Visiting My Family in Washington!

Want to know the saddest thing in the whole wide world? Payson, Ember, and Everett had never ever met my dad and Brooklyn and Sierra only met him once when Brooke was 3 and Sierra was 11 months old for about thirty minutes.
It hurt my heart so deeply that the man I loved most in the entire universe for all of my life didn’t even know his own grandchildren 🙁

I talked to my kids about my dad and showed them pictures and hoped they’d fall in love with their grandpa even just a fraction as much as I love my dad but figured with all the people at the BBQ that day it might not be as impactful. There are some loud personalities in my family (and by some I mean most, haha!) so I thought my very quiet dad might get missed in the crowd.

Imagine my surprise and sheer delight when Payson and Ember met my dad and decided he was the best person they’d ever met. They followed him like puppies and when he sat down to eat off to the side on this porch swing they followed him away from the crowd of family to sit next to him to eat! I was near bawling, you guys. I was in the middle of reconnecting with my family who I rarely see, overwhelmed with seeing EVERYone again and wanting to talk and visit with each person but here I was standing watching my babies go and sit with their grandpa. These new relationships forming without my causing them (besides having been born to my dad and birthing those kids, anyway) watching this family bond just exist and flourish from the first second they all met.

It was as close to magical as life can get. I don’t think I will ever, ever forget it.

I interrupted their moment to take this picture. I had to!

And as I look at it, I tear up every time. For my kids finally meeting their grandpa and loving him so much and also remembering when me and my brother were those ages and how much my dad was my super hero. He was a rock and anchor is a very troubling world for me. My childhood sucked pretty much a lot but my dad was a safe place for me. We are a lot alike and we get along so well and he always made me feel loved and accepted and happy even in my hardest times.

Okay that’s probably enough of my inner feelings about that. Moving on to the BBQ. We were finding out Jeena’s baby’s gender that day!! I was SO excited!! As close to, maybe even more, excited than finding out my own babies’ genders. I have just been SO happy for Jeena. She’s wanted a baby so much and to watch her pregnant and hear about the things she’s going through has been really emotional for me. I want the very best for her and I’m just giddy and relieved and completely thankful she’s finally going to be a mom!

So after everyone ate Jeena brought out a bunch of cute cupcakes she made. The frosting inside was…

Pink! A girl!! I’m SO excited for her to have a daughter! She’s going to be such a great mom and that baby is going to be SOOOO loved!!!

Next my grandma wanted a picture of everyone together so we started to get everyone to come back over to the chairs. I snapped this of Allan and my brother Chris chatting. They didn’t know I took it 🙂

As people were gathering Kyle took off his shirt and hat and was doing something silly. I don’t even remember what but we were all laughing really hard.

This is probably just an Ariana thing but the pictures taken before the one with everyone gathered and smiling are often my favorite. I love seeing everyone just there without posing or smiling for a camera.

Everyone! The only ones missing were my sister Kelly and her family. I wish they could’ve come 🙁

I pulled Jeena and Eric aside with a cupcake to take some pictures.

Grandma finally gets a chance to hold Everett! Papa Milo had held him all up to this point!

It was Payson’s birthday so we had him open presents.

Can you believe this kid is 7?! I truly can’t! I can’t remember life without Payson in the slightest but I also can’t believe it’s been 7 years since he was born! He’s growing up SO fast! Where’d the last 5 years go?!

Everett loved Payson’s stack of presents! He kept trying to play with them!

I had to include all these pictures of Payson opening his favorite present from me and Allan. A snap dragon stuffed animal from Plants vs. Zombies 2!

I don’t have any pictures of him opening presents from grandma and papa Milo and Aunt Jeena and Uncle Eric because I video taped that part but I do have pictures of him playing with those toys that I’ll do another post of!

One thing I LOVE about my family is that pictures aren’t an awkward thing! Everyone asks for pictures and smiles for pictures and it makes my life as a camera addict so much easier! I am pretty shy and reserved and practically never ask if I can take a picture of people because I don’t want to annoy them so when ANYone asks me to take a picture I jump at the chance!! I LOVE this picture of me and Jeena! I’ve missed my sister SO much 🙁 and am so happy to live near enough that I can see her more often 🙂

Then my mom asked for pictures of us together! Yay!

