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, trips...you 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!

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.....