Every year we look so forward to having Santa and Toy make their appearance on our street. It was SO cold this year, but it was fun still. Madden was scared and didn't want much to do with him, but he loved Santa's horse, Toy.
Again, I am so grateful living where I live. We have wonderful neighbors and a fantastic neighborhood.
I've gotten approval from our Relief Society President and the Bishop to have this awesome man come speak at a Relief Society night in January. I love watching him on Studio 5...he's so funny because everything he says is SO true! I only hope that I can get our ward members to come see him. I would be totally embarrassed if only our presidency and the RS committee was there. That would be bad.
I am 110% positive that I married the most handsome and kind man ever. He is definitely my other 'three-quarters' (because I can only perform a fourth of what he can do...thanks for picking up my slack sweet John!) He adds so much to my life and I am so grateful to have him! I am looking forward to a great winter with him home!
I consider myself to be a very blessed person...for many reasons. I have a happy marriage and a handsome husband who happens to be my best friend. He is an extremely hard worker and can provide for me and my family on his own. I have 4 of the most darling children that I think I have ever seen (and I am learning that 'each crow thinks his is the blackest') something that my mom has told me for years. I have a nice home in a nice neighborhood (in a great city, in a nice state, and in the best country). My kids are smart, quick learners (but somehow I can't teach them to clean up after themselves...go figure.) I have been blessed in abundance. We've been blessed with fabulous relationships. I love the family that I have married into: Dave and Aimee Rudd and their family, John and Sue Russell and their family. These families have welcomed us into their families as if that is where we belonged. I am so grateful for extended family on John's side that we have. I admire everything about them, and my kids do too!
I am grateful for my own family...my mom and dad, my sisters and my brother. My family came to my rescue last week when I was completely confined to my bed for an entire week. Holly doubled her load for a whole 24 hours with my 4 kids, added to her 4 kids. She even braved taking them to church! She had nothing but sweet things to say to me about my kids, but then again, Holly only ever says sweet things. Chelsey almost doubled her workload, as well, though she probably even had her hands more full with three babies under three of her own, plus my 2 babies under 4! Casey used her weekend to do the same. It was my parents who took me and sat with me in the emergency room while I rambled...that Morphine does that to me (and it makes my nose and face itch...Chels, that one's for you!). Mind you, I am NOT an emergency room kind of person, but I couldn't even move an inch from laying flat on my back without excruciating pain across my lower back, bum, and leg. I've had 4 Cesarean deliveries and it didn't come close to the pain I was experiencing! John was in Lake Powell with a group of buddies from our ward, and so he couldn't be of any assistance. So many people jumped in to save me that week, without any hesitation. I called my my visiting teacher to come and get my girls to school (thanks Rochelle), and she was so sweet and offered to take the boys while she was getting ready to go out of town! My awesome friend, Kjersti picked up the boys from her and had them for a few hours until my parents picked them up and took them to their house. From there, it just took off. I could not have kept an eye on my kids, or recovered without the help of so many willing people. And, oh how I missed my sweet husband.
When I was down, the kids were so scared because I was crying and I couldn't walk. Jack and Jensyn, with scared smiles on their faces came into the room and Jack said: "Mom, don't worry, I can give you a blessing." That made my cry even more. What a sweet little boy I have. When they realized that wouldn't work, their scared smiles turned into teary eyed kids. They weren't used to seeing me so wrecked. I love my sweet kids!
As of late, I have been brutally aware how grateful I am for mental health for my family and myself. I never knew that mental health is such a trial for many people. It is scary how many people are unstable with their emotional (and physical, haha) life. Mental health...that's a big one.
Oh, wow. There is so much more on my mind right now, so much gratitude in my heart for all that I have been blessed with!
It's been years since we've been to Bear Lake. We decided it was time to do some kind of a mini vacation before school started with Kirt and Leslie. Bear Lake it was. We headed up there on Friday morning and spent the rest of that evening, all day Saturday, and came home on Sunday. I love Bear Lake, although the waters were so high that we couldn't 'beach it' where we were used to. We headed into the Idaho side of the lake...we definitely chose the wrong side as far as weather goes. You could see blue skies on the south end, but the north end, where we were, was stormy and cold-ish. We had fun none-the-less. The kids enjoyed playing in the water, digging sandcastles, and having fun. We spent time in the pool, riding hay rides, and sitting around campfire. I love Kirt and Leslie--we always had such a great time when we lived so close to them, so I am grateful that we can continue their friendship through the years. I'd say any vacation with family is a fabulous one.
Our season pass to Lagoon is nearing its end. We have had a lot of fun there this year, but I don't think we will renew it next season. We used the pass a lot in April and May, a few times over the hot summer months, and more recently we finally took out the motor home. It was a nice cool day on Saturday, but it was still packed! Grandma and Grandpa JJ also purchased season passes and this was the first time that we were able to join up. The kids had a blast! Jack loves being tall enough to go on BAT. I am certain that is his new favorite ride at Lagoon. Jensyn's favorite has always been Colossus, but this most recent trip, her new favorite was Spider. That is good news since she wouldn't have anything to do with that or Wicked once she rode both of them once. Since we had the motor home, we made all of our food instead of buying the stuff at the park. Lunch was mediocre, but dinner was so yummy! We had shredded pork tacos...one of our favorites. They don't require much, just the taco, pork, and guacamole. So delish. I have been happy to do Lagoon this year and anticipate doing it again in a few years or so...but I think I am Lagoon-ed out for awhile. I do know that we will head out at least one more time for Frightmares. I always like this time of the year there.
This big guy is such a hoot. (Every once in awhile, I call him Big Bad Jack so in reply, he calls me Big Bad Mom...I love him!) A few weeks ago, Jack started becoming annoyed that he had training wheels on his bike. He asked John to just take them off. John took them off, and seriously, this is what he did...
These two boys are the light of my life! They get along so well...they truly care about each other! If Jack is riding the Jeep, Madden climbs in and assumes position. Madden holds on and they ride for hours. If Jack is not in the Jeep, you can often find Madden in the drivers seat driving. If this is something that Jack takes notice of, Jack comes over to get into the drivers seat...and then Madden knows the drill. He scoots over to let Jack be the driver once again. They build ramps, they go up mounds of dirt, they drive from spot to spot in the yard with the toy chainsaw in the back and do 'work.' These boys are definitely boys, and I love every minute of watching them be boys together.
The other day after I dropped the girls off at school, the boys and I decided to take John and his crew bagels from Einsteins. I picked up the loot and headed out on my mission to find them. I know their route, but for some reason it always takes me a ton of time driving around to actually find exactly where they are. I found the truck and trailer, but I know that John often goes on ahead to string trim. I went from house to house in Willow Creek looking and listening. I pulled up into a driveway of one of his customers to see if John was in the backyard.
"Mom!", Jack said. "I think he is here. I smell dad's pants."
I about died laughing. What does Jack think his pants smell like, why is Jack sniffing John's pants? I do realize that his pants smell like grass, but I think it's hilarious that is what he thinks about.
I simply cannot believe that the summer is winding down and the kids are starting school again. To make a very long story short, the girls both started at our neighborhood school last week, but since then, they have changed schools for the opportunity of Spanish Dual Immersion. Both Jensyn and Logan were accepted and we couldn't be more happy. This will be such a great opportunity for them, and a huge benefit for the rest of their lives! It was a little rocky at first...I was a wreck. I was worried about disrupting Logan's fabulous academics at school and rocking that boat. As always, it's hard to make these kinds of decisions. The first day was rough on her, but every day since then, she has come home with a smile and some new knowledge on speaking Spanish. Jensyn is doing great, as well...it is easier the younger kids are. Here's a funny thing though: Jensyn has the same teacher in first grade that I had when I was in the first grade...different school! What a blast from the past. Mrs. Conklin was the single most teacher of my life that I actually remember the way she taught, and the impact she had on me. I couldn't ask for a better teacher for her!
