Monday, June 28, 2010

Keeping Busy

Summer is here. The kids are out of school. It is getting HOT. And we are just trying to keep busy. Here are some of the things we have been doing lately:
* Taking advantage of all the free activities in the summer: free movies at the theater (we've seen The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything and Monsters vs Aliens), the library summer program (we saw a Marionette show and a presentation from the Reptile House, and this week is a magic show), free miniature golf on Monday night (the goal was to hit your ball before Nathan came around and threw it off the course), and free entrance into the little's kids museum on Friday mornings

* Playing at the Sprinkler Park. So far the heat hasn't been too horrible, but it's finally here (105 degrees today), so we'll be taking advantage of this fun park a LOT more.

* Making fun critters with Play Dough

* Cooking with Caelan. Last week she made chicken enchiladas for dinner all by herself.

* We have a little quiet time after lunch when Nathan takes a nap and the other kids read, practice their letters, do some math pages, etc. Ben is actually reading easy words by himself. YAY!

This week we'll be getting ready for our BIG trip. We are going to three different family reunions, plus a little trip down to Sean's parents house and another few days with some family in Utah. Sean will be with us for the first week, and then it will be just me and the kids for the next two weeks. Should be fun.

Christmas every Monday

So, the collection of stuffed animals in our house is getting slightly ridiculous (and we don't ever buy any (unless the kids buy one at a garage sale with their own money) - we somehow just accumulate them). I go through the stash regularly to thin it out, and yet it just grows and grows...and each one is "special" to one of the kids (so the soft side in me can't just load a garbage bag full and toss them, as much as I would like to). So I came up with a new idea. We have plant shelves in all of the bedrooms, so I put all of their stuffed animals on their plant shelf. I let them choose a handful of animals each Monday that they want to play with that week. All the rest stay on the shelf until the next Monday, and then I pull out the ladder and they can choose new ones for that week (and put the others back). So, now I'm not constantly finding stuffed animals the kids think it's Christmas time each Monday when they get to have new animals for that week. It's a WIN-WIN.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day to Our Favorite Dads

Sean's Dad

My Dad

And Caelan, Ben, Megan and Nathan's Dad


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Things to Come

I just saw this video and had to share.
I have a book that has this entire talk in it, and I have always loved it. About a year ago, the message spoke to me in a whole new way. Sean was without a job and was trying to learn a new business in CA. I was in Kingman taking care of things there (and this had been going on for a few months). We were a couple of weeks away from all moving to CA to temporarily stay with my family so we could all be back together for the summer. We were on our way home from Southern Utah where we had spent the Memorial Day weekend with Sean's family. In order to beat the horrific Hoover Dam traffic, we went through Laughlin to get home to Kingman. About 25 miles from home our car started to really heat up. We coasted down a hill right into the parking lot of a Maverick Gas Station where it died completely. Now, if you just knew all the other things that added up to this moment..... no work for 6 months, running really low on money, being apart for much of the past 4 months, not knowing what to do with our house in Kingman (considering the market), 2 other times in the past 2 months where one of our cars has stranded us for one reason or another and knowing that this problem with the van was going to be a BIG ONE plus so many uncertainties in our future. It was finally at this point where try as I might I could not keep the tears from coming. I stood there in that parking lot holding a baby with three other young kiddos wandering around me and cried. Seeing his usually-composed wife start to lose it, Sean came over and hugged me at which point we both shared a few tears together in the parking lot of the Maverick Gas Station as we waited for a kind friend from our ward to come and pick us up. I will NEVER forget that moment, those feelings...and it seemed on that day that I could hear the words of Elder Holland speaking directly to me, "Don't you quit! You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." And even though just a little over a year has past since that moment for us, I can testify that those blessings and that help has come for us. Despite the challenges we have faced, we have also recognized more blessings than we can count. His promises are SURE and His blessings DO come!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


This is what the kids did for Nathan yesterday morning when he woke up. I'm thinking he didn't really mind....

Party Time

Yesterday was Caelan's birthday party with friends. It was lots of fun: water slide, snow cones, fruit skewers, water balloons, the "donut game", cupcakes and friends (9 kids that came). We splurged on the water slide, but it was a HUGE hit (hours of entertainment). After everyone went home I even went out and took a turn. Overall it was a great success...and now I know why my Mom didn't do big birthday parties for us every year (we always celebrated as a family and could have a friend or two over, but the huge bashes were limited to only a few times for each of us)....They are a bunch of work. And I didn't even feel like I was going crazy or anything (it's just all the little things that really add up). I think I was on my feet getting ready from 8 to 1 (when it started) and then through the entire party (1 to 3:30) and then another couple hours taking stuff down and cleaning up. But Caelan LOVED it - so it was worth every minute.

