Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Inevitable Picture Travelogue

I'm finally home and back in my own bed. Oh yes, I am blogging from my bed. If you had had to travel for over 22 hours yesterday, you would be spending New Years Eve in bed too.
Being home means being reunited with the USB cord that unites camera and laptop, and thus, means I can now share with you the carefully selected pics of my Christmas vacation where I don't look as fat in some as I do in others.
Enjoy. I'll try to explain them. Please try and keep up.

We played Phase 10. Even the dog, Trixie, played it. I bet your dog doesn't play Phase 10.

Dad opens gifts. Dads rarely show up in the Christmas morning pictures, you know? So I think it is only fair and appropriate to show a picture of Dad on Christmas morning.

I am not the only member of the family who enjoys taking self-portraits. I discovered my brother likes to do it as well after finding approximately 10 pictures of just him randomly on my camera today.

Trixie was also enthralled by the gift openings. Sadly, no one thought to give her anything. Also, if you are noticing Stephanie is wearing a bathrobe in multiple pictures, allow me to assure you that she rarely got out of her bathrobe and wore it most days around the house. That's what vacations are all about.

This picture should pretty well explain that Christmas breakfast got burned beyond recognition and why we ate at IHOP that morning. I'd actually recommend IHOP on Christmas morning again. The place was packed and hopping, and the wait staff in truly high spirits. Holiday double pay and generous tips will do that to a waitress.

This is my skeptical face when told we were going to IHOP. I was much happier about it later. Its also one of the few pictures where I don't like ginormous.

Up till this point in the trip (a whole 2 days into it) we had been pretty muchbeen with only our immediate family. That changed quickly with Christmas Dinner at the Other McBrides' house with about 30 relatives. Also, apparently when you live in the same town as approximately 500 (not exaggerating here!) of your closest relatives, there is a reason to go "stop by" someone's house at least once a day. So when I say we were with just our immediate family, I mean as an immediate family we were making lots of drop ins and several random relatives.
That all changed on Saturday when Dad, Mancub, and I joined up with Uncle Mike, Chris, Remmy, and Savannah to do a little redneck shooting. What? Your family doesn't go redneck shooting as a part of its holiday festivities? So sad.
We went up to "the land" (which is code for our portion of the family mountain. if you don't know about how my family all lives on a mountain in Southern Virginia together, ask me about it. The short story is, I was born into a redneck family, and I only pretend not to have a seriously southern accent.) So back to "the Land." The Land is an uncleared several acres up on the mountain. For all you Utahans reading this, trees grow naturally and spontaneously in Virginia. No one had to plant them. They just grew there all on their own, and there's a good thousand berzillion trees on our land.
We set up our redneck targets- orange clays, a chick-fil-a cup, and a pumpkin I found in the road, along a fallen tree. We walked up the hill a ways, and shot things. The rules of our little range were best summed up by Savannah, "How about we all just agree not to shoot anything that moves?" We all agreed. You may have to enlarge this picture to really see that we put a pumpkin in a tree.

Then we shot things. And watched as other people shot things.

It has been a long time since the last time a picture of me posing with a gun was on this blog!
My all time favorite gun- a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum. Be still my beating heart!
 We were a bit surprised that the pumpkin didn't explode. We had been hoping for a few good splatters. (however, i knocked the crap out of the chick-fil-a cup with the .357!) What we really weren't expecting was to find that we had shot bullets completely through the tree!
If you look closely in the bark you can see the dark, lead bullet lodged in the tree. 
Maybe we're just not redneck enough to have known pumpkins don't explode when shot with a .357 mag? After all, it was a medical doctor and a retired lawyer taking us out shooting...
So you might think this would be the end of the shooting adventure. Little did we know this was just the beginning. We headed for the car to pile in and head home, and instead found ourselves with a Suburban in the mire.

