Sunday, December 30, 2012

Report on Elder Purcell

Jared is doing really well on his mission. He has been out for 19 months now. He was transferred to Mt. Vernon, IL the end of June. While he was there he was able to find and teach Larry.  He was transferred to Tuscola, IL in September. He was able to find Elissa, or maybe we should say she found them. Jared baptized her on November 17th.  

His district in Mt. Vernon.

Deer visiting his apartment complex.
Elder Cowboy?

During a mission conference, they attended a Cardinals game and went to the arch.
Reunited with Elder Duke. (Never did know why Jared is not wearing a white shirt and tie in this picture.)


These are taken somewhere near Tuscola at an animal refuge or something like that.
Elissa's Baptism!

Last Snow Machine trip of 2012, First trip of this winter

We made a last minute decision on Christmas Eve to go to West Yellowstone on Christmas Day and go snow machining. We couldn't book a Worldmark room, so we booked a room at the Yellowstone Lodge. We packed up and left after we talked to Jared and ate dinner. The Yellowstone Lodge was not as good as Worldmark, but it worked for one night.

Blake and Randy went out by themselves in the morning. It was a winter wonderland and very beautiful!

When they came back, we checked out of the lodge and the four us went out for a little ride. Courtney even got brave enough to do a little bit of riding off the trail. After we got done riding, we ate at Gusher's Pizza, then drove home. It was a fun little trip.

Randy is trying out a new coat, that Blake bought last fall. It certainly is bright. I feel like   Randy on "A Christmas Story", I can't walk or move very good when I get all dressed in my gear, but I do stay pretty warm.

Chirstmas 2012

Chirstmas was very low key this year. Randy and Courtney were the only ones around. It was great that Randy was able to be here all day, instead of working like the last two years. Blake thinks he started a new tradition....going out to eat and shopping on Christmas Eve. I guess it does beat cooking and cleaning. On Christmas morning, we had the traditional Monkey Bread and hot chocolate, then opened our few presents. Of course the highlight of Christmas was talking to Jared! We hooked up a 3 way voice Skype with Brian and Cindy, then put Jared on speaker phone, it worked well most of the time. Everyone could hear and talk to everyone.

Blake is putting the side table he bought for me on Christmas Eve.

Randy and Courtney waiting to open presents. 

Opening presents.

Cindy got us phone cases that have pictures of our grandkids! Love it!

We skyped with Brian a couple of times! This time he was holding two sleeping babies.

Brian and Celia sent some cute pictures on Christmas. 

The best part of Christmas day, talking to Jared!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

From Michigan and Idaho to Texas and Pennsylvania

Brian has been accepted to a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia) school in Erie, Pennsylvania! So, he needed to move his little family from Weatherford, Texas to Erie. Because we are Purcell's, we help each other out whenever we can. So, Cindy flew from Michigan on December 10th to help Brian and Celia pack up all their belongings.
When Celia, Maden and Annie met her at the airport, Maden was wearing a matching Superman shirt. Cindy was there for Brian's last night at work in Weatherford. Maden liked finding some new number cards while Cindy was packing.  She had plenty of time to hug on the two babies.

(I had to include this picture of Annie! Cindy caught a smile!)

December 14th started a flurry of activity. Cindy was flying home, and Randy flew from Idaho Falls to DFW, he got there early afternoon. Brian and Maden took Cindy to the airport, waited around for Randy to get in, then they went to get the truck. There was a huge mix up with the truck, let's just say that it took them about 5 hours to finally get a truck! So, they headed back to Weatherford and started loading the truck with the help of a good friend, Steven Bird. Celia took Annie and went back to DFW to pick up Blake, and then over to Love Field to pick up her dad, Michael, who flew in from Pennsylvania to help with the driving.

Cindy was able to see Randy at his gate just long enough to get a hug, say hi and bye and snap a picture! Maden was really glad to see Randy. It made him happy after having to say goodbye to Cindy. He only likes to pick people up from the airport, not take them back.

On Saturday morning, they finished loading the truck and cleaning the apartment. Then loaded up in the truck, the Escape and the new Mazda 5 and started heading northeast.

