Friday, November 9, 2012

I'm back!

It's been a while but I'm back for a bit.  We've had a couple birthdays and some happenings around here.  Joey turned a whopping 2 years old!  Holy cow, the time flies fast.  Joey is a sweet as pie little boy who loves hugs and kisses and snuggles and all things mommies love.  He is a bit (okay, a huge) "getter-in-to-things" boy.  That can make life hard.  He sees his older siblings do things and he thinks he can do them too.  Then I see him standing on the kitchen counter Playing in my melted Scentsy wax and I wish he would just knock it off!
 Tyler is getting to be quite the young man.  He has been begging for a suit for a long time (whaaaaaa?)  I have resisted since he complains enough as it is about putting on khakis and a button up shirt.  But I finally gave in, and lo and behold here he was dressed and ready for church an hour early!  Who is this kid?!
 Halloween was fun as always.  Jacob the vampire....
 Tyler the lion tamer...
 Joey as Scooby Doo and Maggie as Belle.
 Hail hail the gang's all here.  It was night full of candy, fun, friends and good times.
 Now it's my little Maggie Moo's turn to have a birthday.  Okay, her birthday really isn't for 2 more days but we had her party today.  It was a princess party with a My Little Pony cake, per her request.
Making beautiful bracelets and crowns...

Princess dance party!
Oooooooohhhhhh, aaaaahhhhhhh.........   Lots of girly gifts.
Blow Maggie blow!
We love Maggie so much--she definitely completes the family with her "feminine touch."  She is a girl who knows what she wants.  Loves all things girly but holds her own with her brothers.  I told her to stop growing but she shrugged and said, "I can't help it!" Maggie loves to play with hair, although I wish she'd do it a little more softly!  She loves to dance--I will find her in her room playing music on my iphone and having a personal dance party.  She changes her clothes at least 3 times a day.  For all her sweetness and spunk we are so glad she is part of our family.  I always sneak a peek at her after she has fallen asleep--somehow, in the time between tucking her in and when I check in on her later, she has piles of books on her bed, a new pair of pajamas on and a cup from her toy kitchen full of water by the bed.  I look at her while she is sleeping, and I have a moment of quiet to realize how lucky we are to have her.  We love you Maggie, happy birthday!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do you need a new fridge? Yes, you do.

First things first, guess who else started school in the family?  Maggie is an official preschooler now.  Boy, is she ever excited about going to school.  She absolutely loves it!
 Joey wanted to get in on the picture taking action as well.  What a stinker--almost 2 and into EVERYTHING!  And I mean EVERYTHING.  More to come on that in a few weeks for his birthday post.
 Now on to the highlight of my day.  Have you ever bought a large purchase and wondered if you made the right decision?  Well, I do all the time, but I have to say I am in love with fridge.  It is the most awesome appliance ever made.  It even has a snack drawer for the kids so they don't sit around with the fridge open deciding what they want.  Awesome.  Before we moved here we had a teeny tiny fridge, more of a large cooler than an appliance.  When we picked out our fridge I wanted a large one--not like half my kitchen $10K large, but large.  I got this one and have never had to cram or Tetris things into my fridge.  Anyway, So Eric is in charge of getting the breakfast foods for the fathers and sons campout this weekend.  He had quite a large list of things he needed to buy in bulk.  So off I went to Costco.  Let it be known I have a love/hate relationship with Costco.  It is a great place to get deals on all the things you need, from socks to BBQs to digital cameras.  However, who has ever walked out of Costco with nothing but the things on their list?  I for one, have never.  I am good about buying things I will use, but inevitably still purchase more than I went in for.  Sometimes I see people there leaving with only one container of milk and a pack of apples.  Huh?  A feat of strength of will-power I will never have.  Anyway, back to my story.  So I had the task of getting all the supplies for the campout--lots of milk, juice, eggs, sausauge, etc. etc. etc.  By the time I was done I felt like the Duggars (19 Kids and Counting).  I managed to get it in car, home and then I wondered how in the world I was going to fit it all into my fridge!  But I have to say after moving a few mostly empty bottles of salad dressing, a few other things I was able to fit it ALL in!  Can you believe it?  17, count them, SEVENTEEN gallons of milk/juice, 72 eggs, fruit, veggies, and sauces galore all fit into my fridge and the door still shuts smoothly!  I fell in love with my fridge all over again.  Yes, the other stuff is a bit crammed in, but it still all fits!  It. is. awesome.  So I ask you, do you need a new fridge?
Yes, you do.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

End of Summer Fun....

