Monday, June 18, 2018

First Attempt at Mission Pictures

I attempted to take a few mission photos of Joseph last night. We probably waited too long and they were a bit dark, but this one was pretty good -
He went in and got Corey's old name badge from Chile, so we've got Elder Wride II reppin' La Iglesia De Jesus Cristo De Los Santos De Los Ultimos Dias. The field is white!
Although I'm pretty sure the field next to us is tares, not wheat. You're looking like a legit missionary Joseph! Good thing, cause you just got 8 days and then it will be really real! But it's not real yet, so take off that badge -
We might try for a few more photos later today or this week. We're also getting family pictures taken today. Ethan is gone at BYU Summerfest, so we're going down there for the photos so he won't miss too much of his lessons and activities or whatever they got goin' on. Which means I should stop procrastinating here and get everyone's clothes ready and hair done. I still have 5 hours, I got time, right? It's been a lazy morning. We stayed up until 1:30 last night talking with Joseph.
One by one all the kids crashed around us. Except for Owen, who fell asleep at 9 and then woke up at 10:30 cause we were all still awake, that was when I knew our night was going to be messed up.
But we only have a few more chances for our late night deep talk sessions, so it might be worth it, even though we all somewhat regreted it this morning (ugh, my morning routine is so off... I feel like I owe Holly an apology!) A few more pictures, I stayed after church for an hour for a meeting, when I got home, I saw this little character zonked out on the couch -
His face was not relaxed, those little eyebrows concentrating hard... it was like he was really trying to focus to stay asleep. Our little Daniel Tiger!
We had a nice family talk after church, talking about how life is about to change, and it will keep changing. Joseph wanted to share this song with us that he likes. He shared it with me on our car ride back from the Las Vegas Temple. Very pretty song. Corey and I were weepy, which made some of the other kids tear up too. We're going to miss Joseph. We want you to go on a mission, we don't want you to stay home, but we will really miss you. 
Corey has been saying for a while that we've taught him everything we know to teach him, now it's time to go get lessons from the wrold. There's not much for you here, and you're not missing anything. We'll just be loading the dishwasher and all the usual stuff, and life will be a lot the same when you come back home, but you will have had so much growth and experience that YOU will definitely not be the same. We're excited for him, cause we know what it's like on the other end.

Another picture - a lovely father's day rainbow outside while I was talking on the phone with my dad. It was at his house first and I went out to see, but we didn't have out, but I went in and got my camera so I'd be ready if it did show up, and soon it did, a big 180 rainbow, so pretty.

Friday, June 8, 2018

First Day of Summer Vacation!

Everyone is finally done with school. so it's official - Summer is here and we are ready to kick it in gear! On Wednesday I finally looked at the family economy blog that Nicole told me about a few weeks ago - a new system that she is using. I called Nicole when I was driving Wesley to band practice on Wednesday and we talked about it again and then I pulled over to look up the link which she had already sent me a few times that I still hadn't looked at! I told her I needed to do it now before I got distracted again. I pulled over in the shade and read about it on my phone while Owen and Daniel napped in the car for a few minutes. Then I drove by a bank and got a few (is 12 a few?) blank check registers for our family to use. When I got home, I put the book "The Entitlement Trap" on hold at the library, and started to figure out our family's economy. Yesterday I had the first draft ready to go!
I was going to use 4 cleaning/chore "zones" like she talked about on that Raise The Good website, but after fiddling with that and assigning two kids to an area and kinda dividing the area anyway, I figured it would be easier for us to have an area for each child, just to be clear and so they each know the specific area they are in charge of. Yesterday I worked out the kinks, finished up this paper above, printed out a few copies, and we are all ready to go on Monday! I'm excited. This is actually pretty similar to the clipboard system we used in the fall when I was on top of it and feeling unstoppable and getting the kids involved. There is a link at that link of my chore chart for the kids in November. If you open it, you'll see the similarities to the one above. That one worked really well, but it got too much for me to follow through to keep them accountable. The parental follow up I think is really the key ingredient to any family chore system. So I do believe this new way will help them be more motivated and responsible (via bigger payments) plus it's easier for me to follow up on. I have an alarm set at 9 to check who is not awake, an alarm for 10 to check rooms, and then the other things don't have any more deadlines during the day until 9pm when we gather for scriptures. and I really think this system wilthink this will be better because it's more simple and will be easier for the kids to follow through with and for me to check up on to hold us all accountable. So day 1 is Monday, the teenagers are kinda shrugging their shoulders though cause the boys are leaving for high adventure on Tuesday and Mel is leaving for girls camp on Wednesday, but we gotta start, so we'll see how it work with the younger kids next week and I hope this works! Fingers crossed. As long as I show up each day and follow through, I think the kids will too.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Last Day of School

