Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A little behind....

Okay, a lot behind.   But at least I am trying!

I'll cover all the highlights for certain...the rest of it will just have to get skipped.  I am in the Young Women's at church, and a few months ago we took all the youth to go see Music and the Spoken Word in Salt Lake before church.  It was totally awesome!  We had to get up bright and early but it was well worth it.  We got to walk around temple square a bit, then hear some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. music.  The kids all had a great time.  What a great opportunity to be able to do that.  It makes me wonder why I haven't gone more.
 So I guess there is ONE good thing about 1:00 church--that you have time to go do this in the morning and still make it to church on time.  Alas we are back at 9:00 church this year, and although it is awesome to be able to just get up and go to church and be home by noon, that is one thing I will miss about later church....

School happenings are always going on and the most recent was Jacob's Wax Museum.  The 5th graders all pick a different famous person--modern or old--and write a report, make a display, then dress up as the person and give a memorized short speech about them.  Jake was Meriwether Lewis and he was so cute.  He did a great job!

Per the usual, we have season tickets to BYU basketball games.  I am Eric's preferred companion (did you even question?) but he does take the kids in turn as well for some daddy-son/daughter time.  I think for Joey and Maggie getting a cougar tail (a 2' long maple bar--the best you've ever had) is a bigger draw than the actual sports display but who can blame them.  One lucky night Maggie even got to meet the king of Cougars---Cosmo himself!!

Jacob has been doing piano festivals (where you memorize a piece of music, play it in front of judges and get scored) for a while and this time he got to do a duet.  The boys looked super sharp in their matching orange neckwear and they played even sharper.  Excellent job boys!

Although I typically have a firm "No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving" rule, I broke it this year.  But I had a good reason!  I have been wanting a new Christmas tree for some time.  Believe it or not, we were still using our original tree we bought what feels like decades ago.  It was cheap because we were dead broke back then, short because we were living in tiny places, and pretty sparse looking.  I was going to wait to buy a tall tree, but when I found a screaming deal I knew I couldn't pass it up.  But I got it the week before Thanksgiving.  I didn't want to set it up and find out it was a dud and looked horrible (you can never tell from those pictures on Amazon) and then be treeless, so I set it up a few days before turkey day.  Well to my happy surprise it looked great!  But I had no ornaments for it...  I decided I wanted this tree, the "upstairs" tree to look cool so I picked a few pictures from online  of different ways to decorate it and then let the kids pick which one they liked the best.  They picked an awesome design and off we went ornament hunting!  Don't you think the final result looks super sweet and oh so full of holly-jolliness!
 It took a tall ladder, a lot of ornaments, and an even more amount of patience but we did it!  And don't start thinking I am a cruel kids' Christmas killer--we set up our old tree downstairs and that is where the kids got to hang up all their ornaments (they pick one out each year, plus all the ones they have made at school and church).  So everyone got to have their fun!  Win-win.  OH!  EXTRA BONUS:  since I had the tall ladder out already I go the Nerf Bullet that had been stuck in our light fixture for over a year out.  Sweet!

So a few days after tree-topia it was Thanksgiving.  We had dinner at my house and it was delicious.  Everybody made something yummy and it was such a fun time for all.  And can you believe how old these 3 teenagers are looking?!?!?!?!?!

The next big event (remember we are skipping the small stuff) was Miss Maggie Bean got baptized!  It was so cute because she was getting baptized with 2 of her cute little girl friends too.  The three princesses dressed in white!
 Maggie was super excited and so proud!  And mom and dad were pretty proud too.  We missed all the family who couldn't be there!
 Tyler even volunteered to give the talk on baptism.  He did such a great job.  It was a special morning for all of us.  3 down, one more to go!  They might have to dunk Joey twice, wink wink.

Our annual Young Women's activity for December (well, this was only the 2nd year but we've decided to make it an annual thing) is we take all the girls up to Temple Square, buy them dinner at the Joseph Smith Memorial, walk temple square and go to the church history museum.  It was cold so we bundled up.  Here's all the fun leaders I get to serve with--they make being in young women's so great!

Maggie had a dance performance as well.  It was a Christmas show and since Maggie is in 2 dance classes she was in 2 numbers--a ballet one and a hip hop one.  She tolerates ballet, but she LOVES hip hop.  It is so cute.  But she did amazing in both numbers.  She really loves to be on stage and had such a cute personality that shines through in her face.

