Monday, September 6, 2010


This summer I drove to Idaho for the month of July and spent time there with my parents (hooray! home from their mission in Africa) and siblings. It was always a big group wherever we went, but we had so much fun.
Sophie spent the first week with Grandma Susan in Boise...her first solo flight which she handled amazingly well, as told by the flight attendant!)
We did many fun activities, including hiking, corn hole (beanbag toss-type of game), fixing food, doing dishes, shopping, playing with cousins, playgrounds, movies, snacks, card games, Nintendo, talking, and swimming.
In Rexburg, climbing the "R" mountain:
It was so beautiful to look over the Snake River Valley from the top. Lucy was my climbing partner...pretty good balance for a three-year-old! Riley was fearless and enjoyed going with the big kids on a longer hike to the front of the butte where the "R" is painted.

One of the highlights of the kids' visit was earning money from Grandpa Bill! After an extra-long and harsh winter, the mice population in the yard boomed! There were many mouse holes in the yard and Grandpa set the grandkids up with dirt and shovels/cups/trowel...whatever worked to fill those nasty gross, I know! Sometimes, ya' gotta do what ya' gotta do!

Here, collecting their day's salary! (each in an individual plastic baggie!) Thanks Grandpa...for the constructive cooperation!

One of the afternoons everyone gathered at the Idaho Falls LDS Temple. The grandkids 12 yrs old and older went inside for a neat baptism session, while the younger kids explored the Visitor's Center and the temple grounds, then walked to a nearby park to play. Grandma Genie treated them all to a Happy Meal from McDonald's! Bonus! (Our ever-smart Grandma Genie, she knows how to win a kid's heart!)

Nikolia Ranch
The 24th of July was one of the best ever! We met at the ranch to spend the day. What a perfect day, blue skies, no clouds, shining sun, no cell phone coverage or TV, and nobody else for miles. My sisters Crystal and Suzanne had prepared a twist to the typical Pioneer Trek. The older cousins had a type of scavenger hunt on 4-wheelers, while the younger cousins had a treasure hunt around the pond area. It was so creative, complete with bandanas, pioneer bonnets, horehound candy, lap harp, sack race, ancestor matching games, scriptures, and a real handcart ride (for the smallest ones!)
Lucy and cousin Paige posing by the horses, hoping for a ride!

Fishing and throwing for every kid!

Me and my little girls.

The beginning of the pioneer treasure hunt...all adorned in his/her own bonnet/bandana.

Lucy and cousin Lydia...

A trip to the ranch is not complete without a bit of 4-wheeling fun! There might have been a mud puddle or two that got some action. Bryce and nephews Michael and Nathan.
Happy Birthday Michael!

Before our planned reunion time with Michael, we were able to meet up in Boise for his Grandma's funeral. It just so happened that it was Michael's birthday, too! What a great thing to be together with family and to have Michael there with us! We had cake and presents and enjoyed the 2 days together.

Taylor Family Reunion
Michael flew back to Idaho Falls the next week for our Taylor reunion. We had a stellar talent show with magic, wrestling, story telling, music, name it! The night was topped off with a video my brother Russ had put together for a tribute to our parents. It included many of the pictures each of us had taken on our individual trips to Africa to visit them on their mission. We love our parents! They did an excellent job, served well and loved the people and countryside of Kenya/Tanzania. Welcome Home!
Watching a talent performance:

We spent a day at Lava Hot Springs, swimming, picnicking, visiting, playing, eating...
such a superb group of people, I have to say! (a bit biased as well!)

Table Mountain (Tablerock) Hike

The last day in Idaho Falls, many of us joined my sister, Emilee (who turned 40 this year) on her birthday hike to Table Mountain. It was a strenuous, yet absolutely beautiful hike! I remember hiking this same hike as a young woman at girl's camp. (it was much longer this time!) I really enjoyed being with four of my sisters, a brother-in-law, and several nephews. What a memory!

We were hiking at the best time of year! The wild flowers were amazingly brilliant and blossoming everywhere!
Group photo (minus Jake...taking the photo):
Here's Jake with my sister, Julie. Jake just left for his mission in Australia this past week.
Beauty of a pose here! But I made it! Behind my left ear is Table Mountain with the Grand Tetons in the far background. So magnificent! There were times when I wanted to give up and turn around! (15 miles...about 1000 ft altitude difference) For this old mom, it was a challenge, but I'm glad I stuck with it and made it to the top. Thanks to our outstanding group who didn't give-up on me either!

