Friday, December 14, 2018

Dear Birthday Boy Jonas,

Happy birthday you teenager you!  Thirteen, that seems so old.  Miles has turned out to be a pretty pleasant teenager, so we have high hopes for you!

You've had quite a year.  You finished up your first year of middle school and then began your second year - 7th grade.  You like school.  I'm not sure you looooove it, but you definitely like it.  I think you are showing more interest in doing well at school.  Your grades are good, but with your smarts, they could be even better!  I'm thinking by your 8th-grade year you'll be figuring out how to get those straight-A's that your brain was designed to get.  :)  At parent-teacher conferences, your teachers all expressed how much they enjoy having you in their classes, how good of a student you are, etc.  It was nice to get such a great report!

You are struggling to find an organized sport that you want to stick with and not complain about. . . I made you quit swimming this past year as I could no longer stand your complaints about it.  You're still a decent swimmer and, who knows, maybe one day you'll be a lifeguard or something!  You just gave Jui-Jitsu a try . . . but decided it wasn't quite what you thought nor want to do.  Which is fine.  You like playing football at recess and shooting some hoops.  In fact, you wanted to try the middle school's basketball team - until it changed its practice time to when you have jazz band practice.  Bummer, but that leads me to . . .

Jazz band.  You were in the 6th-grade band last year and then tried out for jazz band - and made it!  What?!  I was a little surprised.  :)  But you seem to really like it.  You don't even complain about practicing anymore!  You practice four days a week, 30 minutes each time.  Plus, you have to be at school an hour early for jazz band practice.  So you hop on your bike by about 6:50 each morning and head for school.  You used to have Wednesday mornings off - until you went and made the "honors" jazz band.  Gosh, Jonas.  :)  Now you have an extra early-morning practice on Wednesday.  But it's okay with you - especially because you'll get to miss some school-days as you participate with the honors jazz band.  You had a concert last night (your second of the year, but my first since I worked the last time) and it was really awesome (and slightly weird) to see you up there part of the jazz band.  There are 16 of you - 7 of you are Mormons members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Kind of crazy!  Dad and I are super proud of you and your participation in the band!

So even though you haven't quite found a "sport," you are active.  Riding your bike to and from school five days a week.  Riding your bike around town with Miles and friends.  Mountain biking - you really like that and are excited to do it in high school, like Miles.  You love skiing.  We had to totally postpone your birthday ski-party last year (Kendall didn't open up until late February or something!) . . .but we are giving it another try this year.  Our target date of December 22nd probably won't happen, but we'll go no matter what - even if we have to wait until February!

You and Miles had jobs mowing again this summer - Jonas and Brother Mowing.  Or something like that.  It's been a great job and has hopefully instilled some work ethics in you.  Your dad helps you out A TON.  You better be willing to do that for you sons someday (which I think you totally would).  You and Miles opened up savings accounts.  I think Miles has 2-3 times the money you have.  Even though you made similar incomes . . . :)  Yes, you do like spending money.  Miles is quite the tight-wad.  You spent your money on food - like going to Crash Burger, getting buffalo wings at Pizza Hut, buying candy, etc.  But you were also the only sibling to buy your sisters each birthday gifts.  And not just a stick of gum gift.  Clothes!  You bought Lucy a cool Hogwarts shirt (she adores it) and Emmy a really cute shirt from Target (that she wore for picture-day).  So while you like to spend money, you are also quite generous with it, too.

You had an awesome camp experience with your fellow friends from church - 4 nights and 5 days of a "Lewis and Clark" adventure.  You loved every second of it.  In fact, you even excelled at it!  Sometimes you seem a bit wimpy when compared to your super-strong family.  Haha, just kidding.  But, you know, Miles is like a super-hiker with never-ending endurance.  But it turned out that at the camp - with all the canoeing, hiking, etc., you were one of the top kids.

When you are at your best, you are a delight to be around.  You're funny, witty, and thoughtful.  Your family loves you so much Jonas!

Love you,

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Rest of the Family's Weekend

While I was away in Moab the rest of the family had quite the fun weekend as well!

Ben ended up working way more than he was planning on, but it all worked out - thanks to our aging children.  :)

So Ben didn't get home on Friday until close to 7pm.  I had called and asked Miles to make dinner - pasta sauce over noodles.  He happily agreed and did!  The kids watched a movie that night. 

