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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pre-Christmas Fun!

I hate to admit that I had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. It's usually my favorite time of the year and I go all out with decorations and other stuff. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but I decided it came down to being in school. I couldn't focus on much besides school and final tests and projects. As soon as I got that out of the way, I was ready. Good thing my kids didn't have a hard time catching the spirit! That helped a lot. They basically drug the tree out of storage themselves and begged me to help put it up, which we did shortly after Thanksgiving. The boys are so fun at this time of year!


My parents always do the 12 Days of Christmas for their grand kids each year. This year they are doing a music theme and started it all off by taking the whole family to a performance of the Forgotten Carols, by Micheal McLean, which is always good! Each of their gifts are centered around the gift of music this year, which I love. A couple years ago they gave each family a little elf (a little creepy, but "magical" all at the same time.) Well, this elf comes with some "magic" dust. If the kids sprinkle this dust on Bernard (that's what we named our elf), before they go to bed, then Bernard wakes up in the night and does something mischevious in the night. Here are a couple of things our elf has done so far this year. He toilet papered the front room and then hung onto the light fixture with his hand. This was fun for the kids to clean up.

Last night he made a fishing pole out of a pencil and a paper clip and tried to
fish out of our fish tank.

My favorite thing "Bernard" has done: Write on the boys' faces during the night. They must not have even stirred. I think it must have been hard for "Bernard" to keep from laughing in the process and not waking the boys up. Chad was not real happy about it when he woke up, so there are no pictures of the artwork on Chad. He jumped right in the shower and refused to pose for a photo. But here's Kace's artwork. Naughty little elf!


We knew Bernard was guilty when we found him with the markers in his hand!


Other things he's been known to do: turn the milk green, toilet paper the Christmas tree, hang the kids' underwear in the shower, he even snuck in our suitcase to Hawaii when we went there for Christmas a couple years ago! Silly little elf! While this is sometimes hard for a parent to keep up with, the boys absolutely love it. The last thing they do before they go to bed is sprinkle the magic dust and the first thing they do in the morning is search the house for Bernard. It will be part of their Christmas memories forever!
My parents are awesome at creating fun family memories!

Early Season Snowboarding!

The kids all bought new snowboards with their spud harvest earnings this year. When Mataia decided not to try out for the basketball team at school (which consumes the whole winter), we decided to buy a season pass to Grand Targhee Ski Resort. We went the day after Thanksgiving on Opening Day and have gone a couple other times. We have already had a great time and the kids keep getting better and better on their boards. I decided you can't teach this old dog new tricks, so I'm sticking with my skis.

Jeff is helping Kace down the hill on his board. We put him in a lesson for part of the day every time we go and he is getting good. The first day, it took him about an hour to get down from the short ski lift. Now he goes up and down in a hurry. If the other kids aren't careful, he's going to be better than all of them by the end of the season!
It's fun to watch him improve so fast and he loves it!

My little snow bunnies!

When the big kids want to go up the big lifts, Kace and I get some bonding time on the smaller lift. As long as we can get off the lift without taking each other out, we do good! I love this little guy. (Oh, and the smack talk continues on the ski hill - ALL DAY. He's getting good and if you don't believe me, just ask him!)

I'm Thankful for Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving was really nice. We went to my parents' house for dinner with my family. Mom cooked a Prime Rib and all the food was delicious, as usual! We had a relaxing afternoon playing games and hanging out. Then mom had reserved some bowling lanes for us and the Dayton side of the family. We had a good time getting to visit with the relatives. It's always a good time with the Dayton side of the family.
Brett and Mindy at the bowling alley.
Yes, we even got Dad and Braxton to come bowling.
This is my Aunt Jerrice, Aunt Tammie and my Mom.

Morgan and Mataia love our cousins, Janessa and Natasha!
Mr. Smack talk, Kace. I'm not sure he even knows he didn't win. What a kid!

After bowling, we went back to Mom and Dad's for sandwiches and more fun. Somehow we got into a leg wrestling competition. Now, I know Weston would tell this story a little different, but here's the proof that I'm the Champ. (Coy missed out on this and is already talking about challenging me at Christmas. I better get doing some squats or something!)

video

Time Out for Women and Girls!