This one’s my favorite:

Then Papa Milo was holding the little kids and my mom was singing trot, trot to Boston. It brought back memories from when I was a kid and she used to do that to us. I remember her doing it to Jeena ALL the time 🙂
My kids were busting up in giggles.

You know, we’ve been so spoiled with warm weather that when packing for this trip I didn’t bring sweaters for my kids! It got a little chilly in the evening so Allan gave Ember his jacket and Everett got his shirt! haha

Grandparents and grandkids! We have this blown up on a canvas in our hallway!

Next we went to Dairy Queen to get sundaes for Payson’s birthday!

Thumb wars!

It was pretty late by the time we got to our hotel that night. We stayed in a really nice hotel in Bellingham. The breakfast at that hotel was good!

Payson loves this plush turtle he got for his birthday.

Ember had worn her boots with no socks (unbeknown to us) and the night before we’d noticed her feet were quite stinky! We let her boots air out and we washed her feet in the hotel sink (it was just too late for a bath, though) and the next morning we let her go barefoot until we bought her some new socks from Target!

I don’t know why Ember was playing the iPad in the car. We usually don’t do that. She must’ve been super tired and cranky.

We were supposed to head straight to my dad’s restaurant and then get headed back to Idaho so we didn’t arrive back at our house super late but we decided to just visit with my mom and Milo and Jeena and Eric a bit more first. It hadn’t been enough time seeing them the day before! 🙂

Jeena’s belly looked so cute that day, I loved how much more she showed while holding Everett, I had to take some pictures! (You other moms know how holding a toddler while pregnant makes your belly show so much more! I think Jeena was 20 weeks along here?)

Poor Everett was traumatized 😉
Ha, not really but his way of coping meeting new people was so different to me and Allan. We’ve had babies act one of two ways: either they are super social and go to a new person and smile and are fine or they are shy but scream or cry when being handed to a new person. Everett was different, he was shy but he’d just get quiet and not make eye contact with anyone. Not even me!

The kids got to taste carrots straight from Jeena and Eric’s garden! They loved that!

It was funny when Eric was holding Everett. Everett doesn’t look anything like me or Allan but everyone agreed he looked like he could’ve been Eric and Jeena’s kid! I loved this moment of Jeena taking a picture of Eric holding Everett so I had to take a picture of my own 🙂

Papa Milo got more time hanging out with Everett. Everett warmed up to Milo and they had fun practicing walking and playing with Jeena’s dogs and picking flowers… lots of fun!

My kids were in love with Eric and Jeena’s dogs. IN LOVE. They begged for pets, they always do, and I just said… no. haha! If I go for a whole year without cleaning someone else’s poop, vomit, pee, or diarrhea maybe I’ll start consider bringing another creature into my home who’s bodily waste I’ll be in charge of. Considering the amount of waste I’m cleaning these days, that’s nowhere near happening :/

The kids were excited to bring grandma flowers.

After hanging out for a couple hours it was time to go. Everyone was sad 🙁

But, remember how I said my kids have never even seen my dad? My dad never gets time with us so I HAD to make time to go see him at his restaurant. We ended up being two hours (or three?!) later than when we’d said we’d get there. But he was happy when we showed up. We were quite the crowd but luckily the kids were pretty well behaved!

My dad had to greet people at the front desk and answer the phone but he’d come back and sit with us any time he could.

You know what’s fun is when I was a kid my dad was a cook in a restaurant (Frontier Pies in Utah) and I remember my mom taking us to visit him at work and he’d let us each get a sucker. So in his restaurant he has a jar of suckers out front, too, and he let the kids come up and pick one out.

Everett had had enough of this big, scary adventure by this point in our Washington trip. During lunch he kept begging for “Na Na.” It wasn’t a good time for that, though, so I kept trying to distract him. I did nurse him in the car as soon as we left.

Allan had our point and shoot and was super awesome about getting some pictures with me in them while at the restaurant. I’m thankful for these 🙂

My brother Kyle is going to welding school and works as a cook at my dad’s restaurant. He came out to visit with us before we left.

And then Allan took this picture which is one of my favorites! I have only a couple pictures with my dad (of my entire life) so each one means a LOT!

And then it was time to do the 6 hour road trip home!

Diaper change stop.

The kids got a bunch of treats from the gas station.

And THAT is THAT! WHEEEEW!

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