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Ok another school year is halfway gone and I haven't updated this in months--I will definitely work on that soon.  Just have been very busy.  I am also working on getting back into shape again so I thought it might motivate me a little more to add a tracker on here so I stay motivated.  Just started a couple weeks ago and I'm already feeling much stronger and healthier.  Wish me luck!!

And another school year begins...

August 19th, 2010 began a new school year for the girls and another work year for me.  Mikayla started 7th grade at the Middle School and Grace started 4th grade.  I am still working in the office/cafeteria at Grace's elementary school.  After a crazy first day, things settled in a little easier by the second day and hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out.  Mikayla seems to like most of her teachers this year, and her locker was a piece of cake.  Definitely less stress than last year when it was all new to her!  Grace has Mrs Weber, who was also Mikayla's 4th grade teacher and she loves her!  Looking to have a really good year for both of them.

Brady Cousin Camp July 2010

minus Evan and Ryan
The girls were thrilled to attend the 1st Brady Cousin Camp in Galesburg the first week of July.  All 7 cousins were able to attend.  I don't have a lot of pictures since I wasn't there the whole time, but I did witness the lip-syncing entertainment, and went canoeing with everyone on Friday.  The girls had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting to spend time with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that they don't get to see very often.

you can't see Evan hanging out the other side
Alexia & Grace cracking up during their dance/lip-sync
Mikayla and Olivia
Ryan waving to Grammy on the canoe

 Destin, Florida vacation June 19-26th

Girls trying out the water the first day

We headed down to Florida again this year for vacation on June 18th.  After an overnight stay in Tupelo, MS, we arrived at Pineapple Palms in Destin, FL on Saturday the 19th.  The house was a bit different from other homes we have rented for vacation.  It was a lot older, a lot of stairs, and not quite as up-to-date or fancy as the others, but it worked for what we needed and we enjoyed our stay a lot.  I have a lot of pictures, so I figured I would try to put 1 picture for each thing that we did to share a little of the week.  (of course, I might end up putting up more than 1 if I can't decide on the best picture either!)  Between trips to Wal-mart, go-carts & bumper boats, Dolphin Day Camp, Helicopter tours, the beach, playing in the pool, dominoes, and Fudpuckers/Gator Beach we were always busy doing something!  Had to watch out for Willy the 3" cockroach and whatever that was rustling around in the backyard at night, but that just added more excitement!!  We had a good time with the Davis family and the Larson family and I for one, really could go back for another week!!

playing in the ocean
searching for sand crab at night with Uncle Brian
'Girls team' playing volleyball in the pool
Mindy, Mike, and Jo after their helicopter tour
the girls spent a day at Dolphin Day Camp and LOVED it!
Lauren, Mindy, Brian, and Kate on the go-carts
soaking wet after the bumper boats & the rain
Beach Lizard spotted!!
tar balls washing up on the beach on our last day in Florida
got to feed the gators at Fudpuckers
'Pineapple Palms'

Don and Shadow
Grace's softball pics June 2010
Here's a few pictures from early June 2010.  Grace had a good time playing softball again this summer and I loved their tie-dye shirts.  They definately stood out from the other teams.  We went down to Don and Linda's the first weekend in June and rode the horses and played some ball.  It was a good time.
Grace riding Dawn out in the field
4 cousins in the truck

School's out for the summer!! ☺

the 'office posse' for the Westview Talent show
Well we made it through another school year.  The girls ended the year really well. Mikayla had perfect attendance for the entire school year (Grace missed 1 day and was really bummed!).  She also got a medal at their awards ceremony that says "Science Fair Champion" on it.  Grace got a reading award, perfect attendance for the 4th quarter, and the National Physical Fitness award.  They both did really well on their grades and have worked so hard this year.  We are so proud of them!  We have 3 weeks until we head down to Florida, hopefully the oil spill isn't hitting Destin badly yet, but if it has, we can hang out in the pool.  Not too many plans for the summer.  Going to Don and Linda's next weekend to ride horses. The girls are heading to Illinois the first week in July to go to the first ever Brady Cousin's camp.  They are super excited for that.  And I'm sure there will be some trips to Fulton thrown in there too.  Lots of pool time and hanging out with the dogs. (they don't like the heat!!)

Kate's 8th b-day
girls watching presents being unwrapped
I love this picture! Mikayla has created a monster-this is the 1st time he's been on the furniture!

Mile Run

Another mile run has passed by for Grace.  This was actually the first year that she did the mile, previously she has only had to do a half mile.  She did fantastic and got 4th in her class.  Not bad for some short little legs!! ☺

(Check out Mike's page for truck pictures)

Easter egg hunts & Lauren's b-day

12 years old!
Here are a couple pictures from Mikayla's trip to the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair on March 25, 2010.  There were 3 age divisions up to Seniors in High School that participated.  She was so excited to see that she received a silver ribbon for her project. One picture is the group that got to go to Union Station to see their projects (there were only 20 projects chosen, but some were done in groups of 2 or 3 kids).  

