Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Idaho (MT, WY) Trip

We took our (sometimes semi) annual family trip up to good 'ol Island Park, Idaho last week. This year's group consisted of our family, my parents, and my sister, Steph's, family. Ben and I decided to forego the crowd staying at the 2 bedroom condo and opted to have our family stay in the old family cabin down the road that was built by dad and uncles many years ago (I forgot to get a picture of it!) It lacks many comforts of home but it's a little fun to rough it once in awhile, right? The cabin has two bedrooms downstairs and then a loft up some very steep scary stairs where there's a bunch of beds. We planted our family downstairs and forbid the kids upstairs without our help-we were totally picturing many falls down the stairs, especially from Kade, but the kids were pretty obedient and we all came through in one piece. The kids all packed into one bed (besides a night when Skylar slept at the condo with all of the girls) and despite the many spiders that discovered poor Nicky's leg, we had a pleasant stay.
We arrived late on Saturday, the 19th. Sunday morning we headed to Sacrament meeting at the church and arrived to a small crowd-only 1100 people!! They reported that there was 1400 just two weeks before and were expecting that many the next weekend as well so we actually had a little elbow room-ha ha! Needless to say, it is a very popular destination for us LDS folk.
After church we all hopped into the car-my parents in ours (we got that minivan just in time!) and headed for Yellowstone for the day. My family is a little spoiled when it comes to the park-we've been there so many times! We went first to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the beautiful waterfall there. After that we stopped for some lunch nearby and found some awesome teeter-totters that someone had constructed out of logs and stuck them between some trees. This supplied plenty of entertainment for all-including my parents who even took a turn. Later on we drove up to Tower Falls and then headed back down to see Old Faithful. Of course, we showed up minutes after it had gone off and had to wait around for another hour to see it. We had some ice cream and hung out in the lodge. After watching Old Faithful, we headed back to the condo for a late dinner. We didn't have any time to stop for the stinky geysers along the way but it was a fun day anyway. We never made it back to the park this trip. We always try to get a day in swimming in the Firehole River but I guess they've outlawed it now and my brother, Jerry, had just gone up and had gotten a $150 ticket for swimming in it so we decided not to risk it. That's kind of sad because it's one of our family's favorite things to do up there.
On Monday, our family split up for different activities. Ben, Skylar, and my sister's family all headed up to the Lewis & Clark Caverns. Steph's family had never been there before but Ben and I had. It's seriously a cool place to go. I wish I'd been up for it, but besides the hike up the mountain, there's parts in the cave where you have to get down and sort of crawl and my body just does not bend anymore!! We also didn't think the boys would do too well in the caves either. The boys and I went with my parents up to Virginia City and then took a train to Nevada City to see the ghost towns there. The boys thought it was cool to go on the train and see the old houses. Anything that they can explore is fun for them. We had a nice time. I don't have any pictures because Ben had taken the camera with him. The caverns crew all had a really fun time too. Skylar loved it! We all arrived back at the condo later for dinner and some hanging out.
Tuesday we hung around Island Park and did some swimming at the condo's pool and a lot of fishing. Grandpa's really good about bringing his pole over to let the grandkids reel in his catches and they each get a turn but Skylar wanted to do it completely by herself this year. Ben helped her a little bit until she got the hang of it and then she was doing great! She caught two all by herself!! She was especially proud that they were rainbow trout since rainbow is her favorite color right now. We had a great time and came home with some yummy fish to eat!
Wednesday morning we did a little more fishing and then Steph's family headed for home. We were sad to see them go. We had so much fun and the cousins loved being together. We, with my parents, headed to Jackson Hole after they left. Ben and I had our honeymoon there so it's always kind of a special place for us to go back and visit. We hadn't been since we've had kids so it was fun to go. We did a little bit of browsing in the shops, ate some dinner, and then headed up to Grand Teton National Park for awhile to see the beautiful Tetons at Jenny Lake. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world! We wished we could have stayed longer but we wanted to get back before dark since the mountain pass is very scary with its 10% grade.
On Thursday we packed up the car and headed for home but a trip up to Idaho has now been deemed incomplete without a stop at Bear World. My parents joined us again and we were awed by the bears walking around our car! It's so cool to see them so close! After a couple of drives through the bear section, my parents took off and the kids got to go to the petting zoo and hit the little rides they have there. We had a lot of fun! We decided to drive through the bears one more time and the last time we got to see a wolf! It was just chilling next to the bears. It was really cool to see!
We spent the rest of the day driving home and perfectly arrived in SLC about 10 minutes before the Pioneer Day fireworks at Liberty Park were set to go off. We decided to stop and watch them and were able to see a great show. The kids thought it was so fun to watch from the back of the car! We were even able to beat the crowd out! It was nice to have somewhat of a celebration even though we were out of the state most of the day! It was so nice to be able to get away for the week and have a break from the everyday stuff. I'm so glad that my kids have the opportunity to go up to Island Park and enjoy the beautiful nature and all the fun things just like I did as a kid!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Swimming Lessons

