A Large Helping of Life

One bite at a time……

Our Family Getaway. February 21, 2013

As many wives know it is really hard to have your husband gone for any amount of time.

I recently got my husband back from a month-long absence.

We were all so happy to have him back!

Now you would think that the last thing that he would want to do after being gone would be to go away again.

Well, that is not true for my husband.

Once he got home all we wanted to do was spend some quality time together as a family.

Oddly enough that can be difficult when you’re at home sometimes.

When we are home we have many obligations.

Home duties, school, errands, ect…ect.

So we both thought it would be really fun to get away somewhere that would be quiet and obligation free.

We instantly thought of my folk’s cabin near Jackson, Wy.

So I called up my folks and asked if we could go and they were happy to oblige.

So we packed up in a matter of a few hours and we were headed down the road.

Once we got there we went straight to bed and woke up the next day to a beautiful snowy environment.

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This was the view out the back door.

Yeah, it was waist deep for my boys.

They LOVED it!!

The boys could not wait to get outside and play in the snow.

IMG_0098I went outside to fetch them to come and eat some breakfast and this is what they had been up to.

They had made a sledding hill.

Starting at the top of the garage then down the embankment into the driveway.

IMG_0103My happy little snow birds.

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After breakfast we decided to go into Jackson since the kids had never been there.

Here are some scenery pictures from the drive:

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Not a bad view at all right?

Once we got to Jackson we did a little shopping and then we drove to Teton Village.

We were thinking about going on the tram but decided we wanted to do the elk refuge sleigh ride instead and we would do the tram the next time we came.

As we were leaving Teton Village we saw some paragliders flying down the mountain side.

We stopped and let the kids watch them float down.

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The kids thought it was so amazing and they all thought that they should do that.

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I told them maybe when they are older.

Maybe…

After that we headed to go on our sleigh ride through the elk refuge.

If you have not done this it is definitely something you need to do.

It was awesome!

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This is what the sleighs look like.

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These were my adorable sleigh companions.

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My sleigh had the cutest riders.

Just saying.

Oh and there was also some elk.

In the elk refuge…..

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These two were giving us a wonderful sparing show!

They did this for about 15 minutes.

It was very gentle at first like they were practicing then they got serious and the one on the left bested the other.

It was a great show!

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They are such huge and beautiful animals.

It was unreal being so close to them.

Awesome experience!

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Here are the amazing horses that pulled our sleigh.

Huge and powerful horses.

Oh and our guide, he was awesome too!

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After our sleigh ride we headed back to the cabin to relax and hang out.

So here are a few more scenery shots I took on the way back.

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We saw some moose!

They were pretty far off so this is the best my camera could do.

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These ducks were camera-shy.

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Jacob hopped out for a photo.

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I love this shot.

God’s splendor is all I can think about when I have a view like this in front of my eyes.

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So pretty.

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Once we got back to the cabin I snapped of few pictures of my boys.

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That night we cooked a yummy dinner and played board games.

It was a relaxing and fantastic time.

I love spending time with my family.

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The next day we drove into the park area.

Yellowstone is closed this time of year but you can still drive in some areas outside of it.

Another shot of the kids staring into the sun.

They love it when mom asks them to do that.

Ok, maybe not!

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Jacob wanted me to take his picture by himself and he wanted to not smile so “it looks like an old-time photo.”

He ended up looking mad.

So we tried another one.

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Much better.

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And now for more scenery…

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Brrrrr!

So that was really the extent of this day too.

We spent most of our time just hanging out at the cabin and enjoying having nothing to do.

The next day we packed up and headed back home.

And of course I took a few more shots on the way home.

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Bye bye for now Tetons!

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This was one of my favorite shots of my trip.

The beautiful morning sun coming up at the cabin.

The cabin was everything that this picture is,

warm, inviting, peaceful and beautiful.

Just what we needed.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is thy faithfulness.”

