Friday, June 22, 2018

Time flies!

Honestly I have no idea what is happening to time.  I feel like the older my kids get the faster and faster it passes.  I feel like I am in a time warp.  And there are days where all I want is for it to go faster!  But then most days I wish I could slow it down.  So much has happened lately I will try to catch up...

Maggie is sweet as ever.  She and Joey stayed at my mom's house for a couple days while I was at girl's camp and Eric was at Scout camp.  They went and playing in a little creek and to the Payson Pool which is always a hit!
Of course grandma is a sucker and bought her cotton candy.....everything is more fun when grandma is around!
I snapped this funny picture of Ziggy while we were on one of our summer adventures.  I have to take a minute to say what a great dog she is.  I spent a LOT of time training her, but it has payed off.  Usually Brittanys are wild and super energetic, but Ziggy is perfect--she will laze around at home when she is inside with us.  Just mellow and chill.  But then you can take her on a horse ride and she runs runs runs runs circles around the horses!  But she always comes back every few minutes to check back in with us.  She loves to run around the fields and explore around our house.  She is even a great mouse and gopher catcher (sometimes she leaves them for me in the garage). She is just loyal and so fun to be around.  Definitely part of our family!
We went down to Escalante area a few weeks ago and hiked Coyote Gulch with our friends, the Carlys.  It was SO FUN.  I have to say we had a lot going on at home and I was having a little regret about dedicating a weekend to this but I am so glad I did.  It was a great bonding experience for our family, it was great exercise, and the scenery was amazing.  This hike is consistently rated one of the top 5 in Utah but it isn't crowded because it is difficult to get to.  It was so fun--you hike basically in the creek and walk through the water in this wide slot canyon, through arches and red rock and waterfalls.  Everyone had a blast and even though it was long (14 miles or so) Joey and Maggie were troopers and made it the whole way without any complaints (well Joey was getting tired the last few miles hiking out because it was through sand, but he did it all on his own!)  Joey also threw a little fit at the beginning because he didn't want to keep his shoes on in the water but he got over that pretty fast.  Here are some snapshots of the hike...

Pretty cool stuff!

We also spent some time last month planting our garden!  We didn't get to it last year so it was fun to get it all planted.  The kids all helped and they are super excited to eat the strawberries and sugar snap peas!  Things are growing pretty well.  Hopefully we will have some fresh yummy fruit and veggies!

I posted last time about Maggie's eye surgery...well, unfortunately it was not a success.  In fact just today she had her second surgery.  The eye was over-corrected and did not adjust itself so instead of going out now it was going in!  They over-correct on purpose because usually the eye will pull back again.  But apparently Maggie is special and unique and isn't like everyone else.  So her over-corrected eye did not snap back to the correct spot.  So she had to have a second surgery.  Ugh.  She took it like a champ though and even though she did not want to go through it again and was nervous she did really well.  We are praying that this time it works right!  Here she is at a pre-op appointment.  Surgery today seemed to go well--the doctor said the inside muscle was tight and he loosened it and the outside muscle looked "funny" and not right so he adjusted that one as well.  Here's hoping second time is a charm....NOT the third.

Joey has taken up sports!  He didn't do much before but he decided to do soccer again.  Here's his cute little team.  His coach was so sweet.  Unfortunately they didn't win a single game...but it's a good lesson in sportsmanship!
We went to the Bean Museum for FHE a few weeks ago.  It's a neat place to go when you have a little time to kill and don't want to spend any money.  They've redone it all so it's really nice now.  We went to the live animal show and got to see a tarantula, turtle, and ....  one other thing I can't remember.  Jake got attacked by a wild hippo though.....dangerous times.

And with the season comes the end of the school year, complete with school graduations and programs galore.  Joey had his 1st grade Program and it was awesome.  He's such a cute kid.  Full of spunk and personality.  You always know when Joey is in the room.  He sang and did the movements to the songs and then surprised us when he hula-hooped for the whole auditorium!  I didn't even know he could hula hoop at all but he did great!

Jake finished his soccer season in great form.  They started out the season a little slow and I was worried but picked it up by halfway through and then really started doing well.  He has decided to take a break from soccer and try football next fall but he still loves soccer.  Just ready to try something new.  I tried to get a few action shots.  I am really proud at how he has improved at soccer over the years.  He plays defender and when he has a good game and he's "on" nothing gets past him. He's had fun playing but now it's time to say goodbye soccer, hello head injury..err...  I mean football....

Grandpa Swenson got a new boat!  The kids have been waiting for this day since he left on his mission 2 years ago, ha ha.  They've been out on it fishing a couple times and had a blast.  Apparently Joey is the family's best fisherman.  On their first trip he outfitted grandpa and dad!  All that casting and reeling in really wears you out!

Adding to the end of school year events was Maggie's violin concert.  Her amazing teacher got a grant a few years ago to purchase violins to use for her students and she takes class time every week to teach them how to play.  They do small concerts throughout the year but this was the biggest of all, showing all they have learned.  They did so good!  And I love that her teacher places importance on music and the arts--it really helps learning in all areas.  Maggie did great--her teacher told me she should continue it because she has a real talent for it, but Maggie doesn't really want to.  I'm going to see if I can talk her into it when the school year begins!

