summer vacation is the highlight of the year! I love my family so much and love spending time with them. It's so fun to sit around and talk to each other, work out together, and play games together.

I was not thrilled with the circumstances in which the vacation started. Unfortunately Matt had some big changes happening at work and came up a day later. That meant I had to make the 4-hour drive by myself with the kiddos. I should preface this by saying that whenever we drive long distances, Matt does the driving because I can last about an hour before I start getting sleepy at the wheel. I was SO scared about the drive knowing that I had my children's lives in my hands! A prayer, lots of phone calls and a book on tape, plus Caleb's help to make sure I was awake and somehow we all made it safely.

I had a huge head ache when I arrived though--something about driving that long with 3 kids and waiting in an hour long car line to cross on the ferry with a baby that only napped 1 hour when I was hoping he would nap 3. It was my turn to cook dinner that night, so despite the head ache and the unpacking that waited for me, I got started with our first meal of the vacation: BBQ chicken salad + french bread.
The kitchen was nice and large which was a must for our big group!

While I cooked dinner, Aunt Kara and cousin Ellery kept Bryson preoccupied with exploring the bedrooms.

We had, basically, a Family Home Evening every night. My brother, Clayton and his wife, Kara, had the idea to do a Family Tree Gathering each night based on Elder Cook's conference address: 
We finally have the doctrine, the temples, and the technology for families to accomplish this glorious work of salvation. I suggest one way this might be done. Families could hold a “Family Tree Gathering.” This should be a recurring effort. Everyone would bring existing family histories, stories, and photos, including cherished possessions of grandparents and parents. Our young people are excited to learn about the lives of family members—where they came from and how they lived. Many have had their hearts turned to the fathers.

Each couple was assigned some ancestors to research. Matt and I had Clara and Israel Savage. Even though it was difficult to find the time to do the research, I found it so fascinating to study their lives. The amazing trials they survived and how they clung to each other and their faith in Jesus Christ inspires me. 

Here we are gathering on the first night. 

Later we did a doughnut eating contest with homemade doughnuts. Such a fun idea, again by Clay and Kara.

The kids loved it!

Each morning when the kids got up earlier than the adults, the kids played on ipads so the adults could get a little more shut-eye.

Even though the ping pong table wasn't regulation size, we had a lot of fun with Around the World, doubles and singles games.

Grandpa and Caleb

Caleb and Drew played quite a bit.

We had some fun shuffleboard games as well.

Caleb is obsessed with America Ninja Warrior and loves to make up courses in our house or on our play gym at home. He showed off some of his skills on vacation.

Entertaining the young kiddos 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Birthday Boy

Caleb turned 7 years old on August 22nd!

His favorite breakfast in the world is pancakes. He likes them super light with syrup and butter. I swear he could eat them every single day and never get sick of them!

He got a coupon for a free sundae at Culver's in honor of his birthday so he got to pick out a sundae: chocolate ice cream with M&Ms and whipped cream.

Caleb got some new church clothes, school clothes, gum, and this bow and arrow. 
Another gift was bowling the next day with Carter and Daddy since there happened to be a special. He also got some tickets to a baseball game for him and a friend.  

I am forever grateful to my sister who stepped in and saved the day for Caleb's special day. I was going on 7 days of being super sick with some sort of stomach virus, and I was still feeling awful on Caleb's birthday. He wanted to do all these fun things for his birthday including going to a water park that we bought season passes for, but I was feeling so dizzy and sick to my stomach. I managed to do Culver's for an outing, and I was barely able to keep it together for that. Ariane drove up and took my older boys swimming so that I could curl up in a ball and rest while Bryson took a nap. It was one of the nicest things she could have done for me because I was feeling SO guilty that I couldn't do more for Caleb on his birthday. It was also the last official day of summer, and he wanted to have fun!

Later, my parents showed up to celebrate with Caleb with some cake and ice cream. He got some new books to read (I know other kids his age are more advanced readers--he hasn't shown a ton of interest in reading which I'm trying to fix)

And he got the game Battleship, which we have already played quite a few times!

Matt had sole responsibility of the cake this year because I was so sick. He made Caleb a volcano cake!

Other family showed up to celebrate, but only on the front porch. :) They didn't want to catch what Carter, Matt and I were suffering through (I had it the worst). 

I hope that despite Mommy feeling guilty for being so sick that Caleb still had a terrific birthday!