Monday, November 29, 2010

Miracle Fire

We woke up yesterday morning to 6 inches of snow. Bret was out at 7am blowing snow for many of the senior members of our ward. We got home from church at noon and Bret and Tyler were out the door again . . . shoveling just a few more homes. Jenny and I decided to start a fire to warm us up. It was a perfect day for a fire.

Later in the day, Tyler noticed that our kitchen smelled like some sweet frosting. He kept asking me what kind of secret treat I was making, but unfortunately there wasn't anything up my sleeve. We didn't know where the sweet smell was coming from.

Bret and I ran up to Matt's house to help him with some things. We were gone for close to 45 minutes. When we got back the smell was even stronger but kind of different. We did a little family night and that's when the smell started bugging me. It was boarder line electrical fire smell but still sweet. We started smelling around the kitchen and thought maybe it was coming from one of the outlets in the wall. Bret pulled the plate off to check the plug but nothing looked suspicious. While we all stood around and watched, Shawn leaned up against the wall and then pulled away saying, "Ooh, That wall is hot!"

That's when we noticed that the wall on the back side of the fireplace was really warm. Bret put the fire out and sprayed cold water along the back of the fireplace wall. Once that was cooled, he grabbed a couple bags of frozen peas and pressed them against the wall in the kitchen. By this time the house smelled like smoke and the air was a little smokey too. Bret noticed that the paint on the wall was starting to bubble and was coming off the wall in pieces. He pulled about a 2 foot by 3 foot chunk of messed up paint off the wall. The paint had a sweet smell to it . . . the sheetrock underneath smelled like an ashtray. It was so bad!

After awhile of pressing the cool bags on the wall, it cooled down quite a bit, but the smoke smell still seemed to get worse throughout the evening. We went to bed with a really stinky house and a 2X3 foot space of paint pulled off the wall. We were frustrated . . . we weren't sure what to think.

I slept awful that night. The smell was so bad. The whole house smelled like a huge ashtray.

I woke up the next morning to a huge surprise . . . scary surprise. The smell was so bad. I decided to cover up the exposed sheetrock with a plastic bag or something. When I went in to work on it, I saw that we had a basketball sized burn hole in the wall. The sheetrock was black, the baseboard was completely gone and part of the floorboard was gone too. I went in to wake up Bret and told him the wall had burned and the baseboard was gone. He tells me now that he thought I was crazy. He thought I was still asleep and loosing my mind. Unfortunately this time, I wasn't.

Throughout the day we have thought about how blessed we are that our house didn't burn. . . When we went to help Matt and left the kids home with the fire, when we were all asleep in the night . . . We are so grateful to have our warm home standing in one piece today. It's an absolute miracle that a blazing fire didn't start in that wall. We are so grateful that our family was protected last night. It was a Miracle. . .

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Katy's Baptism Day!

Today was one of the best days! Katy got baptized and it was perfect. She is such beautiful little girl. I'm so proud to be her mom.

It was so much fun getting everything ready for the big day. Katy and I went on a little date together to pick out some new scriptures and shop for a white baptism dress. She talked so fast about so many fun things. She couldn't wait to tell me about it all. She has such a happy spirit about her. She's so excited about life and brings such a happy spirit to our home.

We realized that Katy would be getting baptized in the same church and font as Bret did when he turned 8. So we took a picture of the two of them out in front of the church house just like Bret did when he was little.There were so many people there helping us get ready. I told her that she would wear a little jumpsuit for the baptism so she wouldn't be surprised when we got there. I told her they were better then a dress because then when you stepped down into the water you wouldn't have to worry about your dress coming up. Well, surprise to us . . . they had a bunch of cute little dressed for her to pick from and no jumpsuits. So after a little back tracking on what I had told her before. . . she was so brave about it and trusted that everything would be okay. We found her a dress that would fit just right, and I helped her put it on. She was a little worried about needing a slip, but we discovered that the dress had some extra lining in it so she was safe. And it all worked out in the end. Phew!

Everyone in our family was so excited for Katy's big day. They all helped so much with getting ready, and Shawn couldn't wait for Katy to get "baa-batized".
Afterward, we had everyone come over for a yummy lunch. Bret smoked some ribs for the big day since it's one of Katy's favorites. We had watermelon, corn on the cob, salad, bread and some yummy cookies to top it off.
We decorated the tables outside with stars and lots of pictures of Katy.
We were lucky to have so many people come and support her.
Grandma and Grandpa Clark . . .

