July 2012

The month of July is full of fun!

Independence Day- kicks off all the excitement. We always try to make muddy-buddies and go see the fireworks with our family. This year we did both and the Brewster Park fireworks were exceptionally good! We sat really close to where they actually set off the fireworks with Grandpa, Grandma and Uncles Keel and the Cintora Family. Dean had his ears covered most of the time, but after they were over all he could talk about was going to see more. Riley just kicked back and watched them without much of a reaction until the finale when she started to get a little scared. But after we covered her ears for her and reassured her it was fun, she seemed to settle down and enjoy it too. We brought glow sticks and snacks that were leftover from the BBQ earlier in the day. The kids were also able to swim a bit in the kiddie-pool earlier in the day.

 (Here's Riley helping to sweep in her cute 4th of July summer dress, and Dean
is cheering her on in his 4th of July (reminiscent of Captain America) shirt.) 

 (We had fun making some fruit-kebabs for the 
first time to enjoy throughout the day.)

 (Here's Riley in her SPF ladybug swimsuit from 
her Great-Grandma Viola, isn't she a cutie?)

 (Swimming in the kiddie-pool.)

 (Bundled up in her lady-bug towel with her Mommy.)

(Bundled up in his shark towel with his Grandma Keel.)

Brittany's birthday- is next. She turned 26 this year! Everyone surprised her with a party on Saturday, the 7th, since the 8th fell on a Sunday this year. She was genuinely happy to have such a nice time surrounded by her sweet family who all came to celebrate with her. Thanks again, we love you all!
The cake was delicious: a mint n' chip ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. She received such thoughtful gifts and enjoyed using them!

 (Blowing out her candle.)

(Here's the balloon chandelier James made for her.)

Dad Keel's Birthday-he turned 48! He had a nice intimate gathering of friends and local family. He enjoyed a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and Neapolitan ice cream. He also liked arm wrestling, which he won all but one match. Go Dad!

(Bryce had a good technique.)

Pioneer Day- is a celebration of the contributions made by Latter-Day Saint Pioneers. They did so much traveling, re-building, and waded through other kinds of persecution in order for us to have what we do today. We like to remember them as inspiration and reminders for our own lives. We celebrated in James'  parents' ward this year. It was so nice. We had hamburgers and hot dogs along with a chili cook-off and home-made ice cream and root-beer. We made whirly-gigs, noodle necklaces, and corn husk dolls. James participated in the pie eating contest, and Dean and Riley tried playing horseshoes. We watched others play some water-balloon games and ended off the evening with home-made bread and honey butter and some singing. We really felt the spirit of the ward and by proxy the pioneers; thanks again for inviting us Mom and Dad Anderson. Here's a few pictures of James in the pie eating contest:

Visit by Aunt Jana & Family- We visited and talked, played a huge game of Bunco, watched movies, went on a beach trip followed by dinner at Chick-Fil-A, and even spent a day at Magic Mountain with the kids. It was so nice! We loved having them here.

The beach trip we took was so nice. We were able to go with the Ratliff girls, the O'Barr family that was here, Kati Peel, and cousin Philip who was visiting too. Poor Riley had 4 shots right before we left for the park and still did amazingly. She's such a trooper. We were originally planning on going to Corona Del Mar, but because it was crowded we went farther down to Crystal Cove and we're so glad we did. It was much less crowded and we were able to walk on pavement right up to the beach. They  also had picnic tables where we sat down to eat, and big sinks where we rinsed off the kids afterwards before getting them dressed for the ride home and stop to eat at Chick-Fil-A. Here are some beach photos taken by Heather O'Barr, Harli Ratliff, and ourselves:

 (In the tunnel on the way to the beautiful beach: Crystal Cove.)

 (Dean playing in the sand.)

 (Cousin Calista and her amazing sand castle.)

 (Uncles posing for the camera...hahaha!)

 (We ate sandwiches and snacks at the beach. It was such a great time!)

 (All the cousins walking along the beach.)

 (Dean and Mommy enjoying the tide.)

 (Riley enjoying the sand and toys.)

 (Daddy enjoying the water with cousins.)

We had such a long, exciting day at Magic Mountain with the kids. We ate lunch before we went into the park, and went straight to the kid area when we got there. It was really hot when we first got there, so we tried to stay in the shade and stay hydrated as much as possible. Dean and Riley both had fun running around in the ball shooting room and in the water fountains. Riley was only able to go on one of the rides. Dean however went on quite a few and especially enjoyed the ones where he rode without a parent with him. Once the sun went down we got something to eat and went on two rides ourselves while Dean and Riley spent some time with their grandparents. Then on our way out Riley got a lighted wand and we watched fireworks, which Dean loved, and got some ice cream before heading to the car. Dean and Riley both fell asleep before we even left the parking lot. Here are some photos of  Dean at Magic Mountain:

And to sum up the post here are various pictures of Dean and Riley from the month of July:

 (This is our poor Riley passed out on Uncle Westly after her traumatic vaccination 
experience. Uncle West held her while we prepared for our beach trip. Thanks bro!)

