Thursday, April 14, 2016


Of all the places and people Gracie could have gone to and been with on her Spring Break - she picked HERE and US!!  Yippeeee!  She flew from Utah by herself to come and spend some quality time with her little-kid cousins.
We had a plan for her to win over mama-boy Freddy and we stopped on the way home from the airport and bought a ball for Gracie to be casually playing with when he first met her. :)  A real basketball that he could dribble.  Once he associated her with that ball (and she was good at being breezy and aloof) - it worked like a charm.  Freddy was her buddy right off and the rest of the trip.


Playing with Gracie's phone - switching faces

She was the perfect teenage cousin - they loved her.  (Shelby Farms playground)

When I was driving Gracie to the airport - I asked her what her top 10 were from her trip to Tennessee.  

1. Escape Room 
2 & 3. Adventures with Tom and Huck (fishing, exploring & mudding)
4. Mountain Biking
5.  Beale Street
6. Rockband
7. Zumba / kickboxing
8.  Mississippi River
9.  Mall Jumping
10.  . . . .

1. Escape Room

This was Gracie's absolute favorite thing - she was giddy this whole night.  It was the perfect end to a really fun day.  Thursday was Gracie's favorite day because we worked out, she went fishing with Tom and Huck for the first time, we ate deliciousness at Fat Larry's and then went to the NEW escape rooms that Joey and I hadn't been to before.  This was the Sherlock Holmes one.  Usually we are in groups of 7 and it was just the 3 of us.   We BARELY escaped --- which just made it all the more exciting.   Gracie is a clever and scrappy young one and I was really impressed with her abilities during this.   When we first went in ... let's just say Gracie and I had to totally be in sync to unlock the first clue and we kinda rocked it.  

I love our group name that Gracie came up with  - "We Sher-un-locked That". 

oh and here's our dessert at Fat Larry's - fried apple pie and ice cream.  Probably the reason we brought our A game.

2 & 3 Adventures with Tom and Huck

Ok, so their names are actually Gabriel and Gavin but Gabriel never wears a shirt and they are always fishing or going down some river --- so that's what  Gracie and I called them.   Before Gracie got here I was telling my friend Cori about her visit and she said her boys would love to take her fishing.  Gracie wasn't shy at all and went fishing with these boys and they really hit it off.  And she basically saw them every day until she left.  

2. Fishing

She caught THREE fish!!

3.  Mudding and exploring

There she goes along the flooded road that meets up with the Loosahatchie river.  She had a rock poised ready to throw at the head of an unsuspecting snake.  (Yes, they saw a cottonmouth!  Sorry Jake and Rebekah!)

 The magical muddy river spot discovered by Gracie and the boys.  It's got it all: mud to throw at each other, quicksand to see how stuck you can get, a sand cliff to jump off and scary snakes to keep ya comp'ny.

"know what i mean"

4. Mountain Biking

We took her to Herb Parson's Lake - it's gorgeous and so fun.  Gracie is not faint of heart.  She rode as fast as we did and wasn't afraid to go down the bumpy, rooty, steep parts.  She said some good "wahoos" down the dippedydoos.  That's the mark of a good mountain biker I think.

testing out her bike


It was all fun and games until Gracie suggested doing some "as you wishes"  (that's princess bride for rolling down a hill) down this terrible hill that looked normal but had hidden pokey branches to scrape every part of you. 

5. Beale Street

Gracie's Beale Street pictures - she's got an artistic eye.  I love them.

6. Beatles Rockband

7.  Zumba / kickboxing
 Gracie really wanted to go to Zumba so I took her.... to kickboxing.  Woopsie!  We got to zumba (after a lot of rearranging things with kids etc.)  and there was a lot of kicking and punching and I was thinking - hmmmm, this doesn't seem like zumba....?  Hahaha.   But Gracie actually loved it because she's the fighting type ya know. :)  And we did a lot of core strengthening for her new years resolution.  And then we stayed for part of zumba too.  So we got a major workout!

