Sunday, September 30, 2012

Aunt Jules is getting married!

After months and months and months of waiting, my children's dreams and wishes finally came true.  Their Aunt Jules got married.  

And finally became their Aunt Jules.  Uncle Brad, who has always been their uncle, got married too, they think.  

They first met their Aunt Jules when Brad brought her down for a Vegas getaway very early on in their relationship.  My kids were instant fans.  About a month after their visit, Rhode came downstairs one day and said, "Mom, when is Aunt Julie going to come see us again?"

I was so confused... my kids haven't seen my aunt Julie in a long time, where was this coming from?  Then he clarified, the one that came with Uncle Brad.  

"Oh, guys, she isn't your aunt.  She is just Brad's friend."  They gave me a wary look, I think they knew the future of Brad and Jules even before Brad did!

Jules had some really fun ideas for my kid's wedding outfits.  We were going to go a little gatsby style.  And since my kids were the only ones in the wedding, I had a lot of freedom and I took it and ran with it.

And I think they turned out as well as I had imagined (what a rare thing right?)

The boy's outfits came together quickly.  I bought the pants for them at DI and just took in the bottom to make them into knickers.  I made the ties and the suspenders and picked up the hats at H & M (the only two in the whole store and they were the two sizes I needed, the fates were with me!)

Scarlet's dress was a tad bit more work.  It started out as a $5 thrift store find.

I cut the main part of the dress out of the skirt.  I then took off the top shoulder ruffle and used it as my ruffle at the bottom of the dress and added the yellow from the boy's tie fabric.  

I had to teach her how to sit in it because it got a little leggy when she sat down.  But wow, we both just love that little dress.

Then my kids had to wait and wait for the wedding day to finally get here.  They begged to put back on their wedding clothes, they tried to pack for our trip several different times, but still the day would not come.

One day while discussing our soon to be new aunt, Scarlet and Rhode tried to figure out what they were going to call her once she was finally their aunt.  Her full name is Julianna, so they played with Aunt Julianna, Auntie Jules etc.

Then Rhode's face perked up and he suggested, "What about Juli-aunt?"  

Jules laughed at that one and said they could call her whatever they wanted.  She is going to be an awesome aunt.

And then it was finally wedding day!

Grammy asked Scarlet to take this picture, assuming it would be a fun thing for her to do.  Whoda thought she'd get such a winning shot?

She totally fits in to the group huh?

Our dresses had some odd quirks, tight in strange places, baggy in others.  But we got so many compliments walking around temple square and we had a LOT of random people taking pictures of our wedding party.  Several people even asked my kids to pose for them while they snapped a shot.  I am pretty sure that was a compliment...

 Beautiful day. Seriously beautiful bride.  Beautiful wedding. Beautiful reception.  Semi-well behaved kids (Asher, as you can tell from lack of pictures of him, struggled a bit).  It was all my kids had dreamed of and more.  We are so excited to have our Aunt Jules and hope she comes and visits soon and a lot!  Oh, and Brad can come too.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Guard at Grammys

One more Moses Lake reunion story to share.  Jon left right after the reunion and headed back to Las Vegas.  The kids and I stuck around for a few days and then drove to Utah for Brad's wedding.  Jon spent a great deal of time gathering all of the ropes from his Amazing Race ropes course, looping, tying them up and getting them all put away.

One afternoon, while enjoying a little backyard time, my kids decided the ropes were not serving their true purpose in their neat pile.  I did not see any of their construction until they were done.  Here is their final product.

And to explain their self-constructed ropes course, a note.

  It says, "If you come in you will see dark in the house.  We roped outside you might trip in all the roped side.  By Scarlet and Rhode

Grammy's very own burglar trap.

The next morning, Scarlet asked if robber had come during the night.  When I assured her they hadn't, her face was pure satisfaction.

On one hand, sad that the fear of robbers still exists.

On the other, proud that they have decided to face their fears and show them who's boss.

On the other other hand, sure wish those ropes had a self winding feature...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Earls Reunite

And then it was reunion time.  

I don't know if you know this but there are so many Earls.  And all those Earls have had a whole lotta babies.  There were so many kids running around it was hard to fathom.  Grandma Earl decided to sit down and take a census one of the evenings and came up with a grand total of 96 in attendance.  

That gave planning the reunion a whole new level of difficulty.  We couldn't just have ideas for the adults.  We had a whole new generation of Earls who needed to be entertained.