The older kids were done with school on March 25, but the elementary kids, who are in a different school district, still had two more weeks. But then we went on a week long vacation. Kindergarten finished while we were gone cause they end a week earlier than the rest of the school, so Sophi totally sluffed her last week. She had an evaluation on Tuesday and got to say goodbye to her teacher. And today was the last day for Abi and Lily, and thus was the official last day for all our family. Here's a picture of Abi and Lily at the bus stop with all their friends - Smile!
And now, be silly!
Over at the school, they ended the year as they usually do, with a dance festival. Abi's grade did a dance to "Footloose". I was in my usual "I am here out of parental duty" and thus the song felt a little long...
Abi, good work on your dance! 
Lily's grade did "September" - Do you remember, the 21st night of September?
They both did a good job. And it wasn't too hot for the adults. Poor kids were out in the sun as they waited their turns.
This year the fire truck came yesterday for field day instead of today, which I think was good, cause they are always so hot on field day, plus they're also already usually wet from the dunk tank. And having it spray the kids after the dance festival just throws the whole group into chaos. Wesley wanted to come see the performance. He made them french toast to eat. Brought and served with a little side of apricot jelly and maple syrup.
What a nice brother, and yay Abi and Lil', you're finally done! Off to summer break for us, hooray!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Family Vacay Highlights

Well hello. I didn't give the heads up here, but if you couldn't tell, we've been gone. We spent the past week in California on a little family trip. Our "last" family vacation before our first bird flies from the nest (in 3 weeks!) We got back yesterday and I have a ton of unpacking and laundry to do. Plus, I have a lot of catching up here to do, as always. Before I get into catching up with the fun and details of each day, I thought I'd cover a few of the highlights. We left Monday morning around 6 and stopped in Mesquite for lunch at McDonalds, then finished our drive down with a couple of hours added to the trip because of bad traffic. We arrived Monday night. Tuesday we went swimming at the hotel and went to the beach at Crystal Cove. 
It was fun but quite chilly. Wednesday... we drove up to LA to try to visit La La Land sites. That was a fail. We can back in the evening for more swimming and fun at the resort -
And Joseph and I went to the Newport Temple while Corey took the kids to Laguna Beach.
When we came back Corey gave a lesson about God's creations - (we need a long couch like this!)
How God has created "world's without number" (Moses 1:33) - which is what it's like trying to count one tiny pinch of sand from the beach. Thursday we went to Disney's California Adventure. Corey and I took turns watching the little boys. One amazing thing was just happening to run into MY SISTER from Texas at Bug's Life land! How crazy is that?!?!
She showed me how to use the Disney app and I took the first half of the day watching the little boys and ordered fast passes for later. When Corey tagged me in, I took the kids and we went on some rides. Riding the Radiator Spring Racer cars with Natalie and Sophi was one of my highlights. We met up with Mel and Wes on that - they jumped into the fastpass lane with us, we saved them a good hour! Then we went over to use our Guardians of the Galaxy fast pass where Ethan and Joseph found us, and after giving sad eyes to the Disney cast member letting me into the fast pass lane, she said "oh, you guys can go!" so we all went on that together! The teenage boys were happy
Then over to Soaring - we got a whole row for us
Then to Grizzly Rapids together
Then I tagged Corey back in and they went to Radiator Racers for Corey to use a fast pass with the kids while I took another turn with the toddlers - Daniel pet McQueen like he was a soft kitten.
Walking out of the park, it was fun to see Corey and Joseph walking with little kids on their shoulders. I joined in, then Ethan, and soon we were all carrying someone! Mel was the odd man out and took the picture for us. It was a good way to get to the bus faster and not loose little kids!
Friday we checked out and headed to Las Vegas. More swimming - Owen learned how to swim with floaties!
 Joseph and I went to the Las Vegas Temple on Saturday morning.
And I got lots of pictures of awesome flowers, like these desert flowers at the temple. So pretty.
So there's some high lights and pictures, I'll give more details of the fun each day soon.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Temple Endowment

Well, this kid is just a go-getter done. Graduation yesterday in the (as Hugh Nibley said) "In the black robes of a false priesthood" - today in the white robes of the temple. Yes, Joseph went to the temple today to receive his endowment. It was a very special experience. Joseph looked a little tired, but he said he wasn't. (They had a graduation party from 10pm to 2 am last night, then he went to an after party until 3... Joseph, that's not exactly following a missionary schedule!) We knew he was going to have a late night, which is why we scheduled for him to go to the 2:30 session. He and Corey had to be at the temple at 1:15. I woke Joseph up a little bit after noon at 12:45. So that's enough hours of sleep, but I'd definitely say you're body clock has gotta be a bit messed up from that. So anyway, it was very nice. All of his grandparents were there, along with two of my siblings - Neil and Beka. Well, I think that's the last thing you need to get done, Joseph! You're outta here! All ready to go now, and not a moment too soon - you leave one month from today, crazy!
We're going to miss him. In the temple we joined in a prayer where they prayed for the missionaries. That's you in 30 days, Joseph! Members of the church around the world will be in the temple praying for you - for your safety and success. We love you and know you'll be a great missionary! 

Friday, May 25, 2018

High School Grad

How weird is this - we have our first high school grad!
Joseph is part of the Skyline Graduating Class of 2018! Joseph with his bffs, Scotty and Talmage.
They had one last day of school today - to get refunds and a few more yearbook signatures. He went by his grandparents' house afterward and Corey's mom had made Joseph this cute "cake" of cash with a stuffed emoji on top  -
We drove down to the Huntsman center together with Joseph. He had to get there early for orchestra rehearsal. We had to stop by Skyline first with a prayer that it would be open so he could get his bass clarinet. Luckily it was open (I was worried) and we were soon on our way. After dropping Joseph off, Corey and I went out for a quick dinner since it was an hour before the ceremony began. As the class of 2018 procession began, Joseph was at the front of the line so he could walk up and join the orchestra.
After playing in the orchestra, he went and led the Madrigals in singing the Skyline Hymn.
One funny thing - when Joseph got eliminated for not getting his target in the Senior Assassin game, and his target that time was someone in Madrigals with him. She saw him one night sitting out her house waiting to get her. She texted him later "#notmypresident" - we thought that was funny.
After leading the Madrigals, he joined them and they sang "There You'll Be"
He's like going back and forth being all Mr. Talented again - like at the Mads in the Moonlight concert (last pictures at that link). It's been a busy year for this musical kid.
After the madrigals were done, I didn't see where Joseph went. I looked and looked, eventually we figured out that he'd gone back to the orchestra to be ready for another number. As I looked for Joseph, I spotted his BFFs in the crowd.
Finally found him when the orchestra played again. Then the seniors in the orchestra joined the class sitting - Joseph got one of the best seats in the house.
He told me afterward that he didn't see me and was actually waving to one of his friends on the stand. Oh well, the pic still kinda looks like you're saying hi to me, so I'll take it. With the front row seat he was one of the first to receive his diploma case. "Joseph Wride!" - bravo!
Making jokes with the principal.
And after another 600 names, we were done. Taking pictures with friends outside.
Good job Joseph! We think we've taught him about everything we can and he's as ready as he can be, now it's time for him to go learn from the world. Off to Gutemala in a month! This was the first of what will be four years in a row of Skyline graduation ceremonies, I have a feeling life is going to continue to rush past and might be a blur. Hence the reason why I try and blog here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Governor - Take 2

