Tuesday, September 30, 2014

All She Wants for Christmas . . .

are her 2 front-teeth.

What a cutie!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Our fun adventure to Blue Lake

Just when I thought we wouldn't be able to go hike to Blue Lake this year, we go.  Yay.  It was kind of a last-minute decision made on Friday evening - but it all worked out and I was oh-so-happy to get outdoors and hike.

Overall the kids did really great.  They each had their moments - well, Miles didn't complain once and Lucy didn't hardly at all either (but she was carried in a pack the whole time).  Jonas and Emmy had a couple of whiny moments, but they really did a great job.  It is a 6.6 mile hike - and it's actually a hike, not just a walk in the woods.  So a little whine is expected.  They all had a blast once we got to the lake.  We didn't get the afternoon thunderstorm that was predicted and we were happy about that (we = Ben and myself; the kids wanted to wear their rain-gear of trash bags and thus be "Trash Monsters" as they have been on previous hikes).

The drive up to the trail-head was just beautiful!  So beautiful!  The yellow aspens were as brilliant as the sun itself.  It was amazing and the drive alone was worth it.  So the hike was just an added bonus.  Such a nice day - yay!

 It was already beautiful and we were just at the trail-head.  :)

 This picture didn't quite turn out - but this aspen was super tall and super yellow.  Loved it!  (Luckily Ben had his ipod with him as the batteries in our camera were totally dead.)

 Ben and Lucy.  While Lucy is getting too big to carry in the backpack, we knew this hike would be too much for her and so in the backpack she went.  She did not complain.  :)

 Hiking on the trail.

 Two cuties in front of the awesome Blue Lake.

 Our whole family at the lake.  Yay!  I love this hike and this lake and doing it with my family!

Too bad rock-skipping is not a profession because if it was, we would totally be millionaires thanks to Ben.  He's awesome!  Seriously.  I think it's a man thing (another man across the shore was pretty great, too).  Ben can make rocks skip like 14 times - amazing!  It's really fun to watch.  The boys were pretty excited as they were able to skip 2 - 3 times.  :)  We had a lot of fun throwing and skipping rocks.  Then we ate lunch in the tress.  Then the kids took off their socks and shoes and waded in the shallow stream right below the lake.  The kids had a blast and it's just fun watching them play in the great outdoors.

Yay for a day out of doors and in the beautiful fall mountains!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A {perhaps boring} Update - with NEW UPDATES

I haven't posted in a while and don't even have any new pictures, but I thought I would just do an update.  Just because.  Life is busy - like for everyone else, just about - with the day-to-day stuff around here.  We haven't really done anything "fun" or "adventurous" lately because the tasks of life have overcome us.  It's been a little stressful.  It = life.  But we are still blessed.  Just busy, stressed, and blessed.  :)
* UP-UPDATE (an update on the update):  We went on a fun adventure today - hiking to Blue Lake!  It was great and I'll post pics later.

Ben is doing alright.  He's been super-stressed lately with several things.  There hasn't been much going on at work and it's been pretty slow.  He's able to get his hours, for the most part, but it worries him about the future of the surgery center.  He has gotten his official credentialing for his RNFA - Registered nurse, first assist.  He gets to do his own billing when he first-assists cases.  He loves first-assisting.  But he hasn't done much of it the past week or 2.  And it's a little stressful because when he does first-assist, he clocks out - then he goes and bills and so we'll just have to wait and see what reimbursements are like.  They differ for each case, each insurance company, etc.  So it's a big unknown - but hopefully it will work out in the end.  If there ever was a honeymoon phase to his calling as bishop, I think it's over.  At least that's how I feel about it.  :)  It's just hard and that pretty much sums that up.  :)
* UP-UPDATE:  Ben got 2 reimbursement checks this weekend.  Yay, they were good ones.  :)  Also I wanted to mention that our ward is having another exodus - not quite the Mass Exodus of last spring, but we will be losing a YM's prez, a YM counselor, and 2 primary counselors; Ben still doesn't have an Exec. Sec. and that's been months now . . . )