On Saturday Ben dropped the girls off at gymnastics.  Not too long afterwards Ben got a call asking if he would/could help first assist a case at the hospital.  It was a simple, minor procedure and so Ben agreed.  However, another more emergent case came in and so Ben helped out with that one and then finished up with the original, planned case.  He was at the hospital for about 5 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, Miles had to walk down and pick up Emmy from gymnastics.  Then walk down Main St. to help Emmy pick out a present for a girl.  They Emmy and Miles continued further down Main St. and Miles dropped off Emmy at the birthday party - Amazing Glaze (a pottery studio).  Not too long afterwards, the boys went and got Lucy from gymnastics and walked back home.  It was so nice that Miles could do that - plus it was so nice that we live so close to gymnastics, Main St., and where the birthday party was being held!

Ben got home around 3:30 or so and they quickly headed out in the truck for the Christmas Tree Hunt. Although I, too, enjoy participating in this annual event, this was the day to go (due to our schedules) and so they had my permission to do it without me!  We had gotten some snow the night before and so that made it extra-fun to be up in the forest with the beautiful, sparkling snow.  They picked out a lovely tree and had a lovely time.

On the way back, Ben dropped them off at Main St. so that could watch the parade.  Northside Eelementary was the first float and so it was fun they got to see the beginning.  Ben dropped the dogs off and then walked down and met up with the kids.  The parade is always fun and neat - but also so long!  So they left before it was done.  :)

On Sunday Ben again got called by the hospital to help out on a case.  He wasn't on-call this weekend, the hospital was just wanting first-assist help.  So Ben went in - luckily he had been able to attend all of sacrament meeting.  Again, he was there for a little more than 5 hours.  I got home about an hour after the kids had gotten a ride home from church.  We set up a lot of our Christmas decorations and that was fun.  We watch a movie on fast-Sunday and it was Ben's pick:  Little Women.  It was great.

Yes, that's the tree they picked!  That's what happens when I'm not there as a voice of reason . . . It's huge!  But, really, it's not too big.  Ben chopped off the bottom 4 feet and then took the rest!  It's a beautiful tree and I'm glad I wasn't there to tell them it was way too big.  :)

Shaking off the snow . . .

Emmy working on sawing it down . . . :)

Bella's first time in the snow - I think she liked it.  She mainly just chased Brigham around as Brigham ran all around!

The kids watching the parade!

I'm glad we all had a fun weekend!!

My Weekend at the Winter Sun 10K

This was my 6th year going to Moab's Winter Sun 10K run.  It's always such a fun, fun time!  This time we had 13 of us that went - although one of the ladies drove up the day of the race and headed back soon after.  Usually we just stay for one night, but a few of the gals wanted two nights and so that was an extra treat this year!

Seven of us left on Friday morning to go to the temple on our way there.  Monticello (where our temple is) isn't the usual route to go to Moab, but once there it's just a quick hour to Moab.  We had some blizzardy snow and snow-packed roads over Dallas Divide (the pass that takes you to Telluride), but other than that it was pretty smooth driving.  The temple was nice and we were able to have some of us do initiatories and the others did sealings.

We got to our super-cute place in Moab and unpacked.  We then went for a walk on the River Trail.  It was beautiful.

Brittany and Sarah in the back.  Kandace, Heather, Anna, and Jeni next.  Me in front.

The rest of the group came later that night - some around 8pm and the last two around 10pm.  We had a good night eating our yummy homemade chicken noodle soup, chatting, and watching a crazy running-documentary to get us all inspired for the next day.  :)

The race went well on Saturday!  One gal from our group, Marnae, took 1st in her age division - so cool!  My time was 51:59.  I was 60th out of 224 runners, the 19th female out of 143, and 10th out of the 47 runners in my age-group.  The coolest was the 87 year-old lady runner who came in at one hour and 27 minutes.  She looked fantastic!  I told her I wanted to be just like her when I grow up.  Because I'm original and funny like that.  She chatted with us for a few minutes and that was pretty grand.  I won a raffle prize in the give-away and that was super-exciting - although the actual prizes (some energy/electrolyte drink and a funny-fitting hat) were less so.

