Monday, November 7, 2016

Playing Catch-Up

It was brought to my attention recently that I haven't updated my blog lately (thanks mom).  I realize it has been a while, so, once again, I will play catch up.  We tried to end the summer on a high note and went to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake and the new church history museum.  As you can imagine, walking through a museum full of amazing historical artifacts from the early church was captivating to Joey....(sense the sarcasm).  The rest of us really loved it, and it is totally amazing and interesting.  But there were more than a few passed signs and exhibits as we tried to keep everyone happy.  Then we walked around Temple Square, which is always beautiful.  I managed to capture a couple of pictures from the day.
 This one is from an exhibit at the museum....
 Totally changing directions now, we found a fun store in Payson called Goofy Guys that sells all sorts of odds and ends from old fashioned candy to metal signs to (you guessed it) giant underwear.
 If you can't see the need for a pair of giant underwear then there's no point in explaining it to you.

Another out of the ordinary thing we did this year was the Monster Truck Show at the county fair.  We were prepared with earplugs and headphones and thank goodness!  Word to the wise---they are excessively loud.  So does loud=super fun totally awesome?  Kind of.  It was fun for sure, but I think the family loved the Demolition Derby last year more.  The trucks were pretty cool the way they flew through the air and crushed other cars.  I mean, how can you not enjoy seeing a giant truck drive over a row of old cars?

We spent time with family--and the kids obviously enjoyed (and terribly miss) their old trampoline.  Our "yard" here still consists of dirt, with some dirt on the sides, a but more dirt in the middle, and then in front of the house we have some dirt.  It gets old...and dirty.

And then lo and behold the first day of school came (mom shouted for joy while the kids moaned and groaned).  They are getting to be quite a handsome bunch!
Tyler--8th grade
 Maggie--2nd grade
 Jake--5th grade

Tyler and his cousin Ben did their annual summer rock band again this year.  As usual Tyler told me over and over how they weren't ready and didn't know the songs and were, in general, awful.  And, as usual, he was totally incorrect.  They did amazing.  It is so fun to hear them play and sing.  Tyler even learned how to play the intro to "Piano Man" on the harmonica.  They totally rocked it out!  I just warned him he isn't allowed to grow his hair long and get any tattoos or piercings.

Eric took the two older boys on his annual BYU Football away game trip.  This  year they went to Arizona.  It was a close game but BYU won in the last minute of the game!  Almost the same thing that happened in the game they went to last year in Nebraska--I think these boys are good luck charms for BYU!

 Having the barn finished (FINALLY) has been such a relief.  No more long nights and Saturdays out there slaving away.  It's filled with hay and looking like the real deal finally.  So it's official now, we are country bumpkins.
 A funny sight the other day....on our flight to Boston over the summer, Eric and I got those eye covers for sleeping....I don't know what they are called.  The kids for some reason loved them and commandeered them from us.  Joey would sleep with his on all the time.  Well one night he was tired and I told him to go lay down on the sofa in my room for a while.  I walked in to find this....
 He was dead asleep!  It cracked me up.

In other Joey news, he had a birthday!  The big 6.  He had a party with a few friends with a donut cake (his choice plus easy for me..bonus!)...
 And a family party with chocolate pie (his request again, and Jessica made it, so once again easy for me...double bonus!).
 And to top off his birthday he decided to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.  He is so good at his scooter it didn't take him long to get the bike balance down.  I think he had it 90% good after about 15 minutes.  Triple bonus.  We even got him a new bike!
 Joey is a great way to round out our family.  He is a human paradox--you can want to strangle him and kiss him all at the same time.  He doesn't let us rest--he's a little ball of crazy energy.   But he manages to keep up with his older brothers and sister...most of the time.  He can be so sweet and cute.  Gives me kisses all the time and pats me on the back.  He's cracker jack smart too.  A lot of times you wouldn't guess it with how crazy he acts, but he's got quite a brain.  He always makes me laugh too.  he told me the other day he is getting so tall because of all the eggs he eats for breakfast.  And he told me he's a fan of steak:
Joey:  What does it mean to be a fan of something?  Like I'm a fan of BYU?
Me:  It means you really really like something.
Joey:  Mom, I'm a fan of steak.
I'm always amazed that he is alive and growing considering how little he eats, but he is super sneaky and is always sneaking snacks and treats when he knows I won't find him.  I need to channel that craftiness to good use.  He's growing up fast--but lucky for me still slow enough that he likes to snuggle and wants to be tucked in every night.  We love you Joey!