Graduating Class Picture--Obedience Level 2

Obedience Level 2 Graduating class
Here is a shot of the whole class (minus Mike--that's the week he had his Wal-mart meetings and was out of town) after "graduation".  Still haven't decided what to take next!!

 Recent Academic Achievements

 The girls have worked really hard lately and have had some great accomplishments in the last month.  Both were on the 2nd Quarter Honor Roll at their schools. Mikayla had to participate in the 6th Grade Science Fair at the Middle School at the beginning of February.  She wanted to do some sort of project involving the dogs, so she tested if an older dog was "smarter" than a younger dog based on how quickly they got a treat out of a toy.  She proved that the old dogs were indeed smarter.  To  top it off, her project was one of 20 chosen to go the the Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair at the end of March!!  We were so excited for her and she was really proud of herself.  Tomorrow Grace gets to participate in Diners Club. Which is when the teacher chooses someone to be recognized and eat with the principals.  Her teacher wrote this about her: "There are a lot of things that make Grace special.  She is always trying her best and has made a lot of progress this year.  Grace is always showing GRR and sets a great example for her friends.  The thing I love most about Grace is her enthusiasm.  She is the first person in the classroom in the morning and ALWAYS has a smile on."  So we have much to be thankful for and to smile about in this dreary cold winter weather!  Great jobs girls!!! 

Grace's 9th Birthday--"Wii Party"

Grace decided to invite a couple girls over for a sleepover for her birthday.  Then the next day Grammy & Papa, and the Davis fam came up and spent the night too.  She really enjoyed her first sleepover and I think the girls all had fun.  We had a really good time Saturday night bowling and golfing and frisbee golfing on the wii.  Mindy killed everyone in 100 pin bowling and Mike was thrilled to see Pop throw the remote in a  little mini temper tantrum (he thought he was the only one who did that!).  On Sunday Mary, Dick, and the Larson Family joined us for some cake and ice cream and some more Wii fun.  We had a great time and enjoyed having everyone come up to visit.
sports cake
decorating cupcakes at the sleepover
Wii Ski and Snowboard
Three Generations of girls
Grace getting beat by Grammy in Basketball

Puppygarten Graduation was Jan. 19, 2010.  The pups each had to pass a "final" test that included: Sit, loose leash walking, leave-it, down, wait, watch me, sitting for a nail trim, come, then a proper greeting (sitting before being petted by the trainer).  All the dogs in the class passed and did a great job.  I'll try to include video of Maverick and Goose going through their test soon.  After the test they had to have their picture taken with their cap on.  Neither is too thrilled with something on their head but they suffered through it.  =)  Next week we are signed up to take the next level of classes which is more of the same, but adding in more distractions and harder elements.  It's very entertaining and  the whole family really gets involved. 

Christmas continued...

Headed to Fulton for the first weekend of 2010.  We had a great time and the dogs were fairly well behaved.  It was nice to see everyone and we had a lot of fun just chilling out talking. Might try to put some video on here too if I get that figured out.  Took a lot of footage of opening presents and trying to figure out the snuggie that wasn't a snuggie!  Good times!
3 stooges
group picture
Maverick has lost his dignity
time for some reindeer games

Christmas 2009

Hard to believe I started this site 2 years ago after that Christmas.  Time sure flies!  We were home to celebrate Christmas this year. Mike had to close the store down at 8pm and be back there the day after Christmas early.  Once again, the girls were up way too early, but we didn't open presents til about 5:30am.  Grace got the pull-up bar for her doorway that she wanted and Mikayla got the printer/scanner for their laptop that she had asked for.  The animals got some new toys.  Mike got some clothes and a tennis ball launcher that he wants to teach the dogs to use, and I got everything that I had asked for.  We also had a white Christmas with the arrival of a foot or two of snow.  The puppies absolutely love playing in the snow.  That is definately their element!  We go to Fulton on Friday to do another Christmas, so there will be more pics from that.  So far it has been a very relaxing Christmas break.  It's going to be tough going back to school and work on Jan. 4th!!
Grace's class christmas party
6th Grade 2nd Quarter Choir
Here's a few pics from December.  Mikayla had a 6th grade choir concert that was rescheduled due to our snow day.  It was cute and they did a good job.  I have video but I think she'd kill me if I put it on here. =)  Grace had her class christmas party before winter break.  This picture is from one of the games they played--a word scramble kind of thing.  Her team was really good at this game and won almost every round.  She had a good time.
'jazz hands'

November Happenings

Once again, Mikayla got to spread her birthday out thoughout November.  On the 14th we went to Fulton and did a party there, then the next weekend she had a sleepover with some friends at our house, then Casey made her and Alexia a cake at Thanksgiving for their b-day that week.  She had a great time at all 3 events.  Thanksgiving was a good time as well.  The girls and I drove up to Illinois again.  Got to meet Casey's friend, Kimo and Wade's girlfriend, Rhonda, and her daughter Patricia.  Thankfully no one took a picture when I was playing twister (believe me it wasn't pretty!!).  It was a really nice time except for Mike not being able to come again.  (Wretched Wal-mart--oh well, something has to pay the bills)
the cousins with the 1st cake
sleepover and cupcakes