Our before-race picture. Back row: Brittany Philips, Jeni Osorio, Heather Oman, Kandace Booth, and Heather Evans.  Front-ish row:  Nichole Taylor, Anna Archer, Molly Shockley, myself, Sarah Bugarin, and Marnae Woodland.
Yay, I finished in under 52 minutes (by 1 second, ha!)!  That wasn't necessarily my goal until a hundred feet out I saw I was pretty close.  So I stepped it up, passed an older woman, and got my 51:59 time.  :)

 Marnae on the podium!  I'm friends with her - I felt cool!  :)

After lunch a group of us went out to hike Delicate Arch.  It's been a way long time since I had done it - it was as impressive as ever!

 So amazing!


We enjoyed dinner at a Mexican restaurant that night and it was delicious and fun!
El Carro Loco.

We had a great night of games, chatting, and snacking.  It was super fun!

I headed out on my own that morning - leaving the condo by 6:15am.  I was meeting my mother (shhhh, my kids - especially Jonas - don't know!) near Price, UT to get a special something my parents had picked up for us (i.e., Jonas) in Utah.  The weather was slightly crummy and I drove through some really snowy conditions.  My mother had some snow down Provo Canyon, but after that it was pretty clear for her.  We met at a church (I was planning on going to a 9am sacrament meeting . . . unfortunately it was 10am stake conference that day for them and because of the snowfall coming down, I decided to just head back home rather than wait another hour . . .).  We transferred the goods from my mom's car to my car, and then we both headed back our separate ways.  It was fun to see my mother for like 5 minutes!  She's pretty cute and awesome to drive out all that way and back!  My mom had even better roads for her trip home.  I had worse roads for about the first third of my drive, but then it finally cleared up.

Anyways, another awesome time in Moab with a bunch of awesome ladies.  Lucky me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving Break

Well after traveling to Denver two-to-three times in the past month (twice for the girls' competition, plus and extra time for Emmy and I for Emmy's doctor's appointment, plus an extra time for Miles as he had a field trip to Denver one weekend!), we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving.  We came home that week on Monday from a great weekend in Denver and then Ben had to work Tuesday and Wednesday.  I ended up helping Csilla with a camp she was running at the Rec. Center those two days and so my kids had fun participating in that.  It made it busy for me and I wasn't able to get my Thanksgiving grocery shopping done until later Wednesday.  Call it cutting it close for sure!

We had earlier signed up to host the missionaries, but they ended up being in another area on Thanksgiving, and so it was just our family.  Plus Michael.  Michael called up Miles earlier in the day asking if he could come over and hang out.  So we invited him to stay all day, including dinner, etc.  His mom left a day or two before to take care of her daughter who had just delivered a very, very preemie girl (the baby ended up passing a day or two after Thanksgiving :(  ).  The kids had fun watching the Macy's Parade and a bit of the dog show.  We rode bikes down to the new middle school's playground and the kids played for a bit.  It was cold though - especially on the way home.  Brrrrrr.

All the family helped out with Thanksgiving dinner: Ben was in charge of the turkey, I did the rolls, the boys made two pumpkin pies (one for us and one for our local organization that puts on a free dinner every year), Ben and Emmy made a plum pie, Miles made the sweet potato casserole, Jonas the cranberry salad, Emmy the green bean casserole, and Lucy did the stuffing.  Everything was delicious!  We had a fun game of Catan that evening and then ended with a movie.  It was a super nice day!

On Friday morning Michael wanted to go to Walmart to get a Black Friday deal on an X-box.  So he convinced the boys to want to go too.  :)  So Ben and I and the boys picked up Michael and dropped them off at Walmart, while Ben and I exercised at the Rec.  When we were done we picked up the boys - Michael was able to get his thing, and the boys had each bought a box of Christmas lights.  :)

On Saturday Ben helped the boys do a major clean-up of their room.  We should have gotten a before-picture, but didn't!  They literally spend like 5 hours going through things, throwing away junk (Jonas throwing away more than Miles . . .), organizing, buying a wardrobe thing at Habitat for the boys' extra legos, etc., etc.  It was a major undertaking and now the boys' room looks pretty darn great.  (I can't wait until we can re-do their walls and get them some nice carpet!)

The boys took a break during the room clean-up to go and watch the 4th quarter of our high school's semi-final football game.  Unfortunately, Montrose lost 42-0.  I was thinking that was what the U vs. BYU game would be later that night . . . We enjoyed watching the first half of that game immensely.  But BYU couldn't pull it off in the end.  Oh well.  Congrats, again, to the Utes.  :)

Anyways, it was a good break from our "normal" lives!

