Monday, July 31, 2017

Park City 2017

Yesterday was the first day of our week at Park City. I didn't go up yesterday. I'm going to be at home every night with our sick little boys. But we'll be going up tomorrow and most days this week. I'd rather drive up there and back 7 times than stay there and try to deal with getting two sick boys to sleep when they don't have their usual beds and routines. And this picture I think accurately captures why I will be doing that:
I snapped that picture for Corey to let him know how my first day at PC was going this year. He had to come down to the valley for an important meeting and that is why I went up. I was up there to make lunch. Then around 1 we all went swimming. It was cute to watch Daniel, who went for a little swim in the hot tubs.
Owen didn't want to swim but enjoyed splashing in the puddles by the pools.
I am glad some of the pools are in the shade so I don't have to worry about if they got enough sun block.
After swimming, these two were tired and needed a nap pronto, but we went into "The Mine" for a little bit. They had a movie on, and there are toys to play with, including big legos and a train, which Owen loved.
But he started to get frustrated cause the train cars magnets would come apart pretty easily when he started to move it. I'd fix it, he's play, they's break apart after one minute, he'd freak out and yell really loud, I'd fix it, Daniel was getting fussy, but Owen's freaking out again, and I'm wondering who I can call for help?
Eventually it was time to go. Daniel needed food and a nap. I tried finding one of my kids and/or taking the two tired babies to our room... no luck. Soon, thankfully, Corey's sister Nancy rescued me as she saw me struggling with them in the hall.
Nancy took Daniel and he crashed on her bed, then I was able to find Owen's binky and lay down with him, which I wouldn't have to do at home. But a plus from that is that I got to take a nap too! Still, I almost vowed not to come up again this week. It just doesn't work. My kids say they want to play with Owen and Daniel, but that's like for 30 min, maybe an hour, and then they are no help. They're all off and swimming or playing and I'm left to fend for myself with these two. After we woke up, Corey was back, we all had dinner, and I headed back home. I'm sleeping at home cause I have two sick kids plus a lot of caterpillars to feed. 
This has been our best year yet! I gave them fresh plants yesterday, but there are 18 of these big boys and they eat up the plants really quickly. I drove by the place where I've been picking up milkweed on the way home and after getting the boys in their beds, I ran in with the fresh plants and started to move them over.
Phew! I was glad they were all still on the plant. I seriously thought they'd all be crawling on the walls looking for food.
So, that was day one at Park City. Life is good. I think the kids are cashing in on their activity passes on Thursday. Joseph leaves for a band tour on Thursday morning, but it's okay if he misses out cause he didn't get enough points anyway. Wesley made a little joke about that in the talk he gave at church yesterday. Yesterday morning, I tried to help him write it, but my mind was blank. So we woke up Corey for him to help. Corey was staying home with O&D. When Wesley gave his talk, he did such a great and cute job - he had everyone chuckling. Read it and see if you can tell where we are all laughing. I think Corey wrote most of it (he has such great wit), but he had great delivery and it was really cute. Here's his talk:

Good morning brothers and sisters. I’ve been asked to speak on the subject of “Gratitude on the Sabbath”.

This morning felt weird and different to me because for the past six days we’ve had a work challenge in our family. We’re going to Park City this week and my parents made us a deal that they would buy each of us a pass to the Alpine Slide and other games if we earned 110 points during the week.

It was really hard work! Last Sunday my dad made a list of all the activities we could do to earn points and each of us got to choose the ones we thought we could do. We made a deal and every day my parents would check boxes off on a clipboard. We had to get up early, go to bed early, finish our jobs early, do extra jobs, babysit Daniel and Owen, read books for hours, earn money, practice music for hours and do other hard things. I have a cold-sore on my lip, but still had to practice the trumpet and I even studied for a college entrance exam.

Not all my brothers and sisters did the deal - one didn’t want to clean and another made the deal, but then slacked off and was out with friends when we had our meetings to discuss progress. I’m not sure what will happen to them.

So this morning I woke up and I wasn’t in a hurry to finish any chores and earn points. I had got used to hurrying and working hard, but this morning I didn’t have anything that I had to do (except write this talk). It’s been really nice to rest and I feel extra happy to relax today after having worked so hard the previous six days. I’m grateful that Sunday is a day of rest.

