Sunday, March 15, 2009

We're All in This Together

Yes, Wildcat fans, that really is East High, alma mater to Troy, Gabriella, and the rest. It was fun to see the outside of the school, but what was really great was sneaking inside (it was 4pm) and seeing the cafeteria. I started singing "Stick to the Staus Quo" and Ella got mad at me. Nat, however, couldn't have cared less. She LIKES my singing!

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Ella Rocks!

Ella's dad and grandpa, both avid rock climbers, took Ella and Natalie to the Weber Rocks climbing wall at Weber State University, where Grandpa Gary teaches and is known as Dr. Fun. She impressed them both with her skill and enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Natalie impressed one and all by sitting happily on her blankie and and taking in the action.

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Fly Like an Eagle

As part of my birthday (yay, me!) a big ol' group of Willdens went indoor skydiving at IFLY in Ogden. Vero, Taylor, Jacob and I were first-timers, and if I do say so myself, we did pretty darn good! (High fives, guys!) It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and it was so much fun--I was whooping and hollering (and drooling--I'll admit it) the whole time. At the end of my second turn in the tunnel, the instructor had me do a flip--very cool! When you come visit us we'll show you the video.

Check us out in our jumpsuits! It's all about the costumes: Taylor, Kelsey, Gary, Mike, Greg, Katie, Vero, Jeff, Jeremy, and Jacob.

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Happy Birthday, Dear Katie!

We had a house full of Willdens to celebrate my birthday this year! As per tradition, I made my own birthday cake (that way I always get exactly what I want) and I got to share the party with my nephew Zack and my niece Lindley, who also have March birthdays. Lindley was VERY helpful during the cake-making process--she licked all kinds of spoons for me!

After a big Sunday dinner AND big slabs of chocolate cake we commenced with a root beer tasting. 20 different kinds of root beer--well, 18, because two were repeated oh so sneakily. You would think they would all start to taste the same after a while, but every now and then one would sneak up and make you go, "CACK!" One tasted like dish soap, and one was like some sort of vile medicine--we called it "Rat in the Vat".

Even the Chileans had a go at the tasting extravaganza! My sister-in-law Veronica (on the right) HATES root beer--she says it all tastes like medicine. After our experience with "Rat in the Vat", we began to understand where she was coming from. Her sister, Jacque (left), who had just arrived from Chile the previous day, said that one of the offerings tasted like, and I quote, "horse piss". Oh, the glee! That about made the night for me.

Even Natalie joined in the fun. Can you tell by her grip on the spoon that she enjoyed her first few drops of root beer? (I'm almost positive that we did not subject her to "Rat in the Vat" or, heaven forbid, "horse piss".)
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Gary's Hair

A picture of my cousin Gary's birthday hair is already on his own family's blog, but it's so good that I think it needs as much exposure as possible. Oh, and sorry about the diaper. I knew you had a thing about diapers, but I didn't know that the "thing" was an instant gag reflex!

Cousins! Maycee, Kaylee, Ella, McKell, Natalie, and Peyton.
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Natalie's family

Natalie is #11 of 11 Willden grandkids. Here's the clan (left to right, top to bottom): Steven, Matt, Jeff, Greg, Gary, Jeremy, Michael, Great-Grandma LaRue Willden, Shannon, Veronica, Katie and Natalie, Joan, LeRita, Kelsey, Zack, Spencer, Alli, Nicolas, Catalina, Ella, Laurinda, Lindley, and Jacob.

Sadly, the Olesens were missing Lora, Oscar, and Olivia. The rest are: Natalie, Jake, Grandpa Ricky, Grandma Kathie, Ella, Katie, and Greg. (Ella had had it with photo ops, can you tell?)
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A Bunch of Seattleites

It meant so much to me to have my mission president and his wife, one of my favorite elders and his family, and three of my zany companions with me on our sealing day. I told President and Sister Larson that I want to be them when I grow up--they are my heroes.

Sander and Merlyn Larson

Nick, Taylor, Brooklyn, and Jen Kimball

Camille Lechtenberg Ward, Audrey Skousen Butler, Katie Olesen Willden (with darling baby sidekick and star of the day Natalie), and Michelle Muir Dunlap
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Fond Former Texans

After our sealing in Ogden we had a luncheon in Centerville, where we got to see so, so many people that we love. Among them were some Texas ex-pats who now live in Utah. We miss them all so much. You know you can always come back, right?

Here's Kim, who just left less than a year ago and didn't dare talk too much of Texas for fear of breaking down in tears. We love you, Kim! You took a lot of the fun out of Texas when you left.

We hadn't seen Randall and Ashli Wilson since they moved about 5 years ago. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of their 3 darling kids. Ethan, now 6 years old, looks just the same as he did as a toddler--he has the same sticky uppy blond hair! I love it!

This is my "One Friend", Angie Thompson, her husband Ben, and their middle child, Adam. They've been gone for years and years, and we still miss them tons. Who else can we play dominoes with every Sunday night?
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Families Can Be Together Forever

On Saturday March 7, 2009 Natalie Lynn Willden was sealed to our family for time and all eternity in the Ogden Utah Temple. It was an amazing day. When Brother Brady, our sealer, asked Ella why we were at the temple that day with Natalie, she replied, "So she can be ours." There wasn't a dry eye in the room. We love our girls so much and feel so blessed to be a family together.

It was very cold that day--Utah cold, not measly Texas cold! As I was preparing to go outside to have pictures taken, one of the sisters in the temple said, "We have a nice cloak if you'd like to wear it." I answered something along the lines of, "Heck, yes!" and that was before I knew it was a snow princess cloak! Check out the faux fur! Wearing it made me a little giddy.

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Let's Rodeo!

My parents came to town in February for the annual San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, a proud Willden favorite since 2004. We watched the pig races, had our clothes chewed by goats in the petting zoo, and pet a two-day-old lamb. Natalie had her toes licked by a calf and thought it was GREAT. We left the kids at home one night and went to the rodeo, followed by a concert by Josh Turner.

When going to the stock show and/or rodeo, it is important to dress the part. Greg and I have spent years collecting the appropriate garb--boots, hats, belts, pearl-snap shirts. The girls had to be properly turned out, too. Check them out! Nat's boots squeak when she steps on them--nice touch! My dad, otherwise known as Grandpa Ricky, likes to think he IS a cowboy, so he loves when the grandkids go country.

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Mixed Nats

Natalie likes applesauce, I swear! She makes a horrible face with the first bite of anything we put in her mouth, even the 'sauce.

What's not to love about hats? This one keeps Nat warm on those chilly morning walks to Ella's school.

Happy Valentine's Day, Natalie! We love you!

While my parents were here my dad gave Natalie the guac box to chew on. Mmm, tasty! What we don't have a picture of is the beer box he gave her next. Thanks, Grandpa!
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