Lam 3:23

 

A glimpse of our Valentine’s Day. February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope your day was wonderful!

I thought I would just give you a little glimpse into our day’s highlights.

My sweet son woke me up with a hug and a kiss and told me “Happy Valentine’s Day!” in an excited whisper.

I pulled myself out of bed and joined half of my crew out on the couch.

 We all snuggled on the couch and daddy built a fire to warm up the living room.

After I got some coffee running through my veins I got up and made some yummy cinnamon rolls for the kids.

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The kids had quite a few delicious treats throughout the day.

We made marshmallow pops….

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We also had some cakeballs (cakepops without a stick)…..

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These were treats we took to our first homeschool Valentine party.

A few homeschool families got together and had a wonderful time just being with friends and playing games and of course sharing valentines.

This was my kids first time ever having a valentines party!

This was also their first time making and exchanging valentines.

They had a great time and I am so happy we had a chance to do it this year.

So for all of you wonderful readers I would like to offer you a digital version of my kiddos valentines.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you from Jude…..

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and from Jonah….

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and from Faith……

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And from Jacob…

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As part of the party I bought some fun photo booth props for the kids to play with.

They LOVED it!

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These are great right?!

So after the party we took the kids to give Valentine’s to their grandparents and great-grandparents.

Then daddy took us out for a lovely dinner.

It was a fabulous day!

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day too!

Much love from all of us to you.

 

Wyoming Winter Wonderland. February 1, 2013

I was trying to think of a quippy way to start off this blog post but I got nothing.

So I will just lay it out.

I have not blogged since December.

I have not blogged because I have had nothing blog worthy.

No really, I did not even take pictures for almost all of January!

No, I am not ill, just busy.

Finally, this week a creative nerve was struck.

It was a very chilly Wyoming morning and there was a beautiful frost all over the trees.

I decided that this day would be the day to venture out and play with my camera.

(As most of you know I am a wanna-be photographer)

With the kids all in tow, warm in their seats and watching a movie,

I headed to the river patch that I have access through via my dad.

I knew that area would have plenty of pretty things to photograph.

Here are all my favorites from the river.

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While editing these I decided to try some new things and experiment with photoshop.

I learned a lot and I loved the light natural tones that came out in all of these pictures.

Since I was near my dad’s place I decided to take a few quick shots of some things that caught my eye.

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Love the colors in this old tractor.

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Had to throw in a couple of this beauty.

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Such a magnificent animal.

After I left my dad’s I headed out-of-town a little ways because the kids were still very content watching their movie.

I headed down a country road hoping to find something else to shoot.

I did.

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So there it is….

My adventurous photo day.

 

A Sullivan Christmas Story. December 28, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Our Christmas was very enjoyable but we did struggle with some sickness.

Though we had unsettled tummies and tired eyes we still were able to enjoy our Christmas celebrations.

On Christmas eve we had driven to Casper to visit with Shane’s side of the family.

We all had a great time visiting and playing.

Then as soon as we were done we drove all the way back home so we could begin our evening traditions.

We started with each of the kids baking their own cookies and decorating them.

IMG_1460Faith was very insistent that the only color used on her cookies was pink.

She also used some purple per my request but it did take some convincing.

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Jude really enjoyed using lots of colors to decorate his cookies.

IMG_1466Daddy helped Hope to start her cookies but she soon got the hang of it.

IMG_1474Not sure if she got more chocolate on the cookie or straight to her mouth though.

IMG_1503Jonah and Jacob started theirs after the little ones were done.

They really took their time to make sure the cookies were exactly the way they wanted.

It was fun to see them making the cookies because they have obviously watched me make cookies hundreds of times and have picked up some of my techniques.

I think some day I will have some very cute assistants for my bakehouse.

IMG_1507Handsome Jacob working on his angel.

IMG_1499Here are the final products from the kid’s hard work.

Hope had her Technicolor tree.

