We sure hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! We usually spend the holiday with my sister, Amber, and her family,who live just about an hour away! She and her husband, Peter, have 5 adorable boys, and they all line up pretty much with our 6 cuties! Well, we decided to be adventurous this year and join them in Historic Virginia for a few days seeing the sights and enjoying time together! We packed up on Tuesday and stayed till Friday, and even though Briella screamed the whole first night, we made some great memories! I took so many pictures, there's no way I could blog them all, so I sort of cheated and resorted to a lot of "slide shows"! Enjoy!
Here Brian and I are with 10 of the 11 cousins...Baby Pierce was being packed into the stroller still! We spent all day Wednesday at the James Fort Historic Park, the very first English Settlement...John Smith, Pocahontas, the whole real deal! The cousins spent hours completing their "Junior Ranger" activities, earned their very cool patches, and had a marvelous time of it! We had an historically appropriate picnic lunch of dried beef, nuts, cheese and crackers and walked in the very footsteps of those Americans who helped "settle" the New World and create our Free Country. It was pretty incredible. We highly recommend the trip! As we went through the rest of the week visiting Williamsburg and Yorktowne, we sure had some genuine feelings of thanksgiving for this land, and those who came before us to prepare it for liberty and lay the foundation upon which the gospel could be restored. We are so blessed.
Starting the day off right! Now this is how I like waking up...on vacation! Even though we were away from home, we had alot of fun keeping the old traditions! One of my favorite...cuddling in bed together in our pj's watching... and cheering the arrival of Santa Clause! After that, we decorated our annual Thanksgiving Turkeys and wrote what we are most thankful for! We've been doing this for years, and Catherine has saved them all1 Every year we go back through them, and since we have spent most of our Thanksgivings with the Joyce Cousins, we all het a laugh reviewing what everyone has been thankful for over the past years! Some of my favorite's: Reilly, age 6 "I am thankful for nachos" Christian, age 2 "I am thankful for birds that go tweet tweet" Jonah, age 4 "I am thankful I am a carnivore" So cute!
After Dad got home from the local ward "Turkey Bowl" with Uncle Pete and the boys, we all packed up and headed out to Williamsburg! Some of the Holiday decorations were up here and there, and it was such a beautiful day, we just walked around enjoying ourselves for a couple of hours (trying to burn off the calories we were about to consume!)
Here's one of my favorite pics from the trip! Just look at all those blessings we have to be thankful for!
After Williamsburg, it was time to feast...condo style! Amber and I were creative in our planning and pulled off Thankgiving dinner, including a fabulous turkey, homemade rolls, mashed potatoes, two types of pies, green bean casserole, and a drumstick for every cousin! Yum, Yum! Move over, Martha Stewart! And finally, after our wonderful meal together, we headed out to a local lights attraction....over 100 miles of Christmas lights in the drive along display! We popped in the first Christmas CD of the season, and let the bells jingle all the way! One last picture of all the Washburns and Joyce's together! We Washburn's are so thankful for a wonderful day spent with some of the people we love so dearly! We sure wish all our loved one's could have joined us! We sure wish everyone had as wonderful of a day as we did!
We finished off our trip with a visit to Yorktown Battlefield, the defining battle that clinched victory for America and led to the end of the Revolutionary War! George Washington commanded here, and we stood under the very same tent roof as he did!
It was a great family trip, especially at Thanksgiving! We really felt grateful as we reflected on the hand of the Lord in preparing this land for the restoration of the gospel. Leading great people here who would fight for freedom and establish liberty so we could enjoy the many blessings we often take for granted. It really is the promised land! We are truly blessed!
If you look closely, you might just see what we saw today...SNOW FLURRIES!! Though it was far from what we are really hoping for, these teeny white flecks got us all excited, and we sure hope it is a good sign of things to come! (If you can't spot any snowflakes, click to enlarge the picture and look against our van window in the driveway!)
Last year we never got enough snow to sled even once, and our only snow that produced a snowman was gone three hours later! Here Bekah is wishing for days and days of sledding and enough snowmen to fill a stadium! That's what I'm wishing for, too, Bekah...I'm going to add a big canister of Hot Chocolate to the shopping list so we'll be ready for sure! (See the snowflakes against the black of our neighbors roof right by Bekah's head?!?!? Look really closely.....) LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!
Kamberlynne was a "star" at our ward "Young Women in Excellence" program tonight! The YW leaders did an amazing job honoring each girl and their efforts at completing some Personal Progress goals. They very literally rolled out the red carpet, had everyone dress up in their fanciest dresses, and recognized and awarded each girl an "Emma Award" for excellence in the Personal Progress Program! They even had each girl give an acceptance speech! Super cute and lots of fun!
Our shining star!
