Sunday, November 1, 2015

Whole Lotta Fun Stuff!

Well I have certainly turned into quite the slacker when it comes to the blog, but seeing as how I am mainly keeping this as a family journal, I better keep up on the goings on of our family.  

Every year for the past few years, Eric takes the older boys to an away BYU football game.  Last year they went to San Francisco, this year it was Nebraska.  They had so much fun together, and BYU won the game with a hail mary pass at the last second.  Go Cougars!
 Eric has decided that Jake is his good luck charm and requires him to either go with him to the games or watch them on tv.  I'm not kidding.  It does seem like if Jake is watching it then BYU wins, but when he doesn't, even if he just leaves the room, BYU loses.  Hmmmm.......
 Things in the new house are good.  The house is great and we haven't had any real issues with problems or anything.  I can't wait to get some grass in though!  One thing I love about the house is the small laundry room we put in downstairs for the kids to do their own laundry.  They actually do it and do a pretty good job.  The other day I walked by and Maggie had some clothes in the dryer.  Her favorite nightgown was in there apparently and this is what I saw when I walked past.  It made me chuckle.
 School starts nice and early here in Utah, mid-August!  I think the kids were sad to have their summer over but also excited to get back to school and see all their friends.  Tyler was particularly excited about school since he gets to start in the junior high!  Can you believe I have a 7th grader!!!  It makes me feel like an old lady.  First day of school was fun...

 Tyler decided to try his hand, er, legs, at cross country.  Turns out we have quite the little runner in the family!  He never really runs for exercise, just for fun when playing around with friends and sports.  But he did great!  He even got put on the varsity team for the final regional meet of the season and ran 1.5 miles in 10 min 5 sec!  I can barely run one mile in 10 minutes.  He really enjoyed it and with some practice, and a little bit of growing, hopefully he can keep improving his times!  Dad of course was proud and was reminded of his cross country days!
Joey and I went to all the meets to cheer Tyler on!
 Joey had his first day of school a couple weeks after the other kids started.  He is still going to preschool but keeps telling me he is ready for kindergarten!  One more year.  He loves his school though and has a friend that we've had some playdates with so that makes it even more fun.

