Taking A Day Off

I’m not sure who reads our blog any more.  It has been over a year since we posted.  This week I started keeping a daily journal but then I couldn’t decide the best place to do it and said, “Hey, why don’t I blog it?”  I guess this means I can’t get too personal…or can I? The point of the daily journal is to follow some advice I got to be happy.  The task is to write about something positive each day. This way my focus is on the good stuff.  I don’t think we have to ignore the bad but we should always try to recognize the good.

What was good today? After work we piled the family in the car and drove to North Scottsdale and now we’re in a hotel and I have tomorrow off and we are going to attend the Phoenix Temple Open House.  Fun!  We could have just driven there tomorrow and not gotten a hotel but we wanted a little adventure and change of scenery.  The kids are on Fall Break and this will be the only thing away from home we’re doing this year.  Plus we’ll have two days of not having to cook and clean!!! I guess I would say that is the positive.

Another positive for me is that I have an awesome wife that took care of getting the van in for maintenance today. We had to get the power steering fluid flushed and some other thing.  And since I was I work when it was finished she walked to the mechanic with her 4 little kids to pick it up! What a woman! Did I mention she is almost 7 months pregnant?

This wasn’t today but another positive thing that happened this week is that we decided on a name for our baby. We always have the hardest time choosing names for our children.  We were determined to find a name fast so we could have it done and start getting used to the name.  We still aren’t 100% sure of the middle name but as of now it is Sierra Snowe :)

Fall Break and Halloween

This year for Fall Break we decided to head out to Yuba City. The kids always love this trip, but we made it extra exciting this year by stopping halfway, staying in a hotel and spending some time at the beach on the way there. Then we loved the beach so much on the way there, we decided to stop at the beach on the way home too!

A cool roadside “zoo” at the foot of the Sutter Buttes.
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Celebrating Carter and Brechin’s birthday at Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm.IMG_7578 IMG_7570 IMG_7572 IMG_7548 IMG_7547

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Back to School and Micah’s Birthday Surprise

Summer break always ends too fast! Come on – we are going back to school way too early in August. We were all excited for the meet the teacher night. Jackson is in second grade and has Mrs. Long. Lacey is in Kindergarten and has Mrs. Carpenter. That was a fun night, but reality sets in about a week after school starts and although school creates a simple regimen to life, I’m still not convinced that I like it. I know, I’ve been fighting this battle since I was 5 :) Jackson seems happy and is doing very well in his class this year. Lacey is doing fine, but doesn’t want to go most days. She has become pretty attached to me, which is sweet, but hard for school every day. I love that she is in half day this year. I’m grateful this is still an option here. Usually sports would have started about this same time but because we were trying to cut back a little with Micah starting his own business and we needed a little break from the busy-ness of life, we decided to only do “Let’s Play Music” classes for this semester for Jackson, Lacey, and Rachelle. It has been heaven! I love watching Jackson play sports and to give all my kids opportunities to learn new things, but really when you get home from school at 4:00, do homework, maybe have a few minutes to play, dinner, baths, bedtime comes quickly! So this has been a positive thing for us to take a break from extras this semester, with very few complaints.

For Micah’s birthday, I was feeling like we needed a quick get away. Neither of us had been sleeping very well and I thought a night away would be good. It was! Thanks to Steve, Krista, and Lincoln for taking everyone for the night! I felt especially bad about it after I found out that Krista was having morning sickness! Poor thing. Thank you so much for letting us get away for a night! So I booked us a hotel in Scottsdale, worked out babysitters, and I was sure Micah was on to me. I’ve NEVER been able to surprise him with anything. He would rather have the thrill of figuring out what I’m getting for him than be ‘surprised.’ Anyway, I was trying to decide how to let the kids in on the secret, so they understood with out them telling Micah. The night before I think I let Jackson in on the secret and I think I let Lacey know the day of. Of course she was blabbing about it the second I told her, but she said all the wrong things and Micah didn’t understand what she was talking about. I slyly packed our bag, and finally about 30 minutes before Krista and Steve came over I let Lacey tell the secret! Micah was totally confused! It was funny to see his reaction. We had a relaxing night and came back refreshed! We made a fun b-day cake for Micah’s birthday and celebrated with the kids later that night. Happy Birthday – we’re getting old!