I'm busy - I volunteer in each of my children's classrooms each week; I am VP of our school's PAC (PTA) and we are trying to actually get one going at our school this year -- we are doing our first PAC-sponsored event tonite (outdoor movie night showing Pete's Dragon, with popcorn, cotton candy, and hot cocoa for sale), I come up with weekly cub-scout Webolos activities (this week the boys built popsicle-stick bridges), I work on my every-other-week Sunday school lessons for the youth, I grocery shop, I kind of clean up the house (but not really), I help the kids with their homework, I read books to the children, I take out Cynthia to places which get me frustrated because she just takes so darn long and then I feel guilty for being so frustrated with her, etc., etc.  That's pretty much my life.  I got in a "relaxing" 10-mile run last Saturday.  :)
*UP-UPDATE:  Our PAC's movie night was a way bigger success than we thought!  We were going crazy with cranking out the popcorn, cotton candy, and hot cocoa.  Everything sold out.  It was awesome to have so many families come out!  Too bad the little (and short) rainstorm drove most everyone home about 30 minutes before the movie ended!  But there were a few die-hards (like us and the Euers) who stayed.  :)   Our best-family-friends (the Euers) are moving.  They are like the almost-perfect match for our family:  Ben and Ryan get along great, I love Jashel, they have 2 boys our 2 boys' age, Damon (3) is a spunky cutie that Emmy adores, and everyone (which totally includes myself and Ben) love cute little Ashlyn (6 months).  We will miss them tons and tons.

Miles is Miles.  Nothing much ever changes with him.  He still gets filthy dirty and continues to make continuous noises.  I just about pulled him out of public schooling last week.  Nothing really big happened, but I just don't feel like he is nearly progressing like he should and could be.  Long story short:  4 of us (his teacher, principal, me, and his Gifted/Talented teacher) will meet on Tuesday and come up with some sort of plan for his WIN time.  WIN = What I Need in our schools.  But really it translates into a 3rd block of reading.  Pretty much the least of What Miles Needs.  But he's happy at school and so that counts for something, for sure.

Jonas, what's up with him?  He got some recognition in class for being a leader.  Go Jonas.  He and his best-friend Ivan are the top 2 kids in his class, I am pretty sure.  But he's still a goof and isn't always the model-student, but his teacher does enjoy him.  She had Miles in 3rd grade as well and she is amazed at how different they are!  He whines at the drop of a hat (or the line-drop of "No, you can't go out and play with Josh and Sarah right now."), yet loved the book Ben brought home from the library:  Monsters Eat Whiny Children.  :)  He bought a new scooter - but now owes us money + interest since he didn't have all the money he needed (but I wanted to support his interest in buying a scooter now while the weather is nice . . .).  He's a good kid.

Emmy is doing well and enjoying 1st grade.  Her teacher is a great, experienced teacher and so she is always on top of everything.  Emmy has homework each night - and while it is not hard, it does take time.  Her reading is coming along.  But she always gets mad at me when she reads a word wrong.  She always picks out her clothes each day and loves to wear dresses to school - with tennis shoes if it's a P.E. day.  :)  She stills says a lot, "I wish I never had brothers!" (or a sister, or whatever else made her mad at the moment)  She still loves gymnastics.

Lucy is doing well at home by herself.  We go to story-times, gymnastics, preschool, a music program, and other adventures each week - plus all the tasks I have to do (like grocery shopping, taking Cynthia wherever, etc.)  She is usually pretty great.  She can kind of be shy when around her friends and sometimes it takes her a bit to finally open up and run around and play.  She was total buddies with her friend Lila last week when we rode our bikes to Ridgway's park - they just played and played for hours.  It was good to see.  She naps three days a week - for mine and her's sake.  But she is the biggest grump when I get her up and tell her she has to walk (i.e., I'm not carrying her) to the school to pick up the kids.  Usually, though, she rides her nifty bike to and fro school each day. She's fast and awesome.