The girls and I went to Salt Lake City for a weekend with my mom to a retreat called "Time Out For Women and Girls." We had such a good time! We ate good food, shopped a little and most fun of all, learned a lot and felt the influence of the Holy Ghost at the retreat. We all had a great time. The girls had classes that were on their level and learned things that pertained to what teenage girls are going through today. They learned a lot. Of course, they have learned from their dad how to get what you want, and so they got front row seats both days. And they got to meet all of the presenters. They met Hilary Weeks (she was on the top of the Christian Billboard charts with her latest CD), Jericho Road (another amazing band), Carmen Rasmussen (former American Idol contestant), Brad Wilcox and Sheri Dew (CEO of Deseret Book.) The messages were great!
This is the girls getting some fresh air on the balcony at our hotel. I love it that they love each other and get along so well (most of the time.)

My sister-in-law, Emilee, was there with her daughter and some other family. We hooked up with them for dinner and sat by them during the sessions. This is all of us! Fun times!

This is the girls meeting and getting autographs with the band, Jericho Road.

Hilary Weeks was so gracious and talked individually with the girls and signed a CD and a piano music book of hers. Her latest CD is amazing! This song video below is off of her latest album. If you want an inspiring story, check out the website www.nieniedialogues.com
This is a blog that the burn victim, Stephanie Nielson, on this video does. She was in a plane wreck and was badly burned over 80% of her body. She has fought to get her life back and her story is amazing! We got to hear from her at Time Out for Women also. She is inspiring! Watch this video and then go visit the website above to be inspired! Life is Good!




Halloween Fun!

Carving pumpkins is something we take serious around here, (thanks to Jeff.) We always have fun and try to be creative. This year we all went to my sister, Mindy's house to carve pumpkins with the family. We had a great time and came up with some fun ones!

It's nice that Chad is big enough to do his own now. From the clean out to the carving, he's on his own! This wolf was the final result of Chad's hard work. Jeff worked hard on this BYU Cougar. I have to admit, it was pretty impressive! Go, Cougs!
Is he cute, or what?

This was a picture of all the kids and their final products. It was a fun night! We are lucky to live close to so many cousins and be able to get together often.



Spud Harvest - A Family Affair!

The annual Spud Harvest has been a part of my family my entire life. It is part of life on the farm. We grew up riding in the truck until we were old enough to pick off the digger or in the pit and then moved up to driving truck. (The boys moved up to driving the diggers.) It really taught us how to work and be responsible. I'm grateful we live close enough that my kids can experience this, too. When I was a kid, I started driving truck when I was 12. It's hard to believe that now. It was hard for me to watch Mataia drive truck for her first time this year and she is 15! She and my mom traded off driving the same truck. This worked out well so that Mataia could still make it to her volleyball games and practices and mom had some time to help feed the crew and stay caught up at home. She did pretty good and she loved it.

Morgan picked in the pit with her cousin, Peytan and our friend, Emily Chelson (and others.) I think they had more fun than should be allowed on a work crew. My cousin Cade was around the farm making sure everything ran smoothly and she got to know Cade really well. They have some ongoing inside jokes that still continue everytime they see each other. He's a fun guy and it was fun for her to get to know him a little better.


Chad worked as often as he could. He was a trooper! He wanted to be the first one there and the last one to leave. He is a hard worker for such a young kid. They worked 10-15 hour days many days and he loved it! He's a very frugal kid and I think he could see his paycheck rise with each passing hour. That's the joy of being the owner's grandkids! You can work even when you're not really old enough. Kace wanted to work more than we let him. He mostly rode in the truck with Taia or my mom and picked in the pit when they unloaded. He loved it, too.

I love Spud Harvest!

Fall Birthdays

Chad and Morgan both have fall birthdays. I can't believe how fast they are growing up! Chad is 10 years old now. I still remember holding him on the couch as a newborn, just a few days old and watching the horrific events of 9/11/2001. I had a heavy heart as I worried about the wicked world I had just brought another child into. I worried about the future my kids would face. While the world is still a crazy place, we try each day to keep those influences out of our lives as much as possible. Chad is a strong boy with a desire to do what is right. He is definitely all boy, but he has a very soft heart. He is always very concerned about me, as his mom, and that just melts my heart. He watches out for me and loves me. I'm a lucky mom!