 (Dean in the fire engine at the mall.)

 (Dean eating a sandwich with a spoon! Haha. Silly boy.)

(She found the pen and paper and brought it back over the bed to draw.)

We have certainly enjoyed this month's events! May we all continue to enjoy the summer to its end. After this post about the month of July, we are all caught up. Hopefully we can keep up with the blog so we don't have so many long posts in a row. It's so nice to see the pictures and have a record of all the things we do as a family though. Hope all of our loved ones enjoy hearing about our adventures when we find the time to update.


The James Anderson Family


June 2012

Some pretty exciting things to recap for the month of June. Are you ready? Here it goes!

Tyler and MiLinh's Wedding, Saturday, June 9th, 2012- This was our first real family trip ever. It was fun! We were able to rent a car and reserve a hotel room for two nights. It was a really nice weekend, where we were able to see Brittany's oldest brother Tyler be sealed to his sweetheart in the Mount Timpanogos, Utah Temple.
We left really early Friday morning, in order to let the kids sleep for most of the 8 hour drive to Provo. Once there, we had to wait until check-in at 3 PM so we went to visit Tyler in his apartment for a little bit. When we got to his apartment we all ate some pizza and took potty/diaper change breaks, and then realized we forgot Dean's shoes at home. Whoops! So we went and got his some sandals and by the time we got out of the store it was time to check-in at the hotel.
We felt kind of bad because the kids being so bored all day were kind of rambunctious in Tyler's apartment; climbing all over their furniture, getting into their cupboards, and basically anything and everything they could get their little hands on. Thanks again for being so hospitable Tyler. We loved being able to see your new space.

(Here's Riley, who literally has a chip on her shoulder!)

(Here's Dean so excited to be running and climbing after a long drive.)

Once we got to the hotel we were pretty impressed with the accommodations: king bed, crib, and nice spacious room with kitchenette and bath/shower combo. It was fun seeing all our shoes and clothes for the temple lined up in a row...

Here's a view of the beautiful place where Tyler and MiLinh made covenants with one another and God to be sealed for time and all eternity. There's really no comparison to anywhere else on earth. We're so glad we were able to be there to witness such a sweet ordinance and new beginning for them. It was the first time we have gone to a sealing together since our own wedding!

Here's the happy couple coming out to greet everyone and take some photos. Aren't they a handsome couple? CONGRATS you two! We're so glad you've joined the ranks of the old married crew. Hehe.


Then we all stuck around for some professional photos. It was SO crowed with married couples that day it took awhile, but it was such a beautiful day and everything turned out nice in spite of the waiting. A HUGE thanks goes out to Westly and Levi for watching our little stinkers so we could attend the sealing. After which, we came out and changed them into their nice picture outfits before Tyler and MiLinh came out of the temple. It was a scramble, but we managed somehow! Here are a couple of our own shots during picture time.

 (Riley being silly and chewing on her shoe!)

 (Handsome Dean, in his nice new blue and gray outfit.)

 (All of Brittany's brothers in order of age: Tyler (groom), Levi, Bryce, and Westly.)

(Dean and Uncle Tyler.)

Then, after the professional photos were done of our family, we went back to the hotel and changed them into play clothes so they could eat at the luncheon without ruining their nice ones. 
Here are a few low quality pictures of the luncheon crew. We went to Rib City in American Fork and even the kids loved it. Great, delicious food in generous helpings and very good service.

After the luncheon the kids were exhausted. We put them right in their playpen/cribs and they were out!

Then around 5:30 in the evening we got dressed nicely again to attend the ring ceremony and reception at Le Jardin in South Jordan, Utah. It was beautiful, intimate, and perfect for Tyler and MiLinh to celebrate with their families and friends. Dean and Riley loved sharing the Cold Stone Ice Cream with us, dancing, and looking at all the decorations, exploring the area's plants, rocks, and water fountains, and posing for the photographer. Dean was such a little ham, and seemed to always be in the center of whatever was going on.

  (Here's Riley being silly making a seat for herself in the garden area. Haha.)

(Tyler dancing with his mom, and MiLinh dancing with her dad. Such a sweet moment.)

After seeing them off in their groomsmen-decorated get-away car, we went back to the hotel for a good night's sleep before returning home the following day. We left after breakfast on Sunday and had to make multiple stops to accommodate our restless children, but it was still very pleasant. We're so grateful to have been there and to have made such great memories as a family.

