When everyone around you gets sick…

…you just keep taking vitamin C! Well, some little bug went through Natalie, Luke and Darin. But I was okay. (Which can be lame since I spent all the time taking care of the sickies, but probably better for me and baby Umberto!)

Luke and Darin missed church to keep the virus to themselves. But he was feeling better later in the day…

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and what about this beautiful weather?!! Yay for fall. I get so happy every time I walk outside and see the changing trees.

One day the kids decided to have their own “fair” with games and rides on the deck!

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Well, we’ve definitely lived here a year now because we made our second appearance at the the Warren County Fair last week. We like to support local business, schools, and communities so we always choose a night to eat dinner at the fair.


Unfortunately the petting zoo backed out last minute, but we still checked out the chicken house, all the booths, and the kiddie play area. The seesaw was a hit!

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Luke was mesmerized in the blacksmith shop, watching him pound the heated metal into a new shape. Might have something to do with his love of fire!

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There were a couple of rides we thought they would like so we purchased a few tickets. Of course they recommend that pregnant women shouldn’t ride, so Darin took them on the Ferris Wheel. Luke pretended to be scared but loved it because he already knew what it would be like. Natalie, the first timer, was a bit scared but loving it (death grip on Darin’s arm with a permagrin on her face)!

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We went back to catch our friend in the baby show and then on the last night for one final ride to use up our tickets. There was so much more that we didn’t participate in, maybe we will slowly get more involved in all the fun.

Happy Birthday Lil Princess

Well Natalie has been anticipating the big day for months. She was excited all week as we talked about someone’s birthday coming up on Friday. She woke up all smiles to find her birthday balloons and presents in the kitchen.

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She got a new to her bike, so now she can practice riding with her brother and cousins. Of course she was so excited to open her presents and cards that we let her (maybe next year we’ll stretch it out all day!). She was hilarious, everything is wonderful when you are three, hopefully she can keep a grateful heart throughout life. Thank you thank you for all the love sent her way.

Then she spent the day playing with new things and having a friend over (they love having someone come over). Later in the afternoon we went shopping and she went hunting for what she wanted to get with her birthday money from Grandpa and Grandma. After Daddy got home, we headed to Chuck E Cheese to play some games (love the free tokens on your birthday!). We don’t usually get pizza but we splurged for her birthday and they gobbled it up.

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After picking a little prize, we headed out. Both of them exclaiming what a wonderful night they had. We headed over to ToysRUs to use her birthday coupons to get a Doodle Bear (what she decided to buy), but they didn’t have it (go figure) so now she gets to get a package in the mail (that’s always fun) and she got princess hair accessories.

She is too funny… when Darin got home. She squealed with excitement, “Darin, it’s my birthday! I’m three! and we are going to Chuck E Cheese!”  This little girl loves to talk. Usually whenever we are driving she is just back there chatting away, telling me all kinds of things. She loves to tell me what might happen. “I can’t wear my mermaid tail to the fair. It might fall off on a ride. Then someone would say where is your mermaid tail. I would say uh-oh its on the ground. I better leave it home.” “Maybe when we get home Anatoliy will be there. Maybe he will park in our garage, if we left it open. (Luke: we didn’t leave it open) But maybe we did. Then he will be surprised to see me!”

Anyways, I wish I would remember to record her more often! This girl is growing up too fast. She notices so many things and remembers quite well the things I tell her. She loves to create and craft, which I hope she will continue to love and want to do things with me.  She has recently started loving princesses and noticing more about girls around her. She tells me to fix her hair “like the girl who brought the cat over” or she is going to wear her shirt that looks like her babysitter’s.

She has just started taking an interest in drawing and writing letters, so perhaps now she will learn them all she only knows a handful. She is pretty good at one-to-one counting and is trying to figure out time and money a little more.

She is always very concerned about the baby. Making sure I am eating so the baby can eat, and that I don’t turn the shower on too hot because it will be too hot for the baby. She loves to kiss my tummy and say hi to the baby.

Saturday morning she had a little friend party. We had a royal celebration under the sea. We decorated blue streamer water and green streamer seaweed. The kids decorated crowns, made necklaces, went fishing and woke up the sea monster.  The girls dressed up with mermaid tails, princess dresses, earring and rings. The boys had swords and sashes. Mostly they just played whatever they wanted.

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look at that photo bomber!

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Natalie wanted a sand castle cake. Far from perfect, but it was fun to make for her.

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The cute little bunch chowing down. Then she open her presents with some help in about 2 seconds…

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She had so much fun celebrating with some friends, I’m glad they could come and enjoy the day with her.

Happy Birthday Little Princess!

these days…

We’ve been spending our time playing with friends, making treats with Daddy, and begging him not to go to work…

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Natalie has finally discovered the fun of drawing people and “writing.” If you happen to get a letter or picture from her, know that you are lucky because I only let her actually mail one or two out of the dozens she creates. Of course our sweet mail carrier enjoyed a few pictures I forgot to remove from the mailbox after she went to bed. Which was great because she wrote her back, thanking her for the pictures!