Grace's Volleyball Team

We finally got Grace's team pictures back from Parks and Rec. Volleyball.  Their team did really well and won most (if not all) of their games.  She had a lot of fun and it was a really great learning experience for her.  And her pictures turned out pretty cute too!! =)

Halloween Fun 2009

Halloween stretched out over a couple days for us this year.  Thursday was the Elementary School's parties and then Saturday was Halloween, so we dressed up a couple times.  The office staff decided to do a Wizard of Oz theme, so I gladly jumped at the chance to be the Wicked Witch (I knew Mindy had a black witch costume from last year, so I just had to add the green paint).  Everyone's costumes were really cute and it was definately entertaining.  Neal and Denean came up for the weekend so they got to go to Grace's last volleyball game.  We threw together a 5 minute costume for Denean to wear and she and I took Grace around the neighborhood trick-or-treating.  Mikayla and Neal stayed behind to pass out candy.  (I passed on dressing up again this time around, it was more fun to see Denean get all the double-takes!).  It was a nice relaxing Halloween weekend. Now I need to start my diet to counter all the pre-Halloween candy that I saved everyone else from eating!!
Westview Elementary Office Staff
Denean, Grace, & Mikayla

New Puppy pics on pets page...

CHECK OUT MY PAGE (MIKAYLAS) page and graces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boy are we crazy or what?

Well the girls got their christmas present early.  They told us that if they got a puppy they wouldn't want anything else for christmas.  So we had to go one better and get 2 puppies!  They are Bernese Mountain Dogs and are 7 weeks old.  Brother and Sister will get to be close to 100 pounds or so when they are full grown.  Their names are Maverick and Goose (as our vet says "you can't go wrong with Top Gun!!).  Yes, Goose is a girl, but I don't think she'll know the difference. They are sweethearts and not too bad about whining for their mama.  Working on getting them housebroken so that they can go both in and out.  Bubba doesn't have much use for them and Toby really isn't thrilled but neither one is doing too bad with them.  They both hissed and growled and that was about it.  Just what we needed, a little more excitement in our house!  =)

***New postings on Mike's page-be sure to check it out***

Mikayla's 1st day of Middle School
Grace's 1st day of 3rd Grade

Back to School Again...

Having my 33rd birthday on the first day of school this year didn't make me feel old, but I think Mikayla starting 6th grade at the Middle School made me feel pretty old.  Can't believe I already have a daughter in 6th grade.  Time flies!!  And for Grace to already be in 3rd grade is pretty wild too.  School has started out pretty well so far this year.  Mikayla only had a couple problems getting her locker open the first 2 days, but I know as she gets more confident and slows down a little, it will get easier.  She seems to be looking forward to Computer Science this first quarter and mentioned that she likes her math teacher a lot too. So that's all positive.  Grace has a teacher that is new to teaching, but seems to be really nice and hopefully the year will go smoothly for both of them.  I'm still working at the Elementary School taking lunch money and working in the office, so it was back to work for me too.

Our summer vacation...

the whole gang
11 of us headed down to Foley, AL on June 20, 2009.  Mindy, Kris, & Lauren, Mike & I and the girls, Casey, Alexia, & Trevor, and Neal.  Denean joined us on Tuesday night after her plane landed from Costa Rica.  We spent 3 different days at the beach, rode the ferry from Fort Morgan to Dauphin Island, saw the Blue Angels practice in Pensacola, went to the Aviation Museum, saw Transformers 2, shopped, and played in the pool.  We had a great time down there and had a really fun group.  Already ready for another vacation and we haven't even been back a day!  =)


Grace decided to play softball with parks and rec this year.  She's had 2 games so far and her team (the Smashers) has already shown a lot of improvement.  They lost the first game, but Grace scored a run. The second game they won!  yah!  It's a lot of fun to watch.  Mike had to play 1st base coach at the second game and I got the kids in their batting order.  Grace is really enjoying it.  1st base is her spot.  She's a magnet for that ball.
Captain's coin toss

The first week of June we loaded everyone up and headed down to Don & Linda's house for a little fun and food.  We got to ride the horses, played softball, and then shot a few guns.  Mike just had to shoot the watermelon!  It was a great day down in Rolla.  The girls were all exhausted by the time we made it home.  Thanks Don & Linda!
Jo & Lauren on Dawn
Grace on Dawn, riding by herself for the first time!!
Hey guys, lets blow this up!
Jo on Thunder
the softball game

More May Happenings

The middle of May had us going to Illinois for a going away/birthday party for my sister Natalie.  She was turning 21 and had decided she wanted to go on a mission for the church.  She had a couple weeks before she was to report to the missionary training center so we were all able to see her before she is gone for a year and a half.  Right after that weekend, we had our last week of school.  It was packed full of events.  The girls both had an awards assembly.  Grace got a reading award and a Grr Award (for excellent behavior).  Mikayla got a reading award, grr award, A/B Honor Roll (she had all A's except for 1 B, yah!!), and a special award from the PE teacher for showing a lot of improvement and exceptional sportsmanship throughout her years at Westview.  This award was really cool because only about 15 5th graders recieved it, so it was kind of an honor to be picked.  I was so proud of the girls efforts this year, they both drastically improved academically and really enjoyed their year. The last of May had us going back to Illinois again for a high school graduation party/going away party for Mitch.  He has enlisted in the Marines and reports to San Diego for basic training in the middle of June.  The party was with 3 other band geeks (JUST KIDDING MITCH!) who he has been friends with for a while, so it meant more to all of them.  It was a good time and great to make it back to see him before he leaves.

