Sunday, August 30, 2009

Off she goes...

Ashley is at BYU! This has been her dream since 3rd grade and she did it! We are so proud of her! It has been very hard watching her pack up her room and get ready to go. We have been full of all kinds of emotions. It was sad to see her say goodbye to her brothers... they will miss her tons. Although, Mitchell has already painted her room blue and moved all his clothes in.

We packed the van up on Wednesday morning and headed to Provo. We stopped to get her school ID first and then to the bookstore to get her books. We had been on campus for not even 5 minutes and we ran into her 3 best friends from Liberty Lake... it was crazy. Ashley said after they left, "I wonder if we would have stayed in Spokane, if I would have been their 4th roommate??" Probably... but we moved and she found great friends in Vegas.
Our next stop was Helaman Halls!
After $100 dollars in rubbermaid containers at Target, we were able to get everything to fit! I was shocked. I was sure we would be taking 1/2 of her stuff back to Vegas.
After we got her all unpacked her roommate Kathryn arrived from Salt Lake. She is the girl on the left. She seems great! Courtney is the blonde and she lives down the hall. I think they are going to have a great time together! When Ashley and Kathryn were at a freshman orientation activity on Thursday, people were shocked that they had just met... they were acting like lifelong friends. I am sure they will become that!
On Thursday John and I went to a few Freshman Parent Orientation activities. They were very helpful. They said this year they have the biggest freshman class ever! We made several stops at the book store for more supplies for Ashley... man, college is expensive!

Ashley spent most of the day on a campus tour and getting her room organized. We felt like we were the parents that wouldn't leave, so we took off and met some friends for dinner.
We met up with Todd and Mindy Black... they are great friends from Spokane and they moved to Utah a few months ago. We love the Blacks! We have plans for their daughter Whitney to marry Tanner! She is a doll. Todd and John were cracking jokes right and left and it felt like old times. We miss you guys! It was great to catch-up on their lives and reminisce about Liberty Lake. They have had an awful year and I sure hope things get better for them.

Friday morning we picked up our niece Kathryn and took the two girls out for breakfast. It will be fun for these two to get to know each other at BYU. They have only met a few times in their lives because she lives in Chicago and they don't get out west very much.

After breakfast we met up with Jim Mitchell who was John's roommate when he lived in Helaman Halls. (Mitchell is named after him...) They roomed before their missions and then after their missions until Jim got married. It was fun to see Jim and his family. He has 2 sons going to BYU. Ashley and their son Jacob are in the same ward! She was pretty excited, because in her words, he is gorgeous! Jim and Deena live in Florence Oregon and we haven't seen them since the summer that John's dad died in 1996. We were on a trip down to the bay area to see John's dad and we stopped in Florence for a few days to visit and we got a call that John's dad had passed away. We missed seeing him by 1 day. That was so hard on John. I honestly think John's dad did not want his son to see him so sick.
Anyway, it was so good to see them and catch up a little.
We ended up having to say our goodbye's to Ashley right there in the Cougareat because she had a lunch to go to with her roommate. It was VERY hard to say goodbye. Harder than I expected. But we know she is having a good time and it's what we have always wanted. I have a new respect for missionary moms. We were able to call Ashley a few hours later and text her all day after we said goodbye. John and I left Provo very sad. We know that our little family is growing up and we don't like it! We know it's part of life, but we also know that things will never be the same. She will come home grown up and things will feel different.

John and I decided to make a pit stop in Brian Head and spend the night at Dix's cabin. We went on a fun 4 wheeler ride and had dinner at a cute little pizza shop. We talked about our little girl all grown up the whole time... it really seems like yesterday that she was in kindergarten. On our way home Saturday we decided to stop at Zion and to do a little hiking... but I was not in the mood. It was over 100 degrees and I got hot and grumpy real fast. After about a mile, I could feel the sweat dripping down my back and we were about out of water and I threw a fit so we turned around. I feel a little bad now, but John was understanding as always. He is too good to me. We decided to go back in the fall and try it again.

Well, we made it home and first thing, Mitchell wanted to go to Home Depot to pick out paint for Ashley's room. It is now blue. It is strange not having her here... We love you Ashley! Study hard and have fun!

Beach again...

I haven't had time to post our last trip to the beach. We decided to take one last trip to the beach before Ashley left for college. We went down to The Anderson's (john's sister) on the 22nd and spent the night again. We love hanging with Edie and Luke and the kids! We played the traditional game of Phase 10 and ate lots of candy! (They are talking about moving to Wyoming... we are very sad!!) We got up early Saturday morning and drove an hour to Huntington Beach. It was raining when we left Hisperia... so we were a little worried... but it turned out ok. It wasn't blue sky all day, but it appeared a few times. Being that I am from the Pacific Northwest, I am used to a cloudy day at the beach... at least it wasn't cold and no one got sunburned this time.

