Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cramming 6 months worth of Activities into 2

Well I thought it had been like 6 months since I posted as I went through all the photos of things we've been up to, but I was shocked when it's only been 2 1/2!  Apparently my family has decided to cram a year's worth of activity into a few weeks.  So we'd better get started...

Jacob has been doing so well in his piano lessons.  It took him a while to get going but it seems like now it's "clicking" and he's progressing well.  He had a recital a while back and did awesome!  He even went to a piano festival at Utah Valley University and had to perform 2 pieces in front of judges and everything.  He did excellent!  He pretends like he doesn't like piano but I know he does--he plays a lot even when it's not time to practice.  He can't fool me!
 We went to the Payson Temple open house last week.  It has been exciting for the kids to see the temple being built and all the talk about it in our area.  It has been a big deal for sure.  So the kids were excited that they were able to go.  It was very beautiful and really neat.  It is a HUGE temple!  Lots of stairs!

I always find pictures on my camera/phone that the kids have taken.  Some are funny and others are just 45 pictures of the carpet.  Here's a cute little gem I found today.

In other news, we have a famous scientist in the family.  Okay, well, he's definitely on his way to being famous.  Tyler was picked as a finalist from his school science fair, then went on to the district fair.  He was a finalist there too!  He ended up going all the way to the regional science fair.  He did so good and worked really hard on his project.  Turns out the best homemade fertilizer is aquarium water (all that fish poop)!  Dry dog food mixed into the soil is a close second--just a tip for next time you decide to grow some plants!  We were so proud of him.

Our most exciting activity was our long awaited cruise to the Caribbean!  It has been in the works for 2 years and it finally happened!  We had booked it for over spring break so the kids wouldn't miss school, and of course that was right about when our house was finishing up and so it was a crazy time but probably a much needed break from house stress.  We had to get up super early to catch our flight to Miami.  But that didn't faze the kids at all.  I love the looks on their faces on the airport shuttle...

And even a long plane ride didn't destroy the excitement!
We had a day to kill in Miami so we did some exploring.  Eric and I decided that Miami is where all the really attractive people must move to.   Ha ha.  We swam in the hotel pool, ate out, explored a bit. 
And then the next day was the big day!  We got a taxi to the cruise terminal and got in {a very long} line!
There is a lot of waiting involved in taking a cruise.  You wait in line to check in, you wait in line to get some other stuff, then you wait in line again to get on the boat.  We tried to stay positive even after waiting so long...
 Finally we got on the boat...hooray!  Our luggage arrived to us pretty quickly and we met our very nice room stewards.  We explored the ship some and then had our first dinner in the dining room.  The food was actually better than I expected and the kids loved that they could all get steak and dessert, etc.  The best places to eat on the ship were a few of the little cafe places--they had an amazing wood fired pizza place, a really really good hamburger joint and a fabulous mexican cantina.  Those were all delish and the best part is they were free!  The dining room was pretty good most nights, a couple nights just so so.

Our first full day was a day at sea.  We swam in the pools, went on the water slides, took the kids to kids camp (hooray for free day care) and went to a couple fun shows.  I realized that I didn't take any pictures of any of that.  Whoops.  I guess you'll have to go on a cruise to see what it's like!  Some of it was fun, but there are a lot of people.  People just sitting around boozing by the pool.  But we still had fun and the kids had a blast.  We had a room with a balcony (which I highly recommend if cruising--we used it a ton) where we were able to sit and look out at the ocean.  That was nice.

We did some day excursions on our land days.  Our first day was in Ocho Rios Jamaica. We went to a private beach house with a private beach with a small group of people from our cruise.  They had all the soda you wanted, and cooked us a delish lunch of BBQ Jamaican Jerk chicken and the best sauce I've ever had.  We had the beach all to ourselves.  It was a little overcast at first but then the sun came out.  It was always hot and humid though.

 The kids all had SO much fun.  There were other cool things to do in Ocho Rios but we decided that we would only do activities we could all do together and most things had age restrictions.  But this was a very peaceful relaxing excursion.

After that day we were all tuckered out.  We had to get 2 adjoining rooms on the ship because the maximum people per room is 5.  Ugh!  But it worked out nice because Eric and I had our own room with a king bed and the kids all shared the adjoining room.  That meant we could stay up later than the kids and watch our own shows on tv and stuff.  It was great.  Here's the kids bunk room.
 The next day was in Grand Cayman.  You have to take a boat to get off the boat.
 Here we are in Grand Cayman.  That is our ship right behind me.  I know, it looks like a fake backdrop.
 Our first stop there was a sea turtle farm.  There was a huge tank of full grown sea turtles...
 Then you got to go to other tanks with all different ages and sizes of turtles.  You got to pick up the yearlings and even get in the tanks with them!

 Sometimes the turtles would start flipping their fins super fast when you would pick them up.   It was kind of funny.
Joey wanted nothing to do with holding the turtles.  Lol.

After holding the turtles they got to go snorkeling in a big lagoon with the sea turtles and really cool fish.  I love Maggie in this pictures.  What a diva.  The kids loved snorkeling and did really well at it.  Even Joey did pretty good. 
 After the turtle farm we took a boat out to a sandbar in the ocean called Stingray City.  Yes this beautiful blue clear water is out in the ocean.  It is only a few feet deep and there are a ton of huge stingrays there.  They swim right into you and just about knock you over!  We got to hold them, feed them, have them get up on our backs and give us a "back massage".  It was neat.  Joey and Maggie were a little scared so they wouldn't hold them but the boys loved it.  You can see the rays in the water swimming around them!

 Look at that water!  My camera doesn't do it justice.

 Our last day on land was at Cozumel, Mexico.  We decided to switch it up from the beach stuff to go see some ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum.  It is on a beautiful cliff overlooking the ocean.  I wasn't sure if the kids would like it but they actually really did. Joey still talks about the castles where all the people died.  Ha ha.  It was pretty cool to see, but very HOT in person!  I've never been in a place as hot and humid as Tulum.  Oh my word.  We all thought we would melt.

 There were tons of these iguanas all over the place.  The kids might have thought that was the coolest part.
 Here we are at the edge of the cliff, you can see some of the ruins behind us.

 The last day was a day at sea.  We just tried to relax and prepare ourselves for smashing back into reality.  As far as vacations go, I probably won't do a cruise again.  I like to do more exploring and get a feel for the places I travel to--eat in local cafes, have time to see all the history and things like that.  So the cruise felt very "touristy" instead of "travely" if that makes sense.  I would have loved to have learned more about the places we went--there is so much history in the Caribbean, and the best food we had was the one time we ate at a cafe after Tulum.  But as far as going with a bunch of little kids it was great.  The kids had so much fun, and when the kids are having fun so are we.

Back to real life now,  Jacob had an Invention Convention at school.  He came up with the idea for a light switch extender so you don't have to get out of bed to turn on your light, or walk across a dark bedroom to get in bed after turning it off.  It turned out pretty awesome!

 And Maggie had her Kindy 500 at school.  She got to make a cardboard car and "travel" the USA in it at school.  She did most of the work on her car and did a fantastic job!  There were some crazy elaborate cars there, but I am a firm believer in having your kids do as much as they can for stuff like this.  Her car turned out Maggie-riffic!
 In other news, we were on the news!  Well, Ziggy our dog was anyway.  Ben, our cousin, and friend Camden are doing a project to raise money for a police dog for Payson city.  Pretty ambitious!  It started with a school project then spiraled on from there.  The local news even sent a crew out to do a little news piece on them.  And it featured Ziggy!  I think Eric walks past the screen once too.  They filmed it in our (then) front yard.  It was pretty neat.
 The house is done now and we are living in it--hallelujah!  But here's a couple pics form the final stages...

 It has been more work than I realized to build a house.  People kept telling us how stressful and crazy it is, but you think "Oh, I got this."  But it IS STRESSFUL and CRAZY!  I'm so glad the bulk of it is over.  It turned out beautiful and I love it but I will live here until I die!  No more building for me!

Jacob has enjoyed his violin playing at school.  He had another concert a  month ago.  He is saving up money to buy his own violin!  He is such a cute, good kid.

