Monday, July 11, 2011

20 years sure goes fast...

Recently, we celebrated our 20th anniversary. I know. It's crazy! Hard to believe it has been that long. I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and post some then and now pics. Two things really stand out to me when looking at these photo comparisons...yes, we were babies when we got married, and we both definitely had a lot more hair back then! Cut me a little was 1991. At least it was past "the claw" phase!!!

While celebrating our 20th on a cruise with some friends, one of the formal nights happened to fall on our actual anniversary night, and we had these portraits taken. It's fun to compare the pictures and realize that even though 20 years has flown by, we are still happy and together!

Looking forward to another 20!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It has begun...

The never ending question of "Mom, can I borrow the car?" has finally begun at our house. I can't believe the day has finally arrived! On the very day he turned 16, Justin was at the DMV collecting his license. He finished his driver's ed this summer and even passed all his tests over a month ago. It was a long month just waiting for the birthday to arrive so he could become official--without an adult! So, if you ever see the kids and I walking somewhere, it's probably because I caved in and let him take the car. Stopping to pick me up would be appreciated..... =)

Getting his license was only part of his fun day. He got the day off work just so he could go do that. That, in and of itself, was a good birthday present. We had tried to gather up a bunch of his friends to have a little surprise party for him that afternoon, but I guess Monday afternoons are hard with teenagers' schedules. We didn't think anyone was going to make it. However, a couple of his friends were able to come over while we were on our way back from the DMV for a little surprise. They scared the pants off him when he came downstairs! It was awesome! I only wish I had been downstairs in front of him to take a picture! Since I just got home with him, I was unfortunately behind him. It was hilarious, though! The kids stayed for dinner and ice cream cake. Another funny moment was while we were singing happy birthday to him, his friend Brett blew out the candles right before the song ended, just as Justin was getting ready to do it himself. I thought the girls would die laughing! Justin was totally put out. It was pretty funny.

Don't you love the "1,2,3" candles? I am the worst mom ever! I OFTEN forget to buy candles, so we had to make do with what we had. We decided the 1 was for the 1 in 16, and then 2x3 makes six, so it works, right?...

The night ended with a quick family home evening lesson and watching "Prince of Persia." He even talked me into letting him go chalk a friend's driveway whose birthday was the next day. He said it was one of the best birthdays ever. I'm so glad he had a fun day. He deserves it! We love you buddy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hammond Family Reunion

Every year we try to have a Hammond Family Reunion. Each year a different sibling plans it. This year, Paul's younger sister Jennifer and her husband Jimmy planned it. We rented a "cabin" at Bear Lake. It was amazing--more like a rustic mansion than a cabin. I wish I had taken more photos of the actual cabin! In fact, I realized I never got one of the outside even, so I am borrowing this one from Paul's sister Heather--one of my many amazingly talented sister-in-laws! Thanks, Heather.
The cabin was at the very top of the hill in Harbor Village and had an amazing view of the lake and the harbor with all the boats. We loved the wrap around porch that overlooked it all, and spent as much time as possible out there enjoying the shade and rocking chairs.
The week was so much fun! I hope we go back there every year. Way to go, Jen and Jimmy! Awesome reunion! Anyway, we did a lot of fun activities, and we took a lot of fun pictures. It was hard to decide which ones to post, so if you get tired of looking, I'm sorry. Even though I'm not one of the photographers in the family, I think I got some fun shots!

We started the week with shopping and driving up there. The kids were all good travelers, so that was a plus. We all enjoyed exploring the cabin once we got there. There were 5 private rooms and bathrooms, and one large bonus room with 3 queen sized bunk beds for all the kids to sleep in, and a couple of the adults to supervise. There was a nice big kitchen and a family room area with a big screen tv and fireplace. Once we were all settled in, we decided to head over to the Minnetonka Caves for a tour. It was a hard decision as I really just wanted to keep my rear end planted in the rocking chair on the shady porch and do nothing but look at the scenery. However, family peer pressure won out, and we loaded back in the car again. The caves were really amazing, but extremely cold! I was glad I brought my heavy hoodie so I could trade with my California sister-in-law whose blood is definitely thinner than mine. I guess I am not a California girl anymore...too many years here in the freezing winters! So sad! Anyway, the other really amazing thing is that all 18 nieces and nephews plus Grandma and Grandpa survived all 880 stairs inside!