So here is the schedule we came up with:

6:15 or 7:30 Temple session

We got a big group together for a trip to the Temple.  Grandma Earl works at the temple on Thursdays so we were there will all her temple people.  It was a fantastic evening.  I loved seeing my Grandma surrounded by so many of her family members.  She told me it was one of the best nights of her life.  Can't beat that.

8:00-9:00 Family 5K @ David & Peggy’s 
We started the morning with a run.  I won't pretend this idea was big with the crowd.  When we first mentioned it, the reactions ranged from slightly enthused to the more popular, not even slightly interested.  The planners and I may have gotten a tad bit annoyed at the nay-sayers and we possibly might have added a race participation incentive to one of our later competitive events.  It was purely vindictive in nature... but mostly harmless.

Sadly, my mom has a much kinder heart than the rest of us and she let out our evil plan.  Before we knew it, we had EVERYONE participating in the race.  It made the logistics a little intense and we had hardly any helpers, but it was an awesome amount of participation.

The results were so fun. Our fastest three runners came in as expected. But who snuck in just a minute behind them? My 11 year old kid of cousin, Zachary. Amazing run. Then it was just surprise after surprise as people finished strong. We had four year olds running a big chunk of the way. It was inspiring. I hope everyone had the positive experience I had with it.

9:00-9:30 Breakfast

We rewarded the runners with a high protein breakfast burrito and delectable cinnamon rolls Grandma Earl style. Hey, they just ran three miles. Calories well earned.
9:30-10:00 Short adult meeting and kids program (*surprise water fight attack by kids!)

My mom was so good about keeping our younger guests in mind. It was her idea to host a bogus adult meeting and let the kids attack them with water balloons instead. I was against the idea, purely because I was sure it would involve me staying up until early hours of the morning filling water balloons. Thankfully that didn't happen. Someone filled them up, but it wasn't me so I was cool with it.
We called the kids in under the guise that we were putting together a "program". The boys could not have looked less interested. The girls, on the other hand, were bouncing off the walls and asking if there would be costumes. When I told them the real plan, I saw about 5 little boys go from a frown to a huge smile instantly. Little Jack Emig instantly shouted, "I thought this was going to be so boring!"  

They took their assignment with gusto and the adults got a good soaking.
10:00-2:00 Lunch/Boating/kiddie pool/slip&slide @ David & Peggy’s

This was the perfect opportunity to chat, catch up, let our kids meet and play, and get a little boating on. We threw out a big tarp with some soap and hoped the kids would think it was kinda fun. Little did we realize the fun monster we had created.

It was a crazy amount of slippery excitement.

1:00-4:00 Rest and prepare dinner assignments

A family reunion with time for baby naps? Best ever.

6:30-9:00 Dinner/Awkward family photos/t-shirt reveal @ David & Peggy’s
We had some yummy tacos for dinner and a cupcake making contest for dessert. I declared Myca and Uncle Tom our official judges as 1) Myca is a self-proclaimed cupcake aficionado so I knew she would come with the knowledge and palate necessary to do a good job and 2) I know Uncle Tom would add the 'fabulous' needed to make it feel legit. I was right.

Awkward family photos was a fantastic family reunion game... if I may say so myself. And I am. But it takes a certain family to play it. One) you have to have a family with a lot of late bloomers/awkward childhood years, Two) you have to have people with a quick wit and a quick tongue, and Three) you have to have a family that can handle mocking each other for hours and still like each other at the end.

Speaking of awkward, here's a shot of me hosting!

The Earl family fits this bill so well I think we might even like each other more after our round of roasting.
Here is one of our picture examples. We would display the picture and then ask a question. The question for this photo was, "What is Barbie saying in this photo?" 

My family's answer was, "I never date guys with hair longer than mine..."

I can't remember any other answer but I will assure you they were hilarious.
And then we revealed our t-shirts of the year. Our family theme was "We are Family" and we then collected ideas from family for finishing the sentence, "You Might Be an Earl If..."

Here are the winners:
You might be an Earl if...
you always assume you're in charge
you have ever hidden pie under your bed
you have a rational fear of pool basketball
you are overly competitive despite your mediocrity
you seek a cash reward for family fun
you think you can dance
you consider scones a complete meal
you shush people at parties to make announcements
your last name got you out of a speeding ticket
you blame your questionable behavior on the "color code"
you know the difference between a horse and a mule
you've argued over the outcome of a game of Candyland
you play by "cherry creek" rules
you are pretty sure you know more than the teacher

We further introduced the theme with a little group song parody effort to the tune of "We are Family".  This was one of our more intense parodies we have ever written.  The song has a complicated rhythm!  But, no worries, we nailed it anyway.

