Monday, February 24, 2014

A little break from winter...

Does anyone else get the winter blahs?  I do--major winter doldrums going on.  Our good friends, Dan and Lindsay, invited us to come down to their house in Scottsdale, Arizona over President's Day weekend.  It was HOT!  Probably around 90 degrees.  It was great--we had plenty of sunshine, got to wear shorts and short sleeves in February.  We went to a car show and saw some awesome cars.  I'm pretty sure Joey is picking his nose...
 There is so much really awesome stuff to do in that area.  It would be a great place to live!  We walked around the old downtown.  The kids loved climbing on the LOVE statue.  I cropped it so you could see the kids better, so now it is just a giant E statue.  The girls' names are Eden and Stella.
 What a great moment captured!  I wonder what they were smiling about?
 There was also several cool parks near them.  One is near the home of the author of the Family Circus cartoon.  I am a big fan, as you can see by the name of my blog, Swenson Family Circus.  Here is a statue of all the kids from the cartoon and all of our kids!
 They had an amazing train museum--a HUGE building completely set up with model trains.  It was amazing.  Whole miniature towns, landscapes, everything you can think of--even a mini-solar farm!  And trains galore!  It was such a blast.  The kids were entranced.
 Our last day we hit a Renaissance Faire.  I know it's a bit kooky, but it is apparently this huge production and one of the biggest faires in the states.  There is actually an entire village built out in the desert, permanently there, and they hold the faire 8 weeks a year I think.
 We saw some fun shows, some vulgar ones (I didn't know how crude some of the humor would be!) and a fun jousting match.  One of the shows was so bad we left after a few minutes.  I was surprised at how lewd it was considering all the kids in the audience.  Apparently we were the only parents "prude" enough to leave.  But my kids don't need to hear about alcohol use, pooping and a love of all things rated XXX by some weirdo in a pirate costume!  It was definitely an exerience!

Maggie's highlight was meeting the forest fairy.  She even gave Maggie a fairy rock!  Which Maggie then proceeded to lose, the she cried, then we went back and had to get another one.
 We had great times sitting and chatting by the firepit.  All the kids slept outside it was so warm!  We had a great time.

On the drive home we came across a bridge that crossed over the Colorado River.  It was pretty high up, a mini-Grand Canyon.  We got out and walked around a while.
 Of course Maggie asked us to take a picture of her...
 And just for posterity's sake Tyler took a snapshot of me and Eric.  At this point we'd been driving for about 8 hours so it felt great to stretch our legs!
It was a great weekend.  Now back to real life again!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Ice Queen

A couple weeks ago we took the kids to see the Ice Castle display.  It is all handmade and purely out of ice.  It was pretty cool.  It was a snowy day!
 Yes, I do exist... (I am never in any pictures).

 There were tons of caves to crawl through and crevasses to walk through.  It was tricky keeping up with the kids.

 There was even a slide made of snow!
It was a neat place and the kids wanted to stay longer, but my tolerance for cold and crowds is diminishing with my age!  

Eric has been taking Ty and Jake skiing lately--they love it and are doing great.  I am left behind with the little ones.  Hopefully next winter we can start making skiing a family activity.  I definitely need  winter activity to do--I get MAJOR winter blahs.

I've been doing some self-reflection lately, thinking about motherhood and family and kids and all that wonderful stuff!  Even though I feel like motherhood has sucked some of the intelligence out of me, I have learned a few things.

1.  Sleepless nights turn into sleepless years.  I'm pretty sure I haven't slept soundly through the night since Tyler was born, and I'm sure teenage year will have me with even more red-eye.
2.  Most things are just a phase.  Not that I ignore the naught or annoying things my kids do--but I don't stress about them as much as I used to.  Things have a way of passing or working themselves out and it turns out ok.
3.  Time speeds up as they get older--the days are long but the years are short.
4.  No matter how many kids you have, you never really figure motherhood out because each one is so different.  
5.  My regrets over the years are not dishes left int he sink or clothes unfolded, it's the times I told my 3-year-old I didn't have time to read a book because I have to do dishes, or fold laundry.
6.  But along with number 5, I've also learned to ease up on myself a little and not be so self-critical.  I'm not perfect, I'm not the perfect mother, but I am trying to be better each day and learn from my mistakes.  Poor Tyler being the oldest gets to deal with the most mistakes!  Joey should turn out fine.
7.  Minivans are the mosts awesome vehicles ever created.
8.  I've learned not to judge other moms when their kids are unkept, messy or dirty.  I've been there.
9.  Baby wipes are a close second to minivans in awesomeness.
10.  The only thing more disgusting than cleaning up your own kids' puke is cleaning ANOTHER kids' puke off your kid.
10.2  The ultimate JOY when your kids can finally make it to the toilet to throw up.
11.  Motherhood isn't like it is on tv, and you're not the only mom who loses her cool every now and then.
12.  It doesn't get easier, it just gets different.
13.  I've learned that instead of fighting where I am in life and the responsibilities I currently have and being annoyed by them, to just embrace where I am...accept the fact that I have to change diapers, accept and embrace the fact I won't have "me" time for a while, and just embrace all the joys and hardships that come with having little kids and you will be much happier.  

Oh, and don't buy nice furniture until they are all moved out.