Apparently not all Suburbans come with 4WD. Another sign we're just not redneck enough! We come from a mountain and don't have 4WD! For the next hour and a half we found ourselves pushing, pulling, jumping, laying down sticks, reversing, and all sorts of things, trying to free the beast from the mud. 
Hopefully you can tell from Savannah's smile here that we actually had a pretty good laugh over the whole situation. Strangely, it was one of the highlights of the day to get stuck in the mud!
 Finally, we were able to back the Suburban back down the trail about 50 yards. 5 of us climbed into "the way back" to sit as close to the rear wheels as possible, creating some better weight and traction. Mancub stood on the bumper, holding on to the luggage rack on top, and Dad gunned the car down the road. I wish I could properly explain the scene from my point of view, in the back of the car, looking up at my brother's feet and legs flying out behind the car, while my Dad is cheering "whee-hoo!" and driving like a bat out of hell down the slippery, muddy road. I can say with "no trepidation" (family joke) that I haven't laughed that hard in a very, very long time. 
So we finally got home just in time to clean up, change clothes, and head over to the baby un-shower for Jonathon and Sarah. To see pics from the shower, visit their blog. To see the pictures of me and "my boyfriends" keep reading below.
Our family, at any given time really, has an abundance of babies going on. The past year we seem to have a rash of little boys born, and now we are about to have several little girls join the family. Not unlike my mother, I have a history of "borrowing" the babies so their mothers can visit with the rest of the family. This is an entirely selfish act, and has nothing to do with actually wanting to be nice to the mothers, and everything to do with wanting to play with the babies. 
I present to you my boyfriends. 
This is Baby Alan (still being held by his father). I stole him away just often enough that by the end of the week, he was reaching for me, and showing signs of jealousy when I'd hold Baby Kenny.  We call this expression, "Diaper Face." Alan is 12 mos old, and expecting a little sister in about 7 weeks.
Baby Zachary. Alas, our relationship did not last long as he was whisked off to Minnesota (I think) to visit more relatives. He's 3 months old.
Baby Kendon (or Kenny)  This little man is a sweetheart. This picture makes him look far more active than he really is. He's 6 months old and about the size of a Cabbage Patch Doll. He's very cuddly and the most content baby in the history of the world.
Petey apparently does not want to be my boyfriend, in spite of all my attempts at bribery. He's 2, and Kendon's big brother.
Just to give you an idea of how many tries it took to get a picture of me and Alan together--
Sad this one didn't turn out. I actually look decent in it!
Saturday night was a lot of fun with tons of family around, the baby presents, and a slide show after the fact. It was one very very long day. Here's a few more pics of the family-
My 89 yr old grandfather (and a sliver of an aunt)-
My mother holding Kaylee (she of "look, Mom! I found the pregnant lady!" quote). My mother, Aunt Alicia, is always a favorite among the little cousins. Kaylee saw me holding Kendon and talking to my mom. She just walked right on over, and climbed up in her lap. So cute!
And then came Sunday- another whirlwind of a day!
My Aunt Darla (who managed to escape all of my photographs) will soon be leaving us to serve a mission in the Samoa Apia Temple for our church. This has a lot of special meaning for our family. We are thrilled that she has chosen to serve the Lord, and we are thrilled He chose to send her to Samoa. My great-grandfather was one of the first missionaries there, and my father served there as well as a missionary. My parents and I returned to live there briefly when I was a baby. And my Uncle Dane and Aunt Karma lived there briefly in the 70's as well. 
Sunday was Aunt Darla's "farewell." In other terms, it was the day she spoke before her congregation to basically say goodbye, and bear her testimony before she leaves. After church we held a large family gathering (any gathering of our family is large, quite frankly) to celebrate her and say our goodbyes (even though she doesn't leave for another month). 
Here are a few more pictures of the family from the big crazy dinner-
Mancub and Serena
Michelle and me
Holding my 2 boyfriends! (this is not as easy as it looks) (and I swear I'm not this fat!)
Serena and her boyfriend, Jedi, the Keeshond (and I am now in love with these crazy dogs and must have one of my own!)
There are more pictures, and a few more stories to tell, but I think this blog post has already reached epic length. I know most of the readers don't want to see all of this, but a few of my cousins will actually want to see what they missed out on, and see the pictures. (That will teach them to skip out on family events! I don't care if you were giving birth!)
I'd imagine there will be a few more pictures tomorrow! See you then!


  1. Seriously - next time let me know y'all are going to be that close and shooting. I would have headed teh 2 miles up the road and joined you. I love shooting whenever I can.

    My anniversary present was a shooting range in the back yard (yes we live on the mountain, but I am paranoid about being careful).

  2. Ok, it does look like fun. But I'm still glad I was able to give birth in my own home. :) Sorry we didn't get to see you!

  3. wow... what a beautiful family!


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