We've had another birthday in the house!  Tyler turned a whopping 9 years old on July 21st.  9!  He had a fun party at home with friends.  We rented an outdoor theater system and had the party in the backyard--the kids watched "Zathura", ate popcorn, had treat bags and punch.  They all had a really good time.  It was a late night though!  

 Look how fast my little baby is growing!  I can't believe he is going to be 2 years old next month.  He is losing his baby face and looking more like a little boy now.  Boo hoo.
 We spent a week down at my mom's house in California.  I decided to fly down this time instead of torturing myself with the long drive.  Since I spent my trip money on airline tickets we made the activities of the week cheap.  That meant going to the beach a couple of times.  It worked out great because the boys had a blast at the beach.  They had a particularly good time boogie boarding!  Tyler was getting particularly brave getting out in the water and riding those waves.  It was so fun to watch!
 My little (big) surfer dude.

 Riding in one his waves...
 Waiting for a good one...
 Jacob like boogie boarding but had more fun tromping around the beach.  He dug an awesome hole--so deep it started filling with water from the bottom!  Cool!  I would have gotten a picture but it got destroyed by a giant wave before I got the chance.
 I got tired of watching the boys so figured I'd bury them in some sand to keep them in line.  They enjoyed it....
 That is, until Joey decided to get some little brother retribution by kicking sand in their faces.
 The boys riding in at the same time!
 We also went to a little mini amusement park called Adventure City.  It is just right--just the right size for spending a few hours, only kid rides and just the right price too!  The kids had a blast.
 Except for the last ride--it is a small drop ride.  I made the boys go on it.  You can tell by their expressions they are none too happy with their mother...
 And as summer break ends, thus school begins.  The boys started school on Tuesday.  First day smiles!

Great summer, great kids, great life!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Driveway of Fire and Yellowstone

It's that time of year of again when we celebrate the birth of our nation, and it wouldn't be complete without the annual Driveway of Fire!  We were a little worried this year what with all the fires, but fireworks were still legal in a select few places.  Lucky for us, Katie's house was in the green zone, so begin the festivities!

No 4th of July celebration would be complete without a plethora of goodies, and our little party delivered for sure.  Joey got to have his first ice cream cone ever!  Looks like he enjoyed it...
 He also loved chill-axing in the chairs on the patio.
 Here's a view of the front just as we were getting started.  Chaos much?
 Maggie had no fear of the fireworks and kept running out to the road.  Grandma Swenson had to splash her with water a few times for her to learn her lesson---that is, until Maggie thought getting splashed was fun and then kept running out just to get wet.
 Sparklers were a hit as usual.
 This is a terrible picture, but I had to put it in.   I had the boys turn around and smile but before I got my picture off they had started turning back around.  I just think it is so funny--they look so much the same!  They are perfectly in sync with their inability to hold still for a picture.
 Fireworks make me a little nervous, and it turns out for good reason.  One of our large fireworks blew up and spouted sparks straight over the the kids sitting on the lawn.  A few got burned, and poor Kaylee had a big burn on her arm, and one spark burned through her t-shirt and her swimsuit underneath it!  Yikes.  Luckily we had a lawyer present who immediately began handing out business cards.
 By the end of the night we had a few minor burns but a lot of excitement. Then it was on to Yellowstone!

For our family trip this summer we decided to take Craig's house trailer and go camping up in Yellowstone for a few days.  We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and were out the driveway just before 4 a.m.  We made it up there, set up camp and set to explore the wild!  Here is everyone (except cameraman mom) on Fishing Bridge.
 Goof monsters.
 As expected we saw lots of wildlife.  Black bears, grizzly bears, elk, pronghorn, birds of all kinds, deer, etc, and we saw more bison than I thought was humanly possible.  In fact, if I never see another bison it would be too soon--we are not on good terms.  Our last full day there we had big plans that were ruined by an entire herd of buffalo who had decided to make camp in the middle of the road.  NO ONE was getting through in either direction.  Then the buffalo decided to move, but instead of moving off the road they decided to walk right up the road.  Let be noted that I recommended to turn around after a brief wait, but my advice was not heeded.  Lo and behold, 2 HOURS LATER, after having moved about one mile in that time, the driver (who shall remain nameless) relented and finally turned around.  It kind of foiled our plans for the rest of the day, but I guess that's how it goes.  I guess you can't get away from traffic no matter where you go.
 The only shot I managed to get in during the trip, and it isn't even that flattering either.  But at least you can see I do exist!
 Eric took this lovely shot.  Nature at its finest.
 We explored a lot of rivers and saw all the hot pots and mud pots, etc.  The kids loved playing and exploring by Slough Creek.
 Joey refused to hold my hand and insisted on walking alone.  The grass was as tall as he was in some places!
 Maggie posing with her collection of wildflowers.
 Along Slough Creek I got stuck managing the kids while Eric fly-fished up the river a ways.  Now how he did he talk me into that one?
 Joey liked watching him fish though.