IMG_1492Faith had her pink and purple snowman, reindeer and mitten.

Notice the bite out of the mitten.

She worked up an appetite while decoration.

She looks a bit sad here because moments earlier she had burnt her chin on a hot cookie pan sitting on top of the oven cooling.

She tried to peek over the pan to see what cookies her brothers had made but she was not tall enough and it got her right on the chin.

Poor thing!

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Jude and his gingerbread man, star and Christmas tree.

IMG_1511Jacob made a gingerbread man, angel and a snowman.

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Jonah made an angel, Rudolph and a polar bear with a coat and scarf.

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After cookies the kids of course ate a cookie then got to open their Christmas eve present that is always a new pair of pajamas.

Usually I don’t have any exciting pictures from pajama opening.

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This year was the exception.

Hope really liked her pajamas!

So it was time for the kids to go to bed.

They headed off to rest and Shane and I got to work.

I was busy wrapping and Shane was busy assembling toys.

Once he was done assembling I tossed a toy to him and said “can you wrap this?”

This is what he gave me a few moments later horse wrappingHigh quality wrapping from my hubby.

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All done!

Everything was wrapped and ready to be made a mess of in the morning.

Shane and I headed to bed fully expecting to be awoken early by eager little children.

Well unfortunately I was the first one awake and it was not because I was eager for presents.

I was sick!

Mommy was in the bathroom giving the toilet bowl a lovely Christmas morning hug. UUGHH!

After I fell back asleep Shane and I were woken up by that terrible sound of  sick baby girl.

Shortly after that we had a sick boy.

Needless to say sleep was not going to happen.

Once morning came and everyone was up we still pressed on and enjoyed our Christmas morning.

IMG_1537Still many things to be thankful for!

IMG_1544Hope really liked her new horse.

She snuggled right in with it and did not care to open anything else.

But that changed….

IMG_1554She decided this present thing was pretty cool.

IMG_1555Almost as cool as her.

IMG_1546Faith was very excited for her new crown!IMG_1552Pretty, pretty princess.

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Pretty much all around we had happy kids tearing through their presents.

It is my favorite kind of chaos!

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After opening and playing with the new toys we of course had to see what goodies were in the stockings.

IMG_1564IMG_1559Jonah had to rest on the couch most of the morning so he relaxed while digging through his stocking.

IMG_1565Hope had to work hard to get the goodies at the bottom of the stocking.

IMG_1588Jacob all decked out in his Davy Crockett costume.

This picture makes me giggle.

He said he could not smile because that is how the old pictures looked.

So despite our little bug running its way through our house we managed to have a nice Christmas morning.

We read the Christmas story from scripture, prayed and enjoyed all the gifts we had gotten for each other.

Then of course we rested a lot.

It was a blessed Christmas once again in our home.

Hope it was the same in yours!

Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. ~Psalm 115:1

 

Christmas Tree Hunting November 25, 2012

 I hope all you readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

We enjoyed a quiet dinner with family.

Well, as quiet of a dinner as possible with 5 children, mind you.

After Thanksgiving we got started right away on the preparation for Christmas.

We had lots to do and plenty of food to still burn off so we got to it.

The weather was also warmer so we knew that if we wanted to get the lights up that we better do it soon.

So on Friday we decorated the outside of the house with lights.

I also was able to get all the decorations up inside too.

Love the feeling of Christmas in my house.

We did not go too crazy outside.

After all someone has to take all these down.

On Saturday we headed out towards the town of Meeteetse to meet up with my mom and her husband.

We were going to go on a grand adventure and hunt for the perfect Christmas tree up in the mountains.

After we bought our tree licenses we headed up into the hills.

One of the coolest things that happened on the trip was on the way there we saw a huge herd of elk.

They were being pushed across the field by two whitetail deer.

Roughly 150 elk crossed the road about 100 feet in front of the car.

We rolled the windows down and listened to them.