What made the beach extra fun was that we were able to spend the day with lots of my family. My brother David was in the area on a business trip, so he joined us for the day. He has a new friend that happens to be a girl named Rebekah and she was there visiting him from Utah. So, we loved getting to know her better! My brother Todd and his family were vacationing down in Del Mar, so they drove up for the day and since we were all going to be there, Scott and Jenn came down from Vegas too. Fun times!

Scott and Dave playing some bocce ball.

Ashley and Charity....

Dave and Rebekah playing with Afton...

Ashley gets her turn with Afton...

Mitchell deciding if he wants to get in again??

Tanner working on a masterpiece!

John built a giant chair!

Ashley loves her cousins!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday John!

I'm very late at posting this, but didn't want to forget John's birthday last week. It was on the 25th and he is 45 this year. We had a nice night. We went to dinner at Cheesecake Factory... I had forgotten how much I like that place. We hadn't been there in a while. YUM!

After dinner Scott, Jenn and Afton came over for dessert. It is always fun to have them over. Afton is growing way too fast! Ashley hogged her, since it was her last time to see her in a while.

John is really hard to shop for... I think he like this shirt and everything else will get returned. I try.

His favorite dessert.

Ashley is going to miss her!

Happy late birthday honey!!! You are the best!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Make Me Crazy!

Pigeons are making me crazy this summer!! This is what I have been waking up to every morning the last few weeks. John had just swept it clean last night!

Yes, that is pigeon poop all over my patio.

I think it's time to get the kids a new bb gun. We had one for a while and it broke. Does anyone have any other ideas for me?? I have seen spike strips on buildings before, but don't know where you can buy them??

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Soccer Season

It's that time of year again... Mitchell made the jv soccer team at Bonanza again. He was a little worried about try-outs because he had not played since last years season. But he made it. So we are looking forward to watching his games... my only wish is that it cools down soon!

Good job Mitchell!!! I found these cute pics of Mitchell from when he started playing soccer when we lived in Spokane. He played goalie back then...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scholarship, Blackberries, Company... oh my!

We've had a busy week full of all sorts of things! Last Sunday night we went to a little BYU incoming freshman fireside where Ashley was awarded a nice little BYU-Alumni scholarship. She was pretty excited. it will hopefully cover her books!

Blackberries... yummmmm! If you are from the Pacific Northwest, most likely you LOVE blackberries. You can buy them in the store here, but they aren't nearly as good as they are up there. And I can't bring myself to pay for them since they are totally free up there! Blackberries bring back floods of childhood memories. They are a totally wild bush up in the Pacific Northwest... they grow everywhere and they are really hard to kill. Before they built houses behind the house I grew up in, we used to have some in our backyard. Somehow we made a fort in them. fun times!! They have huge thorns and you usually get tons of cuts on your hands when you go picking, but they are totally worth it. My mom was a huge blackberry fan and so is her mom. My Grandma Verhaaren always came to visit in August during blackberry season. I have tons of memories of us picking blackberries for hours and hours. We would scout out the best places and spend the whole day there. We'd each get huge buckets full. We would go home with purple fingers and my mom would make a huge pie and tons of jam! So... the reason for all this blackberry talk is because my brother Scott was up in Seattle last weekend and he went blackberry picking with Dave and Julie. He wasn't sure if they would let him carry them home on the plane, but they did!! He was kind enough to share them with me. So I went over to their house and helped Jenn make some jam. YUM!! It is so good!!! Thanks Scott!!

Friday night my brother Todd and his family spent the night on their way down to the beach. It was great to have them. Scott and Jenn came over for dinner and we had a fun visit. The kids woke up wanting to swim! Why not, it was vacation!

Cute little Charity LOVES her cousin Ashley. Todd went up to wake Charity up at about 9:00 am (she will be a great teenager, haha) and she said she was was going to get up when Ashley gets up... haha. She didn't know that Ashley could easily sleep till noon! Pretty funny.

So, Todd headed down to the beach and a few hours later our niece Sam and her husband Jake came over for a visit. She is John's sister Barbara's daughter. They were down from Draper for the weekend. Ashley made some cookie dough and I think we managed to make a few cookies out of it... not many though... we LOVE cookie dough in our house! (except John... he thinks we will all die of samonilla poisoning some day.)

Tanner had fun playing guitar hero with them! We love having visitors!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Days 5-9

I did so good posting during the first few days of the trip... I don't know what happened the rest of the time?? I guess I got busy and it took FOREVER to sort thru 2000 pictures! We gathered the pictures from everyones camera's and there were more than 2000! I got my file down to about 200... so here are just a few that I liked... I will probably post more on Facebook. These first 2 are from our day at Zion. (just a side note... if you ever plan to combine lots of pictures from lots of camera's... make sure everyone has their camera set to the SAME date and time! It was murder going through all them because everyone had wrong dates, so you couldn't sort the pics by time to see who had the best shots of the same events... ugh. I have issues with everything being in order for me to get organized.)