 School pictures for the year!  I told Eric I liked everyone's except Tyler's--not that I thought Tyler looked bad, but I just couldn't put my finger on it...he just looked...different.  With Eric's help I realized why--it's because he no longer looks like a little boy, he is starting to look more and more like a "tweenager."  Which I suppose he is, but just don't make me admit it!
 Joey had his birthday in September too--we had a family party for him and he got tons of cool stuff.  Oh man, this post so far has me feeling like a grandma.  My biggest is almost a teenager in junior high and my baby is 5!!!  Joey is such a spunk.  I've never met a kid that makes me feel more bipolar!  One minute I want to hug and love on him as much as I can and the next minute I want to wring his little neck!  He tries to be like his big brothers which is making him grow up way too fast.  He is one of the best snugglers (when he is in the mood) and even does his signature "back pat" when you hold him.  He pats your back super gently with his hand and it just makes your heart melt.  We call him "jailbird" just because of all the trouble he causes and his turd-like attitude sometimes.  But I still love him to pieces.  I just wish I could stop them from growing up, just for a little while.
 Being in a new house with 5.3 acres and no landscaping leaves us with a lot of dirt.  Dirt here, dirt there, dirt everywhere!  We sent the boys out to gather rocks and trash so we could have someone plow up the dirt to get ready for the irrigation sprinklers.  I just love watching Joey follow his big brothers around.  Joey actually works harder than they do sometimes!
 Tyler and his cousin Ben did the Real Rock Band again this year.  They put on their concert at the end of September and even though Tyler kept telling me he didn't feel like they were ready, they were AWESOME!  And I mean it.  They played 6 or so songs and they were all amazing.   Tyler sang lead in most of the songs and did great.  He didn't even seem nervous at all.  Just had a blast.  He's got a great little voice, and of course, rocked out on the guitar.  He is a talented young man!
 Tyler and his band--La Fawnduh and the Wrecking Crew.  Don't ask.
 Jacob is also becoming much better at piano.  He had a recital and it is always fun to hear him.  Mostly it is fun because it means he will move on to a different piano piece and I don't have to hear the SAME SONG A MILLION TIMES A DAY!!!!  Over and over and over and over.  Ugh, the things we endure for our kids' benefit!
 Tyler has done the Springville Rays swim team for about 6 months.  He has really enjoyed it but it was taking a TON of time and making life at home really stressful and crazy.  So once he found cross country and realized he enjoyed that more than swim, we decided as a family it was time to stop doing the swim team.  He still plans on doing summer swim team, just not the year round one.  Phew!  Sometimes it is hard to not over schedule when you feel like you want your kids to excel at something they enjoy, but I can't tell you how much better our family life it with more time at home together and time to get other things done, etc.  It is so important to have time together on more than just Sunday after church.  The attitude in our home is so much more peaceful and just overall more patient and kind when we aren't running around every second.  I think Tyler made a great decision.
 One fun thing since Tyler turned 12 is that he gets to go the temple!  He was so excited the first time he went and has been able to go several times now.  He was even able to do some of our family names and that was really special.  He even went with the Young Men at 4:45 in the morning!  I'm glad he has such a good attitude about it.  He even loves doing the tithing collection on fast Sunday mornings.  I hope he stays excited!  Here he is getting ready to go with Ben.
 Joey had a fun field trip with school to the Red Barn pumpkin patch.  We usually go there every year as a family, but this year we only had time to do the Halloween lift ride at Sundance.  We have done that for the past few years as well, this year the month just got away from us!  The Red Barn is a fun place though, Joey had a blast!
 Then, just because I couldn't get my fill of pumpkin patches, I volunteered to go on Maggie's class field trip to Cornbelly's.  I was excited to go, but that fizzled once I was trying to keep track of 5 kids in a HUGE place.  It was stressful to say the least.  I was GLAD when it was over!  Maggie did think it was pretty awesome that her mom was there...she kept telling everyone, "This is my mom."  Ha.
 Jacob has been begging to go "tent camping" so we decided to plan a quick camping trip down to Southern Utah--Escalante area.  Eric found out about some really cool slot canyon hikes so we headed down.  We set up camp and then went out for the hike.  It was pretty amazing.  One of the more cooler hikes I have been on.  We started out on a bunch of red rock and had to shimmy ourselves down and up and around until we got to the main wash down below.
 Parts of it were pretty steep but that's why red rock is fun--you can hike on those steep parts.
 We hiked up to the first slot canyon, called Peekaboo.  It was pretty technical, and if there hadn't been other people there hiking we would not have been able to do it since we (Eric) forgot rope.  But everyone was helping each other and we managed to get ourselves and all the kids up through it canyon to the top.  Some parts I wasn't sure I would make, and wished I had more arm strength! Luckily my hubby is a big buff dude and could pull me up!
 Here we are almost at the top of Peekaboo--the kids thought it was amazing!
 Once we got to the top we hiked some more to the second slot Canyon, Spooky Canyon.  It was much less technical but it was spooky!  It starts out deep but pretty wide and bright.
 But as you go it gets narrower and narrower and narrower....    there are parts I barely squeezed through.  I had to take of my small backpack to even shimmy myself through the slot.  The kids fit much more easily!.....Tho I'm not sure how Eric made it through....  lol.

 It was really long and as you went through not only did it get super narrow, but it got deeper too and top almost closed up above you and it was DARK!  You can't really tell in the picture but it was like it was nighttime down there!  We had made sure there were no rain showers forecasted, but it still feels, well, spooky!  If there was a flash flood you'd be a goner!  It was nerve wracking at times, and I felt slightly claustrophobic, but as long as I kept moving I was ok.
 We had fun that night back at camp--of course made s'mores, my favorite camping treat.  We got all cozy in the tent and Eric told us so many funny stories from his boy scout camp trips.  Oh my, I didn't have brothers and I think I'm glad.  Some of those stories were gross!  But the kids thought it was so much fun.  It was one of those nights where everyone laughs together and just has fun making family memories.  I think they will all remember that for a long time.

The drive home was beautiful.  We had to stop and get gas but there was hardly anything around.  SO found one small gas station with the town store.  We laughed at the sign..."Ice, Beer, Pop, Film."  I mean, really, what more do you need?
 Here we are on our ski lift Halloween ride up at Sundance.  It was dark so the picture is bad, but there is Joey in the middle.  The boys took their own lift bench up.  We were prepared with blankets and winter gear for the cold ride so it was much more enjoyable than a couple years ago when we were majorly underdressed!  I even brought hot chocolate.  I'm such a good mom.
 As if I didn't feel old enough already, Tyler decided to go and get braces.  I wish he would stop growing up!  He has wanted braces for so long so he was thrilled when Dr. Marshall said it was finally time.  In fact, I swear (and Eric does too) that since he has had his braces in he has been so much more pleasant at home.  He is almost always in a good mood, willing to help, and just generally fun to be around.  It is so funny.  Katie suggested maybe he had a metal deficiency in his diet and now it's solved!  Ha ha.  I think he just feels like he is growing up and is really enjoying it.  He got his own cell phone (it doesn't have internet or anything, but he can call and text), he  LOVES junior high (I keep telling him my memories of junior high must be very different than what he is going through!) .  He is just a really good kid. I mean, he has his moments, we all do, but he really is a good kid, and I feel so proud to be his mom.

