Sunday, March 18, 2018

Never a Dull Moment!

It seems like there is never a dull moment at the Swenson house--which is why so much time passes between blog entries.  Before I know it a month or two has gone by!  Time really is flying around here.  

Do you know what else is flying?  Maggie and Jacob's hand over the piano keys!  Those two had their  recital and did great.  It's always so much fun to hear them get to perform the songs they've been working on OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER for the past several weeks--and it's especially fun for me...knowing I won't have to hear those songs anymore!  Just kidding...sort of (mom's of kids in music know what I mean).

 Then of course we had crazy hair day at school.  You know me, I'm a sucker when my kids want to do this kind of stuff.  We made a plan the night before--the first part of which was scavenging through the Halloween bin to see what colors of hair spray dye I had left.  That is what we based our plan off of.  Plus I tell the kids it has to be relatively easy--no gluing toy dinosaurs or shaving mohawks to their heads.  But here is what we came up with--Maggie's was my favorite--she looked like an 80's biker chick.  Totally punk rock.

 She loved it too as you can tell.  And it only took about 3/4 bottle of conditioner to get all the snarls out!
Jacob is more limited having shorter hair but we managed a nice little faux-hawk.  He complained after school about how much his head hurt with those little tight ponytails in all day--welcome to world of women--making ourselves as uncomfortable as possible in the name of style.
 And Joey went basic--black and blue hawk.  His lasted forever--I think there might be a full bottle of hairspray in there.
 Hail hail the gangs all here....  A bunch of ruffians.
 After what seems like a winter without snow we got dumped on several times as winter winds down.  The kids had to make the most of it while it lasted!  We tried to build a snowman but this snow was way too dry and we couldn't get it to stick together.  I used to dread putting on snow clothes for my kids, but now they are getting better at it so it isn't quite as horrible and frustrating as it used to be.  Now it's just picking up all the wet clothes they leave on the floor...
 We went ice skating with the young women and Maggie came with us.  She loved it so much she begged to go back with her friends every day (hour) until I took them.  The girls had a blast--it was so funny watching them slip around and then get the hang of it.
 Joey was dying to come too so he got to bring a friend as well.  Joey had a blast but unfortunately his friend didn't care for it too much.  So they to tired of skating and watched the hockey players practice on the other rink.  Still a good time!
 And then there's my older, questionably stupider son (only because he's a teenager now) who decided to take his shirt off and ski down the run with his friends.  Don't even ask me.  I wonder what I did that led to this moment....
 He also got to go skiing up in Idaho with his uncle Mat and cousin Ben.  It had been a bust of a skiing winter around here and the boys were all fed up with it, so Mat took them on a day trip up to a ski resort that actually HAD snow.  Look at this mop-head sitting eating breakfast.  Ugh.
 I think this one is even worse....
 His hair is getting long on top for sure, BUT IN HIS DEFENSE he styles it every day up and back so it isn't hanging in his face like this.  I guess this is just his skiing hairdo.  I figure that as long as he doesn't want a mo-hawk, mullet or man-bun this is a battle not worth fighting.  (Besides, I actually like it when it is styled--I told his to enjoy his hair while he actually has some--Eric is the one who want it super short missionary style---there will be time for that in a couple years).