Morgan turned 13 in October! Wow! Another teenage girl in our house. I've heard all these horror stories about how rotten teenagers are, and my memories of how rotten I was are still fresh in my mind. (I'm sure my parents would verify this!) I know it's still early in the game, but we are enjoying the teenage years with our girls. While they have their "moments" they are just a lot of fun! Morgan is nice enough to share her talent for cooking with us and others. It's nice to have someone else to share the cooking with. She likes to make cakes for others on their birthdays, so we had our good friend, Alexis Codling make this cake for her. She loved it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let the fun begin!

So the crazy back to school schedule has begun at our house.  But we like it! We thrive on a schedule.  I like knowing where we're going and what we got going on.  I don't know what that says about me, but I accept whatever that means for me.  I'm not saying that life has slowed down at all, but now we just know what's coming our way.   

So the other day, Kace and the neighbor boy, Preston come in from playing outside and ask to do "that stomach video."  (Yes, I know my abs are not in P90X condition right now, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere, right?)  He and Chad had done the P90X Ab Ripper video with me the day before.  It's a killer.  So I was cracking up.  I humored them and myself by putting it in.  They both proceeded to take their shirts off.  Oh, the smack talk!  I've never heard so much from a couple of six year olds.  It was pretty funny!  They lasted less than five minutes, but long enough for me to get this cute pic.  Funny boys!

Kace is the only one in the house that hasn't had his first game of the season.  It is about to kill him.  His ego is bigger than the rest of the kids combined.  I know that's hard to imagine and I know that there is no question as to where he gets that from....cough, cough....Jeff.  It's pretty cute right now while he's little.  I just hope that someday he's able to back it up, or he might just get his butt kicked one of these days.  Jeff is his coach and they always practice at our house in the playing field in our yard.  Last week, while the weather is still nice, Jeff flooded the field and they played water football for practice.  They loved it!  That always makes for a good time.  This is Kace trying to outrun Preston.  Didn't make it, but they both ended up in the water giggling. 


Morgan had her first games yesterday at Taylorview Junior High in Idaho Falls.  They played Taylorview and Rocky Mountain.  Unfortunately, they lost both matches.  Morgan played well, though.  She is playing the position of libero.  She is really liking it and having lots of fun.  Since I forgot my camera yesterday, there are no pix of her in action yet.  This picture below is the one I used when I helped decorate the team's lockers before game day. 


On a side note about Morgan......a couple of weeks ago in church our young women sang a special musical number during sacrament meeting.  We had two different people come up and tell us that they didn't even recognize Morgan on the stand.  She had her hair down and straightened real pretty and she just looked grown up.  She is turning into quite a beautiful little lady.  She is loving Madison Junior High and has lots of friends.  She is in an Advanced English/Reading class that is right up her alley!  The reading list that she brought home, boggles my mind.  They are going to be reading LOTS of books, most of which I read in high school or later.  It's fun to watch her excel. 


This is a picture of Chad's football team before their first game.  The first game they lost.  We won't go into how bad the ref was....well maybe just for a second.  So Chad's team ran a play where the quarterback faked the ball to Chad and then ran outside.  Well, the fake was so good that the ref on the sideline blew his whistle and thought Chad had the ball under a pile of kids.  What he missed was our quarterback standing in the end zone with the football.   We lost by a touchdown.   I've never felt so much testosterone in all my life as I did that game standing on the sidelines surrounded by dads.  Wow!  I've never experienced football like this.  I think there's a reason why the stands are up and off the field.  I'll look forward to that day when I can sit in the stands and not right next to the field. But for now I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would.  As long as Chad doesn't get hurt.  He's pretty proud of his bruises.  It must be a guy thing....I don't get it.  But he is LOVING it!  Last night they beat Sandcreek 31-0 and Chad had 3 touchdowns!  He played so good.  I was a pretty proud mom and Jeff, well you can only imagine how proud he was!  


This is Taia serving the ball in her first varsity volleyball game as a Sophomore.  They played Idaho Falls and lost.  She played well, but they have some kinks to work out in their rotation.  So tonight they play Shelley and they are changing things up.  She might not be setting, she may be passing.  Passing was the problem last week.  She doesn't really care, she just wants to go to state.  So whatever she can do to help the team get there!  She just loves to play and she loves her team.  

The picture below is of her team at the fundraiser last Saturday.  They had a car wash and garage sale.  They made over $1000.  They felt pretty good about that.  They had fun doing it, too.  It was a lot of work, but worth it in the end.  What a bunch of hard working, fun girls! 


Life is Good!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Can Do Hard Things!

