Monday, June 30, 2008


A couple weeks ago we went camping with several friends that have kids the same ages as ours. It's the first time we've tried it since Hayley was a toddler and was our only child. I had no idea how it was going to go....but it was so fun! I want to go again! Kids are just so happy when left to wander in the great outdoors and get as dirty as they want. They all slept great which made us happy. And since the camp site could be deemed as "luxury" I was comfy, pretty clean and very happy!

Just to document how comfortable we were...we somehow filled our van to overflowing even though we only stayed for one night!

We pitched our tent on grass that had been mowed! (so much cleaner than dirt!) The deer were so tame they wandered around eating just yards from our tent. The kids had fun watching. I guess there were bears wandering around too but we didn't see any.

The first thing Maya said when she woke up in the morning was "I camped!" She was so excited that she dragged her sleeping bag and pillow outside on the grass and played "camping" all morning while we ate breakfast and the other kids ran around playing.

Hayley with her friend, Scout & Claire and their little caterpillar.

The next day we went on a long, steep hike down to a waterfall. It was hot and did I mention steep? I couldn't believe Hayley and Maya made it down and back up. The picture of all of us above (with two tired girls) was when we got to the waterfall at the bottom...we hadn't even started the hard part yet! They were tired but we just went slow because there was no way anyone but Alice was hitching a free ride! We drove a couple hours home right after so all were nice and worn out for the ride home...perfect!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

G-ma Thiriot's Visit

My Mom stopped in VA for a few days to visit on her way back to England. She's spent the last month in Utah helping my sister Nancy with her new baby. We were so excited to see her for a few days! Thanks to Grandpa and the kids at home for sacrificing an extra week so we could get some hugs and kisses from Grandma!

Grandma read lots of books, colored, played games, watched the kids play in the paddle pool, made gingerbread-men cookies (with a funny and memorable explosion of dough...oops!)

We flew a Strawberry Shortcake kite at the flew so well!

Hayley has inherited a love of foot massages from both of her Grandma's. She loves to give them footrubs when they come to visit...welcome to Spa Messick!

A visit from friends or family wouldn't be complete without a visit to our favorite burger place then a stop at Jo Jo's--an outside soft ice cream place. I think Alice even got a little lick--lucky baby!

And then we said goodbye so our cousins could have a few days with Grandma too...Here's all the Virginia cousins! What a crew!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Angel Alice

Alice turned 4 months on June 4th. Here's a few things about our sweet Alice.

We love her big open mouth smile!

She makes us work for a giggle...sneezing and pat-a-cake are the best bet.

It's so fun to watch her gain control of those little limbs. She loves to hold, shake and eat her toys.
We sure appreciate her respect of the night time! She "sleeps like a baby!"

She gets excited to see Hayley and Maya when she wakes up in the morning.

She gets so frustated when she watches us eat. She watches every bite go from plate to mouth.

At her 4 month dr. visit she weighed in at 16lbs 5 oz! That's in the 80th percentile. We've never had a baby tip the scales like this. (Just for comparison...Hayley was barely 16 lbs at 1 year old!) Her height is the 97%-ile. We are loving the cute little rolls and chunky cheeks!

After a week of her getting really frustrated when she watches us eat we broke down and gave her some baby cereal. I've never started solids this early...but she's loving it!

The Bedtime Battle

I love tip-toeing into the bedrooms to check on the girls once they are reminds me what little angels they are even though we just endured a long battle to get to that peaceful moment!

We have 3 bedrooms upstairs in our house. Bedtime was relatively peaceful until Alice was born and upset the 1 room per child ratio. We moved Maya and Hayley into the same room before Alice was born.

At first it was funny to listen to them giggle and jump on their beds until ridiculously late. But over the past several months I have come to dread "the bedtime battle!" Some nights it's their sisterly enjoyment that gets them in trouble and leads to late nights and tired kids. Other nights they bother each other and end up in their own civil war behind the bedroom door.

We just kept figuring it would improve over time...afterall, they aren't the first siblings to share a room! We have consulted with countless other parents trying to pick their brains for any ideas that may help ease our nighttime conflict.

I finally realized that Alice was such a great sleeper that maybe she was the answer to our problems. Unlike our other newborns, she really didn't have to have her own room becasue she goes to sleep without a problem and sleeps all night! So we spent a Saturday disassembling the beds and crib and rearranging the rooms for the 3rd time this year.

End result: Hayley and Alice are now sharing a room. Maya gets her own room (thanks to the fact that she hasn't learned how to whisper when Alice is sleeping and she loves to jabber and sing to herself as she falls asleep...probably why she made Hayley crazy as a roommate). We have also taken a suggestion we heard from many parents who say their kids fall asleep listening to books on CDs. It has worked wonders for Maya--no more in and out of bed a hundred times. Quiet music helps Hayley calm down as we read stories but then she can't stand to have anything on when she's ready to sleep.

