Sunday, July 31, 2016


How is July almost over already?
It's been a month of swimsuits, splash pads, sprinklers. Mountains, hiking, camping, and lakes. Morning adventures and lazy afternoons reading. Homemade ice cream, street fair food, chips and salsa, frozen berry lemonades.
Just about as perfect as July gets.

We took the kids to a fair the other night, and Christian really really wanted to share everyone's food, starting with Ellie's ice cream,

And then on to Dad's street corn.

He also polished off my smoothies and tacos as well as the crumbs left in Nick's bag of doritos. 
(It was a dinner of champions, let me tell you. Ice cream, french fries, doritos, tacos, smoothies, and corn. We're great parents.)

 Summer evenings are my favorite. The sun goes down and it gets so cool and calm outside, and our sunset view is something else.

Christian has discovered the fun of selfies.
His little tongue kills me.

Kent and I have spent quite a few nights this month painting the basement. We're getting really close to getting the paint finished and then we'll get the electrical all finished up. 
 Nick and Ellie "helped" a bit too.
Ellie liked to write her name and draw big smiley faces with the paint.
I really am looking forward to these rooms not being such a dusty, paint-dribbled mess.

We've been here for six months now, and there's still those hidden spaces that need to be unpacked/organized/finished. 
The hall closet was first on my list. This closet is thirty-inches wide and five feet deep. (And if there'd been any way to shuffle this in the floorplan to make it less awkward before we moved in I totally would have!)

We definitely need to get some legitimate shelving in there, but for now, this is MUCH better.
And yes, I've caught myself opening the closet when I walk past just to remind myself how great it is to have it cleaned up.

In the few final days of July,

Christian found a precarious new place to sit.

Between painting the basement and watching Poldark (LOVE this show, by the way) Kent and I have spent all the rest of our evening time pulling weeds out of our grass. The grass is growing in and looks SO great, we sprayed the weeds and most of them died, but they still need to be removed to help the grass grow in thick and strong like it needs to.

It's an achingly slow process. Our first attempt, Kent and I spent two hours out there and only weeded a ten-foot square in the yard. 
We've spent so much time weeding this week that we're actually dreaming about weeds while we sleep at night. Not even joking.

One afternoon I was out there with the kids.
 Nick refused to help me with the weeding, but was anxious to make sure I still felt the love while I pulled weeds alone anyway.
He sat out there by the sign while I weeded and turned it as I moved around the yard, making sure the note was always facing me so I could still read it.
Thanks, Bud.

It's been super hot this week (okay, okay Texas and Vegas friends.....I know, I know....) 
But it's been too hot to play outside much, so instead we cool off at the splash pad with friends.

and this goofy baby boy found yet another unusual place to sit:

Goodbye glorious July! We'll miss you!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

birthday holiday week

The first week of July we spent at my parent's house. 
I drove up there with the kids, and despite stopping at IKEA mainly to give them a potty break,
Ellie still couldn't make it the two hours in the car without having to use a bathroom.

I pulled over at a rest stop, and after much persuasion, got her to use the restroom. And then, for reasons I will never figure out,
she decided she was NOT going to get back in the car. She wanted to stay right here forever.

But we made it, and what a fun week we had!

Sunday night we celebrated my little brother Nate with a Court of Honor for his Eagle Scout award.
Way to go, Nathan!

The next morning was Kent's birthday! (oh, and the fourth of july...)
 Ellie gave him water balloons and Nicholas gave him foam swords and shields so they can battle. Christian gave him poptarts, because my husband hasn't gotten the memo that he's in his 30's now. He still requests poptarts for his birthday breakfasts.

That morning we went to a huge parade way out in the country to see Jonah in the marching band. 

 The parade lasted about two hours. There were all sorts of tractors,
horses, carriages,
the university mascot on a teeny tiny motorbike,
missionaries (!),

And more candy than we could possibly consume.
 Also, how cute is Christian's waiting pose??
Oh I could just eat this kid up!

When we got back, Christian thought he'd give the tenors a try.

 That night we did some fireworks for the kids.
We thought they'd only like these little "snakes," 
because we have a history of them freaking out and being absolutely terrified of any real fireworks, no matter how tame,
but they totally surprised us this year and loved the fountains we did. Nick did watch some of them through the window from inside the house, but Ellie stayed outside and squealed and laughed at everything. 
Maybe fireworks can be a fun family event for us someday!

My brother and his family came up to visit for the week from Vegas, and Christian and Avery made the funniest pair. 
Avery is much more enthusiastic about being friends than Christian is. 

She's excited and loud and all about the love. Christian was more.....indifferent/hesitant/"stay back crazy lady!"

The two of them toddled around the house, and Avery tried her very best to keep up with Christian.
He's a lot faster than she is,
but her determination had no end.
So they spent the week playing a hilarious, winner-less game of Avery-Christian tag.

 Along with our day at Tony Grove,
we spent a day at Bear Lake. It was windy and cold most of the day, but we still had a fantastic time!

My own cousins came with their kids, and we had quite the group there.
Look at all those cousins! (and only four of them--that came--are girls!)

It really was just the best, busy, summer-filled week with everyone!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

cousins come to play

Kent's brother Sam and his wife Heidi live in California, and we love that we get to see them when we go visit everyone out there. These kiddos all get along so very well and have a ton of fun together,
and we sure wish we could see them more often.

So when they said they were going to be at a family reunion in Idaho and Montana this summer and that they'd drive down here "on the way" home to see us for a couple of days, 
we were so excited!

Kent had to make a last-minute trip to Times Square for work that weekend, so he missed our lazy Sunday afternoon and dinner with them. 

The next morning we got up and drove into the mountains to take them on our favorite hike, The Grotto.  

 It was definitely a little crazy taking that many kids up there, but it was a beautiful morning with perfect weather and oh so fun.
 I was so glad Daddy was there to help!

The rest of the day we just lounged around while the kids played and played and played. They played with swords and lightsabers, pop-up tents, dolls, horses, legos, blocks, and some crazy game that had to do with spoon fighting.
And I found myself wishing I had a ten-year-old girl to follow Christian around, read to him, play with him, and just be so helpful in general! Carlee is the sweetest.

I thought it would be fun to use what we've got (rocks. So. Many. Rocks.) for a tiny little rock-painting craft.

Then we had a Family Home Evening about temples and took them to visit our newest temple with Rockwell Ice Cream to finish the night.

We are so lucky they came to visit, and we can't wait to see them again!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


My parents and my brothers took us camping last week.
We go to Tony Grove every year, and every year we leave wishing we could stay for maybe just one more day? 

It's a little piece of heaven.

 When we walk around the campground we can remember the times we stayed in each campsite. The good and the not so good memories from each year.

This year's good? The weather was glorious, and we didn't even have to wear jackets as we roasted marshmallows each night. It was warm and sunny and beautiful! 

The not so good? The bathrooms were all out of order. So we used port-a-potties (that were labeled with names.....George was the cleanest, but a bit farther of a walk than Jason.)
And the flies. Oh those flies. Some years they're barely noticeable, but this year they were everywhere, especially directly in your face and ears at all times.

But the kids got to run and play and climb and get oh-so-dirty, and we kept Christian alive, which was quite a task (fire pit? big rocks? cliff? tree stumps? LAKE?!? All things he really really really wanted to fall into, climb on, or jump off of.) 

So, it was a perfect, happy trip and two nights just didn't seem long enough!

Grandpa helping Ellie catch a fish!

 My aunt and uncle were planning to drive to Oregon, but they had some unfortunate car trouble, so they came camping instead, which was very happy for us!  My cousin Sam is only ten days older than Nick, and they're best buddies, and Ellie had a blast playing with sweet Lizzie.

 And thank goodness for that jogging stroller my parents brought! Christian took all of his naps in it, and it was the only way we could get him to sleep at night, plus sometimes it was just really really great to be able to strap him down and keep him in one place (and out of the fire!) for a minute. 

 I think the way she wrote her name on her cup is just too adorable.
 Christian was much happier about the "push Ellie in the hammock" game than Ellie was....
 Because Pokemon Go doesn't work in the mountains, my brother's brought the old school actual pokemon cards, and Nick was obsessed.

 Hanging out in the hammocks!

 Before we left I was talking to my neighbor about the trip and she mentioned that they are taking their littles camping for the first time next month. She said her husband keeps asking, "Will it even be fun?" 
I told her that, well, camping as a parent isn't exactly fun like we're used to having, and you can pretty much plan on not sleeping at all, 
but it's all for the kids.
You look at them, smiling in the dirt,
and it's ALL worth it.

 (this isn't even close to the dirtiest he got...)

In the afternoon, we took all the kids down to the water and they splashed and swam and we circled the camp chairs in the shade and stayed there for hours. 

Ellie and Christian didn't last long in the water because they both desperately needed naps, so Kent took one for the team and loaded them into the car (and drove to Bear Lake for a raspberry shake while they slept.....poor Kent.) 

Nicholas and Sam and two of my cousin's boys took these little kayaks out and they paddled around the entire lake. When they came in for this picture sweet Ollie said, "We're just coming back from our journey!"
It really was just too cute to watch these not-so-little-anymore boys exploring and hear them laughing out there on the water together.

These kids. Camping with them (and just being with them anyway) is really the greatest.