A while back the Utah Rock and Gem show came to the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds.  I decided to take the kids since Eric was off doing something, I can't remember now.  It was actually really neat.  There were tons of cool rocks which Jacob loved.  He is a rock hound.  Then they got to sift through some rocks to look for....I don't remember, some kind of sparkly rock or something.  It was funny because one of the bags we got didn't have any of the sparkly stuff in it and I saw the kid who was working the counter sneak a few in her hand from her pocket and slyly drop them into the mix.  Lo and behold!  Our mix had sparkly rocks the kids found!  I loved that.  It made the kids so excited to find some.

 Maggie's highlight of her entire life was her very first dance class.  The city did a class for little girls taught by one of Maggie's friend's older sisters.  Oh boy, I have never seen a kid more excited about anything in their lives.  Disneyland can't hold a candle to Maggie in her dance class!  She ate it up, loved it, talked about it, lived it, breathed it, it was her favorite thing ever.  I've tried to steer her away from the whole dance scene but looks like I might have to enroll her in a dance class in the fall.  It was really fun to watch her.  Look at her, so proud, with her little necklace on.  So cute.

In our new house we have a microwave.  No biggie right?  Well in our old house the microwave was up high and kids couldn't reach it or see into it.  Imagine their wonder now that the microwave is low.  This is the first (and every time since then) that we have popped popcorn in the microwave.  It's better than the movie were are popping it for!

 So in my family room there is a vaulted ceiling.  It is a pretty large sized room, and the only things hanging down are 2 of these 13" square pendants.  I love them.  But that's not what I'm here to talk about.  The other day Joey was shooting a little nerf bow with nerf bullet arrows.  I told him not to do it in that room because a bullet might get stuck somewhere (preface this in your mind that my old house was very tall and had lots of places for things to get stuck that were too high to reach and there were ALWAYS some kind of nerf bullet or balloon or something stuck up high).  But i really didn't think anything could get stuck because there was only these 2 lights for something to get stuck in, and out of a 20' square room he'd have to have pretty amazing aim/luck to get a bullet stuck in one of these 1 sq ft lights!   Well not 3 minutes later..........
 Yes, that is a nerf bullet INSIDE the light.  There is a space on top of the pendant that is open and yes, Joey managed to shoot his bullet in such a way as to pass the pendant, reach it's apex and then fall back to the ground but get into the small square to allow it get stuck INSIDE my light.  ARRGGHHHH!!!   I had to borrow a tall ladder from the painter to get it out.  What are the odds.

Okay, so more exciting stuff...Joey got his tonsils out!  He was just like Jacob was--sleep apnea, snoring, ear infections, runny nose, etc.  So we took him to an ENT and he said yup, those big boys need to come out.  So our first full day living in our new house we ended up spending at the hospital!  Joey was very excited to get them out because of the prospect of eating all the ice cream and popsicles he wanted.  We left out the other part...
 He did so good and let the nurses check him out.  Yes, that is a Batman cape he has on.
 Before the surgery.  He got to put on some special pajamas and got a ton of stickers!
 The stickers quickly ended up on his arm and he enjoyed controlling the tv.
 But that was before.  This is after when they brought him back in.  He was still asleep.
 When he woke up he wasn't too crazy or screaming.  Pretty mellow but we distracted him quickly with a popsicle.  He actually did really well.
 I love this pic--he's not unhappy, I just asked him to show me his tonsils were gone.  Lol.
 He did so good and recovery actually was pretty easy.  He was snuggle and wanted me to hold him a lot but not any crying or screaming or anything.  He did great and now I have to check on him when he's asleep to make sure he's alive because he is so quiet! His voice is higher, but he enunciates words better already because his hearing is better--no more fluid in the ears.  He seems a little happier so that is good.

He did scare me the other day...  ha ha ha.
 On a final note, I love my shower.  I have amazing water pressure no matter how many shower heads are turned on.  Plus my shower door reflects light from a window in such a way that every morning I go to shower I have this beautiful rainbow to look at!  It seriously is so bright it looks like it is painted on.  I love it!  And I love that I can finally live in my house!