I'm happy to report that although bedtime is far from perfect...we are enjoying many more happy good-nights!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Canoeing the Rappahannock

This is Ryan. Hayley and I went canoeing a week ago. We canoed for 11 miles down the Rappahannock river. We went with one of Hayley's good friends and her Dad (who is also a good friend of mine). We had a lot of fun.

Hayley did really well and enjoyed getting out and playing in the water with her friend. It was a fun, long day.

As we were driving home, Hayley asked when we would get to go again, so I guess the trip was a success.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bootie Heaven

I helped throw a shower for my sister Nancy in Utah this past week. It was suppose to happen several weeks ago but Nancy surprised us all and had Abigail almost 4 weeks early. Check out her blog for the full's pretty funny.

Anyways, the baby shower was postponed and has finally happened so now I can post the details of the fun favor Nancy helped me make while she was visiting in April. It was so easy to make and even better, it was very inexpensive. So girls...if you're throwing a baby shower anytime soon listen too could be in bootie heaven!


Hot glue gun

2 nut cups (I found them at Michaels)

A Kleenex

3 cotton balls

Cute ribbon (about 2")

A button

1. Place 3 cotton balls and the nut cup on the kleenex as in picture above.

2. Fold the corner of the kleenex over the cotton balls and into the nut cup.

3. Tuck all the edges and corners of the kleenex into the nut cup.

4. Place the second nut cup inside the first to hold the kleenex in.

5. Wahlah!

6. Glue a piece of cute ribbon to the top of the bootie.

7. Glue the button on top of the ribbon.

8. TaDa! A cute bootie.

9. Now mass produce!

10. Fill the cup part with nuts, mints, M&Ms, gummie bears or whatever else you can think of.

We had so many booties that I kept some and used them when we blessed Alice. They were sitting around the house and between church and dinner being ready they acted as nice appetizer holders.

Spacing in blogs

Does anyone else have challenges with spacing in posts. Sometimes the blog spaces things out more than I want and no adjusting will fix it and other times it won't leave lines between things even though I hit enter several times. Sometimes I can get it to look right in the "posting--create page," but then when I "publish post" it changes. Drives me crazy! (see post below...I couldn't get rid of the double spacing on the captions under pictures no matter what I tried)

Any tips or solutions you've found would be appreciated!

All Babies on Earth

The latest batch of cousins for our kids have all arrived on earth!

3 of my siblings and 3 of Ryan's siblings (plus us) have had babies during the past 7 months. 6 girls and 1 boy. What a miracle and blessing that so many have arrived safely...and all so very cute! Here's the report:

Avery Jane


Ryan's sister, Gina

Chloe Jean


JaNae's brother, Dean

Alice Eliza

Katherine Jane


JaNae's sister, Diana

Ruby Gayle


Ryan's sister, Rhonda

Abigail Mary


JaNae's sister, Nancy

Collin Tyler


Ryan's brother, Tyson

(I'm sure collin has much cuter pics coming but he was just born so this is all we've got! We love your little puffy face Collin!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

"I'm Home!"

What makes you say "I'm home!"?

We came home from Texas last week. Whenever we're out of town, even if it's just for a night, I'm always so excited to sink into my own bed on my own comfy pillow (no matter how faboulously comfortable the accomodations were). At the end of a long day of travelling I usually think happily with a sigh "I'm home!" (By the way...that picture isn't my real bed...but it looked so inviting!)

This time when we returned home I felt the same way about something else for the first time:
My toothbrush

Let me explain....

Yes, I took a toothbrush with me on our trip. Yes, I even brushed my teeth regularly while we were gone. but it wasn't my favorite toothbrush!

Last summer, Ryan and I got new fancy electric know, the kind that cost close to $100 that I thought people were crazy to buy. I have lots of problems when I'm pregnant with my teeth and gums (due to all those fun hormones--info you'd rather not know!). After dentists telling me for 3 pregnacies that I needed an expensive version of the electric toothbrushes I finally listened and coughed up the money. I was surprised that it was worth every penny! Those toothbrushes really do clean better than anything else. I have to say it took a week or two of giggling every time I brushed my teeth (it felt so wierd) and learning how to brush without drooling. But now it feels like I just got my teeth professionally cleaned every time I brush. There's a 2 minute timer on the toothbrush--but I'm sure mine is really 4 minutes. I guess I never really brushed for that whole 2 minutes before!

I thougth about taking the toothbrush with me on my next trip (which will probably be camping) but I can't bear the thought of something happening to it! It must be like owning expensive jewelry when you travel...which I don't!

So, last week I came home, brushed my teeth, sunk into bed and thought with a happy sigh "I'm home!"