On a funny side note, the two older boys love seafood--especially crab and mussels.  Weird, right?  I mean, I love them but for a 10 and 13 year old to love them is fun.  Anyway, I found some mussels at Costco and snatched them up, went home and cooked the entire batch in a super yummy sauce.  Well look how much the boys ate!  Plates piled high.  Maggie didn't like them and Joey wouldn't even look at them.  But it was a fun dinner for the rest of us!

We had Christmas Eve at Katie's house again this year.  A yummy dinner and then opening the pajamas from Grandma Swenson all the way over in Germany!  It was a fun night.  Always nice to get together with family.

Then lo and behold it was finally Christmas morning!  The joy!  The excitement!  The PRESENTS!!!!  The kids were super excited and got lots of fun stuff.  We don't go too crazy at Christmas,  they get 4 gifts from me and Eric, something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.  Then Santa fills their stocking and bring one big present.  Plus the gifts from grandma and Aunt Carrie and cousin exchange and they are stocked up.  It was such a fun morning.  And even though Tyler threatened everyone to NOT WAKE HIM UP EARLY to open presents, HE was the first one up and woke up everyone else.  Ha ha.  Stinker.

Eric had a few days off around Christmastime so we spent an afternoon at the Provo Beach Resort.  We played laser tag, did the ropes course, played some arcade games, and went bowling.  Dad beat everyone...by a lot.

The highlight (worst part) of winter so far has been ALL THE SNOW!!!!  Oh my, I think we spent a week straight shoveling and plowing and blowing snow.  So much snow we were running out of places to put it all.  This is one early morning trying to clear part of the driveway before school so I could get out of the garage.  Probably 2 feet just overnight, then it snowed for another week!  I am done with snow for the winter.  Maybe a 200 foot driveway wasn't the best idea.....

But along with all the snow we've had some amazing skies.  Here are a couple pics from my house.  No filters or anything, and these were taken with my iPhone!  Beautiful.  I feel so lucky every single day I wake up and look outside at my views.  How did I get so lucky to live here?  Pretty amazing.

Once again Eric and boys have been skiing a lot this winter, particularly Tyler who is getting to be a really good skier.  His goal for the winter was to ski every run in Sundance.  I think he has gotten to all of them except the 2 or 3 double black diamond runs (which I am not crazy about him skiing down anyway).  He was determined to do them, but the weather the past week has been quite warm and a lot of snow has melted so I am not sure he will get to them this winter.  Here's Ty...
 And now Eric...

 You would know if there were a picture of me--I would be the one falling head over feet down with my skis in a X like a disney cartoon.

Eric is in the scouts program at church and planned a snow cave campout.  They went up Fairview Canyon and actually dug out snow caves and slept in them!  The crazy thing was he hit it at a super cold time and when they woke up it was -12 degrees outside!  Eric said he slept pretty warm inside his cave though so I was glad about that.  I didn't sleep much that night at home even though I was warm in my bed--I kept worrying about how the boys were doing!  This is the entrance to Eric's cave...
 Here's Tyler and the boys in cave with him.  They slept 3 to a cave.

 BRRR!!!!  Too cold for me.  But they survived!
 Although I wasn't joking about me falling head over heels down a ski run, I have been trying hard this winter to get a little better at skiing.  I've graduated from the green runs at Sundance to the blue ones.  I prefer the easier blue runs, but I did ski a couple of the longer harder ones.  I didn't NOT enjoy those though.  I was super sore the next day but not my legs like you'd think, my back and shoulders were sore from being so tense the whole time!  But to prove my bravery, here is Eric and me at the top of Sundance outside of Bearclaw Cabin (where we got nachos, of course).
 I know I look like the stay puff marshmallow man but I was warm so I don't care!

This year we went to the Ice Castles in Midway.  We had gone a couple years ago, and had tickets to go last year but because it was so warm they closed it early and we never got a chance.  But luckily they said they would honor my old tickets this year so we went for family night.  It was fun, cold, and totally amazing.  I don't know how they can build it like that.  The pictures don't really show much because it was too cold and my phone died, but you get an idea.  There are tunnels galore, the ice lit up from the inside, fountains, ice slides to go down, walls and rooms 25 feet high, huge icicles....just really beautiful.  The kids could have stayed all night but it was late and my fingers were frozen so we eventually forced them to leave.

In addition to Eric trying to get me to be a better skier, he's been working his magic on Maggie and Joey.  We put them in a class and they both did really well and had a good time.  They wanted to keep skiing after their class so I took Maggie on the green run....
 And Eric and Joey went up to an easy blue run (Joey is  a little daredevil).  This is them on the lift in front of us.  So cute.