 8. Mississippi River

9. Mall Jumping

 So I don't think she got quite to 10 but I'd like to add my own favorite.  I just loved getting to know Gracie better.  She taught me so much like - a cup can be a speaker if you put your phone in it, Damien Rice, Alt-J and The Paper Kites have hecka good songs, how to talk about the holocaust, whole wheat paper towels, "brown roads, brown roads what is your secret?" and how to use our iphones. :)  
 It was fun having you be part of our family Gracie!

We had fun.  My other favorite thing was that Gracie was always saying stuff like "that was the funnest thing I've ever done in my life" which was fun for me to hear. 

I know Tom and Huck miss you.  And we do too!
Thanks for the visit!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

it's raining grandparents!

My grandparent-starved children got not only one set of grandparents for a week but BOTH sets!!!  It was pretty wonderful. 

The first night Joey's parents arrived - he introduced them to Rock Band.  With his mom rocking the guitar, his dad on drums and Joey on vocals - they pretty much brought down the house.  Here they are humoring me for a picture.

Joey likes to share all of his favorite things with his parents - so they had to visit his favorite grocery store - Aldi.  They told Luke, Lucy and Maryanne they could all pick out a treat.  Luke picked grape juice, Lucy picked a watch and Maryanne picked fresh roses.  :)

 And never was there a girl who enjoyed her "treat" more thoroughly.  She spent all day with these roses - touching and smelling them, singing to them, carrying them around and showing them to everyone.   Grandpa Hale said we'd better watch out for the florist's son.

We kept the kids home from school this day to really monopolize this time they got to spend with G&G Hale.  They played "Sleeping Queens"

Grandpa stealing Grandma's queen - she's not too happy about that.

 Next was Grandpa's education in all things Shopkins.  He was genuinely interested in this strange phenomenon.  My kids were more than happy to explain it all to him.

And to pay them back for his thorough education - they had him read them stories.

When the Songer grandparents arrived - the Hale grandparents went to stay with a family we know in the neighborhood.   They were nice enough to take them in.  Something about her being their youngest daughter - so it worked out.

 This is why you have 12 kids - so you can get to the best ones! :)
last the best of all the gang, right?

Songer grandparents!   Grandpa doing his ab workout.

 and his 3,2,1 blastoffs

And more stories

And as customary - my dad asked for a project and next thing you know.... there's a hole in our wall.

 He found some dead space and some inaccessible space and made us an awesome cupboard right by our kitchen table.  It's cavernous and I put big kitchen appliances and paper and crafts the kids need when they are working at the table.  I love it so much!!

Those actually go really really deep and we keep our pans and griddle in the smaller slots.  And food storage behind the crafts.  I would take a picture of what it looks like now - but I'm way too tired to get out of this bed so this is the pic you get.  :) 

More Beatles Rock Band

Doing our fitness FHE to the "chicken fat" song...
right before consuming Grandpa Songer's famous chocolate malts.  So, it all evens out right?

We put the kids to bed and then the adults all went to Memphis Escape rooms!   This time we did "What's in the Box?"  And it was awesome.

Another fun no-kid night that was not pictured - was a temple and Fat Larrys night.   We did sealings and it was so neat to have the two sets of parents there - very reminiscent of our actual wedding ceremony.  And Fat Larry's was a hoot - the food was delicious and Larry treated us right.  And Momma Hale taught us that sometimes it's ok to have dessert first - especially when it's fried pie.

 Ya know, grandparents really are grand parents.  Just the grandest of all. 
I'm so glad that it worked out to have them all come.  We soaked up every second of having them here.
 Thank you to all four of you for your sacrifice to come and participate in Luke's baptism and do all you do for us and our kids. 
We love you!!!

Every story has a beginning...

Joey and Katie first met in Mr. Hawkes 3rd grade class at Valley Elementary. They became good friends in Jr. High and best friends in High School. Katie wrote to Joey on his mission in Tiajuana and Joey wrote to Katie later on her mission in Tokyo. Years later at the ripe old age of 25, these best friends finally fell in love... or maybe just realized they were already in love. They got married on January 22, 2004.

happy kids

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed