Monday, August 29, 2011

Zac, the Archer

New Camo, a 2-day hunting trip with dad, and shooting a bow.
This is happiness for my boy, Zac.
Does life get any better for a boy?
Happy 6th Birthday today!

Bow Hunt- Cedar Mountain

Zac earning on Jackson's bow. That is Jacskon and Trevor in the background.

Jackson has been hunting since he was a little thing! He is 10 now.Look at Zac's "man" stance.

In the blind. I was told this was awesome for the boys. Zac may have ruined it's effectiveness with his flatulence.

Zac's grouping

This deer needs antlers!

This is the way to camp!
Steve hasn't been hunting in a long time, esp with his best friend on his favorite mountain (maybe Blue mountain is his favorite, either way...). This last weekend he went down to Cedar. He took Zac along for the first time. They met Trevor and Jackson there and set up camp. They spent Friday and Saturday night. From what I gather, they had a great time hunting, tooling around in the hills in the pick up, getting rained on, hiking, good eating, and shooting the bows and BB gun. Even though they didn't get a deer, they said it was a great time. I am glad that Steve has a hobby and a friend that "feels like home".

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wrapping up Summer 2011

It was a good summer.

We went to different parks to climb and swing through the summer. Jenna did an art class on Thursdays in Lindon at a great place. We would play to kill time while Jenna was in class on this grassy knoll. Here is Trevor cheesing it. I love this picture!
Our babysitter, Kristi, has been with us since February. She is very creative and the kids love her. Truly! This is a pic of the treasure map she created for the kids to find treasure by following riddle-type clues. They did lots of these creative type adventures this summer including hunting in the rainforest to rain and thunder music with bamboo spears!
 This picture is just a day at lunch this summer. Disheveled and enjoying no "have-to's".

The big kids did swim lessons. We went to the Lindon pool this year for lessons. I thought that last year's lessons in PG were better, but the kids had fun and did well. Zac is not quite deep-end bound, but they are very comfortable in the water!
 We like Geocaching, but this day was a busted trip. We were in Blanding in the mountains, and I entered the coordinates in wrong on the GPS and well, it was a wild chase. We ended up finding jumping cactus and no treasure. We thought we would bomb the GPS unit in the Reservoir, but come to find out it was operator error, that and a jiggly battery.
Jenna and Thomas feeding the ducks

TR and the Goose

Zac, the Farmer

Jenna, forever the animal lover

Nathan, Tommy and Zac- fun boys

Zac feeding the pygmy goats
My good friend from NV came up to visit family (and for Jenna's baptism), and we were able to hang out for an afternoon at Wheeler Farm. I had never been there. It was a good trip. Of course, it was good to see my friend and her kids! It was a great place for the kids to see animals and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy their fast friends. They had fun.
A couple of weekends ago we went up to Strawberry Reservoir to play in the rocks and water on a Saturday afternoon. The kids threw rocks and the dog swam.  Zac swam too because he couldn't resist despite the freezing water. Trev stripped down and lost his balance and went under, so I went in too. Later he said, "Mommy you rescue me? Thanks!" It was a wet ride home.
Crawdad- dead on the bank, still cool to see up close.

Nearly Naked

"It's freezing!"
It was a good summer. I think we sprinkled in a lot of fun in with work. There is so much to do!
Now on to Fall. I love fall. Farmers Markets, Pumpkin Patches, jeans and T shirts, changing leaves, carving pumpkins and more birthdays!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School Fall 2011