In other news, Tyler got his tonsils removed.  That makes all 3 of my boys now.  Maggie tonsils seem fine.  His tonsils were huge, he snored like a lumberjack, sounded/talked like his throat was always clogged, and was the loudest breather you ever heard.  So I had them checked out and the doc said he definitely needed them out.  Once they were out the doc said they had a significant amount of scarring on them and he's probably had chronic mild tonsillitis for years.  Whoops.  Guess I should have checked them out sooner!  But he recovered well and really was a super trooper.  I was worried about recovery but he took it like a champ.  Now there are no more sawing logs at night!

Crazy hair day at school....see sometimes I do the pinteresty mom stuff...

Jacob is still loving soccer.  He is doing great with his team.  They finished out the fall season and now he's doing indoor futsal to keep his skills up for spring.  They've got a great little team and have a ton of fun playing.  It's fun to watch him play--he gets better and better each season!

For fall break we decided to do a repeat trip to Escalante/Bryce Canyon and hike some slot canyons.  It was a blast once again but even more fun this time because we didn't camp, we stayed in a hotel!  So no big set up or clean up, well....I take that back.  There was a big clean up because joey puked twice on the floor of the hotel room in the middle of the night.  It was nasty.  Thank goodness we had tons of extra towels!!  The sleeping bag he was in (he slept on the floor) was thrown away in the dumpster.  Some things aren't worth the nastiness.  But the canyons were awesome...Eric and I barely squeezed through some of them!  I couldn't get pictures of the skinny parts because you literally didn't have room to raise your arms to take a picture.  Suck it in!!!

 Bonus:  We (Dad) caught a little lizard.  Poor little guy was passed around the group.  But he was tough and survived and we let him go, despite protests from the kids wanting to keep him as a pet....

 And then right around the corner (isn't life just one thing after another?!?) it was Halloween!  We had some fun with Napoleon Dynamite...
 Old man Batman...
 Super ninja...
 And Skelita (yes, I know what you are thinking.  Maggie was that last year!  But when I asked her what she wanted to be she was set on it.  Bonus for me--I already had all the stuff!  Sweet)
I don't normally dress up too much for Halloween but we were invited to a friend's Halloween party so I thought I'd play along.  It was a Day of the Dead party.  I may have gone a little overboard...
Actually no one recognized me until I told them who I was.  It took me a shower, 3 more face washes and a lot of eye makeup remover after that to get it all off.

We had another birthday in the house (first Joey, then Eric, then me--age undisclosed, and now Maggie!)  Maggie had a super fun fashion party with a LOT of friends.  I was counting on some girls not being able to come but pretty much everyone that she invited came!  So it was a full house but lots of giggles.  They had a piƱata, played a balloon stomp game, decorated pillowcases, decorated a wooden letter of their name, cake and ice cream and had a silly fashion show.
The fashion show was a hit--we dumped out all of our many costumes and wigs and the girls went to town.  There were some pretty creative outfits.  We had 2 rounds of the catwalk and then a fashion dance party.  It was pretty hilarious.  Here's Maggie's two beautiful creations...

Maggie is my little princess--my only girl in a sea of testosterone.  I love love love having a girl, and I love that she loves all things girly.  She loves dresses, nail polish, pink stuff, jewelry, crafts and all of that.  But she also loves playing the dirt outside (good, we have a lot of it), playing nerf with her brothers, and riding horses.  She loves those horses!  She can be a bit of a drama queen at times (ok, a lot of a drama queen) but she also makes us laugh.  She loves to dance, she loves music, and has started piano lessons now too.  She is helpful--always helping in her classroom at school.  She has a toothless smile and looks like a hillbilly right now too, which I love.  When she smiles she lights up my heart.  The only thing I can't stand it how fast she is growing up.  It makes my heart hurt.  She will always be my little Maggie Moo.

 I wonder daily how I got so blessed to have such a great life.  I'm going to do my best to enjoy every minute of it!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Lovin', Had Me a Blast

Of course I've missed any blog updates over the summer so now I am stuck with a almost a whole summer's worth of activities to catch up on.  Story of my blog life.  This summer has definitely been PACKED.  Between camping, vacation and activities, we have also been working our hind parts off to get the barn done.  It has been a labor of love, I suppose.  But the barn is coming along and almost done!  Hooray--I can't stand another day out in the 100 degree heat putting up wood and trim and roofing etc.  I'll post some pictures soon once we get the entire thing finished.

A highlight of our summer is that Jessica has put in an awesome swimming pool so we get to go swim almost anytime we want!  Joey has perfected his chicken dive off the board.

 Tyler went to Timberline camp this summer for scouting.  He totally loved it.  I guess they didn't teach him how to wear hit hat normally though...