I reminded myself of something I've always known this weekend. I CAN do hard things! A couple months ago I signed up to do a 180+ mile relay with a group of 12 friends. We started in Ashton yesterday at 8:30 in the morning. We ran up to Island Park, wound our way through the back roads to Driggs, ran up to Grand Targhee and back down and then over the Jackson Pass to Teton Village. I've done this sort of thing twice before, but it had been a while. So I've been looking forward to and dreading this weekend for a while.

It is very physically taxing on your body, for a girl like me who hasn't been training as much as she should have been. I have been running, but with my crazy summer, I've sometimes found it hard to fit in. So needless to say I was a little worried. Not to mention that we were running right smack dab through the middle of bear, wolf, mountain lion, skunk and who knows what else country. If you know me at all, you might know that I have a pretty serious fear of wildlife. It's not because I've ever had a close encounter or anything- (other than the time when I was a little girl and my parents made me take the scrap bucket out after dark and I found a skunk waiting for me in the burn barrel, where I was supposed dumped it!) It's probably just from watching too many stories on Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel. So this caused me a fair amount of anxiety.

The weather was beautiful for a weekend of running through some of God's most beautiful country! (I can't believe I'm saying this, but at times it might have even been a little too warm.) I learned a lot this weekend. Here's just a few of those things.

1- Every new adventure should start with a prayer! It is so nice to be able so say a prayer with good friends! I know we were watched out for in a lot of ways and I'm thankful for that.

2- I love spending time with my sister. She was on my team and she did amazing! For the rest of her life when she drives over the Jackson Pass, she will be able to say, "I ran up this beast of a mountain!" Neither one of us really had time to take a break from our lives and do this relay, but I'm so glad we did!
3- True friends never abandon you and they help you through tough things! The first leg I ran was right through the middle of the forest. The sun was just starting to go down. It was still light, but the whole time I kept thinking that this is prime time for the wildlife to start being more active. Having first hand knowledge of my fear of critters, my sister and friends stayed right close to me in the car while I completed my 6.7 mile leg, giving me words of encouragement and water as needed. They kept the window down so that if I had to do my best "Dukes of Hazard" dive at any moment, because of some critter chasing after me I could! We supported each other through each leg of the race this way. I know I could turn to these same amazing women at difficult times in my life and they would stand by me!
4- God blesses us and watches out for us! Everyone kept telling us that we didn't need to worry about the wildlife in the middle of the day, because they are only active at night, and it was too hot during the day, blah, blah, blah. So in order to keep my anxiety under control, I allowed myself to believe them. As we sat at the finish line with other teams, we heard stories of their encounters with the "sleeping" wildlife. One team took a picture of a bear who had just been following a runner in front of them. Another team saw a bear cub on the side of the road, just after their runner passed by. Some runners heard wolves howling during their middle of the night runs where no vehicles were allowed because they were running on a trail. A support vehicle saw a wolf cross the road shortly before one of our runners emerged from said trail.
5- The sky in Driggs just before dusk is amazing! As I was running my second leg at about 4:45 in the morning, the sky was beautiful! This is actually what helped me get through this leg! I was running up the first part of the hill up to Grand Targhee ski resort. I wasn't too worried about wildlife at this point, because we were all of the sudden into a big group of runners and support vehicles. There was lots of traffic on the road, which I was convinced would scare away anything that was out to get me. As I was running, I was entertained by several falling stars. I couldn't help but bask in the beauty that surrounded me! The sun wasn't up, but the moon was out enough that I could see the silhouette of the mountains in front of me. The sky was clear and I could see the millions of stars shining down on me. Somehow I forgot about the monster hill that I was running up and just enjoyed the moment! This was probably one of my favorite parts of the weekend!

6- Campers are amazing! One of our teammates had a camper and her husband pulled it up near Driggs so that we could use it to try and sleep in between our legs. At first, I thought that we would probably never use it....boy was I wrong. We spent a little time there twice, while the girls in the other vehicle were running their legs. Even though I wasn't able to shut my head off long enough to sleep during our first stint in the camper, it was so nice to be able to stretch out on a bed, use a toilet that was not an outhouse or the tree, and have some warm water to wash my face. Sleeping was successful the second time around and never more welcomed or needed. Even though it only lasted for about 2 hours, it was amazing!
7- We live in a beautiful place! This is just one of the many beautiful views we enjoyed this weekend!
8- The simple pleasures in life are the best! Oh, how good a nice warm shower feels! Blister pads are great! Water, water and more water! Laughter is fulfilling! Words of encouragement really DO help others! Fresh air. Wild flowers. Supportive texts from family members mean a lot. Sleep in your own bed is the best! (Which is what I'm going to do now!) LIFE IS GOOD!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Fun!