Maggie has been loving playing with friends this summer without all the restrictions of school and schedules.  Her best friend, Hallie, and she play all the time.  I love this cute pic of the two of them--pure happiness and friendship...

Along with soccer, Joey has also started playing baseball.  Jacob played this year and Joey couldn't wait to tag along in his big brother's footsteps.  He's had a fun season and has gotten some good hits in too!

This one didn't quite connect with the bat...but it is an A for effort!
As I said, Jake is also playing baseball for the first time ever.  He just decided to on a whim at the last minute (he had some friends who were playing so decided to give it a try).  He started out the season a little slow--a couple strike outs--and I was worried he'd have a not very fun season, but I am happy to report that he has gotten a lot better really fast and is now getting to be a pretty good ball player!  He has gotten a hit every at-bat for the last several games, gets on base, and even makes it home a lot of the time!  He's had some great plays in the outfield too.  His coach and teammates keep telling me and him how they are surprised he's never played ball before because he's come so far this season.  So that has made it fun to watch and he's really enjoyed it.  His friend, Chase, is also playing.  Different team but still fun!
After the last day of school was out Jacob hung out with his friend Breyton.  They went fishing down at the pond--look at these two cuties!
And they did a nice camera pose showing what cool 7th graders they will be!

The last day of school also happened to be Jake's 12th birthday!  I just have to tell you all how much I love this boy.  He is so much like his mom--very organized, efficient, gets all of his chores done quickly and without being asked most of the time.  He's very bright and does well in school without having to be prodded and poked along.  He is generally very easy-going and is just fun to be around.  He's making up for all the time as a baby he spent screaming all day every day for 2 years.  I guess he got all of his orneriness out of himself then.  I love hanging out with him and wish we had more time to just sit around and watch a show together or something.  Even though he's 12 now he still loves to sit next to me on the bed and watch America's Funniest Home Videos or something like that.  He won an award for being a terrific kid at school--and he really is.  I love him so much and couldn't imagine our family without him!

For his birthday he went to the movies with a few friends to see the new Avengers movie.  Half way through the movie there was a fire alarm and we all had to go outside!  So weird.  But the boys thought it was funny and took the time for a photo op....
just a quick shot of the mice I mentioned earlier in the post that Ziggy brings to me.  Lunch!
The kids have had fun playing at grandma's house a few times this summer.  They love playing outside in the water.  They made a water balloon store...
but when those didn't sell Jake decided to turn them into a homemade waterbed....

Because Jake turned 12 he was able to get the priesthood!  It was a really special day--I just wish he would stop growing up so fast!  He has been passing the sacrament and even got to go to scout camp!
There was only one thing he wanted for his birthday--a snake.  I said NO WAY JOSE!  and I meant it.  But then I tried to think of something else to get him, and asked him what else he wanted...nothing.  And THEN I started thinking about what a great kid he is and I finally gave in and decided to get him a snake (he also made a very convincing powerpoint presentation on why a snake would be a good pet--no joke).  I convinced Eric, but didn't tell him.  So I wrapped some wood branched for his snake cage--he figured it out pretty quick but at first (this was so cute) he didn't get it and I said those branches were decorations for his room--you hang them on the wall and you can hang your jackets or stuff from them.  He smiled and said, "Oh!  Cool!" even though it would have been totally lame.  It was sweet.  Then I laughed and he realized that wasn't it and it didn't take more than a few second for him to put two and two together.  We let him pick out his own snake online and a couple days later got it.  
A baby albino corn snake.  That was one happy kid when he got his snake!  It is pretty cool looking.
It hides a lot right now because it is small, but it is cool to hold it and watch it eat.  It did escape the other day (AAHHH!!!!). But we found it quickly and saw how it got out (a little corner that doesn't close super tight at the top--and he's really small right now so could wriggle out with some effort) so we covered the corners with some tape for now.  Once he gets bigger he won't be able to fit out the hole anymore so  hopefully he grows fast!

Maggie also had a dance recital recently.  She did a hip hop dance with a Star Wars theme.  She did so good!  She is the youngest and smallest in her class but is the best dancer in it!  Her teacher says he might even move her up another level next year with the older kids.  She loves hip hop and I love to watch her dance and do something she loves!
Now that winter is long gone we've been outside a ton--gardening, taking care of horses, you name it.  Cinco is growing into a good horse-- a little too much like a pet but she has such a sweet personality.  The kids can even get on her bareback without any issues.  I think she will be a great riding horse.

