Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day


Here's what the kids brought home from primary today. I thought it was a great idea.
They also gave us pens with big plastic flowers attached to the ends.  We got those last year too and I decided that I really like them because I can easily find them in my mess of a church bag. 

This one was from Ben.  I hope he really meant flower, not flour.  I wonder who was filling this out for him?  He was exactly right about the relax question.




This one is from Spencer.  I like how I was "nice" before kids.  Nice.



And from Weston.  I guess it's unanimous, I'm as pretty as a flower.  Or maybe flour. 



Happy Mother's Day to my own mother and to Jason's mother too.  I bet chocolate is high on the list of your favorite foods.  And I know better than to suggest that exercise is something you should do to relax.  I hope you both have a wonderful day.  We love you!

Weston's 5th Birthday

If you shop at Costco, you might be able to spot a Costco cake in the picture below.  Yes, it's true.  For the first time EVER I bought a birthday cake.  And it was kind of painful.  I guess I take some pride in the cakes I make for my kids.  I'm usually the hero after I present them with whatever cake it is they've asked for.  Plus, it's a way of showing I care.  But this year, Weston's birthday fell in the middle of a week that was overwhelmingly busy and I wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off.  Then on Saturday, we were headed to Costco when we decided to pretend his birthday was Sunday, the next day.  At Costco we told him he could pick out his own cake.  He didn't want to at first.  He wanted my to make a Hulk cake.  Eventually he decided the dinosaur cake would do. He had been counting down the days until his birthday, and for it to suddenly jump to 4 days sooner was OK with him. 


He wanted "red and blue" spaghetti for dinner.  Okay.  I can do that.  It's certainly easier than a Hulk cake.


Ben picked out this stuffed tiger for him at the DI for a dollar.  He loves it and has been sleeping with it ever since. We got him a bug vacuum that he can suck up bugs with and look a them in a magnified container.  His friend got him several packs of gum which was probably his favorite thing. 

He really wanted a Spiderman pinata, but for almost $20, BEFORE you have to buy candy to fill it, Jason quickly decided to make one himself.  An empty box and some crepe paper and there you have it.  It ain't pretty, but all they care about is smacking the heck out of it.





















If you can't tell, in his birthday pictures above, he's wearing an Ironman costume.  He's VERY into costumes right now.  He wears one 24/7, besides church.  You can see Superman and Spiderman below.  It usually has something interesting paired with it, like Spiderman in the helmet and snow boots. Sometimes it's superman with pajamas and cowboy boots.  The neighbors really get a kick out of watching him ride up and down the street in his latest getup.   
His grandma's both sent him some money for his birthday and he bought some superhero accessories. An Ironman mask to go with the costume and a Spiderman web shooter. 

































Does this remind you of someone else in my family?


































Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Subway

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These pictures (above and below) are the type of pictures you can get in the Subway when the lighting is right. The lighting wasn't right when we were hiking, so I found these online to show how amazing this hike really is. Our pictures are going to look pretty lame now.
 

The subway is probably the most popular hike in Zion. It's about 10 miles and requires swimming through certain sections and some small repels.  A permit is required and they let only 80 people into the canyon a day. For June this year, there were 20,000 applications for permits.

Jason and Regan have done this hike before, but it was a first for me.  We also took a boy from the ward and Jason's friend and his daughter. We went at the first of May and the weather wasn't great.  Here we are about to drop into the canyon and it was raining.  It's not the place you want to be if there's any chance of flash flood, but the weather was mostly just drizzly rain and there weren't any flash flood warnings.  I was still a little bit nervous, though.  I kept wondering where the other 73 people were.  We were the only ones to hike it from the top down that day.  We saw a few hiking up a little ways from the bottom when we got near the end.




Cute little frogs that are all over the canyon.

Thank goodness for dry suits.  A customer at the cart hooked us up with some for half price.  That water was COLD!  Even in the middle of summer it can be frigid.  We stayed nice and warm in our dry suits, though.  All but our hands. 








Here on the "natural waterslide" is where our camera died.  Otherwise we would have had some darn funny video of ourselves.  I really haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  It was faster...and bumpier than it looked. 























Towards the end of the hike, that seems to go on and on and on because the best part was over, is the part where you have to hike like straight up a cliff to get out of the canyon. And the part where I find out I'm really not in shape.  Not that I thought I was.  But WOW.  That was bad. I was suddenly grateful for the rain.  I can't imagine hiking up that in the heat of the day. Even so, It's a great hike and hopefully we'll be able to take the younger kids through some day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A New Blog

We've started this blog  with some friends.  In this next year, we're trying to help each other learn as much as possible about self reliance and/or sustainability. It's still pretty new, but hopefully you'll be able to find some good information there.


This one Year. 