Here are my TWO pictures of the entire week:
 Here are the kids (including Michael in the middle) getting ready to feast.  :)

The boys and their CLEAN room.  :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Emmy's Level 4 State Gymnastics Meet

Emmy's state meet was two weeks later - on November 17th.  We, again, stayed with Jim and Diana - but this time the meet was less than 10 minutes from their house.  So that was awesome!  We also got to stay until Monday - bonus!  Besides the meet, we again had a fabulous time with Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Joe and Aunt Britt, and our super cousins - Emma, Grace, and Nicholas (we missed Sam as he is far away in Brazil on his mission).

Anyways, back to Emmy's meet!  She was scheduled for Sunday, but Coach requested a change of date and so she got in to the Saturday morning session.  She, like Lucy, competed without any other teammates (her other 2 teammates competed later that night).  Emmy said she actually liked competing alone!

So Emmy did do better than her first meet - like by 2-plus points.  So that was awesome.  She looked really good to me!  Unfortunately, her scores weren't great.  Our girls are missing something the other gymnasts are getting . . . I don't mean to blame the Coach (we do love Coach Kirk . . .), but he is not getting it quite right.  Six of his seven gymnasts competing at state were in the bottom 3 or so for all-around.  Now Emmy could definitely push herself more and so she can do a lot to improve as well.  It was just a little sad and hard to see those scores.  It made me want to cry for my little gymnasts.  I could go on and on about things . . . like how this was Emmy's 2nd meet of the season and 4th meet ever - whereas most other girls had competed in 10 meets just this season alone!  But I'll stop at that.  Maybe that's for another post.  Maybe not.

Luckily, Emmy was much happier this meet than her last meet.  She scored pretty well on floor - receiving an 8.7.  So she felt proud of that.  She has to do level 4 again as she didn't score the 34.0 in all-around that is required to move up.  Which is okay to her, thank goodness (it wasn't okay to her the day before, but I think she realized that a lot of the other girls who were scoring higher were competing in their 2nd season of level 4).

Okay, blah, blah, blah.  On to pictures! 

Emmy's vault picture was blurry.  She actually did better than she usually does!  She does not have a great vault, unfortunately.  But it wasn't too bad!  Then it was on to bars.  She didn't tap the floor on her low-bar kip.  Unfortunately, she arched a little bit and didn't make her casts to 90-degree angles.  But overall, I think it was pretty good.
 The on to the beam.  She stuck her cartwheel - yay!  She had a few slight wobbles - nothing too bad.  A few bent legs - nothing too bad.  But her leap and jumps definitely need work - but she'll get it!

 She's so beautiful on the floor.  Her front-handspring was the best I've ever seen (except for that darn loose leg - you'll see on the video!).

As Emmy compete in another session than she was assigned to, she was not allowed to receive any awards.  She would have been last-ish in the events (she was probably competing in the toughest group that Saturday morning), but it still would have been nice to have gotten some recognition.  The meet directors told her they would mail her a plaque, so I hope so!  If Emmy would have competed in her scheduled session, she would have done a little better.  Just FYI.  :)

The seating was horrible at the meet and so my videos aren't super great.  But whatever.  Her rotation was bars, beam, floor, and then vault (so you know who to watch during the video!)

 We went out to lunch as a family afterwards - to celebrate our two awesome and hard-working gymnasts and their great efforts at their respective state meets!

The two gymnast/sisters.  :)

Later that evening the girls and I went back to the meet to watch Emmy's two teammates, Natasha and Jhoselin, compete. Natasha did well - taking 1st on floor and 4th all-around.  She made it to advance to level 5 - yay!  Jhoselin did similar to Emmy, although Emmy did beat her.  We (Emmy and I - Lucy left a little earlier with Ben when he came to give me some headache medicine!) got home at 10:30.  It was a long, but awesome, day.

 Fun girls!

 So cute!

 I was proud of them all!

Lucy's Level 3 State Gymnastics Meets

So it has taken me F O R E V E R to post these!  At least to post Lucy's!  Darn life keeps getting in my way.

Lucy's state meet was on November 3rd.  It was her second meet ever.  She actually didn't do as well as her first meet, but still did alright!  I think she looked pretty great - and definitely adorable.  She "fell" on her beam dismount - I put "fell" in quotes because the dismount is like a fall off the beam.  But she went off the wrong side of the beam and so it was a mistake.  It was a bummer because it of course brought her beam score down - which then lowered her all-around, too, of course.  She ended up being close to last in each event, including all-around.  But she was happy and had a good time and it was a good experience for her!

