Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Music, Movies, and Magic

Well we're having a party up here. Yesterday Joseph and Ethan got to play with the Blue's Band like they did last year.
Natalie's been working on her own musical instrument in the hotel room, known as the door stopper.
She's becoming quite proficient. After music out by the pool, we all watched The Croods movie in "The Mine". That's a cute show.
Today I took the kids swimming. It's been an overcast day and there was a slight drizzle going on while were were out, but the water was warm, so we stayed. I was done after 20 minutes but ended up staying for 2 hours. Time just flies when you're having fun.
After swimming and a late lunch, we all watched a magic show in the lounge. The kids really liked it. Lily came into the room in tears cause she didn't get to do anything: didn't get to volunteer, didn't get to get her picture taken, didn't get to hold the bunny, woe is me. So I grabbed my camera and we hurried out and the magician was still there with his bunny. And her frown turned upside down.
We're having a good time. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Park City

We are up at Park City this week with Corey's family. I came home today to do a little bit of reunion stuff, as we have our 20 year coming up in less than 2 weeks and it would not be a good time to abandon our class president. Lily, Sophi, and Natalie were my captive companions. Sophi and Natalie don't know what's going on, but Lily knew she was missing out. Some pink ice cream kept her distracted for most of the day. :) Not sure how much I'll post this week, but we'll see. :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Perks of an Unfinished Basement

So. We're renting this house. Joseph has got the crazy idea that he can turn this home into his manly obstacle course haven. For example, he recently asked me (jokingly) if he could just build a big rock climbing wall on the big wall in the living room that I have yet to put any pictures or photographs on. He asked that knowing that my answer would be an eye stare that said "Really?" followed by a verbal reply "Absolutely not." Now, I admit that that room in particular shows that I'm in big need of some decorating help and inspiration, but... a rock climbing wall? Honestly Joseph. I'm trying to create a HOME, not a high school gym. He wants to destroy the back yard too and make it ugly with other Ninja obstacles. He's getting a little frustrated with me cause I usually say "no" to anything he suggests. I guess we do it to each other. I say no to them, they say no to me. "Will you do the dishes? Help me clean up? Mow the lawn?" No, no, and no. Well, they usually don't say no, they just feign they are deaf and then try to nonchalantly meander away from my view and then up the stairs into the lego room. We're all "No people" around here, we should try to me "Yes People" (like Yes Man, but females too and more than one).

So, I did say yes to Joseph this week. We have an unfinished basement. And he asked if he could create a cliff hanger on a beam down there. Sure, I give. Go ahead.
I think that will be okay. Didn't ask the owners of the house, but they're our friends and are pretty chill and I think they'd be all right with this. Cause it's an unfinished basement. And cause we can take those down, with the only permanent damage being some holes in the beam, which I'm sure will be covered if the basement is ever finished. So go ahead. And another perk of this is that he's learning some skills about being handy which I can hopefully exploit to get him to do some of my big project ideas someday.
The wood is holding pretty good, he might have stripped the screws (from what I could decipher from the sounds he was making with the drill) meaning maybe we won't be able to get those things off, but we'll figure that out when we need to. His fingers have been getting a good workout.
We talked about us doing Ninja Warrior together in several years when he's 21, but I don't know if I have it in me... I'm still trying to do an unassisted pull up, but now I have Joseph challenging/nagging me to try his cliff hanger! I told him to not ask me again until I can do a pull up. Baby steps for this old mother, ok? I need baby steps.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Soccer Games

We've been playing soccer games in the back yard this week - after dinner we all go out. Usually some of the neighbor kids are playing with us too. There are 6 of my kids pin the photo above 3 neighbor kids. Can you tell who's who? Joseph likes to play sans shoes.
We can't let the playing of the game wait or depend on lack of little children in the way, so we just try to be careful, but your team does lose a point if someone hits Natalie.
We give her the spare ball and then she walks back and forth across the field of play unawares of the danger she is in. It's fun.
THOSE LITTLE LEGS!!!! Oh, it is so cute to see her walking around, I could just watch her all day!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Stepping Up the Ninja