So the last two weeks have been consumed with daily swimming lessons. I always dread those two weeks each summer since it means going every single day!! We decided to go to 7 Peaks this year since we didn't have season passes and they give you a free pass at the end so one of these days we can go as a family. Plus, I love going there because I can take Kade in the pool while the kids are in their classes, which isn't allowed at the other pool. This is so great because he was definitely upset that he wasn't getting to go to lessons too. On the days we didn't swim, he occupied himself climbing on everything possible.
Skylar was in Level 3 and was really worried about being in deep water but she did it! Nick was in Level Pre-2 this year and I was so impressed he was finally swimming with his face under the water. They both are still a little hesitant but they are definitely getting better! Kade is totally the opposite and wouldn't sit on my lap to go down the slide in the kiddie pool. He would say "No lap, Mom!" and make me go first. Crazy kid!

My Happy When She's Crazy Busy Girl

Skylar has been quite the busy chick this summer. I always swore I wouldn't have my kids involved in too much but here I've gone and done it. Most of the summer, she's been doing about two things a week. But last week was absolutely crazy as she had piano lessons, swimming lessons, craft class, and T-ball!! On top of this she's been baking away in her easy bake oven that she scored at a yard sale for $1.50! Definitely too much!! But at least she isn't having a boring summer, eh? She loves everything, especially piano, and loves to be busy!

The Long Disputed Search Ends

Okay, so we finally did it. We broke down and bought a very needed bigger car. Ben finally talked me into the whole mini-van thing and we got a 2005 Toyota Sienna. It's actually super nice and seats 8-so much room after being in our teeny Echo!! The kids absolutely love it-the automatic sliding doors, the windows that roll down, the extra room, and we even have a DVD player. I feel like we're a little spoiled! Anyway, after driving it around all week and definitely looking like every other mom out there, I have to admit that it's not so bad. I kind of like it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight

Ben and I are both movie fanatics however I don't justify spending money on the full price of a ticket very often. I just figure I can be patient to see most movies when they come to DVD or even to the lovely $1 movies. Ben, on the other hand, wants to see a movie the second it comes out-preferably at midnight so that no one can spoil it for him. Anyway, he came to me at the beginning of the summer with a list of movies that were coming out this summer and wondering which ones I'd actually be interested in. It was a pretty short list for me this year. But this was definitely on there: So, somehow Ben scored FREE passes to go see this on Tuesday night up at the IMAX at Jordan Commons. It was sponsored by Warner Brothers and the security was tight-no phones allowed, metal detectors, etc. In fact, one security guard was totally watching Ben's friend, Kendall, the entire time because he was holding a water bottle & they thought it was a camera or something. It was kind of funny.
Anyway, so not only did we see it early, we saw it for free! Bonus! It was awesome! Seriously it was so good-Heath Ledger does live up to all they hype surrounding him. He definitely brought the Joker to life and I could see an Oscar going his way. Being pregnant, of course in the middle I needed to go the bathroom, but I was so into the movie, I really couldn't justify leaving and missing anything. Eventually I had to listen to my body since the baby was giving me some major kicks in the bladder. I practically ran so I wouldn't miss anything! Anyway, I highly recommend this movie-even if you're not into superhero flicks or anything. It was really good! Plus, the batcycle itself was the coolest thing I've ever seen.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Our Cute Kittens

So here's some new pictures of our kittens. They have finally all opened their eyes and are starting to crawl around a bit. The kids have given them all names. They are from left to right: Cheeta, Cheeto(the big fat one), Ninja, Puff, Cali, and Frodo (the tiny runt with a ring on his tail). Soffee has been majorly paranoid this time around and really doesn't like us to come near them-she's moved them numerous times and has finally settled into the very back of the crawlspace behind all of our boxes. Needless to say, we only take a peak at them when she is outside. The kids are loving it though!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday America!!!!