July

July was our big month to travel. We usually try to be out of town for at least a couple weeks because it gets so hot and we just need a good break by then. We had planned a long trip and we thought we’d be gone for at least a week longer than what we ended up doing… but I am a homebody :) and I’ve rubbed off on Micah a little bit. Even still, we did have some fun adventure!

CABIN

We started our trip by going to the cabin for the 4th of July weekend. Krista, Steve and Lincoln were there and they always bring a party. We got there on the 4th and Krista had made the most delicious and amazing meal – She had gotten fun decorations and we had such a blast with them!  Autumn was a mess and threw a ton of fits. She hated not having her pacifier (we had lost the last one a few weeks before and didn’t buy any more). We finally broke down and decided to buy her one since we were going to be with a lot of people throughout the trip. Magic! It definitely did the trick. 4th of July was on Thursday, and we stayed at the cabin until Tuesday. We were off to see the Tripps in Los Alamos, NM.

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NEW MEXICO

We stopped in Albuquerque for the night since the Tripps themselves would be staying the night in Albuquerque to pick up Caemlyn from the airport and drop Zephram off.  The next morning we worked our way up to Los Alamos to hang out for the day while Micah got a little bit of work in.  We visited a science museum and stayed the night at the Tripps house.  They made a yummy dinner for us! The next morning we visited the Bandelier Cliff Dwellings.  After visiting the cliff dwellings we said goodbye to the Tripps and started our drive to Denver. Thanks to Megan, Justin, Caemlyn, Kezia, Ada, and Tyghe!

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In Taos we hit some traffic and at one stop light we got rear ended by another van. We started to pull over to check the damage and exchange insurance info but after we pulled over the car that hit us kept driving so we quickly pulled behind them to get their license plate and dialed 911.  A block later they pulled into a parking lot and got mad at us for chasing them.  It was quite the experience and lets just say we were glad when we were able to get back on the road an hour later!

COLORADO

When we got into Colorado there were the most beautiful wild horses on the road. There were a few colts which were fun for Jackson, Lacey, Chelle and Autumn to see and the weather was cloudy and beautiful. We loved Colorado from the moment we crossed the border!  We had so much fun with Dave, Teneal, Elena, Kaylee, and Olivia! We got in to town right about nap time. Originally we had planned to go do some fun outings, but Autumn NEEDED a rest. So we played around the house and the kids swam in their pool. They served us some delicious snow cones, and then made a delicious dinner.  We went to a yummy frozen yogurt shop and the kids loved the little projector game area. On Saturday we went to the aquarium, and then we spent a little time at the Denver Zoo. The afternoon was rainy, so we had such a blast running from exhibit to exhibit and getting soaked. We were laughing so hard at each other and the kids were such good sports! We went to church with them on Sunday and then we hit the road again. The Coonsies were so nice to take their whole weekend to hang out with us!

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ARCHES, MESA VERDE, 4 CORNERS

At this point in our trip we had to decide our next move. We had kinda left it up in the air. We thought we might goto Nebraska then on to Iowa, but we chickened out. The thought of the long drive to make it back home sounded a little daunting. We were all ready to be getting back. So that day we headed out to part of Utah that none of us had ever been to. We went to see Arches national Park. It was awesome! I would totally do that again and plan a little more time for hiking and just seeing. We hiked a to a couple view points, and surprisingly our kids loved it! I am always surprised how our kids really do enjoy and appreciate nature. I don’t know why its surprising, I guess I always just think they will think its boring or something. They are almost always up for an adventure. That night we stayed at a hotel and had a great time being together.

The next morning we got up and dipped back into Colorado to go to Mesa Verde. It also was awesome and something I think I will spend more time at when my kids are a little older. What a great trip! The kids loved Mesa Verde too. After that though, it was a long day of driving with a stop at 4 corners. I don’t know why we feel like we need to stop there, I’ve been there 2 times and both times have not been all that exciting. 4 corners is hot and the sun was so bright you could hardly open your eyes. You can see from the picture the kids were totally over it before we even got out of the car. Check that one off the list, I don’t think we will ever go back. The tourists sure enjoyed us again though. From there we were ready to be home. We drove the rest of the way that day. We got home late, but it worked out ok. It was definitely nice to be back at home. We made some great memories on this trip – so glad we went!