Grandma and Grandpa Z . . .
and both of her great-grandmas!
Great-Grandma Robinson

and Great-Grandma Bowden

We felt so much love that day when we saw how many friends, ward members and family came to support Katy. She is one loved girl. We are so proud of her choice to be baptized.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back to School

We woke up on Monday and dreaded that school was going to start the next day. We wanted to do something fun before it all started up again and we were back into homework, schedules, sports, and bedtimes. So we jumped in the car and headed to a movie.
We had heard so many good things about "Despicable Me", so we had to give it a shot. Everyone pretty much loved it except Dad. It wasn't his favorite.
As we walked out of the movie theater, we saw this Hurricane Simulator and the kids were dying to give it a try. You stand inside and it starts blowing wind on you. It starts out blowing slowly and then gradually increases to close to 76 mph. This pictures is when they were just getting started. You can see in the background the speedometer says 32 mph or so. I love that Tyler is covering his ears. That is so Classic Tyler!
This pictures was when it was close to the maximum speed. It was blowing about 76.7mph? Let's just say everyone had some pretty messy hair when they got out . . . except Tyler of course.
The next morning we were ready for school to start. Jenny was both nervous and excited to go to Dixon this year. We had gone down to the school two different times to walk around and pay fees. So she felt like she was ready and she knew where everything was. To add to the excitement and pressure of it all . . . They had school pictures on the first day. She woke up extra early to do her hair and be ready in time to catch the bus.
She came up for breakfast all ready and looked absolutely darling! (I especially love those beautiful teeth in braces.) I can't believe she's old enough to go to Junior High! Where does the time go?
The 7th graders were the only ones that had to go to school the first day (no 8th graders). So I walked over to the bus stop with her because there aren't any other 7th graders in our ward. We had talked to some kids about where the bus stop was and we were ready. We knew right where to go. One of Jenny's cute friends, Meg, came down to meet us. After waiting for a good 20 minutes, we saw the bus coming, and then it turn onto a different street and was gone. We were at the wrong stop. So we headed home, jumped in the car and I ran them down to the school before it started.

Tyler and Katy were up bright and early. The next wave of excitement was in the air. Since everything was so crazy with Jenny earlier, by the time I got back to help Katy with her hair it was a little late. Tyler was getting nervous that he was going to be late and wasn't too thrilled about stopping for pictures. But we managed to sneak in a couple really fast. Tyler was excited but a little nervous this year too. After meeting his teacher the night before, she seemed a little scary and he wasn't sure what to think. But after going a couple days, he's gotten to like her more and more, and we think he's going to live! Katy was so excited to get started this year. After meeting her teacher the night before, Katy knew that she was super nice and she couldn't wait. She didn't look like she had a nervous bone in her body. Which, for Katy, was a miracle.
Shawn wasn't too excited about all his buddies taking off early in the morning with out him. He tried all summer to talk Katy into going to his school with him this year. I kept hearing him say, "But it's going to be wheelwee, wheelwee fun!" They are the cutest friends.
But when I reminded him that it's just me and him now, he was all over that! Just a few more weeks and he'll be starting preschool at Miss Angie's. He can't wait! The only thing that would make it better would be if Katy could come with him.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Katy's Ears!

Katy got her ears pierced! Her 8th birthday is coming up, and she couldn't wait another day! So Jenny and I took her to the mall to get them done. She took a look at the different options and before long she picked some cute square diamonds. They look so cute on her little face!
This is Katy waiting for the ladies to get everything ready.

These are a few pictures that were taken right in a row. It's funny to watch the expression on her face as they started to count down. Her smile starts to fade a little and her eyes start to show a little bit of fear . . .

But all and all she was mighty brave! There wasn't a single tear in her eyes. And she was all smiles when it was done. I can't believe she's got her ears pierced! She is one cute girl!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bret's 37th Birthday!

It was the big 37 for Bret this year! His celebrations started off with a yummy Sunday dinner. His famous smoked ribs and a little strawberry/raspberry shortcake for dessert! The raspberries were HUGE and super delicious!
The next day, we headed down to the Veteran's pool which was a treat for all of us. Everybody wanted to go down the slide with Dad because he doesn't get to come to the pool very often. The weather was perfect, each of the kids had a friend to play with and we just enjoyed a little time in the sun. Later that night we headed to Chili's for some yummy dinner. It was fun to have everyone together on Bret's big day!
Some things we love about our Dad:
He is a hard worker
He takes good care of our family
He honors the priesthood
He is a great example of service
He has an amazing sense of humor! He always keeps us laughing
He's a good problem solver
He is always honest
He takes good care of our yard
He makes some "mean" smoked ribs!
Happy Birthday Dad!
We are so lucky to have you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Laguna Beach 2010

This year our Laguna trip started out with a stop in Las Vegas. Bret found us a room at the Rio which was perfect because he really wanted to eat at their Seafood Buffet for dinner. This is the kids waiting for Bret to checked us in at the hotel. We couldn't wait to jump in the pool! The second we got to the room, the kids threw on their swimsuits, and we were off to the pool. Much to our dismay, the wind was blowing so hard that we were completely miserable the entire 30? minutes we were at the pool. Kind of a bummer . . . so we went back to change and then headed out to feed the kids before our hot date. The Millers got a room at the same hotel, so we met Kim and Jason (leaving all the kids in the rooms . . . Shh! Don't tell) at the buffet for a night full of all-you-can-eat crap legs and lots of other yummy stuff. It was heavenly!