May-Kate's "groovy" birthday

The first weekend in May brought Kate's birthday party.  She went with the 70's theme this year.  The girls decorated t-shirts and tie-dyed pillowcases.  They all turned out really cool.  Luckily the weather turned out to be decent that weekend, so they all got to play outside a lot too.

April--Lauren's Birthday

The girls and I went to Lauren's Birthday party in April.  They went to the opening night of the Hannah Montana Movie.  It was crazy!  Totally packed theater since there was no school either.  The girls had a lot of fun and really enjoyed themselves.

More March happenings...

The last weekend in March brought us a fluke mini-blizzard.  The girls looked outside and saw how huge the snowflakes were and couldn't resist running outside to play in it.  The flakes were like big cotton balls coming down.  Thankfully the next day was warm enough to melt most of it away and we didn't really get affected by the snow too much. 

Also at the end of March, Grace participated in the Jump Rope for Heart at the school to raise money for the American Heart Association.  They jumped for an hour and a 1/2 and the group raised over $6000.  It was a worthy cause, and I was proud of her for participating.

Denean's Birthday Party

We celebrated Denean's 26th Birthday in March.  She wanted to have Maryland Blue Crab for her birthday, so they had some ordered and sent in.  (There were enough crab to feed an army!)  I was disappointed because they weren't blue.  Denean swears that they are blue before they are steamed.  The girls got a kick out of dancing with the crab and beating them with the mallet to crack the shells.  It was a fun time and we enjoyed the celebration.

National Tiger Sanctuary in Bloomsdale, MO

Friday, March 13th, Denean took the girls and I to one of her favorite little places, the National Tiger Sanctuary outside of St. Louis.  It was very neat to go see close-up the tigers (and one cougar) that they have saved from homes and shelters where they were not treated as they should.  I really enjoyed this little outing and the girls did also.  Grace fell in love with their Great Pyranees, Zeus.  She wasnted to take him home.  =)  For more information visit:

Vincent-700 lbs. of Love

The girls got to carry the buckets of meat for the tigers at feeding time.  It was pretty amazing watching them scarf down giant chunks of meat. 

T.J. the white tiger


Grace's 8th Birthday Weekend

Grace had a really great birthday weekend again this year.  We decided to bowl again since the adults all seemed to enjoy it last year as well as the kids.  Neal, Denean, Mindy, Kris and Lauren all came up Friday and stayed til Sunday.  Mom, Pop, and Mitch came Saturday and stayed til Sunday.  Mary, Dick, Cindy, Brian, and Kate all drove up Sunday.  Don and Linda drove up Saturday and stayed in a hotel Sat. night and came over Sunday morning for the party in the afternoon.  We all were very entertained by everyone's antics on the Wii.  I liked the pics of Neal doing Dance Dance Revolution (Mitch was much better than Neal!). The picture of Mitch and Mikayla boxing cracked me up too.  Mikayla gave Mitch a run for his money!  I think Brian ended up with the highest bowling score, followed by Mikayla (she doesn't get to use bumpers next time we bowl!)  Grace got some great presents that she really loves.  She picked the Mexican Grey Wolf for the endangered species that she wanted to adopt from WWF. She's already filled her mp3 player, played with benderoos, the bratz pets, and the "family guess who?" game.  All in all, it was a very nice weekend and we loved having a full house.  Thanks everyone

Christmas 2008

With all the crazy schedules this year, we had a drawn out Christmas holiday.  The girls and I went to Columbia & Fulton the weekend before Christmas.  Got to see Neal & Denean and then go spend time with Mike's side.  The girls exchanged presents with Kate and Lauren Sat. afternoon, then on Monday before we left they opened presents from Grandma and Dick.  Then on Christmas morning (if you look out the window behind Mikayla you notice it's pitch black outside--that's because it was 4:45 IN THE MORNING!!!) we got up and opened all the presents from each other and Santa.  The family got a Wii which is really a lot of fun.  I think the girls and I have all logged in a ton of hours on it already!  They both wanted roller skates, real ones, not inline and have also spent a lot of time wearing those around the house and skating around the garage.  The day after Christmas, some packages came in the mail, so there were a few more things to open.  Then on Sat. and Sunday we were back in Fulton to have Christmas with Mike's Dad and Linda.  It was a nice weekend and a good wrap up to the holiday.  Thank you everyone for the great gifts.  Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas Season!  Back to school on Jan. 5th.  I got offered a permanent job at the girl's school starting on the 5th so I will be going back then also.  Break is going way too fast for me!! 