 Daddy finally gave up after not having success and gave the kids piggy back rides through the river.
 A favorite pastime--throwing rocks into the water.
 We saw some fresh bear tracks along the bank, but we didn't see any bears there.  I am sure the volume level from my kids was enough to scare any predator off.
 I didn't take many pics of scenery but everything was gorgeous.  Here is where we picnicked on Sunday.
 Jacob at some hot pots.
 The kids admiring the micro-organisms growing.
 This hot pot was particularly pretty--called Black Pool--you could see really deep and the water was so blue.  They look so inviting, like a hot tub!  Too bad you'd burn up if you jumped in.
 And of course we made the stop at Old Faithful.  Oh, I guess I am in one more picture.  Our family...
 We explored the geysers and then rested at the lodge for a bit.  Joey giving me his cheeser smile.
 A little more normal looking.
 This is a funny before and after shot.  Jacob was mad at me about something, probably because I told him he couldn't have any snacks or something.  So he was mad...
 This is after I threatened to never give him a snack again...  Ha ha.
 Here are the kids at the Grand Prismatic Pool--the largest hot pot in the park.  It was lovely.  This picture is a pretty realistic view of what the kids are really like.

 Our last night we went and saw the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  The kids were already in their pjs but I didn't care.

All in all it was a really fun trip.  The kids had a blast and hopefully we made some memories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Family Fun

For Mother's Day this year, Eric got me (and installed) a porch swing.  I love to sit in it.  I can relax there and watch the kids play.  They love to come and sit with me.  Maggie and Jacob like to swing it particularly hard which makes me a bit nervous but so far it hasn't fallen!  Last week I was sitting in it relaxing and saw this...
 Tyler decided to play ball with Joey.  It was so cute.  Joey LOVED it!  He would get so excited when Tyler would throw the ball into his mitt.
 Isn't that cute?
 What a sweet brother.  It was so fun to see them play nicely.
 So as I have swung on my porch swing lately, I realized I needed a little pop of color.  I had a nice chair Grandma Barbara gave to me, but the only problem was that it was a dark metal color that blended perfectly into my house so you could hardly see it.  I needed some pizzaz.  So I bought a can and spraypaint, a cushion on clearance from Target, and voila!
 It looks adorable and I love it love it love it.  Plus it only cost me about $12 total.  Can't beat that!

This past Friday night we went up to Strawberry Reservoir to go camp for the night with Craig and Sharee and Kaylee and Ashley.  We slept in Craig's house trailer.  Well, slept might be an overstatement.  There was one among us who was convinced he was being attacked by crayfish all night long (Tyler).  He kept waking us all up screaming, "They're all over me!  Get them off of me!  They are climbing on me!  AAAAHHHHH!"  It would have been funny if it wasn't at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., and 4 a.m.  On Saturday we spent the morning on Grandpa's boat fishing.  The fish and game people (whoever they are) have tagged a fish in Strawberry.  Whoever catches it wins $25,000!   We kept trying and every time someone got a fish on Eric was convinced it was THE fish!  Alas, no winners for us that day, but we did catch a grundle.

Joey enjoyed driving the boat.
 As did Jake.
 Sadly, here is the only shot of me in what I suppose is the last 2 years.  I guess mom is always behind the camera!  But I did catch a fish!
 Even Maggie was getting in on the action.  She didn't have the patience to catch one but Kaylee taught her how to cast and reel in her fishing pole so Maggie spent about an hour just doing that.
 Land ho!
 Eric got the dirty job of cleaning out the fish at the gutting station.  Tyler was fascinated with all the guts and innards but wouldn't try it himself.
 He sure loves to fish!
 Here are the kids with the haul.  Not too shabby!
All in all a fun trip.