Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer Shenanigans

This summer was a good one. I feel like time always gets away from me before I can document anything. We didn't do a whole lot as far as trips and such, but we had a fun and relaxing summer. The first week was our family reunion and the last weekend was a little camping trip. Other than that, we were home the whole time. The kids loved not having a schedule and just being able to play almost all day (after they did their jobs of course). Here are some of the things we did that I actually got on camera.

We dressed like cows and stood in a long line to get our meal, but it's always worth it and fun. Saved us over $30. My nephew was with us that day so when my brother picked him up I made him come too, complete with a cow marked garbage bag.
The same day happened to be 7-11 day. Free Slurpee's. Still a line, but definitely not as bad. I love how Hallie is trying to use the straw.
Then, of course, there was Lehi Foam Day which was fun. It's always a bit crazy and there's always tons of kids crying, including our younger ones, but it was great to see Erin and Alex really get into it this year. You can't tell from the pictures because Alex had soap in his eye at that moment, but he really did have fun.

We went to Thanksgiving Point for a jell-o fight. Let's just say that next year Jared and I may go alone or just take one kid. The only kid that had fun was Alex, all the other kids hated it. Like REALLY hated it. And when Erin gets mad about something, it's not fun. Just to describe the event, you basically have 5 or 6 kiddie pools where they dump several 5 gallon buckets of jell-o and then about 350 rowdy people, mostly teenagers, charge the jell-o and smear it all over whoever happens to be next to them. This is fun if you don't care about getting sticky and jell-o-y and if you can get to the pool and do it back to someone. Erin never got to the pool and kept getting attacked with jell-o. Same with Marissa. Alex could see the fun in it. Once that jell-o dries, it's super sticky so you have to get hosed off or rinse really well in the sprinklers when they turn those on. Jared and I loved it.

(I'm holding my hands like that because of how sticky they were, FYI) I love Connor's face. Not. Fun. At. All.
We got invited to a party at the Lindon Aquatics center one night and they had this cool surfing place. Erin went on her belly and did really well. Alex was barely tall enough to go but didn't quite weigh enough so he just flipped right over the top, twice. Jared did the belly twice and then tried surfing a couple of times. It was not a surprise that he caught on to surfing really easily, even though it was his first time. He did awesome. The video I took was the second time so I missed him wiping out.
We had a fun block party one night in the cul-de-sac. It included good food, pickle ball, a bike parade and a bike wash, face painting, cotton candy, popcorn and an outdoor movie. I love our neighborhood! For some reason, I volunteered to do face painting even though I'd never actually painted a face before. I guess I just figured that it couldn't be that hard. And because we had 4 of us doing it, it didn't take all night to do the whole neighborhood. These are the ones I did on my kids. Marissa wouldn't be photographed, but I didn't do her's anyway.

We went to the Ogden Temple open house. It was really pretty. Hallie was such a cute kid the whole time. She had her little booties on over her shoes and walked almost the whole way, and then she waved to every single worker that she saw. She is such a friendly, social little girl. It's so cute to see her personality come out as she gets older.

There was lots of dress up going on this summer. Actually, I'm pretty sure Connor wore his Spider-man outfit every day at some point.

 Here are some shots of the kids at the new Children's museum at Thanksgiving Point. It's pretty fun.

 The zip line is awesome.
Like I said before, we finished off our summer by going camping. We have all this great camping stuff and hardly ever use it. And I actually like camping a lot. So I reserved a campground up American Fork canyon because it was so close. Once we got up there it was like we were in a different world and it just felt so good to be up there. I even kind of like cooking while camping. Maybe it's because Jared does most of the cooking. I just have to give him the ingredients. We made some delicious tin foil dinners one night, had yummy omelets, pancakes that Jared did a great job not burning (aren't they always burnt when you camp?) and chili pie one night. Delish. The first night was a bit of an adventure because it starting raining a bit during dinner, then stopped. We left everything out while we walked to the bathroom. While we were gone it rained a lot and got all our stuff wet. Then it stopped again so we could do some smore's, then in started again only really hard this time. It was almost 9:00 so we all just went to bed. Hallie had had a long nap that day so she was the only one that didn't want to go to sleep. She was kind of keeping everyone awake until she finally crashed. We survived that rainy night. I was impressed by our tent keeping us so dry, especially since a pole had blown through our tent the last time we used it and that part was patched.