So amazing!

A great start to our day.

I saw a great view while driving and we stopped for a photo.

Thank you Papa Jim for taking our picture!

Shane laughed at this picture because he said it almost looked like a fake background.

100% real Wyoming folks!

We drove for a little ways more, then stopped and got out to scout around for the perfect Christmas tree.

I thought this huge one was so lovely but Shane disagreed.

Go figure.

We did not find one after hiking around for a while so we stopped and ate a picnic lunch.

The weather was phenomenal!

Not a bad view for Christmas tree shopping right?

Shane and Papa crossed the creek here to go look around and my mom and I stayed to make sure the kids did not take a swim.

The kids kept themselves busy by trying to break ice with rocks.

My mom headed across the creek to go check on a prospect that Papa found.

Turns out it was the tree of her dreams!

So the men cut it down and hauled it back over the creek.

It was a beautiful tree indeed.

I pointed across the creek to show Faith the tree and she was excited…..

very excited!

Now the hunt was on for our tree!

You would think this would be an easy thing in a forest but it is actually not.

Maybe I am too picky but the search continued.

Here is my lovely mother helping me search.

We found a few prospects but nothing that was spectacular.

So we crossed the creek to check out the other side.

This was the picture I took hanging out of my car window as we drove across the creek.

Gotta love 4-wheel drive!

So we came to this area and we were driving slowly down the 2-track.

I saw a perfect tree in the distance and made Shane stop.

I saw that it was big but it was full and had the perfect shape.

We found it!!!

We all loved this one.

We were going to cut 8 feet off the top for our tree and my mother wanted the rest of it to make garland and wreaths so it worked out perfectly!

Loud chainsaw time.

Tiiimmmbbeeerr!

Shane and Papa lugged the tree out and my mom drug her piece out.

I took pictures.

Then I helped my mom.

Priorities.

Time to strap it down.

My big boy helping his daddy.

Faith “loved HER tree.”

Eat your heart out Griswolds!

The kids are pretty proud of their tree.

They hung all their ornaments and made it beautiful!

Such a fun experience.

I know for sure that this will be our new family tradition.

Happy Christmas decorating everyone!!

 

Yellowstone Trip Part 4. (Last but not least) November 14, 2012

Last but not least!

The 4th installment of the Yellowstone trip.

I had to finish it so I could move on to the birthdays we are having around here.

This trip was too beautiful and fun to squeeze into 1 or even 2 posts though.

These pictures are from the last day of our trip.

I was so thankful that the smoke had finally cleared to reveal the beautiful Teton mountains.

Stunning!

There was still a bit of a haze but like I said I was thankful that they were even visible this day.

The days prior the smoke was so thick that you could not see them at all.

Another picture where mean mommy made the kids look into the sun.

After driving around a bit and stopping for an eye searing picture we headed up Signal Mountain to the amazing lookout points.

God’s Country.

These views were absolutely amazing.

You can see the smoke coming up from a new fire too.

The grand Tetons.

From the lookout points the kids enjoyed looking for animals in the binoculars.

Another view from atop Signal Mountain.

I really was in awe of God’s creation at this moment.

My beautiful girls with a beautiful backdrop.

My handsome boys.

I know many of you are gasping at this picture.

No worries it was not a straight drop off.

On the way back down Signal mountain I stopped to capture this picture of Mount Moran.

I also learned that this was my Grandmother’s favorite.

I love learning things like that.

Little tidbits about the ones you love.

Now we were headed to go eat lunch and we found the perfect spot….

Right on the edge of Jenny Lake.

Perfect place for a picnic.

It was also the perfect place for the kids to throw rocks into the water.

They had a blast doing that!

Papa was enjoying it too!

1,2,3 throw!

Then daddy had to get involved too.

It was a fun time for everyone.

Little princess Faith.

Little Princess Hope.

After eating and playing we decided to go on a ferry ride across the beautiful Jenny Lake.

