Well, my sweet hubby gave me the most amazing present. Completely unbeknownst to me, he packed up the car with bikes and camping gear, arranged for all the kids to spend the night with NomiAnn and Papa Kay, and took me camping. So fun!
We spent the night at Pony Creek State Park, about a half an hour away in Iowa. The campsites are fantastic--huge grassy spaces that could fit an entire family reunion.
Thinking about this great birthday made me remember last year's birthday when Jason and I traveled to New York for his final Rose fellow presentation. Here's Uncle Ben with Annika outside the Shake Shack in Brooklyn. Remember when, like yesterday, Ben and Christy still lived in New York? NY will miss you.
Here's Jason with Annika. She's sure changed over the past year. (I do miss the hair spout.)
Remember when we came home from New York and "home" meant the red rocks of St. George? Here's Annika Mae by the awesome rock wall in our backyard.
Oh, and remember how the kids and Grandma Susie threw me a surprise birthday party?
Classic chicken sandwiches inspired by Anne of Green Gables.
The gents seem to be enjoying their meal...
As does Annie Mae.
Can't remember what happened to Eli's face. He sure looks more grown up now.
Remember when, a year ago, I was always fishing stuff out of Annika's mouth? Now I just wish she'd keep her food in there instead of spitting it out all over the floor.
Remember opening their great birthday book?
And remember the devilishly frightening hike Jason and I took straight up Snow Canyon with David Brown? I was so scared of falling that I slid down on my bottom half the way. I may have forgotten, but my pants sure have not!
All of this reminiscing about family helps me remember when, like a month ago, Uncle Lance came to visit.
Remember how awesome the downtown slides are?
Oh, and dangerous too. Brooklyn jammed her finger so hard it turned purple.
Fortunately, a Harry Potter spell can fix just about anything, even when performed with invisible wands.
Jason and Annie are looking a bit skiwampus.
Uncle Lance and Eli have the technique down!
Remember how, after some great Mexican food in the Old Market, we headed to Chalco Hills for the Wonders O! Water festival?
Hard to forget Talia whizzing past on her scooter.
Or how she creates her own style wherever she strolls.
I recall how even though the festival was officially over, they still let us gear up for a canoe ride.
Annika tolerated the life jacket much better than anticipated.
I love how photos help us remember!
Remember when we discovered that Omaha has a "Pioneer Park" all of its own? Talia is such a monkey, climbing on everything.
I'll bet Uncle Lance didn't know that he was going to be a jungle gym as well.
Covered by nieces and nephew.
Eli, you're mussing the hair!
Brooklyn and Eli, you can have this kind of dog any day.
Bet you can guess what's coming next.
Yup, Talia. That's why we don't hang upside down in our Sunday dresses.
Some more photos of Pioneer Park from a different day. As usual, Talia's way up high.
Brooklyn thinks this pioneer's getting a little too close.
Now if she just didn't want to be carried everywhere.
Back on the domestic front, remember when the trampoline got ripped apart by the wind storm?
It's all fixed now.
Remember how when we first moved in, it took a long time for this house to feel like it really belonged to us?
It definitely feels like "home" now.
And it's a great place to be.