Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Trip to Washington--Spending Time with Family in Ephrata

Like I mentioned in my previous post, Daxton and I traveled up to my hometown, Ephrata, for a couple weeks toward the end of Dallas's busy season last April.  It was an incredible few days visiting family and extended family.  Most of the time was spent on the family farm, exploring and playing with cousins.  Needless to say, both Daxton and I were in complete heaven!

My younger brother, Richard, and his adorable family live about a mile away from my parents' house, so Daxton was able to have lots of quality time with his cousins, Emma and Nora.  Grandma and grandpa spoiled them all with a couple ziggles to ride around the farm.  I LOVED watching them laugh and interact together...another perfect example of what our trip was all about!

Auntie Leisha got the coolest auntie award by chasing the kids around on the plasma car.  I still have no clue how she got her long skinny legs to fit on that plasma car!

These two were totally two peas in a pod during our trip.  Daxton wanted to follow grandpa wherever he went and grandpa loved his little companion.  It was pretty funny to see them drive off together...regular road rules definitely do not apply on the back country roads, which Daxton thought was pretty amazing!

Grandpa took Daxton along for several rides to check on the growing trees.  While they were out one day, Grandpa blew Daxton's mind by letting him climb and sit on one of the companies tractors.  To this day, Daxton still talks about how amazing the farm tractors are.
On a sidenote...I loved seeing this cutie bundled up in his beanie and sweatshirt!

To say this little one was spoiled while at Grandma and Grandpa's house would be a huge understatement!  I swear everyday, Grandma would pull out a new toy for Daxton to open and play with.  Not to mention all the one on one time with both grandma and grandpa!  He especially fell in love with the Jake and the Neverland Pirates lego set grandma bought.

These two!
My heart melted on a daily basis watching these two cuties interact.  I especially loved how cute they both looked Sunday morning before church.  You can definitely see from these pictures how much they adore each other.

Daxton may have had grandpa wrapped around his little finger...
This is when grandpa bought a couple ziggles for the house.

These two were inseparable.
One of Daxton's favorites was helping grandpa mow the lawn on the lawn tractor.  Grandpa even let Daxton steer on his own!

Some other fun adventures on the family farm...
Swinging on Uncle Ken and Aunt Darlene's tire swing

We loved spending time with Great Grandpa Bill and Great Grandma Doris.  Grandpa Bill was so sweet with Daxton, held his hand, and asked him all about Florida.  It was such a sweet experience watching the two interact.  I'm so glad we were able to visit grandpa a few times while we were in town.
On our way to visit Great Grandpa Bill, we stopped to get gas from the farm tanks.  I was so excited to see my friend, Jared, from high school.  I hadn't seen him in over 10 years!  It was so much fun to catch up and hear about his family and how everyone was doing.  He won the coolest friend award that day, as well, by helping Daxton climb up into a massive digger.  Daxton's mind was blown when Jared even let Daxton raise and lower the digger on his own! What an incredible experience!!

Another fun adventure Daxton and I went on was with Grandpa up to explore Sun Lakes and the surrounding areas.  Our first stop was at a little spawning ground for trout.  It was funny to listen to Daxton's questions.  We had to tell him all about what mountains, sagebrush, and rocks were.  Crazy to think of all the things he isn't familiar with from my childhood and all the things that would be unfamiliar to me as a child!

Daxton had lots of fun dropping little bits of gravel into the spawning area to startle the fish and make them swim suddenly. 

Hard at work...

Once again...

Next Grandpa took us to Sun Lakes where we had a picnic lunch and let Daxton play on the playground.  Then we hopped in the car and drove a little farther north to Dry Falls.  I have to admit, the height made me a bit nervous with Daxton around wanting to explore, but he listened really well to both Grandpa and I, so we didn't have any problems.

Some of my favorite shots looking out into Dry Falls...

Such a beautiful (and scary) view!

There was a fun rock gazebo at the top of Dry Falls that Daxton had a blast playing in.  I had to giggle because it reminded me of the scene from "Sound of Music."  He even danced along the bench and sang.  Sure do love my little man!

Grandpa spoiled us with some yummy blackberry ice-cream and Daxton had a blast playing in the dirt, before we headed back home.

I love my daddy so very much.
He's such an incredible example of unconditional love, charity, and generosity.  I feel unbelievably blessed that he's my father and that Daxton gets him as his grandpa.

When we got home from our adventures with grandpa that day, we were excited to see Auntie Leisha, Emma, and Nora waiting at the house for us.  The kids had a super fun afternoon/evening riding the ziggles, writing with sidewalk chalk, and playing in the back yard together.  As you can tell from the pictures below, Daxton loves his Auntie Leisha!

It was so much fun to sit back and simply watch Daxton play.  I loved watching his little conversations with his cousins and how they played so well together.  I thought it was so funny how much he loves (and still does love) to line up everything he can get his hands on.  I also found myself feeling a bit nostalgic as I noticed how grown up Daxton was looking.  Maybe it was the jeans, shoes, and long sleeves (all of which he NEVER wears in Florida) but for some reason, he just looked so old.  And I have to admit my heart broke a bit.  Where did my baby go?

