Remembering Jake Part 1

The four of us kids had so much fun together as we were growing up, there was certainly never a dull moment.  We fed off of each other's excitement and enthusiasm and were always scheming, laughing and playing.  As you'll see from the pictures below we were fortunate to go to some great places together and boy did we have a good time.  We felt so adventurous being farmers one day and snorkelers, rafters or mountain-men the next.  But, some of my favorite memories are the simple ones, like the times we spent playing at the old Discovery Zone in Bakersfield.  Tearing through the play areas, coming up with games and missions and laughing and running until we were absolutely exhausted.  That's what's so wonderful about childhood - you don't need anything fancy to have the best time ever - you can just let your imagination run wild.

Here we are at Grandpa's farm one summer.  We loved going there - it was like a whole new world to explore.  We were all animal lovers and this only added fuel to the fire.  There were cows to ride, calves to name, ducks to feed and chicks to hold.
Riding cows was always fun - how many people ever get to do this?  I was feeling pretty proud of myself, while Jake thought it would make an awesome picture if he made it look like he were falling off the cow.

 Rafting down the Colorado River with the whole family one summer.  We spent a week on the river and had the best time ever.
 Here we are in Washington.
 I think this was before or after a ski trip one New Years Eve.
 All of us in Alaska with Mount McKinley behind us.
 Swimming in the ocean in Hawaii.  Emily, Jake and myself
 Mom and Dixon's wedding.  The sun was bright and we had taken a million pictures so needless to say we were over it by this point.
 All of us at Disneyland.  From left to right - me, Emily, Steph, Jake and Grayson.
Sitting on Santa's lap.  Even though the four of us are not all blood related I find it amazing how much we look alike.  We all have practically the exact same hair color and 3 of us have brown eyes.
I think this picture was taken in Florida.
One night at Grandma's house Jake decided to give us some added entertainment in the form of dressing up like a midget.  He bent his legs and put his shorts on knees first, then he put his shoes under his knees and pulled his arms in his shirt half way until he looked like a midget.  He walked all around the room like this and we couldn't stop laughing.  Us kids thought this was such an epic invention that we needed to show others.  So the next day he got back into character and stood on our front lawn and waved to cars as they passed by.  I distinctly remember people slowing down as they drove by trying to figure out what was going on without obviously staring impolitely.  We thought we were hilarious.  I'm sure this is all terribly politically incorrect, but that didn't cross our minds, we were too busy laughing at Jake's creativity.  
Something happened when the picture was printed and the ceiling ended up on the bottom.  Just adds to the weirdness of this picture!
Out on an adventure in Utah.

Up at the cabin playing in the stream with cousins.  We're probably looking for fish or racing little boats.

For a few years each summer at the cabin we became consumed with the idea of collecting and trading the little plastic dogs that we got at the nearest gas station.  They were wrapped in dark plastic so you couldn't tell which dog was in each one, so naturally we had to buy tons to ensure we would end up with the best variety.  It was so much fun.  We would guess, open, trade and play with our prized possessions for hours. As you can see, we took this very seriously.  I'm on the left and Emily and Steph are on the right.

I remember as kids when we went to DisneyWorld we would stay in Fort Wilderness (which I'm pretty sure no longer exists).  The lodges were nestled amongst trees and to get around the area you rode on golf carts down little pathways in this pseudo forest.  We thought getting to ride around on golf carts was about the best thing ever, but over time found ways to make it even better.  We would sit on the back of the cart at night as we were driving around so that we were facing the golf carts coming up behind us and chew gummy bears and water and then we would pretend to get sick and throw it up whenever another cart came close to us.  What kind of sick sense of humor did we have?  It still makes me laugh to think about the look on other people's faces who witnessed this.  We loved getting a rise out of the random people behind us on golf carts. 

Another fond memory at DisneyWorld was riding around in the wheelchairs after leaving the park one night.  We found a group of unused wheelchairs sitting outside of the park exit late one night and hoped in them and had wheel chair races all around the parking lot.  As fun as DisneyWorld is, I'm almost certain we had more fun in the parking lot that night with those wheel chairs than at any other point in the trip.  Even Mom found it hilarious and still laughs about it to this day.

Another memory I have in Florida is of us swimming in a big pool with all of the cousins and Dixon getting up to go hear the verdict of the O.J. Simpson case.  Even as an elementary school student I was very aware of the situation and interested in the outcome.  We were all completely shocked when Dixon came back and told us the results.

Photobooth fun.  We were such weirdos.

3 Response to Remembering Jake Part 1

April 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Oh Lauren, I did not know this happened. I am so sorry. I hope you're doing OK. I love you.

April 1, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Lauren (aka Downey) I loved this! Thank you so much for doing this. I love the pictures. What a nice tribute to Jake. I bet it made him feel so special. It made me cry reading it, but brought back such great memories! Love you!

April 1, 2013 at 10:43 PM

I love this, I almost forgot about the midget thing but once I saw the pictures of Jake it brought back that memory like it happened yesterday. That was so funny!

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