Joseph and Ethan got back from their band tour in San Diego late on Sunday night. Ethan was in some weird mood on Monday morning and began playing "Ninja". He taught everyone "Now YOU can be a ninja too and all you need is just a simple t-shirt!"
It helped him step up the ninja-ness during the TV viewing of our family's current favorite show - AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR!! (go listen to their host say that if you want to know the proper pronunciation there, lol :)
How quick are his reflex skills against his Ninja brother? Not bad. And for the next 48 hours we've had ninja's everywhere. Climbing the walls...
sneaking my camera and taking Ninja Gangsta selfies....
And practicing on their kid version of American Ninja Warrior that they're making in the back yard.
Glad that my gardening gloves could find another way to contribute to their childhoods... they haven't ruined them yet.
So there is Wesley hangin on the swing chain and again with his side kick, the Rainbow Ninja (aka Lily).
Wesley today was begging his little sisters to come play with him. Hyrum shouted from another room and asked "Why do you want to play with Abi?!?!" "Cause she doesn't laugh at my games!" was his honest reply. Wes is young enough that he still plays imagination games... but, like Natalie, he's not listening to me and is growing up. He's going into 4th grade this year. He won't play his creative games with his older brothers around. Childhood comes with an expiration date. Hope we've got another year on Wes's carefree and creative childhood, he's such a sweet little kid.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dribbling Toddler

Well, here it goes... continuing my attempt to catch up with the digital age, I here present my first attempt at taking videos with my phone, and my first attempt at uploading a video to the blog here since when we were in Chile. Let's see if this works... So on Sunday we were chilling in the front room and adoring Natalie's new toddler waddle. She's been taking steps here and there the past two weeks, but is officially on the go for real this week and now prefers walking to crawling. So we gave her room to practice and all smiled as we watched her. I guess she's all grown up (sniff). And since she is walking, she's also decided to waste no time to pick up her first sport...
video
Corey's advice to her when she stumbled as she dribbled the ball toward him: "I think you should master walking first..."
video
I think we have a little soccer player on our hands! Maybe by the time she's ready for soccer, I'll actually feel up to committing some of our family time to sports. It's a long shot, but a toddler can dream. :)


Monday, July 21, 2014

Band Party

This past Saturday, our neighbors hosted a band party. The Ken Foster Trio came and performed songs and the kids danced, it was a lovely summer evening. (Doing the chicken dance below)
After chit chatting with the band for a minute, Corey went home and got the tenor sax. (He's trying to inspire Hyrum to play I think.) Hyrum listened and was a great helper with Natalie, who just couldn't stop moving to the rhythm.
Everyone enjoyed hotdogs plus lots of yummy side dishes and desserts. Melodie and her friend did their teenager thing
Abi danced and danced. When the band took a break, she went and joined the other kids in the sprinklers. But she did seem very happy to dance to her hearts content in front of a willing audience (as opposed to her slightly reluctant audience in pictures 3 and 4 there... she loves to perform!)
Hyrum played a bit of soccer in the yard of one of the hosts - and it is just one of the most gorgeous yards around - tall pine trees give it a "hey were in the mountains" feel, but there's also a view over the valley from the grass and swing set. A little hazy with the smokey air. But Lily and Hyrum loved it over there.
And thus was a perfect summer evening, which I feel are going to soon be coming to a close. I can hear the school year knocking at the door. Nooo!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Knowledge through Experience

Now I know.
I'd heard some neighbors talk and complain and say why they didn't like them, and so I kind of knew, but I didn't know. I couldn't really sympathize cause I hadn't experiences it and felt it in my heart. But now I have, and now I know. 'Cause this morning I went outside to water the flowers and it was over. I had been trying to take pictures to see their growth day by day, but alas, they were gone.

The deer ate my roses.

Now I liked the deer, I really did. And I guess I still do... They made our home have a Snow White forest enchantment to it. But now I know again that there is opposition in all things. Deer have opposition. Roses have thorns, and deer eat roses.
I've been reading the book "Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy" by Richard G. Scott, and on page 161, he says "When did you last observe a tiny rosebud form? Each day it develops new and impressive character, more promise of beauty, until it becomes a magnificent rose." So I'd already been loving flowers before I read that, and after I read that, I tried to take even more pause and pleasure in beholding the flowers. And each day they grew bigger and they seemed that they were about to burst. This morning I went out to see if any colored petals were peaking through, but alas, they'd all been snipped off. I felt a sense of loss. Sure, they are a little smaller on the scale of God's creations. I'd rather see a dead rose on the ground than a dead deer on the side of the road. And deer do need to eat (I don't envy them... probably such a hard life trying to feel satisfied by eating plants all day...) But still, poor little flowers! They didn't fulfil the measure of their creation! And I felt sad for them. And the deer ate part of the top of one of my tomato plants too. (sniff!)
(Kinda funny when I found out later via facebook that my neighbor had caught the culprits in action!!)
SO, now I know by experience why the deer can be a negative when it comes to the yard, and I can truly console and sympathize with my neighbors. We'll mourn our plants together. I will still like the deer, but I am going to shoo them away if I see them pausing in our lot for lunch. I'm also keeping the back gate closed. I went out and hunted for any other new rose life to ease my pain after the initial shock wore off, and there are like 7 very very small rose bud tips that were hidden and small enough that they went unnoticed. But I can't put a gate around them in front yard. So we'll just have to say a prayer for them and life will go on. Grow little flowers ~ become the magnificent roses you were destined to become! But you're gonna have to watch out for teeth.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Little Bookworm