The kids have also had a blast playing in grandma's yard.  We have a definite lack of grass at my house so water and sprinklers are not allowed (water + dirt = muddy mess mom doesn't want to clean up).  So every time the kids go to grandma's the head straight outside for water works.
 Water balloons have been a favorite this summer.  They make up water balloon store games where they basically barter for water balloons.  Jacob always seemed to come out ahead.
 And what trip to grandma's house would be complete without popsicles?
 Grandma also took them to a town carnival -- Tyler and Jake went on this spinner ride with some crazy name I don't remember.  They went on it several times and you can tell they thought they were pretty cool...
 Joey liked the giant slide.  He told me we should put one in our backyard....
 In other news we have had a new addition to the family!  It's a boy!  We are thinking of naming him Scout but we probably have to give him back to the mom's owner so we aren't getting too attached.
 A few weeks ago we found a HUGE snake in the road.  It looked like a rattlesnake without the rattle.  It was right in front of my neighbors house.  We hurried and got her and we decided that we should probably kill it since it looked poisonous.  My neighbor went and got a shovel type thing and we gave Tyler the assignment to get it.  He failed.  So then it was Jake's turn.  He failed.  My neighbor was too petrified of snakes so then it fell to me.  At this point it was hissing at us so I took aim, and (while screaming mind you) jabbed it until it died.  Later I found out it was a just a gopher snake, which is a good snake and I felt really bad.  I really did--we only killed it because there are kids and animals around and we thought it was dangerous.  Well I regret it and will never kill snake again unless I am in immediate danger.  Poor snake.

 We've gone on a couple camping trips this summer.  Our first big trip was up in the mountains--around 11,000 ft elevation.  It was nice and cool up there.  We went with some friends who had dirt bikes.  One of the moms decided to teach Tyler to ride so she took him to a field near our campsite.  It looked like the perfect place to cruise around and learn to ride.  Well she was watching tyler ride and go up a tiny little hill (like 2 feet high) and then next thing she knows is he drops and disappears!  A second later he pops up, drenched and dripping, saying "I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!" Turns out there was a pond in that meadow that you couldn't see at all until you stood on that little hill right at the edge of it.  There would have been no time to stop at all.  The bike was completely submerged--we had to bring the 4-wheeler up and Tyler had to get back in the water to attach a rope to the handlebars of the bike (which were about a foot under the water).  Tyler felt so bad, he kept telling them how sorry he was and that he'd buy them a new bike.  But there was no way he could have seen the water in time to stop.  In the end they got the bike running again and Tyler got dried off.  It was pretty funny since it all ended well.  Here's Ty drenched with the infamous bike... (that is not the pond he fell in--this one is way too obvious)
 That camping trip was filled with dirt bikes, four wheelers and ranger rides....Here's Maggie and her pal Paisley...
 Joey snuggled between our good friends Whitney and Porter in the back of the Ranger...
 And me and Tyler getting windblown in the front....
 Tyler and Joey....  no water mishaps here.
 There was a little stream by our campsite.  The kids loved to play in it.   Joey made boats from leaves and raced them.

 Then on to the 4th of July.  Carrie and her girls, Samantha and Kate, came down to visit.  It was so much fun.  We packed a lot into a few days.  Fourth of July fireworks at Grandma's house...

 Jake and Joey look so much alike.  I think they look like the same kids just a few years apart in this picture.
 Maggie was LOVING having her girl cousins around.  She was the "big sister" for a few days.
 The girls!

 While Carrie was here was also went up the canyon and had a picnic and Ranger rides.  Eric taught the girls to steer the ranger.  It was pretty cool!

 Even Joey got in on the action.
 Silly girls going a ride!
 And of course more swimming.  My kids would live in the water if they could.
 Snow cones with cousins--doesn't get much better than this!  Blue and red tongues galore.