After dinner we went back to get the kids and then headed out for a little fun in the big city. We piled all 13 of us, Millers and Clarks, into our van and headed to the Bellagio to see the fountains. It was fun to watch the looks we got from people when we all piled in and out of our car.

After a quick walk through the Bellagio gardens inside, we headed out to see the awesome fountains. It was fun to have the Millers with us. The fountains are always a magical thing to see!

The next morning we were up early and out for the rest of the drive. No troubles really. . . other than we ran out of gas right at the top of the Laguna Canyon. There was a ton of traffic headed the same direction we were, so we had to make a detour back up a little ways, on fumes, to get gas before we could head the rest of the way down the canyon. But the second we got there, the kids headed straight for the ocean. I think Jenny was the most excited because she hardly got out of the water the whole time we were there. She loved every second of it!
Tyler was really hesitant to jump waves at first. But after much "force" by Dad, he figured it out and ended up loving it. He ended up having tons of fun in the ocean all week once he realized how much fun it was and that he could do it all by himself.

The tide was really low this year. Lower then we've ever seen it, so there was quite a bit of seaweed in the water. Everyone found a little something to do with it.

Bret loved starting seaweed wars . . .

Bret showed Shawn how to pop the little poppers on the seaweed, which he loved, but he didn't like having it around his neck. That just made him mad!

Shawn played a little in the sand, but he mostly wanted to hang out with Mom and run up to the Hot Tub.

Tyler was one of the cutest cousins for the little boys this year. He dug lots of holes, found sand crabs, caught kids jumping in the pool and babysat. And he loved every second of it.

Katy was so excited about sand crabs this year. She couldn't stop talking about it before the trip even started. She spent lots of time finding them and putting them in the buckets. It was so fun to watch her and see how excited she got when her collection got bigger and bigger.

One little crab to show me. . .

Uncle Jason rigged up these two with their noodles for some fun swimming races. They thought it was pretty funny to have the noodle threaded through their suits.

We were extra lucky this year to have Grandma Clark give Shawn a few swimming lessons. It didn't take long before he was swimming across the pool. He is one funny kid!

Thank you Grandma! Shawn loved every second of swimming with you!

It was so fun to spend some time with our cousins. There is nothing like the love between cousins. But not a second went by without us thinking about the Thompsons. We missed them and wished so badly that they could have been there with us. It just wasn't the same.

By the end of the week, Shawn figured out how fun it was to play in the ocean water. He loved playing with his Dad the most!

Shawn is one lucky boy . . . he is loved!

Bret telling Shawn stories while we waited to get into B.J's for some pizza one night!

All the kids being good sports but one! (and one sexy leg in the corner!)

Inside . . . waiting for our pizza!

We were pretty lucky this year to have 2 nights where we had adult-only dinners. Dax, Jace and Grady came up to our room to play with the kids while we headed out. It was so fun to be with Bret and enjoy a yummy meal. I love being his sweetheart!

We can't let a trip to Laguna go by without a walk down to the bakery for an early morning doughnut. There was a lady spraying off "our" bench outside with a hose so we didn't get to feed the birds with our leftovers. But those doughnuts always taste SO GOOD! Especially with a cold glass of milk on ice!

After we finished our doughnuts, we decided to walk back up the beach to the hotel. We stopped at the playground to let Shawn go down the slides a few times.

He wanted to pose for all the pictures . . .
Tyler ran UP the slide and Jenny was close behind . . . BUT it was so steep and slippery, she couldn't quite get to the top. All we had to do was tease her a little bit, and she wouldn't stop until she did it. Jenny won't go down without a fight! It was funny!

I love each of these little faces! These days couldn't get any better. I would like to push pause and keep everyone exactly as they are today. If only . . .

These days are the best! Thank you Gwen and Jamie for taking these pictures for us. They are ones to treasure forever!

Grandma was so excited to help each of the kids find a treasure to take home this year. Jenny and Emilee found these earrings on the very last day. They came walking up the beach with them on right after they bought them . . . so proud and excited . . . and Bret's first comment to them was, "I see you stopped by the chandelier store on your way back." It was pretty funny. They were so proud and couldn't wait to model them with their sunglasses on for the rest of the day.
It was Shawn's first year to go with all the boys down to the candy store with Grandpa. He didn't really know what was going on, but I can imagine what his face looked like when he walked into that store. They said he spotted this giant lollipop the second he walked in and he wouldn't change his mind . . . no matter what. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for the giant sucker and the fun memory. He will remember that forever!

Jenny thought it was pretty awesome too! She couldn't resist taking a picture with it.

On the way home we met up with the Millers for one last shot on the famous giant rocking chair at Dairy Queen in Beaver. Thank you everyone for the fun trip. We love you all! Thank you for the fun memories. Thompsons, we missed you. Matt, we missed you! Heaps, we can't wait to see you again.

We love our family trips to Laguna. We dream each year for the time when we can go back. Thank you all for the memories and the fun times! 'Til next time!
Happy days!