The fun news of the day is that Wesley won Governor. This was the only almost focused shot I got - He was swinging around his light saber (the COW had a Star Wars theme this year). Wes, you're a cutie.
Now, Wes, I know you might be at about that age where you don't want to be called cute anymore, but I don't think there's much you can do about it at the moment. Cute Wes might be the shortest governor Churchill has ever had. (Don't let it get to you W! You'll grow, I promise). Here are a few pictures that Ethan shared on his Instagram, as he felt it his duty as a former governor. The kid that Ethan announced as Governor last year (Eli something?) was the one that read Wesley's name - "And now, the moment you've all been waiting for..." They announced the Governor at the very very last, after a few "We're gonna announce it now... oh wait, we forgot that Dance Company is going to do one more number" and "Ok, here we go! Oh wait, there's Kylo Ren, just a sec" and they did a little battle. I found out from the school SBO advisor last night that Wes won, but Wes didn't want us to tell him, so he was kinda stressing out with all the delays. The build up was worth it though. There are not many moments in your life that will make an assembly room of kids stand up and cheer and scream at the mention of your name.
Ethan was there 2 years ago, he found out though, and his was a close race from what he could tell. Wes had a feeling that he had run a solid campaign and had a good chance of taking it. Exciting times, the SBO leader tradition continues.
Ethan felt so grown up back at the junior high - he's such a big high schooler now! His height really has shot up the past year and a half, gonna be tall like his dad. There's hope for you too, Wes.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Little Cottonwood Creek and Trail

I went on a morning walk this morning, and it was sooo lovely. 
Oh, this canyon makes me feel so happy!
My heart was full and singing with "I love life!" and "I love this world!!" I teared up looking at this rock with it's drill holes - I thought of the work and sacrifice that went on in this canyon years ago to create the Salt Lake Temple. Working for their God, sacrificing for future generations, so we can be sealed to our families forever. The creek is so amazing ~
...the flowers are so cute and lovely ~
it's just heaven. Sigh, I love where we live, I love nature, I love the sound of the water, I love the shaded path ~
I just love everything today.
Me thinks I should go on a walk up here everyday.
After an hour of walking and telling myself "just a little bit more" I decided it was time to turn around and hurry home.
Walking back down the canyon -
I was feeling so happy that I thought even the dandelions should be represented and appreciated for their contribution to the world.
The symmetry is a redeeming quality. But know this, if you show up in my yard, you're dead.
Tiny tiny white flowers!
So after 2 hours of being on cloud 9, I headed home with plans to bring the kids up later today to show them the wonderland I discovered. Good news is - I found a short cut and a very close place to park - so we could park and then be on the the shaded trail. We headed up the canyon around 7pm  - Mel, Wesley, Natalie, Owen and Daniel. Bad news - it was evening time and the mountain bikers were heading home - many of them coming down the mountain VERY fast. So there was a risk that if I wasn't diligent and constantly on alert, one of my toddlers might get run over, which took away somewhat from the relaxing nature walk I envisioned for us. Still, it was great. Wesley discovered this granite rock with a ton of drill holes in it, I was surprised that I hadn't noticed it this morning, wow! I'm guessing this was the practice rock back in the quarry days?
Mel took one look and was ready to throw up.
(She's got trypophobia. I first learned about that from Stephanie Nielsen, funny post) Daniel wanted to poke his fingers in the holes.
So fun. Owen wanted to put little broken sticks in them. But he was mostly entertained by throwing rocks into the river, followed by giving a "Woo-hoo!" cheer to himself.  Natalie was proud of how big she was, she can hold a BIG stick! She had it over her head like Atlas, but my phone camera wasn't quick enough -
Owen's turn to put sticks in the big rock in the background there. It was such a huge rock. So cool.
I've decided next Saturday our summer tradition begins - "Morning hikes with Mom!" It's gonna be great. 
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