Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring Break 2016

For Spring break, the kids and I decided to tag along on one of Andrew's work trips. Of all the places he travels, St. George holds the most appeal. There was a learning curve as Andrew had to balance work with a hotel room full of children; eager for entertainment (I include myself in this)! Even so, I think our first attempt at pulling off such a trip was a success.

The drive to St. George was pretty seamless.

Ha ha ha! Clearly, that's not true. Let's try that sentence again. Ahem:

The drive to St. George was pretty typical. We had a few hiccups along the way, but the important thing is we arrived safely. :) After picking up pizza, we drove to our friends, the Phillip's, home in Washington City. Andrew and Dave were good friends throughout college. They worked together at Teraflex. Dave's wife Emily was so welcoming and accommodating as our plans kept shifting. After having dinner, we went swimming at the Washington City community center. I was so impressed and incredibly jealous as I looked around this facility. I totally wish we had one where we live!
Our kids became instant pals.
Just ask Lottie. It was a great way to get some wiggles out after spending the day in the car.
And in Forrest's case, it was a great way to rinse off sticky ice cream. 
We loved the water slide and the lazy river too. 

After showering the kids off, we changed them into their pajamas and headed to our hotel. The next morning, I took the kids to a park while Andrew did some work from the hotel. 
Coming back to the hotel, he took our car to go visit his customers while I took the kids to the swimming pool. The kids were thrilled that they had the pool to themselves. 
After swimming, we got ready to meet Dad for lunch. We took the kids to a nearby Chik-Fil-A and then drove to Snow Canyon State Park.
"What's up?"

We had plans to do a hike or two, but the kids were so content playing in the sand that we stayed there the entire time. 

I mean...come on! This kid was in heaven!
I'm glad we brought our sand toys, shovels and chairs. 
That's all they needed (and maybe a little water and sunscreen)!
Henry was so dedicated to digging a big hole.
He was tireless. 
I was pretty proud of his dedication. It was a hot day!
It even had room for two.
Andrew finished out his work day in the car, I felt sad for him, but was able to join us around 5:00 pm; which made me happy.
After Snow Canyon, we went back to the hotel. Andrew took the kids swimming for the second time that day while I had stayed up in our room to shower and enjoy some "alone" time. I wasn't away from the family too long, but it was nice to have a few moments by myself. I'm sure you understand this. :) 

While I showered the kids for the second time that day, Andrew went across to the street to Cafe Rio and brought it back to the hotel for dinner. 

The last day of our trip, Andrew took the day off from work. After we checked out of the hotel, we drove to Zion's National Park. Because we have a fourth grader, we made it into the park for free! Awesome! 

We enjoyed a scenic drive through the park before hopping on a shuttle. I enjoyed chatting with the family behind us on the bus. In general, I really like meeting people. Our hike that day was to the lower emerald pool falls. I was surprised at how crowded it was. The secret must be out. Zions National Park is stunning. We even bumped into Henry's first grade teacher. That sure made him smile!

After our hike, we made our way back to the car. We had a big drive ahead of us. It was a quick trip but I think we filled our time well. It was nice to enjoy our first family vacation of 2016 together. I'm eager for another trip! But first, we've got to get all of this school business out of the way!

Here are two videos with footage from our trip.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring rolls through

I'm still in catch up mode, so forgive me for the lack of "deep thought." Ha! I should probably include that disclaimer in all of my blog posts! Today's photos were thrown into a miscellaneous folder; but because I feel they deserve mention, I'm ready to post. I begin with the very best of the bunch.

(Insert here: heart eyes, heart eyes, heart eyes!)

After spending time texting and on instagram, it feels strange not having an "emoji" option here in blog land. If such things are possible, I am unaware. It's probably sad that I've grown so accustomed to relying on emoji's when words once sufficed; but I'm going to go ahead and look past that because it makes me feel "young" and "hip" to feel that way. :)

The girls recently watched an episode of the show, Liv and Maddie which featured a drawing with the saying: "Sisters by chance, friends by choice." Eliza, feeling inspired, went to work creating one with Lottie. A few weeks ago, the girls became roommates so you can bet your bottom dollar that I have plans to frame and hang that in their bedroom. Also, I'm pretty sure I'll be crafting one for my own sister as a Christmas gift. But I might change the words to:

"Sisters by chance... Ha ha ha, you are so stuck with me!"

Henry recently had an eye appointment where we learned that not only is his crossing gone, but his overall vision has improved. This development was unexpected. I feel thrilled and blessed that his surgery was successful. The doctor was clear that there were would be no guarantees this would fix the problem. Also, he was detailed in explaining the possible risks involved. In many ways, his procedure was minor compared to other obstacles other parents are required to support and love their children through. But I still want to express my gratitude, in writing, to Heavenly Father for a positive outcome.

Fun fact: Henry's mom was also cross-eyed as a child. I had to have the surgery twice before my eyes were fixed. I vividly remember the discomfort during my recovery; so, HOORAY for Henry's doctor for getting the job done!