That's pretty much it for now.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Je m'appelle Bateau

Okay, so that is not officially the name of the boat - but it's what I named it and since Ben hasn't come up with anything better (I mean, is there?), it is what I will call it until he does decide on something.  It sounds so beautiful, doesn't it?!  :)

So our first boating day was on Saturday.  Ben had taken it out a couple weeks ago, but did not have enough time to even get the sails up (they just motored it about).  So yesterday Ben took a friend and our two boys and headed out in the morning.  The girls and I met them after lunch - after Ben had gotten some experience under his feet sailing the boat.  Smart, aren't we girls? :)

We had some good wind for the first 45 minutes.  We had a couple of scary tilting episodes that really scared Emmy and just scared the rest of us.  I'm not a fan of tilting - aiyiyi.  Luckily we did not tip over and all survived.  After an hour or so it was time for Ben's mandatory "jump-in-the-water-for-experience" lesson.  We felt the kids should jump in so if they ever fall out, they would kind of know what to do.  The water was FREEZING.  And it was a little nerve-wracking for the kids to jump in the middle of a lake (for Ben and I, too!).  (I actually just lowered Lucy down towards Ben.)  We so wish we would have gotten pictures of the kids - pretty much sheer terror on their faces.  :)  But they - we - all did it!

Then we enjoyed a special snack on the boat - pringles, watermelon, and super-cool specialy sodas that our hardware store sells.  We got flavors like Key Lime, Shirley Temple, Parrot Punch, etc.

Then we tried sailing again - and only got a little bit of wind a little bit of the time.  But I think Ben really enjoyed finally getting out and sailing!  The rest of us did have fun, too!  It was a good - albeit long and tiring - day.

Lucy looks good on a boat.  :)

 I, ummmm, hardly ever see him smile like this.

I think the girls really just love playing inside the boat.

Emmy looking adorable, too.

Sorry, these are mainly just pictures of our kids and not much else.   It's hard to really get the boat in the picture when I'm sitting in it.  Oh well.  Next time I'll take pictures before I get in.

And Miles.

Snack time!

And one video, which you can't hear all of due to the wind:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homemade Preschool

That's what I'll call Lucy's preschool adventure for this year.  There are 5 of us moms with kids that will take turns each week hosting preschool at our homes.  4 girls, 1 boy.  Lucy's first day going was this past Wednesday.  She was SUPER excited and had a great time!
They were asked to bring an animal.

And what did I do with all that alone time?  Went to my boys' classrooms and helped out.  :)  It was fun, though, and I'm glad to not have to cram going to help in all three classes into a Monday.  I helped Miles' class plant their bean "seeds" and in Jonas' class I got to organize the teacher's library - it was awesome.  :)

I'm excited for Lucy and the fun she'll have this year.

And, just in case you're wondering - which most of you probably aren't . . . I am planning on keeping Lucy home for 2 more years.  She just barely makes the cut-off and would be a barely 5-year old.  Add to that the fact that she is a good 2-3 inches shorter than Jonas and Emmy when they were 4 (and Jonas and Emmy are not tall by any means!).  Also, my school will most likely just have full-day K and so I'd rather wait until she was 6 for that anyways.  AND I'm not ready for all my kids to be gone all day. 

Really, I'm not.  Yes, they drive me nuts.  Yes, I'm super frustrated with them all even right now as I write this - getting them all to bed on my own (ahem, BYU football game) is never fun.  Emmy cried and cried about all the homework she had to do and how much she hates it (Usually this is done right after school, but since I invited one of her friends over, she didn't get to it until after dinner and after the home teachers had left.  She will not be having friends over until her homework is done!)  After getting the girls down I had to read with Jonas for 20 minutes.  Well I don't have to - but it's kind of fun reading with him and he doesn't moan about reading when he gets to read to/with me.  But then the moaning and gnashing of teeth began when we were done reading and he had to go write his summary for school.  I have threatened to video his whining and send it to his teacher.  He would be totally embarrassed.  I already dealt with Miles' homework woes as he demanded he would not do the math I got for him (something that would have taken him 2 minutes!) and so sat on the chair for at least 20 minutes (I had to leave and take Emmy's friend home and so it might have been longer) doing absolutely nothing.  Until he finally did the ridiculously easy 40 multiplication problems.  There was much gnashing of teeth with him as well.  I deal with this more days than not.  It does not make me happy.

But anyways, I sure go off.  Overall I love being home with my kids - just hour by hour, not always.