I love it when I walk around a corner to find a little moment like this ~
Cute little feet fidgeting as my little princess reads Cinderella with a pink heart balloon watching from above. Priceless. Hey Sophi!
I love you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Life Goes On

I absolutely love these pink and yellow roses in our front yard, aren't they amazing! Sigh, just heaven!
A flower a day keeps the blues away! (Or two flowers, or three...)
Things are going well here. It's been a bit quiet around the house this week, kinda... Melodie's been at Oakcrest Girl's camp, she left on Monday, and then this morning Joseph and Ethan left for a Jazz Band tour in San Diego. They'll be gone through next Tuesday. We hardly know what to do with ourselves with only 6 kids. I did mess up dinner - we set the table and dished up food for 6 kids, without remembering that one of them was Natalie who doesn't sit at the table yet. So there were lots of kids eager to eat up the extra orange chicken, which is always a kid favorite. We had extra large portions without the big boys around hogging the food, the little boys liked that. Mel doesn't make so much of a difference either way food wise cause she eats like a bird.

Speaking of birds, here's a funny story. Yesterday, about mid morning, I was in the bed nursing Natalie and half asleep when there was a big crash noise. I jumped up out of bed with a start and Natalie slept through it and I looked around to what had just caused my heart attack, since there were no children within sight. Hmm, other clues... I notice that the framed collage picture and a few other things I had displayed up high in a bedroom window had been knocked to the floor - and there were feathers on the outside of the window. (the frame is put back up in the window here below)
So feathers gave a clue that it was a bird, and that said bird probably hit the window pretty hard. So hard that it was able to cause the collage picture leaning next to it to tumble to the floor below. The picture brought with it a little jewelry box that I got from my Grandma when I was in elementary school (that I have small fragile keepsakes and mementos in) and it knocked the little music box part off of the top lid. I think I might be able to fix that with super glue... the small keepsakes were still intact.
And the fall of the frame also knocked a little glass unicorn to the floor. This is a little thing that Corey got me for Christmas to invoke admiration from his young princess daughters. They were in awe at what a special gift it was for me - it was glass, fragile, sparkly, glittery, pink, and pretty. Yes, this fragile unicorn and her winged fairy friend got pulverized by the robin hitting my window in a freak accident.
I showed the kids what happened to my very special gift. They were impressed that I wasn't weeping and wailing. We went out side to see if we could see a dead bird on the roof. It was there and it was upright, but it wasn't moving. We watched it stand still like a statue and then got a broom to kinda poke at it to see if it was alive and then it very very slightly turned it's head toward us. Ok, looks like it's not dead, I guess he was just trying to see straight again and recover from his very very bad headache. So that's the story of the young robin learning to fly that crashed into our master bedroom window and destroyed my very special glass unicorn. And I still haven't had a chance to look for the super glue, but I did clean up a can of comet cleaner that Natalie poured out on the kitchen floor. And cleaned off about half of the black permanent marker that Sophi drew in my window sills again (How is it that permanent markers always end up laying around the house within the reach of these toddlers!!?!? Discovered the culprit but she wasn't around to yell at ~ Mel was using that one on Monday morning to mark her luggage for camp.) And also Sophi poured herself an overflowing glass of milk on the stairs, got the carpet all wet. And life goes on. :) The end.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Do Good Anyway

Little story. So yesterday Ethan had band practice in American Fork. I took Natalie with me as usual. It was 105 degrees outside (aka hot). I didn't want to go in and out of the car running different errands, so we just chilled in Target the whole time.
She started loosing patience with me near the end, but on a scale of 1-10 for how good she was, it was an 8, which was an improvement. Usually she's a 4 (below average). She doesn't like to sit in the seat. So I have to keep her caged in the cart. So, yeah, hot day. Natalie was a good sport, and after killing an hour and a half we head back to get Ethan. He comes out and says it's hot. I agree. Natalie hadn't eaten anything during the whole 2 hours (drive down & time at Target) so I'm thinking let's go get a Frosty. As we turn right to go to Wendys, I see a young lady on the corner across the street with a cardboard sign. We'd have to come back this way to get on the freeway, and I thought it might be nice to give her something. I tend to try to avoid giving cash (didn't have any anyway), so I thought we could get a frosty for her. Afterall, it was 105 degrees outside. She had to be hot out there. So, we get small vanilla frosty's for Natalie and Ethan, and I have Ethan sit in the front with a large chocolate frosty to give to this lady as we pass her on our way home. But she had just switched corners and was across the street, so we turn right and pull a u turn to come back to deliver this frosty. She says thank you and God bless. Then we turn right again and pull a u turn again so we can come back to the same intersection again and turn left this time to go home. We are at the light to turn left, she is on the left corner from us still with her sign, and when the light turns red and no cars are passing her, she goes to her backpack and picks up the frosty and starts walking. She holds it up as if she's showing it to someone in the distance. Then, apparently receiving her non-verbal answer from this person, turns to go back to her corner, and tosses the frosty in the storm drain on the grass as she walks by. And then I kinda felt sad. Sad for several reasons. Sad that my offering wasn't appreciated. Sad that I'd given her a frosty when maybe what she really needed was money to pay rent? A little sad that I'd even bothered trying. But then thought of this quote that I had just read earlier that morning:
The things I do, the things others do, really aren't just between us mortals here on this planet, it's between us and God. So I guess I'll probably give out a frosty again someday anyway. I got out of my sad mood after we had a FHE lesson on that quote and this scripture from D&C 88:32-33:

"...They shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift."

And then we talked about how we need to see and recognize God's gifts to us ~ the beautiful trees outside every window of our house, the mountains, the sunshine, the amazing full moon that we saw rise on our drive home from Scofield Saturday night (amazing moon) ~ We need to see them, appreciate and receive them, and thank and rejoice in the Lord who gives them. They are all gifts from him. 

And then we had our usual Monday night FHE activity of watching American Ninja Warrior. Go Mighty Kacy Catanzaro - she did SOOOO GOOD! 

And do you know what I just love about Ninja Warrior - is that everyone is cheering each other on. It's not a competition against each other, it's a competition against the obstacle, and everyone cheers and supports and celebrates with each person with each obstacle they beat. That is how I want my life to be. Like Mother Teresa said~ be kind, be good, succeed, and be happy anyway!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Scofield Weekend

We had a fun weekend boating and water skiing with some neighborhood friends over the weekend. They have a trailer home in Scofield and we all go down there for a day of fun on the water.
We had a lovely drive down, the scenery in the canyon was gorgeous. After we arrived we all enjoyed some snacks and the kids played games.
We stayed up too late talking and then headed in around midnight for a mega sleepover. What is a mega sleepover? A mega sleepover is a sleepover where 5 families with their abundance of children all sleep in a 3 bedroom trailer home.
Seriously, the plethora of people included us (11) Felix's (8) Dahle's (4 - dad had work) Morgans (8) and Jensen's (6), which equals... 37 people! Yes, P-A-R-T-Y!! There was no vacancy in this Scofield hotel, which is why Melodie slept under the kitchen table.
There were just little bodies sleeping everywhere. We sounded out a warning for everyone to be sure to use the bathroom before bed, or someone might get their face walked on during the night.
Corey was lucky, we got a bedroom and a bed cause we had the youngest kid. (Thanks Natalie!!)
So after the mega sleepover, we all went out for fun in the sun. First round on the water was the little kids (cause we figured they'd most likely just want one turn anyway and then be done.) Older kids waited by the shore or in the paddle boat.
Younger kids had fun being pulled. Don't have to go too fast for them to feel a thrill.
Next up, it's time for the big boys to show their stuff ~
Highlight of that round for most all of us was watching from the boat was seeing these 4 take a spill.
It was the only wipe out of the day on the tube. 
However, after that, Hyrum wouldn't go cause he didn't want to fall in. Wes listened to Hyrum and didn't want to go either. I convinced Wesley to take a ride by being the adult that went along, and I said there were no plans to get wet since I was in my clothes.
We took a nice slow ride back to the dock ~ can you tell it was slow by the older girls showing how bored they are in the picture above? There were lots of wipeouts later when the tube crowd took a break and the skiers hit the lake... It was my first time waterskiing! I was one of the last to go, and after watching everyone else struggle to get up, I knew what to do and was able to get up on my first try! Go me! I went twice and got up both times, which impressed my hot shot boys, which was my main objective. They hate to be shown up by their mom, right? But also helps them respect me a little more cause I'm tough. :) Both Joseph and Ethan got up too, they did great, it was a lot of fun! After that I went back to the house for lunch and I made some strawberry watermelon lemonade, yummy! :) Then we mom's sat around and talked as the men, who had been great baby sitters for most of the morning, had their turn on the water with the kids. Corey got up skiing on the Felix's boat, Katie took 13 kids tubing on her boat, and it was just a perfect wonderful day.
We took a big group photo at the end of the day. Natalie was being super silly ~
Yelling and sticking out her tongue and making us all laugh.
We've got a great group of kids, so glad that they all have great friends and that we do too. :)
If anyone wants to come and join our little corner of heaven, there are quite a few houses for sale in our neighborhood! :) We feel so blessed to be able to rent this home and to have such great friends. Life is great.
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