We are family
I’ve got all my Earl’s with me
We are family
Get up everybody and Sing

We’ve got Doug, he’s the oldest of brothers
When he walks on by..
Everyone hides their face and cold cereal
From his eagle eye
We may feel guilty but don’t be depressed
He likes you and me.
And if it makes you feel better
He kissed three girls as a missionary!

Living life is fun says Uncle Tom
He likes finer things
No shirt no shoes, hey no problem
Proudly bears those G’s
Hey, we’re headed to Toms
Their food’s the best
We’ll have a chat, catch a show or two
some kinda wrong
but we’re with Tom so it’s cool.

Oh look there, Uncle Jeff so good to see him
It has been awhile.
Don’t worry, nothing has changed
‘specially his hair style
He won’t be back at the ranch
So a drive you’ll make.
The Jeff Earls have upgraded to
Meanwhile back at the lake.

Our dad Dave is so fun, he’s an awesome guy
We love to invite
He will sample your food, no need to ask
And make fun of your height
Was this your party?  Oh, are you sure?
You might want to see
Cause Dave has now taken over
And they are all headed golfing.

Hey there’s Pat!  We love him, having lots of fun
Just don’t play church ball
And be on his same team for your pool games
or some fouls he’ll call
Pat sure seems really strong and in charge
But he’s kept in check
Pat may be head of the household
But his wife Lori’s the neck

We will never forget our Aunt Tami,
we wish she were here
We know she would be laughing so loud now
It’d be hard to hear.
But, she’ll be in our hearts
and our mind this week
And we bet Tami and Grandpa
Can’t help but look in and take a peek!

The night ended and we put our exhausted children and selves to bed.

Saturday 7:30 Golf 

The boys were excited about their golf game and were up bright an early and on the green.  I am sure it was awesome.  I wasn't there.  I find golf dull.  

9:00-11:00 Craft time with the ladies

Kylie and Kendall had some great little crafts going on but this was one of the first times during the reunion that I had time to sit and chat with my Earl girls. It was good to sit and even better to chat.

10:00-1:00 Swimming (games w/prizes for kids) and volleyball tourney and lunch (pizza) @ Grandma’s

This would have been a big hit but it ended up being a really hot day. Once our shade structures were in place and the snow cones had arrived, all was well but seriously, even for a Vegas girl, it was a hot day.

I had such a great time. I left all my reunion cares behind and played three games of volleyball. It was a blast. I probably should have been working on Amazing Race plans... but hey, all's well that ends well!


4:30-6:30 Amazing race @ David & Peggy’s
Amazing Race's are no joke. They take a TON of work. I was impressed with the one we did at our last family reunion but I have a whole new respect for it because ours was about a million times simpler and it still took so much work to get together. It was interesting not being a participant because it was really hard to tell if people actually enjoyed themselves but they all claim they did and... well, we are a pretty honest bunch.

So here were the events:

Ropes course: Jon set up a ropes course that teams had to untangle themselves from to move on
Basketball Challenge: Teams had to score 30 points by taking shots one by one from different places on the court (each worth different points)
M & M's Challenge: We filled hundreds of dixie cups with a layer of m&ms. Teams had to eat the M&M's until they found the cup with the x on the bottom. I had no idea this would end up being one of the hardest challenges of the day. Some teams went through dozens and dozens of cups before finally finding one. One team picked up an x on the first cup.
Dance Challenge: Teams were given a piece of music and were asked to choreograph a dance that had certain requirements, (i.e. length of dance, certain moves that had to be included) They then performed it for the judges and either passed or didn't. This was the event I ran. It was so fantastic.
Name that Baby: We gathered newborn pictures of a lot of the newest great grandchildren. Teams had to separate them by which baby went to which grandparent. It also turned out being much harder than I expected. Of course, I didn't expect so many parents not to be able to recognize their own babies! But I did make a mistake on this one and my answer sheet stuck one baby with the wrong family. Oops! That's what I get for my volleyball time wasting...
Alkaseltzer Trivia: One team member taped an alkaseltzer to their forehead. Their team members then had to dissolve the seltzer by squirting it with a squirt gun. But they were only allowed to squirt if they answered a family trivia question.
Year in Photos: We had five classic Earl family photos. Teams had to guess the year the photo was taken and then add up all five photos and give a total. Made a little error here too but luckily only the first time caught my blunder...
Eating Challenge: We created a spinning wheel with different food challenges on them. 3 members of the team had to spin the wheel and eat what they landed on. If they ran our race, they got to spin a second time. Our food list included: a live goldfish, sardines, a piece of seaweed, black licorice, marshmallows, 20 saltine crackers (I should have made this 10... 20 was too much), and a spoonful of molasses.

