Sunday, July 31, 2011

Colorado Adventures

Unfortunately, Ben had to fly home for two days to take a test after the family reunion was over. The kids and I stayed with Curtis and Kristi and spent two days playing in Denver. We went to a water park and the zoo. Being there gave us the opportunity to see my dear friend Ginny and her family. They were on their way from St. George to Michigan where her husband was about to start law school and we were going to be in St. George in a few days to visit family. I was sad to know she wouldn't be there to spend time with while we were in St. George but it was so exciting to see her on her way to Michigan. Once Ben finally rejoined us, we drove down to southern Colorado to stay with Ben's mom for a few days. We enjoyed our time there immensely. Ben and I were feeling a bit nostalgic during this trip and wanted to show our kids classic sights. Since Mesa Verde is about 20 minutes from Ruth's house, it qualified. We spent a fun day exploring the ruins there with her and PopPop. We climbed steep windy trails...

We climbed down into a kiva...

And we explored ancient apartment homes.

Of course no trip to Nana's would be complete without a beautiful hike. This time we hiked a section of the Colorado trail. It was absolutely gorgeous! Our kids were a bit wimpy (we blamed it on the altitude-big difference from sea level) but Ben and I were thrilled to take in the views.

After we left Nana's house, the nostalgia continued with a stop at Four corners for the classic shots of being in four places at once. Below is Zoa's shot. she did the best pose.

We also stopped and walked across the Glenn Canyon bridge. The kids were pretty impressed by it until they saw Hoover Dam several days later.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Terry Family Reunion

Just four days after Ben returned home we flew to Colorado to attend the Terry family reunion. It was so fun to see my family. Everyone was there so the kids had an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with their cousins and I got to hang out with siblings and their spouses. We were the last to arrive but received a royal welcome. We were picked up from the airport in a stretch limo! That was a fun surprise. It was about 2:00 in the morning Colorado time, which was about 4:00 in the morning Virginia time so the kids were hammered but they were still excited to explore the limo. We then drove my parents' car to Estes Park where the reunion was. We had so much fun there swimming in the pool at the condos and playing in this river that flowed through town. Estes Park is a pretty little mountain city. Here Drake is with Amaiya and Micah.

Ben, Zoa and Drake went to tour a haunted hotel that is in Estes Park with some of the rest of the family. They enjoyed the tour. Only the big kids could go so I stayed behind with Aven and the other adults that were staying with little ones.

Here are the big cousins that went: Drake, Braden, Amaiya, Zoa and Darrin.

Our last day there, everyone left but us and my parents. We spent a couple of hours playing miniature golf with them. Aven got a couple of surprising hole in ones!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Welcome Home Southern Style

One thing that Ben has really come to love since we have lived in Virginia is a good pig pickin'. A pig picking' is when they roast an entire pig (head and all) in a barbecue like you see below. Then they shred the meat off the pig and eat it on a bun with coleslaw. People attending bring salads to go with the meal. Our ward does one every year but Ben has missed the last two so I decided to give him one to welcome him home. Our friend, Ivan Slatter, brought his barbecue over and did it free of charge to honor Ben's service to our country. It was a fun day surrounded by friends. Ben enjoyed it.

Aven side note funny moment: Aven would not even try the meat. finally I asked her why she wouldn't eat any. She said, "That had eyes and a nose. I don't want to eat that!" Apparently watching the pig cook was a bit much for her to deal with. What would we do without her? We have been careful to call the leftovers "pork" so she will eat with us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ben Came home!

We got so excited as the time got closer to when Ben would come home. Ben's mom, Ruth, came out a few days prior to his return to see us. She then took Zoa to Florida so the two of them could join Ben on the ship for the final leg of the trip home. It is a fun thing they do called the Tiger Cruise. They had a once in a lifetime experience. They slept in the racks for two nights just like the sailors and they ate ship food. They had a private airshow, which they watched from the deck of the ship. While they were off having adventures with Ben for two days, Drake, Aven and I were home waiting. Finally the night before came and we went to the night before party that they threw for the family members. It was a big carnival style party. The day of the homecoming, July 15, was so exciting. We all got to wait on the pier where the ship would dock. The tugboats that were going to bring the Enterprise in put on a show for us. They spun around in the water and sprayed water out of the top of the ship. Then the announcer told us to say goodbye to the tugs because they were going to go out to get our sailors and the crowd erupted in cheers. It was very exciting.

Finally the ship docked. Here you can see Ben manning the rails with Ruth and Zoa beside him. This was our first glimpse of the man we had missed for six months. Aven wasn't sure what to think. She kept cheering and crying in turns.

Finally Ben was off the ship so we all could run to him and hug him. How good it was to be near him again. It was nice to have Nana here with us so Ben and I could have a night alone. I really needed him to myself by the end of this first day.

Welcome home Ben!