Father's Day- The next Sunday, after getting home from our wedding trip to Utah, was Father's Day. We were able to put together some fancy treats for our Dad's and spend some time talking and visiting with them. For Dad Anderson we put together some jars of gourmet nuts: roasted cashews, dark chocolate covered almonds, and pistachios. We stacked them on top of each other, tied them with twine and attached a note that said, "We're Nuts About You!" We spent the evening visiting and having fun outside.

For Dad Keel we found a nice big masculine jar and put in layers of York Peppermint Patty pieces, chocolate covered raisins, and Reese's pieces. We made a collar for the jar that said, "We Love You to Pieces!" and were able to spend the day with him at church and home, making him the meals he requested for the day.

For Father's Day gifts for James the kids made heart shapes using their hand prints and then Brittany signed their names inside them with notes saying, "I love you." Brittany made a frame that says, "A Father is a son's first Hero, and a daughter's first Love," with a space for a picture of Dean and Riley on the opposite side.

Our 4th Anniversary- For our Anniversary this year, we came across a great deal, through Brittany's parents for a 3 day pass to Universal Studios and decided to jump on it. We very spontaneously decided to spend three nights in a hotel in Duarte, CA and visit Universal two days in a row. It was a weird and new experience for us being away from our children for that long! We missed them and worried about them, but we also had tons of fun seeing how far we've come since we honeymooned there four years ago!
In order to go for two days we had to celebrate early. We left Thursday night, June 21st, after James came home from work, and checked-in to our hotel so that we could leave while the babies were sleeping and go right to the theme park in the morning. It worked out well that James already had that Friday off, and we could just come back to attend church Sunday morning.
We had a Jacuzzi suite and only had to drive for 30 minutes to get to the park. We ate breakfast in the hotel every morning, had lunch in the park, and then a very late dinner on our way back to the hotel both nights. We saw a movie at the AMC theater on the City Walk, picked up gifts for Mom and Dad Keel for watching the babies, and some sweets from the It's Sugar store for Dean and Riley for being good, too.
We had a caricature drawn of both of us holding babies to represent Dean and Riley, which turned out so cute, and went on all of our favorite rides and attractions twice. We took silly photos and enjoyed holding hands everywhere we went. It was so fun and nice that we were able to pull off such an outing at the last minute. Thanks for making it possible Mom and Dad Keel, we love you!

City Walk.

 (And Action!)

 View down to the lower lot from second escalator. There are four escalators total.

Silly pictures.

 (Tried Dippin' Dots. They numb your tongue they're so cold! Fun to try.)

 (Outside of Shrek 4D. Pretty fun movie experience where the
chairs move and shoot air and water at you at certain points.)

Our Favorite part of the trip, The Transformers Ride in 3D. We went twice.

  (Optimus Prime)

 (Waiting in line to ride Transformers. Got shut down first 
day. Had to go back twice the next day. Worth it even 
though it was such a long wait, because it was so fun!)

Our second favorite, the tram tour with Jimmy Fallon and King Kong 360 3D. We went twice.

(War of the Worlds set.)

Third favorite, Water World show. Here's a picture of the set. We got a little wet the first time we went.

For our actual anniversary day we spent the day together as a family going to the park, out for dinner, and to see the movie Brave as a family. It was such a nice way to spend the day. Happy 4 years to us, and may we make it many more!



What else did we do in the month of June? 

Among other things we fixed up our Escort, that is still getting us from point A to point B, thank goodness, attended Jamie's 10th birthday party and delivered gifts to both her, and Isabel--who turned 3 in the beginning of the month. Happy Birthday girlies! We love you! Brittany also prepared and delivered her first Sharing Time lesson in Primary. She drew large paper dolls and 8 outfits; 4 each, for a boy and a girl, to teach modesty to the younger kids, and did a simple game with word strips with the older kids. She feels like it went well for a first attempt. And last, and certainly our least favorite, James was let go from the City of Barstow. It was only a temporary position, but we were really hoping something would open up for him so he could stay permanently. Alas, it was not to be so. So, if you know anyone looking for an extremely capable Accountant, with a Bachelor's Degree, a year of experience in municipal accounting, and a way with all things to do with Microsoft Excel, let us know!

Here are some cute random shots of our kids adventures: 

 (Dean being a bug, holding two halves of a wiffle-ball over 
his eyes and saying "buzz!" Sorry the photo is too bright.)

 (My kids love shoes. We think it's a Keel thing.)

 (Milk monsters.)

(Uh oh! Naughties! It's a good thing they're so cute!)

Hope you survived our extremely long post! Now how about a July recap? 


The James Anderson Family