My nephew, Jake, carried a watermelon ALL THE WAY to the top so we could all enjoy the deliciousness of it while looking at the Grand! Nice work! (He even brought a melon baller...what a thoughtful kid!) The rind made it's debut in movie making history...perhaps the first to be launched from the top of the table!

Our entire group + watermelon. Don't we look great! Happy 40th Birthday, Emilee! (Julie says she's going to choose a cruise for her 40th!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lucy turns 3...happily! June 26th 2010

Question: Who wakes up very early in the morning on her birthday and is extremely smiley ALL day long?
Answer: Lucy!
Loving her birthday and sharing gifts with Sophie and Riley. They all got a headlamp for camping. (maybe not such a grand idea)But they LOVED them and still use them around the house...I just wish they'd turn them off once in a while, or at least not look directly at me when they're talking to me with their lamps on!

Uncle Brad was visiting us from Vermont...a special treat for Lucy! We celebrated at Texas Road House for dinner. (Lucy loves the peanuts!)

At home for cake and ice cream. Lucy requested a "pink beanbag cake"...where she got that idea, I'll never know! So, we creatively obliged. Lucky and comfy George!
Happy Birthday, Lucy. You are our sunshine and we love you!

Ballet Recital

Sophie and Lucy were both included in their ballet recital this summer. It was fun to see them both be excited about dancing and not even be nervous about performing!

The costumes were amazing ( not homemade! ) and both girls absolutely LOVED getting ready for the performances with real make-up!

Here's Lucy waiting for her turn to go on stage. She danced with her class to the song "You Are My Sunshine".

Lucy taking a chance to be in the limelight! (during dress-rehearsal, she ran up on stage and twirled for us...all her own idea! Glad I snapped this picture when I did before she ran back to her seat!)

Sophie was part of the ballet, "Alice in Wonderland." She had the glorious role of one of the playing cards in the Queen of Hearts' Court. Well done, Sophie!

Posing for a picture while waiting to lead her fellow "cards" to their positions.

Inbetween the early and the later performances we went with some of Sophie's friends to get a bite to eat. Quite little ladies, they all were!
Sophie still likes dancing, so we'll see how this next year goes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

S O P H I E...great to be 8!

She's had a birthday...shout hooray!

Sophie couldn't have been looking more forward to a birthday more than she was this one...finally eight years old!

(request:dark chocolate cake with white frosting...and horses on top!)

With the birthday hat balanced on her head, Sophie shows her fancy moves with her new hulahoop, a gift from Lucy.

And turning eight means...being baptized! A very exciting a fabulous day. Sophie was baptized by her daddy, Michael on June 5th, 2010...just twenty-odd years to the date of when I (her mom) was baptized.

Thanks, Gma and Gpa Daines for making the trip to be there.

And my two sweet sisters, Julie and Suzanne.

We love you, Sophie! We're all proud of you and the choices you make to be happy!

Friday, May 7, 2010


We flew to Seattle to visit Michael's brother, Brian, and family. They are living there while completing their Orthopaedics Residency Program. Only one year left! None of our children had ever seen each other (don't know how we let that happen!) It was fun to see the kids get to know each other and have fun playing with cousins!
Here on our first day, hanging out before heading out! Sophie, Cole, Riley and Sam. (Lucy hiding behind the couch!)
We went here first...

...for some delicious fish and chips (better than we tasted in England, actually!) Uncle Gordon finished up a conference in Seattle and met up with us here. One of these days our children will get all of their uncles and aunts sorted out. Still confusion in this area! It was fun to be all together...more Daines members with us than not! And finally, hot chocolate hit the spot for the cool weather!

Feeding the seagulls our leftover french fries. The gulls really live for this kind of fast food!

Enjoying the aquarium...measuring up to the inhabitants!

Loving all the different kinds of fish...especially the sharks~although not as many seen as hoped!

Celebrating Brian's birthday/matching for fellowship on a night out without kids...ahhh, yummy dinner at Joey's and a lighthearted time at the arcade. Here, Michael and Carly in rare form, shooting it out on safari mode!

We also enjoyed a trip to the science museum, of course the butterfly exhibit is always a highlight! This little beauty showed us it's colors and pleased us all, especially our zebra-lover, Riley (pictured: zebra longwing butterfly) The kids loved the robots, dinosaurs, bones, tide pool, strength testing, playground, bugs, and the naked mole rats!

Lucy stretching out in a dinosaur footprint.

