Friday, January 27, 2012

It's official.....

.....Kai is growing up!

His front tooth had been slightly loose for a while but he didn't talk about it constantly or complain about it bothering him (like the older son had a tendency to do).  Griffin was talking to him one day and said, "Woah Kai, your tooth is about to fall out!"

Then came the worried looks and tears.
"I don't want my tooth out!"
"Don't pull it out!"

He was still crying out those phrases after Jeff had quickly and painlessly pulled the tooth out.
Kai hadn't even noticed.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm

Halfway to Tucson, from Mesa, is a little place called Picacho Peak.
Growing up, we had some cousins who moved to Tucson for a while and our parents would often meet up at Picacho to trade kids for a few days.  The girls would go to one house while the boys stayed at the other.  
Our parents were so great to do that for us!!  
Although, now having kids of my own, I know the break was just as needed for THEM as it was for US.

There's really only two places worth mentioning at Picacho Peak (besides the peak itself):
(The meeting point to trade kids and thus, the reason I associate every thought of that mountain with ice cream.)

My lovely sister, Shannon, who recently turned 16, wanted to initiate some of her friends into the ostrich fan club.  So my family all made the trip down there together.

My dad insisted on coming in our van and sitting in the back with all the grandkids.
He was squished into a space no wider than 15 inches.
Of course he fell asleep.  Doesn't he look comfortable?
I don't know how he does it.

When we got there, the monster truck tour was about to start, so we piled as many of our group on as we could and took off.  There was a lot more informative driving around and not enough ditch hopping, in my opinion.  But there were enough big bumps to get Shannon acting like this:
(Lots of screaming and one leg fully straddling her friend.)
The boys loved it too.
They even got to pet a rattlesnake.
(It was frozen of course.)

Also part of the tour was...........

........wait for it..........


There were long poles with a huge screw on the end of the line.
All you had to do was stab through the grapefruit skin and hang it over the edge.
The ostrich fish (?) would come up and yank the piece off and swallow it whole!
 Here's the lucky group who got to go truckin' and fishin'.  There wasn't room for my parents or Jeff  :(

After the tour, we started our feeding frenzy.  With just one type of feed, you could help the hunger of 4 different kinds of animals.
Goats in a penthouse and goats that kiss:

And ostriches, of course:
Of all the animals at the ranch, the ostriches were the most aggressive.  You pretty much just throw the feed at them because they WILL steal your cup and they WILL hurt you.
A quick stop at the duck pond:

And then the Rainbow Lorikeet Forest.
This is always my favorite part.
 You hold out these little containers of nectar and the lorikeets will come land on your arm, open the lid and guzzle it down. 
My dad was quite the bird charmer:

These birds will even land on your head!
Last time we went, I had to wash the bird poop out of my hair with wet wipes.
I took this next picture of Shannon's friend, but found a gem in the background later on! 
It's Jason, Statue-of-Liberty-style, closing his eyes, waiting for the attack on his nectar.

It was a really fun day at the farm and, of course, we got to top it all off with Dairy Queen before heading home.
Good choice for a birthday getaway Shannon!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

December 2011

December was crazy.
The way it is every year.
Jeff had a birthday on the 6th and we had a nice dinner out with his family and then back to our house for Soda Pop Cake.  We had left ALL the kids and cousins home with a sitter so the house was loud and crazy.  I will blame the lack of pictures on that craziness.
In addition to Jeff's birthday, there are 4 other Gardner birthdays in December.
Now add in Ward Christmas functions and work holiday celebrations, Christmas eve, and Christmas.
That's a lot of parties.

I was in charge of our Ward Christmas Party again this year.
I stayed up late many nights, painting, gluing and cutting the nativity display we had for that night.
My mom and sister were able to come over and help a few times with was greatly appreciated.
Here's how it turned out:

Later on in the month we had the 2nd Annual Gardner Talent Show
There were stories....
....sequins dresses.....
baton twirlers.....

....snapshot snatching...
....a beautiful bassoon and trumpet couple....
....upcoming writers for hip-hop artists....
.... and showing off drawings.

On Christmas Eve we joined with Jeff's extended family for food and some more fun. 
We were all told to bring a gift to wrap for a local shelter in need.
Although they really wanted to keep some of the gifts for themselves, they really enjoyed being part of the wrapping crew.  

As promised, Todd, here's the montage of photos you so gracefully posed for:

And here's Todd displaying our new Gardner shirts that get made each year.  On the back was our names and the number indicating when we came into the family.
Really cute!  The front says "Gardner Grasshogs".
I still haven't figured out where that came from.

The traditional nativity began and Griffin decided on the angel title this year.
(I haven't figured out where that came from either.)

Kai was acting shy, for some reason, and didn't want to take part in the nativity until good 'ol Todd offered to be a sheep with him.
Kai said, "I look like that because I was saying, 'Baahh'."
Then there was Trey.
The humble shepherd who ended up with scraps for his costume.
Just a towel.
Barely sitting on his head.
And he was happy as could be.

 Christmas morning.
I love Trey picking his nose in this picture:
Kai and Treyson discovered that 3 of Santa's reindeer did NOT eat their carrots.
Shame shame, I know your name.

It was a Chrismas full of wands, books, scooters, stickers, legos, Angry Birds, 
and smiles.

I hope your Christmas was as jolly as ours!