The boys had to hike for some reason while skiing (to get to a particular run or whatnot) and were so pooped out they took a little siesta on the slopes.
 Only a few minutes later they are back at it again!  Tyler is in the yellow pants.
 Tyler went pheasant hunting with his grandpa Craig.  They got some game!  He's loving his Elmer Fudd gun that he got for Christmas.  (That's how Eric described it to me since I am pretty much gun illiterate.
It was science fair time again!   This time it was Jake's turn.  He LOVES rocks and really wanted to do something with rocks so he decided to test the effect of acid rain on different building materials.  He soaked granite, limestone, brick, marble and concrete in an acid rain solution he made for 2 weeks, weighing them every couple days.  He had a great time doing it.  I made him make his poster by himself and it was killing me to not step in and make it nice and neat, but I held myself back and he was able to make a pretty nice poster....considering.   And guess what!?  He won the school science fair and moved on to the district--and he moved on from that too!  So now I think it is called regional competition, at BYU.  He was really excited.  Especially since Tyler made it to regional for his science project too--and Jacob didn't want to be outdone.  It's more work for me, but I'm proud of his hard work!
Maggie got a moment to shine in her Peter Pan dance recital.  She got to be a pirate!  Argh!  She loves hip hop dancing and has so much fun doing it.  She loves being on stage and dressing up in costumes and make up.  She did great!
We took a long weekend trip to St. George with our friends, the Carly's.  We rented a house that was right next to a pool--we went there with them a couple years ago and had a blast.  So we decided we had to do it again!  The drive down of course we stopped to get donuts--and here's Joey eating his healthy breakfast--he even got the box and everything.  He's in his happy place.....
While down there we mostly just relaxed and hung out and tried to get away from the stresses of life. The kids basically lived at the pool.  We played games, and I won Michigan Rummy!  (I had to brag because I think it's like the 3rd time I've won it in my entire life.). We did a little shopping, and went on a fun little hike.  The kids always love hiking on the red rock down there.
This is the spot where Joey was afraid to go--there are footholds carved into the rock, but it is actually steeper than you can tell here, and it drop off on the left side into the water (it was really cold).  Once you got up the footholds there is a rope and you have to hold on and walk across a ledge which wasn't that hard.  But Joey was afraid because of falling into the water.  So we tried and cajoled, everyone else went, but Joey didn't want to.  I'm talking crocodile tears.  So I told him I'd stay back with him, but even so I kept working on him.  I had him pretty close to being willing to try--he was watching lots of people go over and come back--and was hopeful about it.  Then a man was coming back toward us and he slipped and slowly slid down completely into the water--it was deep, completely over his head.  It happened almost in slow-motion because you don't slide fast on that rock, but there was nothing to stop him.  His head comes back up and he's gasping, "Oh that's cold!  Oh tat's cold!"  Eric and another man helped pull him up to shore, but the poor man was drenched and freezing.  He had a super nice camera in a bag around his neck that got submerged too.  And that sealed the deal--Joey was absolutely NOT going to try it.  What bad timing!
So Joey and I explored a little, made a new trail of rocks through a shallow part in the river, and hung out....
It wasn't too long before everyone came back--I guess there was a spot that wasn't passable not too far past the foothold spot.  The kids had a blast anyway....
And then Eric had to get a picture of me jumping over the stream onto a steep section where Eli helped everyone up.  Just showing off my mad skills....
One thing I love about Utah and my house is I feel like every sunset is amazing.  I don't know why, but it just is.  I have a perfect view from my house too--no other houses to block the view.  Jacob actually took this one with my camera--isn't it beautiful!  No filters, just nature.
We've been making our kids do their own laundry for a while now, particularly the three older ones.  I still usually do Joey's and he helps put it away, mostly because I don't trust him to do it himself!  But he decided to do his own laundry last week, and had Maggie help him with the detergent and stuff.  He even switched it to the dryer on his own.  As I was puttering around the basement I noted how fresh it smelled--like fresh laundry.  I thought it was a little stronger than normal (normally I wouldn't notice that from the other side of the house almost) but didn't think much of it.  Well, I was folding it with him later that evening and his clothes smelled sooo good.  So, in his laundry I found this--EIGHT dryer sheets.  Ha ha!  No wonder his clothes were so soft and aromatic!  Joey was so proud he had done it all by himself.  I gently reminded him only one sheet was necessary but applauded the effort!
Maggie had her Invention Convention at school last week.  She made a laundry helper!  Luckily for me I already have a laundry helper--her!

And here's the rascal of the bunch.  She's been banished to the outside for a few weeks because it has been so muddy outside that she is always filthy.  I finally decided to give Ziggy a bath and let her roam the house with her family.  After her bath she stayed inside for an hour or so, but then wanted to go out--probably to go to the bathroom.  So I let her out and after about 15 minutes went out to get her.  This is what I found...
Well that didn't take her long.  Ugh.  Banished once again.....

Saturday, January 13, 2018

O Holy Eventful Month!

My goodness--it's only been a little over a month since I last posted, but as I posted all these pictures on here I realized how much has gone on!  I suppose I just have WAY too exciting of a life to wait so long between posts.  But therein lies the problem--my amazing exciting life leaves me little time to sit and blog....I'm in quite the conundrum.  Well, I will keep plugging away I suppose.  So onto the show...

To start the month off with a bang, the kids went to Grandma Calder's house.  Jake and Joey spent the night--they made slime (not allowed home with them--I've had too many slime related accidents) and paper ornaments.  And ate lots and lots of candy.  Always a fun time at grandma's.

Joey's new favorite activity is taking my giant bags of Costco cups and stacking them.  All the time--cups all over.  If I had only known before I bought presents I would have just given him a giant bag of cups.  He would have loved it. As you can see, he's getting quite good at stacking!

We've had an INCREDIBLE amount of snow here in Utah this winter--and by incredible I mean "It's incredible that it's January and we have no snow" incredible.  Seriously--hardly any of the white manna has fallen here.  I know why--it's because I finally broke down a couple months ago and bought a car with 4-wheel-drive because I hate driving in the snow.  Ha.  I jinxed it.  Well the boys were chomping at the bit to go skiing, so Eric took them and met up with the cousins to find some snow.  They found some at Park City (Alta) and spent the day there having fun.  Glad they did--because it hasn't really snowed much since.  Tyler is devastated.  But at least they got one good day in! (Tyler is in the yellow pants, Jake is in the white helmet and light blue coat.  The other boys are cousins--hi Ben and Sam!

