Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School starts when? . . .

Can you believe we have only 1 week left until school starts?! And that's for kindergarteners, the rest have already started. Funny, every year I dread school ending and finding ways to entertain the kids for the long summer, and then dread school starting and rushing to get everything in. Honestly I can say we have done just about everything I wanted to do. My kids would say it was the "best summer ever" and I would agree. From Disneyworld to camping, rafting, hiking, t-ball, art class, swim lessons, library classes, waterparks, swimming in the backyard, park play dates, summer camps, on and on it has been a full, busy, amazing summer. And no, it's not done yet. Plenty to report on from a few weeks past and then soon I'll catch up to date. Someday. Really.
We had our last t-ball game--here's a shot of C-man at bat:

Davis is cheering in the background, such a good brother. They improved their skills so much this year, and I think enjoyed it more than last year too. Again, thanks to an amazing coach.
With their medals. Hooray!
And for my recollection, here was the goody bag we gave the kids on the team. They had enough kids on the team that I didn't need to bring treats to any of the games so we did this instead. I think it was a hit (and easier to do than I thought).

So shortly after the game, Claire, Hillary and I jumped in the car and drove to Idaho for my grandpa's 80th birthday. Funny, I got Matched (by Ally Condie) to listen to as we drove and the heroine is visiting her grandfather on his 80th birthday, though that is when he is scheduled to die in this future utopian society. An intriguing twist considering my destination. Anyway, my grandpa is not dying, he is very youthful and vibrant in fact if you ask me. And obviously loved by so many judging by the turn out for his party. What fun! I got to see cousins I hadn't seen in years and years and some I had never met and plenty of second (and third) cousins I had never met. Claire baby did pretty well on the drive, minus the blow out just past the state line that led to poop all over the only pair of pants I had. Swell.
Claire with 4th cousin H. She stole his car and he kept trying to get it back, it was really cute and funny.
Claire rocking the Minnie Mouse outfit I made her. Yeah, I love it!
My mom and her siblings and my cute grandparents:

Some of the 25 grandchildren
Some of the 23 (and counting) great grandchildren.
My grandpa says that each generation his genes dilute a little and the kids just get cuter. I don't know about that, but my cousins sure do have some darling babies!
Like M, My cousin Jordan's little guy. He and Claire were fighting for a phone at this point. So after visiting my dear friend Terri (we've known each other since 3rd-4th grade? I think) in Rexburg (can you believe I didn't take any pictures!? Crazy, especially as her cutie N is way cuter in person than the pics I had seen on her blog) we toured my grandparent's amazing house and then headed out. Yup, up and back in 12 hours. It was cool, Claire slept well all the way back and I finished my book and some yummy Jack in the Box! :)

Home again we visited Dinda's trailer up Timpooneke campground


And graham crackers.

And did some swimming Monday

My boys are looking so big!

And yes, they love love to swim!

We headed back up to camp on Wednesday when Dinda graciously let us use her trailer overnight.

Max came, can you tell how happy he is just by looking at him?
Hiking by the gorgeous stream that went right past camp.
Big boys. Although Carter always seems smaller in pics, he really isn't much. Although Davis is pulling ahead, he is almost an inch taller now and almost 1/2 shoe size bigger--nice for finding 2 of the same, not nice for each kid finding "their" shoes.
Baby Clairenessa
Eating canpfire hot dogs
The view out the trailer window
And of the campground. It was just so lovely. Lovely to look at anyway, the sleeping was not so lovely. The boys did okay, not great, but okay, but little sis wasn't having it. She wouldn't sleep in her pack and play so Lowell took her for a drive and had her asleep but once she was back in the pack and play she was back to fussing. So she ended up sleeping by me and was not a good sleepmate, up a lot and all over the place. She is limiting our camping adventures this summer.

But she is a fun little stinker. She is getting a little attitude! The other day her brothers were bothering her, so Claire crawled away muttering to herself, went to her room and shut the door! Sheesh, silly baby. She has also said her first words, Mom (not mama so much, but Mom), Dada, and dog we think (daw). She also signs eat and all done. She is a quick little crawler but has also started taking steps--see the video at the end. That was Aug. 5th at Cyndel's house where we had gone for her birthday. She took 2 deliberate steps that day, so I am counting that as the first steps. Before that she had taken some falling forward steps, but this was balanced and purposeful. She is up to 5 steps now but doesn't seem too determined, she crawls quickly and is happy at that. Still loves to eat, everything! Here's her 10 month pics-

The best I could get of her laying down, she was ready to be off. And no, she simply does not fit all on the blanket anymore. Starting with 12 months I'll have standing pics vs her big bear.