The week was chuck full of plenty of time to hang out with all the cousins! My boys were in heaven! They LOVE all of their cousins. This is Justin and his cousin, Alec.
Can you tell which one is from California? :)
The following morning was spent doing some great crafts with the kids--thanks Aunt Kris! Then we hit the beach for the rest of the day. What a beautiful place! I've never been there before, and I fell in love with it. We had a ball! Here are some of the highlights of the day...
Canoeing and kayaking
Making amazing sand castles with intricate motes
Riding in Aunt Alisha's raft
Playing in the sand
Making sand angels
And we especially loved the sand figure Jen and Jimmy created for Justin when it was his turn to be buried...he was a good sport, only complaining and cracking it a few times...
We all returned tired and hungry, but managed to enjoy another great night full of good food and visiting, even a movie, before falling into bed. The next morning, we decided to mix it up a bit and go rent some of the fun bicycles built for 8 we saw people riding around on the day before. When we got there, I think we rented everything they had left, and we still had to take turns. It was a lot of work, especially for those adults who got stuck with all kids to help them peddle (sorry Alisha!), but we had a lot of fun anyway...
Now that is a lot of Hammond leg power there...
Once we had had our fill of bicycling, we took advantage of the snow cone shack that was right there before grabbing lunch and hitting the beach again. Uncle Matt and Uncle Aaron went to the marina and rented a boat for us to add a little variety to the day. Each family took a turn going out on the boat and riding the tubes behind it. The boys had a ton of fun with it! Jordan was a real trouper when he got bounced off. I know it was kind of scary for him. And Uncle Matt had a lot of fun trying to knock Justin off on purpose. Tyler was the only one who somehow managed to stay on top of his tube. Eric decided to just watch, but he had a great time too!
We had to say goodbye to the cabin on Thursday morning. So sad. Here is our final photo from the porch with a view of the harbor. We all had a great time. I know it will be one of those vacations the kids remember forever. It was great hanging out with all of you! Thanks for the good times!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

There are so many things I could catch up on, like Jordan winning 3rd place in the state science fair, Tyler earning his bear badge in cub scouts, Justin passing his test for his driving permit, and Eric scoring multiple goals in his first season playing soccer...Congratulations to all my boys! But the most important thing to blog about today after months of silence is a big shout out to the 1st "boy" to join my family--my hubby! Thanks for 19 amazing years, Paul! I love you! Here's looking forward to many more....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oops! I did it again...

So this is the 2nd year in a row I have merrily sent my poor unsuspecting kids off to school without a stitch of green on them! Not on purpose, mind you. It might stem from some bad childhood memory that I've suppressed when I was pinched all day for forgetting to wear green myself, or it could just be that I think the holiday is ridiculous so it usually just slips my mind. Hard to tell. Whatever the reason, I am feeling bad again this year, hoping my children are not scarred for life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

St. George Road Trip

Paul had a winter golf tournament and PGA meetings to go to in St. George in Feb. It happened to be on a week when the boys were off track, so I thought we should take full advantage of that and go with him just to enjoy a nice little break and hopefully find some sunny weather! Well, it definitely was a great break! The kids were all really well behaved, and we had a great time!

We had several things planned for the week, but first and most important was the swimming pool! Isn't that every kid's most favorite thing to do when staying in a hotel? The kids wanted to hit that first thing Monday morning, despite the cloudy weather and slightly chilly temperature. Good thing the pool was heated and the hot tub super hot! We swam in the pool every day, sometimes more than once--rain or shine! Yes, we really were out swimming on the second day when it started sprinkling. These pictures were taken a few days into the trip when the sun actually came out, but it was still only about 45 degrees outside! Notice the steam coming off the water?

Despite being slowed down by a quick trip to the Urgent Care to check Eric's ears (sure enough, he had an infection), we made the most of the rest of the 1st day with a stop at the Dinosaur Tracks museum in Washington City. It was a huge display of dinosaur footprints, swimming drags, and other cool fossils. We got back just in time to grab dinner with Dad at The Brick Oven (Ahhh, the memories of college days in Provo!) before heading out to meet up with one of Paul's roommates from college. He was the best man at our wedding, but it's probably been almost since then that we've seen him! We had a fantastic visit with he and his wife and kids. All the kids had a great time getting to know each other, and we had a great time catching up! They have 3 beautiful teenage daughters, and when Justin found out we were going to visit them, he was completely bummed about staying here for school for the week! He's seen their pictures on Christmas cards. Anyway, what a fun first day!

