Pumpkin' Pickin' with G&G Buck

You could say I'm a spontaneous person.  Like how I re-packed our summer clothes in Pinetop and was off to Utah without a camera or a coat.  (Prioritized in that order, of course.)  I also ended up chopping off a foot of hair on a whim.  But I'll get to that later…

Utah was in the process of transforming when we got there.  A very dangerous time for a desert dweller to visit, because I found myself looking at house listings like we would move there.  Ah, to have seasons.

Even though it was beautiful, autumn was not what brought us to the beehive state.  Grandma and Papa Buckmaster were visiting Leah, Jamie, and Danny Jay, so we thought we would do a little surprise visit so we could all be together.

Leah was in on the secret, so Camden and I showed up at the Carpenter's and waited to surprise Dennis and Laura.  When they walked in the house, Camden was in the living room and I was in the doorway to the kitchen.  Just like, "Oh hey!"

Fun times!

The next day we visited a farm near SLC.  AKA, toddler heaven.  My phone had to suffice for a camera, so this post isn't 30k pictures long (tragedy, I know!) but trust me when I tell you there were a ton of smelly animals that Camden adored.

Every time he saw an animal he recognized he pointed and made the sound.  "Moo!"  "Baa!"  "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"

Grandma taught him how to feed horses, which he thought was pretty awesome.  And Camden led Papa around all over the place.

These cousins crack me up...

 Both boys enjoyed the hayride.  Camden was pointing and saying "tree!" like it was straight out of a fairytale.  Pretty sure I saw a unicorn out there…

Who doesn't love to get lost in a little hay maze?

And finally there was the pumpkin picking.  Camden decided to count all of the pumpkins… which goes something like this: One, two, three, two, three, two, three, two, three 

Papa helped him find the very best pumpkins.  One for him, and one to take home to Dada.

Camden sure loves these guys, I wish we could see them more often.  
It was a wonderful kickoff to the Halloween season, spent with some of our favorite people.

Also I want to note the good news, which is now Facebook official so I'm allowed to post this… right?  Right??

I wedged myself in the car between Camden and Danny Jay's huge carseats, and Leah said, "What do you think?  Is there enough room for one more carseat back there?"

Immediately I'm all wigglin' my hips, thinking perhaps they plan to pick up another child.  "Yeah, I think it might be tight, but you could probably get away with it," I concluded, not at all understanding the delirious look on Leah's face, or why Kirsten was on FaceTime smiling at me like she knew something.

"Good.  Because I'm gonna need it," Leah said.  And kept giving me a wide-eyed look like she might burst at any second.  I'd seen that look before.

"Wait, WHAT?!"

"I'm having twins!!!!!"


Yup.  That's basically how it went down.  Camden's going to have two more cousins in May, and we could not possibly be more excited!

General Conference Weekend

General Conference weekend has really become something of a holiday for our family.  We get excited when we realize it's approaching, preparing ourselves for some great spiritual nourishment, and we plan to be with family and just hunker down the whole weekend.

We went the extra miles (literally) this time and decided to return to the Pinetop with Grammy and Papa.  Camden is too young to understand the broadcast, so it was good for him to have a new environment to entertain him while we absorbed the messages.

And between sessions Dad treated us to a round of golf!
You guys… I really suck at golf.  It's bad.  But we still have so much fun!

 One highlight of the trip was finding a bat in Grandma and Grandpa's master bathroom.
Yeah, great fun!

After I found it lounging in the shower Dad came in armed with a paper bowl and plastic cup.  As soon as the thing turned it's little hear toward me I was outta there.  Happy that Dad was there to save the day.

Camden and I were still healing from our sickness… but that boy bounces back much better than I do.

Must sit as close to Papa as possible...

 And then on Monday we decided to send Roy home with my parents and Cam and I drove straight to Mesa to spend the night at my friend's apartment.  She took us to the airport the next morning and we were off on another adventure.  Hee-haw!

