2011. Wow...It's Over?

2011 was a great year for our little family. Little Avery has been growing like a weed.
Here is a picture of Allison & Avery way back in February. YES...Allison STILL gives Avery A LOT of attention on a daily basis.
We were proud of Adam's decision to be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood in March. So glad Papa & the Cowands could join us too.
Grandma Pat came to visit us in the spring. We took everyone over to the Wildlife Prairie Park near Peoria. It was a lovely day & lots of fun. - Especially the HUGE slide!
What a great-looking bunch!
Look! Mommy's a beautiful butterfly!
Watching them feed the Bison.
Park Ranger Adam?
Family Photo Opp...
Cutie Pie!
I think she dressed appropriately for her personality. - She was our guide, complete with map-in-hand.
Adam "riding" the little antelope statue.
We had a great vacation in June. It was a little crazy, when it got moved up & extended by a whole week. We spent almost 2 weeks with our AZ family (including a trip to Disneyland) and another week in UT. Lots of FUN!
The kids especially loved hitting the pool & hot tub with the cousins.
Happy Baby!
Disney was a blast! Especially with lots of people to join in. These are just a few of my favorite pages from my cute Disney book I made after we got home.
We love Grandpa!
The kids had a great time at JumpStreet...Lots of bouncy trampolines & inflatables. The big boys had fun playing trampoline dodge ball too.
It was also fun to go to the new Phoenix Children's Museum. Unfortunately, I had to actually pay admission, but it was fun.
This castle was one of my favorite exhibits...They paint all day with one color, then tomorrow paint with another. The girls thought it was great-fun.
Tricycle car wash--
Probably my personal fave...The Noodle Forest. Very low-tech, simple, but fun.
Allison liked poking the flowers back in the garden after they had all been picked.
More Swimming...
Uncle William 
Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City (more or less).
Everyone needed a drink from the cool lion mouth.
My hatchlings...3 of them anyway.
Spider Princess?
We were able to join in a little reunion for Bryan's Mission. We got to see President Knight & several others from his mission. Adelaide was excited to meet another little girl named Adelaide who was also in 1st grade this year. Fun!
Uncle Greg
Aunt Shelly
Allison & Sharlene making their silly faces.
The girls LOVE uncle Daniel!
We love to take weekend trips to Chicago every so often, when we can get away. This time, we went to the Museum of Science & Industry. There's always lots to do & we all have fun.
Daddy really wanted to see the Body Worlds exhibit, and since we got in free with our local pass, it was very reasonable for his ticket. While he went & did that, the kids and I went to some of the other more kid-friendly areas.
Farmer Adelaide
This would've been a really cute picture of all of my 5 kids, but 1 was throwing a fit after being dragged off the tractor. Can you guess who is missing?
Putting our feet in Lake Michigan. No, really. That's it. I wasn't prepared to swim or play in the sand, but we did want to go see what the "beach" was like. Maybe we'll make it a destination next time.
I was taking a picture of everyone up on the hill & some lady offered to let me get in the picture too. Thank you random Chicago Lady! You took a great picture!
Unfortunately, I only  have 1 boy & 4 girls...Little, young girls. So, many of our activities end up being things the girls like or are able to do relatively independently. This trip, we took the kids to the Legoland Discovery center. Adam LOVES all things Lego, so I knew he'd be totally on board. And I figured there would be plenty for everyone to do.
These are just a few of my favorite shots.
What is it with Keech's & nose-picking? Adam & Einstein and Bryan & Obama
Adam liked that they had several "building challenges". This was his whale for the "underwater" topic.
Back 2 School...
Amelia - 2nd Grade. Adelaide - 1st Grade
Adam - 7th Grade
Allison started another year of preschool.
 Labor Day Picnic...
Adelaide learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.
We had a great time when our playgroup took a field trip to the fire station.
For Trunk or Treat, we had another eclectic bunch. Adam was Finn from Adventure Time. Allison was a Colts Cheerleader (because she saw it at the neighbor's garage sale & HAD to have it).
Adelaide & Amelia were both witches.
I hung around and went trick-or-treating with the kids at preschool. It was quite a walk, and wore those kids out after going out 2X (once with each period).
One of Allison's big-kid buddies.
Mommy & Avery
I let Amelia take my camera out to take a picture of something & she actually went crazy & took a ton of pics, but some of them were actually really great photos...
Baby behind glass.
A little wind blown?
We ended up going to AZ for Thanksgiving for an impromptu visit. The girls were invited by Aunt Jenny to go to a dance class. They LOVED it! It's been 2 months & they still "Barbie walk" or chasse along.
We got to stay with Bryan's brother, who even let me get a photo of him in his uniform.
Adam especially liked going to Grandma's school & seeing a bunch of his old friends. The others enjoyed running around, eating at the Thanksgiving Feast & watching the Talent Show.
 The girls enjoyed Jenny's dance class, but were upset that it wasn't a BALLET class. So, we had a little private lesson while we waited for Thanksgiving Dinner. Even Griffin joined in. - He was pretty good too.
Lots of great company & yummy food...
My kids always cry when it's time to leave. Poor Adelaide just wouldn't be consoled.
Happy Birthday Miss Avery...Can't believe it's been a YEAR!
And of course, we had a great Christmas. There were lots of festivities, but I think we'll maybe post about that in a bit. For Christmas, we just stayed home. And since our Normal peeps had family in town, we pretty much kept to ourselves. It was nice to just kick back & relax at home with the family.

Overall, I do feel like 2011 flew by...Though, in the moment sometimes time seems to CRAWL. I look forward to another year spent living life, trying to make good choices, and teaching my kids to do right.

Some other things I look forward to in 2012:
Amelia will have her baptism in March.
Avery is old enough for nursery in June.
We get to go back to AZ for a wedding in July.
Allison will start Kindergarten in August.


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