 Brace face!  Metal Mouth! Silver Smile!
As a side note, he was so thrilled he barely complained about the pain the next day, just mentioned once it felt sore when I asked, AND gladly gave up all his sticky halloween candy to his siblings without complaint!  Who is this kid???
 Halloween was a huge success this year costume wise.  Tyler wanted to be something "cool" since he is a big junior high kid now.  So we saw this somewhere and thought it looked awesome.  He didn't want to do blood and gore underneath so we went with a skeleton.  It was awesome!  He loved it and he looked amazing.  It looked way better in person too.  Yes, that is a real zipper glued to his face...
 Jacob wanted to be "cool" as well so we decided on a rock star.  He seriously looked amazing.  And he played the part well too.  We painted his nails black, tattooed up his arms and neck (we had a time getting those off before church today!) and gave him a rocking mohawk.
 It was seriously like a $5 costume too.  The clothes are from a thrift store, the tattoos were $2 for a pack of 100, and the hairspray was cheap.  Awesome.
 Maggie was Skelita from Monster High.  It is a cartoon--no I didn't know who it was either.  We got her costume and painted her face and hair....and if you know Maggie, you know she LOVED every minute of getting makeup-ed.  This picture is for school the day before Halloween.  I was able to get it even better on Halloween the next day because of the practice but it still looks pretty cool!

 Joey was my little cowboy, and of course he has his eyes closed.  He looked so cute and even had guns in holsters on his hips that you can't see.  We had to lose the chaps not long after starting trick or treating because they were slowing him down, but hey, it's all about the candy!
 Here are the troops with their pumpkins they carved (some are looking more than a little worn out) right before we went to aunt Katie's house for dinner and trick or treating!  Don't they look amazing!  I always think I hate Halloween, and I do hate all the stressful prep work and mess of it all and all the SUGAR! but I have to say I always LOVE seeing my kids dressed up in their fun costumes.  It reminds me of when I was a kid--there is something about being dressed up that is just so much fun as a kid.
 So on a different topic, Eric has two tied blankets that he has had since he was a little boy--one has cowboys on it and one is golfers.  Now I cannot tell you how much Eric loves these blankets.  In fact he is so possessive of them he complains when I let the kids use them.  It's not like he sleeps with them, but let's just say if we are using blankets, he is the only one who gets to use those two.  Unfortunately they are also the kids' favorite blankets.  So I decided to make a quilt for each kid--I took them to the fabric store and let them pick out their own fabric, then I spent the last few weeks sewing and tying and binding them.  Sharee helped me figure out how to do it all since I am new at this, and I finally finished yesterday.  It made me feel so good to see how much the kids loved their blankets--they even had a sleepover in Jacob's room on their blankets.  I hope they love them as much as Eric loves his, even when they are big grown men!
 I made Maggie one too, of course, but she didn't want a sleepover with the boys.  She made hers into a special reading corner in her room.  A "snuggle-spot".  She loved it and didn't want to mess it up.
Lately I have just felt so lucky to have my family.  I feel so blessed and I just love them so much I feel like my heart could burst.  Even when I look at that Halloween picture of them on the porch I just think about how lucky I am.  Since we have slowed life down a bit I think our family has been really blessed.  It seems like the kids get along better, I am more mellow, things just run a little more smoothly.  Not perfectly by any means, but I just really love being with my family.  I have a great husband, and amazing kids.  Each one is so different and brings something unique and special to our family.  I can't imagine my life without each one of them in it.  I think I am pretty lucky to just be me because I get to have all of them.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Summer Wrap Up

Can you believe summer is over already?!?  I can't believe how it has flown by.  Of course it may have something to do with the fact that schools starts mid-August.  Sheesh!  I remember growing up school started AFTER Labor Day.  Always.  

Once I realized summer was coming to an end, I tried to cram in as many fun activities as I could.  We realized we hadn't been camping even ONCE this whole summer.  Well, we did go down to Blanding with Eric's parents, but we hadn't taken a camping trip up in the mountains.  So we quickly made some plans, invited Eric's dad to go with us (Sharee is out of town) and spent a few days up Currant Creek.  It was really beautiful.  We brought the horses and Ranger up with us so we had plenty to do.  Tyler has gotten pretty good at driving the Ranger around.  He loved giving the kids rides, and we loved that we didn't have to!  Ziggy got in on the action too.  She loved every minute!  By the way, this picture is not posed, this is literally how Ziggy was as Tyler cam cruising back to camp.
Our cute little cousin Ashlee came too.  She told me about another family they were friends with and told me, "They are a lot like you guys, the kids fight a lot."  I asked her if she thought my kids fought a lot and she said that we fight a lot more than she and her sister do.  I explained to her the math:
When you have only 2 kids, there is only 1 potential for a fight: kid 1 against kid 2.
I, however, have 4 kids, which leads to a multitude of additional fight possibilities:
1 vs 2
1 vs 3
1 vs 4
2 vs 3
2 vs 4
3 vs 4
1 and 2 vs 3
1 and 3 vs 2
1 and 2 vs 4
1 and 3 vs 4
1 and 4 vs 2
1 and 4 vs 3
1, 2 and 3 vs 4
etc etc etc etc.
I haven't yet figured out exactly how many potentials there are for arguments, but I know for sure it is more than ONE.   So no judging here.  But luckily the kids all got along pretty well.