Both meets were in, or close to, the Denver area.  So we were lucky and got to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Maxwell.  Lucy's meet took us about 75 minutes of driving from their house, so we had an early morning that Saturday as Lucy had to be at the gym at 7:45.  Here I am getting Lucy's hair all done up.  :)

 There she goes!

Okay, so this is annoying but the pictures are going to be all out of order.  I am taking pictures from my phone and Ben's phone and I am too lazy to fix the order of them all as it would take me another F O R E V E R.  Lucy got 11th on vault - out of 16.

 15th on beam.

 12th on bars.

 Hmmm, I think she got 14th on floor and all-around?!

 Lucy showing off her cute earrings that Emmy bought her.

 Lucy waiting for her turn on vault!





Coach Kirk and Lucy!

Lucy and her fans.  :)  But only some of them - Ben and I were there of course, as well as Grandma Diana and Grandpa Max.

Another fun, and stressful (for Lucy and her mother!) gym meet!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


These pictures are from our Friday-night Trick-or-Treat activity at the church.  Just in case I don't have time to post our real Halloween-day pictures . . . :)

Halloween 2018:
Lucy the scarecrow.  A friend was giving away costumes on facebook and we nabbed this one.  Lucy is pretty much the most adorable scarecrow I've ever seen.  :)  I especially love the grass-skirt for a wig (my find at Salvation Army).  Perfect!

Emmy the gumball machine!  So cute!  I couldn't find a red skirt anywhere - but I ended up finding a toddler's dress and just cut off the bodice and wah-lah, a skirt was born!  The rest was pretty easy to do!

Jonas as a hobo - or Jobo, as Ben called it.  :)  Pretty simple, yet awesome!

Miles grabbed a hockey jersey with one-minute to go.  :)  And that's it for our kids in their Halloween costumes!

Okay, now here is Halloween night:

 Tonight Miles decided to go as a miner.  Okay!  We even had real coal (but it was light) to rub on his face.  :)  Yes, Miles is probably too old to go trick-or-treating.  But I could think of a lot worse things that he, Jonas, and their friends could be doing, so I'm okay with it.  That being said, this will be their last year.  Next year we plan to set up a movie outside for the boys and their friends to watch. 

 Emmy was a little worried that kids would make fun of her costume today at school.  But I don't think anyone did.  The adults all loved it and she told me one of her friends said it was her favorite because it was homemade.

 Lucy had a fun day of school.  I went in to her class' party this afternoon and it was cute seeing her and her cute classmates dressed up and excited for the day.

 We carved our pumpkins today!  We had gotten pumpkins at the patch we went to last Saturday - but turns out they are pie pumpkins and impossible to carve!  So we girls hopped in the car and luckily Walmart still had a few (slightly getting too old) pumpkins left.  I just carved off the tops.  The kids did all the rest totally on their own.  As you might can tell . . . :)

 Jonas and Miles are going with their friends (Miles' age), Michael (the boy with the white whatever on his head - what is he supposed to be?!) and Malachi (the boys with the ridiculous, yet awesome, mask).

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Punk's Pumpkin Patch

The kids really wanted to go to Junction, back to Studt's Pumpkin Patch.  But a friend posted pictures from a different, and closer, pumpkin patch and so we decided to try that one this year.  While cool and fun, I still think (and my kids do, too), that the one in Junction is still the best.  So we'll go next year.  :)  Here a some fun pictures of the fun outing:

 We took Malachi with us.  We met Ivan and Patty.  Plus our neighbors, the Evans, came too (they have Genevieve, one of Lucy's best-friends).  The older kids totally loved the merry-go-round!

 Sassy the camel!



 1, 2, 3, Go!

 Miles vs. Dad. 

It was close . . .

 So close . . .

(What is happening to Ben?!)  This series of pictures just cracks me up.

Miles won! At least Ben was still smiles.  :)

 The only picture of me.  Nice.


So this picture is obviously unrelated to the pumpkin patch, but it happened the same day and so I'm putting it with this post.  :)  Jonas went to a party that night - not a birthday party, just a party-party.  He had a fun time!

Also,  I dropped Malachi and Miles off at the rec center for some high school activity - Rock the Rec, or something like that.  They had dodgeball, laser tag, glow-in-the-dark stuff, food, etc.  Those boys had fun, too!

What a day!