Side note: life with four is feeling "easier." I am not sure if that's the most appropriate word to use. However, going places with my entire crew isn't quite the production it once was. I attribute the shift to Forrest being older. In many ways, he's rebelling against my wishes that he stay little, but I suppose his "maturity" has a few benefits. He listens and understand more. Also, I'm able to trust Eliza with more responsibility. At this particular appointment, I had the idea to have Eliza watch the younger kids in the nearby playroom while  Henry and I met with his eye doctor. It worked out really well. When I came to collect the kids, I found Forrest in the toy box. It was a little unexpected, but definitely made me smile. 

Andrew usually groans when I announce that soccer season is approaching. He knows that he won't have a Saturday morning to do as he pleases for weeks! However, I feel confident in saying that he enjoys watching the kid's play as much as I do. In the previous paragraph, I said that life isn't the production/circus it once was. As I consider soccer, I feel obligated to retract that statement!

This picture was taken on a day when I was in my car running my kids back and forth 
to different places all. day. long. 
To be fair, I don't feel like my kids are "over scheduled." 
I just have a lot of kids! And on that particular day several things lined up.
I caught a glimpse of what my future life has in store and have since 
decided that we're moving to a farm and adopting an Amish type life style. ;) 

Returning to soccer, Saturday mornings are tricky! Their schedules often conflict and Andrew is occasionally unable to come to games. Tomorrow, as an example, he will still be out of town on "business" (he is taking a customer on a fishing trip... poor guy!). Lottie and Henry both have games at 10:00. I'm grateful for friends and neighbors who help me out when I'm in a bind.

Something I've been thinking about lately is how it truly does "take a village" to raise a child. It's hard to reach out and ask for help. I've always said that these four children were our choice, so I can and should be able to manage it all. But really, there are days when I've really needed help! I try not to take advantage of the kindness of others and hope that I am returning favors in equal measure. Yes, we should be willing to serve and help our neighbors, family, etc. But I'm slowly realizing that we also experience circumstances when we will need to jump out of our comfort zones and ask for help! And that's okay. I believe the Lord was pretty serious when he asked us to serve our fellow man, in both the big and small ways.

Sheesh! Look who has a testimony of soccer favors? Ha! Ha!

Lottie played against one of her best friends on our first game this season.
They were SO FUN to watch! 
I hope they end up as teammates next season 
because chatting with Hadlee's Mom, Amy, is one of my favorite things!

So yes, soccer season is in full swing. I love it all (minus bad weather). Henry has scored his first goals ever this season (two so far!). His smile after those moments makes my heart explode. Lottie continues to prove that she is a complete rock star on the field. And Eliza's skills likewise continue to grow! The social component has been a real blessing in her life. Forrest wishes so much that he had a team of his own to claim. As a consolation prize, he seems fairly satisfied with the playgrounds that are his to explore as we hop around from one field to the next.

I'm trying to arrange more play dates for my kids. I'm trying to say "yes" more often. After friends come over, I am always super happy that I made the effort for my kids. Recently some friends came by for the morning. Since their visit, Forrest has been asking for another "play group" on a regular basis.

This one's a little random, but Henry came from school a few weeks ago COVERED in mud.
You can't tell from the picture, but it was on his face and in his hair too.
I didn't need to ask if he'd had a good day. 
It was clear that recess had been a BLAST.
(He was playing soccer goalie!)

Well folks, I made it through another catch up post. And it feels good. 
Just like Lottie after completing a tower of cups, I feel accomplished!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Easter Love

Here's a look back at this year's Easter celebrations:
Forrest is one of the big kids now. :) He's a real participant when we're doing activities like this. However, his understanding isn't at their level. After posing for this picture, he took a big bite out of one of the eggs. Disgusted by the vinegar soaked egg shell, he quickly spit it out! He makes us laugh and adds such joy to our family activities. I love him.

Easter Sunday at Church:.

Wanting to share some Aloha spirit with the kids, I thought it would be fun to buy them Hawaiian clothes for their Easter duds!
They looked adorable. Forrest's shoes deserve an honorable mention as he and I went to battle in a BIG way that morning. I presented him with two pairs of nice brown sandals to choose from. He was adamant to wear his "Sunday shoes" like his brother Henry. Hearing him, I said that would be fine as long as he wore his Sunday pants, like Henry. He responded with a resounding,

"Nooooooo!!!!" And so it began. I tried every trick, bribe, threat... I broke all the rules! But that child held firm. And I had to be on time to Church as I was speaking in Sacrament meeting. So he won that round. Now when I look at these picture, it makes me smile.
I felt good about my talk. I don't remember much of what I said, but people were very kind. I'm mostly happy because it's over!

Easter weekend, Henry got to know his new bunny which he named, Bunny Bee.
After church, my family came up for dinner and an Easter Egg hunt. Again, Forrest proved to be one of the big kids. He was DARLING to watch and stole most of my attention during the hunt.
Here's today's round of Easter videos:
Being a Mom is rough some days, but oh man, the good days are GOOD! Here a few more pictures, because why not!?