While we were adding up the points last night, no one had reached their goal of 110. We were all at 107 or under. We all tried to look sad. My sister Abi had worked very hard and she was about to cry. Then my dad read this verse from 2nd Nephi.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

This verse means “do your best and god does the rest.” This is what it is like at heaven and on our way there, God is not gonna be there with a clipboard and say “You almost made it to heaven but you made these mistakes. You did this wrong, you can’t come in” As long as you did your best to keep the deal until the end, he will let you in. You don’t have to be perfect, just do your best and stay in the church. So my dad decided to follow God’s example and buy us the tickets to the Alpine Slide even though we didn’t fully earn it. He said it was a gift and we should be grateful.

We should be grateful for that. Today as we study the Gospel and learn of more we can do for our deal with God, we should be grateful that Christ will always make up the difference where we fall short.

Elder Henry Enrying has said: "Of all the blessings we can count, the greatest by far is the feeling of forgiveness that comes as we partake of the sacrament...As we partake of the bread and water, we remember that He suffered for us. And when we feel gratitude for what He has done for us, we will feel His love for us and our love for Him. The blessing of love we receive will make it easier for us to keep the commandment to “always remember him.” ...We can count all those blessings every Sunday and feel grateful.” I say these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sleepy Hollow Again

Last night Hyrum and Abi made another family activity happen. They were cutting it close getting their points stuff done, but they really wanted to take another trip down to the Sleepy Hollow. Corey had taken the younger kids to a park that was close by it, so the older kids finished up a few tasks and then we went. It was getting late and the sun would be setting soon, but we had about an hour in the gully. Owen liked the water ~
The older kids walked up the stream. Owen wanted to follow their lead, but we took him out and had him come up the trail with us.
I dare say that a little stream like this could manage to fill the gap left in our lives by not having a beach close by anymore (we miss Playa Conchal, Flamingo, Tamarindo... the kids want to go back to Costa Rica). All you need is a place to build castles and throw dirt/rocks. So we don't have an ocean, but we can use this! It's got sand and water and that's all kids need for their imagination to kick start.
Owen loved throwing the little rocks into the stream. I remember when we lived in Virginia years ago, I took Hyrum on a one on one, and what did that 3 year old want to do? Go throw "rockets" from a little bridge into a small stream. So we did, and I loved it. These little kids don't need much, we just need to get rid of so much excess and take a walk out into the natural world around us. Practically in our own backyard. It was a beautiful simple family activity, and I really can't believe that it's so close. We've lived here for over 6 years, I've jogged or walked past here for years but I just found out about this little secret place. Sure, it was a slippery hike down the sandy trail for the little people, but that's ok, a little workout never hurt anyone (I got my heart rate up giving Natalie a piggy back ride back up the hill) (she didn't bring shoes, great!) I didn't time it but it couldn't have been more than 15 min up or down. I think this place is a winner and we'll be coming back often.
The kids have plans to bring folding chairs with reading books ("we'll study if we can go!") and more probable plans for making a fairy city - perhaps with clay or legos? We'll see what they're cooking up in those creative noggins. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

2 AM and Not So Content

It's two weeks later, but here I am again. This time there are a few differences:
- it's a bit earlier in the morning
- Owen is sick
- and I'm not feeling all that content about my lack of sleep.
- I'm also not doing the dishes cause Corey already cleaned up the kitchen last night ("Thanks Honey...")

Owen is having a bowl of his new favorite cereal, Annie's Homegrown Berry Bunnies cereal with rice milk.
He's still being sweet. It's no fun to feel miserable, huh buddy! I'm glad Owen doesn't have a problem with the new non-dairy beverage on his cereal. Owen is eating cereal right now as a reward for taking his medicine. He has a bit of a fever. He doesn't like medicine and has often spit it out  I was really grateful he swallowed it down, and his open mouth cry also helped. He and Daniel have been sick this week. Daniel had a fever one day and that was it, hopefully this will be Owen's only turn. But they've both had major runny noses and boogery eyes. Daniel's poor nose is really raw and sore from us wiping it so much.

So I'm standing here, and my eyes are so tired. I've been up several times during the night every night this week with these two sick boys. It hasn't messed up with my morning walks, but after 6 days I'm really tired. I was hoping to go to the temple this morning but now I'm pretty sure that I'm not going get up for that alarm in three hours. Kinda bummed about that, but I really don't like to go to the temple when I'm exhausted. Makes it hard to pay attention.