I saw BYU was doing the Broadway production Mary Poppins so I got tickets and thought Maggie would enjoy bringing some friends.  So I invited some friends and their moms to come.  I was worried whether or not Maggie would like it, but she LOVED it!  In fact she wants to do musical theater now, lol.   They had such a fun time and it was fun for me to know that Maggie loves the same things I do!  Eric and the boys can go fishing and we will go see a show!

 One last view from my deck...  Seriously, I get to look at this every single day!  Try not to be too jealous......  Once I have grass it will be even more amazing.  I can't wait!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Playing Catch-Up

It was brought to my attention recently that I haven't updated my blog lately (thanks mom).  I realize it has been a while, so, once again, I will play catch up.  We tried to end the summer on a high note and went to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake and the new church history museum.  As you can imagine, walking through a museum full of amazing historical artifacts from the early church was captivating to Joey....(sense the sarcasm).  The rest of us really loved it, and it is totally amazing and interesting.  But there were more than a few passed signs and exhibits as we tried to keep everyone happy.  Then we walked around Temple Square, which is always beautiful.  I managed to capture a couple of pictures from the day.
 This one is from an exhibit at the museum....
 Totally changing directions now, we found a fun store in Payson called Goofy Guys that sells all sorts of odds and ends from old fashioned candy to metal signs to (you guessed it) giant underwear.
 If you can't see the need for a pair of giant underwear then there's no point in explaining it to you.

Another out of the ordinary thing we did this year was the Monster Truck Show at the county fair.  We were prepared with earplugs and headphones and thank goodness!  Word to the wise---they are excessively loud.  So does loud=super fun totally awesome?  Kind of.  It was fun for sure, but I think the family loved the Demolition Derby last year more.  The trucks were pretty cool the way they flew through the air and crushed other cars.  I mean, how can you not enjoy seeing a giant truck drive over a row of old cars?

We spent time with family--and the kids obviously enjoyed (and terribly miss) their old trampoline.  Our "yard" here still consists of dirt, with some dirt on the sides, a but more dirt in the middle, and then in front of the house we have some dirt.  It gets old...and dirty.

And then lo and behold the first day of school came (mom shouted for joy while the kids moaned and groaned).  They are getting to be quite a handsome bunch!
Tyler--8th grade
 Maggie--2nd grade
 Jake--5th grade

Tyler and his cousin Ben did their annual summer rock band again this year.  As usual Tyler told me over and over how they weren't ready and didn't know the songs and were, in general, awful.  And, as usual, he was totally incorrect.  They did amazing.  It is so fun to hear them play and sing.  Tyler even learned how to play the intro to "Piano Man" on the harmonica.  They totally rocked it out!  I just warned him he isn't allowed to grow his hair long and get any tattoos or piercings.

Eric took the two older boys on his annual BYU Football away game trip.  This  year they went to Arizona.  It was a close game but BYU won in the last minute of the game!  Almost the same thing that happened in the game they went to last year in Nebraska--I think these boys are good luck charms for BYU!

 Having the barn finished (FINALLY) has been such a relief.  No more long nights and Saturdays out there slaving away.  It's filled with hay and looking like the real deal finally.  So it's official now, we are country bumpkins.
 A funny sight the other day....on our flight to Boston over the summer, Eric and I got those eye covers for sleeping....I don't know what they are called.  The kids for some reason loved them and commandeered them from us.  Joey would sleep with his on all the time.  Well one night he was tired and I told him to go lay down on the sofa in my room for a while.  I walked in to find this....
 He was dead asleep!  It cracked me up.

In other Joey news, he had a birthday!  The big 6.  He had a party with a few friends with a donut cake (his choice plus easy for me..bonus!)...
 And a family party with chocolate pie (his request again, and Jessica made it, so once again easy for me...double bonus!).
 And to top off his birthday he decided to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.  He is so good at his scooter it didn't take him long to get the bike balance down.  I think he had it 90% good after about 15 minutes.  Triple bonus.  We even got him a new bike!
 Joey is a great way to round out our family.  He is a human paradox--you can want to strangle him and kiss him all at the same time.  He doesn't let us rest--he's a little ball of crazy energy.   But he manages to keep up with his older brothers and sister...most of the time.  He can be so sweet and cute.  Gives me kisses all the time and pats me on the back.  He's cracker jack smart too.  A lot of times you wouldn't guess it with how crazy he acts, but he's got quite a brain.  He always makes me laugh too.  he told me the other day he is getting so tall because of all the eggs he eats for breakfast.  And he told me he's a fan of steak:
Joey:  What does it mean to be a fan of something?  Like I'm a fan of BYU?
Me:  It means you really really like something.
Joey:  Mom, I'm a fan of steak.
I'm always amazed that he is alive and growing considering how little he eats, but he is super sneaky and is always sneaking snacks and treats when he knows I won't find him.  I need to channel that craftiness to good use.  He's growing up fast--but lucky for me still slow enough that he likes to snuggle and wants to be tucked in every night.  We love you Joey!


