Saturday, June 26, 2010

How Much Fun can You Pack into 1-Week?

Alas, it was time for Brandon's week-long work conference at the U. in Salt Lake aka FAMILY VACATION for the rest of us. We had a fun weekend, exhaustingly so.
Highlights included being with family, exploring nearby canyons, watching Toy Story 3 (LOVED it! who couldn't???) sunny days in the hotel pool, eating Belgian fineries downtown with my mom and sister, the aquarium, Temple Square, haircuts by our talented BYU student niece, taking walks on Olympus Drive, Costco, Cowabunga Bay, and a Toys-R-Us shopping spree.
Didn't you ever fantasize about what you would do if you won a shopping spree there. I wanted to live the dream through my kids--with some strings attached. 2 weeks prior to the trip I made up a large job list with prices for each one. The girls ...well some of the girls spent the next two weeks working off their little bums. They did things like mopping floor, organizing drawers, even giving me foot massages--those are worth a lot:) It was great fun to let them loose in the store with their money in hand free to run around and choose whatever they wanted. Adrie found a zhu zhu pet. (which we had to shove in the fridge at the hotel just so we could get a good nights sleep!) Brynn got a couple of Barbies, and Kate bought a phone for her room--the kind with a cord. Now she can stay up late calling all her friends and talking about boys.

Lowlights: hours of Disney channel, all of us going to bed too late and waking up too early, sunburns, mosquito bites, and watching Cannon's shoe fly across four lanes of traffic. And not having BD to share in our adventures--poor guy was in lectures all day. He can tell you all about how to treat substance abuse:)

We ended the trip with a sleepover with our super-fun cousins, We found out by all the chatting in the car on the way home that the party included candy bars, Nintendo D.S. and even some pranks into the midnight hours . After the chatting ALL the girls fell asleep for the rest of the ride home. Good times.

Here it is in photos:
Happy Father's Day! Luckily, my sisters and I were all able to be at home to celebrate with our dad. He also just had a birthday and 79. This guy had a massive heart attack earlier this year and we are grateful he survived to be with us a little longer.

I'm the mature one :)

A lovely day in the canyons with family (East Millcreek)

Dirty and Clean: Cannon found a puddle in my parents' driveway and like a good thirsty boy he stuck his head in and sucked in some long draughts. On the clean side, we couldn't let a day go by without taking advantage of the hotel pool.

Hiking in beautiful Little Cottonwood Canyon

Aquarium: penguins, eels, and of course "Nemo" but nothing was more exciting than petting the sting rays.

"Much too good for children." Nana treated the kids to fine chocolates anyway.

An Evening on Temple Square. We toured the Museum of Church History and Art.

Grand Finale: Cowabunga Bay-- Lots of fun in the sun and it is set up so nicely for young families. Moms can lounge on the "beach" while the kids can run off to the slides. The pool was warm and shallow with free lifejackets for the little ones. I think I need one of these in my backyard.

The girls brought new life to my old fort under the pine tree. They fashioned some bow and arrows and piled up some pine needles for a cushy bed. What do you know the aunties had their own special hideaway too. Grandma led them and our other fun cousins to "hammock hollow."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Confessions of a Shopaholic turned Nerd

Summer is wonderful. I love putting the kids to work in the morning (nevermind their complaining), then heading off to swimming lessons, lunch in the park, and coming home for some afternoon reading time. The girls still try everyday to get out of that last one but it is worth the fight. Right now we are reading On the Banks of Plum Creek (book 4 of the Little House series) Sometimes we read outside and the neighbors wander over to listen. Sometimes we have to read loudly because Cannon is whinnying like a horse. But, it works out for the most part and usually ends up as my favorite part of the day.
And as fun as it is to read books it is just as fun to buy books!

The other day we were running errands and we pulled into the parking lot of the thrift store (D.I. for you locals.) The kids groaned. "Mooooom we don't need any more books."

Here is my confession: I love to go to D.I. and buy books. It has replaced buying clothes and is much cheaper! I picked up a practically new edition of Jane Eyre which I read and LOVED, a beautiful hardbound book of the World's Greatest Fairy Tales. For a few months now I've had a book in my Amazon shopping cart The Richest Man in Babylon. Found it for 75 cents at D.I. and bonus--all the important parts were already highlighted for my convenience! Need a new set of scriptures? They've got oodles of them. Isn't this exciting? I must continue...

I have found like-new copies of my favorite children's books like Crow Boy, The Country Bunny, and Blueberries for Sal. I love to find Newberry and Caldecott Winners and I have so much fun reading them to the kids when we get home. We now own a whole set of Roald Dahl classics (Matilda, The Witches, etc.) and I was overjoyed to find 5 volumes of American Girl "Girls from Many Land series" in perfect condition.

I love to OWN books. After I read them I feel like they are part of me. AND they look so great in bookshelves.

So back to the other day. After another successful shopping trip we got back in the car. The girls immediately doused their hands with hand sanitizer. Curiously, the girls have wondered if we have to get our books from DI because we are "poor." For such occasions I am always glad to pick out one of the many lectures I have stored away in my motherly pocket. Let's see should we talk about how kids live in Haiti or the "seek not for riches... but for knowledge"...or should we go for the friends of earth recycling one...? Anyway I'm just glad that the girls have finally agreed to at least READ the books even if it is only while wearing gloves!!! (See picture for proof) Where does this OCD come from????@!!! (me :) That is yet another lecture I will have to come up with....

****NOTE: Just in case you are now wondering, "Hmmm" Laura gave me such and such book for Christmas--I wonder...did she get it at DI?"

The answer is NO. But, if I ever do I will be sure to send it with some gloves.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Work Hard, Play Hard

Things have been going on around here: hard work and wholesome recreation. Let's start with the fun stuff: Camping at Maple Grove. This was our 2nd family camping trip ever. We went with a group of some of our favorite people and had a program and a flag retiring ceremony. The rest of the time was spent running wild for the kids, and some good talkin' and singing by everyone around the campfire. Cannon manned his post at river's edge basically the entire time, throwing rocks and shouting "Awesome!" He only left to eat marshmallows at intervals and then to go to bed.
According to the girls the best part was playing in the stream. The worst? Sleeping. Now that we own a tent, we like to consider ourselves official "campers." Our next purchase will be an air mattress.
We had s'mores for breakfast, more running around, and a craft called "Flower pounding?? The kids gathered purple phlox, columbine, Indian paintbrush and other wildflowers. Instead of "pressing them" they tap between fabric or paper with a hammer. Their boquets actually turned out really well and now we have crafty souvenirs to add to our mountain collection. All in all it was a fun trip that ended with a quick drive home to showers and a nap!

Now for the work, HARD work: A wheelbarrow and shovel have been Brandon's faithful companions the last 2 weeks. First it was hauling dirt. Then it was hauling rock--8 tons of it! All that rock had to be mixed (2 diff colors) and sifted (lots of unattractive dirt came with it) and shoveled and spread. What a project. It is nice to see some progress on the yard and now when I drive in I feel like I'm pulling into the parking lot of a St. George shopping mall. Props to Brandon for all that hard work. He's a good man and I think I'll be giving him a massage every day.