It's still been a great week with the kids all working so hard, they've almost been working as hard as Corey and I do. Today is their last day for points. Last night we went over their current totals and they'd all have to do a lot to make it, but Corey was happy with how hard they've worked, so he made a deal that if they get as high or higher as their highest points day this week, he'll call it good and they'll earn their day pass. Wes asked me to wake him up at 5 so he could get started. I told him I could wake him up before I went to the temple if I made it awake in time for that, but with this mid-night interruption, it's going to be later, and that's okay. Sometimes you have to roll with it.

It's almost 3 am, I'm going to try to get him to go to bed.  Maybe he'll lay down in his bed, but I'll most likely be spending the rest of the night on the floor. He was so noisy before we came down, I'm kinda nervous to go back up into our room. I really hope he doesn't wake up Daniel... wish me luck.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sleepy Hollow Trail

This week, with my old grandma walking buddies out of town (j/k Kathy and Lisa! you old ladies) I've been on my own. Yesterday I decided to go on a jog instead of a walk. On my jog, I went to the Dimple Dell trail and thought I'd see how far I could go in 30 minutes before I had to head home, to give me my one hour of morning rejuvenation. I usually don't go this way (started at the north blue trail and headed south, see map below). In the 6 years we've been here, I've only been out here once before. But I went, and then to really mix things up, I took a trail to the left rather than going straight! (took a left on the green trail after the blue trail turns west...)
It headed down the hill and started back toward home (continuing north on green trail). So I figured since I was headed in the general direction of home, I could probably keep going and hopefully I wouldn't have to back track. So I knew where I was but I didn't know where I was. I just kept going toward home. I took a small trail that headed up a hill (close by the purple trail but a little more to the east). It was steep. Then, lo and behold, I was at Sunrise Point! Wow!
Well look at that. I know where I am now. I wanted to bring the kids and show them my discovery, but I also knew they wouldn't make it up or down the steep hill. And I was ahead of schedule for my return, so I ran other trails (bike trails I think) to see where they led. I found a way that I thought the kids could handle (the purple trail, aka Sleepy Hollow). And I've walked by a big board on the blue trail that says "Sleepy Hollow" but I've never noticed or seen it before today. Weird. I wonder what other things are in plain site that I don't notice...
It had loose sand, but the kids could do it. So today, right after lunch, I told them to get in the car, I want to go for a walk. It was daytime, but it was overcast, so I wasn't scared to be in the sun (which is why I exercise early in the a.m.) They left their Park City challenge chores and told me I could have an hour. Off we went. 
Sophi and Natalie running down the trail after the hill was over.
Sophi with her nature book (a'la Nature Cat) where she could write down her nature findings. She is a serious student. 

We met up at the picnic table I saw, only this time there was water. There wasn't a stream here this morning, not sure how that works.
They couldn't resist crossing the stream. I didn't want you guys to get your shoes wet... (it's a mom thing) but they crossed the stream and got wet and helped their sisters cross, which was sweet.
But I didn't want you guys to get wet, I didn't know you would get wet, that water wasn't here this morning, I wasn't prepared. I don't like surprises. Ok, that's enough, get out of the water!
We headed in the direction I had gone this morning. Sophi made more discoveries and more studious notes.
And they found more water. Then I gave up. Ok, fine, get in, get wet. But all the sand is gonna stick to your shoes/feet when we walk back up!
They just love being "out into nature"! That's a good thing.
They went up and down the stream. They raised an ebenezer (1 Sam 7:12)
And more ebenezers. Little stone statues up and down the trail. I raised one too. It was fun.
And here is my little 2 cents lesson on evolution: Say you see a stack of rocks like this out in the desert or on a mountain somewhere. Wouldn't you be pretty positive that it was made by a person? By a person or being with intelligence? Could it have just happened randomly? Or given enough time, a million years, the wind and rain could stack those rocks into a pyramid? Some things, you can just tell, were made by a Designer. If you found a cell phone, even without electricity making it work, you would still look at that and you could mostly likely positively state that it was made by someone. Ok, so stacked rocks or a cell phone - they were created. And a rock pile is easy enough for a kid to make, and a cell phone is harder but it can still be made by technicians. And yet, we are going to look at the human brain (which the most brilliant of mankind is only beginning to understand, don't even think about creating one) - we can't make a camera that works as good as the human eye, we can't make a living slug, we can't create life even with our effort and desire to do so. Yet we're going to claim that those things, infinitely more complex than a stack of rocks or a cell phone, just happened? Given enough time, they just evolved and came into being? I don't think so. A pyramid of rocks doesn't just happen (and that would be easy in comparison!), and neither did mankind. Hyrum, pondering these deep and profound words that I shared with him.
Just kidding, I didn't tell Hyrum my deep thought, I just told that to Wes. Wes said "Wow, I've never thought about it that way..." Hyrum here is doing a I'm-looking-off-into-the-distance-pose-for-a-possible-instagram-photo. Looking good buddy. You look very profound. Just like your brother Ethan in his casually looking off into the distance photos.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Owen is 2!