Darn cute little trouble maker I'll tell you. Just recently she has started to mess with her brothers' toys. I call her Godzilla as she swoops down and grabs things. She laughs when she makes you say ow, stinker baby! And yes she is standing independently in the above shot.

And she crashes--she is go go go until she stops. Lately she has taken a real liking to the boys' Daddles, yellow giraffe. It was always their fav, so I have 4 of them. So Claire has 1 in the car, stroller, crib, etc. I haven't cut her hair at all, it is just coming in so nicely.

During that whole week we also had swim lessons. The boys did really well, they followed directions much better than years past and are becoming quite the little swimmers. They both passed their levels. It made me think that while easy kids would be easier, sometimes challenging kids are more rewarding. Watching them struggle and then succeed means so much more to me than if they had succeeded from the beginning. I am grateful for the rewards my kiddos give to me. For their ending social from their reading class (which we renewed for fall, yea!) they had a minute to win it party. What an event, they surely put a lot of effort into it. We couldn't stay for all of it because it was also the last day of swim lessons, but the kids sure had fun while we were there. What a wonderful program they offer at the Rippy Literacy Center.

That marked the end of all of our organized events! Ack! It has opened up lots more free time to play at home and the other places we have passes though, which has been cool.
our pool
I couldn't get a shot of Carter, but isn't Davis growing up?
At Red Butte Gardens--so fun to see it in bloom. Definitely more fun than early spring. I can't wait to get back to "my" gardens, it has been far too long. Maybe while the boys are in school I'll spend some time there before they close. Red Butte is open year round, yea for me! :)

Carter will tell you they look different because Davis has a round face and he has a circle face. Hmm, that'll help! Can you tell how much Claire looks like her brothers? Carter especially.
Love this silly shot!

And just some pretty ones of my not so little baby. Man, why does time go so fast?

We got to have my cousin's little man T play for a day (his sister was too sick to come, boo!)

And then we went to cousin L's birthday party. I seriously cannot believe she is 4. And one of the most gorgeous little girls I know (her sister is one of the others).

We also got to go to my cousin Zach's mission homecoming which was fun. Got to see a lot of family again and visit some more. Welcome home Zach! And then more time up at Dinda's campground, we love AF canyon!
Maddy came this time.
One last shot--I have been working on freezer meals, and chicken pot pie was one of them. I thought this turned out so pretty, and it tasted even better! Woot!

So, that takes me through the uploaded pics, a few more to come though I haven't been that camera happy lately. We have been enjoying the summer heat, doing back to school night, and burning through the last week until school starts. Stay tuned for that!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Catch up . . .

Is it still called catch up if it has become the norm?? Anyway--much more to share, document. Let's jump in. Friday 2 weeks ago we joined the twin club at the Highland Splash Pad for some fun--hot day, cool water, good friends.

And a little smooching. We joke about Claire baby and her boyfriends J&J and while there she just reached over and gave J an open mouth baby kiss. He doesn't look so sure about it.
Claire's got to work it with 2 cutie boys around!

Afterward we met up with Whitney and her kiddos at Classic fun center to try out their water slides. Got a lot of sun watching them, but they had a blast.

Friday night I caught a girl's night out with neighbor friends to watch Twilight. They are working through the movies in preparation for Breaking Dawn. It was So Much Fun! Really fantastic food, mexican was the theme, I brought fried ice cream and it was a hit thanks to Lowell for assembling it all while we were running about. We sat and ate and chatted and then chatted Twilight, how much happier could I be?

Saturday was the annual foam day at our nearby park. Our local fire department fills the park with fire retardent foam and the kids go crazy. And get lost, yet again this year we lost a child--luckily a friend had grabbed him as I walked up, joining them there from work (thanks to Tara for covering for me!). Something about that many people and them all covered in foam makes it hard to keep track of your little one.

And they had free watermelon, so we grabbed some on the way out. Claire went nuts on hers!

That afternoon/evening we had a family get together in honor of Pioneer Day (24th of July).
We did some slip and sliding, jumping, swimming, eating, BBQing, and fireworks.

The clan after firebooms. We have a few BYU fans in the mix . . .