Love all the chalk up and down his legs!

Dallas and I wish so deeply that Daxton had siblings to interact with.  It makes us so sad wanting to add to our family and feeling the constant frustrations in not being able to.  Daxton would be such an amazing brother.  Since he doesn't have any siblings, his cousin relationships are so important to us and him.  You can tell in the pictures below, just how deeply he loves Emma and Nora.  It made me so happy sitting back and watching these three interact and love on each other.

One of my favorite pics from the day!
Daxton looks so crazy grown up, but I love how happy he looks.

If you didn't notice from the picture above of Daddy and me, I desperately needed a good hair coloring during our trip up to Washington.  Leisha suggested I go to April Porter, a friend a couple years younger than me, from high school.  It was so fun to have some "me" time and get my hair done!  I loved being able to catch up with April and hear all about what she's been up to since High School.  Plus, I LOVED the great job she did on my hair!  If only flights from Florida weren't so long or expensive...I'd go to her regularly if I could!

The new blonde do

Some other fun things that happened while we were home...
Nora got her first pair of glasses and I don't think I'm biased when I say they are the CUTEST glasses in the world!  She looked absolutely adorable and was so excited to join her all glasses family.

I took Daxton up to the sawdust piles.  Many an amazing childhood memory was spent up at these sawdust piles!  My brothers, cousins, and I would find cardboard or sleds and slide down these piles for hours.  I remember mom's love of having to do load after load of laundry from our adventures.  It was so funny to watch Daxton explore, dig, slide, and roll down the sawdust piles.  After awhile he stopped and looked at me and said, "Mom, I need to stop.  My bum itches."  That's about right! 

Daxton loved the freedom of driving around and exploring the family farm.  I'm so glad I caught this shot!  His face in the mirror showing absolute joy is priceless.  Growing up on the family farm was incredible and it's mostly in hindsight that I realize how truly blessed I am for the childhood I had.

Exploring the orchards...
Rows and rows of apple trees...
A toddler's dream

Halfway through our trip my younger brother, Stuart, and his wife, Angelica, drove up from Utah.  It was so fun to catch up with them.  Angelica is so great and I love her to pieces.  They both immediately started playing with the kids, which Daxton loved.  Dax thought Uncle Stuart was pretty funny trying to ziggle around the basketball court!

I LOVE this picture below.
It shows just how much this sweet boy loves his Auntie Jelly Belly and Uncle Stud Bud.
(Yes, our family gives each other ridiculous nicknames...)

It was especially fun when Heather and the girls stopped by on their way to and from Spokane.  I was an auntie before I became a mommy and I will always have such a deep love for my nieces and nephews.  One of my favorite things in the world is to watch them all play together, and even more now that they're playing with Daxton.  He loves them all so dearly and each of the girls were so sweet and kind with him.

Favorite pictures from our trip!
So much love!

Every night we tried to FaceTime with daddy.  I know it's hard on daddy when we are not around, especially since Daxton and Dallas have such a unique bond, so we made sure to tell him all about our adventures every night.  This usually meant during Daxton's bath time since it was the only way to keep him in one place long enough.
Love these two characters!

Last, but definitely not least, whenever we go home we make sure to visit the local cemetery.  Our family has experienced a lot of pain and loss over the years that has reaffirmed our love and faith in the Gospel.  Our knowledge of eternal families has brought us a lot of comfort as we've lost family members and dear friends over the years.  I love that our family has so many positive and uplifting ways of remembering those not physically with us.  Whenever I see butterflies I will forever think of my beautiful niece, Mara, and whenever I see pinwheels I will forever think of my precious nephew, Liam.

I loved taking Daxton to the cemetery and telling him about heaven, angels, and those that we love who've passed.  He had so many amazing questions and I was humbled at his ability to understand.  I loved being able to share with him fun stories about Matt, TJ, and Jamie (close high school friends who've passed) and stories about being raised with Grandma and Grandpa Adams.  It was such a peaceful feeling listening to Daxton, Emma, and Nora talk about their angels watching over them.  What a blessing the Gospel brings, sealing our family for the eternities. 

As I led Emma, Nora, and Daxton around the cemetery to visit each of our family and friends' graves, I couldn't help but cry a bit when I saw TJ and Matt's tree.  I remember so vividly when it was planted, the summer after my senior year of high school.  All those memories came swiftly back, and yet there it stood with three perfect little children playing under it's branches.  Had that much time really passed?

Visiting home was incredibly therapeutic for me.
I love our adventures we are having in Florida, but a part of me will always be back in that small little farm town I grew up in.  That small town which hosted some of the most amazing people whom all shaped me into the person I am today.  So many incredible memories made in a place with only a handful of stoplights.

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