These were just a few random pics that I wanted to pass on.  It's just not Christmas unless you have a fat cat dressed up in an angel costume under your tree!  The family picture is not the one that we are using for our christmas card but it cracked me up.  The girls really wanted to have both Bubba and Toby in our christmas pic, but right when the camera went off, Toby ran off and was hateful (couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he had to wear an angel costume earlier!) and Bubba ran to smell the tripod or something.  What a cluster! Needless to say, there are no animals in the picture going out with our cards!!  I really like the picture of the girls by themselves.  They were messing with the camera when I was making dinner and using the timer to take pictures of themselves and that one turned out great!


We had a fantastic Thanksgiving celebration this year.  All the "Brady Kids" were able to make it to Illinois for a few days.  The only one missing from the big group picture is Mike.  He had to work all week and with the Black Friday sales, just couldn't get away (I really need to learn how to photoshop him into pictures!).  Casey made a cake for Alexia and Mikayla who have birthdays just 2 days apart.  Everyone had fun making fondant underwater creatures to put on top.  It was great to finally meet 5 month old, Ryan, and see how 2 year old, Evan, has grown in the past year.  It was also Grandpa and Grandma Dyer's 60th wedding anniversary so close to 60 relatives from the Dyer, McKillip, and Carroll sides of the family were able to come and enjoy the day. There was lots of food, game-playing and catching up with one another (Pop even managed to get a nap or 2 in!!).  I really enjoyed myself and despite all 3 of us from this house catching the stomach flu (I think Mitchell started it!!) it was definately worth the trip north.  I was so happy to see everyone and get to spend a little time with everybody!! 

Mikayla and Mary's Early birthday party

We decided to celebrate Mikayla's 11th birthday early because it's on Thanksgiving again this year and that just doesn't work well with Mike's schedule.  It also was close to Mary's birthday so they happily shared a cake a few days early.  It was a nice time with the group that could make it.  I think the adults enjoyed "jungle bingo" as much as the kids did!!  Everyone managed to win at least one prize.  Mike broke his finger trying to catch the Davis family dog, Lilly, and Neal and Denean's car got egged by some kids that vadalized the neighborhood overnight.  Good Times!!  Mikayla really enjoyed her party and loves her gifts.  Thanks to all!  (the picture of Mike, Kris, and Toby sleeping on the couch just cracked me up, so I had to include it--the after-party naps)

Halloween 2008

Mikayla, as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, complete with Crookshanks the cat.  Grace as a witch (and she just had to carry a broom!)  Our kids love their accessories!  The girls could wear their costumes to school on Halloween and I helped with Mikayla's 5th grade class party.  After they got out at noon on Friday, we quickly drove down to Cindy's for the Larson Halloween Party.  Busy Day!!

When we made it to Fulton, we quickly changed into costumes and went downtown for the business trick-or-treating.  This year was a lot of fun, because the adults all dressed up too.  I love Halloween so this was a nice treat.  Grace was thrilled to be one of the 4 witches.  Cindy, with the blonde wig, Mindy, all in black, and Donna, Brian's mom, is in the center.  The kids at the party judged the costume contest and picked the winners from the adults that dressed up.  Brian, an alien, was the scariest; Mary, raggedy-ann, was the cutest; Farmer Kris was the funniest; and Mindy and I tied for the best costume (I think mindy's was better than mine!).  Personally, I think Dick should have won the award for having the most fun with his costume.  He was dressed as Dr. Benjamin Over and managed to greet most of us with a hand covered in KY Jelly.  Disgusting!  I will admit that he got me good, just remember what they say about paybacks!!  The kids all had a good time and really enjoyed the party.  Thanks Larson family and everyone else that put so much work into the preparations!  It was a good time for all.

2008 Homecoming Parade

The Homecoming parade was on Friday, October 10th.  The girls (and I) were on the PAWS float (Elementary School PTO).  We ended up with 2 trailers packed full of kids, right at 100 students.  Since I am the PAWS President, I somehow ended up chaperoning and corralling all these kids.  It was a beautiful day and not bad at all for a parade.  The kids all had a good time throwing candy and yelling, but I'm glad spirit week is over!  It was a long week for me.

The last port and the final sea days

This bunch of pictures is from Cabo San Lucas and from the last couple days at sea.  I have tons more pictures, but figured I wouldn't bore you with them all.  I might throw on some more if I get them all sorted, but this gives you an idea of our week.

more cruise pictures

Here are some more cruise pics.  These are from the first 2 ports.  I still have the last couple days to add on.  The last pictures on the Mazatlan slideshow are of the pod of dolphins that were playing alongside our boat.  They were so neat to watch, but very hard to get pictures of.  The fishing was cool because all 6 of us on our boat caught a mahi mahi.