(I was so preoccupied that I only applied sunscreen once to the kiddos. Poor Caelan and Ben are a little "rosy" today - it's not too bad, but I'm usually crazy with the sunscreen so they NEVER get sunburned. Now, they know why....)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fruit Addict

It's summer time, and I am officially addicted to fruit. In the past two days I have eaten the following assortment of fruit:
watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, apples, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, peaches and cherries.

In the past week I have also had pears, oranges, grapes, bananas and dried apricots. I think I have about 4-5 servings of fruit a day. There are just too many to choose from. I guess there are worse things to be addicted to, right? YUM!

It must be something in the genes because our entire family is CRAZY about watermelon. I mean, it's a serious LOVE we have goin' on here. I cut up a bowl of watermelon, and the fingers start grabbing. As the pieces get fewer and fewer the grabbing gets faster and faster. I mean, I think we would take a bowl of watermelon over a bowl of ice cream (and if you knew our family, that is REALLY saying something).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caelan is 7!

Caelan's birthday was yesterday, which also happened to be the last day of school (what a great present, right). I took donuts into her class for a birthday treat. She chose pizza for dinner, which we ate at the park. Then we had cake and ice cream and she opened up some presents. Overall it was a nice day. She really wants a birthday party with friends (she's been telling me this since before Ben's birthday in April). So, we are having a little party at our house next week. She invited her whole class at school (a couple months ago she went to a birthday party for a boy in her class - they had invited the whole class too, and Caelan was the ONLY one that came), so I'm thinking that maybe a handful of them will actually be able to come (you always run the risk with these kinds of things - I might have a house FULL of 25 6-7 year olds next week...YIKES).

Some fun things about Caelan:
* She is a great student and loves to learn (her teachers always rave about her)
* She LOVES to swim and play in the water
* She is pretty fearless (unless it comes to taking out a splinter) - she loves roller coasters and speeding on 4-wheelers and climbing up to the tip-tops of trees
* Her favorite foods are lasagna, raviolis, pizza, macaroni and cheese, watermelon and corn
* Her favorite color is red
* She is a big helper and is really responsible
* She likes to earn money doing jobs and then spend it at the dollar store or garage sales (she LOVES garage sales)
* She wants to be a teacher when she grows up
* She is pretty picky about vegetables (she must get that from her Dad..HE HE HE)
* Her favorite animal is a horse
* She loves music time at church and school and learns and remembers the words to songs really easily
* She has lost 4 teeth
* She loves to play with her brothers and sister
* She has the most awesome head of thick, blonde hair (and gets comments about it everywhere we go)
* She likes to ask questions and understand why and how things are the way they are
* She is a fan of the TV show, Psych
* She is a great reader
* She is a serious negotiator and has been since she was a little tot
* Her current favorite movie is Hercules (she can almost quote it word for word)
* She is very teachable
* She is a genuinely GOOD girl: wanting to make right choices and do the things that she knows are right
* She has a growing testimony about her Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

We LOVE her to pieces and could not ask for better oldest child in our family. Happy Birthday Caelan!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tough Boys

Ben knows he definitely does NOT want fingernail polish on himself, but that doesn't mean he can't give his sister a nice pedicure. What a good brother.

And below is Nathy lovin' up the foot bath. See him scrub his little feet with a pumice stone. There's nothing wrong with boys having clean, soft feet, right?

Memorial Day at Duck Creek

It's become a tradition to rent a cabin in the mountains of Southern Utah and get together for a little family reunion with Sean's family for the Memorial Day weekend. We left on Wednesday evening so we wouldn't have to make the whole 9 hour drive on Thursday (which isn't really that long, but we wanted to get there earlier in the day). We stayed at Nevada Landing ($29 room with two queen beds - much better than sleeping in the van...HE HE HE). We spent the weekend riding quads and the Mule (4 or 5 seater ATV - slower than a quad for sure, but still a blast, and the kids LOVED it). Megan called it "the awesome thing." Anyway, we also explored Mammoth Cave (Ben was NOT a fan - I guess the cold, dark, slippery, rocky, wet underground cave is not something he considers "fun" - everyone else enjoyed it). Sean went fishing (and unfortunately didn't get a catch, but he got a few bites on his line). We took walks on trails along the stream and through the mountains. We roasted marshmallows in the fire pit behind the cabin and also in this cool log stove. The kids played outside and got dirty and had fun with cousins. A fabulous time was had by all.

The drive home was RIDONCULOUS! I guess we should know by now to avoid Las Vegas holiday traffic at any cost! We thought we left earlier enough to beat it, but it took us 2 hours to get from Vegas to State Line. Holy Moly. But we finally made it home...eventually.