december part 2: Winter Break
We flew to Texas for Christmas.
It wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be to travel with 4 kids and lots of luggage the week of Christmas. It was a long, but manageable day.
Luckily, we've got this flying thing down. and Renting a mini van and beach house made things much less chaotic.
The kids top, number one, thing they wanted to do when we got to Lake Jackson was go to Chuck E. Cheese.
They have been sad since ours closed a few years ago and this filled the holes in their hearts.
My top, number 1 thing, to do was hang out at the beach.
Not a bad way to spend Christmas Eve and get out some energy.
Crew was the only kid that wanted to build a Sandman with me.
And we were the only people on the beach that actually went in the water, pretty sure everyone else was locals. : )
I could of spent days just like this, but sadly we just got the one day.
Luckily, Paul and I did get a few beach walks in during the week.
- Christmas Eve at the beach house.
Everyone was very impressed with my christmas tree and our house decor even added a nice finishing touch to the tree.
Got my Christmas Eve tree and stocking pictures, like always.
Ruby also lost a tooth Christmas Eve, which just added to the excitement of it all.
- Christmas Morning!!
Waiting on the deck cheering Opa on as he climbed the million stairs up to the beach house.
I didn't take many pictures this year. But, we nailed it in the present department. Every kid was happy, grateful, and had a toy to play with.
then it was onto Paul's parents house, where the cousins finally came into town!!
This is it, the only picture I took Christmas Day. But believe me, it was awesome, kids loved being with all The Navasards, and it was very magical.
We spent the rest of the week eating good food and hanging out family.
Brooklyn proved to be the best toy there was.
Some of our favorite food:
Asels, where Crew ordered a donut burger.
So much Shipley's, but yet not enough.
Got takeout from El Torro.
We spent the day after Christmas at Keema Boardwalk.
Another day visiting the museums in Lake Jackson.
Then we did family pictures before we had to head up the airport hotel in Houston.
Kids said it was their best Christmas Ever!
After a very delayed flight home, we picked up Fang with 20 min to spare.
Fang was crying, kids were screaming. it was quite the reunion.
And here's Fang's report card. :)
Kids were also happy that Santa stopped by our house and filled up Fang's stocking. Proved to the younger 3 that Santa is for sure real.
We then had a perfect, mellow, New Years Eve with the Rensinks.
There was Soda Pong.
Just an overall goodtime where kids were asleep by 10:30.
And then we spent the rest of break being lazy and playing in the snow.
Typical Utah kids: the moment the sidewalks and roads are semi clear they are back to bike riding, scootering, and playing basketball.
Paul brought out the water balloon launcher to aid in the neighbor kid snowball fight.
Not a bad Winter Break.
We made the trek out to Eastern Washington for a week of camping at Lake Pearrygin.
This was the first time we had packed for this trip in our new house and let me tell you it was amazing. Normally we are drowning in the amount of crap we have to take for a week at the lake, but this year, The Great Gathering, barely got in my way.
And bonus, our car fit in the garage with the cartop carrier on top!
This was the also the first big drive we took in the new car and the DVD player was life changing.
There was still whining and crying, but nothing compared to normal.
Plus, Paul and I even had energy to eat at Denny's instead of McDonalds. Although we were questioning this decision when Miles was screaming and wouldn't get out of the car because he'd never eaten at a Denny's before and it made him feel uncomfortable. #lifewithspd
Our sweet room for the night.
Then it was Pearrygin Life for the next week.
Constant hanging out on the beach.
Miles was always on the look out for adults to share his wide range of knowledge and animal facts with.
GiGi and Teddi were quite popular the entire week and we had to keep a rotation going for the great grandkids to play games with her in her trailer.
Can't beat Pearrygin lunches in the shade with cousins.
We had a rainy morning and the kids wanted to catch the ducks that were all over our campsite. So, we caught ducks and each kid got to pet them. It was highly entertaining.
Then while we waited for the wind to pass we went into town for pizza, park, and ice cream.
Luckily, we only had one morning of non-boating weather. And the rest was pretty much perfection.
This year was filled with Sombrero riding
My afternoons were spent organizing the Sombrero rides and making sure everyone got a turn, adults included.
There seemed to be a bit of a learning curve with pulling this beast. There were quite a few crashes with lots of screaming children in the water and even hitting a buoy.
But overall The Sombrero was a huge hit.
And there was never enough time in the day for these kids to ride on it.
and Knee Boarding.
All the kids got in on the knee boarding action this year and life got much easier because they also learned how to deep water start.
Miles finally got the hang of it this year and loved it. He was always on the look out for anyone to go with him.
Notice Paul in the water helping the girls with the ropes. That's one of the great things about Pearrygin, everyone is always willing to step in and help when needed.
Adults got in on the action too.
We did our bi-annual quadruple kneeboarded with CJ and Shaunna and it always proves to be one of my favorite Pearrygin moments.
And there was of course some animal riding.
Brianne and I got to go on an evening kayak ride where she showed off her amazing rowing skills.
Lots and lots of floating. Dave brought along the crazy island from costco and it proved to be the favorite hang out while waiting for a turn behind the boat.
And of course non-stop cousin action.
Love these kids.
The ride back from Pearrygin is always an interesting one because we are extra dirty, extra tired, and extra sad.
Ruby looked like an insane wild woman on the 15 hour drive home and pretty much encompassed how we all looked and felt.
And it's not a trip to Pearrygin if someone doesn't come home with some sort of injury. This years winner was Macey with a black eye from knee boarding and sombrero riding.
