10 March 2015

August 2014

August has always been one of my favorite months. It's my birthday month, so of-course I think that's important. I also have always equated July and August with vacations.  The summertime heat draws me to the water and beach. Then at the end of the month, the excitement of a new school year, new friends, and new experiences has always appealed to me. August 2014 was all of these things and more. 

(Unfortunate side note: I've lost my pictures from Aug-Oct 2014. A hard drive I placed them on was corrupt and now all my pictures are all gone. The pics in the following few posts will be from my Instagram account and Jeff's phone. While my devastated that I've lost all those pictures, I'm so thankful for the ones I have.)

Jeff's brother Ross was coming home from his mission in August. I had not planned on going to Aizona to see him, as we were going for Christmas. However, I have been itching to get to the beach with the kids all summer. Also, the girls have never been to Disney and I wanted to take them before they were too old for the 'magic' of it all. At the last minute, and with Jeff's aunt Becky very sick in the hospital in AZ, we decided to take the family.  We weren't sure if this would be our final good-bye with Becky, so we left a week early to see her and go to California.  

A day before our trip Cecil and Jill came down sick. I packed all the children's tylenol and motrin I had and we started our drive. By the time we made it to AZ Becky had had a stroke, brain surgery and  was heavily sedated and intubated.  We tearfully said, what we thought were our good-byes and then hit the road again to California.  Becky pulled through her ordeal and later mentioned seeing my deceased Grandma Pete (whom she'd never met) by my side and playing with my children in her hospital room while still sedated.  Becky was also able to recall conversations that other family members had and things the doctors did and said while she was unresponsive.  I shared this with my dad and a few of his siblings. We were all very touched and comforted, knowing that those we love that have passed aren't really so far away.

When we finally made it to California we all couldn't wait to hit the beach.  Even through fevers, pink-eye, and a bad cold we all had a great time. Coco mostly played with the sand, Camille searched for seashells, Jillian tested limits with the water, Jeff and his buddies went spearfishing, and Cecil and I lounged on the shore. We were able to go to a private beach called Three Arches. It was spectacular. (All the pics of the arches, and scenery are lost).  

Me and the girls ventured pasted the arches to find this beautiful little cove.

Coco would only go near the water if he was being held.  He still does a 'mini-seizure' when he's excited., and you can see it in this picture. His arms extend and flex while his fingers wiggle.  I'd say it an appropriate response to such a beautiful place and prefect wave. 

The girls attempted boogie boarding and had a blast. Jillian caught on quickly and really enjoyed it.  Camille was loving it until she had a big wipe-out...then she was done. 

The next day was our Disney day.  Coco woke up with a fever and pink eye. Since all the rest of the kids were battling pink eye (all of them were on antibiotics by this time) and we had drove this far, we pushed through. I was determined to make some memories with my girls at Disney. Here we are on the tram to the park. This picture just kills me with all the kids and their swollen eyes.   

Brandon came with us to help with all the kids.  He would run and get us fast-passes and then once we got to the front of the line, we'd get a stroller-pass.  This way we weren't waiting too long for any ride and the girls got to ride the big ones twice.  We all really loved Peter Pan. The girls favorite was Space Mountain.  Coco ended up being pretty grumpy all day but I'd say it was worth it. Look at that smile. 

We'll definitely go again when the boys are a little older and hopefully we'll all be healthy.

These faces don't lie; Disney is the happiest place on earth.

We actually missed the big parade but caught the tail-end, which was the most important part anyway. 

We stayed until the bitter end.  All the boys were checked out but me and the girls were ready for more after the fireworks show.  We left the boys falling asleep on the sidewalk as we ran to Indiana Jones.  It was a great day.

On Sunday after church we went to the San Clemente Beach trail and pier. 

There was a swing-set on the beach that was just perfect for my four as the sun set in-front of us. 

Of-course our last day in Cali was spent at the beach again. We were all a little worn-out but had to squeeze every last moment we had out of our big trip. 

The next day we drove to AZ and meet Ross at the airport.  (I am sickened that this pictures with the Taylor family are among the lost).  It was a happy a tearful reunion.  He looked amazing and was really glowing. 

Jeff was able to go with Ross and his parents to a session in the new Gilbert AZ temple.  It is such a beautiful building. 

The homecoming that Sunday was great.  All the Taylor girl cousins sang and Ross gave a wonderful talk. After the program we got to visit with Jeff's extended family. It was such a wonderful day.  After all the activities, it was time to head back to TX. 
Of-course we had to stop at Sandy's ranch for a potty break and to feed the goats. It was a long and successful trip, even with four sick kids. 

Not two weeks later Jeff was off to Cabo, Mexico for a bachelor's party for his best friend Nate.  He had a trip to remember. 

They golfed at a breathtaking resort.

They were basically staying steps from the beach. 

To finish off his trip they caught a huge 500-600+ lbs blue marlin. 

They cut him up and some of the guys took the meat home.  I think we'll have marlin meat in our freezer for years to come.

While Jeff was gone the girls started the new school year.  Camille started 1st grade with Ms. Schrott, whom I just love as a teacher, and Jillian started 2nd grade with Ms. Sweet. 

Here they are on the first day of school.  Such sweet, perfect sisters.  Goodbye, summer. 

I also had my 32nd birthday in August but those pictures were also lost. We went out to Olive Garden as a family to use a gift card I had and I think I did some on-line shopping.  Pathetic sounding, but it was all I wanted and needed.  Side-note: I'll probably never eat at OG again. 

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