My cute little niece Emily...

Mitchell, Vincent and Spencer being cool!

I will give a quick recap of the rest of the trip.... actually this is quite long! Sorry, but this is my journal for now...

Day 5 was nice and relaxing. (We were sad that Cindy and Spencer went home!) We went 4 wheeling for a few hours... Scott and Julie rented another 4 wheeler so more of us could go out. It was so fun! The kids played outside and worked on their fort! It was pretty amazing! They worked so hard and it kept them nice and busy!

Mom and Dad took some of the kids out exploring for aggots?? Not sure how to spell it, but they are really pretty rocks buried in the earth. The kids were in heaven, digging all around. They brought lots of them home! All the parents were so happy! haha. Jenn spotted a great place to take some pictures... so we headed out in Dave's truck to take some family photo's... we just wish everyone was there!
Julie and I

Scott and Vincent

Grandpa and Scott

My mom even went for a ride!

The kids were yelling at Dave to drive faster! Don't worry, we didn't drive very far or very fast.

The whole gang that was there that day

Silly Tanner and Dallin...

Julie, my mom and I went out for a drive and at one of the lookouts we saw a fox! So cool!

Mitchell spent HOURS working on this puzzle... the box said there were over 200,000 wrong configurations! It didn't say how many right ones there were...
He finally went to bed around midnight and when he woke up he started at it again
and he did it!! He said he dreamed about it!

Day 6...
We packed up and cleaned the cabin and headed up to Lehi. We went to Cindy's house for a family BBQ. Everyone was there! So fun. All 7 siblings and all of their kids. 20 of 22 grand kids! (I am sure my 2 brothers in heaven were hanging out with us too! We missed Kevin and Curtis who are both on missions right now. And we missed my brother in law Gary who is pretty sick.) We had a big surprise for my parents... my dad's 2 sisters came from Bellevue, WA for the big party. My parents were so surprised! My dad cried! so cute. We had a great time catching up with everyone and the kids all got along so well. Then we drove up to Todd's house in Midway to sleep. David and Scott and their families stayed there too. Slumber Party!!
Aunt Janet and Aunt Doreen

Day 7... lots of driving!

We woke up and drove to the Ochre temple open house. It was so beautiful! But very crowded! I was disappointed on the reverence in the temple... or I should say, lack there of! It was hard to feel the spirit of the temple because it was so crowded and noisy! But, it was still nice. I decided I need to go back after it is open to see it better. We had a big group and we kept loosing our wheelchair people everytime they had to take the elevator... that was frustrating. Oh well... We left that temple and went on to Temple Square. My parents were taken back in time to their mission on the square. It was cute to see them get so excited about things there.

Not sure where Mitchell was for this picture??

After we got kids situated all the adults went to dinner in Salt Lake at Tucano's... it was yummy! It was nice to visit with everyone!

Day 8...
The big 50th anniversary party. I tried not to get too stressed out... Luckily there was lots of help to get everything all set up. Here is the invitation I made...

We had big family pictures taken before the party started... that went really smooth!

My cute family!

The whole family except Kevin, Curtis and Gary... we missed them!

My Family!

I love this picture of Mitchell hanging out, waiting for things to get started...
he loves to play his guitar!

Lots of family and friends came!

My dad saying a few words... (look at my mom looking so cute at him!)

The grandkids sang a song... then the kids all sang a fun song that Mark wrote... then the boys sang a song that John wrote... This was a big thing since we aren't really a big singing family... my cousins got that talent... after that we let people share memories about my parents. It was really great to hear from some of their friends from their mission and lots of old family friends. I was surprised how many people that I grew up in Bellevue with, now live in Utah. It was so fun to see so many of them. Lots of cousins came too! It was so great! I framed about 30 old pictures of my parents and had them on all of the tables. They were so cute.

(Yes those are goldfish in the vases... since it was the Golden Wedding! Tanner's idea!)

Day 9... final day... A Westra family trip would not be complete if the guys didn't go golfing... I am so glad they took a camera along!

My cute dad! Golf is his passion! All my brothers wish they were as good as him!

Todd, David and Mark

Scott decked out in his finest golf attire!

After golfing we all went to my sister in laws parents pool. We had a great time! The guys played a big game of basketball and no one got seriously hurt! (can you see how intense John is? I wouldn't play with him... my brothers friend Rebekah was the only brave girl to join in the game.)

After swimming we went up to Todd's work and had a family talent show! It was so fun.
The girls reenacted a dance they did 10 years ago!

Dallin and Brendon did a cute lip sync... we sang a song that John wrote... i will have to see how the video of it turned out and possibly post it...

Marks family did a fun glow stick dance!

Silly photo's! We had a great time being together and I hope we don't wait so long to do it again!! I love my family and I am so proud of my parents celebrating 50 years!!