Well we made it home from our first cruise and both of us really enjoyed it.  (I'm already looking at cruises for next May or June to take the girls on one to the Caribbean, if anyone wants to start saving their money!).  We sailed out of Long Beach, California on Sunday, Sept. 14th on the Carnival Pride.  It was just Mike and I and our friend, Wayne.  We had a balcony stateroom on the 7th floor, which is pretty high up on the ship, since there was only 1 more level of rooms above us.  We absolutely loved the balcony!  We slept with the door propped open every night and listened to the waves as we fell asleep.  The picture of Mike by himself is on our balcony.  I always felt the motion of the ship, but neither Mike nor I felt sick on it at all.  These first pictures are from the 1st and 2nd days.  The Captain's Cocktail party was on the 2nd day and we danced up on the stage of the main auditorium.  Everyone cleans up ok, don't we?!  We would have a towel animal in our stateroom every night made by our Romanian room steward(ess), Felicia.  She was great.  I thought the bunny was cute.  Many more pictures to come.  I have a bunch to sort through! 

The girls finally got to go to Grammy and Papa's house this year at the end of August.  Natalie was visiting from BYU for a week, so after school we made the trek over to Illinois.  On Friday night, we stopped in Nauvoo to see the BYU a cappella group, Vocal Point perform.  It was a good show and I think everyone enjoyed it.  Mikayla had all 9 of the guys sign her casts so she got a little souvineer from the night.  On Saturday, mom had a booth set up at the mall for a back-to-school thing that was going on.  She had all her monarch information and stuff for KCAP.  The girls got to feed a butterfly and made caterpillars out of marshmallows and pretzels.  They spent the rest of the time playing with the cats and running around outside.  They were filthy, but enjoyed it a lot. 

Neal and Denean's new puppy, Nova

Saturday, we went with Neal and Denean to northern Missouri to pick up their new Siberian Husky puppy.  They named her Nova.  She is the redder puppy in the picture of the two dogs.  The breeders met us at a park and they also were meeting someone else, so we got to see their puppy also.  He was a little more wild and crazy, Nova has been pretty calm for the first couple days.  They just moved into a new duplex so they get to puppy train as they unpack, lots of fun!  But she is very cute and will be lots of fun for them.


Mikayla and Grace started school on Aug. 14th.  (Gets earlier every year!)  Mikayla is in 5th grade and Grace is in 2nd.  They were pretty ready to go back, I think.  They had both met their teachers and really liked them, so that helped ease most of the nervousness.  I took them this morning, but they are going to ride the bus home tonight.  (I'll meet them at the bus stop, though, to help Mikayla get off the bus easier).  Hopefully they'll have a good day today and it will be the start of a good year for both of them.  You can see Mikayla's new black and yellow casts in the picture too.

Mikayla's swimming attempt

Mikayla had her waterproof casts put on and was just dying to get in the pool.  The dr. warned us that the fiberglass casts can makes holes in a pool liner, so we covered them up with a couple of mike's biggest socks.  She was so happy to be able to get in the water!  Having the casts on gave her quite a workout.  She attempted to swim across the pool and she was breathing heavy by the time she made it across.  She will have a full 3 weeks in these casts, then will probably have to have some physical therapy after they come off to try to get her leg strength back.  The 3 small incisions in the back of each leg are all healed.  She was able to roll her ankles around when they cut the old casts off and put them flat on the exam table.  So, it's going ok.  She's just ready to have them off and be done with it!!

Chad, Rana, Ayden, & Monster's quick visit

As the Nall family were passing through Kansas City on their way home from Galesburg, they stopped by for about an hour so I got to see Ayden.  He is such a good baby.  And looks much older than the 9 weeks that he is.  Rana and Chad are really enjoying him. (can't you tell that Mikayla just LOVES babies!!  HA) The girls got a kick out of seeing Monster, their giant schnuazer.  That crazy dog cracks me up.  Now Grace isn't exactly tall-but he is a big dog!! 

Mikayla's Surgery

Mikayla had surgery on her achilles tendons on July 16th.  She has walked on her tiptoes since she was around 5 years old, but it has gotten progressively worse and the last year was really bad.  She couldn't put her left foot down flat without it pulling very tightly on her heel.  Her surgeon advised doing the heel cord releases on both legs, because it would probably need to be done eventually on the right leg also.  She did really well with the surgery.  Her Doc was thrilled when she said she wanted one blue and one yellow cast.  He is a University of Michigan alumni so he made someone run to the clinic near the hospital to get yellow gauze so she could have both colors.  Blue is her favorite color and she's always liked yellow for Pikachu the Pokemon!  The picture is already old because she and grace have been drawing on them this morning.  She'll be in these casts for 3 weeks, then will be in a waterproof cast for the last 3 weeks.  She does have the little velcro shoes that strap to the bottom of the casts so she can walk on them.  Right now, she's giving me a good workout carrying her from the bathroom, to the couch, to the bed, and back again.  It'll be an interesting end to the summer!

here is Mikayla up on her toes in May

Mikayla at the hospital before surgery.  can't believe she was actually still smiling!

here's one with the drawings on the casts

Father's Day Party (a week later)

On Sunday, June 22nd 17 people crammed into our little house to celebrate a belated father's day.  We grilled, swam, and had a lot of fun.  Lauren wanted to have the dads get into a little friendly competition, so she came up with a few games for them to participate in.  I personally enjoyed the hair-braiding event (which was won by Richard).  The dads are never real thrilled to do it-but hey, it's entertaining for the rest of us!!  Thanks to everyone who made it up here!