We are excited about Spanish Immersion. We have tried taking family Spanish classes, but they were proving to be costly. The school district offered Rosetta Stone at deep discounted prices, so we purchased that last year. We have learned some, but this immersion will be so much better for them!
Logan is in the 3rd grade, Jensyn is in 1st, and Jack is in his second year of Pre-School. He will go one more year after this before he enters Kindergarten. It's going to be crazy having both girls gone all day! Hopefully, here's to a fabulous, new school year for the kids. It's going to be exciting.
We go to the cabin so often that sometimes it just seems like a chore, or something that we do to pass the time. This weekend, we set out to nail that dang squirrel that has taken up living quarters in the cabin. John doesn't think that he 'gets in' anywhere, but that he actually lives inside. Holly found a 'bed' in my dads helmet, and there are significant signs around the cabin of 'life when we are gone.' What a mess these creatures can make! We never caught the squirrel, but we had fun up there anyway. Our weekend went something like this:
John came home from work Friday afternoon ready to go to the Herriman Rodeo. What the heck? I came up with a better idea. Let's go up to the cabin! He was as shocked as I was, to say the least. We packed up whatever we happened to have in the fridge (or freezer) and loaded the kids up and headed up. We made it to the cabin by 5:30 that evening. We ate some dinner and lounged around...this is easy to do in such a comfortable place!
We stayed up late and we all slept well! On Saturday morning, I woke up to the smell of breakfast. John made breakfast! (Okay, he does that a lot, and actually likes it, but I can't remember a time at the cabin where I haven't made cheese waffles!) We cleaned up house and went for a 4-wheeler/Ranger ride. John taught the kids how to ride his 4-wheeler. They were all awesome. I was impressed that a 3 year old could maneuver such a big machine with such ease! I always love these rides.
We came back into the cabin to find no luck with catching the squirrel, so we lounged around some more! We decided to go on a little 'hike' up the hill and see what things in nature we could spot. All of the kids found walking sticks, Madden included. He was not about to be left without one! They loved it! John named Jack 'Old Man of the Mountain', and then Jensyn decided that she wanted to be 'Old Lady of the Mountain.' That one makes me laugh because we always call her 'Grandma Shipp' because of her yellow hair, among other things! The kids even let me take some pictures...Jack was quite the poser. We had so much fun on this hike! We found 'fuzzy-wuzzies', butterflies, and other bugs. Madden has sharp eyes, as we call them. He found on the side of the trail a butterfly on a leaf. When we all gathered around it, Madden started blowing on the butterfly. It made us all laugh.
Finding the fuzzy-wuzzy
My handsome boys!
Walking with the walking sticks.
"Look at the butterfly I found!"
My boyfriend and me
Once we got back from our hike, we headed back to the cabin to load up guns to head over to the shooting range. Jack loves spending time with his dad shooting, and the girls just liked riding the 4-wheeler.
We made the kids up a scavenger hunt where they searched the entire 3 acres for a variety of things. They found them all within about 20 minutes, but they had a blast doing it. We tried to name different flowers and plants, they are quite knowledgeable kids when it comes to plants!
Right before dinner (yep you read it right) we took the kids over to the Bear River Lodge and all indulged in either a soft serve ice cream cone or a root beer float. That was way more fun than I could have imagined! Honestly, I think we will have to add that to every cabin weekend we have! It just added something different to our routine.
We never caught the squirrel, but John and Jack saw him several times. They said he was a fat bugger. But, who wouldn't be, staying in this mountain home and eating anything they could get their teeth on!
Our vacation would not have been complete without a traffic jam on our way home!
I could reach my hand out and pet these 'puppies' as we were driving by...but they scared me!
Another well spent weekend with my family! I am so grateful for each moment that I have with them!