Tuesday we had the only day camp that did not work for the kiddos this year. Considering all the activities we did, I'd call that a success. I am disappointed it didn't go better, especially since their friends were there with them and I sat up that night worrying about the whole thing, but I was able to cancel and get a refund, so trying to let it go. There was some concern over their undressing themselves (in a bathroom) too readily when getting ready to swim and a big issue that they kept taking their shoes off. At a park. I took issue with the fact that they didn't put sunscreen on my kiddos though I sent some and they were going in the pool (and they did get a bit red) and it seemed a bit disorganized, hectic. And honestly it was the longest my kids had ever been away from me except with family and I wasn't terribly comfortable with that and my instincts were right.

That night we took an overnight staycation to Snowbird. Yes, I am a little obsessed, I love it there.

Hotel antics
Going to the playground

Drinking hot cocoa on the balcony after some late night swimming

Yes, it gorgeous there!
Bungee trampoline (our package including breakfast and unlimited activities, and I got a steal on it thank you very much)
Air trampoline, look how high that kid is!

Sleepy baby
Alpine slides

On top of Hidden Peak (11,000 ft)

Davis really liked his "rock collection"

And rock climbing

Yeah, they crashed pretty much as soon as we started the car. Helps that none of us slept very well, it was a nice room, I don't know what the issue was.
So in place of the second half of their camp, we went and had some fun of our own (for half the price by the way!). We checked out Trilobite Treasures at Thanksgiving Point and it was so much cooler than I thought it would be. Somehow I thought it would be a big sand box and you'd dig for a fossil and maybe find one. Nope, splitting open real rocks and we found lots of them. The workers were very helpful and knowlegeable and I couldn't get enough. It was so exciting to split a rock and see what we found.
A portion of our trilobites.
Then we went to the closing party for our library class (a free event that was what the camp was taking the kids to, and watching a movie--we had way more fun). There was a magician and ice cream. We picked up slushies on the way home too, good times.

Friday I was just tired (and it was pouring). So we stayed home and did this:

Oh and went to lunch with a play place (and googly eyes).

So Saturday was our big long awaited rafting trip. I got a great deal on City Deals and 6 and under were free so I jumped on it and talked most of my family into coming along. And it was so worth it. Really, just a blast! Not sure if this link will work for you all:


If not, go to the events, Taggart Falls July 30th, 3:30-4, we are pics 34-47. And here's a pic I shot at the end. The boys did really well, not bored or unsafe. And we got a work out paddling and all. The guide was fantastic and the river leisurely but fun (Weber). Definitely be going again next year.

That evening we went camping as a nearly whole family.

Boys throwing rocks

Eating dinner. Unfortunately that did not go as well as rafting. There was a lot of issues with those there and my boys. It's a shame because it has been the catalyst of some real changes in how we'll do thing with the fam. Focusing on what is best for the kids.
A full tent. Claire did not do well. I was disappointed because she did well in the same pack and play at Snowbird. I was awake a lot of the night with her. And it had been a really long week at work so I was really tired to begin with.
Out hiking in the morning (hence the PJs) trying to keep the kids from waking others up.
Told you she didn't sleep well.
Playing bean bag toss with the cousins
A little chipmunk friend we made with our trail mix.

Monday we joined Whit's kiddos again at Classic only to be met with an extreme downpour. I was soaked to the bone going in and out. Drenched. So, water sliding was out, but they had fun in the blast zone and bounce houses anyway. Until Claire decided to have a blow out that somehow got all over my shirt. So fun to be a mom . . .

She's sure cute when she sleeps though, she really just go, go, gos until she falls over (with new best friend Daddles, the boys' fav as well. Which works out since I have 4 of them [1 for each and 1 back up]).
She has been such a busy bee of a baby, chatting away and into everything. We love it though.

The rest of that week I don't have a lot of pictures of--we started swim lessons for this year (preschool level 3) which has been every day so has kept us busy. Tuesday we played at the park with the twin club. Thursday was our last cooking class--not their best behavior but the brownies and tacos were good. Will have to discuss with them next year if they want to do the classes again--would recommend for kids that like to cook. Wednesday our UVMOM family party was cancelled due to rain (boo!) but I got to redeem one of my deals for Pirate Island. The kids had a blast, really lots of fun. The food was not great. Stuck with pizza this time since it was what we prefered the previous time and yeah, most of it is still in my fridge waiting to be thrown out. Good thing I got it half off at least. And Friday Lowell wanted to treat the boys to some fun and took them (with their free pass from the library class) to Nickel City. Grandma and Dinda kept baby sis so we could have one on one time and it was also so so much fun. Lowell scored really big with some tickets (I did okay too--and the kids . . .) so they got above average prizes that were still lame but the kids were thrilled.

Stay tuned for more soon including Clire's first steps! more camping, and a family reunion in Idaho.

Claire and the watermelon

Slip and Slide Fun