After a year off I have officially reinstated the Swenson's Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.  I missed doing it last year so brought it back to life.  It was a total blast.  Of course I made my famous sugar cookies....   I even thew in a menorah sweater in my decorating--I want to be inclusive.

I must admit I threw together some pretty awesome sweaters this year.  First up, Eric's "Make Christmas Great Again" homage to Trump the Elf.  Tyler ended up wearing this one to school too.  
And I paid tribute to my favorite Christmas movie....see the squirrel on the tree?  Do you know the movie?
If you don't then we can't be friends.  (Just kidding--it's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).

My friend Buff outdid us all though--she incorporated a live skunk into her sweater.  No you didn't read that wrong.  I guess they recently were given a de-stinkified skunk as a pet--she tucked it away into a backpack labeled "Christmas Stinks" and whipped it out once she was in the kitchen--AAhhhh!  It was actually super cute and snuggly.  The kids were enthralled.  Everyone had to have their turn.

The party was fun and there were great sweaters, good games and even better white elephant gifts.

This little beauty of a doll was one of the gifts.  Luckily, I didn't win it (creepy).  Unluckily, my neighbor snuck it into my bedsheets when I wasn't watching.  Late that night when i finally cleaned up and went to get in bed, I pulled back the covers and BOOM!  There she was, just like this, staring at me.  Creepy little bugger.  Well, don't worry--I got my neighbor back and stuck it in his shower (his daughter is a friend of mine).  This little beauty will make the rounds of party goers I am sure.  She may even make a reappearance next year....

Our friends, the Carly's, invited us to go to a Christmas play with them--"Juanito Bandito's Christmas Carol."  Everyone gets these awesome mustaches to enjoy!  It was totally hilarious.  I'd explain it to you, but you really had to be there.  We were laughing the whole time.  A fun new tradition!

Another tradition that is back this year is breakfast at Grandma Swenson's house!  She was on her mission last year so we didn't get to do it, but now they are back!  Christmas pj's, cookie decorating, and a yummy breakfast.
And before we knew it, Christmas morning was here.  Santa did indeed come and left goodies and treats for us all.  Even Ziggy wasn't forgotten!  She devoured this pig ear in about 20 seconds.
It is always so fun watching the kids get excited, go through their stockings and gifts.  I am glad we have some "believers" still to keep the magic of Christmas in the house.  They keep it fun for all of us.
Santa left Tyler a new Shotgun...which he didn't put down for the rest of the day.  It's called an "over under" but Eric explained it to me as being an "Elmer Fudd" gun.  That I understood better.
Here's Ziggy ready to pounce on her gift!
Jacob got lots of cool rocks for his collection.  Maggie got a new camera and Joey got a set of Avenger figurines.
For our family gifts we do the 4 gifts--something you WANT, something you NEED, something to WEAR, something to READ.  Well, for the kids wear, I got them all something Disney related (Grumpy and Sleepy shirt, Mickey shirt, Mickey earrings). The reads were Disney books (hidden Mickeys, Secrets of Disneyland, easy Disney piano songs) and then can you guess what the WANT was?  It was a surprise and I had the kids open all their other gifts first.  They didn't put it al together--I bought letters to spell DISNEYLAND and put them all in different boxes for each kid.  I had all the boxes different sizes, and even put book and a bag of brown sugar in them to throw them off.  Once opened they had to unscramble the letters.  With their previous gifts it didn't take them long.  Boy were they excited!  We haven't been there in 6 years!  So they were thrilled.

So a couple weeks after Christmas we left for California!  We stayed at a really nice place in Newport Coast--we had a villa with a full kitchen and 2 full bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room and dining area.  It was huge!  But great to fit us all.  The kids thought this fountain out front was hilarious (naked butts....)

We had 4 days to spend at Disneyland and then we planned on spending our last day at the beach.  Our first day there we had to go on the rides that were closing the next day--California Screamin, Grizzly River Rapids, the Haunted Mansion, the Tom Sawyer Island...I think that was all.  I have to say that Joey and Maggie were awesome.  Joey went on EVERY ride with us--from California Screamin, to Space Mountain, to everything else.  He liked the Matterhorn and LOVED the Thunder Mountain Railroad--but he didn't want to go on CA Screaming or Space Mountain again.  That's ok--we were proud that he tried them!  Maggie's favorite ride was Space Mountain.  Joey even got to see some storm troopers while we were waiting for the other 3 kids to go on Space Mountain!