Time out for just Michael and I...yummy little French cafe and Pike's Market. Thanks, Carly for braving the masses for a few hours! Thanks, Michael for a much-craved treat, and the pleasure of spending time with just you!

IMAX showing of "How To Train Your Dragon" ~ so cute and very fun with the glasses! Each of the kids brought their little dragons with them to watch the movie.

What a crew! Glad we left the glasses there! And...we've hatched a new breed of dragon lovers!

Last but not least, on the day we left for home, Riley pulled out his 2nd tooth! So brave! I love the little lisp that comes from such a daring task.
Thanks, Carly and Brian for hosting us and our little brood of monkeys! We love hanging with you guys and look forward to many more occassions soon!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Running into Trouble

April 17, 2010. SALT LAKE CITY. Half-Marathon.

It began as peer pressure from my younger sister, Julie. And turned into a really good thing for Michael and I to get our booties moving and start the ever-ongoing quest to shape up our health. We began training in February, and despite a few falls off the wagon (how can you visit New Orleans and not enjoy the good food?), we triumphantly crossed the finish line, and we weren't last. It was a GREAT experience. So much so, that we've long forgotten the pain and soreness, and are anticipating other races to enter ...hoping to keep the momentum going. Yes, I think we're running into a bit of trouble! Wish us luck!

Before the race...the sun just beginning to come up. The lines for the bathroom (honey pots) extremely long. Pre-race jitters.

At the end...with smiles!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

January - March 2010

January 2010

Happy New Year!

Michael started the year off with a hunting trip with his good hinting buddy , Jared Snarr, in Idaho...looks very successful!

He also was able to fly to Glendale, AZ with his dad, to attend the Tostitos, Fiesta Bowl and support the Boise State Broncos! Looking good in Orange and Blue, boys! They truly had the best time, just the two of them, no wives to be looking over their shoulders! Live it up!

February 2010

Lucy's hot new wheels!

Sledding with friends at San Isabel National Forrest. No broken bones!

Riley turned 6 the end of February and requested his birthday dinner at "Joe's Crab Shack". Seriously, our kids take after Michael in this department, because all 3 of them absolutely LOVE crab...and most seafood. (I'm still warming up to salmon and shrimp.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RILEY! We sure love you!

March 2010

At our favorite restaurant (everybody eats well and likes to be there!) Texas Roadhouse. Here Sophie sitting pretty on the lobby to the big bin of peanuts. Our kids beg to go back!

Coaching Sophie on how to use the camera. Michael and I as her subject.

Just look at that grin! Michael loves to fish and eventhough it was somewhat warm this day...he has been known to fish in sub-zero temperatures! Nice trout, Michael!

Ahhh! Grandparents. We love them!

A quick meeting in SLC at the Temple Square Grounds.

Little Lucy and HER "Bam-pa"

Our group, gathered by the fountain. What a fun Sunday morning!

New Orleans

Michael and I flew to New Orleans for the annual Orthopaedic Academy Meeting. The kids were enjoying themselves at their cousins in Springville and we relaxed in the Big Easy! We had fun with Michael's parents and brother, Brian, also attending the meeting. Some highlights were all the wonderful restaurants, the cajun/creole cooking class, a make-over, the beignets and hot chocolate, a swamp boat ride, a tour of the city, meeting up with the U of Iowa Alumni, and listening to Original Jazz at Preservation Hall. So much fun!

Self-portraits right before the swamp boat ride.

The whole gang. Such fun people!

I loved the beautiful vegetation in the swamp area. This is a tree covered with Spanish Moss. It looked even more enchanting in the setting sunlight.

This little alligator is named Marshmallow. She liked to pose for Michael and give him a big smile! We all took turns holding this tiny alligator, but saw some real huge ones lurking in the waters as we passed!

The famous beignets...covered in powdered sugar and a tasty cup of cocoa to finish it of perfectly! We went here twice!

At the Iowa Alumni reception, here with Dr. Marsh. We had fun discussing our England memories with him and his wife (are you reading this?) So much has happened and changed in the short time since we had left residency! Fun to reconnect.


Random lunch photo during Spring Break. Sophie has braids in her hair, so she could have "Hermione Hair" the next day. She is currently reading the Harry Potter series and is totally hooked! The books are almost bigger than she is! Way to go, Sophie!

Riley lost his very first tooth! We had been at a school fundraiser and when we had arrived home, Riley gave it a good yank...Voila! So brave, too!