The rest of the week was spent swimming, watching videos, going out to eat, going to Jumping Jacks, going to the Rec Center to (you guessed it) swim some more (they had water slides!), going to the wildlife museum, and finally making a stop at the temple and visitor's center.

We ended the week by stopping at my aunt and uncle's in Richfield on the way home. We had dinner with them Thurs. night and played a ton of games. After spending the night and enjoying one last delicious meal that I didn't have to prepare, we headed home. What a fun time we had! It was so nice to do some new and different things with the kids and get them out of the house and away from the Wii while they were off track! A favorite memory from the trip will be Eric calling our hotel home every time we talked about it or passed it on the road or whenever it was time to return after any activity! We stayed at the brand new La Quinta down there, and it was surprisingly really nice! But now anytime we pass a La Quinta, Eric always shouts out, "There's La Quinta!!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From Paradise to Snow....Reality Stinks Sometimes!

Just two of the many amazing, beautiful, and WARM ports and beaches we had the pleasure of spending time at last week on our vacation. (Don't look too closely as I'm pretty sure this beach shot if from Happy Bay in St. Martin and there were total nude sunbathers at the far end of the beach!! By the end of the day, the beach was covered with them--good thing we took a shot of the beach before it got crowded!) Anyway, for my birthday week, Paul and I spent 10 glorious days in the Caribbean, 7 of them sailing on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas.

But before you get too jealous, here is how the first 3 days began in San Juan:

Yes, he really is bracing against the wind and rain!

This is us completely drenched sightseeing in Old San Juan at El Morro, a Spanish fort built in the 1500's to protect the harbor.

This was our only stop at the beach in San Juan (we had hoped to spend all of Friday there, but alas, Mother Nature had other ideas!). We only stopped by long enough to see it and wish we were laying in the warm sun instead of standing soaking wet in the pouring rain. Notice the rain drops on the lense?

We decided to make the most of it anyway and enjoyed our tour of old San Juan before heading out for our night kayaking excursion to the bio luminescent bay. It was amazing and so fun!

Saturday was still rainy, so we decided to skip any more sightseeing, sleep in a little, and head over to the port early. We got on the ship with no problem a little after 1, even though all our info gave our boarding time at 5:30 p.m. and everyone told us the port wouldn't even be open until 2! Our ship was amazing! We loved it! We've never sailed on Royal Caribbean before, and we were really pleased with it and are sure to sail with them again. Our cabin was tiny, as usual, but the beds were so comfortable! That's really the only thing that matters as you are never in your room except to sleep and change! Here are a few highlights of the super fun things we did during the week:

Exploring The Baths in Virgin Gorda (the huge boulder formations in the first 2 pictures below) before enjoying some amazing snorkeling at Devil's Bay. Yes, it did rain on Sunday off and on, but that was the last we saw of it!

Hiking the hidden trail to Happy Bay from Friar's Bay in St. Martin. Happy Bay was supposedly a quiet, beautiful, little known beach with good snorkeling and swimming. I guess it was little known to everyone but the nudists and a few brave souls like us! Happy birthday to me! Not quite the "present" I was hoping for! We made the best of it, swimming and snorkeling far from everyone else, and laying on the beach in a spot that had some greenery blocking most of them!

Golfing in Antigua!! Super hot, but really fun! You'll have to imagine the photo as I realize it is still in the camera that Paul has in Florida at the moment!

Zip lining in St. Lucia!! Can you believe we did it? Two people that are afraid of heights? It was soooo much fun, and yes, Kim, there is screaming video footage!!

Driving our little speed boat all over the shoreline of Grenada before making 2 different stops to snorkel and swim at beautiful beaches there.

And last, but not least, our wonderful dining room waiters for the week and my hilarious and memorable birthday dinner which included our waiter giving away my birthday cake and singing to the lady at the table next to us! Funny story which I will share with anyone who asks. I figure this post is long enough as it is!

So, as you can see, it was a wonderful week in paradise which always makes the return back to reality so difficult, especially when it is cold and snowy! But it is always worth it!!! Already looking forward to next year! Who wants to join us? It will be the year of the 40th birthday and our 20th anniversary, so it better be a good one! Everyone should start saving now so we can all go and party together!