Tyler and I decided to sit for a bit in Goofy's living room at Toon Town--Goofy was a great host.  My feet were certainly tired--Jake's fitness watch said we walked about 8 miles each day.  That probably added in distance on rides, but I'm counting it--because you have to stand in line so much.

Here's me and Jailbird on Autopia.
The third day there Maggie didn't feel good.  She actually threw up in the hotel room in the morning, but then said she felt better so we figured it was just all the junk food she ate the night before (she basically had half a bag of salt and vinegar chips for dinner--no judgements please).  But on the drive to the park she puked again (luckily we keep hospital barf bags in the car--if you don't, I HIGHLY recommend it), so once there she sat out for a couple rides with Eric, but still felt crummy.  So I went to the first aid place with her and they let her lay down.  She took a nice nap....but I was bored out of my mind.
But even after the nap she felt terrible, so Eric left the three boys and me and took her back to the hotel (he wasn't feeling so great either--not puke just a bad cold).  So it was just the 4 of us.  It started raining on us, so we bought some ponchos, and boy does that place clear out when it rains!  I almost like it better because everyone goes home.  We went on a TON of rides.  Maggie texted me this picture of herself from the hotel room--just to make sure I didn't forget about her.  Poor thing.  

Here we are in line for Matterhorn--all poncho'd up!  We went on this one 3 times!
And King Triton's carousel....
It was mostly just drizzly, but In the late afternoon it really started pouring so we had Eric come pick us up.  BY the time we got out to the pick up area we were literally drenched anywhere the poncho didn't cover--my shoes were like I had soaked them in a swimming pool.  Slosh Slosh Slosh.  And we had been there all day so we were ready to go.  But the lack of crowds was definitely nice!

The next day Maggie felt better, thank goodness.  We had to hit Midway Mania many times--it is Eric's favorite ride (even though he can't beat my score on it!).

This picture from Space Mountain was just me and Ty and Jake.  We decided to pose--Jake and I are "Dabbing" and Tyler is just bored.  The other random guy in front joined in our fun.
This second Space Mountain picture was actually our first ride on it--Jake looks scared but he loved it--it was also his favorite ride.  Maggie looks petrified but she also loved it.  The funniest (and most priceless) expression was Joey--he looks as bored as humanly possible--but he was actually scared of it.  I just love his expression.
And here we are on one of our 3 times riding the Radiator Springs Racers.  It's fun to have our own car.  Everyone loved this ride.
Disneyland/California Adventure were so much fun.  The kids had a blast.  Maggie was sick the one day which stunk.  And then the last day Joey managed to make us buy him new socks, underwear and Mickey sweats--can you guess why?  We had a bit of a situation--lucky for me he had gone into the boys bathroom with Eric.  I got the preferable job of hurrying to a store to find some new clothes, Eric got to clean off the poop.  I win!

Our last day we went to the beach--our favorite beach in Corona Del Mar.  It was only a couple minutes from the hotel.  The place was empty--a few people came and went but we pretty much had the beach to ourselves for the most part.  It was actually pretty nice out too.  We explored the tide pools, looked for sea glass, played in the waves, and even found a brittle sea star!  I know you're thinking why did we pick it out of the tide pools--but we didn't.  I was just walking along the wave line in the sand and saw this weird ball that looked like a pile of earthworms.  I picked it up and saw it was this sea star all curled up because it had gotten washed up onto the sand (it was past the surf line now).  I thought it was dead but when we got it wet it started moving.  So we hurried and brought it over to the tide pool and set it in.  It was definitely alive!  Instantly squirmed and huddled itself down under a rock.  It was pretty cool.  Plus, I told the kids that we are heroes--we saved life that day!

After spending the morning at the beach, we went out for lunch, then dropped Eric off at the airport--he had to work Friday but we still had our hotel room so I decided to stay with the kids and drive home Friday--otherwise we would have had to have left Thursday morning and missed our beach day.

After we dropped Eric off, I asked the kids what they wanted to do.  Unanimous--beach again.  Fine by me.  So back we went--and stayed way past sunset until we could barely see anything anymore.  But it made for some great pictures!

Jumping over the waves...

Jake looks like he belongs on a beach in San Diego with a surfboard.
Me and the older boys were joking around while the younger two played in the waves.  I told them to hug and this is what I got....  nice face Tyler...

I just love these guys!
After the beach it was back to the hotel pool, then we all got in our pj's and watched a movie back in the room.  It was actually a great day.

The next morning, we slept in, packed up and headed for home.  I've done that drive by myself a hundred times.  And it is long.  But we made it, and the kids were actually really good in the car so that made it easier.  All in all, even with a couple mishaps, it was a successful trip and everyone had a good time.  We will have to get back to Disneyland before another 6 years passes by!