In other news, Tyler got his tonsils removed.  That makes all 3 of my boys now.  Maggie tonsils seem fine.  His tonsils were huge, he snored like a lumberjack, sounded/talked like his throat was always clogged, and was the loudest breather you ever heard.  So I had them checked out and the doc said he definitely needed them out.  Once they were out the doc said they had a significant amount of scarring on them and he's probably had chronic mild tonsillitis for years.  Whoops.  Guess I should have checked them out sooner!  But he recovered well and really was a super trooper.  I was worried about recovery but he took it like a champ.  Now there are no more sawing logs at night!

Crazy hair day at school....see sometimes I do the pinteresty mom stuff...

Jacob is still loving soccer.  He is doing great with his team.  They finished out the fall season and now he's doing indoor futsal to keep his skills up for spring.  They've got a great little team and have a ton of fun playing.  It's fun to watch him play--he gets better and better each season!

For fall break we decided to do a repeat trip to Escalante/Bryce Canyon and hike some slot canyons.  It was a blast once again but even more fun this time because we didn't camp, we stayed in a hotel!  So no big set up or clean up, well....I take that back.  There was a big clean up because joey puked twice on the floor of the hotel room in the middle of the night.  It was nasty.  Thank goodness we had tons of extra towels!!  The sleeping bag he was in (he slept on the floor) was thrown away in the dumpster.  Some things aren't worth the nastiness.  But the canyons were awesome...Eric and I barely squeezed through some of them!  I couldn't get pictures of the skinny parts because you literally didn't have room to raise your arms to take a picture.  Suck it in!!!

 Bonus:  We (Dad) caught a little lizard.  Poor little guy was passed around the group.  But he was tough and survived and we let him go, despite protests from the kids wanting to keep him as a pet....

 And then right around the corner (isn't life just one thing after another?!?) it was Halloween!  We had some fun with Napoleon Dynamite...
 Old man Batman...
 Super ninja...
 And Skelita (yes, I know what you are thinking.  Maggie was that last year!  But when I asked her what she wanted to be she was set on it.  Bonus for me--I already had all the stuff!  Sweet)
I don't normally dress up too much for Halloween but we were invited to a friend's Halloween party so I thought I'd play along.  It was a Day of the Dead party.  I may have gone a little overboard...
Actually no one recognized me until I told them who I was.  It took me a shower, 3 more face washes and a lot of eye makeup remover after that to get it all off.

We had another birthday in the house (first Joey, then Eric, then me--age undisclosed, and now Maggie!)  Maggie had a super fun fashion party with a LOT of friends.  I was counting on some girls not being able to come but pretty much everyone that she invited came!  So it was a full house but lots of giggles.  They had a piƱata, played a balloon stomp game, decorated pillowcases, decorated a wooden letter of their name, cake and ice cream and had a silly fashion show.
The fashion show was a hit--we dumped out all of our many costumes and wigs and the girls went to town.  There were some pretty creative outfits.  We had 2 rounds of the catwalk and then a fashion dance party.  It was pretty hilarious.  Here's Maggie's two beautiful creations...

Maggie is my little princess--my only girl in a sea of testosterone.  I love love love having a girl, and I love that she loves all things girly.  She loves dresses, nail polish, pink stuff, jewelry, crafts and all of that.  But she also loves playing the dirt outside (good, we have a lot of it), playing nerf with her brothers, and riding horses.  She loves those horses!  She can be a bit of a drama queen at times (ok, a lot of a drama queen) but she also makes us laugh.  She loves to dance, she loves music, and has started piano lessons now too.  She is helpful--always helping in her classroom at school.  She has a toothless smile and looks like a hillbilly right now too, which I love.  When she smiles she lights up my heart.  The only thing I can't stand it how fast she is growing up.  It makes my heart hurt.  She will always be my little Maggie Moo.

 I wonder daily how I got so blessed to have such a great life.  I'm going to do my best to enjoy every minute of it!