For even more summer fun we decided to go to a Salt Lake Bees baseball game.  Nothing says summer like baseball and snacks!
It was a great game!
Can you find what's hidden in this picture?  We've got a family of killdeer birds that have made a rock next in the rocks on the side of our driveway.  If you look you can see 4 little eggs in a pebble nest the birds made.  We've watched them over the last few weeks and they finally hatched!  One egg didn't make it, but the other 3 produced cute little fuzzy chicks.  I didn't get a picture of them because the same evening they hatched they all disappear and never came back.  New home I guess.  But it was fun for the kids to watch them!
Maggie, my mom and I went to see the play "Anne of Green Gables"at BYU.  As usual they did an amazing job.  It was so cute and the acting, particularly Anne, was great.  I love that Maggie likes to do that kind of stuff--we will let the boys go camping and we will go out to lunch and plays!
The actors even came out after the show for pictures and autographs.  Maggie was able to get a picture with Anne and Diana...
And last picture of the post is Jake's first time doing baptisms for the dead!  We'd been wanting to take him but couldn't find the time with scout camp, girls camp, Maggie's surgery and everything else.  So luckily he has an awesome aunt who took him with his cousin Sam to show him the ropes.  He had a great time and can't wait to go again.

Stay tunes for more updates on our fun filled summer!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spring is in the Air

It's finally spring and with spring come busy and happy times.  Sports are going, school, gardening, outside fun, name it and we've been doing it.  Well, kind of.  

Our big event was Maggie's eye surgery.  She had what is called intermittent exotropia where her left eye would turn outward a little some of the time.  Her doctor recommended surgery so we went ahead and removed Maggie's eyeball.   Just kidding.  A little surgery to fix the problem.  Here she is ready to go in!  She was nervous but she was so brave.  I was really proud of her.  We made sure to write YES on the eye to be worked on--no mistakes here!

 Surgery went well and after she came out (and took a while to wake up out of her grogginess) she was fascinated by her double vision.  It can last about 2 weeks.  "I've got 10 fingers on my hand!"
 We've been having fun teasing her and playing games with her and her double vision.  It gives us all a little giggle.  Then it was time to go home and she got wheeled out like a movie star.
 Maggie did so good and we were all very proud of her.  The eye is still recovering but doing well.

Jacob got a special award from school--the Terrific Kid award.  Each 6th grade teacher in the district picks one boy and one girl in their class for the award and Jacob's teacher picked him!  We were really proud of him.  He is a terrific kid!

For spring break this year Hillary and her family were in town so we decided to do something fun.  We went down to Moab and stayed in a cabin in the La Salle mountains.  The cabin itself was quite the adventure.  It was very "rustic" --  it was really out in the middle of nowhere, and there was no dishwasher, the mattresses were dirty and gross, it was run off of solar power and in the morning we would run out of power!  It was definitely an experience!  But the only that mattered is that we had a ton of fun.  The kids loved playing with cousins and chopping wood outside.
 We played lots of games around the table!
 Grandma had us play some games where we got to get really up close and personal....
 But I didn't mind.  I got to sit with my handsome guy!
 Kaylee was the official hair stylist of the trip--does it mean your boys' hair is too long if it can be braided?
 We took a couple of fun hikes too.  We hiked out to delicate arch and we also did another fun one (I can't remember the name of it).  The scenery is so beautiful down there!

 What a great way to spend an afternoon!  Me and Joey had fun hanging out too!
 And of course we had to stop at the sand hill after the hike.  We did this last time we were down here a few months ago and it is always a hit with the kids.  Even though my car fills up with sand.
 The boys went mountain biking while we went on a small hike.  Tyler and Jacob had so much fun! They came back with lots of scratches to show how tough they are.

Jacob moved on in his science fair again!  He went to show at BYU and he won a really cool prize--a trip for 4 to a fossil quarry in Wyoming to dig for fossils!  We even get to keep all the fossils we find. It doesn't open for another month but we are so excited to go!  It's going to be really cool, and of course Jake thought it was the coolest prize ever.  Future geologist.

Life on a "farm" (okay, a mini-farm) is definitely different from how I grew up.  Eric got a tractor and has been teaching the kids to use it (gulp).  But it has come in handy a lot even in just a couple weeks.  And Ziggy is always bringing me treasures.  Here she is with a cow leg, and then the other day she brought me a dead mouse.  Put it right outside my garage door for me.  I guess better dead and outside than alive and inside?  

When Hillary was here we went up to Salt Lake to walk around temple square and have lunch.  I just had to capture this quintessential shot of Joey.  This is basically his uniform lately.  T-shirt, sport shorts and tall socks pulled up all the way.  Lol.  This kid may be a handful, but he can make us laugh.  I love it.
Joey love to help us work out in the yard and with the horses.  Here Eric was showing him how to hook up the manure spreader to the back of the tractor.  Joey got to hook it up, change the latches, and even drive the tractor a little bit!  Future cowboy in training!
 Back to temple square with the cousins (the pictures got out of order).  I left to go home with the younger kids who were tired but Tyler stayed with the rest of the group.  Maybe I should have stayed to supervise because this is the picture I was sent by Hillary....oh dear.
 They also went to do baptisms for the dead in Provo.  What a good looking family!
 I went for a horse ride with Eric and his dad last week.  The weather was beautiful and spring is always so pretty up in the mountains.
 And with springtime finally here the gardening has begun.  We planted a lot more plants around the house for landscaping, and started our fruit and vegetable garden as well.  I've never been that great at growing things but maybe with the help of the family this garden will actually produce something.  It will be a fun family project this summer.  Fingers crossed we get some yummy crops!

 Lots more action to come in the next month.  Stay tuned!