Thursday, September 22, 2016


 I feel like July is always a busy month. It always starts with a bang with Independence day, and then everyone has to cram in everything they can before school starts and summer's over in August.
We had a really fun 4th of July. Friday night our neighbor came and sat with the kids so Ethan and I could go to the dance (which was a blast!). Saturday morning Ethan took some of the items he'd forged and set up a table at the Saturday Market. The kids and I walked the 1/2 mile down there to see what was going on, but on the way home all three of them had had enough. I had Maren asleep in the stroller and both Erik and Sharli were too tired to keep walking. So, Erik stood on the foot rest on the front of the stroller, and I put Sharli on my back with the help of our baby backpack, and we managed to make it home. Next time I'll just take the car!
The next day (the 3rd) was the town parade and the fireworks show. We had so much fun watching the entire town turn out for the parade, and it was a good one! There was a drill team, some synchronized swimmers, the local rodeo queen, and even the fish hatchery had a float!
As there aren't too many kids around here, anytime the people in the parade saw any kids they would shower them in candy, and of course Erik and Sharli thought this was the best thing in the world.
 The next day (the 4th) we headed down to Lordsburg for the annual Payne family cook-out and the amazing fireworks the town puts on. It's always fun to be around that crazy crowd! After the party wound down we headed out to Cotton City to spend the night and soak up some more family time. We all love to visit there, but the kids just eat up the time with their Grandma and Grandpa!
 The next weekend we had a water day with some friends, and it was a blast. The kids played until they were completely wiped out. It's moments like this that make it easy to forget how big Erik is getting.
 Also that weekend we headed over to Thatcher for my cousin Brad's wedding. It was the first time in a long time (and definitely since the three babies were born) that all the cousins had been together, so Marquette made sure to snap a few pictures of the crazy bunch.
 This month saw our kids acquiring their very first pet. Her name is Babs, and she's a goofy little red hen. She was one of about a half dozen chickens in our neighbor's flock, but after a coyote got all her friends she was desperately lonely. Ethan took pity on her and brought her back to our house, where she follows us around like a puppy.
 Maren keeps getting bigger and bigger. She's mastered rolling over and loves having a little more control over her world. She is starting to appreciate having toys to play with, and is figuring out how to pick little things up and put them in her mouth.
The biggest event of the month for our family is Erik's birthday. He turned FIVE this year and is so excited to start Kindergarten! When I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday he said he wanted the exact same thing as last year, so that's what we did! We invited his friends over for snacks and lots of watery fun and he had a marvelous time!
Our friend Sally made this excellent cake for Erik. It was huge and adorable and SO yummy!
It was really funny how the boys tended to gravitate towards more active play (like running around shooting each other with water) and the girls all just wanted to pile into the pool together and quietly play in the water.
Grandma and Grandpa Richins were passing through town with cousins Wyler and James in tow, so we invited the boys to stay and join in the fun with us. Cousins are the best!
Also this month, the kids got to meet an adorable baby deer. Someone picked this little one up on the side of the road and brought him to the fish hatchery. While it was a shame for this sweetie to be separated from its mother, it was fun for the kids to get to know the little guy.
Ethan took a day hike up Mineral Creek canyon. We've been here before, but with little kids in tow we didn't make it very far. This time he was able to make it up the canyon to the ghost town of Cooney. It looks like a gorgeous canyon, I hope we get to go back there some day so I can see it too.
There were lots of ruins from the old mines that pockmark this county. He was really impressed with the size of some of the buildings, as the country here is pretty rough and hauling supplies up the canyon would have been a massive job.
Some days we just have more fun than the kids can handle, like this day when they both passed out within minutes of going to be for naptime. It cracked me up to go in their room and find them both snoring away in the exact same position.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Visit to Stanley

 Ethan had some extra time off last week, so we decided to take advantage of that and head to Stanley for his Dad's birthday. We left Thursday morning and got to Stanley about midday. We spent the rest of that day relaxing and just enjoying being surrounded by people we love.
Friday we loaded up our kids and headed into town to visit one of our favorite places; Explora!
 This was Sharli's first time, and she could not have been more enthralled!

 There were a few new additions that the kids really enjoyed. I love seeing them so completely engaged by something like this.

 The neatest thing they got to do that day was to have pictures of vehicles they had colored scanned into the computer, where they became part of this 3D video projected on the wall. Erik was fascinated by the idea that he could watch (and even interact) with something he had colored while it drove around.
 Sharli's favorite thing in the whole world is blowing bubbles, so this exhibit kept her (and the rest of us) busy for a long time.

Saturday Ethan and Erik went with Kerry and Cameron to go shear some alpaca. It was a long hot day full of hard work, but Erik loved getting to "go to work with Grandpa". He's been telling everyone who will listen about the adventures of that day.
While the menfolk were out working, the rest of us stayed home and enjoyed some time to sit and visit while the kids played. Marquette, Cameron, and their kids were also in Stanley that week and it was really fun to watch Sharli and Darrow play together.

 To free up some space in the house, our family was sleeping in tents in the yard. The only problem with this arrangement was that it was way too hot for the kids to take naps in their beds. We solved that with some blankets and pillows on the living room rug and it all worked out great.
 I love my in-laws, and it is always so much fun to get to be around them.


May began with a whole lot of endings for us. First was the end of Erik's first year of public school. For one last grand hurrah we loaded all his schoolmates up took them on a field trip to Deming to see the circus. They had a marvelous time!
 The older kids got to ride an elephant, but it was too expensive for everyone to get to do, so the littles all got to ride on this train. They thought it was just as cool as riding an elephant, silly kids!

 The last week of school the kids had pretty much mentally checked out already, so they took lots of breaks to do things like this instead:
 The very last day of school was a sad one for Erik. He loves school so much and has been asking ever since when he gets to go back. Here are pictures of his first day and his last day, just for fun.
August 2015
May 2016
  Another thing that came to an end (for the summer at least) was Kid's Church. Our town is so tiny that all the kids love to get together no matter what the setting, so Erik has been attending Kid's for Christ at our local Presbyterian church. For the big end of the year party they all got to go to the McKeen's ranch north of Alma and have a great party. They had a ton of fun!

My baby brother graduated from High School this month, so the kids and I headed down to Animas to help him celebrate. Like a dork though I forgot to take pictures at graduation, but I did get some of my kids with their Payne Great-Grandparents.
 Also this month we got to enjoy another visit from Nate and Kate. We took a picnic up to the newly re-opened Catwalk and then enjoyed the walk up to the end of the new trail. It's so pretty up there, I'm so excited to have this just a few minutes up the road!

 We asked a passer-by to snap a picture of us all and, while he took several, they all came out blurry. Oh well, it's better than nothing I guess.
 After the walk we turned the kids loose in the creek for some fun. They had a blast!

 Somewhere in all the fun this month we also managed to survive hail storms, a tooth infection, being forced to wean the baby, and lots of colds and sniffles.
 All in all though, it was a great month with lots of good memories made.