Monday night was back to school night. Steve took the big kids while Kristi stayed with the little guys because I was at work. When I got home, Steve, Jenn and Zac arrived shortly after. They were so excited and had McDonalds hot and ready. I swear that I was almost as excited as them. I liked school, except 6th grade, and so I was excited for them. Plus, I have to say that getting them into a routine, especially Zac, does wonders for him.
 The first morning of school was quite different than last year for me. For starters, I am not pregnant! Also, Steve is now home until 7:40ish before he heads to work. But besides those things, the sadness wasn't there. In fact, I was just very excited for them and almost giddy after they left. I thought that having just 1 was hard and each additional child was harder, but when you go from 4 to 2, it feels like cake. As a matter of fact, I have been a little lost. I made a list of stuff to accomplish while the big kids are away. We may even tackle story hour tomorrow for the first time since moving here. Plus a McDonalds run just got significantly cheaper for lunch!
Anyway, last year, it occurred to me that they were really growing up...riding the bus and all, but this year I was just happy to send them on their merry way. They are confident and love school. Zac's K teacher moved up to First Grade this year, and so he has her again. That is really great! She loved him and was very accepting about his perpetual motion. Jenna has a new teacher, of course, and likes her. She said that she made a new friend too, Olivia, and was thrilled that she was able to play with Robyn at recess even though they aren't in the same class.

I am excited for this school year. I get a little nervous about keeping up with their spelling words and homework each night (yes, people, 1st and 2nd graders have homework!). We did OK with this last year, but Jenna had her fair share of failed spelling tests because of lack of practice.  Jenna is a smart girl, but she has to work harder at it. Zac picks up things lickety-split but hates to sit down and write anything. It usually is a frustrating time when it's time to do homework. Steve and I have to trade off be we lose patience. I have a schedule in place that may or may not work, also I am just going to be working M/F and then Thurs nights, so I will be home more to keep things running somewhat sane at the homestead. It always looks good on paper, I am often times lacking follow through!

So here are Jenna and Zac just before school. They were both already up and at 'em at 6:30am.They were already dressed including shoes. They hardly ate breakfast because of excitement and nerves, Zac basically bounced to the bus stop. They both had a great day. I hope they continue liking school!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gager- on the move

Tupperware, eating, his family, crawling, swinging, toilet paper, bath time, doing the dishes: the loves of his life.
Gage Thomas: a love of mine.
10 months today. What a busy body! Love you Gage!

Ma Time in Utah

Mom flew out Aug 3-9. She was supposed to get here the night of the 2nd and ran into trouble with her flight and had to spend the night in Chicago. I am glad that she came anyway, it would have been easier to shrug and say, "I tried". She starts her school year pretty soon with the biggest enrollment in the preschool ever,  and she has a new boss, so I appreciate that she came despite the responsibility that she left back there.  I was very happy that she came for a visit and to be here for Jenna's baptism. Like she said just tonight, "A baptism isn't something that comes every year like a birthday..."
It was a big deal and very nice to have her here too.
 Of course she is gone back home now, but the first day that she was gone, I looked over at the passenger seat and missed her in the van. She is my friend. I missed her there with me, running around with the kids.
 My friend asked if we did anything fun. I replied, "we tried!"  Between the need for errands and meetings (the baptisms and Roman's blessing), tired kids, need for naps, a little work, and how times flies, we didn't do all that I had hoped.I wanted to go swimming and go to the Farmer's Market and spend an hour at the Quilted Bear, but hey, you can't have it all. We did shop a little, albeit with 4 kids. We did eat well, as always when we get together. We did have sunshine and the highlight of the entertainment was the Dinosaur museum...and watching Twilight with mom after the kids were in bed.
At the SF Splash Pad

Hi Ma

Trev, who was very possessive of Mom
A puppet Show
Even caught in a blink, this is happiness!

Sand table

"Oh Dear!"

 The kids had a great time with Ma and so did I. Thank you mom for coming and loving us so much. I enjoyed you and love you!