Summer Wrap-Up

One evening I waltzed inside from taking out the trash and declared, "Fall is coming!  I can sense it!"

Roy straight up laughed at me, gesturing out the window at our cacti.  "Yeah?  With what senses did you sense fall?"

"You don't understand," I chided.  "You have to be a born desert dweller to have the sense."  

Am I alone in this?  
It's a certain crisp smell at twilight.
It's the long shadows on the street just before dinnertime.
The way the morning feels almost chilly, like maybe you should dig out your sweatshirt.  

Okay, I can't describe it, but I just know.  Fall is coming.  

So we better hurry and finish out the rest of our lovely pictures from the end of summer with this kid.

He's really used to the paparazzi these days.  So used to it, that when lightening flashes he says, "CHEESE!"

Speaking of which... awesome job, Monsoon.  You had a great season this year.

More bonding time with our sweet little friend, who just knows the way to Camden's heart...

And he to hers.

Lots of reading...

Lots of sidewalk chalk...

Lots of perfect summer sunsets...

And Camden thinking that if he can't see me, I can't see him.

Oh, there was my surprise birthday party!  Which I was really, quite surprised by!  I haven't retrieved any pictures yet, but a fun time was had by all.  It was so fun I left the decorations up for over a month.

And we also had cake with the fam.

More of my sweet everyday...

Camden's obsession with basketball is reaching a point of concern for me.  But Roy loves it.

New, tiny little friends...

Final days in the pool...

Lazy mornings in bed, snuggling and tickling...

Leftover tattoos from birthday parties... {he loved pointing it out all day long}

Slowly warming up to sand...

Helping Daddy fix the car by placing every tool we own beside him...

Outings with Aunt Alexa…

Summer, you were good to us.

But on October 1st you best believe I busted out the Halloween totes!!!!

The house is decked out, and we're ready for FALL!

Alexa's Home!

When my sister first left on her LDS mission to St. Louis, it didn't feel that different.  After all, she was normally up at college, and we only got to see her during holidays anyway.  But soon there came times when I had the impulse to text her something funny... and then realized I couldn't.  Or had a story one could only share with a sister, and yet I didn't have her number.

Missionaries typically only Skype home a few times a year, and don't normally text or use social media to keep in touch with friends and family back home.  Why?  One simple answer is that they are doing as Jesus Christ asked his disciples, to give up all and follow Him {Luke 5:11}.  They are putting their lives behind them for those 18-24 months they dedicate to serving their brothers and sisters.  

Lex not only wrote me letters and emails throughout her mission, but she wrote to Camden!  We had lots of fun writing her letters and drawing her pictures.  Who does that anymore?  Real mail is the best.  We loved checking the mailbox, and I'd often read aloud her stories of the small miracles she was witnessing and the people she was able to share the gospel with.

Pretty amazing, huh?  That people as young as 18 put everything on hold because of their faith in Christ, and their desire to follow Him, with full focus on those they are serving.  Alexa and Mason are both awesome examples to me and also to Camden.

Eighteen months really flew by, and suddenly we were waiting anxiously at the Tucson Airport for her to arrive home.

As soon as Alexa's shoes were visible coming down the escalator, we all burst out cheering.  Probably gave a few other exiting passengers a heart attack.  Alexa was so emotional at the sight of all of us that she could barely pull herself off of the escalator.

The first, long hug went to Dad.  Then Mom.  Then Mason, Dad, and I just piled on for a big group hug, and I'm pretty sure Alexa wasn't the only one crying.  Happy tears to be together again.

The Collett girls reunited!

Cam was only three months old when his Aunt Alexa left.  I tried to prepare him for her coming by showing him pictures of her and asking, "Who is this?"  But no matter how many times I drilled him, his response was always, "Mama!"  So it's no surprise he was a little confused when he saw my look-alike.  No worries, by the next day they were besties.

That Sunday Alexa gave a talk in sacrament meeting about her experiences, and Zac was able to be home for that.  So we were really all together.  Love it that way.