Kamberlynne presenting her 10 hour value goal for "Good Works". Over the course of a couple months Kamberlynne completed over 20 knitted hats to be donated to the needy! In her "acceptance speech" she shared how much of a humbling experience it was to realize how many blessings she enjoys when others out there don't even have a hat, and how glad she was to be able to serve! What a sweetie!
What a blessing to have other stars to help light your way!
Ahhh, the glorious "Emma" award! Way to go, Loo!
Hanging out with our theatre friends, Betsy and Cami...we girls are doing a show together right now, the younger ones on stage, the momma' s working behind the scenes! More posing with friends...here is Kamberlynne's sweetest friend Nikki with her mom, our YW President! We are blessed to call them dear friends, and would hang out together everyday if we could!
Kamberlynne and her star...all the girls had autographed and had their handprints on their own YW Walk of Fame Star! Isn't that so cute? These YW leaders did such a great job, they each deserve a week at the spa!
A true star always takes time with the little people! Thanks, Kamberlynne, for letting your love shine so brightly! It lightens up each and every one of our days! Shine On, sweet girl, shine one!
Can it really be true?!?!? My sweet baby is ready for nursery!?!?!? HALLELUJAH!
We've been practicing folding arms and being reverent...Briella can do it for almost 5 seconds, now!
Isn't she a sweetie?!?!? Of course, this is NOT how she looked after the first three minutes of nursery...she was brought to me in Primary with red teary eyes and a big drippy nose, poor thing! Dad has been taking Ellie in for the second hour of nursery for the last few weeks, but she wasn't prepared to be left there! It'll take a few more weeks (not months, I hope) to have a successful transition, but its gotta be better than being passed back and forth between Daddy in YM and Momma in Primary, don't ya' think?
How in the world did 18 months go by so quickly? We are so grateful for our darling daughterl, and can't imagine what life would be like without her! We are reminded more times than we can count of the sacrifice that was made by Briella's birth mother in placing this darling girl in our home! We know Heavenly Father worked miracles on our behalf, and we will always carry a deep love and gratitude for the wonderful way Ellie became a part of our forever family!
"Yo Ho Ho, A Pirates Life for Me"....and Me and Me and Me! This bunch of scallywags came ashore to plunder for confectionary treasure! I heard one of them say to an innocent land dweller "Give me the candy, and no one gets hurt"!
Hmmm..., I'm not convinced this pirate would frighten anyone!
Ok, a little scarier...
Well.....not really! But the eye patch is cool!
Now I'm feeling the teeniest bit scared!
Ok, not really! The only thing frightening about these sea farers is how adorable they are! They are so cute, it's scary!
I could just eat up this little bee! Just helping pollinate the flowers! (aren't' those wings so adorable!) So pretty...and so are the flowers! Ohhhh, sooooooo sweet! Briella learned to say "BZZZZZZZZ" in preparation for going out to gather candy! Imagine our surprise when she started saying "drick -n- dreat" at all the doors?
Any holiday where I get to dress up my cute kids even cuter is a good holiday in my book! We hope you all enjoyed your little darlings, too!
For those of you who know our amazing Aunt Sally, you know how much fun it is to be with her! Well, we've been missing her lately as she and Uncle Mike did a major home project and remodeled 2/3 of their upstairs and added a new BIG art studio! The kids and I started art with Aunt Sally over 2 years ago with just us, but now the class has grown to include Aunt Jenn and the cousins, too! Aunt Sally was kind enough to let us all squish in the old art room, but I think it gave her a good reason to build her dream art studio, and now we all get to benefit! Can you see the joy and jubilation on Aunt Sally's face as we celebrated the completion of the art studio with a ribbon cutting ceremony!?!?!?
It didn't take long to officially break in the new room...Aunt Sally had a fabulous Halloween project ready for our little artists to create, and soon the art table (which sits all 8 students-and Aunt Sally, too!) was covered in all manner of exciting supplies! The kids created 3D "bat caves"! Very approriate, don't ya' think!
Bekah working hard all by herself!
We have the best Teacher ever!
Well, after the art project, the fun kept coming! The momma's and Aunt Sally had planned a holiday lunch for all to enjoy! What do you think of the menu?!?!?
You can click the picture to enlarge and get a really good look! If you still can't read the signs, I'll help you out! We served "dragon eyes", "baked bat wings", "toasted toad toes", "boiled belly buttons with entrails", and "bandaged pinky fingers". Everyone topped off the gourmet meal with some fabulous "dirt and worm" cupcakes! Thanks, Aunt Sally, for a frightfully gruesome time! We all loved it....
except maybe Briella! "I'm not eating that!! Can't I just have some good ole PBJ?"!!
Before Brian and I were married, if you would have asked us what we'd like to be doing in 15 years it would go something like this! "We want a big happy family! Catherine could homeschool the kids, and Brian could coach their sports teams. We'll serve in the church and teach our children about Jesus. Maybe we'll even adopt some kids!" Well, we're living our dream, and we love it! God is good!