Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ben's Homecoming

Ben arrived home to Ft. Polk, Louisiana this morning and at 5:30 a.m they were officially welcomed home on base.  Before then, the family was not allowed to see them. 
Lest anyone get the bright ideas to go around the ceremony and meet them at the airport, the Army promised a police escort back to the base. . .
Needless to say, this is one very,
very happy family!
Kaylee and Blake's expressions
in all these pictures are just priceless. 
Ben called briefly this morning
and I talked to Kaylee. I asked her
 how her day was going,
and she said," We got Daddy from
 the Army. There was a song. 
And Flags.  My Daddy's home".
Craig talked to Ben on the phone tonight, and he said Blake didn't take his hat off all day.  I think Ben looks great! But tomorrow first ont he agenda is a hair cut!  Jamie sounds wonderful.  You can hear the smile in her voice.  Jamie said Blake keeps saying, "Hi Daddy" or "Daddy home" and then he repeats it dozens of times. 

This morning when I woke up at 6 I was kind of hoping for a text with a picture  saying he'd arrived.  I just figured they were enjoying the reunion and we would hear at some point today. (I told Jamie last night just to enjoy him and worry about us later.) Then when I checked facebook and saw these pictures I lost it.  I couldn't stop smiling or bawling.  I just felt so competely overwhelemed with joy and gratitude for Ben's safe return and most especially for his safety this past year.  Needless to say, it took me awhile to regroup and focus on preschool.  Fortunately, only 4 kids were here today, so that made for a very easy morning.

I printed up a few of these pictures and put them on the reminder board to share with my preschool parents.  When Craig saw them when he came home, he returned to the kitchen where I was making dinner and I noticed him wiping away the tears.  It's been an emotional time for him as well.  We feel so grateful and so humbled that we have been  blessed with such dear children and grandchildren.  It makes "Thank You Heavenly Father" seem so very inadequate. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Lovely Idaho Weekend

We took advantage of Craig's long weekend for Columbus Day and flew up to Idaho for a much needed visit.  It was such a treat to have cool, autumn weather, but even better than that was 4 days with 3/5 of our kids and grandkids!

We took an early flight out of Ontario and we arrived in Boise at 11:00 a.m. Rebecca and the girls picked us up from the airport, so Grampa had to spoil them a little and let them "ride" the train and plane in the little arcade. 
We were right in time for lunch and everyone's favorite, Red Robin.  They are always so happy to see the Bryant family there!  Rebecca can elaborate. 
After lunch we went home and all napped on a nice chilly afternoon.  It was such a treat to have genuine fall weather.  Paige and Claire both recently learned to ride their bikes without training wheels, so it was fun to see them in action.  Of course, Reese didn't want to be left out of the photo op.

While we were watching the girls ride bikes, a big grasshopper was on Rebecca's shoe and the girls thought that was so funny.
Since we hadn't seen Skye since March, we knew it would be a challenge to win her over in such a short time! She would flirt with us and then when we'd reach out to pick her up or hold her she would start to howl! Of course, she warmed up to Grampa first.
Skye is very  busy crawling and pulling herself up on everything.  She is way too big already, but so cute!
 Saturday morning we went to Paige's soccer game at a park just around th corner from Nick & Renee's.  Nick and Skye met us there, ( Renee worked that morning) and they surprised us by bringing Uncle Josh and Aunt Krista who had driven up from Provo!  Josh is on the left.  Skye is wearing Kaylee's "pinata" hat.  (Rebecca and Nick have more cute pictures of Josh and Krista I am hoping to find in an email soon).
It was great to see Shannon and Dave Grogan!  Their family is so dear to us.  Rebecca and Shannon have been friends since their girls camp days when they were in middle school, and I had Samantha in preschool.  Dave and Mark work together and  Dave is Jamie's cousin!  I love it that they are all together in Idaho.  Just one big happy family! 
Paige loves playing "defender".  The leauge has some weird rules, so she can't pick up the ball and actually be a goalie.  But she loves it.  I got to go down memory lane and french braid her hair that morning, just like I used to for her Mom and Aunt Melissa. 
Saturday afternoon we all went to the pumpkin patch in Boise.  We had a few extra minutes while we were waiting for everyone and since the girls were all dressed up, I took a few pictures.  Rebecca always fixes their hair so cute.  Mark's mom made the darling matching barrettes for the girls.  

Skye's first visit to the pumpkin patch

We all went through the corn maze, and ended up going in a big circle and exiting at the entrance!

Claire was so tickled to find this lady bug
Skye makes the cutest scrunchy face.

We spent Sunday afternoon at Nick and Renee's.  It is so fun to watch them as parents.  They are both so good with Skye.  I love her little baby hands in this sweet picture.
 Skye is definitely smitten with her Daddy.
 At last, the night before we went home Skye let me hold her. 
Here is proof that she actually let me snuggle with her and rock her to sleep - mission accomplished!
Sunday night Rebecca made homemade rolls and potato cheese soup, and Nick and Renee and Skye came over for the evening.  Josh and Krista left about 4:00 and spent the evening with her grandparents, who just relocated to Boise from California.  They had a long drive back to Provo that night and Josh still had a paper to do
The girls all adore Skye.  This picture pretty much says it all.
It was so great to be with our Idaho and Utah kids.  Rebecca said, "This is awesome, almost like Thanksgiving without all the work!"  We flew home Monday afternoon, much sooner than we were ready to leave. It was a lovely weekend.