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Home sweet home. This is the good life!

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May/June Summer Fun (pictures to come)

Our first weekend of Summer we headed out to the Grand Canyon. We had a fun trip planned. We got to the Grand Canyon about mid -day. We found our camp site and set up our tent and got settled. About 3 or 4 we went to the Rim and hiked around for a while. We had Autumn in a back pack carrier and every tourist in the park came and took pictures of her. I didn’t realize we would be such a spectacle. I guess with 4 young children we looked (and maybe even sounded) a little out of place. We had fun and then got back to the camp ground. We made a little fire and cooked hotdogs and scones and played and talked. There were some boys in the campsite next to us that came and played with Jackson. They were homeschooled and were doing a tour of all the national parks and a few other well known sites. They had come from Maryland (I think) and were nearly done with their 8 month long trip. We got to know the mom and the grandparents a little because our battery in our car had died and they helped us with that and their camp site was next to the bathroom, so we crossed their path what felt like a million times with Chelle and Lacey. About 9:30 we got Chelle, Lacey, and Jackson to bed and I sat out by the fire and rocked Autumn to sleep. When she finally closed her eyes I thought there was a good chance she would sleep most of the night because she was so tired from all the activity and she hadn’t napped. I held her a little longer and then about 11:00 went in to the tent and laid her down. That lasted about 2 hours and then she woke up and was all out of sorts. For about an hour or two she would calm down in my arms and I’d think she was asleep and lay her down and she would pop right back up. Then she quit calming down and was screaming! Micah put his shoes on quick and took her to the car, where she was still not sleeping and crying loudly enough for me to hear her. All the sudden I heard the car start and drive off. Micah drove around the Grand Canyon several hours of the night and finally about 3 AM or so decided to take his camera and go look over the edge and watch the sunrise.  He took some great photos and Autumn finally fell asleep for a few hours.

Later than morning we packed up and headed to Bearizona. It was pretty fun but also a little expensive. We loved having the animals walk right around the car and be able to see them so close up. It was pretty amazing.

After that fun we headed to the cabin to stay Saturday through Monday. It is always beautiful there and such a fun place to play.

I was relieved that we had taken a test drive of camping so that our long summer trip that we were planning for July wouldn’t include any camping!

We came back home to start Swim and Dive team. Jackson loves swim team – he is such a great sport. This year his goal was to get one ribbon of every color. So by the end of the season when he didn’t have the 7th and 5th place ribbons he thought he should probably try harder to get those ribbons :) I think its amazing that he just loves competition but doesn’t care about it at the same time. Lacey participated in dive this summer and had a great time. I was a little disappointed because in the beginning of the season she was making some progress, then she started realizing that she didn’t really have to try and they would tell her “Good Job Lacey!” no matter what she did. So she didn’t really learn much, but enjoyed the time she spent there. She had 2 girl coaches and 1 boy coach. One day she told me Coach Isaac was being “such a handsome silly boy.” Made me laugh.

I went to girls camp the first week of June and it ended up being really great. I was a little skeptical, from personal girl’s camp experiences and because of some the stake girls camp prep nights we had had that were horribly unorganized and not very well put together. But I was incredibly surprised and it was an amazing few days with so many opportunities to learn and increase testimony. I was grateful Micah’s first week of self-employment was spent playing Mr. Mom. It was nice not to have to worry about who had the kids and how they were going to get everywhere. They had such a good time with Dad of course and it was nice of Lori to take the kids for a morning to help him out a little! He was sincerely grateful.

June was spent mostly swimming, either swim lessons, swim team, or in our own pool. We had a little routine in the mornings when we got home from swim/dive where we would get rooms cleaned up and do a few chores, get some homework worksheets, phonograms, site words, etc, done and then we’d work on memorizing scriptures or other things. Jackson would read to Autumn or the other girls and we read lots of books together. It was great and just enough structure, but then we got to just play our hearts out. It was the life. Micah built a fun “water-park” out of our existing play set and drip lines hooked up to the hose, and it was fun because the kids could actually use the play set this summer – Usually the pebbles are too hot for our feet, the swings burn our booties, and the slides burn our legs. We had such a great time just being together.

I love summer time when the kids are out of school.

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