Tyler's older brother is Kolby, who married Kathryn. They have three amazing boys, Kaysen, Hinckley, and K.J. (You may have noticed that Hinckley does not start with a 'K', but his first name is actually Kenneth so we count him right in there.) So, we often refer to them as the K's. (While Tyler's younger brother, J.R. and his wife Jami are fondly referred to as the J's.)
Since Barry (Tyler's Dad) has not been feeling up to as much company as of late, Kolby offered for us to come stay with him during our visit to Idaho. That way we could visit with Grandpa for a few hours at a time but not overwhelm him with the chaos we bring with our seven bodies. Of course that meant our seven bodies were taking up space in the K's lovely abode.
There couldn't be nicer hosts. Kaysen gave up his room for Tyler and me. Kolby made us breakfast each morning, and Kathryn painted everyone's nails. (She is a nail pro!!) Look how awesome these are...
I really get ahead of myself though. We went up to Idaho after Christmas. We took the gifts from relatives with us, except for one gift from Grandma that we didn't want to haul around. It happened to be for Ivory. She was surprised to get it early.
We needed to fill up some space on her wall, and this seemed to do the trick nicely.
Later, we all piled in the car and took off for the Northern Hinterlands. When we arrived, we stopped briefly at the Grandparent's abode to drop off the dog. (We figured the K's would have their hands full without an extra canine companion. Plus, Moxy knows the drill at Grandma's house considering her past, long-term stays.) Once we were there, gift opening had to happen.
Pearl is always on hand to help open a gift, or just offer positive support.
Daisy is playing with a trinket here. The girls love to admire Grandma's knick knacks and find the hidden chocolates around the room.
Primped and pretty.
Pearl found Pip.
Grandma gave gifts to the pets this year. (All the families have a dog.) I think she captured the true spirit of Moxy in this portrait.
June got trinkets of her own, including lots of earrings for the newly pierced lobes.
Robyn got a bucket-load of socks. (Maybe she will stop stealing mine.)
It is always exciting opening gifts at Grandma's. Each year we get something unique. This year Vicki gave us a painted rock with the baby Jesus in the manger. I told her I wanted the rest of the set in the following years. (She said "fat chance.") I'm not giving up yet.
I happened to wrap Tyler's gift from Grandma, so I could put whatever I wanted on the tag. He said it was about time it was officially announced.
*It says 'To My Favorite Son.' (Well, he is MY favorite, at least.)
Tyler got tools to tune pianos. I'm hoping he uses those sooner than later.
Eventually, we headed out for Kolby's place. Dinner was waiting (yum) and we always have a great time with them. Kathryn made this awesome candy ball with layers and layers of plastic wrap with pieces of candy hidden throughout. It was a blast trying to frantically unwrap to a treat before the person before you rolled doubles and took the ball away.
We spent the next day and a half in both homes, playing games, and enjoying the best company. We did unwrap gifts with the siblings, but I only have three pictures as proof. (Jack is the only thing proving we saw the J's. What can I say? Sometimes I have a camera, and sometimes I don't.)
We did manage to get a group shot of the fabulous K family before we left. I can't even tell you how much I love these guys.
Muscle men!! Seriously, those boys are so strong. They were showing off there pull-ups while we were there, and I was impressed. (Impressed that Ivory can do pull-ups too. Means I'm not wasting my money on gymnastics.)
We had one more stop at Grandma's on the way out, to pick up the dog. She talked us into helping her take down the tree. I really liked her red and white tree this year.
Pearl got all the flowers off the tree.
And then we rode for the border. Note to future self: It is very cold at the house when you have been gone for a couple days. In the future, call someone who has a key when you leave Idaho and tell them to turn on the heat. Then it won't be 36 degrees in your house when you get there. (I am not kidding.)
Tyler also had me take a picture to document how much stuff we manage to cram in the car. When we unload it seems to fill a room in an unpleasant sort of messy way.
Oh, and back to the freezing house...we all had to hunker down in Atlantis (basement). It was about fifteen degrees warmer than the rest of the house. The cozy fire was a bonus too unless you count Daisy putting her favorite blanket on top to warm it up and finding that melted blanket is not as fun to snuggle with. (This earned her a new blanket that seems to have cheered her up immensely. I'm sure the 'snoopy' will end up in future pictures.)
We sure love spending time with family in Idaho. Seeing these pictures again is very bitter sweet at the moment. Our nephew Hinckley, the handsome guy in the group picture to the right of Robyn was diagnosed with a brain tumor last weekend. After a very long surgery, the tumor is gone, but there is a long road of recovery ahead.
He is such a strong guy that I am very confident that he will have a prosperous life. There is still much to be discovered concerning his final condition, but I hope that years from now, one would look at him and say..."Can you believe that when he was 14, he had a brain tumor? You would never know looking at him." The only problem is that you only get to that point in time through a long journey.
He will never be the same person. Not because of possible brain damage that could be permanent but simply because he has crossed a line that not many of us cross. He will understand trials more deeply. He will understand people more accurately and know what they are dealing with. He will have to learn patience as so many naive people say stupid things because they have never been there. He will grow up faster than other boys his age and he will mature beyond men twice his senior. We are not all asked to cross these lines. Only one person ever crossed them all to understand our sorrows and suffering. But Hinckley will cross this particular line and never be the same. I already admire his bravery and pray for him and his family continually.