 We had a great time on Friday the 4th of July.  Denean had caught the fireworks bug, so she and Neal drove up again so that they would have somewhere to light theirs off at.  She ended up with a nice variety to set off.  About 2 houses down we got a major show.  They had a huge display that lasted for hours!  They even blew up a bucket a few times and we even saw a guitar go flying up in the air on top of a firework.  It was hilarious.  We thought they'd end up in the ER before the night was over, but I think everyone managed to survive.  After watching most of the neighborhood shoot theirs off, Denean decided to set off the ones she got at about 10:15pm.  They played with sparklers, then set off the bigger stuff.  We were all wrapped up by 10:30 and as we were cleaning up we were the ones to get a complaint called in and a visit from the city's finest!!!  What a joke!  There were all these massive (and most likely illegal without a permit) fireworks going on around us and we were the ones with the whiney neighbors!!  Not that it really mattered, we were done anyway, it was just the point.  We did continue to hear random fireworks until 2am.  It was a lot of fun, but could have been better if Grace wouldn't have picked up a stomach bug.  She was sick in the house for most of the night.  Can't wait til next year!!

Ryan Philip Hansen

A new cousin for the girls!!  My sister Megan had her 2nd son on June 17th.  I thought it was pretty wild that both Ryan and Ayden (Rana's) were exactly 7lbs. 14oz.  Ryan was 21" long though and Ayden was 19 3/4".  Still pretty weird!!  Megan says that they are doing great, she's pretty worn out with 2 little ones, but I'm sure they'll settle into a routine shortly.  Evan will be 2 in October so she has her hands full.  Can't wait to see the little guy (and Evan too-haven't seen him since Thanksgiving 07).  Congrats Megan and Oliver!!

Ayden Nall

Ayden Nall was born June 2nd.  He was 7lbs. 14oz. and 19 3/4" long.  For those that don't know, his mom Rana is one of my best friends, who I have known almost my entire life.  Can't wait to go see him in person.  Isn't he a cutie?!


Today the girls and I got to go to the library to watch a presentation by the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge from Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Turpentine Creek is one of the very few USDA licensed facilities for large carnivores in the US.  They rescue neglected or unwanted "big cats" and provide them with a safe home in a caring environment.  They are on a 450 acre ranch in Arkansas.  It was very cool.  They had brought with them a black leopard and a spotted leopard to show the kids, as well as a video of many of the other animals on the ranch.  If I can make it down to visit Rana and Ayden (born June 2nd) in Arkansas, this would be a great side-trip for us since it is very close to Rana's home.  It was really neat though, and if anyone wants to check out their website it is   Take a look!

4th Qtr. Awards Assembly






                                                               Mikayla and her 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Weber.  Mikayla absolutely loved her as a teacher!  She finished her year out pretty strong with good grades.


Grace got a reading award and a citizenship award.  She will really miss Ms. Haskell, her teacher, since she has had her for the last 2 years.


Rana and Chad's Baby Shower

Sunday, May 11th, I went to Galesburg for Rana and Chad's baby shower for the baby due in June.  It was so nice to see my parents and Mitch, as well as Rana's family, most of whom I hadn't seen in years.  Rana is looking great and they are both excited about the arrival of the baby.  Neither one has ever changed a diaper or made a bottle up, so they are in for some big changes in their lives.  I know they'll do great. 

Kate's 6th Birthday

Kate's 6th birthday party was held May 10th.  She wanted to have a campout with a bonfire and smore's.  The girls had a lot of fun.  Weather moved the campout to the basement, but they still got to roast hot dogs, make smore's and have a good time. 

Grace's 1/2 Mile Run

  May 1st was the day that the school ran their mile and 1/2 mile runs for the presidents physical fitness program.  Grace had to run the 1/2 mile.  She did great!  She was 4th in her class, and the 1st girl in her class to finish.  She's little but she's quick!!  I didn't get a picture of her when she was running, so I snapped one when she was sitting with her class in the stands after the run.  We were really proud of her.  Mikayla was happy that she got to miss out on her mile run.  She had a doctor's excuse because it hurts her ankles to run that far right now (next year she better be back at it again).

Meet Jolene

Mike was giving me a hard time for not putting his baby on the website, so here she is.  This is our 2007 Saturn Sky Convertible.  We bought it last August and we love it (as everyone who has seen us with it knows).  She's already been in a Homecoming parade carrying the homecoming queen.  We are more than ready for some nice weather to get it out all the time.  And if you ask Mike he says that this is Jo's car, but we all know what he really believes!!

Lauren's 10th Birthday

On April 4th, we traveled to Lauren's house for her birthday party.  The cousins +a few other guests had a lot of fun.  They made dolphin sand art, threw darts at balloons and played outside most of the day.  The adults got to watch the Davis men trying to control a smoke-filled grill and just enjoyed the beautiful weather.  It was a great day and everyone enjoyed themselves.

