Sunday, February 26, 2017

Look Who's Posting Now?

So I've been experiencing pangs of guilt lately--I supposed there are many things I could have these over...the pint of Ben and Jerry's I ate Friday night, the way I got angry at my kids for their mess, the fact that I haven't solved world hunger yet.  But my guilt isn't from any of those things; it's from the fact that I have been neglectful about my blog.  Now I don't keep up the blog to showcase my admittedly amazing incredible life...I keep it up as a family chronicle, a journal complete with stories and pictures of our goings-on.  The reason I feel so guilty lately is because the kids have been LOVING reading the book I made out of my blog.  They laugh at the stories and pictures of themselves, all the silly things they used to say, they remember the fun vacations we took and things long forgotten.  And as I read the stories that I had written, I realized all those daily things, the cuteness, annoyances, craziness, messes, up and downs that you think you will always remember....well, you don't.  And so I am making a renewed commitment to my family to be better about this little family record, silly as it may be.  And someday when I am old and gray and maybe even long gone, they will have these memories to look back on and remember all the good times we had together.

I did notice in my old blog book that I used to write with much more finesse than I have for a while.  I thought for a minute that perhaps I have gotten boring, or the kids have sucked all my creative brain cell away.  But I realize, it is a 2-fold issue: 1--the fact that I wait so long between posting makes me have to catch up on 6 months at a time--and I can't sit at a computer screen detailing the little things trying to cover that amount of info, and 2--I came to the realization that it is not ME that has gotten's my kids.  I'm still as interesting as ever, but my kids are outgrowing that sweet innocent stage where the silly things they say and do are just that, silly and cute.  Now, however, when my kids do those same "silly" things I tend to find them more annoying than cute.  Case in point--making a picture on the bathroom counter out of broken Q-tips used to be adorable.  In current times though I find myself saying, "Who broke my entire box of new Qtips!!  I just bought those!!  What a mess."  Ok, maybe I'm not THAT bad, but no one can argue that a 13-year-old boy is as cute as he was when he was 3.  But I digress, back to my point, I figure if I can update the blog more often then I will be able to remember and include the cute little things that get forgotten so easily.  So here's my attempt at keeping current...

The kids like to steal my phone and even though I have a passcode on it, they can still work the camera...and boy, do they work the camera.  In a world where they are surrounded by screens it makes sense my kids would want to be on one themselves.  I find literally countless videos the kids have taken of themselves and each other--Joey's videos are usually of him making some odd face and equally strange noises while filming in slo-mo or fast mode which exaggerates his craziness.  Maggie, on the other hand, had decided she wants to be a "YouTuber"and makes instructional videos on how to do things like play with a dollhouse, or draw a picture.  They are usually very very very informative (translation: LONG--the last one was 23 minutes long).  But every once and a while while deleting all the new additions to my album, I come across a gem or two.  Here's a cute one of Joey the kids must have snapped.  We must have been leaving grandma Calder's house (the soda can).

We took a day trip on President's Day to the San Raphael Swell.  On the drive down Ziggy showed how True Blue she was by smiling when we put on Ty's BYU hat.  I mean, really...she is smiling.  Either that or thinking "I'm just waiting to make my escape.  Just smile and pretend everything's normal...."
 It was a bit of a sketchy drive through snow and then mud but we made it.  It is a really neat area with tons of huge boulders and red rock type landscape.  Jake was in rock hound heaven collecting tons of specimens for his ever growing collection.
 We let the kids climb around on the hills and boulders...which also means that even though we had intended to go for a nice long hike we didn't make it very far.  Boulders are much more enticing to a bunch of kids than a brisk walk.


There were some really neat looking rock formations.  While the kids were playing on the boulders we found a "rock bench" that we parked it on while we watched the kids play.
 Ziggy was thirsty and so we even found a rock with built in bowl for her to drink water from!  Boy did she have a blast.  It is so fun to have a dog that we can take on things like this.  It sounds silly, but I get so much joy from watching her run and jump and do all the dog things she does when she is outdoors.  You just know she is having the time of her life.  I just hope she appreciates it!  Not many dogs have as good a life as she does...

 The first path we ventured out on was pretty muddy--you can see behind Maggie how muddy it was. We stayed away from the worst parts like that, but it didn't keep our shoes from being dragged down by a pound of mud stuck to them.  So before too long we changed tactics and went a different way and that was much better.
 Of course stopping every 10 seconds to climb and play.  Maggie decided to take a nap.

 In the area there are several places with Indian petroglyphs and pictographs.  We stopped at one of the bigger sites that is marked and took a look around.  It was pretty incredible.  Plus I got a nice hug from my teenager which was pretty incredible too....just kidding.  I'm lucky that Tyler is such a loving boy.  There is no shortage of hugs coming from him.  I might be doing something right...fingers crossed!
 The boys and Eric have done a lot of skiing this winter.  As mentioned before, I am learning along with Maggie and Joey, but we can't handle the big stuff like the boys do.  So they go without us several times.  I'm so glad they have this activity they love.  Tyler set a goal to ski every single run in Sundance this winter, including the double black diamonds he never skied before.  Well as of yesterday afternoon he met his goal!  He went skiing with his friends determined to finish the last of the missing runs and he did it!  Now how to get him to set a goal about getting better grades.....
 This picture is from a while ago but I just found it.  Eric and I took Joey on a horse ride in Payson Canyon.  It was close by and we had a fun time.  I have decided to embrace my new cowgirl lifestyle and have set a goal to get more proficient at riding and everything that goes along with it this summer (saddling, loading, bridling, etc.)  I'd even like to start working with our foal Cinco.  I've got some books about it--I guess we will see how it goes (i.e. if I end up kicked in the face or not).
 We have season tix to BYU basketball again this year (I think I have previously mentioned this) and Eric takes turn taking the kids (on the games I don't want to go, or course).  Joey got his turn...but I'm pretty sure he only cared about getting a Cougartail.
 And on to more important matters--ice cream.  We found the best ice cream on the planet at a new popular shop in Provo called Rockwell Ice Cream Parlor.  Holy moly, it is soooo good.  We stopped by there one afternoon since we'd heard raves about it and it certainly delivered.  I can be an ice cream snob, but this hit the mark in every way.  Delicious interesting flavors, huge portions and good music playing.  Check, check and check.  We will definitely be back.
And to close off I'll tell you a story about my currently favorite son Jacob (you'll see why in the story).  I was deciding between 2 pairs of jeans and I modeled them for Eric and Jacob just happened to be sitting next to him.  I modeled both pairs and asked which one looked better, which in girl terms translates into "Which pair makes me look thin?"  I made sure to tell them that's what I meant, just so there was no confusion.  Eric was deciding and Jacob chimed in with, "You look thin in both pairs."  BOOM--he just moved to the top of the list.  Nice job Jake, I've taught you well.  Now I better get to work on Joey who asked me if I had a baby in my belly.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A little behind....

Okay, a lot behind.   But at least I am trying!

I'll cover all the highlights for certain...the rest of it will just have to get skipped.  I am in the Young Women's at church, and a few months ago we took all the youth to go see Music and the Spoken Word in Salt Lake before church.  It was totally awesome!  We had to get up bright and early but it was well worth it.  We got to walk around temple square a bit, then hear some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. music.  The kids all had a great time.  What a great opportunity to be able to do that.  It makes me wonder why I haven't gone more.
 So I guess there is ONE good thing about 1:00 church--that you have time to go do this in the morning and still make it to church on time.  Alas we are back at 9:00 church this year, and although it is awesome to be able to just get up and go to church and be home by noon, that is one thing I will miss about later church....

School happenings are always going on and the most recent was Jacob's Wax Museum.  The 5th graders all pick a different famous person--modern or old--and write a report, make a display, then dress up as the person and give a memorized short speech about them.  Jake was Meriwether Lewis and he was so cute.  He did a great job!

Per the usual, we have season tickets to BYU basketball games.  I am Eric's preferred companion (did you even question?) but he does take the kids in turn as well for some daddy-son/daughter time.  I think for Joey and Maggie getting a cougar tail (a 2' long maple bar--the best you've ever had) is a bigger draw than the actual sports display but who can blame them.  One lucky night Maggie even got to meet the king of Cougars---Cosmo himself!!

Jacob has been doing piano festivals (where you memorize a piece of music, play it in front of judges and get scored) for a while and this time he got to do a duet.  The boys looked super sharp in their matching orange neckwear and they played even sharper.  Excellent job boys!

Although I typically have a firm "No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving" rule, I broke it this year.  But I had a good reason!  I have been wanting a new Christmas tree for some time.  Believe it or not, we were still using our original tree we bought what feels like decades ago.  It was cheap because we were dead broke back then, short because we were living in tiny places, and pretty sparse looking.  I was going to wait to buy a tall tree, but when I found a screaming deal I knew I couldn't pass it up.  But I got it the week before Thanksgiving.  I didn't want to set it up and find out it was a dud and looked horrible (you can never tell from those pictures on Amazon) and then be treeless, so I set it up a few days before turkey day.  Well to my happy surprise it looked great!  But I had no ornaments for it...  I decided I wanted this tree, the "upstairs" tree to look cool so I picked a few pictures from online  of different ways to decorate it and then let the kids pick which one they liked the best.  They picked an awesome design and off we went ornament hunting!  Don't you think the final result looks super sweet and oh so full of holly-jolliness!
 It took a tall ladder, a lot of ornaments, and an even more amount of patience but we did it!  And don't start thinking I am a cruel kids' Christmas killer--we set up our old tree downstairs and that is where the kids got to hang up all their ornaments (they pick one out each year, plus all the ones they have made at school and church).  So everyone got to have their fun!  Win-win.  OH!  EXTRA BONUS:  since I had the tall ladder out already I go the Nerf Bullet that had been stuck in our light fixture for over a year out.  Sweet!

So a few days after tree-topia it was Thanksgiving.  We had dinner at my house and it was delicious.  Everybody made something yummy and it was such a fun time for all.  And can you believe how old these 3 teenagers are looking?!?!?!?!?!

The next big event (remember we are skipping the small stuff) was Miss Maggie Bean got baptized!  It was so cute because she was getting baptized with 2 of her cute little girl friends too.  The three princesses dressed in white!
 Maggie was super excited and so proud!  And mom and dad were pretty proud too.  We missed all the family who couldn't be there!
 Tyler even volunteered to give the talk on baptism.  He did such a great job.  It was a special morning for all of us.  3 down, one more to go!  They might have to dunk Joey twice, wink wink.

Our annual Young Women's activity for December (well, this was only the 2nd year but we've decided to make it an annual thing) is we take all the girls up to Temple Square, buy them dinner at the Joseph Smith Memorial, walk temple square and go to the church history museum.  It was cold so we bundled up.  Here's all the fun leaders I get to serve with--they make being in young women's so great!

Maggie had a dance performance as well.  It was a Christmas show and since Maggie is in 2 dance classes she was in 2 numbers--a ballet one and a hip hop one.  She tolerates ballet, but she LOVES hip hop.  It is so cute.  But she did amazing in both numbers.  She really loves to be on stage and had such a cute personality that shines through in her face.

On a funny side note, the two older boys love seafood--especially crab and mussels.  Weird, right?  I mean, I love them but for a 10 and 13 year old to love them is fun.  Anyway, I found some mussels at Costco and snatched them up, went home and cooked the entire batch in a super yummy sauce.  Well look how much the boys ate!  Plates piled high.  Maggie didn't like them and Joey wouldn't even look at them.  But it was a fun dinner for the rest of us!

We had Christmas Eve at Katie's house again this year.  A yummy dinner and then opening the pajamas from Grandma Swenson all the way over in Germany!  It was a fun night.  Always nice to get together with family.

Then lo and behold it was finally Christmas morning!  The joy!  The excitement!  The PRESENTS!!!!  The kids were super excited and got lots of fun stuff.  We don't go too crazy at Christmas,  they get 4 gifts from me and Eric, something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.  Then Santa fills their stocking and bring one big present.  Plus the gifts from grandma and Aunt Carrie and cousin exchange and they are stocked up.  It was such a fun morning.  And even though Tyler threatened everyone to NOT WAKE HIM UP EARLY to open presents, HE was the first one up and woke up everyone else.  Ha ha.  Stinker.