Also Natalie has taken a liking to calling us Darin and Nada more often than Mom and Dad. I just nicely remind her that she can still call us Mom and Dad.  Really though most things are cute when she talks, except for the whining and crying, that I could do without. I love when she whispers, “Can I tell you a secret? I love you.”

She also has a ridiculous love for stickers right now. My handvac has about 30 stickers on it, I’ve scraped way too many off my table and walls, and  every day I am wearing a few… sometimes I forget. I wonder how many people were laughing at the upside-down ice cream sundae on my chest as we ran errands last week… oops!

I’m a big girl now!

Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Getting back into our routine was kind of hard after such a long exciting vacation. Plus, we had several things to do. Dental appointments, doctor checkups, and most importantly Natalie’s Big Girl Day! I delayed it long enough, it was time to get rid of the pacifiers. With Luke we took him on a big boy day and he loved it so we figured we would continue the tradition. We headed to Opry Mills for some fun. First stop, bass Pro Shops for Darin to check out some guns and check out the fish. Then she got to pick dinner –pizza, ride the carousel, and go shopping with her “babas.”  With Luke we went to Build-A-Bear, but across from there was the Disney store which was more enticing to Natalie. So we headed in to look at all the princess stuff, Ariel being her favorite. 

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I thought she would want an Ariel doll (no problem) or dress (could be pricey). But she ended up finding an Ariel sippy (on sale) and Ariel flip flops (also on sale, I promise I was not persuading her) and a Cinderella camera (not on sale, but hey she has to have a little bit of Darin in her right?!). Totally not what I thought, but she was happy to give away her pacifiers and be a big girl! Then we headed over to Dave and Buster’s to hear Due West playing (did I plan this well or what?! Smile). It was so fun to catch a bit of their show and see some friends. After a while it was bed time and “too loud” for Luke so we headed home.

I will note that the happiness of her purchases didn’t last long, and she wanted those pacifiers back. It took her about 6 days of asking for them when she was tired or upset to finally get that they were gone. Luke only took about two days, but he didn’t have as great of an attachment to them, so we knew it would be a little harder. She is great now though and loves to show off what she got for giving away her “baba”!


let’s see, where did I leave off?…

So we headed to Canada Monday. The kids were so excited to get to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. They couldn’t get enough of jumping on the trampoline and riding the four wheeler around and around the driveway. Grandpa even took Luke fishing and they caught a fish! Natalie was having so much fun, she put herself to bed a few times!

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Then they just couldn’t get enough of playing with cousins! Day after day, more and more family coming, it was one big party!


Thursday night, we picked up Darin and headed to Dustin and Jessica’s. A crazy hailstorm came through destroyed most of Cardston. It totaled all of Mom and Dad’s cars and the fifth wheel and wrecked the roof. It was crazy to see how much damage occurred. Hailstorms in July, what?!

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Not every day do you see this on the road…


It took a little warming up, but then Ivy was my buddy the rest of the trip. If she couldn’t find her momma, I was the next best thing. Luke and Drew were inseparable.

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That weekend was the Payne Family Reunion at Badger Valley lodge. It was great to met and spend time with so much family. I met a few people for the first time and the kids just enjoyed all the fun to be had. We played games, hiked up the hillside, ate lots of good food, made tons of crafts, and had a blast just talking and catching up.

Sunday the Girls’ trip began! We headed up to Calgary for restful sleep at the Marriott, good food, lots of shopping, and great company. I had a blast. I spent way too much but found some cute things, and I loved watching how much Jessica enjoys her food! We wanted to celebrate Mom’s birthday in a big way but it was just as wonderful for all of us.

The boys survived with all the kids, but were happy to head to Waterton the next day for the Payne Golf Tournament! This year Jeff came out on top!! Maybe next year Darin! The kids enjoyed playing at the lake, at the playground and riding around on the double bike carts.


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Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday was a mix of the family service project and activities. We had planned to do some awesome tree trimming and cleaning in the yard, but after that crazy storm we did a bit more. Everyone pitched in helping with different jobs, and it looked so much better. I was amazed at how much was accomplished: took out three trees, cut down tons of branches, underbrush, overgrowth, and HAULed it ALL away (I was worried we would be leaving a bigger mess!). We played 007 one night, we headed into Lethbridge for some bowling and dinner at Costco the next, and ended with an adults’ only dinner Friday night!

Evans and Peos headed home on Saturday, but we got to stay the weekend (thanks to Volkswagen, waiting on documentation to import the Jetta), which was a blessing in disguise because extra time with Grandpa and Grandma is always more memorable in the long run!

We had so much fun, but we were pretty wore out. Oh wait, then there was the three day drive home!