What do trips help you appreciate? beds? toothbrushes?

Texas Trip

After the funeral we still had several days with everyone there so we had some fun and made some memories...

All four of us that are married have had (or are having) babies this year. Avery (Gina's) is 5 months, then Alice (ours) is 3 1/2 months, Ruby (Rhonda's) is 2 months. Tyson and Natalie are having a baby today...and we expect it to be a he missed out on photo shoots with all these pretty girls. It was cute to see them all together and fun to all be at the same stage with newborns.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese one day just to get the kids out of the house (it's too humid to play outside unless you're in the water!) I think we were all surprised that the adults ended up having as much fun as the kids when we discovered "Dance, Dance, Revolution." It was so new preferred way to work out.

And just for the record...I got a higher score than Ryan even though he looked cooler than me doing his moves! I've always been a dork dancing but I can follow the arrows!

Hayley, Hayden and Ashton were inseperable! They had so much fun playing together...and we loved that they needed so little supervision. They spent many hours playing "Webkinz" (a computer game their all into). They boys taught Hayley lots of fun stuff. We're so sad that Hayden and Ashton will be moving to Singapore this summer now that they're finally old enough to play together.

On our last night together we threw a surprise graduation party for Tammy. She graduated from BYU in Anthropology in April but with all that has been happening she's been a little neglected. So...we had a party with balloons, a pinata and lots of cute kids willing to collect the loot! Good job Tammy--we're proud of you!

Veldon's Funeral

Ryan's Dad, Veldon, passed away on Sunday, May 18th at about 8am. He was diagnosed with cancer in March 2004 (a little over 4 years ago). We are so sad to have lost such a wonderful part of our family but so grateful for the great example he was and the legacy of love that he left for us.

Ryan spent many of his Dad's last days by his side. He was on his way home to help the girls and I return to Texas when his dad passed away peacefully. Most of the children, spouses and grandchildren arrived the Tuesday after he died. It was a bitter-sweet reunion. So much love and so many fun times together but so sad that Veldon would not be a part of our reunions anymore.

Veldon filled a special place in my heart. I couldn't have asked for better parents-in-law! As I listened to and read the many messages, cards and things that others said about Veldon I realized that I'm not alone in the way I feel. Veldon had an amazing gift to love people unconditionally and to help each individual feel special and important. In this world of selfishness and hurry he had a gift of truly listening. His example inspires me to be better!

Here's pictures, narrative and stories of what we did:

We all arrived at almost the same time on Tuesday. What a blessing that we could gather so quickly and be a strength to each other at this time!

Wednesday morning we all went to the cemetary that Veldon would be buiried in. It's a very historic but small and friendly cemetary. It was good to be able to go see it before the funeral.

The viewing was at the morturary on Wednesday night. We took most of the grandkids over a little before it started. What an awesome time to teach kids about the difference between our spirit and our body and talk about what happens when we die. We talked about it before we went in and explained that this was just Grandpa's body. His spirit was in heaven now. We told them that he would look like he was sleeping. They didn't seem scared. It all seemed so natural to them. When Maya saw the camera she told me she wanted a picture next to Grandpa. As we were standing there I said "do you want to tell Grandpa 'I love you'?" She said very sweetly, "No, he's not talking anymore." These little ones understand so much and have such simple faith!

It surprised me how much Maya understood. In the week after he passed away I often heard her saying quietly and sadly "G'pa died, G'pa died, I miss him."

I ran Hayley and Maya home before people started arriving at the viewing (kids can only hold still for so long!) and left them with some friends that offered to babysit. As we got in the car I wanted to make sure they were both okay after seeing Grandpa's body. So I asked, "How was the viewing?" Hayley (who likes to use big words...even if she's not sure how they should be used!) thought really hard for a minute then responded "Ummm...He was....stylish!" (said very reverently) I had a hard time not laughing. "You mean Grandpa looked nice?" "Yeah" Grandpa can rest in peace knowing that his Grandaughter said he was "stylish" at his funeral!

We laughed and cried at the funeral. So many wonderful stories and heartfelt emotions were shared. I was so proud of all Veldon & Joyce's kids as they stood and shared thoughts and stories and their love for their Dad. After the funeral we drove to the cemetary for the graveside prayer. The grandkids all put flowers on the casket. After that friends had prepared a big lunch for us back at the church so we headed back there.

We rested and played back at the house during the afternoon. Then at 7pm all of the extended family that had come into town (Veldon's 4 brothers and 1 sister and many nephews and neices) came over to the house for dessert. It was fun to see everyone and visit. Veldon's Mom even made the long trip from Utah. It was good to see her too!

We all enjoyed so many beautiful flower arrangements all week and even better all the cards and notes that came with messages of support and love! The house looked gorgeous! Here's just a few: