Saturday, August 12, 2017

1st Days of School 2017

So my kids started school weeks apart but NOW they are all back in!!!

Here is Tatum who began the 5th grade WAY back on Monday, July 24th--it was a BEAUTIFUL rainy first day of school for her.

Tatum:  CTA-Independece
5th Grade
Ms. Askins (one of Max's past teachers:)

These 3 started back on Wednesday, August 9th.  They had a whole 2 days of school for their first week back.  Heritage Academy-Mesa, here come the Meekers ready or not!  This is the first year that Ethan is taller than Carlie--and probably the last year that Carlie is taller than either of her brothers:)

Carlie:  12th Grade
Ethan:  10th Grade
Max:  7th Grade

Max's First Paycheck!!!

Max got his first paycheck from his movie!  So we headed on over to Wells Fargo to open a debit account for him.  Apparently you are not allowed to open an account until you're 13 but they made an exception for Max because he is officially "employed."  (This kid made $127.50 for an hour of work in this movie--we didn't know what he would make after his agent took their 15% cut--not bad:)  He had his paycheck from his work along with cash he earned working on the farm.

So here he is super proud of his first official paycheck--another one coming soon:)  He is now the proud owner of a plastic debit card with his name on it:)

Boys Sent to Farm 2017!

With all the schools around us starting back up in July, these 2 boys had 2 1/2 more weeks of summer left!  My dad happened to be passing thru our area on his way home from a wedding so I packed up my boys and sent them to Deming for 9 days!

The boys had a BLAST of course--hanging out with Papa Frank is always a party.  They worked on the farm everyday.  Max has apparently become quite the tractor driver.  My dad had him on the tractor every day because his lines were super straight.

Ethan was a big help on the ground.  He helped planting the squash.  And he LOVED finding and touch every creepy crawly critter he could find.  This is a horny toad he caught--those things can shoot BLOOD out of their eyes!!!  I would have NOT let him touch it had I been there so I guess it's good I wasn't.  He did try to convince us that he needed to bring it home.  NO WAY!  It would have definitely died in captivity so Ethan reluctantly released it back into the "wild."

Ethan also did a lot of driving practice in his new car!  My parents have given him their old 2007 Toyota Corolla.  It's a little dinged up but we're happy to take it!  Ethan will be getting his driver's permit at the end of this month!  YIKES!  Ready or not Chandler, here comes Ethan.

We discovered that there is an AmTrack train that runs from Maricopa and has a stop in Deming.  Chris took the train to Deming so that he could drive the boys home in Ethan's new car.  Chris enjoyed the "education" he received on the train ride and was very grateful to only have to take the train one way:)  

After 9 days gone, I was sure glad to have my boys back.  My house stayed MUCH cleaner but it was a little too quite without them. My dad was sure missing them the few days following.  He loves having the kids around--apparently even the lady at the Valero gas station where they went every day for sodas was sad to see them go too:)  Funny boys:)  They are a riot wherever they go:)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Max's 2nd Job--Game Truck

While in Branson, we received word that Max had landed a modeling job for Game Truck.  I have heard of "Game Truck" in the past and I know my boys have been to a few birthday parties with them there.  I had NO idea that this company is nation-wide.  It's in 38 states and these 6 kids were hired to demonstrate their latest game.  So basically the company rented out an entire park in Chandler for these 6 kids to run around, swim in a pool, and have a 2 hour water fight--AND THEY WERE PAID! It hardly seemed like work at all so need less to say Max LOVED it!  They even got a "swag" bag full of goodies.  These 6 kids will be on the Game Truck National Ad campaign.  So Max's face will be in 38 other states!  Super cool opportunity!

The new water game is like Laser Tag except with water.  The more you are shot with a water gun, the more the vest fills up.  When the vest is full, a sensor goes off and you are out:)

Max with his "swag" bag

Dang, this boy is HANDSOME!

Max was really sought after by this agency because they did not have a boy with the "All-American" look in their child models.  So you can clearly see here that they were trying to cover all the nationalities.  Max is the big All-American white boy on the right:)

Here they are "hard at work" with the photographers.

It was a hot day here in AZ but they had the entire park to themselves and the kids were allowed to swim in the pool in between their shoots.  Rough job right?

We are sure enjoying Max's new line of work.  I am really excited to see where this goes.  Way to go Max Meeker.  I am CRAZY proud of you like always.

Meeker Family Vacation 2017--Branson, MO

We headed over to Branson, MO!!!  We LOVE LOVE LOVE this place and the kids have been begging to come back since our last trip here.  My younger brother, Travis, moved to Dallas, TX earlier this year and he drove out with his kids to meet us here.  So extra fun with little cousins running around!

We had 3 hotel rooms (that we got a super SWEET price with Chris's connections here:).  1 room for Chris and I.  Travis had a room with his 2 youngest kids.  And Ethan, Max, Tatum, Sabey, and Devoney had their own room right in the middle of our two rooms.  It worked out wonderfully.  Our hotel was right on the Branson Landing.  We enjoyed our first night together just relaxing at our hotel, eating pizza, and swimming.  

Ethan, Asa, and Max

Dev in her make-shift bed:)

This was Sabey and Tatum's bed
but Dev NEVER missed a
picture opportunity:)
It was sure a good thing that "Aunt Buffie" was on this trip because Travis's oldest 2 daughters LOVE roller coasters and Travis is NOT a roller coaster fan--he never has been.  We got him on 2 roller coasters and then he was DONE!  But no worries because "Auntie Roller Coaster" was there to take Max, Tatum, Sabey, and Devoney on all the scary rides!  Max, Tatum, Sabey, and I rode the Wildfire roller coaster 5 TIMES IN A ROW!!!  (Dev wasn't tall enough).  It was a great day to at Silver Dollar City because there were NO lines and we were able to ride a ton of rides in the time we were there.

Roller Coaster Babes:)

We met the Undertaker!
He measured all the kids for their coffins:)
Asa and Max were pals all week:)
After being at Silver Dollar City all day, Chris and I took the girls out for a show.  We had tickets for "Six."  I had the opportunity to see these guys perform several years ago and I just LOVE them.  They are 6 out of 10 brothers that perform year round in Branson.  Crazy talented family for sure.

A trip to Branson is not complete without going on the Branson Belle Showboat.  For our last day in Branson we hit the lunch time cruise.  Yummy food and amazing shows all while floating down the Missouri River--my idea of a perfect day.

This is Tatum being super shy
while the drummer was trying to get
her to talk to him out on deck:)
After our show, Travis had to head back to TX and we headed back to the airport in Springfield.  We sure packed a lot into 4 days--the only way we like to travel, run ourselves ragged:)  The kids had a blast and I sure enjoyed some extra time with my little bro--he's been living in North Carolina for the past 5 years so it's been a while since we've visited.  Nice to have him back on this side of the U.S.

Everything went well with our flight home.  Upon arrival in Mesa, it was RAINING!  Seriously, we had NO rain on our trip until we came home.  The problem was that there was lightning over the airport so we were stuck on our plane for another hour after landing!  Ugh!  But it was sure a beautiful sight to get off the plane after an AZ monsoon storm.  I sure do love a good desert rain and it was the perfect "welcome home" for us.  Summer's been GREAT!

Meeker Family Vacation 2017--Missouri/Illinois

Well it was another "last-minute change of plans" trip for the Meekers this year!  I actually love when this happens:)  We were set on going to Rocky Pointe, Mexico to enjoy some relaxing beach time up until the week before we left.  My husband had a better plan pop into his head.  I'm always up for an adventure so we were off to Missouri and Illinois!

We flew out of the Gateway airport to Springfield, MO.  We then drove a couple hours to get half-way to Carthage, IL.  We hit Liberty Jail first thing the next morning.  What an amazing place--truthfully everything the LDS church owns is AMAZING and so well-preserved and presented.  The missionaries serving in these areas have THE BEST mission in my opinion and I hope someday to serve in a Church History site.  

The weather was perfect.  A little more humidity than what we are used to but we sure enjoyed the break from the AZ heat.  We had the chance to listen to some "performing missionaries" here at Carthage.  I had NO idea that this was a thing!  Now Carlie is considering being a "performing missionary" someday herself.  It would be quite an adventure!  The performing missionaries performed at the Carthage Jail and then all over Nauvoo.

Performing Missionaries
One of the first things we did in Nauvoo was ride the oxen of course!  Where there are animals, Meekers just HAVE to go and see and touch:)

Max & I lead the way:)

I absolutely LOVED Nauvoo!  It was my personal favorite place of all the places we visited on this trip.  How amazing it would have been to have lived here with all the other early saints--but then NOT amazing when they were driven out.  But the Saints sure had an amazing town laid out for them.  I can't even imagine walking away from these beautiful brick homes.  There were several super fun places to stop in the town:
1-The Bakery where you get a yummy gingersnap cookie
2-The Brickyard where you learn how they made the bricks and every family got their very own red Nauvoo Brick.
3-Homes of Prophets such as Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff.  We even visited the Mansion House that Joseph Smith lived in--but that's owned by the Community of Christ Church so it's almost as cool as the others.
4-The Post Office
5-The Gunnery
6-The Blacksmith shop were we each got a "Prairie Diamond" ring.

Max with a Temple Sunstone replica

Heber C. Kimball Home

View of the Nauvoo Temple on the hill

Sporting our Prairie Diamond rings:)
One of the neatest places was definitely the Smith family grave plot.  Joseph & Emma Smith, Hyrum Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, and a couple of Joseph's children are all buried here.

The Mansion house of Joseph Smith

The Nauvoo Temple:

Carthage and Nauvoo took up our entire first day.  On our 2nd day, we headed over to Liberty Jail in Independence, MO.  Talk about a hallowed ground.  Once again, the Church has done an amazing job in restoring this building in which great trials and tremendous revelation came.  

These are the actual eviction documents issued by Gov. Boggs in 1838.  

The documents on the right is the official documents that lift the ban on the Saints and recognition of the wrong done to then dated in 1985.

The Community of Christ Church has the WEIRDEST Temple/church headquarters I've ever seen!  But we did enjoy walking the grounds and being able to see where the Temple will be built in Jackson Country, MO someday.  This will be an amazing event and I can't wait.

After visiting Independence, MO we headed back to Springfield to get Carlie onto her plane back home.  She had to come home 2 days earlier because she had to work--BOO!  But we weren't done yet.  We spent the last 2 days of our trip in one of our most FAVORITE places of all time--Branson, MO!!!