The ferry takes you across and drops you off so you can hike up to the Hidden falls.

The kids really enjoyed the ferry ride.

This was Hope’s first time on a boat.

The view from the boat was again spectacular.

The water was like crystal, clear and shimmering.

So, so beautiful.

Once we got off the ferry we started our hike up to hidden falls.

The boys really enjoy hiking.

The terrain wa pretty rugged in some spots but they did not mind at all.

The bad part was Shane and I had to carry Hope.

Shane did almost all of the carrying up and I did the carrying down.

I almost died….just saying.

Daddy carrying Hope.

She had it easy!

The boys needed a break. I was very glad because I gladly took the break with them.

The scenery was so lovely as we hiked along.

The Hidden Falls.

Well worth the hike.

The kids were ready for a rest but feeling really accomplished for making it to the falls.

Me and my Dad.

Red faced and sweaty from the hike but I still like this picture.

After we took in the sight of the falls we started to head back down to take the ferry ride back.

Jonah and Papa headed back down.

This was such an amazing trip.

We had such a great time and saw some amazing things.

God’s creation is so spectacular!

I felt very blessed to be able to experience this trip with my family.

I cannot wait to go back again and again.

 

Yellowstone Trip Part 3 November 6, 2012

I have to say that while editing the last groups of pictures I realized I have way too many to wrap the series up with part 3.

So yes, you can expect Part 4 to follow in a few days.

This trip was some time ago and I have enjoyed going back and looking through all of my shots.

The beauty of Yellowstone and of the Tetons is breathtaking.

One thing my children really enjoyed was looking for the animals.

We did see a lot of wildlife.

The Ranger gave my children a check list with pictures of all the animals to look for so every time we saw one they got to check one-off of their list.

The first large animal we got to check off  list was the buffalo.

We saw a lot of them!

The kids were excited to see the baby calves.

The next stop we made was to the mud volcano.

This may not look like much but it was actually pretty neat to see.

The ranger that was there giving facts and such about it told us why it smelled so bad. (like rotten eggs)

He even mentioned that some people would gag or pass out from the smell.

We all just thought it smelled like home…..

as in the hot springs here in our home town of Thermopolis.

Not my house itself, that does not smell of rotten eggs.

My children thought the bubbling mud volcano was fantastic.

They thought this was their favorite thing until we walked across the boardwalk a little ways and found this…

It may not look like much but even I will admit it was pretty cool.

If you’re wondering what it is this may help…

It really did seem like a large dragon was in the cave breathing and sloshing around the water.

So as you can imagine the children quickly changed their mind on what was their favorite site at the park.

This even beat out Old Faithful!

Had to share this one.

Not my best picture but man I love that grin Hope has on!

After we stopped to see the mud volcano and the dragon’s mouth cave we left and drove to go get some dinner and to start to head back to the cabin.

It was starting to get darker and we had some very tired little kiddos.

This of course did not stop me from stopping to take some pictures of the beautiful Yellowstone Lake.

So beautiful!

It was starting to get late and my husband decided that I had enough pictures of the lake and insisted we get headed back.

Then just when I thought I would put my camera away…

We came across this beautiful elk!

Just talking a little stroll down the side of the road.

I snapped 2 pictures of it as we drove by.

I was a bit bummed because we had been driving and it was moving in the opposite direction.

Then we came up on another elk.

This was a really great experience for the kids because this elk was very vocal.

The kids got to hear this elk bugle many times.

My dad was actually doing his best elk call and the bull responded!

It was really neat to hear him and see him. (The elk not my dad.)

The kids were so excited to get to check elk off their list!

It was a perfect end to the day.

We did eventually get back to the cabin and we got some much-needed rest.

The next day we did not see any new animals but man oh man did we seem some amazing things.

Check back in a few days to see the amazing sights that we saw!

Post # 4 will be up in a few days.

Promise!

 

 
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