Candy Cliffs

This is a little hike we did over conference weekend.  A customer at the cart took us to the "secret location".  He calls it candy cliffs, and it's way cool.  The kids could have played on these rocks all day.
That dot on the rocks is Ben.  I think. 











We could see almost to St. George from this spot. This is where I was when the announcement was made that Cedar City is getting a temple!  I may have shouted.  I was (and am) SO excited!











Weston with "alligator rock".

On the hike out we found this horse wandering around.  Jason fed him some apple and he followed us as far as he could.  Too bad we couldn't take him home.









Easter 2013


This year Easter came early, so the fact that I took the time to be crafty had me feeling pretty good about myself.  Until I later realized that I didn't even take a single picture of my kids on Easter.  Oh well.  I have proof that I'm capable of craftiness once every ten years. 

Behold....the Peep Wreath. I can't tell you how excited the kids were about this.  So excited, they couldn't resit biting a few of the peep heads off.

Then I got the crazy idea that I would do everything in their baskets homemade.  So I did.  Almost.  According to Ben it's not Easter unless it includes a chocolate bunny.  I wasn't going to attempt that.  So I bought that as well as the jelly beans to fill eggs for the egg hunt. 

Chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate covered marshmallow eggs and mini decorated cupcakes inside an egg carton (this idea plus the wreath came from HERE).  Oh, and chocolate peanut butter eggs that I bought from a friend who has a chocolate business out of her home.  I consider that to be homemade too. 

So, there you have it.  A crafty homemade Easter. I don't think the kids appreciated all the work.  Maybe that's why I didn't take any pictures of them.
I may not do it again next year, but at least we'll still have the peep wreath.  Minus a few heads, anyway.

Spencer's 11th Birthday


Spencer wanted a Star Wars cake this year.  Turned out pretty good, I thought.  Jason cut the words out of yellow sugar paper, which I didn't even know existed before I made this cake. 
 
With the camera we got him last year for his birthday, Spencer has spent many many hours making movies.  So this year we got him some film editing software, which our computer was too slow to use without the video being choppy, which we fixed by having our friend build us a new computer, which means this turned into a very expensive birthday gift. But I'm sure you'll agree after watching these clips from Spencer's latest movie, that it will all be worth it in the end.
These are in unedited form because we we still don't know how to use the editing software.  Like I said, I'm sure it will all be worth our hundreds of dollars. 

video



video

So that's an example of the film making that goes on around here.  It usually ends in tears, because the director isn't always very patient with the actors and the actors don't always like the script. 
Maybe someday soon we'll see a full edited movie ready to post.  I hear he's doing a remake of Harry Potter.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Christmas Break Part Two

We spent nearly a week in California.  Thanks to a friends' Marriott discount, we had great accommodations close to the beach and Disneyland. The weather there was SO perfect.  Back in Utah they were having below average temperatures, well below zero every night, but Cali was 70's and sunny.  Amazing.  We had so much fun at the beach.  We were told about a little beach called Crescent Beach on Laguna Beach.  It was so beautiful!  It's kind of hidden in a neighborhood, a very rich neighborhood of huge houses with the ocean in their backyard. It's crescent shaped and has tide pools on both of the outside edges.   
 The kids spent hours touching "enemies" and hermit crabs and star fish. 

We were the last ones on the beach as the sun set.  The waves were loud, the sunset was beautiful, it truly was amazing. 



We came back to Crescent Beach the next day.  Even though it was warm outside, the water is COLD!  But that didn't stop Ben and Weston from stripping down and playing in it. 

 The older boys and Jason had wet suits so they spent a lot more time in the water, snorkeling and boogie  boarding. Jason spent a lot of hours this trip on a different beach trying to surf.  The board he had wasn't a very good one for beginners and he had no one to teach him, but he loved it.  I was content to just sit in the sunshine and watch the kids.


Some photos from Little Germany.  I wish we would have gotten some photos from Little India.  We ate at an amazing Indian restaurant,  but we were THE only white people in the whole town.  We stood out just a little.






 The last 2 days we spent at Disneyland and California Adventure.  It was busy.  Is it ever NOT busy?  But Disneyland was worse.  Still, we made good use of the fast passes and got on almost everything we wanted to.  The kids loved it.  They were all the perfect age for a trip like this. 





We visited the new Cars Land.  Luckily, by getting to California Adventure early in the morning and waiting in a HUGE line (that moved surprisingly fast) to get a fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers, we were able to ride it after waiting for 15 minutes instead of THREE HOURS.  It was a cool ride, but I can't believe people wait that long to ride it.   
In the end, it was an awesome trip.  The bags I made for Christmas worked great.  They kept the kids occupied both to and from California without even bringing a DVD player.  They also used them during any down time at the hotel.  There were only a few quarters lost, and the kids got along so much better than I could have hoped. It was hard to come back home to the cold and the realities of life, but I'm so glad we went.