1st Grade Spring Music Program

    On March 27th, the 1st graders had their spring music program.  It was very cute.  Grace-our little shorty-got to be in the front row, as usual.  But that just makes it easy to see her!  She liked to sing the song about weeds growing because of "Daddy not liking weeds!". 

4th Grade trip to the Arabia Steamboat Museum in KC

   On February 29th, Mikayla and the 4th graders took a field trip to the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City.  The Arabia Steamboat hit a huge tree trunk in 1856 on the Missouri River north of KC.  It was finally found in 1988 and was full of 220 tons of cargo that was nearly all in unbroken condition.  They have spent the years since the discovery restoring the cargo to its original state and have made the museum to house all the items.  It was very interesting and on a side note it had ties to the Mormon Migration to Utah.  Just weeks before sinking, it carried 2 large companies of Latter-Day Saints upriver from St. Louis to join LDS handcart and wagon companies rolling west.  On the trip when it sank, there were no mormons aboard, but even so all 130 passengers survived.  One of the better field trips that I have chaperoned!

Mikayla's Famous Missourian Project

For a 4th grade project Mikayla had to make a "bio-bottle" and do an oral report of a famous Missourian.  She picked James Cash Penney (or JC Penney).   They did research online and then had to make a bust of their person on top of a 2 liter bottle.  Mike helped out with the dremel to shape the styrofoam head.  It was a fun project and she actually enjoyed doing it!

Grace's 7th Birthday Party

This year for her birthday, Grace decided she wanted to have a bowling party.  She didn't really care about inviting any kids from her class, she just wanted to have as much family come as possible.  We had a great turnout.  Rhonda, Larry, and Mitch came from Illinois; Don & Linda came from Rolla; Denean came from Columbia; and Mary, Kris, Mindy, Lauren, Cindy, Brian, and Kate all came from Fulton. Everyone but Jo and Linda bowled.  It was a really good time and I think everyone had fun.  The old guys showed up the young guys in the "serious game", but Mike swears he's going to go bowling in all his spare time so next time he can show them up and let Mindy see her "turkey".  Grace got a lot of great gifts and has spent the past few days playing with everything.  This was Denean's first experience with this wild bunch and got inducted quickly into the family with a makeover by the girls.  She looked great!!  =)  Thanks everyone for making the trek up north!!  

Girls receive awards at Elementary Awards Assembly

    Today, Jan. 11th,  I went to the elementary school for the 2nd quarter awards assembly.  Mikayla received perfect attendance, a reading award, citizenship award, and Honor Roll (yeah!!). Grace received perfect attendance, a reading award, and the citizenship award (her grade doesn't do honor roll).  They have done a really great job so far this year and I'm very proud of them.

Christmas Day 2007

   This year we were home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day which was quite a change from the past few years.  The girls let us sleep in until 6am which wasn't too bad.  Grace was thrilled with her BIG pink guitar, the mp3 player from Alexia, a skateboard, Disney Scene It 2, and a bunch of other things.  Mikayla really liked the Dolphinz game for her DS, some pokemon figures, walkie-talkies, the new Life game from Uncle Neal, and of course, a bunch of other stuff.

     Mike had already gotten his big present, a 47" LCD tv for the living room.  He mounted the "little" 42" plasma tv on the bedroom wall so now our room looks like a drive-in theater!  Just kidding-it really is cool-I just like to give him a hard time.  On christmas he also got this heavy-duty meat/cheese slicer, a shirt, Risk Transformers Edition, and a mug with the girl's picture on it.

     I had also already gotten my big present, a new digital camera (neither one of us are very good at waiting!).  Mike and the girls also got me a tripod, some living room throws, p.j.'s, cookie sheets, this really neat mini lighting studio that is good for taking pictures of ebay items to sell.  I also love the paper shredder from Mitch-that crazy thing could probably grind a finger!

     We had a very relaxing day-playing games and just enjoying the time together.

Our 2nd Christmas--Dec. 29th

       We did our 2nd christmas down in Fulton with the whole crazy bunch there on Sat. Dec. 29th.  Everyone gathered at Mindy and Kris' house for tons of food, presents, and fun.  There were 19 people there throughout the day.  It was a lot of fun and we had a great time.  I loved my folding griddle and gift card from Rachel and the homemade dishrags from Linda and her mom, Lil.  Mike's car cover for the Sky fits great and helps keep the dust off.  And of course he was pleased with the crown from Dick.  Mikayla hasn't put down the Drawn To Life game for her DS and Grace really likes the Horsez game for her DS (ok-I admit-I have played it more than she has-but she goes to bed earlier than I do!!).  Everyone cracked up at Mary's "box cooler" for the leftovers out on the back porch.  The 4 girls put on a show for us with their guitars that they had all gotten (led by Uncle Brian who gave a great rendition of the "Tooth Fairy Song").  We had a very nice time, ate too much, and laughed a lot.  Thanks Mindy and Kris for putting up with us for 3 days and having everyone there at your house!