Maden wanted to be one of the drivers instead of just a passenger. Randy drove the truck most of the time, with Brian navigating. Blake drove the Escape and Celia and Michael drove the Mazda. It was a long trip! Celia said one time she heard Maden say "it sure takes a long time to get to Erie" followed by a long sigh. The kids got tired some, but were very good travelers.

Blake said this was his view for 3 days. I told him he should not be taking self portraits while he was driving!

Maden was so glad to stop at McDonald's! I think everyone was glad to stretch their legs. Blake even enjoyed some lunch with some state troopers. They were lucky that they only had one small problem with one of the vehicles, and they were able to get it fixed quickly.

The first night they stopped at a Days Inn in Arkansas, somewhere near Little Rock. Maden was so happy to be out of the car! He slept with Blake and fell out of bed twice! The second night, they stayed in a Super 8 someplace north of Louisville, Kentucky. When they stopped for the night, Maden was disappointed that they weren't in Erie yet.

They made it to Erie about 4:00 pm on Monday, December 17. The long days of driving were over! This is the first glimpse of the house they are renting. The house sits on 50 acres of land, 2 of the acres are landscaped and the rest is woods. 

By the time they got the truck unloaded, it was dark. They got the beds put together so they could sleep. Annie found her swing and Maden found some fun magnets that were a surprise for him from the Bird family.

They spent Tuesday and Wednesday helping Brian and Celia get settled in and hugging on the babies!

Making pancakes for the first time in the new house.

This is a "cottage" that is on the property. The landlord let Blake, Randy and Michael stay there. It is about 300 yards from the house. Blake says he thinks the wind has blown some, judging by this tree in their yard.

Blake got permission from the landlord to install a garbage disposal. It was a little more difficult than he anticipated, but with Maden, Randy and Annie helping he got it in and working just fine.

Brian, Celia and Michael went shopping and left Blake and Randy to tend Maden and Annie. I got a text from Blake saying how they wished I was there to help change Annie. They thought the hole in her onesie was too small.  Looks like she survived! 

They went to get Krispy Kreme's twice, went to Texas Roadhouse and went to see where Brian will be going to school.

Brian, Randy and Blake went to see Lake Erie. I think it was a cold blustery day!

On Friday, December 21st Blake and Randy had to fly home. They flew out of Erie with stops in Cleveland and Dallas. Flying is certainly the faster way to get between Erie and Dallas!

Courtney and I picked Randy and Blake up in Salt Lake. We went to dinner at Iggy's and then to Temple Square to see the lights.  We stayed in Layton, then left Saturday morning for home. Courtney and I can't wait until we get to go to Erie to see where Brian and Celia are living, and to get our turn to hug on the babies.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Blake and I flew to Texas for Thanksgiving this year. We knew Brian and Celia were going to be moving to Erie, PA soon and wanted to go to Texas one last time. We flew out of Salt Lake on Thanksgiving morning.
There were beautiful Poinsettias all over the SLC airport. Maden was glad to see us, and Blake was really glad to see him! When you tell Maden to smile, you get this funny cheesy grin.

In the car after leaving the airport, Maden wanted to see my money, we had a pretty good little math lesson as he counted how much money I gave him. We decided that we would go eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, but the lines were too long, or they were not open yet. Maden was happy to just play with rocks outside Texas Roadhouse.

We finally found a Denney's that wasn't crowded and was open, so that's where we had Thanksgiving dinner. It was very good.

Blake got to meet Annie!

Helping Maden ride his bike, and walking and kicking through the leaves.

We took a walk on a pathway near their apartment and threw rocks into the stream.

Blake and Maden found an old car. We went to Steven and April Bird's farm.

Brian, Blake, Celia and Steven shot some skeet.

There are lots of fun things to do at the Bird farm!

We had a great time being with our Grandbabies again!

I'm sure I would have been a better parent if I could have practiced on grandkids first!

Yep, we love being grandparents!

Monday, November 26th came all too soon and we headed back to the airport. On the way there Maden told me he didn't want to go to the airport, he said it makes him sad for us to leave. It makes me sad to leave too, but we are sure glad we got to visit for a few days!