6:30 Dinner/Lip Sync @ David & Peggy’s

For our lip sync this year, we asked everyone to pick a song from the year their Earl head of household graduated from high school, then change the lyrics to tell a story about them.

Everyone really nailed this assignment. The songs were creative and fun and performed well. It was really funny and just seemed like a great celebration of our Earls that we know and love.

We chose "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" for our song. Our lyrics are on my mom's computer. Hopefully I will talk her into sending them to me so I can post them later.

After our performances we got to hear briefly from my Uncle Doug, Uncle Pat and my Grandma, which was fantastic. We then handed out our last reunion project we titled "Why I Believe." We asked everyone interested to write down not their testimony, but why they personally believe the Gospel is true. I was in charge of putting the final project together and it was an amazing experience for me. We sometimes assume that finding their path to religion was easy and I felt in every instance, there was more to their path than I had ever realized. It strengthened my testimony in Jesus Christ and His plan and I am grateful to have been a part of it.

My Earl Family, there sure are a lot of us!

All (almost) of the great grandchildren.  Can you believe how many are actually looking at the camera?!

The cousins

And the David Earl group

And I really hope that is all that we did because reliving this has been exhausting! Hope everyone had as much fun as I did!

Monday, September 17, 2012

I just laughed out loud at my child...

The reunion post is coming, I promise.  But I couldn't resist.  Scarlet has been learning to create her own patterns in school.  She was so excited to show me the patterns she had painted today.

I probably should have held it together a little better.  I came up with some kind of recovery that seemed to convince her that laughter was a most sincere compliment.

What it must be like to be a Kindergarten teacher...  This made me think of you Kylie, imagine holding it together when proud little Scarlet hands you these lovely patterns.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When you give your grammy a camera...

she's gonna want to take a lot of pictures. 

When she takes a lot of pictures, there's gonna be a lot that turn out well.

And then you're gonna want to post way too many of them on one blog entry.

We got to spend a few days pre-reunion in Moses Lake which were mostly spent planning the reunion.  But we got to escape one afternoon and spend some good quality time at the Aquatic Center.

The best part about having the sole grandchildren is there are lots of helping hands.  These came in very handy.  I spent the first part of my time with Asher.

We spent a good chunk of time on the octopus slide.  He dug it.

Now this picture may seem a little odd. You may be thinking, "Why is Kacey open mouth kissing her son?"  There is a very good reason.  When you go in close lipped, he bites.  Hard.  From the first tooth it has been the case.  He's weird, but I love him enough to go in for the good kiss.

We even had a few good rides around the lazy river.

And then Asher found other capable hands so mom could have some more fun.

I got to fit in a few good pirate slides with Rhode, but he had the most fun with his aunt Kendall.

This is my favorite one.  This just looks like captured fun.

Here's Kendall's Sports Illustrated cover.


I wasn't kidding about the picture overload.

Scarlet was the rock star of the day though.  

She started out her day with a few rides down the blue slides.  The height limit was 48", I thought it was 42" when she headed for the line.  Luckily, she stood up really straight when getting measured and barely made the cut.  But, wow she is tall.


She raced grandpa down the blue slides and then a few times around the lazy river.

And then she decided to up her game.  She took a ride down this slide...

And then off the diving board.

And then she talked Grammy into a Scarlet only photo shoot.  

It went something like this:

"Grammy, how about a picture of me next to this?"


"Is this a good pose?"

"And I can jump in!  Did you see this Grammy!  Hold on, I'll do it again."

At this point, Grammy suggested they head in, since the rest of us had moved on to dinner.

"But Grammy we can get some good shots over here."

"Make sure to get my treasure in the picture.  Can you see it?  Are you sure?"

She has a really good Grammy.

And a day that ends with the Taco Shop is one I can always be on board with.

 Okay the reunion is really next this time.  No kidding.