Eric had a few days off around Christmastime so we spent an afternoon at the Provo Beach Resort.  We played laser tag, did the ropes course, played some arcade games, and went bowling.  Dad beat a lot.

The highlight (worst part) of winter so far has been ALL THE SNOW!!!!  Oh my, I think we spent a week straight shoveling and plowing and blowing snow.  So much snow we were running out of places to put it all.  This is one early morning trying to clear part of the driveway before school so I could get out of the garage.  Probably 2 feet just overnight, then it snowed for another week!  I am done with snow for the winter.  Maybe a 200 foot driveway wasn't the best idea.....

But along with all the snow we've had some amazing skies.  Here are a couple pics from my house.  No filters or anything, and these were taken with my iPhone!  Beautiful.  I feel so lucky every single day I wake up and look outside at my views.  How did I get so lucky to live here?  Pretty amazing.

Once again Eric and boys have been skiing a lot this winter, particularly Tyler who is getting to be a really good skier.  His goal for the winter was to ski every run in Sundance.  I think he has gotten to all of them except the 2 or 3 double black diamond runs (which I am not crazy about him skiing down anyway).  He was determined to do them, but the weather the past week has been quite warm and a lot of snow has melted so I am not sure he will get to them this winter.  Here's Ty...
 And now Eric...

 You would know if there were a picture of me--I would be the one falling head over feet down with my skis in a X like a disney cartoon.

Eric is in the scouts program at church and planned a snow cave campout.  They went up Fairview Canyon and actually dug out snow caves and slept in them!  The crazy thing was he hit it at a super cold time and when they woke up it was -12 degrees outside!  Eric said he slept pretty warm inside his cave though so I was glad about that.  I didn't sleep much that night at home even though I was warm in my bed--I kept worrying about how the boys were doing!  This is the entrance to Eric's cave...
 Here's Tyler and the boys in cave with him.  They slept 3 to a cave.

 BRRR!!!!  Too cold for me.  But they survived!
 Although I wasn't joking about me falling head over heels down a ski run, I have been trying hard this winter to get a little better at skiing.  I've graduated from the green runs at Sundance to the blue ones.  I prefer the easier blue runs, but I did ski a couple of the longer harder ones.  I didn't NOT enjoy those though.  I was super sore the next day but not my legs like you'd think, my back and shoulders were sore from being so tense the whole time!  But to prove my bravery, here is Eric and me at the top of Sundance outside of Bearclaw Cabin (where we got nachos, of course).
 I know I look like the stay puff marshmallow man but I was warm so I don't care!

This year we went to the Ice Castles in Midway.  We had gone a couple years ago, and had tickets to go last year but because it was so warm they closed it early and we never got a chance.  But luckily they said they would honor my old tickets this year so we went for family night.  It was fun, cold, and totally amazing.  I don't know how they can build it like that.  The pictures don't really show much because it was too cold and my phone died, but you get an idea.  There are tunnels galore, the ice lit up from the inside, fountains, ice slides to go down, walls and rooms 25 feet high, huge icicles....just really beautiful.  The kids could have stayed all night but it was late and my fingers were frozen so we eventually forced them to leave.

In addition to Eric trying to get me to be a better skier, he's been working his magic on Maggie and Joey.  We put them in a class and they both did really well and had a good time.  They wanted to keep skiing after their class so I took Maggie on the green run....
 And Eric and Joey went up to an easy blue run (Joey is  a little daredevil).  This is them on the lift in front of us.  So cute.

I saw BYU was doing the Broadway production Mary Poppins so I got tickets and thought Maggie would enjoy bringing some friends.  So I invited some friends and their moms to come.  I was worried whether or not Maggie would like it, but she LOVED it!  In fact she wants to do musical theater now, lol.   They had such a fun time and it was fun for me to know that Maggie loves the same things I do!  Eric and the boys can go fishing and we will go see a show!

 One last view from my deck...  Seriously, I get to look at this every single day!  Try not to be too jealous......  Once I have grass it will be even more amazing.  I can't wait!