I think this outfit on Hallie was picked out specially by her. She has her own ideas and you can't change them.
 The next day was beautiful, so we decided to go on a little hike. And here's what I mean by "little". We were given a small pamphlet with a bunch of hikes mapped out. There was a key telling you distances so we measured out a hike that looked about right for us, about 2 miles or so. Well, what the map didn't show was that the hike we chose was super steep with lots of switchbacks making the hike way longer than we thought. To make matters worse, since it had rained the night before, there were some really muddy parts. We kept expecting to make it to a certain sign so we could complete the loop and it just never showed up. Finally, after we had literally climbed to the top of the mountain (remember how steep it was?), we rested while Jared went ahead until he found the sign. Luckily it wasn't that far because with Jared's persistence, he wouldn't have stopped till he'd found it even if it had taken hours. We were so happy to find that sign and to begin our descent down the mountain. The worst attitude of the day went to Marissa. She would not stop complaining! She kept hanging on our legs and bending her whole body over because of how horrible the whole thing was. Hallie was on Jared's back and I was holding hands with Connor the whole time. He was such a good sport and pretty much talked the whole time. Funny child. It ended up being over 4 miles and took us 4 hours. A big feat for our family. It was definitely an adventure. There was a small period of time where I imagined all of us dying up there, but we made it. 

These pictures were take right before the hike.
This hike brought back some memories of growing up in my family where we would set out to do a 3 mile hike that would turn into a 6 mile hike, or a 6 mile hike that would turn into a 12 mile hike, getting lost, running out of trail mix and water 8 miles in. I don't know how, but our hikes always seemed to double. This tradition was fondly known as our Annual Fourth of July Deathmarch. I'm not sure why we kept hiking knowing what usually happened, but we did. There was one year that I remember very clearly. I know we were lost and I'm pretty sure we came out in a different canyon than we started off in--and not intentionally. I literally thought I would die up there. Well, I guess we are just carrying on the family tradition.

Goodbye summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Erin's Birthday

Erin turned 10 on June 18th. Her dream was to get breakfast in bed on her birthday. She was so happy to get it. And how is it possible that she looks this good when she first wakes up? She is so photogenic. She had some pretty specific things she wanted to do for her birthday, and she'd been planning them for about a year. One thing she really wanted to do was make a glass flower at the Thanksgiving Point art center. It was awesome to see how they do it. The glass was 2000 degrees! We also got to walk around to see all the workers making stained glass for different temples around the world. It was so cool!
 This is what her glass flower looked like once it had cooled. It's so pretty.
She had planned a pool party on her birthday, but the weather was looking cold so we postponed it till Friday. It was kind of good because after the glass flower, we had a get together in the park for what would have been my grandmother's 100th birthday. Erin was born on her 90th birthday. It would have been way too busy on that day. She also wanted to get her ears pierced that night. She has wanted her ears pierced for so long. I never set an age that she had to be, but just asked her when she thought a good age would be. She always said on her 10th birthday. She was so happy about it. She picked the pink butterfly earrings. Erin loves butterflies. I'm glad she's old enough to be able to take care of them by herself.
The next day Alex got braces on. He has quite the metal mouth now. Not only does he have braces on the top and bottom, but he has an expander on the top and another space holder on the bottom. He hated getting them on, but he is a brave child to do it, especially since he is only 7. I think it makes him look so much older.
 My kids are all growing up so fast!
Back to Erin's birthday. On Friday she had her party. Only one girl couldn't come but she had a great time with everyone else. They are all from activity days. I was actually surprised that she wanted to have a party with so many girls. Usually she only likes one or two friends at a time. I think she is branching out a lot with friendships lately, which is good to see. Her best friend, Emma, has been gone almost all summer, so Erin has been playing with other girls a lot. And since she is older, she is able to go farther to their houses by herself.
She loved all the presents she got. They know her so well. She got lots of art supplies, necklace making kits and candy. Happy girl!
Eating cake. Since it was during the day, I was doing the pool party on my own. Luckily, Connor had a birthday party at the same time so I only had 4 of my own kids to watch, plus the other 8 girls at the party. Luckily they are old enough to swim. It sure is nice to have a pool in our neighborhood.
Erin decorated her own cake again. She is so artistic and thought up this whole design herself. I think she really wanted like 5 tiers, but this is what she got. It turned out cute.

Erin is really growing up. This summer we've been able to leave Erin home for short periods, like during Hallie's nap, and she can watch the kids. It is so liberating to have a child that old! She is very responsible and is great with the little kids. When Erin is happy, she is such a joy to be around. She is so creative. She still loves art, writing books, reading and acting. She loves wearing make-up and dressing up. She is definitely a girly-girl. Once she can change her earrings I'm sure she will love wearing new ones. She has gotten good at doing hair, her own and others, and is pretty creative with what she ends up with. We love Erin!

Connor's Birthday and Father's Day

I'm a little slow with the blogging lately, but Connor turned 4 (over a month ago). When he woke up, we surprised him with his present:  a see-saw that I built for him. He knew I was building something for his birthday in the garage (thanks to a certain child who told him), but he didn't know what it was. He was a bit scared of going too high at first, but I think he is more used to it now. The other kids and the neighbors love it. And I can cross off another project on my long list of "things to build someday".
You can see more about the project on my other blog Roadside Rejects.
It was a Saturday so Alex had his last baseball game. He had lots of fun doing baseball. He likes playing all sports and just has a good attitude about learning and playing them. And the good thing about watching them is that they are all way better than they were two years ago. It's fun to see.
 After the game, we all went to the store so that Connor could pick out his own birthday present (besides the see-saw). He was a bit hard to shop for this year because he kept telling me different, but very specific things that I had no idea if I could find, like spider man socks and another spider man glove and other random things. He is very decisive and knows what he wants (it's just that nobody else does). That's why I had him pick it out. He ended up getting a spider man glove that shoots silly string and then water when the silly string runs out. He had so much fun with the silly string and was laughing so hard. He got a ton on our ceiling before we made him take it outside to shoot other people. That lasted about 5 minutes, but it was fun. Oh, and even though he picked it out that very day, we wrapped it and he was so excited when he opened it. Funny kid.
After the game and shopping, we went to the new Discovery Museum at Thanksgiving Point. We love living a minute away from Thanksgiving Point! It's a fun museum with lots to do.
That night we had cake. He wanted a ninja turtle cake and this was my best attempt. The mouth would have been better if I hadn't run out of black, but I think he got the idea. At least it wasn't my worst cake ever (which is still Jared's flyswatter cake).
Connor is a really funny child and always says funny stuff. Too bad I can't remember most of it. He is the child that tans most easily and with his light hair it makes him look even more tan. He likes to tell you and show you how strong he is. But for how strong he is, he is definitely not the most brave. He doesn't like to try new things, especially if he thinks they will be too scary. He stood at the side of the fence watching all the kids jump on the neighbor's trampoline for a year before he finally got on this summer. When we went to the water park, he didn't want to do any of the slides, even the baby ones. We forced him to go on Jared's lap on one slide and he screamed the whole way. I took him to the children's museum on a one on one outing and he wouldn't go on any of the rope bridges or slides. I'm sure he'll grow out of it, but it's funny to see what a strong personality he has but how cautious he is at the same time, especially when the younger girls are almost fearless when trying new things.
Connor loves ninjas, spider man, superheros, and doing karate moves. He dresses up in his spider man costume daily and also asks me to put a ninja headband on a lot. Here's an example of his ninja headband. The kids have been loving the dress-ups lately since they dug them out of storage in the basement. Ah, more messes to clean up.
Connor talks really loudly, which I find very interesting since I am so quiet. His normal voice is just loud, even if I am standing right next to him. The day after his birthday was father's day and it was the first time he went up to sing with the primary kids (he wouldn't do it for mother's day so I was surprised that he did it at all). When he came down he yelled, "I was awesome up there!" Everyone was laughing so hard. I love this boy so much! Our family would not be the same, or as loud without him.

And speaking of father's day, we celebrated it the next day. I always get stressed out the first two weeks of June so father's day is never a big event. I made Jared breakfast in bed. He was coming down right as I was about to bring it up to him so we made him go back to bed to eat it, while the kids sat there watching him. That night he asked for taco pie, his favorite meal and we ate it on the new picnic table that I built, but haven't stained yet. The only thing he got for father's day was a new watch battery. I don't think his watch has worked for over a year. It's like getting a new watch, right?
 Funny faces
 Guess which kid didn't want his picture taken?
 Jared is a great dad and our kids are lucky to have him! (and just look how strong the see-saw is :)