Happy Birthday, Owen! Two year old birthday are awesome. Almost as great at the one year olds. They don't have any expectations, so everything is a delight and I don't have to do a ton. The kids set up some decorations, I bought a toy at Kid to Kid, and didn't even wrap it. We gave it to him this morning. He likes trucks. 
So that was sweet and simple. My mom came by later with a few toys, including a train toy, which was the big hit. This kid likes cars and wheels.
He enjoyed the cake. I had some ice cream. And I felt horrible and irritated after. Ice cream and I do not have a healthy relationship. I'm saying good bye to ice cream after this week, and I really mean it. After cleaning off the ice cream and cake, there was a knock at the door and a package that was just delivered. I looked at it - I know what this one is! This was a present for Owen that I was very excited about - blankets!!
This past Friday, Joseph and Ethan had a "Rock the Park" concert up in Farmington. Corey took a van full of kids up to see it. When they came home, Corey informed me that they lost the blue and white striped blanket somewhere in the park. Uh oh, that makes us down to 2 out of 4. Here's Owen with his first blanket that got lost - this one disappeared shortly after July 2016, I'm not sure what ever happened to it.
This kid cannot survive without his blankets. And he's particular about the design so even though we have other styles of muslin blankets, Owen refuses to accept them. I felt like I needed to get some back ups of the same style. Ebay saved the day. After googling I was able to find the style - It was "Aden + Anais ~ Zutano - Sunday Drive" - unfortunately it had been discontinued!
Oh noooo. I went by Kid to Kid last Saturday hoping to find an old hand be down, no luck. But then I found it on ebay. I ordered it last Saturday and it arrived today, perfect! Owen accepted them at once! Hooray!
I think we're safe now and should make it through his childhood without any bad lack of blanket incidents. So that was about it for the birthday - and this is how I clean off Daniel after cake and ice cream. Oh, you are CUTE!
Daniel!! We love you!!
After the morning party, Owen was ready for a nap. Got your blankies, Owen?
He snuggled in the chair with Wesley and then played with his toys on the floor as they watched some PBS kids. Daniel came up and started sucking on Wesley's elbow... Wes said it tickled soooo much!
Funny baby. Owen had a good day. I love toddler birthdays. Looking forward to yours soon, Daniel! Try not to grow too fast, baby.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Academic Planner

The toilet overflowed this morning. It was clogged and the toilet keeps running after the tank is full, so it started to pour over. No one admitted guilt (I think it was Lily). Luckily Corey caught it almost right away and we were able to stop it before it hit the carpet (well, the carpet got a little wet) Then I read this post from Matt Walsh today and it helped me laugh and feel better about our small wet trial.

The good news is that my son actually washed his hands after using the bathroom, which is a step forward. The bad news is that the drain was clogged and he neglected to turn the faucet back off. I didn't know about this oversight until I heard what sounded like a rainstorm in my living room. This happened, by the way, on the same day that our air conditioning went up and I had to spend all day in a 90 degree house waiting for the AC guy to come. Kids always pick the best times to flood the bathroom, I've discovered. I asked him later why he didn't turn the faucet off. First he said he couldn't reach it. I pointed out that he reached it to turn it on. He thought for a minute, paused, and said, "Oh actually it wasn't me. It was Julia." Nice try, buddy. Next time, pick that excuse first and stick with it. Or, you know, just turn the faucet off.
For those applauding my ability to laugh about this, I must admit that I am being much more lighthearted about this now than I was last night. I was about as amused by a flooded bathroom and a damaged ceiling as my dad would have been. Which is to say, not at all. But give me a few hours and I can begin to see the humor in just about anything.