The newest Member

Preparing for Baptism.
We have been having FHEs on baptism on and off since January, knowing that Jenna would be baptized this year. Our home teachers have had lessons, we have encouraged conversation about the Holy Ghost and, of course, Jenna learned about baptism in Primary. The Primary also had a great "Baptismal Preview" Program too in early July.  The problem is that we don't always make Primary because of traveling and illness and stressfulness, we don't always do FHE for the same reasons, we don't always have the Spirit in our home because there is fighting and irritability and fatigue. We are imperfect people, trying to prepare a little girl for something perfect. Thankfully the Lord doesn't expect perfection on our own. He knows that we need the atonement. Sheww! In the end, Jenna was interviewed by the Bishop and found "ready" for baptism. 
A few weeks before her baptism, while the little boys were asleep and Zac was awake but quiet downstairs, I put some acoustic hymns on the CD player and laid out on the counter every picture that I had of Jesus. Most were clippings from the Friend and some were cards that I had received or bought along the way. I sharpened every colored pencil I could find, gave her a piece of paper and asked that she look at all of the pictures and draw a picture. She chose to draw something original instead of try to duplicate a picture. It was quiet in the kitchen as she worked quietly. As she drew, she said over her shoulder, "Mom, is this the Holy Ghost that I feel?". It made me smile, and I said that "yes, the Holy Ghost does make us feel good." It was just a sweet moment that I didn't know would happen, but I am grateful for. It was an uncommonly quiet time in the house and she could feel peace as she listened to that music, looked at pictures of her Savior and did something that she loves, drawing. I am grateful that she was blessed to feel that peace. Anyway, we used that picture for the cover of her program. 

The Big Day
The day that Jenna was baptized was really a great day. That morning, I panicked that she didn't understand the gravity of the event. I wondered if I had failed her. I think of my 9 year old Primary class in Kentucky full of true and noble gospel scholars and shook my head. But, no one really understands what a big deal it is and what a responsibility it is at first, do they, especially at the early age of 8? Line upon line, we learn things. We don't have to be scholars, we just need to have faith that Jesus is the Savior, that God lives and that the Holy Ghost is real; know what it means to repent and then be baptized. That much she is getting and so it was a go.
 We went to Steve's youngest cousins' baptism that morning which was great for her to see and feel.
Before changing into her jumper

Perhaps a favorite of mine. Jenna and daddy.
At 2:00 we arrived at the church. The two little ones were struggling a little. We had to wake Trev from his nap, and Gage was suffering from separation anxiety, or anxiety that we may be separated, and was cutting 2 teeth- he was needy too. But Jenna was a little angel in her white jumper awaiting her program and baptism to start. She was so beautiful and happy and surrounded by sooo many that love her. Scads of supportive relatives, friends, teachers, leaders, her babysitter, and of course her mom and dad, even my mom flew all the way from Indiana.
The inside of the Program
 Her program was very nice. It was nice that no one else shared the program, it was like her special day. Mom brought the dress that I received my first communion in when I was a second grader, and it fit her very nice. She thought she was very fancy and quite liked the 1988 dress with puffy sleeves.She was pretty in her new shoes and flower in her hair. Even her ear rings seemed to sparkle a little more.
 Let me tell you that it was a tender and special moment when she came up out of the water. She was beaming with joy. Jenna was so beautiful. Her countenance shone and her smile was pure joy. What a testament to me. I hope that I never forgot the feeling I had as I looked at her coming out of the water. I hope that she remembers that good feeling too.

Jenna and Grandma Great

Jenna and her Primary Teacher

Grandma Julene, Me, Jenna, Maw

Showing Grand dad her new scriptures

Calvin and Jenna were both baptized that day. Calvin is the last of the grandkids, and Jenna is the first great grandchild to be baptized.
 The program was beautiful. From the opening prayer to the closing prayer it was very special. I am so proud of Jenna and grateful for the gospel in my life and all the rich blessing that it brings. I am especially grateful for family. Little angles watched and entertained the boys, for that I am still very grateful. Thank you to all that helped us, especially the Merrel's and Kristi!
After her program we had cake and frappe with some nuts and butter mints at our house. Simple, easy and quite a hit. Who knew that Costco cake and some sherbet, sprite and berries could be so good?
Jenna and Aunt Lissy who spoke at her program about Baptism.

Jenna and her cake