Last week was once again a crazy and busy week. I keep telling myself I'll slow down one of these days but that remains to be done. Ben & I celebrated our 11th anniversary last Tuesday. Happy Anniversary babe!!! I meant to post about how much I love and appreciate him and all that mushy stuff but never got a chance. So, I will keep it short and simple. Ben, you are the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. I feel so blessed to be your wife and the mother of your children. I love you with all of my heart!! Okay, mushy stuff over. We got a babysitter and went out to eat at the Olive Garden and went to see the Hulk since we had free passes. Nothing too spectacular, but after our cruise earlier this year we decided to keep it simple. We had a great time though!
Thursday began the Independence day celebrations! We did our traditional rise at the crack of dawn trip to see the hot air balloons take off with the Tongs. This is always so much fun. I can't wait for the day when I get to actually go up in one of those balloons. It'd be so cool! The kids were even more excited when we got to see the life flight helicopter take off from the emergency room across the street from the balloon field. Afterwards, Adrianne and I decided to start a new and very yummy tradition of going to Magelby's Fresh for the all-you-can-eat French Toast. We all shared our plates and didn't even make it back for seconds. It was so delicious but we were sooo full!!
Later that night, after some long naps, we went to the Owlz game-once again with the Tongs. We had a fun time and even ran into some old friends, the Sumners, that we hadn't seen in a long time. It was great to see them! The Owlz, unfortunately, did not play so well and lost the game but there was a great fireworks show afterwards so it was all good.
On Friday morning we got up way early again so we could hit the 4th of July parade. This year they had changed all the rules and you couldn't put stuff out to reserve your spot unless it was attended and since I had no interest in camping out this year we just hoped for the best. We got down there about 7 am and lucked out on finding a pretty good spot on the street. Even though Ben swore he wouldn't go to the parade, he was a good sport and said he'd at least drop me off so I wouldn't have to lug all the gear and kids myself. He ended up sticking around though for the whole parade which was so nice!!! My parents also joined us which was fun. The weather was actually great too. It was supposed to be like 101 degrees but there was an awesome cloud cover so it wasn't nearly that hot. The kids definitely had a blast and I'm glad we did something patriotic to celebrate this great country we live in!
We all took some major naps the rest of the day and just took it easy. The Hanamaikais came by for a bit and Ben and Quinn played some tennis. Later, we had a bar-b-que, did some fireworks, and then hopped in the car and headed down to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks.
As exhausted as we all were on Saturday, the kids still were awake by 7:30 so I decided to go ahead with my crazy plan of having a yard sale. I had abandoned the idea the night before since we were so wasted but I figured we were up, we had the stuff ready, and we mine as well do it and see if we can make any moola. We were actually hoping to get rid of our bedroom set and couch that was recently redesigned by Kade and a marker, but the big stuff didn't go. However, the rest of our piddly junk did and we made about $60. Not a great amount, but enough to get us into Yellowstone Bear World in a few weeks!
Saturday afternoon we spent some time test driving mini-vans since it is something we really need to get doing. I'm still a little resistant on the whole idea but I know I must accept defeat and get one!! We did some more fireworks on Saturday night. Despite my wise husband's wishes, I insisted on letting the kids have sparklers (which they absolutely loved!!) and poor little McKade burned his hand after watching our menacing next door neighbor kid stick his hand on one and thinking it looked like a good idea. Luckily, it wasn't horrible but I think we'll be skipping the crazy sticks with fire on them for a few more years.
We had a great weekend celebrating our country's birthday. Lately it seems as if the media has been concentrating on all of the problems as our country has. However, I know that we are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful country. Sometimes I think about how it would be to live in some other country and all of the little freedoms I take for granted everyday and I am overwhelmed with thankfulness to Heavenly Father for blessing me so much. I am so thankful for those who have fought in the past and continue to fight every day for the freedoms we have. Isn't it great that we have the 4th of July to remember all of this? Happy Birthday America!!!