 Our next trip was just Eric and me.  We went to Boston for a dental conference.  I really love Boston.  It is such a neat town.  We visited Fenway park, did the Freedom Trail and one day Eric and I went up to Cape Elizabeth in Maine for a lobster lunch and some lighthouse looking...
 We ate at the Lobster Shack at Cape Elizabeth.  It is literally right on the ocean and next to 3 lighthouses.  Right after we ordered our lobsters the girl took them out of the bin and put them in the pot.  Thats' fresh!
 One of the nights in Boston Eric and I went to a restaurant called Atlantic Fish Co.  Turns out the night we were there they had a special.  They only do it once a week and the chef only makes 20.  Called Lobster Thermidor.  So Eric thought he'd better get one.  It was delicious!  Once of the best meals I have ever had!  Tell me this doesn't make your mouth water...
 Back home in Utah, now it's time for the Rodeo!  We went on Tyler's birthday (ack, he's a teenager now!  13) and had a blast of course.  It is the  Swenson Family tradition to hit the Rodeo each year.  It is always fun.  Get some funnel cake, cokes, and nachos, we are all set!  Yee haw!
 Hillary and Josh came into town as well.  They came to the rodeo with us and we all went out for lunch that day as well...
 We wanted to make sure we put Hillary and Josh to work so we decided to go bale some hay.  Okay, we actually didn't plan for it to be while they were here but it just worked out that way.  We got up early in the morning and went out for our first hay to put in our new barn!  237 bales that morning.  Boy those things are heavy!  And scratchy!  It was my first taste of many hay hauling days ahead.

 It was so wonderful to have so many family and friends to come and help.  Many hands makes light work.  We finished early and celebrated with donuts and chocolate milk!  What a great bunch of people.  We feel lucky to live here by family and friends and good people.

 The last load....
 I look like a pro!  Not really....  My fingers were sore!
 Of course after all that fun we needed to have more fun.  So we took ANOTHER camping trip up in Wyoming with some different friends.  We brought the horses up and wouldn't you know it we got a flat tire on the way up.  Between Eric and I we got it changed pretty quick but we did have to stop and get a new one in the next town for safety's sake.
 But the tire pit stop wasn't too bad.  We all got to stretch our legs and say hi to the horses.
 The highlight of the trip for the boys (Josh, Tyler and Jake) was their fresh catch of the day...squirrel.  They shot one and turns out a few minutes later Ziggy caught and killed another one.  So they decided, of course, that they should cook and eat them.  (barfing sounds)
 Josh was not afraid to get his hands dirty.  Now that I think about it, the whole eating the squirrel thing was his idea....hmmmmm.   Pulled squirrel sandwich anyone?  So Josh took charge of gutting and skinning it.
 Everyone was both fascinated and disgusted at the same time.

 The skinning wasn't going well since the squirrel was so they decided to just skin the legs and eat those.  And...they....did.  I made them cook it thoroughly over the fire first!  They said it was chewy.  I'll just take their word for it.
The horses were fun.  We took several small horse rides with the little kids, then the older guys went on a longer one.  Joey had a lot of fun riding Penny.

 Tyler, Josh and Eric decided to try fly fishing on one of the days.  I tried to get out to the river to get a picture but the willows were so thick I couldn't get close.  This is the best I could do.  Fishing wasn't great but Tyler was glad to have the practice.
 Kids telling stories around the campfire...
 Here we are with some of the horses.  They were hungry and LOVED the grass at our campsite.
 Stella and Joey getting a mini-ride.
 Maggie loved being "big sister" once again this summer--this time with Stella!
 As I mentioned at the beginning, swimming at Jessica's has been a highlight of our summer--and cousins just make it more fun!

Not to let a day go by without having something fun planned, we took a girl's night up in Salt Lake City. Jessica, Hillary, Katie and I stayed at the Grand America Hotel.  We ate out, had yummy sushi and desserts, went shopping, ate more dessert, played some cards and had a great time.  
 The night after our girls' night we took the kids to the drive in movie.  It is always a fun time.  Treats movies and cousins.
 And then the day after that was Eric's Lee Family reunion.  Just to top off the summer Jake decided to fall off his hoverboard and break his collarbone.  Sheesh.  Right before the reunion.  He does get the award for first person in our family to break a bone.  Poor kid.  His summer pretty much ended right there.  No more swimming, soccer, trampoline or hoverboard for 6 weeks...  He took it like a trooper though, had to watch everyone have fun while he just sat there.  No fun for Jake.
 Everyone showed him extra love and support!
 At the reunion we also had big blow up bubble balls.  They were hilarious.  Maggie decided to just topple herself over and over.  The funniest were the guys when they got it.  Some pretty big crashes!

The best and worst part of the summer was Tyler birthday--best for him because now he is a teenager, worst for me he is a teenager.  The big 13.  Makes me feel old now to say I have a teenager, but Tyler is worth it.  He is really a good kid.  He has his moments, like we all do, but Tyler is such a kind and sensitive boy.  He is always looking out for his friends to make sure everyone feel included.  I am always having his church leaders, scout leaders and teachers tell me what a nice boy he is.  He is easygoing about things and loves all the things his dad loves--horses, fishing, camping and hunting.  He is getting to play a pretty mean electric guitar as well.  We love having him in our family and wish him the best (and least moody) teenage years!