Even though we have been cRaZy busy this summer, we have still made some time to have a little fun. On Memorial Day we took a little trip out to the Civil Defense Caves about 20 miles north of our house. Jeff and the three youngest had never been there before. So it was a little adventure that we enjoyed. My mom came with us. There was a serious storm raging outside while we were in the cave and we didn't even know until we emerged from the cave to find an inch of hail on the ground.
This is my mom and I.
This is the kids posing at the mouth of the cave. Since this trip, we have gone a couple other times. Once with our Nevada cousins when they came to visit. Then Mataia went out with a college friend of ours and a bunch of her friends. They took glow sticks, broke them open and splattered them all over themselves and then they played hide and seek in the pitch black cave. I took a group of her friends out again yesterday to do that again for her birthday party.

This is us and the Nevada Rodericks at the mouth of the Civil Defense Caves.

We went geocaching while the Nevada Rods were here. We found this one near the River Bottoms not far from our house.
The kids tie-dyed t-shirts with the Nevada Rods, too. It was fun. They all came up with a different and colorful design.

One weekend Morgan had a softball tournament in Driggs, which is near Grand Targhee Ski Resort. We got a season pass for this winter to go skiing, so while Morgan had a break, Jeff and I drove up to the ski resort to get our passes. It was the last weekend in June and the ski lift was still running. People were skiing in the shorts and t-shirts. So we rode the ski lift up to the top and enjoyed the ride and the view. When we got back, Morgan was wishing she had come with us instead of waiting at the ball field with her friends!

We spent the 4th of July weekend in Provo, Utah. While we were there we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls in the Provo Canyon and hiked up near the falls. The kids played in the water there for a little while. The water was refreshing and the falls were gorgeous!

So the stop at Bridal Veil Falls was a spur of the moment thing and I wasn't really dressed for hiking. But I made it anyway!
We got tickets to Stadium of Fire at the BYU Lavell Edwards Stadium. We were really excited about this because David Archuleta and Brad Paisley were performing. The picture below is the kids in front of the Cougar statue outside the stadium.
Now if you look closely in the picture below, you will see DAVID ARCHULETA in the light colored shirt surrounded by his security people. It was so funny. We were standing inside the gates of the stadium and the girls were looking at concert t-shirts to buy as a souvenir. The door to the Cougar Club was right next to that and Morgan said she wondered what was in there. I was just teasing her and said that's probably where David and Brad probably were. Then the girls REALLY wanted to go in. Well what do you know, we are standing just outside the door and out walks David Archuleta! The girls were close enough to reach out and touch him if they could have kept their heads on straight. I thought they were both going to pass out without excitement! It was pretty funny! That moment made the whole trip for the girls!

Kace only lasted through the Star Spangled Banner and then he was out until the fireworks started. Don't ask me how he slept through the whole concert. It was LOUD! At least he got to see the parachute guys land inside the stadium and the fighter jet fly-bys. That was awesome. (Luckily, there were a couple empty spots next to us on the bleachers and he was able to stretch out.)

This was Kace trying to wake up for the fireworks.

The girls loved the concert- both David Archuleta and Brad Paisley. It was a great night and we loved spending it with our kids!

The next morning we hiked up to the "Y" on the mountain in Provo. We have talked about doing this for years, but have never taken the time to do it. It was worth the hike! What a beautiful view!!

The "Y" has special meaning in our family because this very spot below is where Jeff first learned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was sitting in this spot with his friend, Ty Ruddell. Jeff started asking Ty questions about the meaning of life and why we are here and where we are going. That was the beginning of what brought our family to where we are today! Had Jeff not continued to learn about the gospel and had he not decided to change a few things in his life and get baptized, we would not be here today. Jeff and I probably never would have met and I don't like to think about where I would be. So the "Y" on the mountain will always be a special place for our family! I'm glad we finally all got up there together!
Jeff was telling the kids the story of how he was converted to the Mormon church and how it all started right here. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints IS Jesus Christ's church on the earth today! We are so blessed! LIFE IS GOOD!