And that is why I try to blog and write these things down, cause I know soon it will all be a funny memory. We need to get the toilet fixed soon, we're lucky we haven't had the floor ruined yet. Better get it fixed before there is any permanent damage caused. Call the plumber. I better put that on the calendar. And speaking of calendars, look what just came in the mail! Yay, just in time for the school year. I know it, I live it, I love it!
I've been ordering this "Mormon Mommy Planner" for the past few years from In The Leafy Treetops.
I love this planner. Sure, I don't use all the pages inside for the purposes that they were designed for, but I'm getting better! This year I'm hoping to do better with Family Home Evenings. Some of the pages, I admit, I'm not sure what they were designed for, though they do look like they were made with some specific purpose in mind. I need to find a forum of moms who use this so I can pick their brains. A new feature this year ~ laser smooth paper, ooh! And some metallic print on it which is also fun.
Of course I love the inspirational quotes and lovely colors ~ pretty!
And I like using the academic calendar version more than the calendar year. Cause our life (unfortunately) kinda revolves around the school year more and more. But this is great at helping me keep track of a lot of it. I probably use my google calendar on my phone more for appointments and reminders, but this is my preferred place to take notes at church and write down thoughts and keep track of stuff for the blog. Anyway, just wanted to recommend this planner to anyone who's looking for a little organizational help!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Playing School

Lily recently found my secret purse where I kept the colored pens hidden. She and Sophi have been carrying them around and coloring up a storm. And if you really want to draw well, then of course you need a teacher! And thus came about the "school" game they have been playing for the past few days. Today Lily was the teacher ~
Sophi and Natalie are her good students. Do you like their desks? Lily's using a rubbermaid lid, the rest of them took all the magnet boards off of the bedroom walls, which makes the nails loose and the nail holes big as they try to wiggle them off and now the boards won't hang up anymore... these silly things that concern a mother!)
And Hyrum (he's such a good big brother) played along with them, but he found it most fun to play the bad kid who doesn't know how to draw well and doesn't pay attention in class.
He wasted a LOT of paper being the kid who couldn't draw... which also made the mother in me slightly irritated and shaking my head, trying not to ruin their fun with my annoyances. What is my deal with paper getting wasted? Do I just need to get over it? Or is it just a mom thing that will always bug me? So Hyrum would scribble on the paper some sloppy thing as he pretended to not be able to spell, then he'd crumble it up or toss it aside and do it again on a new sheet. I seriously need to hide the white paper from these little artists.  Natalie taping her work on the wall - up on her cute tippy toes
Tape is another thing I have to hide away. When I hear the tape being pulled out with a quick and big tear as the kids pull a piece the length of their arms, it makes me jump up from whatever I'm doing and come grab the tape and hide it away. We never have any paper when we actually need to print something, or tape when I need to tape something. Hence why I TRY to have secret stashes of these school supplies, sigh, kids...) But I usually have to look through each paper to find the treasures... cause the treasures are awesome. Overall I'm glad for how creative they are and I like to see them play and see the things they make, and I hope we don't kill too many trees in the process.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Park City Challenge

Over the weekend, Corey made a list of things he would like the children to do.
Then he asked each of them to tell him which of those things they felt they were doable for them to complete on a daily basis.
He then tallied up each square to be worth one point each and then issued them a challenge, that if they did those things each day this coming week, then he would buy them a day pass at Park City (for the alpine slide and zip line and such) when we go up for the annual Wride Retreat next week. So each kid has to reach a total of 110 points. Today was day one. And wow, what a day it was! (Well, Hyrum always does an awesome job cleaning the kitchen...)
They were up and doing all day, it was awesome. We're always trying new things, and whenever Corey is involved it's especially great, and I'm super excited about this. All the kids felt like it was a great day too. Corey and I were not nagging yet they were still all up and moving and working and practicing music and reading, amazing! It has been my dream come true perfect summer day so far today.
To make the day even more incredible, I loved that Corey even got up at 6 this morning and went on a walk with me! Yes, it was my ideal day. And for the cherry on top - Corey offered (not originally on the points chart) to give a point to each kid who sat still and upright (!!!) and quietly during scripture study tonight. I didn't even get any requests to rub back as I read, wowzers - the quest for Park City points worked better than our old standby to combat complaining and interruptions. I think I could get used to this.
I think the only problem is that we just started this the week before Park City, we should have done it the whole month of July or the whole summer, so that's my mental note for next summer! Although, downside is that this week is going to be so incredibly awesome, that I know I'm going to go into major summer withdrawal when school starts next month (noooooo....) I can already feel the "I wish my kids all homeschooled" depression settling over me.
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