What a tangent that was from Lucy's Homemade Preschool.  Perhaps the title of this post should be something like "School updates."  But that sounds so boring.  Maybe this post was boring.  Ha.  I need to stop and actually start preparing my Sunday school lesson.  So bye.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Emmy is Proof Alone

that girls are tougher than boys.  :)  She didn't even make a peep when I pulled out her tooth.  And I didn't even think it was ready - so it wasn't like it was hanging by a thread or anything.  This Emmy girl is tough . . . and super cute, too.

But darn that tooth fairy that forgot to come!  I'm sure she'll have to make up for it.  :)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Dear Mom

So Jonas sometimes gets in a "I want a tablet" phase.  We've explained many times to him that he would still get the same amount of computer time that he gets now - which is a whopping 20 minutes a WEEK.  And how that would make a tablet not very worth it . . . but still he wants one I guess.

So here is what he came up with last Friday at school:

Just in case you need some interpretation:
"Dear mom,
     Here are some reasons to give me a tablet.  1.  I won't play too many games.  2.  I will practice math.  3.  I promise I won't get addicted.  4.  I'll give you 4 months of allowance.  5.  I'll download lds.org.  6.  I'll do all my homework + more for a year.  7.  I'll download books.  8.  I'll write a ton.  9.  I'll let you use it sometimes.  10.  I'll pay half.  11."

At the bottom are "Votes."  I guess the names are those kids in his class that think he should get a tablet, too.


But not awesome enough for me to buy (or at least pay half) Jonas a tablet.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Our Morning Harvest

Our garden is really just a mess.  But that doesn't mean it's not producing:

 A lone zucchini, a bagful of tomatoes (underneath them are green beans), basil, and carrots.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Midway Trip

Here are some pictures from our lovely Labor Day weekend with my parents in Midway:

I ran the Swiss Days 10K, just like last year.  And, just like last year, I had a PR.  53:something.  I had a secret goal to try and finish in the top 5 (last year I was 10th) for my division - because there would be a prize.  I finished 6th.  :(  But I still had a good run in beautiful Midway!

And, just like last year, we got great seats for the Swiss Days Parade.  We parked my dad's "machine" (also called Grandpa's toy, Polaris, Ranger, or thing) on Main Street and then we were set - we got to watch it from his machine.  It was perfect.

The kids get on the street so they can grab all the candy that is thrown out.  Awesome.

After the parade we went and walked around the vendors' booths - which are all pretty awesome.  Such cute and cool crafts and handmade items being sold.  We went for a swim later that day - in the cloudy, slightly drizzly afternoon that it was.  Which was pretty fun.  We went for a ride on the thing and then Ben and I went out alone back to Swiss Days and walked around (and bought a few Christmas gifts for my kids - from my parents.  :).  We met up there with everyone and had dinner - for free since my parents had volunteered for quite a few shifts and had earned "tickets," which bought our meals.

That evening Ben and I, then later my mom, played a little bit of pickleball, which turned out to be fun.  The kids had a blast riding scooters and other toys at the paved path.  It was a nice evening.

Sunday was church and then we drove to Cascade Springs.  It was very pretty up there!
 I love this picture!  Such a cute bunch.

See the signs of fall?  Because of the cooler-than-normal August, fall is popping up all over already.  Nice one Jonas.

Lucy posing on a bridge.

Emmy ever so beautiful.

Our family.

After our drive we came back and watched Frozen.  Ben showed me Lucy's cute face - so genuinely loving the movie.  This picture does not do her expression justice at all.  It was so sweet watching her watch the movie.  :)

That night Ben's niece, Katie, came up for dinner.  Katie is living in Provo and attending UVU.  It was so fun to have her come and my kids were super excited!  They wanted her to spend the night.  :)  We had a yummy dinner cooked by my mom and then we took our family plus Katie out on the "machine" and took her on a tour of Midway.  It was nice and cool on the ride.  :)

Monday morning we went swimming again and had a really fun time.  The boys jumped in at the deep end and practiced "swimming" back to the edge.  Progress.  Miles actually swam the width of the pool twice.  A HUGE achievement for this non-swimming family.  Then we just got ready and drove back home - with stops at BYU's Bean Museum and Grand Junction's Cafe Rio.

Another lovely weekend with family!