Pearrygin 2: Beach life
It was hot this year, which meant lots of time floating and swimming and hanging out in the shade of our awesome tree.
There wasn't much "relaxing" floating this year. There was always some kid that would notice you were alone and try to hop a ride on your floatation device.
Shaunna and I spent most of our time standing in the water managing the kid's rides behind the boat and the kids floating in the water.
We'd push the kids out and then pull them back with the ropes. Thrilling times.
And of course the kayaks got plenty of action.
Paul and I even escaped one night and got to enjoy a few quiet moments.
While boat drivers were having breaks and sun screen was drying, there was plenty on the beach to keep people entertained.
Lots of games.
We loved having the Great Grandmas there! They played lots of games with the big kids and finished an entire game of 5 Crowns with these 3.
book reading. Although, I only got 3 pages read of my book. Perhaps one day I might finish one again.
Ruby was always on the look out for Nana or Pop-Pop to play or cuddle with.
When Miles wasn't busy cornering people and sharing all known facts about bugs, you could usually find him with Teddi.
So much cousin time, the whole reason we came.
These kids had plans of how we could live at Pearrygin year round. They had ideas for a better kitchen, warmer sleeping bags, closer bathroom, and even plans for us to homeschool them. :)
These 2 will be best friends one day, I can tell.
The only downsides this year were Bugs and Wind.
My poor boy got eaten alive and swelled right up. Miles also got stung by a bee on his wrist. He looked like the nutty professor.
We lucked out and it wasn't too windy during the day, but come dinner time that wind would pick up and we could not get the Roadtrip to stay lit.
CJ and Shaunna had the genius idea to use the GTX as a wind shield. Worked pretty good and we got to eat warm food. The excitement of camping.
Love these people.
Always hard to leave them.
I love that my kids are getting to have the same memories, in the same place, that I got to have with my cousins and grandparents.
The highlights of my childhood took place here and I know my kids are going to remember these trips. Makes the insanity of the 15 hour drive, camping for 7 days in the dirt and heat worth it. And I didn't have a complete mental breakdown, so that is always good. :)
The Stephens (finally) come to utah!
One of the biggest highlights of the summer was having the Stephens come visit in August.
Seeing their cousins twice in the same summer has never happened before.
Sleeping arrangements were tight, but the kids did not mind one bit. And these 2 pairs of best cousins were inseparable.
Lauren is the only person EVER allowed to join Miles' solitary breakfast on the deck.
Brianne of course had to go back to BYU and show her girls around.
And yes, it was weird being back with 7 kids in tow. Feels like it was just yesterday that Brianne was tutoring me in the Talmage building for a calculus test.
And these 2 dreamed about being roommates at BYU together in the future.
We also went to Salt Lake and did a bunch of touristy stuff, until I was too tired, and then we left the Stephens to finish off the touristy stuff alone.
Then there was swimming at the pool, inflatable waterslide and of course hanging out with the neighbor kids.
The girls took to the neighborhood lifestyle quite quickly.
and even the neighbor kids were sad to see them go, but not as sad as us.
the classic neighborhood send off.
It was nice to have the Stephens all to ourselves, hopefully we can convince them of another Utah vacation soon!!
Pearrygin Novel part 2
Besides the people, the highlight of Pearrygin is the boating activities (with said people).
The Gopro has kind of been the best when it comes to behind boat activities, because it allows us to get pictures we normally couldn't.
And capture these kinds of faces.
Macey started taking the Gopro on the kid GTX rides and she felt like a big deal. We found lots of awesome selfies like this on the roll.
Kneeboarding was a very popular activity this year and I believe all the kids 5 and older gave it a try.
Miles wanted to go on the back of Paul's kneeboard, like he did 2 years ago.
But, it proved not to be as thrilling as he remembered, so he decided to try going on his own kneeboard.
He didn't make it too far on any of his attempts, but I was so proud of him for trying!!
Macey and Owen were the daredevils of this trip. Trading places on the GTX or double kneeboarding without an adult were just a few of the new things they tried.
I think Macey will be ready to try 360's on our next Pearrygin trip.
The GTX once again proved to be the favorite mode of behind boat transportation.
We of course had to get in our family ride. Ruby actually didn't seem to mind too much and actually smiled and laughed a few times.
The Rensink's even stopped by for an hour, so we made sure to get the kids on a GTX ride together.
I think it was enough to convince them to come to Pearrygin for more than an hour next time.
We were able to squeeze in a few adult only rides and I haven't laughed like that in a LONG time.
It was good for my soul.
People did more than just ride the GTX and kneeboard, but I don't really have many pictures of that. But, here's a pic to prove my kids have the coolest grandparents around.
Towards the end of the week, when we'd made sure to get enough use of the blowup animals, I let Paul and Christopher take them behind the boat.
It was extremely entertaining and we became the talk of the campground.
Never a dull moment. And only the Turtle didn't survive, not too bad.
We also stuck Crew in the boat, ALOT, to keep him out of trouble. Usually he got a little nap in and was contained for a few moments.
One of Macey's favorite things this year was when Dave would drive the boat, he would stop in the middle of the lake, if it wasn't busy, and let all the kids jump in to cool off. They thought they were pretty awesome swimming in the middle of the lake.
There was of course some sleep deprivation and the late afternoon whineyness from all ages (me included). But, I loved watching my kids making the same memories at Pearrygin that I did. Pearrygin was the highlight of my year as a kid, and I'm glad it's turning out to be the same for these kids.