Maggie and Joey are pyromaniacs.  They wanted to burn everything in sight and got WAY too close to the fires for my liking.   I'm surprised we didn't have more singed eyelashes and nosehairs....

We took the horses out for a long ride.  I got to ride one of our new horses, Deuce.  She was awesome to ride.  Really responsive and not afraid to go anywhere or do anything.  She's a small horse (which I like with my shrimpy legs) but super strong.  She is fun to ride.  Eric rode one of our other new horses, Dutch.  She however has a few bugs we are working out.  A few days earlier she had bucked Eric off, but today she did much better.  No bucking!  And she rode a lot better.
We had some fun campfires and the kids even put on a variety show for us.  Well, "variety" is a little bit of a stretch seeing as how every skit involved sword fighting.  It was still pretty fun to watch.

I was NOT in the talent show, but I could have been in a beauty contest the way I was looking!
More dangerous fire play...

Tyler and Jacob have big deal pellet guns they got last year for Christmas.  We brought them up but the sights were off.  So Eric and grandpa went to work getting the sights dialed in.

And lo and behold they must have done a good job because not too long after that Tyler came back with his conquest.  Ugh.  He wanted to skin it but turns out it had fleas so we had to get rid of it.  He felt really bad about killing something that he didn't end up using for meat or a pelt or something, but we tried to explain that with fleas it was useless--can't eat it and can't use the pelt.  Live and learn I guess.

Last week we went up to the Olympic Park in Park City.  We try to go every summer.  They have some fun ropes courses and zip lines and alpine slide.
All the cousins together.  Ready to play!

 Joey did awesome (mostly) on the ropes course.  He got scared a few times and I had to go help him but overall I was surprised at how well he did.
 Maggie is a pro of course,  She did this last year!

 One of the times I had to go help Joey....
 The kids all did this fun zip line thing with a drop tower at the end.  Maggie wasn't scared at all!
 Neither was Ty.  He did it like 10 times.
 The older boys did the big big ropes course.  Here's Ty at the top.  They are pretty high up because you can see under them is the regular ropes course with someone on that.  Probably 30 feet up at least.
Maggie and Joey getting ready!

The highlight of our summer was Tyler turning 12 and getting the Aaronic Priesthood.  He was so excited.  He was even excited to pass the sacrament!  Most of our family were all there to come support him when he got ordained.  It was really special to see all the people who love him so much and care about him.  He's lucky to have such a great group of people around him who care about him so much. 

Every year we have a week of Salem Days Celebration here in Salem.  One of the activities is a cardboard boat race.  Jacob and his friend Cambria did one--the S.S. SOS.  Aptly named.  The boat floated well enough but was too bulky for those little guys to handle too well.  They didn't make much progress.  After fighting their way through the course they finally gave up and intentionally tipped over just so they could swim back to shore!  It was pretty funny to watch.
Tyler and his friend Camden also made a boat.  Theirs floated pretty good too and they ended up coming in second in their heat.  They did a good job!  Their boat was name the Soggy Waffle.

I decided to try to embrace small town life and we even went to the Salem Days tractor pull.  Yeah, wasn't QUITE as exciting as one would hope.  It's pretty much a bunch of 85 year old men pulling a concrete load with their tractors about 3 mph across a dirt arena.  Literally.  We stayed a bit then left.
One highlight of Salem Days was the parade.  Of course all the candy thrown was fun, but this year Maggie got to be in it.  She did a little cheer camp with the high school cheerleaders so got to sit on the float and throw candy.  Boy did she love it!

After Salem Days was the Utah County Fair.  Once again trying to embrace the life of a country girl we decided to try out the Demolition Derby.  Holy cow it is loud!  We had to get earplugs for the kids.  But it was actually a blast.  The kids had a ton of fun and it was so funny to watch these cars just ram at each other.

Then after each round, since only one car out of the group was left working, they'd bring out like 8 tow trucks and haul them all off.

It was quite entertaining I must admit.  The kids want to go back each year.
All in all a fun filled summer.  Back to school tomorrow!